EJA Whatsapp antisemitism hotline

May 11, 2020

Been subjected to an antisemitic incident?
Call or text our new Whatsapp antisemitism hotline: +32 484 999 111
Send us a message, day or night, and we can provide help and assistance from your local community and law and order services.

Don’t suffer in silence. We are here for you.
The EJA, in an effort to mitigate the worst effects on Jews across Europe of rising antisemitism has set up a continent-wide dedicated antisemitism whatsapp hotline.
Those who have been subjected to an antisemitic incident can report, day or night, and the EJA will respond with not only support, but with practical help such as direct contact with national authorities and local Jewish community back-up.
We encourage you to share this number with your local community and spread the news- you have someone to turn to in times of trouble.

Additional Articles

Message by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah

It is my great pleasure to wish you, your families and friends and Jewish communities all over the world a joyful and blessed Erev Rosh Hashanah and a happy new year 5779, full of health, prosperity and success.
Rosh Hashanah is always a good time to look back at the year before, to review our deeds, an opportunity to reflect but also to revive our engagement for causes we believe in and adjust our path accordingly.
It was a challenging year for Europe and its Jewish communities as our societies were put to the test, again. We witnessed demonstrations of Jewish communities in several countries standing up against antisemitism and claiming their rights as citizens. Europe is built upon the richness of our diversity and the unity of our fundamental values. That is why I have great confidence in our collective future.
The European Commission’s relationship with Jewish communities, organisations and representatives has never been closer. This alliance makes us stronger in the battle against hatred, extremism and antisemitism. I was very honoured to receive the Lord Jakobovits Prize of European Jewry this year. I see it as a sign of trust in the bond that exists between the European Union and the Jewish communities.
With shock and sadness I recall the horrific murder of Mireille Knoll who survived the roundup at Vel d’Hiv in 1942, but not antisemitism in Europe in 2018. The European Commission was very clear that there can be no justification and we stand in full solidarity with the European Jewish communities in condemning these vile attacks in the strongest possible way.
Jews should never have to wonder whether it is safe to display their identity in their own neighbourhood, city or country. Europe must remain a place where Jewish life can flourish and Jews can freely practice their faith without fear or restrictions. It doesn’t matter where the hatred comes from, whether it is right-wing, le -wing, Islamist extremists or whether it comes masked as antizionism, we all have the obligation to stand up and speak out.
Against resurging threats, the rebirth of Jewish life in many parts of Europe is a precious gi . It filled me with pride to take part in the inauguration of the new rabbi in my own home region last year and to see the continuation of thousands of years of Jewish communities in Europe. Every new synagogue, community centre and school is a step to strengthen Jewish life, but also a step to strengthen Europe and to strengthen our societies.
We will ensure that Jewish voices continue to be heard in Europe and let me thank all of you who participated in the broadest consultation ever on challenges to Jewish life in Europe, conducted by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency. The results will be presented this December and will guide our policy response with the ultimate aim of ensuring the rights of Jews in Europe.
This year is also special as we celebrate two crucial moments in history: the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, enshrining the lessons for humanity from the Shoah, and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel, materialising the Jewish people’s dream of a Jewish homeland.
The European Union was built on the values of respect for human dignity, human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law. We have the obligation to protect and strengthen the richness of Jewish culture and diversity and its contribution to our Europe.

CHIEF RABBI OF ARGENTINA VIOLENTLY BEATEN IN HIS HOME

The rabbi reportedly suffered serious injury in the attack and remains hospitalized.

 The chief rabbi of Argentina, Gabriel Davidovich, was severely beaten at his Buenos Aires home in the early hours of Monday morning, and has been hospitalized with “serious injuries” according to the capital’s Jewish Community Center (AMIA).
AMIA issued a statement on Monday saying that Davidovich, Argentina’s chief rabbi since 2013, was “beaten and savagely attacked by a group of strangers who entered his house,” at 2 o’clock in the morning.
Davidovich’s wife was tied up during the break-in and the assailants stole money and other possessions from the home, while telling him: “We know that you are the AMIA Rabbi,” according to AMIA’s statement.
The rabbi reportedly remains hospitalized. AMIA described the attack as “alarming” and called on the authorities to quickly investigate the assault against Davidovich and his wife.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the international community must act against antisemitic incidents in wake of the attack.
“I send wishes for a speedy recovery to the chief rabbi of Argentina, Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich, and his wife, who were brutally attacked,” he said in a statement. “We must not allow antisemitism to raise its head. I strongly condemn recent antisemitic incidents and call on the international community to act against [antisemitism].”
Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett sent his wishes to Davidovich for a speedy recovery and called on world leaders to stand up against antisemitism, emphasizing in particular the need for Argentina’s government to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice.
“Today, the leaders of the world in Europe, in South America [and] all over are failing in their responsibility to learn the lessons of the past,” Bennett said. “But unlike the past, today we have Israel, and every Jew around the world must know they have a home here: we are waiting. But for Jews who want to live in Argentina, or France, or England, or the US or anywhere, we are also here. We will stand up against antisemitism. A strong Israel is the only answer – our enemies should know [that] Jewish blood is not cheap.”
His words were echoed by other Israeli politicians across the political spectrum.
“We are together with you in the struggle against antisemitism: in Argentina, in France, or anywhere else where the darkness tries to hurt us,” Labor leader Avi Gabbay said in response to the attack.
Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White Party, said; “we will fight the antisemitism that raises its head firmly in the world.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said he was “shocked” by the attack.
“Last week, I met with Latin American ambassadors and asked them to convey a message that the Jewish state will not be silent in the face of antisemitic attacks and the duty of local governments to uproot them,” he added in a statement.
Social Equality Minister Gila Gamilel (Likud) said the attack was a “hate crime... the result of antisemitism that is rising around the world.”
“We pray for the safety of Rabbi Davidovich and his rapid recovery,” she added. “Argentina Jewry – the State of Israel is on your side.”
Amir Peretz (Labor) also consoled the community and urged Argentinean authorities to take action.
“The government should demand that the authorities in Argentina act quickly and decisively,” Peretz said. “We must do everything to ensure the welfare of Jews everywhere in the world.”
Ayman Odeh, chairman of Hadash-Ta’al, remarked in a statement that he was, “shocked by Rabbi Davidovich’s attack in Argentina.”
“Racism is racism and racism is racism, and should be condemned everywhere,” the Arab MK added.
Jewish leaders, too, were robust in their condemnation of the attack.
Chairman of the Jewish Agency Isaac Herzog condemned the attack and said that “we must fight to the end the human garbage whose source and motives are the hatred of Jews,” and said that the Jewish Agency would help lead the fight against global antisemitism.
“The World Jewish Congress is shocked and incensed by the brutal attack against the chief rabbi of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, Gabriel Davidovich, who was savagely beaten by robbers inside his own home,” WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said late Monday.
Argentinian officials and security forces are investigating the violent incident to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

Mazal Tov to our affiliated friend Max Lowenstein

The EJA sends a big Mazal Tov and a heartfelt Kol Hakavod to our affiliated friend Max Lowenstein, Chairman of the NIHS Brabant community in Eindhoven, Holland. Today, to mark King’s day in the Netherlands, Mr Lowenstein received a medal on becoming a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau. A well deserved recognition for his years of dedicated service to the community in Eindhoven and to the wider community in general.

The ordinariness of Auschwitz

As a dear colleague put it, “Where is the monster? It would be easier to deal with if there was a monster here.”

I’m just back from a delegation that we at the European Jewish Association organized to Auschwitz for around 150 ministers and parliamentarians from across Europe. In the days leading up to Holocaust Remembrance Day and the poignant 75th anniversary of the liberation of the most infamous death camp of all, we read the harrowing statements of the last few witnesses, and pledges from the great and the good “never again.”
I’m still trying to process what I saw, to reconcile what in my mind Auschwitz means with what it actually is when you walk through the gates. The word that best sums it up, the word that makes me sick in the very deepest pit of my stomach, is how ordinary it is.
I don’t know what the gates of hell should look like, but if you, like me, try to imagine it, you don’t picture bucolic countryside surrounding it, a McDonald’s drive-thru close by, parents pushing their children up the street, kids loitering around bus stops trying to look cool, and old people chatting outside the shops.
As a dear colleague put it, “Where is the monster? It would be easier to deal with if there was a monster here.”
That perfectly encapsulates what is so scary and upsetting about the place: There’s no monster.
The gates of hell have a parking lot, a pizzeria over the road, and students in tight jeans and Ugg boots chewing gum while waiting to have a look inside. Our Jewish ground zero, literally the sight of our worst nightmare, the scar that each and every one carries in our heart, is an ordinary place.
Now I have to tell you that the staff there are incredible people. Our guide Michal believes with every ounce of his being that it is his duty as a resident to tell the story and history of the place. His knowledge is terrible and devastating. He paints a visual Guernica with his words: the 7 tons of human hair that they found packed and ready to be stuffed into God knows what; the fact that they found traces of Zyklon B in the hair; the number of people who shoveled bodies into the crematoria. I could go on but I won’t.

A few hundred meters from Auschwitz is Birkenau. If Auschwitz is hell’s waiting room, Birkenau is where the doctor, quite literally, would see you. Selection, and then into the flames. Gone for eternity.
And yet again, so close by, you find houses with swings in the yard, bored dogs barking at cars, the half-constructed BBQ made of bricks that was never quite finished (maybe next year when the rain lets up).
Auschwitz is so terrifying to me, not because of what happened inside those gates. I know the horrors, I’ve been raised on them. No, it’s so terrifying because of what goes outside of them, so close, so palpably close. A town where life 80 years ago continued its slow, mundane pace.
While the crematoria burned and the latest shipment of Greek Jews arrived to be murdered, two old men sank a pint in the nearby pub. A baby cried because its toy broke. Teenagers fumbled awkwardly away from watching eyes.
I can’t reconcile at all how ordinary life could continue. And worse, I’m scared. I’m scared that people can tuck into their Margherita pizza after the tour is over, the same way that you can swim with Jaws at Universal Studios then tuck into wings and fries.
I’m scared too that surrounded by this ordinariness, just as it was all those years ago, antisemitism can keep rising and keep rising while tourists keep on going through those gates having learned nothing, and worse, get back to the football and order another drink while the kindle for the fires of hell is slowly being gathered again, right under their noses, and ordinary life continues.
The writer, Alex Benjamin, is the director of public affairs at the European Jewish Association.
The article was published by the JPost

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