European Commission produces practical handbook on implementing the IHRA definition of antisemitism

January 11, 2021

The EJA thanks the European Commission for producing this practical handbook on implementing the IHRA definition of antisemitism. It will be a valuable tool for governments and organisations who are currently navigating the difficult political waters we find ourselves in, where intolerance and antisemitism are alarmingly on the rise.

Additional Articles

European Jewish Association Repudiates German call to avoid wearing a kippah.

“we must not agree, let alone encourage the Jews, to give up its religious attributes” says European Jewish Head.
 

The chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA), Rabbi Menachem Margolin, today called upon the President of the Central Council of German Jews, Yosef Schuster, to retract his call to Jews to refrain from wearing a skullcap in public space in Germany 

In a statement Rabbi Margolin said:

“I have no doubt that the declaration stems from Mr. Schuster’s sincere concern for the safety of The Jews – a concern that I naturally share in light of the growing anti-Semitism in Europe, but unfortunately he is mistaken in the cure for the serious problem, “says Rabbi Margolin.

Emphasising the point, he went on: “ Not wearing a skullcap due to fear of anti-Semitism is in fact the fulfillment of the vision of anti-Semites in Europe. 

The leaders of the Jewish communities and organizations must insist that every government care for the security of all its inhabitants and do more to educate and prevent this dangerous phenomena. 

But we must not agree, let alone encourage the Jews – or any other religious or ethnic group – to give up its religious attributes. ” 

That is why the call to refrain from wearing a skullcap is also liable to turn those who wear skullcaps into a provocative act and deserving of a response.”

Furor Grows Over Belgian Journalist's Antisemitic Article

Journalist Dimitri Verhulst wrote in the Belgian daily, De Morgen, on July 27, that “Being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.”

Belgian Jews have filed a police complaint after a Belgian journalist wrote in an opinion piece, “There is no promised land, only stolen land,” and commented on the stereotype of “Jewish noses.”
Journalist Dimitri Verhulst wrote in the Belgian daily, De Morgen, on July 27, that “Being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.”
He misquoted French singer Serge Gainsbourg who said, “Being Jewish is not a religion. No religion makes you grow such a nose.” Gainsbourg was the child of Russian Jewish immigrants to France.
Verhulst also accused Israel of murdering 10,000 Palestinians since 2002.
De Morgen Editor-in-Chief, Bart Eeckhout, attempted to defend the actions of the paper, saying, “We clearly do not view the text as antisemitic. Otherwise we wouldn’t have published it. Neither did the author intend it as antisemitic,” JTA reported. “The op-ed surely is a harsh criticism on Israel’s politics toward the Palestinian people. It is written in a hard, sarcastic fashion and it foretells the current uproar, stating that any hard criticism on Israel will always be reinterpreted as antisemitism,” Eeckhout is quoted as saying.
Verhulst constantly uses sarcastic language during his article, questioning the Jews status as the “chosen” people and wrote “Because God has His favorites and they have their privileges, Palestinians were driven out of their homes in 1948 to make place for God’s favorites.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded to the article by writing a direct letter to Eeckhout. The letter stated that, “The article blames the whole of the Jewish people collectively, making no distinction between Israel and Jewish people who live elsewhere, and furthermore it mocks their religion and equates being a Jew with creatures with ‘ugly noses.'”
The letter continued, “Manipulating and misquoting Serge Gainsbourg in saying ‘being a Jew is not a religion; there is not a single God who would give His creatures such an ugly nose’ is misleading and wrong. In his article, Verhulst not only serves the stereotype of Jews’ nose, propagated by Goebbels and Streicher in “Der Stürmer”, he deliberately distorted the irony in Gainsbourg’s quote in order to justify his own anti-Semitism.”
Eeckhout is also reminded that to blame all of the Jewish people for “real or imaginary wrongdoings committed by individuals or the State of Israel falls within the IHRA working definition of antisemitism,” and he is asked to retract the article and apologize.
The letter was signed by Menachem Margolin, European Jewish Association and Shimon Samuels, Simon Wiesenthal Center among other signatories including B’nai B’rith Europe, Commissioner Against Antisemitism of Jewish Community of Berlin and the Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands.

The article was published on the JPost

Four appear in court over alleged antisemitism shouted from convoy

Four men have appeared in court charged with shouting antisemitic abuse from a convoy of cars in north London earlier this year.
Mohammed Iftikhar Hanif, 27; Jawaad Hussain, 24; Asif Ali, 25; and Adil Mota, 26, were seen covering their faces as they arrived and left Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
They are charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words, or behaviour with intent likely to stir up racial hatred.
All four men from Blackburn entered not guilty pleas, with Mr Mota’s lawyer telling the court that his client was travelling as part of the convoy but wasn’t involved in the incident.
Read More :
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk/four-appear-in-court-over-alleged-antisemitism-shouted-from-convoy-1.521120

COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
 
Vaccine loses to the Minister
 
Today my eyes fell on Michel Waterman’s column in the NIW in which he writes: “I have to hand in my column today and I don’t have a subject yet. I can tell you that my admiration for columnists who produce on a daily basis has greatly increased.”
After reading this I flattered myself wondering if that compliment was meant for me. And so the question arose in my mind: Am I a rabbi or a columnist? But then I also thought back to that psychotherapist who saw my diary as a therapy. After some thinking I came to the conclusion that my diary is a combination of 1: rabbi 2: columnist 3: therapy.
 
And so Waterman’s compliment was not addressed to me. A pity, because every now and then I do need a pat on the back (with the elbow of course, because of corona!), Especially when I’m under fire again.
 
A somewhat out-of-context headline made a few front pages, after which people responded. That was great because it means I don’t write for deaf ears – my message gets through.
 
What almost bothered me was that a (foreign) colleague, who apparently has little else to do than follow my diary, got in touch with a non-Jewish journalist to protest against the (admittedly clumsy) headline.
 
It went through my mind to send him a WhatsApp with my phone number. Then at the next opportunity he can first make a phone call before turning a molehill into a mountain. But I did not send that WhatsApp and I am not going to send it. Reason?
I Learned from the conversation between Avraham and Lot about which was read last Shabbath in all the synagogues of the world: “A strife arose between the herdsmen of the flocks of Awram and the herders of the flocks of Lot…. Then Awram said to Lot, Let there be
 
no strife between me and you, and between my shepherds and your shepherds…. if it is to the left, I will go to the right, if it is to the right, then I will go to the left (Bereshis/ Genesis 13: 7-9).
 
Why, we may ask, did Abraham leave the choice to Lot? The area, later Israel, was nevertheless the property of Avraham. G-d had promised him this piece of land. He could have shown Lot that he had the best papers!? If we take a grammatical look at the Hebrew
 
text, we see that the Hebrew word for contention is the first time in the masculine form and the second time in the feminine form. Quarrels arise most quickly between people who spend a lot of time together. So,the most appropriate place for disputes is marriage! How do we handle this? Should the man try to be right? Should the woman stand firm?
 
The best way to deal with (marital) differences of opinion is: accept! And that is why the word twist is once in the feminine inflection and once in the masculine. Avraham understood that he could have been right with Lot, but also realized that it is better to just let the adversary, Lot in this case, have his way.
 
And so I will not approach my old colleague on this and when we meet again, just pretend my nose is bleeding! Therapeutically (3) I have written it off with this one, I have made a column (2) of it and, most importantly, I have learned (1) from our patriarch Abraham!
 
So, what we notice is that people are often unable to see and / or think outside their own limited cocoon. Such a thing is called egotosm, a consequence of the idol ‘I’.
 
And that problem is unfortunately frequently encountered in our society and can be very harmful.
 
Dr. Marcel Levi, medical director of ten London hospitals and the son of my former president of the Sinai Center, believes the corona vaccine should be administered now. But the British Minister does not want that yet because perhaps one in 50,000 could suffer from an adverse reaction because the vaccine has not yet been 100% tested. Levi explained to the Minister that even if one in 50,000 gets an unwanted side effect, it is still worth using the vaccine now as it can prevent hundreds from becoming infected with corona and a general lockdown of society. severely dislocated.
 
The Minister responded to this, according to the newspaper that Dr. Levi quoted that if hundreds die from corona, he, the Minister, will hardly be blamed. But if even one person falls victim to the vaccine he has approved, he will be inundated with criticism. The British Minister is thus also a follower of the idol ‘I’, like my colleague, except that the behaviour of the Minister, G-d forbid, causes people to die, but the behaviour of my colleague has a positive result: a topic for my day!
 
 

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