New Jewish European campaign seeks to house Jewish refugees from Ukraine

May 2, 2022

“The history of the Jewish people is one of displacement, either because of pogrom or war,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, EJA chairman. “We are only too aware of what it means to be forced to up and leave at a moment’s notice. In almost every one of our communities you will hear such stories. We, the Jewish people, are especially attuned to these catastrophes. And because we are so attuned, we are pre-programmed to help our Jewish neighbors, just as we always have.

“I have faith that this campaign will deliver. Since the war started, Jews from all over Europe have been getting in touch with us to see what can be done to help their Ukrainian Jewish brothers and sisters in need. We are providing them with the vehicle to do just that, by offering shelter, food and clothing to those who left in a hurry, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”

Rabbi Menachem Margolin the chairman of EJA (credit: EJA)Rabbi Menachem Margolin the chairman of EJA (credit: EJA)

Another European Jewish organization very active on the ground is the Conference of European Rabbis, which announced this week that Israeli technology investor Yuri Milner has donated $3 million to the CER to help Jewish refugees from Ukraine.

“As we witness the terrible human suffering in Ukraine, the Conference of European Rabbis would like to announce a special donation of $3m. from the foundation established by Yuri and Julia Milner,” said the conference. “Yuri is an Israeli technology investor and science philanthropist.”

The emergency funds will support humanitarian efforts to help Jewish refugees from Ukraine who, like so many vulnerable civilians, are in need of urgent assistance.

“The CER is grateful to Yuri and Julia Milner for their long-standing support and for this latest commitment to the Jewish community at this perilous time,” said CER President Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt.

https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/article-700758?fbclid=IwAR2yLD2JGbS7tCP5k3V7SblC-mEcqpkkWByXPlxN0m8H2x8xnW0K8kTcsLs

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Israeli parliament speaker urges 'sincere' EU action against anti-Semitism

Yuli Edelsetin speaks at EU on International Holocaust Memorial Day
Israeli parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein addressed a special session of European parliament marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, and accused EU leaders of contradictory approaches to fighting anti-Semitism in Europe while repeatedly condemning Israel.
Edelstein praised efforts to combat anti-Semitism but said that public rebuke for Israel contradicted messages coming from many elected officials.

“The efforts to combat anti-Semitism and protect the Jews of Europe are sincerely appreciated,” Edelstein said at the Brussels ceremony. “But what is the message when elected officials march with the Jewish community one day, and against Israel the next?”
The speaker declared that when leaders embrace the Jewish leaders “in solidarity after a hate-crime and then treat Hamas as a legitimate voice. When an attack is condemned as anti-Semitic and then condemns Israel for fabricated war crimes.”
“These contradictory messages do not build trust. Instead they prevent us from meeting our joint obligations,” he said.
Edelstein also chided an EU delegation that recently traveled to Tehran for failing to condemn a Holocaust denial cartoon contest hosted in Tehran.
“I’m sure, and correct me if I’m wrong, that during that visit no one protested the international cartoon contest taking place in Tehran for the best caricature denying the Holocaust,” Edelstein said, brandishing the contest’s first prize winner — an old fashioned cash register with a sketch of Auschwitz at the top.
“It’s about Jews exploiting the Holocaust to get money,” he said, noting that the illustrator came from France.
“For ‘Never Again’ to really mean ‘Never Again’, consistent and sincere actions are necessary,” Edelstein said. “Anti-Semitism, wherever it rears its ugly head, for whatever reason, is wrong and must be fought at every turn. Writing off such acts as mere opposition to Israel is absurd.”
“Anti-Semitism has no excuse. not religion, not poverty, not lack of education, and not political disagreements,” he said.
Edelstein also thanked the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“In Jerusalem the Jewish people made their mark on the world, therefore it was meaningful to us, that last month, one country, the United States, chose to recognize the capital of Israel after 70 years of independence,” said Edelstein.”Acknowledging both our ancient heritage and our modern history, I welcome all of you to do the same.”
Edeltsein told the story of his own father who survived the Holocaust and asserted that though memorials are being constructed across the world, anti-Semitism still runs rampant.
“Yet, for all the work that has been done I feel that the post war sense and mission has faded, leaving the real issues unaddressed,” said Edelstein.
Edelsetin asked the European parliament “what has been learned from all the memorials if synagogues across Europe need round the clock protection?”
“Is Holocaust education effective if Jews on this continent don’t wear a kippah or a Star of David necklace for fear of attack?” said the speaker.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be commemorated on January 27. Israel memorializes its national tragedy separately, in memory of the six million Jews who were slaughtered under Nazi rule.
 
The article was published on I24news

Holland Appoints a National Co-Ordinator to Tackle Antisemitism as Cases Multiply

Move welcomed “with a heavy heart” by representatives of Dutch Jewry and by Chairman of leading Europaen Jewish Association
 
The Netherlands is to get a new national coordinator to tackle anti-Semitism, Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said on Sunday. Dutch Members of Parliament – following pressure from the Jewish Community – had pressed the government to appoint a special advisor to deal with antisemitism following a marked increase in antisemitic incidents in the Netherlands.  The new national co-ordinator’ primary task will be to advise the government about dealing with anti-Semitism from a legal perspective and on ensuring the safety of the Netherlands’ Jewish community. The move was welcomed by leading figures in Dutch and European Jewry.
Ellen Van Praagh Chair of the Inter Provincial Chief Rabbinate for The Netherlands (IPOR) and European Jewish Association Board Member said in a statement:
 
“Just this weekend my synagogue and the Liberal synagogue in Utrecht were daubed with swastika symbols. It appears that the attacker had mental health issues, but it is abundantly clear to us that the pandemic has brought out the  worst in people.
 
“It has seen the resurrecting of old tropes about Jews, which has  fueled a rise in antisemitism and antisemitic acts, the numbers of which are alarming to Jews everywhere in Holland. That the government has decided to step in and tackle the root causes of this is welcome, as is their commitment to safeguard Jewish communities and Institutions in the Neherlands. We at IPOR look forward to working closely with the national co-ordinator to this end.”
 
Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands and founder member of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE), whose contacts with the Dutch government have directly influenced the moved added:
 
“It is of course indicative of the predicament facing Dutch Jews that the government has decided to appoint a national co-ordinator to tackle Anti-Semitism. Whilst we welcome such an appointment it is with a heavy heart that this position is even necessary in a country such as the Netherlands, whose very name is associated with tolerance and plurality. Nevertheless, as attacks increase, the national co-ordinator will find their inbox heaving with suggestions from Jews in Holland who want nothing more than to live in peace and practice their faith unhindered.”
 
The Chairman of the Brussels based European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, whose communities span the length and breadth of the continent, concluded:
 
“The EJA, as part of our Europe-wide plan to tackle antisemitism, has called for every country in Europe to appoint such a co-ordinator, many heeded our call and did just that. So, we applaud the Dutch Government as the lastest country to make this move. The Netherlands now joins a growing list of European Countries with national co-ordinators whose task is to eradicate the virus of antisemitism that has grown in tandem with the virus of Covid 19. Too many Jewish communities across Europe have been forced to pull the alarm cord and call for help.  That governments are heeding this call is reassuring, yes, but it is also a signal that they do not wish the disgusting stain of antisemitism to spread further on their social fabric. There is much work to do, and the European Jewish Association stands ready to help, offering suggestions and best practice from other parts of Europe that Holland can apply, and that can help make the difference.”  

Attack at German Synagogue During Sukkot Raises Anti-Semitism Fears

BERLIN — A man wearing army fatigues and wielding a shovel attacked and badly injured a Jewish student coming out of a synagogue in Hamburg on Sunday, less than a year after an assault on a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle turned deadly.

Security guards and police officers deployed to the Hamburg synagogue, where people were marking the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, swiftly subdued and arrested a 29-year-old man, whose name the authorities did not disclose. The suspect was carrying a piece of paper with a swastika in his pocket, the German news agency DPA reported.

The 26-year-old victim, who was wearing a kipa, or skullcap, when he was attacked, suffered grave head wounds and was taken to a hospital, the police said.

“This is not a one-off case, this is vile anti-Semitism and we all have to stand against it,” the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, wrote on Twitter.

Germany has seen the number of anti-Semitic crimes nearly double in the past three years. Last year alone, the government recorded 2,032 anti-Semitic crimes, culminating in the attack on the synagogue in Halle on Oct. 9. In that attack, a gunman tried and failed to force his way in during services for Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, and then killed two people elsewhere.

The man arrested in Halle, Stephan Balliet, 28, is currently facing trial and has spoken openly in court about his hatred not only of Jews but also of Muslims and foreigners, and of being influenced by a far-right extremist attack against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 51 people last year

Last month, Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her concern about the rise in anti-Semitism in Germany, warning in a speech to the Central Council of Jews that it is a reality “that many Jews don’t feel safe and respected in our country.”

“Racism and anti-Semitism never disappeared, but for some time now they have become more visible and uninhibited,” the chancellor said, citing the attack in Halle as an example of “how quickly words can become deeds.”

In Halle a year ago, the congregation inside the synagogue only narrowly escaped a massacre. The door of the synagogue had been locked and withstood the clumsily built explosives meant to blow it open. In his rage the gunman later trained his weapon on other random targets in the city.

Following Sunday’s attack, Jewish organizations in Germany and beyond urged the government to increase protection and focus on long-term strategies to stamp out anti-Semitism.

“I am saddened to learn that once again, this time on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, a German Jewish community is confronting a violent, anti-Semitic act of terror,” Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said in a statement. “We must ask ourselves, and German local and national authorities must address the question — why does this keep happening? Why is anti-Semitism thriving?”

“The German government must take responsibility in strengthening education so that the next generation understands that hatred of any kind is never permissible,” Mr. Lauder added. “The long-term viability of Jewish life in Germany depends on it.”

MUSK GIVES “TENTATIVE YES” TO AUSCHWITZ VISIT WITH EUROPEAN JEWISH ASSOCIATION

European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin asked Mr Musk to come to Auschwitz “to walk there, to feel it, to understand it”.

In a wide ranging live discussion with key Jewish leaders and figures across the world this evening on his X platform, European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin asked Mr Musk to come to Auschwitz “to walk there, to feel it, to understand it”. Mr Musk, reflecting on the question posed by the Rabbi gave a tentative yes to the proposal.

The EJA, one of Europe’s largest Jewish organisations representing hundreds of communities across the continent regularly brings European leaders for combined symposiums and remembrance visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau, to remember but also to find ways of combatting antisemitism and ensuring that its lessons are learned.

In a statement this evening, Rabbi Margolin welcomed Mr Musk’s tentative commitment to join the EJA delegation, which includes many European Leaders.

“It is one thing to read a history book or see pictures. But to really understand what the end station of antisemitism looks like, to really understand the depths to which the freedom of the Jewish people was denied and obliterated, to fully understand why we Jews are so worried about antisemitism, a visit to Auschwitz is a necessary and life-changing experience.

“We have brought many European Leaders to Auschwitz-Birkenau, many of whom have never been, and it changes them. It drives them to fight the hate.

“Mr Musk has said he supports the Jewish people, and he supports Israel. I believe that him visiting our ground zero will not only help him understand better the battle ahead against antisemitism and what is at stake, but will reassure Jews everywhere that he is taking the battle seriously.

“We are very much looking forward to turning the tentative to a firm yes in the weeks ahead.”

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