Sunday, 28 Feb 2021 - 16 of Adar, 5781

Jewish Agency Chairman calls on European leaders to reject legislations challenging Jewish traditions and observance

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“Sadly, we found that 76 years after the Holocaust, there are a growing number of politicians in Europe who intentionally use anti-Semitic language and ideas for political gain,” Isaac Herzog said. “And together with the rise in anti-Semitism, we are seeing increasingly blatant attempts to distort or deny the history of the Holocaust.”

 

The Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog, deplored that ‘’Jewish communities feel that Jewish traditions and observance are being increasingly challenged by parts of European publics and legislators.’’

Addressing a commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day hosted by the European Jewish Association, he called on European leaders to reject all such legislation, which, he said, ‘’would be tantamount to outlawing Judaism as a whole,’’ and ‘’to oppose any attempts to restrict the religious freedoms of European Jewish communities.”

“European governments have a special responsibility, not only to preserve the memory of the past, but to ensure that today’s European Jewish communities can live safe, full and open Jewish lives, and practice their traditions freely,’’ Herzog said .

He noted that the Jewish Agency recently carried out a research in partnership with the Institute for National Security Studies think tank, which showed that in a number of key European countries, extremist parties from all sides of the spectrum “are polluting the political and public discourse with anti-Semitic tropes and rhetoric, while traditional centrist parties are growing weaker.”

“Sadly, we found that 76 years after the Holocaust, there are a growing number of politicians in Europe who intentionally use anti-Semitic language and ideas for political gain,” he said. “And together with the rise in anti-Semitism, we are seeing increasingly blatant attempts to distort or deny the history of the Holocaust.”

He also referenced the recent ban on shechita, the Jewish kosher slaughter, in Belgium and similar attempts to ban brit mila or circumcision taking place in Europe.

Herzog sent an urgent communication to European heads of state last month to speak out against legislation prohibiting kosher slaughter that was upheld by the European Court of Justice, which rejected an appeal brought by the Belgian Jewish community. Jewish leaders and communities are concerned that other European nations will adopt similar legislation, preventing Jews across Europe from living a traditional religious life as they have done on the continent for thousands of years.

“Unfortunately, legislation and initiatives in Europe against kosher slaughter, and similar efforts such as attempts to ban circumcision, not only make it more difficult for Jews to practice their religion but also send a clear signal to European Jews that their rights are not respected, and that ultimately, their way of life is not welcome in today’s Europe,” the head of the Jewish Agency said.

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