Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Italy: Lazio fans leave anti-Semitic stickers of Anne Frank images

Via The Washington Post/AP:

Images of Anne Frank wearing a Roma jersey were among the anti-Semitic stickers and graffiti left by Lazio fans that were discovered at the Stadio Olimpico on Monday.

It was the latest in a long line of racist or anti-Semitic incidents involving Lazio supporters.

The northern curva (end) of the stadium where Lazio’s “ultra” fans sit was closed on Sunday for the match with Cagliari due to racist chanting during a match against Sassuolo this month. 
As a result, Lazio decided to open the southern end and let the ultras in where Roma’s hard-core fans sit for their home matches.

Stadium cleaners found the anti-Semitic stickers a day later.

The Italian football federation is likely to open an investigation, which could result in a full stadium ban for Lazio.

“There are no justifications. These incidents must be met with disapproval, without any ifs, ands or buts,” Sports Minister Luca Lotti said. “I’m sure that the responsible authorities will shed light on what happened and that those responsible will quickly be identified and punished.”

Lazio’s ultras have long been known for their far right-wing political stances and fascist leanings. During a 1998 derby, Lazio ultras held up a banner directed at their Roma counterparts that read, “Auschwitz Is Your Country; the Ovens Are Your Homes.”
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Germany: Hezbollah-aligned center declares 'resistance' against Israel

Via The Jerusalem Post (Benjamin Weinthal):
The chairman of the Hezbollah-affiliated Islamic center Al Mahdi in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) urged his supporters to wage “resistance” against Israel on Saturday, according to a report in the regional paper Neue Westfälische.

“Israel is the enemy – we are carry out resistance,” said Hassan Jawad, chairman of the Al Mahdi cultural center in the city of Münster.

Jawad’s cultural center is building a meeting center for 800 to 1,000 religious believers in Bad Oeynhausen, a spa town with a population of nearly 50,000 in NRW. The Al Mahdi center has served as a hotbed for Hezbollah activity for over twenty years, according to the paper.

The NRW interior minister Herbert Reul told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that “when somebody in Germany says that Israel is the enemy, that is, for me, intolerable. I am a big friend of Israel, and the friendship to Israel belongs to Germany’s raison d’état. Therefore this statement [from Hassan Jawad] is condemned by me in the strongest terms.”

When asked if the interior ministry plans to ban the Al Mahdi center, the ministry told The Post that “associations that support Hezbollah can presently be banned, if financial support [for them] is provable.”
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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Germany: Few Israelis are aware of how popular it is in Germany to compare Israel to the Nazis

Via Fathom (Gadi Taub):
Most Israelis assume – or at least they did until very recently – that Germany is a steadfast friend of Israel. They therefore find it hard to imagine that it would actively support organisations which contribute to the campaign to delegitimise Israel’s right to exist. But all that may have changed after the debacle in April between German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 
Gabriel, on the occasion of an official visit for Holocaust Memorial Day, announced that he would meet the representatives of two radical left-wing civil society organisations – Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem. When Netanyahu said that if those meetings went ahead he would boycott the visit and refuse to meet Gabriel, many thought he was overreacting. Few, however, expected Gabriel to choose those two organisations over Israel’s prime minster (and acting foreign minister). And when he did, things began to appear in a new light. It no longer seemed that the German foreign minister made an honest mistake, not knowing how controversial these organisations were among Israelis. It appeared, instead, that he knew exactly what he was doing and that it was us, the Israeli public, who had made a mistake in our assumptions about German-Israeli relations. (...) 
Before the Gabriel affair few Israelis were aware of how popular it is in Germany to compare Israel to the Nazis. But one has to admit that it does have its own perverted psychological logic. If the Jews are now victimisers, not victims, does that not partially alleviate the terrible burden of German guilt? Does that not create a counterweight to the ever-present sense that the very existence of Jews is a permanent reminder of German sins? Does not the psychological need, if not exactly the argument, press towards some path of relief in blaming the victims? 
By refusing Netanyahu’s request and lending his support to organisations bent on demonising Israel, Gabriel made many wonder whether he was not in fact engaged in exactly this kind of politico-psychological game, which may appeal to his own constituency at home. But surely a German foreign minister on an official visit on the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day, cannot be trying to manipulate symbols and emotions so as to switch victims and victimisers! Or could he? We were all ears now. 
So it was not overlooked here in Israel when, upon his return to Germany, Gabriel said to the Frankfurter Rundschau that the Social Democrats, his own party, were, along with the Jews, among ‘the first victims of the holocaust’ (this was later changed on the paper’s website from victims of ‘the holocaust’ to victims of ‘the Nazis’). So after using his state visit to look at Israel through the lens of organisations emphasising our sins, and thus classifying us as victimisers, was he now making himself the victim (by proxy), and not just any victim, but a victim of Nazism? Where was all this heading? It brought to mind the bitterly sarcastic quip attributed to Israeli psychiatrist Zvi Rex: ‘The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.’ Will we soon need to apologise for it to Gabriel? 
All this, we should note, was carried on in the guise of high handed – and decidedly condescending – rhetoric. Gabriel, on his own account, was helping to instruct us about the dangers of nationalism – ours – and the virtues of ‘European values,’ and democracy. But despite the immaculately humanitarian vocabulary, it was not hard to sense that something very sinister was afoot, since the minister’s interest in malignant nationalism and human rights seemed to be selective. He was apparently more interested in cases where Israel could be blamed. He had no plans to meet any civil society organisations which document Palestinian abuses of human rights, and his high-minded exhortations against Jewish nationalism were not matched by any criticism of the murderous sort of xenophobic nationalism which the Palestinians habitually – and institutionally – encourage in their people, especially their young. (Gabriel has since also hosted an Iranian religious leader who has called for the elimination of Israel, as part of an official Foreign Ministry event intended to harness religion for the cause of peace, the Jerusalem Post reported.) Of course Palestinian anti-Semitism is less useful as a ‘lesson of the holocaust’ if such a lesson is only intended to insinuate – to be sure, in a roundabout, never-explicit way – that the former victims have now become the culprits, thus helping to lighten Germany’s moral burden. 
Netanyahu was absolutely right to forcefully refuse to take part in any such shady game of insinuations. So perhaps we should thank Gabriel, after all, for providing the opportunity to bring all this home to Israelis. We can appreciate that the German past is indeed a difficult burden to carry, and we can even sympathise with the pains of sons who have to live with their fathers’ sins, but it is by no means the task of Jews to help relieve, much less shoulder, Germany’s historical guilt. So it is easy to see why Israelis found the whole affair rather nauseating. 
But even this was not yet all. Many Israelis dismiss the shrill rhetoric of Netanyahu’s right-wing government, in which complaints about how European money is funnelled through the Palestinian Authority (PA) to support terrorism can get lost in the general air of paranoid-seeming rhetoric. But this complaint too now received more attention when, as fate would have it, the US recently became quite firm about the PA’s support of the families of terrorists. The PA under Mahmoud Abbas habitually calls Palestinian terrorists ‘martyrs’ and offers generous financial aid to their families. Gabriel, who was so particular about Israel’s moral conduct, had nothing to say about how German money is used in that way. But we do. And we should hold all donors accountable if they allow their money to be used to provide incentives for terrorism. Germany is a good place to start, and Netanyahu was right to highlight all this. 
According to press reports in Israel which followed Gabriel’s visit, Germany denied entry to Turkish officials of Recap Erdogan’s government when they wanted to meet with German citizens of Turkish origin. Germany feared representatives of the Turkish state would radicalise members of its own citizenry. So when all was said and done it seemed like Netanyahu’s treatment of Gabriel was actually mild in comparison. Perhaps it should be less mild in the future.
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Netherlands: Soccer fans ridicule child Holocaust victims on Twitter

Via JTA:

Avram and Emanuel Rosenthal, 5 and 2 years old respectively, were rounded
up to be murdered shortly after their picture was taken in Lithuania in 1944

Soccer fans in the Netherlands used a picture of child victims of the Holocaust to taunt a rival team in what Dutch activists against racism called a new low for anti-Semitic rhetoric in sports.
The photo featuring two toddlers wearing a yellow star was widely circulated on Twitter under the hashtag #anti020week. The digits are the Amsterdam-area dial code, which in soccer jargon references the city’s main soccer club, Ajax. The picture, in which one child appears to be nearing tears, also featured the caption “When 020 had only one star.”

The children pictured, Avram and Emanuel Rosenthal, 5 and 2 years old respectively, were rounded up to be murdered shortly after their picture was taken in Lithuania in 1944.

Shared by many supporters of the Feyenoord team of Rotterdam, the photo offers an extreme example of how fans of Ajax rivals mock the memory of the Holocaust. Ajax players and supporters are often called “Jews” in recognition of the large Jewish community that had existed in the Dutch capital before 80 percent of its members were murdered in the Holocaust by Germans and Dutch collaborators. Some Ajax fans self-identify as Jews.

Past incidents included songs about burning Jews and the SS, and the use of gas and Hamas, but using archival photos of individual victims is unusual.
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Friday, October 20, 2017

Europe: Why Europe's new nationalists love Israel

PJ Media (David P. Goldman): 
"If ponies rode men and grass ate cows," goes the text of "The World Turned Upside Down," the tune piped by the Continental Army band at Cornwallis' surrender of Yorktown. Europeans might consider adopting it as their anthem to replace the present European Community hymn, the overused Ode to Joy. The resurgent nationalists who made the Alternative fuer Deutschland into Germany's third-largest party and the Austrian Freedom Party into that country's second-largest (and a likely member of a new governing coalition) have an extreme-right reputation, but they are now the most pro-Israel parties in Europe. The world has indeed turned upside-down, and we might as well sing about it.
Most remarkable is the success of the Austrian Freedom Party (German initials FPŐ) in last Sunday's Austrian elections. It came in second with 26% of the vote, ahead of the governing Social Democrats. Its chairman, Heinz-Christian Strache, rubbed shoulders with neo-Nazis during his early political career, and four years ago posted an anti-Semitic cartoon on his Facebook page, "showing a banker with a large hooked nose and Star of David cuff links profiting from Europe’s financial crisis," as the Times of Israel reported. Since then Strache has undergone a Damascus road conversion from Saul to Paul (or perhaps the other way round). He has visited Israel several times, defended Israeli settlers in Judea and Samaria, and demanded that Austria move its embassy to Jerusalem
Strache brings to mind the canonical definition of a philo-Semite, that is, an anti-Semite who likes Jews. It is widely alleged that he is looking for respectability after emerging from the extreme right swamp into the mainstream of Austrian politics, and hoping to burnish his credentials through gestures of reconciliation with the Jewish State. It is also widely believed that the FPŐ as well as the AfD support Israel as the enemy of their enemy, that is, the flood of Muslim migrants that provoked the surge in their support among voters. (...)
There are European nationalists who support Israel out of conviction rather than expediency. They admire the accomplishments of the Jewish State, moral as well as military or commercial. They observe that Israeli women bear on average 3 children compared to just 1.3 in Germany. They wish that Europeans could show the same love of country and culture that the Jews evince in Israel, and the same willingness to defend themselves. (...)
The existence and success of the State of Israel changes everything. It is not merely a promise, spiritualized by Christianity into a vision of another life beyond this one, but a living, breathing people that punches above its weight in every field of human endeavor. Perhaps the people of Israel will help fulfill their mission to be a light unto the nations by example. Europe's new nationalists may attempt to emulate Israel not but superceding it or by asserting their claims for election against each other, but by seeking to identify its virtues.
Post-nationalist Europe bears an irrational hatred of Israel, I wrote in this space in 2014.
The flowering of Jewish national life in Israel makes the Europeans crazy. It is not simply envy: it is a terrible reminder of the vanity of European national aspirations over the centuries, of the continent's ultimate failure as a civilization. Just as the Europeans (most emphatically the Scandinavians) would prefer to dissolve into the post-national stew of European identity, they demand that Israel do the same. Never mind that Israel lacks the option to do so, and would be destroyed were it to try, for reasons that should be obvious to any casual consumer of news media. 
It is too early to judge the direction of the new European nationalism, which has some elements that make me cringe, and some that make me release the safety-catch on my Browning. But it also has men and women who do not want to disappear into the dustbin of history and look to Israel for inspiration. 
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Europe: Even in Left-Wing European circles, BDS is linked to anti-Semitism

Via Commentary Magazine (Evelyn Gordon):
BDS activists are presumably celebrating the UN Human Rights Council’s decision to warn off companies that do business with Israelis in the West Bank. I’d advise them to enjoy their temporary victory while they can. As several recent events make clear, they’re losing badly outside the UN. And they’re losing for one simple reason: People worldwide are gradually coming to understand that the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement isn’t “anti-occupation,” it’s anti-Semitic.

Last Friday, for instance, Austria’s national student union passed a motion denouncing BDS as anti-Semitic and saying the movement recalls the Nazis’ economic boycott of Jewish businesses. The resolution also said BDS activists shouldn’t be given funding or venues in which to promote its campaign. The motion, which was pushed in particular by a student group called GRAS (Greens and Alternative Students), passed almost unanimously, with one abstention and no votes against.

The previous week, the Green Party in the German state of Bavaria passed a resolution denouncing BDS as “anti-Semitic, hostile to Israel, reactionary and anti-enlightenment,” adding that it “reproduces the National Socialist slogan, ‘Don’t buy from Jews!’” The resolution, introduced by the party’s youth wing, also urged the national Green Party not to cooperate with BDS. Given that some prominent Green Party members have actively promoted anti-Israel boycotts, this uncompromising denunciation effectively amounts to a grassroots revolt.

And this week, the Left Party in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, decided not to consider a motion urging Israel “to end the occupation and the Gaza blockade” and demanded the European Union end its Association Agreement with Israel due to the blockade and Israel’s West Bank security fence. Given that the Left Party (Die Linke in German) is easily the German party most hostile to Israel, this development is surprising.

The party offered no explanation when it announced the decision on its Twitter account, but Jerusalem Post reporter Benjamin Weinthal suggested it might be related to what Martina Renner, a Left Party member of parliament, said about the resolution earlier this month. The “motion sounds like it was written from Israel boycott groups,” Renner said. “From this the executive board of @dielinke clearly distances itself.” Renner’s statement left no room for doubt: Even the Left Party wants nothing to do with BDS and anti-Israel boycotts.

All these examples have something in common: The anti-BDS push is coming precisely from the groups that are normally least sympathetic to Israel–leftists and young people. In other words, BDS is losing not just among groups that could be expected to oppose it, like the U.S. Congress, but among the very demographic that ought to be its principal bastion of support.

Even though large swaths of polite society are now perfectly comfortable with anti-Semitism as long as they can tell themselves it’s just “anti-Zionism” or “fighting the occupation,” open avowals of anti-Semitism are still taboo. Once stripped of the comforting pretense that it’s not anti-Semitic, BDS will be finished. And groups like the Austrian student union and the Bavarian Green Party are now tearing that pretense to shreds.
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Ukraine: Odessa celebrates Bob Dylan's Jewish roots this weekend

Via Jewish Telegraphic Agency: 

Bob Dylan
Some 950 people are expected to gather over this weekend for Limmud FSU Ukraine, the biggest event geared towards the Jewish community in the country. The event will take place in Odessa, one of the most important cities of Jewish and Zionist movement’s history in the former Soviet Union. Today there are about 400,000 Jews living in Ukraine, with more than 45,000 in Odessa. 
Limmud FSU Ukraine, the dynamic and pluralistic Jewish festival of culture, creativity and learning, will feature an array of more than 180 world-class speakers from around the world on a multitude of subjects ranging from art, to Jewish culture and tradition, literature, music, theater, history, politics, business and lifestyle.

The event will feature a special ceremony and a concert celebrating Bob Dylan, one of the most prominent Jewish composers and musicians of our time. Dylan’s paternal mother, Anna Zimmerman, together with her husband Zigman, emigrated from Odessa to the US in 1910. The event will also include an exhibition on Dylan’s life “Forever young: behind Dylan's revolution and legacy”, created by the Museum of Diaspora in Tel Aviv, and presented by one of its curators, Amitai Achiman.

Special recognition will be given to the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress of 1897, to be celebrated this year, including a concert and several activities relating to the World Zionist Organization, with the participation of WZO Chair, Avraham Duvdevani. A commemorative plaque will be unveiled on the house where the distinguished Hebrew poet, Shaul Tchernichovsky, lived, in the framework of an official ceremony made possible by the efforts of Nativ and WZO.

“The Ukrainian-Jewish community is among the most thriving Jewish communities in the world, while the city of Odessa is one of the most important cities in Jewish history. We confidently expect that this Limmud FSU 11th festival in Ukraine will be an important part in the life of the Jewish community,” said founder Chaim Chesler, “and we look forward to an inspiring gathering, especially the celebration of Bob Dylan’s Jewish roots in Odessa.”

Among the presenters will be Israel's ambassador to Ukraine Eliav Belotserkovsky; Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) Vice-President for External Relations and former Israeli Ambassador to Russia, Dorit Golender; Executive Director  of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Haim Ben Yakov; Nativ's countrty director for Ukraine Gennady Polischuk; Director of The Ukrainian Institute for the Study of the Holocaust Tkuma, Igor Shchupak; Board Member of Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter Adrian Karatnycky, popular Russian satirist and writer, Victor Shenderovich, and many more.
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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ukraine: Disgraceful celebration of anti-Semitic nationalist leader

Via European Jewish Press:
Symon Petliura
The city of  Vinnitsa, in west central Ukraine, once a historic center of Jewish life in the country, has decided to celebrate an anti-Semitic nationalist leader and to unveil a monument in his honor this weekend.

Symon Petliura and his Ukrainian People’s Republic are blamed for the murder of tens of thousands of Jews in programs under his watch in 1918-1921.

The memorial for Symon Petliura was unveiled Saturday in Vinnitsa, on Defender of Ukraine Day, a national holiday. It is located in an area once known as Yerusalimka, or Jerusalem, and located next to a small synagogue that is still in operation.

In a statement, the World Jewish Congress denounced the move to celebrate Petliura.

WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said in a statement: "The World Jewish Congress is distressed by the Vinnitsa municipality’s disgraceful and regrettable decision to celebrate the anti-Semitic nationalist leader Symon Petliura as a 'Defender of Ukraine' and by Vinnitsa Regional Chairman Valery Korovy’s description of him as an 'honest man'."

"Petilura was anything but an honest man. He was a cruel barbarian, indisputably responsible for pogroms in which 35,000-40,000 Jews were murdered."

"He and his Ukrainian People’s Republic were more than just Ukrainian nationalists - they were also avowed and brutal anti-Semites, intoxicated by the thrill of carrying out unimaginably vicious and inhumane crimes against innocent people."

"It is inconceivable that a man, who today we would not hesitate to call a terrorist, should be honored in the very same city in which he and his regime tried to wipe out a rooted and strong Jewish population."
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France: Mohamed Merah's family: a burning hatred against France and Jews

Via The Jewish Chronicle (Michel Gurfinkiel):
Murdered by Mohamed Mehra because they were Jewish
Harrowing details emerge from the French trial of Souad and Abdelkader Merah, whose brother shot dead seven people, including three Jewish children, in 2012  
“Burning hatred against France and against Jews, and an orgy of domestic violence.” That was how Anne Chenevat, a major witness, described the Merah family – a divorced mother, three sons and two daughters – to the Special Criminal Court of Paris last Tuesday. 
Mohamed Merah, the youngest of the family’s sons, killed seven people – including three Jewish children shot at point-blank range – and maimed six others in the southern French towns of Montauban and Toulouse between March 11 and March 19, 2012. He was himself killed by security forces three days later. 
The main defendants in the present trial, which started three weeks ago, are his older brother Abdelkader Merah and his older sister Souad. The siblings are accused of inspiring the killing spree. Abdelkader was arrested in 2012; Souad fled to Algeria. 
Anne Chenevat’s importance as a witness stems from the fact that she was for six years the partner of Abdelghani Merah, the eldest Merah brother. According to her, Zuleikha Aziri, the Algerian-born mother, would use electric wire to beat her children. Violence between the brothers was rampant: on one occasion, Abdelkader inflicted seven stab wounds on Abdelghani. 
Hatred for the non-Muslim French and antisemitism were held as self-evident in the family. 
“As a result, I was routinely abused and spat upon by Zuleikha for being ‘a dirty French woman’ and a ‘dirty Jewess’”, Chenevat said. 
A Catholic by birth, she once admitted to the Merahs that she had a Jewish grandfather.
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Related:
France: Islamist violence is compelling large numbers of Jews to flee

France: Death of Holocaust denier Serge Thion at 75

Serge Thion

French sociologist and Holocaust denier Serge Thion died at Créteil on October 15, at the age of 75.
"A French sociologist and associate of Robert Faurisson, Serge Thion has described the Holocaust as a "religion" that was "pushed by Zionists to attract capital, as well as political and military protection."


Wikipedia:
In 1993 Thion privately published Une Allumette sur la banquise (A Matchstick on an Ice Flow). The book criticized what he perceived as sensationalization of the Holocaust compared to other mass deaths since World War II. He also criticized the prosecution of Robert Faurisson for Holocaust denial, and cast doubt on the accuracy of Filip Müller's book Eyewitness Auschwitz. He met Noam Chomsky during the 1970s and presented his editor Pierre Guillaume for publication.
Thion has been described as a Holocaust denier, and in November 2000 was dismissed from CNRS for Holocaust denial activities. He was condemned and fined for defamation by the French Correctional Tribunal Court of Appeal in December 2002 for attacks on writer Didier Daeninckx.  
Thion attended the 2006 International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust in Iran, often described as a Holocaust denial conference.  
Israeli philosopher Elhanan Yakira has cited Thion and his friend Alain Guionnet, as one of a number of deniers on the radical left (and right) in France whose extreme views on the Holocaust have made Holocaust denial "a central issue in France and elsewhere".
Translated from Wikipedia's article on Serge Thion in French:

- After the attacks of 11 September 2001, Serge Thion doubted Osama bin Laden's role in their organization.
- In 2003, he participated in public meetings organized by members of the Muslim Party of France.
- During the elections of 2007, chronicles were published under the pseudonym "Serge Noith" on the campaign site of Dieudonné M'bala M'bala; the magazine L'Arche made a comparison between this pseudonym and the name of Serge Thion.
- In June 2009, Serge Thion joined the Kemi Séba's Movement of Those Damned By Imperialism.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Spain: Newspaper regrets discussion of British soccer club’s ‘Jewish origin’

Via JTA:
A Spanish newspaper wrote that soccer fans hate the British team Tottenham Hotspurs because of their “Jewish origin,” spurring condemnation from British soccer clubs.
Marca, a Madrid-based daily sports paper, published the article on Monday ahead of a Champions League match between the Spurs and Real Madrid.

“Their Jewish origin has made them into a club hated by rival fans,” the article said, in part. “But in their 135 years of existence they have always had style and great players.”

The Spurs were indeed popular among Jewish immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Fans often call themselves the “Yid Army,” though the league has since banned the term as offensive. According to a history of the club, opposing fans aimed anti-Semitic abuse at the team from the late 1960s onwards, and such chants were heard earlier this year.

In a clarification issued after publication, senior reporter Enrique Ortega wrote: “That ‘hatred’ that Tottenham suffers is very focused on the radical and racist groups that are hiding in the social mass, especially Chelsea and West Ham,” referring to two rival teams.

“I regret the confusion that has been created in this respect,” he added. “The intention was not to damage the image of Tottenham, a club we respect, value … and we do not want to serve as a spokesman for these racist minorities who use any pretext to expand their hate messages, which we reject head-on.”
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Germany: Left party leader call Jewish MP a "sneaky Jew"

Raheem Kassam quite rightly pointed out on Twitter:
If the head of the AFD said this it’d have flashed up on my phone as a Reuters/AFP alert by now...
Via The Jerusalem Post (Benjamin Weinthal):  
The head of the German Left Party in the city of Saarlouis, situated in the state of Saarland, used an antisemitic phrase on his Facebook page to denigrate an MP in his party, according to a Monday report in the regional paper Saarbrücker Zeitung.

Mekan Kolasinac, the chairman of the Left Party in Saarlouis, called the party's federal head, Bernd Riexinger, a "sneaky Jew."

Kolasinac told the paper he wrote the anti-Jewish entry but regrets it. He said it was a mistake and he intended to write "Judas" instead of "Jew." Kolasinac said he apologized on his Facebook page and apologized to "my Jewish friends."

Birgit Huonker, a spokeswoman for the Left Party in Saarland, said: "Antisemitism in one's party. Bad."

The Saarbrücker Zeitung said the background to Kolasinac's verbal attack on Riexinger is a BILD paper article, in which Riexinger allegedly sought to oust the party's parliamentary head Sahra Wagenknecht. Riexinger is co-chair of the federal Left Party.
The Left Party has been plagued over the years by allegations of antisemitism and anti-Israel scandals, according to critics
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UK: Organization of British Jews gives cover to left-wing anti-Semites

Via Mosaic Magazine:
The fall conference of the UK’s Labor party saw more than its share of vitriol directed at Israel, not to mention naked anti-Semitism. In response, the Jewish Labor Movement—an established group for the party’s Jewish members—successfully pushed for new rules that would allow the party more effectively to combat anti-Semitism in its ranks. Opposing the change was the newly-formed Jewish Voice for Labor (JVL), which, according to Stephen Daisley, exists primarily to apologize for anti-Semites:
Although it failed to halt the new disciplinary regime, JVL’s intervention marks a turning point in Labor’s engagement with Jews and its attitude to anti-Semitism. Jewish groups within the party have hitherto been united in criticism of the leadership and the toleration of prejudice against Jews and conspiracy theories about Zionism. Now another group will purport to speak for Labor Jews, one ideologically wedded to the leader [Jeremy Corbyn] and the radical anti-Israel politics he practices. ... 
The [true] purpose of JVL is not to explore and debate complex questions or to represent the feelings of most Jews within the party; it is to muddy the waters. ... [Its] most noxious aspect ... is [its supporters’] eagerness . . . to leap to the defense of the most outrageous statements by the most extreme figures in the Labor party. Time after time, JVL has acted [by] providing kosher [certification, as it were] for the nastiest elements on the far left. When [London’s former mayor] Ken Livingstone pronounced Hitler a supporter of Zionism, Jenny Manson, now chair of JVL, issued a statement insisting his comments were “not offensive, nor anti-Semitic in any way.” ... 
So what do the anti-Zionist activists in groups like JVL get out of being used as a kosher stamp for anti-Semites—aside from proving their loyalty to the Labor party leadership? [The scholar David] Hirsh suggests a deeper motivation: “They would rather live in a world where anti-Semitism is provoked by Jews—and so, therefore, could notionally be stopped by Jews—than in a world where anti-Semitism is irrational. They prefer to imagine that Jews are in control of their own destiny than that they are simply victims of anti-Semitism.”
 Read more at Tablet

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Austria's election winner Sebastian Kurz has a warm place in his heart for Israel

 Via Israel Hayom:
Sebastian Kurz
(...) Less than 24 hours after Kurz's sweeping win, as he began preparing for his new job as the youngest world leader, he granted Israel Hayom an exclusive interview, making a point of showing he has a warm place in his heart for the Jewish state
Kurz made it clear that denouncing anti-Semitism would be a "clear precondition" for his future coalition partners, including his most likely partner, the far-right Freedom Party of Austria. (...)
Kurz also said he supports the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which was negotiated in his country's capital, Vienna. He stressed that "we cannot be naive" about the Islamic republic's conduct. 
Q. Congratulations on your victory and thank you for finding the time to answer our questions on such a busy day. How does it feel to become the youngest chancellor in Austria's history?
"I'm glad and overwhelmed by the good electoral results for our political movement, the new People's Party. We have achieved historic success. The voters have conferred a very large responsibility on us and I would be honored to serve the Austrian citizens as the head of the next government." 
Q. Does being so young make it easier for you to take responsibility for Austria's history during World War II?
"My visits to Yad Vashem [Israel's Holocaust memorial], as well as my many meetings with Holocaust survivors, were deeply moving for me. I have always been very clear that we – and that very much includes the new Austrian generation – shall never forget the Holocaust and the atrocities committed during World War II. Austria has to face up to its own history, and that includes the dark sides of it. Let me be very clear: A Europe without Jews is not Europe anymore. I am therefore very glad that we have a vibrant – small, but very vibrant - Jewish community in Austria. Also, Austria enjoys excellent relations with the State of Israel – this is a fact that is very important for me." 
Q. During the campaign, your close contacts with the Austrian Jewish community and Israel were used by certain sides to try to harm your chances of winning. Was that anti-Semitic?
"I cannot speak for other parties. But the election results clearly show that Austrians do not reward any kind of smear campaigns or dirty campaigning tricks. Let me also be clear that we must continue to pursue a policy of zero tolerance for any form of anti-Semitism in Austria as well as in Europe." 
Q. The campaign was shadowed by the "Silberstein scandal," in which Israeli adviser Tal Silberstein was accused of misconduct by promoting allegedly racist propaganda. Will this affair influence future contacts between Austria and Israel?
"No, it will not. It is of the utmost importance for me that Austria and Israel continue to intensify our already close bilateral relations. I am glad that during my time as foreign minister our bilateral relations have further improved and grown ever stronger. Let me just give you one figure here: Our bilateral trade grew by 32.5% during the first half of 2017 – that tells you something about the growing strength of our relationship. Also, we have put a focus and an intensified exchange between our young generations. (A new Working Holiday Program that I have signed with PM Netanyahu allows for young Israelis and Austrians for the first time to work in each other's country – and this opportunity is taken up with great enthusiasm.) If I become the next chancellor of Austria, I will strive to further intensify our close bilateral relations."
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Europe: Czech MEP Tomas Zdechovsky: MEPs who invited Leila Khaled must be sanctioned

Related:
Europe: Huge success for terrorist Leila Khaled at the European Parliament

Via European Jewish Press:
Tomas Zedchovsky, a Czech Member of the European Parliament from the European People’s Party (EPP), was the first to be alerted by the presence of a terrorist in the building of the parliament in Brussels. He called on European Parliament President  Antonio Tajani  to investigate whether the EU’s anti-terror rules had been breached by the two Spanish MEPs from the European United Left group who invited Leila Khaled.

"Not only did she (Khaled) hijack airplanes from European cities, but she never faced justice. This terrorist only walks free here because other terrorists hijacked even more Europeans in exchange for her release,"  he noted.

"President Tajani, who was very surprised when he learned of the presence of Leila Khaled (it was not announced until the last minute), promised us that this will quickly be investigated," Zdechovsky told European Jewish Press in an interview.

According to the Czech MEP, President Tajani can impose various sanctions on the two Spanish MEPs, even a suspension. ''We must avoid this will happen again,'' he said.

"I am a peaceful person and I support every time a peaceful solution between Israel and Palestinians. But we cannot give a democratic word in the European parliament to such people who have been fighting with guns against democracy. I will never bring here to the European Parliament radical people, like the PKK or any Palestinian terror group," he said.

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