December 22, 2003

Cardinal fears anti-Semitism in Europe


He warns against 'path to Auschwitz'


By Reuters, 12/22/2003


VATICAN CITY --A top cardinal said in an interview published yesterday that anti-Semitism was on the rise in Europe, and he urged constant vigilance to avoid setting out on "the path to Auschwitz."

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, a Frenchman who has carried out several sensitive diplomatic missions as a personal envoy of the pope, said that despite strong church condemnation of anti-Semitism, European mentalities were too slow to change.

"The path that leads to Auschwitz is always in front of us, and it starts with `small' deficiencies," Etchegaray said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa. "There is a return of anti-Semitism in our Europe. . . . Not to recognize it, not to call it by its name, is an unwitting way of accepting it," he said.

Jewish groups in Europe and the United States say a "new anti-Semitism" has emerged in recent years among Muslim youths who threaten or attack their Jewish neighbors out of solidarity with Palestinians battling the Israeli military. But Etchegaray said resurgent anti-Semitism could not be blamed entirely on the fallout from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pointing out that the phenomenon had developed in Europe over centuries.

He urged constant vigilance and frank solidarity with Jewish communities to combat the trend.


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