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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

WJC/Bronfman accuses EU of encouraging antisemitism

In response, European Commission suspends plans for joint seminar with Jewish organizations

What a mess. Apparently, Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, wrote an article that appeared Monday in the Financial Times. I can't access it without paying for a subscription, so must rely on coverage such as this at Haaretz:
In the article, Bronfman said that the European Union was guilty of anti-Semitism both by action and inaction. Bronfman said that the EU was hiding the fact that most of the world's violent anti-Semitic acts occuring outside Israel took place in Western Europe, an action that "reeked of intellectual dishonesty and moral treachery."

Bronfman also wrote that the EU "first released a flawed and dangerously inflammatory poll which purported to name Israel the greatest threat to world peace. Then it canceled a study commissioned by its own monitoring center that reported on the involvement of Muslim minorities in incidents of mounting European anti-Semitism."

"Let us not mince words," Bronfman continued. "Both of these actions were politically motivated, demonstrating a failure of real decency. The Talmud teaches that silence implies agreement, and that is why we will not rest until every European parliamentarian, member state, and intergovernmental body has a copy of this report in their hands."

"Democracies are not judged by how they treat current or future majorities," Bronfman asserted, "but by how they treat their minorities."
Then on Tuesday, European Commission President Roman Prodi demanded that the accusations of antisemitism be retracted, and suspended a joint seminar of European representatives and Jewish organizations.

Now it's Wednesday, and Prodi has just reinstated the conference.

So, what's interesting about all this? What's sickly fascinating to my mind is the way in which much of the media blamed all this mishegoss on Bronfman's charges of antisemitism, not on the antisemitism itself:
Haaretz: "WJC barb freezes anti-Semitism seminar"

The Times (UK): "Anti-Semitism charge sparks summit collapse"

South African News: "Jewish attacks on EC spark controversy"