Wednesday 29 April 2009

Trial of Ilan Halimi’s barbarian murderers opens in Paris

"At his mother's demand, Ilan Halimi was reburied at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem in February 2007. "You will never be able to hurt him any more," she wrote in her book, addressing the killers. "I took him away from here because one day you will be free and you would have been able to come and spit on his tomb.""
Ilan Halimi, R.I.P. (11 October 1982-13 February 2006)
Source: article by Joseph Byron at EJP
"PARIS (EJP)---28 members of the "gang of Barbarians", a suburban dangerous group, go on trial in Paris on Wednesday for brutally murdering Ilan Halimi, a Jewish Parisian young man in 2006.

The killing of 23-year-old Halimi, who was held to ransom for three weeks in a Parisian suburb, traumatized France, a country haunted by a history of anti-semitism and wartime collaboration with the Nazis.

Relatives of the victim last week expressed indignation at the defence’s attempts to cast doubt on claims that the 29-year-old Youssouf Fofana, leader of the gang, had chosen to kidnap Halimi in 2006 because he was Jewish. "We’re shocked that there is even any debate about it," said Anne-Laure, one of Halimi’s sisters.

She noted that Fofana, who insisted on gang members calling him "Osama", had often insulted Jews and sung verses from the Koran in between ransom demands over the telephone.

He allegedly told his accomplices that he wanted to kidnap a Jew because the Jewish community was rich, would stick together and would pay a big ransom.

"My son died because of that prejudice, just like millions of Jews before him," said Ilan's mother Ruth Halimi, in a recent published book about her son’s ordeal in which she compared the kidnapping with that of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist beheaded by Muslim extremists in 2002 in Pakistan.

Ruth Halimi has called for a public trial so that her son's death "will not have been in vain". But the trial of Fofana, a 29-year-old Frenchman of Ivorian origin, is scheduled to be held behind closed doors at a juvenile court, because two of the gang members were minors at the time of the murder. French law allows for a public trial to be held in certain cases where juveniles are involved. "A public trial would have helped better understand the criminal machine, to make parents and teenagers reflect. It’s the law of silence that killed her son, it would be unbearable for the trial to remain silent," Francis Szpyner, lawyer of Ruth Halimi, has said.
Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old mobile phone salesman, went missing in Paris in January 2006. After being lured by a young woman from the shop where he worked on Boulevard Voltaire, he was held captive for more than three weeks in a Paris suburb.
Authorities found him naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks from cigarettes near railroad tracks south of Paris on February 13, 2006. He died on the way to the hospital, having bled to death from stab wounds to his neck. Halimi’s abductors had tortured him while demanding a 450,000 euros ransom from his family and the Jewish community.
The family was advised by police to ask for a face-to-face meeting before paying any money, but negotiations kept foundering.

Just as shocking as the brutality of the murder was the fact that so many people knew about it and failed to tell the police. The girl who had been used to attract Ilan told several friends about the kidnapping, but none came forward. One of the gang members who did not want Halimi to be killed told his father what was happening. He advised the boy to keep quiet.

The grisly anti-Semitic crime shocked France and its 600,000-strong Jewish community. After two years of investigation, the magistrate came to te conclusion that Fofana ordered a young pretty woman to target Halimi because he was Jewish and because they presumed Jews were wealthy.

Fofana was arrested in March 2006 in the Ivory Coast, whre he had fled, and extradited to France.
At his mother's demand, Ilan Halimi was reburied at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem in February 2007. "You will never be able to hurt him any more," she wrote in her book, addressing the killers. "I took him away from here because one day you will be free and you would have been able to come and spit on his tomb."
The trial will focus attention on rising anti-Semitic attacks over the past few years, in France where the desecration of Jewish graveyards has become a common crime in France."

Monday 27 April 2009

European Christians remember Evian 1938

"Let the spirit of Evian 2009 symbolize our commitment to learn from history and to stand up for the Jewish people at this critical time. Let Evian no longer only be known as the place which paved the way for the Holocaust but a place which is known for bringing peace and justice to the world" (Tomas Sandell)

Recommit to the security and safety of the Jewish people in Evian 2009

Evian les-Bains 24 April, 2009 – Christians from many European nations, and from from countries as far away as Australia, USA and Israel, crossed the Lake Geneva on Tuesday from the European UN headquarter in Geneva to Evian, to commemorate the failed Evian conference in 1938 [photo above]. In Geneva the Iranian president Ahmadinejad had been allowed to speak at the World Conference against Racism on Monday, calling Israel a "racist state". In Evian the delegates were reminded of a similar conference in 1938 where leaders of the 33 nations had gathered to deal with the consequences of Nazi annexation of Austria and the growing number of Jewish refugees in Germany and Austria.

"Hitler wanted to test the nations if they were willing to receive the Jews so he forced a Jewish man to go to the conference with the offer to sell Jews for 250 USD per person, otherwise the first 40,000 Jews would be sent straight to the concentrations camps. The man was ridiculed and thrown out of the conference and no nation opened their borders", said the Mayor of Evian, Member of French Parliament, Marc Francina, who greeted the international guests to the event.

Among the guests were Member of European Parliament, Hannu Takkula of Finland and Member of Swedish Parliament Mikael Oscarsson. Other parliamentarians, from the House of Commons in London and the parliament in the Netherlands, had sent their personal messages to the event.

"Though Finland did not take part in the conference as such the government adapted the same negative position as the conference did", said MEP Hannu Takkula of Finland. "When a ship with 53 Jewish refugees tried to disembark in Helsinki on August 17, 1938 they were simply not allowed in to Finland though they had all their papers in order. On the ship was a mother who had just been given birth to a baby but the ship was sent back to Hamburg and the passengers were taken to concentration camps and ended up in the hands of the Nazis", said Takkula who as an elected leader of Finland asked for forgiveness on behalf of his country.

"Please remember that these men and women were no different than any of us", said former minister of the French government, Georgina Dufoix, referring to the delegates which gathered in Evian in 1938 and rejected the Jewish refugees. Ahmadinejad is no fool either, he is an intelligent man but he is influenced by the most vicious spirit of racism there is, namely anti-Semitism. "This is not just another form or racism but something much worse. We only have to look at all the great disasters in Europe over the last centuries to understand the true nature of this spirit", she said.

"The question is not whether the spirit of anti-Semitism will return to Europe or not, it is already here and we need to do something about it now while there is still time", said Eliyahu Ben-Haim from Jerusalem. "The question in 1938 is the same question that we are asking ourselves today. Would anyone be willing to stop Hitler where there were still time? The answer in Evian in 1938 was "no". But will Christians in Europe do anything to call their governments to stop Ahmadinejad today while there is still time? This is the question wee need to ask ourselves today in Evian 2009" , he said.

The gathering issued a strong call to the governments of Europe to understand the seriousness of the rise of anti- Semitism in Europe and the existential threat of Israel and to learn from the mistakes of Evian 1938.

In a private written message to the meeting the Italian Foreign minister Franco Frattini said: "We cannot underestimate the challenge of anti-Semitism, as the Western World did in 1938 at the Evian conference; we cannot allow ourselves to hesitate in firmly reacting to any indication that anti-Semitism is gaining ground. History clearly shows us that any hesitancy can pave the way to horrible tragedies."

"Our voice must be strong and uncontroversial about the new forms of anti-Semitism, that commonly manifest themselves in the guise of opposition to Zionism and the existence of the State of Israel", he concluded.

"May there be another voice coming out of Evian in 2009, one of determination and recommitment to the Jewish people and to the state of Israel", said the event organizer Tomas Sandell of the European Coalition for Israel. "Let us declare once and for all that Evian shall no longer only be known as the Evian of 1938 but as Evian of 2009."

"Let the spirit of Evian 2009 symbolize our commitment to learn from history and to stand up for the Jewish people at this critical time. Let Evian no longer only be known as the place which paved the way for the Holocaust but a place which is known for bringing peace and justice to the world", he said.

Source: European Coalition for Israel (a Christian initiative promoting European-Israeli Cooperation)

Evian 1938 - Geneva 2009, Tomas Sandell

Sunday 26 April 2009

Gry Larsen, political adviser to Norwegian FM, no friend of Israel

"[Prime Minister Kjell Magne] Bondevik ought to be conscious of the fact that he has invited a war-criminal [Ariel Sharon]." (Gry Larsen, political adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 2003)

Unfortunately, this type of rabid anti-Israeli stance and obsession is common among the political classes in Europe.

Source: Norway, Israel and the Jews blog

Archive: 2006 article in Dagbladet on Gry Larsen, political adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Here is an unauthorized translation from Dagbladet on January 8th 2006. Observe that following the conflict the article covers, adviser Gry Larsen retracted her support for a boycott of Israel and toed the official party line.

"Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre’s closest adviser Gry Larsen, wanted to bring Ariel Sharon to trial for war-crimes. She still leads AUF which wants a full boycott of Israel. Støre refuses to comment upon the case. (Gunnar Thorenfeldt)

It is not only SV (Socialst Left) which desires a boycott of Israeli goods. Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre’s political adviser, Gry Larsen, leads an organisation which supports boycott of Israel and believes Ariel Sharon is guilty of war-crimes.

Arbeiderpartiet’s (Labour’s) youth-wing, AUF, have for many years been part of the Boycott Israel campaign. Additionally it is part of the interntaional Tear down the wall campaign and is a member of the Norwegian Association of NGO’s for Palestine.

AUF-leader Gry Larsen has previously stated that she wants to see Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon brought to trail for war-crimes.

On June 16th 2003 Gry Larsen held an appeal outside of the Parliament under the parole "Bring Ariel Sharon to trial for war-crimes". The Prime Minister at the time, Kjell Magne Bondevik, had invited Israel’s Prime Minster to Molde, which Larsen reacted strongly to.

- Israel has occupied Palestine, they bear the main responsibility for the conflict. Bondevik ought to be conscious of the fact that he has invited a war-criminal, Larsen stated to Dagbladet.

Israel expelled Larsen

In 2003 Larsen was declared an enemy of the state of Israel. When she attempted to visit Israel in 2003 she was stopped at the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. After lengthy interrogations and examinations of her luggage, she and another AUF-member was denied entry to Israel on grounds of being a threat to security.

- I was sent home, treated as if I were a terrorist, says Larsen to Dagbladet about the episode. Later the declaration was withdrawn by the Israeli state.

An occupying force

Today Larsen is political adviser to Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre. But she is also leader of AUF. And the organisation Larsen leads has a clear message.

- We look upon Israel as an occupying force, says AUF’s deputy leader Martin Henriksen to Dagbladet.

The organisation still believes Sharon is a war-criminal.

- We believe that the background for the statement is still correct, says Henriksen. He encourages the government to be more critical towards Israel.

- We believe the Israelis are violating the Palestinians. Therefore I hope that the government manages to balance its desire for a dialogue and is critical when this is needed, says Henriksen.- AUF not aloneStøre has earlier this week critisized SV’s Minister of Finance harshly for wanting to boycott Israel. But he will not critisize his closest political adviser.

- Støre does not desire to comment upon this, says information adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cathrine Andersen.

Larsen was yesterday not accessible for comments as she presently is in the Antarctic. Also the youth wings of the Socialist Left and the Norwegian Centre Pary have supported a boycott of Israeli goods the last four years. But now the youth wing of the Center party says they will reassess the issue.

- We have previously encouraged people not to buy Israeli products, but now we will reassess the issue, says leader of the Centre Party youth wing, Erlend Fuglum, to Dagbladet. He says their reassessment has nothing to do with the conflict over the last few days."

For more on Norway, please visit the invaluable Norway, Israel and the Jews blog (Anti-semitism and the anti-Israel lobby in Norway)

- Norway NGO funding: boycotts and apartheid rhetoric instead of peace and coexistence
- Norway's pro-Israel opposition leader under 24-hour guard
- Norwegian envoy equates Israel with Nazis
- For Norwegian F.M. Europe much too lenient with Israel
- Norway Funding PA Hate Media
- Norway says it has severed Hamas ties

Friday 24 April 2009

Nonie Darwish and Tawfik Hamid discuss Hamas at European Parliament

"We cannot continue to tolerate intolerance. It is not a virtue – it is gross negligence." (Nonie Darwish)

"Accepting and legitimizing Hamas is an obstacle to peace. If the international community tells Hamas that via terrorism and killing civilian we will still legitimatize you, why would they turn to the path of peace?" (Dr. Tawfik Hamid)

"Hamas obstacle to peace

On the 15th of April, MEP Nickolay Mladenov hosted a conference in the European Parliament dedicated to the Hamas Organization and the implications of European engagement with it on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Mr. Mladenov invited two distinguished guests from the United States, Mrs. Nonie Darwish and Dr. Tawfik Hamid, to share their deep understanding of the motives and goals of the fundamentalist Islamic Movements and the implications of it receiving legitimacy.

Nonie Darwish, daughter of Lt.-Gen. Mustafa Hafez, who founded the Palestinian fedayeen units, which launched terrorist raids across Israel's border during the 50s and 60s, grew up in Gaza. She told the audience of a number of her experiences there and how the spreading of hate towards Jews and Israel was a common day affair:

"The hatred was mainstream, it was preached in the Mosques, schools, in theater, TV, movies – everywhere we were taught to hate the Jews…"

"Money was never given to build housing or factories, it was always to fund organizations such as the fedayeen in the 1950's and Hamas today."

She further emphasized the dire consequences of Europe engaging Hamas:

"The conflict is not over land anymore. Listen to what they are saying in Arabic to their citizens. They are subjected to daily indoctrination to kill Jews wherever you find them."

"There are many moderates in the Arab world, who want to end the hate speech, but engaging Hamas would weaken them. By talking to Hamas we say that terrorism and violence are the way of doing things. If Hamas will receive legitimization, it will mean that the Hamas methods work."

"We cannot continue to tolerate intolerance. It is not a virtue – it is gross negligence."

Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a former member of an Egyptian terrorist organization (and former colleague of Dr. Aiman Al-Zawaherri, who later became the second in command of Al-Qaeda) is today an Islamic reformer and a Senior Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

Dr. Hamid's exceptional knowledge of the jihadi mindset led him to the following conclusions:

"Hamas are liars, they say they are not anti-Semitic and are not a religious organization, while the name of their organization is called the Islamic Resistance Movement and their flag says 'No God aside of Allah and Mohamed is a prophet of Allah' – the sentence one states to become a Muslim."

"Accepting and legitimizing Hamas is an obstacle to peace. If the international community tells Hamas that via terrorism and killing civilian we will still legitimatize you, why would they turn to the path of peace?"

"Only when the international community will have a clear a strong stance against Hamas demanding they hold to the three conditions, only then will Hamas turn to the path of peace."

Today, after recognizing the threat of Radical Islam and the need for a reformation based upon modern peaceful interpretations of classical Islamic core texts, Dr. Hamid has completed a fresh and theologically valid interpretation of the Quran to counterbalance radical teachings and has recently published a book named "Inside Jihad".

Following a heated and emotional Q&A, MEP Mladenov summarized the conference, stating:

"Hamas’ success would fan the flames of terrorists who will feel empowered that by randomly killing civilians they can achieve their goals. Its victory would be a victory for religious extremists who want to hijack an otherwise peaceful religion. Its triumph would not deliver the free and secular Palestine that people living in Gaza and the West Bank want.""

Source: European Friends of Israel

Did HRW and Amnesty protest at giving Ahmadinejad a platform at Durban II?

"Prior to Ahmadinejad’s speech, international NGOs including HRW, Amnesty, and others did not protest the giving the Iranian leader a platform, despite his Holocaust denial and Iran´s dismal human rights record."

HRW and other NGOs press for US participation, ignoring the real problems of the conference

While Canada, the US, Italy, Holland, Germany, Israel and other Western democracies decided not to participate, having decided that the Durban process could not be salvaged, and the principles should not be compromised for political expediency, Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned these countries for "undermining" the conference. HRW also claimed (without credibility) that there was "no justification for the decision," and pressed for "engagement." Prior to Ahmadinejad’s speech, international NGOs including HRW, Amnesty, and others did not protest the giving the Iranian leader a platform, despite his Holocaust denial and Iran´s dismal human rights record. HRW, for instance, merely stated that his attendance raised "concern" and blandly calling Ahmadinejad a "divisive figure" for his "controversial" statements on Israel and the Holocaust. This lobbying helped legitimize Ahmadinejad´s absurd presence at a conference against racism.

Even after his hate filled speech, while HRW admitted that it "contradicted the spirit and purpose of the conference" and "Iran´s record of repressing peaceful dissent does great injustice to the struggle against racism and discrimination," the NGO continued to advocate that governments "should respond by staying." This language echoes Commissioner Pillay´s attempt to downplay the impact of such language used under the façade of human rights.

Remarkably, HRW drew a parallel between Ahmadinejad and the Western democracies that did not attend, claiming that their rhetoric was similar, while reiterating that the conference "was earlier undermined by the refusal of the United States to participate, which prompted walkouts by Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Poland." They have thus confused effect (the walkout) with the cause, which is corruption of human rights, aided by the radical NGO network."

NGO Monitor: UN tries to avoid NGO incitement, but gives Ahmadinejad a platform

- Amnesty International: Abolishing Israel's Right to Self Defense
- Amnesty’s obsession with Israel
- European NGO Amnesty International: relentless and disproportionate focus on Israeli "violations"

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Only Non-Antisemites, Yves Pallade

"Well, during my time at the American Jewish Committee I was taught one important thing, namely that while there is antisemitism without Jews, there can be no antisemitism without antisemites."

Source: Joods Actueel

"In most discussions about antisemitism what is usually meant is conventional right-wing extremist hatred of Jews. Yet, inspired by the will to combat all manifestations of antisemitism, the OSCE has identified also other forms of Jew-hatred and respective groups of hate mongers.

As Professor Weisskirchen has rightly pointed out in an article a little while ago, "[w]e already have the tools in order to [implement the measures set out in the 2004 Berlin Declaration]. It is therefore time to make use of them more effectively."1 One such tool is the Working Definition of Antisemitism, which has been endorsed both by the EUMC, ODIHR and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman in Office on Combating Antisemitism. Since best practices are about sharing experience in using the existing tools, I would like hereinafter to introduce to you four individuals with strong connections to the academic field, whom one could use to exemplify the use of this Working Definition.

Since I am well-aware that the so-called "accusation of antisemitism" (Antisemitismusvorwurf) constitutes probably one of the most severe verdicts that one can pass on a human being, in particular on a German one – Eckart Jesse of the Hannah Arendt Institute in Dresden in his defence of Jürgen Möllemann at the time called it a "killer-argument" – and that it could moreover lead to unpleasant legal disputes of the kind that some of us in this room had to endure, I will refrain from presenting any antisemites to you today. Instead I will content myself with naming only non-antisemites, though academic ones to be sure.

Example no. 1: Ludwig Watzal
He works for the Federal Agency for Civic Education and also has a lectureship at the University of Bonn. What positions does he represent? In a piece on an Israeli media entrepreneur, entitled "Haim Saban, the media and Israel" that was broadcast by DeutschlandRadio Berlin2, Watzal sounded the following:

"The escapades of the so-called Holocaust industry are at any rate rather bizarre and an insult to the victims of National Socialist extermination policy. The actions of Saban have, however, nothing to do with conspiracy thinking, but they are evidence of how symbiotic the relationship between power and money is. Saban’s political desire is to obtain as much control as possible over the media. Peter Chernin, the president and head of the News Corporation, has made it clear that the Hollywood mogul has not become involved in Germany for purely financial considerations, but that he regards the country as the basis for something bigger."3

According to our colleague Juliane Wetzel from the Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Technical University Berlin, who commented on this radio piece at the time, "he [Watzal] activates the typical clichés of Jewish capital and Jewish power". This perplexes me indeed: Wouldn’t it be presumptuous to qualify Watzal’s position as an antisemitic one, for he is after all an employee of Germany’s most important state institution for democratic education and moreover serves as one of the co-editors of Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, the academic supplement to the Bundestag’s own newspaper Das Parlament?

Example no 2: Norman Paech
He was formerly professor for Public Law at the University for Science and Politics in Hamburg. Let’s listen to what he has to say.

In an open letter to the German-Jewish professor Micha Brumlik in the context of a public debate on a book by the Canadian philosopher Ted Honderich, whom Brumlik had criticized for legitimising terrorism4, Paech writes: "Has it occurred to you that such an executivistic censure of thought could give a fresh boost to antisemitism, which, after all, clearly exists in our society?"5

Moreover, in an interview with the daily Die Tageszeitung6 on the occasion of the war in Lebanon last year Paech stated that Israel was waging "an illegal war of extermination against the militia and the population in Lebanon".7

I am trying hard to be convinced: Norman Paech could certainly not be antisemitic, for is he not currently Foreign Policy Spokesman of the parliamentary party of Die Linke in the Bundestag and moreover a member of the German delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly?

Example No. 3: Klaus Holz
He is a professor of sociology and head of the Lutheran Foundation for Advanced Studies in Villigst.

Together with two colleagues he wrote a lengthy piece for the weekly Jungle World in which he claimed that Israel’s then Prime Minister Sharon was aiming at the "destruction of Palestinian civil society"8 and that Palestinian terrorism was exclusively an act of desperation and a result to Israeli "state terrorism"9. Holz and his co-authors stop short of drawing a direct analogy between Israel and Nazi Germany, instead comparing Israel’s policies to those of South Africa under the apartheid regime, while leaving it to others to infuse the "nazification" topos with a degree of legitimacy: The Israeli filmmaker Eyal Sivan is adduced, who had "declared that the comparison between Sharon and the Nazis was customary among Israeli pacifists…".10 The authors go on to argue that looked at through the "Auschwitz screen"11 that is distorting the perception of contemporary left-wing defenders of Israel, "Jews are only a metonymical figure, in which the murdered of yesterday are superimposed on the oppressors of today"12 and that "the banalisation of the events in the occupied territories in the name of the remembrance of Auschwitz deserves our outrage".13 They claim that the continuation of the occupation over decades could also "threaten the existence of the Palestinian population".14 Moreover, Holz and his co-authors do not see a historical nexus between Nazi Germany and current Palestinian antisemitism – which they refer to as "anti-Zionism".15

In his book "Die Gegenwart des Antisemitismus"16 Holz argues that "antisemitism among Muslim migrant groups" manifests itself "often only on the basis of their experience in the country of immigration. Its preconditions comprise their social, racist and religiously justified exclusion".17

To me it appears yet again presumptuous to even think of the possibility that Klaus Holz could harbour some antisemitic notions or that he could even downplay contemporary antisemitism or possibly associate it with Jewish or non-Jewish behaviour, for he has meanwhile become one of the most noted German academic experts on antisemitism and was not so long ago asked to address an academic symposium on antisemitism that had been organized by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz).18

Example No. 4: Alfred Grosser
He is a sociologist and political scientist, who taught at Science Po in Paris and was Research and Studies Director at the French National Foundation of Political Science. So what does he say?

In a 10-page article in the February 2007 issue of Germany’s most renowned foreign policy journal Internationale Politik19 Grosser expressed his non-understanding "that Jews nowadays despise others and claim the right to mercilessly pursue policies in the name of self-defence. Understanding for the suffering of others – does this basic value of Europe not hold all the more for Israel?"20

At a hearing on antisemitism here in the German Bundestag in 2004, similar to the one today, Grosser remarked the following:21

"It’s all about understanding the suffering of others. This understanding generally does not exist on the part of Jews."22

And in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung23 he said:

"Criticism of Israel and antisemtism have nothing to do with each other. It is rather Israel’s policies that promote antisemitism globally."24

Grosser – an antisemite? Isn’t this virtually inconceivable for he is not only a noted world-class academic and laureate of the Peace Price of German Book Trade but most importantly also a Jew or at least of Jewish descent – as he never gets tired to point out. Not to forget that he was invited as a guest expert to address a hearing at the Bundestag on no other issue than –antisemitism.

I would like to return to the Working Definition where I read about the following contemporary examples of antisemitism:

I quote from the definition:
"Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective – such as, especially but not exclusively the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions." Now I am fully confused, for doesn’t Ludwig Watzal’s portrayal of Haim Saban or Alfred Grosser’s characterization of Jews in general fall into this category?

I quote from the Definition:
"Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews" and "Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel." Maybe I am missing the point here, but is this not exactly what Alfred Grosser and Norman Paech are doing when blaming Israel, Jewish groups, individual Jews or even non-Jews for rising antisemitism? And isn’t Klaus Holz rationalising anti-Jewish hatred among Arab-Muslim immigrants when saying that it is a result of the discrimination suffered by them?

I quote again from the Definition:
"Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis." Is it my personal misperception that the term "war of extermination" that is used by Norman Paech to refer to Israeli demeanour is clearly linked to the kind of war conducted by the Nazis? Is it only my distorted impression that Klaus Holz – while not daring to draw a direct analogy between Israel und Nazi Germany – cites specifically an Israeli voice to provide such comparisons with discursive legitimacy?

I quote once more from the Definition:
"Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms … or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters during World War II …" Isn’t this actually what Klaus Holz does when he downplays the collaboration of the Arab national movement with Nazi Germany?

Now my question to you: Given that the aforementioned gentlemen cannot be antisemites due to their academic credentials, to their profession and to the particular group they belong to, what application can the current Working Definition still have? Is it really the case that the 56 participating states of the OSCE – after so many years of intensive discussion with the aim to clearly identify and to combat antisemitism – are so far off the track?

Well, during my time at the American Jewish Committee I was taught one important thing, namely that while there is antisemitism without Jews, there can be no antisemitism without antisemites."

1 Gert Weisskirchen: Combating Antisemitism ‘Best practices’ already exist – it is time to make use of them. In: Equal Voices, Issue 17, 2006
2 Deutschland Radio Berlin, 16 September 2004, Ludwig Watzal: Haim Saban, die Medien und Israel
3 "Die Eskapaden der so genannten Holocaust-Industrie sind jedenfalls ziemlich bizarr und eine Beleidigung für die Opfer der nationalsozialistischen Vernichtungspolitik. Die Aktionen Sabans haben aber nichts mit Verschwörungsdenken zu tun, sondern sie sind ein Beleg dafür, wie symbiotisch das Verhältnis von Macht und Geld ist. Sabans politisches Anliegen ist, eine möglichst große Kontrolle über die Medien zu erlangen. Dass sich der Hollywood-Mogul nicht nur aus finanziellen Erwägungen in Deutschland engagiert hat, sondern das Land als Basis für etwas größeres ansieht, hat Peter Chernin, Präsident und Leiter der News Corporation, deutlich gemacht."
4 Brief von Norman Paech an Micha Brumlik vom 29. Oktober 2003, zitiert nach
5 "Ist Ihnen einmal der Gedanke gekommen, dass eine derart exekutivische Gedankenzensur dem Antisemitismus, der in unserer Gesellschaft ja unleugbar besteht, neuen Auftrieb geben könnte?"
6 taz, 26.07.2006, "Deutsche Soldaten in Israel nicht denkbar". Der Völkerrechtler Norman Paech, für die Linkspartei im Bundestag: Vorgehen Israels im Libanon unverhältnismäßig, Interview mit Norman Paech
7 "Außerdem geht Israel derzeit mit einem unzulässigen Vernichtungskrieg gegen Milizen und Bevölkerung im Libanon vor."
8 "Die Militarisierung der israelischen Gesellschaft und die Zerschlagung der palästinensischen Zivilgesellschaft sind langfristige Ziele des Premierministers Ariel Sharon ..."
9 "Die israelische Besatzung ist der Ausdruck eines Staatsterrorismus, die palästinensische Gewalt ist eine Reaktion darauf."
10 "Der israelische Regisseur Eyal Sivan, der als Zeuge der Verteidigung während des Prozesses gegen Jolivet aufgerufen war, erklärte, dass der Vergleich Sharons mit den Nazis bei israelischen PazifistInnen gebräuchlich sei."
11 "Sichtblende Auschwitz"
12 "In diesem verworrenen Rollenspiel sind die Juden nur noch eine metonymische Figur, in der die Ermordeten von gestern die Unterdrücker von heute überlagern."
13 "Wenn Saramagos Worte Kritik verdienen, so verdient die Banalisierung der Geschehnisse in den besetzten Gebieten im Namen der Erinnerung an Auschwitz unsere Entrüstung."
14 "Wenn die Besatzungspolitik des Westjordanlandes und des Gazastreifens sich über Jahrzehnte fortsetzt, wäre nicht nur die Existenz der palästinensischen Bevölkerung bedroht, sondern auch die Demokratie in Israel und die internationale Akzeptanz des Staates."
15 "Der Antizionismus in der arabischen Welt und der vieler PalästinenserInnen wird mit dem traditionellen Antisemitismus der westlichen Welt, der die Shoah hervorbrachte, in eins gesetzt."
16 Klaus Holz: "Die Gegenwart des Antisemitismus. Islamistische, demokratische und antizionistische Judenfeindschaft. (Hamburger Edition, 2005, Hamburg) , S. 9
17 "Vielmehr manifestiert sich der Antisemitismus in Einwanderergruppen häufig erst aufgrund ihrer Erfahrungen im Einwandererland. Zu den Voraussetzungen gehört ihre soziale, rassistisch und religiös begründete Ausgrenzung."
18 Vgl. Klaus Holz: Neuer Antisemitismus? – Wandel und Kontinuität der Judenfeindschaft. In: Bundesministerium des Innern: Neuer Antisemitismus? Judenfeindschaft im politischen Extremismus und im öffentlichen Diskurs. Publikation der Vorträge des Symposiums des Bundesamtes für Verfassungsschutz am 5. Dezember 2005,
19 Alfred Grosser: Warum ich Israel kritisiere. In: Internationale Politik, February 2007
20 "Ich verstehe nicht, dass Juden heute andere verachten und sich das Rechtnehmen, im Namen der Selbstverteidgung unbarmherzig Politik zu betreiben. Verständnis für die Leiden der anderen – gilt dieser Grundwert Europas nicht erst recht für Israel?"
21 Protokoll. Öffentliches Expertengespräch zur Umsetzung der Abschlusserklärung der Berliner Antisemitismuskonferenz vom April 2004, 22. November 2004, Deutscher Bundestag
22 "Wie ich schon einmal in der Dresdner Frauenkirche sagen durfte, es geht darum, das Leiden anderer zu verstehen. Dieses Verstehen ist auf jüdischer Seite im Allgemeinen nicht vorhanden." 23 Berliner Zeitung, 15 August 2006, "Israel Politik fördert den Antisemitismus". Der Publizist Alfred Grosser plädiert für eine Strategie der Versöhnung gegenüber den Arabern
24 "Kritik an Israel und Antisemitismus haben nichts miteinander zu tun. Es ist vielmehr Israels Politik, die den Antisemitismus in der Welt fördert."

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Norway: Anti-Semite son of a preacher man

"Regular visitors to this site will remember how Muhammed Ali Chisti was one of the speakers at the House of Litterature on March 22nd, and that his topic of choice was "Why I hate Jews" (Rabid anti-semite fights uphill battle?).

On April 4th Abid Q. Raja from Venstre (Left, a liberal conservative party) and event manager at the debate on March 22nd, elaborated upon his controversial decision of letting Ali Chisti speak in an op-ed to Aftenposten.

"Yes, it was right to let Mohammed Ali Chishti speak at the dialogue meeting on March 22nd, and to let him shout out his anti-Semitic rhetoric. Not only had I read the speach beforehand, I had also prepared the Jewish congregation about its contents. And it was I who asked Chisti to speak of how he and the others shouted "death to the Jews" in the demonstrations. In this I see nothing worthy of criticism, to the contrary, I took the bull by the horns. Not to discuss this is to turn ones back upon a dawning problem."

Read the whole piece here

Source: Norway, Israel and the Jews blog

Monday 20 April 2009

Evian 1938 - Geneva 2009, Tomas Sandell

"In 1938 the world was said to be divided up in two categories, those nations which Jews could not enter and those which wanted to expel them. The promised Jewish homeland was not even considered as an option for resettlement since it was believed to create more tension in then British Mandate Palestine. A few years later there would be six million Jews less to accommodate but then, finally, the urgency of creating a Jewish homeland was realized by the world community. But the prize to pay was far too high."

Source: article by Tomas Sandell in TJP

"It is less than three quarter of an hour by car from Geneva to its much smaller sister city Evian-les-Bains on the French side of Lake Geneva. What Evian lacks in size and political importance, it makes up in history and style. This rather sleepy, but healthy, town at the foot of the Alps can boast with one the grandest fin-de-siècle resort hotels of its kind as well as the bottled water which bears its name.

But Evian has a less friendly side which has left its mark in history. Simply Google "Evian" and you come up with a resort, a water and a conference which by some historians has been called "Hitler's green light for genocide." Last year marked the 70th anniversary of the Evian conference on the future of the Jewish refugees, but it was effectively forgotten as France at the time chaired the European Union.

As President Nicolas Sarkozy hosted the conference which was to launch a new era of cooperation around the Mediterranean Sea, the last thing France wanted to be reminded about was Evian 1938. You cannot blame it. Evian goes down as one of the darkest chapters of modern European history when appeasement was the mode of the day and anyone who did not believe in "peace in our time" was simply disregarded as a warmonger.

It is not only the proximity between the two cities which is striking but also the zeitgeist of Evian 1938 and this year's United Nations Conference against Racism. Whereas the original UN conference against racism in Durban in 2001 spiraled out of control with its obsession with the Judenfrage, there are no guarantees that this year will not be a repeat. Western governments have been paying lip service to their commitment to withdraw from anything that would resemble the hate fest in 2001, but words will be cheap when the commitment of the Western nations to stand true to our universal values is tested.

BACK TO EVIAN in 1938. As Hitler had annexed Austria and hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees were seeking a safe haven outside of the Nazi-controlled areas, the free world knew that something had to be done. It was the US president Franklin Roosevelt who finally called together the conference with the objective of seeking a solution to the Jewish refugee problem. Thirty-two nations were invited to participate. It soon became clear that the conference was not going to solve anything, as one country after another explained that they all agreed that this was a major humanitarian problem which needed to be solved, but that their respective country could not do anything about it. Others were less diplomatically skilled.

"Our country is simply not big enough to receive any Jewish refugees," said the Canadian representative. When asked how many refugees Canada could receive the answer was, "One is too many." "Australia has no racial problem and we are not desirous of importing one," is a quote which today is on display in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

The list of obscenities does not stop there. A proposal to rescue the refugees by simply letting 10 countries receive 25,000 Jews each was flatly rejected. While these tragic decisions were made, which would ultimately have consequences for millions of Jews, some historians note that pleasure cruises on Lake Geneva were very popular among the delegates, as were tennis and golf in the fresh mountain air.

PERHAPS IT is again the allure of cosmopolitan Geneva and the same mountain climate which makes it so difficult for Western diplomats to simply say no to the UN conference which singles out only one country, Israel, as the racist state of the world and calls its policies "apartheid." What makes this conclusion even more surreal is the fact that the working group, which has been drafting the text, consists of human rights champions such as Libya, Iran and Cuba. The language in the draft resolution has been unacceptable for many, still the decision to withdraw seems difficult to make. At the moment only a few governments beside Israel has decided to boycott the conference, namely the US, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Italy.

One thing is clear. The UN conference in Geneva, which starts today and runs through Friday, will not be a friendly place for any of us who sympathize with the Jewish cause. But things could be worse. In 1938 the world was said to be divided up in two categories, those nations which Jews could not enter and those which wanted to expel them. The promised Jewish homeland was not even considered as an option for resettlement since it was believed to create more tension in then British Mandate Palestine. A few years later there would be six million Jews less to accommodate but then, finally, the urgency of creating a Jewish homeland was realized by the world community. But the prize to pay was far too high.

It is of course the irony of time that a conference dedicating itself to fighting racism, the very disease which lead to Hitler's Holocaust, is currently paving the way for a legitimizing of Jew hatred and Israel bashing around the world.

Let us hope that the world will have learned its lesson this time. When only one people's state is singled out as racist in the whole world, we are awfully near to Evian 1938. On the second day of the UN conference, Tuesday, April 21, which also happens to be Holocaust Remembrance Day, a commemoration event will be held in the small synagogue in the city that hosted the fateful 1938 conference."

The writer is the founding director of the European Coalition for Israel (a Christian initiative promoting European-Israeli Cooperation)

- European Coalition for Israel director calls for broad coalition against anti-Semitism
- European Parliament conference vows to fight anti-Semitism
- "Do not let Israel become the Sudetenland of today", Hanna Orgonikova (ECI)
- European Coalition for Israel warns against surge of anti-Semitism in Europe
- "Are we using European tax money to promote peace or hatred?", asks ECI director
- European Coalition for Israel on working visit to Paris

Sunday 19 April 2009

Holland, Australia boycott 'Durban II'

"Australia has decided not to participate in the Durban Review Conference. The 2001 Declaration singled out Israel and the Middle East. Australia expressed strong concerns about this at the time. Regrettably, we cannot be confident that the Review Conference will not again be used as a platform to air offensive views, including anti-Semitic views." (Stephen Smith, Australian Foreign Minister)

"(...) The US, Italy, Canada and Israel will also boycott the meeting, to protest language in the final document that they say could single out Israel for criticism and restrict free speech. (...)

Hours after the US said it would boycott the UN conference over objectionable language in the meeting's final document that could single out Israel for criticism, Australia and Holland followed suit on Sunday morning, saying they were concerned the conference would be derailed by some countries to issues other than human rights.

"Australia has decided not to participate in the Durban Review Conference," Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said in a statement. "The 2001 Declaration singled out Israel and the Middle East. Australia expressed strong concerns about this at the time."

"Regrettably, we cannot be confident that the Review Conference will not again be used as a platform to air offensive views, including anti-Semitic views," he continued.

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen later issued a statement saying his country was boycotting the conference because some nations were using it as a platform to attack the West. Verhagen said these countries were planning to use the summit to put religion above human rights and rein in freedom of speech. He called the proposed closing declaration "unacceptable."

On Saturday night, the State Department said that the Obama administration would "with regret" boycott the conference. It followed weeks of furious internal debate and fierce lobbying by Israel and Jewish groups against US participation.

A final draft of the statements, released late Friday, made changes to sections that had referred to a "hierarchy" among forms of racism, but left intact sections that the US had said would cause it to boycott the meetings.

The conference's planning has been dominated by efforts by Arab nations to prioritize concerns about Islamophobia and "anti-Arabism" - widely interpreted as a thinly veiled code for the treatment of Palestinians.

Some revisions - including the removal of specific critical references to Israel and problematic passages about the defamation of religion - were negotiated, for which State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the administration was "deeply grateful."

But he said the text retains troubling elements that suggest support for restrictions on free speech and an affirmation of the "findings" of the first World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001 that the US cannot endorse. (...)

Israel, Canada and Italy had already said they would not attend the conference under any circumstances because of the tenor of the debate surrounding the planning, and due to the politicized nature of the event itself.

"The text is not the only or even the main thing to consider," Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, said Saturday. "The general mood is a very negative one and everybody is ignoring the main question, which is, 'Does this do good or bad to the fight against racism?'"

Leshno-Yaar said the conference would be "only about politics," adding that there would be "nothing about the fight against racism."

American officials had already said in February that they would not accept a final document that reaffirmed the text endorsed during the first World Conference Against Racism in 2001. The US and Israel walked out of that conference over a draft resolution that singled out Israel for criticism and likened Zionism to racism.

The US had joined Israel in objecting to any further such references, as well as to language declaring that "incitement to racial discrimination" is illegal, something US officials fear would limit free speech.

The changes released on Friday retained language reaffirming the program of action adopted at the original conference.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) welcomed the Obama Administration's decision to boycott the meeting.

"President Obama's decision not to send US representation to the event is the right thing to do and underscores America's unstinting commitment to combating intolerance and racism in all its forms and in all settings," AIPAC said in a statement. (...)"

Source: article by Allison Hoffman and Hilary Leila Krieger in TJP

Thursday 16 April 2009

"Amnesty ... let the Jews down in Durban", Simon Wiesenthal Center

"Amnesty ... let the Jews down in Durban." (Shimon Samuels, Simon Wiesenthal Center)

"An Amnesty press release handed out during the NGO conference cited several examples of racism and human rights abuses around the world, but mentioned only Israel by name." (JTA)

Source: Extracts from NGO Monitor "Durban II Resource Guide"

"Jewish representatives were subjected to verbal assaults and threats of physical violence throughout the conference. Major international NGO superpowers Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International failed to speak out against the harassment and were even complicit in the exclusion of representatives of Jewish non-governmental organizations."
Durban I NGO Forum Final Declaration:

"The NGO Forum’s final declaration was a concentrated indictment directed at Israel. This document asserted that the "targeted victims of Israel’s brand of apartheid and ethnic cleansing methods have been in particular children, women, and refugees" and called for:

"a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state ... the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation, and training) between all states and Israel."

The NGO declaration also condemned Israel’s "perpetration of racist crimes against humanity including ethnic cleansing, acts of genocide." It redefined antisemitism to include "anti-Arab racism." Noticeably absent from the declaration was any reference to Palestinian incitement to genocide and terror, or to the Palestinian policy of deliberately endangering its civilians through the use of populated Palestinian areas as launch pads for attacks on Israel.

While some groups, notably the Jewish and European Caucuses, protested the adoption of the declaration, international human rights NGOs either kept quiet or actively supported it. Later, once the NGO declaration was criticized, leaders of HRW and Amnesty attempted to distance themselves from the declaration and the antisemitic atmosphere. However, the record shows their complicity in Durban’s outcome: One journalist noted that "[a]n Amnesty press release handed out during the NGO conference cited several examples of racism and human rights abuses around the world, but mentioned only Israel by name." (...)

The Forum’s declaration has become an action plan – the Durban Strategy – for the radical pro-Palestinian NGOs that helped draft the document, as well as for many of the international NGOs that supported it."
Durban Strategy:
• Promoted false allegations of a "massacre" in Jenin (2002).
• Lobbied on behalf of boycotts and lawfare in the Ariel Sharon-Belgium (2001) and Caterpillar (2005) cases.
• Calls for arms embargo against Israel.
• Unjustifiably accused Israel of "war crimes" and "deliberate attacks on civilians" during the Second Lebanon War (2006), relying on Lebanese "eyewitnesses" to allege that Hezbollah did not operate in population centers.
• Disproportionately singles out Israel for condemnation during the Gaza conflict (2007-2009), manipulating terms such as "collective punishment," "occupying power" and "indiscriminate force," and ignoring more severe human rights violations in the region.

Complicity in virulent NGO Forum in 2001:

• "An Amnesty press release handed out during the NGO conference cited several examples of racism and human rights abuses around the world, but mentioned only Israel by name." [JTA report from the conference]

• "Contrary to some media reports, Amnesty International did not walk out of the NGO Forum, remaining at the conference throughout. Although not accepting or condoning some of the language used within the NGO Declaration, Amnesty International accepts the declaration as a largely positive document which gives a voice to all the victims of racism wherever it occurs, including those seldom heard such as Dalits and refugees." [Press release, September 2001]

Statements to UN Human Rights Council:

• "The patterns of human rights violations carried out by the Israeli authorities against Palestinians in the OPT are deeply entrenched in the normative and institutional structure of the state. The Israeli authorities contend that measures which violate human rights of
Palestinians in the OPT are necessary for Israel’s security. Within Israel, discriminatory laws and practices undermine the rights of Israeli Arabs in particular with regard to economic, social and cultural rights, and lack of due process undermines the rights of asylum-seekers and migrants." [Submission to Universal Periodic Review of Israel, July 2008]"

Tuesday 14 April 2009

58% of Indians, 56% of Americans, 34% of British sympathetic to Israel

"At the bottom of the list, the study ranked Britain (34%) France (27%) and Spain (23%) as the least sympathetic countries towards Israel."

"The greatest level of sympathy towards Israel can be found in India, according to international study on behalf of the Foreign Ministry, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.

According to the study, which was unprecedented in scope and was undertaken by an international market research company, 58% of Indian respondents showed sympathy to the Jewish State. The United States came in second, with 56% of American respondents sympathizing with Israel.

The study was undertaken as part of the "Branding Israel" project and aimed at looking into Israel's international stature at what researchers characterized as the world's 13 most important countries, including the US, Canada, Britain, France, China, and Russia. A total of 5,215 people took part in the study.

Other countries that showed significant sympathy to Israel included Russia (52%) Mexico (52%) and China (50%). At the bottom of the list, the study ranked Britain (34%) France (27%) and Spain (23%) as the least sympathetic countries towards Israel.

Videos make a difference

As part of the study, participants were asked a series of questions and were instructed to grade their level of sympathy of Israel on a 1-10 scale. Later, participants were presented with several branding videos on Israel, before being asked more questions in order to see whether their opinions changed after watching the clips.

The videos showed many aspects of life in Israel, including the beaches, landscape, culture, food, technology, and religious sites.

After watching the videos, a total of 51% of all respondents said their views on Israel changed for the better. The percentage of respondents who perceived Israel as an aggressive state subsequently dropped from 35% to 21%. Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents who perceived Israel as a creative country rose from 24% to 40% after watching the clips."

Source: Article "From India with love, Study on behalf of Foreign Ministry ranks India, US as most pro-Israel countries", by Itamar Eichner at Ynet News

Sunday 12 April 2009

Catholic NGO: Israelis poisoning Palestinian pastures and water tanks

"Participants in Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII's project adopt the Palestinian narrative and use the rhetoric of "colonizing," "massacres," and "ghettoizing." Project publications repeat unsubstantiated allegations of Israeli violence and "poisoning pasture[s] and water tanks.""

"EC´s Partnerships for Peace 2007-8 NGO Grantees: Funding Conflict under the Façade of Peace

- Many of the "civil society" organizations funded under the European Commission's Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP) are active participants in the Durban strategy that exacerbates the conflict and promotes campaigns against Israel.

- In the most recent round, support for five projects and associated NGOs was renewed including the tendentious activities of ARIJ, Ir Amim, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, and Panorama.

- After eight years of funding, support for ICAHD – a radical Israeli NGO – was not renewed. The EC had been ICAHD’s main source of support.

- The PfP website features the "Words Can Kill" project, jointly implemented by Israeli NGO Keshev and Palestinian NGO Miftah (2005-6 grant). Miftah's website is a forum for demonization of Israel and "disseminate[s] the Palestinian narrative and discourse globally," making a mockery of the EC's stated goals of a "culture of moderation, tolerance, and understanding."

- "Phase III" of an ARIJ project "aims at disseminating information on Israeli colonization by monitoring Israeli colonization activities through the collection of primary and secondary data and the analysis of colony’s land use changes." EC support contrasts with the "partnerships for peace" rhetoric, and the information appears to be used to bolster the Palestinian side "in the course of negotiations."

- Funding for Ir Amim's "Final Status in Jerusalem" project constitutes an attempt by EC officials to manipulate Israeli democracy to conform with the dominant EU "political vision." Jerusalem is the most sensitive and explosive dimension in the conflict, and this funding is particularly volatile.

- Participants in Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII's project adopt the Palestinian narrative and use the rhetoric of "colonizing," "massacres," and "ghettoizing." Project publications repeat unsubstantiated allegations of Israeli violence and "poisoning pasture[s] and water tanks.""

Read the whole report NGO Monitor here

- Trócaire: Misdirected Catholic Aid from Ireland Fuels Conflict
- Europe's Hidden Hand: NGO Monitor study on EU funding for political NGOs in the Arab Israeli conflict

Friday 10 April 2009

Crooked noses and yellow stars at the Aalst carnival (Belgium)

Pictures taken at this years' famous Aalst carnival parade. Middle-aged men are disguised as orthodox Jews with crooked noses and wearing a yellow star. The Palestinian keffiehs and the combat helicopters (photo on the right) only serve to demonize Israel and the Jews. Sadly, this appalling "humour" hasn't drawn any criticism, other than an article in the Jewish French-speaking Regards magazine.

Source: Regards Magazine, April 2008 issue
The compulsory wearing of the yellow star was the climax of the indignities to which Jews were forced to submit
"The climax of the indignities to which Jews still living in Germany were forced to submit was the yellow star, the wearing of which became compulsory on 19 September 1941. Nowhere was the Jew to feel safe: she or he was to be marked out, part of the crowd but already exiled from it. For several days Klemperer was unable to sum up the courage to leave the Jews’ House and go out into the street with the yellow star displayed on his chest." (Martin Chalmers, introduction to I Shall Bear Witness: The Diaries of Victor Klemperer 1933-41, Weinfeld & Nicolson, 1998)

"This image was created by Dzeni. It contains the names of 1,692 victims of the Shoah. These names were found on the Yad Vashem Central Database of Shoah Victims. The boy in the image is taken from the famous Warsaw Ghetto Photograph."
Source: Simply Jews

- Jewish groups' anger at Belgian TV digs: "the Jews are still angry"
- Belgian radio: Comedian jokes about the Holocaust
- Belgium: Hitler favourite dish TV show scrapped due to pressure exerted by "Semites"
- Culinary tv program featuring Hitler’s 'favourite meal' will not be aired tonight
- Public tv channel makes promotion with Hitler caricature ad

Thursday 9 April 2009

Norway’s turn to set things straight

"There is a need for an international research institution to undertake an in-depth study of what this Norwegian government has said and done concerning murderous behavior, calls for mass murder of Jews, war crimes, major human rights offenses, restriction of civil liberties and political rights and so on in the Muslim world, including the Palestinian territories. Such a study should also stress on what issues the Norwegian government remained silent. When one will compare this with its behavior toward Israel a clear picture will emerge of its false humanitarianism." (Manfred Gerstenfeld)

- And so the plot thickens…
- God’s chosen people…

Source: piece in Norway, Israel and the Jews

On March 1st the Israeli political scientist Manfred Gerstenfeld from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs was misquoted by 20 Norwegian newspapers for saying that "Norway is the most anti-Semitic country in Europe" and "Norwegians are unintelligent and barbaric". These misquotes still circulate in the Norwegian media. You can find more about these misquotes here.

Yesterday on April 5th, in the wake of the media circus regarding the phony source David Weiss, runs a op-ed by Gerstenfeld in which he states "There is a need for an international research institution to undertake an in-depth study of what this Norwegian government has said and done…". Read the full text below, or read it in Norwegian here. The heading above and the translation below is from Tundra Tabloids.

Anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism in Norway
Manfred Gerstenfeld

In an article in Dagbladet of 30 March titled "Israelsk avis: Kristin Halvorsen sa "Død over jødene!"" the authors are quoting a text on the TV2 website. It alleges that – in an interview on that station – I said that "The Norwegians are a Jew hating nation," and "The Norwegians are a barbarian and unintellectual people." As I write this, that interview is still on the internet.

Had the authors watched it as they should, instead of reading about it, they could not have heard me say these words.

Normally an interviewer asks questions and the interviewee answers them. I take responsibility for what I say on TV2 in English. However the interviewer also inserts various statements in Norwegian in my name which I did not say, but are his manipulations. Had the TV2 correspondent recorded such statements by me on camera he would have certainly shown them. I am still waiting for an answer from TV2 on my request for an additional interview, in view of these manipulations. I intend now to bring a complaint to Pressens Faglige Utvalg (PFU). In the meantime the same TV2 interviewer has also radically distorted some of my words in a telephone conversation he had with the daily Dagen which was published. (on April 2).

Dagbladet has asked me whether I told the journalist of the Jerusalem Post that Kristin Halvorsen [photo above] shouted "death to the Jews" in a pro-Palestinian rally. I did not. What I told her is that Halvorsen is an extreme anti-Israeli. I also referred her to the largest Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot as a source which mentions that Halvorsen was present when there were such shouts by others. Since then the Finnish blog Tundra Tabloids and afterwards Dagens Naeringsliv have published a picture of Halvorsen smiling in an anti-Israeli demonstration in 2009. Very close to her another demonstrator holds a sign: "The greatest axis of evil: USA and Israel."

One can find my detailed views on Anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism in Norway in my book in English Behind the Humanitarian Mask, The Nordic countries, Israel and the Jews, which was published last year. Due to the great international interest in the book, only a few printed copies remain. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs therefore recently made the book available at no cost on the internet. Many thousands have entered that website since.

Norway is a country where the political leadership in power is very critical of the Israeli democracy. This government is also relatively soft on Israel’s dictatorial opponents, some of which declare that they want to murder all Jews. This supports a state of mind in Norway which can only lead to more hatred of Israel and Jews.

There is a need for an international research institution to undertake an in-depth study of what this Norwegian government has said and done concerning murderous behavior, calls for mass murder of Jews, war crimes, major human rights offenses, restriction of civil liberties and political rights and so on in the Muslim world, including the Palestinian territories. Such a study should also stress on what issues the Norwegian government remained silent. When one will compare this with its behavior toward Israel a clear picture will emerge of its false humanitarianism.

Furthermore several Norwegian Jews have made public statements concerning anti-Semitism they have encountered over recent years. Some are mentioned in my book. Others were made in private because people are afraid. In many countries there are studies on local anti-Semitism.

Such a study on Norway is necessary. The media attacks on those who expose anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism will not make the problems go away.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Choudary, Ghannouchi, Wilders and the "British malady", by Claude Moniquet

"Her Majesty’s Government might as well tolerate the activities of a Choudary – advocate ofthe Sharia. It might as well offer its protection to a Ghannouchi – propagandist of the Jihad. It is doing nothing other than preparing new "July 7" disasters and new defeats for democracy."

"There was a time when Great Britain was led by Sir Winston Churchill, and that was the Age of Resistance and of Glory. Today all we have is Gordon Brown and the time of capitulation has arrived.

One could have hoped that after the tragedy of 7 July 2005, Londonistan - this symbol of the age whereby the British capital serves as the place of refuge of all the Islamists of the world - belonged to the past. Don’t kid yourself ! Less than four years after the London massacre, those who plotted against democracy in Europe and against societal progress in the Muslim-Arab world are getting a warmer welcome from Westminster than ever before.
Let’s consider one fact, to begin with: in mid-February the Dutch populist deputy Geerts Wilders, who made a film critical of Islam – Fitna - was purely and simply expelled from Great Britain. He had been invited by a member of the House of Lords to speak before a group of parliamentarians during a private meeting at which his film was supposed to be screened. Another member of the honourable assembly, Lord Ahmed, who is of Pakistani origin, threatened to mobilize thousands of Muslims to prevent Geert Wilders from getting inside the Parliament building. The Labour Government, more precisely Madame Jacqui Smith, Interior Minister, then ordered the arrest of Mr. Wilders, who was taken, manu militari, to his plane and expelled from the country. One may like Mr. Wilders or not, but we are talking about the elected representative of a member country of the European Union. If some people, rightly or wrongly, believe themselves to be insulted by the views he holds of Islam, they have the possibility of taking the matter to the courts. But in London, they will not have to go so far: the Interior Minister has spared them the effort by censuring the troublemaker.

On the other hand, there is no censure for Anjem Choudary. He is a charming man, a true moderate: he has "forbidden" British Muslims to cooperate with the police in the struggle against terrorism and, in 2006, he called for the assassination of the Pope. Two groups which he created or directs - al-Muhajiroun and al-Ghurabaa - have been found to be "terrorist organizations" and banned. But on 28 February he was allowed to organize a demonstration in London in favour of the Sharia and against "the oppression of human law." For him, his British compatriots are "unbelievers" who, among their other vices, indulge in gambling, are alcoholics and worship false gods. A moderate, you say…

Neither is there censure for Rachid Ghannouchi, a Tunisian extremist who, in the 1980s, was the founder of the Islamic Tendency Movement, then of Ennahda, two movements which aimed to transform Tunisia into an "imamat," in the framework of a grand Islamic caliphate.

These past few weeks, he spoke out against Israel in the British media - which is his fundamental right. What is undoubtedly more debatable is that he acted as the advocate of Hamas, which is considered as a terrorist movement in Europe - and he believes Hamas is the spearhead of the Palestinian resistance. Better still, on 19 February he co-signed with several other Islamist leaders close to the Muslim Brotherhood a call for the creation of a "third Jihadist front." The document was adopted at the conclusion of a "summit" held in Istanbul during the course of which the same leaders called upon the Arab states to facilitate "the passage of combatants’ and arms" before hurling out the cry: "There will be no accord with Israel."

On 22 February, in an interview with the satellite television network Al-Hiwar (during a broadcast of "Taamoulat fiddine wal siyassa" - reflections on religion and politics), he said he admired the Qassam rockets, a "civilised weapon": "The word "terrorize" has, here, a magnificent meaning… That’s why I admire the Qassam rockets. The aim of those missiles being only to terrorize …".
More recently, on 23 March, he cast doubt even on the right of the Jewish state to exist: "Israel is a temporary political reality. In the 1920s or 1960s, there was a state called Zanzibar. Where is it today, this state called Zanzibar?" Can one be clearer? We note that in the same interview the "moderate" Ghannouchi gave us quite directly his political plans for Tunisia: "A democratic state in a Muslim society like Tunisia can only be an Islamic state." Here again: can one be any clearer?

When you criticise the great degree of tolerance which they have shown for years when confronted with Islamism, the English authorities are used to responding that this is nothing more than respecting freedom of speech. That is a nice excuse for covering up a quite cynical calculation. Because the reality is quite different: London believes in fact that in order to protect itself against the Muslim-Arab world toppling into the hands of the Jihadist "extremists" they have no choice but to take sides and encourage the accession to power of the "moderates." They forget a few small details: in Pakistan it is the "moderate" Islamists who have encouraged the Afghan Taliban; in Algeria it is the "moderate" Islamists of the Islamic Salvation Front who gave rise to the killers of the GIA in the 1990s. And here and there around the world, it is the "moderates" of the Muslim Brotherhood who are currently preparing the establishment of the Caliphates which we will perhaps be confronting tomorrow.

Her Majesty’s Government might as well tolerate the activities of a Choudary - advocate of the Sharia. It might as well offer its protection to a Ghannouchi - propagandist of the Jihad. It is doing nothing other than preparing new "July 7" disasters and new defeats for democracy.

"You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You have chosen dishonour and you will get war," Winston Churchill told Neville Chamberlain the day after the Munich agreements.

But Great Britain is run by Mr. Gordon Brown in 2009, not by Mr. Churchill."
Source: Editorial by Claude Moniquet, President of ESISC
Copyright© ESISC 2009

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Zionists behind Abou Jahjah being barred from re-entering UK

"... the launch of the IUPFP British branch with Jeremy Corbyn MP [and Dyab Abou Jahjah, President of the pro-Hezbollah and pro-Hamas Arab-European League (see photo below)] in the British Houses of Parliament on the 31st March."

"Deep sensitization and spreading awareness on the aggressive, terrorist and racist nature of the Zionist entity as well as the hazards on security and peace in the world it causes. Exposing its expansionist objectives and inhuman practices and crimes against the Palestinian people and the sacred places, and seeking the expulsion of the Zionist entity from international institutions." (IUPFP
articles of association)

1. Invitation (31 March)

"As the Chairperson of the English branch of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine (IUPFP), I am pleased to invite you to our launch meeting in Parliament on 630pm Tuesday 31st March under the title 'Solidarity with Palestine after the Gaza onslaught'.

We are honoured to have speaking at this meeting guests who are leading elected representatives of the Palestinian and Lebanese people in the persons of Mr Hussein el-Hajj Hassan MP from the Loyalty to the Resistance Parliamentary Bloc in Lebanon, and also Mr Hasan Khreishi the Vice President of the Palestinian Parliament.

We also have esteemed guest speakers Mr Jeremy Corbyn MP and Mr Dyab Abou Jahjah the International Director of the IUPFP.

To confirm your attendance please RSVP to me via replying to this email at the and you will receive a confirmation of your attendance. Please also let me know if you are bringing any other person(s) with you.
07709112126, Chair, English Branch of the IUPFP
2. Press release (4 April)

"Last week Dyab Abou Jahjah, the International Director of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine (IUPFP) was in London to launch the British branch of the IUPFP.

The Zionists put pressure on the British government to bar Abou Jahjah from entry into England without success. Two conferences sucessfully took place in London organised with the involvement of the IUPFP , both events featured our guest speaker and Hizbullah leader Dr Hussein El-Hajj Hassan. The first conference was under the auspices of the Stop the War Coalition and one of it's leader John Rees on Monday 30th March; and the second was the launch of the IUPFP British branch with Jeremy Corbyn MP in the British Houses of Parliament on the 31st March.

After a short trip to Belgium and upon Abou Jahjah's re-entry to Britain on the 3rd April, Abou Jahjah was stopped for six hours by British immigration police and denied entry.

This is a part of European criminalisation of the resistance and of the movement of solidarity with Palestine, a movement which is on the rise in the West. This is the second attempt at Western criminalisation of solidarity with Palestine and the resistance after the refusal of entry by the Canadian authorities of George Galloway MP, the leader of Respect Coalition and the initiator of the Viva Palestina convoy to Gaza, Palestine.

This poses the question: are European powers sincere in their steps towards opening a dialogue with the resistance in the region?

We demand from European parliamentarians to protest to the British authorities that they lift these anti-democratic measures.

Luk Vervaet, President of the IUPFP - Belgium
Sukant Chandan, President of the IUPFP - Britain"

Photo from the Belgian-based Arab European League website: "We will not recognize what so-called Israel" (Hamas)

- British writer Alan Hart calls for the creation of an international anti-Zionist lobby
Muslim European group posts anti-Semitic cartoons
Arab-European League lashes out at Geert Wilders and MEMRI