European Jews Demand Unprecedented Scrutiny of Arrests Amid Rising Anti-Semitic Incitement

May 23, 2024

Amid the dramatic rise in levels of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism and violent demonstrations on campuses across Europe, encountering a lack of action by European governments or even a tacit encouragement in cases like Belgium and Spain, the European Jewish Association (EJA), representing hundreds of communities across the continent, established a forum of senior lawyers and Jewish jurists from across the continent to develop legal tools to enhance enforcement against manifestations of anti-Semitism.

The lawyers surveyed the legal tools – laws and enforcement mechanisms existing in each country – and discussed current challenges, such as the lack of knowledge among plaintiffs and police, legal loopholes, the sluggishness of the judicial system, and also addressed the distorted reception of the International Criminal Court in the case of the aggression between Hamas leaders who instigated the terrible massacre of October 7 and the Prime Minister and Defense Minister of the attacked state.

The forum decided on a series of operative steps, including calling for examining arrests until the completion of proceedings against inciters against Jews and Israelis in order to create deterrence, legislative processes to define the personal responsibility of politicians and government officials to prevent incitement and hate speech, measures to expedite and accelerate legal proceedings against anti-Semitic attacks, and of course, legal action against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

The Chairman of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, who initiated the forum, noted that: “Unfortunately, too many governments across Europe are not truly willing to combat the plague of anti-Semitism that has reached unprecedented levels since October 7. The ‘National Plans to Combat Anti-Semitism’ and the IHRA definitions are a good tools, but as long as they are not implemented, they remain merely declarative. The plans are shelved and reality is worsening and becoming more dangerous day by day. It begins with people being afraid or hesitant to file complaints against anti-Semitic attackers, continues with the lack of response and the absence of an effective response from law enforcement authorities, and strengthens in the face of the fact that even when an offender is brought to court, the process takes years and in the case of punishment – there is no longer an effective message for deterrence and prevention. If governments, law enforcement authorities, and university officials fail or refuse to address the challenge, then Jewish lawyers will do so. We intend to confront anti-Semitism directly, develop evidence-based legal tools, and disseminate an operative guide that will define to the police what constitutes anti-Semitic incidents and how they should act in each such case. Rabbi Margolin noted that all Jewish lawyers who are members of the forum volunteer fully and out of deep commitment.”

Adv. Pascal Markovitz, European Jewish Association Advisory Board Member and Lawyer at the Paris Bar, a pioneer in the legal fight against anti-Semitic phenomena in Europe, noted that in France, effective legislation has been developed against anti-Semitism and BDS, and the country has also adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. However, Markovitz noted that there is significant difficulty in enforcing the laws and imposing sanctions on anti-Semites.

Adv. Avram Ishai Head of the Legal Center for Combatting Antisemitism – The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IJLL), which partnered in convening the forum, noted that in Germany too, there is appropriate legislation against anti-Semitism, but the problem lies in enforcement when police lack the tools to identify and address incidents of anti-Semitism.

Wester Meijdam, Policy Officer at the Office of the European Commission Coordinator on combatting Antisemitism, revealed to the lawyers that 71% of Jews in Europe refrain from wearing or wearing items that could identify them as Jews. About 38% of European Jews have considered or are considering emigrating because they do not feel safe in their countries. 9 out of 10 Jews believe that anti-Semitism in their country has worsened.

Adv. Jonathan Turner, Chief Executive, UK Lawyers for Israel, noted that the police in Britain are ignoring the Jewish community – especially in London. While some police officers are very good and deserving, unfortunately, it seems that police commanders are reluctant to deal with the problem of anti-Semitism directly and comprehensively and fear internal rebellion, as a significant number of the officers under their command are Muslims.

The legal advisor to the European Jewish Association, EJA, Adv. Shlomo Dahan, noted that the guide to be developed for enforcement agencies will clarify to officers in the field how to identify and act from the moment a complaint is received to bringing the suspects to justice. The guide will detail to prosecutors in each country the legal channels they must take to achieve justice and how to distinguish when an utterance or act is an anti-Semitic statement or incitement, defined as a crime according to European Union guidelines.

 

Additional Articles

Addressing anti-Semitism in schools: UNESCO and OSCE launch framework curricula for teacher trainers

UNESCO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE-ODIHR) are publishing new resources for teacher trainers, titled Addressing Anti-Semitism in Schools: Training Curricula. Launched online on 24 November (5pm CET), the publication responds to an alarming rise in anti-Semitism, which is threatening the security of Jewish communities and individuals around the world.
The publication reflects the view that education plays a crucial role in raising young people’s awareness of anti-Semitism and helps them resist the harmful messages of hate speech. In 2019 alone, anti-Semitic hate crimes increased by 13% in Germany and 14% in the United States, for example. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred a new wave of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, while studies in the United States and Europe show a marked increase in Holocaust denial and distortion, both on- and off-line.
Supporting educators in particular, UNESCO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) are publishing new resources for teacher trainers, titled ‘Addressing Anti-Semitism in Schools: Training Curricula’. The publication will be launched online on 24 November at 17.00 CET.
Recognizing that schools are not immune to messages and acts of hate, UNESCO and ODIHR’s new publication prepares teachers and school directors to resist anti-Semitism through education and to address it when it arises in an educational environment. Divided into four distinct volumes, the publication includes targeted curricula for trainers of teachers in primary, secondary and vocational education, as well as school directors. The resources were developed with the support of the University College London Centre for Holocaust Education, as part of ODIHR’s Turning Words into Action to Address anti-Semitism project and within the framework of UNESCO’s programme on Global Citizenship Education.
The curricula follow a human rights-based approach and provide pedagogical knowledge and concrete activities, designed to strengthening learners’ critical thinking, understanding, and rejection, of anti-Semitism, prejudice and discrimination. Each volume includes a comprehensive list of good practices as well as examples of scenarios and methodological suggestions. Adding to the publication, the USC Shoah Foundation UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education is developing a website that will link the curricula to existing online teaching resources.
The new publication is based on UNESCO and ODIHR’s 2018 guidelines for policymakers on Addressing anti-Semitism through Education. In 2019, the guidelines informed a series of capacity-building workshops, which reached policymakers from more than 60 countries.
The online launch on 24 November will feature statements by Katarzyna Gardapkhadze, Officer-in-Charge of ODIHR, Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Education, and German Ambassador Michaela Küchler, who holds the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Chair. A panel discussion will focus on The role of education in addressing antisemitism with the participation of Maram Stern, Executive Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, Sharon Nazarian, Senior Vice President of International Affairs at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Stuart Foster, Executive Director of the University College London Centre for Holocaust Education. It will be moderated by Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation and UNESCO Chair for Genocide Education. The framework curricula will be introduced by Ruth-Anne Lenga, Programme Director, and Arthur Chapman, Associate Professor in History Education of the University College London Centre for Holocaust Education.
The article was published in MirageNews

Annual conference for European Jewish Leadership FIGHTING BACK FOR OUR FUTURE

We are delighted to announce the commencement of our yearly conference in Amsterdam. This significant event focuses on tackling the concerning and increasing surge of antisemitism within our community.

Through impactful keynote speeches and dynamic panel discussions, we will explore solutions and responses to this troubling trend. The conference serves as a vital rallying call for all those committed to combating discrimination and halting its further advancement.

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The European Jewish Association is a prominent and influential organisation dedicated to representing, advocating for, and fostering the interests of the Jewish community across Europe. Founded on unity, tolerance, and inclusivity principles, the EJA bridges diverse Jewish communities and European societies.

#BringThemHomeNow #NeverAgainIsNow #NotOnMyWatch

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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
Column NIW 38 GB
Sara wants to tell her husband something positive and something negative. What do you want to hear first, she asks him? Start with the good news, her husband replied. Well, Sara enthuses, your Lexus’airbags worked very well. After two weeks holiday of writing my diary, I also have something positive and something negative to say. I'll start with the negative. I had to go to England for a few days. The reason why is irrelevant, but I want to share the corona bombardment surrounding this trip. The ferry ticket was easily booked, but then the test circus started. I checked online which test is required to cross the sea. €130 PCR. Afterwards, the test of €39 turned out to be sufficient. I had to be at the test site at 11:05 am, preferable not earlier. I was there at 11:04, but had to queue until 12:15! Two days later, after lengthy paper statements about testing, whereabouts and quarantine, I was in London. Four times a day I got a call from the local authority asking how I was feeling and where I was. They also send inspectors to check us at the door every other day. And then back home again. I expected the return journey to be easy as I am Dutch and fully vaccinated. Mais non! I was bombed by text, WhatsApp and email by the Ferry company. I had to have an urgent reason, which officially falls under the exceptions, to be allowed to return home. My full vaccination was not recognized as I am entering Holland from England and I had to have a negative PCR test less than 24 hours old. The latter was a difficult one, because my ferry left at 11 p.m. So, I could only go to a test location the next morning, on the day of departure, but I would receive the results after 24 hours, not earlier. I was quite upset about it. It seemed like mission impossible. After a few days in England and five tests with negative results, I was back in Holland. At the border I was kindly welcomed by our Royal Military Police. I just had to show my ID. No test results and not even my app showing that I’m vaccinated. That friendly “welcome back to the Netherlands and have a nice” made me forget all threatening emails, text messages and WhatsApp’s in no time and therefore my quarantine after returning passed without any emotional problems. Which shows the importance of a few kind and
friendly words!

Letter to the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic about the ban of kosher slaughter

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