The President of the European Parliament has hailed the “miracle” of Jewish life reemerging in Germany once more, while warning that “the demons of the past” were making a return to the shores of Europe in the form of rising anti-Semitism.
Speaking in Brussels on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Martin Schulz told the assembled Jewish and European leaders that the fact that “more than 100,000 Jewish people live again in my home country, in Germany, for me it is a miracle.”
But he warned that “miracle” was under threat, with increasing numbers of Jews leaving Europe as anti-Semitism continues to rise.
“It pains me that in today’s Europe Jews again fear for their lives; that they ask themselves ‘will I be safe going to a synagogue, or a Jewish job? Will my children be safe in a Jewish school?’
“It saddens me deeply… when young people are in doubt whether they can raise their chldren in Euorpe, whether it is right to stay. Some consider leaving Europe for good because they no longer feel safe.”
Echoing numerous other European leaders – including recent comments by the head of the European Commission – Schulz declared that Jews were an inseparable part of European life, and that a failure to maintain its Jewish communities would mark a fundamental failure on the part of Europe.
“Jewish life is part of our culture and part of our identity… but to our shame some have not learned the lessons of the past,” he said, taking aim specifically at the far-right.
“Some deny the Holocaust ever happened, they try to convince us that the pain and loss inflicted on innocent victims are illusions, are lies.
“What makes me angry every day is that these people are sitting in the parliament here. The Holocaust deniers are elected to the European parliament.”
Schulz also accused far-right figures of using Nazi-like language in describing the hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants heading to Europe as “human scum.”
Turning back to European Jews, he said it was the responsibility of Europe’s leadership “to fight” the “demons of anti-Semitism, of ultra-nationalism, of intolerance.”
“Some insult, threaten and attack people because they are Jewish or express support for Israel. They desecrate Jewish cemeteries, smear hate speech on synagogues, or spit on young people wearing a kippa.
“Others even kill,” he continued, referencing the deadly Islamist attacks against Jews in Toulouse, Brussels and Paris, and lamenting that in Europe “Jews are again killed because they are Jews.”
Schulz called on European leaders to take the words “never again” seriously, by taking action “to make sure that every Jew… feels safe in Europe.”
“Jewish friends and neighbors, we stand with you against those who spread hatred,” he stated. “Europe is your home.
“We are living in times that the demons of the past are back. Let’s not repeat mistakes made in the past.”