Swedish Prime Minister assures EJA he will step up fight on Swedish anti-Semitism

January 16, 2018

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has personally written to EJA founder and Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin with an assurance that he has tasked his government to propose “additional measures” to those already in place to combat anti-Semitism in Sweden.
In his letter Prime Minister Lofven expressed that he would continue to “take every possible step to protect the Swedish Jewish communities and to ensure that they can live here in safety and without fear”
Rabbi Margolin had written to the Prime Minister outlining his alarm at the deteriorating situation in Sweden for Jews there, with Neo-Nazis wanting to march past synagogues, hate speech and threats at demonstrations in Malmo, and the fire-bombing of a synagogue in Gothenburg.
Rabbi Margolin welcomed the letter today’
‘It was heartening to receive a letter so full of conviction. We particularly welcome the Prime Minister’s clear and unambiguous words that ‘there is no place for anti-Semitism in Swedish society’ and that ‘The perpetrators will be held to account.’
The hope that the Swedish government will consult with the communities in Sweden to decide on the ‘additional measures’ to be taken. Many members complain of a lack of willingness to prosecute clear those who engage in anti-semitic remarks, paint graffiti, or hold up or publish anti-Semitic imagery to date.
Let us hope that the Prime Minister and his government follow up on his encouraging letter with real and tangible actions. The EJA stands ready to help and advise the Swedish government in this important task. Anti-Semites cannot be allowed to take heart from Sweden and seek to export their hate to other EU member states. That would be a disaster.
Therefore, Sweden must be strong on actions, as much as their words”

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300 French personalities sign manifesto against 'new anti-Semitism'

More than 300 French dignitaries and stars have signed a manifesto denouncing a "new anti-Semitism" marked by "Islamist radicalisation" after a string of killings of Jews, to be published in Le Figaro newspaper Sunday.

The country's half-a-million-plus Jewish community is the largest in Europe but has been hit by a wave of emigration to Israel in the past two decades, partly due to the emergence of virulent anti-Semitism in predominantly immigrant neighbourhoods.
"We demand that the fight against this democratic failure that is anti-Semitism becomes a national cause before it's too late. Before France is no longer France," reads the manifesto co-signed by politicians from the left and right including ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy and celebrities like actor Gerard Depardieu.
The signatories condemned what they called a "quiet ethnic purging" driven by rising Islamist radicalism particularly in working-class neighbourhoods.
They also accused the media of remaining silent on the matter.
"In our recent history, 11 Jews have been assassinated -- and some tortured -- by radical Islamists because they were Jewish," the declaration said.
The murders referenced reach as far back as 2006 and include the 2012 deadly shooting of three schoolchildren and a teacher at a Jewish school by Islamist gunman Mohammed Merah in the southwestern city of Toulouse.
Three years later, an associate of the two brothers who massacred a group of cartoonists at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killed four people in a hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket in Paris.
In April 2017, an Orthodox Jewish woman in her sixties was thrown out of the window of her Paris flat by a neighbour shouting "Allahu Akhbar" (God is greatest).
The latest attack to rock France took place last month when two perpetrators stabbed an 85-year-old Jewish woman 11 times before setting her body on fire, in a crime treated as anti-Semitic.
Her brutal death sent shockwaves through France and prompted 30,000 people to join a march in her memory.
Condemning the "dreadful" killing, President Emmanuel Macron had reiterated his determination to fighting anti-Semitism.
"French Jews are 25 times more at risk of being attacked than their fellow Muslim citizens," according to the manifesto.
It added that some 50,000 Jews had been "forced to move because they were no longer in safety in certain cities and because their children could no longer go to school".
The article was published in The Local

Greece: Kosher slaughter 'under direct attack'

Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack across Europe from the very institutions that have vowed to protect our communities, says European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, after the Greek Supreme Court ruled that slaughter without stunning violates EU law.
The move comes as a consequence of the European Court of Justice Ruling last December that member countries may ban the practice of ritual slaughter in order to promote animal welfare, without infringing the rights of religious groups.
The December ruling said that the EU’s animal slaughter regulation “does not preclude member states from imposing an obligation to stun animals prior to killing which also applies in the case of slaughter prescribed by religious rites”, but encouraged member states to find a balance.
It is now clear that a number of member states are zealously applying the former whilst ignoring the latter.
In a statement this evening, the Chairman of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, which represents hundreds of communities across the continent, said: “We warned in December about the downstream consequences that the European Court of Justice ruling carried with it, and now we see the outcome. Jewish Freedom of Religion is under direct attack. It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and now it is Greece’s turn.
“These direct attacks are coming from many of the same governments and institutions who have sworn to protect their Jewish Communities. What we are witnessing is rank hypocrisy. When it comes to antisemitism, governments and institutions rightly stand behind us. But when our faith and practice is assailed left and right by laws, they are nowhere to be seen, nowhere to be found. What use is it to protect Jews while legislating fundamental pillars of our religion out of existence?
"We will be urgently making representations to the highest levels of the Greek government to get direct answers to this simple but fundamental question: How can there be Jews in Europe if you keep bringing in laws against us?"

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/315829

ANNUAL KADDISH FOR JEWS BURIED IN ARAB COUNTRIES

In 2014, the State of Israel passed a law to officially make November 30th a Day to Commemorate the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from Arab Countries and Iran, a date now marked by Jewish communities around the world. In 2017, a Canadian man of Iraqi Jewish origin, having discovered his own grandfather’s grave in Sadr City, Baghdad, began a process which led to a global moment of unity and remembrance, by jointly reciting annually Kaddish (the mourners’ prayer) and an Azkara (a memorial prayer) together with synagogues across the world, as a testament to Jews buried in no longer accessible cemeteries in Arab countries.
This year, we are calling on synagogues and other Jewish institutions of all backgrounds to join us and say these prayers on the closest Shabbat to the Day of Commemoration, in remembrance of and solidarity with the Jews from the Middle East and North Africa who can not say them in the presence of their departed family members because many of the cemeteries are inaccessible.
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ITALIAN POLITICIAN LISTS ‘ANTISEMITIC’ AS HIS RELIGIOUS VIEWS ON FACEBOOK

A member of the city council of an Italian town listed “antisemitic” as his religious views on Facebook, Italian media reported on Sunday.
Stefano Altinier, 35, was elected in the city council of Gorizia, North East of the Italian peninsula, in 2017. He belongs to the right-wing party League, whose leader Matteo Salvini recently triggered a political crisis, pulling the plug from League’s coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Altinier deleted the entry on Friday after being alerted that someone had spotted his profile. However, screenshots of his Facebook page started to circulate online.
“The opposition is trying to discredit me in a boorish way. I have always thought that social media do not reflect reality. Some people claim to exercise a certain profession or to be married, and it happens not to be true. I have never been antisemitic, I have even attended a Hanukkah celebration once, and I’m fascinated by the history and tradition of this people,” Altinier said.
Altinier also claimed that he was “a teenager” when he compiled his Facebook profile identifying his religious views as antisemitic, “ten or fifteen years ago.”
“The word was meant as a joke,” he further said. “I apologize if I hurt someone’s sensitivity. Today there is no more trace of what I wrote.”

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