Organizations weigh in on Existential Threat to Jewish Populations


The Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed “shock and outrage” at news of another violent terrorist attack targeting members of a European Jewish community and a democratic society. The League said the shootings against a synagogue and a controversial cartoonist in Denmark, which left two dead and two police officers wounded, “should serve as another wake-up call to all of Europe” to the continued clear and present danger posed by individuals motivated by radical interpretations of  Islam.

Killed in the attacks were Dan Uzan, 37, a member of the Copenhagen Jewish community who was guarding a celebration at a Jewish community building near the synagogue, and Finn Norgaard, a  filmmaker.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following  statement:

We are deeply shocked and outraged by the coordinated terror attacks on a synagogue and an event to promote the exercise of free speech in  Denmark.

This latest attack, apparently motivated by anti-Semitism and radical Islamic extremist ideology, is another assault on democracy and free society. It should, and indeed it must, serve as another wake-up call to all of Europe. What kind of madness is this when a Jewish community cannot celebrate a bat mitzvah without fear of  attack?

The attacks in Copenhagen are tragic reminders that Islamic extremists target Jews and democratic freedoms together. As with the recent terror attacks in Paris, once again we see that anti-Semitism is at the core of Islamic extremist ideology. This link has not been sufficiently understood throughout Europe, despite the Paris  attacks.

With Jews in the crosshairs, there is an urgent need for European leaders to act quickly and effectively to ensure their  safety.

A recent ADL poll in Denmark found relatively low levels of anti-Semitic attitudes among the general population. According to the ADLGlobal 100 Survey, fielded in late 2013 and early 2014, only 9 percent of adults harbor anti-Semitic attitudes in Denmark, the same level as found in the United States and one of the lowest findings in Western  Europe.

In a letter to Jair Melchior, the Chief Rabbi of Denmark, ADL expressed condolences to the family of Mr. Uzan and the Danish Jewish community, and to the family of Finn Norgaard, the filmmaker murdered at an event to promote the exercise of free  speech.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and  bigotry.

American Jewish  Committee

AJC Executive Director David Harris called yesterday’s attacks in Copenhagen, including against a synagogue, “deplorable and despicable acts of terror” that are another “wake-up call to European leaders of the urgent threats to democratic societies and the values they  embody.”

Dan Uzan, a Jewish security guard at Copenhagen’s Krystalgade synagogue, was killed and two Danish police officers were wounded by a lone shooter. Earlier in the day, a man was killed when gun shots were fired at an event on free speech, where a featured speaker was the cartoonist who has faced repeated death threats since he drew caricatures of the prophet Muhammad in  2007.

Details about the shooter, who died in a confrontation with police, have not yet been  released.

“One can only imagine the horror if the shooter had succeeded in actually entering the synagogue, where a Bat Mitzvah ceremony was in progress,” said Harris. Some 80 people were inside the synagogue at the time, a leader of Denmark’s Jewish community told a Danish radio  station.

The Denmark synagogue attack comes barely a month after a radical Islamist terrorist killed four Jews at a kosher supermarket inParis, which occurred two days after other jihadists carried out a murderous attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. In total, seventeen innocent people were killed in three Paris  attacks.

“As AJC has been saying for 15 years to Europe’s top political leaders, European core values such as freedom of speech, freedom of worship and pluralism are inextricably intertwined with the well-being and security of the continent’s Jewish communities,” said Harris. “European nations individually and collectively must confront anti-Semitism with utmost urgency. Jews should not once again have to live in fear in  Europe.”

Harris and other AJC representatives, including the directors of AJC’s offices in Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Rome, have been pressing European leaders to recognize the urgency of the danger, the specificity of anti-Semitism, and the need to take concrete steps to make clear that confronting anti-Semitism is a high and sustained  priority.

AJC urges the EU and its member states to establish a high-level task force on anti-Semitism, enhance round-the-clock security at synagogues, schools and other Jewish institutions, and utilize all other tools available through education, law enforcement, justice, and transnational cooperation to confront the threat to Jewish communities and European democratic  values.

“Sadly, no country can assume today that jihadist violence against Jews and other symbols of liberal democracy will not happen there,” Harris  added.

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