STATEMENTS

Over 100 European Jewish leaders pass resolutions and admonish EU Commissioner Josep Borrell at conclusion of European Jewish Association (EJA) Amsterdam summit

While criticism of a democratically elected government is normal, EU High Representative Josep Borrell has demonstrated – both before and after October 7th, a clear and repeated anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the ongoing antisemitism and the vilification of the state of Israel in the European public space

Given the record rises in antisemitism and the associated existential threat to Jewish lives in Europe, and given the lack of meaningful measures adopted by governments to date in dealing with the record rises and existential threat, Jewish leaders call upon European Governments and EU Institutions to:

– immediately establish online reporting mechanisms for the ongoing harassment of Jews and antisemitic threats, comprehensive police officer training in identifying antisemitism, dealing with antisemitism and arresting those that perpetrate antisemitic acts.
– enshrine in law the principles of the IRHA and establish the legal means to prosecute those in breach of those principles.

– urge national parliaments to include universities and colleges of higher education in the same body of law, with a view to prohibiting and prosecuting antisemitic incitement

More than 100 heads of European Jewish communities and directors of Israel advocacy organizations passed a resolution today (see attached full resolution) at the conclusion of an emergency conference organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA).

Aiming to formulate operational methods to combat the harassment of Jews across Europe and the rising tide of antisemitic hate since October 7, the resolution focused on three major issues: The lack of meaningful measures adopted by governments to date in dealing with the record rises and existential threat, the widespread but ineffective adoption of the IHRA definition of Antisemitism and while criticism of a democratically elected government is normal, the EJA notes with great concern EU High Representative Josep Borrell’s clear and repeated anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the ongoing antisemitism and the vilification of the state of Israel.

The agenda of the emergency conference, all under the theme of ‘fighting back’, was 100% solution-focused: for governments, law enforcement, security of institutions and the ‘Jew in the street’, in the media, and even in sports, thus taking in the totality of the Jewish lived experience at present. Attendees included the principal leaders of Dutch Jewry, the President of the CJO – the umbrella group of Jewish Communities in the Netherlands, the Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, and Community Presidents from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and other Dutch cities. Joining them were leaders from across Europe, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, to name but four. Those who spoke at the conference or sent messages of support included Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz, the European and Dutch Special envoys for Combatting antisemitism Ms. Katharina von Schnurbein and Eddo Verdoner, former NBA and professional football players, leading figures from Christians for Israel International and the Secretary General of the Catholic Church in the EU.

EJA, Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, noted at the opening of the conference: “We are in a battle for the continuation of Jewish life in Europe. Jews in traditional dress or those with mezuzahs on their doors are experiencing relentless harassment. Jewish students face threats to their lives and are excluded from university courses, while hate slogans are freely scrawled on Jewish homes, synagogues, and cemeteries. We must formulate plans to fight antisemitism on all fronts: politically, legally, publicly, and by increasing community and personal security. But all this might not be enough. Therefore, the State of Israel must urgently develop a practical contingency plan for the absorption of European Jewry in Israel. Unfortunately, this is no longer a hypothetical situation but a real existential threat that European governments are failing or unwilling to address.”

Joel Mergui, President of Consistoire of Paris (the largest Jewish community in Europe) and Chairman of EJA Jewish Leaders Council stated: “We thought that after the worst massacre committed after the holocaust, the Jewish people, both in Israel and in the diaspora, would have been strongly supported on the long run, but this was unfortunately not the case. Very quickly, Israel and the Jews worldwide were blamed for the consequences of the horrible and barbarian war launched by Hamas against them. This bleak and unfair reality is very frightening

Eddo Verdoner, National Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism (NCAB), Ministry of Justice, the Netherlands: “Our office’s main goal is clear: we need to find the right implementation to fight antisemitism. New policy changes are required to find solutions to modern problems. We need to ensure that younger generations learn not only from the lessons of the Holocaust, but also from current antisemitism.”

Stefan Hansel, Hamburg Antisemitism Commissioner shared with the Jewish leaders that: “95% of Germany Jews come from post-Soviet republics. Most of these Jews are unaffiliated and have no voice to represent them, although they experience the challenges that are
found within migrant communities – including exclusion especially challenges that are found within the interactions with Muslim communities. We need to rethink our institutional relationships with [Muslim] institutions. Even with the overlapping issues such as kosher slaughter and circumcision, we need to call out the issues within the Muslim institutions which are clearly Antisemitic.”

Pascal Markowitz, Attorney at the Paris Bar and EJA Legal Forum member has briefed the conference about current legislation situation in France: “French Law forbids boycotting people based on their nationality. It considered it as a discrimination. We managed to sue anti-Israel activists based on this legal definition, especially against anti-Israel activists who organized boycott happening in supermarkets. This law should be regarded as a model that could be replicated at the pan-European level.

Kalman Szalai, President of Action and Protection League addressed the conference and stressed that: “the world seems to have forgotten the basic sense of right and wrong. we must recognise the exact threat we are facing. We must prepare for the fact that the number of antisemitic hate crimes will continue to increase, and the number of victims will also increase with this! Currently, there is no European umbrella organization that deals with providing protection, legal assistance, and mental help to such victims. There are organisations that have already been forced to provide such support in some countries, but an EU-wide representation in this regard is required. I believe it is of the utmost importance that we act together, as a community. This is now our task.

In a panel dedicated to the fight against antisemitism in sports, Eric Rubin, Global Ambassador for Maccabi World Union emphasized that “Sports should be used as a tool to combat Antisemitism. Although we will not make headway to racist fringe groups from the far-left neo-Nazis, our work at Project Max (Max Nordau) uses sports advocates to lend their voices to bring awareness to the middle 60 or 70% of the people in the world who are not really aware about what Antisemitism is.

Former NBA player (Chicago Bulls and NY Knicks) Michael Sweetney shared his personal experience dealing with antisemitism: “When I saw what was happening after Oct 7th, it hurt, because I had a special relationship to many of the people who had passed through the sports camps that I had coached. Going to Israel was very educational for me. Despite the preoccupations of people like my wife who were afraid for me, I was amazed how peaceful everything was. At the Wailing Wall, I was surprised to see Jews and Arabs engaged in normal conversations.

For further information, please contact: Nir Natan, EJA Spokesman +972-9535123
tal.rabina@eipa.eu.com
European Jewish Association
Rue du Cornet 22
1040 Brussels

TEXT of RESOLUTION PASSED BY EUROPEAN JEWISH LEADERS, BELOW

 

EUROPEAN JEWISH LEADERS PASS RESOLUTION AT AMSTERDAM CONFERENCE – 4 JUNE 2024

We, Jewish leaders and communities present at the European Jewish Association Annual Conference in Amsterdam on this day – 4 June 2024, following a vote, passed the following resolution:

1. Given the record rises in antisemitism and the associated existential threat to Jewish lives in Europe,

and given the lack of meaningful measures adopted by governments to date in dealing with the record rises and existential threat,

– urges the immediate establishment by European governments of an online reporting mechanism for the ongoing harassment of Jews and antisemitic threats suffered and that this reporting mechanism be directly linked to law enforcement agencies for rapid response.

– urges comprehensive police officer training in identifying antisemitism, dealing with antisemtism and arresting those that perpetrate antisemtic acts. Additionally, urges police departments to adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards violent and/or intimidating protests to include terrorist organisation banners, flags or insignia.

– urges each European Public Prosecutor’s Office to appoint a dedicated professional to deal with antisemitic complaints with a view to adopting much tougher responses to antisemitic incidents, and establish a fast- track procedure towards prosecution.

2. Given the widespread adoption of the IHRA definition of Antisemitism,

– urges national parliaments to enshrine in law the principles of the IRHA, and establish the legal means to prosecute those in breach of those principles.

– urges national parliaments to include universities and colleges of higher education in the same body of law, with a view to prohibiting and prosecuting antisemitic incitement – as defined by the legal definition – in classes, lectures, and in activities on campus properties.

 

 

 

3. We accept that criticism of a democratically elected government is normal but we note with great concern that the European Union High Representative Josep Borrell has demonstrated – both before and after October 7th – and via his spokesman Peter Stano, a clear and repeated anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the ongoing antisemitism and the vilification of the state of Israel as a whole in the European public space,

– states that High Representative Borrell has actively fostered a negative climate within the European Union External Action Service towards the State of Israel during his tenure,

– reminds the European Council and European Commission that the High Representative’s role is ‘contributory’, and that High Representative Borrell has frequently embellished or added to adopted European Council positions on his own initiative, including open criticism of the European Commission President stated support for Israel following the Hamas pogrom of October 7th,

– urges the European Council, in light of the significant damage to European-Israeli relations, and in his contributing to antisemitism, to properly vet the next high representative and ensure that the position and reputation of the EEAS is not allowed to be exploited and manipulated for partisan purposes, as it was under High Representative Borrell.

Conference calls on the European Jewish Association to send this resolution to:

– All European National Parliaments and Governments.

– All European Special Envoys for Combatting Antisemitism

– The Presidents of the European Council and European Commission

The Resolution was passed by a majority by show of hands on the 4th June 20

UANI and European Jewish Association Co-Host Event at Sveriges Riksdag to Expose Iranian Regime's Presence in Sweden

In a significant collaborative effort, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and The European Jewish Association joined forces to host a pivotal event within the esteemed halls of the Sveriges Riksdag in Stockholm. This event served as a platform to unveil the findings of UANI’s extensive investigation into the Iranian regime’s infiltration within Sweden.

Attendees gathered with a shared commitment to shed light on the presence and activities of the Iranian regime within Swedish borders. The event brought together influential figures from diplomatic circles, government officials, advocacy groups, and concerned citizens, all united in their determination to address this pressing issue.

Throughout the event, speakers highlighted the alarming implications of the Iranian regime’s infiltration, emphasising the need for vigilance and coordinated action. They underscored the importance of raising awareness and implementing strategies to counter such interference, safeguarding Sweden’s sovereignty and security.

With the spotlight firmly on the findings of UANI’s investigation, attendees gained valuable insights into the extent and methods of the Iranian regime’s presence in Sweden. This comprehensive analysis provided a crucial foundation for informed discourse and strategic planning moving forward.

As the event concluded, participants departed with a renewed sense of purpose and resolve. Armed with knowledge and collaboration, they stood ready to confront the challenges posed by the Iranian regime’s infiltration, safeguarding Sweden’s interests and upholding the principles of democracy, security, and sovereignty.

European Jewish leader on increase of antisemitism in Belgium: ‘It’s time for action and it’s no longer possible to be satisfied with statements’

Rabbi Menachem Margolin reacted to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s response to Belgian Jewish leaders who deplored the consequences on the Jewish community of his policy towards Israel.

He called on the Prime Minister ‘’to come to his senses and show leadership that goes beyond narrow political consideration.’’Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s pledge to enhance security measures to protect the Jewish community in the country is a matter of satisfaction ”but in view of the waves of hatred and anti-Semitism dring pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the streets of Brussels and on campuses it is time for action and it is no longer possible to be satisfied with statements,’’ said Rabbi Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association.In a response to Jewish leaders who had expressed their deep concern regarding Croo’s’’hostility’’ towards Israel and its consequences on the Jewish community, the Prime Minister reaffirmed that anti-Semitism remains condemnable in all circumstances and said he takes the increase in anti-Semitic acts in Belgium and elsewhere very seriously.’’ ‘’ The country has stepped up security measures to protect the Jewish community,’’ he added.Rabbi Margolin also welcomed De Croo’s announcement that he is in favor of appointing an independent national coordinator for combating antisemitism, a demand made by the European Jewish Association for years.

However, Rabbi Margolin pointed out that in view of the waves of hatred and anti-Semitism dring pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the streets of Brussels and on campuses in Ghent and Leuven, ‘’it is time for action and it is no longer possible to be satisfied with statements.’’‘’The confusion between the Hamas terrorists who kill old men, rape young women and decapitate babies and the army that tries to fight them is not only problematic for Israel but is a harbinger for the extremists here on our streets,’’ said Margolin;He continued, ‘’A leader who does not understand this ignores a very tangible danger that is already blackening in the present for Belgian society and its citizens. If at the beginning of the war in Gaza there were those who said that the West was next in line, now, in view of the inaction of leaders in Europe, terrorism is already here.’’Rabbi Margolin concluded by saying that ‘’whoever thinks that this is only against Jews should read the brazen threats of the “student” organizations in Ghent, calling on the Belgian Prime Minister ‘’to come to his senses and show leadership that goes beyond narrow political consideration.’’The European Jewish Association initiates and coordinates the activities of dozens of Jewish organizations to combat anti-Semitism and for freedom of religion and worship in Europe.The organization, which defines itself as the “Jewish voice of Europe,” holds conferences to raise awareness of the Holocaust and its lessons for EU leaders.

Link: https://ejpress.org/european-jewish-leader-on-increase-of-antisemitism-in-belgium-its-time-for-action-and-its-no-longer-possible-to-be-satisfied-with-statements/

EJA Chairman Hails Belgian PM's Commitment to Jewish Communities and Antisemitism Efforts, Cautions Against Equating Hamas with IDF

Statement from EJA Chairman – Belgian Prime Ministerial response to principal Jewish Associations in Belgium

The chairman of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem welcomed the assurance from Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo that he has taken seriously the increase in antisemitic acts in Belgium and elsewhere and pledging enhanced security measures to protect the Jewish community in the country. The EJA Chairman also welcomed the announcement that the Prime Minister is supporting the appointment of an independent national co-ordinator for combatting antisemitism.

However, Rabbi Margolin points out that, in light of the waves of hatred and antisemitism, particularly on the streets of Brussels and on campus in Ghent, it is time for action that Jews can no longer be satisfied with statements alone.

The confusion in distinguishing between Hamas terrorists who kill old men, rape young women and decapitate babies, and the army that tries to fight them is not only problematic for Israel but is an encouraging harbinger for the extremists here on our own streets.

A leader who does not understand this ignores a very tangible danger towards Belgian society and its citizens. If at the beginning of the war in Gaza there were those who said that the West was next in line, now, in view of the inaction of leaders in Europe – one can state that terrorism is already here.

Rabbi Margolin finally called on the Prime Minister to come to his senses, address this threat and show the kind of leadership that is devoid of narrow political considerations.

Eurovision song contest in Malmo: Israel’s National Security Council upgrades travel warning for the Swedish city

Malmo, which has a high concentration of Syrian, Lebanese, Iraqi and Iranian migrants, is known as a focus for anti-Israel protests, which occur on a weekly basis and frequently include incitement, calls to attack Jews and Israelis and the burning of Israeli flags.By EJP and JNSThe 2024 Eurovision Song Contestwill be held in the Swedish city of Malmo on 7-11 May.In light of this event, the National Security Council (NSC) is upgrading the travel warning for Malmo (but not the travel warning for Sweden as a whole) from Level 2 (potential threat) to Level 3 (moderate threat) and recommends that Israelis due to arrive in the city reconsider the necessity of the trip.The travel warning is for the period of the Eurovision and is subject to an assessment of the situation.Malmo, which has a high concentration of Syrian, Lebanese, Iraqi and Iranian migrants, is known as a focus for anti-Israel protests, which occur on a weekly basis and frequently include incitement, calls to attack Jews and Israelis and the burning of Israeli flags.It should be noted that on October 7, anti-Israel elements were openly joyful over the massacre that Hamas perpetrated in Israel.In addition to the protests in Malmo, in recent months there has been an upsurge in calls by global jihadist and radical Islamic elements to carry out attacks against Western targets, including focused threats against Israelis and Jews around the world, while emphasizing targets with a high media profile. It should be noted on 19 March, the arrest of ISIS operatives who were planning to carry out an attack on the Swedish parliament.These developments raise the tangible concern that terrorists will exploit the protest and the anti-Israel atmosphere to carry out an attack on Israelis who will arrive for the Eurovision, the NSC said.While the Swedish authorities have increased security in Malmo, it should be noted that unlike the Israeli delegation to the contest, Israeli visitors will not receive special security.Visitors to Malmo are requested to download the IDF Home Front Command app in order to receive NSC updates quickly and in real-time in the event of an incident in Malmo during the Eurovision.Israeli contestant Eden Golan prepares for the compeition Meanwhile, Israeli Eurovision contestant Eden Golan landed in Malmo on Tuesday to prepare for the competition.“I feel like the main message is that we are here, we are strong, we will show our voices, the warmth, the strength and the emotion that we have inside us,” Golan told JNS.“There are truly so many people who support us, people who like the song, are there for us and love us. We are a huge family and we want to spread good, love and unity,” she added.The Eurovision Song Contest is an internationally televised songwriting competition comprising three live shows: two semi-finals and a grand final.All songs must be original and no more than three minutes in length. Lead vocals must be performed live, and no more than six performers can take to the stage during any one performance.In each show, after all songs have been performed, each country participating awards two sets of points (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12) to their favorite songs; one set is awarded by a jury of five music industry professionals and one is awarded by viewers.The five countries in each semi-final with the most points advance to the grand final.Last year, Israeli pop star Noa Kirel finished in third place in the Eurovision final in Liverpool, behind Sweden and Finland. She was aiming to become the fifth Israeli to win the song contest since the Jewish state first entered the annual event in 1973 and the first since Netta Barzilai and her song “Toy” won in 2018.Past winners include Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta in 1978, with the song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi,” Milk and Honey in 1979 with “Hallelujah” and Dana International in 1998 with “Diva.”This year, Eden Golan, 20, will represent the Jewish state in the second semifinal on May 9. The grand final will take place on May 11.The coming days will be busy ones for Golan.“Each day revolves around Eurovision, from rehearsals and vocal lessons to interviews, photoshoots and fittings to prepare the wonderful outfits that I will be wearing on stage,” she said.“I am concentrating on our goal: to give a great performance, and I am constantly working towards it,” she added.Organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest reaffirmed in February that Israel would be allowed to compete despite calls to exclude it from the competition.“Of course, there were thoughts and uncertainties at certain points. I don’t think I really let it get to me. I was very focused, I truly wanted to believe that we would be there on stage, I visualized it, I just saw myself performing on stage,” said Golan.“Good thoughts, good vibes, good energy; here we are now,” she added.Rejecting parallels drawn by pro-Palestinian activists with Russia’s exclusion from the competition over its invasion of Ukraine, Noel Curran, director-general of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), said that “comparisons between war and conflict are complex and difficult and, as an apolitical media organization, it is not our place to make them.”In March, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster revealed the Jewish state’s final entry for this year’s contest, after the EBU had threatened to disqualify two earlier entries over perceived political messaging. A week earlier, the EBU informed Israel that Golan would be allowed to compete with “Hurricane.”“When we finally got the news that everything was sorted out, it was amazing, it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders,” said Golan.“It was exciting, heartwarming and uplifting because I really think that this year more than ever it’s important for us to be there on stage and show our voice,” she added.The last lines of “October Rain,” one of Israel’s earlier entries, described the condition of Israelis during the Oct. 7 terror attacks, in which 1,200 people were slaughtered: “There’s no air left to breathe / No place, no me from day to day.”In one of the verses, Golan sang the word “flowers,” which is Israel Defense Forces slang for fallen soldiers, but which does not carry that connotation for European viewers.Israel’s second-choice song, “Dance Forever,” was an apparent reference to the massacre at the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im, where Hamas terrorists murdered 364 people on Oct. 7.Kan has said that the final submission, set to the tune of “October Rain,” tells the story of a “young woman who is surviving a personal crisis.”“Honestly, when the news got out to me that they did not want to approve the song, I was shocked, to say the least,” said Golan. “Now that it’s done, I’m not looking back. I know that we have a great song that will represent us proudly and that’s all that matters,” she continued.“I am very happy with the final product. I think we have a great, powerful and emotional song that conveys so many feelings, in which every single person can find themselves and connect to it in some way or another,” Golan added.She told JNS she is well aware of the worldwide surge of antisemitism.In March, a London movie theater threatened to cancel the screening of the Eurovision Grand Final if Israel remains in the competition, according to Deadline.The Rio Cinema in East London, known for its ties with Eurovision Party London, declared the decision via social media, and added that it will continue to support Palestinian charities.“I am not naive. I know what is going on in the world. It’s not something we can really hide from,” said Golan.“I wouldn’t say I’m scared, because I will be taken care of and the whole delegation is going to be taken care of as well. Once again I am very focused on our main goal: to give a great performance. We can’t run away from reality, sadly, but we can focus on the good,” she added.

Link: https://ejpress.org/eurovision-song-contest-in-malmo-israels-national-security-council-upgrades-travel-warning-for-the-swedish-city-mo-sweden/

Belgian university maintains collaboration with Israeli institutions despite protests demanding to cut ties

About twenty demonstrators protested Thursday in front of the rector’s office at  Leuven University      (KUL) in Belgium on Thursday to demand that the university immediately end its collaboration with Israeli institutions. But the university said it has decided to maintain current collaboration with its Israeli partners, daily La Libre reported. 

Participants at the protest action waved Palestinian flags and wore black and white scarves. They chanted slogans such as “Shame on KUL, break up with Israel”, “Free Palestine” and “Stop the genocide”.

Several actions have already taken place in recent months to denounce the links between Israeli universities and KU Leuven. “We have the impression that the University of Leuven will not put an end to these collaborations,” a protester was quoted as saying.  “That’s why we’re keeping up the pressure: links with institutions linked to the arms industry and the Israeli security apparatus are extremely problematic,” he added.

The rector of KU Leuven, Luc Sels, will receive some of the protesters to discuss the issue next Tuesday but the university said that it has decided to maintain its current research projects with various Israeli universities, following a decision taken on by the relevant ethics committee.

The university has “thoroughly evaluated” the current collaborations, particularly on the basis of human rights. “The general position is one of restraint”, the Rector wrote on his blog.

The leuven university has no structural links with Israeli universities, but does have project-based collaborations. These involve some fifteen projects, mostly in larger consortia funded by the European Horizon research program.

“The content of each project was thoroughly examined: it was checked whether there was any risk of the content being misused or used for military purposes,” Luc Sels said.

“The projects were also assessed to determine whether they presented a risk of human rights violations and whether the partners were not involved in human rights violations,’’ he added.

He continued: ‘’On the basis of this screening, it was decided to continue with the current projects. “We are opting for a balanced, fine-tuned approach. New collaborations with Israeli partners must first be submitted to the ethics committee for assessment. The committee not only applies human rights criteria but will also assess with the necessary rigor whether the research has possible military applications.’’

At another Belgian university in Ghent, an association titled ‘’Students4Palestine’’ also called on the Board of Governors and Rector to cut all collaborations with Israeli institutions which they accused of being ”complicit in the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.’’ They are threatening to occupy the University if their demand is not met.

Last November, Ghent University issued a clear statement saying that it always decides to cooperate with partners, universities or companies and not with countries as such.’’ ‘’Within the framework of our human rights policy, it is therefore actual our potential partners we assess and not the country in which they are located,’’ the statement said.

Belgian university maintains collaboration with Israeli institutions despite protests demanding to cut ties