“FOLLOWING DESECRATION OF 80 HEADSTONES IN DENMARK, EUROPEAN JEWISH HEAD SAYS EU LEADERS MUST STEP UP NOT ONLY SECURITY BUT EDUCATION.

November 11, 2019

“If people are willing to attack the graves of the dead, we shudder to think what they would do to the living given the chance” add Rabbi Menachem Margolin.

Following the attack on 80 gravestones in Randers, Denmark, on Sunday, European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin called on EU Leaders to step up security arrangements at Jewish sites and buildings and to double their efforts in education when it comes to rising antisemitism across the continent.

“We must generate a vehement and strong societal action against antisemitism, because if people are willing to attack the graves of the dead, we shudder to think what they would do to the living given the chance”, said Margolin.  

He continued:  

“The attack at the weekend represents another episode in the rising trend of antisemitic attacks across the continent as a whole.

“I want to be clear. Governments can only do so much. The fight against antisemitism needs to be ‘ground up’, as well as ‘top down’. And that comes through education. Initiatives and activities in schools must be prioritised that clearly delineate antisemitism as a malignant symptom that must be urgently eradicated today.

“Following this latest attack, and taking into account the rising figures in Denmark and across the continent as a whole, now is also the time for Leaders across the EU to step up their security support for communities across Europe.

“We must ensure that the widespread silence and shoulder shrugging following attacks within society are replaced with concern and a vocalisation of it’s unaceptability in modern society. To this end, we are asking all EU leaders to double their efforts today.”

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Nehammer: Synagoge perpetrator with Islamist motives arrested, around the clock protection for synagogues and Jewish institutions

During a press conference in Vienna on the 24th of August 2020, Karl Nehammer, Minister of the Interior, Karoline Edtstadler, Minister for the EU and Constitutional Affairs, Susanne Raab, Minister for Women and Integration, and Oskar Deutsch, President of the Jewish Community in Vienna, as well as Elie Rosen, President of the Jewish Community Graz, commented on last week’s attacks on a Synagogue and a LGBT rights advocacy center in Graz.
“Last week’s incidents in Graz are shocking and not acceptable. It is not solely a matter of  criminal law with property damage and attempted personal injury, but first and foremost an absolutely unacceptable attack on fundamental rights and freedoms.  It was an attack on the freedom of religion and the diversity of lifestyles in our society”, the Minister of Interior said. “In Austria, there is no place for Antisemitism!”  Nehammer stressed that it was of importance to act quickly. “Yesterday evening, after comprehensive investigations led by the Federal Agency for State Protection and Counter Terrorism and the Styrian police, the offender could quickly be arrested. The offender is a 31 years old Syrian citizen, who lives and holds a refugee status in Austria since the year 2013. I want to thank all the police officers who were involved in the arrest for their efforts.” The Minister added that according to the current investigations the attacks were due to Islamist motives. The man was questioned until early morning and admitted the crimes. “Corresponding evidence was found and secured In the perpetrator’s flat.”
Uniformed and civil police officers protect all Jewish institutions in Austria
“Austria stands for freedom as well as a diverse society and is aware of its historic responsibility”, the Minister of Interior stressed. “The security of the Jewish community in Austria is especially important to us. Our police work in close collaboration with the security staff of the Jewish community to ensure their safety. I have in the meantime ordered further measures so that synagogues and other Jewish institutions will be protected by uniformed and civil police officers around the clock in the coming weeks.” Nehammer stressed that it is our joint concern that Jewish people can live in peace and security in Austria: “The Austrian Government will do everything in order to guarantee the safety of our Jewish citizens.”
 

President Đukanović is a true friend of the Jewish people.

For the first time ever, a permanent Chief Rabbi was elected in Montenegro, in a moving ceremony with the presence of President Milo Đukanović and Israeli Minister of Religious Services Yitzhak Vaknin. Chairman of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin: “President Đukanović is a true friend of the Jewish people.”
Thursday, 31 October 2019, Montenegro. A small piece of Jewish history was marked today in the capital of Montenegro, as Rabbi Ari Edelkopf was elected as the first-ever permanent Chief Rabbi of the country.
The ceremony was held in the presence of Montenegro’s President Milo Đukanović, Israeli Minister of Religious Services Yitzhak Vaknin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Director of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe Rabbi Arie Goldberg, Israel’s Chief Rabbinate representative Rabbi Eliezer Simcha Weiss, President of the Montenegrin Jewish Community Đorđe Raičević, and dozens of Montenegrin ministers and MPs.
For more than two years, Rabbi Edelkopf has served as the Rabbi of Montenegro’s Jewish community, which includes over 500 Jewish families – some of whom are natives of Montenegro and others who moved to the country in recent years. During the ceremony, Rabbi Edelkopf stated that: “In Judaism to be a teacher is the biggest honour. To be giving, sharing knowledge and love! The Jewish community in Montenegro is unique, and I feel honoured to be its Rabbi. I would like to thank my wife Hana. Everything I have achieved ever as a rabbi is all thanks to her and our Rebbe, who says: “Everyone needs to share his or her knowledge with others. Even if you know only one letter, share it. With G-d’s help, we’ll all strive and aim for that.””
During the nomination ceremony, Montenegro’s President Milo Đukanović noted that: “We live in hard times. Antisemitism is on the rise, and is not only a problem for the Jewish community, but for the whole of Europe. The appointment of a chief rabbi in Montenegro is a bright spot that we are all happy about.”
Rabbi Edelkopf is a not only the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community, but of the entire country of Montenegro, and we will surely continue our fruitful cooperation, with the Jewish community working with him.”
“Over the years, the Montenegrin people have been very supportive of the Jewish people and many Montenegrins helped to hide Jews from the Nazis during the Holocaust. Since its declaration of independence in 2006, the various governments in the state have maintained very good relations with the Jewish community, which is reflected, among other things, in the allocation of land for building synagogues, and in the very small number of Antisemitic incidents in the country.”
Chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA), Rabbi Menachem Margolin, who initiated the historic appointment in Montenegro thanked President Đukanović for his unquestionable support for the Jewish people, congratulated Rabbi Edelkopf on the appointment, and stated: “President Đukanović is a true friend of the Jewish people and brings with him a very rich experience in the fight against Antisemitism all over Europe. We look forward to continuing working hand in hand with him on this issue.”
Minister of Religious Services of Israel, Yitzhak Vaknin, thanked President Đukanović and the EJA’s Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin for their efforts to strengthen the Jewish community in Montenegro and throughout the Balkans, and noted that: “The State of Israel sees itself as an address for all the Jews of the world, both the Jews who want to make Aliyah to Israel and the Jews who choose to live in the Balkans, and we want to deepen the dialogue and cooperation with everyone.”
Director of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, Rabbi Arie Goldberg, noted during the ceremony that: “The appointment of Rabbi Edelkopf as permanent Chief Rabbi of Montenegro will greatly contribute to strengthening the spiritual and physical infrastructure of the Jewish community in the country. We at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe will continue to assist rabbis and Jewish community leaders – small and large – throughout the continent, to grow, develop, and maintain their Jewish identity.”

 

Greece Golden Dawn: Neo-Nazi leaders guilty of running crime gang

After a trial lasting more than five years, the leadership of Greece's neo-Nazi party has been convicted of running a criminal organisation.
Big crowds gathered outside the court in Athens as the judges gave verdicts on 68 defendants.
Golden Dawn secured 18 MPs in 2012, as Greeks were battered by a financial crisis.
The criminal inquiry into the party began with the murder of an anti-fascist musician in 2013.
Leader Nikos Michaloliakos and six colleagues were convicted of heading a criminal group. Supporter Giorgos Roupakias was found guilty of murdering an anti-racist musician and 15 others were convicted of conspiracy in the case.
Some 2,000 police were deployed around Athens Appeals Court as thousands of protesters demanded long jail terms, carrying banners that read "fear will not win" and "Nazis in prison", Greek media reported.
Tear gas was fired into the crowd as some of the protesters clashed with police and threw petrol bombs.
People gather outside the Athens courthouse, as they wait for the verdict of the trial of the ultra-right party Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi), in Athens
Eleven of the defendants were in the court when the verdict was read out, along with 50 attorneys and 50 journalists.
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said the verdict was an important day for democracy and proof that Greek institutions were able to "fend off any attempt to undermine them".
Hundreds of witnesses gave evidence in the trial, which was delayed this year by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Who was on trial?
At the centre of the trial are Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and 18 ex-MPs who were elected in 2012 when the neo-Nazi party came third in national elections on an anti-immigrant, nationalist platform. Golden Dawn no longer has any MPs in parliament.
After they won almost 7% of the vote in May 2012, emboldened supporters attacked political opponents and migrants.
Golden Dawn supporter Giorgos Roupakias had already confessed to the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas. The musician was chased down by thugs and stabbed in Piraeus in September 2013.
As the verdict was delivered, Fyssas's mother Magda cried out, "My Pavlos defeated them alone!".
What were the verdicts?
The key verdict on Wednesday was that Golden Dawn - Chrysi Avgi in Greek - was a criminal group. Its leadership was found guilty of running it.
They included Michaloliakos and six former MPs - Ilias Kasidiaris, Ioannis Lagos, Christos Pappas, Artemis Matthaiopoulos, Ilias Panagiotaros and Giorgos Germenis. The other ex-MPs were found guilty of joining a criminal organisation.
Magda Fyssa, mother of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, who was murdered in 2013 by a member of Golden Dawn, reacts at the announcement of the ultra-right party Golden Dawn's (Chrysi Avgi) verdict.
The three judges, led by Maria Lepeniotou, were due to deliver sentencing later.
As well as the fatal stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas, defendants in the trial were also convicted of other violent attacks on migrants and left-wing political opponents.
Photo dated on June 24, 2012 of Pavlos Fyssas. The 34-year-old was fatally stabbed in the working-class Athens district of Keratsini early on September 18, 2013
Five Golden Dawn members were convicted of the attempted murders of Egyptian fishermen and four of the attempted murder of communist activists in the PAME union.
As the Golden Dawn leaders were convicted, very few inside the room applauded but outside thousands began to celebrate.
I felt very satisfied, of course. Because I knew the facts revealed during those five and a half years, and I was always optimistic.
From 2010, Golden Dawn had managed to poison the Greek political system and democratic institutions, securing contacts with the army, the police, the judiciary and the Church.
It is an excellent verdict.
Short presentational grey line
Who is their leader?
Nikos Michaloliakos founded the movement in the mid-1980s and was admirer of Nazism and a Holocaust denier, giving the Hitler salute at party rallies.
But he had always denied any knowledge of the Pavlos Fyssas murder. When police raided his home in 2013, they found weapons and ammunition.
Golden Dawn officially denied being a neo-Nazi movement, but its badge closely resembled a swastika, some senior members praised Adolf Hitler, and the clothing of choice at anti-immigrant protests was black T-shirts and combat trousers.
Witnesses told the trial that members were trained to handle weapons and used Nazi symbols.
Greece's Golden Dawn: 'Don't say a word or I'll burn you alive'
Jail fails to deter Greek far right
Greek bailout crisis in 300 words
Last December, chief prosecutor Adamantia Economou prompted uproar, with a call for the party officials to be cleared, arguing there was no evidence they had any part in planning or carrying out the series of attacks.
How has Greece reacted
There has been disgust at Golden Dawn across the political spectrum in Greece.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would not normally comment on court decisions but said the Greek republic had first expelled Golden Dawn from parliament and now Greece's independent judiciary had acted too. "Democracy won today. It is up to us that it wins every day," he said.
The verdict was praised as "just" and "historic" by Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who was president of Greece until earlier this year.
Centre-left political leader Fofi Gennimata said the decision sent a strong message to Europe that "fascism has no place in our lives".
Nils Muiznieks of Amnesty International also said the trial sent a clear message: that "violent and racist criminal activity - whether perpetrated by individuals on the street or members of parliament - will not go unpunished".
Meanwhile, the Jewish cemetery in Athens was daubed this week with anti-Semitic graffiti and Nazi slogans, prompting condemnation from Greek ministers and the Jewish community.
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New Cooperation with NIG De Stedendriehoek

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 Stedendriehoek
We very much look forward to work closely together to the benefit of the Apeldoorn jewish community and European Jewry as a whole

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