MOLDOVA AND JEWS – SURVEY SHOWS COUNTRY HAS DEEP-ROOTED ANTISEMITISM PROBLEM

March 5, 2024

In first detailed country study for Moldova, 36% of respondents feel Jews use dishonest means to achieve aims, 19% have a negative perception of Jewish people and around 14% “really don’t like them” Other concerning findings: 32% say Jews exploit non-Jews and 36% Jews seek to gain advantage from the Holocaust and 37% said that Jews talk too much about it.  

(Brussels 5 March 2024) The Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA), representing hundreds of Jewish Communities across the continent, and Budapest-based Action and Protection League today published a comprehensive report on antisemitic attitudes in the Republic of Moldova, as part of shared efforts to get an accurate continent-wide picture of current attitudes towards Jews.  

The land-locked country of 2.5 million citizens has a small Jewish population of around 1,900, equating to 0.7% of all citizens, which, says EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, shows an irrational and alarmingly high prevalence of antisemitic attitudes.  

The survey, conducted between October 20th and November 14th, 2023, gathered 923 valid responses from the adult population of Moldova. The study utilized a stratified, probabilistic sampling method to ensure the sample’s representativeness. 

The Moldovan government has taken some actions in combatting antisemitism such as adopting the IHRA definition and changing the penal code to include the promotion of fascist, racist or xenophobic ideologies, public denial of the Holocaust, glorification of exponents of fascism/Nazism and the use in public or for political purposes of fascist, racist or xenophobic symbols.  

Speaking as the survey was published, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association said today: “The Moldova survey on antisemitism is part of our ongoing efforts to properly map the situation affecting Jews across the continent. “It is sadly clear that – despite some government efforts – deep-rooted antisemitism persists in Moldova. There can be no rational explanation as to why a community that represents such a tiny fraction of the overall population bears the brunt of such an alarmingly high number of stereotypes and tropes.  

“It will take much more than the adoption of the IHRA definition and changes to the legal code to make an impact on the antisemitic attitudes present in the Country. Change in the classroom is as a matter of urgency, if not the next generation will perpetuate and carry the virus of antisemitism with them. The Moldovan government has a tough road ahead in eradicating these old antisemitic attitudes that have no place in any modern country, especially one that seeks to join the European Union.” Ends  

Additional Articles

Auschwitz survivor decries rise of antisemitism, far-right in Germany

Eva Szepesi tells German parliament that the Holocaust ‘began with words, it began with society staying silent and looking away’

The Times of Israel: https://www.timesofisrael.com/auschwitz-survivor-decries-rise-of-antisemitism-far-right-in-germany/

BERLIN — A Jewish survivor of the Auschwitz death camp told Germany’s parliament Wednesday that she is appalled by the rising strength of the far right in the country and increasing antisemitism in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack that triggered the war in the Gaza Strip.

Eva Szepesi, 91, who was born in Hungary and liberated from Auschwitz at age 12 in January 1945, spoke at the parliament’s annual memorial event for victims of the Holocaust. She shared her memories of Nazi persecution and addressed concerns about the current situation in Germany.

“I would like not just for murdered Jews to be remembered on memorial days but also for living ones to be remembered in daily life. They need protection now,” Szepesi told lawmakers.

Germany saw a significant increase in anti-Jewish incidents following the attack on Israel. Szepesi said some of her readings at schools were called off for security reasons shortly after October 7 and her most recent such events took place under police protection.

“The Shoah (Holocaust) did not begin with Auschwitz. It began with words, it began with society staying silent and looking away,” she said. “It pains me when schoolchildren are again afraid of going to school just because they are Jews; it pains me when my great-grandchildren still have to be protected by police officers with machine guns just because they are Jews.”

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Szepesi also decried the strengthening of the far right in Germany, where recent national polls showed the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in second place with support of around 20%. A recent news report said some party members attended a recent meeting where right-wing extremists discussed deporting millions of immigrants and people with immigrant roots, including some with German citizenship.

 

The railway tracks where hundred thousands of people arrived to be directed to the gas chambers inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau, December 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, file)

“It appalls me that right-wing extremist parties are again being voted for,” Szepesi said. “They must not become so strong that our democracy is endangered.”

Hundreds of thousands of German citizens attended protests against the far right this month.

“It’s great that so many people have taken to the streets in recent weeks to demonstrate against right-wing extremists,” Szepesi told parliament. “But I would like these demonstrators also to object loudly among acquaintances and at the workplace when inhuman and antisemitic comments are made.”

Nazi memorabilia auction criticised by Jewish leader

A German auction of items such as Adolf Hitler’s hat and partner Eva Braun’s dresses has been sharply criticised by the European Jewish Association (EJA).

The EJA argued the items have little historical value, and would be bought by individuals who glorify Nazism.
The organisation asked Munich-based Hermann Historica to stop the auction, but it went ahead.
A silver-covered edition of Hitler’s autobiographical “Mein Kampf” was also among the items for sale.
A silver letter seal belonging to Eva Braun has sold for €10,500 (£9,003), while a silver-framed and signed photograph of Hitler sold for $46,000 (£39,442).
The chairman of the EGA, Rabbi Menachem Margolin wrote an open letter to German political leaders expressing his concerns.
Mr Margolin argued the auction is an “opportunity for people to glorify, show adulation and sentimentality for the Nazis”.
He added: “I understand that it is not illegal to buy and sell Nazi memorabilia… this is not a legal request but a moral one. It is wrong”.
The director of the auction house, Bernhard Pacher, told DPA news agency: “The largest part of the customers who shop with us are museums, state collections and private collectors who really meticulously deal with the subject”.
He added there would be strict controls on the auction, to “prevent the wrong people from getting it”.
Other auction items which belonged to Adolf Hitler include a hand-written letter, a silver cigar box from his personal collection and a rental agreement for an apartment in Munich.
The 147 items specifically related to the Third Reich are part of a larger auction of over 800 German historical collectibles from 1919 onwards.
The article was published on the BBC

Red Lines Follow-Up: Meeting with German Ambassador H.E. Mr. Martin Kotthaus

Earlier today, the European Jewish Association has had the honour of meeting with the recently appointed Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Kingdom of Belgium, H.E. Mr. Martin Kotthaus. While His Excellency has earlier already attended some of our events, including the recent EJA annual conference back in November 2018, this has been the first occasion, which presented an opportunity to have a very comprehensive discussion on a number of different topics.

These subjects, amongst others, included the issues European Jewry is faced with nowadays across the continent, the situation in Germany itself, especially with regards to the present political climate and the upcoming elections at regional and EU levels, various topical matters at hand and everyday life of the Jewish community, as well as prospects for the future. Both sides have expressed their hopes for a continued productive cooperation between the German authorities and the country’s Jewish community. The recently adopted Red Lines have been touched upon as well, with Mr. Ambassador kindly offering to report back on them to his homeland’s government.

We very much look forward to a long and fruitful cooperation with His Excellency and the Embassy on questions presenting mutual interest and concern.

At Israel’s prodding, record 31 nations to boycott Durban conference anniversary

Envoy says dozens of countries will shun this year’s anti-racism conference at UN after past antisemitism; Bennett to make debut address at General Assembly next week

By TOI STAFF
Thirty-one nations will boycott a UN meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban World Conference on Racism — also known as Durban IV — on Wednesday, over concerns that it will veer into open antisemitism as it has in the past.
The first Durban conference — held from August 31 to September 8, 2001, just days before the terror attacks of September 11 — was marked by deep divisions on the issues of antisemitism, colonialism and slavery. The US and Israel walked out of the conference in protest at the tone of the meeting, including over plans to include condemnations of Zionism in the final text.
At the 2009 conference, a speech by Iran’s then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacking Israel sparked a temporary walkout by many European delegates.
Thirty-one nations will boycott a UN meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban World Conference on Racism — also known as Durban IV — on Wednesday, over concerns that it will veer into open antisemitism as it has in the past.
The first Durban conference — held from August 31 to September 8, 2001, just days before the terror attacks of September 11 — was marked by deep divisions on the issues of antisemitism, colonialism and slavery. The US and Israel walked out of the conference in protest at the tone of the meeting, including over plans to include condemnations of Zionism in the final text.
At the 2009 conference, a speech by Iran’s then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacking Israel sparked a temporary walkout by many European delegates.
This year, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Friday, a record 31 countries will be skipping the event, over double the amount that have done so in the past.
“In recent months I have worked for the world to understand that the Durban Conference was fundamentally rotten,” he said in a Monday tweet. “I’m glad many more understand this today.”
The United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, and France are among some of the key nations set to boycott this year’s meeting.

Vaccines, climate, nuclear deal on General Assembly agenda

The highlight of the UN General Assembly, during which world leaders and other top officials deliver addresses from the marble-backed podium, begins on Tuesday in New York and will see a mixture of in-person speeches and pre-recorded video messages sent from around the world.
This year’s event and is markedly different from last year’s, which was conducted mostly online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the speeches by world leaders, the General Assembly usually also has hundreds of side events, but only a limited number are being held this year, mainly virtually or outside UN headquarters.
These include events on vaccines, on children as invisible victims of the coronavirus and conflict, on multilateralism and democracy, and on global hotspots including Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Additionally, the UN Security Council will hold a high-level meeting Wednesday on climate and security.
Afghanistan and other major global challenges are expected to be on the agenda, including the lack of progress on the United States rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Iran’s new foreign minister, Hossain Amir Abdollahian, will be in New York and there is speculation that he may meet with the five countries that remain part of the deal — Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
There are also high-level meetings on energy and the nuclear test ban treaty, and a summit on the connected system of producing, processing, distributing and consuming food, which according to the UN contributes an estimated one-third of greenhouse gas emissions.
Thirty-one nations will boycott a UN meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban World Conference on Racism — also known as Durban IV — on Wednesday, over concerns that it will veer into open antisemitism as it has in the past.
The first Durban conference — held from August 31 to September 8, 2001, just days before the terror attacks of September 11 — was marked by deep divisions on the issues of antisemitism, colonialism and slavery. The US and Israel walked out of the conference in protest at the tone of the meeting, including over plans to include condemnations of Zionism in the final text.
At the 2009 conference, a speech by Iran’s then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacking Israel sparked a temporary walkout by many European delegates.
This year, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Friday, a record 31 countries will be skipping the event, over double the amount that have done so in the past.
“In recent months I have worked for the world to understand that the Durban Conference was fundamentally rotten,” he said in a Monday tweet. “I’m glad many more understand this today.”
France are among some of the key nations set to boycott this year’s meeting.

Bennett’s debut

According to a provisional list of speakers for the General Debate, US president Joe Biden will speak on Tuesday morning, in America’s traditional slot as the second speaker of the General Debate.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will be another one of at least 83 world leaders who plan on attending in person, according to Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir, president of last year’s gathering. Twenty-six leaders applied to speak remotely, Bozkir said earlier this month. Bennett will address the gathering on Monday, September 27.
In his address, Bennett will speak about Israel’s national security and regional issues, according to his office. His remarks will likely focus on Iran’s nuclear program and its support for armed proxy groups.
Bennett’s predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, was known for making headlines with his speeches on the Iranian nuclear threat at the UN General Assembly, often using cardboard graphics and other props to get his point across.
Israel’s regional partners will also be represented, according to the provisional list. Egypt and Jordan will send their heads of state, while the foreign ministers of Israel’s new Gulf allies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, will speak.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and new Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi are both sending prerecorded addresses to be broadcast at the event.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/at-israels-prodding-record-31-nations-to-boycott-durban-conference-anniversary/

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