EJA Statment on the Council Declaration on Anti-Semitism

December 6, 2018

EUROPEAN JEWISH CHIEF WARMLY WELCOMES COUNCIL DECLARATION ON ANTI-SEMITISM BUT SAYS TWO VITAL PIECES ARE MISSING
Brussels 6 December 2018. The Chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA) today welcomed the Council of the European Union unanimous adoption of a declaration in the fight against anti-Semitism as a significant step forward, but said that the document misses two key points and arguably the two most important factors affecting anti-Semitism – ongoing efforts to curb Freedom of Religion and practice, and anti-Zionism as typified by the BDS movement.
Urging Europe’s leaders to sign up to the “Jewish red lines” ratified by the members of the European Jewish Association at their conference in Brussels in November, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, whose EJA represents thousands of Jews across Europe and is headquartered in the Belgian capital, said in a a statement:
“The EJA can only welcome the declaration and the commitment by the Council of the European Union to fighting anti-Semitism and better protect Jewish Communities and Institutions in Europe. I am particularly grateful to First Vice-President Timmermans, Commision Jourova, and Katharina Von Schnurbein, the EU’s special envoy on combatting anti-Semitism, for their on-going commitment to safeguarding European Jewry. This triumvirate is making a real difference and putting our concerns front and centre across the EU. The European Jewish Association and its many thousands of members and supporters is deeply appreciative of their efforts, and those of the council members who adopted this declaration unanimously.
“There are however, two vital and missing pieces in the declaration, and these two pieces form the root of much of the anti-Semitism felt by Jews in Europe: on-going efforts by some European countries to target Jewish freedom of religion and practice through legislation on circumcision and religious slaughter for instance, and Anti-Zionism typified by the BDS movement.
Taken together, and notably absent from the declaration, they represent  to European Jewry the touch-paper issues of anti-Semitism, attacks on Jews and their communities, and their way of life.
“Therefore, it is clear to me as Chairman of the European Jewish Association, that any declaration on tackling and fighting anti-Semitism that doesn’t include these two key factors is a declaration that can never be a complete declaration when it comes to tackling anti-Semitism properly and meaningfully.”

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Thousands in Budapest flock to Jewish street fair in sign of community’s revival

In scene uniting Jews of all denominations, some 10,000 brave thunderstorm to throng Hungarian capital’s touristic Kazinczy street for annual Judafest

BUDAPEST – Thousands flocked to Budapest’s Kazinczy street in the heart of the historic Jewish ghetto on Sunday to celebrate the city’s Judafest.
Braving an afternoon downpour, tourists and locals alike visited the massive street festival, which annually showcases all things Hungarian and Jewish. It’s quite a coup for a central European Jewish community still recovering from World War II and decades of Communism.
The thoroughfare, a common tourist destination throughout the year, teemed with both Jewish and non-Jewish onlookers who stopped at the dozens of stalls offering traditional Jewish foods, handmade items for sale, and information on the multitude of religious and community initiatives that operate in Hungary and the surrounding areas.
Parents pushed baby carriages and walked hand-in-hand with children who sported brightly colored face paint and clutched balloons decorated with the logos of Jewish organizations.
“I think we have even more people than last year,” festival organizer Pepe Berenyi told The Times of Israel. Berenyi, who is also the deputy director of Budapest’s Balint House JCC, estimated that 9,000 to 10,000 people had passed through the festival by mid-afternoon.
Judafest perennially brings together congregations and organizations from all walks of Hungarian Jewish life and across secular and all religious denominations — no mean feat for any Jewish community. The festival was organized by Budapest’s Balint House JCC and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and featured over 30 partners from across the community.
This year also saw significant representation from the country’s periphery and Israel, including the towns of Koszeg, on the Austrian border, and Komarom, on the border with Slovakia – in keeping with the festival’s theme of “Hungarian-speaking Jewish communities.”
A secular humanitarian organization set up shop across from Chabad Hasidic emissaries who gave passersby the chance to say a short prayer with a set of phylacteries. Representatives from many of the city’s various synagogues lounged together amid the many food stands offering tastes of traditional Jewish fare ranging from cholent to freshly baked challah to plates of Israeli hummus.
In the late afternoon, the sunshine gave way to heavy gray storm clouds when a not-completely-unexpected thunderstorm struck. But revelers stuck it out, huddling with umbrellas for half an hour in stone alcoves along the alleyway. As the rain finally started to let up, a handful of teenagers with matted hair took back to the street and danced in their wet clothing to Israeli music that continued to play from a nearby stall.
“Well, it was a great six hours,” joked a resilient Berenyi, who worked for months to put the festival together.
But despite some setbacks – the amplification system and other electronics were taken out of commission by the storm – visitors did not seem deterred. Stall owners bailed out water, dried off their merchandise, and went back to serving the many attendees who stuck around.
A planned concert went forward as an acoustic performance, and the three singers made up for the lack of a sound system by asking the audience to accompany them, turning the show into a sing-along.
At 19:48 Israeli time, to correspond with the year Israel was established, 70 community dignitaries released dove-shaped balloons in honor of Israel’s 70th year of independence.
Onstage, Balint House JCC director Zsuzsa Fritz sang “Lech L’cha,” by singer Debbie Friedman, citing the song’s significance.
“The song is taken from the biblical passage where God first commands Abraham to go to Israel, and promises to bless his offspring and make them into a great nation,” Fritz later told The Times of Israel. “I really felt that this was especially appropriate here as we continue to grow our community.”
Fritz said that the event was an incredibly effective outreach tool, and could encourage many people to engage with Budapest’s Jewish communal life who otherwise wouldn’t take the initiative.
Berenyi said that in Judafest’s inaugural year, Hungarians were hesitant about street festivals of any type – let alone obviously Jewish ones. In all, there were seven partners that first year, and, unexpectedly, the daylong festival was a huge success, drawing 2,500 people.
But in recent years, Judafest has grown considerably, attracting dozens of partners and drawing 12,000 attendees.
Fritz cited an impact study that the Balint House JCC conducted at the event, with pollsters asking attendees questions related to their levels of Jewish participation.
“I was walking by and overheard one of our surveyors speaking to a woman of about 60,” Fritz told The Times of Israel.
“She asked the woman if this was the sole Jewish event that she attended this year, and to my surprise, the woman answered yes,” Fritz said.
“I was sure that she looked like she participated more regularly – in this business you get a feel for these things – but this just shows that events such as this are of the utmost importance and can bring people into the fold who otherwise would feel insecure.”
The article was published on The Times of Israel

ANTI-ZIONIST GROUP DEMANDS COLLEGES REVEAL STAFF TIES TO ISRAEL

An anti-Zionist group in the Netherlands is using a freedom of information request pressure Dutch universities into revealing whether any of their staff members have ties to Israel.

The freedom of information request was filed by “The Rights Forum” group, and also seeks to identify what ties and staff relations exist with Jewish communities and organizations such as the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

The Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, Binyomin Jacobs, Chief Rabbi (NL), who also heads up the European Jewish Association’s Committee for Combatting Antisemitism, condemned the The Rights Forum, saying the information request “reeks of antisemitism”.

“The Rights Forum is well known to me. Let us be clear, they want to know any Israeli, any Israeli link and any Jewish people in universities in Holland. The clear inference is that some shadowy Zionist or Jewish cabal is operating in the Dutch university system. This reeks of antisemitism, but it comes as no surprise to me given this group’s reputation.”

“No. What really concerns me is the number of universities that were so compliant with such a transparently antisemitic request. It reminds us that most mayors cooperated during the occupation to pass on the names of their Jewish citizens to the Germans.”

“The difference between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is now wafer thin. In all my many years in Holland I can seldom remember such a toxic environment for Jews. This is an appalling submission to the base instincts of an openly hostile group towards Israel, the world’s only Jewish State.”

#LightingEurope Sixth and Seventh Day of Chanukah

As a part of our #LightingEurope canpaign we are happy and honored to have Suchowolski -Sluszny Regina President Forum der Joodse Organisatie and Vice President Enfant Cache for the Sixth candle and Mr. Edward Odoner TSKZ Review Board Chairman for the Seventh candle with some special words for Chanikah

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Supravieţuitor al ghetoului din Terezin: ‘Trebuie să luptăm pentru o lume mai bună, împotriva urii de orice fel’

„Trebuie să luptăm pentru o lume mai bună, împotriva antisemitismului, împotriva urii de orice fel împotriva oricui, minoritate sau religie, putem să o facem, voi puteţi să o faceţi, şi copiii, şi nepoţii voştri”, a declarat Gideon Lev, în vârstă de 87 de ani, un supravieţuitor al ghetoului din Terezin, cu prilejul unei conferinţe organizate de European Jewish Association (EJA), la Praga şi Terezin, înainte de comemorarea, vineri, a Zilei Internaţionale de Comemorare a Victimelor Holocaustului, transmite agerpres.

Rabinul Menachem Margolin, preşedintele EJA, a declarat, în cadrul unei întâlniri cu jurnaliştii, că „fiecare loc are un mesaj diferit”, iar „principalul mesaj al Terezin pentru noi este ‘fake news’, faptul că naziştii încercau să pretindă că i-au tratat pe evrei într-un mod foarte bun”.

„Aceste ştiri false i-au ajutat să fie elogiaţi de mulţi oameni, în loc să fie atacaţi şi arestaţi şi Terezin eliberat. Întrucât astăzi ne confruntăm cu multe ‘fake news’, care sunt unul dintre lucrurile ce le permite antisemiţilor să incite, este important pentru noi să abordăm acest lucru în special”, a adăugat Menachem Margolin.

Peste 100 de parlamentari, oficiali guvernamentali, ambasadori şi lideri ai comunităţilor evreieşti europene au făcut, la începutul acestei săptămâni, front comun împotriva ştirilor false antisemite şi s-au angajat să promoveze iniţiative educaţionale împotriva urii în cadrul conferinţei EJA de la Praga şi a unei vizite la ghetoul de la Theresienstadt.

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Ghetoul de la Theresienstadt a fost prezentat de nazişti ca fiind o „aşezare evreiască” şi un „ghetou luminat”, dar faptele istorice dovedesc că acestea au fost „fake news”, deşi filmele de propagandă naziste şi pregătirile făcute la faţa locului în scopul de a ascunde cruda realitate au reuşit să păcălească inclusiv o delegaţie a Crucii Roşii venită în vizită la faţa locului în timpul războiului. Circa 120.000 din cei 160.000 de evrei care au fost trimişi aici au murit în timpul Holocaustului, între care 14.000 de copii. Unii dintre ei au fost trimişi în camerele de gazare de la Auschwitz, în timp ce mulţi au murit de foame şi de boli. Circa 40.000 de oameni au murit în ghetoul de la Terezin.

„Fake news”, teoria conspiraţiei şi rolul reţelelor sociale

Directorul organizaţiei britanice „Labour Against Antisemitism”, Alex Hearn, a vorbit în cadrul conferinţei EJA despre cum ştirile false despre evrei reprezintă un tipar la fel de vechi ca antisemitismul însuşi. Hearn a subliniat că antisemitismul merge dincolo de orientările politice şi este folosit de oameni pentru a câştiga putere sau pentru a se simţi puternici. El a vorbit, de asemenea, despre teoriile contemporane ale conspiraţiei antisemite şi despre rolul social media în diseminarea lor.

„Sunt atât de multe lucruri de care evreii sunt acuzaţi, inclusiv de faptul că nu joacă un rol în acest război oribil între Rusia şi Ucraina”, a spus la rândul său Menachem Margolin.

În cadrul conferinţei, o serie de parlamentari şi lideri ai comunităţilor evreieşti au vorbit despre influenţa reţelelor sociale în calitate de catalizator al adoptării teoriilor antisemite care reprezintă o ameninţare directă pentru siguranţa personală a evreilor europeni.

„Adevărul nu mai este bazat pe fapte ştiinţifice, ci pe ştiri virale şi social media. Lucrurile se întâmplă mai repede. Trebuie să luptăm împotriva unor ştiri false care ne apar repede pe telefon. Macron însuşi a fost prezentat ca o marionetă a evreilor pentru că este fost bancher şi are bani. Ştirile false folosesc aceleaşi stereotipuri împotriva evreilor, din nou şi din nou. Trebuie să luptăm împotriva oricărei ştiri false. Dacă nu le combatem, se răspândesc, şi se răspândesc foarte repede”, a declarat parlamentarul francez Prisca Thevenot, purtătoare de cuvânt a partidului Renaissance, al preşedintelui Emmanuel Macron.

„Trebuie să înţelegem că social media lucrează extrem de repede. Nu este suficient să faci legi să ţii pasul cu provocările tehnologice, trebuie să fim rapizi în a interzice discursurile care incită la ură de pe social media”, a afirmat la rândul său parlamentarul austriac David Stogmuller.

În ceea ce-l priveşte, parlamentarul portughez Alexandre Poco a subliniat importanţa educaţiei în combaterea antisemitismului. „Deşi problemele noastre ar putea să nu fie atât de mari ca ale altor ţări, trebuie să continuăm să investim în educaţie. O atitudine proactivă continuă să fie necesară. Avem legături puternice cu comunităţile evreieşti. Continuăm să promovăm viaţa evreiască, deşi suntem o ţară catolică”, a spus el în cadrul conferinţei.

„Dacă le permitem duşmanilor democraţiei să strige, atunci riscăm sfârşitul democraţiei. Antisemiţii trebuie făcuţi să simtă că nu au nicio şansă şi că vor fi făcuţi să plătească consecinţele”, a avertizat la rândul său comisarul pentru antisemitism pentru comunitatea evreiască din Berlin, Sigmount Königsberg.

La rândul său, Joel Mergui, preşedintele Consistoriului din Paris, care conduce de „20 de ani cea mai mare comunitate evreiască din Europa”, a spus că a decis să încurajeze membrii acestei comunităţi să continue să trăiască pe Bătrânul Continent atâta timp cât îi vor avea alături de ei pe decidenţi în lupta împotriva antisemitismului şi a islamismului radical. „Din cuvintele şi din acţiunile dumneavoastră vom avea certitudinea că avem un viitor în Europa”, le-a transmis el oficialităţilor prezente la conferinţă.

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https://blacknews.ro/supravietuitor-al-ghetoului-din-terezin-trebuie-sa-luptam-pentru-o-lume-mai-buna-impotriva-urii-de-orice-fel/

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