Thursday, June 30, 2016

Major development in Euro Parliament antisemitic blood libel scandal by Abbas

Today Italian MEP Fulvio Martusciello presented the following written question to the High-Commissioner regarding last week speeches by Mr. Rivlin and Mr. Abbas in a plenary session of the European Parliament.

An answer will be given in a month's time as this written question was requested to be treated as a matter of urgency.
"Last week in the European Parliament, both the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Reuven Rivlin, and the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, addressed the plenary of the European Parliament. While President Rivlin gave a constructive speech regarding the co-existence with the Palestinians, the EU-Israel relations, the peace process and a broad positive message, President Abbas, centred his speech in on criticising the Israelis and accusing them of a genocide against the Palestinian People. Quoting his precise words: "Only a week ago, a number of rabbis in Israel announced (…) demanding that their government poison the water to kill the Palestinians. Isn't that clear incitement to commit mass killings against the Palestinian people?"; I would like to ask you the following: 
1) Is President Abbas a viable partner for the Middle East Peace Process? 
2) Does the High Representative intend to criticize this accusation which is against not only Israelis but the Jewish People in general? 
3) Mr. Mahmoud Abbas categorically refused to meet with President Rivlin, although the Israeli President was open to the idea of a meeting. Why didn’t the High Representative push for such a meeting between both Presidents as suggested by President Rivlin"

UK: Corbyn supporters blame Zionists for no confidence vote

Via Tablet (h/t glykosymoritis):
Yesterday, the British Labour party’s members of parliament voted no confidence in leader Jeremy Corbyn by a 172-40 margin. The vote came in the wake of the resignation of almost the entirety of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. Though the vote is non-binding, and Corbyn has vowed to stay on, it could be the prelude to a historic split in the Labour party.


Unsurprisingly, despite this explicit rationale, the resounding rejection of Corbyn was quickly cast as a “Zionist plot” by some of his most zealous supporters. One non-Jewish Labour MP and Corbyn critic aired her frustration with these bigoted accusations on Twitter:

    Dear people sending me emails saying I am part of a Zionist plot. Stop it.

    — Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) June 26, 2016

    Hi @PeoplesMomentum this has come from your email address “people like me brought out with Zionist money.”

    — Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) June 27, 2016

(These critics did not detail just how much “Zionist money” it took to buy off 172 of Labour’s 216 MPs.)
read more

Belgium: Ritual slaughter ban would be unconstitutional, state body says

Via JTA:
A Belgian government advisory body determined that any legislation that would prohibit ritual slaughter in the kingdom would violate its constitution.

The legal notice issued Wednesday by the Belgian Council of State came amid recent debates and planned legislation to ban the practice. The animal welfare minister in the government of the Flemish Region said last month it should be outlawed.
In May, the Green Party of the Flemish Region — one of three entities that make up the federal kingdom of Belgium – filed a draft bill to the parliament commission on animal welfare. Amid opposition to the bill, the issue was brought to the review of the Council of State, which determined that if passed, a law banning the practice would be overturned by the country’s federal constitutional court because it would violate religious freedoms, the Jewish monthly Joods Actueel of Antwerp reported.

read more

UK: London man held over 'extreme' anti-Semitic and Islamophobic social media posts

Via Evening Standard:
A man has been arrested by police investigating "extreme" right-wing, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic postings on social media.

The 41-year-old was held in London this morning on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.

Scotland Yard said the man, who is from London, was arrested at approximately 6.30am as part of a pre-planned operation in north London by officers from the Crime Disruption Unit within the the force's Counter Terrorism Command.

They were supported by colleagues from the Territorial Support Group.
read more

UK: Jewish lecturer attacked on train for carrying ‘schlep’ bag

Via Jewish News:
A Jewish sociology lecturer carrying a book bag with the word ‘schlep’ on the side has been told to “f*** off back to Israel with the other Yids,” in what may be the first instance of anti-Semitic abuse in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Natalie Pitimson, a senior lecturer at the University of Brighton, on Tuesday said the verbal assault was made on board a packed commuter train travelling through central London at rush-hour, but that no-one reacted, “despite almost certainly having heard”.

Of the bag, she said: “I bought it from the Jewish Museum in North London because I liked it. The word ‘schlep’ written on the side perfectly describes my regular hour-long trek through central London… On the train I noticed a lad and his girlfriend looking at me and my bag, which was on my lap. When they spotted me looking back at them, he told me to ‘f*** off back to Israel with the other Yids.’ Nobody else in the carriage reacted.”

Pitimson added: “I got off at the next stop, not even noticing that I was several short of my destination. I was shaking and very upset. I thought about nothing else for the rest of the day. I have never been targeted in this way before but my experience, it is quickly becoming apparent, is not an isolated one in post-Brexit Britain.”

read more

Germany: Israeli attacked on Berlin tram

Via Tagesspiegel:

An Israeli (39) was harassed on a Berlin tram.  The perpetrator (32), who was drunk, shouted out "Foreigners out!" and "Germany to the Germans".  He also made the Nazi salute, and tried to beat the victim.

UK: High Court backs three local authorities over anti-Israel policies

Via Jewish Chronicle:
Leicester, Swansea and Gwynedd Councils did not overstep the mark when they passed resolutions criticising the state of Israel, the High Court has ruled in a unique test case.

All three councils faced accusations that, by condemning Israel, they encouraged discrimination against and harassment of British Jews.

Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW), a charity formed to fight what it says is a tide of rising antisemitism in the UK, argued all three resolutions were unlawful.

But two senior judges today emphasised democratic freedom of speech as they ruled that none of the councils did anything wrong.

In November 2014, Leicester City Council resolved to boycott any produce coming from "illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank".

It said the embargo would remain in place "until such time as Israel complies with international law and withdraws from Palestinian occupied territories".

Jeffrey Kaufman, a Jewish elected member of Leicestershire County Council, described the "dismay" the resolution caused to the city's Jewish community.

He said the City Council had "picked on Israel", but Leicester's mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, "emphatically" denied that a criticism of Israel was "necessarily an attack on British jews".

In October 2014, Gwynedd Council in Wales also resolved to boycott products emenating from the West Bank until Israel withdrew from Palestinian occupied territories.

Swansea's resolution, which was also critical of Israel, dated back to June 2010, Lord Justice Simon told London's High Court.

read more

Germany: Munich state museum profited from Nazi-looted art

The JTA reports:
A state museum in Munich profited from art looted by the Nazis at least until the 1990s, a new investigation has revealed.

In a joint probe, the Munich-based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the British NGO Commission for Looted Art in Europe found that the Bavarian State Galleries and many other such institutions have been sitting on art that was forcibly “purchased” from Jewish collectors under the Nazi regime.  The museums have tried to disguise the origin of the artworks, and even sold some of them without seeking the rightful owners or their heirs, according to the investigation.

The deception began as soon as American authorities handed over the restitution task to the Bavarian administration in 1949, according to the report. Thousands of artworks were in question.

Reportedly, German authorities kept some and sold others at deflated prices, including to members of prominent Nazi families such as the widow of Hermann Goering and Henriette von Schirach (nee Hoffmann), the wife of Hitler’s district governor, or “Gauleiter,” in Vienna.

The newspaper traces the story of how von Schirach came by one small painting, “Picture of a Dutch Square,” by Johannes van der Heydes that originally belonged to a Czech-Jewish couple, the consul general to Vienna, Gottlieb Kraus, and his wife, Mathilde. The Kraus family fled to the United States in April 1938, putting their possessions in storage.

But the property was later confiscated by the Gestapo and artworks were sold to, among others, the planned “Führermuseum” in Linz, Austria, and to the father[-in-law] of von Schirach, Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler’s official photographer and an art collector.

After the war, the painting was among the thousands of works to be returned to rightful heirs. But the Bavarian State Galleries sold it back to von Schirach for 300 Deutschmark, and she promptly auctioned it off for 16,000 Deutschmarks to the Xanten Cathedral Association; it was on display in the cathedral until 2011.

Meanwhile, the paper reported, the great-grandson of the Krauses, John Graykowski, has been seeking restitution of the family’s collection in vain.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

France: Natan Sharansky: No future for Jews in France

The JTA reports:
The Jews of France have no future in their country because of Arab immigration and deep-seated anti-Semitism, said Natan Sharansky, the head of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Sharansky made the declaration on Monday in Paris, where he was attending a Jewish Agency board of governors meeting held in the French capital  for the first time as a sign of solidarity with its Jews.

“We came here because there are historical processes here,” Sharansky said of France, which for the past two years has been Israel’s largest source of immigrants, with a record-setting 15,000 Jews settling there during that period.

“There is no future for the Jews in France because of the Arabs, and because of a very anti-Israel position in society, where new anti-Semitism and ancient anti-Semitism converge,” he told JTA.

Since 2012, Islamists have killed eight Jews in two shooting attacks that came amid hundreds of non-lethal violent assaults. A French citizen with alleged ties to Islamist groups is standing trial in France for a third shooting in 2014 at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in which four people died.
The violence is one of several factors behind the increase in Jewish immigration to Israel, or aliyah, from France, Sharansky said, along with French Jewry’s strong emotional attachment to Israel and France’s stagnant economy. 
read more

Europe: Abbas’ blood libel speech before a perfidious European Parliament (Wiesenthal Center)

The title of the article by Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Dr. Harold Brackman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center @ The Jerusalem Post is Brexit: So is it ‘good for the Jews? It begs another question: if most non-Jewish European citizens do not trust the EU, why should European Jews trust it? Especially when they see that Martin Schulz, the German President of the European Parliament, applauding Abbas, thanking him for his speech and tweeting afterwards that Abbas's blood libel and his calling Israel a fascist country "inspiring" and that he is a true partner for peace? 

As a shocked world reacted to England’s unexpected exit from the European Union, Palestinian President Abbas delivered a speech to the European Parliament.

Abbas, now in the 11th year of his four-year term, accused Israel of becoming a fascist country. Then he updated a vicious medieval anti-Semitic canard by charging that (non-existent) rabbis are urging Jews to poison the Palestinian water supply.

The response by representatives of the 28 European nations whose own histories are littered with the terrible consequences of such anti-Semitic blood libels? A thunderous 30-second standing ovation.

So forgive us if while everyone else analyzes the economic impact of the UK exit, and pundits parse the generational and social divide of British voters, we dare to ask a parochial question: is a weakened EU good or bad for the Jews? [...]

For Israel, the EU’s global dilemma is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it could, at least temporarily, derail the EU’s intense pressuring of Israel to accept – even sans direct negotiations with the Palestinians – a one-sided French peace initiative, imposing indefensible borders on the Jewish state.

But the scope of the current crisis is also very much the result of the internal moral and political failure of the EU’s own transnational elites and political leadership to confront its homegrown problems. These problems have also impacted on many of Europe’s 1.4 million Jews.

We began with President Abbas’ morning-after-Brexit blood libel speech before a perfidious European Parliament. His libel and the applause it received still reverberate despite Abbas’ subsequent retraction. 

For the episode highlights the lack of moral accountability infecting EU elites ensconced in the ivory towers of Brussels’ bureaucratic headquarters. We can only hope and pray that European captains of industry, politicians, media and NGOs take the UK vote as a wake-up call for them all. For if they fail to actually address the economic and social crises with real solutions, it won’t only be the Jews of Europe who will be searching for the nearest exit.
read more

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Europe: BDS and a disturbing rise of violent anti-Semitism across Europe

Belgium: ongoing BDS campaign by an NGO, Association Belgo-Palestinienne, financed by the government...
 Carrie Sheffield writes @ Forbes:
A push to “boycott, divest and sanction” (BDS) Israeli companies has limited impact on the credit profile of Israel, yet it directly harms its intended beneficiaries, the Palestinians. The BDS movement, including universities, pension funds and leaders of some Christian denominations (to the chagrin of many congregants), ignores economic data. And it coincides with a disturbing rise of violent anti-Semitism across Europe.

“The impact of BDS is more psychological than real so far and has had no discernible impact on Israeli trade or the broader economy,” Kristin Lindow, senior vice president at Moody’s Investors Service and Moody’s lead analyst for Israel (in full disclosure, a former Moody’s colleague) told Forbes. “That said, the sanctions do run the risk of hurting the Palestinian economy, which is much smaller and poorer than that of Israel, as seen in the case of SodaStream.”

While the broader Israeli economy is presently shielded from BDS, one victim is SodaStream, an Israeli company manufacturing DIY soda that shuttered a West Bank factory and moved it to southern Israel. This cut hundreds of jobs for Palestinians that reportedly paid between three and five times the local prevailing wage.

SodaStream’s CEO Daniel Birnbaum denied the move was BDS-related, though its profits plunged after BDS activists locked the fizzy pop maker in its crosshairs.

“It has nothing to do with politics; we’re relocating to a modern facility that is three times the size,” Birnbaum told The Independent. “But if it was up to me, I would have stayed. We showed the world Arabs and Jews can work together.”

The numbers speak for themselves: Israel (population 8.3 million) has GDP of $291 billion, the Palestinian Territories (population 4.1 million), $11.3 billion. In 2012, Israeli sales to the Palestinian Authority were $4.3 billion, about 5% of Israeli exports (excluding diamonds) less than 2% of Israeli GDP, according to the Bank of Israel. In 2012, Palestinian sales to Israel accounted for about 81% of Palestinian exports and less than a percentage point of Israeli GDP. Palestinian purchases from Israel were two-thirds of total Palestinian imports (or 27% of Palestinian GDP).

Such trade flow asymmetry shows Palestine needs Israel, economically speaking. Yet the BDS crowd would impair economic ties between these areas, despite evidence that trade between peoples lessens outbreak of war. BDS-ers want to obliterate the vast trade surplus Israel extends to Palestine and offer nothing in its place. [...]
One bright spot is leadership in Congress from Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-CA), who just introduced The Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act. It would require U.S. negotiators to discourage BDS within countries seeking U.S. trade agreements. This would apply, for example, to a deal currently under negotiation with the European Union, where anti-Semitism and BDS are growing. This bill makes moral and economic sense; it would protect the shared prosperity of both Palestine and Israel.
read more

France: Town declares boycott of Israeli settlement goods

This perfectly illustrates the usual double standards of many European politicians. Anne Hidalgo, the socialist Mayor of Paris, has praised the colloboration with Qatar.   As Marianne magazine writes so long as Qatar pays politicians are not interested in the toll of human casualities in Qatar.

Times of Israel reports:
A municipality near the French capital passed a motion declaring a boycott of Israeli settlement goods and vowing further research and labeling on other products from the Jewish state.

The council of Bondy, located north of Paris, whose mayor, Sylvine Thomassin, belongs to French President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party, passed the resolution with only five objections last week on June 23, the news website Rezo Citoyen reported on Saturday. 

“The Municipal Council of Bondy decided to no longer buy products from Israeli settlements,” read the motion, which had only five objections. It also called for the application of European Commission regulations introduced in November, that require separate labeling for all settlement goods entering the European Union. The regulations so far are only enforced in Belgium, Britain and Denmark.

As long as the regulations are not applied in France, Bondy’s municipal council will “research prior to purchase the origin of products not clearly indicated.”

Monday, June 27, 2016

Romania:Antisemitism in school

Via Ynet:

Dvir Mashash moved to Romania from Israel when she was 13.  She says the kids there wouldn't call her by name.  They addressed her as "Jew", supposedly as a joke.

Even the teachers joined in.  "One teacher asked at the beginning of the year who's Jewish.  I raised my hand, and she said 'we're going to have a very interesting year'.  She failed me on every test."

Italy: Antisemitic graffiti against mayor

 Vic CFCA:

Antisemitic graffiti against the mayor of Viareggio, Giorgio Del Ghingaro, says "Del Ghingaro Jew"

Ukraine: Vandals desecrated the Holocaust monument in Lvov

Lvov- The monument of Holocaust victims in central Lvov vandalized. The monument was established in 1992.

read more

FRANCE 24 revisits Sabra & Shatilla but misses Lebanon

Five Minutes for Israel reports: (H/T Elder of Ziyon)
Lebanon has had no shortage of massacres in its brief modern history. Sabra and Shatilla was only one of them but the Jews were involved, however indirectly, so it is no surprise that France 24 focusses on it. They revisit – Five Minutes for Israel visits their revisit.

Thirty-four-years after men of the Phalangist militia  staged a massacre at the Sabra and Shatilla Palestinian refugee Camps France 24 visits the camps, which now host a third generation of refugee children. Stuart Norval whose journalistic experience comes from the BBC, (never a good omen), presents a report by Antoine Laurent.

Why present now and not September is unclear. Perhaps that is just as well.

So how did they do?

Lebanon is not the only Arab country that openly enforces Apartheid laws against Palestinians. What is disturbing about the Apartheid laws in Lebanon and the mistreatment of Palestinians by Arab countries is the silence of the media, the international community and human rights groups — even UNRWA, which is supposed to look after the well-being of Palestinian refugees.     — Khaled Abu Toameh
Surprisingly, the report, in most parts a feel-good exercise, is not too terrible. France 24 gains major points for noting what so much of the media and Israel Haters tend to avoid, that it was local Christian not Israeli forces responsible for the massacre. However an uninformed viewer might conclude that there was a united Christian force not uncoordinated and often mutually hostile militias, who bore responsibility. The report, to its credit, also acknowledges that there is a great discrepancy over the number of victims instead of just blindly quoting dubious Palestinian figures.

There are some debatable points. The background to the war is very sketchy. The viewer would never know that a multifaceted civil war was raging at the time and that Israel and the Palestinians were just two players, and not the most important of many.

Similarly, if the ‘International Community’ (whoever that might be) was supposed to protect the Palestinians why did no one step up? Indeed, as a what-if exercise, one must wonder what would have happened in Sabra and Shatilla if the Palestinian fighters had tried to make a stand in the camps?

Yet something really important is missing

It is not, as you might expect Israel, which withdrew from Beirut in 1982. Israel is usually the designated villain but mention is minimal.

Nor is it the 1985 heavy fighting that erupted between the Amal Movement and Palestinian camp militias for the control of Sabra and Shatila and  Bourj el-Barajneh camps. This reduced virtually all the houses in the camps to rubble.

Lebanon, the state whose laws most directly dominate the lives of the camp, is completely ignored in this report.

When one teacher claims that he doesn’t want to leave the camp he doesn’t note that Lebanese law makes it difficult and often near impossible to leave. To leave the country he would have to receive both a, difficult for Palestinian refugees to acquire, exit visa from Lebanon and an equally difficult to acquire entry visa to some other country. Even moving to a better location outside the camp is problematic. Palestine refugees are prevented from legally acquiring, transferring or inheriting real property in Lebanon and rents are outside the reach of most. 
 read more

UK: Student union pays £1,000 and offers public apology to Jewish graduate who suffered anti-semitism

The Daily Mail reports: 
A student union will become the first in the country to make a public apology and pay compensation to a Jewish graduate who suffered anti-semitism.
Zachary Confino, 21, experienced stress and narrowly missed out on a first-class law degree after two years battling with anti-Israeli students at York University. He will this week accept a written apology – set to be published online – and £1,000 from York’s student union over his treatment.

Universities minister Jo Johnson is understood to have helped broker the agreement.

Mr Confino was abused on social media app Yik Yak, where one anonymous user claimed ‘Hitler was on to something’. He was called an ‘Israeli t***’ and a ‘Jewish p****’.

After opposing a union motion to boycott Israeli goods, he was told it was his own fault he was getting anti-semitic abuse. 
Mr Confino also leafleted against a staging of the play Seven Jewish Children – written in response to strikes on Gaza – at the university by the Palestinian Solidarity Society.
He claimed he was confronted by three society members including Tom Corbyn, son of the Labour leader. Engineering student Mr Corbyn has not commented. Mr Confino, from Lewisham, south-east London, told the Sunday Times: ‘The number of anti-semitic incidents I was subject to went from zero in my first year to about 20 in my second and third years. The university did not do much.

‘The far-Left say racism is a black/white issue. They seem to think Jews are fair game.’

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis warned earlier this year that British universities were ‘turning a blind eye to Jew hatred’. He said he hoped the apology by York’s union would send a message to other institutions, including Oxbridge, where Jewish students have allegedly been made to feel uncomfortable.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The European Parliament rewards hate

Among those rewarding Abbas with a standing ovation: Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Federica Mogherini, the EU Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs, and Guy Verhofstadt , former Belgian PM and currently a MEP.
Evelyn Gordon @ Commentary:
Hats off to the British. Aside from all the other reasons to applaud Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (i.e. democracy, national sovereignty), it has voted to secede from an enabler of Palestinian terror and hate education. And if that accusation sounds harsh, consider what transpired in the EU Parliament on the very day of the Brexit referendum.
While the British were voting, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was addressing the EU Parliament in Brussels. By any objective standard, the visit didn’t start off well: Upon arriving, Abbas immediately rejected a personal plea by the parliament’s president, Martin Schulz, to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who happened to be in Brussels at the same time. But things quickly got worse when Abbas started speaking.

Abbas’s speeches are always full of anti-Israel slander, and this one was no exception. He accused Israel of “massacring” Palestinians’ “history, heritage, identity and geopolitical entity.” He termed the Israeli “occupation” the longest in history and deemed it uniquely evil, “unlike anything that has happened to any other people anywhere in the world,” to quote one reporter’s live tweeting of the speech (I haven’t managed to find a transcript); in reality, of course, not only have there been many longer occupations, but few conflicts have ever entailed so little bloodshed. He accused Israel of being “fascist” and “racist,” of committing extrajudicial killings, and of turning “our country into an open-air prison.” All this is pretty standard, as was the conclusion, in which he paid lip service to his willingness to make peace with the monstrously evil country he just described.

But even by Abbas’s standards, this speech was exceptionally vile in two respects. First, he accused Israel of responsibility for all terrorism worldwide, ludicrously asserting that “Once the occupation ends, terrorism will disappear, there will be no more terrorism in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world.” After all, Israel is clearly the reason why Muslims are killing fellow Muslims by bombing mosques, schools, and hospitals in Muslim countries like Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan, right?

Then, he resurrected a medieval blood libel, accusing Israel of poisoning Palestinian wells. Granted, he was speaking in Arabic, and this accusation wasn’t in his prepared English translation; but the simultaneous translator rendered it into English, and Israeli reporters had no trouble hearing it; thus one has to assume it was audible to EU parliamentarians, as well.

So how did those parliamentarians respond? By giving him a standing ovation. In other words, they told him that hurling blood libels at Israel and refusing to meet with its president and would not be penalized, but rewarded.

This, of course, is not particularly surprising. As I wrote yesterday, the PA has been promulgating hatred of Israel through its schools and media for over 20 years now, and throughout this time, the EU and its member states have been the PA’s largest donors; thus the EU has been directly subsidizing Palestinian hate education for over two decades. The EU and its member states are also the main financiers of anti-Israel NGOs, so in that way, too, they’ve been funding anti-Israel propaganda for decades. And it’s no accident that the EU has devoted so much money to this purpose; it’s obsessed with Israel to the virtual exclusion of other foreign policy concerns, as evidenced by a 2010 study of what EU foreign ministers spend their time discussing. That study found the ministers had held exactly one meeting on China, a rising power, over the previous four years – but they discussed “the Middle East peace process” 12 separate times in 2009 and the first part of 2010 alone.  [...]

Nor is it surprising that the PA continues to spew anti-Israel hatred, given that doing so earns it lavish EU funding and standing ovations from the EU parliament.

By granting financial and diplomatic rewards to Palestinian rejectionism and hate education, the EU has encouraged Palestinian terror and distanced peace. No self-respecting country should want to be associated with such sorry behavior. Britain is well out of it.
read more

Russia: "My country of birth never accepted me, so why should I accept it now?"

Margarita Gokun Silver@The Guardian:
In the famous Café Gijón, one of the oldest cafes of Madrid, I recently told a friend how much I am struggling to make it as an artist in Spain. When I present my portfolio I introduce myself as an American, in hopes of awakening some kind of interest. My friend looked at me quizzically. “Why don’t you say you are a Russian-American?” she asks. “It’ll sound a lot more interesting.”

But I have never called myself Russian – even though I grew up in Russia. When I left Moscow, the city of my birth, at 20, the country still carried the name and the map coordinates of the Soviet Union. I surrendered my red, Soviet passport at Sheremetyevo airport knowing I wouldn’t be allowed back. Along with my family I was immigrating to the United States as part of the second wave of Jewish immigration and under the rule of no-right-of-return. As far as I was concerned I didn’t need to come back. I was done with the USSR.

We left in 1989, several weeks before the fall of the Berlin Wall and a year after I first broached the subject of immigrating with my parents. At first they balked at the proposal, but, with the Perestroika-induced rise in Russia’s beloved tradition, antisemitism, they soon agreed.

My parents quit their two stable, engineering jobs; we left behind our apartment and everything we’d accumulated during our life in Moscow. We boarded the plane with two suitcases and $80 each. For my parents – much more sober than I was about the prospects of relocating to another culture, another language and another political system – the move was a gamble.
or me it was a dream. Not only was I leaving behind the constant stream of antisemitic slurs thrown either directly at me or printed in the Soviet press, but I was also discarding the notion that my future was tied to the engineering realm. In the USSR the profession of an engineer was the most accessible career path for Jews. There was no question in my parents’ minds that I’d follow suit – just like they did and their parents did before them. And even though I hated engineering, there was no question in my mind either. I knew there wasn’t much I could do about it.

On arrival to the United States I quickly learned that the sky was the limit. My US passport – unlike my former Soviet one – didn’t list my ethnic origin. It didn’t preclude me from entering professions deemed too dangerous to entrust to Jews. I went into a field that required me to travel abroad, a feat either never or rarely afforded to Jewish citizens in the USSR. No longer a Jew among a sea of Russians, I was now like everyone else. I was an American.

read more

Europe: Refugees have been educated to hate the West and to kill Jews

Jeremy Rosen @ Algemeiner:
Meanwhile Europe and the US have far bigger self-inflicted internal problems than they realize. In last weekend’s Wall Street Journal, Mohed Altrad, himself a refugee from Syria to France, a billionaire, PhD, novelist, and World Entrepreneur of the Year, warns that millions of refugees have a basic cultural mindset that is anti-Western and antisemitic. Like them, he was educated to hate the West and to kill Jews. Eventually he realized that hatred was self-defeating. The path to success was to change his attitude and stop blaming others. His is a success story. But most will not follow his example. He strongly believes the West must insist on immigrants adjusting to Western values rather than the West conceding to theirs.

Hatred of the other just because he or she is different is a poison wherever it appears. When you add religion, it becomes overwhelmingly evil. This is the toxic mix we are encountering everywhere. No community, no religion is immune. Wherever it rears its head, it must be dealt with or we are all lost.
 read more

Mr. Altrad’s biggest challenge wasn’t academic or professional success—that would come easily—but learning to integrate himself. “When you are born in Syria,” he recalls, “you grow with ideas which are not necessarily correct. For example, they educate you that you have to kill Jews wherever you find them. When I came to France I came with this idea.” But then he found himself learning alongside Jewish students at university, “and we became friends.”
read more

Germany: Lawmaker accused of anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial avoids being expelled from his party

Background: AfD leading ideologue claims America is "run by Zionists"

JTA reports:
Wolfgang Gedeon
A right-wing lawmaker in Germany accused of anti-Semitism in his writings has avoided being expelled from his party, at least for now.

Wolfgang Gedeon will remain a voting member of the Baden-Württemberg state parliament with no party affiliation after temporarily waiving his rights on Tuesday to represent the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany following a lengthy meeting with party leaders.

The leaders decided to postpone a decision on removing the lawmaker until after Gedeone produces an expert opinion on writings over the years in which he referred to the Holocaust as a “civil religion of the West,” called the Holocaust memorial in Berlin “a memorial to certain crimes,” and referred to Holocaust deniers as “dissidents.”

The party reportedly will reconsider the matter in September.

Gedeon, a medical doctor by profession and member of the state parliament since March, also has admired “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” calling the 19th-century anti-Semitic hoax a “brilliant concept of domination,” according to the Die Welt newspaper.
 read more

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Europe: MEPs give standing ovation to blood libel

Various European governments claim they are serious about fighting antisemitism.  Not one condemned the antisemitic statements made in the European parliament.  Instead, they gave a standing ovation to a clear blood libel against Jews.

Via New York Times:
Echoing anti-Semitic claims that led to the mass killings of European Jews in medieval times, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority accused rabbis in Israel of calling on their government to poison the water used by Palestinians.

He made the unsubstantiated allegation during a speech to the European Parliament on Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said in a statement later that Mr. Abbas had spread a “blood libel” in the speech.

Mr. Abbas made the allegation in the context of calling for the revival of a long dormant committee of Israeli, Palestinian and American officials that was created to expose and denounce incitements from either side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “We are against incitement,” he began in his speech.

“Just a week ago, a week, a group of rabbis in Israel announced, in a clear announcement, demanding their government, to poison, to poison, the water of the Palestinians,” he said. “Is this not incitement? Is this not clear incitement, to the mass murder of the Palestinian people?”

Mr. Abbas was repeating a claim initially made on the website of an office of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Anadolu, the Turkish state-run news agency, repeated the claim on Sunday. It was echoed in The Gulf News, a daily newspaper in Dubai. The Anadolu article said that a Rabbi Shlomo Mlma, whom it called the “chairman of the Council of Rabbis in the West Bank settlements,” had issued an “advisory opinion in which he allowed Jewish settlers to poison water in Palestinian villages and cities in the West Bank.”

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that news outlets had not been able to find a Rabbi Mlma or any listing for the council mentioned in the article.

Mr. Abbas’s remarks were not included in the official Arabic transcript issued by his office, and his advisers and spokesmen were not available for comment on Thursday night. But the claims also appeared on the website of the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Abbas, along with President Reuven Rivlin of Israel, had been invited to Brussels by European officials hoping to rekindle peace negotiations. Mr. Abbas, who did not meet with Mr. Rivlin in Brussels, received a standing ovation at the end of his 43-minute speech.

Jewish groups quickly condemned Mr. Abbas’s comments.

“It is unconscionable that a foreign leader proudly states a blood libel in the European Parliament and he receives a standing ovation,” Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, said in a statement.

read more

Thursday, June 23, 2016

German Hamas-supporter journalist creates nakba event by Holocaust memorial

Israellycool reports:

An Israel-hating German journalist by the name of Martin Lejeune has created an event “against the military, financial and political support of the United States to Israel.”  Right by the Holocaust memorial.

Google translation:

The place of mourning ceremony for the forgotten Gaza victims between the Holocaust Memorial and the US Embassy, to protest against the military, financial and political support of the United States to Israel. The US is complicit in the genocide in Gaza.

Since there is no Nakba Memorial in Berlin, the memory of the forgotten victims in Gaza can not take place before such a Nakba memorial unfortunately.  Germany is morally responsible and politically guilty for the Nakba. Therefore, it is the duty of the German government to build a Nakba Memorial in Berlin.

Moreover, Germany must work immediately by all means for a just peace in Palestine.  This means that all agreements with Israel stop and close to the German Embassy in Israel.  Immediately, the federal government may no longer supply weapons to Israel.

Germany, Israel must sanctioning. #BDS

Here is Martin Lejeune talking about it:

It won’t surprise you to learn that Lejeune is a Hamas mouthpiece who has put out propaganda.

read more

Belgium: "If this is a synagogue, I will burn it"

However for some time, those who visit the Masonic temple suffer from ever growing verbal offences made by teenagers who hang out at Martyrs square. Reported one member of the philanthropies friend's. "This is not new, however the events becoming more and more aggressive". On Monday, June 13, a group was stalking outside of the front door. They questioned those who came in order to find out what goes on in these places, whether it's a cult or a synagogue. One young man even made a threat, saying that if this is a synagogue, he will "burn it!" so said the Freemason which by his opinion, generally speaking, this type incidents are becoming  more common in the past few months.

read more

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Germany: Jew attacked at Berlin music festival

Via Jüdische Allgemeine:

A 21-year old was at a music festival in the Alt-Treptow district of Berlin when three Arab-looking men saw his kippah and approached him. They shouted antisemitic insults "fuck Israel, Fuck Jews" and then beat and kicked him.

Photo: Martin Niewendick

Austria: Cafe vandalized with racist, antisemitic graffiti

Via CFCA, Heute:

A cafe in Graz was vandalized with racist and antisemitic graffiti: 'Jew', 'Nigger', 'mother-fucker' (in English), as well as SS symbols.

Sweden: State broadcaster wanted antisemitism documentary to be more anti-Israel

Just this week Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that he wants to take a lead in combating anti-Semitism worldwide.  I suggest he start with his national broadcaster.
 Via RT:
Sweden's state broadcaster scrapped plans to air a documentary about anti-Semitism and jihad, fearing it could offend the nation's growing Muslim population, Danish media reports. The station says it won't be aired because it failed to document reality.
The film, titled 'Watching the Moon at Night', reportedly takes a detailed look at anti-Semitism and terrorism, alleging a link between the two. It goes on to mention crimes against Jews at the hands of Islamic terrorists.

But although the documentary was largely funded by state broadcaster SVT, the channel is now refusing to air it, declining to purchase the rights to show the film in Sweden.
Read more

According to Danish newspaper Berlingske, the decision is over fears of a backlash from Sweden's growing Muslim community.

It's not the first instance of SVT employees pushing back against the documentary, according to Marianne Ahrne, a former film consultant at the Swedish Film Institute who initially approved public funding for the documentary.

Ahrne said that after the funding was approved, the documentary was made subject to a list of conditions, and that SVT submitted “one formal obstacle after another.”
That statement was echoed by director Bo Persson, who specifically accused SVT project manager Lars Säfström of rattling off demands in order for the film to secure funding.

According to Persson, Säfström wanted the film to be more anti-American and anti-Israel. He accused him of trying to “influence the film's content,” adding that such behavior was “totally unacceptable.”

However, the head of SVT's documentary department, Axel Arnö, said the decision was made because the film doesn't fit in with the channel's standards. He claimed it lacked serious journalism, as it was attempting to prove a point rather than document reality.

The move is a rare one for SVT, which almost always airs the projects it has funded. Two Swedish film festivals also chose to drop the documentary from their line-ups, though the documentary has been aired during limited releases in six other countries.
read more

UK: Neo-Nazi suspected killer of MP said “the white race will prevail” in “bloody struggle”

Via Salon:
The white supremacist suspected of killing a left-wing British lawmaker last week published at two least letters in a pro-apartheid magazine, in which he demonized “White liberals and traitors,” “collaborators” and “anti-apartheid morons.”

“I still have faith that the White Race will prevail, both in Britain and in South Africa, but I fear that it’s going to be a very long and very bloody struggle,” he wrote in 1999.

The alleged killer also attended a meeting of white supremacists in London in 2000, where he openly espoused extremist right-wing views.

The Southern Poverty Law Center also revealed that, in 2000, Mair attended a meeting of white supremacists in London. An informant who was present recalled that “Mair was loosely affiliated with the Leeds chapter of the National Alliance,” the neo-Nazi group he supported for well over a decade.

The informant told the Southern Poverty Law Center that Mair discussed a book he had read by David Irving, a British Holocaust denier.
The informant also said that, when he mentioned Winston Churchill to Mair at the white supremacist meeting, “he kind of made a face and he referred to Churchill as a kike-loving bastard.”

Once Mair “got going — i.e., discussing blacks, Jewish people and other minorities — he was what I’d call ‘all in’ — just like everyone else who attended that gathering,” the informant recalled.
read more

Belgium: Conference on Jewish life at Brussels University cancelled for security reasons

La Libre Belgique reported that a conference organised by the Institute of Jewish Studies of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled for security reasons.

The university authorities indicated that the building hosting the conference could not be protected by either the security service of the Jewish community, the army or the local police.

The conference was to mark the end of the academic year and was to be delivered by Philippe Pierret, a researcher at the ULB.

Mr Pierret is a distinguished specialist of Jewish life and society in Belgium and the theme of the conference focused on his research and his book, of which the first volume has alredy been published, on Jewish families in Brussels from 1785 to 1885.

The conference will be held at a later date.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

France: Writer fined for saying Hitler should have finished the job

Via Times of Israel (h/t Watch: Antisemitism in Europe):
A French court slapped writer Alain Soral with a $13,000 fine and a suspended prison sentence of six months for saying the Nazis should have finished killing the Jews of Europe.
The sentence, handed down Tuesday, was over Soral’s Facebook post of last year about Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, two anti-racism activists who helped track down dozens of Nazi war criminals.

“This is what happens when you don’t finish the job,” Soral wrote about an article on a state honor conferred on the Klarsfelds by Germany.

A judge found Soral, who is a well-known writer in far-right circles and an ally of the anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, guilty of “justifying war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Le Figaro reported Tuesday. Soral has had multiple previous convictions for minimizing or mocking the Holocaust.
read more

Turkey: Jewish cemetery vandalized

Via Turkey Untold:
Jewish cemetery in Hatay/ Southern Turkey was vandalized, tombs destroyed by unknown assailants during the night.

Antisemitism Expert: Nazi Relics Sold at German Auction Highlight Growing Far-Right Obsession With Holocaust Revival

Via Algemeiner:

The popularity of a recent controversial auction in Germany, which sold relics belonging to high-level Nazi officials, highlights a growing obsession on the part of the far-Right to revive its connection with the perpetrators of the Holocaust, a leading antisemitism expert told The Algemeiner on Monday.

Kenneth Marcus — president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and author of The Definition of Anti-Semitism — was speaking in response to reports by German media that a mysterious Argentinian bidder spent approximately 600,000 euros ($679,000) on Friday to purchase Nazi memorabilia at a Munich auction titled: “Hitler and the Nazi grandees — a look into the abyss of evil.”

According to a report Monday in Germany’s The Local citing Bild daily, the buyer — dressed in dark clothing and a baseball hat — spent 275,000 euros ($311,000) alone on a uniform jacket belonging to Adolf Hitler. Silk underwear belonging to Gestapo founder and Nazi Air Force Commander-in-Chief Hermann Goering fetched 3,000 euros ($3,395). He also purchased the brass container that contained hydrogen cyanide, which Goering used to commit suicide hours before his scheduled execution in 1946 in Nuremberg.

In total, the mystery buyer — who refused to give his name to the Bild, but said he was “from Argentina” and bought the items “for a museum” — purchased more than 50 Nazi relics. Other attendees included “young couples, elderly men and muscular guys with shaved heads and tribal tattoos.”

What is even more intriguing about the mysterious buyer — and what Marcus said is “unlikely coincidental” — is that he identified himself at auction using the number “888,” which has ties to the neo-Nazi code “88.” According to the report, “88” marks the letter “H” in the alphabet and stands for the Nazi “Heil Hitler” salute.

“We are seeing an increasing fascination towards the Nazis in Europe at the same time that antisemitism is flaring up. Nazi memorabilia is increasingly fetishized and prized within the fetid corners of the world in which far-Right bigotry is reviving,” Marcus said. The auction itself, he contended, “is symptomatic of the broader resurgence of antisemitism and neo-Nazi ideology in Europe.”

“This is not just ‘neo’ Nazism. It is Nazism, pure and simple. In a sense, Nazism never entirely disappeared,” he told The Algemeiner. “Within much of the Western world, it simply went underground after World War II. Increasingly, however, it is resurfacing today as memories of the Second World War recede.” 

read more

Netherlands: Family reports anti-Semitic abuse after displaying Israeli flag

Via Jerusalem Post:
A Dutch Jewish man said he suffered sustained anti-Semitic abuse after he posed in his yard holding an Israeli flag.

The 47-year-old executive, who works as an account manager, said the abuse occurred in the city of Almere, 15 miles east of Amsterdam, on Monday. Passers-by saw him holding the flag for the photo with a schoolbag slung over its pole to celebrate his son’s graduation from high school.

Across the Netherlands, it is customary for graduates’ families to hang schoolbags from the pole of the Dutch flag and other flags they affix to exterior walls for the duration of graduation week. The account manager told The Post Online that he removed the Israeli flag after taking a picture of it with his son.

But several motorists who saw the flag circled the Jewish family’s home while honking and shouting anti-Semitic slogans, said the man, who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity.

read more

Europe complains that Israel transparency NGO bill encourages attacks against human rights activists

An op-ed @ The Guardian in 2013 read: "What is striking is that everyone in the EU has lost faith in the project: both creditors and debtors, and eurozone countries, would-be members and "opt-outs"".  Three years later, nothing seems to have changed.  José Ignacio Torreblanca, one of the authors of the Guardian op-ed, has a piece in Le Figaro where, in a reference to Professor Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers, he  compares the current situation to 1914 and warns that the EU - in a mix of arrogance and incompetence - could be sleepwalking to disaster. In spite of things going so badly, the EU's obsession is Israel, i.e. Israel-bashing.   And it comes as no surprise that two of the five signatories are Belgian: Guy Verhofstadt and Philippe Lamberts.

The Jerusalem Post reports:
[...] A Rivlin representative confirmed on Sunday a report in Haaretz, stating that the five heads of four factions that together comprise nearly half of the European Parliament have warned against passage of the controversial NGO bill. That bill requires Israeli nongovernmental organizations to report sources of foreign funding, which they say could harm Israel’s relations with the European Union. 

In a letter to Rivlin, the five signatories – Gianni Pitella, president of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats; former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, who heads the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe; Philippe Lamberts and Rebecca Harms, co-chairmen of the Greens-European Free Alliance; and Gabrielle Zimmer of the Confederal Group of the European United Left – said that the bill introduced by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked with the support of Netanyahu encourages attacks against human rights activists.

The letter also stated that the signatories view Israel as “an important partner for the EU,” and emphasized that Israeli and European societies share common vision and values.

The letter noted the European Parliament’s friendly relations with the Knesset, plus the ongoing cooperation with a wide range of Israeli civil society organizations.

They expressed concern over reports of harassment and discriminatory action against some of these civil society organizations, and attempts to delegitimize the work of these organizations.

In conclusion, the signatories asked Rivlin as a person strongly committed to democracy, fundamental freedoms and human rights to raise his voice against the NGO Bill, and to stand alongside civil society activists.
read more

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hungarian fans perform Nazi salute at Euro 2016 Match

Source: Daily Mail

Via Algemeiner:
French police are investigating a group of Hungarian soccer fans who were caught on camera performing the Nazi salute during their team’s Euro 2016 match against Iceland on Saturday, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.

The fans in question, believed by police to be far-Right “ultras” (soccer enthusiasts whose fanaticism about the game often erupts into violence), were wearing identical black shirts with the word “Magyarország” (Hungary) in white letters, as they made the Hitlerian gesture, en masse, in the direction of the competing team.

The incident, a police source said, “could lead to prosecutions under anti-racism laws, and legislation aimed at combating antisemitism.”

According to the Daily Mail, the Stade Velodrome, the stadium in Marseilles where the match took place, is located near a Jewish district, whose residents regularly complain of verbal and physical intimidation at the hands of antisemites.

read more

UK: Jewish and pro-Israel students at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University have become a persecuted minority

The Algemeiner reports:
Jewish and pro-Israel students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SAOS) at London University have become a persecuted minority at an institution that prides itself on cultural and religious diversity, a British academic said in an op-ed in Life Spectator.  

Adrian Hilton, academic chairman of the Thatcher Center, contended that that the environment at SAOS has become one in which minorities are “intimidated into self-censorship” and “bludgeoned into the acceptance of Islamo-Marxist political orthodoxy.” As a result, he wrote, today he’d “think twice before…send[ing] one of my young students there.” 

Hilton described a conversation he had with a Hindu scholar at SAOS, who said that the school used to be a vibrant academic establishment packed with students of all minorities roaming the halls. But today, he claimed, “The corridor is quite’s now a very different place.” 

“It’s very Muslim-dominant — you can see it all around,” the scholar told Hilton. “You walk into the common room when it’s busy and you feel like you’re in an Arab institution. Before, I didn’t feel a part of the minority because no one was in a minority or a majority: everyone was different and you got to know all sorts of people. But now I do… uncomfortably feel a little like a cautious kafir.” [...]

Earlier this year, SAOS sponsored an “Israel Apartheid Week,” during which anti-Israel students constructed an “apartheid wall” and “went around menacing their fellow students with fake machine guns.” The event culminated in a vote in favor of an academic boycott against Israel, which, according to Hilton, “was made with the endorsement of the school’s academic staff.” In one instance of reprisal against those who did not support the boycott, an Israeli student was ejected from the anti-Zionist Israeli Society for “having the temerity to oppose the boycott,” he wrote. [...]

According to SAOS Jewish Society President Moselle Paz Solis, “We are too scared to go anywhere so we walk in a group to the station. People come up to me and say I heard you hate Palestinians.”

“There is little or no tolerance for anyone who objects to the demonization of Israel and the casual visitor could be forgiven for thinking that only one religion is tolerated on campus,” Hilton concluded, calling it “quite sad” that SAOS has morphed into a “regressive institution” that “wallow[s] in… anti-Israel delusions, while turning a blind eye to the world’s most repressive regimes.”

read more

Sunday, June 19, 2016

‘Sweden wants to be leader in fight against anti-Semitism’

The Swedish government recently supported the UNESCO motion that denied Jewish ties to Jerusalem, and blamed Israel for any violence in the city, as well as claiming that Israel plants "fake graves" in Muslim cemeteries.  

 The Swedish government does not condemn Palestinian antisemitic incitement - it funds it and supports it. 

If they want to "lead the fight against antisemitism", they need to stop seeing Israel as the root of all evil in the Middle East.  Somehow, I can't see that happening.
Via Jerusalem Post:
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven “really wants to take a lead in combating anti-Semitism worldwide,” Ambassador Carl Magnus Nesser says.

The Nordic country is taking charge in tackling its own recent issues with Jew-hatred, and is looking to lead a global stance against it, Nesser said last week.

Nesser and Stockholm’s new special envoy on the issue, Joachim Bergström, met last week with politicians and academics up North, in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem, in an effort to better understand how to cope with anti-Semitism.
The ambassador said Löfven’s stance comes after a rise in reported anti-Semitic incidents in Sweden, noting the country experienced a 38 percent increase from 2013 to 2014. Around 20,000 Jews live in the country, and 4 percent of hate crimes reported involved anti-Semitism, according to government statistics.

read more

UK: BBC rejects antisemitsm complains after reporter blames Israel for European antisemitism

A BBC interviewer justified terrorism against Jews by invoking Israel:
“We have to not to be afraid to say that the Jews, they are the target now,” she said.

The interviewer, Tom Willcox, interjected: “Many critics, though, of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffered hugely at Jewish hands as well.”

The flustered Chava proceeded to say that the two should not be conflated, when Willcox continued: “But you understand, everything is seen from different perspectives?”

The BBC cannot see what's wrong with that.   After all, Wilcox just quoted "many critics" and it is "factually based".  It is indeed a fact that many antisemites justify antisemitism by invoking Israel. 

Via Guardian:
The BBC’s governing body has rejected complaints about a BBC News interview in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in which the presenter said Palestinians “suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well”.

The live interview conducted by the BBC’s Tim Willcox with an Israeli-born Jewish woman was accused of being antisemitic and offensive after she was asked: “Many critics though of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well.”

Critics included historian Simon Schama who described the interview as “appalling”.


The BBC Trust, in its ruling published on Thursday, described Willcox’s question as “clumsy” but rejected the complaints that it breached the BBC’s editorial guidelines.

It said it was not the presenter’s opinion but had been “clearly attributed to critics of Israel” and was “factually based”.

The interviewee had not made a formal complaint, it said, and there was “no evidence from the broadcast interview that she was surprised, upset, bewildered or offended by the exchange”.

read more

Germany: Hermann Goering’s underpants among Nazi items at auction

Via JTA:
An auction of Nazi memorabilia in Munich includes underpants worn by Hermann Goering and socks worn by Adolf Hitler.

The auction scheduled for this weekend at the Herman Historica International auction house in Munich also includes dresses that belonged to Hitler’s lover Eva Braun and the case that held the cyanide capsule that Goering, second in command to Hitler, used to take his life the night before he was scheduled to be hanged in 1946 following his conviction on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials.

Jewish groups have condemned the auction, and the mayor of Munich has asked the auction house to cancel it, fearing the objects will be glorified by neo-Nazis, the Telegraph reported.

read more

UK: Swastikas found in children’s playground for fourth day running

Via Jewish Chronicle:
Police have increased patrols in Stamford Hill after posters bearing swastikas were found in a children’s playground for a fourth day in a row.

The Metropolitan Police said it was "aware of the religiously aggravated material that has been appearing" and that "patrols have been increased and we are doing all we can to investigate this."

Shomrim, the Jewish neighbourhood watch, first alerted police to posters when they were discovered in the playground on Monday.

They have appeared every day since then.

read more

Belgium: Jewish boy ‘gassed’ with deodorant by classmates in showers to simulate Nazi gas chambers

An illustrative photograph of a school
shower (Wikimedia Commons)
The whole thing started two years ago when the children were 10 - it's frightening to think that, young as they were, they already knew so much about gas chambers and the extermination of European Jews (one and a half million being children).  For them, playing the Nazis and tormenting a classmate, because he is Jewish, was their idea of having fun.  Nothing wrong about that.  It went on and on and nobody cared or noticed. 

JTA reports:
Belgian elementary school students are accused of anti-Semitic bullying of a Jewish classmate, whom they allegedly sprayed with deodorant while he was showering at school to simulate Nazi gas chambers.  The three students told their Jewish classmate they were “gassing” him during the incident, according to his mother.

The Jewish student was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse over the past two years at his elementary school in the Brussels suburb of Braine-le-Chateau, according to a statement Friday by the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism. All the involved students are now 12 years old.

The mother of the alleged victim filed a police complaint last week over the bullying, which she said her son detailed to her. Francis Brancart, an education board official, confirmed Thursday that his office was looking into the matter, which he said may require the opening of an independent inquiry, the news agency Belga reported. He said he could not confirm the veracity of the complaints.

The alleged incident in the showers happened early last year. The three students pressed the deodorant canisters’ nozzles to the boy’s body, his mother said, causing burns and skin irritations on his back. She said it was one of dozens of incidents in which her son was subjected to violence, anti-Semitic jokes and intimidation.

The student complained to faculty but his mother said the teacher in charge ignored the complaints, even after her son asked for and got permission to stay indoors during recess to avoid harassment.  [...]

The principal said the teacher handling the mother’s complaint did not relay the anti-Semitic character of the harassment to her. She said the three students involved in the deodorant incident were reprimanded for their behavior, which they said was part of a game.

LBCA president Joel Rubinfeld told Belga he interviewed other students who confirmed the anti-Semitic nature of the “gassing” incident and the recurrence of jokes and taunts referencing the Holocaust in the student’s bullying by the three other classmates.

The case reported last week is one of several recent anti-Semitic incidents in Belgium, including the bullying of a high school student who was forced to change schools amid alleged inaction by the institution where the harassment occurred. Last year, Belgian media reported on the online shaming by classmates of a pro-Israel high school student who also left the public education system for a Jewish school.

Such cases, Rubinfeld said last year, are turning Belgian schools into “Jew-free” zones.

read more

Friday, June 17, 2016

Belgium: Antwerp Red Star Line Museum features writer who has posted anti-semitic/anti-Israel material

The President of Israel Reuven Rivlin will be visiting the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp on Tuesday June 21.  The Museum is "dedicated to telling the story of the two million immigrants who passed through Antwerp on their way from Europe to North America".  A large part were Jewish and as a result the Museum attracts many American Jewish visitors whose ancestors fled persecution in Europe before the rise to power of Adolf Hitler. 

The fact that a man, Youssef Kobo's (real name Youssef Aouriaghel),  who has compared Israel to the Islamic state, thus implying that Rivlin is on the same moral level as arch-terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and made derogatory remarks about the Jewish community in Antwerp, features on the Museum's website, is deeply disturbing.  All the more so because the Museum will be hosting the President of Israel and is visited by many Jews whose ancestors were victims of European deeply-rooted antisemitism which led to the extermination of six million European Jews. 

This blog has reported on Youssef Kobo's outrageous remarks about Israel: Museum features antisemitic "Israel = ISIS" writer.

Kobo is an advisor on communications and diversity (multi-culturalism) to Bianca Debaets (the Flemish Christian democrat (CD&V) Brussels regional Secretary of State responsible for IT, the digital agenda, equal opportunities, animal welfare, and development aid and road safety).

Youssef Kobo posted this antisemitic cartoon last year.

To stress the point, Kobo added:
JSIL the crazy twin brother of ISIS, aka the Jewish State in the Levant aka Israel.  The evil, murderous Jews, twins of Islamic State, carving up Gaza.   

But there is more.  When two prominent Belgian politicians Bart De Wever and Kris Peeters visited a synagogue in Antwerp, Youssef Aouriaghel (aka Youssef Kobo) was outraged by Mr. De Wever's behaviour.  This is what he posted:

Look, this is what I found. Bart De Wever [the Mayor of the city of Antwerp] is wearing a kippah and singing an hymn to Zionism at a synagogue in Antwerp. We now know why the N-VA [his party] stubbornly defends Israel while it perpeptrates one massacre after another in Gaza.

When will this Mayor pay a visit to a mosque in his city, wearing a djellaba? Or is it the case that the Antwerp Muslim community doesn't matter for him? It is much larger than the Jewish community. [The last point made by Kobo is absolutely spot on.  It is estimated that the Muslim population in Belgium stands at 800,000 while the Jewish community barely stands at 30,000.  The Jewish community is ageing and dwindling.]
It is reported that Kris Peeters (Flemish Christian democrat party, CD&V, like Bianca Debaets) addressed the congregation during the same visit at the Chabad Synagogue in Antwerp and also wore a kippah, but this fact doesn't seem to have caused any outrage as far as Youssef Kobo is concerned.

Both Facebook posts were promptly removed by Youssef Kobo after Minister Debaets was apprised of their offensive content by a Jewish media outlet.

The Museum and the city Alderman in charge, Philippe Heylen, have also been made aware of Kobo's remarks but, typically, see no reason why he and his article should not feature on the Museum's website.

In Belgium, this type of talk is acceptable discourse.