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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Anti Semitism’

Florida Chabad Vandalized after Expansion Plan Announcement

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

The Chabad Jewish Center in Boca Raton, Fla., was vandalized a day after an article in a local newspaper announced the center’s expansion plans.

A cement marker with a sign indicating the rabbi’s parking space was torn from its place and thrown through a glass door of the Jewish center sometime Monday night, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Boca Raton police are investigating the incident, which was discovered Tuesday morning, as an act of vandalism and not a hate crime even though surrounding buildings were not subject to such vandalism, however, according to the local CBS affiliate.

“To come to a synagogue and find it having been vandalized, and littered with shattered glass, broken concrete and debris, sends painful shudders down the spine of any Jew,” Chabad Rabbi Ruvi New told the Sun Sentinel. “One can only speculate who the perpetrators were and what their motives may have been.”

Swastika Mars British Sculpture Exhibit

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Vandals scrawled a swastika and a Jewish Star of David on one of 16 fiberglass “sunfish” that were placed throughout the British city of Plymouth this week to celebrate the city’s young artists, the Plymouth Herald reported.

The sculptures were unveiled at the start of National Apprentices Week and were placed to create a tourist trail to highlight the National Marine Aquarium’s Making Waves project.

A spokeswoman for Plymouth City Council said, “We are appalled that someone should do this and arranged for our staff to remove this extremely offensive material as soon as possible. This particular sunfish was sponsored by the council as part of the Making Waves project – which was designed to give a real lift to the city center and give visitors and local people a talking and walking point.”

Rabbi in Crimea Makes it Out on the Last Train

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Clarification and Update:

Wording in the title of this article has been changed from “Rabbi in Crimea Escapes with Torah Scroll” to “Rabbi in Crimea Makes it Out on the Last Train”, to avoid any potential misunderstanding that Rabbi Yitzchok Meyer Lipszyc may have stolen the Torah from the Crimea war zone, or abandoned his community in its time of need.

The Torah was moved to a safer location in Simferopol, and Rabbi Lipszyc was advised by his superiors at Chabad headquarters to temporarily move his center of operations out of Crimea. The Rabbi is still working with his community via Skype, phone and email.

JewishPress.com apologizes for any misunderstanding the title may have caused if read out of context from the text of the article.

Crimea’s Chabad Rabbi Yitzchak Meyer Lipszyc escaped Simferopol with his wife on the last train that left the area before the Russian sealed it off.

“The main action in Crimea was taking place right across the street from our synagogue,” said Rabbi Lipszyc, who has been a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, for more than two decades. “There were demonstrations with over 30,000 people. The protestors were pro-Ukrainian. But eventually the ones who took over were in the unidentified uniforms—they were obviously Russian military. There was Cossacks there too; for Jews that was a bit scary because of their history in the pogroms.”

Lipszyc spoke told JNS.org, “For the last 22 years under the Ukrainian government, everything has been going very well. When this situation began, it turned things upside down. We were told by Chabad headquarters to get out and we barely made it out. My wife in fact got the last two tickets on a train out of Simferopol on the night before everything got sealed off by the Russians.

He said that despite the referendum that was almost unanimous for annexation by Russia, the thinks “most of the people wanted to stay with Ukraine, because that was what they were familiar with, but then when the Russians took over the media and propaganda switched the other way, within days we saw it swing towards being overwhelmingly pro-Russian.’

The situation is even worse for Americans like the rabbi, he added. “Americans were persona-non-gratis for both Ukrainians and Russians at this time. For Russians it is because of the stance the American government has taken against Russia. While on the Ukraine side they are deeply disappointed that America is not doing enough to help them.

“Oddly enough we had to leave there more because we were Americans and not because we were Jewish.”

Nevertheless, the atmosphere was anything but comfortable for Jews. Rabbi Lipszyc said that the Russian troops cordoned off the synagogue and that he and his wife moved to their house.

At his wife’s suggestion, they decided to move away as far as possible and wrote a note to the Lubavitcher Rebbe to ask his help to get them out.

“Believe it or not, when our friend reached the military checkpoint, he explained to them that we needed to retrieve the Torah out of the synagogue, [the Russian soldier] suddenly moved out of the way and removed the barriers to let him,” according to the rabbi. “On his way out, the solider actually even apologized to him for the inconvenience, which was unheard of there! It was a miracle. We were able to move our Torahs to a safer location in Simferopol, where services were held for several weeks.””

Despite anti-Semitism, Jews are able to practice without interference. However, he noted, “We have to prepare for Passover and need to raise a lot of money to help with the extra costs. We not only need extra security, but we have taken loses during the process.

“We were getting our kosher meat from Ukraine; we had ordered and paid for it, but they [Russian forces] didn’t let it through. We also paid for the Matzos, but that didn’t get through either. We need to figure out how to all our supplies through now. We are appealing to everyone to help out the Jewish community there.”

Sam Kliger, the American Jewish Committee’s director of Russian Jewish community affairs, told JNS.org that according to international law and most Western observers, the referendum was illegitimate.

“In 1991, Crimea went to independent Ukraine because, since 1954, it was part of Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic which in turn was an integral part of the Soviet Union,” said Kliger. “That is why nobody really cared. As long as it was a part of the USSR, it did not really matter whether it is formally a part of Russia or Ukraine. Now Russia, using as pretext the instability created by Ukrainian revolution and imaginary ‘discrimination’ against ethnic Russians, just grabbed the opportunity to return Crimea to where, according to Russia, it historically belongs.”

Belgian Group Mulls Legal Action over Anti-Semitic Twitter Joke

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

A Belgian watchdog on anti-Semitism warned it was preparing to take legal action against online propagators of a new anti-Semitic joke about the Holocaust.

The Belgian League against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA, issued the threat regarding a photograph of an oven with paper money inside, bearing the caption, “The Jew trap is set.”

The photo surfaced earlier this month. One of its early disseminators was a Twitter user from Belgium using the handle Simree Dikule. The picture was re-tweeted by thousands of additional users and also posted on Facebook by a student of the Bracops Lambert high school near Brussels, the La Capitale daily reported Tuesday. The student, who was identified only as “M.,” wrote on Facebook: “It’s racist, but it’s funny.”

“This disgusting and unacceptable new joke has a double insult,” said LBCA President Joel Rubinfeld. “It alludes to the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews are greedy and to the crematoria that Nazis used to burn Jews during the Holocaust.”

The tweet and the Facebook post have been removed, though it is unclear whether the users or the companies removed them.

Last year, a French court forced the California-based Twitter social network to divulge information on users who had disseminated anti-Semitic jokes. Twitter was sued by the UEJF French Jewish student union after the hashtags #unbonjuif (“a good Jew”) and #unjuifmort (“a dead Jew”) became hugely popular because they were used in what Le Monde termed “a competition of anti-Semitic jokes.”

Twitter argued that, as an American company, it adhered to U.S. laws on hate speech, which are far more liberal than those of France and many other European countries.

But the French court ruled that the French blogosphere and online interaction between French residents constituted French public space, where French legislation against hate speech applies.

Tokyo Police Arrest Man in Connection With Anne Frank Vandalism

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Tokyo Metropolitan Police reportedly have arrested a man in connection with the vandalism of hundreds of copies of “The Diary of Anne Frank” in city libraries.

The Tokyo resident, identified as an “unemployed man in his 30s,” made a statement admitting to some involvement in the vandalism of the books in February, according to a website citing the Japanese-language MSN Sankei News.

Police arrested the man on March 7 for entering a bookstore in the Ikebukuro district to hang up a poster without permission. It is not known what the posters said.

Footage from the store’s security cameras reportedly show the same man wandering back and forth inside the same bookstore through sections dealing with the Holocaust in the Ikebukuro district in February, including the day that some of the damage occurred.

Pages were ripped from at least 265 copies of the diary and other related books in public libraries and book stores throughout Tokyo in February.

Police have confiscated the arrested man’s cell phone and computer and have looked at security footage from other locations where vandalism occurred and have spotted the man in the videos, according to Sankei.

About 30,000 Japanese tourists visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam every year, about 5,000 visitors more than the number of visitors from Israel.

Japan is also the only East Asian country with statues and a museum in memory of Anne Frank.

Lesser of Two Evils May Replace Falk on Anti-Israel UN Council

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will be deciding at its annual spring session in Geneva this month on a replacement for Richard Falk, the body’s special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights who has a history of anti-Israel bias.

U.N. watchdog groups, the United States, and Israel are closely monitoring the selection process.

The applicant list has recently been reduced by the vetting committee from 10 to three, with the candidates perceived as being the most biased against Israel now out of the running, according to UN Watch. The council president, currently Baudelaire Ndong Ella of the Gabonese Republic, will select one of the candidates to be put for a vote in front of the entire council later this month.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, told JNS.org that usually, the president follows the vetting committee’s recommendation and picks the leading candidate, although he has no obligation to do so. The president may even choose a candidate already eliminated in the vetting process.

Appointed by the council to a six-year non-renewable term in 2008, Falk, a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University who endorsed boycotts against the Jewish state, has been a perennial thorn in the side of Israel supporters, current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Before becoming the special rapporteur, Falk was a member of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Inquiry Commission for the Palestinian territories.

The three remaining candidates for the job include Christina Cerna, adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School; John Cerone, professor at Boston’s New England Law School; and Christine Chinkin, professor of international law at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Of the three, both UN Watch and the Israel-based NGO Monitor regard Chinkin’s record as the most biased against Israel.

“Chinkin was in our ‘rogues’ gallery,” said Neuer, referring to a list his organization compiled to expose anti-Israel sentiments among the original group of candidates. “She co-wrote the Goldstone Report, so she has a record of being enormously biased, someone who’s so biased that she doesn’t even know when she has disqualified herself for a fact finding mission.”

Neuer was referring to Chinkin’s participation in the U.N. Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict in 2009, also known as the Goldstone Report for its chairman, South African jurist Richard Goldstone. She also signed a January 2009 letter in the British Sunday Times newspaper that condemned Israel for war crimes and declared it to be the aggressor in its conflict with the Palestinians.

“It was ridiculous that she continued to serve on the Goldstone commission [without recusing herself],” argued Neuer in referencing the letter.

“Goldstone had the courage and the moral backbone to renounce his own report and Chinkin was one of the main people who denounced Goldstone for that process,” added Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of NGO Monitor and a political science professor at Tel Aviv’s Bar Ilan University. “Goldstone acknowledged that they didn’t have the information, the evidence they presented was not convincing regarding Israel and Chinkin denounced him for that.”

The top two candidates currently do not rank on UN Watch’s “rogues list” nor do they have dossiers at NGO Monitor. But David Michaels, B’nai B’rith International’s director of intercommunal affairs, argued that on a certain level, it didn’t matter who occupies Falk’s position.

“The post itself, by its nature, is explicitly discriminatory against Israel. It’s meant to focus only on alleged violations of Palestinian rights with no consideration at all of violation of Israeli rights or of Palestinian misdeeds,” explained Michaels. “Whereas all other 192 member states of the U.N., including Iran, North Korea, Syria, China [and] Russia are all addressed under one item… Israel has its own permanent agenda item.”

Michaels said that there are NGOs and Human Rights Council members worried about the credibility that is lost within the organization when it appears as systemically against Israel as it currently does.

“It’s an offense against the only democracy in the Middle East, the only Jewish state, but also it just shows in a very stark way that the [U.N.] bodies neglect the most severe and heinous areas of human rights violations in the world,” he said.

At his position, Falk has made public statements against Israel and the United States, positions that Steinberg feels borders on anti-Semitism.

“I’ve been in meetings with him and he uses the ‘I’m Jewish, therefore I can’t be accused of being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic’” defense, said Steinberg, adding, “He uses that defense a lot and my challenge to him was, ‘In what other way are you Jewish other than in this hostility towards Israel and your Jewish connections?’”

Without taking a position on who should succeed Falk, the U.S. State Department seemed to welcome the end of the special rapporteur’s tenure.

“As we have stated before, we oppose his deeply flawed and one-sided mandate, as well as Agenda Item 7 under which it was created, the only HRC agenda item to focus on one specific country,” a State Department official told JNS.org. “Falk has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments, including his most recent outrageous comments [accusing Israel of genocide] in an interview with Russia Today. His reports and rhetoric have done nothing to advance a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The UNHRC regular session in Geneva is expected to handle most of the Israel-related issues on its agenda on March 21. Despite advocacy from organizations like B’nai B’rith, UN Watch, and NGO Monitor, among others, few expect the UNHRC and its anti-Israel majority to take the Palestinian issue off its permanent agenda anytime soon.

Dmitriy Shapiro wrote this article for JNS.org.

Stockholm School ‘Love-Bombed’ after Nazi Graffiti Attack

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

The youth wing of Sweden’s Liberal party organized a “love bombing” Monday night and pasted heart-shaped papers on the same school that was attacked by neo-Nazi vandals the night before.

Stockholm’s “Vasa Real” school was sprayed with swastikas and slogans, such as “disgusting Jews” and the number 1488 that is a symbol for white power and the Nazi Heil Hitler salute.

“We wanted the pupils at the school to be greeted by love in the morning instead of all the hate they saw on Monday,” young Liberal Bawar Esmail told The Local, Sweden’s largest English daily. “So a group of us got together and cut (out) some heart-shaped paper and put them up on the doors and in the hallways at the school,” he explained. “People passing by joined in, and everyone wrote messages for the students.”

The messages contained words such as “Love overcomes hate” and “Love comes in all shapes and colors.” Others wrote that there were 1,000 times more people lovers than haters in Sweden.

More than 800 children study at the school, which includes three high school  classes with Jewish children studying both the Swedish curriculum and Hebrew and Jewish studies.

Arab Airline Denies Claims of Discrimination against Israelis

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

An airline owned by the United Arab Emirates said it “emphatically refutes” claims that it excludes Israel from its official travel-route map and refuses to transport Israelis.

In a statement, Etihad Airways wrote that it carried more than 1,000 passengers traveling with Israeli passports last year, refuting assertions made in the New York Post newspaper.

“In fact, we do not discriminate in any way and welcome passengers of all faiths and religions carrying valid documentation,” the statement said.

Etihad said its maps “do not identify countries by name” and that its website lists Israel “as one of more than 150 country options for passenger documentation when booking flights.”

According to the Post, Etihad is the sole airline that provides service between Abu Dhabi and U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago and Washington.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arab-airline-denies-claims-of-discrimination-against-israelis/2014/03/11/

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