Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, called for practical solutions to fight anti-Semitism at a groundbreaking conference at the University of Vienna.
An unprecedented 150 speakers from United States, Israel, Latin America, Australia and European countries participated in the five-day ‘An End to Anti-Semitism’ symposium.
“We have to plant the seeds that will end anti-Semitism,” Dr Kantor said in his opening address.
“This must be the beginning of the end of anti-Semitism. Talking about anti-Semitism is not enough. We must be ambitious and pragmatic in order to find enduring solutions to this problem.”
He added: “People marching in the streets of European capitals shouting ‘Death to the Jews’ has led to the actual death of Jews and will continue if Europe does not react.
“That police and military protection for Jewish communities is necessary is in itself a shameful indictment on European society.
“We have an obligation not to give anti-Semitism any space in the public sphere with radical forces on the Left and Right gaining strength.”
Referring to the Freedom Party now in the Austrian government,” he noted:
“For the Freedom Party to be acceptable to those of us who look for a more open and tolerant Europe, they must get rid of all elements of its darker past and take practical steps.
“These must include the immediate rejection of anyone with an anti-Semitic past who has made insulting comments publicly or virtually.”
He added: “We have taken note of the recent announcement of the setting up a panel of researchers to investigate its history. However, this cannot just be a tool of distraction or find evidence against a few already departed members.
“The panel must lead to practical recommendations that are enacted.”
Conference brought together academics, religious dignitaries, political leaders and decision-makers.
Headline speakers included Raya Kalenova, EJC chief executive, Natan Sharansky, Jewish Agency chairman and Dina Porat, Yad Vashem chief historian.
Following conference, experts will develop short, mid-term and long-term strategies to combat anti-Semitism for future generations.
Ms. Kalenova said communities faced attacks on fundamental freedoms to anti-Semitism from the Far Right, the Far left and radical Islam.
She also emphasised a need for a thorough follow-up after the adoption of the Resolution on Antisemitism by the European Parliament last year.
Her leadership talk also focused on those who publically criticise Israel.
“There is an urgent need to educate against the notion that Jews are “fair target” for violence and harassment in the name of so-called “political criticism” of Israel, the only Jewish state.
“Our approach here is to oppose the normalisation of narratives that threatens our communities and to ensure that they are not given space in political discourse.”