In a typical throw-baby-out-with-bathwater move, the UK Foreign Secretary on Wednesday announced a significant ratcheting up of UK sanctions on Russia in a press release titled, “UK imposes sweeping new sanctions to starve Putin’s war machine.”
At the top of the list of those Russian elite, Truss included “Viatcheslav (Moshe) Kantor, the largest shareholder of fertilizer company Acron with vital strategic significance for the Russian government.”
The European Jewish Congress reacted, saying they are “deeply shocked and appalled by the decision today of the British government to sanction Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, and the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation. The decision is misguided and lacks any factual or evidence-based merit.”
Announcing the package, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “Together with our allies, we are showing the Russian elite that they cannot wash their hands of the atrocities committed on Putin’s orders. We will not rest until Ukraine prevails.”
In 2020, when Kantor chaired the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, the Forum faced criticism after Vladimir Putin was allowed to give a speech that offered the Russian side’s history of World War II, and the forum won’t let Polish President Andrzej Duda offer a rebuttal. Now, would punishing the man who gave Putin the advantage over the Poles “starve his war machine?” Probably not.
Disclosure: I, too, prefer the Russian version of WW2 history – the Red Army liberated the death camps, while the Poles helped fill them up with Jews.
Kantor is the founder and president of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR).
In 2010, he established the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University.
Kantor has served as President of the European Jewish Congress since 2007, having been re-elected in 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020. The EJC is the largest secular organization representing the interests of European Jewry, representing 2.5 million Jews in 42 national communities across the continent.
In 2007, Kantor founded and was elected president of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, an international non-governmental organization uniting leading world-renowned experts on nuclear non-proliferation, materials, and delivery vehicles, including Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), William Perry, former US Defense Secretary, and Hans Blix, Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission and former Director-General of the IAEA.
Kantor was President of the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC) from 2005 to 2009. He founded and headed the World Holocaust Forum (WHF) in 2005 and the European Jewish Fund in 2006. He is the founder and chairman of the European Jewish Fund (EJF).
In 2021, Kantor was reelected Chairman of the Policy Council of the World Jewish Congress for the third time. He is a Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council.
In 2019, Yad Vashem nominated Moshe Kantor as Chancellor of the Council, where he had served as its Member of Directorate since 2010.
The EJC press release continued: “Dr. Kantor is a British citizen who has lived for over three decades in Western Europe, many years of which has been in the UK. He is a long-standing and respected Jewish leader, who has dedicated his life to the security and wellbeing of Europe’s Jewish communities and the fight against antisemitism, racism, and xenophobia.
“In recognition of this life work on behalf of Jewish communities and his efforts to instill greater tolerance and reconciliation in Europe and beyond, Dr. Kantor has been granted the most prestigious awards and honors from many European heads of state and government.
“We call for this decision to be reversed as soon as possible.”
Now, remember what Yad Vashem did to Roman Abramovich, who shared so much of his nice money with them? They announced that “in light of recent developments, Yad Vashem has decided to suspend the strategic partnership with Mr. Roman Abramovich. (West Critical of Israel’s Sheltering Russian-Jewish Tycoons, Will Law of Return Be Undermined?)”
Well, following the UK announcement, A Jewish Leadership Council Spokesperson said: “Moshe Kantor has served as an honorary Vice President of the JLC. His term of office will end in May and will not be renewed.”