Major Dutch Political and Religious Figures Vow to Fight Antisemitism in Famous Parliament Venue Where Nazi Decree in 1940 Took Place

June 27, 2019

A very special event marking Jewish life in the Netherlands took place on Tuesday 25th June in the prestigious Ridderzaal (Hall of the Knights) in the Dutch parliament, The Hague. The Hall is usually only used for state Royal and very special other events.
The Ridderzaal also has a more chequered past. The last time it was used outside of state events was in 1940 when the Reichscommisssar Seyss-Inquart held his inauguration speech.
75 years later the Jewish community was well represented by both the Israeli Ambassador Aviv Shir-On and a few very distinguished Rabbis, along with many Christian religious and political leaders who spoke on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.
State Secretary Paul Blokhuis, the Minister responsible for commemoration:
“We do not accept anti-Semitism in this country. That is the constitution.
Personally: as a Christian and a pastor’s son, my parents helped people go into hiding. Our democracy can only function if we draw a line where discrimination and anti-Semitism arise. World War II and the Holocaust are also our history.
Rabbi Shmuel Katzman, the rabbi of The Hague, elaborated on the rich Jewish history of The Hague, the political capital of The Netherlands.
Jack van der Tang, a Christian advocate and friend of the Jewish people who organised the event said:
“Of the 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands, 102,000 were killed. We want to recognize the crimes, and write history. There are still echoes from the Ridderzaal in 1940, we must ensure that that it may never happen again”.
Aviv Shir-On, Ambassador of Israel to the Netherlands added:
“I am thankful that the Netherlands says about anti-Semitism: not here! And if everyone says so, we will eradicate it”.
Chief Rabbi Jacobs (Netherlands) gave his take:
“Is it realistic to talk about emerging anti-Semitism? It is not new after all.
 We used to have the wrong belief. In the Middle Ages we were a virus. And for that we had to be eliminated. My parents were the wrong breed. And we, the Jews of today, are all Zionists.
In 1945 my father returned home. The neighbors were not happy. It took a few weeks to get permission to go back to his own house. His windows were smashed. Like my windows were smashed a few years ago.
Minister van Schaik (just after the war) gave compliments and thanked the conductors of the Dutch railways to continue driving trains to the camps, and thus protect the Dutch economy. He said this just a few months after the liberation.
We must not exaggerate about anti-Semitism. But we must be vigilant for the danger. Anti-Semitism is increasing.
Thank God, the government protects us. I am grateful for that. But it is bizarre and unacceptable that this protection is needed. The generation of survivors is slowly disappearing.
I will tell you a small story: In deep darkness there are small candles that spread light. In the concentration camp of Westerbork, life was more or less normal: there was a hospital, a theatre and a school. A little boy stood in front of the open door of the classroom. He sang a song: “How happy we are that we are Jewish”. The teacher heard him. She picked him up and started dancing with all the children. So that little boy; in the gate to the hell of Auschwitz, on the way to the chimneys of the crematoria, brought light into the darkness.
That boy is here today…”
Rabbi Itzhak Vorst continued:
“Yes I was there. I was for eight months in Westerbork and afterwards in Bergen-Belsen. There was hardly any food in Bergen Belsen, my mother gave everything to us, so that there might be a new Jewish generation.
It is hard for me to go back.
 I saw the agents of the Marechaussee again in Westerbork. My memories came back to the camp agents. The fact that security is needed today is worrying.
We want to live. Tomorrow I will attend the wedding of my granddaughter, here in the Hague. Then I will sing my song again. “
Gert Jan Segers, the leader of the ChistenUnie in Parliament concluded:
“Israel is the last safe haven for Jews in the world. I am proud to stand here for a Holocaust survivor and for the Jewish community. I wonder why it exists; anti-Semitism. This was this place where the killing of Jews began.
There are historical reasons for fighting anti-Semitism. The signals are coming up again. There is only one correct response: get up and speak. Don’t shut up.
There are also selfish reasons: if we are unable to protect our Jewish community, then we are lost as a country and society. I don’t want that, so I’ll fight.
 Is there a rational explanation why people hate Jews? We have dark pages in the history of the church and society. There is no rational explanation. I can only think: hatred of the Jews is hatred of the God of the Jews.
 So it is not just a fight against flesh and blood. It is a spiritual battle. That can be difficult.
 “Let this be the place where the blessing of Israel begins.”
 

Additional Articles

After Holocaust law, Poland moves to ban kosher slaughter

The lower house of the Polish parliament is expected to vote this week on a new bill on animal welfare, which includes restrictions on Jewish slaughter and kosher meat exports that could affect many of Europe’s Jewish communities as well as meat prices in Israel.
After the controversy created by the law banning people from accusing Poland of Holocaust atrocities committed by the Nazis, the country’s ruling party has submitted a new bill restricting kosher slaughter and threatening anyone who violates the restrictions with up to four years in prison.
The new restrictions are included in a 48-page general bill on animal welfare, which the lower house of the Polish parliament is expected to vote on this week.
The restrictions include a ban on exporting kosher meat from Poland, which is expected to affect many of Europe’s Jewish communities, as well as meat exports to Israel. Some of Israel’s supermarket chains import and sell kosher meat from Poland, increasing the competition in the Israeli meat market. A drop in meat exports from Poland could lead to a hike in meat prices in Israel.
The bill also seeks to ban slaughter when the animals are in an “unnatural state”—in other words, when the animal isn’t standing on all four feet, making a kosher Jewish slaughter practically impossible. According to European Jewish Association (EJA) Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, “Kashrut laws forbid to apply any pressure on the knife to protect the animal from unnecessary pain. Preventing this pressure is impossible when the animal is standing with its head leaning heavily on the knife.”
Vowing to fight the new bill, Margolin called on the Israeli government to stipulate an amendment of the slaughter law as part of an agreement between the two governments.
“These restrictions on kosher slaughter are in complete contradiction to the principle of freedom of religion of the European Union,” the rabbi said. “The situation in Poland is unacceptable. I call on the government in Poland to avoid enacting this shameful law and to take into account that the Jewish people’s faith in the Polish leadership is deteriorating. I can’t imagine what the next stage will be after the Holocaust law and imposing restrictions on kosher slaughter in the country.
According to Rabbi Margolin, the new restrictions will make it impossible to perform a kosher slaughter in Poland. “There are people who have invested a lot of money in building kosher factories and slaughter houses, and now this shocking law comes along and puts an end to it. There is an unclear desire here to exclusively harm kosher slaughter and limit kosher meat exports. They are failing to explain the logic of the law. Populism and nationalism are skyrocketing and creating wars with the Jews for political purposes.”
The Polish parliament banned kosher slaughter in 2013, but the decision was struck down by the constitutional court. The judges accepted an EJA petition and ruled that the Polish law contradicted the principle of freedom of religion.
The Article was published on Ynet website

Jewish communities under #COVID19

In these challenging times of #COVID19 , when we are all facing personal difficulties as well as community and global ones, the EJA is here to listen.
We have been receiving a lot of emails, messages and videos from Jewish communities all over Europe, sharing their concerns and challenges but also sending messages of hope and tips for coping.
If you feel like sharing your thoughts with us you are more than welcome to. you can send your videos to info@ejassociation.com or by whatsapp to 0032483362607

Meeting with Mart Laidmets, Secretary General at the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia

Last week, on 7 November 2019, the European Jewish Association and our partners from the Action and Protection Foundation/ Hungary/ have gathered in Brussels to further advance ongoing work on the European Curriculum and Textbook Project against Antisemitism. Incidentally, the meeting took place just a day after a similar one in Riga, Latvia.
At the meeting, where the EJA has been represented by Alex Benjamin (Director of Public Affairs) and the APF by Szalai Kálmán(Secretary), we have met Mart Laidmets, Secretary General at the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia. The meeting took place at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Estonia to the European Union, with which the EJA has had the pleasure and honour to cooperate on at least several occasions over the past years.

Following a description of the earlier seven-year programme implemented in Hungary, its characteristics and outcomes, the Estonian system of education has been discussed – its gradual development over the past decades, international cooperation with foreign partners, realization of various EU programmes as well as transition to a web-based learning system at schools, which nowadays is one of the most advanced in Europe.
Mr. Secretary General has expressed, on behalf of the Ministry, interest in potential cooperation with us and promised to convey the information and proposal received to H.E. Madam Minister. In particular, prospects for collaboration on web-based learning materials shall be evaluated.
We are most thankful to Mr. Laidmets and the Ministry for this opportunity to meet and discuss the initiative, and eagerly look forward to further contacts on the present subject and others.

¿Qué sucede con los judíos que permanecen en Ucrania durante la invasión rusa?

BUDAPEST – Algunos judíos se quedan en Ucrania porque no quieren dejar atrás a sus familiares fallecidos, sin saber lo que les depara el futuro, dijo el martes Aliza, una refugiada de la ciudad de Mariupol, en la conferencia anual de la Asociación Judía Europea (EJA) en Budapest.

Casi 5 millones de ucranianos han sido desplazados desde el comienzo de la invasión rusa de Ucrania el 24 de febrero, según las últimas estimaciones de las Naciones Unidas. Actualmente, según las estadísticas de la Agencia Judía, unos 200.000 judíos siguen allí.

“Nuestro pueblo está destruido”, dijo Aliza. “Antes de la guerra, teníamos una comunidad hermosa y pequeña. Era fuerte”. La comunidad judía de Mariupol tenía su propia escuela sinagoga.

“Todos en Mariupol sabían que si venían a nuestra cocina a las 10, obtendrían lo que necesitaban”, dijo Aliza.

El rabino Raphael Rotman, vicepresidente de la Federación de Comunidades Judías de Ucrania, contó innumerables historias de personas que pidieron ayuda y de familias que se reunieron con éxito fuera de las fronteras de Ucrania.

Cuando un amigo le telefoneó para que le ayudara a sacar a sus tíos de Kiev, le respondió que podía conseguirles un coche, pero que tendrían que hacer las maletas en 20 minutos y marcharse. Así lo hicieron.

Otra familia salió de Kiev un viernes por la mañana. Pasaron seis días hasta que toda la familia se reunió.

Aliza señaló que algunos judíos se quedaron en Mariupol porque tienen parientes enterrados allí -algunos en sus propios patios- que murieron por explosiones aéreas o por enfermedades para las que no podían acceder a los medicamentos porque las tiendas estaban cerradas, habían sido bombardeadas o saqueadas.

Recibió una gran ovación de los asistentes a la conferencia.

¿Qué está haciendo la guerra con los judíos de Ucrania?

Rotman relató sus experiencias en Bucha, Irpin y Hostomel -cerca de Kiev- llegando a los ciudadanos de estas ciudades después de ser liberadas.

En abril, después de que las fuerzas rusas abandonaran Bucha, se encontraron decenas de cadáveres en las calles de la ciudad, lo que provocó una gran conmoción en los medios de comunicación internacionales y en los líderes mundiales, cuando ya habían transcurrido dos meses de guerra.

El marido de una mujer murió durante la ocupación rusa; tardó seis días en ser seguro realizar un entierro.

Las familias están siendo separadas, las esposas de los maridos, los hijos de los padres”, dijo Rotman, que ha estado en Ucrania desde el comienzo de la guerra.

Para algunos de los judíos que Rotman conoció mientras luchaban por escapar del país en guerra, conocerlo fue su primera experiencia con el judaísmo.

“Algunas personas nunca habían asistido a un séder de Pascua; fue necesaria una guerra para que salieran. En Shavuot, un hombre que cumplirá 78 años el mes que viene recibió una aliá por primera vez. Era la celebración de su bar mitzvah.

“Estas son algunas de las alegrías a las que tratamos de aferrarnos en esta época de locura e incertidumbre”, dijo.

https://israelnoticias.com/internacional/que-sucede-con-los-judios-que-permanecen-en-ucrania-durante-la-invasion-rusa/

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