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November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Belgium’

SWIFT Refuses to Suspend Israel, Russia

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has announced it will not buckle to pressure to disconnect Israel – or for that matter, Russia – from its international transaction system.

“SWIFT regrets the pressure, as well as the surrounding media speculation, both of which risk undermining the systemic character of the services that SWIFT provides its customers around the world. As a utility with a systemic global character, it has no authority to make sanctions decisions,” the group said in a statement released on Monday.

“SWIFT services are designed to facilitate its customers’ compliance with sanctions and other regulations, however SWIFT will not make unilateral decisions to disconnect institutions from its network as a result of political pressure,” the communique said.

The international Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement has been trying to pressure the system – as well as numerous corporations and other systems – to boycott Israel in an attempt to destroy its economy. BDS supporters are hoping that through economic destruction, Israel will be forced to withdraw from territory it won in the defensive war forced upon it by Arab nations in 1967 – including numerous Jerusalem neighborhoods restored to the Israeli capital since that time.

Disconnecting Israel from SWIFT would isolate its economy from international trade. However, the Brussels-based SWIFT is incorporated under Belgium law, the system noted, blocking it from making such unilateral decisions.

“Any decision to impose sanctions on countries or individual entities rests solely with the competent government bodies and applicable legislators. Being EU-based, SWIFT complies fully with all applicable European law,” the statement said.

Last month, the SWIFT system transmitted more than 21 million financial messages per day between more than 10,500 financial institutions and corporations, in 215 countries, according to the RT news site.

Over the summer there were discussions among EU leaders on whether to consider disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT system as means of pressuring Moscow into backing away from the Ukraine conflict.

Flemish Minister Calls for Ritual Slaughter Ban in Belgium

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The General Director of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin has protested a proposal by a Flemish government minister to implement a total ban on the practice of Jewish ritual slaughter, insisting such a move “is against freedom of religion.”

Flemish Minister for Animal Welfare Ben Weyts said on Belgian television Sunday that he would actively pursue a total ban on the practice of animal slaughter without pre-stunning, beginning next year.

Responding to the latest attack on the ancient Jewish ritual, Rabbi Margolin emphasized that the Jewish practice of “Shechita” is “the most humane method of slaughter” because it ensures the welfare of the animal not only at the time of slaughter, but also concerns itself with “the conditions in which animals are raised before their slaughter.”

He added, “As well as being illogical and inconsistent from the perspective of animal rights, labelling kosher meat will give ammunition to anti-Semites to attack Jewish tradition.”

Mr. Weyts called for religious groups to adhere to current legislation which allows animal slaughter without pre-stunning to be carried out only in licensed abattoirs. Further legislation, he added, was on the agenda for 2015. His Belgian government counterpart, Wallon Minister Carlo Di Antonio, indicated it would “take the same shape as that suggested by” the Flemish Minister.

ISIS Shows Off 13-Year-Old Belgian Boy Jihadist

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

ISIS has posted a picture of a 13-year-old Belgian Muslim boy armed with an assault rifle and ready for action in Syria.

The young jihadist was identified as Younes Abaaoud. Keeping it all in the family, he traveled to Syria with his big brother, 27-year-old Abdelhamid, whom his father said was brainwashed to become a real man and become member of the ISIS, which has become the new international symbol of fear.

Brainwashed? Maybe, but the father reportedly once was jailed in Australia for plotting terror. He set a sterling example for his child but apparently was not so happy that the 13-year-old opted for orthodox jihadism.

It is not clear if Younes is actually fighting with the ISIS or simply serving as a model for other 13-year-old radical Muslims.

Belgium leads Europe in the number of citizens per capita who have joined ISIS, which Brussels estimates has snared approximately 200 Belgians among 2,000 Europeans.

The United States “boasts” around 100 ISIS fighters.

ISIS has released a 55-minute video featuring an English-speaking terrorist with an accent that indicates he might be from the United States.

“Clearly ISIS had a calculated step to be able to put this guy on camera,” Frank Cilluffo, a security analyst at George Washington University, told CNN. “Why? Because he seems American. The message is aimed at a Western audience.”

A linguistics professor told The Intercept that the man probably is not a native English speaker but his accent indicates he may be from Minnesota, North Dakota, or even Canada.

Brussels Jewish Museum Reopens with Upgraded Security

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Almost four months after a shooting attack that left four people dead, the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels reopened its doors on Sunday with upgraded security and a greater awareness of the risks its staff faces.

Last May, a terrorist from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) murdered four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

To contend with the possibility of future such attacks, the museum has upgraded its security measures. Two armed police officers are now stationed at the site, and security checks at the entrance are to be tightened. Visitors will have to pass through newly-installed metal detectors.

The city of Brussels dedicated 30,000 euros ($39,000) to finance the measures.

“We had a certain innocence about us before. It’s not that we took things lightly, but we hadn’t considered the risks, that we could be a possible target of this kind of attack,’’ said Chouna Lomponda, responsible for the communication at the museum.

The museum, a 19th Century town house in the fashionable Sablon area of Brussels, shut down after the attack.

Sunday’s reopening coincided with the 15th European Day of Jewish Culture. It took place during an official event attended by several political, cultural, diplomatic and religious personalities, including Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo.

“We don’t want to serve the interests of extremists who want to muffle our culture,” said Philippe Blondin, the museum director. “We wanted to reopen our doors as soon as possible, but the Belgian authorities had to do their investigation work,” he said.

A memorial plaque bearing the names of the 4 victims of the attack – a couple of Israeli tourists from Tel Aviv, Emmanuel Riva, 54, and Myriam Riva, 53, as well as a French volunteer, Dominique Sabrier, 66, and a museum employee Alexandre Strens, 25 – has been affixed to the building.

“We have lots of exhibitions planned for the future,” says the museum’s president, Philippe Blondin.”Of course, it will be different now. We carry the burden and weight of this event and this wound will stay with us. It will not be destroyed with time. But we carry on.”

The museum staff are determined it will be business as usual – or at least as close to usual as it can be.

“We are continuing our educational work,” says Norbert Cige, the museum’s general secretary. “Those who tried to silence us: well, that objective has failed.”

Arson Attack on Brussels Synagogue

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Arsonists set fire to a Brussels synagogue on Tuesday, that was previously firebombed in 2010, but Jewish officials are not ready to declare the incident as anti-Semitic.

The wife and two children of the synagogue’s caretaker, who was not present at the time of the arson, suffered slight smoke inhalation after the fire broke out on the fourth floor of the building, where they live.

“It would seem that the fire was set deliberately,” Laurens Dumont, a spokesman for the city prosecutor, told AFP.

Jewish community officials were even more careful and declared that anti-Semites may not have torched the synagogue because Torah scrolls and sacred books were not burned.

Of course, the arsonists could have anticipated that the fire would spread and would destroy the Torah scrolls, but Jews in the Diaspora often prefer to suppose that they are not targets of hate crimes and that they are not in danger.

Maybe it was not an arson.

Maybe it was not anti-Semitic.

We hope it wasn’t, but don’t be surprised if it was.

Maybe the fact that the synagogue is located in a heavily-populated Muslim area is only coincidental.

Maybe.

ISIS Terrorist Identified as Murderer in Brussels Jewish Museum Attack

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

The murderer of four people, including two Jews from Tel Aviv, in the attack last May on the Jewish Museum in Brussels was an ISIS terrorist who was one of the captors and torturers of James Foley, Steve Sotloff and a French journalist, who was released and now had identified the killer.

The terrorist is Medhi Nemmouche, a French citizen who is to go on trial in Belgium on Friday for the murders at the museum. He was arrested several days after the terrorist attack, and he fought for the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2013 only three weeks after he was released from prison, where he served five years for armed robbery.

The immediate reaction of Brussels officials after the attack was typical of the head in the sand illusion that makes believe that many terrorists are “lone wolves,” that many attacks on Jews or Jewish institutions are just a coincidence and that the radical Islamic movement in Europe does not threaten to overthrow the entire continent.

The fact that at that time of his arrest he had a white sheet emblazoned with the name of the ISIS clearly indicates Nemmouche, even if he acted alone, was not just some jihadist who woke up one morning and decided to become a terrorist.

Anti-Semitism in France is rampant. Considering that the motive was “open” was a denial of reality.

Nemmouche was identified by French journalist Nicolas Henin as the terrorist who attacked the museum. The fact that he is a French citizen belies the false belief among many European leaders that the jihadists are imports.

“The accused gunman is also French, increasing fears in Europe over European citizens’ ties to extremist groups,” National Public Radio reported. French authorities estimate that nearly 1,000 other people from France have joined the jihadists in Syria, and every one of them, unless they are killed first, could be the next Nemmouche.

Henin, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2013 and held for almost a year, said that Nemmouche was only one of several French citizens who were in charge of the prison where he was held.

The journalist has known for some time that one of his captors was Nemmouche but did not say anything in order to protect other Westerners held by ISIS. He broke his silence after Le Monde reported that investigators have linked the killer with ISIS, which really should not be a surprise considering that the sheet with the name ISIS n it at the time of his arrest was widely reported.

“When Nemmouche wasn’t singing, he tortured,” Henin wrote in Le Point. “The torture lasted the night, up until the dawn prayer,” when radical Muslims appeal to Allah to give them the strength for more barbarism.

Europe’s “everything is just dandy” mirage is its own death sentence. Nemmouche used his French citizenship to return to enter Belgium from Germany and is “a perfect example of the difficulty in tracking European jihadists, reported NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley.

Henin’s lawyer Marie-Laure Ingouf told AFP that “Nemmouche was one of his jailers. All the hostages confirm this. They lived alongside him for several months.”

Henin spent part of his time as hostage along with journalists Foley and Sotloff, who were beheaded by ISIS in the past two weeks. He added that it was clear to him and others in captivity that Nemmouche did not leave Syria in order to become a good citizen.

“It seemed to us that he did not leave for Syria because of some grand ideals but, above all, to make his mark, to carry out a murderous path that he had traced,” Henin said.

Bye Bye Antwerp

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

A Hareidi family from Antwerp are packing up their belongings as they prepare to make Aliya from Belgium on August 07, 2014.

Europe has seen a massive outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks on Jews, and many Jews are considering leaving to escape before it gets worse.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/bye-bye-antwerp/2014/08/13/

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