Head of EJA Blasts Grotesque and Disgusting Antisemitic Aalst Carnival Flot – Seeks Assurances from City Mayor

March 5, 2019

The Chairman of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin today blasted the organisers of the Carnival in the Belgian city of Aalst for allowing a float to take part depicting Hasidic Jews with grotesque hooked noses standing on chests of money, and asked the mayor Christoph D'Haese for a full explanation of how this was allowed to happen.
Rabbi Margolin expressed his incredulity as to how such an image, reminiscent of the worst anti-Semitic tropes and propaganda, was allowed to form part of a celebration in Belgium in 2019.
In his letter to the mayor, Rabbi Margolin said,
“When I first saw the images I thought it was a sick joke. I simply find it hard to believe that a carnival float could replicate the most disgusting and prejudiced stereotypes of Jews that are regularly conjured up by right wing extremists, Nazis and fascist sympathisers.
“I write to express not only the deep disgust of our association, that represents Jews from across the continent, but to ask you, as the Mayor - a public servant representing all faiths, colours of society -how this float was even seen on the street, let alone as part of a celebratory carnival.
“I need not explain the deep distress and hurt to Jews not only in Aalst, in Belgium but all over Europe, caused by this grossly offensive depiction of Jews. I sincerely hope and trust that this was a gross oversight, and that not only an apology from the organisers will be forthcoming, but also an assurance from you that all floats will be properly vetted in future and that such a float has no place in someone’s garage, nevermind a public carnival.
“I have long made the case for educational programmes to be put in place in Belgium that combat such negative and patently false stereotypes, the float at the carnival in Aalst are a clear demonstration that this is now a matter of pressing urgency.”

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New Jewish European campaign seeks to house Jewish refugees from Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine enters a second week, Europe is witnessing a huge influx of refugees fleeing Ukraine toward the West, including many Ukrainian Jews in this surge to safety.The Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA), representing hundreds of communities across the continent, has launched a Europe-wide campaign to temporarily provide homes, food and clothing to hundreds of Jewish families whose lives have been torn apart and upended by the conflict in Ukraine.

The appeal has gone out to Jewish communities from Lisbon to Lublin, Bucharest to Bordeaux, and everywhere in between.

“The history of the Jewish people is one of displacement, either because of pogrom or war,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, EJA chairman. “We are only too aware of what it means to be forced to up and leave at a moment’s notice. In almost every one of our communities you will hear such stories. We, the Jewish people, are especially attuned to these catastrophes. And because we are so attuned, we are pre-programmed to help our Jewish neighbors, just as we always have.

“I have faith that this campaign will deliver. Since the war started, Jews from all over Europe have been getting in touch with us to see what can be done to help their Ukrainian Jewish brothers and sisters in need. We are providing them with the vehicle to do just that, by offering shelter, food and clothing to those who left in a hurry, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”

Another European Jewish organization very active on the ground is the Conference of European Rabbis, which announced this week that Israeli technology investor Yuri Milner has donated $3 million to the CER to help Jewish refugees from Ukraine.

“As we witness the terrible human suffering in Ukraine, the Conference of European Rabbis would like to announce a special donation of $3m. from the foundation established by Yuri and Julia Milner,” said the conference. “Yuri is an Israeli technology investor and science philanthropist.”

“The CER is grateful to Yuri and Julia Milner for their long-standing support and for this latest commitment to the Jewish community at this perilous time,” said CER President Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt.

Greetings for the Upcoming Rosh HaShanah by Prime Minister of the Finland, H.E. Mr. Antti Rinne

Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Blessings for Rosh HaShanah18-21-09-2020

The EJA warmly thanks H.E. Zoran Tegeltija, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for His Excellency's kind wishes to the European Jewry in light of the recent holiday of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year).

Greece’s top court bars ritual slaughter, after recent EU ruling upholding bans

The highest court in Greece has ruled against allowing ritual slaughter, fulfilling fears that some Jewish leaders voiced last year after the European Union’s top court ruled in support of such bans.
Last December, the EU’s highest court upheld the bans imposed in regions of Belgium against slaughtering animals for meat without stunning them first. The ruling meant that slaughter in accordance with Jewish law, which requires animals be conscious when their necks are cut, would be prohibited in those regions, as it is in some other parts of Europe.
Greece’s top court doesn’t cite that ruling in its decision on a petition filed by the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation, according to the Greek news site Protothema. But Jewish watchdogs who have been monitoring bans on ritual slaughter across the European continent say the connection is undeniable.
“We warned in December about the downstream consequences that the European Court of Justice ruling carried with it, and now we see the outcome,” says Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association. “Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack. It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and now it is Greece’s turn.”
The Greek court says there should be ways to meet the demands of animal rights advocates and the needs of Jews and Muslims who follow the laws about food in their traditions.
“The government should regulate the issue of slaughtering animals in the context of worship in such a way as to ensure both the protection of animals from any inconvenience during slaughter and the religious freedom of religious Muslims and Jews living in Greece,” the court says, according to Protothema.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/greeces-top-court-bars-ritual-slaughter-after-recent-eu-ruling-upholding-bans/
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