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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

Pope Francis Considering Visit to Israel Next Year

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Pope Francis said at an on-board airplane news conference Monday  that he may visit Israel as early as next year.

On his return flight from Brazil to the Vatican, the pope said he was considering a visit to the  Holy Land next year, according to The Associated Press.

Pope Francis accepted an invitation to visit Israel from President Shimon Peres, who was visiting the Vatican in April. when the Israeli president was at the Vatican in April. No date for the visit was set at the time.

Francis was close to the Jewish community in his native Argentina.

In February, he became the first pope in modern times to succeed a living pontiff, Benedict XVI, after Benedict resigned. Benedict went to Israel in 2009, and his predecessor, John Paul II, visited in 2000.

Argentine Prosecutor: Iran Running Latin American Terrorist Networks

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Argentine State Prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused Iran on Wednesday of establishing terrorist networks in Latin America dating back to the 1980s and said he would send his findings to courts in the affected countries, Reuters reported.

Nisman presented a 500-page document, with evidence of Iran’s operation of an “intelligence and terrorist network” in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname.

Regarding the bombing of the AMIA (Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina) center in Buenos Aires, there are arrest warrants out for nine men, eight Iranians—including Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaie —and one, possibly, Lebanese.

Nisman said new evidence proves beyond reasonable doubt Mohsen Rabbani’s responsibility for the bombing, in his former role as the Iranian cultural attaché in Argentina, and “coordinator of the Iranian infiltration of South America, especially in Guyana.”

Argentina’s Congress this year approved a “truth commission” with Iran, to investigate the AMIA bombing. But many Argentine Jewish leaders feared the commission was only going to undermine the Nisman investigation.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has close ties with other Latin American leaders who are friends of Iran, such as Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Reuters reports.

Brazilian Female Judo Champ Makes Aliyah

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Brazilian judo champ Camila Minakawa, who won a bronze medal in the under-21 Judo World Championships, made aliyah from Brazil to Israel Wednesday morning.

Minakawa will join the Israeli women’s Judo team, whose coach Shany Hershko and the Jewish Agency helped her make aliyah.

Minakawa, 21, has a Jewish mother who works as a Judo coach and a Japanese-Brazilian father who is an Olympic Judo referee. During her childhood, Minkawa was active in the Zionist Youth movement HaBonim Dror and has been practicing Judo since a young age. She has visited Israel a number of times and in 2009 participated in the 18th Macabee Games, where she won a gold medal in the women’s Judo event.

Hershko, the coach of the Israeli women’s Judoka team stayed in touch with Camila and mentioned aliyah when they met several months ago at an international training camp.

“Camila was very impressed by the high level of the training that the Israeli team undertakes and from the professional environment here,” according to Hershko. “Together with her mother, she decided that her place is here in Israel and she expressed a desire to represent the State of Israel in competition.

“I am certain that a sportswoman who won a bronze medal in the Under 21 World Championship will add an additional dimension and power to our talented Israel Judo team when she joins us.”

The Jewish community in Brazil numbers around 80,000, most of whom live in the capital São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian Jews maintain a strong connection with Israel, with an average of 200 making aliyah every year, and many hundreds more participating on educational programs such as Birthright or the Jewish Agency’s MASA program.

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said, “Camila joins a family of outstanding Jewish sportsmen and women who choose to make aliyah each year, and who participate in a wide range of sports bringing great honor to Israel in international competitions.”

Brazilian Neo-Nazi Gets 3 Years in Jail

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

A Brazilian judge sentenced a man to 35 months in jail for giving Jewish students a Nazi salute and exposing his swastika tattoo.

Luciano Silva Barreto of Rio de Janeiro’s criminal court sentenced Luiz Vinicius Consenzo, 25, after convicting him of a racist crime, according to a Jan. 22 report by CONIB, the umbrella organization of Brazil’s Jewish communities.

Consenzo committed the act in front of a Jewish community center, the Clube Israelita Brasileiro, on December 3, 2010, at a party held there by Jewish students from the Federal Univesrity of Rio De Janeiro.

He left the scene but police managed to track him thanks to photos taken by the center’s president, Cezar Benjor.

Benjor and police investigators compared the photos to pictures of known neo-Nazis, and were able to identify Consenzo by the tattoo, according to a report on Ultimo Segundo, a news site.

Consenzo was the administrator of a community of neo-Nazis on the Brazilian social network Orkut. A complaint against him was filed by the Jewish Federation of Rio de Janaeiro, or Fierj.

Last month the television station Terra reported that prosecutors in Porto Alegre were preparing to charge four people with “Nazi crimes” for the first time in Brazilian history.

The four, Luzia Santos Pintos, Fabio Roberto Sturm, Laureano Vieira Toscani and Thiago da Silva, are accused of attacking, along with 10 additional gang members, four Jews on the street in Porto Alegre in 2005.

According to Terra, they are suspected of using knives and batons to severely beat their alleged victims.

Young Entrepreneurs from India, Brazil, and El Salvador Experience Israel for First Time

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Jerusalem – An international group of young entrepreneurs had a first-hand glimpse into Israel’s social activism and entrepreneurial ventures in a unique project last week.

Hailing from India, El Salvador, New Zealand, Brazil, and South Africa, the participants, ranging from their early 20s to 30s, with a background in entrepreneurial work, were part of an international conference called S.E.E. Israel (Social Entrepreneur Exchange).Organized by Jerusalem’s Hebrew University students as part of a StandWithUs public diplomacy training program, the conference connected the international visitors with young Israeli social innovators, enterprises and organizations.

The four-day conference featured lectures and meetings with experts on a variety of topics including informal education and solutions to universal problems facing civil societies as well as how to strengthen society’s weaker sectors. The participants also experienced on-site tours of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and even participated in a social activist project during their stay.

For Jithin C. Nedumala, 25, of Bangalore, India, and founder of Make A Difference (MAD), the largest youth volunteer network for Indian orphans and underprivileged children, the visit to Israel was an eye-opening experience.

“Being here, I understand Israel and Israelis as people much better. In India, our perception of Israel comes from the media and we always hear about the conflict, especially the flotilla incident. Israel is always presented as an oppressor from this perspective,” Nedumala told Tazpit News Agency.

“The first time I heard about the entrepreneurial side of Israel was when I read the book, Start-Up Nation, which got me interested in Israel in a different way,” Nedumala explained.

“I’m amazed by how informal everything is—you don’t feel any hierarchy and people generally let others be. Israelis even refer to the Prime Minister by his nickname—Bibi. In India, society is much more strict and formal,” Nedumala concluded.

Jithin was not the only participant who discovered another side to Israel. Polyana de Oliveira of San Paulo, Brazil did not anticipate the diversity of the country. “There are so many different types of people here from all backgrounds,” she said.

The 26-year-old Oliveira is bringing back to Brazil “a lot of ideas” for her own tourist destination company that she has launched for English speakers in Brazil, called My Destination. “I learned so much about social models during the conference and the fact that we all have similar issues and problems– and that there are creative ways to solve them.”

In addition, the international participants had the opportunity to directly interact with Israelis at the Jerusalem market, Mahane Yehuda which has over 250 vendors selling fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, fish, spices, wines and other goods. They joined Israeli volunteers from the organization, Gveret Im Salim, or Lady with Baskets, which was founded two years ago to help elderly citizens shop in the open market. Distinguished by yellow shirts, the volunteers, who network on Facebook, walk around every Thursday offering to carry heavy bags of goods of elderly people stocking up for the weekend Sabbath. In exchange for the help, the elderly shoppers, many of whom have come to depend on the extra help, share stories of their past with the younger helpers.

It was a chance for the international group of the S.E.E. Israel program to learn more about the Jerusalem lifestyle and converse with elderly Israeli locals who told them stories of growing up in the city.

Rodrigo Aguilar of El Salvador even had the chance to practice a little Hebrew at that the market, which he learned during the visit. “I felt almost Israeli, saying Shalom, Todah (thank you) and Yalla (hurry up),” he said with a smile.

Aguilar, 21, a university student in El Salvador, who has volunteered for A Roof For My Country, an NGO that builds basic homes for the impoverished, explained that he came to Israel to “to see how it really is here.”

“The coverage that Israel receives in my country is usually negative, so I have always done my own research into the conflict and Israel which was why I wasn’t too surprised by what I’ve experienced culturally throughout the trip.”

And Tatyana Kurbatoff, 31, from New Zealand, found the conference especially inspiring. “You can see that the early pioneer spirit is still alive in the entrepreneurial outlook among the Israelis we have met. This was a great opportunity for us to meet, share and learn about the value of social innovation against the fascinating cultural landscape of Israel.”

Jews, Gays, Rights Activists Protest Ahmadinejad in Rio

Monday, June 18th, 2012

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s welcome on the sunny Ipanema beach in Rio was less than warm from an eclectic group of Jews, human rights activists, and homosexuals, who arrived Sunday to protest the Iranian president’s attendance at a UN summit on sustainable development.

The protest was organized by a group called the Commission Against Religious Intolerance.

“We want the world to know that religious hatred harms the environment and Ahmadinejad represents hatred. Sustainable development encompasses human rights,” Ivanir dos Santos representative of the commission told the AFP.

“Citizens in Rio have good reason to be appalled by this visit.  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad embodies the ideology of intimidation and violence fomented by Iran’s militant Islamic Republic,” Alex Traiman, director of the award-winning documentary exposing the Iranian regime’s radical ideology, Iranium, told the Jewish Press.  “For decades, Iran has expanded its influence in South America, through large oil contracts and joint terror operations.  Iranians carried out mass-scale bombings in Argentina in the 90′s while Hizbullah, an Iranian terror proxy, has cells all over the continent.”

Unlike previous demonstrations organized by the commission, no Muslims took part in Sunday’s rally.

“Muslims do not take part in demonstrations against a fellow Muslim, even if they disagree with him,” commission representative dos Santos told the AFP.

Demonstrators waved placards in support of Iranian nationals, but also carried banners stating “Rio does not welcome Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” and chanted “Ahmadinejad out of Brazil” to the beat of drums.

Michel Gherman, head of the Hillel of Rio, told AFP that Ahmadinejad’s visit “is an opportunity to criticize his hateful speech denying the Holocaust as well as the persecution of homosexuals and Bahais”.

The UN summit will include discussions on eradicating poverty and protecting the environment.

The Fiction Of Palestine

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Whatever little remains of the so-called Middle East peace process suffered yet another body blow this month, as two of the largest countries in South America formally recognized an independent Palestinian state.
 
In a statement posted on its website on December 3, Brazil’s Foreign Ministry declared that the country had recognized “Palestine” based on the 1967 borders that existed prior to the Six-Day War.
 
Argentina quickly followed suit, announcing three days later that President Cristina Fernandez had sent a letter to this effect to Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
 
And so, just two months after the Palestinians stormed away from talks with Israel, refusing American pleas to return to the negotiating table, Buenos Aires and Brasilia have now decided to reward Ramallah’s intransigence with full-blown recognition of their national aspirations.
 
Ironically, both Brazil and Argentina seem to think that preempting the outcome of the process somehow brings peace closer. But precisely the opposite is true.
 
By reinforcing the Palestinian belief that the world is with them no matter what they do, this step serves merely to harden their positions and reduce their incentive to engage in dialogue with the Jewish state.
 
After all, if the Palestinians can get everything they want via international pressure, what reason would they possibly have to engage in give-and-take with Israel?
 
So while Brazil and Argentina may profess to be really interested in advancing peace, they have just taken a monumental step backward toward achieving that goal.
 
Needless to say, this development is also a major setback to these countries’ relations with the Jewish people, which weren’t all that great to begin with.
 
Both Brazil and Argentina served as welcoming safe havens for Nazi fugitives and other mass murderers, granting refuge to the likes of Josef Mengele and Adolf Eichmann for decades after World War II.
 
So it is perhaps not surprising that they would now choose to formally recognize the spurious claims of Israel’s foes.
 
To be fair, Brazil and Argentina are not alone in their folly. Some 104 countries have now recognized an independent Palestinian state, and other South American countries such as Uruguay are soon expected to join this dubious club.
 
But popularity does not trump truth, and that is what makes the decision to recognize “Palestine” so appalling, because it amounts to nothing less than an outright assault on reality.
 
Here is one simple fact that seems to have escaped the Brazilians, Argentinians and all those other nations out there: there is not, nor has there ever been in all of history, an independent state of Palestine.
 
“Palestine” is a fiction. It is a ruse, a con and a subterfuge, perhaps the greatest deception ever perpetrated since scam-artist George C. Parker began “selling” New York landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge to gullible chumps in the late 19th century.
 
Just take a look at the holy books of the world’s three greatest monotheistic religions: there is no mention of “Palestine” or “Palestinians” in the Torah, nor in the Christian New Testament, nor even in the Muslim Koran.
 
They all speak of Israel or Judea, not Palestine or Palestinians.
 
Even the name “Palestine” has nothing to do with Palestinians – it was invented by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to punish the Jews after the Bar-Kochba revolt against his rule. That was over 500 years before Islam was even founded.
 

To put it quite simply: there is no historical basis to the Palestinian claim to this land.

Just because the United Nations and the Arab states assert otherwise does not make it so.
 
So whether they realize it or not, Brazil and Argentina have just became the latest dupes to buy the Middle Eastern equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge.
 
Consciously or not, they have taken the tall tale told by the Arabs at face value, and conferred legitimacy on a claim with no absolutely no basis whatsoever.
 
Now just imagine if the tables were turned and Israel decided to meddle in Argentinian affairs the way they have stuck their noses into ours.
 
Suppose that Jerusalem were to announce that it is formally recognizing the Falkland Islands, which Argentina fought a war over with England back in 1982, as being an integral part of the United Kingdom.
 
The islands, which Argentina refers to as the Malvinas, have been the subject of a dispute between the two countries since the early part of the 19th century.
 
So if Israel were to side with Britain on the status of the Falklands, how do you think Argentina would react? By denouncing the Jewish state, of course.
 
Does this scenario sound silly? Perhaps. But no more so than Buenos Aires’s recognition of a non-existent Palestinian state with imaginary borders.
 
Sure, Israel’s own government has exacerbated the problem by accepting the principle of a “two-state solution,” making it that much easier for nations around the world to take the next step and recognize “Palestine.”
 
But that in no way absolves the international community or lends any credence to its behavior.
 

For no matter how hard they might push to end the conflict by creating a Palestinian state, a peace based on falsehood is not, and never will be, a real peace.

 

 

Michael Freund is founder of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that helps “lost Jews” return to Zion. His Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the third week of each month.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/the-fiction-of-palestine/2010/12/15/

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