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World Jewish Congress meeting in Berlin concludes with moving tribute to Holocaust victims
BERLIN – The World Jewish Congress (WJC) Governing Board meeting in Germany concluded on Tuesday with the 150 participants paying their respects to the victims of the Holocaust at three key memorial sites in Berlin. In resolutions, theWJC called on Germany to uphold a ban on the printing and sale of Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ and urged Europe to step up the fight against anti-Semitism. On Sunday the delegates and guests also took part in a rally organized by the Central Council of Jews in Germany at the Brandenburg Gate, where Chancellor Angela Merkel, Central Council President Dieter Graumann and WJC President Ronald S. Lauder were among the keynote speakers.

At the Gleis 17 memorial at Grunewald train station, from where the trains bringing Berlin Jews to the Nazi death camps departed during World War II, WJC Holocaust Memory Commissioner Charlotte Knobloch, 81, (photo) was moved to tears as she recalled her own experience during World War II and said: “We will not forget. Not us. The legacy of these six million people is our task, it is our obligation to fight for these people, for their remembrance, and for our rights here and now.”
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GERMAN CHANCELLOR MERKEL AND WJC PESIDENT LAUDER ADDRESS RALLY AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM IN BERLIN
Judaism is an integral part of Germany's identity, Chancellor Angela Merkel told thousands at a rally against anti-Semitism near Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Sunday. "Jewish life belongs among us. It is a part of our identity," Merkel said, adding that the anti-Semitic abuse earlier this year had been appalling. The rally was organized amid shock in Germany at crude anti-Semitic slogans shouted during summer protests against Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Here is the address by Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress.

For the last 70 years, Jews and Germans have lived together in peace. Jews have prospered as Germany has prospered. Jews have become part of German society again. We are your neighbors and your friends. We all share the same values, we hold the same beliefs.
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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE VOTING OF THE ANTI-RACISM BILL
After a long period of political debate, on September 9, 2014, the Greek Parliament voted for the new antiracism bill, which will replace law 927 into force in Greece since 1979. The bill under the general title “Fight against Xenophobia” conforms with the European Council Framework Decision of 2008 and it stipulates jail terms of up to three years and large fines for those who incite attacks against people based on their race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Similar treatment is foreseen for individuals who publicly deny genocides and other crimes against humanity that are recognised by the Greek Parliament and international courts.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) issued the following announcement:

“The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses the Greek Jewry’s satisfaction for the decision of the Greek Parliament to reinforce our country’s antiracism legislation with the new bill which we hope will effectively tackle phenomena of neo-Nazism, intolerance and anti-Semitism in Greece.

Today more than ever we need to safeguard the principles of Democracy and Freedom –in Greece and in Europe alike- against the threat posed by the powers of darkness aiming at repeating the crimes of Nazism and Fascism that have cost the lives of millions of innocent people”. 
Athens, September 10, 2014
Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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WHEN HATRED OUTWEIGHS RESOLVE Print E-mail
Friday, 19 September 2014 07:39

By  Victor Isaak Eliezer*

In the merciless war that Hamas is waging to obliterate Israel, two aims have been achieved.

The first is that it has repelled every possibility of a solution that foresees two countries for the two peoples. No Israeli government, left or right wing, would agree to the creation of a Palestinian state with Hamas at the helm of developments, the reason being that although missiles launched from Gaza pose a threat to the safety of Israeli citizens in southern and central Israel, missiles launched by Palestinians from the cities of Ramallah and Jericho could lead to the country disintegrating amidst violence and would make its citizens hostages without hope of release.

Yet the worst crime that Hamas has committed is against the Palestinian people themselves. It seems that hatred of Israel outweighs every resolve to build an independent Palestinian state next to it.

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THESSALONIKI MAYOR BOUTARIS SWORN IN WEARING YELLOW STAR OF DAVID Print E-mail
Monday, 01 September 2014 13:47
- KIS addressed a letter to Mayor Boutaris on his symbolic gesture
 
Following the initiative of the re-elected Mayor of Thessaloniki Yiannis Boutaris to attend his swearing in ceremony with the Star of David pinned to his jacket, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece addressed the following letter to Mayor Boutaris:

Dear Mr. Mayor,
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece warmly congratulates you on your highly symbolic initiative to swear in as mayor of Thessaloniki wearing the Star of David with the word ‘Jude’ on it, which reminds of the most dark and sad page in the contemporary history of your city, of our country and of the entire Europe as well.
Yet, beyond remembrance, your gesture sends a strong and clear message to those nostalgic of Nazism and Fascism that under your leadership your city will continue to fight against any phenomena of racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism.
Once again we wish you the best of success in your work.

Sincerely Yours
The President Benjamin Albalas
The Secretary General Victor Isaac Eliezer
 
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THE UNVEILING OF INSCRIBED MARBLE PLAQUES ON ZAKYNTHOS Print E-mail
Tuesday, 19 August 2014 10:56

Zakynthian Jews from Athens, Israel and America met on the island of their birth at a moving event of tribute and remembrance organised by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KISE) in conjunction Jewish people originally from  Zakynthos (Zante). The event was the unveiling of two inscribed marble plaques and it took place at the island's Jewish Cemetery on 13th July 2014.

One of the plaques is dedicated to the seventy or so Zakynthian Jews who were living on Kerkyra (Corfu) and in Chania (on Crete) at the time of the occupation; a fact which resulted in their being among the six million victims of the Holocaust. It is also an indirect reference to the rescue of 275 Jews of Zakynthos from German savagery, made possible by the solidarity of other residents of Zakynthos with Metropolitan Bishop Chrysostome and Mayor Loukas Karrer at the helm − the only rescue of its kind in the whole of occupied Europe.

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WHO WILL STAND UP FOR THE CHRISTIANS? Print E-mail
Friday, 22 August 2014 10:06

The following opinion article authored by World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder was published in the “New York Times” on August 19, 2014

WHY is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa? In Europe and in the United States, we have witnessed demonstrations over the tragic deaths of Palestinians who have been used as human shields by Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza. The United Nations has held inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that same terrorist organization. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference.

The Middle East and parts of central Africa are losing entire Christian communities that have lived in peace for centuries. The terrorist group Boko Haram has kidnapped and killed hundreds of Christians this year — ravaging the predominantly Christian town of Gwoza, in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, two weeks ago. Half a million Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria during the three-plus years of civil war there. Christians have been persecuted and killed in countries from Lebanon to Sudan.

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KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE RISE OF ANTISEMITIC ARTICLES AND ATTITUDES IN GREECE IN RELATION TO THE GAZA CONFLICT Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 August 2014 12:32
It is a fact that the war in Gaza has caused pain and grief for the loss of many innocent lives that –in most of the cases- were used as human shields by the terrorist groups of Hamas in order to trigger international condemnation against Israel. The larger the number of victims, the bigger the operation to demonize the very existence of the State of Israel. This campaign is undertaken by several Greek ‘journalists’ who do not hesitate to compare Gaza to Auschwitz and the Israelis to the Nazis. They choose to incriminate Israel for a war that Hamas has declared and for the crime against the Palestinian people that the same Hamas is being committing. Yet, they forget that shouldn’t Israel have the means to protect its own citizens (shelters, Israeli made anti-missile systems etc), there would have been thousands of victims caused by the nearly 4.000 rockets launched by Hamas against civilians. Thus, Hamas is untouchable to these writers. Alongside with the fanatic Jihadists who are immune to criticism while they spread terror and death (among Muslim and Christian polulations) in Iraq, Syria, Sudan and elsewhere. Hypocrisy unfold in all its magnitude which, nevertheless, reveals their anti-Semitic rage.
Criticism of the policy of a government can be strongly condemning. Nevertheless, distortion of historical truth, unacceptable comparisons and the strategy of the ‘one and only guilty part’ (the State of Israel) constitute an orchestrated operation to delegitimize the right of the Israeli people to exist on the land of Israel, which consequently leads to the delegitimization of the right of the Jews to exist as equal members of the society and the country chosen to live in. This is anti-Semitism.
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