The prospect of a Jewish exodus from certain parts of Europe is real, European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor told Russian president Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. Kantor pointed Putin’s attention to the growing number of threats Jewish communities have been subjected to on the continent.
“Statistically, the position of Jews in Europe is the worst since the end of WWII,” Kantor said. “The prospect of a Jewish exodus from certain parts of Europe is quite real.”
“It’s not just terror attacks against our communities, say, in Toulouse, Brussels, Paris or Copenhagen. It is a daily sense of fear. … We are afraid of walking the streets of cities in the countries we live in without hiding that we are Jews. It is the need to live behind thick doors and high fences under the surveillance of video cameras in search of protection,” Kantor stressed.
He noted that unlike in Europe the level of anti-Semitism in Russia has decreased, and expressed the hope that it would continue declining. “We would like to thank the Russian leadership for waging a war against those who have chosen Jews as their target,” Kantor said.
Moscow considers the EJC to be a natural ally in the struggle against anti-Semitism, Putin told Kantor and other EJC members. “We consider your organization, one of the most representative non-governmental organizations in Europe, to be Russia’s natural ally in the struggle against xenophobia, anti-Semitism and the manifestation of extreme views,” Putin reiterated.
“We certainly regard you as our direct allies in preserving the memory of WWII, which was disastrous for all humanity, and about the Holocaust,” Putin said.
Speaking about the position of Jews in Russia, Putin noted their active participation in the country’s cultural and religious life. Putin believes that the handover of the famous Schneerson Library to the Moscow-based Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center will be appreciated by anyone wishing to become acquainted with the Library’s treasures and will put an end to the controversy, which arose in the past over that valuable historical collection. The Russian president also recalled that a new synagogue had recently opened in Moscow’s Rublevka district. “I will go and visit it,” Putin said.