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NEWS - Lodges and B'nai B'rith updates

Roland Freudenstein, deputy director and head of research at the Centre for European Studies (CES), addressed the Executive Committee of B'nai B'rith Europe and other guests on Sunday evening, May 6, in Brussels. Freudenstein's speech focused on the "New Antisemitism and the European Union," mentioning its links with Israel and with some political groups in the Europe Union. The event was the first of a new series to be organized by B'nai B'rith Europe, one of the objectives being to make B'nai B'rith better known within the institutions of the European Union. It is planned that similar events will take place some three times a year to coincide with the meetings of the Executive Committee.

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Roland Freudenstein
Deputy Director and Head of Research of the Centre for European Studies, Brussels

Europe's New Anti-Semitism

Keynote speech for B'nai Brith Europe,
Brussels, 6 May 2012



Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s an honour and a pleasure to speak to you tonight.

Now if I was British or American, I would have to start this with some kind of joke or funny anecdote. Well. Thank God I'm only German. So all I have to come up with is a double preliminary remark.

First, let me share with you that once, in Bratislava, I gave a speech in Slovak - a language that, contrary to Polish, I do not master. But thanks to my Slovak colleagues at the time, I managed 10 minutes of fairly fluent speech. But what was really interesting was what happened afterwards, at the reception. Someone came up to me and asked: "You speak Slovak with a thick Polish accent. You live in Brussels, and your name is Freudenstein. Are you Jewish?" - Well. I answered: "No, I have to disappoint you. I'm a German Lutheran. But I take it as a big compliment, thank you!"

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Nuno Wahnon Martins visited Israel with a delegation of 6 Portuguese Parliamentarians from 19th to 24th May. The visit was a joint-venture with the Israeli Embassy in Lisbon. The delegation was composed of young members of the Government coalition as well as of the opposition.

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On Sunday, 6th May 2012 a plaque was unveiled in the Executive meeting room in Brussels in memory of Jacqueline Domberger the late wife of Joseph Domberger, Honorary Life President of B'nai B'rith Europe.

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A scion of one of the most famous Danish Jewish families, Bent Melchior became very active in human rights causes from an early age. During the 70s and 80s the question of Soviet Jewry's right to leave the country was top of the agenda in many European Jewish communities and he became a leader in this struggle, so much so that for 20 years he was refused a visa for the Soviet Union. His public appearances on behalf of Israel led to threats of assassination thus endangering his life. However this did not stop his passionate espousal of Jewish causes. Deservedly, he has since been widely honoured in many countries including Israel, Germany, Denmark and the USA. 
  

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