EUROPEAN JEWISH ASSOCIATION CONGRATULATES VIKTOR ORBAN ON REELECTION

April 9, 2018

“You have been a stalwart defender of Israel on the world stage, recently going against the prevailing EU winds and supporting the move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel…As long as you continue to show the right way ahead when it comes to defending and upholding Jewish rights, you will continue to enjoy our support”, says EJA Chairman Rabbi Margolin
European Jewish Association has written to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to congratulate him on his reelection, and to seek assurances that he will continue to defend and uphold Hungarian Jewry under his new mandate, as well as continue his vocal support, diplomatic and political support for the State of Israel.
In his letter to Hungary’s Premier, EJA Chairman and founder Rabbi Menachem Margolin wrote,
‘You have been a stalwart defender of Israel on the world stage, recently going against the prevailing EU winds and supporting the move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As European Jewry and the State of Israel are inextricably linked, your support for the Jewish State means a lot to us and we thank you for it.
“During your previous term in office your steadfast assurances and commitments to protect Hungarian Jewry and their heritage were warmly welcomed and were an anchor to us in these turbulent political times.
“With great power comes great responsibility – so the saying goes. We earnestly trust that your previous positive and embracing stance to your Jewish citizens will be carried over into your new term and across your government.
“Europe stands at a crossroads. As long as you continue to show the right way ahead when it comes to defending and upholding Jewish rights and standing up for the State of Israel you will continue to enjoy our support.”

Additional Articles

The Flemish parliament voted Wednesday to ban ritual slaughter of animals without stunning from 2019.

BRUSSELS (EJP)---The Flemish parliament voted Wednesday to ban ritual slaughter of animals without stunning from 2019. The animals will be slaughtered after being irreversibly stunned, for example via an electrical anesthesia, the parliament decided. The Jewish community denounced an attack on freedom of religion which is protected by Constitution and by EU rules. 

An exception remains for cattle and calves. Pending a more developed technique, post-cut stunning will remain in effect, a stunning immediately after the slaughter.
Slaughterhouses now have a year and a half to adapt their infrastructure and train their staff in these new practices. Flemish Minister of Animal Welfare Ben Weyts said he is pleased with the vote and called Flanders ''a leader in animal welfare in Europe.''
Another Belgian region, Wallonia, has also voted a similar legislation.
Shechita, the Jewish ritual slaughter, requires that butchers swiftly slaughter the animal by slitting its throat and draining the blood.
The Jewish community in Belgium has slammed the Flemish and Walloon regions given their clear repercussions for the community.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association (EJA), a Brussels-based group representing Jewish communitiers across Europe, has accused lawmakers of targeting Jews and said the decisions ''have a strong stench of populism.'' 
''This is a direct attack on Jews and our practice when it comes to slaughtering. When it comes to the mass market slaughterhouses, where mistakes frequently affect up to 10% of all animals, meaning they die in an awful painful death, compared to shechita, the kosher slaughter,  where the suffering of the animal is kept to the most minimum levels possible,'' he said. ''It  quickly becomes apparent that this decision is not about health or animal welfare. It simplly represents the politics of division,'' Rabbi Margolin added, stressing that ''we will fight this latest decision wih all legal and political means at our disposal.'' 
CCOJB, the representative body of Belgian Jewish organisations, regretted the Flemish parliament vote and its consequences on Jewish ritual slaughter. ‘’Wallonia and Flanders are sending a wrong political message to the citizens of our country because these laws do not respect the European rules on this matter,’’ said CCOJB President Yohan Benizri in a statement.  ''This vote intervenes despite numerous juridical and moral objections that have been put forward these last months as this measure indirectly bans ritual slaughter.''

Danish parliament to consider becoming first country to ban circumcision of boys

There is too much emphasis on the parents' religious and cultural rights'

The Danish parliament is to consider whether to become the first country to ban boys being circumcised after a petition forced lawmakers to debate the issue.

A citizens’ petition that called for the introduction of a minimum age of 18 for circumcision to protect “children’s fundamental rights” reached 50,000 signatories on Friday, taking it beyond the threshold at which it must be discussed in Parliament.

The debate should take place in the autumn, after the Danish parliament reconvenes, but it is highly unlikely that the bill will pass into law since the government appears to be opposed to such a course.

“We’d be all alone and the first country in the world to go in that direction. That’s our objective analysis,” foreign minister Anders Samuelsen told Altinget.

“It makes us vulnerable and it means that the allies who normally help us in a precarious situation, will, in this situation, not be by our side.”

The defence minister, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, also appeared unenthusiastic.

“I think the political risk is enormous,” he told reporters, going on to cite fears that the issue could provoke outside interference: "One may risk that it suddenly begins to explode on social media."

Other parliamentarians, however, were in favour of a ban.

“It will put children’s rights ahead of their parents’ religious rights,” said Naser Khader, the spokesman on human rights and legal affairs for the Conservative Party, a junior partner in the governing coalition.

"There is too much emphasis on the parents' religious and cultural rights,” Khader said.

“For me, it is the main children's rights [which are paramount]. We have been a pioneer country in many other areas, for example, we have been first movers of homosexuals' rights and we have been proud. Not [with] children's rights,” he added.

Proponents of boyhood circumcision say that the removal of the foreskin can reduce the risk of fatal diseases like cancer, but the claims are contested.

However, its prevalence is largely due to religious traditions within Islam and Judaism that revolve around the ideal of cleanliness.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the health benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks but not by enough to recommend universal male circumcision.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says doctors should educate infant boys' parents about the health benefits of circumcision, which it says reduces the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

Lena Nyhus of the group Intact Denmark told The Associated Press on Saturday that her children's welfare organisation believes "we need to respect a person's right to decide for themselves" on a possible circumcision when they become an adult.

Around 30 per cent of men across the world have been circumcised, according to a 2007 World Health Organization report.

A recent poll commissioned by Danish TV2 broadcaster found that 83 per cent of respondents supported such an age limit on circumcising boys.

However, the proposal is unlikely to pass since none of Denmark's main political parties support it.

Earlier this year, Icelandic lawmakers initially backed a plan to ban circumcisions for minors and to give those who performed the procedure possible jail sentences. But after an outpouring of criticism, including from European Jewish leaders, the proposal was dropped.

The article was published in the Independent

Make Their Memory Shine' project

We at the European Jewish Association are proud to join the #MakeTheirMemoryShine project. Together with StandWithUs Nederlands
and other organisations across the continent, we commit ourselves to help clean the 'Stolpersteine' (Stumbling Stones) of Europe and honour the memory of Holocaust victims. This very important project has already started in several Dutch and Belgian cities, with several hundred stones now ensuring the memory of a victim will shine on. You can see a few examples in the images below. If you would like to participate and lead a group in your city, do not hesitate to contact us or the

Make Their Memory Shine #MTMS

page. Initiatives like these make us stronger and remind us of the reason we fight for the interest of Jewish communities every day.

POLAND REVELS IN POKING AT THE DYING EMBERS OF JEW HATRED

We shudder to think what could possibly come out of Poland next, a country that is well and truly positioning itself outside of the pale.

Poland is now beyond the pale. This expression was deliberately chosen. The Pale of Settlement was a historical region of Imperial Russia, including a large chunk of modern-day Poland, where Jews were permitted to live.
First, we had the Holocaust Law, making it illegal to critique Poland for what happened during the Holocaust, under pain of imprisonment. So I’m going to take a risk and spell out a few facts for you about Poland. As many have noted, “the few who survived Auschwitz went back and found their homes vandalized. Their jobs were taken. Their shops were confiscated. They were further welcomed by their former neighbors with slurs, curses, fists, knives, riots, broken glass, and often murder.” Just like pop singer Katie Melua’s “Nine Million Bicycles” says, “that’s a fact, that’s a thing you can’t deny.” If that appears trite, it’s because it’s meant to. The Holocaust Bill is an affront to decency, honesty and good grace. It deserves resentment, but also ridicule, for the sheer unparalleled scale of its stupidity.
And then what modicum of common sense was left in Poland’s armory of credibility also packed its bags and decided to move beyond the pale: Poland is about to make it illegal to export kosher meat and perform kosher slaughter. Oh, and for good measure, slap a four-year prison sentence on the offense.
The text of this was uncovered by us at the European Jewish Association, hidden in a 48-page general bill on animal welfare, which the lower house of the Polish Parliament is expected to vote on this week.
Back in 2013 the EJA – when a kosher ban reared its ugly head – challenged the law in Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal and won. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, our chairman and founder, has said the EJA will do so again, and also challenge the Holocaust Law.
But Poland is today a very different political beast than it was five years ago. The Law and Justice Party has brought in its own brand of ultra-conservative, good old-fashioned xenophobia and parochial politics front and center, appealing to the worst instincts of a disenfranchised demographic, a trend that is increasing in popularity across the European Union to the detriment of immigrants, Muslims, Jews and anyone else who doesn’t fit the nationalistic bill.
“Panem et circenses” is now the leitmotif in Poland. So very apt. In a political context, this old Roman phrase, meaning “bread and circuses,” means to generate public approval, not by excellence in public service or public policy but by diversion, distraction or by satisfying the most immediate or base requirements of a populace.
Mission accomplished, with both these laws.
What is most alarming though is what little recourse is left to challenge it. You see, Law and Justice quickly realized that the Constitutional Tribunal was blocking their carts laden with bread and so removed the judges, replacing them with appointed party acolytes, using the smear of former communist sympathies to oust the incumbents. That means simply that gross and demeaning legislation such as this can be steamrolled through (it won’t prevent us from trying to stop them though.) Little wonder that Israel is considering withdrawing its ambassador to Poland, and little wonder that the EU is considering Article 7 as a punishment for Poland. We shudder to think what could possibly come out of Poland next, a country that is well and truly positioning itself outside of the pale.
But we shudder more that in 2018, in a supposedly modern and enlightened Europe, we even have to write opinion pieces such as this one, on subjects that stir up the hot coals of what we all thought and hoped were dying embers: Jew hatred.
This Op-Ed was written by the director of public affairs for European Jewish Association, Alex Benjamin. It was publish on The Jerusalem Post .

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