European Jewish group fears Israel-Iran backlash

Associated Press Modified: April 18, 2012 at 10:00 am •  Published: April 18, 2012
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"We have to understand it's like a bomb ready to explode," he said.

Kantor said his group is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday to discuss its concerns, but the chief responsibility for the safety of European Jews lay with their own governments.

He spoke at Tel Aviv University after the presentation of an annual report on worldwide anti-Semitic attacks. The report was issued before Israel's yearly memorial day for the 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust of World War II. The commemoration was beginning at sundown Wednesday.

The report said the number of attacks declined in 2011, but they were generally more violent than in previous years.

The report did not examine incidents in 2012, but Kantor said the deadly attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse last month highlighted his fears. A rabbi and three children were shot dead, and an extremist Muslim gunman was believed responsible.

Kantor said his organization generally expects anti-Semitic attacks to rise as European economies went into crisis, or if other violence occurred between Israel and the Palestinians.

The European Jewish Congress is an umbrella organization that says it represents some 2.5 million Jews in Europe. The largest communities are in France and Great Britain.

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Daniella Cheslow in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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