Monday, 18 March 2013

More Israel-bashing at European Parliament

European Parliament calls for investigation into death of Palestinian prisoner in Israel

BRUSSELS (EJP)---The European Parliament said it is “extremely concerned” at the death in February of a Palestinian prisoner, Arafat Jaradat, in an Israeli prison and at the renewed tensions in the West Bank following his death.

Jaradat, 30, died of an apparent heart attack while in Israel’s Megiddo prison in February. He had been arrested a week earlier on suspicion of being involved in a rock-throwing attack that injured an Israeli. An autopsy report by the Israeli authorities stated that there was “no evidence” of physical violence against him. A resolution, initiated by Belgian Socialist MEP Veronique De Keyser and adopted Thursday at the parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg, calls on the Israeli authorities “to open independent, impartial and transparent investigations into the circumstances of Jaradat’s death” and raises concerns about the Palestinians held in administrative detention “without charge” .

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Undiplomatic EU diplomats

"European diplomats helped draft the unilateral Palestinian statehood bid at the UN in November and they also helped to push it through. Now they want to isolate Israel further by recycling some of the most vicious accusations against Israel from the Arab league."

Thomas Sandell @ The Times of Israel

An internal report issued by EU countries consuls general in Jerusalem and Ramallah has called upon the EU member states to prevent financial transactions, including foreign direct investments from within the EU, in support of settlement activities, infrastructure and services.

Reading through the one-sided report leaves one with a Kafkaesque sense of reality. It is a bit like sitting through a one day UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva discussing only Israeli human rights violations. The discussion leaves out – per definition – any mentioning of Palestinian violations. When the question is raised, from time to time, why this is the case the answer is simple. The agenda item is about Israel, not about the Palestinians. This can be understood – though never accepted – in an international forum where human rights standards are defined by some of the cruelest authoritarian regimes in the world.

But Brussels is not Geneva. The European Union is said to be a community of values. These values, however, are shared today by only one country in the Middle East, namely Israel. How can it then be that the EU is constantly putting all the blame for the failed Middle East peace process on the Jewish state? Perhaps the values have disappeared and have been replaced with something else? Did anyone say "petro dollars"?

 The recent diplomatic report is nothing but a verbal onslaught against the Israeli government and in particular those living in the disputed territories. It suggests that "individual member states should consider denying entry to known settler activists". It also calls for "guidelines on retail labels for settler made products, such as wine or cosmetics, in order to guarantee consumers’ right to an informed choice". A rather sophisticated way of echoing the Nazi call, "kauf nicht bei Juden" (don’t buy from Jews). In one of the most mindboggling parts of the report, the diplomats are openly complaining that archeological sites are being dug up which creates a "partisan historical narrative of Jerusalem, placing emphasis on biblical and Jewish connotations of the area, while neglecting Christian and Muslim ties". What exactly does the report mean by "partisan historical narrative"? Are the authors perhaps suggesting, like Mahmoud Abbas, that there was never a Jewish temple in Jerusalem and that all Jews in Jerusalem are trespassers who will eventually have to be evacuated once Jerusalem has been proclaimed the capital of a Palestinian state? The report does not say, it only insinuates.

Friday, 15 March 2013

The Very Real Jewish Exodus From France

Tablet Magazine: French Jews are quietly moving to New York, London, and Israel

The imperiled condition of French Jewry, at this point, is pretty well-trod territory. That said, one’s shock at a statistic like the 58 percent rise in anti-Semitic attacks in France last year, may not diminish.
A few weeks ago, an article chronicled the growth of a French Jewish community in the United Kingdom. To accommodate the influx, St. John’s Wood Synagogue in London started hosting French-language Shabbat services. Here’s one about the French Jews arriving in Israel at a rate of 2,000 per year.
Earlier this week, La Stampa revealed a similar expansion of French Jews in the Upper West Side of New York.
To understand what’s happening, we have to go to the Jewish Centre on 86th Street where, in March 2012, the Jewish New Yorkers urged their French counterparts to commemorate the victims of the shooting in the “Ozar Hatorah” school in Toulouse, where the jihadist Mohammed Merah killed a rabbi and three children.
Leading the ceremony was Zachary, 29, a transport manager from Strasbourg. “If New York is full of French Jews- he explains- it’s because in 2002, in connection with the second Palestinian Intifada, a season of physical aggression began towards us from the Arabs that still hasn’t stopped. It just brought the conflict from the Middle East onto our streets.”
From the sounds of it, the ferment of French Jewry’s plight has been a full decade in coming and not just a few years as it’s been assumed. It’s stunning to remember the way that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon–at the height of the Second Intifada no less–infamously instructed French Jews to move to Israel for their own safety. His remarks were blasted by French leaders–both Jewish and not–including the French foreign ministry, who called on Sharon for an explanation of his “unacceptable comments.”
It’s manifested itself not just in terrorist attacks, arson, assaults, or acts like the planting of a fake bomb near the Hillel Center in Lyon earlier this week, but in language as well. For each incident of anti-Semitic graffiti, consider several thousand or more digital analogues. Writing in Tablet today, Jillian Scheinfeld outlined an actual, popular trend of anti-Semitic hate speech on Twitter.
Last October, when the hashtag #UnBonJuif reached the top three on Twitter’s trending topics list in France, a French Jewish student group, the Union of French Jewish Students, complained directly to the San Francisco-based social networking giant asking for the names of Twitter users promoting the anti-Semitic hashtag. When Twitter failed to respond, the students took their case to a French court—and won.
A court order may ultimately impel Twitter to police its users more thoroughly, but even if that accomplishment is managed, there’s still a whole world offline and in the dark.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

"Youth" shouted "Fuck Israel" and "Stinking Jew" at non-Jew in Brussels

Background: HERE
During a session at the Brussels regional parliament on March 8, MP Alain Destexhe called for action following the use of an anti-Semitic cartoon by a cultural and educational association affiliated to the Socialist party on a invitation to a conference about Zionism to be held in Brussels.  His criticism drew furious reactions from other Socialist MPs.

MP Jacques Brotchi, who is a retired eminent professor of neurosurgery, wrote on his Facebook account that the outburst of hatred was a deeply traumatizing experience for him. He had to leave because he couldn't bear the shouting and the abuse from socialist MPs against Mr Destexhe who had had the courage to tell the truth. "In a democratic society, where the rule of law prevails, such behaviour is unacceptable and intolerable. I was deeply shocked by what I experienced this afternoon at the Brussels Parliament", he wrote.

Mr Destexhe reported on his blog that a member of staff at the Parliament, who is not Jewish (Mr Destexhe is not Jewish either), had told him that he was walking in Brussels recently. It was a rainy day and he was wearing a large overcoat and a hat. A group of "youth" ("youth" means in polite language young Arab men) shouted at him "Fuck Israel" and "stinking Jew"...  Here in French.

In 2011, Mr Brotchi resigned from Free Brussels University Board to protest againt repeated anti-Semitic incidents.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Anti-Semitisme: does France really have anti-incitement laws?

The French seem to have laws against incitement and even against Holocaust denial (Gayssot law). Yet France produces lots of antisemitic material - with total impunity as the case of cartoonist Zeon shows.  As many Europeans he is obsessed with Jews and the United States.  These images come from Zéon's blog.  
Isn't this Holocaust-denying?
Photoshopping (above).
This cartoon comes with the following invitation: spread this image widely.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Will Cardinal Schönborn, a friend of Israel and the Jews, be the next Pope?

"We sinners of the past are called to become the allies of the future and stand faithfully by our Jewish friends." "Holocaust was only possible because the church did not understand its Jewish roots. [...] Church unity can only be established when we understand and appreciate these Jewish roots." Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn 

French newspaper Le Figaro reports that the Archbishop of Vienna Christoph Schönborn, is a serious papal contender. He is a friend of Israel and the Jewish people.

Catholic Schönborn Endorses Zionism (Washington Post, Mar. 31 2005)

Jerusalem, Israel -- A Roman Catholic Cardinal says European Christians' support for Israel is not based on Holocaust guilt and Christians should affirm Zionism as biblical.

Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, part of a visiting Austrian delegation, made the remarks in an address at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on the topic of "God's chosen land." After asking, "What does Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel] mean to us," Schoenborn answered by stressing the doctrinal importance to Christians of not only recognizing Jews' connection to the land, but also ensuring that Christian identification with the Jewish Bible not lead to a "usurpation" of Jewish uniqueness. "Only once in human history did God take a country as an inheritance and give it to His chosen people," Schoenborn said, adding that Pope John Paul II had himself declared the biblical commandment for Jews to live in Israel an everlasting covenant that remained valid today.

Christians, Schoenborn said, should rejoice in the return of Jews to the Holy Land as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

A Palestinian priest challenged the cardinal on that point, asking how he could preach to his Palestinian congregation that the establishment of the modern Jewish state was not a "catastrophe," as they called it, or the result of European powers' guilty conscience following World War II. Schoenborn responded by saying that "I am myself a refugee" – at the end of World War II, when he was an infant, Schoenborn's parents fled to Austria from Czechoslovakia – and that he felt pained at the unrecognized injustice that thousands of Czechs had suffered. However, he said, both that case and the Arab-Israeli conflict were matters of international law, whereas the chosenness of the Jewish people and their inheritance in the Holy Land were matters of faith that date back to the Bible itself. Schoenborn also said he hoped the conflict here would be resolved in accordance with international law, and with respect to justice for the Palestinian people. "We are all longing for that solution," he said. "Yet I am not naive. Conflicts are part of [both sides'] love of the land, and always have been... There is no simple solution."

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Was Göring's brother half-Jewish and did he save Jews?

Gerhard Spörl @ Spiegel: Göring's List: Should Israel Honor a Leading Nazi's Brother?

Leading Nazi Hermann Göring was instrumental to Hitler's reign of terror, but research suggests his brother Albert saved the lives of dozens of Jews. Israel must now decide whether he deserves to be honored as one of the "Righteous Among the Nations." [...]

But why did Albert Göring help those in need in the first place? There are no written documents describing his motivation for helping people in trouble. It is clear that the Hitler cult of personality was repugnant to him. His brother was the antipode, and his two sisters were married to ardent Nazis.

Albert was the exception in the family, an outsider who was respected and derided at the same time. There is, however, a story in his biography that lends a grotesque twist to this case of the unsung hero. According to a relative who prefers to remain anonymous, it was an open secret in the family that Albert was in fact only a half-brother. He was allegedly the product of an affair between his mother, Franziska, or Fanny, and the Göring family's wealthy physician. In fact, photos show a resemblance between Albert and the doctor, Hermann von Epenstein. Epenstein was rich and sophisticated, and he owned two castles, one in the Franconia region of Bavaria and one in the Austrian state of Salzburg. He was also of Jewish origin. If Epenstein was the father, Albert Göring, according to Nazi Rassenlehre (racial theory), was a "Jewish mongrel." Some might interpret this aspect of the family history as a motive for Albert Göring to rescue victims of the Nazis instead of becoming a Nazi himself or leading a life of luxury in his brother's shadow.

His life in Third Reich was certainly not without danger because it was possible to exploit the knowledge of his origins. But the Gestapo apparently did not discover the family secret, or else it would have caused more trouble for both Albert and Hermann Göring.