(JTA) – Members of the European Union (EU) must confront rising anti-Semitism, a senior EU official said, noting a “new anti-Semitism that sometimes tries to hide behind anti-Zionism.”
In opening remarks Thursday in Brussels at the first Colloquium on Fundamental Rights, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said, “Without our Jewish community, Europe would cease to exist.”
Timmermans also noted that anti-Semitism “is not just terrible for the Jewish community, it is like a fever in an infected body; it points at a much wider problem. Anti-Semitism left unchallenged will create a much, much bigger problem in any society; that is what European history teaches us.”
Timmermans also voiced concern about anti-Muslim sentiment.
Europe’s top human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe’s committee on national minorities, also spoke out about anti-Semitism on Thursday, specifically in Germany.
“There have been worrying developments as regards public manifestations of racism and xenophobia,” the committee said in a statement, the Associated Press reported. “Manifestations of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments are … reported to be rising, as well as attacks against asylum seekers.”