Meeting with MK Uzi Dayan and Heads of Jewish Organizations

May 13, 2019

The President of the Belgian Consistoire, the Chair of Belgian Friends of Israel and the Director of the Belgian league against antisemitism met this afternoon at EJA headquarters for an open briefing and discussion with MK Uzi Dayan, Former deputy chief of staff of the IDF and nephew of the late Moshe Dayan who was accompanied by Oded Viner, former CEO of the chief Rabinate of Israel.
Among the subjects discussed were challenges faced by European Jewry, anti-Israelism in Europe and the situation in the Middle East with a strong emphasis on Iran. General Dayan presented some ideas to take back to the Knesset to strengthen European Jewry that may be revealed in due course.

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COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom Hashoah. I didn’t intend to pay attention to it, I didn’t even really want to think about it, but I was suddenly, as it were, overpowered by recognition, anger and great concern. I am often accused of paying too much attention to the war and to anti-Semitism. Catherine Keyl has recently written a book entitled “War Father”. Her father, a Jewish resistance fighter, had and at the same time had not survived Sacksenhausen.
And then, at the end of his life, when his leg needs to be amputated and Catherine asks a psychiatrist to tell her father that his leg is going to be taken off, the young psychiatrist shows no empathy whatsoever in the world of a man who is in hell. Who had to carry the concentration camps with him all his life and now, demented, thinks that ‘they will still get him’ because his leg has to be taken off and he will therefore not be able to flee. And at the same time, I get a wonderful email from Holocaust survivor Nechamah Mayer after reading my diary. I quote her:
“Dear Binyomin. I read your diary in one go during the Passover season. I noticed that in the last chapters you talked more and more about anti-Semitism. As if it keeps getting worse. Or did you simply get more courage to point out to the reader how bad it has become? I thought the black pages with quotes were a nice layout. I am going to pass on the book, because it must be widely read. Wishing you many readers. Nechamah.”
By her encouraging words and having seen a video about the position of the HH doctors in Nazi Germany, I feel obliged to completely ignore the criticism of a younger colleague. He is of the opinion that I should not talk about anti-Semitism. He probably does not realize that much too much was kept silent before the war. It would be okay, the Allies were coming, a bit of work in the East… But it didn’t work out!
Fifty percent of the doctors in Germany cooperated in the destruction. Psychiatrists judged who could and could not live and convinced the large crowd that the Final Solution was ethically wholly justified! Germans, non-Jews, with a physical defect and a psychiatric disorder were eliminated for causing damage to the beautiful Aryan race and an economic burden. Last night I was on a zoom run by a pastor in Dokkum.
I was interviewed for ten minutes. I was not informed about what, but the subject became anti-Semitism and Yom Hashoah. I was asked at the end of the interview whether I had a message for all participants. My message became a request. An urgent request: I ask all participants to become my ambassadors and to announce to everyone they see or speak what happened then.
In fact, I don’t see any evidence that anti-Semitism has been eradicated. Light shines at the end of the corona tunnel. But the virus called anti-Semitism has an endless tunnel. Is there no light then? Yes, the coming of the Moshiach. We long for that, we have been eagerly looking forward to it for centuries. But in the meantime we need to realize the current reality. Beppie Caneel lived not far from us. Beppie had survived the Auschwitz experiment barracks. She was always cheerful. Couldn’t have any more children, of course, but she really survived with her sister. My wife took her to the hospital for some examinations. She had to roll up her sleeve. The doctor then asked her in surprise what those numbers were on her arm. Thank God Beppie was hard of hearing… A doctor who I assume not only studied medicine but also had general training. “What are those numbers on your arm?”
And that younger colleague of mine complains that I should especially not talk about the war and anti-Semitism. No, above all we must remain silent about the then, about the now and of course about tomorrow. I receive a video, you have to click it because “Am Yisrael Chai – the Jewish People are alive!” in spite of everything, but alertness is required. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOWCgKVQE5M
Yes, today I also taught Jewish (zoom) to a regular weekly group. And yes, I also placed my signature on a rabbinical statement. And yes, I held a pastoral conversation and listened to someone for almost two hours about his difficult engagement with the topic. But Holocaust Memorial Day – Yom Hashoah reigns. I thought of all those family members of mine that I have not known at all and of which I know nothing because my parents wanted to spare me grief. I look at those two silver cups in our glass case. It has the names: Bernhard and Siegmund engraved on them. They were my father’s cousins.
Only those two cups are left of themselves, their wives. their children … And anti-Semitism is on the rise again.

The European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Centre of Europe are delighted to announce a brand new project that we are rolling out across Europe

The European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Centre of Europe are delighted to announce a brand new project that we are rolling out across Europe, directly helping the sick and needy with the often expensive costs associated with securing much needed medical equipment.
Our brand new medical equipment lending centre means that the sick and immobile needn’t worry about buying wheelchairs, or expensive crutches walkers and the like.
We will provide them to communities on a need-by-need basis at no cost. When recuperation is over, the items simply get returned to the local community lending branch centre and passed to the next person that needs them.
This simple, effective project overseen by us but run at branch level by communities is open to everyone, but supplies are limited.
For more information on setting up a branch, or to apply for help. Please contact us at Rkaplan@rce.eu.com

Joint Statement of Special Envoys and Coordinators Combating Antisemitism

The barbaric attack of Hamas terrorists on Israel on 7th October, resulted in the most lethal assault against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. More than 1400 Jews – women, children, men, and the elderly, including Holocaust survivors – were tortured, raped, and murdered. Over two hundred were taken hostage. These events have an immense impact on Jewish communities worldwide.

Many national leaders and heads of international organizations across the globe have condemned these acts in the strongest terms and expressed their full support and solidarity with the State of Israel. At the same time, there have also been demonstrations in many countries – including in some countries and regions which we represent – in which individuals praised these heinous actions of Hamas, “celebrated” the murder of Jews, and even called for more antisemitic assaults.

Jewish communities are fearful and are being threatened. Synagogues and other Jewish sites have been attacked. Schools have closed since they can no longer guarantee the safety of their students. Shabbat gatherings require the presence of armed guards for protection. In some cities, Jews are being harassed and accosted on the streets. Posters of the captive hostages are defaced and torn down. Antisemitism online has surged in an unprecedented way.

We, the undersigned Special Envoys and Coordinators, have a shared mandate to combat antisemitism and to safeguard Jewish life. We commend the resolute action of many national authorities to protect Jewish communities, as Jews around the world have not faced such challenges since the Holocaust. Mindful of those darkest days, we stand with the Jewish people. We will do everything in our power to see that hatred against Jews is rebuked and that Jewish life flourishes in peace. Antisemitism and all forms of hate are incredibly harmful and unacceptable.

Therefore:

· We call on governments to assess the needs and provide the necessary security assistance that Jewish communities require at this time of crisis.

· We urge police and law enforcement to be vigilant of threats against Jews and to be aware that Jewish people around the world should not be held responsible for the words and actions of the Israeli or any other government, as illustrated by the non-legally binding International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism.

· We denounce antisemitic acts taking place on some campuses and urge university administrators to condemn them and ensure that their Jewish students, like all other students, have the safety and support needed in these difficult times, to enjoy their right to education.

· We urge civil society – including sports federations, religious communities, the cultural sector and academic circles – not to stand by or stay silent, but rather use their influence to effectively counter antisemitism and promote public acts of solidarity.

· We are distressed about the online upsurge of antisemitic messages, disinformation, hate speech, and terrorist content, which instigate real world hate crimes and threaten the very social cohesion that binds our democratic societies together. We decry the social media platforms that amplify and multiply this content and call on them to act in line with the law and their own terms of service.

History has taught us that at times like these, we must speak up and cannot be indifferent.

“Never again” is now!

Signed,

Chryssoula ALFIERI
Ambassador, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Combatting Anti-Semitism and for the Protection of Holocaust Remembrance, Greece

Andrew BAKER
Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism

Luiz BARREIROS
Head of Delegation to IHRA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Portugal

Delphine BORIONE
Ambassador at Large for Human Rights responsible for inter-national issues relating to the Holocaust, looted property and remembrance, France

Michal COTLER-WUNSH
Israel’s Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism

Arvydas DAUNORAVIČIUS
Lithuania’s Ambassador-at-Large for the Holocaust remembrance issues

Irena DIMITROVA
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and National Coordinator on combating antisemitism

David FERNANDEZ PUYANA
Ambassador, Permanent Observer of the UN University for Peace to the UN Office & intl. organizations in Geneva & Permanent Delegate of UPEACE to UNESCO

Simon GEISSBÜHLER
Ambassador, Head of Peace and Human Rights Division,
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland

Alexandre GUESSEL
Special Representative of the Secretary General on antisemitic, anti-Muslim and other forms of religious intolerance and hate crimes, Council of Europe

Michel HEINTZ
Interministerial Delegate in charge of the coordination of policies to combat racism, anti-Semitism and anti-LGBTIQ+ hatred, Luxembourg

Felix KLEIN
Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism

Olivier KLEIN
Former Minister, French national Delegate against racism, antisemitism and LGBTI-phobia

Robert KLINKE
Ambassador, Special Representative for Relations with Jewish Organisations, Issues relating to Antisemitism, International Sinti and Roma Affairs, Holocaust Remembrance

Maria Fabiana LOGUZZO
Ambassador, Argentina’s Special Representative for the fight against Antisemitism and Head of Delegation to IHRA

Fernando K. LOTTENBERG
Commissioner to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, Organization of American States

Sara LUSTIG
Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Croatia for Holocaust Issues and Combating Antisemitism

Deborah LIPSTADT
Ambassador, US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism

Deborah LYONS
Ambassador, Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism

Lord John MANN
UK Government Advisor on Antisemitism

Antonio MARTINO
Director, Department for Fostering Austrian-Jewish Cultural Heritage and Combating Antisemitism, Federal Chancellery, Austria

Bogdan MAZURU
Ambassador, Special Representative of the Government of Romania for the remembrance policies and for the fight against antisemitism and xenophobia

Ulf MELGAARD
Director, International law and Human rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Jaime MORENO
Coordinator of the Spanish National Plan against Antisemitism and Head of Delegation to IHRA

Giuseppe PECORARO
Italian Coordinator on Combating antisemitism, Italian Government

Rt Hon the Lord Eric PICKLES
UK Special Envoy on Post Holocaust Issues

Robert ŘEHÁK
Czech Republic’s Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, Interfaith Dialogue and FoRB

Ringo RINGVEE
Estonia’s National coordinator of measures against anti-Semitism

Vince SZALAY-BOBROVNICZKY
Deputy State Secretary, Civil and Social Affairs. Prime Minister’s Office, Hungary

Ulrika SUNDBERG
Special Envoy to the OIC, Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue of Sweden

Eddo VERDONER
National Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism, The Netherlands

Katharina VON SCHNURBEIN
European Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life

COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
 
Vaccine loses to the Minister
 
Today my eyes fell on Michel Waterman’s column in the NIW in which he writes: “I have to hand in my column today and I don’t have a subject yet. I can tell you that my admiration for columnists who produce on a daily basis has greatly increased.”
After reading this I flattered myself wondering if that compliment was meant for me. And so the question arose in my mind: Am I a rabbi or a columnist? But then I also thought back to that psychotherapist who saw my diary as a therapy. After some thinking I came to the conclusion that my diary is a combination of 1: rabbi 2: columnist 3: therapy.
 
And so Waterman’s compliment was not addressed to me. A pity, because every now and then I do need a pat on the back (with the elbow of course, because of corona!), Especially when I’m under fire again.
 
A somewhat out-of-context headline made a few front pages, after which people responded. That was great because it means I don’t write for deaf ears – my message gets through.
 
What almost bothered me was that a (foreign) colleague, who apparently has little else to do than follow my diary, got in touch with a non-Jewish journalist to protest against the (admittedly clumsy) headline.
 
It went through my mind to send him a WhatsApp with my phone number. Then at the next opportunity he can first make a phone call before turning a molehill into a mountain. But I did not send that WhatsApp and I am not going to send it. Reason?
I Learned from the conversation between Avraham and Lot about which was read last Shabbath in all the synagogues of the world: “A strife arose between the herdsmen of the flocks of Awram and the herders of the flocks of Lot…. Then Awram said to Lot, Let there be
 
no strife between me and you, and between my shepherds and your shepherds…. if it is to the left, I will go to the right, if it is to the right, then I will go to the left (Bereshis/ Genesis 13: 7-9).
 
Why, we may ask, did Abraham leave the choice to Lot? The area, later Israel, was nevertheless the property of Avraham. G-d had promised him this piece of land. He could have shown Lot that he had the best papers!? If we take a grammatical look at the Hebrew
 
text, we see that the Hebrew word for contention is the first time in the masculine form and the second time in the feminine form. Quarrels arise most quickly between people who spend a lot of time together. So,the most appropriate place for disputes is marriage! How do we handle this? Should the man try to be right? Should the woman stand firm?
 
The best way to deal with (marital) differences of opinion is: accept! And that is why the word twist is once in the feminine inflection and once in the masculine. Avraham understood that he could have been right with Lot, but also realized that it is better to just let the adversary, Lot in this case, have his way.
 
And so I will not approach my old colleague on this and when we meet again, just pretend my nose is bleeding! Therapeutically (3) I have written it off with this one, I have made a column (2) of it and, most importantly, I have learned (1) from our patriarch Abraham!
 
So, what we notice is that people are often unable to see and / or think outside their own limited cocoon. Such a thing is called egotosm, a consequence of the idol ‘I’.
 
And that problem is unfortunately frequently encountered in our society and can be very harmful.
 
Dr. Marcel Levi, medical director of ten London hospitals and the son of my former president of the Sinai Center, believes the corona vaccine should be administered now. But the British Minister does not want that yet because perhaps one in 50,000 could suffer from an adverse reaction because the vaccine has not yet been 100% tested. Levi explained to the Minister that even if one in 50,000 gets an unwanted side effect, it is still worth using the vaccine now as it can prevent hundreds from becoming infected with corona and a general lockdown of society. severely dislocated.
 
The Minister responded to this, according to the newspaper that Dr. Levi quoted that if hundreds die from corona, he, the Minister, will hardly be blamed. But if even one person falls victim to the vaccine he has approved, he will be inundated with criticism. The British Minister is thus also a follower of the idol ‘I’, like my colleague, except that the behaviour of the Minister, G-d forbid, causes people to die, but the behaviour of my colleague has a positive result: a topic for my day!
 
 

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