Over 100 European Jewish leaders pass resolutions and admonish EU Commissioner Josep Borrell at conclusion of European Jewish Association (EJA) Amsterdam summit

June 7, 2024

While criticism of a democratically elected government is normal, EU High Representative Josep Borrell has demonstrated – both before and after October 7th, a clear and repeated anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the ongoing antisemitism and the vilification of the state of Israel in the European public space

Given the record rises in antisemitism and the associated existential threat to Jewish lives in Europe, and given the lack of meaningful measures adopted by governments to date in dealing with the record rises and existential threat, Jewish leaders call upon European Governments and EU Institutions to:

– immediately establish online reporting mechanisms for the ongoing harassment of Jews and antisemitic threats, comprehensive police officer training in identifying antisemitism, dealing with antisemitism and arresting those that perpetrate antisemitic acts.
– enshrine in law the principles of the IRHA and establish the legal means to prosecute those in breach of those principles.

– urge national parliaments to include universities and colleges of higher education in the same body of law, with a view to prohibiting and prosecuting antisemitic incitement

More than 100 heads of European Jewish communities and directors of Israel advocacy organizations passed a resolution today (see attached full resolution) at the conclusion of an emergency conference organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA).

Aiming to formulate operational methods to combat the harassment of Jews across Europe and the rising tide of antisemitic hate since October 7, the resolution focused on three major issues: The lack of meaningful measures adopted by governments to date in dealing with the record rises and existential threat, the widespread but ineffective adoption of the IHRA definition of Antisemitism and while criticism of a democratically elected government is normal, the EJA notes with great concern EU High Representative Josep Borrell’s clear and repeated anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the ongoing antisemitism and the vilification of the state of Israel.

The agenda of the emergency conference, all under the theme of ‘fighting back’, was 100% solution-focused: for governments, law enforcement, security of institutions and the ‘Jew in the street’, in the media, and even in sports, thus taking in the totality of the Jewish lived experience at present. Attendees included the principal leaders of Dutch Jewry, the President of the CJO – the umbrella group of Jewish Communities in the Netherlands, the Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, and Community Presidents from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and other Dutch cities. Joining them were leaders from across Europe, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, to name but four. Those who spoke at the conference or sent messages of support included Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz, the European and Dutch Special envoys for Combatting antisemitism Ms. Katharina von Schnurbein and Eddo Verdoner, former NBA and professional football players, leading figures from Christians for Israel International and the Secretary General of the Catholic Church in the EU.

EJA, Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, noted at the opening of the conference: “We are in a battle for the continuation of Jewish life in Europe. Jews in traditional dress or those with mezuzahs on their doors are experiencing relentless harassment. Jewish students face threats to their lives and are excluded from university courses, while hate slogans are freely scrawled on Jewish homes, synagogues, and cemeteries. We must formulate plans to fight antisemitism on all fronts: politically, legally, publicly, and by increasing community and personal security. But all this might not be enough. Therefore, the State of Israel must urgently develop a practical contingency plan for the absorption of European Jewry in Israel. Unfortunately, this is no longer a hypothetical situation but a real existential threat that European governments are failing or unwilling to address.”

Joel Mergui, President of Consistoire of Paris (the largest Jewish community in Europe) and Chairman of EJA Jewish Leaders Council stated: “We thought that after the worst massacre committed after the holocaust, the Jewish people, both in Israel and in the diaspora, would have been strongly supported on the long run, but this was unfortunately not the case. Very quickly, Israel and the Jews worldwide were blamed for the consequences of the horrible and barbarian war launched by Hamas against them. This bleak and unfair reality is very frightening

Eddo Verdoner, National Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism (NCAB), Ministry of Justice, the Netherlands: “Our office’s main goal is clear: we need to find the right implementation to fight antisemitism. New policy changes are required to find solutions to modern problems. We need to ensure that younger generations learn not only from the lessons of the Holocaust, but also from current antisemitism.”

Stefan Hansel, Hamburg Antisemitism Commissioner shared with the Jewish leaders that: “95% of Germany Jews come from post-Soviet republics. Most of these Jews are unaffiliated and have no voice to represent them, although they experience the challenges that are
found within migrant communities – including exclusion especially challenges that are found within the interactions with Muslim communities. We need to rethink our institutional relationships with [Muslim] institutions. Even with the overlapping issues such as kosher slaughter and circumcision, we need to call out the issues within the Muslim institutions which are clearly Antisemitic.”

Pascal Markowitz, Attorney at the Paris Bar and EJA Legal Forum member has briefed the conference about current legislation situation in France: “French Law forbids boycotting people based on their nationality. It considered it as a discrimination. We managed to sue anti-Israel activists based on this legal definition, especially against anti-Israel activists who organized boycott happening in supermarkets. This law should be regarded as a model that could be replicated at the pan-European level.

Kalman Szalai, President of Action and Protection League addressed the conference and stressed that: “the world seems to have forgotten the basic sense of right and wrong. we must recognise the exact threat we are facing. We must prepare for the fact that the number of antisemitic hate crimes will continue to increase, and the number of victims will also increase with this! Currently, there is no European umbrella organization that deals with providing protection, legal assistance, and mental help to such victims. There are organisations that have already been forced to provide such support in some countries, but an EU-wide representation in this regard is required. I believe it is of the utmost importance that we act together, as a community. This is now our task.

In a panel dedicated to the fight against antisemitism in sports, Eric Rubin, Global Ambassador for Maccabi World Union emphasized that “Sports should be used as a tool to combat Antisemitism. Although we will not make headway to racist fringe groups from the far-left neo-Nazis, our work at Project Max (Max Nordau) uses sports advocates to lend their voices to bring awareness to the middle 60 or 70% of the people in the world who are not really aware about what Antisemitism is.

Former NBA player (Chicago Bulls and NY Knicks) Michael Sweetney shared his personal experience dealing with antisemitism: “When I saw what was happening after Oct 7th, it hurt, because I had a special relationship to many of the people who had passed through the sports camps that I had coached. Going to Israel was very educational for me. Despite the preoccupations of people like my wife who were afraid for me, I was amazed how peaceful everything was. At the Wailing Wall, I was surprised to see Jews and Arabs engaged in normal conversations.

For further information, please contact: Nir Natan, EJA Spokesman +972-9535123
tal.rabina@eipa.eu.com
European Jewish Association
Rue du Cornet 22
1040 Brussels

TEXT of RESOLUTION PASSED BY EUROPEAN JEWISH LEADERS, BELOW

 

EUROPEAN JEWISH LEADERS PASS RESOLUTION AT AMSTERDAM CONFERENCE – 4 JUNE 2024

We, Jewish leaders and communities present at the European Jewish Association Annual Conference in Amsterdam on this day – 4 June 2024, following a vote, passed the following resolution:

1. Given the record rises in antisemitism and the associated existential threat to Jewish lives in Europe,

and given the lack of meaningful measures adopted by governments to date in dealing with the record rises and existential threat,

– urges the immediate establishment by European governments of an online reporting mechanism for the ongoing harassment of Jews and antisemitic threats suffered and that this reporting mechanism be directly linked to law enforcement agencies for rapid response.

– urges comprehensive police officer training in identifying antisemitism, dealing with antisemtism and arresting those that perpetrate antisemtic acts. Additionally, urges police departments to adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards violent and/or intimidating protests to include terrorist organisation banners, flags or insignia.

– urges each European Public Prosecutor’s Office to appoint a dedicated professional to deal with antisemitic complaints with a view to adopting much tougher responses to antisemitic incidents, and establish a fast- track procedure towards prosecution.

2. Given the widespread adoption of the IHRA definition of Antisemitism,

– urges national parliaments to enshrine in law the principles of the IRHA, and establish the legal means to prosecute those in breach of those principles.

– urges national parliaments to include universities and colleges of higher education in the same body of law, with a view to prohibiting and prosecuting antisemitic incitement – as defined by the legal definition – in classes, lectures, and in activities on campus properties.

 

 

 

3. We accept that criticism of a democratically elected government is normal but we note with great concern that the European Union High Representative Josep Borrell has demonstrated – both before and after October 7th – and via his spokesman Peter Stano, a clear and repeated anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the ongoing antisemitism and the vilification of the state of Israel as a whole in the European public space,

– states that High Representative Borrell has actively fostered a negative climate within the European Union External Action Service towards the State of Israel during his tenure,

– reminds the European Council and European Commission that the High Representative’s role is ‘contributory’, and that High Representative Borrell has frequently embellished or added to adopted European Council positions on his own initiative, including open criticism of the European Commission President stated support for Israel following the Hamas pogrom of October 7th,

– urges the European Council, in light of the significant damage to European-Israeli relations, and in his contributing to antisemitism, to properly vet the next high representative and ensure that the position and reputation of the EEAS is not allowed to be exploited and manipulated for partisan purposes, as it was under High Representative Borrell.

Conference calls on the European Jewish Association to send this resolution to:

– All European National Parliaments and Governments.

– All European Special Envoys for Combatting Antisemitism

– The Presidents of the European Council and European Commission

The Resolution was passed by a majority by show of hands on the 4th June 20

Additional Articles

Czech Interior Ministry, Prague City Hall scrap deals with publisher of Third Reich Nazi calendar

The Czech Interior Ministry has cancelled a storage space rental contract with the Naše vojsko publishing house
Prague, May 26 (CTK) – The Czech Interior Ministry has abrogated its storage space rent contract with the Naše vojsko publishing house that issued a calendar with portraits of the Third Reich protagonists, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told CTK after meeting Israeli ambassador Daniel Meron today.
Such items have no place in Czech shops, he said.
The publisher faces a criminal complaint by Michal Klima, the head of the Holocaust Victims Foundation, and another one is being prepared by the Czech Jewish Communities’ Federation (FZO).
FZO chairman Petr Papoušek said the FZO considers not only the calendar’s appearance but also its graphic design a step promoting Nazism and adoring its leaders who were Nazi war criminals.
Petříček (Social Democrats, CSSD) said that Meron showed interest in the case at their talks today.
“I told him that a criminal complaint has already been filed and that the Interior Ministry has terminated its contract for renting storage premises to the publisher. Such items have nothing to do among the Czech shops’ offer. They downplay the horrors of the Nazi regime and especially for Israel it must be sad to see them,” Petříček wrote to CTK.
Apart from Meron, the calendar was previously also criticized by the German ambassador to the Czech Republic.
The Denik N daily recently found out that the Interior Ministry has rented storage premises to the publisher via its subordinate organisation. It has abrogated the contract as of June 30, Denik N wrote this morning, citing Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (CSSD).
A contract with Naše vojsko has also been terminated by the Prague City Hall, which rented shopping space to it.
The city abrogated the contract by end-April, and the publisher has six months to leave the premises.
“We do not want our premises to host entrepreneurs whose business is definitely beyond the limit in terms of ethic,” Prague Councillor Jan Chabr (TOP 09) wrote to CTK.
Naše vojsko director Emerich Drtina said at the time that as a publisher he does not offer the items for sale with the aim of propaganda but in order to make profit.
The article was posted on the expatsCZ 

European Parliament in Strasbourg debates President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital , Leading Rabbi asks Parliament leadership to act as 'voices of Reason'

The European Parliament is set to discuss Tuesday in Strasbourg US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The debate in the plenary session of the parliament will focus on the status granted to the city by Presdient Trump who set out last Wednesday his intention to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that was subsequently backed up by two EU member states, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
STRASBOURG —The European Parliament is set to discuss Tuesday in Strasbourg US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The debate in the plenary session of the parliament will focus on the status granted to the city by Presdient Trump who set out last Wednesday his intention to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that was subsequently backed up by two EU member states, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
The decision has prompted a backlash and led to violence on the Palestinian side.
Some officials in Europe have asserted that the American decision will ignite tensions in the region.
Ahead of the Strasbourg debate, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the founder and Director of the Brussels based European Jewish Association which represents Jews across the continent, wrote a letter to the European Parliament President, Vice-Presidents and heads of political groups asking them to act as “voices of Reason” during the debate. 
In his letter Rabbi Margolin said, ‘Some have asserted that this decision will ignite tensions in the region. It should be noted that some Member States unilaterally recognised the State of Palestine even before the respective parties reached understandings.’’
He continued, ‘The European Parliament has a delegation for relations with Palestine which was put in place before official state recognition and before the parties again reached understandings. There are Palestinian embassies all over the world, before the parties reached understandings.‘President Trump did not say that united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He said the borders will be discussed during the negotiations between the sides.’
For Rabbi Margolin,  the furore over the US move is ‘’unwarranted, unjustified and is one-sided to say the least.’’
‘’Furthermore such voices reward the incitement to violence and violence that is being perpetuated on the Palestinian side. Such a reward would be incompatible and would not be expected from the House that you represent,’’ reads the letter to the MEPs.
“I earnestly hope that voices of reason will prevail during the debate, and you will use the opportunity to remind the house of the facts outlined in my letter,”  Rabbi Margolin concluded.   

New year message from EJA Chairman for Rosh HaShanah:

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!
See Translation
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Federal Chancellor of Austria Blessings for Rosh HaShanah

The EJA warmly thanks Federal Chancellor of Austria, H.E. Sebastian Kurz for His Excellency’s kind wishes to the European Jewry in light of the recent holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

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