EJA Actions and Activities

May 11, 2020

Additional Articles

Greece: Kosher slaughter 'under direct attack'

Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack across Europe from the very institutions that have vowed to protect our communities, says European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, after the Greek Supreme Court ruled that slaughter without stunning violates EU law.
The move comes as a consequence of the European Court of Justice Ruling last December that member countries may ban the practice of ritual slaughter in order to promote animal welfare, without infringing the rights of religious groups.
The December ruling said that the EU’s animal slaughter regulation “does not preclude member states from imposing an obligation to stun animals prior to killing which also applies in the case of slaughter prescribed by religious rites”, but encouraged member states to find a balance.
It is now clear that a number of member states are zealously applying the former whilst ignoring the latter.
In a statement this evening, the Chairman of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, which represents hundreds of communities across the continent, said: “We warned in December about the downstream consequences that the European Court of Justice ruling carried with it, and now we see the outcome. Jewish Freedom of Religion is under direct attack. It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and now it is Greece’s turn.
“These direct attacks are coming from many of the same governments and institutions who have sworn to protect their Jewish Communities. What we are witnessing is rank hypocrisy. When it comes to antisemitism, governments and institutions rightly stand behind us. But when our faith and practice is assailed left and right by laws, they are nowhere to be seen, nowhere to be found. What use is it to protect Jews while legislating fundamental pillars of our religion out of existence?
“We will be urgently making representations to the highest levels of the Greek government to get direct answers to this simple but fundamental question: How can there be Jews in Europe if you keep bringing in laws against us?”

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/315829

Czech Interior Ministry, Prague City Hall scrap deals with publisher of Third Reich Nazi calendar

The Czech Interior Ministry has cancelled a storage space rental contract with the Naše vojsko publishing house
Prague, May 26 (CTK) – The Czech Interior Ministry has abrogated its storage space rent contract with the Naše vojsko publishing house that issued a calendar with portraits of the Third Reich protagonists, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told CTK after meeting Israeli ambassador Daniel Meron today.
Such items have no place in Czech shops, he said.
The publisher faces a criminal complaint by Michal Klima, the head of the Holocaust Victims Foundation, and another one is being prepared by the Czech Jewish Communities’ Federation (FZO).
FZO chairman Petr Papoušek said the FZO considers not only the calendar’s appearance but also its graphic design a step promoting Nazism and adoring its leaders who were Nazi war criminals.
Petříček (Social Democrats, CSSD) said that Meron showed interest in the case at their talks today.
“I told him that a criminal complaint has already been filed and that the Interior Ministry has terminated its contract for renting storage premises to the publisher. Such items have nothing to do among the Czech shops’ offer. They downplay the horrors of the Nazi regime and especially for Israel it must be sad to see them,” Petříček wrote to CTK.
Apart from Meron, the calendar was previously also criticized by the German ambassador to the Czech Republic.
The Denik N daily recently found out that the Interior Ministry has rented storage premises to the publisher via its subordinate organisation. It has abrogated the contract as of June 30, Denik N wrote this morning, citing Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (CSSD).
A contract with Naše vojsko has also been terminated by the Prague City Hall, which rented shopping space to it.
The city abrogated the contract by end-April, and the publisher has six months to leave the premises.
“We do not want our premises to host entrepreneurs whose business is definitely beyond the limit in terms of ethic,” Prague Councillor Jan Chabr (TOP 09) wrote to CTK.
Naše vojsko director Emerich Drtina said at the time that as a publisher he does not offer the items for sale with the aim of propaganda but in order to make profit.
The article was posted on the expatsCZ 

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

Meeting with H.E. Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment of the Republic of Malta.

Earlier today a delegation composed of representatives from the European Jewish Association (Alex Benjamin, Director of Public Affairs), our partners from the Action and Protection Foundation /Hungary/ (Ferenc Olti, Board Member of the Hungarian Jewish Cultural Association and Kálmán Szalai, Secretary) as well as Chabad Jewish Centre of Malta (Rabbi Chaim Segal and Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Segal, Co-Directors) has met with H.E. Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment of the Republic of Malta, and members of his secretariat.

The main topic of discussion has been the European Curriculum and Textbook Project against Antisemitism, which is based on a successful seven-year-long initiative recently concluded in Hungary. Earlier this year it has also received a “best practice” status from the European Commission. The cornerstone of the initiative is better familiarisation of youth with the history, culture and contributions of the European and local Jewish community, thereby facilitating mutual understanding, social dialogue and, of course, being able to more effectively combat and even prevent expressions of Antisemitism.

The project’s main idea is to adapt some of the Hungarian initiative’s elements in national educational curriculums – with, of course, the utmost consideration to local rules and practices. In order to do that, we approach national and/or regional educational authorities and professionals across the EU with the aim of establishing a dialogue, which might later transform into concrete proposals and potentially implemented items to be studied by the younger generation.

In the course of a productive conversation lasting more than an hour, touching upon the various aspects of the project, H.E. Mr. Minister has reciprocated interest in cooperation. We are most grateful to His Excellency and look forward to a fruitful partnership.

That said, this is just the first of many such meetings prospectively taking place in a number of EU Member States. More shall take place over the coming months.

Additional Communities
United Kingdom
Ukraine
Turkey
Schweiz
Switzerland
Spain
Slovakia
Serbia
Russia
Romania
Portugal
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