Antisemitic Notes in Public Transportation, Germany

February 12, 2021

The EJA is disgusted at the resurgence of the ‘blood libel’ in plain daylight in Germany, with stickers and leaflets alleging Jewish involvement in Covid. We have written to the German Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Anti-Semitism, Dr Felix Klein, to use the full weight of his office and impress upon the German transport authorities the danger of such activities, to urgently undertake a full review of CCTV footage with a view to prosecuting those responsible and to implement a zero tolerance policy of punitive fines and prosecution for the publication and distribution of antisemitic literature anywhere on their networks.
 

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Pro-BDS conference held at European Parliament

BDS Founder Omar Barghouti honored at EU event hosted by MEP Ana Gomes, calling Israel an ‘apartheid’ state and justifying his actions.
European Parliament Member Ana Gomes on Tuesday hosted an event titled “The Israeli settlements in Palestine and the European Union” and focused on slamming Israel and legitimizing BDS.
The event was held at the European Parliament, and speakers included BDS movement founder Omar Barghouti, Palestinian Authority representative to the EU, Belgium, and Luxembourg Abdalrahim Alfarra, and Institute of International and Development studies in Geneva researcher Tom Moerenhout.
European Parliament President Tajani after complaints from MEPs and Israel advocacy groups, expressed his reservations about the meeting, although he could not technically stop it from taking place. The Socialist Group, of which Gomes is a member, asked for any of their logos or party insignia to be removed from the event
The event took place despite numerous representations against it because of the presence of Barghouti, whose anti-two state solution comments, boycott calls and veiled anti-Semitism comments run counter to stated EU policy.
Gomes began her remarks by saying she was happy that the meeting was taking place despite the efforts of the ‘perverse’ Israel lobby. She then went on to chastise the EU for complicity in not doing enough to tackle settlement construction, a phenomenon she referred to as a cancer affecting the peace process. Alfarra listed a litany of views related to the occupation and urged more EU states to recognize “Palestine.”
Barghouti then outlined his perceived justifications for BDS’ actions, repeatedly calling Israel “apartheid” and accusing the government of far-right tendencies. Finally, the researcher outlined the legal case for boycotts and claimed the EU was in breach of legal obligations when trading with Israel.
The event was then opened to questions, mainly from Jewish and Israel advocates who called for a retraction from Gomes due to her un-parliamentary language, and calling out BDS as anti-peace process.
European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Marglin noted that BDS ultimately harms Palestinian Authority Arabs, since it harms the factories providing them with jobs.He also asked Barghouti to state whether his true intention was to help “Palestinians” or whether BDS’ policy is simply a result of “hating Jews no matter where they live.”
Both the event’s organizers and Barghouti had charges of anti-Semitism leveled against them.
In their responses, Gomes refused to retract, said she was not anti-Semitic. Barghouti called those accusing BDS of being anti-Semitic of being anti-Semitic themselves, said accusations of harm against Palestinian Authority were “patronizing,” claiming his actions were entirely justified.
The event was not well attended by MEPs, and perhaps 5 in total attended, all of whom are anti-Israel from the left political fringes, including Italian communist radicals.
 

Air Bnb West Bank de-listing

EJA Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin , wrote a letter today to the head of Global Policy at Airbnb on the issue of West Bank de-listing
Here you can read the latter that was sent:
Dear Mr Lehane,
Re: Air Bnb West Bank de-listing
One can currently rent many Air bnb properties in Gibraltar, Northern Cyprus, Western Sahara, Kashmir and even the Falkland island I’m told, should you be so inclined.

In a statement Monday, Airbnb announced 200 listings in the West Bank would be removed, after the company had concluded “they are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.
Your company said the decision to remove the listings came after “considerable time” was spent consulting experts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Airbnb said that, as an industry leader, it “must consider the impact we have and act responsibly.”
Given that you still operate in many other countries whose territories are disputed, I feel I must ask what your position is towards the millions of disgruntled Spaniards, Western Saharans, Cypriots and the Argentinians? Do they not have an impact too on Air bnb? What about your responsibility to them?
I ask because as of this morning, as I type this, you can rent properties in all of these disputed territories places on Air bnb.
Dear Mr Lehane, I would ask you what marked Israel out for special treatment amongst all the places around the world where territory is disputed? As a ‘responsible’ company, it is incumbent to be consistent.
This consistency is clearly not in evidence here. It therefore strikes me that this decision is political. It is clear to everyone involved that the final status of the West Bank is to be subject of negotiations, just as other contentious places around the world.
What’s the difference between renting in Northern Cyprus, or Gibraltar and the West Bank? Looking at it in the cold light of day, clearly nothing. All of these places, as Gibraltar proved this week having waded in to the Brexit debate, pop up regularly on the radar, as arguments.
Any serious analysis of this decision shows it has nothing to do with a reasoned, impartial and balanced attempt at corporate social responsibility, as your company claims.
I believe this decision will damage the air bnb brand. Not only because it overlooks and ignores the millions of other air bnb users who would take issue with properties in other disputed territories, but because your own criteria for responsibility and impact are not uniformly applied, opening you to letters such this that accuse your company of partisan politics.
I would urge you Sir, as head of Global Policy to rescind this move forthwith.
Yours Faithfully,
Rabbi Menachem Margolin
Chairman

Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Blessings for Rosh HaShanah18-21-09-2020

The EJA warmly thanks H.E. Zoran Tegeltija, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for His Excellency’s kind wishes to the European Jewry in light of the recent holiday of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year).

COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin 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.

For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl

9½ = 4

A few days ago, I received a phone call from Israel from M who claimed he was many years ago in school with one of my children. He was not the brightest of the class, but he always received high marks for Jewish subjects due to his diligence and good behavior. He called me to wish me many more years because of Sjawoe’ot and proudly informed me that he has recently obtained his education diploma and now supervises children with learning disabilities. I remember being shocked at the time that one of the mothers told me that M’s 9½ should actually have been a 4 and not comparable to her son’s 8.
There is no doubt that Torah study is of mayor importance. After all, we Jews are the People of the Book, of “learning”, daily and through the ages. And yet Judaism is not about the acquired knowledge. Judaism is not science, and “learning” is not studying. A high level of knowledge is not a proof of a high level of commitment.
When traveling on a train journey we know beforehand what station we want to step out.  And when we leave the train, it’s visible to everybody what the destination was.
That too is the way a good book works. In the title of the book, the beginning, in fact, the entire content is included.  And at the very end, in the last sentence or in the last word, the conclusion becomes clear and visible.
The Torah starts with the history of Creation. And our great explainer Rasjie asks an obvious question: Why does the Torah starts with the story of Creation? The Five Books of Moses are primarily intended for the Jewish People and we can only speak of the Jewish People after the Exodus from Egypt when the Torah was received on Mount Sinai. Wouldn’t it have made more sense if the Torah had started with this episode and not with the creation of the world?  And Rasjie answers his own question as follows: before we start studying the Torah, we must realize and accept that there is a Creator!
The last sentence of the whole Thora tells us how Moshe broke the stone Tablets of the Ten Commandments and G’d is grateful to him for that deed! Isn’t that strange! Is this the most suitable sentence to finish the Thora?  And what was the course of Moshe breaking the Tablets which were literally a gift from Heaven? When Moshe saw that the Jews, his people, had forgotten G’d and worshiped the Golden Calf, shouldn’t he better have put aside the Tablets, go to his people and addressed them admonishing and then took back the Tablets. Why smash them? And why was G’d so pleased with Moshe’s destructive act?
And again, the same answer as to the question about the story of Creation: if the Jews no longer wanted to follow Hashem our G’d Who brought them out of Egypt and instead focused on idolatry, the Torah became totally worthless and the Tablets had nothing left to offer.
The Torah is not a goal, but a means. The means to serve G’d and survive as a Jewish nation. And that’s why the Torah starts and ends with that thought.
If we are aware that the Torah is the means, then we can start “learning”. And it is not about the
9½ or the 4, not about a high or a low IQ. It is about commitment, real piety and sincerity. Torah is a means, and those who see Torah as the goal they better go to study something else.
Many good, prosperous and healthy years   
גוט יום טוב
Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi
Sjawoe’ot 5781

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