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

October 13, 2020

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.

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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.”  

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LA FRANCE EST LE PAYS EUROPÉEN DONT LA COMMUNAUTÉ JUIVE SE SENT LE MOINS EN SÉCURITÉ, SELON UNE ÉTUDE PORTANT SUR 12 ETATS EUROPÉENS

a France est le pays dont la communauté juive se sent le moins en sécurité, en dépit des actions menées par l’Etat, selon une étude portant sur 12 pays européens publiée ce mardi dans le cadre d’une rencontre organisée par l’Association juive européenne (EJA).

Les chiffres font froid dans le dos. D’après une étude sur la «qualité de vie juive» portant sur 12 pays européens, réalisée par l’Institute for Jewish Policy Research de Londres et par la European Union Agency for Fondamental Rights, auprès de 16.000 Juifs européens en 2018, la France est le pays dont la communauté juive se sent le moins en sécurité.

QUATRE CRITÈRES CROISÉS

Pour réaliser cette étude, les chercheurs ont croisé quatre ensembles de données : le sentiment de sécurité ressenti par la communauté juive, l’attitude de la population vis-à-vis des juifs et Israël, l’antisémitisme et enfin la «performance du gouvernement» (statistiques sur les incidents antisémites, lieux de mémoire de l’Holocauste, budget destiné à la sécurité des sites juifs, liberté de culte et préservation des pratiques juives telles que la circoncision et l’abattage rituel, etc…).

Les résultats sont probants. Il en ressort que la France, qui comprend la plus forte communauté juive d’Europe avec un peu moins de 500.000 Juifs, arrive à la 10e position (68/100) de cet index qui concerne également l’Italie (1ère place avec 79/100), la Hongrie (2e), la Pologne (11e), la Belgique (12e place avec 60/100), mais aussi l’Allemagne, l’Espagne, le Danemark, le Royaume-Uni, la Suède, les Pays-Bas.

DES ATTAQUES ET ATTENTATS ANTISÉMITES

«L’une des conclusions, surprenante, est que le gouvernement de la France a une bonne performance» par les actions menées par l’Etat (score de 83/100), «mais en dépit de cela, la communauté juive exprime un fort sentiment d’inquiétude» pour sa sécurité (31/100), ce qui place la France en dernière position sur ce point, a déclaré à l’AFP Daniel Staetsky, auteur de cet index et statisticien à l’Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

Comme possibles explications, il a cité les «attaques terroristes antisémites» comme la tuerie de l’école juive Otzar Hatorah à Toulouse en 2012 ou l’attaque contre l’Hypercacher dans l’Est parisien en janvier 2015.

LE DANEMARK PREMIER DE LA CLASSE

Autre enseignement : c’est au Danemark que la population juive se sent le plus en sécurité. La Hongrie arrive au premier rang concernant l’antisémitisme. Et la Belgique est dernière pour les actions menées par le pays en faveur de sa communauté juive.

Selon l’EJA, la rencontre, qui se tient à Budapest (Hongrie) depuis lundi et se termine mardi, réunit quelque 250 personnes, dont 120 représentants et dirigeants des communautés juives d’Europe.

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