French Jewish leader tells ‘Post’ conference there is “general atmosphere” in Europe that is very uncomfortable for Jews.
Europeans would be better off focusing on real injustices and not on suppressing Jewish practices and attacking Israel, Roger Cukierman, the president of France’s Representative Council of Jewish Institutions (CRIF), told attendees at The Jerusalem Post’s second annual Diplomatic Conference in Herzliya on Thursday.
Cukierman called it “really strange” that countries like Turkey, which have occupied other nations, have not been singled out for attention like Israel.
Such attention to the Jewish state, he said, makes Israel into a “a scapegoat [among the nations, just] as anti-Semitism does towards the Jews” individually.
Cukierman added that such behavior is “not limited to the State of Israel” but that Europe has begun “coming against the Jews as Jews” as well.
There is a “general atmosphere” in Europe that is very uncomfortable for Jews, he said, citing attacks on circumcision and ritual slaughter.
Earlier this month the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe called for countries to reconsider the legal status of circumcision, leading to loud denunciations from Jewish leaders worldwide. The PACE declaration was legally nonbinding, but the institution, which is not part of the European Union, has considerable influence among EU member states.
“They also claim, by the way, that we should let the children decide on their religion only when they get to their majority, [and] there are also attempts by Europeans to correct the slaughtering [methods of] the Jews, considering that it hurts the sensibility of the animals,” Cukierman said.
Europe, he said, is “ill placed to attack the Jews on their ancient traditions when there are other subjects more important than circumcision, [more important] than boycotting products and labeling products which are being made in the so-called occupied territories, when at the same time in Syria you have 120,000 people dead.”
While “European parliamentarians are concentrating their efforts on attacking the Jews and the State of Israel” and “this general atmosphere is very painful for the Jews,” he asserted, he does not believe that French Jewry will immigrate to Israel en masse as some have predicted.
French Jewry survived the Dreyfus affair and the Vichy regime and it can survive today’s rise in anti-Semitism, he strongly averred.