Europese joden reageren met afschuw op afbeelding gele ster tijdens coronabetoging

December 6, 2021

"Ik heb moeite om de gelijkenis te zien tussen gevraagd worden om een vaccin te nemen tijdens een pandemie, of de gevolgen te dragen als je dat niet doet, en tussen het systematisch uitmoorden van zes miljoen Joden in vernietigingskampen, gaskamers of massale schietpartijen aan open graven", aldus Margolin.

"Het maakt me ziek om te bedenken hoe weinig mensen de pijn begrijpen die dergelijke spandoeken veroorzaken, en hoe weinig mensen echt begrip en waardering hebben voor de enorme omvang en magnitude van de holocaust. Aan degenen die vandaag marcheerden met een grote gele ster, zeg ik dit: doe dit niet”, vertelt hij. “Hoe je je ook voelt over de coronabeperkingen, niemand tatoeëert jouw armen, niemand drijft jou op veewagens, en niemand wil dat jij, jouw familie en jouw geliefden sterven. Zorg er in de eerste plaats voor dat je kennis vergaart en dat je weet wat deze gele ster werkelijk vertegenwoordigt", aldus de rabbi.

https://www.hln.be/binnenland/europese-joden-reageren-met-afschuw-op-afbeelding-gele-ster-tijdens-coronabetoging~aff4335f/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.be%2F

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New Cooperation with The FORUM der Joodse Organisaties (FJO)

The European Jewish Association is proud and delighted to welcome another organisation to our growing roster of partners and communities.
We have just concluded and signed a memorandum of understanding with The FORUM der Joodse Organisaties (FJO), an organisation that we have increasingly had closer ties with. A formal arrangement was the next logical step in our mutually beneficial ongoing relationship.
We look forward to continuing our work for the betterment of Belgium and European Jewry together.

Chairman of EJA, Rabbi Margolin's Words on the Latest Poll on Antisemitism

Have you ever been stuck in a dire situation where someone wants to help you with a problem, but you know their approach isn’t going to work? And you don’t want to offend them by saying as much as their intentions are good?

In ordinary life, it’s a dilemma. But when it comes to the Millions of Jews living in Europe, the time for such niceties and politeness is now officially over.

On Tuesday, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and the European Commission published their second survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in the EU. The FRA’s director said the findings “make for a sobering read”.  That would be understatement.

With 28% of respondents indicating that they have been harassed at least once in the past year, with 79% of Jews who experienced anti-Semitic harassment in the past five years not reporting this to the police or another organisation, with 34% avoiding visiting Jewish events or sites because they do not feel safe, with 38% considering emigrating because they did not feel safe as Jews in Europe, and with 70% considering that efforts by Member States to combat Antisemitism are not effective, this is not sobering. This is an unmitigated disaster.

The report, as brutal and stark as its findings are did not shock me in the slightest. It simply confirmed all the feedback, all the phone calls and all the reports that we at the Europaen Jewish Association had been getting, and made the red lines that we ratified at our conference in November all the more pertinent and pressing.

Before we get to the red lines, let us ask the most pressing question. Why is Europe failing so badly in making Jews feel secure? It does after all say all the right words, publishes reports and invests in people to fight the scourge of this oldest hatred. How can it be that 70% of Jews don’t believe it will make a difference?

The answer is wrapped up in the same word that entangles much of the good intentions of the EU institutions, and that word is competence.

Competence is basically which areas the EU can have a say (or interfere depending on your position). So, the EU can, if you are a Member State, tell you how many fish you can catch a year but not where your army should be deployed. It happens that human rights and freedom of religion, indeed the very subject of antisemitism itself is not an EU Competence. That means in essence that all the fine words, all the reports, and all of the various agencies looking at this in Brussels cannot compel, sanction or effectively reprimand any breaches. That, therefore,  makes human rights, freedom of religion and antisemitism voluntary instead of compulsory and open to interpretation or political manipulation.

That’s problem number one. For example, during the religious slaughter debate in Denmark, it was said that animal welfare takes precedence over Freedom of Religion. When it comes to circumcision, a similar argument over the right of the child to choose is being habitually made, in many countries. We can, and often do, get into public discourse of the minutiae of such debates, on scientific, health and any number of grounds, but this misses the central point. Is Freedom of Religion (and freedom to practise) a fundamental right or not? Everyone says so, so it must be right? Then why are we, as a Jewish Association engaged every year in efforts across the continent to defend Kosher slaughter and Brit Milah? It is increasingly apparent that there is nobody to police, much less defend, this vital part of the foundation on which the EU is built.  We as Jews are left with the Animal Farm scenario, where “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

The other words that get us all tangled up are political and expediency. And this is problem number two, that of Anti-Zionism/Anti-Israelism. It is clear in a number of countries, and from the EU’s own statistics from the last few years, that there are massive spikes in anti-Semitism whenever Israel is involved in defensive actions, such as operations in Gaza, or efforts to break the navy blockade. The BDS movement, and their followers in the left wing stir up hate speech, draw false parallels with South Africa under apartheid and raise modern blood libels. Anti-Zionism is, make no mistake, the modern ‘acceptable’ face of anti-Semitism. Looking at the report, over 85% of respondents in Belgium and France feel that the arab-Israeli conflict affects their feelings of safety “a great deal”. Whether you support the Israeli government or not, whether you are secular or not, that Israel affects you as a Jew is undeniable.

Which makes the EU’s position on the matter all the more ridiculous. Anti-Semitism is a no-no, but criticism of Israel is free speech. This from the mouth of the EU’s High Representative herself. Where is the red line on this free speech? Does it stop at Jewish Nazi? Zionist child killer? Israeli Organ harvester? There isn’t a clear answer, allowing the Israel haters and the modern anti-Semites in the far left and BDS movement to act and talk with impunity.

Let us recap. On two of the biggest touch-paper issues affecting anti-Semitism across the continent - whether real or perceived - the EU is either incapable in the first instance, and unwilling for the sake of political expediency to act on the second. 

As I opened with, the time for niceties is over. Nobody is questioning the intentions of the European Institutions and European countries to tackle the problem, and we genuinely thank them for this commitment, but you can’t and wont tackle the oldest hatred leaving the competence question open ,nor by maintaining a two-faced approach to anti-Semitism where Israel is concerned. It really is the political equivalent of using a bucket to take the water out of a boat, without blocking the hole in the first place!

And that right there - those two gaping holes in the hull - are why the Jews interviewed by the survey – all 70% of us – don’t have any faith that efforts will be effective.

So, what can be done? The EJA sent every European political party “Jewish Red Lines” that were ratified by democratic vote by our members across Europe.  None of them are rocket science, but they can and would plug the holes.

Our members said that Political parties and their leadership must sign up to the full IHRA definition of Anti-semitism. That Every European Country must appoint a dedicated Special Representative to combat anti-Semitism where one already doesn’t exist. That all political parties pledge to exclude from government parties or politicians that espouse anti-Semitism as defined by the IHRA definition. That all political parties must pass, in accordance with their respective rules of procedure, binding resolutions that reject BDS activities as fundamentally anti-Semitic, and lastly that all political parties support in writing and in party documents their support for freedom of religion and freedom of practice at Member State level and EU level.

These red lines are the bare minimum that is needed to make a real difference. Europe’s principal leaders and parties were sent them, will be aware of them, and should adopt them immediately if they are serious about tackling anti-Semitism and gaining the trust of Jews who feel literally cast adrift from the very people who tell them they want to help.  If you really want to help us, the message is clear. Listen to us, adopt the red lines and let’s consign reports like this to the dustbin of history. Otherwise, expect a worse report next year. And the year after that too.

New Cooperation with The NIG de Achterhoek

The European Jewish Association is proud and delighted to welcome another organisation to our growing roster of partners and communities.
We have just concluded and signed a memorandum of understanding with NIG de Achterhoek. (Jewish community of Achterhoek, Netherlands)
When two dynamic and active Jewish organisations get together and agree to work closely together, beautiful and important things flow from this. We look forward to working for the betterment of Dutch and European Jewry together.

A new memorial tombstone on a mass grave of Jews in the City of Sadigora, Ukraine

The Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE) has unveiled yesterday morning a memorial tombstone on a mass grave of  the Jewish community of the City of Sadigora in Ukraine, that were slaughtered in 1941 by gangs of Ukrainians and Romanians that were granted “24 hours to do what they wanted with the Jews” by the Russian Command
“We played together – all of the children and suddenly our Jewish friends began to disappear"
RCE General Director, Rabbi Arye Goldberg:
“We are in the midst of an extensive operation to detect and establish tombstones on other mass graves of Jews who were slaughtered in Ukraine”
Israel's ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Leon:
I call upon the new President of the Ukraine and Members of the Rada (parliament of Ukrain to adopt the Anti-Semitic definitions of the IHRA
Thursday, July 25, 2019, Ukraine, The Jews of Sagura in southern Ukraine, near the border with Romania and Moldova, thought that the Russian army's victory over the German Nazi army during the fighting in the region in July 1941,  was the end of the war, and the end of the attacks on them by the Romanian Army who controlled the area and cooperated with the Nazis.
However, the Russian command allowed local Ukrainian and Romanian gangs a “24-hour window to do with the Jews as they will”. The relief sensations of the Jewish community of the region became a murderous nightmare: “We played together – all of the children and suddenly our Jewish friends began to disappear one by one" said this morning in a trembling voice, an elderly Ukrainian woman who was present at the time of the acts during the unveiling ceremony of the tombstone established by the  Rabbinical Center of Europe over the mass grave in which , about 1,200 Jewish children women and men were murdered and burried – some of them when they were still alive.
The mass grave and the hidden testimonies were found in part by Rabbi Mendi Glitzinstein of the nearby city of Chernivtsi who harnessed the RCE in order to establish a headstone on the mass grave. The unveiling ceremony that took place this morning, saw the distinguished presence of the district’s Governor, Eiom Vasilovitz, , Israel's ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Leon, RCE General Director, Rabbi Arye Goldberg, Chief Rabbi of the nearby Jewish Community of Jetimore and Western Ukraine, Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm, members of the small Jewish community who survived  the massacre and Ukrainian neighbors, some of whom testified how they could feel the “earth burning underneath their feet” even days after the terrible massacre took place.
RCE General Director, Rabbi Arye Goldberg, said during the ceremony that the Rabbinical Center of Europe,  and its over  700 rabbi Members across the continent,  took this very important mission upon itself  and is now in the midst of an extensive operation of  locating and establishing tombstones on other Jewish mass Graves in the Ukraine. “We collect evidence and testimonies as much as possible from elderly Jews and Ukrainians who still remember. We than locate the mass graves and only after a team of experts confirms the findings, we establish tombstones for the memory of the victims."
RCE and EJA Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, made it clear that the special activity for locating and establishing tombstones on the tombs of the victims was held in parallel with the effort to further and renew Jewish life throughout the Ukraine, as well as the restoration of synagogues and mikvehs.
Israel's ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Leon who carried the Kaddish prayer in the ceremony, thanked the RCE for the initiative and its implementation in the field, and said that the embassy was conducting a special program for training Ukrainian teachers on how to teach the  lessons of the Holocaust in schools throughout the country. I call upon the new President of the Ukraine and Members of the Rada (parliament of Ukrain to adopt the Anti-Semitic definitions of the IHRA
 

 

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