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October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Moshe Kantor’

Belgium Joins Jews in Fighting Anti-Semitism

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Belgium’s government will join Jewish efforts in fighting anti-Semitism, according to the World Jewish Congress (WJC).

Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo pledged Monday following a meeting in Brussels to establish a joint commission with WJC and local Jews to “facilitate the exchange of information” on the issue.

The commitment came following a murderous attack by Islamist terrrorist Mehdi Nemmouche last week at the Brussels Jewish Museum, which left four people dead, including a couple from Tel Aviv. Two Jews were beaten and left in serious condition outside a synagogue in a Paris suburb less than 24 hours later.

The Brussels terrorist, who used a Kalashnikov assault rifle to carry out his attack, was tracked down and caught in France after having just returned from a round of fighting in Syria.

The Belgian prime minister told the WJC delegation he would help Jewish efforts to strengthen communal security, combat racism and strengthen Holocaust education. Di Rupo said he supported “closer European cooperation to fight radical movements” and said his nation would not tolerate “hate speech.”

European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor warned recently at a news conference at Tel Aviv University that unless conditions begin to change, “Normative Jewish life in Europe is unsustainable.”

European Jews Ask EU Not to Recognize PA Unity Gov’t

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor has called on the European Union to ignore the upcoming Palestinian Authority unity government.

Speaking at an executive EJC meeting in Jerusalem with top Israeli government officials, Dr. Kantor pointed out that EU leaders had yet to condemn the agreement signed Wednesday between the Fatah and Hamas factions.

“The Europeans have yet to condemn the signing of this unity agreement,” Kantor said. “We hear immediate condemnation every time some houses are built over the Green Line, but Brussels is silent on the Palestinian Authority’s new alliance with Hamas, a group whose charter openly aspires to the genocide of world Jewry.

“The Palestinians ignored their obligations and unilaterally applied to UN organizations, threatened to disband the PA and have now chosen to deal with the manufacturers of terror rather than the purveyors of peace,” he said. “It is perhaps time for the European Union to finally realize that they were applying pressure on the wrong side,” he added.

Dr. Kantor noted that European Jews are constantly hearing that Israel’s relations with Europe are “contingent on the peace process.” He commented that Europe should be able to “separate its excellent trade, economic relations and scientific and hi-tech cooperation with Israel from the conflict.”

The EJC delegation included members of Jewish communities from the UK, France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, and Greece, among others.

Toulouse Jewish President: Jews, Leave!

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

(JTA) — Two years after the murder of four Jews in Toulouse, the president of the French city’s Jewish community encouraged young Jews to leave France.

Ari Bensemhoun said young Jews should move away because they cannot practice Judaism openly and without fear in Toulouse.

“I won’t deny that, yes, I encourage the younger people to make aliyah [immigrate to Israel] or go elsewhere, where they can thrive in open Judaism, emancipated and without constantly fearing over what tomorrow will bring,” Bensemhoun said in an interview Monday with the i24 television news channel.

On March 19, 2012, a French-born Islamist, Mohammed Merah, killed Miriam Monsonego, 8, along with Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his two sons, Arieh and Gabriel, at the Ohr Hatorah Jewish day school.

The killings are believed to have contributed to a marked increase in the number of French Jews who immigrated in 2013 to Israel – from fewer than 2,000 in 2012 to more than 3,000 last year.

According to the SPCJ security unit of the French Jewish community, the murders triggered a wave of anti-Semitic incidents. Ninety such incidents were recorded in the 10 days that followed the shootings.

In a statement Wednesday, European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor commended French authorities for their efforts to curb anti-Semitism and urged officials to “preempt the next murders by continuing to invest in education, law enforcement against those who preach hate and incitement, and to combat the extremists.”

Polish Prosecutors Clear Auschwitz Soccer Chanters

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Several Jewish organizations have criticized a Polish prosecutor’s decision not to try soccer fans who chanted about Jews and Auschwitz.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office of Poznan in central Poland said last week that no charges would be brought against the fans because they did not mean to offend Jews when they chanted the slogans, according to the Glos Wielkopolski daily.

The spokesperson, Magdalena Mazur-Prus, was referring to chants at a match in September between the Lech Poznań team and Widzew, a club from the city of Lodz whose population was one-third Jewish before the Holocaust.

The Poznan fans shouted to the Lodz fans: “You belong in Auschwitz,” “ride on, Jews,” and “into the ovens,” according to the daily. It also reported the Poznan fans shouted: “Go to the gas, RTS,” an acronym which refers to the team from Lodz.

But the Poznan prosecutor’s office decided to drop charges because the chants were directed at fans, not Jews, and therefore were not intended as incitement to racial hatred, according to Mazur-Prus. “Of course, such cries are reprehensible and unacceptable, but not every wrongful conduct is a crime,” she said.

In a statement Tuesday, the president of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor said that he was appalled by the decision.

“Unfortunately, extreme anti-Semitic chants like those in Poznan are regularly heard in many European stadiums, including in England and Holland, and the reaction of the authorities is minimal,” Kantor said, adding that this case and others “demonstrate that anti-Semitism has become the last acceptable prejudice in football.”

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, urged the Polish government to intervene and overturn the municipal prosecutor’s decision.

NBA’s Tony Parker Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Salute

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

National Basketball Association star Tony Parker has apologized for performing an anti-Semitic salute after a three-year-old photo was published in the French media.

The photo shows Parker, who was born in Belgium and is French by nationality, performing the quenelle salute earlier this year standing next to the gesture’s founder, anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne Mlaba Mlaba, backstage at a theatre in France.

The quenelle is a quasi-Nazi salute designed to circumvent France’s laws against displaying Nazi symbols.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League had called on Parker, who plays point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, to apologize for performing the salute.

“While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it,” Parker said in a statement released late Monday by Parker’s team, the San Antonio Spurs.

“When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act, and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful. Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions,” Parker said in the statement.

The ADL praised Parker’s apology. “We call on those who have posed with the quenelle to follow Parker’s lead and stop using it. Responsible public figures should condemn those who use a gesture which was created to express anti-Semitism,” the ADL said in a statement.

Reports of the Parker salute came a day after soccer player Nicolas Anelka, a French national playing for Britain’s West Bromwich Albion soccer team, was roundly condemned for performing the salute during a match on Saturday. Britain’s Football Association has launched an investigation of the Anelka incident.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the Football Association and the UEFA, the governing body of European football, European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor called for a fight against anti-Semitism in football, especially in the wake of the Anelka salute.

“At the European Jewish Congress, we regularly receive reports of attacks on Jews, whether verbal or physical, which also include acts of anti-Semitism at matches involving English and European football clubs,” Kantor wrote in letters to Greg Dyke, chairman of The Football Association and Michel Platini, president of UEFA. “Mr. Anelka’s recent action is a reminder that hatred of Jews in the stands can very easily find its way right on to the pitch. Similarly, the legitimization of anti-Semitic acts by players who are supposed to act as role models for youth is a particularly dangerous phenomenon, and one that is not restricted to Anelka alone,” Kantor’s letter read.

Kantor and the EJC offered their cooperation to the football associations to help fight anti-Semitism.

Survey: 29% of European Jews Considered Emigrating due to Antisemitism

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Nearly a third of respondents to a survey on anti-Semitism in Europe said they “seriously considered emigrating” because of perceived anti-Semitism.

In the survey among 5,847 Jews from nine European Union member states, 29 percent of all respondents said that they considered emigrating in recent years because they did “not feel safe” living in their countries as Jews, according to Morten Kjaerum, the director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights which conducted the research among Jews from Sweden, France, Belgium, Britain, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Latvia.

The figure for Jews contemplating emigration was particularly high in Hungary, France and Belgium with 48, 46 and 40 percent respectively, according to the report which Kjaerum presented Friday at a press conference in Vilnius.

Asked about their definition of an anti-Semite, 34 percent of all respondents indicated that it applied to “a non-Jewish person if he or she criticizes Israel.” In Sweden, only 21 percent of 703 respondents said non-Jewish critics of Israel were anti-Semitic compared to 42 percent of 1,137 French respondents. Nearly 90 percent of respondents said that people who did not consider Jewish citizens of their country as compatriots were anti-Semitic.

On average, 76 percent said anti-Semitism has increased over the past five years. One in five respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of anti-Semitic verbal or physical assault in the year before the survey.

Twenty percent of respondents said they avoided wearing, carrying or displaying things that might help people identify them as Jews in public. That figure was 34 percent in Sweden; 29 percent in France; 20 percent in Hungary and eight percent in Britain.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said the survey was “of great importance,” adding that the fact that “Jews are not able to express their Jewishness because of fear should be a watershed moment for Europe. He called on E.U. governments to study the survey’s results.

Overall, four percent of respondents said they had experienced physical attack or threats of violence in the year before the survey because they were Jewish.

Sixty-four percent of respondents who said they had experienced physical attacks also said that they did not report these incidents because they considered doing so ineffective.

Dutch Premier Opposes Banning Israeli Products

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

The Netherlands opposes any kind of import ban on Israeli products, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, though it must enforce European Union legislation on labeling settlement goods.

“I would like to stress that the Netherlands opposes any type of import ban or the boycott of Israeli products,” a Dutch official wrote in Rutte’s name last month to the European Jewish Congress, or EJC.

The letter, obtained by JTA, was sent to EJC President Moshe Kantor in response to Kantor’s letter to several EU heads of states, including Rutte, in which Kantor warned that labeling products from areas the European Union considers as illegal settlements was counterproductive to efforts to reach a peace settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Rutte’s letter followed reports in July that several Dutch supermarkets were boycotting “settlement goods,” though the supermarkets denied they had such a policy.

In March, the Dutch government advised business owners to refrain from labeling products from the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem as made in Israel.

A decision last year by the EU Foreign Affairs Council to label settlement goods “obliges the Dutch government to fully and effectively enforce existing EU legislation,” Rutte wrote.

The council has yet to release practical guidelines on labeling.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague struck a less conciliatory note in his reply to Kantor’s letter.

“I am afraid that I cannot agree with your concerns about EU labeling of settlement produce,” he wrote. “The settlements are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace.”

On Sept. 16, Kantor published a full-page ad in the Financial Times of London arguing against new EU guidelines prohibiting EU funding for Israeli projects in areas the European Union considers settlements.

The ad said the guidelines singled out Israel for criticism and “serve to minimize the chances for lasting peace.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/dutch-premier-opposes-banning-israeli-products/2013/09/24/

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