Thursday, March 28, 2019

Poland: Again, an attack on the Jewish cemetery in Czestochowa

Czestochowa – In December, antisemitic inscriptions was spray-painted on the gate of the Częstochowa Jewish cemetery.

Now a vandal smash the grave of Rabbi Pinchas Menachem Justman, who died in 1920.

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Belgium: Man arrested after attempting to attack a Orthodox Jewish woman in Antwerp

Via KolHaolam:
ANTWERP: A Muslim man was arrested after attempting to attack a Orthodox Jewish woman in Antwerp, Belgium near Belz Shul, suspect arrested.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Russia’s richest Jew thought European anti-Semitism was a thing of the past. Now, he’s not so sure

Viktor Vekselberg @ JTA:
Last year, my hometown of Drohobych in western Ukraine witnessed the re-opening of a choral synagogue that my father Felix and I helped to rebuild. This synagogue, dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, used to be the biggest in all of Eastern Galicia. The dedication ceremony was not meant to be all pomp and circumstance, and still over 5,000 people showed up that day. For Drohobych, with its population of 70,000, this is truly an astronomical figure. Many families traveled from afar to attend the dedication of the synagogue in person.

But only a few weeks later, unidentified criminals smashed the synagogue’s windows. Apparently, the fact that the town now has an active Jewish synagogue that was rebuilt with the money donated by a Russian businessperson made some unhappy.

This is just one example of a hate crime that Ukrainian Jews have witnessed over the past few months. Another Jewish synagogue was desecrated in Lviv. In Kolomyya, in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, a memorial wall at a local Jewish cemetery was defiled with graffiti depicting a man throwing the star of David into a trash can. In mid-February, swastikas appeared on the plasma screens in a Kiev shopping mall.

No wonder Jewish communities all over the world were greatly alarmed by the torchlight procession in the Ukrainian capital on New Year’s Eve.

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Germany: Anti-Semitism 'deeply rooted' in German society: public prosecutor

Via The Local:
More than 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism remains entrenched in German society, Berlin's top legal expert on the matter says, admitting victims sometimes struggle to obtain justice.

"Anti-Semitism has always been here," said Claudia Vanoni, who is in charge of prosecuting cases targeting Jews.

"But I think that recently, it has again become louder, more aggressive and flagrant," she told AFP in an interview.

Last September, following a spate of such crimes, the Berlin authorities created the post of anti-Semitism commissioner, appointing Vanoni to the role.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Estonia: Police looking into verbal attack on head of Jewish Congregation

Several Estonian news portals have reported that Rabbi Shmuel Kot, head of the Estonian Jewish Congregation, was verbally attacked on his way to the Tallinn Synagogue on Saturday. According to a friend of Rabbi Kot, who wrote about the incident on social media, an Estonian-speaking man shouted antisemitic slurs at the rabbi and his family. The police are investigating the incident.

The reason why Rabbi Kot had not reported the incident right away is that his belief forbids the use of a telephone on shabbat. The incident has since been reported to the police, who are looking into the matter.
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Friday, March 15, 2019

Germany: Frankfurt’s mayor blasts Anne Frank NGO for comparing ISIS terrorists to Jews

Via Jerusalem Post:
The ballooning scandal over the Anne Frank center’s comparison between Jews who were stripped of their citizenship by the Nazi regime and the German government’s plan to revoke the citizenship of Islamic State terrorists sparked criticism from Frankfurt’s mayor on Wednesday.


The Center published a thread of five tweets on March 6 in which parallels were apparently drawn between persecuted German Jews who were forced into statelessness and Islamic State terrorists who could lose their citizenship under a German government plan.


The Center’s director, the Israeli-born Dr. Meron Mendel, refused to delete the Tweets. Mendel declined to say who wrote the controversial Tweets.

The Center told the Post on Twitter “No, we did not compare or equate Jewish holocaust victims to IS terrorists. And we made that very clear after some misinterpreted our tweet in that way. In no way did we defend jihadists. This is simply not true.”

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Poland: Right-wing newspaper’s front page teaches ‘how to recognize a Jew’

Via Times of Israel:
A right-wing newspaper with national distribution in Poland ran on its front page an article that instructs readers on “how to recognize a Jew.”

The Polish-language weekly, Tylko Polska, or “Only Poland,” lists on its front page “Names, anthropological features, expressions, appearances, character traits, methods of operation” and “disinformation activities.”

The text also reads: “How to defeat them? This cannot go on!”
The page also features a headline reading, “Attack on Poland at a conference in Paris.” The reference is to a Holocaust studies conference last month during which Polish nationalists complained that speakers were anti-Polish. That article features a picture of Jan Gross, a Polish-Jewish Princeton University scholar of Polish complicity in the Holocaust and a frequent target of nationalist attacks.

Only Poland is published by Leszek Bubl, a fringe nationalist political candidate and sometime musician who has sung about “rabid” rabbis. The paper was spotted Wednesday at the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, as part of this week’s packet of periodicals.

Michał Kamiński, a conservative lawmaker, protested the article and its presence at the Sejm, Polsat news reported.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Norway prosecutor: Rapper’s ‘F**king Jews’ slur could be criticism of Israel

Via Times of Israel:
A Norwegian rapper who cursed Jews while performing at an event in Oslo promoting multiculturalism will not be charged with hate speech because his words may have been criticism of Israel, prosecutors said.

Kaveh Kholardi said “f***ing Jews” on stage at an event last year for which he was hired by the city.

Tor-Aksel Busch, Norway’s director of public prosecutions — a title equivalent to attorney general – rejected legal action last week, the news site reported Sunday.

Pro-Israel activists had filed a police complaint but it was dismissed. Busch rejected their appeal, explaining that whereas what Kholardi said “seems to be targeting Jews, it can however also be said to express dissatisfaction with the policies of the State of Israel.”

At the concert, the rapper wished Muslims a happy Eid al-Fitr holiday and acknowledged Christian listeners. He did not mention Israel.

On June 10, 2018, five days before the concert, Kholardi wrote on Twitter “f***ing Jews are so corrupt.”

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UK: Leicestershire councillor faces anti-Semitic abuse in letters

Via BBC:
A man said he is "disappointed" police did not investigate anti-Semitic abuse he received for displaying an Israeli flag at his micro-pub.

Councillor Michael Wyatt got letters and messages online after putting up the flag as part of a gin festival in Coalville, Leicestershire.

He said the abuse started five months ago and "got pretty scary".

Leicestershire Police said the case was "not further progressed" after being reported but would now be investigated.

Liberal Democrat Mr Wyatt, who is not Jewish, displayed the flags at Bitter & Twisted to reflect worldwide gins he was selling.

He said letters demanded he take the Israeli flag down "because it was offensive".

He was also sent threatening messages on Facebook and abused in the pub.

"It started with letters about Jewish people, then saying I was a Hamas supporter and making comments about me defending Palestinians," he said.

"It's a nice town and I don't expect to see material like that through my post."
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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Belgium: I spoke to the creators of the anti-Semitic carnival float. They’re not sorry.

Via JTA:
I had hoped to introduce some nuance to what was condemned universally as crass racism. Were the creators aware that they were trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes? Did they get carried away in the aesthetics of the float without really considering the content? Was there a level of irony or parody an outsider couldn’t understand?

But rather than offering real explanations, or even expressing any regret for the fallout or trying to acknowledge where it came from, Soleme doubled down. The 52-year-old father of three, who works for the Aalst Police Department, said he thought the float was funny and cited the support of his mayor.

“Mayor Christoph D’Haese totally has our backs, he told us we’ve done nothing wrong,” Soleme told me. D’Haese even told the group that his office would cover any fine imposed by the authorities, Selome said.

D’Haese defended the Vismooil’n group, saying on Tuesday that its float was not intended to offend and that “such things should be allowed at the Aalst Carnaval.” The event was added in 2010 to UNESCO’s list of events that contribute to the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”

Filip de Vidts, a technician and the secretary of Vismooil’n, even referred me to D’Haese for a reaction. Treasurer Johan de Plecker, who works for the Education Ministry, did not reply to my request for an interview.

As for Soleme, he has “absolutely no regrets” about participating in the display.

“I think the people who are offended are living in the past, of the Holocaust, but this was about the present,” he said. “There was never any intention to insult anyone. It was a celebration of humor.”

The Jewish theme, he said, was “because we weren’t sure we’d be doing a 2020 tour [because of rising costs]. So that would mean we’d be taking a sabbatical, and it went on from there.”
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France: 'Vandalized' synagogue memorial - an accident

Via Israel National News:
Damage to a memorial marking the site of Strasbourg's Old Synagogue, destroyed by the Nazis during World War II, was caused accidentally by a motorist and was not an act of anti-Semitism, a French police source has said.

The incident last weekend sparked outrage, with Strasbourg deputy mayor Alain Fontanel describing it as an "act of vandalism" and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemning "another shocking anti-Semitic incident".

A police probe using surveillance cameras revealed that a 31-year-old man reversed into the memorial after leaving a nearby nightclub with friends, the source told AFP on Thursday.

"At this stage, no anti-Semitic nature has been detected," the source said, adding the driver has been summoned to court in June over hit and run charges. 

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

UK: "In my personal experience, anti-Semitic sentiments are usually conveyed with a wink and a nod"

Frank Furedi @ Spiked:
There is a spiral of silence surrounding anti-Semitism today. Statements signalling negative views towards Jews are almost always coupled with the phrase, ‘I am not anti-Semitic’. In my personal experience, anti-Semitic sentiments are usually conveyed with a wink and a nod. For example, recently I was having a drink with a well-known English public figure after a panel discussion. Suddenly, he got animated by ‘those people who work at Goldman Sachs’. When I pretended not to understand and asked, ‘What do you mean by those people’, he looked away in embarrassment. His reaction spoke to a growing phenomenon – the anti-Semitism of bad faith.

Monday, March 11, 2019

France: Synagogue memorial stone vandalised in antisemitic attack (update: it was a car accident)

Update: turns out this was an accident

Via Independent:
A memorial stone marking the site of a former synagogue destroyed by the Nazis has been vandalised in Strasbourg.

Officials said the heavy memorial stone was discovered moved from its base in the French city on Saturday morning.

Strasbourg mayor Roland Ries denounced the incident as “a new antisemitic act”.

French officials in the region said that antisemitism “undermines the values of the republic”.

The monument commemorates a synagogue built in 1898 that was set on fire and razed to the ground by the Nazis in 1940.
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Belgium: Antisemitic carnival float had puppets of smiling Jews, sacks of money and a rat

Via Independent:

A carnival parade which featured Jewish caricatures standing amid piles of money has been compared to Nazi antisemitic propaganda and provoked fierce criticism in Belgium.

One float in the city of Aalst’s annual feast on Sunday was decorated with two huge figures of men with large sideburns, crooked noses and wearing shtreimels, a fur hat worn by some Orthodox Jews. One had a rat on his shoulder.

It was followed by several trucks on which dozens of dancing people wore similar outfits.

“The caricatures, like those of Der Stürmer, of Jews with a crooked nose and suitcases, are typical of the Nazism of 1939,” a spokesperson for Belgium’s Forum of Jewish Organisations said. ”This has no place in 2019, carnival or not. The Jewish community naturally accepts humour is very important in a society, but there are limits that cannot be exceeded.”

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