Statement from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

November 9, 2020

Our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) statement after the main group of protestant churches in holland made a statement apologising for their treatment of jews through the ages and during the war. 
 
On Sunday 8 November, the PKN, the union of Protestant Churches in the Netherlands, put forward an official apology for antisemitism throughout the ages and especially for their position during the Shoah (Holocaust).
 
In a live interview on Dutch Television last night, EJA Advisory Board Member, Rabbinical Centre of Europe Director of interfaith relations and Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands Binyomin Jacobs gave his response.
 
Extracts of his comments are below:
 
“It is commendable that the current church leadership admit wholeheartedly and in no uncertain terms that the Church as an institution could and should have done more. I am grateful for that recognition, that statement is important. But I want to make it clear for my part that I don't blame the current Church leaders, because they have done nothing wrong.
 
They are from after the war, nothing can be blamed for them. They did not send my family to the gas-chambers, they did not even watch.
 
When I was asked by the PKN to attend the official celebration of 500 years of the Reformation on October 31, 2017, I initially refused to accept that invitation. I declined to attend a meeting where a notorious anti-Semite would be honoured.
 
Of course, the scribe today cannot help the fact that his great-great-grandfather held Luther's erroneous theology towards the Jews of paramount importance as a Christian. In fact, he completely disagreed with the anti-Semitic statements of the great Christian master.
 
But how can I, as a Jew, join the celebration? "Show that you renounce his anti-Semitic statements, exclaim that you find that unacceptable," I said to my friend Rev. de Reuver. He agreed wholeheartedly. Twice at that meeting, in the presence of our Lord, they publicly distanced themselves from the anti-Semitic writings and statements.
 
Fifty years after the war, I was confronted with a tidal wave of monuments commemorating murdered Jews. Disclosure after disclosure. I remember asking a young mayor at the beginning of that period: why only now? Had it not been noted earlier that fellow Jewish citizens had not returned? And his answer has always stayed with me: “My predecessor did not want to be reminded of 1940 -45.That period did not suit him, those years had to be covered up as much as possible.
 
Within that framework I see this statement. I am deeply grateful to the heroes who saved the lives of my mother and many others without any form of profit, free of charge, at great risk to their own lives. I think of Rev. Overduin, Rev. Slomp, Rev. Koopmans, Rev. Buskes, and I also think of Mgr. de Jong.
 
And I am certainly thinking of resistance fighters who were arrested by cowardly betrayal before they could have done anything. No one has heard of them, they were brutally eliminated for refusing to watch. Above all, let us never forget them and keep commemorating them, despite their anonymity.
But at the same time we know that far too little was done in the war, that the churches certainly also kept silent too much and that “over the centuries the church helped prepare the breeding ground on which the seeds of anti-Semitism and hatred could grow”, as was reflected in the statement. For centuries Jews were dismissed as G-d killers who would receive their just deserts.
 
And it was good that the period after the war was also mentioned. My grandparents made every effort to take in their nieces and nephews whose parents had been murdered. To keep them for Judaism, as their parents would have liked. Driven by their faith, these ‘parents’, who had saved their lives completely selflessly, refused to return their Jewish children in hiding to where they should be. Many of these orphans are still suffering from the identity crisis afflicted them, the result of an unhealthy and unacceptable urge to convert.
 
The Christian Churches have put a line behind the past with their confession and recognition. But, more importantly to me, it has been clearly stated that they intend to fight with us against contemporary anti-Semitism.
 
In the time of the Crusades we had the wrong faith and entire Jewish congregations were exterminated by the crusaders. In the Middle Ages we were the virus that caused the plague and so we had to be exterminated, my dear parents were of the wrong race. And I am a Zionist! Of course there can be criticism of Israel's government policy, half Israel is against Netanyahu, just as not every Dutchman is for Rutte (I am!). But anti-Zionism is committed to the destruction of the State of Israel, the extermination of the Jewish people. Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.
 
Daily through the ages, we offer our prayers towards Jerusalem. Jerusalem, where today all religions in the world are allowed to live their religion in freedom, is inextricably linked with the Jewish people, with the survivors of 1940-45, with me.
 
Churches: leave politics to politicians. Recognize the mutated virus that has destroyed millions and millions of my people over the centuries and is now called anti-Zionism.
 
The PKN of today should not have had to explain the mea-culpa for me, the past is over. But the link so clearly drawn from the persecution of the Jews through the ages and the passive attitude of the majority of the churches when my family was taken away never to return, that link to the now and to the future, the intention to develop Judeo-Christian relations into a deep friendship, in which everyone can remain himself and therefore no attempts are made to convert, to want to be connected in the fight against contemporary anti-Semitism, that purpose, that statement makes me deeply grateful. The words of the statement, of the Christian churches, were good. I have hope yes, but expectation too.”
 

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MEP Cristian DAN PREDA, foreign affairs coordinator for the largest political group, the European People’s Party, and co-initiator of the letter underlined  his party’s  opposition to calls for the suspension of the bilateral agreements with Israel  as some of his extreme left wing colleagues echo directly from the BDS playbook.   “It’s in the interest of this House, and of our citizens, to see an upgrade in the partnership agreement with Israel. We should not allow the current stalemate in the peace process to dictate the terms of our relationship with Israel.”

Swedish MEP and President of EIPA’S political Board Lars Adaktusson – a co- signatory – underlined that “the Union, and the Parliament, is in danger of being deemed irrelevant as a peace broker if it fails to address the incitement on its own soil against Israel.”  

Vice President of the European Parliament, Ioan Mircea Pascu concluded that  “boycotting strategic ties with Israel,  a leader in the intelligence and defence international community, may prove counterproductive to the common security interests  of both EU and Israel”.

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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
“This message comes from Wollongong, Australia where we have a small Jewish community.
I wanted to ask you if Hijman Jacobs (1843-1872) might be in your family line? His great-grandchild who was once a student at our local university (~ 1970) is told that his great-grandfather was a Rabbi in Amsterdam. ” Thus the email I received this morning from Wollongong-Australia.
Never heard of a Rabbi Jacobs from Amsterdam, but what is not may yet come. I do not mean that I have ambitions to become the rabbi of Amsterdam, but it could just be that I have discovered an ancestor whose existence I did not know. Maybe he was not a rabbi and was only called a rabbi because he was a teacher. I am certainly not a descendant in the direct line, but perhaps he was a cousin of my father and therefore a real Jacobs. And if it is even slightly correct, I should definitely share that with Claire as well. Claire, I hear you ask. Who is Claire?
Claire and I share the same great-grandparents Salomon Levie Jacobs and Froukje Jacobs-Leek, who both passed away about a hundred years ago. About ten years ago we stood together in the cemetery of the Jewish Community in Muiderberg. We look alike and according to my wife have the same facial features. I also think that we both have mixed feelings about Aletta Jacobs with whom we both have the same family relationship. Proud of her commitment to equal rights for women and the prevailing discrimination, but we both also have difficulty with certain parts of her struggle / life vision in the field of ethics.
Claire and I are both from the orthodox core of the Jewish community. My dear caring and overprotective father has always told me that there must be one more person alive from the Jacobs family. A great-niece named Claire, granddaughter of his Aunt Bella, his father's sister. My grandfather Jacobs had a sister and three brothers. All murdered with children, children by marriage and grandchildren. A cousin, Sampe, had survived the war but lost his wife and child in one of the camps. He was the only member of Jacobs's side at my parents' wedding in 1948. Sampe, my father told me, was deeply depressed and remarried a woman from Manchester. A girl is born who is named Claire. Sampe dies shortly after birth. Claire's mother remarries. With whom and where my father did not know. But I have not forgotten the name Claire.
About ten years ago I received a phone call from the Jewish Community of The Hague. A certain Claire is looking for her origins. She lives in Melbourne. I didn't have to think long, took the phone and talked to Claire, my grand-niece, the only still alive Jacobs. She wanted to know who her grandparents had been and also details about her father. Her mother had been married to him for only a short time and, in fact, knew very little about him. Because my father was on the verge of dementia at the time, I told Claire that if she wanted to hear more details from my father about her grandfather and grandmother, she should come now. And so I met Claire a week later. That feeling was very special. Even now, when I think back, tears come to my eyes. My grandfather and her grandmother were brother and sister. After she met my father, we went to Muiderberg together and stood before the graves of Salomon Levie Jacobs and Froukje Jacobs-Leek, our joint great-grandparents. Claire was raised by her mother and second father. But she was not told that her stepfather was not her real father. That stepfather never distinguished between Claire and the children born later. Mother and stepfather did not want to burden her with the real father who was no longer there.
Whether that was ethically correct or incorrect is no longer relevant. So her mother and stepfather had decided with the best of intentions in the world. Two weeks before her chuppah wedding, they told her husband-to-be that Claire's real father is no longer alive. He, the husband-to-be, wanted Claire to find out, too, but because of the potential emotional blow, they decided to wait until a week after the wedding. She heard it, absorbed it, processed it emotionally, but did nothing with it. She was just married, building a family, then children ... and then, ten years ago, when the children had left home and she and her husband had the wealth to themselves, she wanted to know: “Who were my grandparents and who was my father? ”
I was able to find someone who knew her father very well. We found the graves of her father's parents and we found each other. Actually, we are just distant relatives, two people who had never met each other before. But we are both descendants of the same great-grandparents, we live in their footsteps, are both known to be the only survivors of that large Jacobs family. We both thanked G-d for being allowed to stand there together in the cemetery of the Jewish Community of Amsterdam, because we realized that most of the graves in the Jewish cemeteries will never be visited by anyone, because there is no one left. And while I was close to closing my diary, I received an email invitation from Claire to the chuppah of one of her grandchildren on January 5th in Monroe New York.
And now that e-mail from Wollongong, Australia. Maybe another Jacobs will turn up after all: Hijman Jacobs. I'm waiting!

בעקבות המאבק באנטישמיות: מועדון הכדורגל צ'לסי זכה באות "המלך דוד"

לארון הגביעים של מועדון הכדורגל של צ'לסי נוסף אתמול (שלישי) אות ייחודי שהוצב כבר הלילה בגאווה בין הגביעים על הישגי הקבוצה על כר הדשא.

היוזמה ארוכת הטווח מהווה חלק מעבודה מתמשכת של המועדון, באמצעות קמפיין Building Bridges של קרן צ'לסי.
יו"ר איגוד הארגונים היהודיות באירופה (EJA), הרב מנחם מרגולין, מציין: "ספורט מוציא את הטוב ביותר מאנשים, אך למרבה הצער הוא יכול גם להוציא את הגרוע ביותר. כמה מהדוגמאות הרעות ביותר של אנטישמיות מתבטאות לעתים קרובות ביציעי האצטדיונים השונים ברחבי העולם. צ'לסי לא היתה, כמובן, חריגה ממקרים אלו. אלא שבניגוד לאחרים, הם החליטו לעשות משהו בנידון".
הרב מרגולין הדגיש כי "זה באמת מעורר השראה לראות לא רק את ההשקעה המשמעותית שנעשתה במאמץ הזה, אלא גם את המחוייבות האמיתית של צ'לסי להקשיב, לפעול ולעשות שינוי. מלמטה, מהיסוד, מחדר ההלבשה, יציע האוהדים ועד לאתר האינטרנט והרשתות החברתיות של המועדון אליהם נחשפים מיליוני אנשים. מועדון הכדורגל צ'לסי הוביל את הדרך. הם דוגמה ומופת לא רק עבור מועדוני כדורגל אחרים, אלא עבור כולם.
להעניק את הפרס הזה, בשם הארגונים היהודיים והקהילות הרבות שאנחנו מייצגים ברחבי אירופה, הוא המעט שאנו יכולים לעשות כדי להכיר בתנועה הזו לשינוי. הכוח הזה מעניק תקווה ליהודים מכל העולם שהלקחים שלמדנו מהשואה לעולם לא ישכחו, והאנטישמיות תגונה בכל מקום בו היא באה לידי ביטוי. בשם כל החברים והקהילות שלנו, אנו מוקירים ומודים לכל השותפים במועדון הכדורגל צ'לסי- הבעלים מר אברמוביץ', היו"ר, הדירקטורים, הצוות והשחקנים על שהפכו את המאבק באנטישמיות למובן מאליו בדרך חד משמעית וחסרת הפחד".

חבר חדש לארון הגביעים של צ'לסי (במרכז התמונה), צילום: דינה ארליך,

ברוס באק, יו"ר מועדון הכדורגל צ'לסי, שקיבל את הפרס מטעם המועדון אמר: "אנחנו גאים להיות הזוכים בפרס המלך דוד של איגוד הארגונים היהודיים באירופה (EJA). מאז שבעל המועדון שלנו, רומן אברמוביץ', יזם את קמפיין Say No To Antisemitism בינואר 2018, אנו מחויבים לעבוד עם ארגונים יהודיים ברמה לאומית ובינלאומית כדי לסייע בסילוק האנטישמיות מהחברה. נמשיך לרתום את מגוון הפלטפורמות הגלובליות שלנו בצ'לסי כדי להגיד לא לאנטישמיות ולהיאבק בכל שאר צורות האפליה".

מר עבדאללה שאטילה, איש העסקים הלבנוני שעלה לכותרות ברחבי העולם כשנענה לקריאת הרב מרגולין נגד סחר בפריטי מורשת נאציים ורכש מזכרות נאציות שנמכרו במכירות פומביות בגרמניה בשווי 600,000 אירו ותרם אותן ליד ושם - ומאז תמך ביוזמות רבות למאבק באנטישמיות, חתן פרס המלך דוד של EJA לשנת 2020, ציין בטקס המרגש על כר הדשא כי: "אנטישמיות מכוונת אמנם ליהודים אך מדביקה את החברה כולה. לבורות, שנאה ושנאת זרים אין מקום בעולם שבו הגבולות נעשים יותר ויותר חסרי משמעות, שבו הערכים הם אוניברסליים ושבו יש להוקיר זהויות שונות.
אני גאה להיות כאן הערב בצ'לסי, להיות חוליה מתמשכת בשרשרת המחויבים למאבק באנטישמיות. למועדון הכדורגל של צ'לסי יש קהל אוהדים עצום. הם יכלו כמובן לבחור במסלול הקל, אך הם החליטו באופן מעורר השראה להתמודד עם הנושא חזיתית".
https://www.israelhayom.co.il/sport/world-soccer/article/5873477

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