Moshe Kantor leaves European and World Jewish Congress roles following UK sanctions

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Moshe Kantor leaves European and World Jewish Congress roles following UK sanctions

The EJC president resigned two days after the organisation said it was 'shocked and appalled' by Britain's decision to sanction him

Michael Daventry is Jewish News’s foreign and broadcast editor

Dr Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, speaking at the Israel Policy conference (Marc Morris Photography)
Dr Moshe Kantor pictured at a conference in Israel in 2016 (Marc Morris Photography)

Moshe Kantor has resigned from the European Jewish Congress, the representative body for Jewish groups across the continent, after he was sanctioned by the British government.

The organisation confirmed he was stepping back “with immediate effect” after being its president for nearly 15 years,

It comes only days after the EJC denounced the sanctions against Kantor, which were announced on Wednesday, as misguided.

Britain says he was sanctioned for being the largest shareholder of Acron, a fertiliser company that has “vital strategic significance for the Russian government”.

Other Jewish organisations including the World Jewish Congress and Britain’s JLC have sought to disassociate themselves from the Russian billionaire since the sanctions were announced.

Until this week Kantor was widely known in the Jewish community for his philanthropic work and for being deputy chairman of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

The EJC said in a statement: “Dr Kantor will be stepping back with immediate effect as President of the organisation in order to ensure that the EJC continues its important mission without distraction.

“The European Jewish Congress wishes to express its sincere and deep appreciation for the unparallel contribution of Dr Moshe Kantor over so many years to the flourishing of Jewish life in Europe.

“The Executive Committee of the EJC will shortly convene in order to discuss future steps.”

Britain’s Jewish Leadership Council, on which Kantor served as an honorary vice-chair, said his term would be ending in May and would not be renewed.

Kantor’s biography page has also been removed from the website of the World Jewish Congress, where Kantor was chairman of the policy council.

The WJC said in a statement: “No one whose name is included on any list of sanctioned individuals by the European Union, the United Kingdom, or the United States in relation to the conflict in Ukraine can hold any position or play any role in the World Jewish Congress.

“Further, we take note of the resignation of Moshe Kantor as President of the European Jewish Congress.”

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