Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Spain: Pro-Israel German author disinvited by Catalan National Movement Candidatura d'Unitat Popular (CUP)

Via Jutta Ditfurth:
Jutta Ditfurth
The main concern of the anti-Semitic BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) is not to criticize Israel’s policies or racism in Israeli society, but to destroy the existence of Israel. In reality, it is not just about boycotting products from the occupied territories, as many people still believe. But: The only Jewish state in the world is to be demonised and delegitimised for as long as it takes to attain that actual goal: its annihilation. The BDS does not want a two-state solution, but just one state called Palestine. Only “non-Zionist” Jews will be allowed to remain in the new state; but as practically all Jews are Zionists in the eyes of the BDS, only very few Jews would be able to stay in Israel – only those who bow to the BDS and the organisations affiliated with it like FOR Palestine etc. Not only should the Palestinians who were really expelled return to the new state, but also their descendants, even if they have never lived in Israel. That would mean 5 to 6.5 million people. But Israel is only the size of the German state of Hesse and has 8.3 million inhabitants, of which 6.1 million are Jews. Israel would no longer exist. Even international law does not have an inheritable right of return. 
Current conflict: The Catalan party Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP) [1] invited me to Barcelona in March 2017 to speak at their conference “International Conference: Sovereignty and Self-Determination. Political Change in the Euro-Mediterranean Region”. On 20 May I was to hold a talk at the conference and take part in a round table discussion; on 22 May I was to speak at a conference of the Fundacio Tia Salellas in the city of Girona. 
The invitation stated: We would like you as a “feminist, radical ecologist and anti-nuclear activist, and as co-founded of the Green Party and of the Ecological Left … to elucidate your experiences and positions regarding civil disobedience as a non-violent tool of social change …. We would like to combine theory, analysis and practice … It would be a great honour for us if you would take part in our international conference.” The CUP is “non homogeneous” and wishes to “learn from other people’s experiences”. 
Now I have been disinvited by email. The reasons:
1. We knew nothing about your “political positions and activities against the BDS.” … We strongly support the BDS because it opposes colonialist and racist policies. … We are against colonialism, occupation and discrimination, and the Palestinian struggle for liberation is a central and decisive issue.”
This means: Whoever criticises the BDS – i.e., does not contest Israel’s right to exist – cannot be against either racism, colonialism or discrimination. No other form of solidarity with Palestinians is possible than the adaptation of the strategy and interests of the BDS. 
2. Furthermore, the CUP wrote, a representative of the BDS campaign was invited to the round table discussion and it was not considered appropriate that an anti-BDS activist should be included. 
Obviously, one’s relationship to Israel is a dominant question for the Candidatur d’Unitat Popular. The supposed theme of discussion, my “experiences and positions as a tool of civil disobedience and non-violent social change” (invitation) combining “theory, analysis and practice (ibid.), has become subjection to the concept of the BDS. The feminist, radical-ecological and anti-nuclear positions are of no value to the CUP as soon as someone criticises the BDS. So much for the CUP’s claim to be “non-homogeneous” and to want to “learn from the experiences of others”.
[1] According to information published by the CUP, it has 10 parliamentarians in the Catalan Parliament and about 381 local councillors in Catalonia.
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Lithuania discriminated against Jews seeking passports

Via The Jewish Chronicle:
An investigation has revealed that Lithuania has discriminated against Jews who applied for passports. 
Data complied by Daniel Lutrin, a South African whose great-grandmother was Lithuanian, showed that between January 2015 and April 2016, 170 Jewish applicants (with either Israeli or Jewish South-African names) had been turned down, versus 110 non-Jewish applicants. There was an even stronger disparity between January 2016 and April 2016, with 90 Jewish and 20 non-Jewish applications rejected.  
Mr Lutrin’s allegations were seen as so incontrovertible that after he made his case, Lithuania’s parliament voted to change part of the country’s citizenship requirements to end the discrimination. 
Over 90 per cent of the South African Jewish community are Litvaks — Jews of Lithuanian origin.  
Mr Lutrin had decided to apply for a Lithuanian passport in 2012 and was told his application was in order and that a final decision would be made within a year. However, a year on he was told that there was a new requirement for citizenship, which affected anyone whose ancestors had left Lithuania between 1919 and 1940.  (...)
“Time and time again, the unsuccessful were overwhelmingly Jewish South Africans or Jewish Israelis.” 
The research compiled by Mr Lutrin was sent in May 2016 to the Lithuanian Consul General in Los Angeles by Grant Gochin, who himself spent years fighting the Lithuanian government to gain citizenship. The resultant publicity — in Lithuania, South Africa and Israel — led to the law change. The new language made it clear Jews who “withdrew” or “fled” and those who “left” were to be treated in the same way.  
Mr Lutrin has since gained a passport. He says things are now “a lot better” for Jews applying for passports.  
A spokesperson for the Lithuanian embassy said: “Since the 2016 amendment came into force, the Lithuanian authorities have made every effort to individually inform every person whose application was unsuccessful between 2010-2015 about the possibility to resubmit their application.”  
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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.