EJA Meeting with Commissioner Stella Kyriakides

May 26, 2021

European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin and Senior Advisory Board Member and Chairman of the EJA Committee for combatting antisemitism Chief Rabbi Jacobs yesterday held a meeting with European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides.
In a frank and honest exchange of views, the Rabbis expressed their gratitude for statements against antisemitism but said that nowhere near enough was being done by the European Commission to defend the fundamental right of Freedom of Religion. The EJA Senior representatives pointed to the recent Belgian and Polish political initiatives that seek to limit access to Kosher meat as evidence of a lack of impetus by the EU Institutions to defending freedom of religion from political interference.
The EJA thanked the Commissioner for her time, and will continue our efforts in ensuring that the college of commissioners are fully appraised of the challenges not only faced by antisemitism but by repeated initiatives that seek to ban or severely impact fundamentals of Jewish faith and practice. We were reassured by Madame Commissioner that the Commission is fully committed to ensuring freedom of religion.

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Interview with our director of public affairs, Alex Benjamin 

Watch Romano Bolkovic interview with our director of public affairs, Alex Benjamin for 1 na 1.
An interesting depth discussion on Jewish life in Europe, the role of the EU and reflections on Brexit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIWO_pgKM_Q&app=desktop&fbclid=IwAR2SgrBlMHSH-V6WHJnl6hFh88-ZMqqsv2dZjBu9t_hIrH34NCaZ4WA2A7I

European Jewish Association to challenge “Holocaust Bill” in Polish Constitutional court

European Jewish Association (EJA) Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said that his organisation would begin legal proceedings in Poland’s Constitutional Court following Polish President Duda’s decision to sign the contested Holocaust Bill.  

Rabbi Margolin had previously challenged and overturned Polish legislation affecting Kosher slaughter at the Court.

In a statement Rabbi Margolin said,

“It is with deep regret that the President of Poland, clearly ignoring the concerns of European Jewry and the International Community, has decided to sign this deeply flawed bill. We had urged President Duda to defer any final decision on ratifying the legislation until at least having met with a delegation of Jewish leaders. He has decided, bizarrely, that this is not necessary.

“As a consequence, the EJA will - as we successfully did in the past on efforts to ban Kosher slaughter - challenge this matter in Poland’s Constitutional court.”

“I have also written to the heads of all the EU Institutions asking them to reprimand the Polish government.  It seems inconceivable that an EU Member State can be permitted to whitewash history by imposing draconian legislation that can imprison people for holding an alternative view on what happened during Europe’s darkest days. 

“The bill, as presently worded, represents the worst kind of historical revisionism, is an assault and an insult to the memory of those murdered during the holocaust and is a direct attack on free speech and freedom of opinion. This cannot stand.” concluded Margolin. 


To view a video interview with Rabbi Margolin on the subject please click HERE

Hitler's Prewar Speeches Fetch Thousands at Contentious Auction

Handwritten notes for speeches given by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler have been sold at auction in Munich. Jewish groups had expressed concerns that they might serve as encouragement to neo-Nazis.
An auction house in Munich on Friday sold notes handwritten by Adolf Hitler for speeches he gave before World War II, despite criticism from representatives of the Jewish community.
The manuscripts were purchased by anonymous bidders, with all of them going for far more than their starting prices. The top price of €34,000 ($40,300) was reached by a nine-page document with notes for a speech to new military officers in Berlin in 1939, just eight months before World War II began.
The Hermann Historica auction house has defended the sale in a telephone interview with The Associated Press, saying that the notes were of historical significance and should be kept in a museum or given to researchers.
Vehement criticism
Ahead of the auction, representatives of the Jewish community criticized the sale of the documents, saying they could serve as welcome fodder to neo-Nazis at a time when anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic crimes are on the rise in Germany and Europe.
"I cannot get my head around the sheer irresponsibility and insensitivity, in such a febrile climate, of selling items such as the ramblings of the world's biggest killer of Jews to the highest bidder," Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, said in a statement. "What auctions like this do is help legitimize Hitler enthusiasts who thrive on this sort of stuff."
The article was published on DW.com

Yom Ha’atzmaut message from Chief Rabbi Jacobs

As a rabbi, I prefer not to get involved in politics and my opinion is that a politician should not interfere with religion. But where does politics start and where do rabbinical matters end? Is euthanasia a religious matter or a political problem? And who decides how far freedom of education extends?
That difference is even more unclear in Israel, because: "Israel without Torah is like a body without soul", one can’t separate the State of Israel from Judaism. And therefore, we see in the Knesset politicians with rabbinical opinions and rabbis as politicians.
But even the Jew who is not an Israeli resident has the conviction that he may state his opinion and interfere with Israeli political decisions because, he argues, without centuries of daily prayers in which we asked G'd to allow us to return to Jerusalem, Israel would not be today an Independent State. However, my opinion is that just as the Israeli citizen does not make statements about the Dutch Prime Minister, Rutte, we, not living in Israel, shouldn’t interfere in internal Israeli politics.
However, non-Jewish society sees us as an extension of Israel. Over and over again, I have to explain that I am Dutch and that the compliment that my Dutch is so fluent, is misplaced. You're not going to give that compliment to the bishop or the preacher, do you? But in according with their opinion "the Jew is Israel and Israel is the Jew".
And yet there is a heart of truth in their falsehood, for Jews know themselves interconnected by Jerusalem, our capital, where one day the Third Temple will rise when the ultimate peace will be there "for all inhabitants of Your earth."
And until then? When Netanyahu called upon French Jews to emigrate to Israel because of anti-Semitic violence, I was pushed in front of a journalist's microphone and was asked, "Rabbi, what do you think of Netanyahu's call? Do you really believe that there is no place for Jews in the Netherlands anymore?" Wow, I thought, that's a tricky one. It is not possible to request time for reflection, to say that Jews no longer belong in Europe is unwise and disagree in public with Netanyahu does not seem right. And therefore, my diplomatic, rabbinical and politically coloured answer was: Great we have got Israel for all those who must escape anti-Semitism. My parents had nowhere to go. But if and when I go on aliyah, will not be determined by fear for terrorism. I decide for myself, because I am independent, like the State of Israel!

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