“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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Yom Ha’atzmaut message from Chief Rabbi Jacobs

As a rabbi, I prefer not to get involved in politics and my opinion is that a politician should not interfere with religion. But where does politics start and where do rabbinical matters end? Is euthanasia a religious matter or a political problem? And who decides how far freedom of education extends?
That difference is even more unclear in Israel, because: “Israel without Torah is like a body without soul”, one can’t separate the State of Israel from Judaism. And therefore, we see in the Knesset politicians with rabbinical opinions and rabbis as politicians.
But even the Jew who is not an Israeli resident has the conviction that he may state his opinion and interfere with Israeli political decisions because, he argues, without centuries of daily prayers in which we asked G’d to allow us to return to Jerusalem, Israel would not be today an Independent State. However, my opinion is that just as the Israeli citizen does not make statements about the Dutch Prime Minister, Rutte, we, not living in Israel, shouldn’t interfere in internal Israeli politics.
However, non-Jewish society sees us as an extension of Israel. Over and over again, I have to explain that I am Dutch and that the compliment that my Dutch is so fluent, is misplaced. You’re not going to give that compliment to the bishop or the preacher, do you? But in according with their opinion “the Jew is Israel and Israel is the Jew”.
And yet there is a heart of truth in their falsehood, for Jews know themselves interconnected by Jerusalem, our capital, where one day the Third Temple will rise when the ultimate peace will be there “for all inhabitants of Your earth.”
And until then? When Netanyahu called upon French Jews to emigrate to Israel because of anti-Semitic violence, I was pushed in front of a journalist’s microphone and was asked, “Rabbi, what do you think of Netanyahu’s call? Do you really believe that there is no place for Jews in the Netherlands anymore?” Wow, I thought, that’s a tricky one. It is not possible to request time for reflection, to say that Jews no longer belong in Europe is unwise and disagree in public with Netanyahu does not seem right. And therefore, my diplomatic, rabbinical and politically coloured answer was: Great we have got Israel for all those who must escape anti-Semitism. My parents had nowhere to go. But if and when I go on aliyah, will not be determined by fear for terrorism. I decide for myself, because I am independent, like the State of Israel!

Despite the situation, delegation of ministers and parliamentarians from across Europe commemorate the Babyn Yar massacre in Kiev

The two-day visit of the delegation was organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA) in partnership with the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Daywrites Yossi Lempkowicz.
“We appreciate very much that you choose to come to Ukraine despite the current situation,” said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna as she addressed a delegation of 100 senior ministers, members of parliament, diplomats and Jewish leaders from across Europe who visited Kiev to commemorate Babyn Yar, the most infamous sites of the Holocaust and to pledge to promote education of the Holocaust in schools and to fight antisemitism.
The two-day visit of the delegation was organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA) in partnership with the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The initiative aims to keep antisemitism as a priority political and educational issue and ensure that the Babyn Yar tragedy is never forgotten.
Also known as the “Holocaust by bullets”, Babyn Yar saw around 34,000 Jews murdered and buried in a mass grave by the Nazis and their collaborators in two days in September 1941, and is never forgotten.
Day one saw a symposium to discuss the challenge of combating on-going antisemitism across the continent and the creation of parliamentary working groups to tackle the issue on all its forms.
Among the speakers who addressed the symposium on Monday was the Ukraine Parliament President Ruslan Stefanchuk (pictured, below), who stressed that Ukraine is the fourth country when it comes to the number of Righteous Among the Nations, those who helped Jews during WWII.

“Fighting antisemitism is an endless task which cannot be summed up to polite speeches in one day in the yearly calendar,” declared Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association, during a memorial ceremony at the site of Babyn Yar.

The Ukranian parliament recently adopted al law  to fight and prevent antisemitism in the country and to commemorate the Holocaust. “Memory is the only way to fight antisemitism,” he said. “The atrocities all happened because people kept silent because fear, indifference and egoism. The study of the Holocaust is of special importance for the Ukrainians,” he added.
”Fighting antisemitism is an endless task which cannot be summed up to polite speeches in one day in the yearly calendar,’’ declared Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association.
“Significant educational work in all formal and informal educational frameworks and in civil society are needed  and they all need to be backed by concrete laws and not by mere recommendations,” he said.
Michael Sidko, last survivor of the Babi Yar massacare, who lives in Israel, shared his story with the conference attendees. He was six years old when the atrocity occurred. His mother, younger sister Clara and baby brother were shot dead by the Nazis in cold blood. He and his brother managed to escape thanks to one of the Ukrainian guards who let some children escape to the forests. Sidko asked members of parliament to return to their countries and work to teach the younger generation the story of the Holocaust and its lessons and to educate them to strive for peace and brotherhood among all peoples.
Michael Sidko, last survivor of the Babi Yar massacare
Rabbi Meir Stambler, Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine, noted that Jewish communities in the country are being renewed with the full support of the authorities. “There is a lot of dualities in relation to the nation’s heroes who were also antisemitic and we warn about that but understand that this is a nation being rebuilt after 70 years of communism. As someone who walks the streets of Kiev with all the hallmarks of a religious Jew, I must note that in Kiev I feel much safer as a Jew than Paris, Brussels. London or any other European capital,” he said,
The delegation of personalities participated in a memorial ceremony at the site of the Babyn Yar massacre where a memorial museum is being built.
https://www.eureporter.co/world/israel/holocaust/2022/01/28/despite-the-situation-delegation-of-ministers-and-parliamentarians-from-across-europe-commemorate-in-kiev-the-babyn-yar-massacre/

Meeting with Mr. Abdallah Chatila

It’s not every day you get to meet a bona fide hero. Following our big campaign against the auctioning of Nazi memorabilia, our Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin and our Director of Public Affairs Alex Benjamin travelled to Geneva to meet with Mr Abdallah Chatila.

Mr Chatila decided to buy 600,000Euro worth of this memorabilia when he heard our aggravation at the sale, with the express purpose of taking it out of the marketplace, and entrusting it to the Jewish Community.

We met with Mr Chatila not only to thank him personally and present him with a gift (we planted 18 trees in Israel for him – 18 being the numerical value of Chai the Hebrew word for life), but to explore future areas for co-operation.

Mr Chatila will be joining an EJA trip to Auschwitz in January, along with a 100 parliamentarians, where he will join us in our call for an end to the macabre and disgusting sale in Nazi trinkets, and we will present him with an award for his action.

A humble man, Mr Chatila told us he had no interest in the pieces per-se, but bought them and gave them away to send a message: Hitler and the Nazis are the personification of death, and such items do not belong amongst the population at large.

He said he didn’t want to be remembered as the man who bought the hat, but for the message behind his action. We reassured Mr Chatila that his action is what will be remembered, that it serves as a selfless example to humanity, and that we will work together to ensure that no other like-minded person is forced to do the same – because governments will simply ban such sales.

We thank Mr Chatila again and look forward to fruitful co-operation in making this campaign a reality in the months ahead.

https://www.facebook.com/ejassociation/videos/1124415267764899/
 

Proposed animal welfare bill in Poland is 'of deep concern to European Jewry'

Rabbi Menachem Margolin: “This draft law puts unproven and unscientific claims about animal welfare above freedom of religion, breaching a central pillar of the EU’s charter of fundamental rights.”

A proposed legislation in Poland to ban religious slaughter of animals for export “is of deep concern to European Jewry,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European  Jewish Association (EJA) on Thursday (1 October), writes Yossi Lempkowicz.
The so-called animal welfare bill, proposed by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), has passed the Chamber of deputies or Sjem and now seeks approval in the Senate.
It could have massive ramifications for European Jewish communities as it would see a central and vital part of a Jewish practice, the shechita,  that has taken place for millennia trampled on and effectively wiped out – the access to and supply of kosher meat.
For European Jews, the legislation also carries with it multiple red and flashing alarms. History has repeatedly shown that the opening salvo in attempts to punish, ostracize, marginalize and ultimately destroy Jewish communities always starts with bans on central tenets of Jewish faith such as kosher laws and circumcision, before moving into much darker territory.
Animal welfare activists oppose the slaughter of animals for kosher meat because it precludes stunning before the animals’ throats are cut. Proponents of the practice reject claims it is cruel and say it induces a quick and humane death for the animal.
“This draft law puts unproven and unscientific claims about animal welfare above freedom of religion, breaching a central pillar  of the EU’s charter of fundamental rights,’’ said Rabbi Margolin in his statement.
In its Article 10, the charter states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion, belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and in public or private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”
 The bill, noted Margolin “so alarmingly seeks to control and put a headcount on Jewish practice by giving the Minister of Agriculture the power to determine the qualifications of persons performing religious slaughter”.
The ‘schochet’, the person who is tasked with performing the slaughter undertakes years of ongoing training and is committed to, under strict Jewish law, ensuring that the animal undergoes the least suffering and stress as possible leading up to and during the slaughter itself, the rabbi explained.
He continued: “The draft law will also require a determination of the quantity of kosher meat needed by the local Jewish community. How is this to be done? by creating and supervising  a list of Jews in Poland”? This law, if passed, carries with it a dark and sinister undertow for Jews, a harking back to occupation, where practice and belief were initially targeted as first steps on the road to our eventual destruction.”
Poland is one of the biggest European exporters of kosher meat.
“European Jewry has enjoyed a fruitful and cooperative relationship with Poland as a principal supplier of kosher meat to our communities. Poland, in fact, is a central supplier to our needs. The question has to be asked, why now? To what end?” asked Rabbi Margolin, who urged  the Polish government, its parliament, its Senators and the Polish President to stop this law.
“Not only to uphold the values enshrined in the European Charter of fundamental rights protecting freedom of religion but to give a clear statement of solidarity that it will stand with and support European Jewry as an intrinsic part of Europe’s social fabric, and not sacrifice us, our beliefs and practice on the altar of politics,” Rabbi Margolin concluded.
The article was published on eureporter

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