New Cooperation with The Dutch NIHS Brabant Community from Eindhoven

May 11, 2020

The European Jewish Association is proud and delighted to welcome another organisation to our growing roster of partners and communities.
We have just concluded and signed a memorandum of understanding with The Dutch NIHS Brabant Community from Eindhoven.
When two dynamic and active Jewish organisations get together and agree to work closely together, beautiful and important things flow from this. We look forward to working for the betterment of Dutch and European Jewry together.

Additional Articles

Words by our board member, Binyomin Jacobs, Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands

Dear people,
The fact that we are all experiencing a difficult period needs no elucidation. We are all in the same distressing boat.
But the way in which we deal with this quarantine, with the loneliness, with just sitting and filling our time, is something in which we differ.
I mostly fill my time with my phone and behind my computer. Just to call to ask the common question: how are you?
Is such an expression of interest worthwhile?
I think so. I also have been called several times and have received various WhatsApp messages with the question: how are you? Believe me when I say that it really did me good that someone takes the time to also ask how I am doing. I am a human being, too, and nothing that is human is strange to me. The interest did me good. And thus I am convinced that when I call somebody, he or she will also get a nice feeling from my phone call.
But I want to share with you a phone call that I made with an old lady. I don’t know how she experienced my call, but I certainly know how I experienced it.
It concerned an elderly lady, who lives in a town on the Veluwe. This lady has not had an easy life, to express it euphemistically. A multiplicity of complex problems, kilometres away from all that is Jewish. A difficult childhood and a marriage that tragically fell apart. Very poor and consequently living in a small apartment. And now at home all day, with no one to talk to, because she has no family left at all. And then I call her up with the question how are you?
So I don’t know what the phone call meant to her, but to me it was very impressive and educational. How are you? was my somewhat automatic question. Her reply, however, was far from ordinary:
I am doing great. Just came back from the supermarket. It was wonderfully quiet and the few customers that were there radiated friendliness. And on the street it was so impressively quiet. I heard the birds sing. No roar of planes flying overhead, magnificent crocuses in full bloom, a serene feel of quietness and peace… how beautiful, actually.
I immediately had to think about this teacher that gave his students a test. All the students received a piece of paper in front of them with the blank side facing up. They were only allowed to flip over the sheet when the teacher gave them permission. When all the students were properly seated, the teacher told them that they all had to flip over the sheet and write down what they saw on the other side. But they didn’t see anything on that other side. The piece of paper was completely blank with only in the middle a small black dot. So all the students wrote down that they saw a black dot.
After handing in the pieces of paper they were told that they had answered the question incorrectly, because, as the teacher pointed out, the right answer would have been that they saw a blank sheet of paper. That tiny dot in the middle was completely negligible relative to the piece of paper.
The same applies to when we see what the other does wrong; too often, we simply don’t pay attention to the good that he does.
And what about the neighbour’s beautiful car? That is what we see, but we don’t know what takes place at his home.
But also when I look at myself. Am I suffering from my shortcomings and am I perhaps not paying attention to what I am able to do?
That is also the way it is in quarantine at the moment. Am I fixating exclusively on…
I think of that elderly lady, all alone, nobody around her, a less than enviable childhood. And when I ask her how she is doing under the current difficult circumstances, her reply is inspiring. The black dot on the blank sheet of paper did not attract her attention!
Please stay strong and healthy. May G’d bless you for years to come with prosperity and health.
And don’t forget to call someone and ask them How are you?
Binyomin Jacobs, Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands

Pro-BDS conference held at European Parliament

BDS Founder Omar Barghouti honored at EU event hosted by MEP Ana Gomes, calling Israel an 'apartheid' state and justifying his actions.
European Parliament Member Ana Gomes on Tuesday hosted an event titled "The Israeli settlements in Palestine and the European Union" and focused on slamming Israel and legitimizing BDS.
The event was held at the European Parliament, and speakers included BDS movement founder Omar Barghouti, Palestinian Authority representative to the EU, Belgium, and Luxembourg Abdalrahim Alfarra, and Institute of International and Development studies in Geneva researcher Tom Moerenhout.
European Parliament President Tajani after complaints from MEPs and Israel advocacy groups, expressed his reservations about the meeting, although he could not technically stop it from taking place. The Socialist Group, of which Gomes is a member, asked for any of their logos or party insignia to be removed from the event
The event took place despite numerous representations against it because of the presence of Barghouti, whose anti-two state solution comments, boycott calls and veiled anti-Semitism comments run counter to stated EU policy.
Gomes began her remarks by saying she was happy that the meeting was taking place despite the efforts of the 'perverse' Israel lobby. She then went on to chastise the EU for complicity in not doing enough to tackle settlement construction, a phenomenon she referred to as a cancer affecting the peace process. Alfarra listed a litany of views related to the occupation and urged more EU states to recognize "Palestine."
Barghouti then outlined his perceived justifications for BDS' actions, repeatedly calling Israel "apartheid" and accusing the government of far-right tendencies. Finally, the researcher outlined the legal case for boycotts and claimed the EU was in breach of legal obligations when trading with Israel.
The event was then opened to questions, mainly from Jewish and Israel advocates who called for a retraction from Gomes due to her un-parliamentary language, and calling out BDS as anti-peace process.
European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Marglin noted that BDS ultimately harms Palestinian Authority Arabs, since it harms the factories providing them with jobs.He also asked Barghouti to state whether his true intention was to help "Palestinians" or whether BDS' policy is simply a result of "hating Jews no matter where they live."
Both the event's organizers and Barghouti had charges of anti-Semitism leveled against them.
In their responses, Gomes refused to retract, said she was not anti-Semitic. Barghouti called those accusing BDS of being anti-Semitic of being anti-Semitic themselves, said accusations of harm against Palestinian Authority were "patronizing," claiming his actions were entirely justified.
The event was not well attended by MEPs, and perhaps 5 in total attended, all of whom are anti-Israel from the left political fringes, including Italian communist radicals.
 

Mogherini in a letter to EJA Chairman: "I have a personal obligation to fight anti-Semitism"

European Union Foreign Minister, Federica Mogherini To the Chairman of the Union of Jewish Organizations in Europe (EJA), Rabbi Menachem Margolin:
"I have a personal obligation to fight anti-Semitism. We must fight every day against those who harm or show contempt for the memory of the Holocaust "
In light of the growing controversy with the Polish government with regards to the Holocaust Bill, EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini wrote to Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the Union of Jewish Organizations in Europe (EJA), stating her personal commitment to target and combat anti-Semitism.
In a personal letter sent by Mogherini to Rabbi Margolin, she said: "The struggle against anti-Semitism is a personal goal for me. It is 70 Years sonce the Holocaust and manifestations of anti-Semitism and hate crimes are on the rise again in Europe. The European Union cannot exist without the memory of the Holocaust and certainly cannot exist without the Jews of the continent. " "It is important that our children learn about the Holocaust in schools and visit the camps in order to understand the enormity of the atrocities and to ensure that they never return," she said.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the Union of Jewish Organizations in Europe (EJA), expressed great appreciation for Mrs Mogherini’s continuing personal commitment to the struggle against anti-Semitism and to preserve Holocaust memory, but warned that "the struggle against anti-Semitism and the memory of the Holocaust cannot be detached from the current political climate in the continent . Only in recent weeks have we been witness not only to attempts to damage the memory of the Holocaust from the ruling party in Poland, but also to attempts to enact laws banning circumcision (Iceland) or imposing scandalous restrictions on kosher slaughter (Poland), severely harming freedom of religion and the very fabric of Jewish life throughout the continent - Principles that are the guiding principles of the European Union, but which the EU is still not doing enough to safeguard and to prevent such legislation. "

The Flemish parliament voted Wednesday to ban ritual slaughter of animals without stunning from 2019.

BRUSSELS (EJP)---The Flemish parliament voted Wednesday to ban ritual slaughter of animals without stunning from 2019. The animals will be slaughtered after being irreversibly stunned, for example via an electrical anesthesia, the parliament decided. The Jewish community denounced an attack on freedom of religion which is protected by Constitution and by EU rules. 

An exception remains for cattle and calves. Pending a more developed technique, post-cut stunning will remain in effect, a stunning immediately after the slaughter.
Slaughterhouses now have a year and a half to adapt their infrastructure and train their staff in these new practices. Flemish Minister of Animal Welfare Ben Weyts said he is pleased with the vote and called Flanders ''a leader in animal welfare in Europe.''
Another Belgian region, Wallonia, has also voted a similar legislation.
Shechita, the Jewish ritual slaughter, requires that butchers swiftly slaughter the animal by slitting its throat and draining the blood.
The Jewish community in Belgium has slammed the Flemish and Walloon regions given their clear repercussions for the community.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association (EJA), a Brussels-based group representing Jewish communitiers across Europe, has accused lawmakers of targeting Jews and said the decisions ''have a strong stench of populism.'' 
''This is a direct attack on Jews and our practice when it comes to slaughtering. When it comes to the mass market slaughterhouses, where mistakes frequently affect up to 10% of all animals, meaning they die in an awful painful death, compared to shechita, the kosher slaughter,  where the suffering of the animal is kept to the most minimum levels possible,'' he said. ''It  quickly becomes apparent that this decision is not about health or animal welfare. It simplly represents the politics of division,'' Rabbi Margolin added, stressing that ''we will fight this latest decision wih all legal and political means at our disposal.'' 
CCOJB, the representative body of Belgian Jewish organisations, regretted the Flemish parliament vote and its consequences on Jewish ritual slaughter. ‘’Wallonia and Flanders are sending a wrong political message to the citizens of our country because these laws do not respect the European rules on this matter,’’ said CCOJB President Yohan Benizri in a statement.  ''This vote intervenes despite numerous juridical and moral objections that have been put forward these last months as this measure indirectly bans ritual slaughter.''

Additional Communities
United Kingdom
Ukraine
Schweiz
Switzerland
Spain
Slovakia
Serbia
Russia
Romania
Portugal
Poland