European Jewish group honoring Adidas for cutting ties with Kanye West

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President of the European Federation of Jewish Associations, the Rabbi of Brussels Menachem Margolin
courtesy EJAPresident of the European Federation of Jewish Associations, the Rabbi of Brussels Menachem Margolin

Award to be given during conference with over 100 European leaders in Prague and the former Theresienstadt concentration camp

The European Jewish Association (EJA) is set to honor German sportswear company Adidas for its decision to cut ties with Kanye West following a series of antisemitic statements made by the U.S. rapper.

EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin will give the King David Award to Amanda Rajkumar, executive board member for Global Human Resources, People and Culture at Adidas. The award will be presented during a conference that began on Monday in Prague and the former Theresienstadt concentration camp in the Czech Republic.

Over 100 leaders, parliamentarians and diplomats from across Europe will light candles on Tuesday in memory of the 33,000 people, who died at Theresienstadt and the over 88,000 prisoners deported to extermination camps and other killing sites. The event comes ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day dedicated in memory of the victims of the Holocaust which will take place on Friday.

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EJA, which is organizing the event, has launched the candle-lighting operation for International Holocaust Day, which will be distributed to all parliaments in Europe.

Margolin said at the opening of the conference that what happened in Terezin is the best example of the consequences that fake news can have. The Nazis used the camp as a "showcase" to ward off international criticism of their mistreatment of Jews in the ghettos and featured seemingly happy people, including children who ate as they pleased and engaged in various cultural activities - while most of them were later transferred to extermination camps.

"Terezin is a camp where the Nazis tried to show through the manipulation of films and photographs a 'model ghetto'," he said. "Today, in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic, the war in Ukraine and the defamation of Israel, antisemites are using exactly the same methods. The Jew is the scapegoat. Polarization in politics contributes to the spread of antisemitism. Legislation against ritual slaughter in Europe fits into this mood. Fewer and fewer Jews in Europe allow themselves to show their Jewishness without fear. If the Jews leave Europe, it will be a very bad signal of the state of the continent," he explained.

Margolin called for cooperation between European parliaments, governments and Jewish communities to fight antisemitism.

Forty-six percent of antisemitic incidents in 2022 took place in Europe and 39 percent in North America. Propaganda accounts for 39 percent of antisemitic acts, vandalism 28 percent, physical abuse 14 percent, verbal abuse 11 percent and delegitimization 7 percent, a new global antisemitism report from the World Zionist Organization said.

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