BRUSSELS — A senior European Union official has warned of rising anti-Semitism in Europe as attacks and threats against Jews continue in EU member countries.
European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said Thursday that “in the last couple of years you’ve seen this age-old monster come up again in Europe.”
Speaking before a conference on religious intolerance, he said, “This is unacceptable. I thought we knew better. I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible… but it’s happening again.”
The EU’s fundamental rights agency says that anti-Semitic stereotyping is a reality in many countries and that some EU political parties are openly anti-Semitic.
Timmermans said that “it’s a vital question for the future of Europe that our Jewish community feels at ease and completely at home.”
Europe’s top human rights watchdog also voiced concern Thursday at mounting racism and anti-Semitism in Germany, citing a wave of far-right, anti-Islam demonstrations at odds with the more recent image of a country ready to open its doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees.
“There have been worrying developments as regards public manifestations of racism and xenophobia,” the Council of Europe’s committee on national minorities said in a statement.
“Manifestations of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments are… reported to be rising, as well as attacks against asylum seekers,” it said in a report.
Meanwhile, attacks throughout Europe have caused many Jews to contemplate leaving the continent.
French Jews in particular have moved to Israel in record numbers recently amid an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents, including an attack in a kosher supermarket by an Islamist gunman that left four shoppers dead. In 2014, nearly 7,000 French Jews left for Israel – more than three times the number in 2011.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.