Belgian Jews Live in ‘Permanent State of Siege,’ Says Head of Antisemitism Watchdog

May 29, 2018

Fear of antisemitic violence and the presence of armed police and soldiers outside Jewish institutions has left Belgian Jews living in a “permanent state of siege,” the head of Belgium’s main antisemitism watchdog disclosed during a wide-ranging TV interview this weekend.
“The presence of military on the street in front of Jewish sites is somewhat reassuring,” Joël Rubinfeld — president of the Belgian League Against Antisemitism — told the French-language broadcaster RTBF on Sunday. “But you can imagine what kind of world we live in. Today, you go to a Jewish school and you feel like you’re coming back to Fort Knox, which is really a kind of permanent state of siege.”
Islamists based in Belgium have carried out several attacks on Jewish targets in Europe during the last decade, among them a gun attack on the Brussels Jewish Museum in May 2014 in which four people were killed. Belgium’s 42,000 Jews are also subjected to antisemitic harassment by Muslim extremists. Rubinfeld said that over “the last two or three years,” his organization had dealt with a dozen cases of Jewish school students subjected to antisemitic bullying, as well as a broader trend of Jewish parents unwilling to risk sending their children to public schools.
“This is what they call a double punishment: on the one hand, they are victims of these antisemitic acts, of bullying, or even sometimes of physical violence, and on the other hand, it is they, and not the aggressors, who have to leave their school,” Rubinfeld said.
The last fortnight, he added, had witnessed a “rush of antisemitic acts” inspired by Palestinian violence on the border between the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and Israel.
Rubinfeld reflected that it had been difficult to convince Belgian politicians that the country has a serious problem with antisemitism. 
“Already in 2008-2009, I told them: ‘If you do not do it for my children, do it for your children,'” he said.
The article was published on The Algemeiner

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הרב מנחם מרגולין: ״האיחוד האירופי מתעלם מפגיעה בחופש הדת של יהודים באירופה״

אנחנו מברכים כל יוזמה שמטרתה לעשות משהו חיובי למען המאבק באנטישמיות״, אמר הרב מרגולין בתחילת הכנס השנתי של מנהיגי הקהילות היהודיות באירופה, הנערך בבריסל. ״אבל, נראה שהנציבות בחרה לעסוק במשימות הקלות ביותר, ולהימנע מעימות עם מדינות שאינן מתאמצות להיאבק באנטישמיות.

"אנחנו מאשימים פוליטיקאים שמעדיפים להנציח את האנטישמיות לצרכים פוליטיים. אנחנו מאשימים מנהיגים, שמסתפקים בנאומים ובהשתתפות בטקסי זיכרון, אבל מתעלמים מהבעיות האמיתיות של יהודים כיום״. הרב מרגולין התייחס ליוזמות גוברות ברחבי האיחוד האירופי לאסור שחיטה כשרה ומילת ילדים.
איגוד הארגונים היהודיים באירופה מפרסם היום מצידו תוכנית, עם הצעות מעשיות לאיחוד האירופי להגברת המאבק באנטישמיות ובאנטי-ציונות, בהתאם להגדרת האנטישמיות הבינלאומית. האיגוד פרסם במטהו בבריסל מסמך המכונה ״עשרת הדיברות למאבק באנטישמיות״, הכולל המלצות מפורטות לצעדים מעשיים שלא ננקטו עד כה למאבק באנטישמיות.
המסמך קורא לאיחוד האירופי להטיל עונשים וקנסות כספיים כבדים על חברות המפעילות רשתות חברתיות, שאינן מסירות במהירות תכנים אנטישמיים ברורים, כמוגדר בהגדרת האנטישמיות הבינלאומית. הגדרה זו כוללת גם כללים ברורים להתייחסויות אנטישמיות כלפי ישראל. המסמך קורא לאיחוד האירופי גם לסגור חשבונות ברשתות חברתיות של פרטים וגורמים שבאופן קבוע מקדמים תכנים אנטישמיים.
המסמך של איגוד הארגונים היהודיים קורא לאיחוד האירופי לעודד מדינות-חברות לאסור פעילות של ארגונים לא ממשלתיים, וקבוצות הפועלות משטחן, לקדם, לתמוך או לגלות סובלנות כלפי אנטישמיות - בכלל זה אנטישמיות אנטי-ישראלית. כמו כן, נקראות חברות האיחוד האירופי ללכת בעקבות הממשל האמריקני ומדינות נוספות, ולהעביר חקיקה שאוסרת איסוף תרומות או תמיכה בארגונים הפועלים לקידום חרמות על ישראל.
האיחוד האירופי נקרא מצידו לגבש הנחיות ברורות למדינות ושטחים שמקבלים מימון מהאיחוד כדי לייצר התניה שתחייב מאבק בגזענות, אנטישמיות והפליה.
ג׳ואל מרגי, נשיא הקונסיסטואר היהודי בצרפת, הדגיש בתחילת הכנס שבכמה ממדינות האיחוד האירופי יש עדיין בעיה גדולה לדבר על האנטישמיות של האסלאם הרדיקלי. ״זו האנטישמיות שרוצחת היום באירופה. הרציחות באות מהאסלאם הקיצוני. יש הסכמה במדינות שונות בין מוסלמים ויהודים, שחווים יחדיו הטלת מגבלות על המסורות הדתיות שלהם, ויש מוסלמים שנלחמים באסלאם הקיצוני.

"התחזקות הימין הקיצוני בגלל המאבק שלו באסלאם הקיצוני לא צריכה להוות פיתוי עבור הקהילות היהודיות״. מרגי תקף בהקשר זה את העיתונאי והסופר היהודי-צרפתי, אריק זמור, ששוקל להתמודד על נשיאות צרפת. זמור, בעל הדעות הביקורתיות ביותר כלפי האסלאם וההגירה המוסלמית לצרפת ואירופה, שהואשם ע״י כמה בתי משפט בצרפת בהסתה לגזענות, הוא לדברי מרגי ״איש ימין קיצוני, שאינו מייצג את ערכי היהדות.
״בתקופה שבה האסלאם הקיצוני מתחזק, לא צריך לנצל את הקהילה היהודית כדי לחזק את הימין הקיצוני. צריך להיאבק בכל סוגי האנטישמיות והשנאה״.
https://www.israelhayom.co.il/news/world-news/article/5024174/
 

“PER LA MEMORIA DELLA SHOAH NON SI FA ABBASTANZA”: LE PAROLE DI REGINA SUCHOWOLSKI-SLUSZNY

Poco prima dello scoppio della Seconda Guerra Mondiale, la comunità ebraica in Belgio era composta da circa 75 mila ebrei, divisi tra le città di Anversa e di Bruxelles. Circa il 45% della popolazione ebraica venne deportata e mandata principalmente ad Auschwitz, di questi, solo 1200 fecero ritorno. Un totale di 28.900 ebrei belgi furono uccisi tra il 1942 e il 1945.

Al contrario di altri paesi in Europa, il regime nazista si dovette scontrare con una forte resistenza popolare che impedì la completa applicazione delle politiche antisemite. Questo clima permise ad una complessa rete clandestina di nascondere più di 6mila bambini, dalla tenera età fino ai 15 anni, all’interno di famiglie non ebraiche sparse nel Belgio. Una di queste fu Regina Suchowolski-Sluszny, che ebbe la fortuna di riunirsi alla sua famiglia e di essere accudita da una famiglia che considera tuttora parte della sua.

Da decenni Regina, vicepresidente dell'Associazione dei bambini che furono nascosti in Belgio, nonché presidente del Forum delle organizzazioni ebraiche, si occupa di raccontare nelle scuole la sua storia e quella di suo marito George, che ebbe un’esperienza simile.

Nonostante abbia visitato centinaia di istituti e raccontato la storia a migliaia di ragazzi in tutto il Belgio, per lei raccontare ciò che le è accaduto durante la Shoah e gli orrori di quel periodo sono una missione di vita, che porterà avanti, come dice, “fino a quando il mio corpo glielo permetterà”. Regina ha parlato di fronte a politici e leader del mondo ebraico a Cracovia alla conferenza organizzata dalla European Jewish Association.

Proprio per l’occasione, Regina Suchowolski-Sluszny ha condiviso con Shalom vari temi, tra cui quello di quanta strada ci sia ancora da fare nell’educazione dei ragazzi riguardo la Shoah e nella lotta all’antisemitismo in Belgio.

“Non esiste una vera educazione in materia. Sanno che c’è stata una guerra, ma oltre a quello non sanno altro” ha tuonato la Presidente del Forum delle Organizzazioni Ebraiche parlando delle lacune del sistema educativo in Belgio.

“Qualche mese fa sono andata in una scuola ed ho chiesto alla maestra di cosa avesse parlato ai suoi studenti. – ci ha raccontato Regina –  Lei mi ha risposto che avevano parlato di quell’argomento per un pomeriggio.”

Il problema, secondo Suchowolski-Sluszny, proviene proprio dalla classe docente. “Nonostante sia obbligatorio parlare della Shoah nelle classi, gli insegnanti non sanno cosa sia la Shoah. – ha fatto notare –  Per questo parlare di Hitler e far vedere Schindler’s List ai propri alunni non potrà mai essere abbastanza.”

Dei tanti incontri fatti durante questi anni, due episodi hanno particolarmente colpito la sopravvissuta: il primo ha per protagonista una ragazza, che dopo aver sentito la testimonianza ha capito il vero valore delle cose; mentre il secondo riguarda un ragazzo le cui idee sugli ebrei e su Israele erano state fortemente influenzate dal padre, completamente cambiate dopo aver discusso con lei.

In entrambi i casi la testimonianza ha creato in loro un cortocircuito, “ciò che faccio è fargli porre determinate domande, poi capire ciò che è giusto o sbagliato è un processo che i ragazzi devono fare da soli.”

Mentre per quanto riguarda dell’antisemitismo, in linea con quanto detto dal Rabbino Menachem Margolin nel suo discorso di apertura alla conferenza di Cracovia, in Europa non si sta facendo abbastanza per contrastare il fenomeno.

Molto di quanto detto dai vari governi dei paesi membri dell’Unione Europea e dallo stesso governo belga, secondo lei sono “parole al vento”. Lo stesso fenomeno viene preso sottogamba dalle forze dell’ordine del suo paese, che il più delle volte ignorano le segnalazioni della comunità ebraica, al contrario di quanto avviene per esempio in Italia, lodando il lavoro svolto dal prefetto Lamberto Giannini, vincitore del King David Award dell’EJA.

Un’altra scottante problematica riguarda il BDS, aggiunge Regina Suchowolski-Sluszny, e l’esempio lampante è ciò che sta accadendo nelle università europee. “Succede ad Anversa, a Bruxelles, ovunque. BDS è libero di agire e nessuno fa qualcosa per fermarlo. – sostiene – Chi firma le loro campagne sono soprattutto gli accademici.” Un problema che bisogna risolvere il prima possibile se si vuole dare ai ragazzi una vita universitaria più tranquilla, secondo la Presidente del Forum delle organizzazioni ebraiche.

https://www.shalom.it/blog/orizzonte-europa-bc251/a-per-la-memoria-della-shoah-non-si-fa-abbastanzaa-le-parole-di-regina-suchowolski-sluszny-b1105101

Major Dutch Political and Religious Figures Vow to Fight Antisemitism in Famous Parliament Venue Where Nazi Decree in 1940 Took Place

A very special event marking Jewish life in the Netherlands took place on Tuesday 25th June in the prestigious Ridderzaal (Hall of the Knights) in the Dutch parliament, The Hague. The Hall is usually only used for state Royal and very special other events.
The Ridderzaal also has a more chequered past. The last time it was used outside of state events was in 1940 when the Reichscommisssar Seyss-Inquart held his inauguration speech.
75 years later the Jewish community was well represented by both the Israeli Ambassador Aviv Shir-On and a few very distinguished Rabbis, along with many Christian religious and political leaders who spoke on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.
State Secretary Paul Blokhuis, the Minister responsible for commemoration:
“We do not accept anti-Semitism in this country. That is the constitution.
Personally: as a Christian and a pastor's son, my parents helped people go into hiding. Our democracy can only function if we draw a line where discrimination and anti-Semitism arise. World War II and the Holocaust are also our history.
Rabbi Shmuel Katzman, the rabbi of The Hague, elaborated on the rich Jewish history of The Hague, the political capital of The Netherlands.
Jack van der Tang, a Christian advocate and friend of the Jewish people who organised the event said:
“Of the 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands, 102,000 were killed. We want to recognize the crimes, and write history. There are still echoes from the Ridderzaal in 1940, we must ensure that that it may never happen again”.
Aviv Shir-On, Ambassador of Israel to the Netherlands added:
“I am thankful that the Netherlands says about anti-Semitism: not here! And if everyone says so, we will eradicate it”.
Chief Rabbi Jacobs (Netherlands) gave his take:
“Is it realistic to talk about emerging anti-Semitism? It is not new after all.
 We used to have the wrong belief. In the Middle Ages we were a virus. And for that we had to be eliminated. My parents were the wrong breed. And we, the Jews of today, are all Zionists.
In 1945 my father returned home. The neighbors were not happy. It took a few weeks to get permission to go back to his own house. His windows were smashed. Like my windows were smashed a few years ago.
Minister van Schaik (just after the war) gave compliments and thanked the conductors of the Dutch railways to continue driving trains to the camps, and thus protect the Dutch economy. He said this just a few months after the liberation.
We must not exaggerate about anti-Semitism. But we must be vigilant for the danger. Anti-Semitism is increasing.
Thank God, the government protects us. I am grateful for that. But it is bizarre and unacceptable that this protection is needed. The generation of survivors is slowly disappearing.
I will tell you a small story: In deep darkness there are small candles that spread light. In the concentration camp of Westerbork, life was more or less normal: there was a hospital, a theatre and a school. A little boy stood in front of the open door of the classroom. He sang a song: “How happy we are that we are Jewish”. The teacher heard him. She picked him up and started dancing with all the children. So that little boy; in the gate to the hell of Auschwitz, on the way to the chimneys of the crematoria, brought light into the darkness.
That boy is here today…”
Rabbi Itzhak Vorst continued:
“Yes I was there. I was for eight months in Westerbork and afterwards in Bergen-Belsen. There was hardly any food in Bergen Belsen, my mother gave everything to us, so that there might be a new Jewish generation.
It is hard for me to go back.
 I saw the agents of the Marechaussee again in Westerbork. My memories came back to the camp agents. The fact that security is needed today is worrying.
We want to live. Tomorrow I will attend the wedding of my granddaughter, here in the Hague. Then I will sing my song again. “
Gert Jan Segers, the leader of the ChistenUnie in Parliament concluded:
“Israel is the last safe haven for Jews in the world. I am proud to stand here for a Holocaust survivor and for the Jewish community. I wonder why it exists; anti-Semitism. This was this place where the killing of Jews began.
There are historical reasons for fighting anti-Semitism. The signals are coming up again. There is only one correct response: get up and speak. Don't shut up.
There are also selfish reasons: if we are unable to protect our Jewish community, then we are lost as a country and society. I don't want that, so I'll fight.
 Is there a rational explanation why people hate Jews? We have dark pages in the history of the church and society. There is no rational explanation. I can only think: hatred of the Jews is hatred of the God of the Jews.
 So it is not just a fight against flesh and blood. It is a spiritual battle. That can be difficult.
 “Let this be the place where the blessing of Israel begins.”
 

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