Sunday, February 18, 2018

UK: Jewish student says she does not feel safe at City University

Via The Jewish Chronicle:
Jewish students said they felt threatened and intimidated by a “hostile mob” as students at a London university passed a motion supporting the Israel boycott movement, BDS.

The vote at City, University of London, resolving to ban any links between the institution and companies linked with “Israeli war crimes”, was passed by a large majority on Thursday evening during a student union meeting.

Jewish students were jeered and sworn at by BDS supporters who took photographs of opposing speakers and those voting against the motion.

Gabriella Soffer, a student at City, described the BDS supporters as “a hostile mob”.

She wrote in a Facebook post: “Having experienced what I did tonight – people taking pictures of me and various other Jews individually, having someone behind me whispering obscenities in my ear to intimidate me and telling me to ‘shut the f**k up’ every time I spoke - I can safely say that no longer do I feel safe as a Jew at City.”

Student Union officials said they refused to eject the students taking photos because they were “afraid of the reaction of the opposing side”.

The Jewish students were a minority among the 150 people in attendance and seven said they chose to abstain from voting, for fear of being targeted afterwards.

One non-Jewish student described how “there was an extremely hostile environment in the room that even I felt highly uncomfortable in, despite not being on any particular side.”
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Iceland: Circumcision ban will prevent Jewish life, leaders warn

Via Times of Israel:
The leaders of the Jewish communities of four Nordic countries said that a bill proposing to ban nonmedical circumcision in Iceland “will guarantee” that no Jewish community is established there.

The presidents of the umbrella groups of Jewish communities in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland issued the unusual warning Tuesday in an open letter to all Icelandic lawmakers in reaction to the submission last month of a bill proposing to ban all nonmedical circumcision of boys younger than 18 in Iceland, a Scandinavian island nation of some 300,000 people with a few hundred Jews and Muslims.

Lawmakers from four parties with 46 percent of the seats in parliament, including the ruling party, co-authored the bill.

If passed, “Iceland would be the only country to ban one of the most central, if not the most central rite in the Jewish tradition in modern times,” wrote Aron Verständig, Dan Rosenberg-Asmussen, Ervin Kohn and Yaron Nadbornik in the letter.

Referencing the Nazi prohibition on brit milah, Jewish ritual circumcision, they noted: “It would not be the first time in the long tradition of the Jewish people. Throughout history, more than one oppressive regime has tried to suppress our people and eradicate Judaism by prohibiting our religious practices.”

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Polish Jews stunned, scared by eruption of anti-Semitism

Via ABC News:
Matylda Jonas-Kowalik has spent most of her 22 years secure in the belief that she would never know the discrimination, persecution or violence that killed or traumatized generations of Polish Jews before her. She once thought the biggest problem that young Jewish Poles like herself faced was finding a Jewish boyfriend or girlfriend in a country dominated by Catholics.
But an eruption of anti-Semitic comments in public debates amid a diplomatic dispute with Israel over a new Holocaust speech law has caused to her to rethink that certainty. Now she and others fear the hostile rhetoric could eventually trigger anti-Semitic violence, and she finds herself thinking constantly about whether she should leave Poland.

"This is my home. I have never lived anywhere else and wanted this to keep being my home," said Jonas-Kowalik, a Jewish studies major at Warsaw University. "But this makes me very anxious. I don't know what to expect."

Anna Chipczynska, the head of Warsaw's Jewish community, said members feel psychologically shaken or even depressed, and that the hostile rhetoric has triggered hateful phone calls and emails and other harassment.

In recent events, two men tried to urinate in front of Warsaw's historic Nozyk Synagogue, and then shouted obscenities when security guards intervened. One Jewish community member found a Star of David hanging from gallows spray-painted outside a window of his apartment. A woman found the word "Zyd" — Polish for "Jew" — written in the snow outside her home.

Agnieszka Ziatek of the Jewish Agency for Israel said she has seen a spike in the number of Polish Jews inquiring about immigrating to Israel.

Mikolaj Grynberg, a writer and photographer, said while young Polish Jews feel shocked and "lost," he, at 52, has long been aware of Poland's anti-Semitic undercurrent. While on book tours, Grynberg said people would sometimes ask him "why did you choose to write in our language?" as if he weren't as Polish as they.
As the descendant of Warsaw Ghetto survivors, he has faced years of hateful emails and online messages and says he has been prepared psychologically for a return of bad times.

"Each time you have an anti-Semitic wave, there are Jewish people who leave," Grynberg said. "It's not just a whim: It's about their fear. Jewish people know what can come after."
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German gets jail time for running neo-Nazi website 'Altermedia'

Via DW:
A court in Stuttgart has sentenced the 29-year-old creator of a banned neo-Nazi website to two and a half years in prison. The site published content that denied the Holocaust and targeted Jews, refugees and foreigners.

A 29-year-old IT specialist and driving force behind the neo-Nazi "Altermedia Deutschland" website was given a prison sentence by a court in Stuttgart on Thursday, two years after authorities shut the site down.

The man, identified as Ralph Thomas K. in accordance with German privacy laws, was found guilty of inciting racial hatred and being the ringleader of a criminal organization. He was sentenced to two years and six months behind bars.

Three women were also on trial for their roles in maintaining the right-wing extremist internet platform. One of them, a 48-year-old woman who worked in a call center, was identified as a key player in the website and she was given a two year suspended sentence.
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Poland's Premier: There Were Polish Perpetrators in the Holocaust Just as There Were Jewish Ones

Via Haaretz:
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Saturday that the Holocaust had Polish perpetrators, just as it had Jewish ones.

Moraweicki made the statement at the Munich Security Conference in response to a question by Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman regarding the controversial law that criminalizes mentioning the Polish nation's complicity in the Holocaust. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply rebuked the 'outrageous' remarks.

Bergman told of his mother's past as a Holocaust survivor and concluded by asking, "If I told her story in Poland, I would be considered a criminal. What are you trying to do? You're drawing more fire to the matter." The crowd applauded following the question.

The Polish prime minister said that according to the amended law, those who claim that there were Polish perpetrators in the Holocaust would not be punished, since there were Polish perpetrators, "just as there were Jewish and Russian perpetrators, as well." 

read more

Friday, February 16, 2018

France: Islamic anti-Semitism towards ethnic cleansing

Via Gatestone Institute (Guy Millière):
(...) The French Jewish community may still be the largest in Europe, but it is shrinking rapidly. In 2000, it was estimated at 500,000, but the number now is less than 400,000, and sinking. Jewish districts that once were thriving are now on the verge of extinction. "What is happening is an ethnic cleansing that dare not speak its name. In few decades, there will be no Jews in France," according to Richard Abitbol, ​​president of the Confederation of French Jews and Friends of Israel.

Without the Jews of France, France would no longer be France, said Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls in 2016 . But he did not do anything.

Recently he said that he had done his best, that he could not have done more. "The problem," he said, "is that anti-Semitism today in France comes less from the far right than from individuals of the Muslim faith or culture".

He added that in France, for at least two decades, all attacks against Jews in which the perpetrator has been identified have come from Muslims, and that the most recent attacks were no exception.

Valls, however, quickly suffered the consequences of his candor. He was elbowed to the margins of political life. Muslim websites called him an " agent of the Jewish lobby" and a "racist." Former leaders of his own party, such as former Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, said that Valls' wife is a Jew and hinted that he was "under the influence".

In France, telling the truth about Islamic anti-Semitism is dangerous. For a politician, it is suicidal.  (...)

In French Muslim neighborhoods, Islamist imams denounce the "bad influence" of Jews and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. French politicians stay silent.

Islamic bookstores in France sell books banned elsewhere, such as the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and CDs and DVDs of violent anti-Semitic speeches by radical preachers. For instance, Yussuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who is prohibited from entering France and the US, says he regrets that Hitler did not "finish the job". French politicians stay silent.

Although synagogues in France have not been attacked since 2014, they all are guarded around the clock by armed soldiers in bulletproof vests who are protected behind sandbags, as are Jewish schools and cultural centers. (...)

A growing percentage of the French say that the Jews in France are "too numerous" and "too visible."

Reports for the Ministry of National Education reveal that expressions such as "Don't act like a Jew", intended to criticize a student who hides what he thinks, are widely used in public schools. Jewish students are more and more often the object of mockery -- and not just by students who are Muslim.

A few days ago, the comedian Laura Laune was the winner on the reality television series "France's Got Talent". Some of her jokes make fun of the fact that there were fewer Jews in the world in 1945 than in 1939. Jewish organizations protested, but in vain. Now, she appears to packed halls. The anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonné also fills the stadiums where he performs.
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Slovakia: Synagogue turned into trendy café

On the same topic:
Swimming Pool, Furniture Shop and Police Station: The Sorry Fate of Europe's Old Synagogues

Via YNet:
Eighty-two percent of the Jews residing in Trnava, Slovakia, were murdered in the Holocaust, destroyed along with an ancient Jewish heritage dating back to the 12th century. The city's synagogues were similarly demolished—or were converted for other uses. Israeli traveler Meir Davidson found one such synagogue, converted to a café.

During his travels in Trnava—nicknamed "Slovakia's Rome" due to its proliferation of churches—Davidson found a crowded coffee shop attempting to blend into the architectural space which it occupied without totally eradicating it.

"The main street had a model of the city containing two synagogues near the local basilica," Davidson told Ynet. "We looked for them and were shocked to find an active café, filled with local yuppies."

The coffee shop's management, he added, made no effort to disguise the structure's previous designation as a house of worship and even stated it explicitly—as the café was named Synagóga Café and the "synagogue's history was printed on the menu." 
read more

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lithuania, Poland, and Eastern Europe’s confrontation with the Holocaust

Via Mosaic Magazine:
In the late 1990s, and again a decade later, attempts to prosecute a few Lithuanian citizens for their involvement in the slaughter of Jews during World War II were countered by efforts to prosecute a Nazi hunter and then two Holocaust survivors for committing “crimes” against Lithuanians. At the time, the historian Antony Polonsky wrote an essay on these and related controversies in Lithuania, comparing them with similar controversies in Poland and Germany; the essay was published in Poland in 2010 but has now been made available online for the first time in the wake of the recent Polish law forbidding false statements about the Polish role in the Holocaust:
Lithuanian and Jewish collective memories [are still] very far apart. The Lithuanians, who lost their independence after World War II, felt that the Jews had shown little appreciation for the favorable way they had been treated in interwar Lithuania [which, on the whole, was marginally better than what Jews experienced in neighboring countries, or had experienced under the Tsars] and held the Jews collectively responsible for aiding the first [1940-41] and second [1944-1991] Soviet occupations of their country. Only a small number of Lithuanians had participated in the mass murder of the Jews, comparable to the minority of alleged Jewish collaborators with the Soviets.
Jews for their part highlighted the growth of anti-Semitism [in Lithuania] in the 1930s. They were particularly affronted by what they saw as the massive involvement of Lithuanians in the mass murder of the Jews, both just before the establishment of Nazi rule and particularly in cooperation with the Nazi occupiers, and were shocked by the brutal behavior of Lithuanians in such incidents as the massacre at the Lietukis garage in Kaunas on June 27, 1941.
Given the large-scale complicity of Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews in 1941, the traumatic effect of the two Soviet occupations of Lithuania, the second lasting nearly a half-century, and the unstable nature of the Lithuanian political scene, with the temptation this offers to demagogic politicians to engage in populist rhetoric, it is not surprising that the discussion of wartime issues has proved a difficult and painful topic and has led to bitter exchanges between Jews and Lithuanians. . . .
From the first days of independence, a series of public statements by Lithuanian leaders expressed regret at the participation of Lithuanians in the Holocaust and condemned the genocide. The culminating point was the visit of then-President Brazauskas to Israel during which, in his address to the Knesset in March 1995, he publicly asked forgiveness “for [the actions of] those Lithuanians who mercilessly murdered, shot, deported, and robbed Jews.” This was not universally well-received in Lithuania and led to calls for the Jews in response to apologize for their “crimes” against the Lithuanian nation during the Soviet occupation.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Polish public figures have begun making similar appeals for Jewish apologies in recent days.
Read more at Tablet

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Greece: Anarchist group distributes pro-Palestinian flyers during two raids

Via Ekathimerini (watch the video):

Members of the anarchist group Rouvikonas (Greek for Rubicon) on Thursday stormed the offices of the Hellenic-American Union in Kolonaki in central Athens, scattering fliers with the message “Freedom to Palestine.”

The increasingly-active group carried out a similar raid at the premises of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce on Mesogeion Avenue.

No arrests were reported.

Norway: Lawmaker says nomination of BDS for Nobel Peace Prize is against Israel, not Jews

Via JTA:
The Norwegian lawmaker that nominated the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel for a Nobel Prize said his nomination is against Israel and not the Jewish people.

Norway Parliament Member Bjornar Moxnes said Friday in an interview with the Middle East Eye that “The BDS movement is a legitimate, peaceful, non-violent movement trying to push the Israeli government to abide by international law, and trying to struggle for a peaceful solution in Palestine and in the Middle East.”

Moxnes, who heads Norway’s far-left Red Party which he says works to achieve social justice in Norway and internationally, told the news outlet that said the nomination has received overwhelming support from inside Norway and “people all over the world who struggle for peaceful and just solution between Israelis and Palestinians,” and acknowledged negative reactions from advocates for “the right-wing extremist government of Israel.”

He said his that his position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “is completely free of anti-Semitism.”

“It’s not against the people of Israel. It’s not against the Jewish people; it’s against the policies of a state, which (are) without doubt against international law,” he said.

read more

Swimming Pool, Furniture Shop and Police Station: The Sorry Fate of Europe's Old Synagogues

Via Haaretz:
Europe’s Jewish population has declined from about 10 million on the eve of World War II to about 2 million today. The main reason of course is the Holocaust, followed by emigration and assimilation afterward.

As the Jews disappeared, many of their synagogues were transformed for other uses. Hungarian-Israeli photographer Bernadett Alpern has traveled around 15 European countries documenting these relics. Her work features grand buildings in famous cities as well as countryside shuls.

In some countries the old synagogues now play a cultural role, while in others they’re used for trivial purposes. They remain a silent reminder of a civilization that was part of the European fabric for many generations.
read more

Poland set to pass controversial new law criminalizing Kosher slaughter

Via JNS:
Just one week after passing a controversial law criminalizing phrases indicating Polish responsibility for heinous crimes against Jews during the Holocaust, Poland’s ruling party has sponsored a new bill including a clause that would criminalize kosher meat slaughter.  If the law is passed, anyone found guilty of slaughtering animals in accordance with traditional Jewish practice would face a prison sentence of up to 4 years.

The restrictions against kosher slaughter are included within a general bill on animal welfare, and includes a ban on exporting kosher meat from Poland.  Israel currently imports a portion of its kosher meat from Poland.


The Polish parliament initially outlawed kosher slaughter in 2013, but Poland’s courts reversed the decision.
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Germany averaged four anti-Semitic crimes per day in 2017, report says

Via DW:
The rising trend of anti-Semitic crimes in Germany shows no signs of abating, according to a newspaper report on last year's crime statistics that was published on Sunday.

In 2017, German police registered a total of 1,453 crimes that targeted Jews or Jewish institutions, reported German newspaper Tagesspiegel, citing figures from the German government. The data was compiled in response to an inquiry from Bundestag vice president and Left party lawmaker Petra Pau.

Last year's crimes included 32 acts of violence, 160 instances of property damage, and 898 cases of incitement.

The German government expects the figures to rise even further since the data provided by the states is not yet final, the paper said.

read more

Monday, February 12, 2018

Spain: Anti-Semitic graffiti spray painted on Barcelona synagogue

Via JTA:
"Get out of our country"
Anti-Semitic graffiti was spray painted on the walls of a synagogue in Barcelona. The word “pigs” was written in English followed by a sentence in the Spanish-Latin hybrid language Catalan reading “Get out of the country,” according to local reports.

The graffiti discovered on Wednesday was ordered erased by Barcelona Deputy Mayor Gerardo Pisarello, who called for an investigation into the incident. (...)

The synagogue is no longer in daily use, according to reports. It serves as a cultural center and a museum and as a site to host community events. 
read more

Poland’s ‘enemies’ trying to fan anti-Semitism, says ruling party boss

Via Times of Israel:
The influential leader of Poland’s ruling conservative party on Saturday accused “enemies” of the country of trying to fan anti-Semitism, as Warsaw is under fire over a controversial Holocaust law.

The new law sets fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone ascribing “responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich — or other crimes against humanity and war crimes” and set off criticism from Israel, the United States and France.

“Today, the enemies of Poland, one can even say the Devil, are trying a very bad recipe… This sickness is anti-Semitism. We must reject it resolutely,” said Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the Law and Justice (PiS) party.

“But this doesn’t mean that we provide fodder” for those who insult Poland, he said.

read more

Belgium: Antwerp man filmed destroying 20 mezuzahs, harassing Jews

Via JTA:
A 24-year-old refugee, believed to be Muslim, was briefly detained by Belgian police for anti-Semitic hate crimes, including the destruction of at least 20 mezuzahs in Antwerp, local Jews said.

In recent weeks, the same man was filmed in Antwerp destroying at least 20 mezuzahs, religious objects containing a parchment with biblical text inked on it that Jews affix to their door frames, and vandalizing the entrance doors of several Jewish institution, Joods Actueel, the Jewish monthly reported Sunday. He was detained for 12 hours Friday based on footage from security cameras of him destroying the mezuzahs.

He had also placed a Koran near a synagogue, and was filmed knocking off the hat of an Orthodox Jew on the street. He shouted at Jewish passersby: “This is our land, Palestine!” and: “We will show you!”

read more

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lithuania: Official offers cash reward for thesis pinning war crimes on Jews

Via JTA:
A Lithuanian official responsible for ethics in academia offered a cash reward for students or scholars willing to write a thesis about Jews’ involvement in war crimes or murder.

Vigilijus Sadauskas, ombudsman for academic ethics and procedures, made the offer for subsidy on his blog. The speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, Viktoras Pranckietis, called on Sadauskas to resign.

In the blog entry, Sadauskas offered 1,000 euros, or $1,221, to “a school student, a university student, a postgraduate student, a teacher, or a scientist who will collect information, documents, materials and write a thesis (at least 10 printed pages) or a publication about individuals of the Jewish nationality who killed people, contributed to deportations or tortures,” the LETA news agency reported Thursday.
read more

Friday, February 9, 2018

UK: Chelsea soccer fans chant antisemitic songs a week after team started anti-hate campaign

Via Jerusalem Post:
Supporters of the Chelsea soccer team were caught singing antisemitic songs during a game held five days after the British club launched a campaign to stamp out antisemitism among its fans.

After the match against fellow Premier League squad Watford on Monday night, an unnamed Chelsea fan told England’s Jewish News that he was hit with a “torrent” of antisemitic abuse and moved out of his seat for his safety.

Jonathan Metliss, who heads the group Action Against Discrimination, which is aimed at combating racism among European soccer fans, also was at the game and told the Jewish News that he took photos of the alleged perpetrators for investigators. Metliss said he was “disgusted” by the fans’ behavior.
read more

Poland: Debate over Holocaust law prompts an anti-Semitic media backlash

Via JTA:
Debate over a Polish law that proposes to outlaw rhetoric blaming Poland for Nazi crimes has prompted a wave of anti-Semitic comments in the Polish media.

RMF, one of the largest Polish commercial radio stations, suspended a journalist who wrote about the “war with the Jews.” Poland’s state-owned television station apologized to the Israeli ambassador for a tweet alleging that the Jewish opposition to the law was part of an attempt to seize Polish property.

Also, a former priest began selling T-shirts denying Polish responsibility for a pogrom against Jews by their non-Jewish neighbors during the Nazi occupation.

read more

Thursday, February 8, 2018

UK: How Some Wikipedia Editors Tried—and Failed—To Erase The Labour Party’s Anti-Semitism Problem

Via Tablet Magazine (h/t glykosymoritis)
Lansman was likely referring to leftist activists on the ground who have attacked the party’s nascent efforts to expunge anti-Semites as a “witch hunt.” But he might as well have been referring to activists on the internet, who have been quietly attempting to erase traces of the party’s Jewish problem from Wikipedia.

Last month, these enterprising editors attempted to delete the entire “Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party” page from the online encyclopedia. The ensuing debate over the prospect can be read here. The initial advocate for deletion called the entry “an attack page” that “lacks notability,” as though an outpouring of prejudice that caused nearly half of the Labour party’s own sitting politicians to denounce it was simply a slander served up by shadowy (presumably Jewish) smear artists. Other similarly inclined editors asserted that there should be no “Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party” page given that there was no parallel “Anti-Semitism in the Conservative Party” page, as though the solution to incomplete documentation of hate is to suppress that which has already been documented.

To be sure, like many Wikipedia pages, this one could surely have used more citations, research, and polish. But that was clearly not what its critics had in mind. They did not want to remedy the page’s deficiencies, but to eliminate it entirely. Ultimately, the facts of the case won out, and no consensus was reached to delete the page. It remained published but in limbo.

read more

UK: A century after the Balfour Declaration, is the UK on Israel’s side?

Via Mosaic Magazine:
Britain’s Conservative prime minister Theresa May led her country in celebrating the centennial of the Balfour Declaration at a commemorative dinner in November, but Jeremy Corbyn, the notoriously hard-left and anti-Israel leader of the Labor party, declined to attend. Although Labor’s shadow foreign secretary did attend, she publicly asserted her disapproval of the occasion and said that the “most important way” for Britain to mark the anniversary would have been “to recognize Palestine.” Indeed, Simon Gordon writes, anti-Zionism has become an increasingly powerful force in British politics—especially, but not exclusively, on the left:
Less than a week after the Balfour centenary, a diplomatic scandal involving senior Israeli officials precipitated the resignation of Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel. One of the most outspoken supporters of Israel in the cabinet, Patel had [allegedly] been meeting Israeli ministers, including Benjamin Netanyahu, behind the foreign secretary’s back, while formally on vacation. ... But the official version of events was soon called into question. The Jewish Chronicle, citing sources in Downing Street, reported that Patel’s unofficial diplomacy in Israel took place with the consent of the prime minister, who had asked her not to disclose the meetings. The truth of the matter remains unclear. But would a breach of diplomatic protocol involving another country have provoked the same response?
If this was the stance of a relatively Israel-friendly Tory government, what of Labor?
A win for Corbyn, the most left-wing Labor leader in more than 30 years, would radically reverse Britain’s approach to the Middle East. Nor has Labor changed its spots overnight. Since Tony Blair’s resignation in 2007—in part precipitated by his defense of Israel’s 2006 campaign in Lebanon—the party has continually moved to the left in both domestic and foreign policy. ...

In contrast to [the Conservative former prime minister David] Cameron, [the former Labor leader Edward] Miliband condemned the IDF during Operation Protective Edge [in Gaza]. Two months later, he whipped Labor MPs to back a nonbinding parliamentary motion on the unilateral recognition of Palestine. Whether or not Corbyn makes it to 10 Downing Street, its next Labor occupant is likely to be far less friendly toward Israel than any prime minister since ... the early 1970s.
read more at Jewish Review of Books

Germany: 4th-tier club highlighting anti-Semitism in soccer

Via AP:
Despite being threatened with exclusion from Germany's northeast regional league, Babelsberg is refusing to pay a fine in a case that has turned a spotlight on anti-Semitism in German soccer.

Babelsberg is refusing to pay a 7,000-euro ($8,500) fine imposed by the Northeast German Soccer Federation (NOFV) after its fans chanted "Nazi pigs out" at Energie Cottbus supporters during a fourth-tier league game between the sides last April.

The club says its fans were reacting to right-wing chants from mostly masked Cottbus supporters, including, "Ticks, gypsies and Jews," and "Work sets you free" - a reference to Nazi concentration camps. Cottbus fans also performed Nazi salutes, as can be seen in a video circulated by the Berlin-based Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism.

While both clubs were fined for the trouble, which included the use of pyrotechnics by both sides and attempts to storm the pitch from Cottbus supporters, Babelsberg was particularly aggrieved that the NOFV made no mention of the Cottbus fans' chanting in its report, focusing only on the home supporters' response.

The NOFV said on Monday it was unaware of any right-wing chanting or Hitler salutes when it made its initial judgment. It was to hold a press conference on the matter on Thursday.

read more

Portugal/EU: Another Israel-bashing pro-BDS event at the European Parliament

Portuguese European Parliamentarian Ana Gomes (member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament) is organising yet another Israel-bashing event at the European Parliament on February 28.  Seeing how these people spend their time, efforts and taxpayers' money, no wonder euroscepticism is progressing at great speed in European countries.

Guests are Omar Barghouti, President of BDS - Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, the Foreign Minister of Palestine and Tom Moerenhout, OIES-Saudi Aramco Fellow.

The Transatlantic Institute writes:
Dear : Has it now become acceptable to host speakers in the European Parliament who promote the total economic, academic & cultural boycott of & who oppose the 2-state-solution? We hope not.

Belgium: Antwerp police say alleged car-ramming attempt on Jewish father and son was not a hate crime

Via JTA:

A Belgian watchdog group on anti-Semitism said the near ramming of a Jewish father and son in Antwerp was a racist attack, but police said the suspect was inebriated and was charged merely with reckless driving.

In a statement Monday, the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA, said its lawyers have initiated a criminal court case against the driver who on Saturday narrowly missed with his car the father and son while they were walking on the sidewalk. In Belgium, third parties in certain alleged offenses can sue defendants, who are then often exposed to criminal proceedings.

The father and son were dressed in Hasidic garb.

“The act appeared premeditated and the motivation, in the absence of any other explanation, should be seen as anti-Semitic,” the statement read, adding that the case “is immediately reminiscent of car-ramming terrorist attacks recorded in Barcelona, Berlin, Jerusalem, London, New York, Nice and Stockholm.” (...)

The incident in Antwerp is one of several recent cases in which Jewish groups and authorities in Western Europe disagreed on the role of anti-Semitism in the actions of alleged perpetrators of violence, including in Amsterdam and Paris.
read more

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Greece: Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki desecrated with “Golden Dawn” graffiti

Via Against Antisemitism (h/t glykosymoritis)

Only days after the desecration with “Free Palestine” graffiti, the Thessaloniki Holocaust memorial was vandalized by Greek nazis with “Golden Dawn” graffiti (see photo of the new vandalism below).

Tens of thousands of Greeks protested today in Thessaloniki the use of the name “Macedonia” in a solution to a dispute between Greece and Republic of Macedonia.


Earlier today, Greek news outlet detected antisemitic leaflets at the White Tower square targeting the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris, and calling him “a slave of the Jews”.

read more

UK: Police investigating claims of antisemitic abuse at Liverpool-Spurs Premier League match

Via JC:
Police are investigating allegations that Liverpool supporters directed antisemitic language towards Tottenham Hotspur players after the two sides’ heated Premier League match on Sunday.

Video footage appeared to show a Liverpool fan in the Main Stand section of Anfield using the term “Jewish c**ts” moments after Spurs forward Harry Kane converted a contentious penalty to draw the match level at 2-2.

“Three or four” fans in total were also heard calling Tottenham players “Yid c**ts”, according to a journalist covering the game.

He said: “There was about three or four people that passed me on the way out of Anfield who were engaged in it.

“One supporter spotted some Spurs fans celebrating Kane's penalty and started screaming ‘Yid c***s’ repeatedly as he left and was gesturing towards them.

“I'm sure (Liverpool’s) stadium cameras would pick him out if they provided it. Others just shouted about ‘Yids’.”

read more

Germany: 'Hitler bell' mayor won't repeat 'Nazi-jargon' about Jews

Via DW:
Georg Welker, the independent mayor of southern German town Herxheim am Berg, has promised that he will never again make statements that draw distinctions between Jewish and German victims of Nazi crimes.

During an appearance on the German public television show Kontraste, Welker spoke about a controversial Nazi-era church bell in Herxheim. Welker argued that the bell, which is emblazoned with the words, "Everything for the Fatherland – Adolf Hitler," should be kept as a monument to those who suffered under the Nazis. He said that when the bell rings: "I hear the victims, these were German citizens, not just Jews."

Welker was immediately sued by a city resident after making the statement, and was sharply criticized by Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
Schuster accused the mayor of ridiculing victims with his words, saying that Welker was espousing Nazi ideology by drawing distinctions between Jews and Germans. Welker denied that he sought to make such a distinction, adding that he was simply thinking of all of the people that he had buried during his time as a pastor in Herxheim. Welker said many of those people had been the victims of Nazi crimes as well.

read more

Poland : Israel's embassy receives wave of antisemitic messages after Holocaust bill

Via  Jerusalem Post:
Ambassador to Warsaw Anna Azari said on Friday that there has been a wave of antisemitic verbal attacks in Poland in the days following the passage of a bill that would make it criminal to suggest that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust.

“In the last few days we could not help but notice a wave of antisemitic statements, reaching the embassy through all channels of communication,” the embassy said, adding that Azari was personally targeted in many of the messages.
While Krzysztof Czabanski, head of the National Media Council, said that “there is no place for antisemitic statements on the public media,” the embassy said that the problem is on-going.

“We would like to use this opportunity to repeat that Israel stands with Poland in using the proper term for the death camps – ‘German Nazi camps,’” the embassy statement read. “We hope that over 30 years of work and dedication of wonderful people, both in Poland and in Israel, will not be in vain and that we will be able to cooperate in an atmosphere of dialogue and shared understanding.”

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

France’s Jewish population has good reason to feel afraid

Via The Spectator (Gavin Mortimer):
(..) But it’s France that remains the most dangerous European country for Jews. This week saw another violent attack, when an eight-year-old boy wearing a Jewish skullcap was beaten by two teenagers in a northern suburb of Paris, the same suburb that was ransacked during a pro-Palestine rally in 2014. In response to this latest outrage, president Emmanuel Macron tweeted that ‘every time a citizen is attacked because of their age, appearance or religion, the whole republic is attacked’. It was a facile tweet, one that will do nothing to assuage the growing fear among France’s diminishing Jewish population.

As I wrote after the Marseille attack, around 7,000 French Jews emigrated to Israel in 2014, while an estimated 8,000 took the same route in 2015, (more than four times the number who emigrated in 2011). That number had dropped to 5,000 in 2016, largely because of the reassuring security presence outside Jewish schools and synagogues following the Islamist terror attacks that included the killing of four people in a Kosher supermarket, but that still adds up to more than 20,000 Jews who fled France in three years. It is a statistic that has drawn little honest analysis from politicians. (...) 
In the last couple of years the number of attacks may have diminished slightly, but the level of violence is on the increase. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe admitted as much to parliament on Wednesday, although he couldn’t bring himself to name those responsible, merely pointing to a ‘new brutal form of anti-Semitism’.
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Europe: EU continues to build illegal settlements - just to complain when Israel demolishes them

Via Elder of Ziyon:
This means that for the past two years, every four months, the EU builds an illegal school building and Israel tears it down.

Does it sound like the EU really cares about educating the kids? They could arrange transportation to another school if they wanted, for example.

These games are clearly meant not to help Palestinians but to embarrass Israel, with photos of demolished buildings that they claim were schools that probably never had any classes.

Abu Nawar is located in the E1 section that connects Ma'ale Adumim with the rest of Jerusalem. That is really what this is all about - the international community is hell bent on stopping Israel from connecting the two.
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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Italy: Secret Arafat diaries confirm non-aggression pact between Italy and Palestinians

Via i24News:
Excerpts of secret diaries reportedly kept by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat published Sunday reveal a secret deal with Italy protecting it from attacks by Palestinian terrorists in exchange for freedom of movement in the country for Palestinian terror factions.

Excerpts of a 19-volume diary published by the Italian L’Expresso magazine confirmed the long-rumored non-aggression pact between Italy and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), headed for decades by Arafat.

“Italy is a Palestinian shore of the Mediterranean,” Arafat writes in one excerpt of the diaries, which were recently sold to a French foundation for studying.

In one of the most dramatic realizations of the agreement, authorities in Rome refused a US extradition request for the mastermind of the deadly 1985 hijacking of the Italian ship Achille Lauro, in which a wheelchair bound Jewish-American man was murdered, allowing the terrorists to escape Italy to Yugoslavia.

The deal between Rome and the Palestinians had been previously revealed in 2008 by former Italian president Francesco Cossiga, who wrote at the time that it was struck by former prime minister Aldo Mora.

Other reports have suggested the agreement dates back to 1973, when Giulio Andreotti who served as foreign minister at the time of the Achille Lauro standoff, was prime minister.

The PLO is said to have struck a similar deal with Switzerland during the 1970s, giving them free rein to move around the country provided they discontinue attacks on Swiss targets.

In the excerpts of the diaries published by L’Expresso, Arafat also reveals lying to Italian prosecutors in 1998 about receiving some 10 million lira (NIS 21.5 million) in aid money that actually went to the Italian Socialist Party in order to help former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi avoid fraud charges.
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Belgium: Orthodox Jew and his son narrowly escape suspected car ramming in Antwerp

Via JTA:

Police in Belgium arrested a man who is suspected of trying to ram with his car an Orthodox man and a child on a street in Antwerp.

The incident Saturday morning was filmed by security cameras. It shows a black Seat Ibiza car swerving sharply while speeding on Isabellalei, a central street in Antwerp, toward the alleged victim and a boy, who is the man’s son, according to the Antwerp-based Joods Actueel Jewish monthly.

The car is seen intersecting a bike path, apparently while speeding. The car then climbs the curb as the two alleged victims are walking toward it, prompting them to jump away from the curb and toward the safety of the building facades.

They jump behind a lamp post. The car swerves back wildly, returning to the road from its incursion into the sidewalk. The father ran after the car as it sped away.

Joods Actueel reported that witnesses said the driver had foreign origins.
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Friday, February 2, 2018

Europe: Trivializing and paying lip service to antisemitism

Via The Jerusalem Post (Alan Baker):
The annual Holocaust remembrance events, whether in the UN or in individual countries, held on and around the official, international day of remembrance on January 27, have now passed, until next year.

The hollow and disingenuous lip-service payed by international leaders to the greatest tragedy that has befallen the Jewish people, has passed.

The annual “day in the sun” of professors, Holocaust researchers and experts, whether in research centers in Israeli universities or elsewhere, is over until next year.

Life must go on.

The international community can now get back to its routine and regular agenda of political correctness. It can get back to ignoring and sidestepping the most tragic violations of human rights in the centers of conflict in Syria, Africa and elsewhere. (...)

Europe can get back to ignoring its own serious and pressing immigration issues to concentrate on its fixation with blaming Israel and with allowing itself, through naiveté and political correctness, to be manipulated by a corrupt, divided and violent Palestinian leadership intent not on peace with, but on the boycotting of Israel.

So what, then, remains of the annual Holocaust remembrance events? What practical measures are the international community taking in order to prevent future Holocausts? Is the international community doing anything to stem the alarming resurgence and spread of antisemitism – especially in Europe – often under the guise of anti-Israel sentiments and actions?

Apart from arguing among themselves as to the best way to define antisemitism in today’s international realities, what are the leaders of the world’s Jewish organizations doing to encourage countries to act definitively to criminalize and prevent antisemitism?

The trepidation of the world’s Jewish leadership – whether out of political correctness or just pure fear – and their hesitation to come out and boldly present antisemitism to the world as an age-old phenomenon that stands on its own, that has existed from time immemorial and that cannot and should not be equated with other forms of racism and bigotry, is perceived by the world as indulgence, absolution and weakness.
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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Italy: Lazio fined for anti-Semitic Anne Frank stickers against Roma

Via BBC:
Serie A side Lazio have been fined 50,000 euros (£43,520) after supporters displayed anti-Semitic Anne Frank stickers last October.

Fans posted images of the Holocaust victim in a Roma jersey alongside slogans such as "Roma fans are Jews".

Thirteen Lazio fans have received stadium bans of between five and eight years in connection with the incident.

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Poland’s Senate backs Holocaust speech law

Via NBC News:
Poland's Senate approved draft legislation Thursday penalizing suggestions of any complicity by the country in the Nazi Holocaust on its soil during the Second World War.
The move has the potential to strain relations with both Israel and the United States. Critics have raised concerns that the Polish state will decide itself what it considers to be facts. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has compared it to an effort to change history.

The bill calls for up to three years in prison for a mention of "Polish death camps," although scientific research into World War Two would not be constrained.

Poland has fought against the use of the phrase in some Western media for years, arguing it suggested the Polish state was at least partly responsible for the camps, where millions of people were killed by Nazi Germany.

Senators voted 57 to 23 in favor of the bill with two abstentions. To become law, the bill requires approval from President Andrzej Duda, who supports it. 

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"Germany was always Antisemitic, that hasn’t changed much", says Holocaust survivor on TV

Via Algemeiner (Ben Cohen):
A 93-year-old survivor of Auschwitz stunned the viewers of one of Germany’s most popular political talk shows on Sunday night when — asked to compare the Nazi era with the situation today — she asserted that the two periods had more in common than many people may care to admit.

“I think that Germany was always antisemitic, that has not changed much,” Esther Bejarano — who was enslaved in the infamous “women’s orchestra” of the Auschwitz death camp — told the ARD Network‘s flagship “Anne Will Show.”

Bejarano was one of several guests on an International Holocaust Remembrance Day edition of the show that asked the question, “How antisemitic is Germany today?” Other guests who participated in the candid and often emotional discussion included two government ministers, a prominent human rights advocate and a leading scholar of modern Jewish history.

Much of the show was dedicated to a harrowing interview with Bejarano about her incarceration in Auschwitz. She began by relating that her father had been a stalwart German patriot, convinced that the German people would reject Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party. But after the Nazis came to power and prevented the family from emigrating to British Mandatory Palestine, Bejarano was imprisoned in a hard labor camp in Germany, before being deported to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland in April 1943. (...)

It was Bejarano’s status as a Holocaust survivor who has spent decades sharing her experiences with younger Germans that amplified the shocked response to her claim that Germany remains deeply antisemitic. 
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Some comments after the article are worth reading.

Slovenia recognition of a Palestinian state decision is suspended

Via European Jewish Press:
The Slovenian Parliament’s foreign affairs committee has suspended a debate on whether to recognize a "state of Palestine."

The committee was to vote on a draft resolution with the backing of Slovenia Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec before it passes to the parliament for a full vote.

According to officials, the foreign affairs committee suspended its session pending an official government position. The committee will then meet again on the government proposal before the final vote in the plenary, which is expected in March or April.

On Friday, Slovenia’s president Borut Pahor cast doubt on his country recognising Palestine. 
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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Ireland’s Boycott-Israel Bill violates EU and international law and will dmage trade with the U.S.

Via Mosaic Magazine:
Yesterday the Irish Senate considered a measure that would make it a crime—punishable by up to five years in prison—for citizens or corporations to do business with Israelis in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, or the Golan Heights. (Voting on the bill has been postponed until a later date.) Orde Kittrie writes:
The senator who introduced the bill, Frances Black, previously signed a letter calling for a boycott of all Israeli products and services. While the bill does not mention Israel or Palestine by name, Black and its other sponsors have announced that it was designed to . . . prohibit Irish transactions relating to Israeli settlers and settlements. . . . The bill would punish Irish citizens and residents, as well as companies incorporated in Ireland, that engage in such transactions, regardless of whether the violation occurs in or outside Ireland. . . . .
[The] bill, if enacted, would be inconsistent with EU and international law. For example, the EU has exclusive competence for the common commercial policy, and member states are not permitted to adopt unilateral restrictions on imports into the EU.
The bill is also inconsistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the international agreement covering trade in goods. . . . [Furthermore, it] would gravely undermine Ireland’s economic links to the United States, which are vital to Irish prosperity. U.S. investment in 2016 accounted for 67 percent of all foreign direct investment in Ireland. Yet this bill would make U.S. companies with subsidiaries in Ireland, Irish companies with subsidiaries in the U.S., and their employees who are Irish or reside in Ireland choose between violating Irish law or violating the U.S. Export Administration regulations [which forbid participation in such boycotts]. . . . These companies would also be forced by Irish law to run afoul of some or all of the two-dozen U.S. state laws that impose sanctions on companies that boycott Israel.
read more @ The Hill 

France: Jewish boy, 8, beaten in Paris suburb in antisemitic attack

Via Jerusalem Post:
 A Jewish boy was beaten by teen-age assailants in a suburb of Paris in what French prosecutors are calling an antisemitic attack.

The boy, 8, was wearing a kippa while walking to a tutor on Tuesday afternoon in the Paris suburb of Paris when two assailants, about 15 years old, knocked him to the ground and beat him, the French news agency AFP reported.
It is the second attack on a Jewish child in the same area this month. On January 10, a 15-year-old Jewish girl was slashed in the face while walking home from school, wearing the uniform of her Jewish private school.

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the incident Tuesday night on Twitter. “An 8-year-old boy was attacked today in Sarcelles. Because he was wearing a kippa. Every time a citizen is attacked because of his age, his appearance or his religion, the whole country is being attacked,” Macron tweeted.

He added: “And it is the whole country that stands, especially today, alongside the French Jews to fight each of these despicable acts, with them and for them.”

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Polish journalist: Jews also took part in the Holocaust

Via Ynet News:
A Polish TV host has suggested that World War II death camps in Poland be referred to as “Jewish death camps” instead of Polish or German, while a journalist intimated on his program that Jews played a part in the Nazi Final Solution.

The comments have fanned the flames that have already mildly burned relations between Warsaw and Jerusalem after the Polish parliament recently moved to pass legislation that Israel has argued is an attempt to downplay Poland’s role in Nazi atrocities.

The guest of the program aired by TVP2 also slammed Israel for its vociferous opposition to the bill, which prescribes prison time for defaming the Polish nation by using phrases such as "Polish death camps" to refer to the killing sites Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland during World War II.

“This narrative is built out of contempt for the facts,” argued Marcin Jerzy Wolski who hosts the Polish public mainstream TV channel operated by TVP.

Discussing an experiment carried out in Germany in which exhaust fumes were pumped into rooms containing monkeys and humans, Wloski and the conservative commentator and author Rafal Aleksander Ziemkiewicz digressed into a conversation about Jews in the Holocaust, gas chambers and how the Nazis improvised as they searched for more efficient methods to murder European Jewry.

The two then segued into an attack of Israeli criticism against the new bill and the “claims” that Poles participated in the Holocaust. Ziemkiewicz also slammed the notion of blaming nations for the actions of individuals.

“Don’t be surprised if someone teaches that the Jewish people crucified Jesus or participated in the Holocaust,” he said. “If we look at the percentage of involvement of countries that took part, Jews also were part of their own destruction.”

Wolski responded by saying: “Using this terminology, linguistically, we could say these were not German or Polish camps, but were Jewish camps. After all, who dealt with the crematoria?”

Taking the theory further, Ziemkiewicz asked: “And who died in them? Jews. History has been forgotten. Instead of history there is a narrative that serves political and other interests. This narrative is built out of contempt for facts.”

A few hours before the program, Ziemkiewicz published on Twitter an anti-Semitic post before deleting it shortly after.

“For many years I have convinced my people that we must support Israel. Today, because of a few scabby or greedy people, I feel like an idiot,” he wrote in his tweet, evoking a term often used in anti-Semitic slurs in Poland. 

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Germany: City cuts ties to banks that enable Israel boycotts

Via The Jerusalem Post (Benjamin Weinthal):
The deputy mayor of the city of Frankfurt announced on Monday that the municipal government will end all commerce with banks that conduct business with organizations that support a boycott of the Jewish state.

In a statement sent to The Jerusalem Post, Deputy Mayor Uwe Becker wrote that “we will shortly only work together with banks, peoples’ banks, and Sparkassen (public saving banks), who do not maintain business relations with organizations of the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement or affiliated groups.”

Frankfurt is the first German city to sanction banks and financial institutions for providing services to the BDS campaign targeting Israel. The Frankfurt decision to penalize financial entities could have far-reaching implications for the scores of BDS organizations that operate in Germany.

Frankfurt, with a population of nearly 720,000, is located in the state of Hesse and is considered the banking capital of Germany.

Becker said that he planned to forward letters to banks about the new anti-BDS policy.

Frankfurt’s anti-BDS policy also applies to credit institutions and companies that conduct business with the city of Frankfurt.
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Europe: Knesset Member Elazar Stern: Europe must stop supporting terrorism in Palestine

Via European Jewish Press:
Europe must stop support terrorism in Palestine, says Elazar Stern, member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in an interview published by Belgian daily L’Echo.

Stern, who is a member of the centrist Yesh Atid party, conveyed the message to members of the European Parliament he met while in Brussels.

"Europeans do not realize that their own money goes indirectly to terrorists. They answer that they only finance schools and books. Education is important. 
But the European authorities should open the schoolbooks printed with their money and see what is written there: that the Jewish state doesn’t exist, that one needs to sacrifice his life. You find nothing on the Holocaust." 

Stern has proposed a bill that would reduce the money that Israel collects for the Palestinians from customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports. "The Palestinians have a budget of which 7.5 percent go to the families of terrorists. A total of one billion shekels per year," says Elazar Stern.   "The more the terrorist action is efficient, the more you receive money. This money given to terrorists is much more than the average salary in Palestine." "This is an incitement to commit terrorist acts, to kill Israelis," he stresses.  
"If I asked the Belgians, right here in the street, what they thought about the fact that they are giving money to the family of someone who killed an Israeli? And that the amount doubles when they kill two? Do you think they would be ok with it? And yet, this is what is happening," he says.
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Friday, January 26, 2018

Europe: Israeli parliament speaker urges 'sincere' EU action against anti-Semitism

Via i24News: 
Israeli parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein addressed a special session of European parliament marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, and accused EU leaders of contradictory approaches to fighting anti-Semitism in Europe while repeatedly condemning Israel.

Edelstein praised efforts to combat anti-Semitism but said that public rebuke for Israel contradicted messages coming from many elected officials.

“The efforts to combat anti-Semitism and protect the Jews of Europe are sincerely appreciated,” Edelstein said at the Brussels ceremony. "But what is the message when elected officials march with the Jewish community one day, and against Israel the next?"

The speaker declared that when leaders embrace the Jewish leaders "in solidarity after a hate-crime and then treat Hamas as a legitimate voice. When an attack is condemned as anti-Semitic and then condemns Israel for fabricated war crimes." "These contradictory messages do not build trust. Instead they prevent us from meeting our joint obligations,” he said. Edelstein also chided an EU delegation that recently traveled to Tehran for failing to condemn a Holocaust denial cartoon contest hosted in Tehran.

"I'm sure, and correct me if I'm wrong, that during that visit no one protested the international cartoon contest taking place in Tehran for the best caricature denying the Holocaust," Edelstein said, brandishing the contest's first prize winner -- an old fashioned cash register with a sketch of Auschwitz at the top [France: Cartoonist Zeon wins Iranian Holocaust-denial contest].

"It's about Jews exploiting the Holocaust to get money," he said, noting that the illustrator came from France.

"For 'Never Again' to really mean 'Never Again', consistent and sincere actions are necessary," Edelstein said. "Anti-Semitism, wherever it rears its ugly head, for whatever reason, is wrong and must be fought at every turn. Writing off such acts as mere opposition to Israel is absurd."

"Anti-Semitism has no excuse. not religion, not poverty, not lack of education, and not political disagreements," he said. Edelstein also thanked the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. (...)

Edelstein asked the European parliament "what has been learned from all the memorials if synagogues across Europe need round the clock protection?"

"Is Holocaust education effective if Jews on this continent don't wear a kippah or a Star of David necklace for fear of attack?" said the speaker.
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Italy: Why Some Catholics Defend the Kidnapping of a Jewish Boy

Via Atlantic:
One summer evening in 1858, the police showed up at the home of a Jewish family in Bologna, Italy, and took their six-year-old child. Authorities had discovered that the child, Edgardo Mortara, had been secretly baptized when he was a baby. Edgardo had fallen gravely ill and his Catholic nanny baptized him for fear that he would die a Jew and be locked out of heaven. But Edgardo survived—and, in the eyes of the Church, he was now a Catholic. Papal law mandated that all Catholic children must receive a Catholic education, and so he was separated from his Jewish family, with Pope Pius IX personally overseeing his religious education.

The “Mortara case” spurred a wave of protests, with activists and intellectuals from Europe and the U.S. petitioning Pius IX to return the child to his parents. The pope refused. Edgardo eventually became a priest, and in 1940 he died in a Belgian monastery. The Vatican never apologized for his kidnapping specifically. But in 2000, John Paul II issued an apology for the persecution of Jews. Today, the dominant Catholic attitude toward the Mortara case is one of regret: “It’s not one of the episodes that the Church is very proud of,” Massimo Faggioli, a Church historian at Villanova University, told me.

Now, however, conservative voices are defending Pius IX’s decision to abduct a Jewish boy. In the latest issue of First Things, a right-leaning Catholic magazine, the Dominican priest and theologian Romanus Cessario wrote a review of Kidnapped by the Vatican? The Unpublished Memoirs of Edgardo Mortara, which recently appeared in English translation. In the book, author Vittorio Messori, an Italian Church historian, goes through Mortara’s personal archive and defends the abduction. Likewise, Cessario calls the law upon which Pius IX acted “not unreasonable” and casts Edgardo’s kidnapping in a positive light: “Divine Providence kindly arranged for his being introduced into a regular Christian life.”

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ukraine: Prohibition of book over passage detailing wartime murder of Jewish children by Ukrainian militia

Via The Guardian:
Leading British historian Antony Beevor has described a Ukrainian ban on his award-winning book Stalingrad as “utterly outrageous”. The bestselling history, winner of the 1999 Samuel Johnson prize, tells of the battle for the Russian city during the second world war. A Russian translation was one of 25 titles included on a banned list issued by Ukrainian authorities last week, alongside books by authors including Boris Akunin and Boris Sokolov.

In 2016, Ukraine passed a law that banned books imported from Russia if they contained “anti-Ukrainian” content, with an “expert council” assessing titles for such content. It is almost four years since Russian president Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea, during which time around 10,000 people have died, and more than 1.7m have been displaced.

Serhiy Oliyinyk, head of the Ukrainian Committee for State TV and Radio Broadcasting’s licensing and distribution control department, told Radio Free Europe (RFE) that the ban was imposed because of a passage that details how 90 Jewish children were shot by Ukrainian militia “to save the feelings of the Sonderkommando”, the work units made up of the Nazis’ death camp prisoners.

“It’s a provocation,” he told RFE. “When we checked the sources he used, we found out he used reports of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs. It was enough to discuss the issue at expert council and we are happy they supported us.” 
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Americans more likely than Europeans to stand up to anti-Semitism, experts say

Via Times of Israel:
It’s better in America: That was the message of a panel of experts considering the rise of the extreme right and of anti-Semitism in the United States and Europe.

That was the good news at the forum Monday sponsored by Georgetown University’s Center for Jewish Civilization. No one, however, could quite pin down why Americans were more resistant to anti-Semitism than Europeans.

“It’s far from perfect,” said Ira Forman, until January the international anti-Semitism monitor for the State Department. “We do it now better than we did 50 years ago, there’s no guarantee we will continue to do it, and frankly, we do it better with anti-Semitism than with anti-Muslim rhetoric and with racism.”

Forman cited American communities that spontaneously rallied to counter anti-Semitism in their midst, notably the citizens of Whitefish, Montana, who a year ago demonstrated ahead of a planned neo-Nazi march targeting the town’s tiny Jewish community, and Oklahoma civic leaders in 2013 who called on a state lawmaker to apologize for using the phrase “jew down.”
People gather in Chicago, Illinois on August 13, 2017 to protest the alt-right movement and to mourn the victims of Charlottesville, Virginia. (Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP)

In both cases and in many others, he said, the drive to counter anti-Jewish rhetoric came in communities with few Jews and seemed driven more by non-Jews who were repelled by the rhetoric.

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Austria Investigates Fraternity's Nazi Songbook

Via Haaretz:
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Wednesday prosecutors are investigating a student fraternity whose songbook contains Nazi lyrics.

Kurz wrote on Twitter that there should be "zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, racism or praising Nazi tyranny."

His comments come after a report revealed a Freedom Party candidate for state office, Udo Landbauer, was a member of the fraternity with the songbook. Many have raised concerns about Kurz's decision to form a new coalition government with the nationalist, anti-migrant Freedom Party.

The book contains the line "step on the gas, you old Germans, we will reach seven million" — an apparent reference to the 6 million Jews the Nazis killed in the Holocaust. 

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UK: East Yorkshire MP reveals second anti-Semitic attack since becoming a Jew

Via Hull Daily Mail:
An East Yorkshire MP has revealed the “torrent” of anti-Semitic abuse he received at the hands of two people while out shopping before Christmas.

Andrew Percy, Conservative MP for Goole and a recent Jewish convert, said he was accosted by a man and a woman while in Doncaster shopping.

The ex-Hull City councillor previously alleged, as reported by the Mail, that he was targeted during the snap general election last summer, with two individuals said to have “screamed” at him for being “Israeli scum” and “Zionist scum”.

The backbencher is vice-chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel and has defended Israel’s foreign policy in the past.

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Russia: Moscow University Student Removed From Exam for Jewish Headwear

Via Moscow Times:
A Jewish student at Moscow State University was barred from taking an exam this week after he declined to take off his religious headgear at the request of a professor.

Lev Boroda was asked by geography professor Vyacheslav Baburin to remove his Jewish religious cap, called a yarmulke or kippah, or leave the classroom, the SOVA Center monitoring group reported Tuesday.

Boroda, who later took the exam with a different professor, has reportedly filed a complaint about the incident with university administrators.

The film student recalled an earlier incident in which the university’s gym teacher told him to “cross himself” when he asked for permission to skip class during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the SOVA Center reported.

Sergei Dobrolyubov, the dean of the geography department, lauded the professor for following the university’s rules, which prohibit headgear from being worn on campus. He pointed to Baburin’s request last year for female Muslim students to remove their headscarves before exams.
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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

European Parliament invites Iranian official said to have links with bombing of Buenos Aires Jewish center

Via European Jewish Press (Yossi Lempkowicz):
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has protested the invitation made by the European Parliament to an Iranian senior official who is said to have links with the 1984 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who is the Chairman for the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran, was invited for an ‘’exchange of views’’ at Tuesday’s meeting of the European Parliament foreign affairs committee (AFET) where is was due "to present further information on the Iranian position on regional developments, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the current political situation in Iran."

According to Simon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Boroujerd is an Iranian alleged associate of top Hezbollah officials and of former Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Velayati, who is sought under an Interpol red notice arrest warrant for alleged complicity in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Centre which left 85 dead and over 300 wounded”.
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Czech Republic: Miloš Zeman and the Czech tradition of supporting Israel when it matters

Via The Tablet (Edward N. Luttwak):
The only European leader who starkly defied the protesting chorus to applaud Donald Trump’s recognition of Israel’s capital was the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman.

By so doing, Zeman was renewing a peculiar tradition of his office that started with the founding president Thomas Masaryk, a philosophy professor who first became a public figure in Austro-Hungarian days by powerfully defending Leopold Hilsner, a Jewish tramp tried and convicted of the ritual murder of a girl in 1899. To the fury of the Catholic prelates who had incited mobs against Hilsner, the imperial authorities intervened from Vienna to stop Hilsner’s execution. A long campaign ensued till Hilsner’s liberation, and, in the process, Masaryk won over many Czechs to his view that anti-semitism was a pernicious pack of lies at a time when it was almost Catholic doctrine ( Viennas’s mayor Karl Lueger kept been re-elected till his death in 1910 on an explicitly anti-semitic platform, strongly backed by the Church). (...)

All through this, the Czechs–Israel’s one and only suppliers–were bombarded with American and British complaints, outright threats, and offers of inducements, but they stood firm, just as Miloš Zeman stood firm when Federica Mogherini, Arafat’s ex groupie and Rouhani enthusiast (not one word from her about the recent Iranian protests) and now Europe’s farcical “High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy“, chose to lead the outcry over Jerusalem.

Zeman is up for re-election against Jiří Drahoš, a nice man and a perfectly respectable scientist, but it is clearly Zeman who upholds the Masaryk tradition when it comes to Israel. He received 38 percent of the vote in the first round as against 26 percent for Drahoš, but faces a maximum effort from the Mogherini set in the concluding vote next week (for more on the election see here). He is worthy of support.
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