Monday, December 30, 2019

Georgia set to open cultural center in Jerusalem

Via JNS:
Georgia is set to open a cultural center in Jerusalem, becoming the eighth country to do so, its Israel embassy confirmed on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the Georgian Embassy said it has not been decided yet when or where the center will open, and that details are still being discussed.

“We welcome the center’s opening,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office.

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely applauded the decision, saying “more and more countries are joining the historic process that began with the U.S., and are recognizing the historic connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem.”
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UK: London synagogue and shops targeted with antisemitic graffiti

Via Guardian:
Antisemitic graffiti sprayed across a synagogue and shops in north London during the Jewish festival of Hanukah has been condemned as “disgusting” and “senseless”.

The Jewish holy symbol and the numbers 911 were spray-painted in red and purple on premises in the Hampstead and Belsize Park area, including South Hampstead Synagogue. The numbers may refer to an antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews were responsible for the 9/11 terror attack; others fear it is a reference to Kristallnacht, the violent pogrom against Jews on 9 November 1938 in Nazi Germany.

Police are investigating the incident as a suspected racially motivated hate crime. The defacement coincided with a knife attack in New York at a rabbi’s home, which injured five people.

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Friday, December 27, 2019

Slovakia: Headstones vandalized at second Jewish cemetery

Via JTA:
More than 20 headstones were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in northern Slovakia in the second such incident in the country in a week.

The 22 gravestones vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in the country’s northern town of Rajec appear to have been damaged in mid-December, according to the World Jewish Congress. The vandalism is currently under investigation by police.

The 60 gravestones knocked down and set on fire in the Jewish cemetery of Námestovo, a town in northern Slovakia near the Polish border, were discovered on December 16.

It is not known yet whether the two incidents are connected.

Anti-Semitic incidents of this nature are extremely rare in Slovakia, according to the World Jewish Congress.
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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Holland: To stay safe, Dutch synagogue operates by invitation only

Via Politico:
Amid a surge of anti-Semitic attacks across Europe, Groningen’s Jewish community is keeping a low profile.

Every other week, as the Jewish holiday of Shabbat approaches in the Dutch city of Groningen, another, more mundane ritual takes place. A group of self-appointed volunteers begin calling around and texting friends on WhatsApp.

They are confirming the attendance of fellow members of the Jewish community at that week’s Saturday morning service.

Amid growing fears of violent anti-Semitism following several attacks on Jewish institutions across Europe, the Groningen synagogue — like many others — now operates behind fortified defenses, and in a nearly covert fashion.

The community has an emergency plan in case of an attack, and local police keep watch on site during services. It doesn’t publish details of its services, and relies on worshippers to keep each other informed of the schedule and muster up attendance in private chat groups and over the phone. Members are trained to vet visitors at the entrance.

For an outsider, the congregation has become easy to overlook — and that’s, partly, the point.

Alec Farber, 18, who moved to Groningen to study from New York, missed a number of holy days before he realized a congregation existed. He finally gained entry to a service after making friends with other Jewish students. He had to bring identification, and flag his arrival in advance.

"It was actively difficult," Farber said of the process. Back in the United States, he said, "my synagogue posts every service on its website.”

For many, the difficult logistics are a small price to pay to keep the congregation safe from the type of violent attacks that have devastated other Jewish communities in recent years. […]

The incident in Halle is a turning point, warned David Gurov, a 20-year-old student originally from Cologne, whose friend was barricaded in the German synagogue as the gunman tried to force his way in.

"History is getting forgotten,” he said. “And the layer that was holding back anti-Semitism from growing has been breached."
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Germany: The young German Jews who left everything behind and moved to Israel

Via DW:
Increasing anti-Semitism and a general feeling of foreignness are pushing more and more German Jews to move to Israel. Despite the many obstacles that stand in the way, they seem to have no regrets.

People who were born and raised in Israel are not used to hearing that their upbringing is something to be envious of. The country is engaged in a bloody conflict with the Palestinians, military service is compulsory and it has one of the highest inequality rates in the West. Israelis also work some of the longest hours among states within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. These statistics do not make Israel an obvious immigration destination, particularly when coming from Germany - another OECD member that tops Israel in a number of key areas, including average wages and PISA performance. But for some German Jews, the dry figures are irrelevant. They decided to move to Israel anyway - and they have no regrets.

"Can you really leave your house as a Jew in Germany without being treated like a museum exhibit? Not really," says Alon Kogan, a 22-year-old who was born in Offenbach and moved to Israel in 2015. "I always felt like I was a tourist attraction almost," he recalls. "Here, I no longer feel like an outsider."

Growing up near Frankfurt, Kogan was one of more than 6,500 Jews living in the area. Still, that didn't make him feel more comfortable about his religion. "People would always whisper 'look! Here are Jews! Look at what they're wearing!' if a group of Orthodox men would cross the street. It's like they were still amazed that there are Jews out there," he says.

Anti-Semitic incidents were also present in Kogan's surrounding. "Nothing major ever happened to me, but friends would always tell about incidents here and there," he says. "After finishing high school, a friend told me about his positive migration to Israel. I just felt like I wanted to do it too, like it was the right thing for me."

Maya Rosenfeld, 22, also moved to Israel three years ago. "I was tired of explaining myself all the time. Tired of explaining Judaism to the world," she remembers. "People would ask me why Jews circumcize their children or demanded that I interpret Israel's policies. Why is it my job? Educate yourself on your own."

When she was in school in Cologne, somebody wrote "Jewish pig" on her chair. Another time, someone told her that Jews were responsible for 9/11 and falsely claimed that no Jews were killed in the attacks. "This is simply not true. Just Google it," she remembers answering.

In another instance, a fellow pupil brought a newspaper to class and asked her what she was doing to the people of Gaza. "For him, I was somehow responsible for this because I'm Jewish," Rosenfeld says. But having to explain who she was didn't stop after high school: "You would think people in their 30s are more educated about Jews than schoolchildren. But even during my apprenticeship weird questions just kept coming." Rosenfeld claims to have several Jewish friends back in Germany who hide their identity to avoid conflict. But for her, it was not an option. So, in 2016, she decided to move. "I could no longer feel like a stranger in my own land," she says.
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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

France: Who desecrated a Jewish cemetery near Strasbourg?

Gavin Mortimer @ The Spectator:
As to the identity of those who desecrated a Jewish cemetery at the start of this month, daubing scores of headstones with Swastikas, that could be the far-right, far-left or Islamist extremists. Such is the prevalence of anti-Semitism in France.
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Germany: Parliament resolution to ban Hezbollah is just a legal charade

Via Gatestone Institute:
- Germany, however, has refused to ban Hezbollah's "political wing," which continues to raise funds in the country. A German foreign ministry official, Niels Annen, has said that such a ban would be counterproductive because "we focus on dialogue." His comment has been understood to mean that the German government does not want to burn bridges with Hezbollah's sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

- "We don't have a military wing and a political one; we don't have Hezbollah on one hand and the resistance party on the other.... Every element of Hezbollah, from commanders to members as well as our various capabilities, is in the service of the resistance, and we have nothing but the resistance as a priority." — Hezbollah's deputy secretary general, Naim Qassem.

- Germany's Social Democratic Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, however, has refused to ban Hezbollah in its entirety. He recently repeated the German government's distinction between Hezbollah's legitimate and illegitimate activities in Germany.

- "It remains to be seen to what extent the German federal government will… actually 'exhaust all the resources of the rule of law' to stop Hezbollah's money laundering and terrorist financing in Germany."- Bild, December 19, 2019.
The German parliament has passed a non-binding resolution that calls on the German government to ban the activities of the Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah - Arabic for "The Party of Allah" - in Germany.

The measure - supported by center-right Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats, the two major parties that make up Germany's ruling coalition, and also by the classical liberal Free Democrats - has been hailed as "important," "significant," and a "crucial step."

The resolution, however, falls short of a complete ban on Hezbollah and appears aimed at providing the German government with political cover that would allow Germany to claim that it has banned the group even if it has not.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced increasing international pressure to ban Hezbollah, but she has refused to do so. Hezbollah has more than 1,000 operatives in Germany, according to German intelligence assessments.
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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Germany: Peace event excludes Jewish politician for his anti-BDS stance

Via The Jerusalem Post:
The Munich Peace Conference has rejected the Jewish city councilman Marian Offman as a speaker at the event allegedly because of his opposition to the Boycott, Sanctions, Divestment movement targeting Israel, sparking accusations of antisemitism against the conference organizers.

According to a Monday report in the Munich-based broadsheet Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), the organizer of the conference Thomas Rödl confirmed Offman’s stance on Israel is one of the reasons for his exclusion, stating that the Social Democratic politician, who is also a member of Munich’s Jewish community, “dealt aggressively and in a polarizing way with political groups and events that critically assess the policies of the government of Israel.”

Offman told SZ that the fact that the organizers of the event “aggressively disinvite” the only Jewish city council member when it comes to peace issues has something to do with antisemitism, adding that, “For me, Israel is a guarantee of [Jewish] survival, especially today.”

The Peace Conference is slated to take place in February. Munich city council politicians from the Green Party and the Social Democrats, who reject BDS, were not disinvited, raising additional questions about bias against Offman.

In 2017, Munich’s mainstream political parties, including the Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party passed a law that banned public funds and space for BDS. […]

The conference is slated to feature the controversial Islamic studies professor Katajun Amirpur, a German-Iranian writer who argued in an SZ article that former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not say he plans “to wipe Israel off the map.” Critics of the Iranian regime in Germany such as the German-Iranian public intellectual Nasrin Amirsedghi say that Amirpur downplays the Iranian threat toward Israel and the West.
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Belgium: Daily accuses Jewish lawmaker of spying for Israel

Via JTA:
The editor in chief of a Belgian daily newspaper accused a Jewish lawmaker of spying for Israel in parliament. Bart Eeckhout leveled the allegation against Michael Freilich in an op-ed titled “Anti-Semitism” that was published Saturday in the left-leaning De Morgen newspaper.

Eeckhout wrote that De Morgen has learned that Freilich’s parliamentary aide filmed several minutes of an exchange last month between Belgian lawmakers and representatives of pro-Palestinian nongovernmental organizations. Eeckhout claimed the footage was filmed in secret, but Freilich told the local media that the short videos were for sharing on social media. The De Morgen report on the matter did not say what the videos were used for or intended for. […]

“Was Mr. Freilich just adding to his private collection of movies of Israel critics, or was he collecting information for other interested parties, like Israel?” Eeckhout wrote. “The former would be amateuristic, the latter, however, smells like espionage.”

Eeckhout also wrote that “coincidentally,” criticism of “Israel’s government is equated with anti-Semitism.”

Earlier this year, Eeckhout defended a De Morgen columnist’s assertion, inaccurately attributed to a Jewish singer, about Jews having “ugly noses.” The op-ed, which accused Israel of stealing land and displaying a Jewish superiority complex, eventually was revised to omit the reference to ugly noses. [Belgian editor defends publication of column saying Jews have ‘ugly noses’]

Freilich told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the espionage allegation “boggles the mind” and is “Dreyfus [mentality] on the eve of 2020.” Alfred Dreyfus was a French soldier who in 1894 was falsely convicted of treason because he was Jewish.
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For many years, Dyab Abou Jahjah, pictured below, was a columnist with the right-leaning daily De Standaard - Belgium: Newspaper fires columnist Abou Jahjah over praise of driver who killed Israeli soldiers.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Europe: Jews take their dignity and their lives into their hands publicly identifying as Jewish

Via Boston Herald:
On this Hanukkah, known as the Festival of Lights, a celebration of Jewish faith notwithstanding darkness, the painful fact of the matter is this: it doesn’t feel entirely safe to be Jewish because it is not, in fact, entirely safe to be Jewish. In Europe’s once-great capitals, Jews take not only take their dignity but their lives into their hands publicly identifying as Jewish.

This past Thursday, three teenagers in Berlin assaulted a 14-year old, taunting him with anti-Semitic slurs while choking him. This was in Berlin, of all places, Nazism’s seat, whose mayor recently rejected urgent appeals to cancel a conference supporting Hamas, which calls for Israel’s annihilation.
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Russia: Moscow’s trouble with Israelis has a deeper meaning

Via JNS:
Israel has long had a complicated relationship with Russia. As an ally of some of the Jewish state’s fiercest enemies, such as Iran and Syria, Jerusalem interacts with Moscow carefully and purposefully, walking a fine line to maintain warm ties. However, the recent imprisonment of Israeli-American Naama Issachar in Russia has brought the complex relationship between the two countries into the public eye.

A Russian court rejected Issachar’s appeal on Thursday to mitigate her sentence of seven-and-a-half years in prison on drug offenses after a small amount of marijuana was found in her luggage at a Moscow airport in April. On the same day, 15 Israelis disembarking their plane in Moscow were taken in for questioning by Russian authorities; a similar incident involving 40 Israelis occurred earlier this week. […]

The Syria arena has also created tensions between the two countries.

According to Aharonson, these cases are “surrounded by so many other things, such as the growing anger of the Russian military and security establishment towards Israel.”

For instance, after foreign-media reports emerged earlier this month that Israeli fighter planes carrying out a mission in Syria had to flee from Russian Su-35 planes, Russia came out in the media aggressively, stating that Israel used the airspace of Iraq and Jordan to carry out the mission. Since this was secret and not reported by Israeli media at the time, Russia’s tattling was perceived in Israel as revenge.
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Sunday, December 22, 2019

Germany: Jewish leader says political parties infected with antisemitism

Via The Jerusalem Post:
The chairman of the Jewish community in Halle, Germany, where a neo-Nazi attempted to shoot up a synagogue on Yom Kippur, said that all German political parties are infected with Jew-hatred, according to a Sunday interview in the Bild paper.

“All parties are infected by the antisemitism virus," Max Privorozki, the head of the tiny Jewish community in Halle, told Bild in an eye-popping interview, adding: “I would not recommend to anyone to walk through Halle wearing a kippah.” […]

Members of other German political parties have come under fire in 2019 for supporting Iranian antisemites and allegedly mainstreaming Holocaust denial.

Some telling examples of antisemitism scandals over the last year, according to German media reports and critics, unfolded within the German Green Party and the Social Democratic Party.

The German Green Party was plunged into its most devastating antisemitism scandal in October, over its vice president’s mainstreaming of a senior Iranian politician who denies the Holocaust and seeks the destruction of the Jewish state. Green Party Bundestag Vice President Claudia Roth’s zealously greeted the speaker of Iran’s ersatz parliament, Ali Larijani a few weeks after Halle attack.

German Green Party MP, who signed on to an anti-Israel Green Party initiative to label Jewish products from the disputed territories in 2013, is on the board of the German-Palestinian Association—an organization that traffics in BDS and antisemitism.

Niels Annen, a state secretary in the Foreign Ministry and an MP for the Social Democratic Party, attended and defended a celebration of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s 40-year revolution at the Iranian Embassy in Germany in February. Iran’s regime is the leading state-sponsor of lethal antisemitism, Holocaust denial and terrorism.

A 2017 federal government study said 40% of Germans hold a modern antisemitic attitude, namely the intense loathing of the Jewish state. The study revealed that nearly 33 million Germans of 82 million are contaminated with contemporary antisemitism.
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National Police discover weapons cache of Nazi group in Valencia

Via Publico:

National Police arrested a man in Valencia who had a weapons cache, including guns and knives, as well as Nazi materials.  He is suspected of belonging to the "Combat 18" Nazi group.

Clip here

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Germany: Schoolboy insulted in an antisemitic way, tied up and choked (update) Via Watch Antisemitism in Europe:
According to the police a 14-year-old boy from Berlin got harassed in school on Thursday. Three classmates insulted him in an antisemitic way, tied him up and choked him.
read more in German

More details @ i24NEWS:
A 14-year old was tied up and choked by three fellow students in a Berlin school in the Tempelhof-Schöneberg district on Thursday, according to a statement from the police. The statement alleges that the three showered the victim with anti-Semitic abuse during the attack.

The student survived the attack, with a physical education teacher said to have spotted the abuse and intervened.

When the victim was untied, the victim's throat was red, the police said, adding that the authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.
read more

Friday, December 20, 2019

France: Antisemitism, anti-Zionism only increasing says Israeli ambassador

France: 67% of French people indifferent to Jews leaving France

Via The Jerusalem Post:
Ambassador to France Aliza Bin-Noun has expressed concern with rising levels of antisemitism in France she has witnessed during her time as Israel’s senior diplomat in the country.

Speaking at a conference in Paris staged by the World Zionist Organization (WZO), Bin-Noun, who will soon end her four-year tenure as ambassador, said that “in the four years, I have seen how antisemitism and anti-Zionism have only increased.”

Bin-Noun noted that in 2018 there was an increase of 74%, but argued such figures were probably soft, since French Jews, she said, “have become accustomed to being harassed in the street” and having antisemitic slurs aimed at them and therefore do not report such incidents.

“I saw how the boundaries have been broken over time, things that would have once been taboo, and how people have felt comfortable to express themselves in these ways,” said the ambassador, noting expressions of antisemitism have become particularly bad on social media. [...]

There have been several complaints from French Jewry of a failure to prosecute antisemitic attacks of late, including a recent case in which a man who murdered Sarah Halimi, a Jewish woman living in Paris, was declared to be unfit for trial due to diminished mental capacity at the time of the attack, apparently due to having taken some form of cannabis before his attack.

Yaakov Hagoel, deputy chairman of the WZO, who initiated the conference, said “the goal of the haters of Israel” is to “lower the spirit” of the Jewish people, and cause it to turn its back on its Jewish and Zionist identity, “in order to destroy the continuity of the Jewish people.” 
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France: “All Jews should move to Israel. France is not our home anymore. "

Via The Jerusalem Post:
As antisemitism continues to rise in France, emphasis is now being put on encouraging Jewish students to study in Israel after school.

This week, 1000 students from Jewish schools in France arrived as part of "Bac Bleu Blanc" (graduates in Blue and White), a project initiated and organized by the Jewish Agency's educational arm Israel Experience. […]

Paul Fitoussi, director of the Yavne school in Marseille, stressed: “All Jews should move to Israel. France is not our home anymore. The younger generation must do this. My two daughters immigrated to Israel and learn in Beersheba, and I am encouraging my third daughter to do the same.”

Yoni Elimelech, deputy director of the Otzar Torah School in Paris’s 13th District, echoed those sentiments. “While this may sound strange, for us the fact that we encourage our guys to immigrate to Israel is perfectly natural.

I think every 18-year-old [Jewish] boy or girl living in France should immigrate to Israel.”

Fitoussi and Elimelech, who are both on the tour with the students, described the rise of antisemitism in France. “Because of the increased antisemitic attacks,” Fitoussi said that he decided “not to allow students to eat or have sports classes outside of school building.

“Often, stones are thrown at students or they yell slurs like ‘dirty Jews’ towards them,” he said.

Elimelech added that only last week, his school received a transfer student from a public school in the 19th district “due to antisemitic attacks” the child had to endure. […]

Audrey T, of Ort Marseille Jewish School, said that last September she was sitting with a friend on a bench in front of their school when suddenly three thugs grabbed him by the hair.

“They hit him, and then they started beating him,” she said.

In shock by the whole situation, she and another person that was there just froze. Finally, one of the teachers came and helped them. Their complaint to the police was ignored.

Since then, Audrey said that “I am afraid every time I get onto a bus or if I’m sitting in a park. I’m afraid to also be attacked like that. In the past, I didn’t think so much about my Jewish identity but since [last September], I think about it a lot.”
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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Greece: Fans burn Israeli flag at basketball game against Israelis

Ynet News:
Fans of a Greek basketball team waved Palestinian and Hezbollah flags and burned an Israeli flag during a game with an Israeli team in Athens on Wednesday.

The incident happened when AEK Athens hosted Hapoel Jerusalem for the Gameday 9 match in Basketball Champions League. The Greek fans also put up pictures of Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian terrorist currently in jailed in Israel for deadly terror activity.

AEK's supporters even shined laser in the eyes of the Israeli fans.

"We had heavy security protecting us," said a Hapoel Jerusalem fan, Matan Ben-Harush. "We were surrounded by hundreds of police officers, we could see the fans of the other team tearing Hapoel flags before the game but there was no physical confrontation."

According to Ben-Harush, during the first quarter of the game, thousands of AEK fans entered the stadium. "We could see the Greek fans getting closer to our seats, waving Palestinian flags, and carrying pictures of Barghouti, the climax was when they started burning Israeli flags."
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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

U.K.: Teenagers throw bag of faeces on doorstep of Jewish home
A group of teenagers threw a bag of faeces onto the doorstep of a Jewish home in Stamford Hill.

The incident occurred on Springfield Road on 12th December [...]

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crime than any other faith group.
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Germany: Commissioner says Merkel's envoy boosting antisemitism at UN

Benjamin Weinthal @ The Jerusalem Post:
A German state commissioner to combat antisemitism told The Jerusalem Post that his country’s UN ambassador promotes antisemitism at the United Nations when he compared the Jewish state with Hamas.

“The comparison made by [Christoph] Heusgen between Israel’s actions and the terrorism of Hamas damages solidarity with Israel and is unfortunately apt to promote Israeli-related antisemitism,” Uwe Becker, the commissioner tasked to fight antisemitism in the state of Hesse, told the Post.

Becker added that “Germany must also not be a provider for Israel-related antisemitism.” He said that the "political farce" at the UN "can only be answered with no" with respect to Germany's voting pattern.

Becker was responding to the Post exclusive report on Thursday that the human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center ranked Heusgen seventh on its 2019 list of worst outbreaks of antisemitic and anti-Israel incidents.

Becker, who is also president of the pro-Israel organization, German-Israel association, said that “The inclusion of Mr. Heusgen on the list of the Wiesenthal Center is more than a yellow card for Germany’s voting behavior at the United Nations.” The commissioner said “Germany must show more solidarity toward Israel at the UN and decisively reject in the future anti-Israel resolutions.”
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UK: The Office actor shares post saying 'rich Jews play the antisemitism card to protect themselves'

Via Jewish Chronicle:
An actor who starred in The Office shared a statement on social media that said "some rich Jews play the ‘anti-semitism’ card to protect themselves" in a discussion over Labour's disastrous election result.

Ewen MacIntosh, who played Keith Bishop in the iconic sitcom, posted a long statement that he attributed to “one of the wisest Jewish men I know” on Facebook response to Jewish comedian and writer Lee Kern.

The statement accuses Jews of "hyper-sensitivity" that "leads us to see ANY criticism of Jews" as racism, says "outrageous activities of The State of Israel towards the Palestinians" inspire antisemitism and claims "many Jews" are "rich" and therefore their "position is threatened" by Labour.

“One can see how certain people make the amalgam of ‘Jewish = Genocidal rich evil people who wish to rule the world’ and that 'some rich Jews play the ‘anti-semitism’ card to protect themselves' from Labour," the statement says.

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Slovakia: 59 headstones smashed at Jewish cemetery in Námestovo

Via Jerusalem Post:

Dozens of headstones were knocked down and set on fire at a Jewish cemetery in Slovakia.

The damage was discovered on Monday at the Jewish cemetery of Námestovo, a town in northern Slovakia near the Polish border, TV Noviny reported Tuesday.

The perpetrators, who have not been identified, seemed to have worked methodically as they toppled entire rows of headstones at the cemetery, whose oldest graves are from the 18th century. No new burials have occurred in the cemetery in decades.

The headstones did not bear anti-Semitic symbols.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Belgium: Israel’s FM welcomes UNESCO’s decision to delist carnival over antisemitic float

Yossi Lempkowicz @ European Jewish Press:
Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz has welcomed UNESCO’s “moral and principled decision” to remove an annual carnival in the Belgian city of Aalst from the organization’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity over repeated charges of anti-Semitism.

“In the 21st century, during a time when anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head, there cannot be any tolerance for this ugly phenomenon,” he said.

“We expect the Belgian government to come out clearly and concisely against the inclusion of anti-Semitic displays in the carnival. The scourge of anti-Semitism threatens not only the Jewish people, but every society and country in which it exists. The world must come together in the fight against it,” he added.

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage said during a meeting in Bogotá, Columbia, last Friday that it would remove the Aalst carnival “over recurring repetition of racist and anti-Semitic representations.”

In March, the carnival included a float that featured caricatures of large-nosed religious Jews standing next to bags of money, with one carrying a rat on its shoulder.
read more
Alost carnival 2009

Monday, December 16, 2019

France: Jeremy Corbyn should never have apologised over anti-Semitism claims, says French far-Left ally

Henry Samuel @ The Telegraph:
French far-Left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon has sparked uproar by claiming Jeremy Corbyn should never have apologised over “churlish” anti-Semitism accusations, which he claimed were trumped up by the chief rabbi and Israeli Right.

Mr Mélenchon, who came fourth in France's 2017 presidential election, claimed that the UK Labour leader lost a part of the electorate during his election campaign by showing “weakness” over such allegations.

In a blog, he said: ”(Corbyn) had to endure, unaided, churlish anti-Semitism claims from England's chief rabbi and various influence networks linked to Likoud (the hard Right party of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu”.

“Instead of riposting, he spent his time apologising and making pledges. In both cases, he showed weakness, which worried popular sectors (of the electorate),” he said.

The Labour defeat “must serve as a lesson”, said Mr Mélenchon, an MP who leads the France Unbowed party.

“Corbyn spent his time being insulted and stabbed in the back by a handful of Blairite MPs. Instead of riposting, he took it on the chin.” […]

But Mr Mélenchon dismissed such allegations [of anti-Semitism] and said that in France he would never let himself "be influenced by lobbies of any sort - be they financial or from a sectarian community.”

He then went on to slam what he called the "arrogant and sectarian dictates" of the Crif, France's Jewish umbrella group.

The Crif slammed the claims, saying they were reminiscent of "Vichy rhetoric about the Jewish conspiracy”.

They were, it said, “a shocking and surprising hotchpotch: what link is there between the Crif and the British elections?,” asked Crif president Francis Kalifat.

The “media-hungry” Marxist's "conspiracy theory drift speaks volumes about his thought processes”.
read more

Sunday, December 15, 2019

France: 67% of French people indifferent to Jews leaving France

Georges Bensoussan, French historian, @ Marianne (Google translation from the French):
[...] Above all, I believe that the demonization of the State of Israel is the legacy left behind by the intense communist propaganda, now forgotten, in particular by the former Soviet Union which, between the 1950s and the 1990s, produced a huge amount of anti-Israeli "literature" steeped in old Russian anti-Semitism mixed with anti-capitalism.  […]
The demonization of the Jewish state is also the result of the new demographic balance of power that now prevails in Europe through the important Arab-Muslim immigration, in particular to France, the country which is home to the largest Muslim community in Europe (25% of European Muslims live in France) and also home to the largest Jewish community. The vast majority of this immigration comes from the Arab world and in particular from the Maghreb where hatred of the State of Israel is widespread and unrelenting, especially in Algeria. […]
[…] a recent poll, taken barely two years ago but by now forgotten, revealed that 67% of the French people were indifferent to the departure of the Jews. Admittedly, only a tiny minority rejoiced in it and a good third deplored it. But the figure of 67% was there, and it showed the overwhelming level of indifference, the source of so many woes. 
read the full article (in French)

Read also @ National Geographic:
'Things have only gotten worse': French Jews are fleeing their country.  Facing record levels of anti-Semitism, members of Europe's largest Jewish population seek a new life in Israel—and face new challenges.

UK: Labour’s anti-Semitism shame must never be forgiven

Douglas Murray @ The Spectator:
[…] A huge amount has been written about Corbyn’s anti-Semitism and links to anti-Semitism. I suspect by now that minds have been made up on every side and that the people who are willing to pretend that it is all a smear campaign organised by the right-wing media have deluded themselves beyond redemption. But for me, in his lifetime of support for anti-Semitic bigots wherever in the world he could find them – a couple of irrefutable facts stand out.

One is Corbyn’s support for Samar Alami and Jawad Botmeh. The pair were convicted in the 1990s in connection with a car bomb explosion outside the Israeli Embassy in London and another against a building in London that housed a number of British Jewish charities. Not only did Corbyn run a campaign to get these two released from prison, but when they were released he acted as a character referee for at least one of them, claiming that Botmeh was a suitable person to be involved in the governance of a British university. Why would he do that? Of all the people in the prison system up and down this land, why would Corbyn have put such effort into getting a release for these two (and praising them, at that) who had been involved in the bombing of Jewish targets in London?

There are too many similar actions in Corbyn’s resume to cite here. But one other voice rings in my ears as I write this. The voice of an Israeli Jewish friend. Having not been back to the UK in some years I hear now the question he asked me as we travelled in a taxi together in Jerusalem last year. ‘You know, I thought I knew Britain, Douglas’ he said to me. ‘Good and bad, I thought I knew it. But how do you explain Jeremy Corbyn?’ This was just after the ‘wreath row’ when Jeremy Corbyn was accused of laying a wreath at the grave of the men who killed the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. ‘I mean – honouring the men who killed the athletes at Munich?’ my friend went on, shaking his head in quiet amazement. ‘And this man is accepted by the British public?’ […]

But the Labour party must never be forgiven for what it has offered to the public at this election. What Corbyn has brought into the mainstream has toxified Britain and the party that allowed it to happen should be held to account.

Nor should his wider rabble of supporters simply be allowed to slip away. Instead, they should each themselves be held accountable for what they have done – as the Mosley-ites were in the ‘30s. All those Labour MPs who decided to support Corbyn because he was the leader that they had. All the weird media creations who have popped up on the television day-after-day (with no identifiable credentials other than brute loyalty or loyalty to a brute). And all those columnists and ‘journalists’ of the left who pretend that they have spent their lives ‘tackling’ racism only to spend recent years campaigning for the most racist force in British politics to gain power and making Britain a pariah among the nations.

In 1936, it was a former Labour MP who had to be stood up to by the Jews of Britain and their friends. In 2019, it is the serving leader of the Labour party who has to be stood up to. It is Jeremy Corbyn who must be stood up to with those historic words: ‘They shall not pass’.
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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Germany: Young Social Democrats want Germany to stop its anti-Israel votes at UN

Benjamin Weinthal @ The Jerusalem Post:
The youth organization of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) condemned in late November its leadership’s anti-Israel voting record at the UN.

The Young Socialists (Jusos) organization wrote that the “disproportionate condemnation of Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East” is a problem affecting UN bodies “that is carried out not only by states of the Middle East, but also European states who pass, or abstain from, anti-Israel resolutions.”

Jusos urged Germany to “dissociate from the initiatives and alliances of antisemitic member states in the bodies and specialized agencies of the United Nations.”

The resolution was titled Antisemitism in the United Nations.”

A Jusos delegate told German daily Die Welt, “We’re giving the SPD a clear mandate to fight antisemitism in the UN and placing the issue on the agenda of (German Foreign Minister) Heiko Maas and the SPD.” A second delegate said: “It is clear to us: We have to fight off antisemitism in all its manifestations.” […]

Germany’s Social Democratic Foreign Minister Maas has greenlighted nearly 30 condemnations of the Jewish state at the UN since 2018. Christoph Heusgen, Germany’s ambassador to the UN, compared Israel in March with the jihadi terrorist organization Hamas. 
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Friday, December 13, 2019

Luxembourg reportedly pushing for all EU member states to recognize a State of Palestine

Yossi Lempkowicz @ EJP:
The Foreign Minister of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn is reportedly pushing for all European Union member states to recognize a Palestinian state in response to the recent statement by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the U.S. doesn’t see the Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal.

According to a report on Israel’s Channel 13, Asselborn, who is known to be pro-Palestinian, has sent a letter to the new EU foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, and to all other EU Foreign Ministers in which he stresses that the way to save the two-state solution is to create “a more equitable situation” between Israel and the Palestinians.

It is time to start a debate within the European Union on the opportunity of a recognition of the State of Palestine by all its Member States,” he wrote.

He added: “The recognition of Palestine as a State would neither be a favour, nor a blank check, but a simple recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to their own State. In no way would it be directed against Israel. Indeed, if we want to contribute to solving the conflict between Israel and Palestine, we must never lose sight of Israel’s security conditions, as well as of justice and dignity for the Palestinian people”.

So far, only Sweden has decided to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian State.
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Spain: Anti-Israel activists heckle, assault settler-Palestinian delegation

I 24 News:
Anti-Israel activists with the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement rained insults on and attempted to assault a joint settler-Palestinian delegation in Madrid, Israeli media report.

The delegation, which says it aims to push against EU's ruling on designating settlement products as such, was supposed to take part in a conference on peaceful coexistence, which was where the BDS activists held a rally.

After being evicted from the venue over their disruptive behavior, the protesters waited for the delegation members outside, showering them with insults and, according to Israel's Channel 12, attempting to assault some of the members.
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German UN ambassador compared Israel to terrorist entity Hamas

Benjamin Weinthal @ The Jerusalem Post:
The prominent human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center ranked the German UN ambassador’s comparison between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas as number seven on its top ten list of worst outbreaks of antisemitism and anti-Israel incidents for 2019, The Jerusalem Post can exclusively report.

The Wiesenthal Center said that “Germany is in the midst of a two-year stint on the UN Security Council. Its UN ambassador, Christoph Heusgen, created an uproar by the number of anti-Israel votes he has cast and by his equating 130 rockets fired by terrorist Hamas at Israeli civilians in one week in March with the Jewish state’s demolition of terrorists’ homes.”

Heusgen declared: “We believe that international law is the best way to protect civilians and allow them to live in peace and security and without fear of Israeli bulldozers or Hamas rockets.”

The Wiesenthal Center noted in its justification that Bild, the largest circulation paper in Germany, “accused Heusgen in an editorial of ‘pure malice’ against the Jewish state."

The Center continued that “Heusgen cast 16 anti-Israel votes at the UN in 2018, abstaining once. In 2019, he voted for nine anti-Israel resolutions, including one labeling Jerusalem’s holiest sites as ‘Palestinian Occupied territory,’ while abstaining 3 times and opposing only one anti-Israel resolution.”
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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Belgium: Holocaust museum cancels Catholic group event to honor anti-Israel militant

The event was cancelled today, a few hours before it was due to be held.

Details by Cnaan Liphshiz @ JTA:
A promoter of sanctions against Israel who said its supporters “vastly inflate” anti-Semitism is scheduled to receive an award for promoting peace at Belgium’s main Holocaust memorial museum.  
The Forum of Jewish Organizations on Sunday protested in a letter to Belgian government officials, including Flemish Region Prime Minister Jan Jambon, the plan to honor Brigitte Herremans, an aid worker for the Catholic Broederlijk Delen organization who in 2016 was banned from entering Israel. The honor is set to be presented at Kazerne Dossin, a transit camp from which Belgian Jews and Romani were sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust, in Mechelen.  
Another Catholic group, Pax Christi, which in 2017 called on the European Union to “suspend economic relations” with Israel until it “respects International law,” plans to award Herremans its title of “ambassador for peace” at the state-run former camp.  
During the Holocaust, Nazis and local collaborators sent from there about 25,000 Jews to be murdered in Nazi death camps in occupied Poland.  
“Brigitte Herremans is on an anti-Israel mission,” Hans Knoop, a spokesperson for the Forum, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “She shouldn’t be honored at a Holocaust monument, it’s a disgrace.”  
Asked about the rise in anti-Semitism in Europe in a radio interview in 2016, Herremans said: “When you sometimes hear criticism from certain pro-Israel circles, also in Belgium, then I think that mostly they try to vastly inflate this business to distract” from how Israel “wants to do only as it pleases in the Palestinian territories.” She also has called for sanctions on Israel and on Israelis visiting Europe.
NGO Monitor has reported extensively on Brigitte Herremans.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

European Jews are confronted by a threat not seen since the 1930s

Joel Kotkin, Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, @ Quillette (The Jewish Dilemma):
Whether from the Right or the Left, from Muslims, reactionary Christians, or progressive Greens, European Jews are confronted by a threat not seen since the 1930s. Some 90 percent of European Jews, according to recent surveys, have experienced antisemitic incidents, and more than 80 percent of European Jews aged 16 to 34 believe antisemitism is a growing problem in their countries. According to a recent EU survey, half of German and Belgian Jews and well over a third of Jews in France, the United Kingdom, and Sweden report being harassed for their religious affiliation; the rates have grown everywhere over the past five years.

If these trends persist, we can expect Europe’s Jewish populations to erode further. The triumph of Corbyn—a man 87 percent of British Jews polled believe to be an antisemite—could cause nearly half to “seriously consider” emigrating, most likely to more congenial places like Israel, the United States, Australia, and Canada. France’s Jewish population, the largest in Europe, has been sustained largely by the mass migration from North Africa, although that source has pretty much dried up now. Even so, France still has fewer Jews than it did in 1939 and that number seems destined to continue shrinking. Since 2000, nearly 50,000 Jews have left, mostly for Israel, the United States, or Canada. 
In fact, it’s hard to find a place in Europe—with the odd exception perhaps of Hungary—where Jewish prospects are anything but dismal. Eastern Europe, the center of the Jewish world in 1939 with its eight million Jews, has less than 400,000 today. Germany, home to 500,000 Jews in 1933, now has as little as a third of that, most originally refugees from eastern Europe. Fewer than 15,000 of the Jews living in Germany today can trace their roots to the pre-Nazi era. […]  
More troubling, antisemitism in Europe is reaching the educated mainstream, much of it left-leaning. Sixty percent of German antisemitic messages came from well-educated people, according to one study. Today, barely half of Europeans think Israel has a right to exist. The generally middle-class Green Parties, which emerged as big winners in Germany and across the continent in recent European elections, tend to support the BDS movement, which aims to demonize and eliminate the Jewish State. […]  
Over the long term, if current trends hold, the Jewish future will be essentially that of Israel. Close to a majority of all Jewish children are living there already. Today, Israel is home to 40 percent of the world’s Jews, and by 2030, according to Jewish demographer Sergio Della-Pergola, it will be home to an absolute majority. This could mark the continuing demise of what was once the most widely spread diaspora in human history and the gradual return of Jews into a singular nationality based in Israel.  
Many in these countries may well say “good riddance” to the Jews, but it represents a tragedy not only for the Jewish people but for Europe and the world. The Jewish legacy, particularly in Europe, has been profound, including the accomplishments of Benjamin Disraeli, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Mark Chagall, Theodore Herzl, Billy Wilder, and Arnold Schonberg, to name but a small handful.  
Europeans in particular need to recognize that, if these trends continue, they too would lose something precious in the process—a global community that has provided the world with more of its share of cultural icons, scientific breakthroughs and, for the most part, a strong voice for tolerance. If the world’s Jewish population loses its cosmopolitan character, it will be a loss both to itself and to the world.  
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On the unrelenting decline of the Jewish population in Europe:
[…] Parliament Vice-President Antonio Tajani, an Italian member of the EPP group, said he was concerned about the decline in the number of Jews in Europe: from two million in 1991 to 1.4 million in 2010. He also said he regretted the attacks they are subject to: “Jewish people should be able to live in peace in Europe, respected like anyone else. They should be able to display their faith, their identity, without being attacked."
Source: European Parliament, 2016

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

France: Israeli student beaten on Paris metro by ‘Antisemitic, Anti-Zionist’ assailant

Ben Cohen @ The Algemeiner:
An Israeli student is recovering in a French hospital after he was brutally beaten up on the Paris subway by a man who overheard him speaking in Hebrew on his cellphone.  
The incident took place just before 7 p.m. on Monday night, the French Jewish security organization BNVCA reported. As the student boarded a train at the Château d’Eau station on the Paris Metro together with a friend, he received a phone call from his father, which he answered in Hebrew. The two men — both said to be 6 feet in height and of African origin — immediately began shouting aggressively at the student, who has been named as B. Yogev, in his early 30s. Other passengers on the train also pointed toward Yogev and began threatening him, the BNVCA said.  
One of the men then landed several punches to Yogev’s head, face and body, knocking him to the floor of the subway carriage and leaving him with concussion and a broken nose. Yogev was taken to Lariboisière Hospital in Paris, accompanied by the friend with whom he was traveling, who was not reported to have been attacked. The assailant and his companion are yet to be apprehended.
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Europe no longer hides its hostility to Israel

Alain Destexhe, honorary Senator in Belgium, @ Gatestone Institute:

- The European Union seems deliberately to fail to recognize that Israel, a sovereign state, is regularly under threat -- even extreme continuous rocket fire from Gaza and Syria -- and, for that reason alone deserves its full support.

- The statement [by the European Union]... fails to mention that Israel had killed a terrorist belonging to an extremist group about to launch another attack. The statement also fails to mention the number of rockets fired on the country, or the right of Israel to defend itself. - Four hundred and fifty rockets in under 48 hours is not a skirmish or a minor attack; it is a large-scale military attack. Any similar attack on France or Germany -- if they received even a single missile -- would have sparked a major crisis.

- By comparison, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tweeted: "Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Islamist terrorist org backed by Iran, is again attacking Israel with 100's of missiles aimed at civilians. We stand w our friend & ally Israel at this critical moment & support Israel's right to defend itself & bring an end to these barbaric attacks."

- The contrast speaks for itself. The United States is a friend of Israel. The European Union is not.

- In other words, the EU, which is officially committed to fighting terrorism, supports the Palestinian Authority (PA), which supports terrorists and their families. Just try making sense of that.

- The European Union, for its part, is proud to be "the biggest donor of external assistance to the Palestinians". Since February 2008, more than €2.5 billion ($2.8 billion) have been disbursed. The EU provides core financial support to the Palestinian Authority, even though part of the PA budget is earmarked for terrorists and terrorists' families, thereby actually incentivizing terrorism.
The European Union has, over the years, become increasingly hostile towards Israel. That attitude was confirmed in early November when the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that food products made in the so-called settlements of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights must be labeled as such and may not carry the generic label "Made in Israel."

As rightly argued by the strategic studies expert Soeren Kern, there are many territorial conflicts all over the world, but the European Court singles out only Israel. Examples of the EU's bias against Israel are numerous, particularly compared to the United States.  
The EU seems deliberately not to recognize that Israel, a sovereign state, is regularly under threat -- even extreme continuous rocket fire from Gaza and Syria -- and, for that reason alone deserves its full support. No country in the world, especially one roughly the size of Vancouver Island, undergoes military attacks as perpetually as Israel does. On November 12 and 13, in under 48 hours, more than 450 rockets and mortars were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli towns. Rockets fired from Gaza caused countless damage, injuring at least 63 persons, and reached as far as the Tel Aviv area.

Four hundred and fifty rockets in under 48 hours is not a skirmish or a minor attack; it is a large-scale military attack. Any similar attack on France or Germany -- if they received even a single missile -- would have sparked a major crisis.
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Monday, December 9, 2019

UK: The Labour Party’s problem with Jews (a nasty new strain of anti-Semitism)

Frank Furedi @ Spiked:
Hatred for Israel and identity politics have given rise to a nasty new strain of anti-Semitism.  
[…] If you want to see how the insidious culture of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party works, just watch the video in which the Tory health secretary Matt Hancock raises the problem of left anti-Semitism at an election hustings. No sooner does Hancock mention the need to rid British politics of anti-Semitism than a group of Labour activists erupts in fury. They jeer at him and insult him and try to shut him down. The spontaneous animosity with which they respond to his suggestion that anti-Semitism is a bad thing exposes the depth of the problem in the Labour Party.  
The problem is not that thousands of Labour members go around calling Jews ‘subhuman’. It is that far too many of them pretend they didn’t hear an anti-Semitic insult or that left-wing anti-Semitism isn’t that big a problem. In essence, they acquiesce to the creation of a climate in which telling a Jewish comrade to go home and count his money is unlikely to be called out. They may not utter such crude comments themselves, but they are silent collaborators to the open anti-Semites who do. […]  
Since hatred for Israel has become a foundational viewpoint of 21st-century leftism, it is not surprising that left institutions have attracted anti-Semites. What has happened is that, gradually, anti-Zionism has strayed into the territory of anti-Semitism, to the point where it seems to have become okay for Labour Party members to make jokes about greedy Jews.  
There is a distinction between criticism of Israel and prejudice against Jewish people. In recent years, however, this distinction has been significantly eroded. Some people have embraced the anti-Israeli cause as a way of expressing their attitude towards Jews. This is particularly pronounced among sections of the Muslim community, who refer to Israel and Jews interchangeably when they condemn Zionism. Given the electoral weight of this community, Labour activists have chosen to look the other way when they hear such sentiments.  
One key point that tends to be overlooked in discussions of anti-Semitism is the role of the politics of identity. In an era when identitarian entrepreneurs enjoy great influence over Western culture, anti-Semitism is frequently written off on the basis that other minority groups suffer worse hatred than Jews do. 
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