New year message from EJA Chairman for Rosh HaShanah:

September 18, 2020
5780 (2020) was undoubtedly a watershed year for all of us.
The pandemic has upended our lives, caused many of us heartache and loss, and has pushed many struggling communities close to the edge.
And yet we sat at Seder tables , we carried on as best we could, as we always have done. We looked after each other, we reassured, lent words of comfort, engaged in physical acts of help and support…in short, we remain hopeful and true to who we are and the role entrusted to us by the Almighty.
It is in this continuing spirit that we welcome in 5781 – the Jewish new year- this evening.
We remain hopeful, positive and optimistic as we turn a new page, and we pray for better days ahead.
From all of us at the European Jewish Association, we wish you, your families, your loved ones a hopeful, healthy, happy and successful new year.
Shana Tova!
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Additional Articles

European Jews face new threat in wake of COVID-related anti-Semitism

Top European rabbi tells Israel Hayom a special center to monitor real-time incidents via remote feeds could be established in order to tackle anti-Jewish attacks.
The recent terrorist attacks in Austria and France, as well as the spike in coronavirus cases in Europe, has created a fear among Jews in the continent that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories blaming Jews for the spread of the pandemic could become mainstream.
 
A recent study in Germany showed that one in three Germans has somewhat of a conspiratorial view of the world.
 
Felix Klein, who is the federal commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and the fight against anti-Semitism, told Israel Hayom that the recent protests against the COVID-19 regulations have become fertile ground for anti-Jewish sentiment.
 
“The current protests against corona-related restrictions serve as a rallying point for antisemites, Holocaust deniers, and believers in conspiracy myths. At “hygiene protests”, participants downplay the Holocaust by, for example, comparing the current requirement to wear a face mask with the obligation to wear a Star of David during the Nazi regime,” he told Israel Hayom. “Portraying themselves as rebels – as do for example the supporters of the new political party Widerstand2020 (Resistance2020) and the Reichsbürger movement – is typical of adherents to anti-Semitic beliefs: Presenting oneself as breaking taboos, as ‘finally’ bringing the truth to light, as showing at last who is pulling the strings behind the scenes – and, as has been done for thousands of years, pointing their fingers once again at Jews,” he added.
 
When asked about the danger posed by such conspiratorial views, he noted that there is a concern verbal statements could eventually morph into action.
 
“Conspiracy myths also prepare the ground for violence, as history has shown. Those who perceive themselves as victims and feel threatened can themselves turn into a threat. Anti-Jewish pogroms throughout history have been the fatal consequence of such obsessive hatred of Jews, as have the antisemitic terrorist attacks worldwide in recent years,” he said. “A recent study has shown that radicalization online takes place four times faster than offline. That is what makes it so important to quickly adjust our laws. This is the thrust of the package of measures put forward by the federal government. I am confident we can achieve a lot through a combination of repression and education. After all, what is ultimately at stake is social cohesion in times of crisis.”

Meanwhile, Jewish groups have scrambled to deal with the threat of rising anti-Semitism in the age of coronavirus. The group “Concert – Together for Israel” strives to bolster Israel’s image and fight modern anti-Semitism, says its job has been made much more difficult in the wake of the pandemic, and many pro-Israel groups are facing potential elimination.
 
“Generally speaking, one can say that small organizations that rely on a small staff expect a slowdown and a long recovery, but the big organizations that need a large operation worry about their long-term viability in light of the added costs,” Nava Edelstein, the group’s program director says.
 
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association that has led a comprehensive effort to counter anti-Semitism in Europe, told Israel Hayom that he has been overseeing a “virtual command center” that gets daily updates from Jewish communities on online anti-Jewish attacks.
 
“We constantly see how anti-Semitic voices on the web attribute the virus to a Zionist-Jewish conspiracy, on top over other forms of anti-Semitism that involve graffiti and vandalizing of Jewish institutions,” he said, adding the largest volume of reports originates in France, Romania and Belgium.
 
“We are considering setting up a center that would monitor events through Jewish communities’ video feeds in real time, so that we can alert security forces when such incidents happen,” he revealed.
The article was published in Israel Hayaom

EJA Team Congratulates Christians for Israel Belgium President David Vandeputte on Outstanding Collaboration

The EJA team, alongside Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin and Baroness Régine Suchowolski Sluszny, who serves as the EJA Vice-Chairwoman for Holocaust Remembrance, were pleased to meet with Mr. David Vandeputte, the President of Christians for Israel Belgium. During the meeting, they conveyed their congratulations to Mr. Vandeputte and the entire Christians for Israel Belgium organization for their outstanding work and collaboration. This recognition underscores the importance of fostering strong partnerships and acknowledging the efforts dedicated to shared goals.

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

Auschwitz EJA Conference

The upcoming EJA conference scheduled to take place in Krakow is just a fortnight away, with its primary focus honing in on the disconcerting surge of anti-Semitism in Europe that has been escalating since the 7th of October. The imminent gathering carries immense significance as it provides a platform for us to collectively confront and address this troubling trend. 🌐 Distinguished speakers and influential stakeholders from various backgrounds will assemble to engage in thoughtful deliberations on these pressing and critical matters.

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