The Labour party approves a draft action plan against antisemitism to be submitted to the government’s anti-racist body

December 9, 2020

The Labour party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) has approved a draft action plan against antisemitism it is required to submit to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the government anti-racist body,  ahead of a deadline later this week, The Jewish Chronicle reported.
The plan comes in response to  recommendations  of the EHRC report into antisemitism in the party.
The Labour’s action plan comprises the 18 key recommendations of the EHRC report, including the setting up of an independent complaints process to handle  allegations of antisemitism, other forms of discrimination and bullying.
The party had receive a 10 December deadline to produce a draft action plan in response to the findings and recommendations of the report released by the government anti-racist and equality body.
A Labour spokesperson said: ”Labour’s national executive committee has given its approval to the draft action plan it is required to submit to the EHRC this week.
“It covers all the EHRC’s recommendations and is an important step towards Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner’s commitment to rebuilding trust and confidence with our Jewish members and the Jewish community.”
The action plan is believed to contain details on how  Labour intends to live up to Keir Starmer’s zero tolerance commitment to reports of antisemitism in the party in the future, how it will introduce training sessions on anti-Jewish racism to be conducted by the Jewish Labour Movement, and how it will effectively monitor improvements to ensure lasting change within the party.
Asked to comment the process in the Labour party by its new leader Keir Starmer, Gideon Falter, Chairman of the UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism, who has been in the forefront of the battle to refer the party  to EHRC because it was not taking its complaints against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn seriously, said: ‘’‘’The point is that this is a man, Jeremy Corbyn, who put 47% of British Jews in fear of their future in this country.He surely cannot be allowed by his political party, which claims to be anti-racist, to go without answer for that. He must be held to account in a fair, independent disciplinary process.’’
Falter added during a webinar hosted by the European Jewish Association: ‘’If this is going to be polluted by Keir Starmer’s  political considerations about who has the power in Labour, then I don’t think the party has learned his lesson. The Labour party has to secure justice against anti-Semites.’’
Last month, Starmer decided not to readmit Corbyn in its parliamentary ranks despite the fact that a Labour disciplinary panel lifted the suspension of Corbyn’s party membership.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation identified serious failings in leadership and an inadequate process of handling anti-Semitism complaints.
Its report said the party was responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act: political interference in anti-Semitism complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism complaints and harassment.
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In Berlin, the 93-year-old Holocaust survivor by the name of Emil Farkash testifies against the notorious Josef Schutz.

In Berlin, the 93-year-old Holocaust survivor by the name of Emil Farkash testifies against the notorious Josef Schutz. Mr. Schutz is a 100-year-old charged with complicity in the murder of 3,518 prisoners when he worked as a warden at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1942-1945.
The European Jewish Association applauds and admires the courage of Mr. Farkash in attending the trial of the charged individual.
Moreover, the EJA has extended their hand to offer any kind of assistance to Mr. Farkash. However, he politely declined and noted that he is receiving sufficient assistance from the German government. On behalf of the family, we would like to thank Adv. Thomas Walther and Dr. Efraim Zuroff for their support.
Once again, the EJA stands firm in its stance to seek out justice against criminals associated with the Holocaust.

Greek court annuls permit for Greek court annuls permit for kosher, halal slaughter

The Hellenic Council of State, the top administrative court in Greece, ruled to ban kosher and halal slaughter on Tuesday, according to the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation.
The federation had requested from the court that it annul a ministerial decision that exempted religious slaughter from a Greek law requiring animals killed in slaughterhouses to be anesthetized first.
The Council of State ruled that the ministerial decision violated the Greek law requiring anesthesia and did not set a proper balance between the welfare of animals and the religious freedom of Jews and Muslims. The court ruled that the government should regulate the issue of slaughter in a way that ensures both the protection of the animals and the religious freedom of Jews and Muslims.
European Jewish Association (EJA) chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin expressed outrage at the decision on Wednesday, saying that "Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack across Europe from the very institutions that have vowed to protect our communities."
According to the EJA, the ruling came following one by the Court of Justice of the European Union last December that allowed EU nations to ban kosher slaughter in order to promote animal welfare without infringing on the rights of religious groups.
The December ruling encourages member states to find balances between the issues of animal welfare and religious freedom. The EJA stated that "it is now clear" that a number of EU member states are "zealously" implementing bans, while ignoring the issue of religious freedom.
"As early as last December we warned about the dangerous consequences of the European Court of Justice ruling, and now we are seeing the result," Margolin said. "It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and it is now Greece's turn. These direct attacks come from many of those governments and institutions that have vowed to defend their Jewish communities."
"What we are witnessing is first-rate hypocrisy," he said. "When it comes to antisemitism, governments and institutions rightly stand behind us. But when our beliefs and customs are attacked right and left by laws, they are nowhere to be seen."
The EJA leader stated that the organization would work immediately to demand answers from the highest levels of the Greek government, adding: "How can Jews live in Europe if you continue to legislate against us?"

80 years after Babyn Yar massacre: tools to keep the memory alive, learn the lessons

For two days, September 29 and 30, 1941, 33,771 people were exterminated. More than thirty thousand of them were Jews.
A zoom press conference was dedicated on Tuesday to the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre ahead of an event “Lessons from Babyn Yar: History, Memory and Legacy” which is jointly organised by the House of European History in Brussels and the Kiev-based Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC).
The conference, organized in cooperation with the European Jewish Asociation, discussed lessons 80 years later, as well as unveiling new and unique tools to keep the lessons, history and memory alive, including actually putting faces and names to those murdered for the first time.
Among the speakers, French Father Patrick Desbois, founder of Yahad-In Unum and head of the scholarly council of BYHMC, stressed that Babi Yar was a criminal site where the genocide of the Jewish people took place in the center of a large city in a large country (Kiev, today Ukraine).
‘’The locals willingly aided the young fascists. The gunmen were given sandwiches and tea with little vodka in it as the mass executions lasted many hours,’’ he noted.
Father Patrick asked a practical question: where did the tons of items and valuables taken from the Jews before their execution go? ‘’It would seem that everything should be documented, but it is easier to find detailed evidence and statistics of the shootings than information about the confiscated property of those killed. It was as if the Germans were embarrassed to write about such facts.’’
He added, ‘’For me, this is another terrible evidence of the Babi Yar tragedy: human life is reduced to zero. It is only the result of statistics, nothing more. Even more terrible is that the USSR, on whose territory the tragedy took place, tried to hide the truth about Babyn Yar for a long time. Nevertheless, our generation has a goal: to find the hidden facts and restore the history of this bloody genocide.’’
“I visited Raka in Syria where there was a mass grave. Journalists came, journalists went. Perhaps in 80 years there can be a debate about what is a ‘fitting’ memorial. What is important is keeping the memory and lessons alive,’’ stressed Father Desbois.
One of the panelists, Marek Siwiec, Director of European Affairs at BYHMC,  provided information about many ongoing projects, each of which can contribute to the restoration of the truth about Babyn Yar.
Colossal work has been done: out of more than 33,000 dead, 28,428 names have been identified, and essential family and personal facts have been restored. All these invaluable findings became the basis of a vast program titled “Project Names.”
‘’It brought us closer to the real life of those who were shot at Babi Yar. They say that the death of one person is a tragedy, but the death of tens of thousands is a statistic,’’ said Siwiec, who is a former member of the European Parliament.
‘’Project Names’’ allows us to turn dry statistics into pain for everyone who was left in that terrible place, who did not live, who did not love, who did not leave their continuation on earth,’’ he added.
Another project mentioned by Siwiec, “Red Dot” (Red Dot Remembrance), is unique: more than 3,000 people provided information about the WWII war crimes. This app has so far registered 2,850 sites across of Europe of the ‘Holocaust by bullets’ which enables users to see and learn what took place wherever they are.
‘’These are mass extermination sites, eyewitness accounts, evidence supported by documents, which were kept with German punctuality and pedantry throughout the war,’’ explained Siwiec.
On the Babyn Yar massacre anniversary date of 29th September, 15,000 schools in Ukraine will participate in a “lessons of the Holocaust Day”.
‘’The key word underpinning all of our activities is education. It is only through education that the tragic disasters of the past can never be repeated,” said Siwiec.
Marek Rutka, a member of the Sejm, the Polish parliament, and chairman of the parliamentary group for the commemoration of the crimes at Babyn Yar and for a Europe free from genocide and hatred, explained that members of his political party  regularly visit the sites of the Shoah executions. ‘’They see heartfelt tragedies lead to politically literate conclusions about the need to talk about the Shoah on a European scale. There is no genocide without the tolerance of neighboring countries. These words can be taken as a motto for the whole debate.’’
Anton Schneerson, who contributed this article for European Jewish Press,  is a Ukrainian Jew living in Germany. The Jewish community of his hometown, Dnipro, managed to build one of the world’s most prominent Holocaust museum that deeply covers the Babyn Yar tragedy.
 
https://ejpress.org/80-years-after-babyn-yar-massacre-tools-to-keep-the-memory-alive-learn-the-lessons/

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A Terror Fighter We Don’t Know, But Should

In Europe, life is finally getting tougher for Hezbollah. For decades the group has used the continent to stage and fund its terror attacks, and last year they started to face proper scrutiny in Europe’s capitals. In 2020 alone, Austria, The Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Serbia and Slovenia all designated Hezbollah as a terror organization, banning the group from using their financial institutions and from setting foot in their respective jurisdictions.
These designations and actions are totally deserved. Hezbollah has left pools of blood across Europe, and across the globe, so few outside Tehran, Pyongyang and Beirut will kick up any stink about this effort to blacklist them.
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