Tuesday, May 23, 2017

W. Europe: In countries with large Muslim populations, hostility toward Israel adopted by politicians seeking Muslim votes

(...)  Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated 25 years of diplomatic relations at a a festive event at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Upon his arrival in the Russian capital, Netanyahu was greeted with a red carpet and marching band. His wife, Sara, was given pink flowers. 
“We have a solid foundation of trust and understanding to rely on as we make plans for the future,” Putin said during the visit. 
Under Putin, “Jewish communities that once distanced themselves from anything Israeli to stay safe are now celebrating cultural events with Israeli flags,” said Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU, a Jewish educational group that has been working in the former Soviet Union since 1992. 
Soviet hostility to Israel also has made Israel popular with enemies of Russia across Eastern Europe, Chesler said. The same applies to Finland, added Gideon Bolotowsky, a former leader of that country’s Jewish community. Widespread sympathy for Israel exists to this day in Finland, he added, where pro-Israel rallies organized by Christian supporters of the Jewish state typically dwarf anti-Israel events. 
“You have to remember that in comparison to other European countries, Finland has very few Muslims,” Bolotowsky noted. (According to a U.S. State Department report from 2016, Finland has 65,000 Muslims, constituting about 1 percent of the population). 
In Western European countries with larger Muslim populations, hostility toward Israel is being adopted increasingly by politicians seeking Muslim votes. 
In the Netherlands, the general elections in March saw a radical pro-Islam party win parliament representation for the first time. The party, DENK, supports a blanket boycott of the Jewish state, and its leader last year refused to shake Netanyahu’s hand during a visit to the Hague. 
And in France, the current leader of the Socialist Party, Benoit Hamon, spoke with surprising candor about the need to factor in Muslim sensibilities in devising a policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 
In a 2014 interview, Hamon said that supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state was the Socialists’ “best way to recuperate our electorate in the suburbs and the neighborhoods” – code for Muslim voters — “who did not support the pro-Israeli position taken by President Francois Hollande.” 
In Sweden, Israel was popular in ’67 because it was perceived as the underdog, according to George Braun, the leader of the Jewish community of Gothenburg. 
“Then, when Israel emerged as a powerful and robust entity, the Palestinians took on that role,” he said. Additionally, “the media in Sweden have become biased against Israel.” 
Yet Braun says he does not miss the days when Israel was more popular in Sweden.“It was nice to have everyone on your side, of course,” he said, “but I prefer a heavily criticized Israel that is strong and viable than a weak and uncertain one that is universally loved.”

France: Jewish man wearing kippah says he was assaulted with hammer in Marseille

Via JTA:
A Jewish man told police in the French city of Marseille that he was assaulted on the street while wearing a kippah by a man wielding a hammer. 
The incident took place Tuesday morning approximately half a mile from the city’s Grand Synagogue, the man told police, according to a report in the online edition of the La Provence daily. 
The alleged attacker threatened the complainant with the hammer and tapped him with it without injuring him before fleeing, the Jewish man reportedly told police. He did not offer clear indications that the incident was a hate crime, according to La Provence.Tzvi Amar, president of the local office of the Consistoire, the French Jewish community’s organization responsible for religious services, in January 2016 said Jews should “remove the kippah during these troubled times” because “the preservation of life is sacrosanct.” 
Amar’s statement, which he said “turns his stomach” and is born of “grave circumstances that require extraordinary measures,” followed the stabbing of a Jewish man in Marseille that month, allegedly by a 15-year-old Muslim radical. The victim sustained minor injuries. 
In October 2015, a French man of Algerian descent stabbed a Jewish man who was returning from synagogue and assaulted two others, including a rabbi.

Germany: Berlin Social Democratic party declares BDS antisemitic

Via The Jerusalem Post (Benjamin Weinthal):
Members of Berlin's Social Democratic Party (SPD) passed a resolution on Saturday in support of Israel, condemning the boycott,divestment, sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting the Jewish state. 
The SPD's 17,500 member organization declared at their convention that "they oppose the antisemitic BDS campaign" and "condemn sharply widespread anti-Zionist antisemitism." 
The resolution said the SPD Berlin "stands in solidarity with Israel, and the recognition of Israel's right to exist and self-defense are for us non-negotiable."  
The pro-Israel document was introduced by the youth organization of the SPD Berlin--Jusos--and stated they will "fight against every form of antisemitism." The SPD members committed themselves to stop every form of cooperation with associations and supporters of the BDS campaign. The vote to support the anti-BDS resolution was unanimous.
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Monday, May 22, 2017

Austria: 'Leaked nudes of Anne Frank' joke by student organisation

Via CFCA:

“Leaked nude pictures of Anne Frank” mockery
Activists of the Austrian students’ organization Aktions Gemeinschaft (AG), which is affiliated with the Faculty of Law at the University of Vienna (Wien) and is closely and politically associated with the Austrian People's Party, spent their time spreading jokes about Jews and mocking the disabled in a closed Facebook group.  
In the latest edition of the Austrian news weekly "Falter", excerpts from chat conversations were published. The members of the Facebook group include staff members of the faculty, as well as candidates standing for the current elections of the Austrian Students’ Union (ÖH) Students
The representatives regularly chatted with each other in both a Whatsapp group and the aforementioned closed Facebook group which is called "Fakultätsvertretung Jus Männerkollektiv". In their chats, for example, shortly after the caption “leaked nude pictures of Anne Frank”, an illustration appears of a single rose emerging from a pile of ashes. 
Elsewhere in the chats, there is an illustration of a girl who is a member of the Hitler youth (Hitlerjugend) movement. She is holding a basket filled with swastika flags and rabbits in her hands along with the caption: “Wishing a happy Easter to all the men as well as all the chicks in this respectable group.” In addition, one may find in the comments a picture of a child with Down's Syndrome sitting in a tub with a pitchfork drawn on his arm as well as the inscription “Poseidown” and various illustrations of Hitler.
First and foremost, on visiting the group, one is struck by the many revealing photos of female students or of raves in which the assembled party appears to be largely drunk or intoxicated. 
Within the AG itself, those revelations were met with indignation: “It is absolutely outrageous that members of this organization have created a Facebook group in which posts containing such inhuman content are shared” said organization's spokesman Valentin Petritsch. 
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Europe: A 'more terror-threat conscious' EU Parliament condemns Palestinian terrorism against Israelis

The EU should stop funding NGOs which condone the use of terror against Israelis.

Via European Jewish Press:
A  pro-Israel advocacy group in Brussels welcomed the fact that in the text of the resolution on the Middle East Peace Process voted Thursday in the European Parliament "the issue of terrorist acts and Palestinian incitement to violence took precedence for the first time in an official parliamentarian position to the issue of settlements."
 In the resolution, which was the result of negotiations and a compromise between the five main political groups, the European Parliament condemned "all acts of violence, acts of terrorism against Israelis, and incitement to violence which are fundamentally incompatible with advancing a peaceful two-state solution."
The parliament noted that "all parties should act effectively against violence, terrorism, hate speech and incitement, as this is critical to rebuilding confidence and to avoiding escalation that will further undermine the prospects for peace." 
MEPs also called on the Palestinian Authority forces ''to fully and timely implement effective operations to counteract the militant group’s activitiers, such as firing rockets towards Israel and stressed the "imperative need to prevent the arming of terrorist groups and their smuggling of weapons, manufacturing of rockets and building of tunnels." 
For Europe Israel Public Affairs (EIPA), "this time there was a discernible move away from the standard Israel bashing position towards a more mediator conscious European Parliament role in the Israeli – Palestinian conflict." 
The advocacy group’s head of institutional Relations, Teodora Coptil  said in statement: "The move, following efforts of various pro-Israel advocacy groups among which EIPA, signals a more thorough understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is in line with the Quartet report." 
Coptil added that the line that "No EU funding can be directly or indirectly diverted to terrorist organisations or activities that incite these acts", marked a step forward in efforts to make the PA leadership accountable for hate speech and incitement in the future" which represents a fundamental plank of EIPA’s strategy.  
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Greece: Leftist columnist denounces antisemitism survey and demonizes Israel (once again)

Via Against Antisemitism:


In an article published on the news site enikos.gr (May 10, 2017), entitled “In bloody ink”, journalist and cartoonist Stathis (Stavropoulos) denounces attempts to incriminate criticism against Israel that present it as anti-Semitism in order to annul such political criticism.  
The article is accompanied by a cartoon which pictures free opinion killed by Israel. The article and cartoon were Stathis response to the publication of a survey on Anti-Semitism in Greece which shows high rates of anti-Semitic feelings in Greece.

Hungary: A government campaign against George Soros splits Jews

Via JTA:
Occurring in a conservative society that is still struggling with the complicity of its wartime governments in the murder of nearly half a million Jews during the Holocaust, the campaign against a Jewish billionaire has prompted warnings that Orban’s crusade against Soros is anti-Semitic. Earlier this month Frans Timmermans, a senior EU official, suggested that the Hungarian government is channeling anti-Semitic sentiment to delegitimize a powerful critic of its nationalist policies.

That view, however, is not shared by the main leaders of Hungary’s 100,000-strong Jewish community. In interviews with JTA, its leaders rejected allegations that the government is using anti-Semitic dog whistles consciously. At the same time, they warned that the campaign against Soros may embolden anti-Semites regardless of the government’s intentions.

“Orban is not anti-Semitic. His government is not anti-Semitic,” said Rabbi Zoltan Radnoti, the chairman of the rabbinical council of the Mazsihisz Jewish umbrella group in Hungary. “I believe that Soros was selected as a target because he is a progressive billionaire regardless of the fact that he’s Jewish.”

Yet Orban failed to stop the anti-Soros campaign even after it appeared that the rhetoric “may have a possible anti-Semitic interpretation,” Radnoti added, saying the prime minister “should have known that this campaign of hatred and scapegoating would increase anti-Semitic feelings.”

Soros, an 86-year-old banking and investment magnate who survived the Holocaust in hiding in Budapest, is not particularly known for funding Jewish causes in Hungary — or anywhere else.

(...)

Upping the ante, Orban gave a speech last month at the European Parliament calling Soros a “financial speculator” who is now “attacking Hungary and who — despite ruining the lives of millions of European people with his financial speculations” is nonetheless “received by the EU’s top leaders.” The scathing rhetoric was followed by the appearance in Hungary of posters demonizing Soros, which are widely believed to be printed and distributed by nationalists with the government’s blessing.

And that’s a problem, according to Radnoti, because it risks awakening anti-Semitic sentiments that Radnoti believes Orban neither shares nor seeks to embolden.

“The problem is not that Soros was selected as a public enemy because he is Jewish,” Radnoti said. “The problem is that in a country like Hungary, which has a xenophobia and anti-Semitism problem, the government should have known better than to take someone who happens to be Jewish and make him a public enemy over his globalist politics. It’s not anti-Semitic, it’s just irresponsible.”


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UK: UKIP suspends candidate who justified Holocaust

Via Times of Israel:
The UK’s nationalist UKIP party has suspended a candidate for parliament after it emerged he wrote anti-Semitic remarks regularly on Twitter, including one that justified the Holocaust.

UKIP said it was investigating Paddy Singh’s actions, and “withdrawing support for his candidacy” in the June 8 general elections, according to the BBC.

The Campaign Against Antiseitism, a British watchdog, on Friday published its dossier on Paddy Singh, UKIP’s candidate for the Wiltshire North constituency in the elections.

The tweets were discovered on the Twitter account he operates for his travel agency, Hindoostan Tours, between 2014 and 2015, the group said, adding Singh admitted to writing them and apologized for publishing them.

One message read: “At times I ask myself were the Nazis right in herding the Jews into concentration camps.”

Another, from the summer of 2014, when Israel was fighting Hamas in Gaza, stated: “The Israelis are basically Nazis in mentality. The survivors of the tragic Holacast [sic] learnt from their captors.” A third read: “No hope of a ceasefire with the Nazi Jews like wild dogs on the rampage.”

Singh’s hateful tweets were not only directed against Jews. In one he called African and Chinese people “animals,” the BBC reported.

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ADL survey: Anti-Semitism down in France, UK, Germany

Via Times of Israel:

The prevalence of anti-Semitic sentiment has dropped in three European countries over surveys from 2014 and 2015, according to polls conducted this year by the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL interviewed 500 people each in Germany, the United Kingdom and France by telephone, the organization said in a summary of the study it unveiled Thursday.

In the United Kingdom, 10 percent of respondents “harbor anti-Semitic attitudes,” the poll found, compared to 12 percent in 2015 and 8 percent in 2014.

In France, the figure was 14 percent compared to 17 percent in 2015 and 37 percent a year earlier.

In Germany, the figure dropped to 11 percent from 16 percent in 2015 and 27 percent in 2014.

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Germany: 6 charged for yelling anti-Semitic slurs on Munich bus


Via Times of Israel:
Six people have been charged with incitement to hate after spewing anti-Semitic abuse on passengers in a Munich city bus.

Only two passengers – a couple from Munich – attempted to intervene in the weekend incident.

According to news reports, the alleged perpetrators, all from Munich and Ebersberg and ranging in age from 18 to 33, shouted anti-Semitic insults at passengers on the bus, which reportedly was packed with some 40 passengers.

Police said that witnesses later reported the “most harmless” of the verbal abuse included “Juden raus!” – “get rid of the Jews.”

Most passengers reportedly did nothing. After one woman addressed the group and asked them to stop, they aimed their abuse at her. Police said that her boyfriend’s intervention prevented further escalation.

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Norway: Caricature equates circumcision with pedophilia

Via Ynet News:
Norway's fourth-largest newspaper has recently published a caricature depicting supporters of circumcision for Jews and Muslims as pedophiles. 
The offensive caricature appeared in The Dagbladet, the second largest tabloid in the country that has a circulation of approximately 75,000 copies a day.  The caricature depicts a man wearing a kippah (skullcap) and a bearded man standing next to him, both holding signs reading 'Yes to circumcision' and 'Religious freedom.' A third man, wearing a ratty coat, tells them: "I know what you mean. I, too, am told by an invisible man to fiddle with children's penises."

It's not the first time.  In 2013, Dagbladet carried this caricature: 




Europe: US lawmakers pass bill requiring greater oversight on European antisemitism

Via Algemeiner:
The US House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation requiring greater State Department reporting on European antisemitism. 
The bill, known as the Combating European Anti-Semitism Act of 2017, requires enhanced annual reporting to Congress on antisemitic incidents in Europe, the safety and security of European Jews, and efforts by the US to partner with European entities to combat antisemitism. 
“This bill would require the US government — and encourage our global partners — to continue to take a hard look at anti-Semitism in Europe, provide a thorough assessment of trends, and outline what the United States and our partners are doing to meet this challenge,” said a statement by the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism, chaired by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). 
The bill will now head to the Senate and eventually President Donald Trump for approval.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Belgium: Antisemitic tags in Brussels

Via Viviane Teitelbaum Facebook account:



Viviane Teitelbaum is a Brussels MP and an alderwoman for Ixelles, one of the Brussels municipalities.  She wrote that the municipality is confronted with a spate of racist, antisemitic, homophobic and hate tags.

Belgium: Is Jewish life still possible in Belgium?

Via European Jewish Press (Yossi Lempkowicz):
The vote by the Parliament of Wallonia in Namur to ban religious slaughter of animals, thus shechitah, is a clear direct attack against the Jewish community, its way of life and above all against religious freedom which is enshrined in the EU fundamental rights. 
Of course, some will argue that the measure only affects the Orthodox Jewish community.... This is totally untrue. It affects all Jews, orthodox and secular together. It is a political attack against  all the 40,000 Jews living in Belgium. 
By voting such a legislation, Walloon legislators have shown a total insensivity towards the Jewish community which is very sensitive because of the past. Yes remember the Nazis also acted to ban the Jewish way of life… (...) 
Several months ago, Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel declared that "Belgium without Jews is not Belgium." What does he do to protect the rights of this part oft he population  and make that Jews really feel at home in a political environment that is not hostile? A member of his own party co-initiated the hostile legislation... 
"It is truly sad that the Belgian Jewish community, which already lives in a constant state of emergency--with military personnel guarding its schools and synagogues following the rise of anti-Semitic attacks and the terror attack against the Brussels Jewish Museum--is now also facing unjust laws from the legislature," righty notes  Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute. 
So now the real question is: "Are Jews still welcome in Belgium?" Or, "Should Jews still stay in Belgium or leave ?" 
Some have already decided and left the country. Others are thinking to do the same.  But the remaining Belgian Jews should stand up against this attack against our values and ask to be respected as Jews.
 Connected:

Jew asks Jeffrey Goldberg whether he should leave Belgium

600,000 Jews have left Europe in last 25 years

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Denmark set to grant 8.3 million dollars to radical Palestinian NGOs

Via European Jewish Press:
Denmark’s Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen is set to announce a grant of  8.3 million dollars to a group that distributes funds to numerous anti-Israel organisations, according to Israeli watchdog NGO Monitor. The grant, to be announced during Samuelson’s visit in Ramallah, will go to the  Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (the Secretariat), a joint funding mechanism of the Danish, Dutch, Swedish, and Swiss governments, operating out of Bir Zeit University in the West Bank. (...) 
A large portion of the Secretariat's budget is distributed as core funding to radical Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that incite violence and terrorism, are active in global BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel and engage in legal warfare attempting to indict Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC). These organisations employ demonizing rhetoric, such as making spurious charges of Israeli "apartheid" and "war crimes."Among the groups receiving funds, were Al Haq, a legal organization that has spearheaded accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Israeli security forces, and Adameer, which was launched by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a left-wing terrorist group within the PLO. (...)
NGO Monitor has presented its information to the Danish government in December in an appearance before the parliamentary foreign policy committee. 
The Danish Foreign Minister was in Israel on Wednesday. During a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the latter told him that the true reason for the absence of a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is incitement. Netanyahu asked that Denmark halt assistance to Palestinian Arab organizations that support BDS activity.
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