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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘bundestag’

German Bundestag President Praises Israel at Knesset, Fights Anti-Semitism at Home

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Europeans must be resolute in curbing anti-Semitism, said German Bundestag President Norbert Lammert in an address to Knesset marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel.

After a few tentative lines in Hebrew, Lammert switched to German and said, “It is a great privilege, and also a pleasure, to speak to the representatives of Israel, home to Jews from all over the world, here in the Knesset, the beating heart of a strong democratic state, an open and free society, and the only functioning democracy in the Middle East.”

Calling his nation’s diplomatic ties with Israel “one of history’s miracles,” Lammert said “We are especially grateful, too, that after the traumatic experiences of National Socialist dictatorship and the Holocaust, Jewish life has once again resumed in Germany,” which he referred to as a “second democracy.”

Next year the Interparliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism will hold its conference in Berlin, Lammert said. “We recognize that nowhere in the world has anti-Semitism had more devastating consequences than in Germany.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told Lammert, “Your standing at our side and at the side of the Jewish people is more important than ever, certainly now when there is a harsh struggle around the world against anti-Semitism and its new form: anti-Israeliness.”

Lammert visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem during his visit to the holy city. But one wonders how aware this German official is about the utter lack of interest in anything to do with anti-Semitism in his country.

The Facebook page for the Interparliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism has only one post since January relating to Germany. That is an announcement to say the German government “reinstated the Experts’ Commission on Antisemitism upon the request of the Parliament, in a motion supported by all parties.” (Not that any others were none better, with just one post each from the U.S., France and UK.)

Reader, were you aware the commission had been de-commissioned in Germany? No? What a surprise.

According to a new survey conducted on behalf of the European Jewish Association, however, only one in every four Germans even believes the European Union must do more to wipe out anti-Semitism.

Germans More Worried About Rising Islamophobia

Most Germans are far more worried about the rise of Islamophobia, according to the survey, released Wednesday, and 39 percent believe current measures being taken against anti-Semitism are sufficient. Moreover, 15 percent of Germans believe there is a need to reduce the activity on the subject.

EJA Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin called the findings “an educational failure in implementing the lessons of the Holocaust” and warned, “The German public is simply unaware of the rising tide of attacks motivated by anti-Semitism.”

The survey was conducted June 16-18 via the web panel of the European Research Institute YouGov, among a representative sample (1991) of the adult population, age 18+ in Germany.

Of the top ten challenges facing the European continent, 53 percent of respondents ranked “immigration” first; 44 percent ranked “environment” second; the third most important to the average German was “terrorism” at 42 percent. Anti-Muslim bigotry was ranked eighth at 15 percent; anti-Semitism came in ninth at half that figure.

Earlier this year, a German judge decided that three German Palestinians who were convicted of arson after hurling firebombs at a synagogue in Germany were motivated by trying to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict,” Jerusalem Post journalist Benjamin Weinthal reported in February.

The judge in the case did not believe the men were guilty of anti-Semitism, according to outraged Green Party deputy Volker Beck, who told media he wrote to the prosecutor in the case to file a legal objection.

Hana Levi Julian

10 Worst AntiSemitic Acts of 2014

Monday, December 29th, 2014

2014 was a year of unprecedented explosions of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred. Our Top Ten this year shows how pervasive anti-Semitism has become around the world. The ten examples selected by the Simon Wiesenthal Center are tragically indicative of burgeoning threats and challenges to the Jewish people not encountered since the end of WWII.

2014 was the year of ISIS, of “Lone Wolf” terrorism, of targeted murder and rape of Jewish citizens in European democracies, of pro-Hamas sentiment reverberating on the streets of Europe and on American university campuses.

2014 was a year of increasing acceptance of Jew-hatred in the political and social fabrics of societies. It was a year of unending genocidal threats against the Jewish state from a nuclearizing Mullahocracy in Iran and continuing efforts in Europe to criminalize age-old Judaic practices of Shechita (Kosher slaughter) and Brit Milah (ritual circumcision).

2014 left Jews across Europe questioning if they have a future in their native lands. Danny Cohen, director of BBC television summed up the feelings of many: “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long- term home, actually. Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before actually.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center urges people of good faith everywhere to commit in 2015 to break the apathy and silence and to stand up and speak out against history’s oldest hate wherever it rears its ugly head.


Belgium.jpg HIPPOCRATIC OATH – TREAT EVERY- ONE BUT JEWS? A doctor in Belgium refused medical help to a 90-year-old Jewish woman with a fractured rib, telling her son who called the medical hotline on her behalf:

“Send her to Gaza for a few hours, then she will get rid of the pain.”

“I’m not coming,” he said and hung up.

Joods Actueel, a local Jewish newspaper reported that Hershy Taffel, Bertha Klein’s grandson, had filed a discrimination complaint with the police.

“It reminds me of what happened in Europe 70 years ago,” Taffel told Joods Actueel. “I never thought those days would once again be repeated.”

The paper’s editor-in-chief Michael Freilich lamented, “This is yet another incident in a short period of time. A shop in Antwerp refused to serve a woman because she was Jewish, a café in Liège has a sign hung with the message ‘Dogs welcome, Jews not,’ and in Brussels slogans like, “Death to the Jews” were chanted during a demonstration and on Facebook, we see calls every day of hatred against the Jewish people.”

The deadliest attack targeting the Jewish community in 2014 was the gunning down of three innocent people outside Brussels’ Jewish museum by an ISIS-trained French Islamist terrorist. 

IsraelJordan.jpg A SAVAGE ATTACK IN A JERUSALEM SYNAGOGUE; A MONSTROUS MOMENT OF SILENCE IN JORDANIAN PARLIAMENT On November 18th, two terrorists from East Jerusalem entered the Kehilat Bnai Torah Synagogue in West Jerusalem. Armed with guns,axes and cleavers and shouting, “Allahu Akbar,” they savagely attacked worshippers, as they stood wrapped in their prayer shawls, leaving four rabbis – three of them U.S. citizens – dead in a pool of blood.

Seven others were injured. A heroic Israeli Druze policeman who ran to aid the victims was gunned down before the terrorists themselves were killed. The shocking savagery plunged the Jewish world into mourning and grief.

But not everyone grieved for the victims. The very next day, Jordanian parliamentarians held a moment of silence for the murderers and read Koran verses aloud, “To glorify their pure souls and the souls of all the martyrs in the Arab and Muslim nations.” The Jordanian Prime Minister, Abdullah Ensour, sent this condolence letter to the families of the terrorists; “I ask God to envelope them with mercy and to grant you with patience, comfort and recovery from your grief…” The Jordanian government, however, issued a statement condemning the attack, adding that all acts of violence against civilians in Jerusalem must be denounced.

Simon Wiesenthal Center

Artwork in German Parliament May Have Been Nazi-Looted

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Two artworks hanging in Germany’s parliament building in Berlin may have been confiscated or acquired at artificially depressed prices by the Nazis from the original owners, German newspapers reported.

The Die Welt newspaper suggested that one of the works coincidentally stems from a gallery owned by an uncle of Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazi-era dealer whose huge collection was discovered in the Munich apartment of his elderly son, Cornelius Gurlitt, in 2012 and revealed to the world two months ago.

The Bundestag has responded in a statement that it is looking into the matter. Meanwhile, Die Welt said the Bundestag’s eight-member art advisory council – which includes the German president – already had determined that neither work was so-called “Raubkunst,” art plundered from occupied countries.

The two works in question reportedly are a large-format 1905 oil painting by Georg Waltenberger titled “Chancellor Bülow speaks in the Reichstag,” and a 1918 Lovis Corinth lithograph, “A street in Königsberg.” While the former is hanging in a hallway, the latter is kept out of natural light.

Die Welt reported that the lithograph was printed by the Berlin gallery of Fritz Gurlitt, an uncle of collector Hildebrand Gurlitt.

Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the Bild newspaper that the Bundestag should make its collection public and assist investigators in reconnecting possible heirs with long-lost property. Over the years, the Bundestag has returned several works to heirs.

Of the 4,000 works in the German parliament’s collection, about 700 are said to date from before the end of World War II.


The Unpredicted Consequences of the German Elections

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The German elections had two important consequences, one predicted, the other one unpredicted. As expected, the number of Islamic members of the Bundestag, the German Parliament, has increased.

The Christian-Democrat CDU of Chancellor Angela Merkel now has its first Muslim parliamentarian. Cemile Giousouf, the 35-year old daughter of a Turkish immigrant, was elected in Hagen, a city in the industrial Ruhr area with a foreign population of 40%.

Germany has 800,000 Turkish voters. The Turks make up the largest ethnic group within Germany’s Muslim population of some 4 million people, Previously, the Turks had five parliamentarians out of 630 Bundestag members; in the 22 September general elections, this number more than doubled to eleven. Ten of them belong to the left or far-left – five are members of the Social-Democrat SPD, three of the Green Party, and two of the Communist Die Linke (Left Party) — and one is with the center-right CDU.

The number of Bundestag members with an immigrant background rose from 21 to 34, with Die Linke having the highest percentage of immigrant politicians in their ranks followed by the Greens.

Ms. Giousouf’s Islamic convictions — her “religious otherness” as she calls it — did not pose problems for a party that claims to be founded on Christian-Democrat principles. Her candidacy was challenged, however, by another female candidate on grounds of seniority. Despite the other candidate having been active in the party for three decades, the CDU leadership preferred to give the prominent position on the party list to Giousouf because of her ethnic background. Ms. Giousouf defended this decision by stating, “If we immigrants are forced to put up campaign posters for the next 30 years, there won’t be any [immigrant] representatives in the Bundestag.”

For the first time, two black candidates were elected in the Bundestag. One of them, Charles Muhamed Huber, for Merkel’s CDU, the other, Karamba Diaby, for the Social-Democrat SPD. Both Mr Huber and Mr Diaby are of Senegalese origin.

While the international media devoted relatively little attention to Mr. Huber — despite his self-declared sympathy for the American Black Panther movement — there was huge interest in Mr Diaby, who was born in 1961 in the Muslim village of Masassoum. Through his political activities at Dakar University in the early 1980s, he came into contact with a Communist organization. In 1985, he was given a scholarship to study in Communist East Germany, where he subsequently settled.

Mr Diaby joined the SPD and became the national chairman of Gemany’s Immigration and Integration Council (Bundeszuwanderungs-und Integrationsrat). Two years ago, he gained prominence when he advocated the imprisonment of Thilo Sarrazin, a fellow SPD politician and a former member of the Executive Board of the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank. Mr. Sarrazin had authored a book, Deutschland schafft sich ab [Germany Abolishes Itself], in which he said that Islamic immigration is threatening Germany’s prosperity and freedom. Mr. Sarrazin argued that most Islamic immigrants are unwilling to integrate and tend to rely more on welfare benefits than do other immigrant groups.

Turkish and Islamic organizations accused Sarrazin of “racism,” but were unable to get him sentenced in court. The SPD leadership twice attempted to throw Mr. Sarrazin out of the party, but both attempts were unsuccessful. Polls indicated that Sarrazin was backed by an overwhelming majority of the Germans, including SPD members. Mr. Diaby petitioned the Bundestag, demanding that German criminal law be changed to ensure that statements such as those made in Sarrazin’s book would be punishable with a prison sentence. The German lawmakers, however, failed to do so. The SPD leadership subsequently gave Mr. Diaby a prominent place on its electoral list, which enabled him to be elected as a lawmaker, so that he is now in a position to try to change German laws from within the parliament.

While the growth of Islamic influence within the German political system, including the Christian-Democrat Party, was predicted, an unpredicted consequence of the September 22 general elections was the Bundestag’s swing to the left, despite the electorate’s swing to the right. This is the result of the German electoral system with its 5% electoral threshold.

The biggest winners of the elections were Chancellor Merkel’s center-right Christian-Democrats. They won 41.5% of the vote — far better than in the 2009 general elections, when they had 33.7%.

The biggest losers were the Liberals. The German Liberal Party FDP, which is economically to the right of Merkel’s CDU, fell from 14.6% in 2009 to 4.8%. The electorate punished the FDP, which had promised its voters tax cuts but, despite forming a government coalition with Ms. Merkel, failed to deliver on this promise.

Although the FDP won over 2 million of the 43.7 million votes, as the party was unable to make the 5% hurdle, and as a result it did not get a single parliamentary seat. The same applied to the conservative Alternative fuer Deutschland party (AfD), a newly established party, critical of the euro. AfD won 4.7% of the vote, an unexpectedly high result for a new party, but not a single representative. The far-right NPD won 1.3%. Taken together, 10.8% of the electorate voted for a party to the right of Merkel’s Christian-Democrats, but not a single parliamentarian to Merkel’s right got elected.

Merkel’s Christian-Democrats, the FDP, AfD and NPD combined won 52.3% of the vote (51%, excluding the far-right NPD). However, in the Bundestag the parties of the Left — SPD, Greens and the Communists of Die Linke – hold 50.7% of the seats.

That the FDP fell just below the electoral threshold deprives Merkel of the possibility to form a center-right coalition. Theoretically, the left is able to form a coalition with the far-left, but as the SPD had ruled out governing with Die Linke, Germany is left with just two choices: Either a coalition of Merkel with the leftist Greens, or a so-called “grand coalition” of the CDU with the center-left SPD.

In any event, Germany’s new coalition will be to the left of the previous CDU-FDP coalition, while the voters had clearly indicated that they wanted Germany to turn to the right. The future looks promising, however, for AfD. Never before has a party that was established barely a few months before, done so well in the elections. And given that Merkel will be forced to move to the left, the prospect of disenchanted conservative Christian-Democrats flocking to AfD are huge. There is little doubt that AfD will gain seats in the European Parliament in next year’s European elections. If the AfD leadership manages to avoid internal quarrels, in 2017 the party will likely enter the Bundestag.

Peter Martino

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-unpredicted-consequences-of-the-german-elections/2013/10/01/

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