EU Parliament President: We’re not doing enough to fight antisemitism

ARUTZ 7
November 10, 2022
ARUTZ 7

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, European Commissioner for neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varheyli, Secretary of the National Assembly of France, MP Caroline Janvier, President of Parliament of Czech Republic, Markéta Pekarová, Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dritan Abazović joined Ministers and Members of Parliaments from 23 European countries gathered at the Auschwitz extermination camp as part of the annual European Jewish Association’s Leaders Delegation to fight anti-Semitism. The delegation included a Gala Dinner where the President of the European Parliament and Commissioner received awards for services to the Jewish People and Israel respectively.

 

During her first visit to Auschwitz, President of European Parliament, Roberta Metsola stated that: “It is my duty and responsibility to protect people in Europe from antisemitism, we will not forget and will not let this happen again. we must fight propaganda and antisemitic narratives and we don’t only need a strategy against antisemitism, we need action to bring Judaism again to Europe. ”

 

European Commissioner for neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varheyli affirmed that it is his duty to come to Auschwitz and stated that: I really fear thar what happened here can happen again. The best way to combat antisemitism is to promote Jewish life. It is not enough to say never again, we must do something. My message to the Europeans: There is only one victory over death, that is life”

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association stated that: “Times of war and economic crisis always serve as a platform for a serious escalation of anti-Semitism. Therefore, especially these days – more than any period since World War II, European leaders are required to act with greater determination to eradicate anti-Semitism both in the field of education and in the field of legislation. Defaming the Jewish people and the Jewish state is the definition of incitement and not freedom of expression and attacks on the Jewish way of life is an infringement of freedom of religion and worship. we expect each and every one of the heads of parliament, ministers and officials who accepted our invitation to return tomorrow to their country and to implement educational programs on the obligatory lessons from the Holocaust as well as essential changes in legislation against anti-Semitism and xenophobia.”

 

As part of the special gathering, the European leaders placed wreaths at the “Death Wall” compound in Auschwitz and lit memorial candles on the ruins of the gas chambers in Birkenau. Members of the delegation heard chilling testimonies from Holocaust survivor and President of Antwerp Jewish Forum, Baroness Regina Suchowolski-Sluzny, and Keren Knoll, granddaughter of Mireille knoll, Holocaust survivor who was murdered in antisemitic attack in Paris in 2018.

 

Alexander Machkevitch, Founder of Euro Asian Jewish Congress and philanthropist for intercommunal religious dialogue and projects was honored with the Sir Montefiore Award for his tireless multi-decade work in safeguarding and promoting European Jewry. Accepting the award, Machkevitch said: “It’s a great honor for me to be here. My mother survived because she took the last train. Otherwise she would go to Auschwitz and I wouldn’t be here. I admire you for you contribution of time and energy to make this world a better place. I wish you never get tired nor exhausted to make the world a better place. God will reward you and your children.”

 

Secretary of the National Assembly of France, MP Caroline Janvier said: “Every political leader should visit Auschwitz to remember that man is capable of the worst, and that modernity doesn’t prevent the worst from happening.”

 

President of Parliament of Czech Republic, Markéta Pekarová said: “It is Very important to show to young generations what happened in Auschwitz and throughout the Holocaust to keep the memory. Seeing with our own eyes is important. Violations of human rights are unacceptable. It is the responsibility of all European politicians to eradicate antisemitism – Let us not repeat the tragic mistakes of our ancestors. These evils must be stopped.”

 

Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dritan Abazović said: “We must be careful about what happened here. we should educate young generations that this shouldn’t and must not be repeated. This visit is a contribution to promote a culture of memory and anti-discrimination and is the duty of every EU leader is to visit Auschwitz.”

Additional Articles

Over 25,000 people view European Jewish Association Online Holocaust Memorial Day Event

Heads of state, parliamentarians, Jewish leaders, and hundreds of participants from all over Europe and from far away as Mexico and the United States took part in our special online commemoration service marking International Holocaust Day, in one of the largest online events for the day. The commemoration was livestreamed on our social Media and to an audience across the world via the Jerusalem Post and Arutz Sheva in Israel.
The event coincided with our annual ‘Not on my watch’ candle campaign, where European Leaders light our candle and post a message on social media with the hashtag not on my watch. As always the campaign was a success with heads of state and politicians from across the continent taking part. You can find all the relevant posts here
For the actual commemoration event high profile speakers included the President of the European Council Charles Michel, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, Israel’s Minister for Diaspora Affairs Omer Yankelevich, European commissioners and ministers of education from across Europe, senators, parliamentarians, and ambassadors. A number of prominent Jewish leaders addressed the virtual gathering, including Joel Mergui, President of the Israelite Central Consistory of France; Milo Hasbani, President of the Jewish Community of Milan; Raymond Forado, President of the Jewish Community of Madrid; and Holocaust survivor and President of the Jewish Forum of Antwerp and Flanders, Mrs. Regina Suchowolski-Sluzny.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, our chairman, sounded a warning to European Leaders, “The evil that existed then still exists today. All it needs is to land in the right hands and to find the right voice. We must always keep watch. We must always be alert. We must always be ready to act. And yet, here in Europe, where a few survivors still live, we see antisemitism on the rise. We are in a situation today where more Jews in Europe feel that they won’t be here in 10 years than those who think they will be. This cannot be.”
President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that “Remembering the Holocaust is a moral duty. Not only to pay tribute to victims, but also to renew our allegiance to our deepest human values. We, Europeans, have a special responsibility to fulfill this duty. Antisemitism has no place in our societies.”
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in his message,“To the survivors and families of the victims, we promise to continue to fight against all forms of negationism and attempts to minimise the magnitude of the Shoah. We will do so with all political and legal means at our disposal.”
The Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Mr Isaac Herzog said, “ European governments have a special responsibility, not only to preserve the memory of the past, but to ensure that today’s European Jewish communities can live safe, full and open Jewish lives, and practice their traditions freely. Jewish communities feel that Jewish traditions and observance are being increasingly challenged by parts of European publics and legislators.
“I ask these leaders to reject all such legislation, which would be tantamount to outlawing Judaism as a whole, and to oppose any attempts to restrict the religious freedoms of European Jewish communities.”
Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay in her message said,
“Fighting oblivion is UNESCO’s mission. This mission is all the more important today to educators, teachers and pupils. We are working on new content for teachers and trainers against antisemitism in schools. We are also strongly supporting governments to fight all attempts to excuse the inexcusable.”
Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Mrs Omer Yankelevich spoke about about the rise in online hate speech saying,
“Our Ministry has responded with our own online strategy. Alongside our monitoring center, which provides comprehensive top-down reports on current antisemitic activity on social media, the Ministry is working with major social media networks including: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Amazon to ensure accountability.
“Just as countries are responsible for the antisemitic activity within their borders, tech-giants are responsible for stamping out antisemitism from their platforms.”
Jewish Leaders from across Europe shared with those present their concerns, the challenges faced by their communities and their hopes for the future.
Mr Joel Mergui, the President of the French Consistoire said, “Antisemitism, anti-Zionism and attacks on Freedom of Religion make this a diificult time to be Jewish in Europe. As a result many Jews are asking themselves about their future in Europe. Which makes it incumbent on Europe to ask itself what it wants its own future to be.”
EJA advisory board member Regina Suchowolski-Sluzny, a holocaust survivor and the President of the Jewish Forum of Antwerp and Flanders put the onus on education. She said, “Our role as educators is to constantly underline the danger that intolerance and racism can lead to genocide. This battle of education must continue to be fought because a single person that suffers from racism or antisemitism is one person too much.”
Echoing this sentiment, Mr Milo Hasbani the President of the Milan Community said, “Our most important task is to continue working with the younger generation. Sadly as time goes by survivors and the older generation are less able to visit schools and education centres. That is why we are engaged in training the younger members of our community to take over this role and share the Jewish experience of the Shoah, an experience indelibly marked on our very being.”
The marathon event, which lasted over 4 hours of back to back interventions and speeches, finished with a powerful memorial prayer by Cantor and Rabbi Simcha Steinberg, Rabbi of the Jewish community of Endhoven.
You can watch the recording of the event here

ABOUT CORBYN, an Op-Ed by our Director of Public Affairs

“Israel is a racist endeavour.” So, read the posters put up around bus shelters around London yesterday, and most prominently facing the Houses of parliament.

When the genie is out of the bottle, as anyone knows, it’s hard to get it back in. And when the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn spent weeks prevaricating, ducking and weaving to avoid signing up to the full IHRA definition of Anti-Semitism, fuelling his base of cocksure cult-like Palestinian sympathisers on the hard left, when the Labour Party eventually adopted the IHRA definition (with the underlined caveat that they can call out Israel), the base posted their response. 

From a self-proclaimed man of peace (despite his penchant for engaging and sympathising with the IRA, Hamas and who called Bin Laden’s death a tragedy) there’s a strong whiff of cordite around Corbyn and his acolytes. We British Jews knew it all along. The Labour leader has a track record of being outside the pale of political norms. It is precisely for his disgusting penchants that the hard left embraced him as their saviour and formed a messianic cult around him as the man to save Britain and the man to save the left.

What they really mean of course, is that he gave voice and credibility to their non-mainstream views, the type that had no place in any rational political discourse, and which hitherto put most of his support in the same political bin as the communists or St.George’s flag waving, shaven headed racists on the right.

The results are clear to see. “Nothing to see here” is the refrain from Labour as British Jews look on in horror. “He’s wrong and doesn’t get it” is the spin retort to Lord Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi and hugely respected voice of reason who pulled the alarm cord last week. 

“When people hear the kind of language that has been coming out of Labour, that’s been brought to the surface among Jeremy Corbyn’s earlier speeches, they cannot but feel an existential threat,” Sacks told the BBC. “Jews have been in Britain since 1656, I know of no other occasion in these 362 years when Jews – the majority of our community – are asking ‘is this country safe to bring up our children?’” he added. “Now, this is very, very worrying.” Worrying indeed. Almost 40 percent of British Jews would “seriously consider emigrating” if Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister, according to a poll conducted for The Jewish Chronicle published on Wednesday.

Mr Corbyn made things personal. He stoked up his rabid base in ways that President Trump can only fantasize about, insults Jews day in day out by suggesting that we feel nobody can critique Israel (when most Jews have daily conversations about government and politics in the Jewish State), claims we lack of sense of humour and despite having lived there for generations, don’t get English Irony, then feigns mock indignation when there’s a backlash from the community. 

It’s sickening and reminds me of a scene I witnessed in Belfast, when a couple were arguing in front of a relative. The man struck the woman and she fell to the floor, and the lady with her started, quite understandably, screaming and crying. The man then turned to the woman who he had just struck who was still on the floor and exclaimed while pointing to the upset woman: “see what you’ve just done? You’ve upset your mother.” I can’t think of a better comparison for the odious leader of the Labour Party and his treatment of the Jewish Community in the UK when it comes to Israel. And doubtless just like the struck woman and her mother, Jews will not forget, nor forgive. Nor should we.  

Because “Israel is a racist endeavour” is but the veneer on the table of how British Labour sees Jews under Corbyn. The wood itself underneath is – make no mistake – riddled and rotten with anti-Semitism. And Corbyn is the carpenter to blame.

The Op-Ed was written by our director of public affairs, Alex Benjamin and was published on The JPost

Greetings for the Upcoming Rosh HaShanah by Prime Minister of the Finland, H.E. Mr. Antti Rinne

Jewish New Year -Rosh Hashanah Reception

We at the EJA also like to start the New Year on the right footing. And what better way to do that than to gather our friends and supporters together.

In co-operation with European Parliament vice-president Nicola Beer and the Czech presidency of the European Union, our sister organisation the EJCC and with speeches from Ambassadors of Israel, the US, Czech Republic, and parliamentary and diplomatic attendees from across the continent, we talked about the importance of the holiday, heard the Shofar, dipped apples into honey and spent a lovely evening eating and drinking with our political and diplomatic friends and supporters, all accompanied by a piano performance by piano maestro and friend of the EJA Tzachi Solsky.

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