Israeli parliament speaker urges 'sincere' EU action against anti-Semitism

January 25, 2018
Yuli Edelsetin speaks at EU on International Holocaust Memorial Day
Israeli parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein addressed a special session of European parliament marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, and accused EU leaders of contradictory approaches to fighting anti-Semitism in Europe while repeatedly condemning Israel.
Edelstein praised efforts to combat anti-Semitism but said that public rebuke for Israel contradicted messages coming from many elected officials.

“The efforts to combat anti-Semitism and protect the Jews of Europe are sincerely appreciated,” Edelstein said at the Brussels ceremony. "But what is the message when elected officials march with the Jewish community one day, and against Israel the next?"
The speaker declared that when leaders embrace the Jewish leaders "in solidarity after a hate-crime and then treat Hamas as a legitimate voice. When an attack is condemned as anti-Semitic and then condemns Israel for fabricated war crimes."
"These contradictory messages do not build trust. Instead they prevent us from meeting our joint obligations,” he said.
Edelstein also chided an EU delegation that recently traveled to Tehran for failing to condemn a Holocaust denial cartoon contest hosted in Tehran.
"I'm sure, and correct me if I'm wrong, that during that visit no one protested the international cartoon contest taking place in Tehran for the best caricature denying the Holocaust," Edelstein said, brandishing the contest's first prize winner -- an old fashioned cash register with a sketch of Auschwitz at the top.
"It's about Jews exploiting the Holocaust to get money," he said, noting that the illustrator came from France.
"For 'Never Again' to really mean 'Never Again', consistent and sincere actions are necessary," Edelstein said. "Anti-Semitism, wherever it rears its ugly head, for whatever reason, is wrong and must be fought at every turn. Writing off such acts as mere opposition to Israel is absurd."
"Anti-Semitism has no excuse. not religion, not poverty, not lack of education, and not political disagreements," he said.
Edelstein also thanked the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"In Jerusalem the Jewish people made their mark on the world, therefore it was meaningful to us, that last month, one country, the United States, chose to recognize the capital of Israel after 70 years of independence," said Edelstein."Acknowledging both our ancient heritage and our modern history, I welcome all of you to do the same."
Edeltsein told the story of his own father who survived the Holocaust and asserted that though memorials are being constructed across the world, anti-Semitism still runs rampant.
"Yet, for all the work that has been done I feel that the post war sense and mission has faded, leaving the real issues unaddressed," said Edelstein.
Edelsetin asked the European parliament "what has been learned from all the memorials if synagogues across Europe need round the clock protection?"
"Is Holocaust education effective if Jews on this continent don't wear a kippah or a Star of David necklace for fear of attack?" said the speaker.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be commemorated on January 27. Israel memorializes its national tragedy separately, in memory of the six million Jews who were slaughtered under Nazi rule.
 
The article was published on I24news

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Germany: Dozens of Jewish graves destroyed in ancient cemetery in Worms

Ancient Jewish cemetery in Worms, Germany vandalized, with dozens of graves shattered and desecrated.
The Jewish community in Germany is in shock after unknown individuals vandalized and desecrated dozens of gravestones in the ancient Jewish cemetery in the city of Worms, leaving many of the grave markers shattered.
Thousands of Jewish worshipers visit the Jewish cemetery every year, considered one of the oldest in Europe. Among the desecrated tombs was also the tomb of the Maharam of Rothenburg who served as one of the chief Ashkenazi rabbis in the Middle Ages (1220-1293).
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association, and the Rabbinical Center of Europe, condemned the ongoing rise of anti-Semitism across the continent.
"There is no doubt that the corona crisis has brought with it a sharp rise in antisemitic discourse on the Internet, and now that most of the closures have been lifted, we unfortunately see how the toxic discourse on social media is turning into physical attacks on Jewish institutions and symbols. "We expect the German government to act swiftly not only to renovate the cemetery but to formally declare the acceptance of the comprehensive program to combat anti-Semitism that that we initiated, which includes a substantial change in the curriculum in the state education system."
Rabbi Joseph Havlin, the head of the Frankfurt court near Worms, expressed shock at the desecration of the cemetery, noting: "We are witnessing, and not for the first time, desecration of German cemeteries alongside a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in the entire public sphere. We call on the German government to declare an uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism to ensure that such acts do not repeat."
The article was published in Arutz 7

European Commission partners with IHRA

Today, the European Commission is becoming a permanent international partner to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The participation of the EU in this international body will allow closer cooperation on combating Holocaust denial and preventing racism, xenophobia and antisemitism.
This is a direct follow-up to President Juncker’s call for closer international cooperation in his statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day, this 27 January, as well as the European Parliament’s resolution on combating Antisemitism of June 2017.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “With a decreasing number of Holocaust survivors and at a time when Antisemitism is on the rise, we need to foster the memory of the darkest chapter in our history. The EU joining the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance will help promote understanding so that future generations will heed the lessons of our past.”
Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová added: “This commitment is part of our wider effort to fight against Antisemitism. Our involvement in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance has special importance at a time when Holocaust denial is spreading.”
Today, at the plenary meeting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the EU Coordinator on Combatting Antisemitism will officially accept the role. As a result, the Commission will represent the EU in this body, which provides expertise on Holocaust denial, distortion or Antisemitism.
It will give the Commission access to the expertise of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Groups on education, particularly on key challenges like multi-cultural and multi-religious classrooms and inclusive remembrance. More information on the Commission’s work on combatting Antisemitism can be found online here.

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