Terror Attack in Vienna, Austria

November 3, 2020

“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.”
― David Levithan, Love Is the Higher Law
 
Everyone at the European Jewish Association sends our heartfelt condolences to the Austrian people at this most difficult time. We feel your pain.
 

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CZECH « PERSONALITIES OF THE THIRD REICH » CALENDAR : CONDEMNATION IS MEANINGLESS IF SUCH ITEMS ARE NOT BANNED, SAYS EUROPEAN JEWISH HEAD

«Such items have no place in civil society, especially in a country that suffered so much under the nazi jackboot » - Rabbi Menachem Margolin.
As a storm erupted in Czech Republic diplomatic circles over the publication and sale of a calendar depicting « personalities of the Third Reich, the head of the Brussels based European Jewish Association said that in a time of rising antisemitism, condemnation was not enough and Czech authorities must ban all and any items that glorify the horrendous actions of the Nazis.
In a statement Rabbi Margolin, the Chairman of the European Jewish Association said :
«I find it incredible that a country that suffered massacres under the hard jackboot of the Nazis, and whose soldiers and airmen heroically fought the third reich from exile, would even countenance having such an item to buy in their country.
« The publisher states that there is demand for such items. We heard similar words from an auction house in Munich that was selling Nazi memorabilia in 2019. This is not an excuse.
« Words of condemnation whilst welcome are meaningless. The sale of such items is not only disgusting and an affront to the millions that perished under nazi ideology, but is very, very  dangerous in times of rising antisemitism. It glorifies murder, empowers those who hate the « other », and trivialises each and every abhorrent act undertaken by Hitler and his henchmen.
« I urge the czech government, for the sake of decency, for the honour of their fallen heroes and to send a messgae to Jews in the Czech Republic and across the world, to outlaw and ban the sale of any and all nazi memorabilia. »
you can read more about the story HERE

Bootcamp- Madrid day 2&3

Day two of our bootcamp started with two special guests: Berlin's combatting anti-semitism representative Mr Sigmount Konigsborg, and ACOM's Mr Angel Mas who took our participants on an intensive session into modern manifestations of anti-semitism, the challenges of social media and how to fight back on campus and in public discourse. Both are heroes of ours and it was great to have them share their experience and tips.
We had a brief tour of Madrid before getting straight back into it with Attorney at the Paris Bar and leading French Jewish and Israel advocate Pascal Markowicz who gave us his take and counter arguments to the ICC’s announcement to investigate Israel, then we dove straight into an EJA team seminar on two threats to Jewish life in Europe: Shechitah and Brit Milah. Day 2 concluded with a great dinner where special guests from the Israeli embassy and Spanish MP and friend of the EJA José Ignacio Echániz. Then, well, we let our hair down a bit…
Day 3 coincided with Yom Hazikaron, and it was fitting on a day that Israel mourns its dead in defence of the country that we spoke about the positive impact that Israel has played in embedding normalisation in the hearts and minds of the Emiratis. Two masterminds of the the social media strategy Strategic Mr Yonatan Gonen who heads up the Arab language social media section at the MFA and Mr Ido Daniel who directs public diplomacy and social media at the Ministry of Strategic Affairs shared their remarkable and inspiring works as well providing tips and insights on how to manage social media relations.
We then went straight into a panel of leading Spanish Journalists for an exchange of views on Israel and how the media covers the region, before concluding with former ACOM President and former President of the Madrid community Mr David Hatchwell, who shared his incredible and inspiring story of how he got engaged in advocacy and the challenges and opportunities in advocacy work going forward. Finally, as we drew our bootcamp to a close, we talked about our Jewish Diplomatic Corps, which is the next step for many of our bootcampers….intense, fun, enlightening and constructive. The EJA, our partners the
ECJS (European Center for Jewish Students) and Concert - Together for Israel are building the next generation of Jewish leaders. Leaders with the right skills and tenacity to lead from the front. We are proud of them.

Greece Golden Dawn: Neo-Nazi leaders guilty of running crime gang

After a trial lasting more than five years, the leadership of Greece's neo-Nazi party has been convicted of running a criminal organisation.
Big crowds gathered outside the court in Athens as the judges gave verdicts on 68 defendants.
Golden Dawn secured 18 MPs in 2012, as Greeks were battered by a financial crisis.
The criminal inquiry into the party began with the murder of an anti-fascist musician in 2013.
Leader Nikos Michaloliakos and six colleagues were convicted of heading a criminal group. Supporter Giorgos Roupakias was found guilty of murdering an anti-racist musician and 15 others were convicted of conspiracy in the case.
Some 2,000 police were deployed around Athens Appeals Court as thousands of protesters demanded long jail terms, carrying banners that read "fear will not win" and "Nazis in prison", Greek media reported.
Tear gas was fired into the crowd as some of the protesters clashed with police and threw petrol bombs.
People gather outside the Athens courthouse, as they wait for the verdict of the trial of the ultra-right party Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi), in Athens
Eleven of the defendants were in the court when the verdict was read out, along with 50 attorneys and 50 journalists.
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said the verdict was an important day for democracy and proof that Greek institutions were able to "fend off any attempt to undermine them".
Hundreds of witnesses gave evidence in the trial, which was delayed this year by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Who was on trial?
At the centre of the trial are Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and 18 ex-MPs who were elected in 2012 when the neo-Nazi party came third in national elections on an anti-immigrant, nationalist platform. Golden Dawn no longer has any MPs in parliament.
After they won almost 7% of the vote in May 2012, emboldened supporters attacked political opponents and migrants.
Golden Dawn supporter Giorgos Roupakias had already confessed to the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas. The musician was chased down by thugs and stabbed in Piraeus in September 2013.
As the verdict was delivered, Fyssas's mother Magda cried out, "My Pavlos defeated them alone!".
What were the verdicts?
The key verdict on Wednesday was that Golden Dawn - Chrysi Avgi in Greek - was a criminal group. Its leadership was found guilty of running it.
They included Michaloliakos and six former MPs - Ilias Kasidiaris, Ioannis Lagos, Christos Pappas, Artemis Matthaiopoulos, Ilias Panagiotaros and Giorgos Germenis. The other ex-MPs were found guilty of joining a criminal organisation.
Magda Fyssa, mother of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, who was murdered in 2013 by a member of Golden Dawn, reacts at the announcement of the ultra-right party Golden Dawn's (Chrysi Avgi) verdict.
The three judges, led by Maria Lepeniotou, were due to deliver sentencing later.
As well as the fatal stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas, defendants in the trial were also convicted of other violent attacks on migrants and left-wing political opponents.
Photo dated on June 24, 2012 of Pavlos Fyssas. The 34-year-old was fatally stabbed in the working-class Athens district of Keratsini early on September 18, 2013
Five Golden Dawn members were convicted of the attempted murders of Egyptian fishermen and four of the attempted murder of communist activists in the PAME union.
As the Golden Dawn leaders were convicted, very few inside the room applauded but outside thousands began to celebrate.
I felt very satisfied, of course. Because I knew the facts revealed during those five and a half years, and I was always optimistic.
From 2010, Golden Dawn had managed to poison the Greek political system and democratic institutions, securing contacts with the army, the police, the judiciary and the Church.
It is an excellent verdict.
Short presentational grey line
Who is their leader?
Nikos Michaloliakos founded the movement in the mid-1980s and was admirer of Nazism and a Holocaust denier, giving the Hitler salute at party rallies.
But he had always denied any knowledge of the Pavlos Fyssas murder. When police raided his home in 2013, they found weapons and ammunition.
Golden Dawn officially denied being a neo-Nazi movement, but its badge closely resembled a swastika, some senior members praised Adolf Hitler, and the clothing of choice at anti-immigrant protests was black T-shirts and combat trousers.
Witnesses told the trial that members were trained to handle weapons and used Nazi symbols.
Greece's Golden Dawn: 'Don't say a word or I'll burn you alive'
Jail fails to deter Greek far right
Greek bailout crisis in 300 words
Last December, chief prosecutor Adamantia Economou prompted uproar, with a call for the party officials to be cleared, arguing there was no evidence they had any part in planning or carrying out the series of attacks.
How has Greece reacted
There has been disgust at Golden Dawn across the political spectrum in Greece.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would not normally comment on court decisions but said the Greek republic had first expelled Golden Dawn from parliament and now Greece's independent judiciary had acted too. "Democracy won today. It is up to us that it wins every day," he said.
The verdict was praised as "just" and "historic" by Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who was president of Greece until earlier this year.
Centre-left political leader Fofi Gennimata said the decision sent a strong message to Europe that "fascism has no place in our lives".
Nils Muiznieks of Amnesty International also said the trial sent a clear message: that "violent and racist criminal activity - whether perpetrated by individuals on the street or members of parliament - will not go unpunished".
Meanwhile, the Jewish cemetery in Athens was daubed this week with anti-Semitic graffiti and Nazi slogans, prompting condemnation from Greek ministers and the Jewish community.
Read More

#YouAreNotAlone – Supportive Messages for Israelis Under Fire

“You are not alone” is a European Jewish Association initiative that encourages the public across Europe to write short messages of support to families in Israel suffering under hundreds of indiscriminate rocket attacks on towns and villages. Families who feel isolated and unsupported as the world looks on passively.
By writing a short personal message you can show you care. That you stand with them, that “you are not alone”.
Each and every message sent through the portal on our dedicated webpage will be translated into Hebrew, then delivered and shared to the areas most under fire, offering comfort and support to those taking shelter with their families.
It only takes a minute to show you care. And it’s a minute that means so much.
To send a message klick HERE

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