Polish legislation to outlaw blaming Poland for any crimes committed during the Holocaust.

January 30, 2018

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, General Director of the European Jewish Association (EJA), calls upon Polish President Andrzej Duda, to exercise his constitutional rights and veto the shameful resolution of the Polish lower house of Parliament (Sejm) which took place on International Holocaust Memorial day.

Rabbi Margolin expressed his hope that the heads of all Polish political parties will come to their sences and revoke the resolutions by themselves.

“This legislation is a slap in the face – especially coming on International Holocaust Memorial Day – not only to the victims and to history but also to those Polish citizens who were deemed Righteous gentiles and saved Jews from Nazi extermination , who stood in stark contrast to those (too many) Polish citizens who cooperated with the Nazis”

Rabbi Margolin has instructed the EJA’s legal advisors to examine all legal avenues to revoke this shameful bil in the Polish Constitutional court and emphesized that in addition to the work in Poland, the EJA will conduct a campaign in the European Parliament and other EU institutions to have the bill revoked.

Please Watch Rabbi Margolin addressing the Polish Prime Minister on the issue:

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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 Binyomin 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.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
Vaccine loses to the Minister
Today my eyes fell on Michel Waterman’s column in the NIW in which he writes: “I have to hand in my column today and I don’t have a subject yet. I can tell you that my admiration for columnists who produce on a daily basis has greatly increased.”
After reading this I flattered myself wondering if that compliment was meant for me. And so the question arose in my mind: Am I a rabbi or a columnist? But then I also thought back to that psychotherapist who saw my diary as a therapy. After some thinking I came to the conclusion that my diary is a combination of 1: rabbi 2: columnist 3: therapy.
And so Waterman’s compliment was not addressed to me. A pity, because every now and then I do need a pat on the back (with the elbow of course, because of corona!), Especially when I’m under fire again.
A somewhat out-of-context headline made a few front pages, after which people responded. That was great because it means I don’t write for deaf ears – my message gets through.
What almost bothered me was that a (foreign) colleague, who apparently has little else to do than follow my diary, got in touch with a non-Jewish journalist to protest against the (admittedly clumsy) headline.
It went through my mind to send him a WhatsApp with my phone number. Then at the next opportunity he can first make a phone call before turning a molehill into a mountain. But I did not send that WhatsApp and I am not going to send it. Reason?
I Learned from the conversation between Avraham and Lot about which was read last Shabbath in all the synagogues of the world: “A strife arose between the herdsmen of the flocks of Awram and the herders of the flocks of Lot…. Then Awram said to Lot, Let there be
no strife between me and you, and between my shepherds and your shepherds…. if it is to the left, I will go to the right, if it is to the right, then I will go to the left (Bereshis/ Genesis 13: 7-9).
Why, we may ask, did Abraham leave the choice to Lot? The area, later Israel, was nevertheless the property of Avraham. G-d had promised him this piece of land. He could have shown Lot that he had the best papers!? If we take a grammatical look at the Hebrew
text, we see that the Hebrew word for contention is the first time in the masculine form and the second time in the feminine form. Quarrels arise most quickly between people who spend a lot of time together. So,the most appropriate place for disputes is marriage! How do we handle this? Should the man try to be right? Should the woman stand firm?
The best way to deal with (marital) differences of opinion is: accept! And that is why the word twist is once in the feminine inflection and once in the masculine. Avraham understood that he could have been right with Lot, but also realized that it is better to just let the adversary, Lot in this case, have his way.
And so I will not approach my old colleague on this and when we meet again, just pretend my nose is bleeding! Therapeutically (3) I have written it off with this one, I have made a column (2) of it and, most importantly, I have learned (1) from our patriarch Abraham!
So, what we notice is that people are often unable to see and / or think outside their own limited cocoon. Such a thing is called egotosm, a consequence of the idol ‘I’.
And that problem is unfortunately frequently encountered in our society and can be very harmful.
Dr. Marcel Levi, medical director of ten London hospitals and the son of my former president of the Sinai Center, believes the corona vaccine should be administered now. But the British Minister does not want that yet because perhaps one in 50,000 could suffer from an adverse reaction because the vaccine has not yet been 100% tested. Levi explained to the Minister that even if one in 50,000 gets an unwanted side effect, it is still worth using the vaccine now as it can prevent hundreds from becoming infected with corona and a general lockdown of society. severely dislocated.
The Minister responded to this, according to the newspaper that Dr. Levi quoted that if hundreds die from corona, he, the Minister, will hardly be blamed. But if even one person falls victim to the vaccine he has approved, he will be inundated with criticism. The British Minister is thus also a follower of the idol ‘I’, like my colleague, except that the behaviour of the Minister, G-d forbid, causes people to die, but the behaviour of my colleague has a positive result: a topic for my day!

Joël Mergui: ”Malgré les efforts de l’UE pour lutter contre l’antisémitisme, la situation ne s’améliore pas en Europe.Pire, elle se détériore”

“Alors que les institutions et les hommes politiques européens consacrent des ressources importantes et ne ménagent pas leurs efforts dans la lutte contre l’antisémitisme, la situation ne s’améliore pas en Europe. Pire, elle se détériore”, a déclaré Joël Mergui, président du Consistoire central israélite de France, alors qu’il s’adressait mardi à une conférence de dirigeants juifs organisée à Bruxelles par l’Association juive européenne (EJA).
”Il est temps de regarder la réalité en face. La lutte contre l’antisémitisme ne peut se réduire à l’isolement et à la pénalisation des actes antisémites. Cette pénalisation est bien sûr essentielle. Les auteurs d’actes antisémites ne doivent jamais rester impunis. Mais pour être réellement efficace, la lutte contre l’antisémitisme doit s’attaquer à la racine du problème”, a-t-il ajouté.
Selon M. Mergui, l’Europe doit lancer des initiatives concrètes dans le domaine de l’éducation pour combattre les stéréotypes anti-juifs. ”Elle doit également valoriser l’héritage et la contribution du judaïsme et rappeler sans cesse que la spiritualité juive fait partie intégrante de la culture européenne.”
Ses remarques sont intervenues alors qu’une nouvelle enquête exhaustive sur les préjugés antisémites dans 16 pays européens a été dévoilée avant la conférence. Les résultats de l’enquête semblent plutôt inquiétants.
La Ligue d’action et de protection (AP) – partenaire de l’EJA – a commandé l’enquête avec IPSOS SA, sous la direction du professeur András Kovács de l’Université d’Europe centrale de Vienne-Budapest, en prenant 16 pays européens et en posant des questions directes aux répondants, et en assurant un suivi lorsque cela semblait nécessaire. Les pays interrogés sont l’Autriche, la Belgique, la République tchèque, la France, l’Allemagne, la Grèce, la Hongrie, l’Italie, la Lettonie, les Pays-Bas, la Pologne, la Roumanie, la Slovaquie, l’Espagne, la Suède et le Royaume-Uni.
L’enquête montre que la Grèce, la Pologne et la Hongrie sont les pays européens où les préjugés antisémites sont les plus répandus. Mais malgré un niveau élevé d’attitudes anisémites, ces trois pays sont rarement témoins d’attaques violentes contre les Juifs, alors que les pays qui connaissent des attaques plus fréquentes contre les Juifs, en Europe occidentale, sont souvent ceux qui affichent les taux les plus bas de préjugés antisémites.
Parmi les chiffres inquiétants, citons :
Près d’un tiers des personnes interrogées en Autriche, en Hongrie et en Pologne ont déclaré que les Juifs ne seront jamais en mesure de s’intégrer pleinement dans la société.
Près d’un tiers sont d’accord pour dire qu’il existe un réseau juif secret qui influence les affaires politiques et économiques dans le monde. (Roumanie – 29% ; France – 28% ; République tchèque – 23% ).
En Espagne, 35% des personnes interrogées ont déclaré que les Israéliens se comportent comme des nazis à l’égard des Palestiniens ; 29% ont dit la même chose aux Pays-Bas ; et 26% étaient d’accord avec cette affirmation en Suède.
En Lettonie, un peu plus d’un tiers – 34% – a déclaré que les Juifs exploitent la victimisation de l’Holocauste à leurs propres fins ; 23% étaient d’accord en Allemagne ; et 22% en Belgique.

Un quart de toutes les personnes interrogées sont d’accord avec l’affirmation selon laquelle les politiques d’Israël leur font comprendre pourquoi certaines personnes détestent les Juifs.
“Les Juifs d’Europe doivent proposer des plans d’action spécifiques à leurs gouvernements ainsi qu’au niveau européen”, a déclaré le rabbin Shlomo Koves, fondateur de l’APL et initiateur de l’enquête. “Nous devons prendre notre destin en main si nous voulons que nos petits-enfants puissent vivre en Europe dans 20 à 50 ans”, a-t-il ajouté.
La conférence de Bruxelles, qui durera deux jours, réunira des dizaines de dirigeants, de parlementaires et de diplomates juifs européens de premier plan, dont Margaritis Schinas, vice-présidente de la Commission européenne, ainsi que le président d’Israël Isaac Herzog et le ministre des affaires de la diaspora Nachman Shai, qui s’adresseront à l’assemblée depuis Jérusalem.
La Commission européenne a présenté la semaine dernière la toute première stratégie européenne de lutte contre l’antisémitisme et de promotion de la vie juive.
Face à la montée inquiétante de l’antisémitisme, en Europe et au-delà, la stratégie vise à définir une série de mesures articulées autour de trois piliers : prévenir toutes les formes d’antisémitisme, protéger et encourager la vie juive et promouvoir la recherche, l’éducation et la mémoire de l’Holocauste.
“Alors que nous félicitons les institutions européennes d’avoir augmenté les ressources, l’expertise et les fonds importants pour lutter contre l’antisémitisme, nous sommes actuellement bien en retard dans la lutte contre sa propagation, comme le montrent les résultats inquiétants de l’enquête de nos partenaires. Notre plan pour relancer ce processus implique l’adoption de nos ‘dix commandements’ pour combattre l’antisémitisme, qui seront portés par des groupes de travail parlementaires de toute l’Europe”, a déclaré le leader de l’Association juive européenne, le rabbin Menachem Margolin.
Dans ses remarques, Joel Mergui a déclaré que l’Europe doit également s’engager à préserver la liberté de conscience et de culte. “Elle doit condamner les lois punitives sur les anciennes pratiques religieuses de l’abattage rituel et de la circoncision”, a-t-il dit en référence à l’interdiction en Belgique de la shechita, l’abattage casher juif.
”Ces libertés sont les garants de la pérennité du judaïsme sur le continent. Elles ne sont pas négociables. Les Juifs sont un baromètre de la liberté : s’ils peuvent vivre pleinement leur identité juive, tout le monde le peut aussi”, a déclaré M. Mergui.
”La liberté de religion des juifs est un baromètre de la liberté, si les juifs peuvent vivre pleinement leur identité, tout le monde le peut aussi”, a-t-il conclu.
La France compte la plus grande communauté juive d’Europe.


“The history of the Jewish people is one of displacement, either because of pogrom or war. 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,” stated EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin.

As war in Ukraine enters a second week, Europe is witnessing a huge influx of refugees fleeing Ukraine towards the West. Naturally many Ukrainian Jews are included in this surge to safety.

Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA), an umbrella group representing hundreds of communities across the continent, has launched a Europe-wide campaign to temporarily provide homes, food and clothing to hundreds of Jewish families whose lives have been torn-apart and up-ended by the conflict in Ukraine.

The appeal has gone out to Jewish communities from Lisbon to Lublin, Bucharest to Bordeaux and everywhere in between.

Speaking after launching the campaign, EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said, “The history of the Jewish people is one of displacement, either because of pogrom or war. 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. From generations ago from Spain or Galicia, from the war, to emigrating to Israel. I say this because we are especially attuned to these catastrophes. And because we are so attuned, we are pre-programmed to help our Jewish neighbours, just as we always have.’’

He added, “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.”

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