Sunday 30 November 2008

Swiss TV website : "Indian terrorists and Israeli fanatics" at Chabad House in Mumbai

"Indian terrorists and Israeli fanatics" read the title of the press review on the website of the Swiss TV channel reporting on the islamic terrorist attack on Mumbai's Chabad House which left at least six Jews dead. It's truly appalling that journalists find it appropriate to equate cold-blooded murderers with their innocent victims.

Following protests, the offensive item was taken down and now reads: "Terrorism in India".

Source: UPJF

Bombay terrorist attacks : Jews had not been killed in India since the Inquisition

Source: India’s Jews - A proud and continuing heritage, free of anti-Semitism by Gary Weiss, Forbes (08.13.07)

Gary Weiss on India's Jews:

"India may be the only country in the world that has been free of anti-Semitic prejudice throughout its history. As the Jewish genealogical journal Avotaynu recently observed in an article on one Indian Jewish group, "The Bene Israel flourished for 2,400 years in a tolerant land that has never known anti-Semitism, and were successful in all aspects of the socio-economic and cultural life of the people of the region.""

Comparing India with Europe, Weiss wrote :

"But in 'backward' India, from the beginning, the Jewish communities have not only been free of discrimination but have dominated the commercial life of every place where they have settled - something that has fed traditional European anti-Semitism."

Thanks to the Portuguese, Indian Jews were not totally free of persecution :

"Kochi's Jews were indeed persecuted -- not by Indians but by the Portuguese, following in the glorious traditions of the Inquisition. With the help of the Hindu maharaja and the Dutch, Kochi's Jewish community rebuilt its synagogue, burned by the Portuguese, in its current location near his maharajah's palace. It has remained there, unmolested, ever since."

Weiss's conclusion:

"I've always had difficulty with Indians when we've discussed anti-Semitism. They don't understand it, and to tell you the truth, I've had difficulty explaining it myself."

- Terrorists who bound and killed at least six at Chabad House 'deliberately targeted' Jewish building
- Background: A rich history now stained with blood

Saturday 29 November 2008

Why Muslim terrorists targeted Jews in Mumbai

"... by targeting a Jewish center, the attackers would win over a large part of the Islamic-Arabic networks that would otherwise have felt unconcerned by attacks that occurred far from their usual area of activity."

"(...) The attack was extremely sophisticated

- An attack of this kind, in an overcrowded city such as Mumbai requires months of location research and planning; that could only have been conducted in a friendly location in order to avoid drawing attention (so, maybe in Pakistan).

- According to early reports, fake uniforms and an ambulance or a police vehicle may have been used for the first attacks (including against the hospital), which again underscores the level of precision of the planning and the high tactical ability of the attackers.

- It seems that the boat used to carry the terrorists near the coast was an Indian fishing boat that had been hijacked fifteen days ago off Pakistan. If this was to be confirmed it would reinforce the idea of the “Pakistani lead.”

- The number of terrorists involved will give an indication of the significance of the operation that some local media have called the “Indian 9-11.” Nonetheless, given that there were at least 5 targets located several kilometres from one another, one can assess that there could be, at least between 20 and 30 attackers involved.

- The selection of the targets was made in a rigorous and clever manner. By attacking a station and a hospital, the terrorists were targeting the population, ensuring a large number of casualties. By getting into two luxurious hotels, they were making sure that they could face British and American nationals, who appeared to have been prime targets, and they were putting the security forces in a nightmarish situation. Taking back the control of a hotel – the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi are very large with hundreds of rooms each – is quite tricky: one has to go room by room, search dozens of hallways and hundreds of installations (bathrooms, restrooms, kitchens etc.) that could be as much traps, and to sort out the terrorist from the hotel guests, and of course keep the collateral damage as low as possible. Lastly, by targeting a Jewish center, the attackers would win over a large part of the Islamic-Arabic networks that would otherwise have felt unconcerned by attacks that occurred far from their usual area of activity."

Source: First lessons of the Mumbai carnage (in pdf), by Claude Moniquet, CEO, ESISC (European Strategic Intelligence & Security Center), Copyright© ESISC 2008

Foreign Ministry confirms deaths of eight Israelis in Mumbai

Friday 28 November 2008

Lublin's archbishop heralds new era of Polish openness to Jews (and Israel?)

"Archbishop of Lublin, Josef Zycinski, said this week ahead of a visit to Israel that there was a "new era" of Polish openness to Jews and defended controversial Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII as a "pragmatist."

"I would say that the situation has changed in free Poland," said the archbishop in a telephone interview from Lublin.

"In the late 1970s it was impossible to have access to the parts of Auschwitz that showed the enormity of the Jewish Holocaust," said Zycinski, who will participate Monday in a symposium entitled "Confronting a New Reality: The Polish Catholic Church, the Jews, and Israel."

"Poles were out of touch with the long Jewish history in Poland. But today a younger, more open generation of Poles is growing up with a more nuanced understanding of Jewish reality."

The symposium is being sponsored by The Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI), The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, The Adam Mickiewicz Institute, The Polish Council of Christians and Jews, and Laboratorium Wiez in the framework of Polish Year in Israel 2008-2009.

Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland, will also take part.
Zycinski, known for his willingness to confront the Polish role in helping the Nazis perpetrate the Holocaust, said that in September he organized a meeting with students from Berlin's Reform Abraham Geiger College and Catholics.

"For many it was the first time they had come across a Reform Jew. All they had known was the stereotype Orthodox Jew," he said.

Zycinski, unlike other Catholic Polish clergymen, has publicly accepted the Polish people's guilt for the massacre at Jebwadne, a village in eastern Poland, which was first revealed in 1999.

For instance, Polish Cardinal Josef Glemp, known for his anti-Semitic comments, said after attending a mass in honor of Jedwabne's Jews in 2001 that Poland's surviving Jews should apologize for having brought Communism to Poland.

However, Zycinski pointed out that ironically, Poles' anti-Communist sentiments pushed many to support Israel in the Six Day War at a time when the USSR was openly supporting Egypt and other Arab states. "As a student in Krakow I remember the strong pro-Israel sentiments which were really an expression of opposition to Communist rule," he recalled. (...)

Dr. Rabbi Ron Kronish, head of the ICCI, said that the symposium was important for three reasons: "Israel needs to better understand contemporary Poland and not remain mired in images of the past, no matter how traumatic they might be. And part of that understanding is getting rid of the preconceptions that all Poles are anti-Semites," said Kronish.
"Also, Israelis need to understand that the Polish Catholic Church has undergone major changes of thinking about Jews and Judaism. People do not know this because they continue to live in the past.
"Finally, Poland is making in effort within the framework of Polish-Israel Year to better understand that for a Polish Jew, Israel is central to the formation of his or her Jewish identity.""
Source: article by Matthew Wagner, TJP

Thursday 27 November 2008

Six EU countries out of 27 voted against Durban II "carnival of hatred"

Six European Union countries out of 27 voted against the resolution claiming that Israel is guilty of apartheid, genocide and racism: Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, United Kingdom. Norway voted for the resolution (Switzerland, which is not in the EU, also voted for), while sadly the other countries abstained.

Source: Eye on the UN

"European Union Capitulates to Islamic States on Durban II as UN General Assembly Committee Renews Support for the Conference and Calls for Additional Funding.

The UN General Assembly's Third Committee on Social and Humanitarian Affairs threw renewed support behind the Durban II Conference. Last year, the European Union voted against the Durban II resolution. This year they capitulated to the pressure of Islamic states and their allies.

The vote on the Resolution (orally amended, para. 55 deleted) was 130 votes in favor, 11 votes against and 35 abstentions. In 2007 the vote was 119 votes in favor, 45 against and 6 abstentions. The main change was the collapse of the EU.

The statement made by France on behalf of the EU, explaining why they abstained (instead of voting in favor), made no mention of any concern with the treatment of Israel in the draft outcome document now on the negotiating table. That document claims Israel is guilty of apartheid and genocide. It also manages to label only Israel as racist, while saying nothing about racism among the other 191 UN states.

The eleven states voting against were: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Israel, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, United Kingdom and the United States. They alone were prepared to stand up to the intimidation and to recognize Durban II as an assault on human rights on a host of issues ranging from Israel to freedom of expression.

The resolution also calls for $3,754,800 to be spent from the 2008-09 budget on Durban II, in addition to the millions already spent.

The representative of Israel, Meirav Eilon Shahar urged other states to follow Israel's decision to boycott Durban II, as a matter of principle. In her words: "Foreign Minister [Livni] announced last week that Israel will not participate in another carnival of hatred and we similarly call on the international community not to legitimize the conference which seeks to legitimize intolerance and extremism under the banner of the fight against racism.""
"Apartheid Israel" Accusations by GA President (video of UN General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann's unprecedented attack on a UN member state. It took place on November 24, 2008 at United Nations Headquarters in New York during the UN "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People." )

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Belgium: Hitler favourite dish TV show scrapped due to pressure exerted by "Semites"

The Flemish TV channel VRT1 has broadcast a satirical show "Man bijt hond" on the scrapping of a programme about Adolf Hitler’s favourite meal (details below).

Even if you don't understand Dutch, you can have a look at the video "Cancelled dish". It features a healthy and radiant Anne Frank preparing a meal and images reminiscent of Jews being taken away by Nazis - just for laughs - and of course the cooking of Hitler's supposedly favourite Bavarian dish: trout in butter sauce.

The "Semitic lobby" ?

The entertainer joked that the cooking show was cancelled due to "massive pressure exerted by Semites" and that Jews had over-reacted to a programme involving a "harmless dish cooked in a gas oven".

Source: CCOJB press release in French
"A tv station in Belgium has decided not to air on Tuesday a controversial culinary program which was due to feature "Adolf Hitler’s favourite meal."

The Jewish community and former deportees groups had reacted with dismay at the VRT Flemish public television program which, they said, was turning Hitler into a banal figure.I

n the program called "Plat préféré" (Favorite Dish), a professional cook brings up the favourite meal of a personality. Among the figures already presented were Jacques Brel, Salvador Dali and Freddy Mercury. This time, the cook was due to go to Hitler's haunts in Bavaria, southern Germany, to prepare 'trout with butter sauce' which is said to be one of the Nazi dictator’s favorite meals.

A Jewish magazine in Antwerp and CCOJB, the umbrella group of Jewish organizations in Belgium, denounced the program. "It is worrying to see that Hitler is turned into a banal figure, especially for the younger generation," Michael Freilich, chief editor of Joods Actueel magazine, said.

In a reaction last week, the tv station explained it was not its intention "to make Hitler more humane but rather to put him in the right context." VRT had "apologised in advance" if some people felt shocked by the program's contents.

"The management of VRT defends the content of the programme but preferred to withdraw it from scheduling on account of the controversy," the channel said in a statement, adding that the program clearly "shows that Jeroen Meus (the cook) has a dislike for Adolf Hitler and Nazism".
The station has decided instead to feature Greek opera singer Maria Callas."

Source: EJP
Exploitation of Anne Frank's image:
- Anne Frank in bad with Hitler (European-Arab League), ADL
- Israelis are not Nazis, David Hirsh, Engage
- Exploiting Anne Frank, The most tasteless T-shirt ever, Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Weekly Standard
- Living like Anne Frank?, Ruth Ellen Gruber, JTA
- Bad Taste from the Netherlands, Deborah Lipstadt

French support group organizes 'Running for Gilad Shalit’ near Paris

Has any of the French NGOs which operate in Gaza taken this opportunity to express support for this initiave ? It would have been a good opportunity to publicly put pressure on the Hamas to give them access (after 888 days in captivity) to 22-year old Gilad Shalit.

"A recently formed French support group calling for the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier detained by Hamas in Gaza since June 2006, [organized] on Sunday in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, its first action aimed at recalling the fate of the young man.

"We call on French citizens to mobilize and to run for Gilad next Sunday," the "Collectif Liberté pour Gilad", which was created at Shalit family’s initiative, said in a statement.

Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Palestinians during a cross-border raid on an Israeli army base near Gaza on June 25, 2006, has also French citizenship. "Running for Gilad" is co-organized with the Mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, Jean-Christophe Fromantin.

Participants [wore] a white t-shirt in order to show their peaceful intent. The action is supported by several French personalities who will take part in the running, including singer Patrick Bruel, philosopher Bernard-Henry Lévy, writer Marek Halter, actors Dany Boon and Yvan Attal, and comic Gad Elmaleh. Film director Elie Chouraqui made a short film ( titled "Je suis Gilad" (I am Gilad) which appeals for the release of the young man.

Last month, during a press conference in paris, Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, called on the French citizens to mobilize for his son "like you did for Ingrid Betancourt". "There is still a French hostage to save," he said. Betancourt is a French-Colombian former hostage who was freed in July by the Colombian army after being held in the jungle by the Marxist FARC guerrilla for more than six years."

Source: EJP - Photo: Erez Lichtfeld
- Hundreds rally to show support for Gilad Shalit (London)
- Ingrid Betancourt pays tribute to Gilad Shalit at the European Parliament

Tuesday 25 November 2008

Exploiting Anne Frank to advertise a holiday rental in Amsterdam

"An online accommodation agency I came across recently used one of the most tasteless slogans I’ve ever seen to advertise a holiday rental in Amsterdam.

"Amsterdam Stay Apartments present the Anne Frank apartment," read a banner across the top of the apartment’s Web page. "Live like Anne Frank during your Amsterdam stay," it promised, "with the keys to your own roof attic apartment.

"Live like Anne Frank?"
What on earth could these people have been thinking? The apartment, said the Web page, occupies the top floor of a building "just opposite the Anne Frank house" in a "lively and picturesque area known for its restaurants, night life, specialty shops and cultural attractions."
A converted garret with a steeply sloping ceiling, it comes complete with high speed Internet, a private terrace and a full supply of bed linen. Though "ideal for two," it can sleep up to four.

"Live like Anne Frank?"
The Web page made her sound like some bohemian celebrity, not a teenage diarist who for two long years hid with her family and friends in a cramped "secret annex" until they were betrayed to the Germans and shipped off to Nazi death camps.

Anne died in Bergen Belsen at the age of 15. The Anne Frank House is now a museum that draws as many as a million visitors a year. The "secret annex" has been preserved, and exhibits tell the tragic story that unfolded in that hidden space.

"Live like Anne Frank?"
What does it mean, this transformation of World War II terror into a market-driven synonym for trendy charm? Is it just another form of "Shoah business?" Or has Anne’s name become a talisman so abstract and disembodied that it can be cut and pasted and used without reference to the totality of its meaning? You know - Anne Frank, a pretty young girl living tucked away in a cozy attic apartment, sweetly dreaming of movie stars and confiding in her diary.

"Live like Anne Frank?"
"Commercializing Holocaust suffering (or stoicism or heroism) - through ignorance or malice -cannot be condoned," my brother, Sam Gruber, the president of the International Survey of Jewish Monuments, wrote in an angry response to the apartment ad.

"Even when done in a way that is meant to celebrate the victim, such exploitation actually belittles her," he wrote. "Maybe the apartment owner figured if Broadway, Hollywood and publishers around the world could make money selling their version of Anne Frank, ‘Why not me, too?’ After all, the Anne Frank House is a big Amsterdam tourist destination. Why shouldn’t the neighbors cash in?"

Actually, Anne Frank does enjoy protection, and by the time you read this column, the "Anne Frank Apartment" Web page already may have changed its wording or even be off-line.

I informed a friend at the Anne Frank House about the ad and he assured me that the Anne Frank Foundation, which oversees the museum, would be taking action. The foundation has legal control over the Anne Frank name, he explained. No one can name anything Anne Frank without its permission.

"This is to prevent Anne Frank from being used for commercial or touristic purposes," he told me. "Otherwise we would have the whole neighborhood filled with Anne Frank cafes and the like."

For many years I’ve written about how abstract ideas of Jews and Jewish culture can become commercialized commodities in European countries where few if any Jews live today. Clearly there is a correlation between the attempt to use Anne Frank to rent an apartment and the ways that Jews, Jewish symbols and Jewish stereotypes are used in other types of Jewish-themed tourist promotion.

This is particularly evident in Eastern and Central Europe, where a growing number of "Jewish-style" cafes project an increasingly standardized ambience of kugel, candlesticks, klezmer and kitsch."

Read the full article here
Source: Living like Anne Frank?, by Ruth Ellen Gruber, JTA

Using Anne Frank:
- Israelis are not Nazis, David Hirsh
- Exploiting Anne Frank, The most tasteless T-shirt ever, Alvin H. Rosenfeld
- Anne Frank in bed with Hitler cartoon (European-Arab League), ADL

Monday 24 November 2008

Belgium: human chain with Mary, Saint Joseph and their donkey against the "apartheid wall"

"Will Mary, Joseph and the donkey be allowed to cross the checkpoint?" Belgian NGOs will form a "human chain againt the apartheid wall".

Drawing on a Christian deicide theme, over 30 non-confessional NGOs (including Oxfam and 11.11.11, a umbrella group of NGOs - both are generously funded by Belgian taxpayers) will be forming just before Christmas a human chain against the "apartheid wall" and the "sly ethnic cleansing" Israel is supposed to be perpetrating against Palestinians. The organizers also claim that 400 Christian families have had to leave Bethlehem because of Israelly violence ...

One would have thought that NGOs would be devoting all their efforts to alleviate the appalling suffering of hundreds of thousands of civilians in North Kivu who are caught up in a terrible civil war - all the more so because the Congo is a former Belgian colony. Not so, Israel is once again being singled out of and demonized.

Why was the fence built? As Ramadan Shalah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, publicly admitted, Israel's Security Fence is an important obstacle to the terrorist organizations policy of carrying out suicide attacks (photo above: suicide belts used by Palestinian terrorists turned into human bombs).

Source: MC Palestine and Actieplatform Palestina

"Bethlehem is an open air prison. (...) Paletinian society is oppressed by Israelly policies: occupation, stealing of land and sly ethnic cleansing. While this goes on, our leaders look the other way.

We will therefore form a human chain against the apartheid wall.

Will Mary, Joseph and the donkey be allowed to cross the checkpoint?"

More on anti-Israel campaigning by Oxfam Belgium here

- Gaza: will Oxfam UK also make an appeal to Gilad Shalit's kidnappers ?
- Oxfam anti-Israel campaigns taste bitter: the "Unattributable Gaza Update"

Sunday 23 November 2008

Greek insurance claims (and Jewish greed)

Abravanel makes an important but largely ignored point: there is a widespread belief in Europe - and not only in Greece - that Jews received and are still receiving considerable amounts of money from their own and the German governments as compensation for the Holocaust. The truth of the matter is that most Jewish survivors did not get their property back and received little or no compensation for their material losses, or for their suffering and the loss of their murdered relatives.

"... how interesting was it to see Christian Greeks acting in the same way that, when practiced by Jewish Greeks, is considered "greedy"."
"One of the leitmotifs in Greece is how Jews became immensely rich by compensations by Germany or even by Greece which supposedly paid Israel in return to Jewish property (!!!). This is augmented by the "Holocaust Industry" story in which Jews constantly ask for money and political support from Germany/Switzerland for the alleged victims, which is ten-fold the amount originally lost, (if indeed it was lost). I shall not bother to say that the word "Holocaust Industry" appears in Greece most often in the Far-Right or the Far-Left confirming my theory of an unholy alliance between them on this matter (despite some desperate few voices in the Left to whom I continue to pay tribute).

So when the story broke of Greeks seeking compensations from American life-insurances never paid after the 1922 mass persecutions of Greeks in Asia Minor by the new Turkish state during and after the 1921 Asia Minor Campaign I became curious to know more. Well it appears that the New York Life Insurance Company decided to pay out premiums to the holders of policies sold to persons of Greek descent who never claimed them - a decision linked to the indirect recognition that the persecution was part of a genocide policy.

The decision got a huge exposure in Greece in the television and radio; two posts (1, 2) dealing with the subject entered the WordPress Top 10 most popular posts on the 21st of September 2008. There were even some interviews of descendants in the television and many people hailed the decision for various reasons.

I would like to clarify that I find this decision by the New York Life Insurance Company absolutely correct and inherently moral. Personally I find the people who wish to get the compensations are acting in a legitimate and just manner, not aimed only in acquiring what is legally theirs but also in acknowledgment of the ethnic cleansing which was applied during the Greco-Turkish War.

Having cleared my personal view I would like to add how interesting was it to see Christian Greeks acting in the same way that, when practiced by Jewish Greeks, is considered "greedy". If I had published anything on the Jewish Claims Conference I know that (far too) many would think "wow, these Jews are aways obsessed with money". Hell, on seeing the names of some who commented triumphantly on the decision I recognized a couple who are even Holocaust-Deniers! But still, they had no trouble not only acclaiming the decision but asking for more money! I must admit that the inherent hypocrisy of these people shall never seize to amaze me…".

Read the full article here

Greek Newspaper: "The End of Jewish Domination"
Anti-semitism in Greece: Final conviction of "Eleftheros Cosmos"
K. Plevris: "I am a Nazi and a fascist, I am racist, anti-democratic and I am an anti-Semite"

Saturday 22 November 2008

NGO "Lawfare": Exploitation of Courts in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

"Though claiming to promote universal human rights, these same NGOs have not pursued cases against Palestinian, Hezbollah, Syrian, or Iranian officials involved in terror."

NGO "Lawfare": New monograph from NGO Monitor - Executive Summary [emphasis added]:

"The use of courts to prosecute violations of human rights has grown exponentially since the 1990s. This growth has coincided with the vast accumulation of power by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the expansion of the concept of "universal jurisdiction." NGOs claiming to promote human rights (many funded by European governments, the EU, and prominent foundations like the Ford Foundation and George Soros’ Open Society Institute) are engaged in international lobbying as well as filing civil lawsuits or initiating criminal complaints against Israeli officials for alleged "war crimes" or "crimes against humanity" in Belgium, England, Spain, Switzerland, the United States, and elsewhere.

These legal actions, ostensibly to provide "justice" to "victims," are a form of "lawfare" – a "strategy of using or misusing law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve military objectives" – intended to punish Israel for anti-terror operations, as well as to block future actions. They are also a means for actors that are not accountable to any form of democratic check to subvert a country’s foreign policy and interfere with diplomatic relations. While Israel is not the only country that has been subject to NGO lawfare (several prominent NGOs have filed similar suits against US officials in France and Germany), it is a primary target of these efforts. Though claiming to promote universal human rights, these same NGOs have not pursued cases against Palestinian, Hezbollah, Syrian, or Iranian officials involved in terror.

The strategy to delegitimize Israel using legal frameworks was adopted at the NGO Forum of the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa ("WCAR" or "Durban Conference"). The NGO Forum crystallized a plan in which Israel would be singled out as a "racist" and "apartheid" state and isolated internationally through a campaign of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions and explicitly adopted lawfare to advance the political war against Israel. The NGO Forum Declaration called for the "adoption of all measures to ensure [the] enforcement" of international humanitarian law, including "the establishment of a war crimes tribunal to investigate and bring to justice those who may be guilty of war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing and the crime of Apartheid . . . perpetrated in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories."

This movement is led by Palestinian NGOs such as Al Haq, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), and Badil, and aided by international NGOs including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Federation of Human Rights (France), and the Center for Constitutional Rights (New York). These NGOs are largely supported by European governments and receive funding from prominent foundations.

This monograph presents a number of case studies analyzing the central role that NGOs have played in the strategy of lawfare, using it to further their political campaign against Israel. The study begins with a discussion of NGO involvement in the movement to promote and expand the concept of universal jurisdiction and the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Without these legal developments, this NGO strategy would not be possible.

Second, the paper will detail anti-Israel lawfare at the international level, examining the crystallization of the tactic at the NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban Conference, alternative strategies adopted by the NGO network in lieu of criminal prosecutions of Israelis at the ICC, and the International Court of Justice case against Israel’s security barrier. As in other politicized NGO campaigns, these activities consistently draw an immoral equivalence between anti-terror operations and mass scale atrocities, minimize or omit the context of terror, exploit international legal terminology and rhetoric, level condemnations without providing proper bases or reliable evidence, and use incomplete, distorted, or inconsistent legal definitions.

Third, the monograph discusses NGO-led litigation against Israel in the national courts of Europe and the United States. Because Israel has not ratified its participation in the International Criminal Court (ICC) due to serious political and legal concerns, NGO lawfare has generally been pursued in national courts where "war crimes" statutes or other universal jurisdiction laws have been enacted. The lawsuits detailed in the study include the case against Ariel Sharon in Belgium for his alleged responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila massacres; the arrest warrant issued against Doron Almog in the United Kingdom for alleged "grave breaches" of the Geneva Convention; civil cases in the US against Avi Dichter for his alleged role in the targeted killing of the founder of Hamas’ military wing and against Moshe Ya’alon for his alleged participation in the 1996 IDF operation in Qana, Lebanon; and, finally, cases initiated in the US and the UK intended to block corporate trade with Israel.

As a US Court of Appeals observed, these cases seek to engage courts "in the micro-management of military targeting decisions" and are not cases such as those against "an Idi Amin or a Mao Zedong." Plaintiffs point to no cases where "similar high-level decisions on military tactics and strategy during a modern military operation have been held to constitute torture or extrajudicial killing under international law." While these cases were all dismissed in the preliminary stages, the media coverage was highly damaging, fulfilling one of the NGOs’ central goals.

As a result of these cases, several countries, notably Belgium and the UK, have amended their laws to prevent future abuse. Such amendments have included denying NGOs the ability to apply to a judge directly for an arrest warrant without consulting any government officials. Yet, these lawsuits continue to have serious political and diplomatic repercussions, including severely limiting the ability of Israeli officials to travel abroad. And the media impact remains an important element in the demonization of Israel.

This report also highlights the lack of transparency and accountability of NGOs, and their contribution to diplomatic and political tension, and even greater conflict. Analysts have noted that the "single-issue" focus of many NGOs that claim to promote human rights makes them "less concerned with the balancing of interests required of policy leaders." NGO officials use lawsuits to promote their personal ideologies and foreign policy goals, and are not accountable to a democratic polity. Instead of engaging in debate and making the difficult choices of nation-states, such as how to weigh sovereignty and security concerns with human rights, these NGOs advance their political agenda regardless of the wider impact of their actions. This self-interested view in the midst of a complex geopolitical environment, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, entrenches conflict, and paradoxically, leads to a dilution of the universality of human rights."

Europe's Hidden Hand: NGO Monitor study on EU funding for political NGOs in the Arab Israeli conflict

Friday 21 November 2008

Susan Nathan in Brussels to debate Israel apartheid state

Susan Nathan, is a "good Jew" and the author of The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide, in which she draws a parallel between the Holocaust and Israel's practices toward its own Arab citizens. She has been invited by a group of Belgian anti-Israeli NGOs to give a conference in Brussels today.

You will have guessed that the theme of the conference will turn around what must have become by now the most recycled and unconvincing platitude "Is Israel a racist country whose cruelty goes far beyond the one that prevailed under the old apartheid regime of South Africa?".

Just like their European ancestors used to demonise Jews

This question is relentlessly debated and written about in Europe by people whose only raison d'être and all consuming obsession seems to be the demonisation of Israel, just like their ancestors used to demonise Jews.

They have been arguing daily and for many years that Israel is indeed a racist country which enforces apartheid style policies towards the Palestinians and that it should be severely punished by the international community: imposition of all sort of boycotts, expulsion from the U.N. etc.

Why is it then that they have to keep on trying to persuade themselves as well as others that Israel, and only Israel, is a pariah state? Could it be that their hype rests on shaky ground and that it requires endless campaigning to keep the flame alive and to cloak it with a flimsy appearance of truth and legitimacy? And above all in their own eyes.

Not many converts to the great cause

One thing is to campaign on the basis of a fallacy and an outright lie, another is to have people believe you. The sheer amount of time, money and energy they devote to the great cause proves that common sense prevails and that not many people are listening to them, let alone believing them or embracing their views. And that's great news.

The other speaker at the conference will be Lucas Catherine:
Lucas Catherine conference at Brussels Catholic school: Israel is an apartheid State

Thursday 20 November 2008

Durban II UN conference: Israel to be declared an enemy of humanity?

"Geneva-based UN Watch, the leading independent monitor of the United Nations human rights system, issued the following statement concerning Israel's announcement today that it will join Canada in staying away from the UN's "Durban II" conference on racism, to be held in Geneva in April 2009:

The latest draft of the Durban II declaration seeks to portray Israel as an enemy of humanity, using language lifted verbatim from the notorious 2001 Tehran declaration that led up to the original Durban debacle. The countries that maliciously introduced this hateful rhetoric, and those who responded with moral indifference, bear full responsibility for Israel’s understandable decision today. When the forces of intolerance turn human rights into a political weapon, everybody loses.

In establishing red lines, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and other democracies have promised to disengage from the Durban process if they are unable to remove the objectionable language—provisions that assault Israel as well as basic human rights principles. We expect them to act accordingly.

For more on the 2009 Durban Review Conference, see"

Livni: Israel won't attend Durban II, by Tovah Lazaroff

- Girding Up for Durban II, by Leslie Susser
UN Durban II Regional Meeting Confirms Worst Fears of Anti-Semitic and Anti-Democratic Agenda, Stand With Us
Boycott Durban II, by Pascal Bruckner
Durban II: The Red Lines Have Been Crossed, by Anne Bayefsky

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Spanish and Basque NGOs Join Palestinians and AIC in Boycott conference

Yet more evidence of European NGOs' Israel bashing activities. Amazing news: even the minuscule Basque government is having a go at it.

"On October 29-30, 2008, The Bilboa Initiative - a "civil society assembly" organized by the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), Ittijah, the Alternative Information Center (AIC), and MEWANDO (supported by the Basque government) - held a conference in Spain to discuss "effective coordination tool[s] for practical campaigning in solidarity for Palestine and for a just peace. " Speakers included representatives from: the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Coalition (PGAAWC), Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott to Israel (PACBI), Zochrot, AIC, BADIL, Addameer, and NIF-funded Ahali Center for Community Development (combined grants of $280,000 in 2006-7). The agenda included implementing boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns; and lectures on "Israel: Between colonialism and institutionalized racism," and the "right of return. "

MEWANDO (Middle East Without Wars and Oppression Network) is a coalition of Spanish NGOs, which recognizes "the return of all [Palestinian] refugees" and "the liberation of all prisoners. " It accuses Israel of a "Zionist campaign of ethnic cleansing in Palestine [which] has evolved and perfected itself without interruption since 1948" and promotes the "boycott of the Israeli apartheid state. " MEWANDO is supported by the Department of Housing and Social Affairs of the Basque Government."

Source: NGO-Monitor

- Gaza: will Oxfam UK also make an appeal to Gilad Shalit's kidnappers ?
- Amnesty’s obsession with Israel
- Denmark funding anti-Israeli politicized NGOs
- ICAHD loses European Union funding, NGO Monitor reports

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Gaza: will Oxfam UK also make an appeal to Gilad Shalit's kidnappers ?

This morning, Michael Bailey of Oxfam UK made an urgent appeal on the BBC on behalf of the the 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Sadly, Mr Bailey forgot one human being, 21-year-old Gilad Shalit, who has been held in captivity in inhuman conditions in Gaza and with no "humanitarian aid" at all for 877 days - NGOs just don't make their work in the Gaza Strip conditional on having access (even for the briefest of moments) to Gilad Shalit.

More on Oxfam UK's curious methods (Source: Blue Truth)

"More Unattributable Gaza Updates from Oxfam

Last month, we published the curious story of Oxfam and its e-mail updates on the situation in Gaza; recipients were explicitly warned that any information in those e-mails was not to be attributed to Oxfam as it could not be verified (though obviously it was good enough for Oxfam to distribute to its recipient list).

Not surprisingly, in the through-the-looking-glass world that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this story even "curiouser and curiouser". It turns out that Mr. Mohammed Ali Abu Najela, listed on Oxfam's e-mail alerts as "Advocacy and Media Researcher, Oxfam GB, Gaza Strip - Occupied Palestinian Territories" probably has a great deal of experience in advocacy and media. He has been a guest on "progressive" radio stations, on programs with titles such as "Palestinian Resistance against Zionism and US Imperialism"(Canadian radio station CFRO, April 2006). (Hat tip to Lurene for recognizing his name). It's not that surprising that NGOs like Oxfam would rely on local activists in Gaza, since kidnappings of journalists and aid workers have made it a dangerous place for infidels. But then of course one must recognize that staged news photos or NGO reports (whether attributable or not) become just another part of the Palestinian propaganda war against Israel.

Then today I received another e-mail from Michael Bailey in Oxfam's Jerusalem office. This e-mail, however, made no mention of Oxfam at all - it was a press release directly from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights regarding the border closing between Gaza and Israel. Not surprisingly, this document made no mention at all of the fact that the border was closed as the result of fighting that developed when Israeli soldiers went a few hundred yards into Gaza to destroy a tunnel being built under the border between Gaza and Israel. (That tunnel would of course have no use other than to allow terrorists to infiltrate Israel.)

So now it appears that Oxfam's e-mail list is being used to circulate information directly from other Palestinian NGO's. The fact that the agenda of PHCR equates Palestinian "human rights" with the elimination of the Jewish state of Israel doesn't seem to bother Mr. Bailey. PHCR states on its website that "the Oslo accords failed to address the essential elements of the Palestinian question -- the right to self-determination, the right to an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem, the right of return for Palestinian refugees and the removal of Israeli settlements from the OPT." Of course, calling for so-called "right" of return (a right that does not, in fact, exist for descendants of 1948 refugees) is Pal-speak for calling for the demographic elimination of the Jewish state.

Oxfam UK claims that it "recognises the right of the State of Israel and a viable, independent, Palestinian state to exist within secure borders where all citizens can live in security and dignity." So why is it now using its Jerusalem office as a mouthpiece for a group that opposes this?

Once again, Michael Bailey can be reached in Jerusalem at 2 656 6234 ext 223. He has not responded to an e-mail request for his comments on the previous piece."

- Jeremy Hobbs of Oxfam UK also made an appeal for the 1.5 million Palestinians of Gaza, but sadly failed to include Gilad Shalit:
Blockaded Gaza 'faces disaster', BBC
- History of the Oxfam Belgium poster:
Oxfam anti-Israel campaigns taste bitter: the "Unattributable Gaza Update"

In stark contrast to NGOs, former Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt campaigns for Gilad Shalit's release

Monday 17 November 2008

Ahmadinejad's delegation visits European Parliament

"... four of the five members of this Iranian delegation belong to Ahmadinejad's political faction."

Source: EJP

"A Jewish advocacy organization has expressed concern about the recent visit of a delegation from Iran’s parliament to the European Parliament in Brussels.

The delegation of five MPs from the Majlis, the Iranian parliament, visited the European Parliament on November 4 and 5 as part of a meeting with the EU Assembly’s delegation for relations of Iran.

In a statement, the B’nai B’rith International EU affairs office said the delegation "represents a government which poses a threat to Middle East stability by attempting to acquire nuclear weapons and actively supporting terrorism around the globe."

"It is well documented that Iran has been funding, training, and guiding terror organizations such as Hezbollah and the EU blacklisted Hamas," the group noted, adding that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has publicly denied the Holocaust, consistently questions Israel's right to exist and has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

B’nai B’rith International found disturbing that "four of the five members of this Iranian delegation belong to Ahmadinejad's political faction."

In the face of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the international community should be working hard to strengthen sanctions against Iran. This visit is at odds with such an effort.

Paulo Casaca, a Portuguese Socialist member of European Parliament, also questioned the visit. "When there is a session titled 'Developing Relations Between Iran and the European Parliament,' we have to ask ourselves what sort of relations are being developed while the clock is ticking on Iran's nuclear program?," he said."

- Switzerland not invited to Israel’s 60th anniversary festivities
Israel concerned over Germany-Iran deal
Iran, Italy sign oil exploration deal
- For Norwegian F.M. Europe much too lenient with Israel

Sunday 16 November 2008

Greenspan and Bernanke are evidence of Jewish lobby according to Portuguese economist Pedro Arroja

A well-respected Portuguese economist, Professor Pedro Arroja, has gone to great lenghts to devise a method which he believes provides incontrovertible evidence of the existence of the famous "Jewish lobby". For Professor Arroja Jews cause major problems in all societies where they live (they are supposed to be wreaking havoc at present in the United States) and should be kept permanently under the most strict and severe control.

It is worth noting that Professor Arroja is not the crackpot blogger one usual associates with this type of anti-Jewish rhetoric and that he does not hide his views behind the anti-Zionist cloak. A Google search reveals that he heads the economy and management department of the UAL university in Lisbon, owns the Pedro Arroja investment company, and is the editor, with Universidade Lusófona do Porto, of the Governancia magazine. A very well-respected academic indeed.
He posted his findings (which I have translated) on his blog, Portugal Contemporâneo, under the title Ben Shalom Bernanke:

"The fact is that the two Chairmen of the Federal Reserve who served under the Bush administration are Jewish: Alan Greenspan, was appointed in 1986 by President Reagen, and Ben S. Bernanke, the present Chairman, who replaced Greenspan after being appointed by President Bush.

My question is: assuming that no other considerations or influences played a part, what is the probability that among candidates of equivalent merits and qualifications it is precisely two Jews that were chosen – one after the other - to become Chairmen of the Federal Reserve?

Given that the Jewish community in the USA represents 2.5% of the total population, if follows that the probability that two successive Chairmen of the Fed are Jewish is 0.06%. It is a practical impossibility, but that's what has happened.

It should be pointed out that as a result of the Jewish culture putting a high value on education it produces more men and women of merit than Christian and other non-Jewish cultures. Let’s then suppose that Jews are three times better [i.e. more competent – the choice of the term better is far from innocent] than non-Jews and that, although they only represent 2.5% of the population, the probability of a Jew being apointed Chairman of the Fed is three times greater, i.e. 7.5%. Under the circumstances, what is the probability that two successive Chairmen of the Fed are Jewish? The answer is 0.56%. Once again, this is a practical impossibility, but that's what has happened.

I’ll now put the question differently. How many times has a Jew to be better [more competent] than men and women of other cultures in America (the vast majoritiy being Christian) (…) so that there is a 50% plus probability that "two successive Chairmen of the Fed" are chosen, assuming again that the only criteria is merit, and that no other considerations or pressure play a part?

The answer is 30 times. As it is inconceivable that, on average, Jews are 30 times better [more competent] than Christians, it follows that the choice of Chairmen of the Fed is not exclusively based on merit. Other considerations or pressures play a part."
Pedro Fontela who blogs at InBetween offers an insightful perspective of Pedro Arroja's success:

"Is Arroja the best we can come up with? Thank the gods no!

His anecdotal theories and prejudices do keep the extreme right wing busy and entertained (by the way in Portugal that sector stretches to include "liberals", meaning supporters of free trade and some sort of anarco-capitalism with corporatism written all over it) he is by no means representative of serious research into any topic – if any doubts remained about the real sympathies of the so called "liberal" sector in Portugal just go around their blogs and read what they write, you’re unlikely to find any condemnation of Arroja’s writings, or racism or anything else for that matter. He is well known and occupies a preeminent social position because sadly in this part of the world being nuts doesn’t disqualify you from polite society or form being taken seriously in academic circles. In fact you can say anything that pops into your head no matter how silly and unjustified as long as you’re politically shrewd and realize to whom you should suck up to in order to keep your position, job and social status. Any foreigner analyzing Portuguese society should understand that social preeminence and merit have nothing to do with each other.

Having said all this that does not mean that there aren’t any credible scholars in Portugal! There are quite a few published ones that are reputable and many more who just don’t get published because they have no connections or backing by an interest group – in fact most promising young scholars end up being pushed out of academia and publishing because the incompetent ones (although well connected) monopolize the resources and vacancies.

In conclusion: there are serious people in Portugal devoting time and energy to issues pertaining to social sciences but they’re unlikely to be well known outside a very restricted circle. There are even more promising scholars who would love the change to work on the same topics but are not given chances for the reasons I mentioned above. And finally, you can stop wasting your breath by coming here proclaiming the nuttiness of Arroja’s theories. These people KNOW about it. They’ve known it for years and in the end it doesn’t matter a bit! In fact most are just too ashamed to publicly admit that they partially agree with him."
The ghetto is a myth of Jewish victimisation propaganda says Portuguese blogger Pedro Arroja

Pedro Arroja's reaction to the above post:

"What about a little argument of yours, instead of simply labeling mine? I understand that in your country (France, I presume) one is forbidden to discuss Jewish history. Not yet so in my country. P. Arroja"

Euroliberal's reaction (his alter ego or ... Arroja himself ?):

"Actually iSSrael is the most horrendous dictatorship of our time. In the only existing apartheid regime, only less of 40% of the de jure inhabitants (those who have the "good religion") are entitled to vote, so that the religious minority may become a "majority" (like in the apartheid South Africa). iSSrael is the world champion in political prisoners (12.000), most of them without judgment, and extra-judicial executions of members of the oposition to the sionist apartheid regime. A murderous, racist, teocratic, genocidical, neo-nazi dictatorship, and NOT A DEMOCRACY, that's what the little shitty iSSrael really is, GOT IT ? And anti-semitic is what this blog is, as semitic are the arabs, not the turc-kahzar originated (not semitic) askenazin jews... LONG LIVE FREE PALESTINE. DOWN with the nazi-sionist regime."

Saturday 15 November 2008

For Norwegian F.M. Europe much too lenient with Israel

Source: article by Yael Levy in Ynet News

"Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre compared Israeli settlers to Nazis, a Norwegian news agency claimed Monday following the publication of Støre's book, 'To Make a Difference.' The foreign minister has denied the claim.

According to the news agency's site, Støre wrote that his most recent visit to Israel stirred "associations to Nazism." The minister denied the claim he compared occurrences in Hebron to Nazi-era ones, and said it was "the job of every reader to interpret the text as he sees fit. There are other examples in history."

Støre's book was published just one day after the 70th anniversary of the Kristallnacht. In one chapter the minister writes that during a visit to Hebron he saw a number of closed Palestinian stores that appeared looted, with some of their windows shattered.

The news site reported that the ransacking he observed brought to his mind the manner in which the Nazis abused Jewish places of business during the 1930s.

Støre also wrote he saw graffiti saying "Arabs to the gas chambers." His book argues that the US and Europe have been expressing views that are too pro-Israeli.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy responded to the report by saying, "All of those familiar with the issue are having a difficult time believing that the Norwegian foreign minister did indeed write these things." He said the embassy was currently investigating the report.

Støre visited Israel in July of 2007, and met with President Shimon Peres. He promised the president that his country had severed its ties with Hamas, after Norway became the first country to lift the diplomatic siege on Gaza when his deputy met with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh."

Norway Funding PA Hate Media, Arutz Sheva
Norway says it has severed Hamas ties, TJP
Jostein Gaarder - a better friend to the Jewish people than Israel, Engage ("We do no longer recognize the state of Israel." "We do not believe in the notion of God's chosen people.")
Jew-hatred in contemporary Norwegian caricatures, JCPA
The Norwegian Organization With Israel for Peace

Friday 14 November 2008

Is Austria largely Haider?

Unlike Austria, European countries treat the Far Right very harshly. In this respect, Austria is definitely an exception. Otherwise, most of the European media write obsessively about Israel in derogatory terms (anti-Israelism and anti-Zionism). European governments, notwithstanding all the talk about human rights and pacifism, put their own economic interests above any other consideration and do not hesitate to sign juicy agreements with Iran and other undemocratic countries.

Source: article by Benjamin Weinthal in TJP

"Austria's uncritical political reaction to the death of Jörg Haider is further evidence that its relations with Israel have reached a low-point. The last time relations were this bad was when Haider's extremist right-wing Freedom Party joined a coalition government in 2000, sparking an Israel-initiated diplomatic divorce between Austria and the Jewish state.

While Austrian politicians and media commentators adhered to "speak no ill of the dead" and did not disparage Haider posthumously, the absence of an intellectually honest appraisal of Europe's most significant right-wing extremist political figure is deeply unsettling. Haider's enthusiasm for the Nazi era in Austrian politics and society is well known, yet not one politician in Austria's entire political spectrum, including the anti-fascist Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) and the Green Party, has taken him posthumously to task for those views. The political establishment has turned Haider's political legacy into a socially and politically acceptable phenomenon.

According to Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, a Social Democrat, Haider should be accorded "respect and recognition," and he was "a remarkable person" with an "excellent feeling for what needs to be changed" in Austrian politics. In minimizing Haider's political beliefs and affinity for National Socialism, Gusenbauer appeared to be praising attitudes wholly incompatible with core social democratic values.

Shortly before the national election in late September, in response to my query about whether Austria had a "special responsibility" toward Israel due to Austrian complicity with Germany during the Holocaust, Andreas Schieder, the SPÖ state secretary in the Federal Chancellery, issued the following statement: "That is also the basis for the commitment: prevent the beginnings. Never forget - no more fascism.

"However, we are painfully aware of what the chancellor at the time, Franz Vranitzky, noted in a speech before the Knesset in 1991. Austrians were not only victims, but also perpetrators. The SPÖ will continue to fight anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia and any form of National Socialist ideology."

Had the SPÖ meant these words seriously, the Social Democrats would have had to sharply criticize Haider's purported political achievements and boycott the funeral services.

The Green Party, which champions the rights of minority groups, mirrored its Social Democratic colleagues, failing completely to confront Haider's vicious political legacy. Ulrike Lunacek, the Green Party's foreign affairs spokeswoman, wrote the following to this writer shortly before the election.

"The fact that the Holocaust was one of the decisive reasons that the State of Israel was founded as a place of refuge for Jews means modern-day Austria has a certain responsibility." She called "for commemorative events and memorials" and argued that the Jewish community in Austria should "not only be treated with tolerance, but also with welcome and acceptance."

Alexander Van der Bellen, the recently retired head of the Green Party, quickly deviated from the words "welcome" and "acceptance" and praised Haider as "an exceptional politician, highly qualified to inspire people and win [them] over."

Haider energetically campaigned with the slogan "Austria for the Austrians. For your sake," and evicted asylum seekers from the southern province of Carinthia where he served as governor. Van der Bellen whitewashed Haider's politics, which aggressively insulted and ostracized ethnic and religious minorities, blacks and Jews.

The attitude of the other mainstream party, the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) is not surprising, since it is currently flirting with Haider's new party, the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ), and the Freedom Party about a possible government coalition. Vice Chancellor Wilhelm Molterer (ÖVP), said that Haider "deserves great respect" for not mincing words.

The death of Haider offers a view onto the playing field of terribly strained Austrian-Israeli relations. In April 2007, the Austrian energy giant OMV, whose primary shareholder is the Austrian government (31.5 percent), nailed a tentative 22 billion euro deal with Iran to develop its South Par gas field. The Austrian government has the leverage to terminate the letter of intent with Teheran but - in sharp contrast to European energy giants Royal-Dutch Shell and France's Total, which have discontinued gas and oil production agreements with Iran - is itching to implement the contract. The social democratic CEO Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer of OMV is hoping for a new Iran policy change following the US election.

Haider's pro-Iranian foreign policy was simply an extension of the Social Democratic-led government policies of lame duck Chancellor Gusenbauer, who advocates the OMV-Iran deal and enhanced trade with Iran. Haider traveled to Iran in 2004 to do business with the mullah regime and solidified Austrian-Iranian political cooperation. He met with former Iranian president Muhammad Khatami, who regularly calls Zionism a "continuation of fascism," and received a euphoric welcome during his visit to Vienna in late October. In 2007, Haider dedicated himself to stronger economic relations between Carinthia and Iran by welcoming an Iranian economic delegation.

This happened at a time when the international community sought (and still seeks) to isolate Iran due to its uranium enrichment program.

Haider is largely Austria and Austria is largely Haider. If Austrian society and politics genuinely seek to bid farewell to Haiderism, they would first need to reject coalitions and political cooperation with the racist and anti-Semitic parties BZÖ and FPÖ. Secondly, the Austrian government would have to give top priority to fighting latent anti-Semitism (i.e., anti-Israelism and anti-Zionism). Thirdly, as a new member of the UN Security Council, Austria could call for stronger sanctions against Iran. Finally, the most important litmus test for improved Austrian-Israeli relations is whether the Austrian government will nullify the gas deal with the anti-Semitic Iranian regime, whose nuclear weapons program threatens the safety of Israel and Europe."

- Right of Reply: Don't judge Austria based on Haider, by Michael Rendi, Ambassador of Austria to Israel
- Switzerland not invited to Israel’s 60th anniversary festivities
- Israel concerned over Germany-Iran deal
- Iran, Italy sign oil exploration deal

Thursday 13 November 2008

German Chancellor: "Protecting Israel's safety is part of Germany's reason of state"

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an end to right wing extremism on Sunday (November 9) during a memorial service being held to commemorate the 70th anniversary of "Kristallnacht" or the Nazi Pogrom. On November 9, 1938 more than 1,400 synagogues and other Jewish institutions were looted and destroyed across Germany and Austria by the Nazis.

"Racism and anti-Semitism must never be given another chance in Germany and Europe," said Merkel during a speech at the service, which was attended by many important German figures including Charlotte Knobloch, the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

Merkel criticised Iran as well as radical islamic organisations Hamas and Hezbollah. She said that the border for tolerance was being crossed where hate was being preached, prejudices stirred up and violence and terrorism supported. The Chancellor also highlighted Germany's responsibility for the state of Israel.

"There can be no tolerance, for example, if the safety of the state of Israel is threatened by Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. Protecting Israel's safety is part of Germany's reason of state," said Merkel.

Germany marks the anniversary on Sunday of the 1938 pogrom known as "the Night of Broken Glass" after the windows were smashed of thousands of Jewish businesses and synagogues, which were also torched by Adolf Hitler's followers.

At least 91 Jews were killed in the violence whipped up by Nazi storm troopers and about 26,000 were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.

Survivors from the time, like German actor Michael Degen, who was a child in 1938, still speak of the chaos during that night.

"I saw the shops, what they looked like, the havoc and I also saw how the people were stealing and plundering. It was terrible," Degen told Reuters on Friday (November 7).

Degen survived the war in the German capital Berlin. His father died in 1940 after he was badly mistreated at a concentration camp. In his book "Nicht alle waren Mörder" (They weren't all Murderers), Degen describes how he and his mother went into hiding in 1943 and managed to survive the deadly Nazi regime with the help of several Germans.

But even 70 years on, Degen is still worried that the same thing could happen all over again.

"I think things only appear to have changed, but the anti-semitism which is increasing once again is alarming. And it is not just the stupid people this time but intelligent people. They are organising things better. And it is starting to nest again in the minds of the middle class. Or perhaps it was never gone," Degen told Reuters TV.

The so-called "Kristallnacht" was the start of the Nazi's systematic and industrial mass murder of six million Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and members of other minorities."

Source: RTV
Picture (EJP): German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Council of Jews in Germany

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Belgian PM Yves Leterme: "Israel is linked to the history of Europe"

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme said "we must be wakeful for a new anti-semitism sometimes too easy trivilialized, and for a new anti-Zionism that is a hidden anti-Semitism that in reality has not accepted the existence of the state of Israel even 60 years after its foundation."

Speaking at a dinner Monday night organized in Brussels by the European Jewish Congress (EJC) and CCOJB, the umbrella representative body of Belgian Jewish organisations, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of 'Kristallnacht', the 1938 anti-Jewish pogroms and to promote tolerance throughout Europe, Leterme said unfortunately intolerance is a recurring phenomenon.

"Therefore the lessons of Kristallnacht must be learned again and again. Forgetting paves the way for troops of intolerance to march again."

"Promoting tolerance is one of the core business of education, especially on a continent that is more and more a multicultural and multi-religious society."

The Prime Minister recalled his reaction to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements before the United Nations General Assembly in September.

"It is the duty of the political leaders to systematically refuse statements that are outrageous or hateful. The anti-Semitic views expressed by the Iranian President are totally unacceptable and I condemn those vigorously," he said.

Europe cannot turn its back on Israel

He said Europe "cannot turn its back on Israel."

"Israel is linked to the history of Europe, for more than one reason. We cannot speak about the foundation of the Jewish State without mentioning the Holocaust. The dream of a new Eretz Yisrael was born in Europe in the hearts and minds of Theodor Herzl and his followers. Since many centuries, in many thousands of European Jewish households, Pesach, the Jewish feast of Easter, ends with the wish ‘Next Year in Jerusalem.’ "

Source: EJP

Monday 10 November 2008

Belgium: Arab European League mourns Wim De Neuter, martyr for Palestine

Lost to the cause: Wim De Neuter died last month - he was to the very end a diehard Israel-basher.

Among his other accomplishments as an Israel-basher, De Neuter was behind the Oxfam Belgium boycott campaign against Israel and of the bloody orange poster reminiscent of the 1370 legend that "holy communion wafers began to bleed after being stabbed with daggers by the Jews of Brabant at the synagogue in Brussels".

Lebanese born Abou Jahjah of the Arab European League mourns the passing away of the Belgian "martyr for Palestine and the oppressed in this world":

"Many of you would wonder: why is Wim a martyr when he died from a brain tumor?… My answer is that when you live your whole life to defend a cause, and when you sacrify your career to uphold a sense of justice in your work, and you die while still in the thick of the fight, you are a martyr. You are a martyr when you do not surrender to disease, nor to pain and when you keep writing and fighting and talking and making projects till your last breath is drawn, so that your last breath resembles your first, defying as ever and rebellious as ever. This was what Wim did, and this is what will remain and what will last.

I remember the first time I met Wim, I was reluctant to declare him an ally and I thought that the way I understand Zionism will never be the way he does. But I was wrong, Wim saw Zionism like I saw it and was against it like I am, relentless and uncompromising because he also knew that on some issues in this world, a compromise is nothing less than treason, since that day our paths crossed every now and then and always as allies.

I saw him for the last time in the conference of IUPFP in Brussels last May, where he was a guest of honour to receive a symbolic tribute from deputies coming from all corners of the earth to commemorate 60 years of Al Nakba. He walked using a stick with heavy steps, but he was as fluent in his words and as composed in his attitude as always, he knew he was dying but he kept smiling, like if he was laughing at fate, with dignity. How can I thank him? how can we thank our martyrs? only in one way is that possible, and that is to renew the oath to walk on their steps till we fall in our turns one way or the other.

Wim De Neuter, thinker, writer, journalist and activist, fighter for Palestine, fighter for world justice and for socialism, you will never be forgotten, rest in peace my comrade!

Dyab Abou Jahjah"

EU MPs urged to rethink Palestinian refugee issue and UNRWA policies

Paulo Casaca, a member of the European Parliament from Portugal: "The root of the problem is that these people are refugees because those who are dealing in the industry of hate are misusing them. They are kept on a hate-machine. Instead of helping the refugees we are helping those who want to [use] the refugees against the State of Israel."

"A gathering of hundreds of European parliamentarians who support Israel concluded over the weekend in Paris with a politically loaded discussion on the rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees - one of the most sensitive issues facing Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

The debate, part of a conference sponsored by the Brussels-based European Friends of Israel, came amid a groundswell of parliamentary activity around the world, including in the US and Canada, to reroute funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the mammoth UN body that deals with Palestinian refugees and their descendants, towards the resettlement of some of the refugees and their descendants in third countries.

The session, which was hosted by the Israel Allies Caucus Foundation, the international arm of the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus, included addresses by European parliamentarians as well as by MK Benny Elon of the National Union-National Religious Party and MK Amira Dotan of Kadima. The two co-chair a new Knesset caucus on the rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians - estimates range from 400,000 to 750,000 - left their homes during the War of Independence in 1948 and 1949. They, along with their millions of descendants, constitute one of the prickliest issues that must be dealt with as part of any resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel flatly rejects the Palestinian demand that these refugees be allowed to return to their ancestral homes within Israel, saying that such a move would indelibly alter the character of the country.

Israel has also pointed to the 850,000 Jews who fled Arab countries after Israel's founding in 1948 and were integrated and absorbed in Israeli society as counterweight to the issue of Palestinian refugees.

Recently, some Israeli parliamentarians have begun to openly advocate dealing tackling the Palestinian refugee issue after decades of avoiding it as a non-starter.

Much of the focus at Friday's discussion centered on the difference between UNRWA and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), the main UN body that handles all other refugees around the world.

While UNRWA's 25,000-strong almost exclusively Palestinian staff care for 4.5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, the UNHCR employs a staff of around 6,300 people to help nearly 33 million people in more than 110 countries.

The event also dwelt on UNRWA's definition of Palestinian refugees, which includes not only the refugees themselves, but also their descendants, which critics say only serves to perpetuate the refugee crisis.

"We are asking why the UNHCR has the mandate to solve the problem of refugees and UNRWA does not," Elon said. "There are cynical political reasons to maintain the status of the refugees."

UNRWA has repeatedly said that the issue of Palestinian refugees can only be resolved in the context of a future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

UNRWA concedes that the size of the refugee problem is made bigger - but not prolonged - by the UN's inclusion of the descendants of the Palestinian refugees, but insists that this is how the UN deals with refugees all over the world.

"We can learn from the UNHCR how to shift power energies and money to find tools that are already there," said Dotan, who praised UNRWA's humanitarian and educational work for the Palestinians in her address, but suggested following the success of UNHCR.

She noted that UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd is slated to address the Knesset caucus, after a summer event was postponed due to scheduling conflicts.

"The root of the problem is that these people are refugees because those who are dealing in the industry of hate are misusing them," said Paulo Casaca, a member of the European Parliament from Portugal.

"They are kept on a hate-machine," he said. "Instead of helping the refugees we are helping those who want to [use] the refugees against the State of Israel," he said.

"The EU has a moral obligation to examine the root of the problem instead of throwing money at the problem, as we have in the past," said Hannu Takkula, a member of the European Parliament from Finland.

"We have to start this discussion, because the system is not working," he added. "The problem for many is a lack of information."

Source: TJP, article by Etgar Lefkovits