Greek Court Bans Kosher and Halal Slaughter

October 28, 2021

The Hellenic Council of State banned kosher and halal slaughter on Tuesday. Kosher and halal preparations of animals are central to Jewish and Muslim religious practices.
Both practices require animals to be killed without being anesthetized. The Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation requested that the court annul an exemption in a law that allowed religious slaughtering practices to take place without anesthetic.
The courts ruled that the religious preparation of animal products did not outweigh those animals’ welfare, and decided that the exemption was a violation of the law’s requirement to slaughter animals with anesthesia. The court has left it up to the government to regulate the relationship between animal rights and religious freedom, and they will preside over the country’s slaughterhouse practices.
Many Jewish people are speaking out against the court’s decision, calling it an infringement on their religious freedom. European Jewish Association (EJA) chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said that “Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack across Europe from the very institutions that have vowed to protect our communities.”

Jewish groups outraged over Greek court’s decision

The EJA believes that the court’s decision is following a precedent set last December by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which gave EU nations the ability to ban kosher slaughter in support of animal welfare while also allowing for religious freedom for affected religious groups.
The decision allows members of the EU to make their own decisions about how to follow animal welfare guidelines while allowing people to practice their religions. But the EJA believes that “it is now clear” that member states are leaning heavily in favor of animal welfare and neglecting religious groups.

“As early as last December we warned about the dangerous consequences of the European Court of Justice ruling, and now we are seeing the result,” Margolin said. “It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and it is now Greece’s turn. These direct attacks come from many of those governments and institutions that have vowed to defend their Jewish communities.”

“What we are witnessing is first-rate hypocrisy,” he said. “When it comes to antisemitism, governments and institutions rightly stand behind us. But when our beliefs and customs are attacked right and left by laws, they are nowhere to be seen.”

Margolin said that the EJA plans to air their grievances at the highest level of the Greek government, hoping to get engagement and dialogue about how they can practice their religion comfortably in Greece. The EJA leader considers the issue of high importance, as food preparation and slaughter practices are central parts of both Jewish and Muslim religions.
“How can Jews live in Europe if you continue to legislate against us?” said Margolin.

Greek Court Bans Kosher and Halal Slaughter

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בכיר ביוטיוב: "מנסים להקשות על פרסום שנאה והסתה"

משלחת של כ-100 שרים, חברי פרלמנט, סנאטורים ודיפלומטים מרחבי אירופה התכנסה בגיא ההריגה בבאבי יאר באוקראינה - מקום הרצחם של יותר מ-30,000 יהודים על ידי הנאצים ומשתפי פעולה בזמן השואה. המחוקקים וקובעי המדיניות האירופאים נענו להזמנת איגוד הארגונים היהודיים באירופה EJA והגיעו לבירת אוקראינה ערב יום השואה הבינלאומי והאתגרים הגיאופוליטיים. מנהל המדיניות הציבורית של יוטיוב, באירופה, מרקו פנצ'יני, סקר בפניי באי הכנס את האסטרטגיה של החברה למאבק בשיח שנאה והסתה.
קודם לביקור בגיא ההריגה בבאבי יאר, התכנסו המחוקקים האירופים לכינוס מיוחד שיזם יו"ר ה-'EJA הרב מנחם מרגולין ודנו בדרכים אופרטיביות ואפקטיביות למאבק באנטישמיות הגוברת ברחבי היבשת – הן במערכות החינוך הפורמליות, הן ברשתות החברתיות.
במהלך הוועידה, הוחלט על הקמתן של קבוצות עבודה פרלמנטריות ייעודיות למאבק באנטישמיות שיוקמו בבתי מחוקקים ברחבי היבשת ויפעלו לגיבוש ותיאום חקיקה וקווים מנחים למאבק באנטישמיות ובניסיונות הכחשה וטיוח של השואה.
הרב מנחם מרגולין יו"ר איגוד הקהילות היהודיות ומרכז רבני אירופה: "כדי לחסן את העולם מהמגיפה הנוראה של האנטישמיות, כדי להגן על הילדים של כולנו משנאת האחר, אי אפשר עוד להשאיר את לימוד השואה כנושא וולונטרי או כשיעור אחד או שניים בלימודי היסטוריה. לימוד השואה ולקחיה חייב להיות נדבך מרכזי בהקניית כישורי החיים של הדור הצעיר – בבתי הספר, כמו גם באוניברסיטאות וזה צריך להיות מעוגן בחקיקה מחייבת ולא כהמלצה בלבד".

הרב מנחם מרגולין, יו"ר איגוד הארגונים היהודים באירופה (EJA) • קרדיט: יוסי זליגר
עוד אמר הרב מרגולין: "לא מספיק יום בלוח השנה. אין די בטקסים. אפילו לא בהכרזות של פוליטיקאים. כדי לחסן את העולם מהמגיפה הנוראה של האנטישמיות, כדי להגן על הילדים של כולנו משנאת האחר, עלינו להשכיל ולהבין שלימוד השואה ולקחיה לא יכול להישאר כלימוד פרק אחד או שניים בשיעורי ההיסטוריה. לימוד השואה ולקחיה חייב להיות נדבך מרכזי בהקניית כישורי החיים של הדור הצעיר – בבית הספר, כמו גם באוניברסיטאות. זה חשוב לאירופה ולעולם לא פחות משזה חשוב לעם היהודי או לכל לאום או מגזר או מגדר באוכלוסייה כזאת או אחרת".
בכינוס השתתפו רבנים רבים מאירופה, הרב משה ראובן אסמן רבה של אוקראינה, והרב בנימין יעקובס הרב הראשי להולנד וחבר נשיאות מרכז רבני אירופה.
גם רבה של אומן הרב יעקב ג'אן השתתף במשלחת רבנים ודיפלומטים אירופאים לבאבי יאר, לציון יום השואה הבינלאומי, האירוע נערך בשיתוף הפדרציה היהודית באוקראינה בראשותו של היו"ר הרב מאיר סטמבלר.

הרב מנחם מרגולין, יו"ר איגוד הקהילות היהודיות ומרכז רבני אירופה, הרב בנימין יעקובס רבה של אולנד, הרב משה ראובן אסטמן רבה של אוקראינה עם רבה של אומן הרב יעקב ג'אן

נשיא הפרלמנט של אוקראינה, רוסלן סטפנצ'וק ציין כי: "אוקראינה היא המדינה עם הכמות הרביעית הגבוהה ביותר בעולם של חסידי אומות עולם. הפרלמנט האוקראיני אימץ לאחרונה חוק למלחמה באנטישמיות והנצחת השואה במדינה. זיכרון, מחקר והנצחה, הם הדרכים היחידות להילחם באנטישמיות", אמר. "הזוועות קרו כולן כי אנשים שתקו כתוצאה מפחד, אדישות ואגואיזם – ועלינו לחנך את דור העתיד כדי שינהג אחרת".
ג'ואל מרגי, נשיא הקונסיסטואר של יהודי פריז, הקהילה היהודית הגדולה באירופה, שיתף את החששות של הקהילה היהודית בצרפת ערב יום השואה הבינלאומי: "סטטיסטיקה שנתית מראה שמספר התקריות האנטישמיות בשנת 2021 גדל בצרפת בהשוואה לשנת 2020. במיוחד עלייה באלימות. יש עלייה של קיצוניות בצרפת, באירופה ובשאר העולם. זה מאוד מדאיג מכיוון שהאנטישמיות הזו מגיעה הן מהימין הקיצוני והן מהשמאל הקיצוני וגם מהאסלאמיזם. במלחמה בשנאה יש להתייחס ספציפית לאנטישמיות. ד"ר מרגי קרא למנות נושא תפקיד האחראי למאבק באנטישמיות בכל מדינה באירופה. "למרבה הצער לעתים קרובות, מדינות ממנות אדם האחראי למלחמה בשנאה. אך יש להתייחס לכל צורה של שנאה אחרת".
מנהל המדיניות הציבורית של יוטיוב, באירופה, מרקו פנצ'יני, סקר בפניי באי הכנס את האסטרטגיה של החברה למאבק בשיח שנאה והסתה וציין: "מה שאנחנו מנסים לעשות זה להקשות ככל האפשר על פרסום דבריי שנאה והסתה על גבי הפלטפורמה שלנו. בכל פעם שאנחנו מוצאים משהו שמנוגד למדיניות שלנו לגביי שיח שנאה, אנחנו לא רק מסירים אותו אלא גם מזהים את המרכיבים בקטע התוכן הזה והאלגוריתמים שלנו מחפשים תוכן דומה. בנוסף, יש לנו מומחים שיכולים להתמודד עם תוכן כזה גם בהרבה במגוון רחב של שפות שאינן אנגלית".
הרב מאיר סטמבלר, יו"ר פדרציית הקהילות היהודיות באוקראינה, אמר כי "הקהילות היהודיות במדינה מתחדשות בתמיכה מלאה של השלטונות. קיימת דואליות רבה ביחס לגיבורי האומה שהיו גם אנטישמים ואנחנו מתריעים על כך אבל מבינים שזו אומה שהולכת ונבנית מחדש לאחר 70 שנות קומוניזם וכמי שמתהלך ברחובות קייב עם כל הסממנים של יהודי דתי, אני חייב לציין שבקייב אני מרגיש הרבה יותר בטוח כיהודי מאשר בפריז, בריסל, לונדון או כל בירה אירופית אחרת".
https://www.bhol.co.il/news/1330699?utm_source=whatsapp&utm_medium=robot

European Jews face new threat in wake of COVID-related anti-Semitism

Top European rabbi tells Israel Hayom a special center to monitor real-time incidents via remote feeds could be established in order to tackle anti-Jewish attacks.
The recent terrorist attacks in Austria and France, as well as the spike in coronavirus cases in Europe, has created a fear among Jews in the continent that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories blaming Jews for the spread of the pandemic could become mainstream.
 
A recent study in Germany showed that one in three Germans has somewhat of a conspiratorial view of the world.
 
Felix Klein, who is the federal commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and the fight against anti-Semitism, told Israel Hayom that the recent protests against the COVID-19 regulations have become fertile ground for anti-Jewish sentiment.
 
"The current protests against corona-related restrictions serve as a rallying point for antisemites, Holocaust deniers, and believers in conspiracy myths. At "hygiene protests", participants downplay the Holocaust by, for example, comparing the current requirement to wear a face mask with the obligation to wear a Star of David during the Nazi regime," he told Israel Hayom. "Portraying themselves as rebels – as do for example the supporters of the new political party Widerstand2020 (Resistance2020) and the Reichsbürger movement – is typical of adherents to anti-Semitic beliefs: Presenting oneself as breaking taboos, as 'finally' bringing the truth to light, as showing at last who is pulling the strings behind the scenes – and, as has been done for thousands of years, pointing their fingers once again at Jews," he added.
 
When asked about the danger posed by such conspiratorial views, he noted that there is a concern verbal statements could eventually morph into action.
 
"Conspiracy myths also prepare the ground for violence, as history has shown. Those who perceive themselves as victims and feel threatened can themselves turn into a threat. Anti-Jewish pogroms throughout history have been the fatal consequence of such obsessive hatred of Jews, as have the antisemitic terrorist attacks worldwide in recent years," he said. "A recent study has shown that radicalization online takes place four times faster than offline. That is what makes it so important to quickly adjust our laws. This is the thrust of the package of measures put forward by the federal government. I am confident we can achieve a lot through a combination of repression and education. After all, what is ultimately at stake is social cohesion in times of crisis."

Meanwhile, Jewish groups have scrambled to deal with the threat of rising anti-Semitism in the age of coronavirus. The group "Concert – Together for Israel" strives to bolster Israel's image and fight modern anti-Semitism, says its job has been made much more difficult in the wake of the pandemic, and many pro-Israel groups are facing potential elimination.
 
"Generally speaking, one can say that small organizations that rely on a small staff expect a slowdown and a long recovery, but the big organizations that need a large operation worry about their long-term viability in light of the added costs," Nava Edelstein, the group's program director says.
 
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association that has led a comprehensive effort to counter anti-Semitism in Europe, told Israel Hayom that he has been overseeing a "virtual command center" that gets daily updates from Jewish communities on online anti-Jewish attacks.
 
"We constantly see how anti-Semitic voices on the web attribute the virus to a Zionist-Jewish conspiracy, on top over other forms of anti-Semitism that involve graffiti and vandalizing of Jewish institutions," he said, adding the largest volume of reports originates in France, Romania and Belgium.
 
"We are considering setting up a center that would monitor events through Jewish communities' video feeds in real time, so that we can alert security forces when such incidents happen," he revealed.
The article was published in Israel Hayaom

Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a delegation of 50 parliamentarians will commemorate Babyn Yar massacre

The delegation is 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, a delegation of around 100 people, including fifty members of Parliaments from several countries across Europe, will gather on Monday in Kiev, Ukraine, where one of the first and largest massacres occurred during World War II: the Babyn Yar massacre.
Also known as the ‘’Holocaust by Bullets’’, Babyn Yar, a location near Kiev where the Nazis shot around 100,000 people in plain sight, including almost the entire Jewish population of Kiev in the space of just two days on September 29-30, 1941.
The delegation is organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA) in partnership with the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine.
The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center is currently being built in order to immortalize the stories of the 2.5 million Jews of Eastern Europe, including 1.5 million in Ukraine alone, murdered and buried in mass graves near their homes during the Holocaust. Over the past year, a number of memorials have been erected at the site of the Holocaust-era massacre as part of the establishment of an innovative and expansive museum complex across the whole of the Babi Yar area. The establishment of the new center is being guided by public figures and leaders from around the world, chiefly Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center.
‘’The delegation we bring to Babyn Yar will commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day by also introduced to aspects of the Holocaust that often go overlooked or whose memory has been suppressed,’’ said Alex Benjamin, Director of the European Jewish Association.
‘’Nazi forces and their collaborators attempted to cover every trace of the massacre. Soviet, and until recently post-Soviet authorities attempted to suppress any memorialization thereof,’’ noted Benjamin.
On Monday, a symposium will be used as an incubator for presenting, discovering, developing and establishing new and effective tools for sustained Holocaust education.
Delegation participants, especially parliamentarians, will be asked to adopt political action and take home best practices shared during the Kiev trip, and to advance public measures that will lead to effective Holocaust remembrance education and criminal prosecution mechanisms against Holocaust denial,
On Tuesday, the participants will visit the site of Babyn Yar where they will be introduced to the Babyn Yar Memorial Center, listen the testimony of a survivor and participate in a memorial ceremony.
The parliamentarian delegation comes at a time of growing tension between Ukraine and Russia.
https://ejpress.org/ahead-of-international-holocaust-remembrance-day-a-delegation-of-around-100-people-will-visit-babyn-yar/

Jews Are Being Murdered in Paris. Again.

It’s no rare thing for the Israeli prime minister to enrage the Jews of the diaspora. But three years ago, Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech that won him near-universal condemnation.

In the aftermath of several deadly attacks in European cities like Paris and Copenhagen, Mr. Netanyahu called on Jews to leave Europe. “Of course, Jews deserve protection in every country. But we say to Jews, to our brothers and sisters: Israel is your home,” he said, echoing comments he had made more subtly the month before at Paris’s Grand Synagogue.

Mr. Netanyahu’s suggestion of “mass immigration” was “unacceptable,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the European Jewish Association. Abraham Foxman, then head of the Anti-Defamation League, suggested such a policy would “grant Hitler a posthumous victory.” Denmark’s chief rabbi, Jair Melchior, said he was “disappointed.” Smadar Bar-Akiva, the executive director of JCC Global, said “the calls for French Jews to pack their bags” and move were “disturbing and self-defeating.”

François Hollande, then president, echoing a chorus of European leaders, pushed back hard, appealing to his country’s Jews: “Your place is here, in your home. France is your country.”

Is it?

This is a question worth seriously asking following the barbaric murder last week of Mireille Knoll.

Ms. Knoll, 85, believed Mr. Hollande. France was her place, her home, her country. And Paris was her city.

She believed this despite the fact that it was also the city where, when she was 9 years old, the police rounded up 13,000 of the city’s Jews, 4,000 of them children, and crammed them into Vélodrome d’Hiver, a cycling stadium, before shipping them to their deaths at Auschwitz. Ms. Knoll narrowly escaped this largest French deportation of Jews during the Holocaust and fled to Portugal with her mother.

After the war, she married a man who had survived Auschwitz. She returned to her native land where she built a home and raised a family. French to her core, she stayed in Paris even as her grandchildren moved to Israel.

She remained in her apartment in the 11th arrondissement when, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, she was stabbed 11 times. Her apartment was then set on fire. Firefighters found the burned body on Friday night.

Parisian authorities are investigating the murder as being motivated by the “membership, real or supposed, of the victim of a particular religion.” But euphemisms should have no place in describing the nature of Mireille Knoll’s death. She was murdered by men apparently animated by the same hatred that drove Hitler.

Two suspects, a 29-year-old and a 21-year-old, have been arrested. The older man is a neighbor Ms. Knoll has known since he was a child. The younger, according to reports, is homeless. One of the suspects told the investigators that the other had shouted “Allahu Akbar” while killing Ms. Knoll, according to Le Monde. (A lawyer for the Knoll family, Gilles-William Goldnadel, confirmed that in a phone call.) On Tuesday, Gérard Collomb, the interior minister, told Parliament that one of the attackers had told the other: “She’s a Jew. She must have money.”

In fact, Ms. Knoll was “poor,” according to her son, Daniel. She’d lived most of her life in the same apartment in the subsidized housing project where she was killed.

It’s a neighborhood that has already borne witness to a nearly identical crime. Almost exactly a year ago, a 65-year-old Jewish widow named Sarah Halimi was murdered by her neighbor, 27-year-old Kobili Traoré. Other neighbors said they heard Mr. Traoré scream “Allahu Akbar” as he beat Ms. Halimi, a retired doctor, to near death in the early hours of April 4, 2017. He then threw her body into the courtyard below.

It took months for Ms. Halimi’s murder to be categorized as an anti-Jewish hate crime. “It was scandalous,” said Mr. Goldnadel, the lawyer, who also represented the Halimi family.

This time, French authorities have been quick to call the crime by its proper name. On Monday, President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “I would like to express my shock at the appalling crime committed against Mrs. Knoll. I reaffirm my absolute determination to fight anti-Semitism.” On Wednesday, he said that she was murdered “because she was Jewish” at a tribute to a police officer killed in an Islamist attack. Mr. Macron has been widely praised by the country’s Jewish community for his moral clarity in describing anti-Zionism as a “reinvented form of anti-Semitism.”

Anti-Semitism was supposed to be a disease of the far right. But the people actually killing Jews in France these days are not members of the National Front. They are Islamists.

“The major crimes against the Jewish community — Ilan Halimi, the Toulouse killings, the Hyper Cacher killings, Sarah Halimi — all of them have all been carried out by radicalized Muslims,” Robert Ejnes, the executive director of CRIF, an umbrella organization of French Jewish groups, told me in a call from Paris. “These young people have French identity cards, but they hate what France stands for. This is the nature of the problem we are facing. And it’s very hard to talk about.”

Here are some facts that are very hard to talk about: Jews represent less than 1 percent of the population in France, yet in 2014, 51 percent of all racist attacks were carried out against them, according to the French Interior Ministry. A survey from that year of about 1,000 French respondents with unknown religious affiliation and 575 self-identified Muslims, conducted by the AJC Paris and the French think tank Fondapol, found that the Muslim respondents were two or three times more likely to have anti-Jewish sentiments than those from the random French group. Nineteen percent of all respondents felt that Jews had “too much” political power. Among Muslims, the number was 51 percent. As for the idea that Zionism “is an international organization that aims to influence the world and society in favor of the Jews,” 44 percent of Muslims surveyed approved of this statement. The rest of the survey is just as devastating.

For years now, France has deployed armed troops to protect Jewish synagogues and schools. But the violence on the streets — a 15-year-old girl wearing the uniform of her Jewish school slashed in the face; an 8-year-old boy wearing a kippah assaulted; teenage siblings called “dirty Jews” before being beaten — hasn’t abated. On Wednesday, hours before a march in honor of Mireille Knoll, the office of the Union of French Jewish Students at the Sorbonne was ransacked and defaced with graffiti like “Viva Arafat” and “death to Israel.”

Whatever else the investigation of Ms. Knoll’s murder might reveal, this much we know for certain: The men who are accused of killing her were living in a culture in which Jews are reviled on the far right and, increasingly, on the far left; in which sensitivity toward cultural differences have driven too many for too long to ignore the spread of an ancient hatred in a vicious new form; in which attacks on Jews have been explained away as politically motivated by events in the Middle East. In such a culture, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some would come to the conclusion that Jewish blood is cheap.

In the wake of Ms. Knoll’s murder, all of the usual lines are being repeated. Anti-Semitism is the hatred that never dies. Violence that begins with the Jews never ends with them.

All of this is true. What’s also true is that anti-Semitism is the oldest hatred in the world because individual people have sustained it in every generation. It cannot be defeated until we look these people and their ideologies in the face.

Every French Jew — like millions of Jews throughout history — will have to make their own choice about whether to leave their homes for safer shores or to stay and fight for their rightful place in a country that prides itself on being a beacon of liberty and fraternity. But perhaps the better part of wisdom is with one of Mireille Knoll’s granddaughters, Noa Goldfarb. Following her grandmother’s murder, she wrote in a Facebook post from Israel: “Twenty years ago, I left Paris knowing that neither my future nor that of the Jewish People is to be found there.”

The article was published on The New York Times
 

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