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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Poland’

Polish EU Legislator Calls Anti-Semitism a “Cancer’

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

“Anti-Semitism is like cancer. There are two things that are certain about this cancer of hate. We know that it is deadly and we know that if we don’t fight it,  it will spread,’’ Polish Member of the European Parliament Michal Kaminski said in an address to the General Assembly of the European Jewish Parliament Monday in Brussels.

‘’Vigilance is [the] key because like cancer, anti-Semitism often stays hidden for a long time until it strikes suddenly. But although it may hide from us, that does not make it any less dangerous,” he added.

Referring to debates in the European Parliament, Kaminsi said he often hears politicians shouting about “human rights” and “democracy” as they make verbally attacks against Israel. ‘’I believe that at the core of many of these attacks is a contempt for the Jewish people, a contempt for their state, and a contempt for their right to defend themselves.’’

His remarks came in the background of worrying results of a recent survey by the EU’s Agency for fundamental rights that 76% of the 6,000 Jews polled felt that their situation was getting worse and that anti-Semitism had increased over the past five years.

“While the EU is adamant in its claims to protect minorities within the member states, we are still confronting  the virus of anti-Semitism, which we thought was a thing of the past,’’ said Italian MEP Fiorello Provera, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Lithuania’s Support of Ritual Slaughter May Turn the Tide

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

The Lithuanian parliament has taken the first steps to legal ritual slaughter in what could be move that turns the tide against the wave of initiatives in Europe to defend the “rights of animals” as a higher priority that freedom of religious practices.

“The fact that Lithuania currently holds the Presidency of the European Union means that this law will have an extremely strong symbolic significance for the rest of Europe,” said Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor.

The bill passed its first reading in the parliament by a lopsided margin of 51-2.

Religious slaughter was banned in Poland on January 1 after its Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal rights legislation, and there have been other attempts in Europe to ban religious traditions like circumcision.

“We face significant opposition to our traditions in Europe, but we are glad to be winning some significant victories for freedom of religion on our continent,” Kantor said. “Freedom of religion is one of the EU’s founding pillars and those who fight against it are compromising the principles of tolerance and mutual respect which the new Europe is supposed to be built upon.”

Turkish Students Arrested for Nazi Salute at Polish Nazi Camp Site

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Two students from Turkey were arrested in Poland for using a Nazi salute on a group of Israeli students visiting the Majdanek concentration camp.

The students made the Nazi salute and said “Heil Hitler” when they met a group of students from Israel according to Turkey’s Today’s Zaman newspaper. The Israeli group filed an official complaint, leading to the detention of the two Turkish students.

The students said that the action was a joke, but if they are found guilty of the charges of promoting fascist propaganda, they could face up to three years in prison.

Polish Righteous Gentile Donates Memorabilia to Jewish Museum

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

A Polish historian and statesman who was imprisoned at Auschwitz and recognized as a Righteous Gentile for saving Jews in World War II has donated a collection of his memorabilia to a museum in Poland.

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, 91 and a  former member  of the underground “Żegota” Polish Council to Aid Jews during the Holocaust, presented his donations to the new Museum of the History of Polish Jewish in Warsaw at a ceremony on Wednesday.

He also has twice served as Poland’s foreign minister and has held other senior positions and received many international honors.

The museum said the memorabilia include his Righteous among Nations medal, which he received in 1966; a certificate of his planting of a tree in honor of “Żegota” at Yad Vashem; his honorary citizenship of the State of Israel; the Elie Wiesel Award, which he received this year from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington; an original ring made in the Litzmannstadt (Lodz) Ghetto; as well as various books and historical documents from the period of World War II.

“One never knows what will and what will not pay off in life, but one always knows what is worth doing,” he said during the ceremony, recalling his experience in “Żegota.”

Council of Europe Says Ritual Circumcision Won’t Be Banned

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

The Council of Europe has assured President Shimon Peres that Europe will not ban religious circumcision despite last week’s non-binding resolution of the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly that cited circumcision of males as a violation of human rights and equated it with female genital mutilation.

President Peres wrote on Monday to Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, to protest the resolution. Although it has no legal significance, the Council is very influential on decisions by the European Union.

Jangland said male circumcision did not violate human rights, and Daniel Holtgen, the Director of Communications at the Council of Europe, sent a tweet quoting Jagland as saying, “Female genital mutilation violates human rights. Male circumcision does not.”

The resolution angered Muslims as well as Jews. It called for European states to “promote further awareness in their societies of the potential risks of some of these procedures,” which the assembly lists as the circumcision of boys, early childhood interventions in the case of intersexual children and the coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery.

Marlene Rupprecht, the rapporteur behind the resolution, claimed the text did not aim to “stigmatize any religious community or its practices” but simply called for public debate “aimed at reaching a wide consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity.”

While Jagland’s statements were good news for Jews and also for Muslims, it is scary that we are so susceptible to the threat of a ban on circumcision that we have to be grateful to someone deciding to suspend what would be a death sentence to Judaism.

Jews have died rather than accept decrees against circumcision, but today’s trend to use “human rights”  and “animal rights” to disguise campaigns that deprive Jewish rights is more subtle and devious than the open anti-Semitism of the past.

A judge in a German province earlier this year banned circumcision, leading to an uproar that prompted the national parliament to make it clear that ritual circumcision is legal.

The anti-circumcision movement is increasingly popular in Scandinavia, where the influx of Muslims also is a factor behind the campaign to prohibit the religious rite.

Jews and Muslims are constantly threatened with a ban on local slaughtering of animals according to Jewish and Muslim laws, which prohibit the method of stunning before using the knife. There are some leniencies in Muslim law.

The most recent controversy is in Poland, which banned ritual slaughter this year but where Jews now have to be thankful to the Catholic Church for supporting the rights of Jews and Muslims to slaughter animals according to religious laws.

The Polish parliament in July rejected a bill, sponsored by the government, to legalize kosher slaughter, but Pope Francis recently has voiced concern over the ban.

“Animal rights” supporters have successfully campaigned in Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland to outlaw kosher slaughter.

The European Union’s official policy states, “European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter” generally requires stunning before slaughter, but allows member states to allow exemptions for religious slaughter.”

Holland two years nearly outlawed kosher slaughter after the Animal Rights Party managed to convince the Lower House of parliament to pass a bill, which was rejected by the Upper House, to ban the practice.

Israel is the only country that comes to mind where Jewish rights still are unquestionably more important than “animals’ rights.”

As for circumcision, the only argument might be over “Metzitzah b’peh.”

Holocaust Hideout in Warsaw Destroyed by Polish Couple

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

A Polish couple pleaded guilty to the desecration of a historic site for destroying a Holocaust-era Jewish hideout in the Warsaw apartment the couple was renting. The hideout was made into an official historic monument in 1999.

A Holocaust hideout built by a Warsaw ghetto inmate was destroyed by a polish couple who pleaded guilty to the desecration of historical property.

Dariusz P. and Elzbieta P. were indicted after their actions were discovered in 2012. They had removed the wardrobe hideout to make space for a kitchen. The original hiding place was built by Warsaw ghetto inmate Leon Jolson.

He and his wife, who survived the Holocaust, hid their family there from 1942 until September 1944, but his mother died while in hiding, the Associated Press reported.

Polish Photographer Uses Jewish Cemetery for Naked Photo Shoot

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Polish photographer Lukasz Szczygielski has apologized for conducting a photo shoot with a half-naked model at the Jewish cemetery in the southern Polish town of Checiny.

Szczygielski explained that he actually wanted to draw attention to what he said was a “neglected” and forgotten cemetery. The Jewish cemetery in Checiny was opened in the 17th century. There are approximately 150 tombstones in the cemetery.

The model posed against the headstones naked from the waist up, with a necklace bearing a large cross hanging between her breasts.

“This is not the appropriate form of drawing attention to Jewish cemeteries. I would prefer that this man rather clean up the cemetery rather than doing naked session there,” Krzysztof Bielawski of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews told local television station TVP Kielce.

“If it offended anyone I deeply apologize. This was not the intention of the session,” Szczygielski told the TV station.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/141395/2013/08/20/

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