EU Jewish heads warn European Leaders to wake up to San Diego synagogue warning

April 29, 2019

“For goodness sake, open your eyes, this could just as easily have happened here”say Rabbi Margolin and Chief Rabbi Jacobs in joint statement.

EU Jewish Association (EJA) and Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin and Head of Governmental relations at the RCE, Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (Netherlands) today expressed their support and deep sadness at the synagogue attack in San Diego, that left one lady dead and others injured, including the community Rabbi.

The heads, representing hundreds of communities and thousands of Jews across Europe, also called on EU Leaders to wake up to the festering threat of antisemitism in Europe, adding that an attack such as San Diego’s could just as easily have happened in Leeuwarden, Luxembourg, Łódź, Lille or London.

In a Joint Statement the Rabbis said,

“It is with deep sadness that we learn of the latest attack against Jews in the United States, a despicable and senseless act that has left one dead, and others injured. We extend, on behalf of the EJA, our love and support to the Rabbi there, himself injured, and to his community who will be left  reeling from the attack.

 “We also take the opportunity, in the strongest terms to tell European Leaders: For goodness sake, open your eyes. Europe is close to a tipping point. There is a festering threat, not seen since the run up to Kristallnacht, that Leaders here must wake up to. Unlike then, leaders have the opportunity to do something now, this very day, to ensure that we avoid attacks in Europe.

 “Make no mistake, this latest spate on antisemitism in America isn’t just happening “over there”, its here too in Europe. And sadly, those who believe in such attacks in Europe will be inspired by events in San Diego. Let us be clear, this attack could just have easily taken place in any European City.

 “Jewish Communities in Europe no longer need platitudes. They need to know in concrete terms, that governments are prepared to do whatever it takes to root out this vile disease that has risen, once again, from the ashes.”

Additional Articles

Split, Croatia: French Jewish School Kids wake up to find giant Swastika daubed outside their hotel

European Jewish Association (EJA) contact PM, President and Ministers to register concern
EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, “this will be an unforgettable holiday and experience for these children, for all the wrong reasons…a reminder that we can never become complacent or let our guard down when it comes to antisemitism.”
(Brussels 19 July 2022) A group of French Jewish schoolchildren staying at a hotel in the small town of Trilj near Split, Croatia woke up yesterday to a giant swastika daubed on the pavement in front of their hotel, a clear antisemitic act.
The Brussels based European Jewish Association was informed about the act by their representative in Croatia, Mr Romano Bolkovic. Mr Bolokovic contacted the offices of the Prime Minister, President and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs Respectively, as well as informing the Israeli ambassador. The police are currently conducting an investigation into the incident.
Speaking today, EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said,
“What an absolute shame. Whilst I am certain that the views of the individual and group responsible for painting a giant swastika are not representative of the vast majority of Croatians, the act and nature of this attack – because that is what it is- is still a deep cut to Jews everywhere.
“As adults we are sadly used to hate, yet we continue to do all that we can to shield our children from it. That a group of French Jewish Children on holiday in Croatia have had such a vicious and visible introduction to this hate is tragic.
“Waking up to see a huge red swastika daubed outside their hotel, the symbol of pain and murder to Jews everywhere says clearly, you are not wanted here. It is the burning cross, the noose around the tree to Jews. This holiday for these children will now be an an unforgettable one, for all the wrong reasons.
“Whilst I am confident that the police will get to the bottom of this incident, and whilst the strong words of condemnation coming from the highest offices in Croatia are of comfort, we still have much work to do an antisemitism. This attack is a reminder that we can never afford to be complacent and let our guard down.”

‘How can there be Jews in Europe if you keep bringing in laws against us?,’ asks Jewish leader after Greece rules to ban slaughter without stunning

Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack across Europe from the very institutions that have vowed to protect our communities, said European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin following Greece’s Supreme Court’s ruling that ritual slaughter without stunning violates EU law, writes Yossi Lempkowicz.
The ruling is an immediate consequence of a ruling by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg 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,” said Rabbi Margolin in a reaction to the Greek decision.
The Brussels-based European Jewish Association represents hundreds of communities across the continent.
“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,” said the EJA leader.
He added: “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?,’’ he asked.
He said his group ‘’will 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?’’
Under freedom of religion, which is protected by the European Union as a human right, EU legislation allows exemption on religious grounds for non-stunned slaughter provided that they take place in authorized slaughterhouses. Jewish kosher religious practice requires livestock to be conscious when their throats are slit.

‘How can there be Jews in Europe if you keep bringing in laws against us?,’ asks Jewish leader after Greece rules to ban slaughter without stunning

Greek court annuls permit for Greek court annuls permit for kosher, halal slaughter

The Hellenic Council of State, the top administrative court in Greece, ruled to ban kosher and halal slaughter on Tuesday, according to the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation.
The federation had requested from the court that it annul a ministerial decision that exempted religious slaughter from a Greek law requiring animals killed in slaughterhouses to be anesthetized first.
The Council of State ruled that the ministerial decision violated the Greek law requiring anesthesia and did not set a proper balance between the welfare of animals and the religious freedom of Jews and Muslims. The court ruled that the government should regulate the issue of slaughter in a way that ensures both the protection of the animals and the religious freedom of Jews and Muslims.
European Jewish Association (EJA) chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin expressed outrage at the decision on Wednesday, saying that “Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack across Europe from the very institutions that have vowed to protect our communities.”
According to the EJA, the ruling came following one by the Court of Justice of the European Union last December that allowed EU nations to ban kosher slaughter in order to promote animal welfare without infringing on the rights of religious groups.
The December ruling encourages member states to find balances between the issues of animal welfare and religious freedom. The EJA stated that “it is now clear” that a number of EU member states are “zealously” implementing bans, while ignoring the issue of religious freedom.
“As early as last December we warned about the dangerous consequences of the European Court of Justice ruling, and now we are seeing the result,” Margolin said. “It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and it is now Greece’s turn. These direct attacks come from many of those governments and institutions that have vowed to defend their Jewish communities.”
“What we are witnessing is first-rate hypocrisy,” he said. “When it comes to antisemitism, governments and institutions rightly stand behind us. But when our beliefs and customs are attacked right and left by laws, they are nowhere to be seen.”
The EJA leader stated that the organization would work immediately to demand answers from the highest levels of the Greek government, adding: “How can Jews live in Europe if you continue to legislate against us?”

Update on the Red Lines

Yesterday our Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin rounded off a busy day of meetings on our ‘Jewish Red Lines’ with a very productive meeting with His Excellency Mato Skrabalo, Croatia’s Permanent Representative to the EU. Ambassador Skrabalo undertook to report back to Zagreb on our behalf, and intervene with the Prime Minister. We thank him for his time and commitment to the concerns of European Jewry. Hvala vam pulo!

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