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.
read more

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?
read more

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. 

read more

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.

read more

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.

read more

Hungary’s Ugly State-Sponsored Holocaust Revisionism

Via Tablet (h/t glykosymoritis):

Does it matter if a country consciously lies about its past? An excerpt from the new book, ‘The End of Europe' By James Kirchick
Why does it matter if a country consciously lies about its past? Inculcating in future generations a litany of myths about national innocence, perpetual victimhood, and lost honor grants license to irresponsible and dangerous behavior. Today’s fight over memory politics in Hungary echoes the mid-1980s German Historikerstreit, or historians’ controversy. That dispute centered on whether the crimes of Nazi Germany were singular evils or comparable to other mass atrocities, in particular, those of Stalinism. The intellectual combatants of the Historikerstreit brought no new facts to bear but only argued over how to interpret what was already widely known. In the words of the German essayist Peter Schneider, so heated was the argumentation, so deeply did it impinge on Germany’s understanding of itself, that the fusillade of polemics in the feuilletons attracted “a level of curiosity among the general public normally aroused by photos of the British royal family in swimsuits.”


After much back and forth, Nolte and his confrères were soundly refuted in the court of German public opinion. Among Germans today, it is a consensus view that the Holocaust was a singular event and that Germany has a duty to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and impart it to future generations. Germans have so thoroughly imbibed the awful lessons of their history that their country is one of the more immune in Europe to far-right populism.

Hungary, by contrast, has undertaken no such reckoning. In the same way that Ernst Nolte wanted ordinary Germans to feel a straightforward patriotism, uncomplicated by guilt over the Nazi past, Viktor Orbán and Mária Schmidt wish to muddy the distinctions between victim and perpetrator in order to present a simplistic view of Hungarian history. Nolte’s complaint that preoccupation with the Holocaust served “the interests of the persecuted and their descendants in a permanent, privileged status” sounds indistinguishable from Schmidt’s allegation that the progeny of the victims of Hungarian fascism “would like to consider their ancestors’ tragic fate an inheritable and advantageous privilege.” It is inconceivable that a German chancellor today would express a desire to “preserve Germany for the Germans.” Yet this is precisely the sort of language, redolent of the 1930s, that Viktor Orbán uses today about Hungary. Convinced that Hungarians are perennial victims of global machinations—abetted by his “evil” domestic opponents—and unencumbered by comprehension of, or a sense of humility about, where heedless nationalism has taken his country in the past, Orbán feels emboldened to advance a chauvinist political agenda.
read more

Norway: Left-wing party split on proposal to ban circumcision

Via Jerusalem Post (h/t morsmal):
A proposal to support a ban on ritual circumcision and label it child abuse is splitting the leadership of a liberal party in Norway that supports outreach to Muslim immigrants.

Socialist Left secretary Kari Elisabeth Kaski will push for language supporting the ban in the party’s official platform during a general assembly meeting this weekend, the Klasse Kampen far-left news site reported Thursday.

The plank would propose 15 years as the minimum age for non-medical circumcision of boys, pending their consent. Jews typically have boys circumcised at 8 days old in a ritual called brit milah. The Muslim variant typically occurs later in life but before the age of 13.

Party leaders Audun Lysbakken and Snorre Valen oppose the plan.

“For Norwegian Jews, such a ban would be difficult to deal with,” Lysbakken said. “From the minority’s perspective, this proposal therefore is deeply troubling and I hope those promoting it will reconsider.”

read more

France: Why some Jewish parents are taking their kids out of public schools

When her 7-year-old son, Noah, came home from school with a black eye, Virginie Selem decided she had finally had enough. 
“He told me someone at school had called him a dirty Jew,” says Selem, a mother of three living in Alfortville, a middle-class suburb southeast of Paris. 
Selem describes her family as not especially religious, but at the start of the next school year, she took her three children out of the French public education system and put them in a private Jewish school. 
“When [Noah] was in public school he came home feeling ashamed,” Selem says. “I wanted my kids to come home from school without feeling shame.” 
French law prohibits collecting statistics based on race, ethnicity and religion, so it is difficult to quantify the number of Jewish students leaving public schools. But anecdotal evidence — and a steady flow of Jews leaving not only French schools, but France itself — points to a climate of insecurity that may be getting worse. 
Much of that insecurity seems to be fueled by tensions between France’s Muslim and Jewish populations at a moment of particular volatility after some high-profile terrorist attacks aimed at French Jews. 
read more

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spain: Antisemitic graffiti at the University of Barcelona

Barcelona – this antisemitic graffiti (all the Jews to the gas chambers) was written on the wall of icons powered by the BDS organization of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, not far from the "apartheid week".

The organization said that the they will erase the graffiti because the organization's intent is to condemn "Israel’s Apartheid". But the fact is that the organization offers a perfect platform for anti-Semitic messages, among other expressions of hatred.

read more

Friday, March 17, 2017

Holland: Anti-Semitic slogans ('Cancer Jews') shouted by Muslims at demonstrations that have nothing to do with Jews

Via European Jewish Press (Yossi Lempkowicz, Editor-in-Chief):
(...) Jewish groups, who are regularly expressing their worries at electoral gains of  populist parties across Europe, will probably also be somewhat relieved with the elections results in the Netherlands.
While some of these parties are openly pro-Israel and try to connect to the Jewish communities, representative Jewish groups are avoiding open contacts with them because they fear for democracy and European values. 
But there is no doubt that a significant number of Jews in the Netherlands voted for Wilders out of fear from the radical Islamists. The same will probably happen in France. 
Just look at what happened last week in Rotterdam where in the midst of a diplomatic crisis between the Netherlands and Turkey, hundreds of young men confronted police, hurling stones at them while shouting "Allahu Akbar".  Some in the crowd shouted "cancer Jews". It was one of several incidents recently in the Netherlands where anti-Semitic slogans were shouted at demonstrations that had nothing to do with Jews. 
For Dutch Jews, the affair also underlined a growing concern over the defiance of a minority among local Muslims, whose anti-Semitic attitudes and actions are generating an anti-Muslim backlash in a once-tolerant society. 
"It shows the centrality of anti-Semitism as a core identity value among some Muslim immigrants and their descendants," says Manfred Gerstenfeld who has written extensively about the Netherlands. 
A similar situation happened in 2014 in France, amid protests over Israel’s strikes against Hamas in Gaza. Anti-Semitic hostility led dozens of French Arab rioters to besiege a synagogue in Sarcelles, a Paris suburb. 
Such situations have led some Jewish voters to be inclined to turn to anti-Islam and anti-immigrant parties rather than voting for mainstream parties which are criticizing Israel's policies and sometimes are lenient towards Islamist extremists. So what is good for Jews in Europe? 
read more

Germany: Frankfurt Mayor urges cancellation of BDS 'Don't buy from Jews' event

Via The Jerusalem Post (Benjamin Weinthal):
Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker hammered a pro-Palestinian group on Monday and Wednesday for promoting a Nazi-style boycott against Israel and told a local center to cancel a June event with the organization.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the Jewish state that the group – German Coordinating Circle Palestine/Israel, or Kopi – supports, pursues “deeply antisemitic propaganda,” Becker told the Frankfurter Rundschau daily. He added that BDS uses “the same language as the National Socialists... ‘Don’t Buy from Jews.’”
Becker announced on Wednesday that he plans to stage a protest against the Kopi event in front of its location in June, according to a report in the Rundschau
The anti-Israel event, titled “50 Years of Israeli Occupation,” is slated to take place at the Ka Eins Conference Center in Frankfurt on June 9 and 10. 
Becker is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party. 
Co-organizer of the protest demonstration, Sacha Stawski told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday: “Frankfurt is a multicultural city with a strong connection to Israel. There is no place for one-sided Israel-hatred. An event which criticizes the core of Israel’s existence, which calls for a boycott of the Jewish state, which demonizes and delegitimizes Israel and which applies a double standard on the Jewish state – which it does not apply to any other state – has nothing to do with legitimate criticism and should not take place here.” 
Stawski, who is editor-in-chief of the Frankfurt-based media watchdog organization Honestly Concerned, added, “We are grateful to Mayor Uwe Becker for his outspoken criticism and we are still hopeful to be able to prevent this antisemitic hate-fest from taking place.” 
He called the participants “an assembly of Israel-haters and antisemites, who regularly propagate for the demise of the Jewish state, who speak of an ‘ethical cleansing’ of the Palestinian population and who compare Jews to Nazis.”
read more

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Poland: Commemorating the blood libel of Poznań

Erik Ross writes how Poznań commemorates its blood libel:
The pious history tells how, in 1399, a group of Poznań Jews — wanting to see if the wafers were indeed, in the Church’s phrase, “the Body of Christ” — decided to bribe a poor Polish woman to steal three hosts from the Dominican church down the block. One version of the story says she smuggled the hosts out in her mouth.
read more

The blood libel is commemorated in churches and signs around the old 'Jew street'.

Ceiling paintings commemorating the blood libel at the Church of the Most Holy Blood of the Lord Jesus.  Built in the 18th century and recently renovated

Plaque inside The Church of the Most Holy Blood of the Lord Jesus

Jews supposedly trying to get rid of the stolen hosts in a swamp.  A church was built over the site.

A 15th century stone tablet tells the blood-libel.  It was recently re-gilded.

Italy: BDS conference cancelled in Rome after protests from Jewish community

Via EJP:
A conference organized by the anti-Israel Boycott Disinvestment Sanctions (BDS)  movement in Rome in the context of the ‘’Israel Apartheid Week’’ was postponed after the Jewish community and the Israeli embassy called for its cancellation.
The conference, entitled "Gaza, we break the siege’’, included the participation of American Ann Wright and of Stefano Fassina, a leftist politician. It was due to have taken place in a room at the Rome City Hall but the authorities finally refused to make the room available. (...)
Noemi Di Segni,  President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, had called on Rome mayor, Virginia Raggi, to prohibit the event by stressing that the BDS "is not a movement of opinion but a real anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish hate catalyst.’’ ‘’Every institutional legitimacy to these criminals is thus not only inappropriate, but downright dangerous for the whole of society,’’ she said.
Ruth Dureghello, president of the Jewish Community of Rome, spoke of an  "appalling event," stating that:" In Rome there can be no space for anti-Semitic positions or associations who want the destruction of Israel.’’
The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Israeli embassy in Rome Dan Haezrachy had  pointed the finger at ‘’the inadequacy of the place chosen to host an event supported by an anti-Semitic organization.’’
The president of the Rome Jewish Community of Rome Ruben della Rocca had judged "very serious" than in an institutional site would be  hosted "a racist movement like BDS.
read more 

Holland: Anti-Israel activist spotted buying lunch at Israeli falafel chain Maoz

Via The Jewish Chronicle: 
An anti-Israel activist seen to be promoting boycotts was spotted buying his falafel lunch at the Israeli chain Maoz, in Amsterdam. The man dressed in a high visibility vest, with the Palestinian flag and the words “Boycott Israel” written in bold, was pictured filling up on salad for his falafel. The picture caused amusement on a Dutch Jewish news Facebook page, where people have been quick to point out the irony. The Maoz chain was founded by Israeli husband and wife Nahman Milo and Sima Bar-On. According to the chain's website customers have the pick of two main items, the Maoz Falafel Sandwich and the Maoz Falafel Salad Box.
read more

UK: Anti-Semites are becoming bolder in Britain, and that should worry us all

Gideon Falter, Chairman of Campaign Against Anti-Semitism:
Today in Britain, it is practically impossible for a Jewish layperson to achieve a prosecution for an anti-Semitic hate crime. I see you raising an eyebrow, so I will explain.

Recently my charity was approached by a non-Jewish lady who had been mistaken for a Jew and consequently borne the brunt of unsolicited threats and abuse whilst minding her own business in a busy public place. As a non-Jew, she expected that her abuser would be swiftly investigated and prosecuted. Unfortunately victims of anti-Semitism experience a very different reality, as she soon found out.

But the Chairman of Campaign Against Anti-Semitism would have no such difficulty, you might think. It is certainly what I thought. Let me tell you my story. On 4th July 2015, neo-Nazis planned to march through Golders Green, the heart of Jewish London, during the Jewish Sabbath. That was unacceptable to the Met, so they proposed confining the neo-Nazi “anti Jewification” march to the memorial at the centre of Golders Green to those who died fighting the Nazis.

Only when we threatened a large counterprotest which threatened to cause traffic problems did the Met decide to move the neo-Nazis to a kettling pen in Westminster. I decided to go along and see what they had to say. Most did their best to stay within the law on incitement, which meant that their speeches were angry, rants against an unspecified “you know who”, but when Jeremy Bedford-Turner took the mic, he felt no constraints.

Even his audience of neo-Nazi thugs seemed surprised by his candour as he intoned that “...all politicians are nothing but a bunch of puppets dancing to a Jewish tune, and the ruling regimes in the West for the last one hundred years have danced to the same tune.”
Evoking medieval libels which claimed that Jews drank the blood of non-Jewish children, Bedford-Turner told his followers, that the French Revolution and both World Wars were massacres perpetrated by Jews. He concluded that England was “merry” during the period of the expulsion of Jews from England and concluded with a call to “free England from Jewish control.”

This is out-and-out incitement of the kind that is criminalised because history shows us where it leads. I reported Bedford-Turner’s speech to the police, and presented them with the video the neo-Nazis had helpfully placed online. Most Jewish people would at this point encounter apathy from the Met. Perhaps because I run a national charity which works with Downing Street and the Home Office, and because my evidence was incontrovertible, the case was passed straight to the Crown Prosecution Service’s counterterrorism division. And that is where the trail went cold.

read more

UK: ‘Beware of Jews’ road sign was part of project on identity, artist reveals

Via The Jewish Chronicle:
An artist has said he was behind a road sign apparently mimicking Charedi Jews and confirmed that the project was not intended to cause offence.
Franck Allais, who works as a freelance photographer, said he intended his work to be part of a project on identity, and that the sign was not an antisemitic statement.
Mr Allais said he was upset his work had caused offence to people in the community.
Police were investigating after the sign, showing an image of a Jewish man in traditional dress, seemed to warn about the presence of Jews in Stamford Hill, north London.
The sign was fixed to a lamppost near a synagogue in Clapton Common. It appeared along with another image in the area which showed a woman pulling a shopping trolley, a man pushing his wheelchair and a cat.
The image of the Jewish figure initially sparked confusion over whether it was intended as an antisemitic slur.
But Mr Allais told the Guardian: “It was a project about crossing the road … how everyone is different, everyone has an identity.
“There is not only one sign in the street. I put more signs up in the street, but only this one got noticed. I am sorry for any offence caused.”
read more

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

UK: ‘Beware of Jews’ sign posted next to Stamford Hill synagogue

Via Jewish News:
Police are investigating after a sign appearing to warn about the presence of Jews, appeared in Stamford Hill.

Fixed to a lamppost near a synagogue on Clapton Common, the image depicted a man in Orthodox dress within a triangular sign with a red outline that traditionally denotes danger in British road signs. 

read more

Austria: Hotels joint list of venues canceling BDS events in Vienna

Via The Jerusalem Post (Benjamin Weinthal):
“BDS has an antisemitic agenda and leads a campaign of demonization, delegitimization and double standards against Israel."
Hotel Kaiserwasser and Hotel Regina have pulled the plug on a pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions event featuring a British-Palestinian lawyer in Austria’s capital city.
The online news site reported on Tuesday that Hotel Kaiserwasser canceled Wednesday’s anti-Israel talk, saying that BDS Austria claimed the hotel was accused of antisemitism and that a hotel employee was threatened by Vienna’s Jewish community. 
“Nonsense,” said Raimund Fastenbauer, general-secretary of the 7,000-member Vienna Jewish community, adding that he informed the hotel about the “antisemitic character of BDS” movement targeting the Jewish state. 
The Hotel said it canceled the event due to “operational unfeasability,” according to Fastenbauer told the news site, “Nazis demanded, ‘Don’t buy from Jews,’ BDS formulates the [Nazi] demand in a similar way today.” 
Stefan Schaden, a board member of the Austrian- Israeli Society, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday: “BDS has an antisemitic agenda and leads a campaign of demonization, delegitimization and double standards against Israel. At first glance, BDS Austria may appear to be an independent NGO. However, there is no such organization in the Austria’s Interior Ministry’s central register of associations.” 
Schaden added: “[The] PNC includes the Islamic Resistance Movement, the radical Islamist terrorist organization Hamas, the Islamic Jihad in Palestine and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. These organizations perpetrate bloody antisemitic terror against Israelis and also terrorize Palestinians who do not want to submit to their violent ideologies but advocate peaceful coexistence instead. Our society therefore supports the broad coalition of civil society organizations that stand up against any form of antisemitism.” 
Salma Karmi-Ayyoub, a British-Palestinian lawyer and consultant for the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, had planned to deliver a talk titled: “Apartheid and its Applicability to Israel/Palestine.” 
Al-Haq has been linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine organization, according to the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor. 
read more

European rabbis: EU court’s ruling on religious garb means Jews, Muslims unwelcome

Via JTA:
A European Union court ruled that companies can prohibit their employees from wearing religious clothing and symbols, sparking condemnation from a rabbinical group that the decision amounts to saying “faith communities are no longer welcome.”

The ruling Tuesday by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg also said that customers cannot simply demand that workers remove headscarves if the company has no policy barring religious symbols.

“An internal rule of an undertaking which prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination,” the court said in a statement.

The ruling, which came amid a rise in the popularity of anti-Muslim politicians in Europe over the proliferation of jihadist attacks on the continent and ethnic and religious tensions, was on two lawsuits filed by Muslim employees who were sanctioned for wearing religious symbols or prohibited from doing so.

“This decision sends signals to all religious groups in Europe,” Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in a statement Tuesday. “With the rise of racially motivated incidents and today’s decision, Europe is sending a clear message; its faith communities are no longer welcome. Political leaders need to act to ensure that Europe does not isolate religious minorities and remains a diverse and open continent.”

One of the lawsuits that led to the ruling was by an employee of the Belgian branch of G4S, the London-listed outsourcing and security company. After three years at the firm she decided she wanted to start wearing a headscarf at work for religious reasons. She was fired in June 2006 for refusing to take off her scarf. The company said she had broken unwritten rules prohibiting religious symbols.

In the second case, design engineer Asma Bougnaoui was fired from a consultancy firm, Micropole, following a complaint from a customer who claimed his staff had been “embarrassed” by her headscarf while she was on their premises giving advice. Before taking the job she had been told that wearing a headscarf might pose problems for the company’s customers.

read more

France: Public playground defaced with antisemitic tags (Strasbourg)

Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace reported that antisemitic inscriptions were found on Sunday at a public playground located in the Robertsau district of Strasbourg. The incident was revealed by deputy mayor Alain Fontanel on Facebook.

A swastika and the word Jew were painted on children's playground equipment.  They have been removed by the council cleaners and the case is being investigated by the local police.

Hungarian Member of European Parliament works to convince EU to stop funding Palestinian incitement to hatred

Via: EJP
A Hungarian Member of the European Parliament has undertaken the arduous taks to convince EU authorities to stop funding the Palestinian Authority’s Education Ministry because it incites young Palestinians to hate Israelis which constitutes an impediment to peace between the two sides.  Peter Niedermüller, who is Vice-President and Treasurer of the S&D Group (Socialists and Democrats) calls ‘’untolerable’’ what is shown on Palestinian television and in schoolbooks and says it runs against the idea of peace with Israel.
"If the Palestinian Authority really wants peace, the very first step is to educate the young generation to produce peace and not hate. Because if they are producing hate against Israel there will never be any kind of peace.They need to stop hate speech in schools and the education system and to look at Israel as a partner or a neighbor and not as an en enemy,’" he said. 
Niedermüller will try to figure out during the next few weeks what can be don legally and politically to stop this education to hatred. 
The EU and the PA are linked by an official agreement for political and financial aid. "So this is not very easy just to say. We need a political process and first of all we need a large and strong support for this initiative. The final decision will be made by the Council of Ministers of Finance of the EU member states," he said.  
He acknowledges that in order to take an initiative he needs the support of much more MEPs who woud be ready to sign a letter to the European Commission and European Council Presidents just to start a process of investigation into this issue. 
"And of course I will try to get in touch with the Israeli embassy in Brussels and to listen to their opinion because it is a very sensitive political issue and I am not going to do anything against the will and the political priorities of the Israeli government," Niedermüller told EJP. 
In order to enlist his colleagues in the European Parliament, the Hungarian MEP hosted in Brussels a seminar with as guest speaker Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a Jerusalem-based research institute that  has been studying the Palestinian world for the last twenty years from a broad range of perspectives by monitoring and analyzing the Palestinian Authority through its media and schoolbooks.
 "Our big focus is children. What’s happening in their world. This is very significant as the European Commission, because in part of what we had exposed about the Palestinian Authority paying salaries to terrorists, decided not to fund the PA budget anymore but instead to give the money only and primarily to the Ministry of Education," said Itamar Marcus. 
"And one of the things we found is that the Ministry of Education itself is one of the greatest impediments to peace with Israel." (...)
"The message  must be: ‘If you kill an Israeli you an hero and if you make peace with Israel it’s a crime against humanity,’’ Marcus said.  "The message to the EU is: you must stop funding this. You can’t do this if you expect peace. The EU has to tell them it can’t give money for funding hatred. If you do so, we are not going to pay your teachers’ salaries if they are poisoning the kids with hatred," Marcus concluded.  
read more

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

France: 60,000 Jews have moved out of Ile-de-France in the last 10 years

The French weekly L'Express reports that, in the last decade, 60,000 of the 350,000 Jews who resided in Ile-de-France have moved out, according to Sammy Ghozlan, president of the National Bureau of Vigilance against anti-Semitism.

The article refers to the violent attack against two brothers by a saw-wielding man and his friends in Bondy (Seine-Saint-Denis, the notorious district of Paris which is known as '93' after its postcode).  

Since the mid-2000s, the number of Jews living in Ile-de-France has decreased considerably. Towns in Seine-Saint-Denis where Jewish families used to live in the past, have gradually been emptied.  They have been moving to the XIIth, XVIth and XVIIth arrondissements of Paris, but also to Saint-Mandé, Vincennes, Neuilly-sur-Seine and Boulogne.

On Saturdays, in some of the synagogues, it is difficult to reach the quorum for prayer.

Sometimes there are more guards protecting us than members of the congregations, said  Albert Oliel, president of the Beth-Yaacob synagogue in Aulnay-sous-Bois. In this commune of Seine-Saint-Denis, there are only a hundred Jewish families left, whereas there were 600 in 2000, according to the estimates of Jérôme Fourquet and Sylvain Manternach, authors of an investigation on the subject.

read the article in French

UK: Anti-Semitic messages left on Sussex’s ‘Before I Die’ wall

Via The Tab:

An anti-Semitic message has been written on Sussex’s ‘Before I Die’ board just 24-hours after its installation.

The message reported today read: “Jet fuel can’t melt Jews. Holocaust was an inside job”.

Vice-Chanceller Adam Tickell today confirmed on Twitter that the comment had been removed from the wall.

The aim of the ‘Before I Die’ art project is to let individuals reflect on themselves as well as exhibit common humanity and get a better idea of what it means to be human.

However, the chalkboard box on Library Square has been deface with anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi and pro-Holocaust statements.

This incident has raised a question of diversity and protection of Jewish students as it is the second hate crime that has occurred on Sussex’s campus in the past month following Nazi propaganda stickers appearing in campus buildings.

The art installation is mainly filled with messages of personal aspirations such as “Before I die I want to graduate” and a typically Sussex responses of “Before I die I want to smash the patriarchy”.

Unfortunately, the hateful messages have tarnished the positive aim of the project.

There has been reactions on social media which has triggered disgust and sadness among Sussex students on social media, with one comment picturing another message saying “Before I die I want to see end of Israel”.

read more