BREAKING NEWS: In Unprecedented Move 60 MEPs Call on MOGHERINI to Stop EU Funds and Isolate BDS Movement

November 28, 2017

A cross party group of 60 Members of the European Parliament have urged the EU’s Foreign Affairs Chief, Federica Mogherini to marginalize, both financially and politically organizations such as BDS (Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment) that are increasingly becoming a virulent source in the spread of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism under the pretense of exercising freedom of speech and association.

The unprecedented initiative, spearheaded by representatives of the four major political groups, MEP Cristian DAN PREDA, MEP Ioan Mircea Pascu (S&D, Romania) and a Vice-President of the  European Parliament, MEP Petras Austrevicius (ALDE, Lithuania), MEP Arne Gericke (ECR, Germany) “calls upon ensuring that no public funds go to organizations calling for a boycott of the State of Israel, and to instruct agencies not to engage with companies, organizations or other entities involved with the BDS movement”. 

MEP Cristian DAN PREDA, foreign affairs coordinator for the largest political group, the European People’s Party, and co-initiator of the letter underlined  his party’s  opposition to calls for the suspension of the bilateral agreements with Israel  as some of his extreme left wing colleagues echo directly from the BDS playbook.   “It’s in the interest of this House, and of our citizens, to see an upgrade in the partnership agreement with Israel. We should not allow the current stalemate in the peace process to dictate the terms of our relationship with Israel.”

Swedish MEP and President of EIPA’S political Board Lars Adaktusson – a co- signatory – underlined that “the Union, and the Parliament, is in danger of being deemed irrelevant as a peace broker if it fails to address the incitement on its own soil against Israel.”  

Vice President of the European Parliament, Ioan Mircea Pascu concluded that  “boycotting strategic ties with Israel,  a leader in the intelligence and defence international community, may prove counterproductive to the common security interests  of both EU and Israel”.

The 60 signatories, among which are Chair of Security and Defence, MEP Anna Fotyga (ECR, Poland), Vice-Preident Pavel Telicka (ALDE, Czech Republic), Dietmar Koster (S&D, Germany), Vice-Chair of Human Rights Beatriz Becerra (ALDE, Spain) urged their Foreign Affairs chief to “address the incitement to hatred and violence and discriminatory practice of calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel.”

Europe Israel Public Affairs Founder Rabbi Menachem Margolin welcomed the initiative of the 60 MEPs: “Israel sometimes feels misunderstood by Europe, and this leads to a further strain on the relations. The European Parliament takes pride in its diversity, and we are glad to see such a wide support for investment, rather than divestment from something that has been for more than 3 decades a mutually advantageous bilateral relation”.

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EJA chair, Rabbi Menachem Margolin words on the Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019 in Israel.

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Chief rabbi says Dutch Labour Party opposed an anti-Semitism definition to woo Muslims

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs said he was “shocked” that the Labour Party rejected a motion calling for the adoption of a definition of anti-Semitism, saying its vote aimed to curry favor with some Muslim voters.
On Tuesday, a majority of lawmakers in the lower house of the Dutch parliament, the  Tweede Kamer, passed a nonbinding motion calling on the government to adopt the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. But Labour, along with all the other left-wing parties, voted against it.
The definition has been adopted as official policy by the United Kingdom, Germany and five others in the European Union, as well as the EU as a whole.
Some pro-Palestinian activists have opposed the definition because it says that some forms of vitriol against Israel are anti-Semitic.
Jacobs, a member of the Rabbinical Center of Europe, rarely comments on political votes. He made an exception here.
The lawmakers who voted against the motion, he said, “did so out of political considerations.” Asked whether he meant that Labour opposed the motion to woo some Muslim voters, he said “Yes.”
Labour leader Lodewijk Asscher declined to say why his party voted against the motion, Ernst Lissauer, a prominent freelance journalist, wrote on Twitter.
‏Bram van Ojik of Green Left told Lissauer: “Anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel should be kept separate.”
On Wednesday, Jacobs and Rabbi Izak Vorst, the co-heads of Chabad’s team of emissaries to the Netherlands, attended an early Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at the Dutch parliament in The Hague. Khadija Arib, the chairwoman of the Tweede Kamer, also attended along with Ankie Broekers-Knol, chairwoman of the Eerste Kamer, or Senate.
Despite Labour’s vote, Jacobs said, “There is real determination in the Dutch political establishment to fight anti-Semitism, and the chairwomen’s remarks at the event reflected that.”
The article was published on JTA

UNESCO-listed Flemish festival comes under fire for anti-Semitic floats

A famous Belgian carnival has run into trouble with the authorities because of the way it is said to portray Jewish people.
The annual carnival in the Belgian town of Aalst is a 600-year-old ritual, drawing up to 100,000 spectators each year. The event is described by the local authorities as a symbol of the town’s identity in the region.
One of the floats in the parade, however, entitled “Shabbat Year,” features two giant puppets, depicting Orthodox Jews complete with traditional side-curls, wearing pink suits, and standing amidst bags of money among rats, which the mayor of the Flemish described as “humoristic.”
The portrayal has caused an outcry among Jewish groups who have branded the float as “racist and anti-Semitic”, accusations that have led to the launch of a protest petition which has been signed by over 15,000 people.
In a new development, UNESCO, the Paris-based United Nations body for education and culture, is now considering whether to “de-list” the carnival from its prestigious Convention on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
“UNESCO had to be vigilant and uncompromising” in ensuring that the regulations of its Convention are fully respected, a source for UNESCO said while adding that a decision will be made on the matter later this year.
Earlier in March, the Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO, Ernesto Ottone, was highly critical of the floats, saying, “The satirical spirit of the Aalst Carnival and the freedom of expression cannot serve as a screen for such manifestations of hatred.”
Ottone spoke of the float’s “indecent caricatures” which, he said, are contrary to the “values of respect and dignity embodied by UNESCO”.
The European Commission has also weighed in on the controversy with a spokesman commenting that “it should be obvious to all that portraying such representations in the streets of Europe is absolutely unthinkable…74 years after the Holocaust.”
The three-day folk carnival, arguably the most famous of its kind in Belgium and a favourite of young and old alike, has been on the UNESCO list since 2010.
The article was published on New Europe

Jewish headstones smashed at Greek cemetery

Jewish Community of Athens spokesman says: “the scene is repulsive and our disappointment is great” after vandals carried out attack during early hours of Shabbat

 A Jewish cemetery near Athens that was desecrated with neo-Nazi symbols two years ago has once again be vandalised.
A press release by the Jewish Community of Athens said: “On Saturday, the most holy day in Judaism, it is imperative and we are accustomed to abstain from everyday activities and, of course, from announcements. In the context of this almost absolute rigor of observance of the Sabbath holiday, there are exceptions that have to do with dealing with the threat of a life or a great pain.
“Such is the pain that caused us, today, on Saturday, May 5, 2018, the revelation of a new wave of vandalism in the Jewish Cemetery of Athens. Unknown vandals entered our Cemetery during the night and destroyed nine commemorative marble struts kicking them with fury, leaving them to peel off their bases and crushing them on the ground. These marble slabs are used to mark the sectors of our Cemetery and are dedicated to the memory of the dead by their families.
“The scene is repulsive and our disappointment is great. This is not the first time we see the result of a degrading act at our Cemetery but it is the first time we see such act was organised and planned in part of the Cemetery that is not visible from the neighboring houses and with incredible fury. The view of the results of this abominable act causes us deep sorrow and anger.
“The Jewish Community of Athens will exercise all the legal means at its disposal, the first steps have already been taken by the police authorities that immediately came to the collection of clues.
“But besides the Law, we call upon all the institutions of the State and the City, the Justice, the Religious and Spiritual Authorities of the country and the Civil Society, to condemn unambiguously and without reservation this desecration and to stand with absolutely zero tolerance against such phenomena of violence and intolerance. There is no worse sign of a society’s moral decline than desecration of a Cemetery and disrespect for the dead.
“It is not just an act that concerns only our Community and is recorded as one of the most violent and significant anti-Semitic events of recent years in Greece. It is about an act that brutally affects the whole of society, the values and principles of a favored state.
For these reason, we ask everybody to exhaust every effort to never allow such acts against anyone.”
In October 2015, parties who have not been identified wrote in black paint on the entrance to the same cemetery south of the Greek capital the number 18 – a neo-Nazi code for Adolf Hitler — and the word “raus” – German for “out.” In Nazi Germany, the phrase Juden raus, “Jews out,” was a common slogan among anti-Semites. They also painted a swastika on the cemetery’s gate.
Greece’s Golden Dawn party is widely considered one of Europe’s most virulent neo-Nazi movements with representation in a national parliament. It holds 16 seats out of 300 in the Greek parliament.
The Nikaia Jewish cemetery is an active and relatively new place of burial. The community has been burying its dead there since shortly after World War II, when city authorities allocated the land to the community for this purpose.
The article was published on the Jewish News Online

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