Swiss alderman seeks ban on Hanukkah ceremony
search

Swiss alderman seeks ban on Hanukkah ceremony

Geneva city council member says event violates national law

A Hanukka menorah (Flash90)
A Hanukka menorah (Flash90)

A city council member from Geneva has warned his municipality against allowing a public Hanukkah event, which he said would violate Swiss law.

“I’m not afraid of being called anti-Semitic, because my request is not directed at a religious community [but at] the authorities, which do not comply with the law by issuing an authorization for this event,” council member Pierre Gauthier is quoted as telling the Tribune de Geneve daily newspaper this week.

In a letter to the mayor, Gauthier, who is the secretary of a not-for-profit called “Geneva Secular Coordination,” cited Switzerland’s Law of Foreign Worship, which states that “no celebration of worship, procession or any religious ceremony is allowed on public roads.”

He urged the mayor’s office to cancel a public candle-lighting event on Mollard Square scheduled for Dec. 3. The organizer of the event, Rabbi Mendel Pevzner of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, told the Tribune, “This is not a religious event but a moment of sharing, open to all faiths. Since 1991, we have never encountered a problem.”

On Tuesday, another council member from Geneva, Denis Menoud, wrote on Facebook that he was pleased with the signing of a deal between world powers and Iran on its alleged nuclear weapons program because, “The bottom line is that Israel is on the path of carbonization.”

The deal was reached last week after talks in Geneva.

MCG President Roger Golay condemned Menoud’s words and said the party expected him to resign.

Johanne Gurfinkel of CICAD, a Swiss group that monitors anti-Semitism, called on Menoud to “publicly apologize for his statement.” Gurfinkel also asked Menoud’s rightist MCG party to take a stand against “this type of hateful comments.”

Menoud told the Tribute de Genève that the “sentence was taken out of context,” and that he only meant to say that this situation in the Middle East will create a new paradigm. “The loser is Israel, strategically and politically.”

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments