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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Brussels’

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.

“Moderate” Muslims Silent on Brussels Attack

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

“Moderate” Islamic groups have remained silent on the murder of four people at the Brussels Jewish Museum on Saturday.

In contrast to Jewish groups, which have roundly denounced price tag vandalism in response to nearly every incident, as of this writing not one major Islamic organization in Europe, North America, Australia or the Middle East has condemned the yesterday’s murders in Brussels.

Non-Jewish leaders in Belgium spoke out immediately about the attack.  Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo said, “Our country and all Belgians, regardless of their language, their origin or their beliefs, are united together to face this despicable attack on a Jewish cultural center.”

The country’s Interior Minister, Joelle Milquet, spoke out immediately upon hearing about the attack. Belgium would  “apply to a maximum level of protection to Jewish sites,” he said.

While many left-wing activists, including the Haaretz daily, cautioned that “it is too early to jump to conclusions aver the identity of the shooter in Saturday’s terror attack,” even the left-wing mouthpiece was forced to conclude that “for now, the scenario of radical Muslim attackers… is most likely.”

But that does not seem to have moved “moderates” like Feisal Abdul Rauf, the author of “What’s Right With Islam” and spiritual leader of The Cordoba Initiative who gained notoriety by trying to build an Islamic prayer centre on the ruins of the World Trade Center. Rauf’s website fetters statements about violence at the Boston Marathon and condemning the burning of Christian homes in Pakistan. But the murder of Jews by Muslims appears to be off the Cordoba radar.

Same could be said for the Islamic Council of Victoria (Australia), despite the fact that leaders of that group have protested their depiction as radical terror sympathisers for many years. Other “moderate” groups that have yet to condemn the shooting include the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe, Native European Muslims Assembly, the Islamic Center of Southern California, the Organization of the Islamic Conference

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.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/knife-wielding-man-arrested-at-israeli-embassy-in-brussels/2013/11/13/

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