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Posts Tagged ‘Denmark’

Anti-Semitic Phone Call Leads to Restoration of Historic Boat

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

A 1943 vintage Danish fishing boat which rescued Danish Jews during the Holocaust is in the process of being moved and restored, ironically enough, thanks to an anti-Semitic phone call.

The boat had been deteriorating for a while, but since the museum doesn’t charge for admission, raising money for a restoration project wasn’t exactly easy – until conservator Braeden Howard received an “obscene anti-Semitic” phone call and posted the anonymous diatribe on YouTube.

“The Glenn Beck Show” got wind of the rant and shared it with viewers. Since then, the Houston Holocaust Museum has raised over $200,000 for the restoration of the boat, exceeding the estimated price tag for the 7-ton landlocked vessel.

TNT donated a crane, a shipyard donated a new and better cradle, and craftsmen have donated their skills.

Acting in response to a German roundup of Jews in 1943, the Danes organized a boat lift to smuggle Jews to neutral Sweden. Using a boat like this one, they were able to save 7,200 Jews.

 This article was written for JTA by By Jillian Scheinfeld

Danish Health Board Says No Need to Ban Circumcision

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

A Danish government panel has dealt an anti-circumcision group a severe setback with a new study that concludes there is little risk in circumcisions and that no new  guidelines are necessary.

A Health Ministry commission ritual also concluded that circumcisions also have few medical benefits, the Copenhagen Post reported.

Leo Milgrom, deputy chairman of the anti-circumcision group responded, “Even without all the weighty ethical considerations, and without all the many legal, sexual and psychological consequences, at the very least a scientific precautionary principle should apply: circumcision should be immediately stopped simply as a result of the scientific uncertainty described in the health agency’s own report.”

Between 1,000 and 2,000 ritual circumcisions a year take place every Denmark, and current guideline require a child’s permission only if he is at least 15 years old.

A widely-known Jewish Danish journalist who converted to Christianity described last year circumcision in the most brutal terms. “Around the baby stand ten black-clad men – a must in every Jewish circumcision. As usual in Judaism, women aren’t allowed to be present. An untrained rabbi mutilates the baby, who cries and bleeds profusely as the men pray,” he wrote.

“Some anti-immigration campaigners are using the circumcision issue to prevent what they call Denmark’s “Islamization,” Finn Schwarz, president of the Jewish Congregation of Copenhagen, told JTA last year. “ If not for the Jewish community, circumcision would’ve already been banned here,” he said.

In 2001, the Jewish community lobbied successfully for special legislation on circumcision of male babies younger than two months.

The law says that circumcision of newborns may be performed by a “licensed professional.” The country’s Jewish ritual circumcisers, or mohelim, receive their license from the country’s health board, but a nurse or doctor must still be present when they perform the procedure.

Denmark, Finland Upgrade Palestinian Diplomatic Missions

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Denmark and Finland have jumped on the bandwagon of pro-Palestinian Authority countries to update their Palestinian diplomatic missions to embassy status.

The countries made a joint announcement Saturday on the sidelines of a meeting of Nordic foreign ministers in Stockholm.

“We hope that the intention to give, for all practical purposes, the Palestinian Missions in our capitals conditions for work identical to those of an embassy will encourage [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas to engage with determination in the necessary negotiations with the Israeli government on a two-state solution,” the Danish and Finnish foreign ministers, Villy Sovndal and Erkki Tuomioja, said in a statement.

The updated status will take effect by the end of this year.

Sweden’s parliament upgraded the status of the Palestinian mission in Stockholm to an embassy in March.

Islamist Assassinations in the West

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Terrorism broadly takes two forms: against random individuals who happen to be at a market place or on a bus at the wrong time; or against specific individuals because of who they are. The latter in turn divides into two: against broad categories of people (the military, Jews, people who wear eyeglasses) and against specific public figures, either individuals or institutions. In effect, these last are assassinations (defined by Merriam-Webster as “to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons”).

Horrific as the first two genres are, assassinations are the most terrifying and effective. Whereas the first two can happen to anyone and have the effect of creating a universal but vague dread, the third focuses on a small pool of targets and sends a specific signal to others not to follow in their footsteps. In general, therefore, assassinations inspire the most consequential fear, intimidate the most, and have the greatest consequences.

Actual public Western victims of Islamist violence have included:

1980: Ali Akbar Tabataba’i, Iranian dissident, in the United States* 1980: Faisal Zagallai, Libyan dissident, in the United States 1990: Rashad Khalifa, Egyptian religious innovator, in the United States* 1990: Meir Kahane, Israel politician of American origins, in the United States* 1991: Hitoshi Igarashi, Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses* 1991: Ettore Capriolo, Italian translator of The Satanic Verses 1993: William Nygaard, Norwegian publisher of The Satanic Verses 2004: Theo van Gogh, Dutch artist* 2010: Kurt Westergaard, Danish cartoonist 2010: Lars Vilks, Swedish artist 2010: Jyllands-Posten, Danish newspaper 2012: Charlie Hebdo, French satiric magazine 2013: Lars Hedegaard, Danish historian and political analyst Notes: * indicates a fatality. Mu’ammar al-Qaddafi, head of the Libyan government, was an Islamist in 1980. I do not list here victims of Muslim but non-Islamist assassinations, such as Malcolm X in 1965. For the record, a Palestinian Christian killed Robert Kennedy in 1968.

Statistical comments:

(1) Other than one isolated attack in 2004, this listing of 13 inexplicably divides into two distinct periods, seven in 1980-93 and five in 2010-13.

(2) Listed by their identity, the victims include 8 connected to culture and the arts, 3 political figures, 1 religious one, and 1 analyst. Of the eight cultural attacks, 4 involved cartoons, 3 Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, and one a movie, Submission.

(3) Geographically, 8 took place in Europe, 4 in the United States, and one in Japan. Of the European cases, three took place in tiny Denmark. Britain and Germany are conspicuously missing from this list. Oddly, the 4 American instances took place in either 1980 or 1990.

(4) State involvement can be discerned only in the first 3 cases (Iranian, Libyan, and Saudi, respectively).

(5) In terms of deadliness, 5 attacks led to a fatality, 8 did not.

And a personal note by way of conclusion: the Feb. 5 attack on Hedegaard – a friend and colleague at the Middle East Forum – inspired me to compile this listing in the hopes that aggregating these loathsome crimes will help wake more Westerners to the danger within.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Converting Denmark into a Muslim Country

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Muslim immigrants in a town near Copenhagen have forced the cancellation of traditional Christmas displays this year even while spending lavishly on the Islamic Eid celebration marking the end of Ramadan.

The controversy has escalated into an angry nationwide debate over the role of Islam in post-Christian Denmark, where a burgeoning Muslim population is becoming increasingly assertive in imposing its will on a wide range of social and civic issues.

The latest dust-up involves the Egedalsvænget housing complex in Kokkedal, a town situated some 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Copenhagen where Arab and Turkish immigrants now comprise more than half the total population.

At a recent meeting of the Egedalsvænget tenants’ association, the Muslim majority on the Board of Directors refused to authorize spending 7,000 Danish kroner ($1,200) for the community’s annual Christmas event.

The vote came shortly after the same Board of Directors authorized spending 60,000 kroner ($10,000) on a large communal celebration of the Muslim holiday Eid. Five out of nine of the board members are Muslims.

A Muslim member of the board, Ismail Mestasi, defended the decision to cancel the Christmas tree and party, arguing that no one had offered to organize the celebration. “No one wanted to take on the responsibility. A vote was taken and it ended as it ended. I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I was asked to get the tree. And I didn’t want to.” But a non-Muslim board member, Karin Leegaard Hansen, refuted him, saying that she herself had offered to take on the responsibility, but that she was overruled by the Muslim board members.

The dispute, which is the latest in an ever-growing list of Muslim-related controversies in Denmark, was first reported by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) on November 7. Since then, the issue has snowballed into a national scandal and has become a key topic for public debate in the Danish media as well as in political circles.

A spokesman for the Danish Conservative Party, Tom Behnke, says he fears there are people who want to convert Denmark into a Muslim country. In an interview with DR News, Behnke said: “I think it is deeply alarming that our integration efforts are so ineffective that the moment there is a Muslim majority, we do away with good-old Danish traditions and introduce Muslim traditions instead. We are living in Denmark, and people have to adapt to the situation that applies here.”

When asked whether housing associations with a Muslim minority should sponsor an Eid party, Behnke replied: “We have to remember that in the past, an Eid festival was the Muslims’ victory celebration after they had slaughtered the Christians, so I don’t know how much there is to celebrate in Denmark. Still, people should be allowed to celebrate whatever festivals they want to, but they also must respect the festivals in the country they have come to.”

Behnke added: “There is no point in wanting to convert Denmark into a Muslim country because you yourself have a Muslim background. That must never happen. On the contrary, we must have mutual respect for one another. This is a lack of respect for Danish traditions and culture. We must not have a Denmark where Danish traditions disappear as soon as there is a Muslim majority.”

Danish police are now investigating an accusation of racism made against the Muslim board members. In an interview with the Copenhagen Post, police spokesperson Karsten Egtved said: “It needs to be determined to what extent the decision by the Muslim members of the board to first vote ‘yes’ to a 60,000 kroner Eid party, then ‘no’ to a 7,000 kroner Christmas tree to celebrate Christian traditions, violates laws by discriminating against Christians and their traditions.”

The Christmas tree controversy took an ominous new twist on November 12, when a van carrying two journalists from TV2 News was attacked by 25 masked hoodlums. The journalists had gone to the Egedalsvænget housing complex to film a report about the story, but immediately upon their arrival their van was bombarded with bricks and cobblestones. The attackers destroyed the van and chased the hapless journalists out of the area.

According to TV2, the perpetrators were Muslim youths who were seeking to silence media coverage of the Christmas tree dispute.

Aussies, Danes, Swedes Turks, and Bedouins Learn New Media & Public Diplomacy at Ariel University

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

The delegates arrived from all over the world including Denmark, Sweden, Turkey and Australia, to take part in the New Media & Public Diplomacy Seminar at Ariel University in Samaria. Their formal goal is to “gain a better understanding of how public diplomacy shapes the Middle East conflict,” but they are also counting on having a lot of fun.

“It is wonderful to be here again,” said Turkish delegate Aga Beck. Although he had recently visited Israel two months ago, this was his first time over the 1967 green line.

“I’m not shocked to be here, since I don’t believe the news in Turkey” he said. But his friends from home see it differently: “My friends are shocked that I came to Israel, because they have really ‘interesting’ views concerning Israel.”

I met Diana Nujidaat, from the Galilee, at the entrance to the dormitories. She’s in her last year of high school and dreams of becoming a member of the Israeli parliament. She has lived her entire life in Israel yet she’s never been over the 1967 green line. “It’s my first time here and I’m very excited to be here.” Nujidaat hails from a Bedouin tribe in Israel and explained that “It’s an Israeli state, the majority is Jewish, and I accept that, but this is also my state.”

Magnos Frank, a delegate from Denmark, is very exited to have come to Israel. “I’m very glad to be here, and I’m looking forward to this seminar.”

The program’s field trips are of special interest to him as he pointed out that “it’s a rare opportunity, you can’t just call the army and ask to be shown around.”

The seminar is sponsored by the Communications School at Ariel university and the Ministry of Public Diplomacy & Diaspora Affairs. It is taking place throughout this coming week, concluding on September 14th.

As part of the program, delegates will meet with Israeli officials, reporters, professors and political activists such as the ‘watch’ women and settlers. The delegates will also travel in the West Bank and visit sensitive area in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Is It A Car? Is It A Network? No — It’s Both

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

It’s February in Israel and, mercifully, we’ve been having one of the wettest winters in many years. The level of the Sea of Galilee is now almost 3ft above where it was this time last year.

But stark headlines are screaming of summer electricity shortages. In June, pioneering electric car company Better Place will begin delivering to customers in Israel the battery-switch capable Renault Fluence ZE sedan – just a month into peak air conditioning season. How irresponsible is it to load the grid with electric cars when there is a recognized shortfall in generating capacity? There is a very clever reason these cars may actually help, and it relates to a controversial law that Israel has passed: charging an electric car from the regular electricity system is illegal. You may only use (at present) a Better Place charge point. Critics are screaming about state-appointed monopolies and rewards for crony lobbyists.

First some background on Israel’s electricity infrastructure: The so called ‘Arab spring’ has seen Israel’s supply of natural gas from Egypt interrupted by pipeline sabotage numerous times in the last year. Israel gets 61% of its electricity from imported coal, 37% from gas and the rest from fuel oil (source: Israel Electric Company). Israel has its own small gas field on stream now but the more major recent finds are not on stream yet.

Israel is a hot, desert country and summer is by far the peak time for energy use – with air-conditioning at a near-ubiquitous usage. The average daily summer temperature on the coast in Tel Aviv is above 87℉from March to November, while Eilat in the southern desert is much hotter.  A little-known mitigating factor is the almost universal use of simple radiated heat – solar water heaters in 90% of homes and businesses for hot water. These cheap, simple devices were made mandatory for new residential building in the early 1990s meaning there is very little hot water heating during the summer.

Whatever the internal causes, the news right now is full of predictions that Israel will have production reserves of only 2-3% in the summer. Energy minister, Uzi Landau has said “There is a great danger that the electricity grid will fail if there is any type of breakdown at the power station, especially during peak usage hours.” Plans are in place to ship in portable 25 megawatt generating equipment to help out.

For those who don’t know, Better Place is on the verge of going live in Israel with the first all electric cars to be offered to the public in Israel. These Better Place cars differ from other electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf because their depleted battery can be swapped for a full one in around 4 minutes. The Renault ZE is also larger than the Nissan or the Chevy: sized more like a Honda Accord a real, practical family car.

The cars are sold to consumers with a big sticker: “battery not included”. The battery, and most importantly, all the electricity you will ever put into your car, are bought from Better Place in the form of a monthly subscription. These subscriptions are dependent on the number of miles you plan to drive but start at a relatively high level of 12,000 miles per year. Better Place does not want low mileage drivers: Better Place’s business model makes it’s money per mile! By not forcing the consumer to buy the most expensive single part of the car, it’s battery, the sticker price of the car is competitive with similarly-equipped gasoline cars on the Israeli market. Right now, Better Place is fixing the subscription price for the next four years. The price is highly competitive when compared to the cost of gasoline in Israel — which is over double the price in the US.

So how does that square with a car that can only drive 100 miles on a full charge? Included in the purchase price is the complete installation of a home charging point with it’s own meter and separate connection to the power company – it does not appear on the home owner’s electricity bill. Commit to 16,000 miles per year and you can have one at your place of work too. So, for many users who drive less than 100 miles per day or 100 miles each way to a place of work, home charging will be their sole source of power. Better Place is also installing public charge spots in mall parking lots and other locations. Each owner has a smart card that identifies them and opens a public charge port for them.

The unique part of Better Place, however, is the network of battery switch stations they’re rolling out along every major route in Israel. Drive into one, it looks like an automatic car wash, sit in the car and 5 minutes later drive out with 100% charge. Your depleted battery is taken inside, cooled to 40℉ and rapidly charged ready for another car. Israel is a small country. East to west through Tel Aviv you can cross the country and return on a single charge. North to south would take two or three battery swaps. Around 60 stations are enough for the whole country.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/businessfinance/is-it-a-car-is-it-a-network-no-its-both/2012/02/23/

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