Friday, March 24, 2017

Greece: Report: Anti-Semitism in Greece today

Via Against Antisemitism:
(...) The report presents the results of two opinion surveys conducted in Greece, in June 2014 and January 2015, on the issue of antisemitism the country. After a brief discussion on the meaning and origins of the phenomenon of antisemitism, the study presents an overview of its manifestations in the Greek society, in particular politics, the Church and the media. A detailed presentation of the findings of the two surveys follows, which measure antisemitic attitudes in the Greek society and correlate them with factors such as gender, age, political opinion, education, church affiliation but also trust, cosmopolitanism, belief in conspiracy theories and victimhood. The results confirm previous studies and assumptions that antisemitism in Greece is very high (around 70%), the highest percentage in Europe. The report ends with recommendations on how the government and the Greek society as a whole should act systematically against this scourge. (...)
The report is available only in Greek here.  

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Belgium: Rampant anti-Israel activity on campuses has Jewish students desperate to make their voices heard

As reported (20 March) on this blog Belgium: Four universities invite Palestinian terrorist to speak as part of BDS week.

Benjamin Fischer makes an important point (see last paragraph) - in the face of so much hatred Jewish students are powerless and do not get help or sympathy.

Salah Hamouri, a frequent guest at Israel-bashing events in Belgium.
Via The Algemeiner:
The head of Europe’s Jewish students umbrella group told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that rampant anti-Israel activity on Belgian campuses has Jewish students desperate to have their voices heard. 
Catholic University of Leuven (KUL)
Benjamin Fischer, president of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), said four universities turned down appeals to cancel events featuring Palestinian terrorist Salah Hamouri, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine arrested in 2005 for plotting to assassinate Israel’s former Sephardic chief Rabbi, the late Ovadia Yosef. Despite a letter-writing campaign to university directors, spearheaded by EUJS and the Belgian Union of Jewish Students (UEJB), Hamouri was allowed to speak throughout February and March — during “Israeli Apartheid Week” — on the topic of Palestinians’ treatment in Israeli prisons at the University of Antwerp, the Free University of Brussels, the Catholic University of Louvain and the Catholic University of Leuven. 
“The directors told us that it was a matter of free speech, and they would permit the programs to go forward as planned,” Fischer said, noting that EUJS “took the unusual step of asking an event to be shut down, because we thought, in this particular instance, the campuses had gone too far.” (...) 
Fischer said the trials met by Jews on Belgium campuses are not comparable to those facing their US and UK counterparts, as radical Belgian student groups — specifically the Marxist COMAC youth movement and Een Andre Joodse Stem (Another Jewish Voice) — reflect the extreme anti-Israel and atheistic rhetoric found regularly in public and political discourse. 
“Being a student in Belgium means that there are campuses where you have to hide your Jewish identity,” he said. “The students here aren’t less active about responding to Israeli or Jewish issues, but they don’t have the numbers or the necessary support and resources of the international anti-BDS movement.”  
read more

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

UK: Students urged to read works of Holocaust denier David Irving at LSE event

Via Jewish News:
Complaints have been made to the London School of Economics following a talk by a disgraced former UN official during which one of his supporters told students to read the works of notorious Holocaust denier David Irving.
The alleged remarks came amid protests against the presence on campus of Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine from 2008 to 2014 who has been repeatedly condemned for inflammatory actions and statements by the UK. Today’s event was held to promote Falk’s new book ‘Palestine’s Horizon: Towards a Just Peace, in which he claims Jerusalem has been “ethnically cleansed”. 
UN Watch had called for Theresa May to expel Falk from Britain after highlighting the fact that in 2012 the UK Foreign Office condemned Falk for providing the cover endorsement for Gilad Atzmon’s book “The Wandering Who” which accuses “the Jews” of being “the only people who managed to maintain and sustain a racially orientated, expansionist and genocidal national identity that is not at all different from Nazi ethnic ideology”. In April 2013, the UK Mission to the UN condemned Falk after he blamed the Boston terrorist attack on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv”. 
As Monday’s event descended into chaos with pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian shouting accusations and at least two of the former removed for disruptive behaviour, post-graduate Sapan Maini-Thompson claimed Atzmon audibly claimed Jews were being removed for misbehviour, as in Germany. 
He told the Jewish News: “He said to those around him ‘the Jews were expelled from Germany for misbehaving’ – which he repeated when challenged. He was recommending to those around him to read the works of David Irving and said Israel’s actions in the occupied territories are Hitlerian. After the event I went up to the man and aggressively called him a Nazi. I’m not hiding that.” 
read more 

Ireland: Pro-Israel speaker pulls out of conference over presence of Richard Falk

Via The Jewish Chronicle:
Alan Johnson
One of only two speakers due to argue Israel’s case at a conference questioning the existence of the Jewish state has withdrawn from the event over the appearance of an author who has endorsed a book espousing antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Professor Alan Johnson, BICOM’s senior research Fellow, confirmed he has pulled out of the conference in Cork, Ireland in protest at the organisers’ decision to bill Richard Falk as one of the keynote speakers.
In a statement, Prof Johnson, who also edits the Fathom journal, said:“I have informed the organisers of the Cork Conference that I will no longer be participating. The organisers have issued an invitation to Richard Falk to give a keynote speech. 
“I had agreed to participate in an academic conference to present a paper in defence of Israel’s right to exist. But by inviting a speaker who espouses antisemitic conspiracy theories the conference is now objectively an attempt to normalise antisemitism and I cannot attend such an event."
The Cork conference, which is titled “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism and Responsibility” and begins on March 31, will feature some of the most outspoken critics of Israel. Speakers include anti-Zionist historian Professor llan Pappe and the University of Southampton’s Professor Oren Ben-Dor, who has blamed the Jewish mind set for provoking antisemitism.
Prof Johnson had initially believed he had a duty to attend the event in order to “defend Israel’s right to exist”.
But he told the JC he had decided to withdraw because in his view Mr Falk’s appearance “changes the character of the event”.
He cited Mr Falk’s endorsement of a book by musician and writer Gilad Atzmon, who describes himself as “a proud, self-hating Jew”, as an influencing factor.
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Italian rabbi objects to Pope Francis's anti-Jewish rhetoric

Via First Things (Matthew Schmitz):
In his morning homilies, Pope Francis has been offering increasingly frequent and bitter denunciations of Catholics who oppose his push to give communion to the divorced and remarried. Sometimes he has portrayed these people as effeminate and womanish. More usually he has portrayed them as rigid legalists—as Pharisees who “sit in the chair of Moses and judge.”
Of course, his opponents don’t like to be insulted. As it turns out, the people he stereotypes in order to insult his opponents (vain, clothes-mad women; bitter, rule-obsessed Jews) don’t like it either.
In a recent letter on the return of Catholic anti-Judaism, Giuseppe Laras, a prominent Italian rabbi, objects to the homilies of Pope Francis for their promotion of false and dangerous anti-Jewish stereotypes. Laras perceives “an undercurrent—with the text a bit more manifest now—of resentment, intolerance, and annoyance on the Christian side toward Judaism; a substantial distrust of the Bible and a subsequent minimization of the Jewish biblical roots of Christianity; a more or less latent ‘Marcionism’ now presented in pseudo-scientific form, which today focuses insistently on ethics and politics.” 
Laras is aware of and grateful for recent improvements in Catholic understanding of Judaism—but he laments that these seem to be lost on Francis: (...)
(...) One need think only of the law of “an eye for an eye” recently evoked by the pope carelessly and mistakenly …
Laras says that “it is saddening . . . that those who raise objections, perplexities, concerns, and indignation … must always be Jews … and not instead in the first place authoritative Christian voices that right away and much sooner should assert themselves with a bold and frank ‘no.’”
Too many authoritative Christian voices—both bishops and theologians—have greeted Pope Francis’s anti-Jewish rhetoric with silence, smooth excuses, or applause. When will they speak out with the boldness of Rabbi Laras?
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Sweden: Jews harassed in Malmo

Via 24 Malmo:

A group of Jews were harassed in Malmo last Thursday.  A car drove slowly past them while the passengers shouted comments against the Jews and their traditional clothing.

Malmo police say they're investigating the incident as a hate crime. 

UK: Jews anti-Semitically abused at London School of Economics event with Richard Falk

Via UK Media Watch:
The LSE event last night (Monday) with antisemitic speaker Richard Falk (nominally launching his new book) was truly horrible. Several hardcore alleged anti-Semites were there.

Falk predictably championed the paper that was removed from the UN website –its removal was a sign that Israel and her supporters “no longer want to argue on substance”. He talked about the “changing dynamics of Zionist ambition” – it used to be “limited” but now all Israelis refer to “Judea and Samaria not the West Bank, to underline the Biblical claim.” They have a “sacred relationship to the land” which “doesn’t rely on international law or colonialism – unlike any other claim in the world”. “Israel’s push back has increasingly relied on playing the antisemitic card.” “A smear tactic designed to avoid proper discussion.” “It is a test of academic freedom”.


As I left the room, I held up my Israel flag. Our departure caused chaos with people complaining that silent protesters were being removed. Gilad Atzmon said “’Raus” as I left the room (it is on film though I didn’t hear it).  He was admonished by the pro-Palestinians.  Atzmon then turned around to the Jewish students at the back and said “being chucked out for causing trouble, just like you lot were in Germany”.  The pro-Israel people then went ballistic at him and asked him to repeat it – which he happily did. Security was called to people remove him – even the pro-Palestinians told him he had crossed a red line. Then (I was told – I was outside) the event descended into chaos as Security refused to remove Atzmon. It ended earlier than the 90 minutes planned. 

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Sweden: Neo-Nazis disrupt lectures by Holocaust survivors

Via Ynet News (h/t Honestly Concerned):
A neo-Nazi organization active in Sweden has been disrupting lectures from Holocaust survivors throughout the country, but the police are refusing to provide security at the locations of such talks, according to Israel’s top envoy to the Nordic country.
Ambassador Isaac Bachman, who has 29 years’ experience with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote of this situation in a diplomatic cable to the MFA in Jerusalem.

It has a clearly racist and anti-Semitic ideology, and its members make sure to plan their activities to cause the most friction and receive the highest amount of media coverage.

As one would expect from such an organization, the Nordic Resistance Movement denies the Holocaust and deems the eyewitness accounts of its few remaining survivors to be preposterous.

As part of their campaign to interrupt lectures by survivors, they went to a talk given three weeks ago by a Holocaust survivor who has lived in Sweden for decades and who frequently shares his personal experiences with the public.

Members of the organization protested outside the hall where he was speaking and distributed flyers to attendees that spread their Holocaust-denying ideology. The “informational materials” claimed that lecture being given was entirely bogus. The ensuing verbal confrontations deteriorated into a physical brawl.

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Germany: BDS events cancelled in Frankfurt and Bonn

Via The Jerusalem Post (Benjamin Weinthal):
After a wave of objections to a boycott-Israel event scheduled for next week in Bonn, Germany, the Jewish community there on Monday announced its delight with cancellation of the gathering and a widely criticized antisemitic talk that was to be given at it.

A separate pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference set to take place in June in Frankfurt was also canceled.
 “The Jewish community is pleased that the event was canceled,” a spokeswoman for the Bonn Jewish community told The Jerusalem Post. Nearly 1,000 members belong to the organization in the North Rhine-Westphalia city of some 311,000 people. 
The Bonn-based Pfennigsdorf Foundation planned to host a talk by former pastor Martin Breidert titled, “For Human Rights and International Law in Palestine – What Does BDS Want?” The speaker is widely viewed as antisemitic and an aggressive hater of the Jewish state. 
read more

Monday, March 20, 2017

Belgium: Four universities invite Palestinian terrorist to speak as part of BDS week

Salah Hamouri, a frequent guest at Israel-bashing events in Belgium.
i24NEWS reports:
The University of Antwerp in Belgium will host on Wednesday Palestinian terrorist Salah Hamouri, who will be speaking about "the issue of torture and human rights violations in Israeli Prisons."
It is important to give the whole picture.  In total four (and not only one) Belgian universities hosted the Palestinian terrorist.  The Free University of Brussels and the University of Antwerp went one step further.  They invited Charlotte Kates of Samidoun.  In December 2016, Samidoun organised in Brussels an event to pay homage to Sami Kuntar, the Hezbollah child killer 

It seems that only the students at the University of Antwerp protested.  

University of Antwerp

Salah Hamouri and Charlotte Kates of Samidoun.

The Free University of Brussels (ULB)
Salah Hamouri and Charlotte Kates of Samidoun.  

The Catholic University of Louvain (UCL, francophone)

Salah Hamouri and Alexis Deswaef, Belgian Human Rights League.

The Catholic University of Leuven (KUL, Flemish):
Salah Hamouri, hosted by Pr. Lieven De Cauter and Selwa Othman.

(...) Hamouri was arrested by Israeli authorities in March 2005. After pleading guilty, he was finally sentenced in April 2008 to half the sentence he was incurring. He was released in December 2011 under a deal with Hamas to release captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for nearly 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. 
Hamouri's speech at the University of Antwerp for "Israel apartheid week" was organized by the extreme left-wing group COMAC, the youth movement of the Labor Party of Belgium, and was approved by the school's director, Herman Van Goethem.
The decision to host Hamouri has caused a stir in the Belgian Jewish community, especially for the Jewish students attending the university. 
"I am very disappointed with the event, as the guest is a terrorist convicted of an assassination attempt, released before the end of his sentence,' Jessica Rosenblum, a student at the University of Antwerp, told i24NEWS. "An individual like Hamouri and the hate speech from organizations advocating the BDS movement have no place in Antwerp," she added, denouncing the use of freedom of expression in order to "delegitimize Israel."
The Association of Jewish Students at the University wrote a letter to the University director, detailing their outrage over the event, a copy of which was obtained by i24NEWS
In his reply Van Goethem defended "freedom of expression", and said that the university he runs has the right to organize evenings with a "political" theme, especially to allow those who want to express their opinion on the concept of "Apartheid linked to the concept of the Jewish state" to be heard. 
For him, Salah Hamouri's conviction for terrorism "cannot justify a refusal" to allow him to appear at the event. 
Additionally, Hamouri "served his sentence of seven years and pleaded guilty as part of an agreement to reduce his sentence," Van Goethem said. 
"Preventive censorship in the context of freedom of expression is fundamentally unacceptable," he added. "It will be an opportunity to ask critical questions and debate. I see no reason not to organize this evening."
"I sincerely hope that this debate, which I am sure will be a robust one, will facilitate a meeting of minds on a topic where, in my opinion, a far too great polarization prevails," concluded Van Goethem. (...)
"He was released as part of an exchange," André Gantman, a member of the Antwerp Municipal Council and former president of the Jewish association B'nai B'rith in Antwerp, told i24NEWS, referring to the Shalit deal. 
"The problem is not a legal but a moral one," he said, adding that "Hamouri has never expressed any regrets." 
For Gantman, the director Herman Van Goethem bears responsibility for this "inadmissible" event, effectively "allowing his university be violated a killer." 
Echoing this sentiment, student Israel supporter Jenny Aharon told i24NEWS the “dialogue” argument is misleading. For her, the problem is not confronting opposing views, but “debating with a killer.”
read more

Germany/Belgium: Germany MPs investigate pro-Hezbollah academic Finkelstein's talks

Via The Jerusalem Post (Benjamin Weinthal): 
In a dramatic widening of an academic antisemitism scandal at the Max Planck Institute for the promotion of lectures delivered by a pro-Hezbollah instructor, German Green Party lawmakers began a parliamentary inquiry on Friday into Dr. Norman Finkelstein’s talks. 
The Jerusalem Post obtained a copy of the Green Party questionnaire sent to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration, which includes her Education Ministry’s criticism of allegedly shoddy scholarship practiced at the Max Planck Institute in Halle.
Stefan Müller, an undersecretary of the Education Ministry, wrote that the ministry “sees with concern that in the context of a controversial academic discussion possible antisemitic theses were given a platform.” 
Müller, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said the government called on the president of the Max Planck Institute, Martin Stratmann, to clear up the alleged misconduct. Stratmann, according to Müller, has not provided answers to the Merkel administration. 
Pro-Hezbollah activist and US academic Finkelstein delivered two lectures, including one titled “Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom.” 
The talks were held in January at the Max Planck Institute branch in the city of Halle, in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. 
The institute under Stratmann’s leadership has been mired in turmoil since the Halle branch of the institute allegedly lied to the public about the content of Finkelstein’s pro-Hamas talk. The US and the EU classify Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations. 
Finkelstein has defended Hamas violence against the Jewish state, saying: “Now, under international law, Hamas, the Palestinians – nothing in international law debars them from using armed force to end the occupation.... For me that’s not an important question. Legally, they have the right. Morally, in my opinion, they have the right.” 
In a statement to the Post, Green Party deputy Volker Beck, who along with fellow lawmakers jump-started the parliamentary investigation into Max Planck Institute’s management, said, “The invitation [to Finkelstein] was certainly not academically kosher. And the public was lied to multiple times.” 
Beck said the institute must explain why academic Marie-Claire Foblets (*), who vigorously defended Finkelstein, “did not tell the public the truth about the topic and the form of the event, and how the entire incident was justified for a scientific institution.” Marie-Claire Foblets is the managing director at the institute’s Department of Law & Anthropology. 
Beck said the Max Planck Institute deceived the public by saying Finkelstein’s lecture was open to the public admission.
After rising criticism of the event in the media, largely in the Post, the institute changed the event to an internal workshop and barred the public from attending, according to critics.

(*) Marie-Claire Baroness Foblets is a Belgian lawyer and anthropologist and professor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (LeuvenBelgium). Her research interests are interculturalism, migration and minorities. In 2004, she was awarded the Francqui Prize on Human Sciences for her research on anthropology. Since 2012 she is head of the department of Anthropology of Law at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (Germany).

Europe: Ira Forman worried about antisemitism in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Russia

Via Pajamas Media:
Removing a special envoy position for combating anti-Semitism would send a bad signal to the rest of the world concerning American attitudes on the issue, the former envoy in the Obama administration said Wednesday. 
Ira Forman served as the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism in the State Department from 2013 to 2017. According to Bloomberg, the Trump administration in its budget proposal is considering discontinuing Forman’s and other special envoy offices in an attempt to balance out a $54 billion increase in defense spending. This prompted a bipartisan group of 167 House members to send a letter to the Trump administration Monday asking that he fill the “crucial” office that “enables the U.S. to show the world its commitment to these ideals” of human rights “particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is dangerously on the rise.” 
Forman said he believes the special envoy office will be filled, though he didn’t base that assumption on any inside information or contact with the White House. The position is congressionally mandated, so it would require legislation to remove the office. 
Forman said that in maintaining itself as a world superpower, the U.S. not only has to sustain its economic and military position in the world, but it also must maintain core values. Combating anti-Semitism is part of that, said Forman, who spoke at Georgetown University's Center for Jewish Civilization. (...)
Forman is most concerned about Jewish communities in France, which has the largest Jewish population outside the U.S. or Israel with nearly 500,000, and Turkey, where he believes anti-Semitism is used frequently as a political tool. Belgium, the Netherlands and Russia also made his list.
read more 

Poland: New book on killing of Jews exposes raw nerve

Via CBS:
A prominent Polish historian presented evidence Wednesday about Polish villagers’ widespread killing of Jews fleeing Nazis during World War II, touching a raw nerve in a country still grappling with its role during the Holocaust.

The research is likely to irk the nationalist Polish government, which has taken aim at those seeking to undermine its official stance that Poles were only heroes in the war, not collaborators who committed heinous crimes.

In launching the English-language version of her 2011 book, “Such a Beautiful Sunny Day,” Barbara Engelking details dozens of cases of everyday Poles raping Jewish women and bludgeoning Jews to death with axes, shovels and rocks. The book, which came out in Polish under the previous government, takes its title from the last words of a Jew pleading with peasants to spare his life before he was beaten and shot to death. It offers a searing indictment of Polish complicity that will now reach a far wider audience.

“The responsibility for the extermination of Jews in Europe is borne by Nazi Germany,” she writes. “Polish peasants were volunteers in the sphere of murdering Jews.”

Havi Dreifuss, a Tel Aviv University scholar and director of Yad Vashem’s center for research on the Holocaust in Poland, said Engelking’s research has shed new light on the last phase of the Holocaust, after Jews were packed into ghettos and sent to extermination camps, and how even those who had managed to survive that still faced the wrath of their compatriots.

She said estimates range between 160,000-250,000 Jews who escaped and sought help from fellow Poles. She said only about 10-20 percent of those survived, with the rest rejected, informed upon or killed by the rural Poles themselves.

“This research reveals not only the Jewish immense efforts to escape, as well as the Jewish despair and helplessness. It also exposes the terrible reality in which those Jews found themselves: a reality where very few acts of kindness were lost among the countless acts of cruelty, abuse and meanness,” she said. 

read more

Sunday, March 19, 2017

UK: Labour Hall Green candidate deselected after sharing 'anti-Semitic' Facebook posts

Via Birmingham Mail:
A Labour Party candidate has been deselected from a council by-election after sharing anti-Semitic Jewish conspiracy theories on social media.

The controversial Facebook posts from Alison Gove-Humphries emerged four days after she had been selected by members in Hall Green to stand for election in May.

The Birmingham Board of the Labour Party met on Friday night to begin the process of approving potential candidates for the 2018 council elections.
Read More

Mrs Gove-Humphries had argued the controversial posts were shared by her on a private Facebook page and were taken out of context . She highlighted a previous association with the Holocaust Education Trust.

But the Board decided to remove Mrs Gove-Humphries from its list.

read more

UK: “Scum Nazis” scrawled across Belfast memorial for commander of the Jewish Legion during First World War

Via CAA:
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is investigating a graffiti attack on the memorial to the former commander of the so-called Jewish Legion as a hate crime.

“Scum Nazis” was scrawled across the memorial to Lt Col John Henry Patterson DSO who commanded the so-called Jewish Legion during the First World War, which was the first Jewish fighting force in nearly two millennia. Whilst his men fought with distinction, Lt Col Patterson, who was not Jewish, had to defend them from the antisemitism of his superiors, peers and subordinates, even threatening to resign his commission on multiple occasions in protest at the treatment of his soldiers. Lt Col Patterson sacrificed any hope of a successful military career in order to stand by his Jewish soldiers and ensure that they were treated fairly.

In accordance with his dying wish, Lt Col Patterson was reburied in Israel in 2014 in order to be close to the soldiers who fell under his command.

The memorial had only recently been restored following an attempt to set it alight.

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