Above: Rabbi Menachem Margolin
Newsweek fails to mention Margolin's Chabad connection, and fails to clearly note that many European Jewish leaders condemned his previous call to arm Jews. In fact, Jewish community leaders from across Europe issued a statement about Margolin late last month that said in part, "…Mr. Margolin’s association of irrelevant and unrepresentative self-created groups does not in any way convey upon him a role as a spokesman or representative of our communities. He has never been chosen nor elected to any such role.…"
And, of course, the sad fact is that there are terror attacks against Jews lots of places – even in Israel – and to say European countries are refusing to protect Jews is simply wrong, facts that appear to escape Margolin:
A prominent rabbi has reiterated his calls for new legislation that would allow Jewish people in Europe to carry guns, following the attacks in Denmark this weekend in which two people were shot dead - one outside a synagogue - and accused European governments of not taking the threat of antisemitism seriously enough.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director general of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) and the European Jewish Association (EJA) - the largest federation of Jewish organisations and communities in Europe - has called the shootings in Copenhagen a “very clear confirmation” that gun laws need to change.
Following the Paris attacks in mid-January, Rabbi Margolin wrote a letter, seen by Newsweek, that called on all European governments to alter gun licensing laws so that Jews could carry weapons.
“We hereby ask that gun licensing laws are reviewed with immediate effect to allow designated people in the Jewish communities and institutions to own weapons for the essential protection of their communities, as well as receiving the necessary training to protect their members from potential terror attacks,” the letter read.
However, the rabbi says that his letter did not draw “a real response” from any of the governments he contacted, and instead he simply received an automatic refusal of his request, a sign, he says, that European governments are not taking the threat of antisemitism seriously enough.
"The government is unable to protect its citizens,” he says. “Jewish institutions are a main target, and we need them to monitor and fight against antisemitism, but governments do not understand the situation.”
“The serious demand is that every Jewish institution is protected 24/7. When I pick up my son at the synagogue I want to make sure that he is there and he is alive. It is a very basic request.”
Jewish organisations in the UK, including schools, have been advised to increase their security measures in light of the shootings according to the Times newspaper. However Rabbi Margolin says that without arming those who work in these institutions, they cannot properly protect their communities.
“We can see that security guards who were in charge of the community were not armed. What are security guards supposed to do if they are not armed?” he asks, adding that he is trying to “wake the media and politicians up to make them understand that the situation needs more attention”.
Rabbi Margolin also indicates that all Europeans - not just Jews - are at risk if action is not taken to protect Jewish communities from attacks. “It begins with Jews but it will not end with Jews,” he warns.
In light of the shootings in Copenhagen he said: “Nothing has changed. It’s nothing new and it’s not surprising. I will not be surprised if something happens again, which is sad. It is very clear that the government has a responsibility to its citizens to make sure that they have security.”
Next week, Rabbi Margolin will lead a three-day security seminar for European rabbis organized by the Rabbinical Centre of Europe in Prague, Czech Republic. The seminar will focus on community protection, with one of the sessions focusing on “protection in the case of sudden attack” as well as first aid. “People understand that they do not have much choice because the government cannot protect its citizens,” Rabbi Margolin explains. Approximately 100 rabbis from across Europe are expected to attend.…
Actually, the most recent wave of attacks started with a large terror attak – against cartoonists, not Jews, and considering the level of threat, Europe has done a lot to protect its Jewish communities.
Terror attacks happen everywhere, and it is reprehensible to try to exploit them for an organization's gain.