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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Brussels’

Scotland the Next Victim of EU Repression

Monday, February 17th, 2014

We tend to think of the European Union as a kind of continental USA, America with a better cuisine: a loosely united group of individual states who continue to run their internal business, but collaborate on issues concerning their neighbors.

But the last few years in which the EU’s less robust economies, such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, to name a few, have experienced a terrifying upheaval whose end is not yet in sight, taught all of us a lesson in freedom of choice a la Union Européenne. Those economies have had to tow the line and impose austerity on their own people, or risk the economic wrath of the big states, most notably Germany.

Over in Israel we’ve observed the bullying methods being employed as we speak by the EU, to produce an outcome palatable to them in a dispute between Jews and Arabs. The kind of relentless, aggressive pressure these Europeans have been using, threatening an academic boycott, a scientific boycott, boycotts on goods, boycotts on tourism – that we know these are not nice people.

But did you know whose neck really gets to be directly under the European Union’s boot, which presses down metaphorically with the same zeal and determination as those great soldiers of the Fatherland used to do? The Europeans themselves. Or rather, the Europeans who wish to change the status quo.

Scotland is about to vote, this coming September 18, on a referendum on whether it should become an independent country. As a result of an agreement between the Scottish Government and the UK, the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill, was passed by the Scottish Parliament on November 14, 2013, and received Royal Assent in December (the equivalent of the president signing a new law). The Scottish parliament wants the referendum question to be: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

The main issues Scotland would have to deal with should it become independent are the economy, defense, relations with the rest of the UK, and membership of supranational organizations, especially the EU and NATO.

I would think that this would be viewed by any democratically minded person with admiration: a substantial sector within a democratic state wishes to disengage and the process is being handled without bloodshed, through legal channels, with everyone’s rights (well, most everyone) being observed.

Over in Brussels they’re not nearly as excited about the whole thing.

An independent Scotland would find it “difficult, if not impossible” to gain EU membership and obtain the acceptance of other EU member states, declared European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Barroso said, “In case there is a new country, a new state, coming out of a current member state, it will have to apply and… the application and the accession to the European Union will have to be approved by all the other member states of the European Union.”

Seriously? It’s not majority rule, but unanimous now? Is he going royal all of a sudden?

Imagine, a people have decided to change their political direction, and they’ve gone about doing it in the most civilized manner – and this Portuguese bureaucrat says they’ll be boycotted, unless every last member approves their acceptance into the EU. And we know how he’s going to vote.

There’s a good reason why the oligarchs in Brussels don’t want to let Scotland be free, even if the UK accepts it. It’s called Catalonia, an autonomous community at the north-eastern corner of Spain, designated a “nationality” by its own Statute of Autonomy. Catalonia is by far the most economically dynamic region of Spain, and, listen to this: the Catalan government has announced its intention to hold a referendum on possible independence from Spain this year.

Polish EU Legislator Calls Anti-Semitism a “Cancer’

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

“Anti-Semitism is like cancer. There are two things that are certain about this cancer of hate. We know that it is deadly and we know that if we don’t fight it,  it will spread,’’ Polish Member of the European Parliament Michal Kaminski said in an address to the General Assembly of the European Jewish Parliament Monday in Brussels.

‘’Vigilance is [the] key because like cancer, anti-Semitism often stays hidden for a long time until it strikes suddenly. But although it may hide from us, that does not make it any less dangerous,” he added.

Referring to debates in the European Parliament, Kaminsi said he often hears politicians shouting about “human rights” and “democracy” as they make verbally attacks against Israel. ‘’I believe that at the core of many of these attacks is a contempt for the Jewish people, a contempt for their state, and a contempt for their right to defend themselves.’’

His remarks came in the background of worrying results of a recent survey by the EU’s Agency for fundamental rights that 76% of the 6,000 Jews polled felt that their situation was getting worse and that anti-Semitism had increased over the past five years.

“While the EU is adamant in its claims to protect minorities within the member states, we are still confronting  the virus of anti-Semitism, which we thought was a thing of the past,’’ said Italian MEP Fiorello Provera, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Knife-Wielding Man Arrested at Israeli Embassy in Brussels

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Belgian police have arrested a man whom they suspect of planning an attack against Israeli diplomats in Brussels.

The police department of Uccle, the Brussels suburb where the Israeli embassy is located, confirmed on Tuesday the Oct. 17 arrest of one man who is thought to have tried to enter the embassy while carrying a concealed knife.

Security personnel from the embassy handed over the suspect to local police after discovering the knife in a security check. The suspect was not named, but the French-language Jewish news site lemondejuif.info reported he had converted to Islam.

He was placed in a psychiatric institution for observation after displaying erratic behavior while in custody.

A second man, an Iranian national who also was not named, was detained by police later that day on suspicion that he gathered intelligence on the embassy. He was released shortly after police officers detained him, RTL reported. Police said there was no evidence linking the Iranian to the man who allegedly tried to conceal the knife.

If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem, I Must Be in Brussels

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The city of Brussels refused to register the name of a locally born Israeli baby as “Jerusalem” because the name does not appear on a list of approved names for children born in the country.

That gives Israel’s capital, which is not recognized by almost any other country, the miserable distinction of not being allowed to written as “Jerusalem, Israel” on American passports and not allowed to be used as a name in Brussels.

“Alma Jerusalem” was born to Alinadav and Hagar Hyman, Israelis who have lived and worked in Brussels for the past three years, JSS News reported. Hagar is a security agent with Israel’s El Al Airlines, and Alinadav works for the Israel lobby in the European Parliament.

“We are both Jerusalemites, we grew up in Jerusalem, we met in Jerusalem and we very much miss the city, so we decided to call our first child Jerusalem,” Alinadav said. “We actually argued over whether Jerusalem would be the first or middle name, and in the end decided it would be our daughter’s middle name.”

It would be fair enough to say that “Jerusalem” is a bit of an unusual name and that the clerk’s refusal wouldn’t smell of anti-Semitism except for one other little fact: Bethlehem is on the list of approved names.

The clerk, out of ignorance or chutzpah, suggested that the Hymans names their baby with the charming Jewish name of “Bethlehem.”

Despite Jewish history in Bethlehem, one wonders what kind of Bat Mitzvah speech ‘Alma Bethlehem” could deliver in 12 years to explain her name.

Not surprisingly, the Hymans declined the generous offer.

Allinday was not even sure if the clerk was serious about refusing to allow “Jerusalem” as a name since a Finnish man in line next to him was allowed to register his baby with a name that was 25 letters long.

“I cannot say if the refusal to call the baby Jerusalem is political, but the speed with which the clerk refused us compared to how quickly the [unpronounceable] Finnish name was approved raised suspicions,” said the father.

But all is not lost.

The Brussels clerk agreed to allow “Jerusalem” as a name if the Hymans could bring an official letter from the Israeli embassy confirming that it is a valid name, then it would issue a Belgian birth certificate for the baby.

One speculative question remains unanswered: What would the clerk have said if a Palestinian Authority Arab had tried to register a babe’s name as “Jerusalem”?

By the way Mohammed for years has been the most popular name in Belgium, where Muslims compromise more than 25 percent of the population.

Add Brussels to the List of Where Jews Need to Hide. Again.

Friday, August 16th, 2013

For years there have been reports of Jews being warned not to wear items that identify them as Jewish in places where there are large or numbers are particularly aggressive anti-Semites.

People are told it is best not to wear Magen David necklaces outside their clothing, or kippot on their heads when visiting certain neighborhoods in France, in England, certainly throughout much of the Arab Middle East or in parts of North Africa.

But now a Jewish school in Belgium has issued an edict to its schoolchildren: do not wear kippot near the school until you are safely inside the steel-paneled fortified building.

The Maimonides School in the Anderlecht neighborhood of Brussels was started shortly after World War II, at the initiative of the director of the Jewish orphanage, Holocaust survivor S.B. Bamberger, with assistance from Brussels’ rabbi.  It was an attempt to reclaim Jewish life in Brussels after the German occupation. The school opened its doors on September 1, 1947 on the Boulevard Poincaré.

Although it is a pluralistic Jewish school, it follows kashrut and boys are required to wear kippot, and all students are expected to dress “decently,” according to the school’s website.

Over the years the neighborhood in which the school is located has deteriorated.  Anderlecht used to be called “little Jerusalem” because there were so many Jews.  The neighborhood is now increasingly populated by Muslim immigrants from Morocco and Turkey, and right near the school building is a subway station where many Muslim immigrants gather.  Attendance at the school has been dwindling.

Last year the Maimonides board of directors concluded that they will soon have to move, because parents have become too frightened to send their children to the school in its current location. The dramatic drop in attendance – the pre-k through senior high school once had 600 students, but it is now down to less than 150 – has created enormous financial difficulties for Maimo, as it is called.

“In recent years, the district suffered a sharp deterioration. The establishment struggled to deal with the problems of insecurity, of cleanliness. Many parents no longer wish to enroll their children in Maimonides because they fear for their safety,” explained Jacques Wajc, chairman of the school’s board of directors, to the Belgian news source 7 Sur 7.

An incident unnerved the school community in March of 2012.  According to the Coordinating Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism,

“Four individuals of Arab-Muslim origin arrived at the door of the Athenaeum Maimonides in Anderlecht and tried to pull the door to enter multiple times. The security services of the school intervened and were joined by police officers on site.  When checking on the individuals, one of them said, ‘I do not care to touch the door of s[**]t dirty Jew,’” according to the Coordinating Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism,  The four who attempted to gain entrance to the school were illegal immigrants.

Until the school can raise the money to move, it has had to issue a new directive to its students, as reported by Gates of Vienna:

Especially since the attack by Mohamed Merah at the Jewish school in Toulouse last year, which resulted in four deaths, the fear of radical Islam with a North African flavor has increased a lot in Brussels.The director of the school has banned the wearing of kippahs by students outside the school in an attempt to protect them. The kippah is a sign of respect towards God. So a fundamental aspect of the Jewish belief system had to go.

There are two Jewish schools in suburban Brussels.

Approximately 25,000 Belgian Jews were deported to the death camps from Brussels during World War II.  Of those, only 1,207 survived the war.

The Meaning of European ‘Resolve’ Against Terror

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Yesterday, March 11, 2013, the European Union commemorates the 9th European Day in Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism.

Here’s the key part of an official statement released by the E.U. Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove:

All acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, wherever they took place or whoever committed them. Therefore, our resolve to defeat terrorism must never weaken or falter even for a day, and our support to victims to meet their needs must remain a priority, as well as our commitment to actively promoting a policy of international solidarity.

Seems like a good time to remind him of the need to outlaw the outrageous and flagrant terrorists of Hizbollah whose supporters operate within the law in Europe with no evident interference from officials of the E.U. or of its Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. This ought to surprise us given that a Bulgarian court found last month that it was Hizbollah that stood behind the terrorist attack last summer on a tourist bus full of Israelis, killing five of them and their driver.

Mr de Kerchove knows this. But despite his public call today never to weaken or to falter ”even for a day” in the battle to defeat terrorism, he doesn’t actually seem to mean the Hizbollah brand of terrorism, but other terrorisms. (Truthfully, we’re not completely sure which, but it seems that he is).

Here is how he expressed it in a January 28, 2013 interview (“EU official: Hezbollah unlikely to get on terrorism blacklist“) with E.U. Observer when asked if Europe should go along with the requests of the United States and Israel to make it illegal, for instance, to give donation money to Hizbollah:

…For De Kerchove, the situation is not so simple. “First, we need to reach conclusions with strong evidence that it was the military wing of Hezbollah [which indeed carried out the terrorist bombing at Burgas airport in Bulgaria]. That’s the prerequisite, even in legal terms, but then, as always in the listing process, you need to ask yourself: ‘Is this the right thing to do?’… For Hezbollah, you might ask, given the situation in Lebanon, which is a highly fragile, highly fragmented country, is listing it going to help you achieve what you want? … There is no automatic listing just because you have been behind a terrorist attack. It’s not only the legal requirement that you have to take into consideration, it’s also a political assessment of the context and the timing…”

The interview was given just before the Bulgarians found, judicially, that Hizbollah was the culprit, so at least that prerequisite was satisfied. But that – why are we surprised? – is evidently not enough.

He noted there is “no consensus” among EU states on whether listing Hezbollah would be helpful or not [E.U. Observer]

which is a very good way to say what official Europe really feels about the battle against the terrorists.

In simple terms, the Commissioner’s official statement today, the one that appears in the press release above, should not be taken too seriously. Perhaps it was only intended for the terror victims and their commemoration ceremonies in the first place. If you really want to go after the terrorists, then the way forward – according to Europe’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator – calls for more than mere resolve. You need consensus and agreement as to whether it will be helpful.

European politics is populated by a multitude of individuals who are hopelessly ambivalent about the Islamists. As for serious European moves against terror, we can expect to see them limited to press releases and wreath laying ceremonies in civic squares.

Out on the streets and railways and airports of Europe? Not so much.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Israelis and Iranians Held Talks on Dismantling their Nuclear Weapons

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Despite the verbal confrontation between Israel and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program, Israeli and Iranian officials participated this week in secret talks in Brussels, Belgium, on dismantling both countries’ arsenals of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, Julian Borger reported in the Guardian.

Participants included Jeremy Issacharoff, the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director for Strategic Affairs. The chief Iranian representative is Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. The meetings are moderated by Finnish diplomat Jaakko Laajava, whom the UN secretary general appointed to organize the planned conference in Helsinki.

The talks, conducted in a seminar format, were held under the auspices of the EU. A media blackout was imposed on the discussions and participants have pledged not to publicize even the fact that the talks are being held, much less anything about their content.

In sharp contrast with the saber rattling of both sides’ leaders, Mark Fitzpatrick, a non-proliferation expert from the International Institute for Strategic Studies and former state department official, told the Guardian that “there were no fireworks and no denunciations” at the conference.

Nazi Leader’s Sister Hid Jews Near Brussels

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

The sister of a Belgian Nazi leader hid three Jews in her home near Brussels during the Holocaust, according to one of the survivors.

Hanna Nadel, now 86, said she, her mother and her niece were rescued by M. Cornet, the sister of Leon Degrelle, who, as leader of the Belgian Nazi Rexen movement, was responsible for deporting Jews to their deaths during the German occupation of Belgium.

Nadel’s account, related to historian Jan Maes, appeared earlier this week in the Belgian-Jewish monthly Joods Actueel,

The three, having escaped deportation orders, wandered  with their suitcases around the town of Sint-Genesius Rode, where they happened upon a help-wanted sign on Cornet’s door.

The mother rang the doorbell and Cornet, without asking many questions, hired the mother as cook and Nadel and her niece to work as chambermaids.

Cornet knew the three women were Jewish and promised them they would survive. Visitors associated with the Flemish Nazi movement would routinely dine at the house , while the three Jewish women hid in the basement.

Nadel’s mother would sometimes cook gefiltefish, which the lady of the house advertised to her guests as “oriental fish”, Nadel recalled.

Nadel immigrated to Israel after the war. Leon Degrelle left for Spain, where he died of old age in 1994, escaping the death sentences that his Nazi associates received back home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/nazi-leaders-sister-hid-jews-near-brussels/2012/11/04/

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