World leaders must prioritise fighting terrorism and anti-Semitism over political wrangling over economic issues such as a potential Grexit, the President of the European Jewish Congress has said.
Dr. Moshe Kantor’s call for further action to tackle religious violence and hatred – and for the appointment of a European Union Special Envoy and Task Force on Antisemitism – comes after 30 British tourists were shot dead on a Tunisian beach by an Islamic State gunman last week, which he says is an example of the urgent need to tackle radicalism and intolerance.
The Russian philanthropist, who represents 2.5 million European Jews, said: “It is time for European leaders to prioritise security over economics and take the threat of terrorism more seriously. If Islamic state succeeds, a Grexit, or Brexit, or any other exit will be irrelevant as we will be facing far graver and more dangerous challenges.”
“I hope that Governments around Europe will support the appointment of a European Union Special Envoy and Task Force on Antisemitism”.
Dr. Kantor’s comments come just after he was bestowed with a special honour by French president Francois Hollande – who described the 61-year-old as “an inspiring person in the Jewish world”.
The President of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation was awarded the Officer de la Légion d’Honneur (Officier of the Legion of Honour) at Paris’ Elysee Paris for promoting interfaith relations and combatting racism and xenophobia through his work representing European Jewry.
Dr. Kantor, who said he was “humbled” by the honour, took the opportunity to praise the French government’s commitment to its Jewish population after a “very challenging year for Jews in France”.
“I see this award as a testament to the French Government’s commitment to French and European Jewry…I know that the French Government is making great efforts to protect our communities and return them to a sense of normalcy”, he added.