(JTA) – A leader of Flemish Jewry criticized the European Union’s foreign policy chef, Catherine Ashton, for not mentioning Jews in a statement about the Holocaust.

The statement by Ashton on Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, was “a departure from [recognition of] the uniqueness of the mass murder by the Nazis of the Jewish people” and of Roma, the chairman of the Flemish Forum of Jewish Organizations, Raphael Werner, said in a statement issued Wednesday.

In past talks with the government of the Flemish region – one of three entities that make up the federal Belgian state – over commemoration projects, the forum has advocated a policy which refers to the uniqueness of the persecution of Jews and Roma, resisting government-backed initiatives that highlighted universalist values instead.

In her 122-word statement, Ashton wrote: “We honor every one of those brutally murdered in the darkest period of European history,” adding: “We also want to pay a special tribute to all those who acted with courage and sacrifice to protect their fellow citizens against persecution.” But the statement did not mention Jews or anti-Semitism.

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Source: JTA


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