European Rabbis Condemn Attack on Austrian Chief Rabbi by Far-Right MEP

Brussels (OTS) - CER President, Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt: "FPÖ Are No Friends of Israel or the Jewish People"

The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) strongly condemns statements by Austrian far-Right politician and Member of the European Parliament Andreas Mölzer attacking the Chief Rabbi of Austria and senior member of the CER Standing Committee, Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg.

Chief Rabbi Eisenberg had written to Israeli Knesset member Nissim Zeev asking him to refrain from participating at a conference in the European Parliament this week, hosted by, among others, Mr. Mölzer, an MEP from the Austrian FPO party, and pointing out the far-Right nature of the FPO and its long documented history of anti-Semitism.

Mr. Mölzer said that Chief Rabbi Eisenberg had "forsaken the expected moderation and bipartisanship of religious leaders expected in Europe altogether, by defamatory statements abroad" and "should be condemned in the strongest of terms."

The CER strongly supports the letter of Chief Rabbi Eisenberg to Knesset Member Nissim Zeev asking him to desist from attending this event and affirms the chief rabbi's duty to speak out forcefully in defence of the rights and values of his Jewish community.

The CER also expresses its deep concern that supporters of the State of Israel have chosen to attend events which are used as a platform by parties of the far-Right in Europe to legitimise their views of intolerance and fomenting ethnic and religious strife.

"We should be under no illusions that parties and politicians with long histories of collaboration with Nazism and current policies of intolerance towards ethnic and religious minorities in Europe are no friends of the State of Israel and no friends of the Jewish People," said Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis.

"It is of profound distress to us that friends of Israel in mainstream political parties in Europe and abroad, and including members of the Israeli Knesset, are drawn into seeking such alliances which affront the memory of the victims of the Shoah."

The CER has long taken a strong position against the extreme-Right in Europe and chose to hastily move its bi-annual convention from Vienna to Bratislava in 2000 in protest against the inclusion of the FPO and its then leader, Jörg Haider, in the government of Austria.

The CER welcomed the then position of the European Union to impose sanctions on Austria for this act and regrets that the EU no longer adopts such strong positions based on the core values of the Union.

With the growth of far-Right and neo-fascist parties in Greece, Hungary and other European states, the CER calls on all politicians committed to values of tolerance and democracy to actively spurn attempts which legitimise these parties and seriously threaten the fabric of peaceful civil society in Europe.

The CER federates Jewish religious leaders in over 40 European states and includes all Europe's chief rabbis and senior rabbinical judges. The CER is active as a representative of Jewish communities in the institutions of the European Union in Brussels and holds consultancy status as an international NGO at the Council of Europe.


Rückfragen & Kontakt:

Philip Carmel,
Conference of European Rabbis,
Tel: +32 498 161 999,