Nechama Rivlin – ת.נ.צ.ב.ה

June 4, 2019

The European Jewish Association expresses its heartfelt condolences to Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin on the passing of his beloved wife Nechama. Like the President himself, Nechama represented a respected and unifying force for good in Israel, her patience, steady hand, compassion and love for her country was evident and exerted a huge and positive influence on her husband. It was a symbiotic patriotism that demonstrated the best of Israel.

We send him our love and thoughts at this difficult time.

ת.נ.צ.ב.ה

 

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Words for Pesach by the Chairman of EJA, Rabbi Margolin

The pandemic has upended so much of our daily lives, including the most sacred: our holy days.
Millions of Jews around the world will be celebrating Pesach this evening in ways that up until a few weeks ago was unimaginable, without family around them, without the bustling celebration around the table. It will of course be hard for all of us.
Of course, the irony of celebrating our holiday of freedom whilst we are in confinement due to a plague – the coronavirus, will not be lost on us.
And yet, even amongst this adversity, we are being given the opportunity to celebrate Pesach in a unique way, loaded with significance that can, in fact, bring us closer to the story of our exodus from Egypt. How?
Let us be honest, how many of us really appreciate what freedom means? In our modern lives the vast majority of us are free to come and go as we please. This pandemic has given us a flavour of what it is like to lose freedoms that we take for granted, and in the process brings us closer to our ancestors, who lost theirs under Pharaoh. It brings the holiday alive.
Truly both nights will be different from all the others, they remind us to truly appreciate the everyday blessings that the almighty bestows on us everyday, our families, our jobs, our friends.
I wish you, and your families a Pesach Sameach, and G-d willing next year in Jerusalem!

"אנחנו כאן כדי להבטיח שזכר קורבנות השואה ימשיך לבהוק לעד"

יום השואה הבינלאומי חל אומנם בינואר, אך בערב יום השואה בישראל, יצא איגוד הארגונים היהודיים באירופה (EJA) במבצע נרחב למירוק 458 אבני הנגף שהוטבעו במדרכות בריסל בירת בלגיה, אל מול בתים שמהם נשלחו יהודים למחנות ההשמדה. יו”ר איגוד הארגונים היהודים באירופה (EJA), הרב מנחם מרגולין: “אנו נחושים, להנציח את זיכרון השואה לאור הקיטוב הגובר בחברה, חוסר הסובלנות כלפי הזולת והעלייה הברורה באנטישמיות באירופה וקוראים להגביר את הפעילות החינוכית להעצמת זכר השואה והמאבק באנטישמיות”.

הרב מרגולין הודה למתנדבים הרבים על הירתמותם למפעל החשוב וציין כי “אנו נחושים, להנציח את זיכרון השואה לאור הקיטוב הגובר בחברה, חוסר הסובלנות כלפי הזולת והעלייה הברורה באנטישמיות באירופה. האינטראקציה והחשיפה של אזרחי בריסל לשואה היא חיוניות, בהתחשב בעובדה שכשליש מהאירופאים יודעים מעט מאוד על זוועות השואה. אני קורא מכאן לכל ממשלות אירופה וראשי הערים ביבשת להגביר את הפעילות החינוכית להעצמת זכר השואה ומאבק באנטישמיות”.

האירוע המרגש שנערך ברחובות בריסל וברשתות החברתיות תחת הכותרת #MakeTheirMemoryShine התקיים בשיתוף המוזיאון היהודי בבריסל ובמעמד ראש עיריית בריסל פיליפ קלוז, ניצולי שואה, מנהיגים יהודים ומאות מתנדבים – בני כל הדתות והגילאים, שקיבלו מאיגוד הארגונים היהודים באירופה ערכות ניקיון ייעודיות למירוק אבני הזיכרון.

אבן נגף (בגרמנית Stolperstein – שְטוֹלְפֶּרשְטַיין), הוא שמו של פרויקט הנצחה מתמשך בערים שונות באירופה, שיצר האמן גונטר דמניג. “אבני הנגף” של דמניג שקועות במדרכות בערים שונות במטרה להזכיר לעוברים ושבים את קורבנות הנאציזם. נכון להיום הונחו מעל ל-90,000 אבני נגף בערים רבות ברחבי אירופה.

Special Briefing on the latest developments in the war against Hamas; Genocide accusations

IDF international spokesperson LTC (res) Jonathan Conricus, Professor Uzi Rabi, Director of the Dayan Center for ME Studies TAU, Professor Yann Jurovics, Leading Specialist of Crimes against Humanity and crime of Genocide, and Amb. Francois Zimeray Founder, Alliance of Lawyers For Human Rights, will present Israel’s defence against South African war crimes/genocide accusations taking place at the International Court of Justice, the Hague Tomorrow.

 

 

Far-right going mainstream in Europe

ZAGREB: Hungary’s prime minister declares that the “color” of Europeans should not mix with that of Africans and Arabs. His Polish counterpart claims Jews took part in their own destruction in the Holocaust. And the Croatian president has thanked Argentina for welcoming notorious pro-Nazi war criminals after World War II.Ever since World War II, such views were taboo in Europe, confined to the far-right fringes. Today they are openly expressed by mainstream political leaders in parts of Central and Eastern Europe, part of a global populist surge in the face of globalization and mass migration.
“There is something broader going on in the region which has produced a patriotic, nativist, conservative discourse through which far-right ideas managed to become mainstream,” said Tom Junes, a historian and a
researcher with the Human and Social Studies Foundation in Sofia, Bulgaria.
In many places, the shift to the right has included the rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators, often fighters or groups celebrated as anti-communists or defenders of national liberation. In Hungary and Poland, governments are also eroding the independence of courts and media, leading human rights groups to warn that democracy is threatened in parts of a region that threw off Moscow-backed dictatorships in 1989.
Some analysts say Russia is covertly helping extremist groups in order to destabilize Western liberal democracies. While that claim is difficult to prove with concrete evidence, it is clear that the growth of radical groups has pushed moderate conservative parties to veer to the right to hold onto votes.
That’s the case in Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party – the front-runner in the April 8 elections – have drawn voters with an increasingly strident anti-migrant campaign. Casting himself as the savior of a white Christian Europe being overrun by hordes of Muslims and Africans, Orban has insisted that Hungarians don’t want their “own color, traditions and national culture to be mixed by others.”
Orban, who is friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was also the first European leader to endorse Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. In 2015, he erected razor wire at Hungary’s borders to stop migrants from crossing and has since been warning in apocalyptic terms that the West faces racial and civilizational suicide if the migration continues. Orban has also been obsessed with demonizing the financier and philanthropist George Soros, falsely portraying the Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor as an advocate of uncontrolled immigration into Europe. In what critics denounce as a state-sponsored conspiracy theory with anti-Semitic overtones, the Hungarian government spent $48.5 million on anti-Soros ads in 2017, according to data compiled by investigative news site atlatszo.hu.
In a recent speech, Orban denounced Soros in language that echoed anti-Judaic cliches of the 20th century. He said Hungary’s foes “do not believe in work, but speculate with money; they have no homeland, but feel that the whole world is theirs.”
In nearby Poland, xenophobic language is also on the rise. When nationalists held a large Independence Day march in November, when some carried banners calling for a “White Europe” and “Clean Blood,” the interior minister called it a “beautiful sight.” Poland’s government has also been embroiled in a bitter dispute with Israel and Jewish organizations over a law that would criminalize blaming Poland for Germany’s Holocaust crimes.
With tensions running high in February, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki listed “Jewish perpetrators” as among those who were responsible for the Holocaust. He also visited the Munich grave of an underground Polish resistance group that had collaborated with the Nazis.
In the same vein, an official tapped to create a major new history museum has condemned the postwar tribunals in Nuremberg, Germany, where top Nazis were judged, as “the greatest judicial farce in the history of Europe.” Arkadiusz Karbowiak said the Nuremberg trials were only “possible because of the serious role of Jews” in their organization and called them “the place where the official religion of the Holocaust was created.”
Across the region, Muslims, Roma, Jews and other minorities have expressed anxiety about the future. But nationalists insist they aren’t promoting hate. They claim they’re defending their national sovereignty and Christian way of life against globalization and the large-scale influx of migrants who don’t assimilate.
The Balkans, bloodied by ethnic warfare in the 1990s, are also seeing a rise of nationalism, particularly in Serbia and Croatia. Political analysts there believe Russian propaganda is spurring old ethnic resentments.
Croatia has steadily drifted to the right since joining the EU in 2013. Some officials there have denied the Holocaust or reappraised Croatia’s ultranationalist, pro-Nazi Ustasha regime, which killed tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, Roma and anti-fascist Croats in wartime prison camps. In a recent visit to Argentina, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic thanked the country for providing postwar refuge to Croats who had belonged to the Ustasha regime.
The world’s top Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff of the Wiesenthal center, called her statement “a horrific insult to victims.” Grabar-Kitarovic later said she had not meant to glorify a totalitarian regime.
In Bulgaria, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, the government includes a far-right alliance, the United Patriots, whose members have given Nazi salutes and slurred minorities. Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov has called Roma “ferocious humanoids” whose women “have the instincts of street dogs.”
Junes, the Sofia-based researcher, said that even though hate crimes are on the rise in Bulgaria, the problem has raised little concern in the West because the country keeps its public debt in check and is not challenging the fundamental Western consensus, unlike Poland and Hungary.
While populist and far-right groups are also growing in parts of Western Europe, countries like Poland and Hungary are proving more vulnerable
to the same challenges, said Peter Kreko, director of Political Capital Institute, a Budapest-based think tank.
“In younger, weaker, more fragile democracies,” he said, “right-wing populism is more dangerous because it can weaken and even demolish the democratic institutions.”
The article was published on The Daily Star

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