A European Jewish Manifesto listing “key Jewish aspirations” has been launched by the Board of Deputies ahead of elections to the European Parliament on 22 May 2014.
Authors say the document aims to “inform existing and prospective Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) about Jewish interests and concerns”.
“We hope it will help to ‘get the vote out’ amongst the Jewish community and negate the influence of the far right,” a statement said. “High voter turnout is important to ensure extremist parties do not make ground in elections.”
The 15-page manifesto – drawn up in conjunction with other European Jewish groups – covers religious freedoms, anti-Semitism, EU-Israel relations and Holocaust studies.
The document asks politicians to commit to support Israel by opposing boycotts, raising concerns about Iran and encourage trade with the EU. They are also asked to defend shechita, brit milah and “an individual’s right to wear religious symbols and observe religious festivals and the Jewish Sabbath”.
Moshe Kantor of the European Jewish Congress said: “It will encourage Jewish citizens in the EU to take part in the democratic process… We cannot complain afterwards if we do not use the rights we possess.”
Board President Vivian Wineman said: “This is the first such manifesto produced by a Jewish community for the European elections and will be used to enfranchise local communities, with regional communal leaders using the document to speak directly to MEP candidates about the issues.”