European Jewish Association Criticises EU Internal Document for Antisemitic References
EU Internal Document Faces Scrutiny
The European Jewish Association (EJA) has raised concerns about a recent internal document within the European Union (EU) that has come under criticism for its treatment of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. The European External Action Service (EEAS), the diplomatic arm of the EU, released the document on August 16 under the title “Ukraine Territorial Integrity—Additional Information.” The EJA alleges that the document makes disparaging references to Abramovich’s Jewish heritage and employs derogatory anti-Semitic themes.
Inappropriate Mention of Roman Abramovich’s Jewish Background
According to the EJA, the document mentions Roman Abramovich’s Jewish faith, even though it is unrelated to the topics being discussed, and then diminishes his connection to his faith. Furthermore, it alleges that Abramovich followed orders from Russian President Vladimir Putin to undermine the Russian Jewish Congress.
A formal complaint has been lodged with the European Commission Coordinator.
In response to the offensive passages, the EJA formally complained to Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission Coordinator responsible for combating antisemitism.
Controversial Section of the document
One of the most contentious sections of the document states that Roman Abramovich, as the main shareholder of Omsk Bacon, found nothing wrong in profiting from the annual slaughter of 300,000 pigs. It also suggests that he followed instructions to finance a Chassidic counter-organization against the Russian Jewish Congress, which was perceived as too influential.
EJA’s Protest and References to IHRA Definition
Alexander Benjamin, the Vice Chairman of the EJA, highlighted the offensive nature of these passages in the letter of protest. He cited the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which is widely adopted, and pointed out that the document’s content aligns with this definition.
Concerns About Antisemitic Stereotypes in EU Documents
Benjamin stressed that the EJA’s concern goes beyond defending Roman Abramovich or his business interests. Instead, it revolves around the appearance of antisemitic stereotypes in official EU documents. He noted that the document in question is not a populist or xenophobic publication but a government white paper intended for internal use within the EU.
In conclusion, Benjamin emphasized that antisemitism has no place in an EU document, and he expressed concern about the public portrayal of Jewish communities in such documents, speculating about potential private discussions within the EU.