נשיאת הפרלמנט האירופי: “מזעזע שבתי כנסת באירופה מאובטחים כמו מבצר”

November 10, 2022

נשיאת הפרלמנט האירופי, רוברטה מצולה קיבלה הערב (יום חמישי) אות כבוד מטעם איגוד הארגונים של יהודי אירופה (EJA) בשל פעילות “יוצאת דופן” למען הקהילות היהודיות ביבשת. מצולה, שדיברה במהלך הטקס, הודתה כי “אנחנו לא עושים מספיק כדי להילחם באנטישמיות”. היא קראה לשמר את אורחות החיים של היהודים באירופה – כמו למשל שחיטה כשרה – והוסיפה כי היא “מזועזעת לראות כיצד בתי כנסת באירופה מאובטחים כמו מבצר”.

בשבוע שבו מציינים 84 שנים לליל הבדולח, ביקרה מצולה גם במחנה ההשמדה באושוויץ. “זו חובתי ואחריותי להגן על יהודי אירופה מפני אנטישמיות”, אמרה שם. “עלינו להילחם בתעמולה האנטישמית שמשתוללת במדינות אירופה. על מנת לנצח במשימה, אנו זקוקים ליותר מרק אסטרטגיה – אלא לנקיטת יוזמה ופעולה. לא נשכח ולא ניתן לזה לקרות שוב”.

מלבד מצולה הגיעו לכנס המנהיגים השנתי למאבק באנטישמיות של ה-EJA גם נציב האיחוד האירופי אוליבר ורהלי, מזכירת הפרלמנט הצרפתי קרולין ז’נביר, נשיאת הפרלמנט הצ’כי מרקטה פקרובה, ראש ממשלת מונטנגרו דריטן אברזוביץ’, נשיא הקונגרס היהודי האירו- אסייתי אלכסנדר משקביץ, שגריר ישראל למוסדות האיחוד האירופי חיים רגב, שרים ממדינות אירופה ועשרות פרלמנטרים בכירים מרחבי היבשת.

נציב האיחוד האירופי אוליבר ורהלי, שאחראי על היחסים עם המדינות הגובלות באיחוד, הדגיש כי זו חובתו לבוא לאושוויץ. “אני באמת חושש שמה שקרה כאן יכול לקרות שוב”, אמר. “הדרך הטובה ביותר להילחם באנטישמיות היא לקדם חיים יהודיים ברחבי אירופה. לא מספיק להגיד לעולם לא שוב, אנחנו חייבים לעשות משהו. המסר שלי לאירופים: יש רק ניצחון אחד על המוות והוא החיים”.

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Bukovina Governor Made a Surprise Announcement: Historic Nationalized 'Jewish House' to be Returned to Community

A series of historic events commemorating ‘Eighty Years of Tragedy’ and in memory of the Holocaust victims of the Bukovina region, took place last week in the ‘Jewish Shtetel’ of Chernivtsi, Ukraine. Hundreds of dignitaries, public figures, guests, and members of the Jewish community attended the events. During the events, the regional governor made a surprise dramatic announcement: the ‘Jewish House’ nationalized during the Communist regime will be returned to the community and serve as a warm home for education and enrichment programs.
Under the auspices of the Jewish community of Chernivtsi, led by Chief Rabbi Menachem Mendel Glitzenstein and the head of the community, Mr. Leonid Milman, and with the assistance of local government bodies and other Jewish organizations, six memorial events were held on Tuesday and Wednesday (July 6-7). These events took place in memory of those murdered in the Holocaust and to commemorate the tragic historical events that began eighty years ago and led to their murder.
The climax, during which the region’s governor surprised the participants with the historic declaration, took place during a memorial meeting on the corner of Bryanska and Pizkulturna streets, where the Maccabi stadium was located and from where thousands of Chernivtsi Jews were deported in 1941 to their deaths in the ghettos and in the camps of Transnistria. A commemorative plaque was unveiled and inspiring speeches were delivered by the Israeli and German ambassadors to Ukraine and by the regional governor Mr. Sergei Osachuk. During his speech, Mr. Osachuk announced that the famous Jewish building called the “Jewish House” would be returned to the local community and will serve as an educational and cultural center benefiting community members and tourists from across the globe.
Following the governor’s announcement, during an official meeting with the Israeli ambassador to Ukraine that took place between the events, the ambassador Mr. Joel Lyon asked the Governor to authorize the return of the magnificent ‘Temple’ building to the community. In response, the governor promised “to do everything possible to return it soon.”
Additional events included a memorial service in the square from which thousands of Jews were taken – exactly 80 years ago – to the mass graves; reciting of the Yizkor prayer in the ‘Valley of Killing’ near the town of Baila, led by the city’s Rabbi and Israeli ambassador to Ukraine, Mr. Joel Lyon; a historical exhibition curated by the local Jewish Museum under the direction of Mr. Nikolai Kushnir; an Intellectual Forum for the History of the Bukovina Holocaust, with the participation of rabbis, politicians, experts and journalists, and a special film festival focused on the memory of the Bukovina Holocaust. Many of these events took place at the premises of the Jewish House.
“These events have an additional purpose,” explains the Chief Rabbi and Chabad emissary to Chernivtsi, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Glitzenstein. “Beyond commemorating the memory of the Holocaust victims and events, we must boldly look at the spread of anti-Semitism in the world and do everything we can to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again. We must celebrate our Judaism with pride and without fear, spread light, and make the darkness disappear. The might of the events that have just been commemorated in the city, with the participation of government representatives and guests from across the world, prove that this is possible and in our hands.”
Tens of thousands of Jews from Chernivtsi and the Bukovina region are scattered around the world. Many of them are eager for information about their roots and relatives who lived in the city. The Jewish community has set up a commemorative project that helps them in a variety of ways to commemorate their loved ones and discover information about them. You can contact the community at the following email: ‏‪jewishczernowitz@gmail.com

Swedish hospital suffers two legal defeats after antisemitic treatment of Jewish doctor

The Post obtained a six-page letter dated October 11 that outlines “pervasive antisemitism that appears to have become normalized and systematized at the Karolinska University Hospital.”
The letter noted that “We are particularly concerned with the appalling treatment of one of your Jewish physicians.” The Lawfare Project uses legal action to “vindicate the civil and human rights of Jewish people worldwide.”
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EU seeks to rally against anti-Semitism

Under Germany’s presidency, the member states are planning to take decisive action against antisemitism in Europe in light of increase anti-jewish conspiracy theories during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In December, the heads of state and government seek to adopt a declaration at the next EU summit to establish a uniform approach within the European community against all forms of hatred towards Jews.
“It is our constant, shared responsibility to protect and support Jewish life actively,” says the draft resolution, which is set under the preamble: “Anti-Semitism is an attack on European values.”
The initiative to develop binding guidelines was put on the agenda by Germany, which holds the EU Council Presidency until the end of the year. Two years ago, the member states committed themselves to national strategies against anti-Semitism the first time.
Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was observed how anti-Semitic prejudices were openly conducted.
Among other things, the declaration calls for “awareness of anti-Semitism in all political areas” and the tackling of “a cross-cutting issue in which various government agencies and policy areas at local, national and European level should be involved.”
Recently, a study by the Israeli foreign ministry indicated how anti-Semitism significantly increased ever since the pandemic had started, particularly in regard to conspiracy theories.
According to the analysis, most anti-Semitic statements connected with the world health crisis were posted online in the US, France, and Germany.
The EU’s plan states that “anti-Semitic conspiracy myths are often the first step that can lead to hatred, hate speech, incitement to violence, and hate crimes.”
The latter is why the heads of state and government and the European Commission seek to upgrade the European anti-Semitism commissioners’ work.
In drawing up the declaration, they worked closely with the Jewish organizations and responsible specialist politicians in Europe. There is positive progress at the European level; however, the effects are not yet reaching the Jewish Europeans. The latter is why the EU Commission also seeks to present a common strategy with further concrete measures against anti-Semitism next year.
Within the member states, the new EU agreement is intended to provide authorities such as public prosecutors and police forces and social institutions such as schools in the future as a practicable basis for assessing anti-Jewish tendencies.
Germany’s council presidency has been under the radar due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The upcoming December declaration, however, could mark a significant moment, nonetheless.
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COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
Here, the Rabbi offers his unique and refreshing take on the portion. For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl and then: scroll down.
On Freedom of Speech
 
Freedom of opinion and speech is a great asset and therefore everything must be said.
 
And if I am allowed to say everything, I also have to accept everything and not moan when I myself become the target of taunts. Agree!
 
But why then get upset about anti-Israel resolutions in the UN, the anti-Semitic floats in Aalst or the umpteenth anti-Semitic cartoon in the Volkskrant?
 
Everything can be said, right? A cartoon that insults the heart of Islam must be possible, right? And what’s wrong with black Pete? Do dark skinned people feel offended? Don’t complain, freedom of speech!
 
But that opinion should of course not be every opinion, because if parents want to teach their children that the family with a mom and dad is the cornerstone of society, it could be seen as discriminating towards people who have a different orientation…
 
A befriended non-Jewish, non-Christian, non-Muslim and unmarried journalist (thus of impeccable behaviour!) Has warned me not to write that I am in favour of freedom of expression, but that that freedom must have restrictions.
 
That nuancing “but” would bring a torrent of criticism on myself. “But” I don’t get that, because if freedom of speech is to be cherished, then I am allowed to express my opinion, even if that opinion differs?
 
And so with this my opinion, straight from ancient Judaism (Proverbs of the Fathers 2: 1): “What is the right way that man must choose? Any way that gives honour to him who follows him and by which he is honoured by men. ”
 
In other words: Black Pete really had nothing to do with discrimination for me. But if normal thinking people with a black skin colour now experience this as discriminating, then we have to stop.
 
Fanaticism is no good, neither from the right nor from the left, not from religion, but also not from secularization. Because secularization can also be fanatic, compulsive and intolerant.
 
But just before writing this, I got a call from a secular mayor friend: “Binyomin, if you ever need to, you can count on me.” This again shows: friendship and solidarity, between secular and religious, standing up for each other, that is not only possible but eminently desirable.
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