Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal, Rabbi of the Jewish community of Berlin, called on fellow European rabbis this week to “help save the European Union” in the wake of the British vote to leave the European body.
Rabbi Teichtel met Tuesday with Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary head of the German Social Democratic Party (SDP), the second largest party in Germany, at his offices at the Bundestag. The two discussed the future of Europe and its Jewish communities, in light of the British referendum.
The Berlin rabbi told Oppermann that he has been encouraging fellow European rabbis and Jewish leaders to ‘take action’ and prevent any further breaking in the EU.
“I call upon the leaders of all Jewish communities around Europe to do whatever they can and execute all of their influence, in order to prevent any other countries from leaving the EU,” Teichtel said.
During the meeting, Oppermann expressed his worries about the continent’s political future.
“The EU means that people can move from one country to another and can settle down. If anyone believes that they should go back to their own nation and try to live for themselves, it is not the right way,” he said.
Oppermann added, “We have to cooperate, we have to work together and we have to keep this European Union. We don’t want more ‘Brexits’ or “exits” so that the people of Europe will get the feeling that we have to defend our values, our democracy, our freedom and our welfare.”
Oppermann also spoke of the importance of the relations between the Jewish communities and the EU. “It is equally important to keep the EU in good constitution because it enables us to have Jewish life in every European country, one that can develop from one country to another. Jewish life is a great enrichment to have in Europe, in Israel and all around the world,” he said. Teichtel maintains that the establishment of the EU and the multi-cultural approach it symbolizes contributes to the welfare of Europe’s Jewish communities.
He told Opperman “the possibility of dismantling the EU and reverting back to nation states should worry all Jewish people around Europe… A strong European union is a paramount interest to the Jewish people of Europe in general and to Jewish people of Germany in particular.”
The two also discussed the rising worries among Berlin’s Jewish community in the wake of the ‘Brexit.’
“It is a worrisome sign to the strengthening of nationalism and of extreme right-wing parties and movements,” Teichtel warned. “The Jewish community in Berlin joins a great number of Jewish community leaders from all over Europe who expressed their sorrow over the UK’s decision.”
The rabbi thanked MP Oppermann for his support for the Jewish life, speaking of the politician’s “support of Jewish life… I recognize your achievements, your dedication, and your care and I want to thank you in the name of the community here. I wish that God will give you great success in all your important work.”
Earlier that day, speaking at the Bundestag, Oppermann urged Chancellor Angella Merkel to carry the negotiations “as quickly as possible, in order to provide clarity.
“Years of stalemate’ will not serve Europe’s interests”, he said. “We want fair negotiations and to continue deep and friendly relations with the United Kingdom. But there must be no rewards for nationalism and European hostility. If the message is at the end, that one can get rid of the liabilities, without losing the benefits, then there will soon be referendums everywhere.”
With results declared from 206 of 382 voting districts plus parts of Northern Ireland, Leave was ahead by 51.3 percent to 48.7 in the referendum, in which a vote to break with Europe could usher in deep uncertainty over trade and investment and fuel the rise of anti-EU movements across the continent. Initial results suggested those in favor of quitting the EU were outperforming pollsters’ expectations. They scored close to 70 percent of the vote in Hartlepool in northeast England and in Basildon, near London. It was not clear whether an expected pro-EU vote in the capital and across Scotland would be sufficient to redress the balance. In the London district of Haringey, 76 percent voted to remain. (Reuters)
I’m not really surprised. Great Britain is an island off of Europe and always treasured its independence. That is what saved it from invasions, such as the Nazis less than a century ago. Also, in terms of the demography, cultural/ethnic politics in Britain, this is probably the last chance to get a majority to leave. As in Europe, the open borders have enabled a cultural diversity unprecedented in most of Europe and Great Britain for sure.
Don’t forget that the European Union is much larger and more diversified than most people had ever expected it to be. For those who mourn the relatively monochromatic Christian Britain and Europe, they find themselves living in a nightmare, like a Twilight Zone episode.
The vote seems pretty close, so it could change directions, and then Great Britain will remain in the EU, and it will then find itself a totally different country in another couple of decades. And if it leaves, the transformation will just take a bit longer…
British citizens are done with being one of many — 28, to be precise — and they made their views clear in a referendum Thursday with a vote to leave the European Union.
They wanted their borders back, their own British Pound Sterling, thank you, and the safety of being able to make their own security decisions.
The vote was called late Thursday night at 52 percent in favor of ‘Brexit’ as the leaving was called, and 48 percent against, according to ITV and the BBC.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who said his position would be ‘untenable’ if the country chose not to remain within the EU, now finds himself having to decide his next move. Cameron had warned there would be “no turning back” if the UK were to separate itself from the European body, looking at the impact on banks and other financial institutions as well as other issues.
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage described a poster showing a line of asylum seekers as “a statement about the whole of the European Union,” according to CNN. Farage delivered a victory speech to supporters upon hearing the news of the final results at a polling station in Birmingham.
The ‘victory’ may be a bit premature, however: Scotland warned from the outset that should England decide to leave the EU, the decision would launch a discussion about whether or not to hold another referendum on whether or not to secede from the United Kingdom.
Should Scotland vote for independence, the UK decision to leave the European Union — which may ultimately lead to the disintegration of the EU — will have led to its own dissolution as well.
Analysts around the world are now weighing the effect of the British decision on the world economy and it impacts individual nations along with their currencies, pension funds and banking systems. It is also not clear what effect this will have on the British Jewish community both in the United Kingdom and abroad.
In trading Thursday night, the British pound Sterling fell against the U.S. dollar and against the euro; however, the euro fell against the Japanese yen as well. All three stock markets dropped, and were set to open lower on Friday.
Political leaders in Europe are now deeply concerned that the split that exists in England may continue to divide other member states in the EU, prompting them to leave as well and perhaps lead to the dissolution of the entire European body.
A campaign sponsored by Regavim is being waged to encourage British citizens living anywhere in the world, whether it be within the boundaries of the UK, or elsewhere, to vote against the UK remaining in the European Union.
The referendum on whether Britain should remain in or leave the EU is to be held this week, on June 23. British citizens are eligible to vote as long as one was listed on the electoral register in the past 15 years. But it is important to have registered by June 7 in order to be eligible to vote in this referendum.
The “Support Israel – Leave Europe” campaign describes all the reasons why encouraging Britain to leave the European Union is a great way to support Israel.
For a start, the EU has been accused of taking actions against Israel that are tantamount to state-sponsored anti-Semitism. Among those are the orders given to its member states to specifically label products made by Israelis living in Judea and Samaria – an order given to separate Jewish-made products in those regions. Yet no other such order was issued to label products made in communities based in the 200-plus land disputes elsewhere around the world.
The EU has generously funded NGOs dedicated to defaming and in some cases actually framing Israeli soldiers, as well as pursuing anti-Israel boycott and lawfare agendas.
In addition, the EU has built more than a thousand illegal structures on Israeli land in Area C under the Oslo Accords, in its attempt to establish “facts on the ground” to advocate for a de facto Palestinian Authority state. The EU has also build roads, dug wells, installed windmills and electricity pylons in such areas – all without Israeli authorization.
These activities have been carried out using aid money for political purposes rather than for which it was donated and allocated.
It is this kind of activity that has so outraged British parliamentarians and many British citizens, who accuse the EU of using aid funding to “meddle” in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.
But Britain has not lacked for “meddling” credits: The UK has been quite generous in its contributions to the Palestinian Authority coffers, which flow into those of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Millions in funding are donated to the PA direct from the UK. Much of the money is used to support the bloodthirsty terrorists responsible for murdering Jewish families, with the PA handing funds to the PLO to pay terror inmates.
Amjad Awad, who in 2011 stabbed to death Ruth and Ehud Fogel, their 3-month-old baby and two toddlers, has thus far been paid an estimated 16,000 British pounds Sterling, according to Regavim. His accomplice and cousin, Hakim Awad, has also received a “salary.”
It is believed that Hamas bomb-making expert Abdallah Barghouti has so far received a total of 106,000 British pounds Sterling. Barghouti is serving a life sentence for his part in terror attacks that took place during the second intifada in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
The UK is comprised of a population that makes every decision one that challenges any parliamentarian. But leaving the European Union would certainly be a practical start to regaining control over the political dispensation of its fiscal resources.
A group of Jewish families that included elderly people, pregnant women and children were taken off an EasyJet passenger plane in Barcelona waiting to depart for Paris, according to a report on the European Jewish Press.
One of the passengers, a Holocaust survivor, said the behavior of police who came to take the travelers off the flight was similar to that of the German Nazi SS police during World War II.
The families were removed after the plane had been sitting on the tarmac for more than two hours, waiting for departure. Many of the Jewish men were wearing kippahs, making them clearly identifiable.
They were returning home to Paris after having spent the Passover holiday in Spain, but were removed from the flight by armed Spanish police officers.
Despite the fact that the British-owned EasyJet flight was en route to Paris from Barcelona, the flight attendant chose to speak only Spanish when she told the Jewish group they were being removed from the flight.
When they asked her to speak in French, she declined, saying she could not speak a word in French or English.
One of the Jewish passengers, a 15-year-old boy, tried to use sign language, motioning with his hands to ask what was going on. In response the flight attendance called the Spanish Guardia Civil Police, a passenger told JPUpdates.
Another passenger, Franck Ben, described the nightmare in a French-language Facebook post, saying he and others felt like they were being treated like terrorists. Ben said the police tried to take away the teenager who had tried to communicate with hand gestures, but his mother intervened and would not allow him to be taken without her.
Placed under armed guard by the Spanish Guardia Civil Police — who were hardly civil — the frightened Jewish passengers were held for six long hours in a secluded area of the terminal without air conditions without being told why; nor were they told when they might be allowed to leave.
What really happened on EasyJet flight EZY 3920 from Barcelona to Paris
My turn to tell what happened on EasyJet flight EZY 3920 from Barcelona to Paris, [which was scheduled to depart] 1 May 2016 at 13:05 [1:05 PM].
May wife and two children (aged 3 and 1) and I boarded with more than 150 other Jewish people after a superb trip to Spain organized for the Jewish Passover celebration. We were all very relaxed, in good humor and cheerful.
Everyone was seated, with seatbelts on, the plane was on the runway. It was near takeoff.
During the security briefing [to the passengers], one of the flight attendants named OMAR allowed himself to say “CHUTT” in a loud voice [i.e., “shush!” in an implicitly rude manner] to an old person who was speaking quietly to his 15-year-old grandson, blasting instructions at him in Spanish and not English. The old man, not understanding Spanish, stopped talking.
I was seated at the front of the plane in seat 3C and I saw OMAR complain to the cabin chief about the bad behavior of a passenger; the cabin chief responded in English that they [would] see about that in Paris.
About 30 minutes later, the attendants complained over the microphone that a person didn’t want to secure her children and [therefore] we couldn’t take off. One of my neighbors offered to go speak to this family, as perhaps they couldn’t speak English.
This man got up and I saw him return a minute later telling me he didn’t understand: everyone was secured, there was no problem.
And for another 20 minutes, we waited. An attendant named Christina went back and forth with the one named Omar, and spoke constantly over the microphone in a hurried and [unhealthy; probably “unprofessional”] manner. She spoke in Spanish or a really inferior English, proclaiming that she didn’t speak a word of French.
Not understanding, a teenage boy of 15 asked with hand gestures “What’s going on? What are you saying?” while this Christina person spoke in the microphone in SPANISH, knowing perfectly well that not one passenger understood the language.
Then, with the passengers as a whole completely confused, after an hour of waiting the cabin chief and the captain decided to return [to the Barcelona airport terminal] to remove the teenager [from the plane].
After 20 minutes, the plane stopped next to 4 Guardia Civil vehicles [apparently next to the terminal].
A half dozen men climbed into the plane wanting to [take the 15-year-old for questioning]. His mother intervened, saying he was not an adult, if they wanted him to take him, they’d have to take her too. They [the men] refused. They wanted the young man, by himself.
The police not speaking a word of English, the language barrier was a real problem.
During this time, the captain remained silent, leaning against the wall, letting the situation deteriorate.
The family [of the 15-year-old, apparently] was trying to understand and explain, but the attendants were vile and heartless and demonstrated a really overzealous [attitude].
5 minutes later, a lady succumbed to a panic attack and fainted amidst the tension, panic, and crying of numerous children.
So I decided to go speak to the captain and ask him to make a decision and take managerial responsibility for the situation; he looked at me and said in English that he didn’t really know what to do and he didn’t want to take off if everyone wasn’t seated. An inadequate response in view of the situation with 250 agitated passengers [the real number would not have exceeded 180 on this flight. – J.E.].
Behind me, a man, the father of 6 children, raised his voice although without unseemly gestures or vulgar words, I tried to calm him down but the [heat of confinement in the plane; i.e., the emotional agitation] made the atmosphere electric.
The police made the decision to disembark everyone and to take us to a place in the airport apart from everyone else.
We had all been sequestered and left stuck (prohibited from going out to smoke a cigarette or stretch or get some air) in a room without air conditioning. We were very hot. The babies were red and hot and many of the mothers had nowhere to sit. They [the babies, children] were hungry and crying, as the parents had not expected to have to plan for a 9-hour trip, but only for 3. A pregnant woman was crying on the phone. Children ran around and cried, not understanding… An older person felt ill… It was a nightmare! All this while in the room, we were surrounded by Guardia Civil officers, with guns and batons, as if we were terrorists!
Yet there were only families and old people on this flight, we have proof of that with photos. Next, we waited 5 hours, from 1400 to 1900 [2 PM to 7 PM] in this room, in horrible conditions. Parents went to ask the Spanish law enforcement officers for information, and if they knew when we might [be allowed to board again]? And if there was a reason why were all stuck under guard in this room for an indefinite period? They [the officers] didn’t answer. One of the Guardia Civil men violently shoved a father when he went to ask a question… To document this, a woman began to record his violent actions. One of the men [i.e., a Guardia Civil officer] literally leaped on her, shoving her violently and taking her phone from her.
Around 1730 [5:30 PM], 12 Guardia Civil officers, batons in hand, forcibly took away a 40-year-old father of 6 with a kippa on his head who merely raised his voice a bit in requesting that someone explain to us [what was going on], help us in this situation.
I fully understood at that moment that anyone who didn’t do exactly as they said [i.e., the Guardia Civil officers] would be immediately set upon.
An old man [among the passengers from the flight], a Holocaust survivor, said of these [Spanish law enforcement] men, “These guys, this is what the SS was like during the Shoah.” Needless to say, they made us all think of the SS and the Gestapo.
We remained uncertain of when we would be able to get home for six long hours. In this room where we were stifled by the heat and weren’t allowed to leave. I think at this stage, we could call this nightmare a hostage situation. Sequestration in atrocious conditions. And we were helpless. We contacted [Assembly] Deputy Meyer Habib from there. He notified the Quai d’Orsay [the French foreign ministry] and [Foreign Minister] Manuel Valls. We also tried to contact France 3 [media network] and BfmTv from the room, without much success.
Finally, after six long and interminable hours, they decided to let us reembark, they assembled the passengers. They wouldn’t let the 15-year-old young man or his 70- and 80-year-old grandparents on this flight, or the 40-year-old father [i.e., the one who raised his voice]. [Those particular passengers] had to take another flight, scheduled for 2 hours later. More interminable waiting.
As we were reboarding, they stopped a young woman of 22 and told her that if she didn’t erase the videos and photos she had taken, she wouldn’t be allowed to fly. Her mother begged them on her behalf. They [the authorities] kept our passports and ID cards so they could threaten us that way.
It was my turn to board, and at that point, to my great surprise, I was denied boarding, for the sole reason that the captain asked something of the police [apparently about the narrator].
I went to see the police officers at the departure point, who promised to see the captain and let him know I’d rather help them all out by translating between English and French [i.e., speak to the captain directly], but the captain didn’t want to hear about it.
The policeman said quietly in my ear: here, we are under the captain’s order, if he doesn’t want you, you don’t go.
My wife would have to travel alone, 5 months pregnant and with two children 1 and 3 years old.
She [melted down, basically – panicked, screamed, cried] but they came back again to look for me [apparently with batons out].
At 5 months along, any shock or major stress could be fatal for the baby.
Seeing that I remained calm and impassive, 5 officers went again to explain my situation and that of my wife to the captain who apparently didn’t have the guts to make a sensible decision all day, but fortunately, I was allowed on the flight at the last minute.
Entering into the plane, the flight crew had changed out, one attendant spoke excellent French, the two others fluent English and everything went fine with them. Needless to say, what we had just lived through was shocking and traumatic for each one of us. Let it not be forgotten that the 250 passengers [it was actually 180 max] were women, children, parents, old people, babies, etc. There could hardly be anyone more inoffensive! And we were treated like common animals.
Having arrived 2 May in Paris, my wife had a visit with the gynecologist and the verdict came down, a situation like this put the health of our future child in grave danger.
I am lodging today a complaint against EasyJet for discrimination suffered during flight EZY 3920.
It is obvious to anyone who reads the above account of Alain Sayada (translated by J.E.Dyer) that the incident demands investigation by the governments of Spain, France and Britain, all of whose nationals were involved in this Entebbe-like affair.
A spokesperson for the British-based EasyJet airline confirmed the veracity of the incident.
“We would like to apologize to customers for the inconvenience and the delay,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The safety and well-being of passengers and crew is always EasyJet’s priority.” Police were called, the statement added, “due to a group of passengers behaving in a disruptive manner.” JPUpdates asked the airline about the allegations of the families regarding their separation due to their faith.
The response of the airline’s spokesperson is illuminating: “All of our staff are carefully selected and undergo a rigorous training program to maintain our high level of customer care. To confirm, we have a zero tolerance towards discrimination of any kind.”
EasyJet is a British low-cost airline based at London Luton Airport. It may be of interest to note that Luton’s Labour councilor Aaysegul Gurbuz, 20, was suspended last month over claims that she called Adolf Hitler ‘the greatest man in history,’ according to the April 9, 2016 edition of the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper.
Gurbuz is accused of posting a number of anti-Semitic tweets between 2011 and 2014, including one in 2013 that said ‘the Jews are so powerful in the U.S. It’s disgusting.’
British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis came out in The Telegraph on Tuesday with a surprisingly hard-hitting, sharply critical op-ed taking up the gauntlet tossed at the Jewish world by dozens of members of the UK Labour Party.
The chief rabbi began by stating pointedly that claims of figures on the hard Left of the British political spectrum that Zionism is separate from Judaism, “are a fiction. They are a willful distortion of a noble and integral part of Judaism.
“In recent days, we have heard anti-Semitism in the Labour Party described variously as “a smear” and as “mood music” being manipulated by political opponents of [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn. There has been nothing more disheartening in this story than the suggestion that this is more about politics than about substance,” he continued.
“If this inquiry turns out to be no more than a sticking plaster, designed to placate and diffuse until after the elections this week, the problem will surely get worse and not better,” he warned.
“Jeremy Corbyn has stated that his party “will not tolerate anti-Semitism in any form,” and I very much hope that this inquiry will deliver on that pledge and be followed by decisive action. All political parties share in the responsibility to rid our society of anti-Semitism but we cannot achieve that objective with political posturing or empty promises of action never to be fulfilled.”
Corbyn, Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister David Cameron, and former London mayor and Labour Party member Ken Livingstone are set to give evidence to an inquiry by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee into UK anti-Semitism, according to The Guardian newspaper.
But as The Telegraph pointed out in a piece on Tuesday, Corbyn appointed a non-Jew – Shami Chakrabarti, former director of the Liberty human rights campaign group – to investigate the allegations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.
“Anti-Semitism is defined as prejudice or discrimination against Jews (italics original). By excluding a lead Jewish voice, well isn’t the Labour inquiry doing exactly that?” posited journalist Angela Epstein – a secular Jew.
But few of those suspensions ever saw the light of day in the media, and the 13 that were made public “are said to be just the tip of the iceberg,” The Telegraph reported Tuesday.
“Senior sources reveal that Labour’s compliance unit has been swamped by the influx of hard-left supporters following Jeremy Corbyn’s election” as head of the party, according to the report.
Corbyn himself admitted for the first time in an interview with the Daily Mirror on Monday night that although there is a problem, it is “not huge.” He worked hard to minimize the crisis, saying, “What there is is a very small number of people that have said things that they should not have done. We have therefore said they will be suspended and investigated.”
London residents go to the polls on Thursday, but the latest analyses by pundits predict Labour stands to lose more than 100 seats thanks to the racist and anti-Semitic remarks over the past two years by party lawmakers.
Labour suspended three councillors within seven hours Monday over virulently anti-Semitic posts on Twitter and Facebook last week. Two called for Israeli Jews to be “relocated to America” and the third compared a former Premier League soccer star to Hitler.
One of the councillors was Ilyas Aziz, from Nottingham, who said on Facebook, “it would be wiser to create Israel in America it’s big enough. They could relocate even now [sic]”.
Former Blackburn mayor Salim Mullah was the second, and Shah Hussain of Burnley council was the third. Hussain tweeted to Israeli soccer star Yossi Bennayoun, “you and your country doing the same thing that hitler did to ur race in ww2 (sic).”
According to The Telegraph, up to 20 Labourites were suspended within the past two weeks, though not all were made public.