About EJC

Over 30 years ago, European Jewish communities decided to merge their activities and unite their efforts. The European Jewish Congress (EJC) was officially established as a new and independent structure in 1986. Previously, European Jewish issues were dealt with by the European branch of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), first based in London, before moving to Paris in 1980.

The EJC is today the regional affiliate of the WJC.As the sole political organizational representative of European Jewry, the EJC protects the interests of its affiliated communities, working daily with European Union institutions and officials, the Council of Europe (where the EJC has participatory status) and national governments and parliaments.

The EJC was created to give a unified voice to Jewish communities around Europe, representing their common interests and concerns, but at the same time allowing smaller Jewish communities a wider platform to express their specific needs. It acts as an intimate forum between communities, where ideas can be exchanged easily, and internal elections and referenda decide future leadership, projects and goals.Since its establishment, the EJC has developed and expanded in order to meet the constantly changing and enlarging European Union (EU).

With the collapse of the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, and finally the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the EJC enlarged the scope of its representation and activities to encompass those Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union. Today, the wide political and geographical representation of the EJC matches that of the Council of Europe.

Based in Brussels, the EJC federates and co-ordinates 42 national Jewish communities in Europe, encompassing approximately 2.5 million Jews.The EJC addresses the many challenges contemporarily faced by European Jewry.

The EJC’s agenda has evolved since its establishment to address the enormous diversity of Jewish communities within Europe. However, in spite of their cultural differences and dissimilar historic backgrounds, EJC’s members all share common needs and interests, which in turn become the EJC’s primary objectives:

    • To foster the unity of the Jewish people, to strive for the fulfillment of its aspirations and ensure the continuity and development of its religious, spiritual, cultural and social heritage;
    • To combat the resurgence of anti-Semitism and xenophobia through education, justice and security, in cooperation with national governments and European institutions;
    • To monitor legislative initiatives that can threaten Jewish life and traditions on European and national levels and to take immediate actions to protect Jewish interests;
    • To promote a balanced European policy towards Israel, to defend its image, which is continuously vilified by dangerous propaganda, and to assist in the construction of a healthy dialogue between Europeans and Israelis;
    • To enhance inter-religious dialogue and understanding;
    • To ensure the memory and education of the Shoah and to fight against those who distort or deny its memory by organizing commemoration events, visits to the concentration and death camps, and promoting educational programmes;
    • To contribute to a democratic European society based on peace, understanding and tolerance;
    • To protect Jewish lives and to defend the individual rights of Jews to practice Judaism and its traditions freely and to monitor and combat all hostile legislative initiatives in this respect;
    • To assist in the revitalization of the once rich Jewish life in parts of Europe and to help small communities to develop and flourish;
    • To create opportunities for community leaders to establish ties with one another and share their experiences and ideas;

EJC Bodies

The General Assembly is the supreme body of the EJC. It defines the general policy, receives reports from the President and the Secretary General, sets of multi annual goals and plans of action, receives and approves annual accounts and budget. It holds meetings every two years.The delegates from member communities are entitled to participate and to vote on EJC General Assembly. The General Assembly elects the President, the Chairman of the Council and the members of the Executive for a term of four years.

The Executive Committee is the ongoing decision making body of EJC and is composed of a maximum of sixteen members. The Executive is formed by the President, the Chairman of the Council, the representatives of the five largest communities, and a maximum of nine representatives of other communities to be elected by the General Assembly. The Executive appoints among its members 4 to 7 Vice-Presidents and a Treasurer. The Executive meets a minimum of 4 times each year.

The Council defines the general policy of EJC, receives reports from the President and the Secretary General, sets of multi annual goals and plans of action, receives and approves annual accounts and budget between the General Assembly meetings. Each member community shall be represented in the Council by one of its delegates. The Council meets once a year.

The Secretary General is responsible for the daily functioning and management of the organization; he initiates, implements, coordinates and supervises projects and actions as instructed by the President and/or as adopted by the General Assembly, the Council and the Executive. The Secretary General attends all the meetings of all the bodies and committees of the EJC in an advisory capacity.

EJC Presidents

    • 1986-1988: Théo Klein
    • 1988-1991: Lionel Kopelowicz
    • 1991-1995: Jean Kahn
    • 1996-1998: Eldred Tabachnik
    • 1998-1999: Ignatz Bubis
    • 2000-2001: Henri Hajdenberg
    • 2001-2003: Michel Friedman
    • 2003-2005: Cobi Benatoff
    • 2005 -2007: Pierre Besnainou
  • 2007 – present: Moshe Kantor

SELECTED MOMENTS THROUGH EJC HISTORY

The launching of the European Jewish Congress

9 September 1986
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EJC organises first educational field trips to Auschwitz-Birkenau

2 May 1989
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An EJC initiative: the establishment of the European Union Monitoring Center

1 September 1997
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EJC starts to organise Annual Inter-faith Symposiums at the EU level

1 May 2002
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EJC takes Members of Parliament to visit Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority

1 August 2003
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At EJC’s request EUMC publishes ‘Manifestations of antisemitism in EU 2002-2003 Report’

23 November 2004
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EJC commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

27 January 2005
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An EJC initiative: the European Parliament Resolution on Remembrance of the Holocaust, antisemitism and racism

19 January 2005
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EJC campaigns to declare Iranian President persona non-grata in EU

1 February 2006
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EJC meets with the President of the European Parliament

3 May 2006
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EJC’s campaign ‘Solidarity Mission’ to support Israeli people during wartime

5 July 2006
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EJC meets with Polish leaders

18 December 2008
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EJC commemorates the Holocaust and meets with Spanish leaders

25 January 2007
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EJC General Assembly elects Moshe Kantor for President

26 June 2007
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EJC organises ‘Tents against Antisemitism’ Campaign

20 September 2007
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EJC meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

2 October 2007
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EJC commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the Kristallnacht

9 November 2008
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EJC collaborates with the Council of Europe on ‘Speak Out Against Discrimination’ Campaign

13 February 2009
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EJC campaigns for the suspension of Jean-Marie Le Pen

2 April 2009
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EJC organises the Third International ‘Let my People Live!’ Forum

27 January 2010
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EJC Executive Committee meets in Paris

12 December 2010
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EJC campaigns against the legislation to ban Shechita in Holland

11 July 2011
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EJC organises the International Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony under the patronage of the European Parliament President

24 January 2012
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EJC meets with French Presidential candidate Francois Hollande

11 April 2012
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EJC General Assembly reelects Moshe Kantor as its President

7 November 2012
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EJC organises the Belgian Solidarity rally for Israel

22 November 2012
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EJC meets with senior Romanian leaders

Bucharest, 9 July 2013
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EJC organises a Symposium on antisemitism

Brussels, 26 November 2013
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EJC Executive meets with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samara

Athens, 9 December 2013
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EJC Executive meets with Austrian President Heinz Fischer

Vienna, 28 February 2014
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EJC meets with Israeli leaders: Benjamin Netanyahu, Yair Lapid and Gen. Lt. Benny Gantz

Jerusalem, 24 April 2014
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EJC meets with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo

Brussels, 24 May 2014
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EJC joins the ‘Bring back our boys and girls!’ campaign

Brussels, 25 June 2014
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EJC meets with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini

Brussels, 14 January 2015
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EJC organizes the Fourth International 'Let my People Live!' Forum

Prague & Theresienstadt, 26-27 January 2015
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EJC meets with First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans

Brussels, 26 February 2015
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The First Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights in the European Union

Brussels, 2 October 2015
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EJC Executive meets with the Speaker of the House of Commons Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP

London. 24 November 2015
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EJC meets with the Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin

Moscow, 19 January 2016
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EJC celebrates its 30th Anniversary and re-elects Moshe Kantor as its President

Brussels, 26 January 2016
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EJC documentary “Europe in crisis – A shattered haven” screened in the European Parliament

Brussels, 19 April 2016
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EJC meets with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven 

Stockholm, 3 May 2016
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SACC by EJC opens its office in Vienna

Vienna, 18 - 19 September 2016
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EJC Annual Meeting of Directors and the European Parliament Conference “The future of Jewish Communities in Europe”

Brussels, 27 September 2016
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EJC organizes the 2nd European Jewish Communities Summit “Building Resilient Communities”

Barcelona, 13 - 14 November 2016
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EJC holds its annual General Assembly

Brussels, 24 January 2017
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EJC meets with Pope Francis on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Vatican, 27 January 2017
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EJC holds its Executive meeting in New York

New York, 23 April 2017
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EJC brings together over 1000 Jewish students to Auschwitz-Birkenau

Auschwitz, 9 May 2017
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EJC celebrates the Israeli innovation in the European Parliament

Brussels, 7 June 2017
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EJC holds its Executive Meeting in London

London, 10 September 2017
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EJC organises its Annual Meeting of Directors

Brussels, 10 November 2017
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EJC welcomes Swedish Prime Minister at its headquarters

Brussels, 14 December 2017
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EJC and European Commission host screening of the film NANA

Brussels, 24 January 2018
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EJC commemorates the Holocaust in the European Parliament

Brussels, 24 January 2018
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