BRUSSELS, May 3, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC welcomed Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel's announcement that the government will commit the resources necessary to protect the country's Jewish community.
The pledge comes ahead of the AJC strategy conference on combating European anti-Semitism that will take place in Brussels on May 5. AJC established an office, the Transatlantic Institute, in Europe's capital city in 2004.
The Belgian Jewish community, as well as Jewish communities across Europe, has witnessed a rising tide of threats and assaults against Jewish individuals and institutions. Anti-Semitic acts in Belgium increased by 60% in 2014. The most violent attack was the terrorist assault on the Jewish Museum that left four people dead last May.
Michel, in an interview with a local Jewish newspaper, said his government would provide sufficient funding for security measures at Jewish institutions, and adopt a zero-tolerance law enforcement policy on anti-Semitic incidents.
"We applaud this commitment by the Belgian leader," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "The threat is serious and, tragically, only getting more so. Standing up to those who would endanger the Jews of Europe not only serves to protect Jewish communities, but, no less, the democratic values at the heart of Europe today."
AJC will present an action plan, "A Defining Moment for Europe," at the conference it is holding in Brussels on Tuesday.
Jan Jambon, Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Security and the Interior, will deliver a keynote address at the opening session. Many EU officials, members of the European Parliament, ambassadors of EU member states, and leaders of several European Jewish communities will be participating in the gathering, together with AJC leaders.
"My government and I are fully aware of the gravity of the situation. We are determined to clamp down hard on this resurgence in anti-Semitism," Prime Minister Michel said in a speech to the Belgian Jewish community earlier this year.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee