There ceremony, held in the EU Jewish building in Brussels, was organized by the European Jewish Association.
At the ceremony European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans emphasized the need to combat anti-Semitism.
“We have the moral and political duty to bring about a situation as soon as possible where not one Jew in Europe feels the urge to leave Europe because he or she sees no future for them on this continent,” he said.
“If there is no future for Jews in Europe, there is no future for Europe,’’ he stressed, trying to reassure Jews still reeling from the attack on the Hyper Casher kosher supermarket in Paris.
“Taking away the Jews from Europe is taking away Europe’s soul,” he continued. “The answer that we now call European Union and European integration was an answer to that threat. That is why we have the European integration, not for economic reasons but to avoid the mistakes we as Europeans we collectively made in the past.”
“70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, it should be our greatest duty to prevent the ghosts and the demons of the past to return. Let’s do this for the victims who fell due to hatred in Paris,’” Timmermans concluded, before ending his speech with the Hebrew words ‘’Ani Yehudi’’ (I am a Jew).
Pierre Sellal, the French Representative to the EU, denounced anti-Semitism in his country and admitted that the attack on Hyper Casher had been different than the other two terror attacks in France.
“Journalists were murdered because they were journalists, cartoonists because they were cartoonists, but Jews were murdered solely because they were Jews.”
”The time has come for action and mobilization to protect the Jewish community,” he stressed.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Director General of the EJA, thanked the officials for attending but also lamented that EU leaders only “wake up when non-Jews are killed.”
”Why now? Was the terror attack in Toulouse not enough? Was the terror attack in the Jewish Museum not enough?” he asked the EU officials.
”Aren’t hundreds of anti-Semitic attacks the past year enough for European leaders to gather together and take their responsibilities. What happened now?” he added.
”While the motivation of the two brothers to kill the journalists of Charlie Hebdo was officially because of a will for revenge, there are 3 million Jews in Europe today, there are thousands of synagogues, kindergartens, Jewish schools, kosher supermarkets, museums, community centers, that are all under threat on a daily basis for no reason, only because they are Jews.”
Also in attendance were Ariel Amar, a leader of the French umbrella representative group CRIF, and Imam Rachid Birbach, who condemned the Paris attacks and called on European leaders to help the Muslim community combat extremists.
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