Can we stop the politicization of the Holocaust? - interview

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June 22, 2022
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Head of European Jewish Association: We're not wanted here

As ban on kosher slaughter takes hold in most of Belgium, Rabbi Menachem Margolin wants that legislation in some countries on the continent are making Jews feel like second class citizens
The latest ban on kosher slaughter in Europe is just another restriction placed on the continent's Jews and adds to the sense that the community is not wanted, says the head of the European Jewish Association (EJA).
"This is a true tragedy for the entire Jewish community," says Rabbi Menachem Margolin, regarding the recent prohibition of kosher slaughter in the Wallonia region of Belgium
The Wallonia ban joins a prohibition on kosher slaughter in the northern Flanders region of Belgium, making the Jewish ritual effectively illegal in two thirds of the country, where more than 40,000 Jews reside.
The rabbi, himself a Belgian citizen, sees growing restrictions and limitations on the rights of the European Jewish communities all over
the continent, and does not accept the humanitarian reasons legislators cling to in explaining the ban on kosher slaughter.
"Hunting for fun and sport is still allowed in Belgium," Margolin tells Ynet. "More animals are killed by hunting across Belgium than by kosher slaughter, not to mention the problemetic conditions of regular slaughter, which are allowed throughout the country.
"From the way the animals are transported to the food they eat and the conditions they live in, there are endless problems regarding the treatment of animals in Belgium. Jewish people care for the animals, and kosher slaughter is much more humane then any other forms of slaughter."
Although anti-Semitism in Europe is on the rise, Margolin doesn't see it as the reason for the new law; instead he blames political lobbyists.
"The real tragedy is the fact that the politicians who were so moved by the animal rights lobbyists ignored the pleas of the Jewish community, and this kind of law makes the entire Jewish population of the country feel unwelcome."

A kosher restaurant in Antwerp, Belgium (Photo: AP)
A kosher restaurant in Antwerp, Belgium (photo: AP)
The rabbi says that the new legislation makes Jews feel unwanted in Europe.
"The main issue is not the meat itself - we can eat fish and pasta if we want - it's whether we feel safe and wanted, it's whether we need to find another place to live," he says.
"Some of the countries in Europe, whether on purpose or not, give their local Jewish communities the feeling they're not wanted in their own country, like they're second-class citizens, like they have less rights than other citizens. This is indeed a tragedy."
But, Margolin says, European Jews cannot surrender in the battle for their religious rights.
"We need to work very hard, and even now, we're not giving up," he says. "We successfully prevented the ban on kosher slaughter and circumcision in Holland, Poland and other countries, I'm sure this time we'll succeed as well."
Margolin is also doubtful that the changes in law will push members of the Jewish communtiy to move to Israel.
"People don’t usually want to move unless they have a noose around their neck," he says.
The article was published on Ynet News

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

Polizia italiana premiata per il contrasto agli antisemiti

Si è conclusa con un applauso alla polizia italiana la conferenza della European Jewish Association (Eja) nell'83° anniversario della Notte dei Cristalli. Per ricordare la distruzione di 1.400 sinagoghe in Germania e Austria e l'uccisione di alcune centinaia di ebrei, la Eja ha raccolto decine di responsabili dei ministeri dell'Istruzione d'Europa per fare il punto sul contrasto all'antisemitismo a scuola. Al capo della polizia Lamberto Giannini, la Eja ha tributato il King David Award per l'opera di protezione delle comunità ebraiche. È stato l'ex vicepresidente della comunità ebraica di Roma Riccardo Pacifici a ricordare che «in Italia non c'è una scuola ebraica o una sinagoga che non goda di una protezione costante». Al Giornale, il prefetto Giannini ha ricordato che «l'antisemitismo è un fenomeno al quale prestare la massima attenzione: anche l'emergenza sanitaria ha dato vita a rigurgiti antiebraici sul web».
Cosa succede in rete?

«In molti fanno circolare dichiarazioni di odio che noi perseguiamo come reato, spesso senza neppure rendersi conto della gravità delle loro frasi, magari scritte per fare un commento o per emulazione».

Si tratta solo di privati disattenti?
«No, l'associazione Stormfront (24 condanne nel 2020, ndr) aveva addentellati con il suprematismo americano e si spendeva anche in maniera contraddittoria per il negazionismo da un lato, giustificando dall'altro lo sterminio degli ebrei».
Perché la Eja ha premiato la polizia italiana?
«Perché da noi tutte le forze dell'ordine prestano grande attenzione alla protezione di una comunità colpita nel 1982 (con l'attentato alla sinagoga di Roma, ndr). Oggi esiste un rapporto stretto con le comunità ebraiche, che ci segnalano eventi potenzialmente pericolosi: questo coordinamento la differenza».
Qual è la situazione della sicurezza dopo due anni di pandemia?
«Ci dobbiamo preparare alle riaperture già iniziate con serenità ed equilibrio. Io penso all'Italia come a una molla che è stata compressa e adesso si muove per tornare alla sua estensione: serve fare attenzione. Oggi occorre evitare infiltrazione della criminalità nei fondi che stanno arrivando. Sul fronte manifestazioni cerchiamo di contemperare il diritto a manifestare con il dovere di farlo in maniera pacifica. I fatti internazionali ci ricordano poi che esiste un rischio terrorismo: senza dubbio stiamo vivendo un periodo che non ha precedenti».
 
https://www.ilgiornale.it/news/politica/polizia-italiana-premiata-contrasto-agli-antisemiti-1988059.html

300 French personalities sign manifesto against 'new anti-Semitism'

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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