Sunday, December 10, 2017

Poland appoints ex-banker with Jewish roots as prime minister

Via Jewish Telegraphic Agency:
A politician with Jewish roots who said that both of his aunts were rescued by non-Jews during the Holocaust was appointed the country’s prime minister amid a Cabinet reshuffle.

Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, a former bank chairman in the Santander Group, was tapped Thursday to take charge of the Polish government as it gears up for parliamentary elections in 2019, the ruling Law and Justice party announced. He succeeds Beata Maria Szydło, also of the right-wing party, who has served in the post since 2015.

Morawiecki, 49, who was not even a member of Law and Justice two years ago, joined the government as minister for economic development in 2015 before adding the post of finance minister last year.

His Jewish roots were known in Poland. Morawiecki spoke about it in some detail earlier this year at a ceremony at the Warsaw Zoo honoring a former zoo director and his wife, Jan and Antonina Żabiński, who saved hundreds of Jews there, and other rescuers.

“Always at such ceremonies I begin reflecting on my family’s own story,” Morawiecki said. “My aunt Irena was a Jew, she survived the war and as a child of 10. Until she was 16, she stayed with a Polish family who rescued her” with help from a few dozen other non-Jewish Poles who risked their lives to hide her, he said.

Another aunt, named Roma, now lives in Israel, he said. She survived the Holocaust because she escaped eastward, Morawiecki said, presumably to Russian-held territories, while the rest of her family died.
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UK: Shouts of 'Khayber, Khayber ya Yahud' outside US embassy

Via Harry's Place:
Tonight outside the US embassy in London; "Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud" or "Jews, remember Khaybar the army of Muhammad is returning". They mean Zionists tho...@PSCupdates are they your banners they're holding?

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Sweden: Firebombs hurled at synagogue after protest march about Jerusalem

The Local has a photo of Swedes burning the Israeli flag.  Have a look.

Via Jewish Telegraphic Agency:
More than a dozen men hurled firebombs at a synagogue in Gothenburg in southern Sweden hours after locals marched in the city against the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 
No one was injured in the attack Saturday night, which ended without major damage to property, the online edition of the Expressen daily reported.

Dvir Maoz, the World Bnei Akiva youth movement’s emissary in Gothenburg, told JTA that the attack happened a little after 10 p.m. while youths from the local Jewish community were attending a party inside the synagogue complex. Looking outside from inside the synagogue lobby area, he said he saw in the corner of his eye “a ball of fire” approaching the building. “The guards saw it in the security cameras and called police right away. The children were stressed, it was the first time they had ever experienced a terrorist attack near them.” (...)

Hours before the attack, which police are investigating, several hundred people marched through the city’s center in protest of President Donald Trump’s declaration on Wednesday that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, George Braun, the head of the community, told JTA. Police do not have suspects in custody.

“It is unconscionable that Jews are under attack on the streets of Europe, whether by terrorists hurling Molotov cocktails or openly and brazenly calling for the mass murder of Jews in Malmo, Vienna and Paris,” European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said in a statement. 
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Friday, December 8, 2017

Danish MEP: 'Europe has decided to live in total ignorance of what is the situation on the ground, that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish State of Israel'

Via European Jewish Press:
"It seems that Europe has just decided to live in total ignorance of what is the situation on the ground, that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish State of Israel." said Anders Vistisen, Danish Member of the European Parliament, in remarks about the EU negative reaction to US President Trump decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

"It is a fact," said Vistisen, who is first Vice Chair of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET), as he addressed the General Assembly of the European Jewish Parliament in the premises of the EU assembly.

He found it a "paradox" that the people who are threatening to use violence and terrorism are seen as the "victims" while the people who are offering peace and offering to everyone to come to Jerusalem for worship are considered the "aggressors."

"I don’t think you'll find such an example elsewhere in the world," he said.

"I say as I can that I believe that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish People and of the Jewish state of Israel.  I strongly believe that the only way as Christian to go their and worship in peace is if it is secured by the State of Israel," Vistisen said.

He deplored that Israel’s existence is challenged in the European Parliament, recalling that despite his efforts "we couldn’t get a majority within the parliament for a resolution saying that Hamas is a terrorist organization."
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Arabs, Europe, UN reject Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Via The Jerusalem Post: 
European countries, Egypt and Russia are slated to rail against US President Donald Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, when the United Nations Security Council holds a meeting on the matter in New York on Friday.

PLO Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour called on the council “to act swiftly” to avoid “this extremely dangerous situation, which constitutes a threat to international peace and security,” according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA. (...)  
It’s expected that the US, one of five Security Council countries with veto power, would block any action against Israel.

The request for the meeting was put forward by Bolivia, Egypt, France, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.

It’s expected that Mansour, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon will also speak before the 15-member body. (...)

Earlier this year Russia recognized that west Jerusalem was Israel’s capital – it was the first country to do so. On Wednesday the Czech Republic also stated that west Jerusalem was Israel’s capital.

Trump did not geographically define territory when issuing his declaration, but rather, left the definition vague, so that it would be possible to presume he was not referring to all of the city.
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Germany: Merkel condemns Trump decision on Jerusalem

Via PJ Media (Michael van der Galien):
President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's official capital and his announcement that he would move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to that city has sparked outrage not only in the Middle East, but also in Europe. 
One European leader who has condemned Trump's announcement is Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. Although you'd expect her to tread extremely carefully when talking about Israel -- considering her country's horrible record regarding the treatment of Jews -- nothing could be further from the truth. (...)

Her foreign secretary, Sigmar Gabriel, agrees with Merkel's position. "I believe that it carries the risk that an already difficult situation in the Middle East and in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will escalate even further," he added to Merkel's statement. He also complained that Trump's announcement supposedly ignores the Palestinians' interests and marks a 180-degree turn from the previous U.S. policy. "And that worries us," Gabriel said. "We hope that this concern can be taken away, but this turnaround is already a big problem." (...)

Of course, both Merkel and Gabriel forgot to mention that the Palestinians haven't given "peace a chance" for decades — not even when Israel was willing to make serious concessions when the United States still considered Tel Aviv Israel's capital. It's difficult to imagine what more they could do to undermine the peace process than purposefully blowing them up time and again.
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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Netherlands: Man holding Palestinian flag smashes windows of Amsterdam kosher restaurant

Watch video here.

Via Jewish Telegraphic Agency:
Police are investigating the smashing of a window of a kosher restaurant in a heavily-Jewish part of the Dutch capital by a man wearing a Palestinian flag. 
The incident at HaCarmel restaurant occurred Thursday morning, hours after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The AT5 television station showed a video of the incident, in which a man holding a large stick while holding a Palestinian flag and wearing a Palestinian keffiyah, or shal, on his head proceeds to smash the windows and kick down the restaurant’s doors as passersby and two police officers look on. The officers wait until he breaks into the restaurant. They pause as he returns out to the street from the restaurant’s interior holding an Israeli flag that he took from there. He throws it at their feet. Then they overpower the man and arrest him. 
Contacted by JTA, an employee at HaCarmel declined to comment on the circumstances of the incident, which the Federative Jewish Netherlands group reported online with a pictures of a Dutch police officer kneeling in front of a shattered glass window, with a Star of David hanging on the restaurant’s wall in the background. 
“Jerusalem is recognized as the capital by the United States of America, so the windows of an Israeli restaurant in Amsterdam are smashed.  Only logical. The Palestinian shall complete the story,” Federative Jewish Netherlands wrote on Twitter.
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German Foreign Minister unironically calls for ‘solution to the Jerusalem problem’

Via Free Beacon (Matthew Continetti):
German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel does not support President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to the Washington Post. "We all know the far-reaching impact this move would have," he said in an interview.  
"Germany's position on this issue remains unchanged: A solution to the Jerusalem problem can only be found through direct negotiations between both parties. Everything which worsens the crisis is counterproductive." 
Leaving aside Gabriel's conventional pro-Palestinian policy analysis, maybe he could have chosen his words more carefully? 
And maybe European governments might want to sit this one out? The Washington Post goes on to say that word of President Trump's announcement "dominated European news coverage Wednesday, especially in countries such as Germany, France, and Britain where anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in recent years—partially due to an escalation of tensions between Israel and Palestinians." 
That's one way of looking at it, we suppose. Reporters never waste an opportunity to blame Israel for Europe's troubles. Another way of looking at it is that rising European anti-Semitism has coincided with rising European Islamism, rising European secularism hostile to Jewish particularity and ritual, and rising European nationalism of the kind that led to the murder of six million European Jews less than a century ago. The Boycott Divest Sanctions movement, the spearhead of global efforts to delegitimize the state of Israel, is also strong on the continent, where goods made in Jewish communities in the West Bank are required to carry a warning label. Little surprise that Jews are leaving places like France in record numbers.
Jewish migration from Germany is relatively stable, but that may be because there are so few Jews left in Germany to begin with. Still, Josef Schuster, president of Germany's Central Council of Jews, told Bild last July that "In some districts in major cities, I'd advise people not to identify themselves as Jews."
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Europe: "EU people believe that the way to Israelis’ hearts is by spitting in their faces"

Via European Jewish Press:
"For reasons unknown, the EU people believe that the way to Israelis’ hearts is by spitting in their faces," said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon as he reacted to the decision  of the new EU ambassador in Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, to  mark International Human Rights Day on Thursday together with the human rights organization B’Tselem.

The event will feature an exhibition of photographs marking "50 years of Israeli occupation" and sparked a fierce condemnation from Israel.

In his comments, the Israeli spokesperson said "we are again seeing the same patronizing approach of preaching hypocritical, condescending morality, that just pushes away rather than bringing closer. It is sad and superfluous."

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said that Israel has "been threatened by Palestinian terror for over 100 years" and that "unfortunately, the EU has not investigated the Palestinian Authority’s education system, which raises children to be ready to kill innocent civilians." She further added that "whoever wants to look into human rights should begin with the Palestinian education system."

Minister of Education Naftali Bennet, leader of the Habayit Hayeudi party, slammed the European Union which, he said, "loses no opportunity to needle the State of Israel and persists in its unilateral ways." "This attitude makes the EU a less relevant player by the day."

The comments by Israeli officials came ahead of a visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Brussels next Monday for a rare meeting with the 28 EU Foreign Ministers. (...)

Israel’s government accuses groups such as B’Tselem of unfairly tarnishing the country’s image for political reasons.

In April, Netanyahu cancelled talks with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, after the visiting diplomat declined to call off meetings with rights groups critical of Israel’s government, including B’Tselem.

In February, the Belgian Ambassador to Israel was summoned for a dressing down in the Foreign Ministry over a visit by his country’s Prime Minister, Charles Michel, with representatives of two left-wing Israeli rights organizations, including B’Tselem, despite a direct appeal by Prime Minister Netanyahu to Belgium to end its support to groups damaging the reputation of Israel.
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UK: Rapper Lowkey 'uses Jewish slur' in performance on BBC

Via The Jewish Chronicle:
The BBC are facing a fresh Jew-hatred controversy after a rap artist performed a track on a popular Radio 1 show which appeared to contain the lyric: "Power to victims of this globalised kosher nostra". 
Lowkey - who is a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign - also ranted against "zombies and Zionists" during his live appearance on the station's Charlie Sloth show on Saturday night. 
After performing his "freestyle" 15-minute rap on the show, Mr Sloth hailed the content of the song, saying: "I feel like I've just been to university for five years". 
"Kosher nostra" has typically been used as an antisemitic term to describe an alleged Jewish ruling elite.
However a Radio 1 spokesperson told the JC that Lowkey insisted he had used the term ‘cosa nostra’ which he said "is commonly meant as a general reference to ‘the Mafia’." 
Lowkey's reference to "zombies and Zionists" also came during his appearance on Saturday's show in lyrics which attacked an alleged powerful elite of "neo-cons". 
The rapper declined to comment on his use of the word 'Zionists' in the rap.  
Footage of the performance has been shared on YouTube with the lyrics being praised by pro-Jeremy Corbyn website The Skwawkbox.
Lowkey, whose real name is Kareem Dennis, has previously made his anti-Zionist stance public on tracks such as Long Live Palestine, in which he sings: "You say you know about the Zionist lobby. But you put money in their pocket when you're buying their coffee. Talking about revolution, sitting in Starbucks." 
In 2009 Lowkey, whose mother is Iraqi and father English. was questioned at Tel Aviv airport as he entered Israel.  He said at the time he had received a "miniscule fraction of the degradation Palestinian people are subjected to on a daily basis”.
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Update here.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Greece: Holocaust Memorial vandalized in Athens, not the first time

Via European Jewish Press:
Unknown vandals stripped the inscription in Elie Wiesel's words at the Holocaust Memorial in Athens on Saturday.

The meaningful inscriptions in Greek and French calling on passer-by to remember the victims of the Holocaust disappeared in two of memorial tracks.

Minor Moisis, President of the Jewish community of Athens declared: "Elie Wiesel's appeal to the passer-by to stand, to remember, to honor the victims of the Holocaust was turned into an act of vandalism, disrespect, insult." 
He denounced the fact that this was not the first time the memorial was desecrated. "It won’t be the last either," he said. 
He said the city of Athens to which the monument belongs "hopefully will restore the pieces that have been removed." 
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Bulgaria: Israelis told to remove Western Wall photo at charity event

Via Israel Hayom:
Israel has filed an official complaint with Bulgaria after Israeli representatives at a charity fair in the country's capital were asked to remove a photograph of the Western Wall from their stall, which organizers claimed was offensive to Palestinians.
The incident occurred at a charity event hosted by the International Women's Club in Sofia, where various countries were represented. The incident began when representatives from the Israeli booth learned the Palestinian booth was displaying a map of Israel with the caption "Palestine," as well as posters calling for the United Kingdom to apologize for the Balfour Declaration, the 1917 declaration by the British government favoring the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish "national home."  
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Monday, December 4, 2017

Germany: Israeli victim of Berlin Christmas market terror attack blasts Merkel for failed anti-terror policy

Via The Jerusalem Post (Benjamin Weinthal):
The family members of the 12 murdered victims from last December's Christmas terror attack, which included the Israeli Dalia Elyakim, published a blistering open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Der Spiegel magazine on Friday, accusing her government of deeply flawed anti-terrorism policies, failing to prevent the Islamic State attack in Berlin and mistreatment of the survivors in the aftermath of the act of vehicular terrorism.

"Chancellor, the attack on Breitscheidplatz is a tragic consequence of the political inaction of your government," the family members wrote in their letter, adding Germany lacks "basic professionalism in its approach to terrorism."

Rami Elyakim, the husband of Dalia and who himself was wounded in the attack, was one of the authors of the letter taking Merkel to task for her government's failure to stop the Tunisian terrorist Anis Amri before he drove a truck into a crowded Christmas market on December 19, 2016. The Islamic State terrorist also injured over 70 people in the ramming attack. The 11 people at the market came from Italy, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Germany and Italy. Amri hijacked a truck from a Polish driver whom he murdered before committing the Christmas market attack.

"At a time when the threat posed by dangerous Islamists has greatly increased, you have failed to push ahead with expanding resources and reforming the confused official structures for fighting these dangers," wrote the family members of Germany's worst Islamic terrorism attack.

"Chancellor Merkel, you have in nearly one year after the attack neither personally or in writing condoled us. In our judgment you have not lived up to your office, " the family members wrote, adding that the terror attack not only affected the victims but the entire Federal Republic of Germany.
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Miss Germany 2011 kept her Jewish heritage a secret and moved to America

Via The Jewish Telegraphic Agency:
Last week, the story of a Jewish woman competing in the Miss Germany competition went viral, appearing in JTA along with media outlets around the world. Tamar Morali, 21, said organizers told her she was the first Jewish woman to get this far in the beauty pageant.

It turns out the story — and the world of beauty pageants in general — isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

In 2011, a Jewish woman, Valeria Bystritskaia, was crowned Miss Germany. But out of fear of anti-Semitism Bystritskaia, a Russia native who moved to Germany at the age of 7, kept her Jewish heritage a secret. (...)

Bystritskaia, 31, is the Moscow-born daughter of a Ukrainian-Jewish mother and Russian father. In 1993, she told JTA, she and her mother moved to Germany to escape anti-Semitism, eventually settling in the city of Karlsruhe. Her mother warned her not to tell anyone about her Jewish heritage, though Bystritskaia said she was bullied in school for being a foreigner.

At 17, she was discovered by a modeling agent, and after four years of modeling she entered her first beauty pageant. She went on to win more than 30 titles, and at age 25 she was crowned Miss Universe Germany. She represented Germany in the Miss Universe 2011 pageant, although she did not place in the top 16.

Bystritskaia said organizers never asked about her religious background and she did not tell anyone, so the fact that she was Jewish was never reported.

Following her victory, however, Bystritskaia experienced anti-Semitic harassment on social media. She said she’s still not sure how people found out about her Jewish background.

“The worst was someone who wrote ‘Hitler forgot about her and her family,'” she told JTA in an email this week.

That spurred her to leave the country.

“It was that reaction, in fact, that convinced me that I couldn’t live as a Jew in Germany,” she said. “My title period ended in 2012, and by 2013, I had moved to America.”
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Netherlands: Jews say former prime minister peddles anti-Semitism

Via Jewish Telegraphic Agency:
The umbrella group representing Dutch Jewry accused a pro-Palestinian former prime minister of anti-Semitism. 
The Central Jewish Board of the Netherlands, or CJO, in a statement Wednesday made the explicit allegation for the first time against Dries van Agt and the Palestinian advocacy group he founded called The Rights Forum. 
Van Agt, who served as prime minister from 1977 to 1982, has fought accusations of anti-Semitism since the 1970s. 
CJO’s claim was over statements it said van Agt made last week at a Utrecht event organized by the Young Socialists in Dutch Labour that the party “is good for the Palestinians despite the strong Jewish lobby” in its ranks. 
The assertion was part of a CJO statement calling out van Agt for his advocacy group’s rejection of a letter sent last month to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte by the leaders of the Reform and Conservative Jewish communities in the Netherlands in which they complained of anti-Semitism within the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. 
In the letter warning of the mainstreaming of anti-Semitism in the Netherlands, the seven communal leaders from the Dutch Union for Progressive Judaism wrote that “BDS activists with clear anti-Jewish messaging in the Netherlands are allowed to operate freely in churches and universities.” 
In response, The Rights Forum said there was no evidence of such messaging — a claim CJO said was “almost laughable.” 
CJO cited van Agt’s statement on the Jewish lobby and others, including shouts about killing Jews documented at a demonstration organized by BDS activists in Rotterdam earlier this year.
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