Lauder, Spielberg warn of rising anti-Semtism

Ben Sales

KRAKOW, Poland (JTA) — European leaders must do more to combat rising anti-Semitism on their home turf, Jewish leaders urged on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Governments must adopt a “zero tolerance” policy toward preachers of hate and importers of jihad, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder told reporters.

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Filmmaker Stephen Spielberg told some 100 survivors and their companions here that “we are once again facing the perennial demons of intolerance.”

Lauder said he had been hearing from worried Jews across Europe, especially following the rash of terrorist attacks on Jewish targets in Belgium and France.

“The Jewish population is frightened,” he said. Religious Jews “are afraid of getting attacked in the street” for wearing a yarmulke. “Jews want to leave Europe because they feel their governments are not protecting them.”

Lauder called for the deportation of leaders who promulgate hate speech, and the closing of schools that teach hateful messages. European citizens who go abroad to receive Islamist military training, he said, “are not learning how to make couscous. They should lose their passports.”

Michael Schudrich, chief rabbi of Poland, told JTA that unlike in Western Europe, Poland does not have a problem with jihadists. He said classic Catholic anti-Semitism has greatly decreased thanks to the efforts of the late Pope John Paul II.

But Schudrich said that in addition to the terrorist threat, there is an increased willingness in Western Europe to express traditional anti-Semitism.

“It’s as if at some level the expiration date of the Holocaust is up,” he said.