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July 30, 2014 / 3 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

Lapid Changes His Stripes and Tells Middle Class to be Patient

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

It’s amazing how an election victory can change the stripes of a tiger, namely Yair Lapid. The sensation of Israeli politics who campaigned on behalf of the middle class and denounced the government for promising their situation will be better, now says the same thing.

Barely three months in office and weeks after imposing austerity measures and higher taxes that hit the middle class hard, Lapid said not to worry. Just wait a couple of years and everyone will feel the changes for the better in the housing market, he declared.

Israeli media major a mountain of a molehill Sunday morning, headlining “social justice” protests Saturday that grew a grand total of 3,000 people, a measly turnout to mark the anniversary of the first “cottage cheese” protests two summers ago.

“People did not take to the streets because of housing or the price of cottage cheese, but because they felt that they were abused by the system,” Lapid said after Saturday night’s demonstration in Tel Aviv. “Most European countries would grab our situation with both hands,” he told Channel 10 television.

Lapid and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were the objects of derision at the protest, headed by “limousine liberal” Dafni Leef.

“Bibi + Lapid = Morsi” stated one sign. Another proclaimed, “Capital, government = the underworld.”

Poland Rejects ‘Shechitah’ Kosher Slaughter

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

The Polish Parliament rejected a draft law that would have legalized Jewish ritual slaughter, or shechitah, in Poland.

The bill, defeated 222-178 on Friday, would have allowed shechitah provided it is done in a slaughterhouse. It also excluded certain forms of immobilizing the animal.

Until this year, Poland allowed shechitah, making about $650 million annually by exporting kosher and halal meat to Israel and Muslim-majority countries like Egypt and Iran. But the business practically ground to a halt in January after a constitutional court ruled that the country has no right to allow religious slaughter. The ruling was made after a petition filed by animals’ rights groups.

Dozens of Polish farmers marched in Warsaw on Wednesday in a rally in support of allowing shechitah.

On Friday, Jewish groups bemoaned the failure to pass a law allowing ritual slaughter.

“The majority of Polish MPs gave the Polish Jewish community three choices: don’t practice your religion, don’t eat meat, or don’t live among us,” said Abraham H. Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

“For a country still struggling to come to terms with its past treatment of Jews, it is outrageous to strike such a blow to the future of Jews in Poland. This vote was a clear violation of religious freedom, supported by the ignorance of some and the bigotry of others.

“The debate demonstrated acceptance of the false premise that kosher slaughter, which involves a single cut with a razor-sharp knife to minimize pain, is less humane than slaughter with pre-stunning by electrocution, gassing or a bolt shot to the animal’s forehead.”

“Populism, superstition and political interests won out,” said Piotr Kadlcik, President of the Union of Jewish Communities of Poland. “It looks like we’ve made a full circle and are heading back to what happened in Poland and Germany in the 1930s.”

“Jewish communities across Europe will be incredibly distressed that the Polish Parliament has voted not to protect the religious freedom of its Jewish and Muslim citizens,” Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in statement.

“The result of today’s vote in the Sejm is extremely disappointing,” a spokesperson for Shechitah UK, a non-profit working to repeal efforts to ban the practice, told JTA. “It represents the lowest point in the campaign to protect shechitah in Europe.”

The group said that it will work with Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich and the Conference of European Rabbis to offer assistance in the campaign to overcome this setback.

The Conference of European Rabbis also said it was “alarmed by the level of disinformation that has characterized the parliamentary debates” on the issue.

“We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Polish prime minister,” the conference said. “We will also be exploring what our legal options at E.U. level might be at this stage. This is very sad day for the Polish Jewish community and indeed for all of European Jewry.”

In a joint statement, Schudrich and Kadlcik said the result of the vote was “a shock.” The de-facto ban infringes on freedom of religion, they added. Noting that hunting for sport is legal in Poland, they said the vote against shechitah reflects “sinister hypocrisy which usually masks the discrimination against a part of the citizenry.”

Antwerp Police Laughed at Brutal Anti-Semitic Attack

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Publicity in Belgium and on Israeli television of police dismissal of a brutal anti-Semitic attack on a woman on her apartment has raised the rafters in Brussels where one Jewish leader said the incident “sounds like something from 1930s Germany.”

The police not only ignored the attack but also scoffed at it after neighbors attacked Cindy Meul in her apartment after they constantly harassed her and her girlfriend, former Israeli tennis champion Ruth Sverdloff and her daughters.

When the two women moved into their apartment, Sverdloff promptly put a mezuzah on the apartment door.

The neighbors then banged on the walls and shouted,” stinking Jews,” “we do not want Jews in this building” and other expressions that cannot be reprinted here, lawyer Mischael Modrikamen told the Jewish magazine Joods Actueel in Antwerp. They said they came “to finish what the Nazis started.”

The hate language turned to violence when two neighbors burst into the apartment on May 24 and beat up Meul, who was alone at the time, and broke her nose.

‘’When the ambulance took Cindy Meul at hospital, she saw a policewoman laughing and chatting with the aggressors,” Modrikamen told the Jewish magazine. Meul was hospitalized for 15 days.

When Sverdloff complained to the police in English, she was reportedly told by a police officer, “This is Flanders and you must speak Flemish.”

The police did not act on the complaints until the publicity nearly a month later.

Sverdloff was so concerned that she sent her daughter to her grandparents “because the child was too scared to stay here any longer.”

Joel Rubinfeld, the Brussels-born co-chair of the European Jewish Parliament, said, “The reports concerning this case are extremely disconcerting: It sounds like something from 1930s Germany. Especially disquieting is the authorities’ apparent inaction.” The JTA reported.

Earlier this month prosecutors in Brussels decided not to file charges in a separate case from 2011, in which a 15-year-old Jewish girl who was identified in the Belgian media only as Oceane was attacked outside her school by five boys who called her a “dirty Jew” before hitting her repeatedly in the face. “A pattern of indifference emerges,” Rubinfeld said.

Teva to Sell Generic Viagra in UK, and Move Patent Filing to Switzerland

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Teva, the world leader in generic medication will be soon be launching a generic version of Pfizer’s Viagra in the UK and Europe.

Pfizer’s Viagra patents expired this past week in the UK and parts of Europe, allowing other manufacturers to move in.

In the US, a court ruling has prevented Teva from introducing generic Viagra until at least 2020.

Teva also announced that it will stop filing its patents in Israel, and will now be filing them instead in Switzerland.

The reason for the move are Switzerland’s patent related tax laws, and subsequent tax breaks and benefits they will provide Teva.

Teva said that if Israel were to change its tax codes to make them more competitive with other countries, they’d be happy to move the IP registrations back to Israel, according to a report in Globes.

Things to come

Monday, June 10th, 2013

It’s 2018. Israel is still beleaguered, but not by its traditional foes.

In a short, bloody war in 2015, Israel crushed Hezbollah. Shortly thereafter, it launched a series of strikes against the Iranian nuclear infrastructure, using new non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse (NNEMP) technology against above-ground installations, plus ultra-precise multiple-strike penetrating bombs to open the underground bunkers. Without Hizballah and without an answer to NNEMP weapons, Iran was forced to defer its nuclear ambitions indefinitely.

Syria’s civil war still sputters and flares, with Assad’s Russian-supported forces in control of the coastal areas and Damascus, while various rebel groups hold the rest. An independent Kurdistan has been declared (although it hasn’t been recognized by the UN), including parts of Iraq and Syria.

Insurrections also continue with various levels of violence in Iraq, Bahrein, Saudi Arabia, and other states. Jordan, which received a massive amount of military aid from Israel, is still under control of the Hashemite king, although there are insurgents operating there too.

With the destruction of Hizbollah and the partial neutralization of Iran, organized terrorism worldwide has declined. But there are still multiple radical Islamist organizations that are challenging their perceived enemies wherever they can.

After the Egyptian economy disintegrated in 2014-15, the Islamist regime was overthrown by the military. Some food aid was received from the US, but nowhere near enough to prevent food riots, widespread malnutrition and some actual starvation. Israel is providing the military government with large amounts of water (from gas-powered desalinization plants) to irrigate parts of the Sinai. Partly in return (and partly to protect its own existence) Egypt has been cooperating with Israel in keeping weapons away from Hamas and fighting radical Islamists in the Sinai.

Although greatly weakened during the years of AKP dominance, the Turkish military has reasserted itself and with much popular support has reined in the excesses of Erdoğan’s regime. Many officers that were imprisoned (with or without trials) have been rehabilitated, and the army has made it clear that it will not stand for further erosion of secular institutions. Relations with Israel have also improved, as the pragmatic officers overrode the AKP’s ideological rigidity.

Meanwhile, Israel’s economy is continuing to do well. Its huge natural gas reserves have enabled it to produce large amounts of electricity at very low cost, which it uses in part to desalinate sea water. For the first time in history, Israel has enough water! Natural gas is also exported to Turkey and Eastern Europe, in accordance with an agreement with Russia to maintain prices.

The PLO still exists and still rules most of the Arabs of Judea and Samaria. It still receives subsidies from Europe and the US, and still tries to engage in ‘popular resistance‘ (murder by means of weapons other than guns and explosives) when possible.

Hamas, cut off from aid from Hizballah and the Muslim Brotherhood, now exists primarily on UN aid, a massive expansion of UNRWA.

So where does the threat that I mentioned above come from?

In two words, Western Europe.

The UK has its first Muslim Prime Minister, elected after the escalating riots of 2014-5. Considered by all a ‘moderate’, he managed to quiet the uprisings by promising to establish shari’a courts with authority over Muslim towns and enclaves throughout the country (very few non-Muslims remain in those areas). British Jews have taken a very low profile since the riots, during which many were targeted by the rampaging mobs. Many of those whose Zionist sympathies were known fled to Australia or Canada, and some went to Israel. Although the PM publicly says that he supports the continued existence of Israel, he favors a right of return for all Arab ‘refugees’ — there are now 10 million claiming refugee status — release of all Arab prisoners, and “an end to apartheid.”

The rest of the EU states are more or less the same, although they do not yet have Muslim heads of state. The French Jewish community has almost entirely left, most going to Israel. Antisemitic acts by Muslims — but also by non-Muslims who blame Israel and Jews for the violence of Muslims and for economic problems — have multiplied. Jews in Holland, the Scandinavian countries, etc. are also fleeing because they feel they cannot depend on their governments to protect them from pervasive Jew-hatred.

Muslim demands have a history of being quickly accommodated, since if they are not the result is often violent. Most such demands relate to local autonomy, shari’a courts in Muslim areas, compliance with Muslim sensibilities about food, animals, alcohol, ‘blasphemy’ and ‘immorality’ in media, school curricula, etc.

But as happened in 2013 with the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby, we see more and more violent acts ‘explained’ in terms of foreign policy. The EU has long since removed any military presence from Afghanistan (as did the US; Afghanistan is today ruled by the Taliban); but now demands center on policy toward Israel.

Antisemitism in Europe is taken for granted, even in countries where there are few Jews (most of them, now). In Germany, for example, politicians can safely say that while the Holocaust was a great evil, it is possible to understand how Jewish behavior, if it did not cause it, at least created the conditions that made it possible. Likewise, there is little sympathy for Israel, which is seen as an instigator of violence, not its victim.

As the threats from Israel’s neighbors recede, we find the danger from nuclear-armed, unstable Europe increasing.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Open Skies Ahead for Israel

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz signed an Open Skies agreement with the EU on Monday in Luxembourg. The agreement which is to be gradually implemented over the next 5 years, until it goes fully into effect in 2018, should lower prices significantly on flights between Israel and Europe.

Open Skies will allow EU and Israeli airlines to operate direct flights to each others airports, and not be restricted to specific routes or airports.

When first introduced, the plan was very controversial in Israel, as El Al needs to expend a large sum of money on security that European airlines don’t need to, and that would have made it impossible for El Al to compete.

The Israeli government decided to shoulder almost the entire cost of El Al’s security expenses, which should allow the Israeli airline to be competitive.

Why Doesn’t the EU Condemn PA Torture?

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

The E.U. has refrained from condemning the Palestinian Authority or Hamas in wake of a report that pointed to an increase in human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This is the same E.U. that regularly condemns Israel for building in the settlements or seizing funds belonging to the Palestinian Authority.

More recently, the E.U. condemned Israel for demolishing 22 Palestinian structures in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

But when it comes to human rights violations committed by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, the E.U. is prepared to do its utmost to avoid angering the two Palestinian governments.

In response to the report, which was released by the Palestinian Independent Commission For Human Rights, the E.U. missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah, in an apologetic tone, only expressed “concern” over recurrent cases of torture and ill treatment of detainees in Palestinian prisons.

And instead of criticizing or condemning Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for human rights violations perpetrated by his security forces, the E.U. missions chose to “welcome” his instruction to respect the prohibition of torture in his detention centers and prisons.

It is worth noting that the E.U. and some Abbas loyalists, including Fatah propagandists and media outlets, were the only ones to “welcome” his decision to ban torture.

So not only is Abbas not condemned for the death of two detainees in his prisons and the crackdown on freedoms of speech and the media, he is in fact being praised by the E.U. for ordering his security and intelligence officers to stop torturing Palestinians.

One would have expected the E.U. to take a tougher stance toward the Palestinian Authority and Hamas human rights violations, as indicated by the report.

But the E.U. missions to Ramallah and Jerusalem are apparently reluctant to take such a position because of their direct and indirect involvement in funding and supporting the Palestinian Authority and various Palestinian institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The E.U. also seems to be afraid of criticizing the Palestinian Authority and Hamas out of concern for the safety of its representatives, especially those who operate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

As the human rights group’s report shows, there has been a 10% increase in the number of complaints of torture and mistreatment by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority during 2012 compared with the year before.

More than half of the 306 complaints about torture that were received last year came from Palestinians who had been detained or imprisoned by Abbas’s security forces in the West Bank, the report revealed.

Altogether, 11 detainees died in Palestinian Authority and Hamas prisons last year, according to the report.

Still, the E.U. did not see any need to refer to these cases. Nor did the E.U. comment on the report’s accusations that Abbas’s security forces are continuing to crack down on journalists and academics and ignore court rulings.

Expressing “concern” over serious human rights violations will not deter the Palestinian Authority or Hamas from pursuing their anti-democratic practices against their own people.

Praising Abbas for instructing his security forces to stop torturing Palestinian detainees is like welcoming a convicted armed robber’s promise to retire.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/khaled-abu-toameh/why-doesnt-the-eu-condemn-pa-torture/2013/05/26/

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