Message of Rabbi Margolin on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019

January 25, 2019

“The ‘Group of the Elders of Zion’ and Mayer AmschelRothschild, the skilful founder of the famous dynasty that still today controls the International Banking System, led to the creation of a manifesto: ‘The Protocols…’”

Looking at the above quote, you would think that it was written by a Nazi in the 1930’s, right? 

Wrong. This was posted this week by Senator Elio Lannutti, of the Italian Five Star Movement on Twitter. 

On the 27th January we will have marked International Holocaust day.

Senator Lannutti reminded us why we must continue to mark international holocaust day, and why we can never assume such a horrendous calamity could never be inflicted on us again. 

Antisemitism is as stubbornly rooted as ever. Try and rip it up and its seeds will travel somewhere else. From France to Spain, or Belgium to Belorussia, the political winds that carry it can be strong, or a barely perceptible breeze, but still they blow. 

Deborah Lipstadt knows this. She describes where we are right now as a “perfect storm”.  

Lipstadt is best know for the libel suit filed against her, by the Holocaust denier David Irving. In her latest book “Antisemitism: Here and Now,” she examines the recent rise in anti-Semitism in the U.S., the U.K., and Europe. 

In an interview with the New Yorker this week, she summed the situation up as follows:

“On some level, it is the same old, same old. The construct is the same, the stereotypes are the same. But I think what is different today is that we’re seeing a perfect storm, in that usually it comes from either the right or the left politically. Today we’re seeing it from the political right and the political left, and we are seeing it particularly—not only, but particularly—in Europe from Islamist extremists, or jihadists, or whatever term you’d like to use.”

Why is anti-Semitism still with us? I believe that it is so deeply embedded, that it operates almost at a subconscious level in most people. After all, when things go bad, economically, politically or otherwise, we are to blame. But if any other random group had these accusations laid at their door, such as pizza delivery people or cyclists, everyone would say it was nuts. 

Yes, it can sometimes feel like a heavy burden, but Ann Frank, displaying a wisdom far beyond her tender years,summed it up neatly: 

“Who has made us Jews different from all other people? Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up till now? It is G-d that has made us as we are, but it will be G-d, too, who will raise us up again. If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left, when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed, will be held up as an example. Who knows, it might even be our religion from which the world and all peoples learn good, and for that reason and that reason alone do we have to suffer now. We can never become just Netherlanders, or just English, or representatives of any country for that matter; we will always remain Jews, but we want to, too.”

I want you to take this message to heart. 

Empires come and go, War turns to Peace, and back again, yet still we are here, giving the world the shared totality of our many talents, expertise and wisdom. Not for ourselves but for everyone. 

We want to remain Jews. Because we are. Because we can be no other. Because not being so is like asking us not to breathe. Yes, we are leaders in science, the arts, and yes, Senator, in Banking too. 

It is not arrogance or self-serving interest that drives us on, as the antisemites would have it. 

In fact, it is the exact opposite. Our task was and remains to this day, the same task that each of us were given at Sinai by the Almighty: To make the world a better place. This responsibility rests on every Jew, from Rothschild the banker to Rosenbaum the street cleaner. It is not for our benefit that we do our best, but to honour the task that G-d gave us, for the benefit of all humanity.

We must never lose sight of this. And we must never relent in our task. I will leave the last word to Winston Churchill.  Let it be your call to action, and a reminder to us all on dark days such as Holocaust Memorial Day: 

“Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.” 

May G-d continue to bless us all. 

Additional Articles

Antisemitism - Overview of data available in the European Union 2006–2016

New extremely important report recently published by the EU Agency for Fundamental rights.
This report provides an overview of data on antisemitism as recorded by international organisations and by official and unofficial sources in the 28 European Union (EU) Member States, based on their own definitions and categorisations.
Antisemitism can be expressed in the form of verbal and physical attacks, threats, harassment, property damage and graffiti or other forms of speech or text, including on the internet. Antisemitic incidents and hate crime violate fundamental rights, including the right to human dignity, the right to equality of treatment and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
This annual overview compiles the available evidence on antisemitic incidents collected by governmental and non-governmental sources, covering the period 1 January 2006– 31 December 2016, where data are available. In addition, it includes a section that presents evidence from international organisations. No official data on reported antisemitic incidents in 2016 were available for 11 Member States by the time this report was compiled in September 2017.
‘Official data’ are understood here as those collected by law enforcement agencies, other authorities that are part of criminal justice systems and relevant state ministries at the national level. ‘Unofficial data’ refers to data collected by civil society organisations.
for the full report click HERE

Israel skips Poland antisemitism meet, but some still see thaw in ties ahead

KRAKOW, Poland — A Polish opposition politician expressed regret at the passage of a law this summer that limited Holocaust restitution efforts, and said he hopes ties between Poland and Israel — put in deep freeze by the legislation — will be repaired soon.
“I personally, from the very beginning, was opposed to both legislations that made so much damage to Polish-Israeli relations,” Michał Kaminski, a Polish senator and a deputy marshal of the Senate with the opposition Union of European Democrats, told The Times of Israel during an interview earlier this week. “Those legislations I opposed in both chambers, they are very unfortunate.”
Kaminski was referring to not just the legislation from July regarding Holocaust restitution, but also a 2018 law that criminalized statements implying the Polish nation played a role in victimizing Jews in the Holocaust. The law was later amended to remove the possibility of criminal charges, but the legislation caused major diplomatic tension between Warsaw and both Israel and the United States.
Three years later, a law that effectively prevents future restitution to the heirs of property seized by the Nazis during the Holocaust led to a downturn in ties between Israel and Poland that has remained in effect since the summer. Each nation recalled its ambassadors, and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the law “antisemitic and immoral.”
Poland “turned into an anti-democratic, illiberal country that doesn’t respect the greatest tragedy in human history,” Lapid charged. Poland responded by accusing Israel of “baseless and irresponsible” behavior.

Kaminski — a former minister and former member of the European Parliament — suggested that ties between Israel and Poland would not be irreparably harmed, and claimed that support for Israel was a bipartisan issue in Warsaw.
“In terms of supporting Israel on the international stage, Polish opposition is absolutely on the same side as the Polish government,” he said. “We are supporting Israel as a state, we are supporting Israel’s fight against terrorism, and we are supporting Israel as a stable democracy in the Middle East.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (left) speaks at a ceremony in Rabat, on August 11, 2021. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda (right) arrives for a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14, 2021. (Shlomi Amsalem/GPO; Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via AP)

Kaminski noted that Poland was still among the strongest supporters of Israel within the European Union, and suggested that the rift was motivated by domestic political needs on both sides, which he called “very unfortunate.”

Three months after the freeze in ties between Jerusalem and Warsaw, there were few signs of thaw at the confab in Poland, yet cautious optimism that it was on the horizon.
A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry told The Times of Israel that any improvement in ties “is basically up to Poland,” adding: “The crisis is because of the law. In order to fix the problem, they should address it.”
While politicians, ministers and parliamentarians from a wide range of countries attended the conference, including the UK, Germany, France, Hungary, Slovenia, the Netherlands and even the Congo, not a single representative of Israel’s government or parliament was present. The only Israeli on the conference agenda was Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the former chief rabbi and current chairman of Yad Vashem.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett sent a video message that was played at the conference’s gala dinner, where he stressed that “Jews should not be fighting antisemitism alone,” and declared that anti-Zionism is the “modern manifestation” of antisemitism.
A representative for Poland’s government — Wojciech Kolarski, secretary of state in the chancellery of the president — was originally slated to attend the conference but canceled for unspecified reasons. His office did not respond to a request for comment.
Instead, an adviser to President Andrzej Duda read a letter from the president at the conference, which emphasized the need to remember “all Poles” alongside Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and stressed that “contemporary Poland is a safe and friendly country” to Jews.
EJA officials said they invited Israeli Culture Minister Chili Tropper to attend, but he declined. Tropper’s office said he was unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts.
Conference organizers suggested that Israeli government representatives were unwilling to commit to attending the conference due to the uncertainty over the timing of critical budget votes, which wrapped up late last week.
Alex Benjamin, the director of the EJA, told The Times of Israel that the crisis in ties between Israel and Poland likely “would have been [part of the] equation” for Israeli officials choosing not to attend.
But, he said, “there are some things that transcend political disagreements,” and asserted that for Israel, “such consideration and such diplomatic rows fade into insignificance when it comes to honoring the dead in Auschwitz. There are some things that transcend political disagreements,” he added. “And visits to Auschwitz and talking about antisemitism is one of those.”
Kaminski spoke to The Times of Israel immediately after he addressed a gala dinner at the EJA gathering in Krakow on Monday. Feted as a close friend of Israel and of Europe’s Jewish community, Kaminski’s public remarks echoed Bennett’s equation of antisemitism and anti-Zionism: “Fighting antisemitism and standing with Israel and with its people — we are fighting the same fight.”
The Polish senator told The Times of Israel that while he understands Jewish and Israeli outrage over the restitution legislation, he does not believe it was aimed specifically at cases of Holocaust survivors and victims.
“The legislation about the property rights is directed in 85-90% of the cases, not against Jews, it’s directed against the Polish citizens,” he said. “I understand the anger of Jewish people, of Israeli politicians, on one side, I voted against the law. But to be honest, this law is not directed against the Jews as such.”

Artur Hofman, the head of the Polish Jewish cultural organization TSKZ, lays a wreath at Auschwitz on November 9, 2021. (Yossi Zeliger/EJA)

Warsaw says the law will bolster legal certainty in the property market, but opponents say that it is unjust to those with legitimate claims, including Holocaust survivors and their families.
The legislation places a 10-to-30-year cutoff date on contesting past administrative decisions on restituting property lost during World War II. Critics of the law argue that it will effectively cut off the ability of Jews to reclaim property that was seized before and during the Holocaust.
Poland is the only country in the European Union that has not passed comprehensive national legislation to return, or provide compensation for, private property confiscated by the Nazis or nationalized by the communist regime.
Artur Hofman, president of the cultural group TSKZ, the largest Polish Jewish organization, told The Times of Israel that while the law is problematic, the outrage ignores more local issues.
“I know that everybody in the world, in Israel, in the USA, is asking about money from property in Poland,” Hofman said. “But Polish Jews are like toys in this game. Nobody asks us.”
Hofman said that cultural buildings that once belonged to the Jewish community in Warsaw were seized by the government and never returned.
He claimed that restitution funds sought by organizations in the US and Israel are rarely distributed to Holocaust survivors, and that the money should instead remain in the Polish Jewish community and go toward remembrance and education projects.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-skips-poland-antisemitism-meet-but-some-still-see-thaw-in-ties-ahead/

#YouAreNotAlone – Supportive Messages for Israelis Under Fire

“You are not alone” is a European Jewish Association initiative that encourages the public across Europe to write short messages of support to families in Israel suffering under hundreds of indiscriminate rocket attacks on towns and villages. Families who feel isolated and unsupported as the world looks on passively.
By writing a short personal message you can show you care. That you stand with them, that “you are not alone”.
Each and every message sent through the portal on our dedicated webpage will be translated into Hebrew, then delivered and shared to the areas most under fire, offering comfort and support to those taking shelter with their families.
It only takes a minute to show you care. And it’s a minute that means so much.
To send a message klick HERE

BRUSSELS PARLIAMENT WON’T BAN KOSHER SLAUGHTER – EUROPEAN JEWISH ASSOCIATION CHAIRMAN APPLAUDS DECISION

“Where Brussels has led, others must follow”, says EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, adds “thank goodness for 3 Parliaments in Belgium.”

 

(Brussels 17 June). In a closely contested vote (42 against, 38 for) the Brussels Parliament has just voted not to ban Kosher slaughter in the Capital Region.

 

The move represents a victory for Jews in the Belgian Capital and stands in contrast to both Flanders and Wallonia (Belgium’s other regions) where bans on Kosher slaughter are in place.

 

Welcoming the vote, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the Chairman of the European Jewish Association that represents hundreds of communities across the Continent, and whose offices are headquartered in Brussels said in a statement:

 

“After a steady stream of bans across Europe that has left many communities bereft of local Kosher meat and having to shoulder the increased expenses of importing meat, we applaud this vote by Belgium’s Capital Parliament.

 

“The expense of course is of secondary concern to the overwhelming feeling from communities across the continent that their faith and traditions are constantly under threat by ill-though out , or malign legislation. 

 

“It is not said too often, but thank goodness for 3 parliaments in Belgium. There are few bastions left where Freedom of Religion is still considered a fundamental right. As a citizen of Brussels, I am proud that the capital is such a bastion. Where Brussels has led, others must now follow”.

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