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October 4, 2015 / 21 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘antisemitism’

Greek Minister Quits after 12 Hours in Office over Anti-Semitic Tweets

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

(JNi.media) Greek Right-wing lawmaker Dimitris Kammenos on Wednesday night resigned—over anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks—from the post of the Deputy Infrastructure Minister, a mere 12 hours after the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s new cabinet following Sunday’s snap national election.

Kammenos was accused of making fun of EU supporters last June, posting a photoshopped image of the gate of Auschwitz, with the infamous slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes You Free) replaced with “We Stay in Europe,” on his Facebook page. At the time, the posting raised a scandal, and the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece protested the callused use of the death camp to make a political point.

Kammenos later tweeted kind of an apology: “The comparison may have been unfortunate but there is an economic holocaust under way in my country!”

From the tweet itself, despite its obvious crudeness, it doesn’t appear that the shortest serving government official in recent memory is an anti-Semite. However, Kammenos has also been accused of supporting a conspiracy theory that 2,500 Jewish World Trade Center employees received an early warning and stayed home on September 11, 2001.

The inclusion of Kammenos and four other members of the Independent Greeks party Prime Minister Tsipras’s government caused an outrage in Greece. The party’s leader, Panos Kammenos, is the new defense minister.

Also last June, news came out that Kammenos had called the Athens gay pride parade “pathetic,” and other homophobic comments by him were found on his social media accounts.

The two-party coalition government has 155 seats in the 300-member Greek parliament (with 145 for left-wing Syriza and 10 for the right-wing Anel).

‘Names, Not Numbers’ Holocaust Survivors’ Interviews Enters 11th Year at YUHSB

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

(JNi.media) Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB) at 2540 Amsterdam Avenue in Washington Heights, Manhattan, is now offering the course “Names, Not Numbers” as a 12th grade elective, Ari Hagler reported for MTA News. Participants will interview Holocaust survivors and later compile their stories into a documentary film. The program had its first meeting a week ago Thursday, with documentary filmmaker Michael Puro.

Puro, whose filmography consists mainly of editing work on a variety of documentary films, both short and full length, is the director of the 2010 film “Names, Not Numbers,” which featured 23 students from three Jewish day schools who came together to record oral histories of Holocaust Survivors.

Tova Fish-Rosenberg created the program back in 2004, transforming traditional history lessons into a lively, interactive, nontraditional experience that involves individuals who have actually lived through the history being taught. Other Jewish schools that have incorporated the program include Yeshiva University High School for Girls, ESW in Houston, Jewish Day School of the Leigh Valley in Allentown, Pa, and the Rambam yeshiva in Baltimore.

“After the training and research, the students gain first hand knowledge through being paired with and given the opportunity to interview and videotape Holocaust survivors, World War II veterans who liberated camps, survivors who later immigrated to pre-1948 Israel, and second generation, who are now living in the same communities as the students,” states the website. “Oral histories of this era depict either survivors or veterans. The students are preserving on videotape and DVD, a small segment of the history of World War II and its aftermath with the connections to Israel. At the same time the participants form intergenerational friendships with their interview subjects.”

Sample interview questions include (although the website cautions that not all of these will be appropriate for everyone):

Describe what your life was like growing up before the war.

Can you tell us what the Jewish community was like?

Did you play a sport?

What did you do for fun with your friends?

How old were you when you first heard the name Hitler?

How did things change when the Germans invaded?

What was it like when Hitler came to power?

Did you have non – Jewish friends before the Holocaust and how did they react to the changes?

Describe what it was like to leave your home with almost no possessions.

What was it like to be in hiding?

What was daily life like in the ghetto /concentration camp?

Do you have a tattooed number? How did you feel when you lost your identity and became a number?

What kind of activities did you do there?

What interesting /moving story would you like to share with us?

How / why did you join the resistance / partisans?

Can you describe liberation day?

What happened to you after you were liberated?

Did other members of your family survive?

How did you come to Israel or America?

Do you have any mementos/ pictures of your family to show us?

Did the Holocaust affect your belief in Hashem?

Finally, the last two questions for the survivors and liberators are important to ask, according to the website:

In what ways does the Holocaust affect your life today?

What kind of message would you like to pass on to young people and to future generations?

Reykjavík’s Revised Anti-Israel Boycott to Hit Only Judea & Samaria Jews

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

(JNi.media) Reykjavík Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson announced on Saturday on Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV that Reykjavík City Council is canceling its boycott of all Israeli products, limiting the boycott instead to goods produced by Jews in Judea and Samaria, Iceland Review reported.

Dagur admitted that the original boycott motion approved by the council hadn’t been prepared well enough, but now it would be “changed and clarified.”

“I have stated that it should have been made much clearer in the text [that only products from territories occupied by Israel should be boycotted], although that’s what we had in mind. I will suggest to the City Council that the motion the way it reads now be withdrawn while we discuss the next steps and how to present it,” the mayor said.

Dagur added: “I must admit that I’m angry at myself for not having done this the way I wanted.” He said he was surprised by the reaction to the decision. “I expected a reaction but not on this scale. It appears to be a stronger reaction than when Iceland declared support for an independent Palestine [in 2011].”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry condemned the move, which came “for no reason or justification except for hatred for its own sake.” The ministry added: “We hope someone in Iceland will come to their senses and end the one-sided blindness against Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.” And Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson called the decision “ridiculous.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center recommended that Jews not travel to Iceland.

“I had a good conversation today with Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen, who has gone through the same … thing. The first news stories had the same interpretation, that Copenhagen was to boycott all products from Israel, and Frank had to put a lot of effort into correcting it. … That’s part of the project ahead, to deliver a clear message,” Dagur promised.

Here’s a tidbit from JNi.media’s earlier feature on Iceland’s anti-Semitism (Iceland’s Chilly Treatment of Jews and the Freeze on Israeli Goods): In 2012, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote a letter to Iceland’s radio and TV director, Pall Magnusson, objecting to the reading of Hymns of Passion by Hallgrimur Petursson which were broadcast leading up to Easter. In the Passion Psalms, Petursson repeated the words for Jews—”Judar” and “Gydingar”—fifty times in fifty psalms, in every case with negative associations of dishonesty, hatred, perfidy and pride. But Magnusson denied the anti=-Semitic allegation, and replied, “I strongly believe that your somewhat harsh interpretation of what you call ‘anti-Semitic references’ in the hymns are not justified.” He didn’t explain why they were not justified, except to refer to how old they are. “I ask you to bear in mind that the hymns were written 350 years ago, and they describe the poet’s feelings about events that supposedly took place 2,000 years ago …. and are a cherished part of Iceland’s cultural history and heritage.” Among these cherished verses demonstrating Iceland’s cultural history and heritage are: “The righteous law of Moses / The Jews here misapplied / Which their deceit exposes / Their hatred and their pride.”

Decrying ‘Dirty Jews‘, Mahmoud Abbas Promises ‘Bombshell’ at UN Speech

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

(JNi.media) PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has promised to “drop a bombshell at the end of my UN speech,” adding, “But I’m not going to reveal the nature of this bombshell,” according to a Wednesday night tweet by journalist Khaled Abu Toameh.

Senior Palestinian Authority official Nabil Shaath told Ma’an on Monday Abbas would use his speech before the UN General Assembly to cancel of some fundamental clauses of the Oslo agreement.

“Israel implements only that which serves her and her interests [in the Oslo Accords], So we, too, will act similarly,” Shaath said, promising that “Abbas will state things clearly — After 22 years, we have not achieved anything out of the Oslo Accords.”

Meanwhile, in a speech at the Muqataa compound in Ramallah, during a welcoming ceremony for a delegation from east Jerusalem, Abbas praised the protesters against the Israeli presence at Temple Mount, and declared that “no Palestinian state will be established without Jerusalem” as its capital.

Abbas stressed that he would not allow Israel to continue in its steps, which are intended, he said, to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He said that

“Al-Aqsa is ours, the Holy Sepulcher is also ours. They have no right to dirty the mosque with their filthy feet, we won’t let them do it.”

The past three days have seen violent clashes on the Temple Mount between Israeli security forces and stone throwing Arabs, enraged over Israeli plans to examine the possibility of sharing the area with Jewish visitors. On Wednesday morning, security forces broke into the Al-Aqsa mosque following intelligence information on masked young Arabs who had barricaded themselves there overnight in order to throw stones at Jewish visitors in the morning.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at dozens of barricaded youths, injuring 16, according to Al Jazeera. The Temple Mount riots led to a wave of violent acts by Arabs in Jerusalem, with masked Arabs throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police and attacking Jewish passersby.

Jewish Teen Punched in the Face by Anti-Semite in Paris

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

A gang of three black men attacked an 18-year-old Jewish teen in a Paris suburb on Tuesday.

The victim, Ruben Am, was punched in the face by one of the men, who he described as a “tall black man,” and who he said called him a “dirty Jew,” according to the report by the French watchdog group, the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA).

Am suffered several cuts to his face from the beating, BNVCA President Sammy Ghozlan reported. The attack, which took place near the Robespierre metro station, began when one of the men approached Am asking for a lighter, and then asked him about his religion.

Am answered that he was a Moroccan Muslim, sensing a threat. But he was punched in the face anyway, with his attacker asserting that he could not be a Muslim since he attended the Daniel Mayer Jewish vocational school. Clearly, he had been followed. The attacker called him a “dirty Jew” and was then joined by two others, also black, Am related. Both concealed their faces with hoodies, Ghozlan reported, adding that all three fled the scene shortly thereafter.

That same day French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called on the country’s Jews to remain in France, and vowed that authorities would protect them from anti-Semitic attacks.

Nearly 7,000 French Jews quit the country in 2014, choosing instead to make a new life in the State of Israel.

During an address before several hundred at the Synagogue de Nazareth in Paris in honor of the upcoming Jewish new year, Valls said, “The fears are present. How can we deny them? No one will condemn those who leave for Israel – but they belong here.

“Without Jews, France will lose its essence.”

A Response to South African Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Dear Chief Rabbi Goldstein,

Your video describing the Jewish history and connection to the Land of Israel was moving and beautiful. Your defense of our homeland and Jerusalem was pure eloquence.

There was a parable recently told over in Torah Tidbits of two brothers who were ill with an exotic disease called Galusia, and they had to eat non-kosher South African elephant meat in order to survive. (I’m paraphrasing TT here).

The first did so with regret, but knew he had no other choice. The second brother became an international elephant meat connoisseur, writing books and making videos on how to cook South African elephant meat and make the most wonderful dishes.

One day a cure was found for their disease (discovered by an Israeli company, as it happens).

The first brother was happy and relieved beyond belief. He no longer had to eat non-kosher food.

But the second brother now how to give up his beloved South African elephant meat, the thing he learned to enjoy more than anything else in the world.

Rabbi Goldstein, your description of Israel was moving and beautiful, even as your love for South Africa is clear.

But there is now a cure for Galusia.

Please, with your congregation, please come home to Israel.

Galus is the disease, Israel is the cure.

EU Administrator Says He Launched Anti-Semitic Assault after 5-Hour Drinking Binge

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

(JNi.media) Stefan Grech, 45, a Maltese EU administrator who is being investigated for an anti-Semitic assault on a woman, told Brussels police he had been drinking for five hours before the incident. He assured the cops his attack had nothing to do anti-Semitism, the Times of Malta reported.

Grech allegedly struck an Italian woman on the head with a metal plate that bore a commemoration of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, and grabbed her neck between his hands in an attempt to strangle her. The woman complained that Grech also called her “a dirty Jew” and later opined that “Hitler should have finished off the Jews.”

“He was talking about Nazis and Jews,” a friend of the victim told police, “They were racist comments, that was very clear.”

“I was out celebrating 10 years working with the European Commission and had been drinking mojitos from 7 PM till about midnight when all this happened,” Grech said. Then he said that despite his five hours of imbibing alcohol, he was not really drunk, just not “100 per cent.”

A Mojito is a traditional Cuban highball, consisting of white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water, and mint. It’s the kind of cocktail that can be consumed in large amounts before the full effect of the alcohol is felt.

Grech admitted he had “tapped” the woman on the head with the steel plate, according to the Times of Malta, which may be socially accepted on his home island, but is frowned on in Belgium—an element of etiquette he might have picked up over his ten-year stay there. Grech insisted the tapping was used only to punctuate his heated argument with the woman, and entirely free from any anti-Semitic sentiments.

“I am not a racist. I have Jewish and black friends and have nothing against them,” Grech said, who did tell the press that he held “firm views on the situation in Palestine.”

In 2002, Grech was found guilty of owning and distributing child pornography and was sentenced to six-months in prison, suspended for two years.

Joel Rubinfeld, president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism (LBCA), told The Jerusalem Post that the fight started after the Italian woman had expressed surprise at the metal plate that was engraved with Mussolini’s name. She told Grech that, despite his positive sentiments about the man, “Mussolini was still a dictator,” which is when the anti-Semitic insults came flying out. The victim, by the way, is not Jewish, but when he asked, she told him, “I could be a Jew.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/eu-administrator-says-he-launched-anti-semitic-assault-after-5-hour-drinking-binge/2015/09/05/

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