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

August 2, 2021

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
“Schoenmaker, houd je bij je leest”, is a Dutch expression, which means “cobbler stick to your trade” And so, as I'm not a medic, I don't get involved with medical technology. But if someone is dead, then I could and should get involved. And if something takes place between life and death, the dying process, then it seems to me that both the doctor and the rabbi may operate together (in the figurative sense of the word of course). What am I referring to? Organ donations. Not organ donations from a healthy person who donates a kidney to a fellow human being and thereby saves a life. Nor am I talking about donating organs after death, whether that should or should not be done. No, I'm referring to the case of a donor who would normally have been dead, kept alive artificially and now being used as an organ supplier. He is declared brain dead. In the past, a person was dead, alive or dying. We expect respect for life, for death, but also respect for that intermediate phase. I remember nurses in the gerontopsychiatric ward of the Sinai Center. “Mrs Cohen, how are you today? Your children have arrived to visit you.” They spoke fondly to Mrs. Cohen, who was on a ventilator, although perhaps she would have been legal declared brain dead if she had been a donor. But was Mrs. Cohen already dead? Her body still had temperature, her heart was beating, all organ functions were still intact and she was given medication. The donor is considered brain dead, which is a legal terminology. Without this legal assistance the donor would be considered alive! And ‘the operation’ would have bee an illegal and punishable act. Is the public aware that the donor will receive medication during the organ donation procedure? Medication for a dead body? He is given sleeping pills to control blood pressure. To counteract resistance, the donor was initially tied up to the bed, but nowadays muscle relaxants are administered by the anaesthetist. The impression that the donor is actively resisting is dismissed as reflexes! Enough written about organ donations. Another (less morbid?) topic: There is quite a bit of
opposition to kosher slaughter. I will spare you the details. But the cow would still be alive after the kosher slaughter, because there are visible reflexes. I just don't get it: cattle reflexes are signs of life; human donor reflexes are signs of death!? And therefore is my conclusion: when in doubt do without!

Additional Articles

Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Blessings for Rosh HaShanah

The EJA warmly thanks H.E. Andrej Plenković, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, for His Excellency's kind wishes to the European Jewry in light of the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah

Axe Thrown Through Window of Belgrade Jewish Cemetery Chapel

A Jewish cemetery in Belgrade, Serbia was vandalized Wednesday night, when an axe, hammer and stones were thrown through the window of its chapel.
A spokesperson for the Jewish Community of Belgrade told The Algemeiner that the incident had caused serious material damage, noting that if the chapel had been occupied, it could have resulted in “severe physical injuries or even death.”
The spokesperson said that “this act reminds us of Kristallnacht,” the Nazi-led riots against the German Jewish community in 1938.
On Thursday, European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin wrote to Serbia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, calling for a full investigation.

“It is clear that whoever was responsible has no respect for the dead, never mind the living,” Margolin said in a statement. “We extend our support to our Jewish brothers and sisters in Belgrade and Serbia as a whole, who must be reeling at this attack, and feeling vulnerable.”

“I have written to Serbian minister of Internal Affairs asking for a robust response to the attack, as well as a full throated condemnation, lest the antisemites that carried out this act believe that it is now open season on Jewish buildings in Serbia.”

The vandalism is the latest in a series of antisemitic incidents to hit the Belgrade Jewish community. The Jewish Community told The Algemeiner of repeated antisemitic harassment against a prominent Jewish epidemiologist, including graffiti that compared him to the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, as well as demonstrations outside the epidemiologist’s home in which demonstrators wore yellow Stars of David.
Threats of a second Holocaust have also been received at the Community’s Facebook page, as well as Nazi symbols, antisemitic emails, and other threats.

Axe Thrown Through Window of Belgrade Jewish Cemetery Chapel


 

EU Court on Brink of Mandating Anti-Semitic Product Labeling

Pope Francis said recently that he was “concerned because we hear speeches that resemble those of Hitler in 1934.” He was talking about the rise of extreme nationalism and populism, which he feared could lead to the fragmentation of the European Union. The pope should be worried about any current resemblances in Europe to the Nazi past, but the pope’s praise of the European Union as an antidote is premature. Indeed, the European Union itself is on the verge of reviving the Nazis’ stigmatization of Jewish-made products on the pretext that they come from “occupied” Palestinian territories.
According to sources cited by the Washington Beacon, “The European Union is poised to mandate that Israeli products made in contested territories carry consumer warning labels,” which is seen by Jews as “an ominous warning sign that they say is reminiscent of Holocaust-era boycotts of Jewish businesses.” The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice recently issued a non-binding opinion to the effect that EU law requires the labeling of such products as coming from "settlements" and "Israeli colonies." He analogized this situation to the European boycott of South African goods during its apartheid period. "The absence of the indication of the country of origin or place of provenance of a product originating in a territory occupied by Israel and, in any event, a settlement colony, might mislead the consumer as to the true country of origin or place of provenance of the food," the Advocate General said, referring to food products. Israeli occupation and settlements could be “an objective factor which might affect the expectations of the reasonable consumer,” he added.
Brooke Goldstein, a human rights lawyer and executive director of the Lawfare Project who has fought the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in various courts, remarked, "The Advocate General's opinion said that goods produced by Muslims are to be labeled from ‘Palestine,' and goods produced by Jews labeled as coming from ‘Israeli colonies.’ Both people are living in the same geographic location, and yet Jewish goods are being treated differently."
Discrimination on the basis of religion is a transgression of basic human rights that violates Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The EU Court of Justice’s 15 judge panel is expected to issue a binding ruling mirroring the Advocate General’s opinion. If it does so, the EU court would be handing the BDS movement a major win against Israeli Jews by codifying blatant discrimination against Israeli Jewish businesses.
Consider how differently the European Union treats Turkish settlements in northern Cyprus. There are currently about 115,000 Turkish settlers and 35,000 Turkish occupation troops in northern Cyprus according to the internationally recognized government of the Republic of Cyprus. Despite Turkey’s invasion and military occupation of northern Cyprus, and the forced dislocation of tens of thousands of Greek Cypriots from their homes as Turkish settlers moved in, the European Union has allocated funds to developing and restructuring the Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus’s infrastructure. Germany, Denmark, and other European Union member countries import Halloumi cheese, a major product from Cyprus that may soon receive a “Protected Designation of Origin” from the European Union covering Cyprus as a whole. There appears to be no initiative to require further labeling of Halloumi cheese produced by Turkish settlers in northern Cyprus as coming from “settlements” or “Turkish colonies.”
On April 1, 1933, a boycott of Jewish-owned businesses broke out across Germany as the SS stood in front of such businesses to inform the public that Jews were the proprietors. The word “Jude” was smeared on store windows and the Star of David image was painted on doors to serve as anti-Jewish labels. Discriminatory laws singling out Jews followed in succession, codifying Nazi anti-Semitism. The infamous Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass," occurred on November 9, 1938, followed by the transfer of Jewish-owned businesses to so-called "Aryans." Germany descended from there to the “Final Solution” of the Holocaust.
Germany officially professes to remember this dark time in its history with deep regret. Last May, Germany’s legislature declared the BDS movement to be “anti-Semitic” in a resolution co-sponsored by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian-Democratic Union Party, the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party. The resolution stated that "all-encompassing calls for boycotts in their radical nature lead to the stigmatization of Israeli citizens and citizens of Jewish faith as a whole. This is unacceptable and worthy of the sharpest condemnation."  The resolution added, “The BDS movement’s ‘Don’t Buy’ stickers on Israeli products inevitably awake associations with the Nazi slogan ‘Don’t Buy from Jews!’ and similar scrawls on facades and shop windows.”
At the same time, however, anti-Semitism is sadly on the rise in Germany as well as elsewhere in Europe. Reported cases of anti-Semitic crimes in Germany increased by nearly 20 percent last year. Attacks against German Jews have come from both right wing and Islamist extremists living in Germany. The spread of Islamist anti-Semitism in Germany has become an increasing problem in recent years as Muslim immigrants from the terrorist-prone Middle East swarmed into Germany. As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported, for example, the annual al-Quds Day march in Berlin has become an occasion for participants to invoke anti-Semitic stereotypes linked to their gripes against the Jewish state of Israel and to call for the killing of Israelis. Last June, a witness testified during a murder trial that a Palestinian accused of killing a German man said he had done so because he thought his victim was a “rich Jew” whose people “destroyed my homeland.”
If the European Union Court of Justice follows its Advocate General’s recommendation, as expected, it will be seen as legitimizing anti-Semitism in Europe. The court will provide one more instrument of lawfare as a weapon of war for the Palestinians and their allies to use against Israeli Jews.
the article was published on Frontpage Mag

EJA in the Media January 2020- January 2021

 
 
 
 

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