European Jewish Congress
EJC President Kantor at Brussels IHRD event
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EJC President Kantor at Brussels IHRD event

European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor took the opportunity of International Holocaust Remembrance Day to decry those who mock the Holocaust or claim that curbing anti-Semitism is just a freedom of speech matter.

“The Holocaust is not a matter for satire. Anti-Semitism is not an opinion, it is a crime,” Kantor said at the official annual European Parliament event commemorating the Holocaust. "Today, we are witness to the absolute democratisation of anti-Semitism. A simple inversed Nazi salute performed with impunity at Auschwitz, at the Berlin Holocaust memorial, at a synagogue and even in front of the Jewish school in Toulouse where Jewish children and a teacher were murdered in broad daylight by a French terrorist.” 

“A symbol invented by a so-called comedian which allows young people out for a drink, soldiers having a laugh and even a footballer scoring a goal, to have their own unique opportunity for Jew hatred.” Kantor added.

Dr. Kantor was speaking at the official International Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony at the European Parliament in Brussels, co-hosted by the European Parliament and the European Jewish Congress.

The event was also addressed by Mr. Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Mr. Antonio Samaras, Prime Minister of Greece, the holder of the rotating Presidency of the European Council and Ambassador Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress. 

Kantor also took aim at the rise of neo-Nazi parties in democracies across Europe. “70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, who could have imagined representatives of parties with Nazi insignia, race hatred for Jews and a proclivity for violence marching down the streets of our capitals and into our parliamentary chambers - including this one,” Kantor said in front of an audience of MEP’s, ambassadors from across the world and other senior dignitaries.

“As we commemorate the destruction of the Jewish communities of Greece and Hungary just 70 years ago, how liberated really are the citizens of Europe when we witness today the eruption of political parties with Nazi insignia on the streets of Athens and Budapest while we genuinely fear the very real prospect of the strengthening of far-Right and neo-Nazi parties in the coming European elections?” 

During his speech, Prime Minister Samaras spoke about the importance of remembrance and the importance of the lessons learnt from history. “Today, one hundred years after the First World War, when dozens of millions of Europeans lost their lives in battle, and seventy years after the atrocities of the Genocide and the Holocaust, we have turned those horrific nightmares into a bright vision; and this vision into a reality: United Europe, our Europe, which has become the world champion of respect for freedom, democratic rights and human dignity,” Prime Minister Samaras said.

President Schulz spoke about the importance of holding the event in the European Parliament. "It was my humble duty to host the International Holocaust Remembrance Day event in this Yehudi Menuhin Hall here in the European Parliament. A place of European reconciliation and peace,” President Schulz said. “Anti-Semitism and racism are a threat to our basic values - those of democracy and respect for diversity and human rights. Holding a memorial ceremony cannot undo the atrocities that happened to so many families: but it can serve as a warning, it can serve as a tribute and it can serve as a lesson.  

“The Shoah was the worst tragedy of humankind.  Yet, the dangers and demons are regrettably still present in our societies. This evening we remembered the victims, we paid tribute to the "righteous among the nations" and we say: Never Again!"

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust, the genocide that resulted in the annihilation of 6 million Jews and millions of others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The event in the European Parliament commemorate 69 years since the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated on January 27, 1945.

Thursday, January 30, 2014
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