Seek and Ye Shall Find Bias in Europe

The New York Times, January 13.

The New York Times, January 13.

Dr. John Cohn wrote this letter to The New York Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, in response to the paper’s call to European readers, especially Muslims, to answer questions including what kind of anti-Muslim bias they have experienced.

Dear Ms. Sullivan,

While on the Times website I came across the following pages, with the caption, “Share your experiences as a Muslim in Europe, The New York Times would like to hear from Europeans, particularly Muslims, about their experiences.” The link took me to a page with preloaded questions, such as:

  • What types of anti-Muslim bias, if any, have you experienced or witnessed in your daily life?
  • If you are Muslim, how comfortable are you practicing Islam in Europe?
  • In the aftermath of the attacks, how might your life change, if at all?

This led me to wonder if the Times had similarly solicited information from Christians in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran or Iraq, or gays, women or Christians in Gaza. Has it?

There are, of course, no Jews to query in those places, but you could ask Israeli Christians how they are doing in the only Middle Eastern country with a growing Christian population compared to their co-religionists in neighboring Arab states… Likewise, at this time of trouble, I would think you would be soliciting the concerns of all Europeans, Christians, Muslims, Jews, agnostics and atheists.

Similarly, I was struck that your paper asked, “What types of anti-Muslim bias, if any, have you experienced or witnessed.” I think the lawyers call that a leading question.

In the memory of some Times readers, 6 million Jews were murdered by Europeans. And it was the synagogues of Paris, not the mosques that closed last weekend from fear of violence. I will not defend anti-Muslim bigotry, nor do I want to suggest some universal Islamic responsibility for acts of violence claimed by the perpetrators to be in the name of Islam, but who has the most to fear?

Or does that not lead to the story your reporters have already decided to write?

John R. Cohn

Anti-Semites Rape Woman, Rob Couple in France

Three armed men reportedly shouted anti-Semitic insults when they raped a Jewish woman, ransacked her and her husband’s house in the eastern Paris suburb of Creteil, and withdrew money from the couple’s bank accounts.

405px-Creteil_prefecture

Creteil, France.

The attackers reportedly demanded to know where the couple hid the money that they supposedly had, because they were Jewish. Police arrested two suspects and charged a third in this case.

B’nai B’rith International said that anti-Semitic attacks have been on the rise in Europe, and especially in France. The organization said its members are “horrified over the suspected anti-Semitic attack” and commend the police “for acting swiftly”:

This attack points to, once again, the need for European governmental and law enforcement officials to engage in proactive efforts to counter what has become an alarming spike in wanton attacks on Jews. We hope that those guilty of this heinous crime will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

B’nai B’rith Condemns European Anti-Circumcision Resolution


A Jewish Circumcision.

B’nai B’rith International (BBI) condemned the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for passing a resolution that declares ritual circumcision a “violation of children’s physical integrity.”

The resolution calls upon member states to “adopt specific legal provisions to ensure that certain operations and practices will not be carried out before a child is old enough to be consulted.” While non-binding, the resolution could encourage a frightening infringement upon basic religious freedoms and on the ability of Jewish and other faith communities in Europe to exist.

“By advancing this resolution, the Council of Europe has not proposed the advancement of human rights, but rather the denial of rights,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said.

More after the jump.

It is an extremely slippery slope — one which inexcusably misreads and oversimplifies scientific understandings, and seeks to impose certain societies’ cultural norms on others. This resolution transparently aims to marginalize and exclude specific minority communities.

B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin added:

Circumcision is not discretionary, but rather central, in Jewish life and practice throughout history. It must be made clear what those who support the criminalizing of circumcision in Europe are proposing: discrimination against the Jewish community in Europe.

In its statement, BBI urged all European leaders, governments and societies to “decisively reject a path of government coercion and imposition in religious life.”  

Letting People, Not Computers, Find the Right Person for You

Throughout its history, Simantov International, which is based in Frankfurt, Germany, has successfully advised and guided thousands of Jewish singles in their quest for a true life partner. Founded by traditional matchmaker Denise Kahn with the goal to help Jewish singles across Europe meet, marry and rebuild European Jewry, the service is today proudly helmed by matchmaker Jose Weber, who is personally responsible for hundreds of successful matches and marriages.

More after the jump.
The boutique matchmaking service relies on a team of qualified coaches and matchmakers, all holders of Master’s degrees, MBAs and PhDs. The team works with Jewish communities across Europe and around the world, helping Jewish men and women find a person who is right for them. In association with its international partners, Simantov serves clients in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian and Hebrew, and offers each client a personalized treatment.

According to Weber,

People who come to us are often disheartened and frustrated. They have often spent months or even years on online dating services and have nothing to show for it. Our service is completely different in that we take the time to talk to the client and really get to know his or her personality, values, tastes and worldview and understand his or her needs and desires in a relationship. Unlike the algorithms used by many dating websites, our matchmaking process is human.

To thoroughly get to know each new client, the matchmaker first conducts a face-to-face or Skype-relayed interview (in the language of the client’s choosing). The matchmaker then reviews his database of thousands of Jewish singles around the globe for compatible matches. In the following weeks, clients and matchmakers work closely together, with the clients offering feedback on dates. The matchmaker continues to introduce the client to new potential partners until a match is made.

Celebrating its 36th year in business in 2013, Simantov International is today Europe’s most experienced Jewish matchmaking service.

European Parliament Approves New Israeli Trade Agreement

— by Sharon Bender

B’nai B’rith International commends the European Parliament for voting in favor of the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA), a technical agreement within the European Union-Israel Trade Agreement designed to facilitate and ease pharmaceutical trade.

The ACAA will allow Israeli pharmaceutical companies to export their products to the EU without having to obtain additional certification outside of domestic approval. This is recognition of the high standards of the Israeli pharmaceutical industry, an area where Israel has been a pioneer of quality and excellence.

More after the jump.
B’nai B’rith International also applauds the Members of the European Parliament who passed the ACAA with a total of 379 votes in favor.

The ACAA was stuck in the international trade committee for two years and the rapporteur for the agreement pushed to delay the vote, saying Israel should not be awarded with improved trade relations given the EU’s “condemnation of the Israeli government’s policy regarding the occupied territories.”

It eventually passed by a wide margin through the persistence of several Members of the European Parliament. These Members not only saw an opportunity to strengthen EU-Israeli relations, but also an opportunity to benefit EU citizens with Israel’s cutting-edge expertise in this field. The agreement will result in reduced costs for European patients and Israeli manufacturers, faster access to EU markets, availability of a wider range of medications and enhanced quality control of pharmaceuticals produced in non-EU countries.