300 French personalities sign manifesto against ‘new anti-Semitism’

April 23, 2018

More than 300 French dignitaries and stars have signed a manifesto denouncing a “new anti-Semitism” marked by “Islamist radicalisation” after a string of killings of Jews, to be published in Le Figaro newspaper Sunday.

The country’s half-a-million-plus Jewish community is the largest in Europe but has been hit by a wave of emigration to Israel in the past two decades, partly due to the emergence of virulent anti-Semitism in predominantly immigrant neighbourhoods.
“We demand that the fight against this democratic failure that is anti-Semitism becomes a national cause before it’s too late. Before France is no longer France,” reads the manifesto co-signed by politicians from the left and right including ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy and celebrities like actor Gerard Depardieu.
The signatories condemned what they called a “quiet ethnic purging” driven by rising Islamist radicalism particularly in working-class neighbourhoods.
They also accused the media of remaining silent on the matter.
“In our recent history, 11 Jews have been assassinated — and some tortured — by radical Islamists because they were Jewish,” the declaration said.
The murders referenced reach as far back as 2006 and include the 2012 deadly shooting of three schoolchildren and a teacher at a Jewish school by Islamist gunman Mohammed Merah in the southwestern city of Toulouse.
Three years later, an associate of the two brothers who massacred a group of cartoonists at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killed four people in a hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket in Paris.
In April 2017, an Orthodox Jewish woman in her sixties was thrown out of the window of her Paris flat by a neighbour shouting “Allahu Akhbar” (God is greatest).
The latest attack to rock France took place last month when two perpetrators stabbed an 85-year-old Jewish woman 11 times before setting her body on fire, in a crime treated as anti-Semitic.
Her brutal death sent shockwaves through France and prompted 30,000 people to join a march in her memory.
Condemning the “dreadful” killing, President Emmanuel Macron had reiterated his determination to fighting anti-Semitism.
“French Jews are 25 times more at risk of being attacked than their fellow Muslim citizens,” according to the manifesto.
It added that some 50,000 Jews had been “forced to move because they were no longer in safety in certain cities and because their children could no longer go to school”.
The article was published in The Local

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The Hamas Massacre was the only topic on lips at the first major European Jewish Conference since the attacks.

The European Jewish Association, representing hundreds of Jewish communities across the continent invited Political figures and Jewish Leaders from Europe to Zagreb and the Jasenovac death camp in Croatia, against the backdrop of the Hamas Massacre in Israel, an act that has profoundly affected Jews across Europe. The Conference began with a minute silence for all those butchered by Hamas last weekend.

Gary Koren, Israel’s Ambassador Ambassador to Croatia in welcoming the Conference delegates from Portugal to Bulgaria, said:

“This conference in Zagreb is now needed more than ever. Hamas is ISIS, and this war started with the blessing of Iran. Israel has no choice but to win and obliterate Hamas. This is the darkest of times, and there is no way to describe the pain our nation is going through, but we will prevail like we always do.”

Croatia’s former President Kolinda Grabar–Kitarovic said that the attacks against Israel represent “an existential attack against the normalization of the Abraham Accords.

It will have tremendous geopolitical effects, and sadly, antisemitism will only spike.”

Deputy Remy Rebeyrotte, the Secretary of the National Assembly in France, responding to European Jewish Press reports that since the weekend there have been 50 reported acts of antisemitism in France, responded:

“There have been over 202 antisemitic attacks in France in the last couple of months.

The Ministry of Interior is stepping up security measures in synagogues and all Jewish Schools.We see yet again conspiracy theories running deeply rooted in antisemitism. This time from the far left saying Jews control the world, the banking industry, etc.

“I want today to express support of France for Israel. The children of Israel are our children. All parties are condemning except for the extreme left with Melenchon”

Dragan Primorac, president of the Croatian-Israel business club, stated, “Evil is the antithesis of honor. Croatia is staying shoulder to shoulder with Israel. Evil will not prevail.”

Head of Combatting Antisemitism at the World Zionist Organisation Raheli Baratz Rix, who partnered with the EJA for the Zagreb conference, in an address from Israel said:

“Israel is under attack. They killed in a massacre of young Jews because they were Jews. This barbaric act is only murderous racism, which has only one name antisemitism. You cannot stay silent again. We fight for humanity. Israel will stay strong and will win.

Natan Albahari, a Serbian Member of Parliament added,

“It pained me to see what happened at the music festival in Israel. It’s unimaginable. There is no justification for those crimes. I am only one MP, but will use every platform at my disposal to make sure that message is shared in Serbia.”

Konstantinos Karagounis, a Greek MP and Member of EJA’s Advisory Board was scathing in his criticism of the Hamas Massacre in Israel:

“All political parties of Greece stand firmly in solidarity with Israel. EU leaders must reassess their policy towards Hamas, Hezbollah, and towards all these terrorists. I think we are all under attack. Not just Israel. Failure to act will endorse such brutality.

Terrorist activities must face unwavering consequences.”

William Daroff, the CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations, in an impassioned speech to delegates, said:

“We need to make the world aware of what happened. They want to do Israel Judenrein. The only answer is Unity. We are strong when we are one. The IDF will succeed. We will survive as a people. Israel is our lifeline.”

Adel Benita, a citizen of Modi’in, Israel, whose husband was stabbed to death 40 times in a previous terror attack, spoke to delegates from the podium and said:

“Terrorism doesn’t differentiate between race or nationality.

“What we saw this past Shabbat and holiday – forty babies butchered, young people shot at a festival – how can we understand? How can those families cope in response to their loved ones being butchered and raped?

“This could happen to you in Europe. Terrorists don’t differentiate between race, gender, and nationality.

“I’m begging you to open your eyes and to ensure your leaders fight against antisemitism so this doesn’t happen again.”

The latest reflections from our esteemed colleague and advisory board member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

I am a tightrope walker
With fear of heights

You probably know those images of a tightrope walker who has strung a rope between two gigantic high-rise buildings In Manhattan and walks on the tightrope with a stick in his hands. One slip and the show is over! It is vital that the tightrope walker constantly concentrates, does not get distracted, keeps his goal in mind and is not afraid of heights. In this week’s Sidra as well as in the Pirkee Awoth – Proverbs of the Fathers that we will learn this Shabbat, I meet myself as the tightrope walker. And on the eighth day he must be circumcised on the foreskin of his body (Leviticus 12: 3). In the Halaga, Jewish law, it is stated that although the Brit Mila, the circumcision, can be performed during the whole eighth day, it is nevertheless better to fulfill this mitzvah early in the morning. Keeping a commandment or any good deed should not be delayed! We learn this lesson from patriarch Awraham. When he was ordered by G’d to sacrifice his son Yitzchak, he did not postpone thatorder, but he got up early to do what was required of him.
Knowing this, the question arises: Why didn’t Awraham circumcise himself in the morning, but delayed his Brit Mila until later that day? One of the answers I found was that Awraham didn’t just think about himself. He wanted others to hear what he was doing. He wanted the entire society to stop idolatry. He hoped that everyone would realize that there is only one G’d and that He demands of the men to be circumcised. He understood that if he fulfilled this mitzvah early in the morning, hardly anyone would notice. And so, for the sake of publicity, he decided to do it later that day. So that others would be inspired.
In the Proverbs of the Fathers (chapter 2:1) we read: What is the right way for man to choose? Any way that honors him who follows him and at the same time honors him by the people.
From this we see that Awraham’s position is a general rule. In everything we do we have to look at the context. What is the influence of my behavior on my environment? Judaism is not black or white. On the one hand you always have to walk the right way, but on the other hand, depending on the situation, you sometimes have to choose an alternative route to achieve the same goal.
So life is a continuous tightrope walk. If you only look up, you lose sight of the road you have to walk. If you only look down, you will be overwhelmed by the fear of the abyss. Especially in this difficult period in which we all find ourselves, it is vital
not to think black and white. It will be fine and I will ignore all the adapted rules that the Government and the physicians require from us, is a one- sided and therefore completely wrong position. It is like that tightrope walker who has no eye for reality and only tries to reach the other side with his head up. But also just looking into the depths, seeing everything
black, letting your thoughts be determined solely by screaming terrifying media reports, is a wrong position.
I feel like a tightrope walker. I make sure that I am not getting sick by alarming headlines on FB, newspapers, radio and TV. At the same time I have to consciously observe new rules and good advice. I must not shut myself off from reality. I also have to realize that I am constantly observed and that my unstable behavior can also instill fear or indifference in others.
Dear people. Do not take this column personally. I just wanted to show you how I am constantly balancing. I am a tightrope walker who refuses to look down due to fear of heights. But I also know that only my view upwards is not the Jewish and right way. I try to keep my balance. Do you do that too!
Binyomin Jacobs, Chief Rabbi

Belgian MP Michael Freilich calls on the Belgian government to cancel its Durban Conference attendance, on behalf of the Belgian N-VA party.

The EJA firmly stands behind MP Michael Freilich’s call to cancel Belgium’s attendance at the 2021 Durban Conference, an action which dozens of other states have already undertaken. The Conference, which is a supposed anti-racism event, fails to address mounting antisemitism.

In the past, the conference has even been a platform for Jew-hatred to be spread. Antisemitic flyers and books, such as the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, have frequently appeared. Moreover, in the latest event, flyers were distributed of Hitler allegedly saying “What if I had won? The good things; There would be NO Israel and NO Palestinian’s blood shed- The rest is your guess.” According to UN Watch, the UN’s Durban conference has repeatedly exclusively targeted Israel and basic rights of the Jewish people whilst permitting the voices of the hateful to be amplified. U.S. Congressman & Holocaust Survivor Tom Lantos comments: “It was the most sickening display of hate for Jews I have seen since the Nazi period.”

Such an event can not be legitimized through the attendance of national representatives and participation is to be cancelled immediately. The focus on inclusive and pro-active measures to rid society of all types of hate is not to be undermined and should be continued under effective conferences and events.

EJA Chairman Extols Daniel Shvidler for Founding AMEPA, Strengthening US-Israel-Middle East Media Relations

EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin thanks Daniel Shvidler for his courageous partnership in establishing AMEPA – America Middle East Press Association, which is designed to strengthen ties and understanding between senior journalists in the United States and Israel and the wider Middle East.

In the photo from the left:

Rabbi Margolin, AMEPA representative on the West Coast, David Perry, the organization’s senior advisor Jeremy Pink, Daniel Shvidler, the organization’s representative in the southeast of the USA, Warren Cohn, AMEPA CEO Kim Kaman and Tal Rabina, the organization’s strategic director and head of Israel office

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