New Cooperation with The NIG de Achterhoek

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 NIG de Achterhoek. (Jewish community of Achterhoek, Netherlands)
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

EU Court on Brink of Mandating Anti-Semitic Product Labeling

Pope Francis said recently that he was “concerned because we hear speeches that resemble those of Hitler in 1934.” He was talking about the rise of extreme nationalism and populism, which he feared could lead to the fragmentation of the European Union. The pope should be worried about any current resemblances in Europe to the Nazi past, but the pope’s praise of the European Union as an antidote is premature. Indeed, the European Union itself is on the verge of reviving the Nazis’ stigmatization of Jewish-made products on the pretext that they come from “occupied” Palestinian territories.
According to sources cited by the Washington Beacon, “The European Union is poised to mandate that Israeli products made in contested territories carry consumer warning labels,” which is seen by Jews as “an ominous warning sign that they say is reminiscent of Holocaust-era boycotts of Jewish businesses.” The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice recently issued a non-binding opinion to the effect that EU law requires the labeling of such products as coming from "settlements" and "Israeli colonies." He analogized this situation to the European boycott of South African goods during its apartheid period. "The absence of the indication of the country of origin or place of provenance of a product originating in a territory occupied by Israel and, in any event, a settlement colony, might mislead the consumer as to the true country of origin or place of provenance of the food," the Advocate General said, referring to food products. Israeli occupation and settlements could be “an objective factor which might affect the expectations of the reasonable consumer,” he added.
Brooke Goldstein, a human rights lawyer and executive director of the Lawfare Project who has fought the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in various courts, remarked, "The Advocate General's opinion said that goods produced by Muslims are to be labeled from ‘Palestine,' and goods produced by Jews labeled as coming from ‘Israeli colonies.’ Both people are living in the same geographic location, and yet Jewish goods are being treated differently."
Discrimination on the basis of religion is a transgression of basic human rights that violates Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The EU Court of Justice’s 15 judge panel is expected to issue a binding ruling mirroring the Advocate General’s opinion. If it does so, the EU court would be handing the BDS movement a major win against Israeli Jews by codifying blatant discrimination against Israeli Jewish businesses.
Consider how differently the European Union treats Turkish settlements in northern Cyprus. There are currently about 115,000 Turkish settlers and 35,000 Turkish occupation troops in northern Cyprus according to the internationally recognized government of the Republic of Cyprus. Despite Turkey’s invasion and military occupation of northern Cyprus, and the forced dislocation of tens of thousands of Greek Cypriots from their homes as Turkish settlers moved in, the European Union has allocated funds to developing and restructuring the Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus’s infrastructure. Germany, Denmark, and other European Union member countries import Halloumi cheese, a major product from Cyprus that may soon receive a “Protected Designation of Origin” from the European Union covering Cyprus as a whole. There appears to be no initiative to require further labeling of Halloumi cheese produced by Turkish settlers in northern Cyprus as coming from “settlements” or “Turkish colonies.”
On April 1, 1933, a boycott of Jewish-owned businesses broke out across Germany as the SS stood in front of such businesses to inform the public that Jews were the proprietors. The word “Jude” was smeared on store windows and the Star of David image was painted on doors to serve as anti-Jewish labels. Discriminatory laws singling out Jews followed in succession, codifying Nazi anti-Semitism. The infamous Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass," occurred on November 9, 1938, followed by the transfer of Jewish-owned businesses to so-called "Aryans." Germany descended from there to the “Final Solution” of the Holocaust.
Germany officially professes to remember this dark time in its history with deep regret. Last May, Germany’s legislature declared the BDS movement to be “anti-Semitic” in a resolution co-sponsored by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian-Democratic Union Party, the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party. The resolution stated that "all-encompassing calls for boycotts in their radical nature lead to the stigmatization of Israeli citizens and citizens of Jewish faith as a whole. This is unacceptable and worthy of the sharpest condemnation."  The resolution added, “The BDS movement’s ‘Don’t Buy’ stickers on Israeli products inevitably awake associations with the Nazi slogan ‘Don’t Buy from Jews!’ and similar scrawls on facades and shop windows.”
At the same time, however, anti-Semitism is sadly on the rise in Germany as well as elsewhere in Europe. Reported cases of anti-Semitic crimes in Germany increased by nearly 20 percent last year. Attacks against German Jews have come from both right wing and Islamist extremists living in Germany. The spread of Islamist anti-Semitism in Germany has become an increasing problem in recent years as Muslim immigrants from the terrorist-prone Middle East swarmed into Germany. As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported, for example, the annual al-Quds Day march in Berlin has become an occasion for participants to invoke anti-Semitic stereotypes linked to their gripes against the Jewish state of Israel and to call for the killing of Israelis. Last June, a witness testified during a murder trial that a Palestinian accused of killing a German man said he had done so because he thought his victim was a “rich Jew” whose people “destroyed my homeland.”
If the European Union Court of Justice follows its Advocate General’s recommendation, as expected, it will be seen as legitimizing anti-Semitism in Europe. The court will provide one more instrument of lawfare as a weapon of war for the Palestinians and their allies to use against Israeli Jews.
the article was published on Frontpage Mag

Reflections on life and the polish animal welfare law from our advisory board member Rabbi Binyomen Jacobs

A healthy winter!
During the war, Germans who had volunteered to join the SS and the SD and Dutch collaborators of the Nazis were buried in the municipalities where they had been killed or shot.
After the war, the municipalities where those Jew hunters and other beasts were buried no longer wanted to tolerate having these remains in their local cemeteries.
The Ministry of Defence then made a piece of land available in Ysselsteyn where they had to be reburied. That killing field in Ysselseteyn is therefore a collection bin for SS beasts, Dutch SD men, collaborators, a number of whom had been shot by the resistance, and also "ordinary" German soldiers. The person who had Anne Frank and her family deported is also buried there.
A commemoration at a cemetery where only dead "ordinary" soldiers are buried, even if they were exclusively German soldiers, is a completely different story in my view.
Commemoration there is certainly worth considering. But here in Ysselsteyn paying tribute to traitors and murderers who have voluntarily chosen to murder my family and / or have them sent to the gas chambers? No way!
And so I still signed the petition, although by nature I am not a signer. I added my name to the petition to prevent anyone from thinking that I have forgiven them for their atrocities, because it happened so long ago, because it has now become history, because the crimes are barred…. So no.
Crimes of this kind against humanity cannot and must not expire and degenerate into an old episode in history. Am I hateful then? When the question arose years ago in the Sinai Center (Jewish psychiatric centre) whether we, as a Jewish institution, would like to treat children of parents who had dome wrong, I made it clear: certainly!
We must not punish children for their parents' mistakes and I am grateful that I was able to help those victims of the war, because they too are victims of those horrible dark years.
Their parents' opposition to my parents makes them no less victim, no less second generation. Of course we are talking about children who suffer because their parents were "wrong" in their view. I remember a meeting in Israel of my wife with a daughter of a German SS officer. Crying that daughter and my wife embraced each other: a heartbreaking and impressive scene!
And while I was able to confirm the above information about Ysselseteyn from my car, I was on my way to The Hague together with the secretary of the NIK. An appointment with the Ambassador of Poland, Mr Marcin Czepelak. (Don't ask me how to pronounce this name. I notice that those ambassadors from those former Eastern bloc countries all have  unpronounceable names.) It was a good and friendly conversation. It was about the impending new law that wants to ban the export of kosher meat slaughtered in Poland.
Polish Jews will be allowed to continue to slaughter kosher for domestic use, but export? That should be a bridge too far. The ambassador understood well that this is not just a practical and business problem.
He foresaw very clearly that if Poland bans exports, several EU countries will follow and in the end there will no longer be kosher meat available within the EU, not even in the Netherlands. The Ambassador was in no doubt about that. But he also felt keenly that the ban on the export of kosher meat would hurt the Jewish community in its full breadth, would deeply affect their Jewishness. Jews who never eat kosher and perhaps consider kosher food as nonsense and out of date, the ambassador himself indicated, are equally affected by this measure. Because it may be that they don't consume kosher meat, the ban on the export of kosher meat is an assault on their Jewish identity.
And now here I am at the end of this day, writing this diary to the digital paper and hopefully still with enough puff in me to dismantle the Sukkah (booth) tonight and put it away until next year. And until then? Hopefully, peace and a very soon deliverance from the evil that is called corona and also a proper return to Jewish life in our polder country.
Even on Yom Kippur, there were Jewish congregations that did not have shul service. And this year, far fewer booths that stood near the synagogues have to be demolished. The reason? Unfortunately they were not built because of corona! At the end of all these Jewish Holidays, we wish each other, and so do I: a healthy winter!
During corona time, Chief Rabbi Jacobs keeps a diary for the Jewish Cultural Quarter. NIW publishes these special documents daily on www.niw.nl.

ABOUT CORBYN, an Op-Ed by our Director of Public Affairs

“Israel is a racist endeavour.” So, read the posters put up around bus shelters around London yesterday, and most prominently facing the Houses of parliament.

When the genie is out of the bottle, as anyone knows, it’s hard to get it back in. And when the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn spent weeks prevaricating, ducking and weaving to avoid signing up to the full IHRA definition of Anti-Semitism, fuelling his base of cocksure cult-like Palestinian sympathisers on the hard left, when the Labour Party eventually adopted the IHRA definition (with the underlined caveat that they can call out Israel), the base posted their response. 

From a self-proclaimed man of peace (despite his penchant for engaging and sympathising with the IRA, Hamas and who called Bin Laden’s death a tragedy) there’s a strong whiff of cordite around Corbyn and his acolytes. We British Jews knew it all along. The Labour leader has a track record of being outside the pale of political norms. It is precisely for his disgusting penchants that the hard left embraced him as their saviour and formed a messianic cult around him as the man to save Britain and the man to save the left.

What they really mean of course, is that he gave voice and credibility to their non-mainstream views, the type that had no place in any rational political discourse, and which hitherto put most of his support in the same political bin as the communists or St.George’s flag waving, shaven headed racists on the right.

The results are clear to see. “Nothing to see here” is the refrain from Labour as British Jews look on in horror. “He’s wrong and doesn’t get it” is the spin retort to Lord Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi and hugely respected voice of reason who pulled the alarm cord last week. 

“When people hear the kind of language that has been coming out of Labour, that’s been brought to the surface among Jeremy Corbyn’s earlier speeches, they cannot but feel an existential threat,” Sacks told the BBC. “Jews have been in Britain since 1656, I know of no other occasion in these 362 years when Jews – the majority of our community – are asking ‘is this country safe to bring up our children?'” he added. “Now, this is very, very worrying.” Worrying indeed. Almost 40 percent of British Jews would “seriously consider emigrating” if Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister, according to a poll conducted for The Jewish Chronicle published on Wednesday.

Mr Corbyn made things personal. He stoked up his rabid base in ways that President Trump can only fantasize about, insults Jews day in day out by suggesting that we feel nobody can critique Israel (when most Jews have daily conversations about government and politics in the Jewish State), claims we lack of sense of humour and despite having lived there for generations, don’t get English Irony, then feigns mock indignation when there’s a backlash from the community. 

It’s sickening and reminds me of a scene I witnessed in Belfast, when a couple were arguing in front of a relative. The man struck the woman and she fell to the floor, and the lady with her started, quite understandably, screaming and crying. The man then turned to the woman who he had just struck who was still on the floor and exclaimed while pointing to the upset woman: “see what you’ve just done? You’ve upset your mother.” I can’t think of a better comparison for the odious leader of the Labour Party and his treatment of the Jewish Community in the UK when it comes to Israel. And doubtless just like the struck woman and her mother, Jews will not forget, nor forgive. Nor should we.  

Because “Israel is a racist endeavour” is but the veneer on the table of how British Labour sees Jews under Corbyn. The wood itself underneath is - make no mistake - riddled and rotten with anti-Semitism. And Corbyn is the carpenter to blame.

The Op-Ed was written by our director of public affairs, Alex Benjamin and was published on The JPost

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

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi 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.
Here, the Rabbi offers his unique and refreshing take on the portion. For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl and then: scroll down.
On Freedom of Speech
 
Freedom of opinion and speech is a great asset and therefore everything must be said.
 
And if I am allowed to say everything, I also have to accept everything and not moan when I myself become the target of taunts. Agree!
 
But why then get upset about anti-Israel resolutions in the UN, the anti-Semitic floats in Aalst or the umpteenth anti-Semitic cartoon in the Volkskrant?
 
Everything can be said, right? A cartoon that insults the heart of Islam must be possible, right? And what's wrong with black Pete? Do dark skinned people feel offended? Don't complain, freedom of speech!
 
But that opinion should of course not be every opinion, because if parents want to teach their children that the family with a mom and dad is the cornerstone of society, it could be seen as discriminating towards people who have a different orientation…
 
A befriended non-Jewish, non-Christian, non-Muslim and unmarried journalist (thus of impeccable behaviour!) Has warned me not to write that I am in favour of freedom of expression, but that that freedom must have restrictions.
 
That nuancing "but" would bring a torrent of criticism on myself. "But" I don't get that, because if freedom of speech is to be cherished, then I am allowed to express my opinion, even if that opinion differs?
 
And so with this my opinion, straight from ancient Judaism (Proverbs of the Fathers 2: 1): “What is the right way that man must choose? Any way that gives honour to him who follows him and by which he is honoured by men. ”
 
In other words: Black Pete really had nothing to do with discrimination for me. But if normal thinking people with a black skin colour now experience this as discriminating, then we have to stop.
 
Fanaticism is no good, neither from the right nor from the left, not from religion, but also not from secularization. Because secularization can also be fanatic, compulsive and intolerant.
 
But just before writing this, I got a call from a secular mayor friend: "Binyomin, if you ever need to, you can count on me." This again shows: friendship and solidarity, between secular and religious, standing up for each other, that is not only possible but eminently desirable.
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