House of Fates hand-over to Jews should be celebrated not belittled says EJA Head

September 18, 2018

Responding to the news that the Hungarian government has made Hungary’s Emih, Hungarian Jewry’ principal Jewish community, the custodians of the Jewish Museum “House of Fates”, the Chairman and Founder of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin welcomed the move and rounded on critics as pretending to speak for Hungary’ Jews.

In a statement Rabbi Margolin said,

“The Emih community was founded in 1877 and re-constituted in 2004. Since then it has been leading from the front when it comes to the remarkable and inspiring revival of Hungary’s Jewish community.

It counts 16 Rabbis acting on behalf of its community in Hungary’s 3 main cities. It is the only community that provides Kosher certification and performs circumcisions. It is the only community to have published, in Hungarian, a Siddur, Machzor, Haggadah and Chumash. Additionally it runs 6 synagogues and leads spiritually another 3 in Hungary. It runs a kindergarten, school, high school and University and Rabbinical college.  It also founded the most important organisation in Hungary that monitors Anti-Semitism – Action and Protection – an organisation that enjoys widespread support among Hungarian Jewry. In the upcoming year, Emih will renew another 3 synagogues in Hungary. There is no doubt that Emih is responsible for the Jewish renaissance in Hungary.

Little wonder therefor that Emih is recognised by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, and that the Hungarian government has chosen it to act as custodians for this important museum. This is the first time that a government has given up voluntarily, a museum or memorial and placed it in the hands of the Jewish community. This is to be celebrated not belittled.

Anyone that is critical of this move is showing how far they are removed the community and realities on the ground. Attempts to politicise such a positive step underlines the very real need for communities like Emih, particularly as the Hungarian government is one of the few in Europe that continues to provide support and is helping to create the conditions needed for a flourishing Jewish community through its unambiguous  support for Isreal and Freedom of religion.

Additional Articles

EU Attorney General’ opinion: individual member state moves to ban kosher slaughter run contrary to EU law and are a breach of commitments to respect freedom of religion.

The EJA welcomes the EU Attorney General’ opinion that individual member state moves to ban kosher slaughter run contrary to EU law and are a breach of commitments to respect freedom of religion. We hope that the European Court of Justice will echo his opinion in due course.

EU COURT DECISION LABELLING WHEN ISRAEL IS UNDER FIRE IS “WORST KIND OF FIDDLING WHILE ROME BURNS” SAYS EU JEWISH HEAD

“The European court quoting Israel for its “breach of the rules of international humanitarian law” whilst Hamas and its acolytes are bombing innocent civilian populations in Israel is one of the most perverse ironies I have witnessed in quite some time,” says Rabbi Menachem Margolin
As Israel was reeling this morning under a barrage of indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza, the EU’s top court ruled today that EU countries must oblige retailers to identify products made in Israeli settlements with special labels.
The move was sharply criticized by the Chairman of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin “as the worst kind of fiddling while Rome literally burns”.
In a long running saga on labelling products originating from settlements in the West Bank, the European Court of Justice said in a statement that “foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin.”
Rabbi Margolin said in statement:
“The entire basis of the labelling policy is purely discriminatory against the world’s only Jewish state. Is any other country in the world with disputed territory subjected to such a blatantly one-sided policy? The answer is no. It also goes against the international standard of trade set by the World Trade Organization.
“What is particularly galling is the message this sends to the Israeli public today.
“As shops, schools and businesses are forced to close because of the onslaught of massive indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza, as Israelis take shelter and border towns and villages steel themselves against the worst, the EU sends them a signal not of support or solidarity, but of punitive and needless labelling.
“This is the worst kind of fiddling while Rome burns. The European court quoting Israel for its “breach of the rules of international humanitarian law” whilst Hamas and its acolytes are bombing innocent civilian populations in Israel is one of the most perverse ironies I have witnessed in quite some time.”

POLISH SENATE KICKS KOSHER MEAT EXPORT BAN UNTIL 2025 – EU JEWISH HEAD VOWS TO KEEP ON FIGHTING “AS WE HAVE FOR GENERATION AFTER GENERATION”

Brussels 14 October 2020. After the Polish Senate voted today to postpone the controversial animal rights Bill provisions to ban the export of Kosher meat, European Jewish Association Chairman (EJA) Rabbi Menachem Margolin said he was encouraged by the clear opposition to the Bill but vowed to keep fighting to stop any eventual ban.
The EJA Chief had instigated an open letter signed by dozens of Jewish Leaders and Parliamentarians across Europe and Israel in which signatories voiced their opposition to the provisions on Kosher meat in the Bill and called on the Polish Government to reject them.
In a statement today Rabbi Margolin said,
“The provisions in this Bill relating to Kosher exports have had a very rough ride. It is clear that they enjoy little support from farmers and command little enthusiasm from the Senate itself.
“This is encouraging and we thank all of those Senators who have responded in such a strong way and who have taken what is a principled stand, as well as all the parliamentarians and Jewish leaders from across Europe who made their voices heard.
“But the battle isn’t over. It has merely been postponed. If you kick a can down a road, you will eventually run out of road.
“We will continue to oppose this Bill, today, tomorrow, next week, next month and for the next years. Just as we have from generation after generation whenever our way of life, our very faith is called into question. In the weeks and months ahead we will redouble our efforts to ensure that 2025 becomes permanent instead, starting with the Polish Sejm where this Bill next appears for a vote.”
In closing Rabbi Margolin said,
“The European Jewish Association will never falter in its determination to stand up for Jewish life, tradition, values and practice wherever and whenever they are under threat in Europe”

124 NGOs worldwide urge Facebook to adopt IHRA definition o antisemitism, fight hate speechm

The joint NGOs’ call discloses that in recent remarks given by a senior Facebook representative,  the company “does not have a policy aimed at combatting online antisemitism”, sparking the coalition to urge Facebook to “join the ranks of the historians, advocates, activists, lawmakers, and leaders who compiled the IHRA working definition” and “take responsibility and move toward removing the scourge of antisemitism from today’s most important online public square.”
In an unprecedented joint letter, a coalition of 124 non-profit organizations from around the world have urged Facebook to adopt the widely recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism to fight hate speech on the social media platform.
The letter, which was sent to Facebook’s board and senior management on Friday, follows mounting public pressure urging Facebook to effectively act against hate speech and dangerous disinformation.
The joint NGOs’ call discloses that in recent remarks given by a senior Facebook representative,  the company “does not have a policy aimed at combating online antisemitism”, sparking the coalition to urge Facebook to “join the ranks of the historians, advocates, activists, lawmakers, and leaders who compiled the IHRA working definition” and “take responsibility and move toward removing the scourge of antisemitism from today’s most important online public square.”
In July, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, stated that “Facebook has to get better at finding and removing hateful content.” The joint call by the global coalition of NGOs emphasizes  that antisemitism and effective policies to address it, must be part of Facebook’s decision-making process to tackle hate speech.
Parallel to a surge in violent and murderous attacks against Jewish communities in recent years, online antisemitism has grown exponentially, with social media platforms serving as primary bullying arenas for the world’s oldest hatred. The coalition letter cites studies that “Jews overwhelmingly report that online antisemitism is the most acute form of Jew-hatred they experience.”
So far, nearly 40 countries have already endorsed or adopted the IHRA working definition in some official capacity, either through their membership in the IHRA or independently.
In the US, the definition of antisemitism is clear: The IHRA working definition has been adopted by the State Department, and a recent Presidential Executive Order on Combatting Anti-Semitism instructs the Department of Education to consider the IHRA definition when evaluating Title VI Civil Rights Act complaints of discrimination.
The signatories decision to focus on Facebook stemmed from the social media giant’s recent announcement that it would be revising its policies on hate speech and disinformation. The coalition’s decision was also based on a recognition that Facebook, as the leading social media platform, can set the standard for the social media industry in the fight against online hate. If, and when, Facebook adopts an effective and comprehensive policy to combat online hate speech and antisemitism, other social media platforms such as Twitter and TikTok are likely to follow suit.
Irwin Cotler, the Chair of Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights in Canada, one of the signatories to the letter, stated :”Antisemitism is the oldest, most enduring, most toxic, and most lethal of hatreds – the canary in the minefield of global evil. The IHRA definition is the strongest and most definitive normative framework we have for monitoring and combating antisemitism on a governmental, parliamentary, law-enforcement, and civil society level. Its adoption is as timely as it is necessary.”
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association, a signatory to the letter said: ”With more people than China and over a third of the entire global population with accounts, Facebook is a world of its own. Its power and reach are immense. With such great power should come great responsibility. That social media platforms have become hotbeds of hate and antisemitism is undeniable. So too is a lack of responsible action from the company to tackle it. Signing up to the IHRA definition would be an important step and a visible commitment from Facebook that there is no place, in the virtual, just as the real world, for the virus of antisemitism to thrive unchecked and unfettered.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean and Director Global Social Action Agenda of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the signatories to the letter, noted that ”during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and social dislocation following George Floyd’s murder, extremists, including antisemites, leverage the unmatched marketing power of social media to mainstream hate, conspiracy theories and lone wolf terrorism.” ”Facebook must take the lead in the struggle to degrade the mainstreaming of antisemitism via social media. The IHRA definition of antisemitism provides Facebook with a straightforward definition of history’s oldest hate.”
Prof. Dina Porat, who is one of the authors of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism stressed that the definition has become ”a yard stick, a declaration of values.”
”Those who join its adoption are committed to the countering of antisemitism, and of other parallel evils. It is high time that the major social networks, Facebook first and foremost, use the IHRA definition as a criteria to identify antisemitic expressions, and uproot them immediately, thus exercising their responsibility to help create a world better than the one we are living in.”
The article was published on EJP

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