נשיאת הפרלמנט האירופי באושוויץ: ״אנחנו רואים שוב ניסיון להשמיד עם באירופה״

israelhayom
November 10, 2022
israelhayom

נשיאת הפרלמנט האירופי, רוברטה מטסולה, בביקורת חריפה נגד רוסיה באשר למלחמה אותה היא מבצעת באוקראינה. מטסולה, פוליטיקאית ממלטה, השתתפה אתמול (שני) באירוע אזכרה במחנה ההשמדה אושוויץ – בירקנאו שנערך במסגרת כנס המנהיגים האירופאים השנתי למאבק באנטישמיות שמקיים איגוד הארגונים היהודים באירופה (EJA). הכנס נערך בסמיכות ליום השנה ה-84 לפוגרום ליל הבדולח, שהיווה את המתקפה האלימה רחבת ההיקף הראשונה של המשטר הנאצי נגד האוכלוסיה היהודית ברחבי הרייך הגרמני.

בכנס השתתפו גם ראש ממשלת מונטנגרו, הנציב האירופי לענייני הרחבת האיחוד, ראשי הפרלמנט מצרפת ומצ׳כיה ונציגים נוספים מכ-20 מדינות.

מטסולה התייחסה לשימוש שעושה רוסיה במונח ״דה-נאציפיקציה״ כהצדקה למלחמה נגד אוקראינה באומרה: ״זה שימוש ציני. אנחנו רואים שוב באירופה ניסיון להשמיד עם. לכן, לנוכחות שלנו כאן יש משמעות גדולה יותר כדי לחזור ולהדגיש שלאירופה אסור לחוות שוב את מה שקרה כאן ואנחנו צריכים להיאבק בכל סוגי התעמולה והנרטיבים שצומחים באדמתנו״.

בתשובה לשאלת ״ישראל היום״ על היוזמות הממסדיות ברחבי האיחוד האירופי לאסור מסורות יהודיות כשחיטה כשרה ומילה, אמרה מטסולה: ״אנחנו רואים דוגמאות שונות לאנטישמיות במדינות-חברות שונות של האיחוד האירופי. אנחנו רואים גם סובלנות גדלה לכך. זו לא רק אחריותנו הפוליטית אלא גם משפטית לפעול באמצעות המוסדות שלנו להגן על כל אזרח שחי באיחוד״.

רוברטה מטסולה בכניסה למחנה ההשמדה,

הנציב להרחבת האיחוד האירופי, אוליבר ווארהליי, הבהיר מצדו שהאיחוד האירופי לא יכול להסתפק רק בגיבוש אסטרטגיות למאבק באנטישמיות, אלא לעבור למעשים. ״פעולה משמעה לא רק מאבק באנטישמיות אלא החזרת החיים היהודיים לאירופה״, הדגיש ווארהליי, ״זה מה שחסר לנו. באופן מצער אנטישמיות לא רק נוכחת באירופה אלא גם צומחת. אנחנו רואים סוגים אלימים שלה. אחריותנו בכל המדינות האירופיות ובכל דרג שלטון היא לקום, להתנגד לכך ולהילחם בכך. הנציבות הבהירה שלא ייתכן שיהיה ספק כלשהו לגבי הצורך במאבק באנטישמיות או בעצידה לצד הקהילה היהודית. הקהילה היהודית היא העוצמה שלנו. על כולנו לתמוך בה״.

״אנחנו עדים לעליה באנטישמיות בכל רחבי אירופה״, הרב מנחם מרגולין, צילום: יוסי זליגר

הרב מנחם מרגולין, יו״ר איגוד הארגונים היהודיים באירופה, סיפר למשתתפי הכנס ששני ילדיו בני העשרה חוו רק לפני שבוע אנטישמיות, לא הרחק ממטה האיחוד האירופי בבריסל, כשנוסעת באוטובוס קיללה אותם ״יהודים מלוכלכים״. ״אנחנו עדים לעלייה באנטישמיות בכל רחבי אירופה״, התריע מרגולין, “ליהודים יש הרבה מה לתרום לחברה האירופית, ואני מקווה שכולם ישלבו כוחות כדי להבטיח שליהדות באירופה יהיה עתיד טוב יותר. עתיד טוב יותר ליהודים, יהיה עתיד טוב יותר לאירופה״.

Additional Articles

Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs spoke at a solemn and important event, marking the ascendancy of the late Cardinal and Archbishop of Utrecht Johannes de Jong

On 19th September in Utrecht, Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, Senior EJA Board Member and Chairman of the EJA Committee for combating antisemitism, spoke at a solemn and important event, marking the ascendancy of the late Cardinal and Archbishop of Utrecht Johannes de Jong as a Righteous amongst the Nations by Yad Vashem for resisting the Nazis and saving hundreds of Jewish families and children.

Present at the event were all Dutch Bishops, the Israeli Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, two representatives of the King.

In his speech to those assembled, Chief Rabbi Jacobs recalled one particularly brave and visible moment of Cardinal de Jong’s resistance, linking it to a recent Torah Portion urging the Israelites, before entering the Land of Israel to “walk in his (G-d’s) ways”

In his powerful remarks Chief Rabbi Jacobs said:

“Last Shabbat we read in all synagogues in the world the Parshah כי תבוא in which we read, among other things, in chapter 28 sentence 9: והלכת בדרכיו -and you shall walk in His Ways.

The great philosopher, lawyer and physician Maimonides counts these words as one of the 613 do’s and don’ts known to Judaism and he explains that man should try as much as possible to resemble Gd. As the Midrash, the narrative literature, explains: “As the Lord is called gracious, so also shalt thou be merciful. As the Eternal is called merciful, so also shalt thou be merciful. And as the Eternal is called loving, so also shalt thou be loving.”

It is known that Maimonides never counts general commandments, such as “Thou shalt keep My commandments” or “Thou shalt sanctify thyself” in the number of the 613 commandments and prohibitions that the Torah prescribes. Only specific commandments count. And so the question arises, why is “and ye shall walk in His ways” an exception made here and an apparently general and overarching commission elevated to a specific individual commandment?

It is quite conceivable that a man lives exactly and meticulously as He, the Eternal, desires of him. He never commits a violation. And yet he does not, as it were, rise higher on the spiritual ladder. He remains on the spiritual plane where he stood. Teach us the Torah here: והלכת בדרכיו – there must be movement. How does a person get his spiritual level moving? By not merely fulfilling His commandments, but by being constantly aware that His ways must be walked. Every commandment has its specific assignment, its own way of carrying out, but growing, rising higher and higher, being in motion is an assignment in itself.

I can imagine that in the 1940s-1945s situation, many dutifully obeyed G-d’s laws, kept all commandments, and committed no transgression. But was there any movement? Were they willing to move the moment movement was required? “Thou shalt walk in His ways.” It is not enough to keep His commandments. His ways must be walked, there must be progress, spiritual ascent, movement.

During the horrible war period, according to the historian Prof. Presser, five percent of the Dutch were on the move, but it was a movement in the wrong direction because that five percent of our Dutch population was collaborating with the enemy, the Nazis. Ninety percent sat motionless and so let it happen. And only five percent moved in the right direction, walking in G-d’s Ways, at the risk of their own lives. The bishops, led by Archbishop de Jong, were part of that five percent, because on Sunday, August 3, 1941, it was pronounced from all the pulpits that membership of National Socialist umbrella organizations was not only prohibited, but would also entail exclusion from the sacraments.

The following happened prior to that Sunday:

In the night from Saturday to Sunday, August 3, 1940, the telephone rang in the Archbishop’s Palace. The Gestapo wanted to speak to the Archbishop immediately. Archbishop de Jong has Dr. Geerdinck announce that the men can come in half an hour. De Jong dresses in his official attire and the chandeliers are burning in the large room for guests.

When the bell rings at exactly four o’clock, Dr. Geerdinck opens, asks Himmler’s men to remove their coats and climbs the state staircase in front of them. Arriving at the door, he asks their names, knocks and leads the men inside. The Archbishop stands behind the table in his official garb and is silent. dr. Geerdinck announces: “Excellence. Obersturmführer Matzker and his adjutant”. De Jong bends down and remains silent. Geerdinck says: “setzen Sie sich”. Everyone sits down and everyone is silent.

Finally, the Obersturmführer takes out a narrow roll of paper and begins to read that the proclamation to ban membership of National Socialist umbrella organizations must not take place tomorrow morning. The Archbishop indicates that he has understood the message, whereupon his visitor says: “It is now four o’clock. All presbyteries can be reached by telephone. The proclamation in the church can be cancelled without difficulty.” The Archbishop mumbles that it is clear to him.

Then there is silence again, for a long time. Finally, Geerdinck says, “Gentlemen, have you fulfilled your assignment with this?”. They mumble yes, whereupon Geerdinck stands up and the visitors follow his example. A farewell is said, silently and without greeting.

The next Sunday morning, of course, the announcement went through everywhere. The words non possumus non loqui sound – “We cannot be silent”.

De Jong refused to simply continue to serve the Eternal as a faithful Catholic and to remain silent. He knew that especially as a church leader, movement, action was expected of him.

I regret that he could not be awarded the Yad Vashem award during his lifetime, but I am grateful that, thanks in part to the efforts of my good friend Dr. Hans Themans, we are finally gathered here today to show the world who and what de Jong used to be.

His Eminence Dr. Johannes Cardinal de Jong no longer needs the award, because he is rewarded daily for his willingness to risk his own life and to keep moving in the dark 1940s-45s, when 90% of our Dutch society motionless saw it and let it happen.

But this special meeting is of great importance to us, because alertness was, is and remains required. What happened then can happen again today and tomorrow. The war ended in our country on May 5, 1945, but anti-Semitism, today under the pseudonym anti-Zionism, has remained.”

EJA Open Letter Calling on Polish Government to Scrap Kosher Ban Plans

EJA INITIATED OPEN LETTER FROM DOZENS OF PARLIAMENTARIANS ACROSS EUROPE AND JEWISH LEADERS CALLING ON POLISH GOVERNMENT TO SCRAP KOSHER MEAT BAN PLANS
Dozens of parliamentarians from across Europe and Israel, including Senators, MPs, MKs, MEPs and the UK House of Lords, and Jewish community leaders from all over Europe have joined forces in a letter calling on the Polish Government to scrap part of an animal welfare Bill to be voted on in the Polish Senate on Tuesday 13 October.
The Bill, if passed as currently written, would see a ban on the export of Kosher meat from Poland, a move that would severely impact Jewish communities across the continent who, either by size or limited resources, rely heavily on Poland as a supplier of kosher meat.
The Bill – to the clear concern of the many parliamentarians and Jewish leader signatories – also sets a dangerous precedent: it puts, animal welfare rights clearly ahead of the fundamental European right of freedom of religion.
The signatories also raised the fact that there is no conclusive scientific evidence to support claims that kosher slaughter is any more cruel than the majority of slaughter taking place day-in, day out in Europe.
In their letter to the Polish President H.E. Mr. Andrzej Sebastian Duda , H.E. Madam Elżbieta Barbara Witek, Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland and H.E. Mr. Tomasz Paweł Grodzki, Marshal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland, the signatories wrote:
“By prohibiting an export of products that represents a central tenet of Jewish faith and practice for many, you are sending a strong message that laws that effectively hinder Jewish life in Europe are acceptable.
“it is for these reasons – and on behalf of the many thousands of Jews that we as Community Leaders and Parliamentarians represent – that we urge the Polish government, its Parliament and its Senators to stop this aspect of the Bill.”
Our Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin speaking ahead of the vote said,
“What appears to be a national polish political issue is nothing of the sort. The ramifications of this Bill are potentially devastating and profound to Jews eveywhere in Europe, and also to the many who value the liberty to practice freedom of religion.
“The Bill, if passed, will be seen as a declaration that it is open season to anyone who objects to aspects of Jewish law, faith and practice. It must be stopped.
“We are extremely humbled and touched that so many dsitinguished politicians, from the French Senate to the Greek Parliament and everwyhere in between, and so many Jewish community leaders agree and are backing the call for this aspect of the law to be scrapped.”
You can find a copy of the open letters and view its updated list of signatories below

124 NGOs worldwide urge Facebook to adopt IHRA definition o antisemitism, fight hate speechm

The joint NGOs’ call discloses that in recent remarks given by a senior Facebook representative,  the company “does not have a policy aimed at combatting online antisemitism”, sparking the coalition to urge Facebook to “join the ranks of the historians, advocates, activists, lawmakers, and leaders who compiled the IHRA working definition” and “take responsibility and move toward removing the scourge of antisemitism from today’s most important online public square.”
In an unprecedented joint letter, a coalition of 124 non-profit organizations from around the world have urged Facebook to adopt the widely recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism to fight hate speech on the social media platform.
The letter, which was sent to Facebook’s board and senior management on Friday, follows mounting public pressure urging Facebook to effectively act against hate speech and dangerous disinformation.
The joint NGOs’ call discloses that in recent remarks given by a senior Facebook representative,  the company “does not have a policy aimed at combating online antisemitism”, sparking the coalition to urge Facebook to “join the ranks of the historians, advocates, activists, lawmakers, and leaders who compiled the IHRA working definition” and “take responsibility and move toward removing the scourge of antisemitism from today’s most important online public square.”
In July, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, stated that “Facebook has to get better at finding and removing hateful content.” The joint call by the global coalition of NGOs emphasizes  that antisemitism and effective policies to address it, must be part of Facebook’s decision-making process to tackle hate speech.
Parallel to a surge in violent and murderous attacks against Jewish communities in recent years, online antisemitism has grown exponentially, with social media platforms serving as primary bullying arenas for the world’s oldest hatred. The coalition letter cites studies that “Jews overwhelmingly report that online antisemitism is the most acute form of Jew-hatred they experience.”
So far, nearly 40 countries have already endorsed or adopted the IHRA working definition in some official capacity, either through their membership in the IHRA or independently.
In the US, the definition of antisemitism is clear: The IHRA working definition has been adopted by the State Department, and a recent Presidential Executive Order on Combatting Anti-Semitism instructs the Department of Education to consider the IHRA definition when evaluating Title VI Civil Rights Act complaints of discrimination.
The signatories decision to focus on Facebook stemmed from the social media giant’s recent announcement that it would be revising its policies on hate speech and disinformation. The coalition’s decision was also based on a recognition that Facebook, as the leading social media platform, can set the standard for the social media industry in the fight against online hate. If, and when, Facebook adopts an effective and comprehensive policy to combat online hate speech and antisemitism, other social media platforms such as Twitter and TikTok are likely to follow suit.
Irwin Cotler, the Chair of Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights in Canada, one of the signatories to the letter, stated :”Antisemitism is the oldest, most enduring, most toxic, and most lethal of hatreds – the canary in the minefield of global evil. The IHRA definition is the strongest and most definitive normative framework we have for monitoring and combating antisemitism on a governmental, parliamentary, law-enforcement, and civil society level. Its adoption is as timely as it is necessary.”
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association, a signatory to the letter said: ”With more people than China and over a third of the entire global population with accounts, Facebook is a world of its own. Its power and reach are immense. With such great power should come great responsibility. That social media platforms have become hotbeds of hate and antisemitism is undeniable. So too is a lack of responsible action from the company to tackle it. Signing up to the IHRA definition would be an important step and a visible commitment from Facebook that there is no place, in the virtual, just as the real world, for the virus of antisemitism to thrive unchecked and unfettered.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean and Director Global Social Action Agenda of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the signatories to the letter, noted that ”during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and social dislocation following George Floyd’s murder, extremists, including antisemites, leverage the unmatched marketing power of social media to mainstream hate, conspiracy theories and lone wolf terrorism.” ”Facebook must take the lead in the struggle to degrade the mainstreaming of antisemitism via social media. The IHRA definition of antisemitism provides Facebook with a straightforward definition of history’s oldest hate.”
Prof. Dina Porat, who is one of the authors of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism stressed that the definition has become ”a yard stick, a declaration of values.”
”Those who join its adoption are committed to the countering of antisemitism, and of other parallel evils. It is high time that the major social networks, Facebook first and foremost, use the IHRA definition as a criteria to identify antisemitic expressions, and uproot them immediately, thus exercising their responsibility to help create a world better than the one we are living in.”
The article was published on EJP

Meeting with Montenegro Ambassador to the EU, H.E Mr. Bojan Sarkic

Yesterday we at the EJA said au revoir to a dear friend and outstanding ambassador, His Excellency Mr Bojan Sarkic who will shortly be departing his post as Montenegro Ambassador to the EU.
Excellency Sarkic has been an instrumental figure in helping the Jewish community in Montenegro flourish, and has been an invaluable source of counsel, wisdom and help. His efforts culminated in the awarding of the EJA’s prestigious King David Award to President Dukanovic for making Montenegro such a welcoming home for Jews.
Excellency Sarkic has done much to bring the small country to the international stage, and brought a profound respect for the Balkan country through his steady hand, his ability to reach out across any political divide, and his open mind to dialogue.
We will miss him in Brussels but are certain that his legacy here, and the high regard in which His Excellency is held will propel him forwards to meet new challenges, opportunities and heights.
From all of us at the EJA. Thank you Mr Ambassador!
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