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August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Belgium’

‘No Jews Allowed’ Sign Removed from Belgian Cafe Following Complaint

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

(JTA) — Police removed a sign from a Belgian cafe saying that Jews were not allowed following a complaint by an anti-Semitism watchdog.

The Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA, filed the complaint Wednesday with the mayor of Saint-Nicolas against the parties responsible for hanging a Turkish- and French-language sign at a cafe in the Liege suburb.

The Turkish text reads, “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Jews are not under any circumstances.” The French text replaces “Jews” with “Zionists.”

Following the LBCA complaint, Saint-Nicolas Mayor Jacques Heleven dispatched police to the cafe, who had the sign removed and confirmed the LBCA report.

The window display also included a Palestinian flag, an Israeli flag crossed out with a red “X” sign and a kaffiyeh, or Palestinian shawl, draped around it.

“LBCA will file in the coming hours a criminal complaint with the Liege prosecutor over the actions of those responsible for this violation of the July 30 law against racism and xenophobia of 1981,” LBCA said in a statement.

Last week, the Belgian Jewish newspaper Joods Actueel reported that a shop owner in Antwerp had refused to sell an Orthodox Jewish woman clothes “out of protest.” An employee confirmed that the shop had temporarily adopted a policy of not selling to Jews.

Western Europe has seen a significant rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and attacks — including against nine synagogues in France — since Israel launched its Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza on July 8 following a barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israeli cities and towns.

Jewish Museum Shooter Doesn’t Want Extradition to Israel

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Mehdi Nemmouch has conditioned his acceptance of extradition to Belgium to stand trial there, on the condition he won’t be extradited to Israel.

Mehdi Nemmouch (29) is the French Muslim who killed 4 people at the Brussel’s Jewish Museum on May 24, 2014. He was captured in France when his car was pulled over for other unrelated reasons.

The French court will decide by June 26 whether to accept his request. If turned down, Nemmouch can appeal the extradition order in a higher court.

Belgian Security Shaky for Jewish Museum in Brussels

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The Jewish Museum in Brussels is set to open in less than two weeks, but Belgium’s commitment to securing the facility is not clear — despite a pledge by Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo to strengthen Jewish communal security. Di Rupo made the statement following a meeting earlier this month in Brussels with the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and local Jews.

Security at the Jewish Museum of Brussels has always been “very light,” according to museum president Philippe Blondin, who met with Israeli journalists on Tuesday. Due to the museum’s limited funding, Blondin had asked Belgian authorities directly for upgraded security, but was turned down, he said.

That is a now an even bigger problem than it was a month ago, given the events of May 24, when a terrorist calmly walked into the building, opened his bag and removed a Kalashnikov assault rifle. It took him five seconds to fire the weapon from the doorway to the museum and bloody the floor and walls of the exhibit. By the time he left, three people were dead and a fourth was mortally wounded.

Terror suspect Mehdi Nemmouche, 29, is still being held in Marseille by French police, who immediately nabbed the accused gunman as he crossed the border.

“For a Jewish museum it was, in a way, way too light,” Blondin said of the security apparatus in place at the time of the attack.

There were no security guards at the door. There were none at the entrance to the building.

But the choice had been to close the museum or to take a risk, he said. “My choice and the choice of the people before me was education, education, education.”

Blondin said police would return the keys to the front entrance today (Wednesday) but that he would like to give his traumatized staff at least one more week to meet with psychologists over the horrific attack. And of course, they still had to clean the place up, and create a memorial for the victims.

He added that he is also still hoping for some increased police protection or security assistance from the Belgian authorities — who so far have promised nothing.

Blondin noted — as has every other Jewish leader over the past year — that there has been an uptick in anti-Semitism in Europe. He added that there has been a change in attitude towards the Jews in Belgium as well. “We’ve got Judeophobia and anti-Zionism, two different things working together,” he said.

When asked by The Jewish Press, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev deferred comment on whether the Jewish State would consider assisting Belgium or the museum with additional security.

Belgium Joins Jews in Fighting Anti-Semitism

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Belgium’s government will join Jewish efforts in fighting anti-Semitism, according to the World Jewish Congress (WJC).

Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo pledged Monday following a meeting in Brussels to establish a joint commission with WJC and local Jews to “facilitate the exchange of information” on the issue.

The commitment came following a murderous attack by Islamist terrrorist Mehdi Nemmouche last week at the Brussels Jewish Museum, which left four people dead, including a couple from Tel Aviv. Two Jews were beaten and left in serious condition outside a synagogue in a Paris suburb less than 24 hours later.

The Brussels terrorist, who used a Kalashnikov assault rifle to carry out his attack, was tracked down and caught in France after having just returned from a round of fighting in Syria.

The Belgian prime minister told the WJC delegation he would help Jewish efforts to strengthen communal security, combat racism and strengthen Holocaust education. Di Rupo said he supported “closer European cooperation to fight radical movements” and said his nation would not tolerate “hate speech.”

European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor warned recently at a news conference at Tel Aviv University that unless conditions begin to change, “Normative Jewish life in Europe is unsustainable.”

2000 Mourn Brussels Victims at Silent Vigil

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

BRUSSELS (JTA) — A crowd of approximately 2,000 gathered for a silent vigil in front of the Jewish museum in Brussels where an unidentified shooter killed four people.

The gathering on Sunday came 24 hours after the shooting at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in the center of the country’s capital.

Prime Minister Elio di Rupo was among the Belgian politicians who cleared time to attend the vigil on Election Day.

“Elections are usually a celebration for democracy, but this year that celebration is in the shadow by this terrorist attack,” he said later that day at a news conference. “My thoughts go out to the Jewish community and their families.”

At the vigil, many lit candles in memory of the four victims and placed flowers and Israeli and Belgian flags at the museum’s entrance. Two of the victims were an Israeli couple on vacation. Emanuel and Miriam Riva of Tel Aviv, both in their 50s, were shot in the head and died instantly, as did Dominique Chabrier, a French volunteer at the museum.

A fourth fatality was identified as Alexandre Strens, a museum employee in his 20s. Strens died in the hospital hours after he was shot. “It is good to hear the Belgian politicians sharing their outrage at this Saturday’s attack,” said Robin Sclafani, director of CEJI, a Jewish Brussels-based not-for-profit which promotes tolerance through education. ”I hope they can finally hear the alarm this time for what is a wake-up call that has been snoozed too many times already.”

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association, or EJA, called on European governments to set up a pan-European task force to fight anti-Semitism.

“Condemnation after a predictable attack is nothing but a way to cleanse one’s conscious” unless it is accompanied by concrete actions, he said.

Also Sunday, police released security camera footage of the perpetrator entering the museum with an automatic assault rifle and asked for the public’s help in locating him and other accomplices, including a driver who drove him to the museum in an Audi.

Neo-Nazi Parties Win Seats in 2 European Parliament Elections

Monday, May 26th, 2014

For the first time ever, neo-Nazi political parties have won seats in the Brussels-based European Parliament, according to the latest exit polls. The election took place yesterday (Sunday, May 25), just a day after three Jews were murdered and a fourth person seriously wounded in a terror attack at the city’s Jewish Museum.

Is it a surprise that one of the parties was located in Germany? But a second country also voted in neo-Nazis as well — and not so far from Israel, either.

The neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NDP) won one MEP (Member of the European Parliament) seat in yesterday’s European Union (EU) elections, coming in fourth with one percent of the vote in German polls. In the 1930s, Germany’s Nazi party was officially named the ‘National Socialists.’

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s pro-EU Christian Democratic Union party won 36 percent of Germany’s vote, followed by the Social Democrats, a center-left coalition partner with 27.5 percent. But in third place was the new “Alternative for Germany” with 6.5 percent of the nation’s vote, according to The Daily Mail. And the anti-EU AfD party was reported to have won as many as six MEPs; the party has advocated for ending the country’s use of the euro as currency.

However, Germany was not the only country that flipped to the right, by a long shot.

In Greece, for the first time the extreme-right neo-Nazi ‘Golden Dawn’ party won three seats, coming in third with nine percent of the vote. The anti-EU Syriza party also took the lion’s share of the vote, with 27 percent, an ominous sign, analysts said.

“Euroscepticism,” – a relatively new term – is criticism of the European Union and opposition to the process of political European integration – belief that integration weakens the nation state – and this trend ruled the elections on Sunday, as The Daily Mail pointed out.

In Italy, the anti-EU “Five Star” (M5S) movement, headed by ex-comedian Beppe Grillo, appeared to be headed for a close second place with 25 to 28 percent of the vote. First place was just a shave ahead by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi’s center left Democratic Party (PD) with 29.5 to 32.5 percent of the vote.

In France, Marine Le Pen made headline when her hardline French National Front party proved the most popular with a quarter of the vote, 11 percent ahead of the ruling Socialists. Le Pen called for new elections in France and labeled the EU Public Enemy Number One, saying it is “like the old Soviet Union – it can’t be improved.” In fact, President Francoise Hollande’s party came in third with 14.7 percent of the vote, following the center-right UMP, which garnered 20.3 percent.

In Sweden, the Feminist Initiative Party also won seats in the European Parliament for the first time, with around seven percent of the vote. However, so did far-right Sweden Democrats.

In Belgium, where election coverage competed with coverage of the terror attack at the Brussels Jewish Museum, Flemish separatists were the big winners in the parliamentary elections there. But it will be months before a new government is formed.

The center-right New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) has a third of the votes in Flanders, where 60 percent of Belgian residents live and where Dutch is spoken – this, after 80 percent of the votes are counted. N-VA leader Bart De Wever said he believes the king will grant him the right to attempt to form a coalition, but it will mean finding potential French-speaking allies. Due to the Belgian system, there are effectively two elections, each with at least parties in two languages – French and Dutch. At least two from each side will be needed to form a coalition.

Updated: 3 Killed in Brussels Jewish Museum Shooting

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Two men and a woman were killed in a shooting at the Brussels Jewish Museum on Saturday morning. A fourth person who was seriously injured is in the hospital.

Twelve people were treated for shock.

Belgium’s interior minister told Belgian TV that the attack might be anti-Semitic.

Witnesses say the attack was done by a single shooter.

Belgium media is reporting that a suspect has been arrested, and police are looking for a second suspect.

42,000 Jews live in Brussels.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the attack was the result of the unending incitement against Jews and the state of Israel, in Europe.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/at-least-3-killed-in-brussels-jewish-museum-shooting/2014/05/24/

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