By ISRAEL HAYOM—
Israeli officials harshly condemned the deadly shooting attack in Brussels on Saturday, linking the incident to the anti-Jewish climate prevalent in many countries.
Addressing his cabinet on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “There are certain figures in Europe who are quick to condemn the construction of every apartment in Jerusalem, but when it comes to condemning the murder of Jews within Europe itself, they are not so quick, or the condemnations they make are weak.”
On Saturday, immediately following the attack, Netanyahu issued a statement calling it “the result of endless incitement against the Jews and their state.”
Later, the prime minister added that “slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region are systematically ignored. Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth, continue a relentless fight against terrorism and build up our strength.”
In a telephone conversation with Belgian Jewish community leader Maurice Sosnowski, President Shimon Peres offered his condolences and called on European governments to combat anti-Semitism.
“I urge all the leaders of Europe — do not take anti-Semitic incidents lightly,” Peres said. “Each incident calls for a powerful response. European leaders must wage war against anti-Semitism, as it rears its head in many European countries.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also condemned the deadly attack, saying it was “the result on the ground of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incitement that is expressed, among other things, through calls to boycott Israel and act against it in international forums.
“Throughout history anti-Semitism has evolved, but the basis has always been the same basis: hatred of Jews, merely because they are Jews.”
Lieberman also said, “Activities recognized as ‘pro-Palestinian’ are purely anti-Semitic, and not part of a legitimate debate pertaining to a conflict over territory.”
French President Francois Hollande condemned the “horrifying killings, with the greatest force.” In a statement, he expressed France’s solidarity with Belgium and offered condolences to the families of the victims.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned the “dreadful attack” and called for the guilty to be found.
“There must be no impunity for terrorism,” she said.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso condemned the shooting as a “terrible act … directed at a religious symbol in the heart of the European capital. This was an attack at European values which we cannot tolerate.”