European Jewish Congress
EJC President calls on Bulgarian President to press European Union to upgrade ties with Israel. Iran nuclear threat, Anti-Semitism also on agenda
High-level meetings
EJC President calls on Bulgarian President to press European Union to upgrade ties with Israel. Iran nuclear threat, Anti-Semitism also on agenda

A European Jewish Congress (EJC) delegation called on the Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov to use his influence to combat calls within the European Union to suspend the upgrade of relations with Israel.

“There are unfortunately some discordant voices within the EU who use Israel's economic development as a political bargaining chip in issues that have little to do with economics and trade,” said Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress.

The meeting between the EJC, the Bulgarian President and high-level members of the Bulgarian government is part of an ongoing effort by the EJC and President Kantor to promote issues of importance to the European Jewish community with European leaders and to coordinate an organized effort regarding the Iranian nuclear threat.

Kantor called for a consensus on Iran's nuclear program: ““It is time to act now against the Iranian regime. The European Union must adopt a strict and consistent policy to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Now that parts of Europe are within Iranian missile range, it behooves European leaders to act quickly and drastically to prevent Iran from terrorizing Europe with these weapons. The recent declaration made by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt at the EU Foreign Ministers' meeting, saying that "If they (Iran) decide to go for confrontation, then confrontation will happen." is encouraging, but there needs to be action behind the words,” Kantor said.

The EJC delegation also called on the Bulgarian government to be vigilant against anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance and racism, especially in politics.

“In Bulgaria, extremist parties should be monitored and legal action should be adopted if they incite xenophobia, anti-Semitism, racism and other forms of intolerance,” Kantor stated. “There is a growing phenomenon of far-right extremist parties across Europe, some who have managed to gain a foot-hold in the European Parliament, and have used these intolerances, most notably anti-Semitism, as a platform to political power.”

In an address to the Bulgarian President, Dr. Kantor also noted that 70 years after the Second World War began, which destroyed whole European Jewish communities; there is a Jewish renaissance in some of these communities. He also thanked the Bulgarian President on behalf of the Jewish community for their actions during the war.

“It is especially symbolic for me to be in Bulgaria at this time, a country that, against all odds and against history itself, managed to save almost 50,000 Jewish Bulgarians from deportation and certain death,” Kantor said at a dinner to honour the President. “For this the Jewish people are extremely grateful to those Bulgarians, including parliamentarians, the intelligentsia, orthodox priests and ordinary citizens who took a stand against tyranny and refused to sacrifice their fellow Bulgarians. Of course we must not forget the fate of the Jews in Thrace and Macedonia, as well as elsewhere, who perished under the Nazis. They must not and will never be forgotten.”

Thursday, September 10, 2009
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