EJA Press release on European Court of Justice ruling on Kosher slaughter

December 17, 2020

“Bogus animal welfare claims are being used to penalise a practice that puts care and respect for animals at its very core”,
“This ruling gives the green light for other countries to follow suit, and if they do, there will be no Kosher meat available in Europe”, says Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association.
(Brussels 17 December 2020) The European court of Justice today delivered a potentially devastating ruling on an issue that has plagued European Jewry for years, the right to slaughter animals in the Kosher tradition, a millennia old practice that puts animal welfare and minimizing animal suffering at its very core.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the EJA today said his organisaton will explore every avenue and recourse available to protect the rights of Jews everywhere in Europe,
“This is a sad day for European Jewry. For decades now, as animal rights have come into vogue, Kosher slaughter has come under relentless attack, and subject to repeated attempts to ban it. The entire basis of the attacks are built on the entirely bogus premise that Kosher slaughter is more cruel than regular slaughtering, despite there being not a shred of evidence backing this up, and worse completely ignoring the fact that Kosher slaughter puts the welfare of the animal and minimising its suffering as of paramount importance. This is not a glib staement, but a commandment that all Jews must adhere to.
“What today’s ruling does is put animal welfare above the fundamental right of Freedom of Religion. Simply put, Beast takes preference over man.
Potentially devasting too, it gives other European countries like Belgium – who similarly regard this fundamental Charter freedom as ‘negotiable – the green light to follow suit. If every european country does it means only one thing: there will be no Kosher meat available in Europe anymore.
“What a terrible message to send to European Jewry, that you and your practices are not welcome here. This is a basic denial of our rights as European citizens. We cannot let it stand and will pursue every recourse and avenue to ensure that it doesnt.”
The European Court of Justice has ruled on a Belgian case, involving Flanders and Wallonia laws, that require pre-stunning of animals before slaughter. In short, the Court says that individual Member State moves to ban kosher slaughter by making stunning a pre-requisite, do not in themselves violate the Freedom of Religion rights contained within the EU charter of Fundamental Rights.
The ruling runs contrary to an opinion given in early September 2020 by the European Court Advocate General who suggested the oppositea.

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Tourists take selfies in front of Holocaust war memorial

What are they thinking? Tasteless tourists take sick selfies and BREAKDANCE at site where 10,000 Lithuanian Jews were murdered in one day by Nazis in WWII Kaunas massacre

Tasteless tourists who post pictures of themselves breakdancing, doing handstands and even performing ballet at a holocaust memorial site where 10,000 Lithuanian Jews were murdered by the Nazis in one day are being shamed online.

The shocking images were taken in front of the mass murder memorial at Ninth Fort in Kaunas, where 9,200 children and their parents were slaughtered on October 29, 1941.

They show tourists grinning happily alongside hashtags such as #happy – apparently oblivious to the gravity of the massacre that took place behind them.

Now activist Richard Schofield has collected the photos, posted under the hashtag #Ninth Fort, to shame the tourists involved and to show that young people are not being educated on the horrors of the Second World War.

Holocaust memorial campaigner Simonas Dovidavicius, former leader of the Jewish community in Kaunas, told MailOnline he was sickened by the holocaust selfie trend: ‘This is terrible. It shows how society is not in with what‘s happened.

‘This place cannot be a place of enjoyment and relaxation. I‘ve seen people sitting in the killing fields and having picnics or listening to music. People who were killed there deserve respect and some honour.‘

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, General Director of the European Jewish Association, told MailOnline: ‘It is one thing to take simple pictures of the memorial for the sake of remembrance, yet completely another to joyously pose in front of the camera with the place of mass slaughter in the background.‘

The killings at Kaunus were the biggest single massacre of Lithuanian Jews during World War II.

The condemned were lined up at death site and shot dead before being buried in freshly dug trenches. In total 50,000 Jews were murdered at the site, as Ninth Forth became a Nazi killing station.

But to the horror of 52-year-old campaigner Mr Schofield that brutal history has been has been erased and ignored by tourists to the site posing for light-hearted selfies.

Smiling for the camera, visitors pose in front of the memorial where the victims‘ bodies lay, seemingly unaware of the mass murders that took place there 75 years ago. Some tourists have been pictured doing handstands, jumping on victims‘ graves and even performing ballet.

Mr Schofield was prompted to take action by pictures like one of two teenage girls gazing into their camera for a selfie with the hashtag #Winterwonderland.

In another on the website two male friends grinned in front of the monument with the hashtags #happy and #day.

Another shows a man clinging onto one of the monument stones alongside the hashtag #hangingout.

Perhaps most disturbingly, despite museum bosses trying to discourage it, most of those MailOnline spoke to, knew what happened there – and didn‘t feel they were being contemptuous of its past.

Julija struck a model pose in front of the monument. She said: ‘I knew we were taking pictures in a place where thousands of people were killed.

‘But I don‘t think it‘s bad to make memories of visiting this place by taking pictures.

She added: ‘It‘s more bad mannered to take wedding or birthday pictures there.

Sarune posted a photo of her laughing in front of the monument – and said: ‘Taking selfies and photos isn‘t disrespectful. The place itself is full of monuments that are really beautiful so I think that it is normal to take photos.‘

Their views were shared by Gabriele, who posted a photo of her doing ballet at Ninth Fort on Instagram. She said: ‘It‘s not ill-considered to take selfies there. it‘s more important that nobody vandalises the monument and keeps it clean.‘

Rytis, the tourist pictured hanging from the memorial, admitted: ‘It lacks respect, I think, but I don‘t care about it too much, because it‘s a monument.‘

The museum‘s director Jurate Zakaite told MailOnline: ‘We try to stop selfies being taken because we think it‘s disrespectful to those who died here.

‘It‘s very strange that they know the history but still do it. If we catch them we ask them to stop. It‘s forbidden to climb on the monument.‘

Mrs Zakaite gave permission for Lithuanian rapper Vaiper Despotin to record a music video at the site because the song was about the number of people who had died there.

But the museum boss immediately regretted it when the video featured a Yeti and a woman in tight black leather trousers.

Julia Mozer, spokeswoman for the CEJI A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe which is based in Belgium, slammed the visitors‘ activities, telling MailOnline: ‘Taking happy selfies in front of Holocaust memorial sites is disrespectful and hurtful. Education that develops an appreciation for the impact of the Holocaust is absolutely essential. Memorial sites should also be monitored to prevent such exploitation.‘

Mr Schofield said his campaign to raise awareness, which includes going into schools to educate children about the holocaust to raise awareness has been positive.

The project is ‘designed to begin breaking Lithuania‘s dominant Holocaust taboo and to encourage the next generation of the country‘s leaders and decision makers to start dealing with this difficult subject,‘ he said.

‘We‘re not here to shame these young people. We know they‘re mostly good kids like most kids are. The problem lies with the Lithuanian State, which continues to let its young people down by not teaching them the full story of the Holocaust. ‘

Mr Schofield, from Newhaven, East Sussex, has been living in Lithuania 16 years. He is the former editor of a travel guide for Central and Eastern Europe and stayed in Lithuania because he liked it there.

As a photographer with a keen interest in history he began documenting Jewish life and became aware of how little was being taught about the Holocaust in schools and how little people knew about it.

He set up the NGO International Centre for Litvak Photography in 2015, one of the projects of which is Fifty Schools, which according to his website aims at working with ‘50 secondary schools around the country as part of an ambitious educational project to publish a unique e-book about Lithuania‘s sadly forgotten Litvak history, heritage and culture.‘

The article was published on the Stock Daily Dish

Over 100 European Jewish leaders pass resolutions and admonish EU Commissioner Josep Borrell at conclusion of European Jewish Association (EJA) Amsterdam summit

While criticism of a democratically elected government is normal, EU High Representative Josep Borrell has demonstrated – both before and after October 7th, a clear and repeated anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the ongoing antisemitism and the vilification of the state of Israel in the European public space

Given the record rises in antisemitism and the associated existential threat to Jewish lives in Europe, and given the lack of meaningful measures adopted by governments to date in dealing with the record rises and existential threat, Jewish leaders call upon European Governments and EU Institutions to:

– immediately establish online reporting mechanisms for the ongoing harassment of Jews and antisemitic threats, comprehensive police officer training in identifying antisemitism, dealing with antisemitism and arresting those that perpetrate antisemitic acts.
– enshrine in law the principles of the IRHA and establish the legal means to prosecute those in breach of those principles.

– urge national parliaments to include universities and colleges of higher education in the same body of law, with a view to prohibiting and prosecuting antisemitic incitement

More than 100 heads of European Jewish communities and directors of Israel advocacy organizations passed a resolution today (see attached full resolution) at the conclusion of an emergency conference organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA).

Aiming to formulate operational methods to combat the harassment of Jews across Europe and the rising tide of antisemitic hate since October 7, the resolution focused on three major issues: The lack of meaningful measures adopted by governments to date in dealing with the record rises and existential threat, the widespread but ineffective adoption of the IHRA definition of Antisemitism and while criticism of a democratically elected government is normal, the EJA notes with great concern EU High Representative Josep Borrell’s clear and repeated anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the ongoing antisemitism and the vilification of the state of Israel.

The agenda of the emergency conference, all under the theme of ‘fighting back’, was 100% solution-focused: for governments, law enforcement, security of institutions and the ‘Jew in the street’, in the media, and even in sports, thus taking in the totality of the Jewish lived experience at present. Attendees included the principal leaders of Dutch Jewry, the President of the CJO – the umbrella group of Jewish Communities in the Netherlands, the Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, and Community Presidents from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and other Dutch cities. Joining them were leaders from across Europe, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, to name but four. Those who spoke at the conference or sent messages of support included Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz, the European and Dutch Special envoys for Combatting antisemitism Ms. Katharina von Schnurbein and Eddo Verdoner, former NBA and professional football players, leading figures from Christians for Israel International and the Secretary General of the Catholic Church in the EU.

EJA, Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, noted at the opening of the conference: “We are in a battle for the continuation of Jewish life in Europe. Jews in traditional dress or those with mezuzahs on their doors are experiencing relentless harassment. Jewish students face threats to their lives and are excluded from university courses, while hate slogans are freely scrawled on Jewish homes, synagogues, and cemeteries. We must formulate plans to fight antisemitism on all fronts: politically, legally, publicly, and by increasing community and personal security. But all this might not be enough. Therefore, the State of Israel must urgently develop a practical contingency plan for the absorption of European Jewry in Israel. Unfortunately, this is no longer a hypothetical situation but a real existential threat that European governments are failing or unwilling to address.”

Joel Mergui, President of Consistoire of Paris (the largest Jewish community in Europe) and Chairman of EJA Jewish Leaders Council stated: “We thought that after the worst massacre committed after the holocaust, the Jewish people, both in Israel and in the diaspora, would have been strongly supported on the long run, but this was unfortunately not the case. Very quickly, Israel and the Jews worldwide were blamed for the consequences of the horrible and barbarian war launched by Hamas against them. This bleak and unfair reality is very frightening

Eddo Verdoner, National Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism (NCAB), Ministry of Justice, the Netherlands: “Our office’s main goal is clear: we need to find the right implementation to fight antisemitism. New policy changes are required to find solutions to modern problems. We need to ensure that younger generations learn not only from the lessons of the Holocaust, but also from current antisemitism.”

Stefan Hansel, Hamburg Antisemitism Commissioner shared with the Jewish leaders that: “95% of Germany Jews come from post-Soviet republics. Most of these Jews are unaffiliated and have no voice to represent them, although they experience the challenges that are
found within migrant communities – including exclusion especially challenges that are found within the interactions with Muslim communities. We need to rethink our institutional relationships with [Muslim] institutions. Even with the overlapping issues such as kosher slaughter and circumcision, we need to call out the issues within the Muslim institutions which are clearly Antisemitic.”

Pascal Markowitz, Attorney at the Paris Bar and EJA Legal Forum member has briefed the conference about current legislation situation in France: “French Law forbids boycotting people based on their nationality. It considered it as a discrimination. We managed to sue anti-Israel activists based on this legal definition, especially against anti-Israel activists who organized boycott happening in supermarkets. This law should be regarded as a model that could be replicated at the pan-European level.

Kalman Szalai, President of Action and Protection League addressed the conference and stressed that: “the world seems to have forgotten the basic sense of right and wrong. we must recognise the exact threat we are facing. We must prepare for the fact that the number of antisemitic hate crimes will continue to increase, and the number of victims will also increase with this! Currently, there is no European umbrella organization that deals with providing protection, legal assistance, and mental help to such victims. There are organisations that have already been forced to provide such support in some countries, but an EU-wide representation in this regard is required. I believe it is of the utmost importance that we act together, as a community. This is now our task.

In a panel dedicated to the fight against antisemitism in sports, Eric Rubin, Global Ambassador for Maccabi World Union emphasized that “Sports should be used as a tool to combat Antisemitism. Although we will not make headway to racist fringe groups from the far-left neo-Nazis, our work at Project Max (Max Nordau) uses sports advocates to lend their voices to bring awareness to the middle 60 or 70% of the people in the world who are not really aware about what Antisemitism is.

Former NBA player (Chicago Bulls and NY Knicks) Michael Sweetney shared his personal experience dealing with antisemitism: “When I saw what was happening after Oct 7th, it hurt, because I had a special relationship to many of the people who had passed through the sports camps that I had coached. Going to Israel was very educational for me. Despite the preoccupations of people like my wife who were afraid for me, I was amazed how peaceful everything was. At the Wailing Wall, I was surprised to see Jews and Arabs engaged in normal conversations.

For further information, please contact: Nir Natan, EJA Spokesman +972-9535123
European Jewish Association
Rue du Cornet 22
1040 Brussels




We, Jewish leaders and communities present at the European Jewish Association Annual Conference in Amsterdam on this day – 4 June 2024, following a vote, passed the following resolution:

1. Given the record rises in antisemitism and the associated existential threat to Jewish lives in Europe,

and given the lack of meaningful measures adopted by governments to date in dealing with the record rises and existential threat,

– urges the immediate establishment by European governments of an online reporting mechanism for the ongoing harassment of Jews and antisemitic threats suffered and that this reporting mechanism be directly linked to law enforcement agencies for rapid response.

– urges comprehensive police officer training in identifying antisemitism, dealing with antisemtism and arresting those that perpetrate antisemtic acts. Additionally, urges police departments to adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards violent and/or intimidating protests to include terrorist organisation banners, flags or insignia.

– urges each European Public Prosecutor’s Office to appoint a dedicated professional to deal with antisemitic complaints with a view to adopting much tougher responses to antisemitic incidents, and establish a fast- track procedure towards prosecution.

2. Given the widespread adoption of the IHRA definition of Antisemitism,

– urges national parliaments to enshrine in law the principles of the IRHA, and establish the legal means to prosecute those in breach of those principles.

– urges national parliaments to include universities and colleges of higher education in the same body of law, with a view to prohibiting and prosecuting antisemitic incitement – as defined by the legal definition – in classes, lectures, and in activities on campus properties.




3. We accept that criticism of a democratically elected government is normal but we note with great concern that the European Union High Representative Josep Borrell has demonstrated – both before and after October 7th – and via his spokesman Peter Stano, a clear and repeated anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the ongoing antisemitism and the vilification of the state of Israel as a whole in the European public space,

– states that High Representative Borrell has actively fostered a negative climate within the European Union External Action Service towards the State of Israel during his tenure,

– reminds the European Council and European Commission that the High Representative’s role is ‘contributory’, and that High Representative Borrell has frequently embellished or added to adopted European Council positions on his own initiative, including open criticism of the European Commission President stated support for Israel following the Hamas pogrom of October 7th,

– urges the European Council, in light of the significant damage to European-Israeli relations, and in his contributing to antisemitism, to properly vet the next high representative and ensure that the position and reputation of the EEAS is not allowed to be exploited and manipulated for partisan purposes, as it was under High Representative Borrell.

Conference calls on the European Jewish Association to send this resolution to:

– All European National Parliaments and Governments.

– All European Special Envoys for Combatting Antisemitism

– The Presidents of the European Council and European Commission

The Resolution was passed by a majority by show of hands on the 4th June 20

Swedish PM to Malmö conference: ‘Concrete measures’ needed to combat antisemitism

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven called for “concrete measures” to combat antisemitism and advance Holocaust remembrance, at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism.
Löfven noted that antisemitism is present in all parts of society, and that it had been boosted in Europe by the arrival of immigrants from where antisemitism is rife, an implicit reference to Muslim immigrants from the Middle East.
Malmö Mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, whose city has been a hotbed of antisemitic incidents and attacks for years emanating in particular from its large Muslim population, also addressed the conference, while President Isaac Herzog, French President Emmanuel Macron and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken sent video messages.
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Letter by Rabbi margolin to the Ghent University

This letter was sent this morning to Ghent University by Rabbi Menachem margolin following complaints by local students.

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