European Jewish Association welcomes Iceland circumcision bill demise but urges continued vigilance.

April 27, 2018

The Chairman of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin this morning welcomed the apparent demise Iceland’s controversial circumcision bill, that sought to criminalise the act and threatened imprisonment to adherents, regardless of religious practice or obligation. 

Rabbi Margolin however cautioned that continued vigilance of contagion was a necessity not only in Iceland but across Europe.

On March 1 the Icelandic parliament sent the bill to the committee on Judicial affairs for comment, where it has been stuck since. The committee has now decided not to let the bill go forward for a vote on the floor.

As the legislative session is drawing to a close it is all but guaranteed that the decision to refer the bill to the cabinet kills its chances of becoming law. Whether the bill will then be re-introduced is still an open question

In a statement from Brussels, Rabbi Margolin said, 

“I welcome the apparent demise of what was a discriminatory, unnecessary and fundamentally anti-Jewish bill. The European Jewish Association, along with many other groups, Christian, Muslim and Jewish, made repeated and vociferous representations to the Icelandic government, registering our strong opposition to legislation that sought to criminalise an entire faith.

“Whilst we welcome the news, we must remain vigilant. In our experience bills such as this do not come out in isolation but represent an idea that knows no borders. It is sadly often the case that there is contagion where one bill fails in one country, it gets picked up by another.”

Rabbi Margolin in a meeting with ambassador of Iceland in Brussels, Bergdís Ellertsdóttir, February 2018.

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The Labour party approves a draft action plan against antisemitism to be submitted to the government’s anti-racist body

The Labour party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) has approved a draft action plan against antisemitism it is required to submit to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the government anti-racist body,  ahead of a deadline later this week, The Jewish Chronicle reported.
The plan comes in response to  recommendations  of the EHRC report into antisemitism in the party.
The Labour’s action plan comprises the 18 key recommendations of the EHRC report, including the setting up of an independent complaints process to handle  allegations of antisemitism, other forms of discrimination and bullying.
The party had receive a 10 December deadline to produce a draft action plan in response to the findings and recommendations of the report released by the government anti-racist and equality body.
A Labour spokesperson said: ”Labour’s national executive committee has given its approval to the draft action plan it is required to submit to the EHRC this week.
“It covers all the EHRC’s recommendations and is an important step towards Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner’s commitment to rebuilding trust and confidence with our Jewish members and the Jewish community.”
The action plan is believed to contain details on how  Labour intends to live up to Keir Starmer’s zero tolerance commitment to reports of antisemitism in the party in the future, how it will introduce training sessions on anti-Jewish racism to be conducted by the Jewish Labour Movement, and how it will effectively monitor improvements to ensure lasting change within the party.
Asked to comment the process in the Labour party by its new leader Keir Starmer, Gideon Falter, Chairman of the UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism, who has been in the forefront of the battle to refer the party  to EHRC because it was not taking its complaints against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn seriously, said: ‘’‘’The point is that this is a man, Jeremy Corbyn, who put 47% of British Jews in fear of their future in this country.He surely cannot be allowed by his political party, which claims to be anti-racist, to go without answer for that. He must be held to account in a fair, independent disciplinary process.’’
Falter added during a webinar hosted by the European Jewish Association: ‘’If this is going to be polluted by Keir Starmer’s  political considerations about who has the power in Labour, then I don’t think the party has learned his lesson. The Labour party has to secure justice against anti-Semites.’’
Last month, Starmer decided not to readmit Corbyn in its parliamentary ranks despite the fact that a Labour disciplinary panel lifted the suspension of Corbyn’s party membership.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation identified serious failings in leadership and an inadequate process of handling anti-Semitism complaints.
Its report said the party was responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act: political interference in anti-Semitism complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism complaints and harassment.
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Jewish groups alarmed as Greece poised to ban kosher slaughter

The Hellenic Council of State, the highest court, in Greece, ruled on Tuesday to ban halal and kosher slaughter, raising alarm among Jewish religious groups concerned about infringements on religious freedoms.
saw the court revoke the standing slaughter permit, which was provided through a ministerial decision that exempted ritual Jewish and Muslim slaughter practices from the general requirement to stun animals prior to killing them.
The ruling further called on Greek lawmakers to devise a way to meet the demands of animal rights advocates and the needs of Jews and Muslims who follow the laws about food in their traditions.

"The government should regulate the issue of slaughtering animals in the context of worship in such a way as to ensure both the protection of animals from any inconvenience during slaughter and the religious freedom of religious Muslims and Jews living in Greece," Greek news site Protothema cited the ruling.

"We warned in December about the downstream consequences that the European Court of Justice ruling carried with it, and now we see the outcome," Director-General of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin told JTA.

"Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack. It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus, and now it is Greece's turn," he warned.
Bans on ritual slaughter have been implemented in several countries across the region, including Sweden, Slovenia, Estonia, Denmark, and Finland.
The bans are part of a struggle across Europe between animal welfare activists and Muslim and Jewish community representatives.
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The European Court of Justice ruled last year that all member states had to "reconcile both animal welfare and freedom of religion."
The EJC's Dec. 17 ruling effectively upheld a 2017 decree by the Flemish government to ban ritual slaughter without stunning, as required by most interpretations of Jewish and Muslim law, but said that imposed stricter regulation on ritual slaughter were up to the states themselves. The ruling further urged member states to "adequately and proportionately consider freedom of religion" when making such rulings.
i24NEWS contributed to this report.
https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/10/28/jewish-groups-alarmed-as-greeces-top-court-rules-against-ritual-slaughter/

Taking Action Following the Murder of Yeshiva Student, Dvir Sorek (ת.נ.צ.ב.ה)

A day after Dvir funeral EJA chairman, Rabbi Margolin had sent letters to High Representative Mogherini, H.E. Mr. David Maria Sassoli MEP, H.E. Mr. Donald Franciszek Tusk and Mr. David James McAllister MEP, urging them to condemn the glorification of violence and radicalisation by the Palestinian Authority, and make clear that incitement will not be tolerated by the EU, in order to ensure that the murderer of the 19-year-old Dvir Sorek does not receive such payments/stipends.

 

Axe Thrown Through Window of Belgrade Jewish Cemetery Chapel

A Jewish cemetery in Belgrade, Serbia was vandalized Wednesday night, when an axe, hammer and stones were thrown through the window of its chapel.
A spokesperson for the Jewish Community of Belgrade told The Algemeiner that the incident had caused serious material damage, noting that if the chapel had been occupied, it could have resulted in “severe physical injuries or even death.”
The spokesperson said that “this act reminds us of Kristallnacht,” the Nazi-led riots against the German Jewish community in 1938.
On Thursday, European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin wrote to Serbia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, calling for a full investigation.

“It is clear that whoever was responsible has no respect for the dead, never mind the living,” Margolin said in a statement. “We extend our support to our Jewish brothers and sisters in Belgrade and Serbia as a whole, who must be reeling at this attack, and feeling vulnerable.”

“I have written to Serbian minister of Internal Affairs asking for a robust response to the attack, as well as a full throated condemnation, lest the antisemites that carried out this act believe that it is now open season on Jewish buildings in Serbia.”

The vandalism is the latest in a series of antisemitic incidents to hit the Belgrade Jewish community. The Jewish Community told The Algemeiner of repeated antisemitic harassment against a prominent Jewish epidemiologist, including graffiti that compared him to the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, as well as demonstrations outside the epidemiologist’s home in which demonstrators wore yellow Stars of David.
Threats of a second Holocaust have also been received at the Community’s Facebook page, as well as Nazi symbols, antisemitic emails, and other threats.

Axe Thrown Through Window of Belgrade Jewish Cemetery Chapel


 

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