Thursday 31 July 2008

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme meets Israeli children from Sderot

On 16 July, Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme (CD&V) [photo: 3rd from the left] met a group of 36 children, aged 10 to 12, from Sderot.

The children are spending a three-week summer holiday in Belgium at the invitation of the Antwerp Lubavitch community.

Photo: Joods Actueel

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Europe: student anti-Semites

Something should be done about anti-semitic attitudes found among Muslims students in European universities. But the prevailing attitude is to deny or to ignore the embarrassing problem hoping it will not be noticed and that eventually it will go away.
"A couple of months ago Spiegel Online ran an article by Matthias Küntzel, which tackles the failure of the German government to prevent the importation of anti-Semitic propaganda through Saudi Arabian and Egyptian satellite broadcasters. It also notes that anti-Semitic attitudes are also found in students, so the UK is not alone.
"In 2007 the German Interior Ministry published a study on the worldviews of "Muslims in Germany," the most comprehensive of its kind to date, which confirmed this trend. According to the study, "anti-Semitic attitudes were found among young Muslims far more often than among non-Muslim immigrants or domestic non-Muslims." The study cited examples of Muslim students to illustrate that this anti-Semitism cannot be dismissed as the product of an underdog attitude within marginalized social groups, but instead represents an ideological way of thinking. "The pervasiveness of sweeping anti-Semitic prejudices among Muslim students was also noticeable," the study pointed out. “Such prejudices, expressed indirectly by slightly more than one-third and in extreme form by about 10 percent of students, are significantly more common than anti-Christian sentiments.""

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Condolence messages to the Regev and Goldwasser families

Send a condolence message to the Regev and Goldwasser families: Two years after they were captured and killed by Hizbollah, the bodies of IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser were returned to Israel last week. The families are sitting shiva (mourning period) until today, Wednesday 23 July, and the Jewish Agency has arranged to deliver any condolence messages we send directly to the two families.

To send a condolence letter via the internet click here. Letters can also be sent via fax to +972 2 620 2708 or by email to"

Monday 28 July 2008

Spain: more hidden European government funding for anti-Israel NGOs

The funding by the Spanish government of anti-Israel NGOs is all the more worrying considering that a 2007 ADL report revealed that anti-Semitic stereotypes are shared by half of the Spanish population – a much higher proportion than that found in other European countries: "47 percent of Spanish respondents answered "probably true" to at least three of the four anti-Semitic stereotypes tested". This compares with 20 percent in Germany; 22 percent in France; and 32 percent in Italy.
NGO monitor has the all too familiar story:
"In a July 18, 2008 posting on the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) website, Jeff Halper (the leader of this highly politicized group) announced the support of the Spanish government for ICAHD’s Summer Camp. The posting claimed that "the Spanish government is paying for the construction of an entire Palestinian home, plus the expenses of 18 members of Spanish NGOs who will join the camp." According to ICAHD, which often promotes demonization of Israel and uses terms such as "apartheid", the house in question was demolished by Israel.
In a phone conversation, NGO Monitor confirmed the controversial funding for ICAHD with Eva Suarez, Project Manager for the Spanish Cooperation Office in Jerusalem, but she refused to answer specific questions related to the home building project and the scope of funding to ICAHD, which is inconsistent with EU transparency policies. For example, she would not provide information on the amount of funds involved, the names of the Spanish NGOs participating in the project and how the NGOs and funds were authorized by the Spanish government.
ICAHD, an anti-Israel NGO funded largely by European Union, falsely accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing and state terrorism. It also participates in conferences and campaigns that promote a radical pro-Palestinian position, such as those held by Sabeel. In an August 2007 conference, Jennifer Loewenstein from ICAHD referred to "Israeli crimes, including its bloody and sadistic actions in Gaza and its atrocities….," and declared that "with every action, Palestine was becoming increasingly invisible, a non-entity for non-people." These are clearly partisan positions that are entirely outside the framework of universal human rights.
NGO Monitor will continue to press Spanish government officials involved in funding such controversial NGOs to provide the missing details, and act in a fully transparent manner."

Saturday 26 July 2008

Europe and Iran - a protracted and barren monologue

The ever hopeful Europeans persist in their belief that a dialogue with the Tehran bazaris has already/will eventually bear fruit.
Martin Doerry and Henryk M. Broder interviewed Dutch author Leon de Winter "about his new novel, which is set in 2024, the threats mounting against Israel and the assimilation of Muslims in Europe" for Der Spiegel:

"SPIEGEL: The Europeans are trying to mediate in the conflict between Iran and the West. They keep returning to the negotiating table to prevent a possible nuclear threat against Israel…

De Winter: ... but what good does it do? Remember the so-called troika, the foreign ministers of Germany, France and the UK: Joschka Fischer, Dominique de Villepin and Jack Straw. They flew to Tehran and back, drank tea and coffee with Iranian politicians and negotiated over the Iranian nuclear program. Imagine that: three respectable European intellectuals negotiating with guys who grew up in the Tehran bazaar and would sell them their own watches! That's the kind of results that it produced. They told us that they had pursued a constructive dialogue but had not yet attained their objectives, and so they said that negotiations had to continue … And these three educated, sensible, and critical European intellectuals went along with this! And then, in the fall of 2003 -- in other words five years ago -- they held a press conference: We've reached our goal! Actually, nothing has happened, no agreement, absolutely nothing.

SPIEGEL: What do you think the Europeans are doing wrong?

De Winter: They are chasing illusions. At the time, I met Fischer during a reception at the headquarters of Springer Verlag (publishing house) in Berlin, and he came to me and asked: "What do you have against me? Why do you write such negative things about me?" I said: "I have placed so much hope in you, but you have disappointed me." And he was really taken aback. I tried to explain the situation to him. He had to be told that the Iranians weren't taking him seriously; they were making a fool of him. Fischer's response to this was that we had to pursue a dialogue and return to the negotiating table again and again.

SPIEGEL: But Fischer was right. What would have been the alternative?

De Winter: We could have told them: If you don't stop, we'll wipe you out!

SPIEGEL: You can't really mean that.

De Winter: Yes, I really do. I would have told the Iranians that if they don't halt their nuclear program today, we'll put the fear of God into them tomorrow. And they would have stopped because that's a language they understand. You can't go to these people and say: "Listen, if you renounce generating nuclear power, we'll help you produce something else. And if you don't do that, well, we'll be very, very sad." "Okay," is definitely what the guys in Tehran would say "That's a threat that we take seriously, and we'll meet your demands." What a ludicrous idea.

SPIEGEL: That is, with all due respect, the slightly simplified worldview of a novelist who lives in nice, little Holland and doesn't have to make such decisions. A foreign minister has responsibilities and has to be more cautious in his judgments.

De Winter: But we know who we are dealing with here. These people pursue their objectives with all possible means. If we wait to see what happens, then we have already accepted their ground rules. We are placing our fate in the hands of fanatics and fundamentalists. When you deal with diplomats from Iran or politicians from the Middle East, you cannot act as if you were dealing with the state governor of Hesse or Bavaria! It's another world. You cannot negotiate without threatening to use force, especially if you want to prevent the development of nuclear arms by people who are practically longing for the apocalypse."

Read the whole piece : 'The Europeans Are Chasing Illusions'

Friday 25 July 2008

Durban redux? Vitriol may follow Israel to Geneva

The European Commission's very European idea of fighting anti-Semitism at the forthcoming Durban II conference. The JTA has the facts:

"While it's too early to tell which groups hostile to Israel will show up at the follow-up conference to Durban, at least two hint at what treatment awaits the Jewish state in Geneva.

At the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, the rabid activism of numerous anti-Israel nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, virtually drowned out much of the world's other ills.

Last month in Brazil, at the first regional meeting to determine the substance of next year's conference, one group hinted at what to expect. (…)

It's too soon to know which funding agencies will help send NGOs such as BADIL and the Wall Campaign to Geneva, but one watchdog suggests European money will likely be involved.

"European aid agencies give tens of millions of euros per year to very political, in some cases radical, anti-Israel NGOs, and these groups are the most active in the Durban process," said Gerald Steinberg, the executive director of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, which recently detailed these links in its report "Europe's Hidden Hand".

"There are many officials in those agencies who come from an anti-colonialist, anti-American, anti-Israel political ideology," Steinberg said, "and they have almost no supervision, almost no open discussions in their parliaments over these budgets."

European Union officials told JTA that none of its grants are explicitly for NGOs to attend conferences, like the Durban follow-up, but rather are directed toward specific projects.

Beyond the Durban process, the EU officials say a grantee's words - like branding Israel as apartheid or endorsing boycotts - are the "sole responsibility" of the grantee and do not reflect EU positions.

Brussels "cannot be held responsible" for these statements, nor can it "oblige them to refrain" from making them, said David Kriss, a spokesman for the European Commission delegation to Israel.

"The Commission is respectful of freedom of expression as a key feature of a democratic society," Kriss wrote in an e-mail from his office in Ramat Gan, Israel. "An open debate over political issues is indispensable on the way towards better mutual understanding.

"At the same time, the Commission is firmly committed to the fight against incitement to hatred between ethnic or religious groups as well as to the expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, and will continue fighting these deplorable phenomena.""

Thursday 24 July 2008

Japanese lawmaker calls for reduction in funding to UNRWA

It is unlikely that EU States will agree to this proposal.

From TJP:

"A Japanese parliamentarian said this week that he would work to urge his government to reduce funding to UNRWA, the mammoth UN body which deals exclusively with Palestinian refugees and their descendants, in the wake of continuing criticism of the organization.

"I would like to persuade the Japanese Government to reduce funding to UNRWA," said Yoshitake Kimata, a Member of the House of Councilors of the National Diet of Japan.

The Japanese lawmaker was in Jerusalem this week for a conservative conference of pro-Israel evangelicals from Asia, which included a session by Tel Aviv University's Dr. Martin Sherman on the differences between UNRWA, and UNHCR, the UN's main refugee agency.

Israel has long complained over the direct involvement of some members of UNRWA's predominantly Palestinian staff with Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
UNRWA insists that such cases are aberrations, and that it has a "zero-tolerance" policy towards terrorism."

US congressmen demand UNRWA reform

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Record 450 French immigrants to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport

Source: Haaretz

"A record 450 French olim were to arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport Wednesday, on three special flights sponsored by the Jewish Agency and the AMI immigration association. (...)

France has one of the largest Jewish communities outside of Israel, totaling nearly half a million people. Its population is second only to America's Jewish population, which has now exceeded 5 million.

Since 2000, there has been a marked increase in the number of French citizens immigrating to Israel, arguably due to the waves of growing anti-Semitism in the European state.

Many French Jews say that they no longer feel comfortable or welcome in France, particularly within the working-class suburbs of Paris, where much of the tension has been focused.

Last month, a Jewish teenager was brutally attacked in the 19th Arrondissement of Paris.

That neighborhood, which has been the site of ongoing scuffles between North African Jews and Muslims living in Paris, was the same suburb in which 23-year-old Ilan Halimi [photo] was beaten and left to die a year before."


Tuesday 22 July 2008

Ex-hostage Ingrid Betancourt calls for Gilad Shalit's release

"Former French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt, who was freed earlier this month along with 14 other hostages after being held by the Farc rebels in Colombia, called Sunday for the release of all those still held hostage in the world and displayed a large photo of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped near Gaza by Palestinians two years ago.

Shalit has dual French and Israeli citizenship.

Several thousand people gathered for a concert at the Trocadéro near the Eiffel Tower in Paris to take part in one of a series of demonstrations around the world to protest the kidnappings by the Colombian marxist guerrillas.

During the Paris event, Betancourt spoke out for other prisoners held throughout the world, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest in her native Myanmar, and Gilad Shalit.

She held a large sign with Shalit's photo. The sign read, "Gilad Shalit, kidnapped since June 2006."

"We want freedom for everyone," said Betancourt, drawing loud applause from the crowd, many of whom chanted the Spanish word for freedom "Libertad!"."

Source: EJP

Monday 21 July 2008

Anti-Semitism Without Anti-Semites, by Henryk Broder

From the Pajamas Media blog:

"Last month, the Domestic Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag held public hearings on anti-Semitism in Germany. Many of the speakers chose to focus on the "classical" anti-Semitism to be found in what in Germany are euphemistically called "right-wing extremist" milieus, i.e., among skinheads and self-avowed neo-Nazis. The journalist Henryk Broder, however, located the problem elsewhere: namely, in the mainstream "anti-Zionist anti-Semitism" to be found, for instance, among academics … and Bundestag members. Pajamas Media here presents a complete English translation of Henryk Broder’s statement to the Bundestag’s Domestic Affairs Committee."

"(...) Earlier — let’s say at the time of classical anti-Semites like Wilhelm Marr, Karl Lueger, and Adolf Stoecker — everything was plain and simple. There were Jews, there were anti-Semites, and there was anti-Semitism. After 1945, for the well-known reasons, we then had in Germany an anti-Semitism without Jews. And now today we are again confronted by a new phenomenon: an anti-Semitism without anti-Semites. Another new phenomenon is the professional profile of what might be called the "leisure time anti-Semite" who does his regular job during the day, perhaps even in a federal government office, and then in his spare time writes "critical" texts on Israel that appear on obscure anti-Zionist websites. [The reference is to Ludwig Watzal, an official of Germany’s Federal Office for Civic Education (BpB), many of whose articles have been reprinted on the site See [1] here on Watzal. The BpB has resisted calls for Watzal’s dismissal, arguing that the writings in question are not connected to his professional activity. — Translator’s Note] Nobody wants to be an anti-Semite, but the "anti-Zionist" hall of shame is getting increasingly crowded.

Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are two sides of the same coin. If the anti-Semite was convinced that it is not him, the anti-Semite, who is to blame for anti-Semitism, but rather the Jew himself who is to blame, so too is the anti-Zionist convinced that Israel is responsible not only for the suffering of the Palestinians, but also for the hardship it suffers itself. The older persons among you will perhaps remember what a Green Party politician, who is still a member of the Bundestag, said about the Iraqi rockets that were fired at Israel at the time of the first Gulf War in 1991: "The Iraqi rocket attacks are the logical, nearly unavoidable consequence of Israeli policy." [The author of the quote is Green Party Member of Parliament Hans-Christian Ströbele. — Translator’s Note] At the time, the same Green Party politician also opposed the delivery of defensive weapons like Patriot rockets to Israel, because this would, he claimed, lead to an escalation in the hostilities.

Today, some 17 years later, we hear similar remarks about rocket attacks on Israel from southern Lebanon or the Gaza Strip: namely, that they are the logical, nearly unavoidable result of Israeli occupation and that Israel would do well not to react in order to avoid escalating hostilities. The modern anti-Semite pays tribute to Jews who have been dead for 60 years, but he resents it when living Jews take measures to defend themselves. He screams "Beware of the Beginnings!" when a handful of weekend Nazis hold a demonstration in Cottbus, but he justifies the policies of the current Iranian president and defends the continuation of German business with Iran.

Ladies and gentleman, we will not solve the problem of anti-Semitism: not at this hearing nor at the next. (...) If I may in all modesty make a suggestion: leave the good old anti-Semitism to the archaeologists and antiquarians and historians. Devote your attention to the modern anti-Semitism that wears the disguise of anti-Zionism and to its representatives. You will find some of the latter among your own ranks."

Image from the Belgian-Palestinian Association (Brussels-Wallonia) website (background to the poster, which was created by Oxfam Belgium and withdrawn by Oxfam International following a campaign by the Simon Wiesenthal Center).

Sunday 20 July 2008

Muslim organization threatens legal action against Harry's Place blog

This is an article by Jonny Paul in TJP:

"The head of a leading UK Muslim organization is threatening legal action against a popular blog for posting a statement made by him in which he allegedly used the phrase "evil Jew".

The blog Harry's Place said that in an address made in Arabic to Al-Jazeera at last month's Salute to Israel parade in London's Trafalgar Square, Mohammed Sawalha, president of the British Muslim Initiative (BMI) and founder of the annual Islam Expo, a four-day event enhancing understanding of Islam in Britain, had said: "We, the Arab and Islamic community, gather here today to express our resentment at the celebrations by the Jewish community and the [evil Jew/Jewish evil] in Britain." The speech was reported on Harry's Place, which claimed Al-Jazeera had changed the controversial word appearing in its original report, translated as "evil or "baneful" by the blog, to "lobby" some time later.

Harry's Place said that Sawalha was a key figure in the Muslim Brotherhood and the BBC identifies him as a senior Hamas activist. He is also a trustee of the North London Mosque, formerly the controversial Finsbury Park Mosque - frequented by Al-Qaeda operatives including "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui.

Denying the allegation, BMI issued a press release which it posed in the comments section of the blog entry, and Al-Jazeera reporter Medyan Dairieh who also appears in the thread, insisted that Sawalha had spoken of the "Jewish lobby".

Describing Sawalha as a promoter of "community relations and cultural dialogue" and objecting to him being demonized as a "Jew-hater", the BMI accused Harry's Place of "deliberately skewing the word "lobby".

In response, Harry's Place said: "I do not know Mr Sawalha. However, if he is a senior Hamas activist, and a supporter of that organization, I cannot imagine he has anything positive to contribute to 'community relations.' Moreover, it is very unlikely that any British court would regard it as defamatory to describe a Hamas activist as a racist. Hamas is a proudly racist and genocidal terrorist organization."Former Muslim Association of Britain president Anas Altikriti then wrote to the editors of Harry's Place stating that Sawalha comments "contained a fundamental factual error".

"Therefore, we trust that you will withdraw the said piece with immediate effect and post an explanation of what had taken place, particularly now that some commentators, including Melanie Phillips [here and here], seem to have copied your quote, including the error aforementioned and used it for their own purposes. If this is not done immediately, we will have to pursue legal measures."

Last week, lawyers representing Sawalha wrote to the editors of Harry's Place threatening legal action. In the letter, London-based lawyers Dean and Dean insisted that their client had not made the alleged comments.

"We have received confirmation from Arab language experts that the Arabic word for 'lobby' was simply misspelled, resulting in a nonsensical word which meant nothing; least of all 'evil'," the letter said.

"What in fact was said in place of the words 'evil/noxious' was 'lobby'. Al-Jazeera immediately corrected the typing error when it was noticed and the Web site reflects this," it added.

The letter went on to say that unless the posting was removed and an apology published, action on grounds of defamation would be issued.

Harry's Place has denied the posting is defamatory and have said that they intend to defend the claim "vigorously"."

Support Harry’s Place Blogburst

Saturday 19 July 2008

Not-So-Young 'Youth': French Airman Implicated in Anti-Semitic Attack, by John Rosenthal

The gang: there were three of them (Sekou, Foued and Boubacar), not youngsters as they have been portrayed in the media, but adults closer to 30 than 20: 25, 26 and 27 years old. The victim: a defenseless 17 year old Jewish boy, Rudy Haddad. Ruddy was attacked by the gang with a crutch, and possibly with an iron bar. Another young Jewish victim was set upon in the same area with a machete.

John Rosenthal's analysis in World Politics Review:

"Late last month, a Jewish teenager wearing a yarmulke was brutally beaten in Paris's 19th arrondissement by a gang of what the French media has widely-described as "youngsters": jeunes. As discussed in my earlier WPR report "'Gang Wars' or Anti-Semitic Attacks?," while the Paris District Attorney's office has identified anti-Semitism as an "aggravating" factor in the attack, both the District Attorney's office and the French media have strongly relativized the charge of anti-Semitism by presenting the incident as the outcome of a series of "clashes" between rival "youth gangs": a black and/or Arab gang, on the one hand, and a "Jewish gang," on the other.

Last week, two suspects in the crime were arrested - and, as turns out, the "youngsters" are not so young after all. One of the suspects, identified as "Sekou M." in press reports, is 25 years old. The second, identified as "Foued O.," is 26. The Jewish victim of the attack, known in French press reports as "Rudy H.," is just 17. A third suspect who was arrested in connection with a related assault on the same day in the same neighborhood has been identified as "Boubacar C.," a 27-year-old native of Mali. "Boubacar C." is suspected of having been involved in an attack in which a second Jewish victim was cut on the arm with what has been variously described as a "machete" or (per the daily Libération) a "meat cleaver" (feuille de boucher).

While the age of the suspects comes as a surprise, what is most astonishing, however, is that the principal suspect in the crime, the 26-year-old Foued O., turns out to be a corporal in the French air force. As first reported by the daily Le Parisien, after investigators failed to find Foued O. at his family home in the 19th arrondissement, he was arrested at the air force base in Taverny, north of Paris. The French Ministry of Defense has confirmed that a member of the French armed forces has been arrested in connection with the attack on Rudy H. According to eye-witness accounts of the attack, the most serious blows were struck by an assailant wielding a crutch.

Rudy would be left with multiple skull fractures and broken ribs. Foued O., who at the time of the attack was on medical leave with a sports injury, is alleged to have been the assailant who beat Rudy with the crutch. As discussed in detail in my earlier report, the "gang wars" scenario presented by the Paris District Attorney's office - and unquestioningly repeated by much of the French news media - does not hold up to scrutiny. On closer inspection of the known facts, the incidents leading up to the attack on Rudy H. appear to have been less a matter of "clashes" between rival "gangs" than of one-sided assaults on individual or largely outnumbered Jewish youngsters. According to all the publicly known eye-witness accounts, the Jewish youngsters were unarmed. (The incidents occurred, moreover, on a Saturday: in observance of the Sabbath, it is forbidden for an orthodox Jew like Rudy H. to carry any objects, let alone a weapon.) The assailants, on the other hand, are reported to have wielded, among other things, "iron bars," the "machete" or "meat cleaver," and, of course, Foued O.'s crutch.

The revelation of the hardly tender age of the suspects is just a further element discrediting what has been up to now the standard depiction of the circumstances surrounding the attack - or rather attacks - in the 19th arrondissement. These were men, not "youngsters," and they stand accused of assaulting a teenager nearly 10 years their junior."

Friday 18 July 2008

Lebanon: barbaric unity around Samir Kuntar

Editorial in TJP:

"Putting decades of vicious sectarian, political and personality differences aside, Lebanon's body politic came together Wednesday night in a heartfelt display of national unity: Samir Kuntar had been brought home.

After a nearly 30-year absence, there he stood before the frantic multitude, this progeny of Lebanon - whose road to manhood took him from out-of-control juvenile delinquent to adolescent child-killer to unremorseful mature terrorist - in army fatigues, waving the Lebanese and Hizbullah flags, arm outstretched in the Hizbullah salute, a manic glint in his eyes. A true son of his country.

In a flash, the face of the new Lebanon was unmasked. As celebratory music helped work the crowd into a frenzy, and with Kuntar and several other released terrorists on stage as props, the real "hero" and personification of that new Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, emerged for a few moments - his first appearance since January. The Druse-born Kuntar impulsively kissed his beaming hero. Nasrallah did not reciprocate.

"The age of defeats is gone, and the age of victories has come. This people, this nation gave a great and clear image today to its friends and enemies that it cannot be defeated," Nasrallah told the jubilant crowd.

He was then whisked away by bodyguards to a hiding place from which he delivered the rest of his address, broadcast over a gigantic screen set up in the south Beirut square where the welcoming ceremonies were held.

"One of the greatest fortunes is that the unity government welcomed the freed prisoners," Nasrallah declared.

A while earlier the red carpet had been rolled out at Beirut International Airport, as warlords and politicians from rival factions welcomed Kuntar and the other released gunmen as national heroes.

Druse leader Walid Jumblatt proudly recalled that his father, Kamal (assassinated by Syria), had been in the vanguard of Lebanon's Palestinian cause. Christian Maronite president Michael Aoun [Michel Sleiman ?] cited Lebanese unity in the struggle against the Jewish state and commitment to "the return of the Palestinians to their land." Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament and boss of the Shi'ite Amal movement, was there, as was "pro-American" Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, a Sunni Muslim.

Rounding out the delegation were the Sunni majority leader of parliament, Saad Hariri (whose father was also assassinated by Syria) and Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun. They put aside their own differences and their disputes with Nasrallah to give each of the returning "militants" a hug and a kiss.

A vital lesson Israeli strategists must draw from this nauseating display of perverted unity: Lebanon and Hizbullah are one. If, heaven forbid, there is another war, the IDF must wage it with ferocity - not on Hizbullah's terms, but across the Lebanese battlefield. (...)

Now that Lebanon and Hizbullah have apparently melded, the self-defeating legacy of IDF inhibition must end. At the start of the Second Lebanon War, former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz warned bombastically that Israel would "turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years" if Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were not returned.

No one took him seriously - Israel would never punish "good Lebanon" for the crimes of "bad Hizbullah." The IAF limited itself to mostly targeting Islamist strongholds. But if Lebanon and Hizbullah are now one, Israel needs a radically revised strategy for winning a war on Lebanese soil.

Artificial distinctions between "Lebanese" and "Hizbullah" targets were swept away by Wednesday's display of barbaric unity. Lebanon was revealed in its hostile unanimity. If new conflict comes, Israel must internalize that unanimity of hate-filled purpose, and defeat it decisively."

Kuntar's photo via Israelly Cool: Separated at Birth: Heil Kuntar Edition

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Gaza: Foreign jihadis

Posted by Esther @ Islam in Europe blog

Le Figaro reports that foreigners, including several French citizens, have succeeded in penetrating from Egypt into Gaza in order to fight Israel.

Abu Hafs is a militant in the Army of Believers, a group which appeared after the Israeli pull-back from Gaza in 2005. He says that they're not part of Al-Qaeda but they share its ideology. Their goal is not only to liberate Palestine but to spread Islam everywhere. Despite that al-Qaeda has yet to give these groups real support, or to pronounce them official al-Qaeda branches.

The presence of several dozen foreigners in Gaza is confirmed by the military branch of Hamas and by Western intelligence services. Most come from Arab countries, but official sources in Paris confirm that among the foreigners who slipped in when the border between Gaza and Egypt was breached are several French citizens of Algerian origin.

Abu Hafs says he expects several hundred more foreigners. Al-Qaeda is looking for a way out of Iraq and appeals on jihadi websites to "defend the holy mosque of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem" are flourishing. The latest videos of al-Qaeda called to support the mujahedeen in Palestine.

Hamas claims that as long as it's in power, al-Qaeda won't be able to enter. Abu Hafs thinks that Hamas are sinners, since they agreed to sit in a government which wasn't ruled by Sharia law, and have now agreed to a truce with Israel.

Source: Le Figaro (French)

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Israel Is 'Canceled' in Berlin, WSJ editorial

Editorial in the WSJ

"Iranian calls for the destruction of Israel are almost routine these days. But for a former official of the Islamic Republic to call for the destruction of the Jewish state in the city where the Holocaust was planned adds a repugnant twist – especially as the German government sponsored the event that gave the man from Tehran a Western stage.

At a conference on the Mideast in Berlin on Wednesday, Muhammad Javad Ardashir Larijani said the "Zionist project," which has "created only violence and atrocities," should be "canceled." Mr. Larijani, a former deputy foreign minister, is the brother of Iran's former nuclear negotiator and current parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani.

The conference organizers, the Peace Research Institute of Frankfurt, made a clumsy attempt at damage control. "We very much regret that the feelings of several Israeli participants were hurt," the institute said in a statement, making it sound as if the problem was with oversensitive Israelis rather than with the Iranian's call for the destruction of their country. While the institute said that it rejects Mr. Larijani's comments, it still defended the decision to invite him.
The institute says it wants to provide a "forum where politicians and experts can exchange positions – also controversial ones." But calling for the destruction of a country isn't "controversial" – it's beyond the realm of civilized debate. To give such views a "forum" is to give them legitimacy."


Germany admits financing Larijani forum, by Benjamin Weinthal

Berlin forum calls for Israel's destruction, by Benjamin Weinthal

Monday 14 July 2008

When academics stray

Posted on A Liberal Defence of Israel blog

"Every year an assembly of British academics gathers to pass a motion condemning Israel and attempting to introduce a boycott against academics, universities, and colleges in Israel. It never goes off the agenda, not even after last year's fiasco when the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) passed a boycott motion only to be told by their national executive that it would be illegal to implement it. Nothing daunted, they have come back this year with another variation on a tired but increasingly racist theme. (...)

When academics find it hard to condemn terrorism as terrorism, praise hatred and call it legitimate political expression, and single out for vituperation the only democracy in the Middle East, it's a sure sign they aren't thinking straight. Surely this is the irony of these boycotts, that they should be spearheaded by academics of all people. Academics are supposed to have been taught how to use their minds. A great many do. But a host of left-wing post-structuralists and post-colonialists, who have been taught how not to think by thinkers who love obscurity, have forged ahead to be the standard-bearers of a new ignorance. The hatefulness of radical Islam doesn't faze them in the least. Just as Ken Livingstone was able to give the finger to his gay, feminist, and Jewish allies when he decided to embrace the notorious anti-Zionist, anti-gay, and anti-feminist Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, so these hardcore illiberals abandon all pretence to morality and progress. They admire a group like Hamas that would eat them alive if it got the chance. They defend Iran, a country that bans some religious minorities from its universities and calls it freedom. They condemn Israeli actions without once citing the context within which those actions take place. But what do facts matter? They make their minds up, despise open debate, and clamour to break the law against discrimination."

Read the full article here

Saturday 12 July 2008

What the British media are smoking, Fresno Zionism blog

The same anti-Israeli biais can be found in most European editorial boards - the British media is not the exception, it is the rule.

Article posted @ the FresnoZionism blog

"A recent survey of the British media on the occasion of Israel’s 60th anniversary shows, unsurprisingly, that the British media don’t like Israel very much. This is not a shock to anyone that has ever looked at the BBC website or read the Guardian but there is one particular aspect that I want to discuss:

Eighty-three per cent of articles in all newspapers which took a position on Israel’s stance on peace contained the message that Israel did not seek peace…

Overall, only 6% of articles carried the message that Israel seeks peace. This message was only contained in three articles in The Daily Telegraph, The
and The Sunday Telegraph

Twenty-six per cent of coverage [on the BBC website] contained the message that Israel is not seeking peace.

A neutral observer on Mars, for example, might have trouble understanding this.

  1. After all, Israel was attacked by the Arab nations in 1948, preempted an imminent attack in 1967, and was attacked again in 1973. The 1948 and 1967 wars were declared by Arab leaders to be genocidal in intent. Insofar as Israel initiated hostilities, it was in response to clear acts of war such as the closing of the straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping in 1956, and the Katyusha attacks on northern Israel by the PLO in Lebanon in 1982.

  2. In 1978 Israel agreed to return the entire Sinai peninsula to Egypt in the interest of peace, giving up a huge strategic advantage and a large amount of natural resources, including oil. In return, she received a 'cold peace' - really just an extended truce.

  3. In 1993, Israel signed the Oslo agreement with terrorist Yasser Arafat in the interest of peace. In return, she received several years of escalating terrorism against her population, culminating in Arafat’s rejection of the Clinton-Barak proposals and the murderous second intifada. Israel offered to transfer 97% of the West Bank and all of Gaza to the Palestinian authority, give up control of Judaism’s holiest sites in east Jerusalem, etc., all for peace.

  4. Israel withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000 in the interest of peace and received in return the Hezbollah buildup which led to the 2006 war.

  5. In the interest of peace, Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005, at great cost to uprooted residents - who still have not received just compensation as promised — and to the nation. In return, she received a Hamas terrorist state, thousands of rockets fired on her population, cross-border attacks, and will soon have to fight another war.

  6. Israel is presently negotiating with the Palestinian Authority for what may be a ‘do-over’ of the Clinton-Barak proposal, in the face of clear evidence that neither Fatah nor Hamas is prepared to accept the existence of a Jewish state of any size.

  7. Most of the Arab nations, as well as the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas movements, have never stopped the continuous barrage of anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda and incitement in their official media, while the Israeli government always stresses its desire to live in peace with its neighbors.

Considering all this, you would think that the Arabs are the ones who are uninterested in peace, and that Israel has been, over and over, prepared to make great sacrifices for peace - even after they’ve been kicked in the teeth in response.

Yes, you would think this. But you are not smoking the same stuff as the British media."

Lyn Julius reviews "Jews and Power" by Ruth Wisse

Lyn Julius reviews Ruth Wisse's Jews and Power in Democratiya

"For those who find John Walt and Stephen Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy persuasive, Ruth Wisse's Jews and Power is the perfect antidote. In contrast to Walt and Mearsheimer's account of a shadowy Jewish cabal manipulating US foreign policy, Wisse's book is a study of Jewish powerlessness. (…)

"At first Jews did not take easily to the idea of using force – a key component of power. As the 19th century Zionist movement to restore a national homeland gathered pace, Ruth Wisse contends that 'noticeably absent from Jewish planning was the military force that every nation assumes it needs to retain, or regain its land'. In his book Altneuland, Theodor Herzl, the so-called father of Zionism, 'replicates the adaptive policies of the Diaspora'. Of all the prerequisites of a modern state – land, central political authority and means of self-defence – Herzl focused only on land.

A character in a play by Israel Zangwill ends up shooting himself when his attempts to unite Jews in self-defensive action end in discord and factionalism. It seemed almost that the Jew was congenitally 'too sophisticated for so primitive and savage a function.' Nevertheless, half a million Jews donned the uniforms of the European powers to fight in the Great War, often against each other. The regiments of Palestinian Jews who fought for Britain reaped no political dividend.

The restoration of Jewish sovereignty after 2000 years should have normalised Israel's status in the family of nations. Instead, the Jewish strategy of accommodation collided head-on with 'the Arab political tradition of conquest and expansion'. Thus the Jews swallowed their reservations and accepted the 1947 UN Partition Plan, while the Arab League unleashed five armies on the fledgling Jewish state as soon as Israel was declared.

Once-powerless Jews are now accused of being too strong. The Palestinians present themselves as surrogate Jews, defining themselves in opposition to them, appropriating Jewish symbols, history and identity. Every milestone in the Palestinian calendar is a defeat or disaster inflicted on them by the Jews. Wisse wryly observes that 'they are so focused on what belongs to the Jews that they cannot focus on what is theirs to enjoy'.

But the lopsided Arab war against Israel, the author reminds us, pits five million Jews against 270 million Arabs – with infinitely more land and resources – abetted by one billion Muslims. Clearly, Jewish sovereignty is not the same as power. Arab and Muslim political clout at the UN has made up for repeated military defeats at the hands of the tiny Jewish state. As Abba Eban once put it – 'Israel is the only country to win a war and sue for peace'. The creation of Israel has reproduced in the Middle East a 'political imbalance almost identical to the one Jews had in the diaspora'.

While dictatorships parade their military might, Israel makes foreign dignitaries tour the Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem – as if to say, 'all we want is to be spared this fate'. In the 1990s wishful thinking led to Israel signing what Wisse views as the 'suicidal' Oslo accords. As Wisse puts it, 'No other people had armed its enemy with the expectation of gaining security.'

The Jews are self-consciously preoccupied with their moral performance – what Wisse describes as 'moral solipsism'. Golda Meir greeted president Sadat of Egypt on his historic peace-seeking mission to Jerusalem with, 'We can forgive you for killing our sons, but we will never forgive you for making us kill yours.' But Sadat came not out of regret that he had killed too many Israelis but because he had not killed enough to defeat them.

The French intellectual Jean-François Revel once observed that democracy contained the seeds of its own destruction when faced with an enemy without moral scruples and self-criticism. In Israel, obsessive self-examination stops short of draft-dodging, but to its enemies is an admission of weakness.

Ultimately, no amount of Jewish self-flagellation and self-blame for Israel's permanent state of war with the Arabs will make a difference. Just as antisemitism is the antisemite's problem, so the 100-years war of the Arabs against the Jews reflects the overriding need for a political target in the absence of unity and democracy.

Wisse concludes on the comforting note that Israel, the Jew among nations, has been forced to innovate and develop a military and scientific edge valuable to its allies – just as the particular skills of stateless Jews once made them indispensable to their host societies.

Besides, Israel is in the front line in the fight against terror. But here Wisse's American optimism is out of synch with the prevailing European view. European elites are far from ready to acknowledge Israel's role on the front line in the war on Islamist terror, and rather too many consider Israel as the main cause of it."

Friday 11 July 2008

Beheading Hitler, by Bridget Johnson

Piece posted @ Pajamas Media blog

"By ripping off Hitler's waxy head, a patron of Madame Tussauds reignited the touchy issue of the murderous dictator's legacy."

"The headless Hitler story reminded me of the controversy over the movie Downfall, which was nominated in 2005 for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The movie has an intense focus on Hitler’s last days in the bunker, with Bruno Ganz delivering an astounding performance as the dictator in the depths of not just the earth, but his paranoia as well. In a particularly disturbing scene, Magda Goebbels calmly kills off the family’s six children one by one rather than live in a country without National Socialism.

Yet the film was criticized in many circles for showing Hitler as too human: He was nice to his dog (until Blondi got force-fed a cyanide caplet as a test subject) and kind to his secretaries (until something set him off - something he would invariably peg on traitors, Jews, Russians, etc.) (...)

It’s crucial to remember, though, that evil people display human characteristics that make it possible to hoodwink the masses, draw in admirers, or get a slap on the wrist from the world’s powers that be. After all, Idi Amin threw cool parties. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sends out "Merry Christmas" messages. Pol Pot had a friendly smile - a killer smile, really, because a summary execution would likely follow the grin. (...)

Those who suffered under the Nazi regime would understandably have little interest in seeing such a film, as was the controversy when it was released in Israel. But the people who really needed to see a movie such as Downfall are those who never suffered under the hands of Hitler.

By not only remembering the past but striving to learn from it, we can hopefully have our eyes open enough to recognize and stop those who would continue along Hitler’s destructive route. We need to not only see how evil Hitler was; we need to recognize that human beings are capable of such evil, and Hitler wasn’t the last one. We need to see how a country bought into the Nazi philosophy and followed their charismatic leader without question.

We need to remember how easy it is for the global community - and its often hapless leaders - to lose its head and turn the other way when forced to confront utter evil."

Thursday 10 July 2008

Swedish Social Democrats flirt with extremist anti-Zionists, Jonathan Leman

Excerpts from an article by Jonathan Leman, freelance writer, in Engage:

"Mona Sahlin, leader of the Social Democratic Party, spoke a while ago at Stockholm’s Great Synagogue about the importance of working towards a two state solution in the Middle East and combating antisemitism in Europe. Despite this, organizations affiliated with her party have on numerous occasions held conferences where extremist views have been propagated. Mona Sahlin has said nothing about the views harbored by some of the guests at a recent meeting of the Palme Center, just as she kept silent when the Christian Social Democrats last year invited the antisemitic writer and activist Gilad Atzmon. What do all Social Democrats who dislike the links with extremism and doctrines of hate have to say about this?

On the 11th of June I attended a conference that claimed to have a "sustainable peace in sight" (sic). (...) it is deeply worrying that to a conference that is said to promote peace, speakers such as Azzam Tamimi from the Institute of Islamic Political Thought, and Ghada Karmi from the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies at Exeter University, are invited. Both of these speakers deny the existence of a Jewish people and Israel’s right to exist. For a genuine debate on peace and dialogue there are many reasonable representatives one could have invited. Instead, the Palme center deliberately chooses extremists with messages of intolerance.

What then are Azzam Tamimi’s views? Well, he for example sees Israel as a "cancer" that has to be "eradicated", he believes that suicide bombing "is the straight way to pleasing my God and I would do it if I had the opportunity" (BBC 02/11/04 transcript), he justifies violence against women, and he considers Muslims who oppose radical Islamism as traitors (Al-Quds Al-Arabi 29/08/05). How could a person holding such views contribute to "dialogue" at a so called "peace conference"? And how come the audience applaud his extremist statements? (...)

Karmi wrote that "The power of the Israel lobby in the US is legendary" in an article on Guardian’s Comment is free (25/10/07). She elaborates further on this topic in her book under the chapter "Who controls America?" where she describes the US as an Israeli puppet. "All media – film, TV, newspapers and magazines have supported Israel", she writes. The only possible reason for this support, Karmi argues, is that Jews control newspapers, Hollywood and TV channels. She looks for Jews among owners, editors and writers. This kind of thinking is common in antisemitic propaganda. (...)

Ghada Karmi believes that Palestinian freedom cannot come about through a peace agreement with Israel, the only solution, in her view, is that the Jewish state no longer exists. In spite of this, the Palme Center characterizes Karmi's views as expressions of "optimism" and of an "openness for new alternatives". As has been pointed out on Engage (25/10/07 and 24/05/08), Karmi also supports the idea of a boycott against Israeli scholars and sees opposing ideas as a "gross interference in British democratic life".

In her book ["Married to Another Man"], Karmi mocks Holocaust education, and complains that films and books have been made on the topic. "A type of philosemitism, often as extreme as the antisemitism that preceded it, took over in a number of European countries" (p.113).

In Karmi's world, the fact that young Europeans are taught about the Nazi genocide against the Jews is as extreme as virulent antisemitism. At the conference Lena Hjelm-Wallén, chair of the board of the Palme International Center, was on good terms with Karmi and recommended her book, which also was for sale. Ironically, Hjelm-Wallén was Deputy Prime Minister in the former Social Democratic government, which signed the declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust in 2000. In this declaration the importance to teach about the Holocaust was stressed and promises were made to fight prejudice and hatred. Now Hjelm-Wallén recommends Karmi’s book which denies the existence of the Jewish people, spreads conspiracy theories and portrays Holocaust education as Zionist propaganda. Hjelm-Wallén is also a former Chair of the Living History Forum, a government agency which has been commissioned with the task of promoting knowledge of the Holocaust and to combat all forms of racism. (...)

In spite of the fact that Tamimi at the meeting in Stockholm clearly stated that he thinks Israel is a "cancer" and that he supports suicide bombings, the Palme Center in a report from the conference falsely claimed that Tamimi no longer held such views.

Critical examination and debate on Israeli policies is tremendously important. But what we have been witnessing here is something quite different and very troubling. These tendencies have been sharply criticized by some members who are worried about the development of the party (Expressen 23/06/08). However, the party’s leadership and majority remain silent."

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Europe still funding NGOs promoting Israel demonization campaigns

It is unbelievable that the Israeli government should be devoting resources to fight hostile NGOs, some of which are being generously and cynically funded by European governments (in other words by unwitting European taxpayers).

Article by Gerald Steinberg in TJP:

"Now, as the UN and the anti-Israel NGO network prepare for the Durban Review Conference to be held in Geneva in April 2009, the Foreign Ministry has left the minimalist NGO desk empty. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has denounced the anti-Semitism of the UN's Durban process, and announced that Israel will not participate if this continues. But the Israeli diplomatic corps was surprised when the Preparatory Committee for this review conference accredited the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign. European members of the committee simply waved them through, and no Israeli official was aware of the process.

The damage from this black hole in the Israeli diplomatic universe goes far beyond the Durban process. Some of the NGOs promoting the demonization campaigns get more then half their annual budgets from European governments, under the misleading headlines of "partnerships for peace" or projects claiming to promote democracy and Palestinian development."

Europe's Hidden Hand, NGO Monitor report

Paris' 19th Arrondissement: 'Gang Wars' or Anti-Semitic Attacks?, John Rosenthal

In this article in World Politics Review, John Rosenthal notes that "the supposed "spiral" of "inter-community" violence appears rather to have been a veritable paroxysm of anti-Semitic violence", and not a case of gang violence with anti-semitic overtones as we are led to believe.

"After a 17-year-old Jewish boy wearing a yarmulke was brutally beaten by a gang of teenagers in Paris's 19th arrondissement late last month, the reactions of both the French news media and French authorities were notably ambiguous. The boy, known only as "Rudy" in the French reports, was not only punched and kicked during the attack, but also beaten with what has been variously identified as an "iron bar" or a "crutch." The beating occurred on a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, in a neighborhood with a large orthodox Jewish population. It appears to have continued even after Rudy lost consciousness and it only came to a stop when a local resident intervened and chased away the teenage assailants. According to French cable news channel iTELE, the boy was left with multiple skull fractures and broken ribs. Sammy Ghozlan of the Office for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism relates that when the boy first emerged from a coma on the following Sunday night, he began screaming "They're going to kill me! They're going to kill me!"

"Was the young man the victim of an anti-Semite attack?" the daily Le Figaro asked (French link) two days after the incident, and without hesitating answered its own question: "Yes, but on the background of clashes between neighborhood gangs pertaining to different communities. . . . Investigators are connecting the attack to an increasing spiral of violence." According to Le Figaro, this "spiral of violence" opposed black and North African youngsters, on the one hand, and Jewish youngsters, on the other. Le Figaro added to the plausibility of the "gang wars" hypothesis by reporting that Rudy had himself been picked up by the police last December after fights broke out between Jewish youngsters and North African youngsters at Paris's Parc de Bercy. Rudy had been attending a vigil there for the three Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah. According to Le Figaro, police had found "Rudy and his friends" to be in possession of brass knuckles. According to a subsequent report in Le Monde, Rudy appears rather to have sought to defend himself with a motorcycle helmet (serving as an "improvised weapon," in the nomenclature of the French police). Le Figaro even published a report according to which the 17-year-old boy -- described in the headline as an "orthodox and militant Jew" -- was supposed to be "close" to Jewish self-defense groups. The report appeared on the Figaro Web site the day after the incident. It was quickly denied by the boy's mother.

In announcing the opening of a formal criminal investigation for attempted murder three days after the attack, Paris District Attorney Jean-Claude Marin likewise endorsed the "gang wars"/"spiral of violence" scenario. While Marin identified anti-Semitism as an "aggravating factor" in the crime, he strongly relativized the charge by speaking merely of an "incidental anti-Semitism" (antisémitisme par incidence). Marin said the beating of Rudy was the last in a string of three incidents that occurred on that same Saturday in or around the Parc de Buttes-Chaumont. The incidents allegedly opposed, as Marin described them, "African" or "black" gangs and "Jewish gangs." "We do not find an intention to attack a person of Jewish origin in particular," Marin said, "but rather a member of this gang of young Jews." While Marin acknowledged that the assailants who attacked Rudy shouted anti-Semitic insults, he again relativized the importance of this finding. "Anti-Semitic insults were tossed around, just as racist insults are tossed around in other brawls," he said. (Source: AFP)

The problem with this "spiral of violence"/"gang wars" scenario, however, is that all the episodes in the series seem to have involved one-sided assaults on individual or greatly outnumbered Jewish youngsters and not "clashes" between rival "gangs." A first incident is supposed to have occurred around 4:30 in the afternoon, when a young Jewish man was set upon by a group of boys belonging to what Marin called a "gang of youngsters of color." According to the police account, the young man was able to get away unharmed, but he subsequently noticed that he had lost his Star of David chain in the scuffle. This is then supposed to have led to the second incident roughly half an hour later, when he returned to look for the chain with "three companions." At that point, two of the companions were then assaulted in turn. One of them suffered, in Marin's words, a "relatively serious" knife wound on the arm: namely, as he attempted to protect himself from an assailant wielding a "machete or butcher's knife."

According to Marin, Rudy was then supposed to have been assaulted in the aftermath of a third "clash" some two hours later between a "gang" of 20-25 "young blacks" and a "significantly smaller number of young Jews," among them Rudy. Marin's suggestion that Rudy formed part of a group -- or even a "gang" (bande) -- contradicts the initial reports on the episode, according to which he was alone. The accounts of witnesses subsequently interviewed on French radio RTL (French audio) and on iTELE, however, also suggest that by the time of the third incident a group of Jewish youngsters had gathered in the rue Petit where the incident took place. The local resident interviewed by iTELE reports seeing a fight break out between two groups: one "completely unarmed" and the other wielding "iron bars."RTL also spoke with the local resident who finally came to Rudy's aid. The man declined to be interviewed on the air. But as recounted by RTL journalist Thomas Prouteau (French audio), this is what he reported seeing:

"On Saturday, approaching 7 p.m., the witness sees youngsters running in all directions. One of them is taking off his yarmulke in order to hide it. Very quickly, the street is empty. But a little further up the road, the witness sees a lone teenager on the ground being worked over by a group of 15 youngsters of African origins. Five of them are hitting him. One of the assailants punches the boy very hard in the face. Another hits him with a crutch."

In addition, RTL spoke with "Sylvie" (French audio), a worker at a neighborhood bakery who witnessed earlier incidents on the same day. The incidents described by "Sylvie" likewise clearly amount to assaults, not "clashes," and, significantly, they do not appear to have been otherwise reported by the police or in the media. She describes, for instance, seeing one assailant pulling up a metal pole and striking a young man on the ground with it. The man on the ground was wearing a yarmulke. She also describes seeing a second young man being beaten so severely by a gang that his face was "completely swollen, he was unrecognizable." "I'm Jewish," the young man said to her, "Do I no longer have the right to live?" (...)

It is possible that some obviously undermanned and outgunned Jewish youngsters eventually attempted to fight back in the rue Petit. But on closer inspection, the supposed "spiral" of "inter-community" violence appears rather to have been a veritable paroxysm of anti-Semitic violence. For the Paris District Attorney's office and certain Parisian editorial boards, however, it would seem that when anti-Semitic incidents occur in a series, this is supposed somehow to vitiate their anti-Semitic character."

Jewish teens victims of gang violence in Paris 19th district

The Murder of Ilan Halimi A Jewish man is kidnapped in Paris, tortured for 24 days and then dies

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Italian Foreign Minister "Israel's security is not negotiable"

Source: Bennauro (Israel without ifs or buts)

"Israel's security is not up for discussion, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Monday during his first official visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories since taking office in May.''

The message is that Israel's security is not negotiable," Frattini (photo) told journalists on arrival in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv.

He said the conservative Italian government viewed the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas and Iran "with great concern."

The purpose of his trip to the region is to "reaffirm Italy's role in the Middle East peace process and as a player that is loved and respected by all sides," Frattini stated.

Frattini will on Tuesday meet Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. He and Livni are due to hold a joint press conference after their meeting."

Italy: Fiamma Nirenstein will be in the next Parliament
European Union has taken an unbalanced stance on Israel, says Franco Frattini
European Commissioner Franco Frattini expresses regret at EU treatment of Israel

Monday 7 July 2008

Achille Lauro: the Palestinian hijacker nobody wants

Source: Bennauro (Israel without ifs or buts)

"Abdellatif Ibrahim Fatayer, one of the men convicted of hijacking the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985, was freed in Rome on Monday.

Fatayer, who was born in the Tel al-Zaatar Palestinian refugee camp north of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, is the youngest of the hijackers. According to the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, Fatayer was expected to be deported from Italy after serving a 21-year sentence plus three years under police surveillance. But Lebanon refused to accept him after he was freed from jail.

Fatayer was sentenced to 25 years' jail by an appeals court in the northern Italian city of Genoa but was freed after serving 21 years in April 2008, although he continued to remain under police surveillance.

He was one of four Palestinian terrorists who hijacked the ship on 7 October 1985, taking hostage 450 people in exchange for the release of 82 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. During the siege they shot and killed a wheelchair bound Jewish-American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, before throwing his body overboard.

At the beginning of April, a judge said Fatayer could be freed but could not obtain a residency permit to remain in Italy due to his previous terrorist activities. He was transferred to Rome's Ponte Galeria temporary reception centre, but was freed on Monday because Lebanon, his country of birth, does not recognise him as a citizen because he is a Palestinian refugee.

Of the other three hijackers, one disappeared in 1994 while on parole, one died in 2004 and the third, Youssef Al-molqi was sentenced to 30 years' jail in Italy. The militants belonged to the Palestine Liberation Front, a faction of the Palestine Liberation Organisation considered the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people at the time."

Sunday 6 July 2008

Germany admits financing Larijani forum, by Benjamin Weinthal

Reported in TJP:

"The German government has admitted it was deeply involved in funding last month's conference here on the Middle East, and reports indicate it suggested inviting former Iranian deputy foreign minister Muhammad Javad Ardashir Larijani to speak at the gathering, where he called for the destruction of Israel.

At the Third Transatlantic Conference - whose stated purpose was to address "common solutions" in the Middle East - Larijani said the "Zionist project" should be "canceled" and argued that Israel "has failed miserably and has only caused terrible damage to the region."

Jens Plötner, a spokesman for German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, told The Jerusalem Post over the weekend that the Foreign, Economics and Research ministries and Chancellor Angela Merkel's office transferred funds to the Hesse Foundation for Peace and Conflict Research, which he said had proposed inviting Larijani. The grant was made from a fund for "civil society projects." (...)

Bernd W. Kubbig of the Hesse Foundation, the principal organizer of the conference, refused to provide the Post with a transcript of the event in which Larijani said, "Denial of the Holocaust in the Muslim world has nothing to with anti-Semitism. And President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has never denied the Holocaust."

However, Ahmadinejad has consistently questioned the authenticity of the Holocaust, and he invited well-know Holocaust deniers to the "World without Zionism" conference held in Teheran in 2005.

Critics charge Kubbig with placating a regime that wishes to destroy Israel. "The idea that today the Iranian regime would like to complete the Nazis' job is bad enough; even worse, however, is German cooperation with this," said Nasrin Amirsedghi, an Iranian intellectual who fled the Islamic Republic and now lives in Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate. (...)

A weeklong investigation by the Post indicates that the German government has been intensifying its business and political relations with Iran in 2008. With the exception of 2007, Germany has remained Iran's No. 1 European Union trade partner over the years. Economists attributed the decline in 2007 to private-sector complications in Iran, and not to German political policy.

In the first quarter of 2008, Iranian-German business mushroomed to €1.35 billion, an 18% increase when compared with the first four months of 2007. Germany supplies a technology-starved Iran with sophisticated equipment for its energy sector and growing infrastructure. Total German export trade to Iran has consistently hovered around €4b. each year.
Merkel has talked about tightening the economic screws on Iran, but her informal policy to discourage trade has not curtailed the strong economic ties between the countries.

Siemens, the electrical giant, maintains a robust yearly trade of between $500m. and $1b. with Iran. The German company Wirth, according to Emanuele Ottolenghi, director of the Transatlantic Institute in Brussels, "sold tunnel-boring equipment to Iran for its Ghomroud water project." While such heavy earth-moving machines can be used to build underground nuclear weapons facilities, the German government approved the deal for the machines, which critics consider to be a telling example of "dual-use" equipment."

Berlin forum calls for Israel's destruction, by Benjamin Weinthal
Wiesenthal Center: Sue ex-Iranian Official