Albanian leader calls antisemitism ‘a threat’

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Albanian leader calls antisemitism ‘a threat’

Edi Rama was speaking during a forum against antisemitism, the first such ever staged in the Balkans, which was organised in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel

Praying in an Albanian synagogue
Praying in an Albanian synagogue

Albania’s prime minister has warned antisemitism is “a threat to our civilisation”, just days after the Muslim state’s parliament voted to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of

Edi Rama was speaking during a forum against antisemitism, the first such ever staged in the Balkans, which was organised in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel and held online owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, Albania’s parliament unanimously approved the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, as Rama said: “We need to continue and fight any form of antisemitism, which is a threat to our own civilisation.”

Top diplomats, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,  took part in the forum, as participants noted that Albania was the only country during the Second World War in which no Jews were killed or handed over to the Nazis. The Jewish population actually increased from 600 to 2,000 by the war’s end.

Albanians are proud to have protected Jewish residents and helped other Jews who fled from Germany, Austria and other countries by either smuggling them abroad or hiding them, despite Nazi German forces occupying the country from 1943 to 1944.

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