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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Brussels’

Hungarian Jews Feeling ‘Increasing Danger,’ Jewish Leader Reports

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Hungarian Jews “feel increasing danger” in a country with a government that condones anti-Semitism, the president of Hungary’s Jewish community said.

Peter Feldmajer, president of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, made the remarks Tuesday at a conference on anti-Semitism in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Though Hungarian government officials say they want to combat anti-Semitism, “behind the curtain we face a dark image,” said Feldmajer, who described the government’s policy as “two-faced.”

The extreme-right Jobbik party constantly libels Jews while the state celebrates anti-Semites in school curriculums, he said. And he noted that  several Hungarian municipalities have erected statues honoring Miklos Horthy, the Hungarian Quisling. Under his rule, 450,000 Hungarian Jews were sent to their death in the Holocaust.

“Streets and squares are named after Horthy, who stands as a hero for the people. The Hungarian Jewish people feel increasing danger,” Feldmajer said.

Panayote Dimitras of the Greek Helsinki Monitor, a watchdog on hate crimes, has quoted surveys showing that 80 percent of the Greek and Hungarian populations favored deporting foreigners.

“It’s no coincidence these are the only countries with neo-Nazi parties in parliament,” Dimitras said.

The conference in the Belgian capital was co-organized by B’nai B’rith Europe and CEJI-a Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe, along with the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism. Some 40 people attended, including several lawmakers.

Reinold Simon, the honorary president of B’nai B’rith Europe, said constant contact with EU institutions was the key to fighting anti-Semitism. In 2005 he founded the Foreign Affairs Network, which is represented at the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg, as well as at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, among other institutions.

Ron Rafaeli of SPCJ, the security service of France’s Jewish communities, recalled “a previous and similar meeting on anti-Semitism in 2002, when Mohammed Merah was a boy.” Merah, a French-Algerian radical Islamist, killed three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse in March.

“Only education will ensure no new Mohammed Merahs,” Rafaeli said.

John Mann, a British lawmaker and chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism at the European Parliament, told JTA that part of his job was to “get the European Union to promote more programs that educate to tolerance, like that of CEJI and of Yad Vashem.”

Turkey Blocking Israel’s Participation in NATO Chicago Summit

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Turkey blocked the participation of Israel in next month’s NATO Summit in Chicago, a Turkish newspaper reported.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vetoed Israel’s participation during a NATO foreign ministers meeting last week in Brussels, the Hurriyet Daily News reported Monday.

“There will be no Israeli presence at the NATO meeting unless they issue a formal apology and pay compensation for the Turkish citizens their commandos killed in international waters,” a senior Turkish official told Hurriyet, referring to the deaths of nine Turkish citizens during an Israeli naval commando raid on the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara as it attempted to break Israeli’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010.

“Those countries who wish to see normalization in ties between Turkey and Israel should advise Israel to apologize and to compensate the killing of Turks in international waters,” the official told the news service.

Israel, as well as other countries including Egypt, Mauritania, Algeria and Morocco, is a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue, a NATO outreach program.

Turkey has previously vetoed Israeli attempts to participate more fully in NATO. It vetoed an Israeli request to open an office at NATO headquarters and its participation in some Mediterranean Dialogue group activities, according to Hurriyet.

“You are talking about being partners and partnership values. But partners, first of everything, should act like partners, so that we’ll treat them accordingly,” Davutoglu said during last week’s NATO meeting, according to Hurriyet.

No Kosher Food at Malta Jewish Conference

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The European Jewish Press reports that the European Jewish media is criticizing Malta for agreeing to host 120 Jewish students in delegations from 16 countries last week, and then providing no kosher food.

Organizers of the February 9-12, four-day “launch conference” (as opposed to lunch conference) of the Jewish European Professionals (JEP) said it was a real challenge to bring kosher food to “the small and remote Mediterranean island.”

From press reports it appears those organizers simply didn’t know that Jews consumed nothing but kosher food at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and during round the clock coffee breaks.

In the end they apparently decided on a quick and expensive fix, combining some air deliveries with a seven ton truck that set out from Brussels to Italy, where it boarded a ferry to Sicily, then was ferried to Valletta, Malta. Then the food transport had to go through clearance, as did the kosher wine. It took quite a few hours.

All imported food had to be shared carefully, since no additional kosher could be purchased during the program.

JEP is a sister organization of Brussels-based ECJS (European Center of Jewish Students). It provides young professionals, aged 27-39 personal and professional networking opportunities.

It is designed to create a vibrant young Jewish community focused on making a positive contribution to the world. The organization will hold three major European events each year.

Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman Sees New Era In Holocaust Restitution

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

“We feel that this is a critical moment in the history of property restitution,” Julius Berman, chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, told The Jewish Press last week, after returning from a weeklong trip to Europe.

Berman spent the waning days of January in Brussels, attending and speaking at an event marking the ascendancy of Belgium to the presidency of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research – which is being renamed the International Holocaust Remembrance Organization.

Berman sees the organization’s new name as significant in itself. “A task force sounds relatively temporary and ad hoc. Now, they’re formalizing the institution.”

What Berman is especially excited about, however, is the attitude he observed at a World Jewish Restitution Organization briefing that same week for members of the European Parliament, where he also spoke. “What I found remarkable is that they were listening – you should excuse me – to the mussar to really [get serious about restitution for Holocaust-era assets]. There were people from the EU that got up and really started talking tachlis.”

Berman said that while Germany has given close to $70 billion in restitution, Eastern European countries have been much slower to offer compensation. Two years ago, though, 46 countries gathered for the Prague Conference on Holocaust Era Assets – a meeting that Berman now regards as a major turning point. “The mere fact that there’s going to be a meeting near the end of the year to see what results have come down the pike since [the Prague conference] gives us the feeling that now business is business…. That conference evidently is a real new demarcation point.”

He added: “Of course, if you ask me, ‘Well, does that mean the money is coming around the corner?’ we know the answer is no. We know Eastern European countries are still [going to plead] poverty and claim there’s too much money involved and that if we give the Jews, we have to give the others too. But we’re just going to have to keep pushing away. This is the new front.”

Israeli Diplomatic Posts Receive Letters with White Powder

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

A suspicious letter was found Tuesday at the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, following similar incidents at the Israeli consulate in Boston and embassies in The Hague and Brussels.

Addressing fears of an anthrax attack, Chris Allen of the FBI said: “There’s a lot of white powder letters that are going to Israeli consulates around the country . . . There may be more out there.”

Allen said that as of this latest incident the substances have been found to be harmless, but he refused to comment on how many cases are being investigated.

EU Reportedly Agrees to Iran Oil Embargo

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

In a move certain to intensify pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program, European Union ambassadors have agreed on a plan to institute an embargo on Iranian oil exports. “The principal agreement on the ban for the Iranian oil imports was reached,” a senior EU diplomat in Brussels was quoted as saying. The decision must now get formal approval from the EU’s foreign ministers.

According to sources, the embargo would be implemented gradually, with all imports to terminate completely by July 1, 2012.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/eu-reportedly-agrees-to-iran-oil-embargo/2012/01/23/

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