AJC Transatlantic Institute Appalled by Apparent Anti-Semitic Attack by EU Official

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AJC Transatlantic Institute Appalled by Apparent Anti-Semitic Attack by EU Official

3 September 2015 - Brussels - The AJC Transatlantic Institute is appalled by what appears to be a brutal anti-Semitic assault by a European Union official against another EU official in Brussels on July 16.

According to media reports, Belgian police is investigating the incident in a café where a 50-year-old Italian woman and EU employee saw a man holding a metal plaque with the name “Mussolini” written on it while loudly praising the Italian fascist leader. When she remarked that Mussolini was a dictator, the man, reportedly a European Commission official, accosted her as “Dirty Jewess … Hitler should have exterminated all Jews, just like Jews today are exterminating Palestinians,” after which he physically attacked her.

“We are shocked about this apparent anti-Semitic aggression involving an employee of an organization committed to human dignity, freedom and human rights. The fact that the assaulted woman was not even Jewish underlines how anti-Semitism is not only a Jewish concern but an attack on the very fabric of our society and the very values Europe stands for,” said AJC Transatlantic Director Daniel Schwammenthal. "It is noteworthy how the alleged offender combined Nazi ideology with a new form of anti-Semitism, in which hatred of Jews is 'justified' by a monstrous blood libel--accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians," Schwammenthal added.

"We call on the Belgian authorities to thoroughly investigate the incident and, if the evidence bears out, prosecute the man with the full force of the law," Schwammenthal said. "If the events took place as described, the man is clearly unfit to work in the European Commission and appropriate disciplinary action must be taken."

In May, AJC convened its Strategy Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism “A Defining Moment for Europe” in Brussels, when AJC called on Europe’s leaders to prioritize the fight against the growing threat of anti-Semitism. At the conclusion of AJC’s Strategy Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism, AJC Executive Director David Harris presented the AJC Call to Action, which identifies specific strategies for tackling anti-Semitism in Europe. “The latest incident is another wake-up call for European institutions to fight anti-Semitism on the highest level,” Schwammenthal said.