Red Lines Follow-Up: Meeting with German Ambassador H.E. Mr. Martin Kotthaus

January 10, 2019

Earlier today, the European Jewish Association has had the honour of meeting with the recently appointed Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Kingdom of Belgium, H.E. Mr. Martin Kotthaus. While His Excellency has earlier already attended some of our events, including the recent EJA annual conference back in November 2018, this has been the first occasion, which presented an opportunity to have a very comprehensive discussion on a number of different topics.

These subjects, amongst others, included the issues European Jewry is faced with nowadays across the continent, the situation in Germany itself, especially with regards to the present political climate and the upcoming elections at regional and EU levels, various topical matters at hand and everyday life of the Jewish community, as well as prospects for the future. Both sides have expressed their hopes for a continued productive cooperation between the German authorities and the country’s Jewish community. The recently adopted Red Lines have been touched upon as well, with Mr. Ambassador kindly offering to report back on them to his homeland’s government.

We very much look forward to a long and fruitful cooperation with His Excellency and the Embassy on questions presenting mutual interest and concern.

Additional Articles

#LightingEurope Second and Third Day of Chanukah

As a part of our #LightingEurope canpaign we are happy and honored to have head of the board of the Jewish Community of Barcelona “Comunidad Israelita de Barcelona”, Madam Elisabeth Buch for the second candle and Binyomin Jacobs, Dutch Chief Rabbi for the third candle with some special words for Chanikah:


 
 

NETHERLANDS: CHIEF RABBI APPALLED AS ANTI-ZIONIST RIGHTS BODY DEMANDS UNIVERSITIES TO REVEAL ISRAELI CONTACTS.

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LA FRANCE EST LE PAYS EUROPÉEN DONT LA COMMUNAUTÉ JUIVE SE SENT LE MOINS EN SÉCURITÉ, SELON UNE ÉTUDE PORTANT SUR 12 ETATS EUROPÉENS

a France est le pays dont la communauté juive se sent le moins en sécurité, en dépit des actions menées par l’Etat, selon une étude portant sur 12 pays européens publiée ce mardi dans le cadre d’une rencontre organisée par l’Association juive européenne (EJA).

Les chiffres font froid dans le dos. D’après une étude sur la «qualité de vie juive» portant sur 12 pays européens, réalisée par l’Institute for Jewish Policy Research de Londres et par la European Union Agency for Fondamental Rights, auprès de 16.000 Juifs européens en 2018, la France est le pays dont la communauté juive se sent le moins en sécurité.

QUATRE CRITÈRES CROISÉS

Pour réaliser cette étude, les chercheurs ont croisé quatre ensembles de données : le sentiment de sécurité ressenti par la communauté juive, l’attitude de la population vis-à-vis des juifs et Israël, l’antisémitisme et enfin la «performance du gouvernement» (statistiques sur les incidents antisémites, lieux de mémoire de l’Holocauste, budget destiné à la sécurité des sites juifs, liberté de culte et préservation des pratiques juives telles que la circoncision et l’abattage rituel, etc…).

Les résultats sont probants. Il en ressort que la France, qui comprend la plus forte communauté juive d’Europe avec un peu moins de 500.000 Juifs, arrive à la 10e position (68/100) de cet index qui concerne également l’Italie (1ère place avec 79/100), la Hongrie (2e), la Pologne (11e), la Belgique (12e place avec 60/100), mais aussi l’Allemagne, l’Espagne, le Danemark, le Royaume-Uni, la Suède, les Pays-Bas.

DES ATTAQUES ET ATTENTATS ANTISÉMITES

«L’une des conclusions, surprenante, est que le gouvernement de la France a une bonne performance» par les actions menées par l’Etat (score de 83/100), «mais en dépit de cela, la communauté juive exprime un fort sentiment d’inquiétude» pour sa sécurité (31/100), ce qui place la France en dernière position sur ce point, a déclaré à l’AFP Daniel Staetsky, auteur de cet index et statisticien à l’Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

Comme possibles explications, il a cité les «attaques terroristes antisémites» comme la tuerie de l’école juive Otzar Hatorah à Toulouse en 2012 ou l’attaque contre l’Hypercacher dans l’Est parisien en janvier 2015.

LE DANEMARK PREMIER DE LA CLASSE

Autre enseignement : c’est au Danemark que la population juive se sent le plus en sécurité. La Hongrie arrive au premier rang concernant l’antisémitisme. Et la Belgique est dernière pour les actions menées par le pays en faveur de sa communauté juive.

Selon l’EJA, la rencontre, qui se tient à Budapest (Hongrie) depuis lundi et se termine mardi, réunit quelque 250 personnes, dont 120 représentants et dirigeants des communautés juives d’Europe.

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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
Diary March 18
Concerns about politics.
One of the prominent figures of the Jewish Netherlands, who is apparently occasionally tormented by the disease called jealousy, approached me with the comment that he had heard that I will be speaking next Sunday for the NIK on Zoom because of Pesach and expressed the hope that I would not speak about anti-Semitism again and would not have my message / lecture included with those Christians
Of course I don’t have to justify myself and I can do whatever I want, but it bothered me anyway. Because with “those Christians” professional recording equipment was available and “those Christians” were willing to make a good recording completely free of charge, I had made my NIK Hanukkah presentation with and by “those Christians”. Some years ago I had received a similar comment, from that same person, about “those Christians” I needed to have less contact with them. I understand that setup. What I did not fully understand, however, was that the same critic then went to “those Christians” to ask for financial support for his, otherwise fine, projects.
Nothing new under the sun. I remember speaking to an eminent physician some time ago. This ‘eminence’, he told me personally, was not so much down to his expertise in his field, but as a much about his political qualities. No, he was not in politics, he was referring to politics at the top of his university hospital. When I heard a little bit of that politics I immediately thought of the rabbinic world! (Just kidding, because rabbis don’t do politics!)
Because there is politics everywhere. Especially in the real and necessary democratic politics: The elections!
I haven’t been able to sleep all night. When I looked at the new composition of the House of Representatives, I was overcome with concern. I hope and pray that I misjudge it completely, but I fear it. Of course, there can be criticism of Israeli Politics, that does not have to be a sign of anti-Semitism.
But if there is only talk about Israel and not a word is mentioned about the feudal dictatorships of the countries around Israel, then I do not understand. I understand and accept that one of our prominent mayors in a speech at #MayorsAgainstAntisemtism claims that criticism of Netanyahu is allowed, as well as criticism of Rutte. But that’s not the problem. Criticism of Netanyahu is allowed, 50% of Israel criticizes him and that does not degrade them to anti-Semites. The problem is that there is almost exclusively criticism of Israel. That Israel is by far at the top of the list for UN Resolutions. The role of a mayor should be in trying to connect his townspeople, and that does not happen by importing sensitive foreign conflicts. Do I think this mayor is anti-Semitic? Absolutely not! Do I think this mayor should be allowed to criticize Netanyahu? Sure! But what I regret is that criticism of Israel unfortunately and often unintentionally leads to anti-Semitism.
How often am I not allowed to explain that I speak Dutch, although I am a Jew but not born in Israel. The superficial one-sidedness in the experience, however nuanced a mayor may present it, causes anti-Semitism here in our country. And so: if the mayor believes we should keep the Middle East problem out of the city, then criticize Israel, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, North Korea, China, on… and on…. But even better: let the mayor try to bind the various population groups within the city limits and call them to develop activities that unite together. And then, if connections and friendships have arisen, then, despite the diversity, the friendship itself can look at bottlenecks and differences of opinion that seemed unmentionable. Do you think that can succeed? Often not, but sometimes it does.
And sometimes I cherish that, because I have sometimes been able to experience this often!
And to the prominent Jewish Dutchman I would like to say: next week it is Pesach and Jews all over the world read the Hagadah, which describes the Exodus from Egypt at that time.And what do we read there about the present and now? “Because in every generation we are rebelled against us to destroy us” literally. And then the text continues and says that G-d will save us in the end. The Jewish people live and survive, but all kinds of things happen along the way. We must know, prevent and combat that, but not deny it! I hope that the new House of Representatives will want to fight that battle with us and will want to exercise vigilance.

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