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Board meets Dutch PM

Last updated: 2004-09-08

Board President Henry Grunwald QC was part of a delegation of the European Jewish Congress which met with Dutch Prime Minister Dr. Jan Peter Balkanende and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ben Bot on Monday 6 September in The Hague.

The delegation consisted of EJC President Cobi Benatoff, Roger Cukierman (France), Charlotte Knobloch (Germany), all three Vice Presidents of the EJC, Pierre Besnainou (France) Treasurer, and Serge Cwajgenbaum, EJC Secretary General, as well as Ben Blog and Ruben Vis, respectively President and Secretary General of the Organisation of Jewish Communities in the Netherlands.

During their working lunch at the Prime Minister's office the following issues were discussed;

· Practical measures to combat antisemitism in Europe, following the initiatives of outgoing EU President Romano Prodi, arising from the EU Conference on antisemitism in Brussels in February, and from the OSCE conference on antisemitism in Berlin in April

· Inter-ministerial meetings of European Ministers of Education, Interior and Justice to coordinate efforts to prevent and combat antisemitism

· The broadcasting of antisemitic material on certain Arab satellite television channels
· Relations between Europe and Israel.
· The position adopted by EU countries at the United Nations on Israel's security fence.
· EU support for a proposed resolution on antisemitism at the United Nations

Prime Minister Balkanende called for a greater awareness of the evil of antisemitism and declared that antisemitism was in contradiction of the fundamental values of Europe.

Henry Grunwald commented: "Given that the Dutch currently hold the Presidency of the European Union, it was important that this meeting took place.  The Dutch Prime Minister made it very clear that he shared our concerns on antisemitism. We had a constructive dialogue on the Middle East situation, and we hope that the EU will recognise that it is in Europe's interests to show an evenhanded approach in its relations with Israel."