April 09, 2015

The non-story of the refusal to insure a Belgian Jewish Kindergarten

A week ago a Ha'aretz tweet linking a story about an insurance company's refusal to insure a Belgian Jewish kindergarten got 39 retweets and was independently tweeted many times over April 1 & 2.
Here's the headline and subtitle:

               Firm cancels Belgian Jewish kindergarten’s insurance due to 'high risk' of anti-Semitic attack

'It's an absolute disgrace that the situation has come to this,' says Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association and of the Rabbinical Center of Europe. 

The article mostly centres on statements from the above-mentioned Rabbi Menachem Margolin such as:
First, not enough is being done to secure Jewish institutions in Europe despite the repeated requests and numerous warnings – and consequently insurance companies are using the situation to avoid the risk of insuring Jewish kindergartens. What a surreal and cynical reality.
Well now, Ha'aretz has done a follow up tweet:

Now see the headline and subtitle:

               No proof Belgian insurer discriminated against Jewish school, watchdog says

Statement by Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism follows reports that an unnamed firm declined to insure a Jewish kindergarten citing an elevated risk of attacks. 

Now let's have a taste of the article:
There is no proof that a Belgian insurance company refused to insure a Jewish kindergarten because it was deemed too risky, a Brussels-based watchdog on anti-Semitism said.

The statement by the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA, follows reports last week that an unnamed firm declined to insure a Jewish kindergarten in Brussels, citing an elevated risk factor due to previous attacks on Jewish targets in Belgium and Western Europe.

Joel Rubinfeld, a co-founder of the national watchdog, told the La Capitale daily that after looking into the matter, “There was no proof confirming a discriminatory character with regards to a refusal.”

The news about the alleged refusal came from the European Jewish Association, a lobby group that operates the kindergarten in question. The association and the Israel-based Tal Rabina public relations office alerted media to the matter without naming the insurance company in question.

The association’s director, Menachem Margolin, and Tal Rabina’s office did not reply to JTA queries asking them to identify the insurance company to obtain their reaction.
I see.  The insurance company was unnamed and the whistle-blowers were a "lobby group" and an "Israel-based PR office who "did not reply to ...queries".

To paraphrase the Rabbi Menachem Margolin there might be a surreal and cynical reality at play here.

Oh by the way.  Ha'aretz's tweet that the first story might be bogus only got 9 retweets.

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