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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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
“Schoenmaker, houd je bij je leest”, is a Dutch expression, which means “cobbler stick to your trade” And so, as I’m not a medic, I don’t get involved with medical technology. But if someone is dead, then I could and should get involved. And if something takes place between life and death, the dying process, then it seems to me that both the doctor and the rabbi may operate together (in the figurative sense of the word of course). What am I referring to? Organ donations. Not organ donations from a healthy person who donates a kidney to a fellow human being and thereby saves a life. Nor am I talking about donating organs after death, whether that should or should not be done. No, I’m referring to the case of a donor who would normally have been dead, kept alive artificially and now being used as an organ supplier. He is declared brain dead. In the past, a person was dead, alive or dying. We expect respect for life, for death, but also respect for that intermediate phase. I remember nurses in the gerontopsychiatric ward of the Sinai Center. “Mrs Cohen, how are you today? Your children have arrived to visit you.” They spoke fondly to Mrs. Cohen, who was on a ventilator, although perhaps she would have been legal declared brain dead if she had been a donor. But was Mrs. Cohen already dead? Her body still had temperature, her heart was beating, all organ functions were still intact and she was given medication. The donor is considered brain dead, which is a legal terminology. Without this legal assistance the donor would be considered alive! And ‘the operation’ would have bee an illegal and punishable act. Is the public aware that the donor will receive medication during the organ donation procedure? Medication for a dead body? He is given sleeping pills to control blood pressure. To counteract resistance, the donor was initially tied up to the bed, but nowadays muscle relaxants are administered by the anaesthetist. The impression that the donor is actively resisting is dismissed as reflexes! Enough written about organ donations. Another (less morbid?) topic: There is quite a bit of
opposition to kosher slaughter. I will spare you the details. But the cow would still be alive after the kosher slaughter, because there are visible reflexes. I just don't get it: cattle reflexes are signs of life; human donor reflexes are signs of death!? And therefore is my conclusion: when in doubt do without!

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Auschwitz survivor decries rise of antisemitism, far-right in Germany

Eva Szepesi tells German parliament that the Holocaust ‘began with words, it began with society staying silent and looking away’

The Times of Israel: https://www.timesofisrael.com/auschwitz-survivor-decries-rise-of-antisemitism-far-right-in-germany/

BERLIN — A Jewish survivor of the Auschwitz death camp told Germany’s parliament Wednesday that she is appalled by the rising strength of the far right in the country and increasing antisemitism in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack that triggered the war in the Gaza Strip.

Eva Szepesi, 91, who was born in Hungary and liberated from Auschwitz at age 12 in January 1945, spoke at the parliament’s annual memorial event for victims of the Holocaust. She shared her memories of Nazi persecution and addressed concerns about the current situation in Germany.

“I would like not just for murdered Jews to be remembered on memorial days but also for living ones to be remembered in daily life. They need protection now,” Szepesi told lawmakers.

Germany saw a significant increase in anti-Jewish incidents following the attack on Israel. Szepesi said some of her readings at schools were called off for security reasons shortly after October 7 and her most recent such events took place under police protection.

“The Shoah (Holocaust) did not begin with Auschwitz. It began with words, it began with society staying silent and looking away,” she said. “It pains me when schoolchildren are again afraid of going to school just because they are Jews; it pains me when my great-grandchildren still have to be protected by police officers with machine guns just because they are Jews.”

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Szepesi also decried the strengthening of the far right in Germany, where recent national polls showed the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in second place with support of around 20%. A recent news report said some party members attended a recent meeting where right-wing extremists discussed deporting millions of immigrants and people with immigrant roots, including some with German citizenship.

 

The railway tracks where hundred thousands of people arrived to be directed to the gas chambers inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau, December 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, file)

“It appalls me that right-wing extremist parties are again being voted for,” Szepesi said. “They must not become so strong that our democracy is endangered.”

Hundreds of thousands of German citizens attended protests against the far right this month.

“It’s great that so many people have taken to the streets in recent weeks to demonstrate against right-wing extremists,” Szepesi told parliament. “But I would like these demonstrators also to object loudly among acquaintances and at the workplace when inhuman and antisemitic comments are made.”

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