EUROPEAN JEWISH ASSOCIATION WELCOMES NEW AUSTRIAN GOVERNMENT’S REJECTION OF ANTI-SEMITISM

December 18, 2017

The European Jewish Association (EJA) today congratulated Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz on the establishment of the new Austrian government. In a statement, EJA Founder and Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin said:
“We remember Mr. Kurz as a foreign minister sensitive to the values of democracy and a friend of the Jewish people.
“In recent years, European Jewry has faced a wave of opposition to Jewish religious practices on the continent, as well as a worrying rise in the level of anti-Semitism and the popularity of extremist parties, both right and left.
‘Jewish Ethics denote that a people are never rejected personally, but their behavior and actions are’.
“For this reason, and in light of the statements made by the new government who all its members are united in condemning any expression of anti-Semitism, we congratulate the Austrian chancellor on his unprecedented achievement and his success in founding a stable government.
“Austria as an EU Member however poses a challenge. We cannot ignore the fear that in other countries extreme parties will join the government based on the Austrian model without the unambiguous rejection of anti-Semitism that Austria has provided.
“The European Jewish Association is asking the new government to join the United States, the European Union and other countries and to appoint a special government representative to initiate and coordinate government action to eradicate anti-Semitism and Xenophobia in Austria in the spirit of the anti-Semitic definitions adopted in the European Parliament in June 2017 and to clarify that freedom of religion in Austria will remain unchanged.”

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Opinion Piece by Rabbi Margolin: The Palestinians’ all or nothing approach will get them nothing

There is a thin line between aspiration and delusion.
All of us seek to encourage aspiration, but we also regard it as a duty to tell others that they are being deluded. And yet nobody in the international community is willing to have this conversation with the Palestinian Leadership. What is this delusion? It is the “all or nothing” Palestinian demands for peace.

Israelis want peace. But there is zero chance of successful negotiations with a bar set too high for Israel to accept. The bar is a return to pre- 67 borders and the ‘right of return’.
It is time to be blunt. Nobody knows better than Israel what its security needs are. Israel has made it clear that 67 borders are not defendable and would pose an existential threat to the country and its citizens. In short, it’s not going to happen.
Israel may be a young state but it has a long memory. Those who ask it to compromise its borders and security are many of the same voices who left her on her own during wars when her needs were greatest. It will not compromise security for promises and words.
On the ‘right to return’ the bluntness must continue. The Palestinians are not only demanding a smaller Israeli State, and a Palestinian state free of Jews, but for the absorption of millions of Palestinians into Israel.
In short, Israel would simply cease to be a Jewish State – the world’s only one. It’s not going to happen.
Let’s keep it even more simple: A future Palestinian State can have the luxury of malleable borders, Israel cannot.
This is the reality. The Palestinians demands are not credible or achievable. And yet the international community continues to pay lip-service to their delusion.
This is a dereliction of duty. We need to rip up the current playbook that the international community is sticking to. It is a playbook that has not advanced the prospects of peace by a single millimetre. It enables Palestinian stasis. It removes any motivation for them to move forwards. It keeps them in their comfort zone of perpetual grievance.
The Trump plan on the other hand represents the first real attempt by any negotiators to understand and put Israeli security as the starting position and build from there. Previous attempts have always made this an afterthought.
The plan also offers Palestinians a real pathway to statehood, underpinned with a 50 billion investment in infrastructure and state-building – around a third, in today’s money – of the entire Marshall plan budget that was given to 16 countries.
The Palestinians rejected it.
Why? The official line is because of annexation, and because they lost trust in Trump.
Let’s take annexation first. In the past, and most recently in Gaza, but also including the return of Sinai and other territory, Israel has shown its willingness to trade land for Peace as long as it can safeguard its security. And there is no reason to believe that this would not be the case again. Annexation does not represent a final settling of borders. It can represent an opportunity for Palestinians to get back round the table, even if they are historically averse to doing so.
Which brings us to the issue of trust. The Peace process to date is a litany of failure to budge on the Palestinian side, even after significant and often painful moves by Israel, such as the withdrawal from territories that we just touched upon.
Their reaction to this plan is more of the same. The refusal to Trump is the same refusal given to Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Obama. The same refusal of 48, 67, 73, in the 80’s, 90’s, and OO’s. The terms of reference only change.
Which takes us back to where we started. Aspiration and delusion. A Palestinian state in an aspiration. 67 lines and the right to return is delusion. Annexation is not a final settling of borders, but can be part of negotiations.
It is time to get serious. To get real. To disavow delusion and face reality.
If we fail to do this, we will never get the Palestinians back around the negotiating table, allowing them to perpetuate ad-infinitum the suffering of the people that they represent.
And It’s time for the international community to finally choose between the two and get things moving again.
The article was published in The Times of Israel

Interview with our director of public affairs, Alex Benjamin 

Watch Romano Bolkovic interview with our director of public affairs, Alex Benjamin for 1 na 1.
An interesting depth discussion on Jewish life in Europe, the role of the EU and reflections on Brexit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIWO_pgKM_Q&app=desktop&fbclid=IwAR2SgrBlMHSH-V6WHJnl6hFh88-ZMqqsv2dZjBu9t_hIrH34NCaZ4WA2A7I

Greetings for Rosh HaShanah by President of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Dr. Denis Zvizdić

New Jewish European campaign seeks to house Jewish refugees from Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine enters a second week, Europe is witnessing a huge influx of refugees fleeing Ukraine toward the West, including many Ukrainian Jews in this surge to safety.The Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA), representing hundreds of communities across the continent, has launched a Europe-wide campaign to temporarily provide homes, food and clothing to hundreds of Jewish families whose lives have been torn apart and upended by the conflict in Ukraine.

The appeal has gone out to Jewish communities from Lisbon to Lublin, Bucharest to Bordeaux, and everywhere in between.

“The history of the Jewish people is one of displacement, either because of pogrom or war,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, EJA chairman. “We are only too aware of what it means to be forced to up and leave at a moment’s notice. In almost every one of our communities you will hear such stories. We, the Jewish people, are especially attuned to these catastrophes. And because we are so attuned, we are pre-programmed to help our Jewish neighbors, just as we always have.

“I have faith that this campaign will deliver. Since the war started, Jews from all over Europe have been getting in touch with us to see what can be done to help their Ukrainian Jewish brothers and sisters in need. We are providing them with the vehicle to do just that, by offering shelter, food and clothing to those who left in a hurry, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”

Another European Jewish organization very active on the ground is the Conference of European Rabbis, which announced this week that Israeli technology investor Yuri Milner has donated $3 million to the CER to help Jewish refugees from Ukraine.

“As we witness the terrible human suffering in Ukraine, the Conference of European Rabbis would like to announce a special donation of $3m. from the foundation established by Yuri and Julia Milner,” said the conference. “Yuri is an Israeli technology investor and science philanthropist.”

“The CER is grateful to Yuri and Julia Milner for their long-standing support and for this latest commitment to the Jewish community at this perilous time,” said CER President Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt.

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