Friday, July 21, 2017

Germany: Guide at Anne Frank Center in Berlin compares Jewish suffering under Nazis to Palestinians under Israel

It is yet again painfully clear that European organisations like the Anne Frank Center in Berlin are often incapable of applying proper vetting procedures when hiring staff.

  Via JTA:
The Anne Frank Center in Berlin has distanced itself from the statement of a freelance guide who compared the suffering of Jews under the Nazis to that of Palestinians under Israeli occupation today. 
At issue was a profile of Nesreen Hajjaj, a 24-year-old Berliner of Palestinian background, in the July 19 online English version of Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned news outlet. Hajjaj is one of 25 freelance guides who introduce visitors to the exhibition at the Anne Frank Zentrum Berlin. 
Hajjaj told the interviewer that “many things that happened to the Jews during the Nazi rule are happening to the Palestinians now. Jewish people were kicked out of their homes and denied an education. Today Palestinian lands and houses are being conquered,” she told the online publication. 
She said she had been called an “infidel and a hypocrite” on social media for taking the job with the center. 
Her answer to critics: “We must be open-minded toward different people, especially if you live within their societies.” 
Patrick Siegele, director of the Anne Frank Zentrum, told JTA that Hajjaj’s comment was “incorrect and painful … and does not reflect the official position of the Anne Frank Zentrum. Furthermore, the Anne Frank Zentrum distances itself from this position.”
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

UK: Is New York about to boycott Roger Waters?

It's a warning to many European BDS proponents...  
Roger Waters
Roger Waters could be prevented from playing concerts in New York State after a local Jewish lawmaker confirmed the former Pink Floyd frontman’s support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement was in violation of local law. 
Howard Kopel, who serves as a legislator for Nassau County in Long Island, pointed out that “Local Law 3-2016 bars companies from doing business with Nassau County if they participate in economic warfare against Israel. 
“The Nassau County Attorney confirms… Roger Waters' proposed upcoming tour dates at the Nassau Coliseum are indeed in violation of Local Law 3-2016”, he wrote in a social media post. 
“Allowing Waters - who actively promotes and encourages others to withdraw from commercial relations with Israel and other ‘BDS’ activities as defined by the law - to perform at a county-owned facility …  not only violates the law, and the Coliseum Lease, but offends the sense of decency of our residents.” 
Last week the city of Miami Beach, Florida, cancelled a planned performance of local children with Mr Waters after the Greater Miami Jewish Federation accused Mr Waters of spreading “vile messages of antisemitism, anti-Zionism and hatred [which] are not welcome in our community”. 
Mr Waters has attempted to persuade other performers not to play in Israel. In the past few weeks, he has been a leading voice in the unsuccessful effort to pressurise Radiohead into cancelling their concert in Israel. 
However, Israel continues to attract some of the biggest bands and performers in the world. Last Saturday night, Guns N’ Roses played the largest concert in Israel’s history in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park, with an attendance of over 62,000.

France: Another antisemitic act against the Garges-lès-Gonesse synagogue

Via BNVCA:

The BNVCA has condemned a new anti-Semitic act perpetrated once again against the Jewish community of Garges-lès-Gonesse, Val d'Oise. The head of the synagogue informed BNVCA that anti-Jewish tags were discovered on 16 July 2017 on the facade of this place of worship situated at 14 Rue JB Corot.

The perpetrators painted "Dirty Jews" followed by a star with 6 branches, Maguen David, as if the authors wanted to hang a star at this place of worship on the day of the commemoration of the Rafle of the Vel d'Hiv of 16 July 1942.

The president, exasperated by an incalculable number of attacks against the people and the property of his community since the appearance of the 'new anti-Semitism', has informed BNVCA of his wish to meet urgently with the Prefect of the department. He also hopes that the relevant departments will prune the trees surrounding the synagogue which obstruct the visibility of the video surveillance cameras that could have enabled the identification of the authors of the graffiti.

Italy: Celebration of Nazism by fans of the Hellas Verona football club

Via European Jewish Press:
Jewish leaders in Italy denounced as "a true celebration of Nazism" a chorus of Nazi chants by fans of the Hellas Verona football club earlier this month. 
During a match, at the Bentegodi stadium of Verona, a member of the far-right Forza Nuova party hailed Adolf Hitler as "sponsor" of the  team. 
The Nazi chorus at the match appeared in an online video that has been on the web of many national newspapers. (...)
The Hellas Verona team also intervened directly: "We disagree with what happened during the match. We want to point out that this was a self-managed event and not of direct control and competence of the club. We are also convinced that this is an isolated behavior, which does not represent our fans. To protect and support our club, we would like to point out how our society has carried out many actions and awareness campaigns in recent years to condemn any form of discrimination and potentially harm any constitutionally guaranteed right and as in that perspective we will always act. "
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UK: Director Mike Leigh, like Ken Loach, is happy to profit from Israel while "supporting BDS"

Via Elder of Ziyon:

British Jewish film director Mike Leigh 
Artists for Palestine released this:
Film writer and director Mike Leigh has criticised Thom Yorke and Radiohead for ignoring Palestinian suffering, two days ahead of their controversial Israel gig. Last week Radiohead front-man Yorke defended the band’s decision to play in Israel and ignore the Palestinian picket-line, arguing that music was about ‘crossing borders’ and ‘shared humanity’. Today, Oscar nominated Leigh, who is in production for his forthcoming feature film ‘Peterloo’, issued the following statement via Artists for Palestine UK –
‘On Wednesday Radiohead will perform in a Tel Aviv stadium built over the ruins of the Palestinian village of Jarisha. It is a sad fact that Radiohead have failed to engage with Palestinians who have called for them not to play, and that Thom Yorke’s comments are devoid of any reference to Palestinians at all.s the lights go out in Gaza and Palestinian cancer patients die because they are denied travel permits by Israel, while a Palestinian poet in Israel lives under house arrest for a poem she wrote on Facebook, while a young circus performer from the West Bank languishes in administrative detention without charge or trial – Thom Yorke speaks loftily about ‘crossing borders’ and ‘freedom of expression’. One has to ask, freedom for whom exactly?’ 
Ah, another moral force for good and against Israel. 
Except, as Sussex Friends for Israel noted, every single one of Leigh's films created after the BDS movement was started has been released in Israel. 
Vera Drake, released in Israel on 3 February 2005. 
Happy-Go-Lucky, released in Israel 19 June 2008. 
Another Year, released in Israel 9 December 2010 under the title Od Shana. 
Mr. Turner, released in Israel 11 December 2014 under the title Mar Turner. 
This follows Ken Loach's similar hypocrisy as he scrambles to claim that his films being released in Israel over the years were all a mistake.
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Netanyahu criticizes the European Union, 'the only international organization that conditions relations with Israel, which gives it technology, on political considerations'

Via European Jewish Press:
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Budapest
with his counterparts of the Visegrad group
"The European Union is the only international organization that conditions relations with Israel, which gives it technology, on political considerations. Nobody else does that," Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly said at a closed meeting in Budapest with leaders of the countries of the Visegrad group, which comprises Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. 
Despite the fact that it was a closed meeting, Netanyahu’s statements were accidentally transmitted to journalists covering the meeting. 
Netanyahu said: "I was in China. We have special relations with China and they don't care about the political issues. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told me, 'I have to take care of India's interests, and where will I get that? In Ramallah?' Russia does not make political conditions and neither does Africa. Only the EU makes it conditional. It's crazy. It is against Europe's interests.’’ 
"Europe is undermining its own security by undermining Israel because of a crazy attempt to institute political conditions." 
"Don't undermine the only country in the region that takes care of Europe's interests. Stop attacking Israel. Support Israel. Europe is dissociating itself from the biggest center of innovation in the world. It makes no sense.’’   
"I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” he said. 
"I suggest that you deliver a message to your colleagues in Europe about how to help Europe," the Israeli premier told the East European leaders.

France: Family of murdered Sarah Halimi moving to Israel

Related:  84% of French Jews consider antisemitism is a big problem

Via The Times of Israel:
Seeking justice, brother of Sarah Halimi sees ‘warning’ for French Jews in grisly slaying. In family’s first major interview, William Attal says he can ‘no longer stay silent’ over his sister’s brutal killing by a Muslim neighbor in April, fumes at police refusal to acknowledge it was an anti-Semitic crime. 
The killing of French Jew Sarah Halimi and subsequent efforts to deny its anti-Semitic motives represent a turning point for France’s Jewish community and must seen as a “warning sign” of the country’s changing attitudes towards Jews.  That is the message William Attal, Halimi’s brother, is seeking to stress to both the French community and to Jews around the world. (...) 
 “No one can deny that situation has deteriorated for the Jews,” Attal insisted, noting increasing attacks over the past decade which he says have led him to fear for the safety of the Jewish community, and his family. 
Attal sees his sister’s case as a further escalation. “First, Jews were attacked at a Jewish school,” he said, referring to the 2011 shooting of a teacher and three children at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Toulouse. “Then they came into a Jewish supermarket,” he said of the 2015 assault on the Hyper Cacher Kosher supermarket in which four Jews were murdered by radical Islamic terrorists. “Now, with my sister, they have come into a Jewish home, a direct violation of what should be a safe space.”
That fear was at times palpable — both we arranged our interview with Attal, and during the conversation itself.
Wishing to prevent drawing attention to his own home, Attal, a stout man with a short beard and a warm smile, asked to instead meet at a nearby store, but would not agree for photos to be taken at the site for fear of turning it into a target. Minutes into the hour-long conversation, this reporter was asked to remove or cover up his skullcap. Attal, who describes himself as religious, wore a baseball cap to cover his head and said he had forbidden his children from wearing skullcaps in public. (...) 
Attal, however, said he could no longer keep quiet. “I didn’t want to talk about it for a long time, but I can no longer remain silent in the face of this lack of justice. I feel like I have no choice but to tell the full story of what happened,” he said, adding that he hoped his sister’s death would act as a “warning sign” to both the French Jewish community and Jews around the world. 
Reading from both the police report and the autopsy with his voice cracking and tears in his eyes, Attal shared some of the previously unknown details of the final moments of his sister’s life. As he began to read, two of his children, aged 16 and 20, who had accompanied him to the interview, asked to step away from the table, unable to listen to the harrowing description. (...)
The family will not give up on seeking official recognition of an anti-Semitic motive to the attack, Attal said, but they will soon have to continue their fight from nearly 3,000 miles away, in Israel. 
Next month, in a direct response to the murder, both of Halimi’s daughters will be immigrating to Israel, making aliyah with the Jewish Agency, likely as part of an International Fellowship of Christians and Jews program to bring French Jews to the country. 
Attal, along with his wife and four children, will be on an IFCJ flight a month after his nieces. (The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews arranged the interview with Attal.) 
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, IFCJ president, told the Times of Israel that his organization’s program, which provides new immigrants with financial aid on arrival, is aimed at helping French Jews “suffering from regular aggression and serious violence, from Muslim extremists that live in the suburbs where the Jews live as a besieged minority.” (...) 
Attal said he had planned to move to Israel before his sister’s death, but the incident sped up the process and “gave me the absolute certainty, and all of my family, that we need to do this now.”
According to Attal, his sister had also wanted to move to Israel. 
“She always dreamed of aliyah and wanted to live next to her son in Israel, but she stayed in France in order to help with her grandchildren,” he said. “Now her children are making aliyah without her and can only visit her grave in Jerusalem.”
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

United Kingdom: Those "... who froth hatred of Jews"

Via The Daily Mail (Peter Hitchens):
Like almost all suppressed reports about terrorism in London or Washington DC, the truth that is being kept from us is that great danger comes from Saudi Arabia, HQ of the most fanatical and intolerant Islamism on the market. 
Nobody really doubts that this report, if published, would say that. The pathetic scraps of the document which Ms Rudd allowed into the open last week hinted strongly at it, for those who knew where to look. 
Her statement said: ‘For a small number of organisations with which there are extremism concerns, overseas funding is a significant source of income.’ 
Hurriedly, she added: ‘However, for the vast majority of extremist groups in the UK, overseas funding is not a significant source.’ Why ‘however’? So what? If foreign funds are significant at all, that’s what we need to know. 
Because she also said: ‘Overseas support has allowed individuals to study at institutions that teach deeply conservative forms of Islam and provide highly socially conservative literature and preachers to the UK’s Islamic institutions. Some of these individuals have since become of extremist concern.’ 
By ‘socially conservative’ they don’t mean me. They mean those who support the forcible shrouding of women and who froth hatred of Jews. How mealy mouthed to call it ‘conservatism’. But our Government is terrified of offending the Saudis, terrified beyond reason or self-respect.
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Europe: Why economic and strategic cooperation have never been better

Via Foreign Affairs:
(...) Imports from Israel to the EU hovered steady between 2011 and 2016 at around 14.8 billion dollars—a historic high—and last year, European governments bought record levels of defense equipment from Israel. Israel’s reputation as the so-called start-up nation is much admired on the Continent, as are its energetic academic and creative exports. All of this has helped restore some of Israel’s soft power.
What’s more, for all the bluster from Israeli ministers that anti-settlement measures constitute a discriminatory boycott, the EU’s focus on settlements promises to leave most of Israel’s economy and population untouched. Less than two percent of Israel’s exports to Europe come from settlements. More important for EU members’ trade balances, Israel is an increasingly important market, with imports from the EU growing from 14 billion euros in 2006 to more than 21 billion in 2016. (...)
Even in countries where there has been a long-term decline in affections for Israel, this sentiment has not been accompanied by a broad embrace of the Palestinian cause. For many political leaders and much of the neutral public the Palestinian national movement is associated with chaos, corruption, and violent extremism, underlined by the consequences of Israel’s pullout from Gaza, which led to Hamas-rule and thousands of rockets fired at Israeli civilians. Although surveys in most European countries indicate more people are sympathetic to the Palestinians than with the Israelis, more still are either equivocal or indifferent.
Political leaders who have opposed Israeli policies have found their ideological positions tempered by material interests. Greece’s far-left party Syriza, for example, was deeply hostile to Israel while it was in opposition, but has deepened Greece’s economic and strategic cooperation with Israel since taking power. Greece needs trade and tourists, and covets a deal to pipe Israeli gas to European states that currently depend on Russian energy exports. It also values defense ties with Israel, thanks to its strained relations with Turkey. The interest in partnering with Israel’s military spans the continent. In November, Israel will host an air force exercise involving France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Poland. (...)
What was once a zero-sum game for European countries—in which warmer ties with Israel would harm relations with Arab states—is now a thing of the past. Israeli and European interests are aligned in shoring up Western-aligned Sunni Arab states and containing anti-Western extremist forces. Today, Israel is a rock of stability not only for Egypt and Jordan, but even for the Gulf states with which it has no formal ties. Terror attacks in European cites, searing images of Islamic State butchery, and waves of Syrian refugees pouring into Europe have made it harder to sustain the idea that Israel is the source of Middle East instability, or the poison in relations between Islam and the West. European states especially value Israeli intelligence on the threats posed by Sunni jihadist groups (and to a lesser extent, on such Shiite militant groups as Hezbollah.) Moreover, when jihadists target European cities, it bolsters the Israeli narrative that frames Palestinian violence as driven by ideological extremism, as opposed to grievance at the occupation.  
The jihadist threat is also one of the factors behind a recent populist right resurgence characterized by disenchantment with federalism and renewed nationalism. This creates some strange looking political alignments. For leading European right-wing populists, a pro-Israel stance is simultaneously a badge of opposition to Islam and an attempt to defray accusations of lingering anti-Semitism. Although the Israeli government keeps its distance from these parties, some Israeli right politicians have been ready to welcome them. Meanwhile, British officials have leaned toward some Trump administration positions on Israel: British officials vetoed a French initiative on the peace process opposed by Israel in December; in March, they “[put] the Human Rights Council on notice,” as UK Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Julian Braithwaite put it, for its disproportionate focus on Israel’s actions. 
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Monday, July 17, 2017

Italy: Anti-Semitism row over MP eyebrows jibe


Via ANSA:
An Italian MP on Wednesday denied any anti-Semitic intent after publishing a jibe on Facebook asking if a Jewish colleague had bushy eyebrows because he wanted to "cover the marks of the circumcision".

 "There was no anti-Semitism," said Massimo Corsaro, a member of a group of lawmakers close to former Puglia Governor Raffaele Fitto that broke away from Forza Italia, regarding the comment directed at Democratic Party (PD) MP Emanuele Fiano.

"I intended to call him a dickhead". Fiano is the author of bill that seeks to tighten up the law against apology for Fascism.

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French President: 'Anti-Zionism is a new form of anti-Semitism'


Via Israel Hayom:

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday denounced France's collaboration in the Holocaust, lashing out at those who negate or minimize the country's role in sending tens of thousands of Jews to their deaths. He also condemned anti-Zionism as a new form of anti-Semitism and vowed to fight both.

Macron and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a ceremony commemorating 75 years since the Vel' d'Hiv roundup, the mass arrest of 13,152 French Jews in July 1942 as part of the Nazi effort to eradicate the Jews of France.

Calling the period the darkest chapter of modern French history, Macron forcefully denounced Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism and accepted France's responsibility in the event.

"Time does its work. Archives open; the truth comes out. It's stark, irrevocable. It imposes itself on us all. ... It is indeed France that organized [the roundup]. Not a single German [took part]," he said. "It was indeed France. And thus 13,152 people of the Jewish faith were dragged from their homes between the 16th and 17th of July, 1942, to their deaths. Among them, 4,115 children between ages of 2 and 6, whom we are especially honoring today."

Macron dismissed arguments by French far-right leaders and others that the collaborationist Vichy regime did not represent France.

"It is convenient to see the Vichy regime as born of nothingness, returned to nothingness," he said. "Yes, it's convenient, but it is false. We cannot build pride upon a lie."

Later, in a clear reference to far-right leader Marine Le Pen, Macron denounced "politicians who are prepared to reverse the truth. ... We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism, because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism."


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UK: Police and prosecutors accused of 'failing Jewish people' with rise of anti-semitic crime


Via Sunday Express:
Campaigners claim that they are failing to enforce the law, despite promises of a crackdown.

A report by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) shows there were 1,078 such hate crimes in 2016, compared to 938 in 2015 and 746 in 2014.

However, there were 105 reports of anti-semitic violence, a big fall on 2015.

But prosecutions were brought in just 15 cases in 2016, according to data obtained from 49 UK police forces.

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France: Jews fume over omission of hate crime from indictment of Jewish woman’s killer


Via JTA:
Leaders of French Jewry strongly criticized the absence of a mention of hate crime in the indictment of a Paris man who killed his Jewish neighbor while shouting about Allah.

CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish community, used uncharacteristically harsh language in criticizing the indictment for murder filed by prosecutors Wednesday against Kobili Traore, who confessed to killing 66-year-old Sarah Halimi on April 4 and throwing her dying body from the third-story window of her apartment.

“CRIF is astonished that the anti-Semitic character of the murder was omitted,” read the statement of the organization, which over the past two weeks has presented on the homepage of its website a running meter with the number of days it took authorities to file an indictment. CRIF has accused authorities of covering up and silencing the slaying of Halimi along with mainstream media.

Traore, 27, who has no history of mental illness, initially was hospitalized in a psychiatric institution as per his insanity plea. He knew that Halimi, a physician and kindergarten teacher, was Jewish and had called her daughter “dirty Jew” in the elevator two years ago, the daughter told French Jewish media.

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Ireland: Palestinian flag to be flown over county and civic offices in south Dublin

Via Dublin Live:
The move follows the flying of the flag over City Hall after Dublin City councillors voted on it 
The Palestinian flag is set to be flown over the South Dublin County Council hall in Tallaght and civic offices in Clondalkin. 
It will fly for a month after councillors voted to show their solidarity with the people of Palestine. 
The motion, tabled by Sinn Fein councillor Enda Fanning, follows the flying of the flag over City Hall after Dublin City councillors voted on it. 
Many councillors showed their support for the motion, with Fine Gael councillor Emer Higgins sharing her personal experience of her visit to the area. 
She said the move is a “signal to Israel that we think they could do better as a society”.
Fianna Fail councillor Ed O’Brien said he had reservations about the precedent that the motion would set for flying other flags, while Independent councillor Guss O’Connell said he could not support the motion. 
He said: “I don’t believe we should be flying a flag for one side or the other. This is too sectarian.”
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Ireland: Israel deplores Ireland's traditional policy towards Jerusalem

Via European Jewish Press:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his dissatisfaction over Ireland's traditional policy towards Israel, during a meeting in Jerusalem with visiting Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney. 
Netanyahu deplored that Ireland does not condemn the Palestinians for incitement and for glorifying those who commit terrorist attacks. 
He also asked the minister why his country helps NGOs that call for the destruction of Israel and noted that many European countries are overlooking the core problem of the conflict  which is the Palestinian refusal to recognize the state of the Jews. 
Ireland is generally considered as one of the most critical country towards Israel within the European Union, alongside Sweden. 
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