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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Brussels’

What If They Commissioned an Anti-Settlements Exhibition and the Pictures Came Out Pastoral and Innocent?

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

Ragnar Kjartansson is a widely exhibited Icelandic performance artist. In a 2002 work called Death and the Children, he dressed up in a dark suit and carried a scythe, leading young children through a cemetery, answering their questions. In a 2006 live performance titled Sorrow Conquers Happiness, he wore a tuxedo and played the role of a 1940s nightclub crooner with an orchestra, singing, “Sorrow conquers happiness” over and over as the music swelled. In 2011, Kjartansson won the inaugural Malcolm Award at Performa 11, the visual art performance biennial, for his 12-hour work Bliss, which was performed without a break at the Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with repeated performances of the finale of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro,” the moment when the count gets down on one knee and asks his wife for forgiveness, which she grants in an aria. Icelandic tenor Kristjan Johannson played the count.

For his exhibition titled Architecture and Morality, at the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv this season, Kjartansson, according to a press release, was going to “create a new, ambitious body of paintings within the specific context of Israel. He will spend two weeks painting the urban landscapes in the West Bank ‘En plein air’ (a fancy French term the press release misspelled and which means ‘outdoors’) akin to his performative painting practice over the past few years.”

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

So Ragnar Kjartansson took his canvas and stand and paints and brushes and went en plein air to various Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, and what he brought back was, well, not so bad. He painted what he saw (a paraphrase on the New Yorker’s surrealist Gahan Wilson’s book of horror cartoons), and apparently he saw none of the blood curdling evil normally associated with the term “settlements” on the corner of south Tel Aviv’s Tsadok Hacohen and Kalisher Streets, which is where the CCA is located.

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Or, as Galia Yahav put it in Ha’aretz this weekend, “The houses are rendered separately, one per painting. All of them are drawn from the front and fill the canvas in the same way and from the same distance. The style is blatantly amateurish and naïve, as though from a hobby group, deliberately bland, with obedient brushstrokes and a filling of blank spaces, turgid coloration and pedantically mimetic attention to detail.”

But, most upsetting, from Yahav’s point of view, “the result is a small, suburban neighborhood of villas, completely artificial, in which little Israeli flags attached to parked cars wave in the breeze and larger ones flop from the windows of houses. Without addresses or names of specific settlements, this artistic tactic poses with feigned innocence in the likeness of a 19th-century pilgrimage, in which the Holy Land is portrayed through misty eyes.”

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

In other words, this cutting-edge performance artist, who was going to do to the settlements what Edvard Munch did the screaming, came away from those colonialist, apartheid-dispensing satanic neighborhoods with a fairly bland set of impressions, which is what one could expect from suburban bedroom communities anywhere.

“Perhaps the idea was to depict a generic quality of life rife with sated insensitivity – architecture as amorality,” Yahav tried to dig up some evil from under those middle class shaggy rugs. “Or perhaps it’s the realization of violent fantasy through painting: the occupied territories without Palestinians, a heaven on earth.”

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Curator Chen Tamir wrote that Kjartansson’s settlements paintings “tell a story about the banality of everyday life amid complex political turmoil.” Maybe. But it ain’t in those paintings. Indeed, Tamir conceded that the entire Kjartansson exhibition “is a bold statement on art’s futility in the face of social and political strife.”

Or maybe, just maybe, the Icelandic artist discovered and then made a point leftwing art critics can’t afford to admit: that things in those Jewish settlements and in all of Judea and Samaria, just aren’t nearly as bad as they are in many other, more troubled places, such as London, Paris, Brussels, Nice and Istanbul.

JNi.Media

EU Counter-Anti-Semitism Czar: Our Goal to Allow Jews Fear-Free Life in Europe

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

The EU’s coordinator for combating anti-Semitism, Katharina von Schnurbein, this week told the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs about the European Union’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism. “The goal of all this activity is that Jews will be able to live in Europe without fear,” she said. “The fact that we have reached a situation whereby Jews send their children to schools behind barbed wire fences or send them to public schools without knowing whether they will be exposed to incitement there – this situation is unacceptable. The fact that we see security guards outside synagogues – and we have grown used to this – this is also unacceptable. But it doesn’t end there. There are security guards outside government buildings. The security situation is no longer limited to Jewish communities. We are convinced that it is the responsibility of society as a whole to combat anti-Semitism.”

Von Schnurbein said the general increase in anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe and the “atmosphere of hatred,” particularly online, are very worrying. She said that since her appointment in December, the EU’s activity against anti-Semitism has included dialogue with the major Internet companies — Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft — which brought about the formation of the Code of Conduct. Under the code, the online giants pledged to fund organizations that would help them monitor the situation and train people who will report any inciting content online.

Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) thanked von Schnurbein for the Code of Conduct legislation, which he said would allow social media companies to “remove hate speech inciting to violence within 24 hours,” which is “a correct and important step, the fruits of which I hope we will see immediately.”

Neguise told the meeting, which was also attended by EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen, of a survey conducted ahead of the meeting among rabbis and Jewish community leaders in Europe. The survey, commissioned by the European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Center of Europe, indicates that anti-Semitism is intensifying in Western European countries, but pointed out that the involvement of Muslim refugees in anti-Semitic incidents is marginal. The same survey showed that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Eastern Europe is decreasing.

“We are currently monitoring the process to see if there really is a change. We want to see a real change on the ground,” von Schnurbein said. “Today, only 13 of the 28 member states properly apply the [Code of Conduct] law . . . We are pressuring them to implement it.”

Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg of the Rabbinical Center of Europe said, “You cannot on the one hand constantly try to undermine the foundations of Judaism – be it brit milah (male circumcision ritual) or kosher shechitah (slaughtering of animals for food in accordance with Jewish law) – and on the other hand talk all the time about wanting to eradicate anti-Semitism.”

Yogev Karasenty, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry’s Director for Combating Anti-Semitism, said “It is not at all certain that the legislation trickles down to the ground level. There are Internet companies which declare a policy [of removing inciting content] but do not implement it.”

Yaakov Haguel, head of the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Countering Anti-Semitism, mentioned an EU survey conducted a few years ago which revealed that 74% of the victims of anti-Semitic attacks do not report them to the authorities. This indicates, he said, that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe is significantly higher than what the official figures show.

Addressing von Schnurbein and Faaborg-Andersen, Haguel said, “These Jews are your citizens, they are European citizens, proud citizens who want to live in Europe, who want to raise their children in Europe, who pay taxes. Before legislation and enforcement and education – what kind of atmosphere is being created for your citizens there? For us, the Jewish people, it is very concerning, but you, who represent the sovereign governments of each country, are responsible for the Jewish citizens, just as you are responsible for all the other citizens.”

NGO Monitor President Gerald M. Steinberg spoke of the “new anti-Semitism” and said the rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents and terror attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions “is directly linked to the incitement we hear about every day in Europe and the world. It is obvious that phrases such as ‘war crimes,’ ‘genocide,’ ‘violation of international law,’ ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘apartheid’ — which are said repeatedly in reference to Israel — feed this anti-Semitism.”

Ido Daniel, Program Director at Israeli Students Combating Anti-Semitism, mentioned that in 2014 the organization filed some 14,000 complaints with new media companies regarding anti-Semitic content online, and in 2015 the number of complaints to Twitter, Google, Facebook and Instagram rose to about 29,000. The trend is continuing in 2016, and the organization expects to file over 30,000 complaints by the end of the year, he told the committee.

“The social networks allow many people to disseminate inciting messages which are then translated into physical acts against Jews,” said Daniel, who noted that Jewish students from Brussels told him that they conceal their real last names on Facebook to avoid receiving hateful and insulting messages.

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) said, “History has already shown us what happens when displays of hatred and violence are not dealt with. There is terror all over the world now, and the social networks serve as a [broad platform] for this activity. This is not only Israel’s — it is the problem of entire world. Terror strikes in Brussels, Paris, Turkey and the United States. It’s a global problem.”

Rut Zach of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Combating Antisemitism said that since von Schnurbein’s appointment “we can see concrete action against anti-Semitism in Europe,” adding that the left in Europe must take the lead on this issue. “The left is supposed to protect human rights,” she said.

Carol Nuriel, Acting Director of ADL’s Israel office, presented the findings of a poll showing that one in every three Europeans holds anti-Semitic opinions. Another survey conducted by ADL after the terror attacks at the offices of the satirical weekly French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the kosher supermarket Hypercacher and the Jewish Museum in Brussels indicated a 10-20% decrease in anti-Semitism in France, Germany and Belgium.

“The awareness of the danger of violence against Jews created a sort of solidarity with the Jewish communities, and it is very important to preserve this solidarity,” Nuriel stressed. “Another conclusion is that when elected officials act – and we all remember French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’s historic speech – there are results on the ground.”

Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen said, “We are all in agreement about the urgency of the battle against anti-Semitism, which is a despicable phenomenon. The EU is committed 100 percent to this fight.”

Chairman Neguise concluded the meeting by saying that the committee calls on the EU to act against anti-Semitism through legislation and education. He also urged the organizations combating the phenomenon to work together.

JNi.Media

ISIS Car Bombing Kills 100+ in Baghdad, Third Attack in a Week

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

For the third time in seven days, Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists murdered innocent civilians Sunday in a deadly suicide bombing at a shopping mall in a Shi’ite neighborhood in Baghdad, in another bid for world attention.

At least 115 people were killed, including 50 children, and nearly 200 more were injured when a car bomb exploded Saturday night, ripping through the multi-level shopping mall where stores and a gym were located.

According to Fox News, families were at a cafe Saturday night in the mall to share the Iftar meal (breaking the daily Ramadan fast) while watching this weekend’s Euro 2016 soccer tournament when the bomb exploded.

A second bomb blew up an outdoor market in southeastern Baghdad, leaving five dead and 16 injured.

Ironically, most of the victims wounded and killed by ISIS during the holiest month in the Islamic calendar were themselves Muslims.

Last Friday night in Bangladesh, at least 20 hostages and two police officers were brutally hacked to death in the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s diplomatic district. The victims included three U.S. college students as well as Italians, Japanese, Bangladeshis, and one person from India.

Six terrorists came in at 8:45 pm with bags loaded with weaponry that included grenades and rifles, yelling Allahu Akbar! (the Islamic war cry, God is Great!). They were hunting foreigners, they told the restaurant staff, explaining locals were being contaminated with the foreign taste for alcohol and immodest clothing. More than 20 others were injured.

The Bangladesh government insists Da’esh was not involved in the attack, saying it was a local terrorist group; but ISIS has already taken responsibility for the slaughter.

Last Tuesday (June 28) three Da’esh terrorists also attacked Europe’s third-largest airport, the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, killing 44 people and wounding more than 140 others. One American suffered minor injuries, according to a U.S. official. But once again, most of the victims were Muslims.

Two of the three attackers were identified as Rakim Bulgarov and Vadim Osmanov, according to the official Turkish Anadolu news agency, quoting a source in the state prosecutor’s office who insisted on anonymity. The terrorists were reportedly from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. They infiltrated into Turkey via the Syrian border about a month prior, after arriving in Raqqa, the so-called “capital” of the self-declared caliphate of the terrorist group.

The team was allegedly directed by Ahmed Chatayev, according to U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, who told CNN the terrorist, known as “Ahmed One-Arm” is from the North Caucasus region in Russia. Chatayev is allegedly a top lieutenant for the minister of war for ISIS operations, CNN reported. The third attacker was not identified.

It was the eighth suicide bombing in Turkey in a nation which places a high premium on its tourism industry, a country which plays host to 39.4 million tourists each year.

The bombers entered the airport, opened fire and then detonated explosives vests — a slaughter strategy similar to that used by the ISIS terrorists during the attacks at the Paris Bataclan concert hall last November, and Belgium’s Zaventem International Airport in Brussels this past March.

Hana Levi Julian

Report: Germany Returned Nazi-Looted Art to the Nazis who Looted It

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Germany returned Nazi-looted art to the high-ranking Nazi families who stole it rather than to the families from whom it had been taken, according to a report by the London-based Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE), which says it has recently discovered this remarkable scandal that has been covered up by Germany for decades.

The family of the late Gottlieb and Mathilde Kraus of Vienna, represented by CLAE, who are still trying to recover their 160 looted paintings, had good reason to think two of their paintings would be in the state-owned museum in Munich, the Bayerische Staatsgemaeldesammlungen (Bavarian State Paintings Collections). Records show they were handed over to Bavaria by the US government in 1952 for the purpose of restitution. To their shock, they found the paintings had instead been given by the Bavarian State in the early 1960s to Henriette Hoffmann-von Schirach, daughter of Hitler’s close friend and photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, and wife of the notorious Gauleiter of Vienna, Baldur von Schirach. Von Schirach was condemned at Nuremberg for crimes against humanity for the deportation of 60,000 Austrian Jews.

Bavarian State Paintings Collections

Bavarian State Paintings Collections

Gottlieb Kraus (1867-1952) and his wife Mathilde Kraus (1873-1954) were prominent members of Viennese society. Gottlieb Kraus was a businessman and honorary consul for Czechoslovakia in Austria. Beginning in the early years of the 20th century, he and his wife assembled a notable art collection of over 160 paintings, and their apartment was opened as a public museum to display it in 1923.

Gottlieb and Mathilde, together with their daughter Marie, fled Vienna soon after the Nazis took power in March 1938. Their flight took them via Prague, Brussels, England and Canada, before they were eventually able to settle in Washington DC. They discovered after the war that their entire collection left in Vienna had been seized by the Nazis in 1941, some selected for Hitler’s Linz Museum. Their daughter Marie made unsuccessful efforts over decades with both Germany and Austria to find and recover their possessions, but was blocked at every turn. These efforts were continued after her death in 1997 by the several grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Gottlieb and Mathilde.

The Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE), is an international, expert and non-profit representative body which negotiates policies and procedures with governments and cultural institutions and promotes the identification of looted cultural property and the tracing of its rightful owners. It represents families from all over the world, acting on their behalf to locate and recover their looted artworks. It has been instrumental in the return to its rightful owners of over 3,500 items of looted property since it was set up in 1999. It also provides a Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945 at www.lootedart.com to fulfil Washington Principle VI which called for the creation of such a repository of information.

Anne Webber, Co-Chair of CLAE, said CLAE’s research shows that in the 1950s and 1960s Henriette Hoffmann-von Schirach recovered scores of paintings from Bavaria. It seems that Bavaria thought restitution meant restitution to the Nazis rather than to their victims.

Among the high ranking Nazi families negotiating to get back art, some of it looted, were the Goering, Hoffmann, Bormann, von Schirach, Frank and Streicher families. In many cases they negotiated directly with the Director of the Bavarian State Museums and Ministers in the Bavarian government. While their demands were dealt with promptly and efficiently and with little requirement to prove their claims of ownership, the looted families had their claims thrown out or impossible hurdles were created to prevent them recovering their artworks. The families are still experiencing the same barriers to recovery of their looted works of art today.

One of the two Old Master paintings handed over to Mrs Hoffmann-von Schirach in 1962 in exchange for the paltry sum of 300 Deutsch Marks, was sold by her the following year for 16,100 Deutsch Marks to the Catholic Cathedral Association of Xanten in Germany’s North-Rhine Westphalia.

In July 2011, on behalf of the Kraus family, CLAE made a claim to Xanten for the painting, providing extensive proofs of its shocking history: looted by the Gestapo in Vienna in 1941 from the collection of Gottlieb and Mathilde Kraus; acquired in Vienna with other paintings from the Kraus collection by Heinrich Hoffman through the good offices of his son-in-law Baldur von Schirach; found by the Allies at the end of the war; returned to Bavaria by the US with the restitution obligation; and then returned to Mrs Hoffmann-von Schirach in 1962 on the flimsiest of grounds.

Despite the Cathedral of Xanten publicly proclaiming its proud ‘anti-Nazi’ past, it seems this attitude does not extend to property stolen from Jewish families. In the five years that CLAE has been trying to achieve an amicable settlement, the Cathedral Association, of which the local Bishop is part, has not once acknowledged the historical injustice perpetrated on this family or the persecution it has suffered. It has provided no documentation of any kind, nor a single proof of evidence of a good faith purchase. It has locked away the painting and only and repeatedly denied settlement of the claim on the grounds that it must have “an index linked return on its investment” of 1963. The last settlement offer by CLAE was made in September 2015 when the family stated their wish that their claim be resolved by the end of October 2015. Anne Webber said there has only been silence from Xanten in the nine months since.

CLAE’s several requests for an explanation of the post-war ‘return-sales’ to the Nazi families, made to the Bavarian State Museums, the Bavarian State government and the German Foreign Ministry, met with equal lack of success, as did its requests for documentation. CLAE was told that there were only four documents consisting of five pages in total. CLAE embarked on its own research, uncovering hundreds of pages of records and the details of this scandalous history.

JNi.Media

Analysis: One Scary Outcome of Brexit Could Be Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn

Friday, June 24th, 2016

As a million more Britons said no than yes to their country’s EU membership, Israel’s future relationship with the UK may take a downturn, and not because of the argument Prime Minister David Cameron was making during his campaign to remain in the Union.

Cameron earlier this week told an audience at the Jewish Care dinner in London that he wants to be at the EU discussion table, influencing policy whenever the EU decides on yet another anti-Israel move. Cameron also attacked Brexit proponent UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s message as being “opposite of everything that makes Britain great.”

“When we’re fighting terrorism and Islamist extremism are we better doing that out on our own or fighting together with our European partners,” Cameron said at the dinner (which raised almost $7 million). “When Europe is discussing its attitude towards Israel do you want Britain – Israel’s greatest friends – in there opposing boycotts, or do you want us outside the room, powerless to affect the conversation.”

It’s a nice argument, made by the same greatest friend of Israel who only last February called Israeli construction in eastern Jerusalem “genuinely shocking” during a discussion in Parliament. “I am well-known for being a strong friend of Israel, but I have to say the first time I visited Jerusalem and had a proper tour around that wonderful city and saw what had happened with the effective encirclement of East Jerusalem, occupied East Jerusalem, it is genuinely shocking,” Cameron said during a weekly question-answer session.

With friends like that…

But that’s water under the bridge now, on Friday morning, after Cameron has already announced he is quitting his post as Prime Minister since Britain had voted to leave the European Union after being a member since the 1970s. “We must now prepare for a renegotiations with the EU,” he said, explaining that “above all this will require strong determined and committed leadership. I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in that direction.”

The Labour party’s response to the referendum results was a masterpiece of spin. Unlike the Conservatives, who were split over Brexit, Labour was all out in favor of remaining in the EU. Now read the Labour talking points as sent out to members Friday morning:

“Clearly many communities across our country feel left behind and cut off by the political establishment in Brussels and Westminster. This was a rejection of the status quo by millions of people who are not sharing in the wealth of this country, for whom the economy is not working.

“After this divisive campaign and close vote, the first task is to come together and heal the divisions. Our country is divided and things need to change. Politicians on all sides must respect the voice of the British people, who have spoken.

“Labour is the only party that can meet the challenge we now face. We realize that people want politicians who put them first. As the party that stands up for working people, Labour is best placed re-unite the country – we can do so as we did not engage in project fear, and we share people’s dissatisfaction with the status quo, which is why we put a critical case for both remain and reform.

“In making this argument Labour showed that it is far closer to the centre of gravity of the British public than other political parties. Jeremy is uniquely placed as a critical remainer. He understands why people voted to leave, he understood people’s criticisms of Europe – and is the only leader of a major party in Britain to whom that applies.”

The talking points document concluded:

“The Tories cannot possibly provide the leadership we need — they are divided from top to bottom. It is hard to see how David Cameron has a long-term future as Prime Minister, but Labour’s immediate priority is to stabilize the country and the markets.”

Possibly. Which would throw a new, more menacing light on Cameron’s warnings regarding Israel’s only friend in Great Britain: should the Tories exit stage-right, Israel would not need to worry so much about facing a more hostile European Union, rather it should be concerned about facing arch-anti-Israel Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

JNi.Media

‘Bye Bye Brussels!’ – Britain Votes to Leave the EU

Friday, June 24th, 2016

British citizens are done with being one of many — 28, to be precise — and they made their views clear in a referendum Thursday with a vote to leave the European Union.

They wanted their borders back, their own British Pound Sterling, thank you, and the safety of being able to make their own security decisions.

The vote was called late Thursday night at 52 percent in favor of ‘Brexit’ as the leaving was called, and 48 percent against, according to ITV and the BBC.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who said his position would be ‘untenable’ if the country chose not to remain within the EU, now finds himself having to decide his next move. Cameron had warned there would be “no turning back” if the UK were to separate itself from the European body, looking at the impact on banks and other financial institutions as well as other issues.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage described a poster showing a line of asylum seekers as “a statement about the whole of the European Union,” according to CNN. Farage delivered a victory speech to supporters upon hearing the news of the final results at a polling station in Birmingham.

The ‘victory’ may be a bit premature, however: Scotland warned from the outset that should England decide to leave the EU, the decision would launch a discussion about whether or not to hold another referendum on whether or not to secede from the United Kingdom.

Should Scotland vote for independence, the UK decision to leave the European Union — which may ultimately lead to the disintegration of the EU — will have led to its own dissolution as well.

Analysts around the world are now weighing the effect of the British decision on the world economy and it impacts individual nations along with their currencies, pension funds and banking systems. It is also not clear what effect this will have on the British Jewish community both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

In trading Thursday night, the British pound Sterling fell against the U.S. dollar and against the euro; however, the euro fell against the Japanese yen as well. All three stock markets dropped, and were set to open lower on Friday.

Political leaders in Europe are now deeply concerned that the split that exists in England may continue to divide other member states in the EU, prompting them to leave as well and perhaps lead to the dissolution of the entire European body.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Leaders Slam PA’s Abbas for Blood Libels and Lies in EU Speech

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
by Michael Bachner, TPS

Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, responded on Thursday evening to harsh and false attacks voiced earlier against Israel by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas during his speech at the European Union Parliament in Brussels.

Abbas urged the world to take action against “Israeli atrocities” and repeating debunked rumors that Israeli rabbis had “called to poison Palestinian water supplies.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the speech, saying that Abbas had “showed his true face” in Brussels. “Someone who refuses to meet the president and myself for direct negotiations and who spreads blood libels before the European Parliament, is lying when he claims that his hand is extended in peace,” said Netanyahu.

The prime minister was referring to the potential meeting between Abbas and his Israeli counterpart Rivlin proposed by EU Council President Donald Tusk that Abbas bluntly refused to attend.

“Israel is waiting for the day when Abu Mazen stops spreading lies and engaging in incitement,” Netanyahu added, referring to Abbas by his nickname. “Until then Israel will continue to defend itself against Palestinian incitement that motivates acts of terrorism.”

Abbas harshly attacked Israel during his speech, calling its policies towards Arabs from the Palestinian Authority “racist” and “fascist.” He also said the PA is prepared to make peace with Israel — even as he rejected a single meeting with Rivlin while the two were in the same building at the same time, for the very same purpose.

“Our hands are extended with a desire to peace,” he claimed, directing his remarks to Israel. “We have the political will to achieve peace and we ask, do you have the same will to achieve peace and to acknowledge the historic injustice that your state has exacted on our country?”

President Rivlin also responded to Abbas’ speech on Thursday, expressing disappointment that Abbas has refused to meet with him.

“It is strange that Abbas repeatedly refuses to meet with Israeli leaders and then repeatedly turns to the international community for support,” said Rivlin in a statement. “We cannot build on the trust we have built if we do not start talking directly without intermediaries. Direct talks are the only way to build confidence and restore the conditions for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.”

Israeli lawmaker and former Shin Bet domestic intelligence chief Avi Dichter, who chairs the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee also responded to what he called the “falsehoods” propounded by Abbas during his Brussels speech.

“With a series of historical distortions and crocodile tears, Abu Mazen today described the 1948 Palestinian ‘Nakba‘ [Arabic for ‘disaster’], without mentioning the fact that the Arab leaders in 1947 were the ones who determined their fate,” said Dichter.

“The Jewish leaders accepted the partition plan, while the ‘Abu Mazens’ of that time rejected the United Nations proposal and the Arab armies invaded Israel in order to wipe out the Jews and take 100 percent of Israel.”

Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon responded to the speech as well, referring to Abbas’ claim that Ya’alon and Ehud Barak, a former Israeli prime minister, recently called Israel was a “fascist” state. While Barak did make a similar accusation, Ya’alon did not.

“Abu Mazen is not only lying as usual, continuing his malicious blood libels against the State of Israel,” wrote Ya’alon on his Facebook page, “he is also exploiting the healthy democratic discourse in Israeli society, which does not exist in his society and is putting words in my mouth I did not say.

“Abu Mazen’s conduct, speeches and evasions of direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions are further proof that he never intended to go for an agreement, including recognition of our right to exist as the only nation state of the Jewish people,” Ya’alon added.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/276345/2016/06/23/

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