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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Is the EU anti-Semitic?

Rabbi Ari Enkin, rabbinic director at United with Israel (UWI), received anti-Israel hate [e]mail on Sunday from an employee at the European Commission, which, according to its website, “is the EU’s [European Union’s] executive body and represents the interests of Europe as a whole.”

Rabbi Enkin, on behalf of UWI, sends out regular emails with newsletters to subscribers only. UWI does not send unsolicited email. The crude hate mail from the EU employee, which contained foul language, was sent to Rabbi Enkin’s personal email address in response to a UWI newsletter.

Signed by Mattia Zilli, project officer, European Commission, Research Executive Agency, the email said, “STOP f…ing writing me about your Zionist bulls..t.”
(The foul language was spelled out in full in the original email.)

Surprised that an EU employee would openly display such vitriol against the State of Israel, UWI emailed Dennis Abbott, press spokesperson for the Marie Curie Actions Programme, apprising him of the situation and asking whether any action would be taken, to which he simply responded, with no salutation: “I’ve asked Mattia to reply to you. Best, Dennis.”

UWI received no further correspondence from Zilli. After investigating further, the organisation noted that Zilli had subscribed to the UWI newsletter back in 2011, and in 2012 he signed a UWI petition against Iran’s nuclear program. Although it is possible that another individual had signed up with Zilli’s name and email address, Zilli had ample time to unsubscribe in a civilised fashion.

The question that one would ask is this: If such an e-mail had been sent to an Islamic Imam, rather than a Jewish Rabbi,what would the result have been?  I suspect that it would have been much stronger than some e-mail correspondence, and the expectation (as far as I can make out, unfulfilled) of an apology!  There would, more likely, have been riots, and the burning of effigies and EU flags.

I am one of those who, if given the opportunity, will vote in favour of the UK leaving the discredited EU.  There are many reasons for doing so (including some 52 million each day!), and they have just been added to!

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