Saturday 28 February 2009

Belgium: Brussels parliament boycotts Israel, but not Lybia ...

"If you want to talk about being critical of Israel, that is a feeling among many Europeans, so how can you characterize that as Muslim? There is no such thing as a Muslim issue in Europe or growing Muslim influence on politicians." (Susanne Nies, head of the French Institute of International Relations)

Source: article "Politics and power: The Muslim factor in European politics" by Dinah A. Spritzer in JTA

"Viviane Teitelbaum was a new member of Brussels' regional legislature when she sponsored a bill in 2005 to renew the region's scientific and industrial research agreement with Israel.

Legislators had frozen the cooperation pact three years earlier to protest what they said was the Jewish state's inhumane response to the second Palestinian intifada. But when Teitelbaum's proposal came up for discussion at a committee meeting, she says she was shouted down by Socialist Party opponents.

"The only lawmakers who showed up to the meeting were Muslim," recalled Teitelbaum, a Jewish member of the Liberal Party. "They screamed insults at me, saying, 'Israel is a fascist country. You will never get this passed.'"

Later, at the actual vote, Teitelbaum again was shouted down. Her proposal was defeated.

Ten minutes later, she said, "We voted for an agreement between Libya and the Brussels region, and everyone supported it. It was very painful for me."

Although rarely discussed in Europe, the political impact and influence of the continent's growing Muslim population is playing an increasingly significant role in European politics. In some cases, politicians are catering to Muslim interests and concerns with an eye toward winning votes. In others, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant political parties are capitalizing on a backlash against Muslims to expand their power base.

With Muslims now roughly 5 percent of Europe's population and demographers predicting their proportion to double over the next 20 years due to birthrate disparities, their rising political awareness and ever-growing constituent base is likely to make them a factor in Europe's political constellation for decades to come.

Eventually that may translate into a tougher stance toward Israel, says Robin Shepherd, a senior research fellow at the London-based think tank Chatham House.

"As Muslims become more electorally significant, the obvious casualty is Israel," he said.

Many European politicians, particularly those from socialist parties, long have been strong critics of Israel's dealings with the Palestinians without any prodding from European Muslims.

When the streets of Europe exploded in January during Israel's 22-day operation against Hamas in Gaza, top European political figures were among those who participated in protests against the Israeli operation. (…)

Some analysts believe Europe's Muslims will exert further pressure on political leaders when it comes to Mideast policy. (…)

Nowhere is Muslim political influence in Europe more evident than in Belgium, where fully one-third of the residents of the capital city, Brussels, are Muslim. This is more than in any other major European city except for Marseilles, France, which has roughly the same proportion of Muslims. In some of Brussels' local municipalities, Muslims account for 80 percent of the population.

Following the last election of the Brussels regional legislature, in 2004, half the 26 legislators from the Socialist Party were of Muslim background, a record high for that legislature. Some Belgians attribute the strong showing by the Socialists in that election to the party's outreach to Muslim immigrants and the record number of candidates with Muslim names on the ticket. (...)

The mere discussion of Muslim political influence is taboo in some corners of Europe. Several European academics interviewed by JTA refused to consider the issue, arguing that it is misguided and possibly racist because it addresses the religious rather than economic or cultural concerns of Muslim immigrants.

It's not Muslims, it's Europeans

Susanne Nies, head of the French Institute of International Relations in Brussels, said religion plays no role in Europe's secular politics. "If you want to talk about being critical of Israel, that is a feeling among many Europeans, so how can you characterize that as Muslim?" she said. "There is no such thing as a Muslim issue in Europe or growing Muslim influence on politicians."

To be sure, many European politicians have their biases against Israel. On Jan. 23, the minister of culture, youth and sport in the Flemish government in Belgium, Bert Anciaux, compared a deadly attack that day by a deranged gunman on a nursery school near Brussels to Israel's recent operation in Gaza. The Belgian Foreign Ministry later distanced itself from the remark.

A different opinion: Europeans afraid of offending Muslims

Shepherd says the 2008 mayoral campaign in London is a revealing example of Muslim influence in European politics.

In 2005, London Mayor Ken Livingstone accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and called then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a war criminal. His criticism of Israel helped win him the support of Azzam Tamimi, the director of the London-based Institute of Islamic Political Thought and a public supporter of Hamas and Palestinian suicide bombers.

Tamimi mobilized British Muslims to support the mayor in his re-election bid last May, forming a group called Muslims 4 Ken that lambasted Livingstone's opponent for supporting Israel. Ultimately, however, Livingstone failed to win a third term, losing to Boris Johnson.
"Livingstone definitely sought Muslim support by slamming Israel," Shepherd said.

European governments increasingly are afraid of offending Muslims, Shepherd said, leading them to refrain from criticizing Islamic attitudes toward women or even toward terrorism.

"This is a potentially volatile constituency, as we saw with the Danish cartoon controversy," Shepherd said, referring to the widespread Muslim rioting in 2005 that followed publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed. Government leaders made sure to criticize publication of the cartoons even as they defended free speech, Shepherd noted. (…)

Last October, Rotterdam became the first major city in Europe to elect a Muslim mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb. Aboutaleb, who holds dual Dutch and Moroccan citizenship, has a reputation as a bridge builder between minority and majority groups. In 2004, after the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamic extremist, Aboutaleb told an audience at an Amsterdam mosque that Muslims who do not like Dutch values should leave the country.

That is little comfort to politicians like Teitelbaum, who points out that socialist politicians who used to condemn Turkey's denial of the Armenian genocide now stay silent for fear of offending Belgium's large Turkish community.

Teitelbaum sees it as further evidence of pandering to an increasingly influential political constituency.

When, in 2005, Teitelbaum sponsored a bill condemning a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Belgium, the bill could not pass until she generalized the bill, adding condemnation of "racism and xenophobia." She was even urged by some colleagues to remove the word "anti-Semitism" from the bill.

She refused."

- Cultural boycott of Israel: Tel Aviv architecture exhibition cancelled in Brussels
- Photos of anti-Israeli demonstration in Brussels
- Belgian MP Véronique Jamoulle says Israel worst violator of international law and human rights
- Belgium: human chain with Mary, Saint Joseph and their donkey against the "apartheid wall"
- Abu Nidal paid Abdelkader Belliraj to kill Jews
- Belgian Jean Bricmont and The De-Zionization of the American Mind - The anti-US ravings of an arrogant man
- Former Belgian Minister sparks ire of Jewish community with remarks on Israel, EJP
- Norman Finkelstein at Brussels Nakba commemoration day
- Israelis compared to Nazi SS on Belgian radio blog
- Zionism, a "Tumour in the midst of Judaism", Belgian radio forum
- Masarat, Belgium in the Middle East, by the Islam in Europe blog
- Content of Belgian-sponsored Palestinian festival irks Jews, JTA
- Zan Studio of Ramallah - anti-Israeli artists invited to Belgium
- Palestinian festival sparks controversy - Belgium
- Israel on trial in Brussels: Iranian and Syrian Ambassadors give standing ovation to judges
- Special Report: "Pierre Galand (Belgium) Using Political NGOs to Promote Demonization & Anti-Semitism in the UN & EU"

Friday 27 February 2009

Amnesty International: Abolishing Israel's Right to Self Defense

"This continues Amnesty’s leading role in the Durban Strategy designed to isolate Israel and prevent self-defense."

Another rich and powerful European NGO (funded among others by the European Union) dedicated to the demonization of Israel. Reports such as the one Amnesty issued take months to prepare and require highly sophisticated military expertise totally absent from the report, which took Amnesty barely a few weeks to finalize ... Who is going to take them seriously ?

Source: NGO Monitor

- In a February 23, 2009 publication, Amnesty International calls on the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Israel. This continues Amnesty’s leading role in the Durban Strategy designed to isolate Israel and prevent self-defense.

- Amnesty’s inability to distinguish between aggression and defense, and its artificial focus on very narrow aspects of international law are immoral and make a mockery of the foundations of the legal process.

- Amnesty exploits the façade of a "research report" to make baseless accusations, misrepresent international humanitarian law (IHL), and promote an immoral and indefensible equivalence between Hamas and Israel.

- Amnesty officials, including Malcolm Smart (director for the Middle East) and Colm Ó Cuanachain (head of the Irish branch), have been promoting an arms embargo against Israel for years, and this publication is a vehicle for their agenda.

- In accusing Israel of "war crimes," the authors cite weapons found "on the streets, in school playgrounds, in hospitals and in people's homes." Under any standard of law and morality, such "evidence" is meaningless, particularly in the context of response to the thousands of rocket attacks launched from these same areas.

- Amnesty’s attempt to equate the transfer weapons to Israel for legitimate defense, with clandestinely smuggled arms to a terrorist organization, is defamatory, immoral, and absurd.

- As in past publications, officials, including Donatella Rovera, use false claims, rely on unreliable eyewitness reports, and omit evidence that contradicts their ideological goals. While claiming to have seen secret IDF documents regarding Israeli arms, the quotation and source reference an article in Haaretz, in which an Israeli official comments on the use of illegal weapons by Hamas.

- Officials of Amnesty International responsible for abusing human rights claims in preparing this publication should resign.

Full report here

- Amnesty’s obsession with Israel
- European NGO Amnesty International: relentless and disproportionate focus on Israeli “violations”

Thursday 26 February 2009

Norwegian comedian Otto Jespersen condemned by peers

"The PFU, an association for Norwegian media professionals, yesterday declared comedian Otto Jespersen’s anti-semtic monologues to be in violation of the PFU code for decent and proper conduct.

Dagbladet, a Norwegian daily, runs an article under the title "Jespersen’s harassment of Israel is unproblematic". The title is supposed to sum up the attitude of Per Edgar Kokkvold, a union leader present at the PFU hearing.

Whether it is Dagbladet as a newspaper or Kokkvold as an individual who is unable to distinguish between Jews as a people and Israel as a state is uncertain. That there is any confusion at all is somewhat alarming. The statements Jespersen is condemned for are directed against Jews, not against Israel.

At present 64% of Dagbladet’s readers think PFU is wrong in its verdict, and that Jespersen as a comedian has not being particularly unfair against the Jews especially."

Source: Norway, Israel and the Jews blog


Complaint filed against Norway’s "Holocaust" comic

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Brussels: an exhibition on architecture in Tel Aviv will finally take place

If the cancellation of the exhibition had been maintained (the La Cambre - which has very close links with Bir Zeit University and the Al Kalima College in Bethlehem - still supports the ban), would have constituted the first major political and cultural boycott of the State of Israel in Europe. And it would have happened in Brussels, the capital of Europe, the seat of the European Union institutions.

"BRUSSELS (EJP)---An exhibition on modernistic architecture in Tel Aviv, initially cancelled because of the wish of one of the partners not to take part anymore because of the Gaza events and of the involvement of Israel’s embassy, will be rescheduled later this year.

"Taking into account the still uncertain character of the position of our partner and to safeguard the presence of Brussels in the calendar of the exhibition, we decided to present the exhibition at La Cambre's Architectural Space in Brussels between March 31t and on May 31, 2009," CIVA, the International Center for the City, Architecture and Landscape (CIVA), announced in a statement.

"To formally guarantee the independence of this presentation, it will be organized at the sole initiative of CIVA, apart from any other partnership."

Sponsored by UNESCO and the embassy of Israel in Belgium, the exhibition "The white City, the modern movement in Tel-Aviv" was initially due to take place from February 20th to May 17th in Brussels, in the framework of the centenary of the Israeli city.

But the La Cambre architecture school in Brussels announced earlier this month its withdrawal of the organization of the exhibition featuring modernistic architecture built during the years 1930’s in Tel Aviv.

CIVA took then the decision to cancel the exhibition and to set up a debate on the "complex relations between architecture and politics."

The cancellation drew indignant reactions in the Jewish community which denounced the "political and cultural boycott of Israel.""

Source: article by Sharon Rubinstein in TJP

- Cultural boycott of Israel: Tel Aviv architecture exhibition cancelled in Brussels
Visit the exhibition website: Tel Aviv White City
See also: Tel Aviv, the white city

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Tzipi Livni bemoans European anti-Semitism

"Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday expressed her concern over anti-Semitism in Europe during a meeting with visiting European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering.

Livni called on the European Parliament as well as on European leaders to denounce anti-Semitic incidents and to encourage appropriate legislation prohibiting them.

"We cannot allow this ugly phenomenon to raise its head, and it is upon the leaders of Europe and the international community to use all the means at their disposal to loudly and clearly oppose it," Livni told Pöttering, who is in Israel leading a delegation of senior European Parliament members.

Livni went on to speak of Iran and its links to Middle East terror organizations, noting that "the international community must impose severe sanctions to prevent Iran from equipping itself with nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran will constitute a threat to the stability of the region and on the possibility of attaining peace in the Middle East."

The Foreign Minister stressed the importance of the continued isolation of Hamas and the adherence to the three Quartet principles regarding the organization. She also emphasized that Hamas rocket attacks prompted the recent IDF operation in Gaza and that Hamas alone was responsible for the suffering there.

Earlier, President Shimon Peres told Pöttering that European leaders must continue to publicly condemn Hamas and its actions rather than express support for dialogue, saying that otherwise, the Palestinian people would be doomed to continued exploitation at the hands of the Islamic rulers of Gaza.

Europe must recognize that Hamas is a dangerous, murderous terror group, and must end the sympathy and support for it immediately, he said.

Peres continued to press the issue during the meeting, saying that the conduct of the Europeans was preventing the continuation of the peace process, and was "misleading" the Palestinian population.

In response, the parliament president reaffirmed Europe's good intentions, but said that while his primary goal was the continuation of the peace process, positive steps must be taken in order to assure that the goal was achieved.

Europe needs and wants to see practical steps "on the ground," Pöttering told Peres, including trust-building measures between the two peoples.

To this, Peres again emphasized his point, telling the European parliament president that Hamas was a terror organization, and that Israel refuses to compromise in its war on terror.

Hamas is a murderous, extremist terror organization which is exploiting its poor people as human shields, he said, adding that Israel would continued to fight an "all-out war" on terror, while allowing the continued flow of food and humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip."

Source: TJP

- Moshe Kantor to meet EU parliament head to press for strong resolution against anti-Semitism
- European Jewish Congress calls upon European leaders for real action against anti-Semitism
- Mahmoud Abbas tells European Parliament not to work with Israel
- European Coalition for Israel warns against surge of anti-Semitism in Europe
- European Parliament: one rule for Egypt and Morocco another for Israel
- Ahmadinejad's delegation visits European Parliament
- European Parliament to host controversial anti-Israeli conference

Monday 23 February 2009

Antisemitism: silence is not an option (ICCA)

"The Resurgent Threat: We are witnessing today an escalating, sophisticated, virulent and global antisemitism. This has necessitated the establishment of an international coalition to confront and combat this oldest and most enduring of hatreds. Silence is not an option. The time has come not only to sound the alarm - but to act. For as history has taught us only too well: while it may begin with Jews, it does not end with Jews. Antisemitism is the canary in the mineshaft of evil and threatens all of society." (Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA))

Cartoons by Ben Heine

The following is the declaration of the London Conference on Antisemitism, which took place on 16-17 February.

Declaration on Combating Antisemitism
Lancaster House, 17 February 2009
We, Representatives of our respective Parliaments from across the world, convening in London for the founding Conference and Summit of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism, draw the democratic world’s attention to the resurgence of antisemitism as a potent force in politics, international affairs and society.
We note the dramatic increase in recorded antisemitic hate crimes and attacks targeting Jewish persons and property, and Jewish religious, educational and communal institutions.
We are alarmed at the resurrection of the old language of prejudice and its modern manifestations – in rhetoric and political action - against Jews, Jewish belief and practice and the State of Israel.
We are alarmed by Government-backed antisemitism in general, and state-backed genocidal antisemitism, in particular.
We, as Parliamentarians, affirm our commitment to a comprehensive programme of action to meet this challenge.

We call upon national governments, parliaments, international institutions, political and civic leaders, NGOs, and civil society to affirm democratic and human values, build societies based on respect and citizenship and combat any manifestations of antisemitism and discrimination.

We today in London resolve that;

Challenging Antisemitism
1. Parliamentarians shall expose, challenge, and isolate political actors who engage in hate against Jews and target the State of Israel as a Jewish collectivity;

2. Parliamentarians should speak out against antisemitism and discrimination directed against any minority, and guard against equivocation, hesitation and justification in the face of expressions of hatred;

3. Governments must challenge any foreign leader, politician or public figure who denies, denigrates or trivialises the Holocaust and must encourage civil society to be vigilant to this phenomenon and to openly condemn it;

4. Parliamentarians should campaign for their Government to uphold international commitments on combating antisemitism - including the OSCE Berlin Declaration and its eight main principles;

5. The UN should reaffirm its call for every member state to commit itself to the principles laid out in the Holocaust Remembrance initiative including specific and targeted policies to eradicate Holocaust denial and trivialisation;

6. Governments and the UN should resolve that never again will the institutions of the international community and the dialogue of nation states be abused to try to establish any legitimacy for antisemitism, including the singling out of Israel for discriminatory treatment in the international arena, and we will never witness – or be party to - another gathering like Durban in 2001;

7. The OSCE should encourage its member states to fulfil their commitments under the 2004 Berlin Declaration and to fully utilise programmes to combat antisemitism including the Law Enforcement programme LEOP;

8. The European Union, inter-state institutions and multilateral fora and religious communities must make a concerted effort to combat antisemitism and lead their member states to adopt proven and best practice methods of countering antisemitism;

9. Leaders of all religious faiths should be called upon to use all the means possible to combat antisemitism and all types of discriminatory hostilities among believers and society at large;

10. The EU Council of Ministers should convene a session on combating antisemitism relying on the outcomes of the London Conference on Combating Antisemitism and using the London Declaration as a basis.

11. Governments should take appropriate and necessary action to prevent the broadcast of explicitly antisemitic programmes on satellite television channels, and to apply pressure on the host broadcast nation to take action to prevent the transmission of explicitly antisemitic programmes;

12. Governments should fully reaffirm and actively uphold the Genocide Convention, recognising that where there is incitement to genocide signatories automatically have an obligation to act. This may include sanctions against countries involved in or threatening to commit genocide or referral of the matter to the UN Security Council or initiate an interstate complaint at the International Court of Justice;

13. Parliamentarians should legislate effective Hate Crime legislation recognising "hate aggravated crimes" and, where consistent with local legal standards, "incitement to hatred" offences and empower law enforcement agencies to convict;

14. Governments that are signatories to the Hate Speech Protocol of the Council of Europe 'Convention on Cybercrime' (and the 'Additional Protocol to the Convention on cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems') should enact domestic enabling legislation;

Identifying the threat
15. Parliamentarians should return to their legislature, Parliament or Assembly and establish inquiry scrutiny panels that are tasked with determining the existing nature and state of antisemitism in their countries and developing recommendations for government and civil society action;

16. Parliamentarians should engage with their governments in order to measure the effectiveness of existing policies and mechanisms in place and to recommend proven and best practice methods of countering antisemitism;

17. Governments should ensure they have publicly accessible incident reporting systems, and that statistics collected on antisemitism should be the subject of regular review and action by government and state prosecutors and that an adequate legislative framework is in place to tackle hate crime.

18. Governments must expand the use of the EUMC 'working definition' of antisemitism to inform policy of national and international organisations and as a basis for training material for use by Criminal Justice Agencies;

19. Police services should record allegations of hate crimes and incidents - including antisemitism - as routine part of reporting crimes;

20. The OSCE should work with member states to seek consistent data collection systems for antisemitism and hate crime.

Education, awareness and training
21. Governments should train Police, prosecutors and judges comprehensively. The training is essential if perpetrators of antisemitic hate crime are to be successfully apprehended, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced. The OSCE’s Law enforcement Programme LEOP is a model initiative consisting of an international cadre of expert police officers training police in several countries;

22. Governments should develop teaching materials on the subjects of the Holocaust, racism, antisemitism and discrimination which are incorporated into the national school curriculum. All teaching materials ought to be based on values of comprehensiveness, inclusiveness, acceptance and respect and should be designed to assist students to recognise and counterantisemitism and all forms of hate speech;

23. The OSCE should encourage their member states to fulfill their commitments under the 2004 Berlin Declaration and to fully utilise programmes to combat antisemitism including the Law Enforcement programme LEOP;

24. Governments should include a comprehensive training programme across the Criminal Justice System using programmes such as the LEOP programme;

25. Education Authorities should ensure that freedom of speech is upheld within the law and to protect students and staff from illegal antisemitic discourse and a hostile environment in whatever form it takes including calls for boycotts;

Community Support
26. The Criminal Justice System should publicly notify local communities when antisemitic hate crimes are prosecuted by the courts to build community confidence in reporting and pursuing convictions through the Criminal Justice system;

27. Parliamentarians should engage with civil society institutions and leading NGOs to create partnerships that bring about change locally, domestically and globally, and support efforts that encourage Holocaust education, inter-religious dialogue and cultural exchange;
Media and the Internet

28. Governments should acknowledge the challenge and opportunity of the growing new forms of communication;

29. Media Regulatory Bodies should utilise the EUMC 'Working Definition of antisemitism' to inform media standards;

30. Governments should take appropriate and necessary action to prevent the broadcast of antisemitic programmes on satellite television channels, and to apply pressure on the host broadcast nation to take action to prevent the transmission of antisemitic programmes;

31. The OSCE should seek ways to coordinate the response of member states to combat the use of the internet to promote incitement to hatred;

32. Law enforcement authorities should use domestic "hate crime", "incitement to hatred and other legislation as well as other means to mitigate and, where permissible, to prosecute "Hate on the Internet" where racist and antisemitic content is hosted, published and written;

33. An international task force of Internet specialists comprised of parliamentarians and experts should be established to create common metrics to measure antisemitism and other manifestations of hate online and to develop policy recommendations and practical instruments for Governments and international frameworks to tackle these problems.

Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism
34. Participants will endeavour to maintain contact with fellow delegates through working group framework; communicating successes or requesting further support where required;

35. Delegates should reconvene for the next ICCA Conference in Canada in 2010, become an active member of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition and promote and prioritise the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism.

"We hoped that the embers of anti-Semitism were long since dead and cold", Mark Malloch-Brown

Saturday 21 February 2009

"We hoped that the embers of anti-Semitism were long since dead and cold", Mark Malloch-Brown

"This should be an utterly unnecessary conference. We hoped that the embers of anti-Semitism were long since dead and cold. Sadly they're not.

The response must not just address the Muslim-Jewish relationship. It's part of it, but only a part.

The broader issue is to again go back to the basics of this to remind people of the extraordinary role Jews play in so many countries around the world."

British Cabinet Minister Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, in an interview with the BBC, on The London Conference on Combatting Antisemitism, hosted by the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 15 – 17 February 2009.

Source: EJP

The London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism
--Antisemitism: silence is not an option (ICCA) .

Friday 20 February 2009

Vatican readmits society that propagates anti-Semitism, Cnaan Liphshiz

"The society's official U.S. Web site described Jews as "the enemy of man, whose secret weapon is the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy," adding that "heads of Jewry have for centuries conspired methodically and out of an undying hatred against the Catholic name." "

Article by Cnaan Liphshiz in Haaretz
Photo: Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais from the Society of St. Pius X holding a book on Action Française.

"In lifting the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson who has been accused of Holocaust denial last month, the Catholic Church also readmitted a priestly society that openly propagates virulent anti-Semitism, according to a probe by a Belgian Jewish newspaper.

The Roman Catholic Church excommunicated the Society of St. Pius X in 1988 along with Williamson and three other member priests, declaring their consecrations were "unlawful" and "schismatic."

In January of this year the Vatican lifted the excommunication. On the same day, a Swedish television station aired an interview with Williamson in which he denied the existence of gas chambers during the Holocaust.

In a research performed after the readmittance, a team of journalists from Joods Actueel, an Antwerp-based Jewish news publication, found what they describe as "a slew of anti-Semitic content" on the society's Web sites in five languages.

The probe whose results were made public on Thursday, found that the society's official U.S. Web site described Jews as "the enemy of man, whose secret weapon is the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy," adding that "heads of Jewry have for centuries conspired methodically and out of an undying hatred against the Catholic name."

The South African site said that "Jews have come closer and closer to fulfilling their substitute-Messianic drive towards world dominion."

The Irish site asks whether "the Jews are guilty of Deicide," answering: "We must say yes."

The site from Germany, a country with strict limitations on anti-Semitic speech, clarifies that "contemporary Jews are for sure guilty of the murder of God, as long as they don't recognize Christ as God."

The Belgian site accuses Jews of "still believing they are the chosen people" while "awaiting world domination."

The Austrian site warns that the Jewish organization B'nai Brith is "found everywhere" and "commands the entire world."

Michael Freilich, editor-in-chief of Joods Actueel, told Haaretz that anti-Semitic content was being pulled offline even as the team of four journalists were documenting and saving the material ? which Haaretz obtained from Joods Actueel.

Noting that The Society of St. Pius X is believed to have between 600,000 and a million followers, Frielich said: "Williamson's Holocaust denial has attracted much attention, but this anti-Semitic content is in many ways worse because he is a lone fool and not taken seriously by the masses, whereas here we are talking about an entire society spreading hatred around the world." Freilich added that "while Williamson's lies negate the past, what we have uncovered here is preaching of lies and hate against Jews today."

The Society of St. Pius X was founded in 1970 by French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

Experts on the Catholic Church such as Dirk Verhofstadt* - brother of the former Belgian prime minister - have said that in addition to expressing these positions on Jews, society members have also disavows the Nostra Aetate - a document whereby the Church says Jews were not responsible for the death of Christ."

* Dirk Verhofstadt, a scholar and brother of former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, has published a well researched and strongly argued book about the Pope Pius XII's sad conduct during the war : Pius XII and the extermination of the Jews (Pius XII en de vernietiging van de Joden).

Thursday 19 February 2009

Pius X Society: "Jews, the enemy of man"

Don't the Vatican and Catholics do their homework ? Is it acceptable to Catholics that this congregation is reinstated ?

"The heads of this Jewry have for centuries conspired methodically and out of an undying hatred against the Catholic name and the destruction of the Catholic order, and for the construction of a world wide Jewish empire. (...) With vigilance and clear-sightedness we should launch a systematic and methodical opposition to the equally systematic and methodical onslaught of "the enemy of man", whose secret weapon is "the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy". International Judaism wants to radically defeat Christianity and to be its substitute." (American website of the Society of Pius X)

Source: Joods Actueel

An in-depth review of 'Pius X' websites reveals shocking information

Research by a team of journalists from Belgian-based Joods Actueel, a Jewish news publication, has revealed a slew of anti-Semitic content on websites of the St. Pius X Society. Pius X is the catholic society whose excommunication has recently been recanted by the Pope. Much controversy has arisen about the rehabilitation of one of its members, bishop Richard Williamson, a known holocaust denier.

The research comes to the conclusion that Pius X is an extreme conservative Catholic group that rejects the Second Vatican Council and propagates the worst kind of anti-Semitism. (For examples see below.)

For the research the international overarching site of the society was consulted and also a host of national sites such as those of the U.S.A., Brazil, Ireland, Asia, Austria, South-Africa and Poland.

It is to be expected that after publication of this article, a number of incriminating articles will be removed, therefore full back-ups of these sites have been performed by Joods Actueel.

According to Dirk Verhofstadt, author of a recent publication about the role of the pope during WWII, it is not just bishop Williamson who has crossed the red line, so too are the statements of rehabilitated bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais who in the past accused Jews of being "the foremost militants for the coming of the antichrist". A few months ago, this French bishop also gave an interview in which he clearly disavows the 'Nostra Aetate', the document of the Second Vatican Council whereby the church rejects the notion that the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ.

Michael Freilich, editor-in-chief of the Jewish publication Joods Actueel, supervised the research and had the following statement:

"This is in many ways worse than the outrageous statements of bishop Williamson denying the Holocaust and the existence of gas chambers. Williamson is a lone fool and not taken serious by the masses, whereas here we are talking about an entire society comprising thousands of priests spreading hatred to hundreds of thousands around the world (The Saint Pius X society is believed to have between 600.000 and 1 million followers). Another difference with Williamson is that, how undeniably awful his lies may be, they negate the past. Yet what we have uncovered here is preaching of lies and hate against Jews today thereby once again promoting hatred against the Jewish people.

Anti-Semitism in the Church is not new; it has existed for centuries. The positive steps taken after WWII, such as the Second Vatican Council, threaten to be completely undone by embracing an extremist group such as this back into the Church. What is needed now are deeds not words. The hate mongering society of St. Pius X has no place in the Church and should be excommunicated as soon as possible."
A number of examples of texts on St. Pius X websites :

United States Society of Saint Pius

"The Church can not ignore the facts of the past and the clear affirmations of international Jewry. The heads of this Jewry have for centuries conspired methodically and out of an undying hatred against the Catholic name and the destruction of the Catholic order, and for the construction of a world wide Jewish empire.

Money, the media, and international politics are for a large part in the hands of the Jews. Although the Jews are the biggest capitalists and should on that account be the greatest adversaries of the Russians and the communists, they do not fear them, but on the contrary, they help them to win. The founders of communism were Jews. They are the promoters, organizers and bankers.

With vigilance and clear-sightedness we should launch a systematic and methodical opposition to the equally systematic and methodical onslaught of "the enemy of man", whose secret weapon is "the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy".

International Judaism wants to radically defeat Christianity and to be its substitute.
Its chief armies are the masons and the communists. This process of the Revolution began at the end of the Middle Ages, developed itself by pagan Renaissance, jumped forwards by leaps and bounds with the Reformation, destroyed the political and social basis of the Church by the French Revolution, tried to overthrow the Holy See with by an attack on the Papal States, emptied the Church’s resources on the occasion of the secularization of the goods of religious (orders -Ed’s) and dioceses, was the cause of a very grave internal crisis with the advance of Modernism, and finally, with communism, it invented the decisive instrument to delete the name of Christian from the very face of the earth."

"… as Catholics have grown over the centuries since then weaker and weaker in the faith, especially since Vatican II, so the Jews have come closer and closer to fulfilling their substitute-Messianic drive towards world dominion."
Ireland (just removed but still on the international site)

"There is one other question. Can we say that the Jews are guilty of Deicide? We must say yes because it is they who asked for Our Lord’s death and called for His blood upon their heads and the heads of their children. I want to make it very clear: I do not speak about the Jews as a race, I speak about the Jews as a religion.

So, what about the Jews of our day? Well, as long as they do not withdraw from this crime, from this action of their ancestors, they are also guilty of it. They must disassociate themselves from it and recognise Our Lord; they must be baptised and become His disciples."
Germany (in German)

"Die Juden unserer Tage [...] sind vielmehr des Gottesmordes mitschuldig, so lange sie sich nicht durch das Bekenntnis der Gottheit Christi und die Taufe von der Schuld ihrer Vorväter distanzieren." (Schreiben an alle Bischöfe von Franz Schmidberger vom 9. Dezember 2008)
(the Jews of now are for sure guilty of the murder of God, as long as they don’t recognize Christ as God and are baptized to atone for the sins of their forefathers).
The Netherlands (in Dutch)

"Paus Johannes Paulus reciteerde Psalmen met joden tijdens zijn bezoek aan de synagoge te Rome (13 april 1986) en nodigde katholieken en joden uit zich samen voor te bereiden op de komst van de Messias (24 juni 1986). Zowel in woord als in daad, predikt de paus dat alle mensen, van welke belijdenis ook, aanvaardbaar zijn voor God, hetgeen strijdig is met het katholieke dogma. (Principe 2). Hierin kunnen we de ideeën van deze paus niet volgen, maar moeten vasthouden aan de constante leer van de Kerk door alle eeuwen heen."

(Pope Johannes Paulus recited Psalms with Jews during his visit to a synagogue and invited catholics and jews to pray together for the coming of the Messiah. Both in word and in deed the pope confirmed that all people and faiths are acceptable to God which is contrary to the Catholic Dogma. Herein we cannot follow the pope but must hold on to the teaching as given throughout the centuries.)
Belgium : Rejection of Vaticanum II (in Dutch)

"Dan hebt ge de niet-bekeerde Joden, die verwach­ten nog steeds de komst van de Messias, die hun de macht over de wereld zal geven. Dat kan echter de anti-christ zijn van de Apocalyps, die wereldvrede brengt in het boze ("ongestoord zondigen en laten zondigen") en de oorlog aandoet aan de ka­tholieken die bekering prediken en dus deze liberale (wan)orde verstoren.

Zij denken dat zij nog steeds het uitverkoren volk zijn (dat zijn ze niet meer na hun verwerping van de ware Messias Onze Heer Jezus Christus) en dat hun een wereldse heer­schappij wacht.

(Then, you have the non-converted Jews, who still expect the coming of the Messiah who will give them all the power over this world. This could rather be the anti-christ of the Apocalyps, who will bring world peace (in the bad sense of the word), unbridled sinning and allowing of sin, and wage wars against the Catholics who preach conversion and will thus disturb this liberal chaos.

They still believe they are the chosen people and they await world domination (yet they are not the chosen people after they rejected the true Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ).)
Austria and international site

"Durch B’nai Brith wurde die sowjetische Revolution finanziert sowie der Zar und alle Vertreter des orthodoxen christlichen Glaubens massakriert, um den vormals zwar christlichen, wenn auch schismatischen Staat aus Haß gegen das Christentum zu beseitigen." Das ist das Werk von B’nai Brith, einer jüdischen Freimaurersekte, die nur Juden vorbehalten ist. Léon de Poncin schreibt, daß diese Loge damals 120.000 Mitglieder zählte. Vor kurzem las ich in einer Veröffentlichung, daß die Mitgliederzahl inzwischen auf eine halbe Million Personen angewachsen ist. Diese Freimaurersekte findet man überall. Sie kommandieren auf der ganzen Welt. Diese Juden haben alle Banken in ihrer Hand und sind im Besitz aller bedeutenden Geschäfte der Welt, auch in der UdSSR und in Amerika. Sie verleihen Medaillen und Orden für die Religionsfreiheit."

(Synopsis: B’nai Brith financed the Soviet revolution so that the Tsar and all representatives of the Orthodox Christian Faith could be butchered. This Jewish organization is found everywhere. They command the entire world. These Jews control all banks and are the owners of the most important companies, both in Russia and America.)
For your information, excerpts of NOSTRA AETATE, The Second Vatican Council proclaimed by Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965

Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues.

True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.

Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.

For 1stst time since Inquisition, Portuguese cheese gets kosher seal

"Portugal is seeing a Jewish revival over the past few years."

For the first time since the Spanish Inquisition* in Portugal, a dairy product has been given an official kosher certificate. The ground-breaking product is a hard, goat's milk cheese, manufactured by the descendant of Anusim (Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity).

Last year, José Braz, owner of the Queijos Braz factory, contacted Daniel Litwak, the chief rabbi of Portugal's second-largest city, Porto, and asked him to arrange a kashrut certificate for Serra da Estrela cheese, which Braz manufactures. Braz believes that his own family were members of Portugal's Jewish community in the 14th and 15th centuries, but like many others were forced to convert to escape persecution by the Inquisition.

"When I spoke to José, he told me he wanted to reconnect to his Jewish roots - this was the reason for contacting me," says Litwak, who was born in Argentina. "I was surprised because his brand was doing rather nicely all over Europe. He did not need the certificate to increase his turnover."

New York-born Michael Freund, the chairman of Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based organization that helps people with Jewish roots become more involved in their Jewish community, who immigrated to Israel some 10 years ago, told Haaretz that Portugal "is seeing a Jewish revival over the past few years." "Recently, the first kosher wine in Portugal since the Inquisition has become available, then the first olive oil and now the cheese," Freund says. "I see a definite connection between how many of the Anusim are rediscovering their roots and the increased interest."

Source: article by Cnaan Liphshiz in Haaretz
Photo: Shavei Israel

* The Portuguese Inquisition was established on the Spanish model in 1547 to root out heresy. In 1774, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of Pombal (1699-1782) abolished the legal requirement of "purity of blood" for holders of office and the distinctions between Old Christian and New Christian (Jewish converts and their descendants).

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Norway in 1814: no Jews or Jesuits, please ...

"With so few Jews then, how has Norway managed to develop this obsessive - compulsive disorder about Jews and Israel ? I will tell you. I don’t know."

Source: Norway, Israel and the Jews blog

"Jews in Norway are few. All in all they number around one and a half thousand. In a population of 4.5 million, that’s minuscule. I’m 37 years old and have lived most of my life here in Oslo, and to the best of my knowledge I have never met a Jew. There are a couple of people I know who have slightly Jewish-sounding names, but there’s no way to find out and unfortunately this may be a good thing. So Norwegian Jews are few and far between and completely integrated. Norwegian Jews don’t stick out enough to be recognized. When you think about it, neither do Norwegian non-Jews.
Old Jewish cemetery in Oslo

When I was a teenager my family lived in Finland. To our amusement, we discovered that our neighbors were unable to recognize each other on the street. The policy was to just assume that if you saw someone in your street, then that person probably lived there and you would grunt a discreet greeting if you passed by close enough. Even by Nordic standards this is a bit much. I do, however, live by this policy myself now, and am happily unable to describe the personal characteristics of a single one of my neighbors. It is the Nordic way, but we’re good people.

No Jews or Jesuits, please

With so few Jews then, how has Norway managed to develop this obsessive - compulsive disorder about Jews and Israel ? I will tell you. I don’t know. In part, it’s historical legacy. Norway was declared a Christian country around 1000 AD, and everyone who desired to worship the old gods had to go to Iceland. By 1641 things had relaxed sufficiently for both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews to live here a little bit, but when we formulated our first constitution in 1814 it was back to square one: no Jews or Jesuits to be allowed access to the realm. This sordid state of affairs existed until 1844, when the ban against Jews was lifted in part due to the tireless campaigning of our poet Henrik Wergland.

Henrik Wergland (1808-1845)

The Jewish community then grew to a healthy number of two thousand by 1939. At this point Norway was invaded by Germany, and my grandfather had to leave his job at the bank to go and fight the Germans at Narvik. When he returned from the war, days later, my grandmother had just washed the entrance floor and so wouldn’t let him in the front door and he had to go around the back. Sometimes I lay awake at night and think about how I’ve got this man’s blood in my veins, and is it a good thing or not?

Anyway Norway was occupied and the war was over and my grandfather and everybody else could go back to keeping their heads down at work. Our occupiers requested that we give them our Jews, and curiously enough we were instantly able to provide them with the exact details on every single Jew in the country. The Norwegian police helped round them up. Some Jews managed to escape to Sweden. 758 Norwegian Jews were killed in Auschwitz. Out of the survivors, many didn’t return. Those who did return found that their assets had been stolen. They had to go to court to get their things back and even if they did they had to pay an administration fee for doing so. By 1946, Norway had only 559 Jews left.

The Jews had ample warning …

It is a very peculiar thing, but I was at a family gathering a while back and there was some talk of the war and the issue of the Norwegian Jews came up. One man took me by the arm and gently said: "You know, the Jews had ample warning about what was going to happen, they could have fled. And the ones who listened did." Now isn’t this a very interesting thing to say? The message seems to be that somehow the Norwegian Jews were a bit slow in the head, and that if they had only had their wits about them they could have survived. A sentence like this one shifts the responsiblity for the murder onto the murdered, it’s eerie. Why would you want to go and say a thing like that ?"

- Anti-Semitic cartoons in the mainstream media
- Bias in the Norwegian media

Monday 16 February 2009

Moshe Kantor to meet EU parliament head to press for strong resolution against anti-Semitism

"The EJC has recently expressed its "extreme disappointment" with the European Parliament’s "inaction and refusal to openly denounce" the wave of anti-Semitic attacks that took place throughout Europe during the last two months. "

"European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor [photo] will press a reluctant European Parliament to pass a resolution condemning in strong terms the wave of anti-Semitism in Europe, during a meeting Wednesday in Brussels with the EU body’s president Hans-Gert Poettering.

On the same day, he will also present a proposal to European Commissioner Jacques Barrot, in charge of justice, freedom and security, to include a task force with representatives the Jewish communities within the Vienna-based Fundamantal Rights Agency (FRA).

This influential independent Vienna-based body of the European Union replaces the former European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia and is providing expertise to EU member states on fundamental rights issues.

The EJC, which represents Jewish communities in 40 European countries, has recently expressed its "extreme disappointment" with the European Parliament’s "inaction and refusal to openly denounce" the wave of anti-Semitic attacks that took place throughout Europe during the last two months.

European parliamentarians and parliamentary groups have apparently been reluctant to pass such a resolution last month in the belief that there is a "justified" causality between these anti-Semitic attacks and the Middle East conflict, despite a call by President Poettering on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day to "speak out clearly and reject any instances of anti-Semitism."

"Several MEPs told us they couldn’t pass a resolution on anti-Semitism during the January plenary session of the European Parliament because of the presence of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who addressed the parliamentarians in Strasbourg," Nicolas Stofenmcher, a spokesman for the EJC, told EJP.

Socialists MEPs tried to include a mention on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in a resolution on Gaza but it was deleted in the final text. "Which is very good because the two situations are not
linked," Stofenmacher said.

"We think that it was dropped because there is a desire within the European Parliament to avoid any reference to something which would be considered as 'less important' than the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza."

Moshe Kantor will deliver both Poettering and Barrot with a full report on most anti-Semitic attacks that occurred in Europe during the last two months.

"We often have the impression that the parliamentarians are not necessarily aware of what's happening and that they ignore that anti-Semitism is a European phenomenon and not just limited to some countries."

A general phenomenon

"Our report shows that anti-Semitism is a general phenomenon even in the countries where there is no efficient monitoring system. There are countries where Jews are less visible and others were it is not popular for the governments to speak out against anti-Semitism, such as in eastern Europe," the EJC explains.

According to the Jewish group, the total of anti-Semitic incidents in 2009 in certain European countries already totals half of the number of incidents monitored during all of 2008.

In four weeks, several western European countries, including France, Belgium and the UK, have witnessed an alarming rise of the number of anti-Semitic incidents, including extreme physical violence, vandalism, anti-Jewish graffiti and threats made against Jewish organizations and individuals.

Moshe Kantor will also propose to hold at the parliament premises an interreligious and intercultural "open day" of reflection on the topic of "living together in Europe".

Religious leaders and leaders of communities around Europe would be invited to hear testimonies of people on the ground and discuss ways to combat anti-semitism and other racists attitudes.

"Many political leaders in Europe consider anti-Semitic attacks in Europe as purely tensions between Jewish and Muslim communities who have different political viewpoints on the situation in the Middle East," says Nicolas Stofenmacher. "But for us this is not an issue of tensions between communities because on the Jewish side we don’t have Islamophobic incidents."

"That’s what we want to explain the European parliamentarians.""

Source: article by Yossi Lempkowicz in EJP

Related stories
Italian FM to attend first London summit on combating anti-Semitism
- European Jewish Congress calls upon European leaders for real action against anti-Semitism
- Mahmoud Abbas tells European Parliament not to work with Israel
- European Coalition for Israel warns against surge of anti-Semitism in Europe
- European Parliament: one rule for Egypt and Morocco another for Israel
- Ahmadinejad's delegation visits European Parliament
- European Parliament to host controversial anti-Israeli conference

Sunday 15 February 2009

Mahmoud Abbas tells European Parliament not to work with Israel

"You must stop cooperating with Israel as it's placing itself above the law. Their actions have no legal basis and must be ended. Israeli leaders should also be charged with infringing international humanitarian law."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on February 4.

Source: Euronews

Italian FM to attend London summit on combating anti-Semitism

"We’re meeting because anti-Semitism is on the rise. There must be a fight-back and we parliamentarians are willing to lead from the front. Jewish communities across the world should know that they are not alone." (MP John Mann)

Several government ministers, including Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, and more than 100 parliamentarians from nearly 40 countries, are expected to attend on Tuesday in London the first-time summit conference on combating anti-Semitism, hosted by Britain’s foreign ministry.

This two-day summit, organized by the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism (ICCA), will take place ahead of the controversial UN Conference on Racism (‘Durban II’) in Geneva in April.

The attendees – largely not Jewish – will commit to coordinated, long-term action to tackle the escalating global threat of anti-Semitism.

This includes physical attacks such as that on the Chabad Jewish Community Centre in Mumbai, and race hatred and Holocaust denial distributed via the mainstream media and the Internet.

The London Conference comes in the wake of a significant increase in anti-Semitic attacks around the world.

MP John Mann, initiator of the summit and chairman of the UK’s Parliamentary Committee Against Anti-Semitism, said: "We’re meeting because anti-Semitism is on the rise. There must be a fight-back and we parliamentarians are willing to lead from the front. Jewish communities across the world should know that they are not alone".

Whether it is the UK’s Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism, the two comprehensive responses from the government and numerous policy changes, the UK has earned its role as the host of this historic conference.

The MPs will spend Monday in working groups in the House of Commons, discussing practical strategies on how to combat the resurgent threat of anti-Semitism around the world.

Best practice from across the globe, including Canada, Germany and the UK, will inform the London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism, to be announced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Lancaster House.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, a former EU Commissioner for justice, freedom and security, will be the guest of honour at Monday’s conference dinner, will speak out on the scope and impact of global anti-Semitism and call for multilateral and EU action on the issue.

Among the participants are MP Petra Pau, vice-president of the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, André Azoulay, counselor of King Mohammed VI of Morocco and Barbara Prammer, president of the Austrian National Council.

Source: article by Henri Stein in EJP

- Italian Foreign Minister "Israel's security is not negotiable"
- European Union has taken an unbalanced stance on Israel, says Franco Frattini
- European Commissioner Franco Frattini expresses regret at EU treatment of Israel

Saturday 14 February 2009

For HRW, Israel 2nd worst abuser of human rights in the Middle East

NGO Monitor report: "Examining Human Rights Watch in 2008: Double Standards and Post-Colonial Ideology"


- Quantitiative analysis of HRW's publications in 2008 reflect the portrayal of Israel as the second worst abuser of human rights in the Middle East. Only Saudi Arabia received more attention, with chronic human rights abusers Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt receiving less.

- Analysis of HRW's use of international legal and human rights terminology to condemn Middle Eastern states demonstrates unjustified emphasis that singles out Israel. HRW ignores Palestinian terrorists' use of human shields.

- In 2008, Israel and the Palestinians were the only countries in the Middle East region suspected or accused of "war crimes" by HRW: Israel on six occasions, and the Palestinians in one instance for suicide bombings. HRW placed Israel on par with Sudan, leaders from the former Yugoslavia, Congo and Uganda.

- In 2008 HRW does not call for the release of, or Red Cross access to captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

- Israel was condemned for violations of "human rights law", "humanitarian law", or "international humanitarian law" (IHL) 33 times, compared with 13 citations for the Palestinians, 6 for Hezbollah and 5 for Egypt.

- The evidence suggests that HRW's Middle East personnel approach the Israeli- Palestinian conflict from a post-colonialist ideological perspective, rendering Israel a special case in the Middle East. The double standards and political bias expressed by senior HRW officials in the Middle East Division reinforces this interpretation (see examples below). And the significantly different tone exhibited when reports on Israel involve other HRW departments, indicates that personal political agendas influence reporting. This is clear for Sarah Leah Whitson, Joe Stork, Marc Garlasco, Lucy Mair, and in the addition of Nadia Barhoum in 2008.

- This report includes quantitative analyses of publications from HRW's Middle East and North Africa section, using a weighted scale methodology consistent with NGO Monitor's previous analyses, and an assessment of the use of language in HRW's publications.

Full report here
PA Tortures Journalists, by Khaled Abu Toameh

Friday 13 February 2009

The murder of Ilan Halimi in Paris three years ago

Ilan Halimi
Oct. 11, 1982 - Feb. 13, 2006

"... they tortured Ilan with particular cruelty simply because he was Jewish."

ANTI-SEMITISM IN EUROPE - The Murder of Ilan Halimi, A Jewish man is kidnapped in Paris, tortured for 24 days and then dies, by Nidra Poller (Feb. 26, 2006), WSJ

PARIS--Two weeks ago a 23-year-old man initially identified as "Ilan" was found by a passerby stumbling in a field near the railroad tracks in the Essonne region south of Paris. Handcuffed, naked, with four-fifths of his body covered with bruises, stab wounds and serious burns, Ilan died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Soon after, police provided more details. The victim had been kidnapped Jan. 20 and held for 24 days by a gang from the banlieues, the poor suburban projects that ring the French capital, who eluded capture while repeatedly contacting Ilan's family with ransom demands. The police suspect the group was involved in other kidnapping attempts in the past two months that used young women as bait. Several of the targeted men worked, as Ilan did, in the small cell phone shops along Boulevard Voltaire in the mixed 11th arrondissement of Paris. In another case, a suspicious father replaced his son for a meeting with a girl who claimed to be a singer, and fell into the hands of masked men who tried to capture him but ran away when someone called the police.

Throughout Ilan's disappearance, the police handled his case as a straightforward kidnap for ransom. The discovery of his body, bearing signs of barbaric torture over an extended period of time, raised serious doubts about this hypothesis. Later, a policeman admitted to the press that he and his colleagues were baffled by the gang's erratic behavior. Ransom demands went up to 400,000 euros, dropped to 100,000 euros one day, 5,000 euros another. The kidnappers called off several pickup arrangements, acting like amateurs, but were highly sophisticated in using untraceable emails and cell phones.
Yet one detail was consistently played down by the investigators and missing from the early media reporting on the killing. The victim, whose full name is Ilan Halimi, was Jewish. Most of the men targeted in other kidnapping attempts were Jewish. Most members of the gang who allegedly carried out the crime are Muslims, whose families come from the Maghreb or sub-Saharan Africa and live in the very sort of neighborhoods that went up in flames during three weeks of nationwide rioting last fall.

Jewish community leaders like Roger Cukierman, president of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France, an umbrella group for the country's 600,000 Jews, cautioned against hasty conclusions and unreasonable panic. But French Jews have become sensitive to a well-documented rise in violent Muslim anti-Semitism over the past five years and saw anti-Semitism as the missing link in this senseless crime. After all, Ilan's family is simple and modest. Ruth Halimi, who is divorced from Ilan's father, works as a receptionist. Why else, people are asking, would Ilan be tortured so cruelly for so long? No other motive, aside from sheer hatred, is apparent.

After Ilan was found on Feb. 13, the pieces started to fall into place quickly. When the police put out a sketch of a blond woman who had tried to bait other young men in similar circumstances as Ilan Halimi's, Audrey Lorleach turned herself in. She led police to a housing project in Bagneux, a suburb in Hauts-de-Seine. Fifteen suspects in the Halimi murder, who call their gang the "Barbarians," were brought into custody. Youssouf Fofana, who refers to himself (in English) as the "Brain of the Barbarians," is the apparent ringleader. He is on the run and, investigators suspect, hiding in northern Ivory Coast, the birthplace of his parents. The girl who entrapped Ilan Halimi, who was also on the run, may be among the three people arrested in Aix-en-Provence this past week.

Ilan was held prisoner and abused in an apartment and later a utility room in the cellar in one of the project buildings. Both were lent to the gang by the concierge, who is also now in custody. Some in the gang were known delinquents. Mr. Fofana, who is 26, had served time for armed robbery. But another member was in on-the-job training in the IT service of a French TV station.

In initial statements to the press, Public Prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin and various police officials stuck to their hypothesis that money was the motive for the crime, not anti-Semitism. They noted that Ilan Halimi had been tortured as if the gang were following "a known scenario." Photos of Ilan, naked, with a sack on his head and a gun pointed at his temple were emailed to family members suggesting, according to the police, "scenes of torture at Abu Ghraib." As it turns out, the beheading of Daniel Pearl or Iraqi snuff films are the better comparison. An anonymous police detective quoted in this past Monday's edition of Libération said: "It's simply that, for those criminals, Jew equals money." [The belief that "Jew equals money" is not only held by "criminals" and "barbarians". A recent survey by the ADL revealed a worrying trend: 33% of the French believe that Jews have too much power in the business world and 27% that they have too much power in international financial markets.]
Later that same day, investigating magistrate Corinne Goetzmann detained seven of the suspects on charges of kidnapping, sequestration, torture, acts of barbarism and premeditated murder in an organized gang. They will also be charged with targeting the victim on the basis of his religion, French for hate crime, which carries a stiffer penalty. Justice Minister Pascal Clement explained that the charge of anti-Semitism was based on the fact that one of the suspects had declared to the judge that they picked a Jew because Jews are supposed to be rich. But, according to reports in the French press, some of the suspects in police custody said that they tortured Ilan with particular cruelty simply because he was Jewish.

No longer able to deny or play down the racial motive, the investigation is entering a new phase. One of the most troubling aspects of this affair is the probable involvement of relatives and neighbors, beyond the immediate circle of the gang, who were told about the Jewish hostage and dropped in to participate in the torture.

Recitation of verses from the Koran

Ilan's uncle Rafi Halimi told reporters that the gang phoned the family on several occasions and made them listen to the recitation of verses from the Koran, while Ilan's tortured screams could be heard in the background. The family has publicly criticized the police for deliberately ignoring the explicit anti-Semitic motives, which were repeatedly expressed and should have dictated an entirely different approach to the case from the start. Police searches have now revealed the presence of Islamist literature in the home of at least one of the gang members. (...)

The killing of Sébastien Selam

The murder of Ilan Halimi invites comparison with the November 2003 killing of a Jewish disc jockey, Sébastien Selam. His Muslim neighbor, Adel, slit his throat, nearly decapitating him, and gouged out his eyes with a carving fork in his building's underground parking garage. Adel came upstairs with bloodied hands and told his mother, "I killed my Jew, I will go to paradise." In the two years before his murder, the Selam family was repeatedly harassed for being Jewish. The Selam case has not been opened by the magistrate. The murderer, who admits his guilt, was placed in a psychiatric hospital, and may be released soon.

The initial response to the kidnapping of Ilan Halimi suggested a comparably selective ignorance. But many things have changed in French society in the past two years.

Then, faced with the new tide of anti-Semitism, the Jewish community was left alone with its distress and at times even accused of being justifiably targeted because of its support for Israel.

Today the government has apparently decided that the barbarous hatred unleashed against one Jewish man is a threat to all of France."

The murder of Ilan Halimi: Why anti-semitism is a problem, by Jeff Weintraub