The document – kept under wraps by the EU – was published on various websites on Tuesday and accuses the 15-nation bloc of not facing up to anti-Jewish sentiment among Muslims in Europe.
Vice President of the WJC, Elan Steinberg, told journalists he believes “the failure of the EU to release it until now was an act of intellectual dishonesty and cowardice”.
But Steinberg did not say how the WJC obtained the study that was commissioned by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).
However, a statement on the EUMC Web site said the study, drawn up Berlin’s Technical University, was withheld because it was substandard and would be reworked before being issued early next year.
Chairman of the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjareh, told Aljazeera.net on Wednesday that publishing an unfinished report early was a desperate response to stinging criticism made of Israel in early November.
The EU executive published a poll showing 59% of Europeans questioned saw Israel as the main threat to world peace – a finding Israel took as proof of anti-Semitism in Europe.
“Once again, anyone remotely critical of Israel and Zionism is automatically branded anti-Semitic. But an interesting statistic – Zionists have attacked more Jews in Britain for publicly criticising Tel Aviv than any other group of people.”
Shadjareh said two synagogue attacks, three attacks on private Jewish homes, numerous assaults and hundreds of threatening phone calls have been made against members of Neturei Karta – orthodox Jews who do not accept Israel’s right to exist.
“These attacks are made by Zionists – yet they are not condemned as anti-Semitism. But Muslims who condemn Israel’s policies are condemned as anti-Semitic – even though many Muslims are semitic.”
“Muslims who condemn Israel’s policies are condemned as anti-Semitic – even though many Muslims are semitic”
The Centre has denied accusations in the European press that it had shelved the report because it singled out Muslim immigrants and pro-Palestinian groups as the main culprits.
The report observed that anti-Jewish remarks heard at pro- Palestinian and anti-globalisation rallies “often … generated a combination of anti-Zionist and anti-American views that formed an important element in the emergence of an anti-Semitic mood in Europe.”
It added Europe’s Jews were “closely associated with the state of Israel and its politics. It can be said that the native Jews have been made ‘hostages’ of Israeli politics.”
The EUMC’s management board decided in February to withhold the report and, at a later meeting in June, to replace it with a more in-depth study into anti-Jewishness in Europe, due out early in 2004.
The United States was just behind Israel in the global danger league, in joint second place with North Korea and Iran, according to the Eurobarometer poll requested by the European Commission.
The Israeli embassy in Brussels voiced outrage at the findings, but the EU’s Italian presidency tried to play down the results, insisting they did not reflect the official EU position.
Some European governments even apologised for the results.
The EU survey was presented in the form of a list of 15 countries, from which 7515 respondents were asked to say which ones they thought posed a threat to world peace.
The European Commission said Israel’s anger was “legitimate” but refused to get drawn into whether the poll findings were valid.
Commission spokesman Gerassimos Thomas, repeatedly asked why the Palestinian territories were not included in the poll, replied: “It is not a country.”