In a letter to European Jewry ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year 5774 that begins at sunset on September 4 2013, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has pledged the opposition of European institutions to anti-Semitism.
Rosh Hashanah, this year from September 4 to 6, marks the beginning of the first day of the Jewish year, 1 Tishrei.
“I want to reassure you that together with the other European institutions and the governments of the EU member states, we will vigorously oppose the forces of anti-Semitism,’’ Barroso said in his letter, quoted by the European Jewish Press.
Barroso said he expressed this firm commitment when he met with Israeli president Shimon Peres at the European Commission in Brussels earlier in 2013.
“The European Commission has noted with great concern reports of a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the EU. Anti-Semitism has no place in European society or indeed any society. We are a Union that treasures diversity and protects the rights individuals to lead their lives as they wish,’’ Barroso’s letter said.
He emphasised that during the past Jewish year, “we have commemorated the 70th anniversary of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto and the first anniversary of the brutal killings in Toulouse.’’
Barroso said that “the Jewish community is contributing significantly to European politics, business, arts, culture, sports and civil society in general,’’ adding that the European Commission “recognised and appreciated the major role you play in enhancing Europe’s future, its prosperity and cultural life.’’
He also recalled that in May 2014 elections to the European Parliament will be held.
“It will be essential for theEuropean institutions together with political and societal forces at all levels to encourage citizens to make use of their democratic rights and participate in the elections. This will be an important opportunity for citizens to express their hopes about the future of our European project.’’
Barroso’s letter ended with ‘’Wishing you and the Jewish community as a whole a year of life, health and prosperity! L’shanah tovah!’’