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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘European Parliament’

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.

Uproar over Jewish Candidate’s Refusal to Shake Hands with Women

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

An Orthodox Jewish candidate for the European Parliament has caused an uproar in Britain by refusing to shake women’s hands.

Shneur Odze told the members of the right-wing populist UK Independence Party, or UKIP, that he will not shake women’s hands due to his religious beliefs, which proscribe physical contact with any woman other than his wife. Some party activists told the Times of London that they are offended by Odze’s stance and say it will alienate half the electorate.

Senior party officials have called the activists “rude” and “wrong” for not respecting Odze’s beliefs.

Ozde, 31, is fourth on the UKIP’s candidate’s list for member of the European Parliament from the North West of England. The Europe-wide election to the parliament is scheduled for late May.

A party regional organizer, Fred McGlade, resigned from his position with the party to protest the decision to include Odze on the list. He warned Crowther that he would stand down if Odze was chosen by the party because of his attitude towards women

That is how an ignorant person, Jewish or not, judges an Orthodox Jew. He assumes that a Jew thinks women are second-class citizens since a religious man won’t shake her hand. Jews, especially those whose understanding of Jewish law is not even on the level, so to speak, of Reform Judaism, often think the same of Orthodox Jews for not praying together with women.

The nose-in-the-air Jews like to think that when a Jewish man thanks God that he was not created a woman, the man couldn’t possibly be thinking of all the mitzvahs he would not be able to perform if he were a women. He obviously is a sexist who considers women to be the scum of the earth.

If that is the way the snobs look at others, perhaps it is they are sexist for even thinking like that.

Perhaps they are the sexists for not having marital relations according to Jewish law, which protects the woman from lust. Consult your synagogue’s Code of Jewish Law for details.

Perhaps it is the better-than-thou men, and women, who seem to think that “equality” means “sameness.” God must have made a mistake by not allowing men to give birth. On the other hand, as most wives know, if men were to give birth, the world would have ended after the first birth because he wouldn’t go through the pains of labor a second time around.

And it’s the same crowd of people who, when visiting a mosque, are the first to wear proper dress and take off their shoes, but wouldn’t dare cover their shorts in order to respect the customs of Haredi orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

If Ozde does get elected, it certainly won’t be with vote of those who encourage the Women of the Wall to practice secular coercion on the majority Orthodox Jewish population at the Wall.

But there are some, hopefully a majority, in Britain who are not so ignorant. UKIP chairman Steve Crowther told the London newspaper, “We have a policy of tolerance for and acceptance of people’s own religious observance. We do not consider it grounds for complaint. It harms no one.”

In a tweet on Monday, Ozde said, “Thanks for all the supportive emails, calls, texts, its been rather heartwarming Recon it’s had the reverse effect?”

A supporter also tweeted, referring to former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks: “Pretty standard among very Orthodox Jews. The Chief Rabbi didn’t shake Queen’s hand when he became a Lord.”

The Queen seems to have gotten over it.

JTA contributed to this report.

Bennett Walks Out on EU President: I Won’t Be Rebuked in German

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, started a small riot in the Knesset Wednesday afternoon, when he rebuked the MKs on the lack of equality which, evidently, forces people to blow up their Jewish neighbors. Not a lot has changed in the Fatherland, it appears.

“There is no alternative to peace if we want to give people an honorable life,” Schultz said, adding, “The Palestinians, too, have the right to self determination and to justice. Tell me, and I ask you if this is right, that Israelis are allowed to use 17.5 gallons of water a day, while the Palestinians only 4.25 gallons.”

One of the most celebrated studies to date on the issue of who gets more water, is the 2012 The Israeli-Palestinian Water Conflict: An Israeli Perspective, by Prof. Haim Gvirtzman of The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

The paper details the water agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, refuting any criticism against Israel for not adhering to its commitments. “Israel has not only fulfilled all of its obligations stemming from the 1995 Interim Agreement signed with the PA,” writes Prof. Gvirtzman, “but has met all water commitments requisite of a permanent status agreement as well.”

The study documents the fact that “there is almost no difference today in the per capita consumption of natural water between Israelis and Palestinians. The large difference that existed in 1967, when the administration of Judea and Samaria was handed over from Jordan to Israel, has been reduced over the last 40 years and is now negligible. As well, the per capita domestic water consumption of the Palestinians is significantly higher than the minimum human needs defined by the World Health Organization.”

And here comes the point which the EU president should probably take back to his hosts in Ramallah, “While Israel has ensured that nearly all Palestinian villages and towns are connected to running water, the Palestinians have violated their part of the agreement by refusing to build sewage treatment plants (despite available international financing). Moreover, the Palestinians have drilled hundreds of unlicensed wells and set up unauthorized connections to Israeli water supply pipelines.”

Jewish Home MKs calling Schultz's lie, moments before they stood up and left the plenum in disgust. Photo by Flash 90.

Jewish Home MKs calling Schultz’s lie, moments before they stood up and left the plenum in disgust. Photo by Flash 90.

Many Jewish Home MKs reacted with appropriate rage, and Chairman Naftali Bennett, MK Orit Struk and a few others yelled: “It’s a lie!”

Jewish Home MK Motti Yogev yelled at Schultz something about the fact that Eretz Israel was given to the nation of Israel, and was promptly removed from the plenum. He was followed by a few colleagues from his faction. MK Struk said: “When the president of the European Parliament spits on you, you can’t keep quiet, wipe your face and say it was the rain.”

Bennett wrote in his Facebook page a short while later: “I will not accept a lying sermon against the nation of Israel in the Israeli Knesset, certainly not in German.”

Naturally, the left condemned mightily the Jewish Home reaction, which, as Minister Uri Orbach put it, was a quiet protest. The same left kept mum only two weeks ago, when Arab MK Ahmad Tibbi screamed uncontrollably at Canadian PM Stephen Harper.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was critical of Schultz’s speech, suggesting it reflected the selective hearing which has become rampant in many European circles. He added that the figures Schultz had picked up in Ramallah about the water consumption gaps are simply wrong.

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.

MK Ohayon to EU Officials: ‘Don’t Let Antisemites Define Hate’

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Likud Yisrael Beitenu MK Dr. Shimon Ohayon met today in the Knesset with groups from the European Union, including a delegation of Members of the European Parliament and the EU Deputy Ambassador to Israel.

Among the topics discussed were the rise in Antisemitism in Europe, especially in light of the soon to be released survey by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) which shows a significant rise in Antisemitism over the last five years.

“Antisemitism in Europe is at its greatest peak since the end of the Second World War and there are now places on the continent where Jews can no longer live and many others where no outward expressions of Jewishness are tolerated,” MK Ohayon, who Chairs the Knesset Lobby for the Struggle against Antisemitism, said. “Europe needs to deal more seriously with this rise in hate which is creating an untenable situation for the Jews of Europe. However, to really fight Antisemitism, the European Union first needs a fundamental definition which law enforcement agencies and judicial bodies can use to prosecute those who target Jews and Jewish institutions.”

“I call on all relevant European agencies to recognize and legally ratify the Working Definition of Antisemitism as adopted in 2005,” MK Ohayon said. In 2004, the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), the predecessor to the FRA, released its first comprehensive study of Antisemitism in the EU. Soon after, the agency adopted the “Working Definition of Antisemitism.”

But while bodies like the American State Dept. make use of the definition, it has never been fully adopted by the European Union or any European member nations. Earlier this year, a British college lecturer took legal action against the University and College Union (UCU) in the UK in the face of what he argued was institutional Antisemitism, which included the union’s decision to reject the EU Working Definition of Antisemitism, thus allowing rampant manifestations of hate against Jews on British university campuses.

“The lack of a unified and vigorous definition means that antisemites will continue to act with impunity knowing that their actions cannot be prosecuted,” MK Ohayon said. “We must not allow antisemites to define hate. Jews need protection before the law and the law needs guidance or it will be rendered useless and irrelevant.”

“There are many antisemites who have been fighting against the ‘Working Definition’ for many years, so they can continue their attacks on Jews and the Jewish State. The European Union needs to tell these people that their racism and hatred will no longer be acceptable and their actions will be punishable by the law.”

To read the Working Definition of Antisemitism, please click here.

Peres Tells EU Parliament, ‘Europe Has Divorced Its Past’

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

President Shimon Peres told the European Union Parliament Tuesday, “In the past thousand years, more Jews lived in Europe than in any other continent.  Alas, more Jews were murdered in Europe in the last hundred years than in the preceding two thousand years.”

The first Israeli president to address the current arrangement of the EU Parliament, he recalled his childhood in Europe, where his family escaped in 1934 while “in 1942, most of the inhabitants of my town were burned alive.”

He extolled  the accomplishments of Israel, from making the desert bloom to Israel’s becoming a  ”start-up nation.”

President Peres praised Europe for  having “divorced its past” and for having  “converted the divided Europe of the last thousand years, to the united Europe of today. “

“For us, the Europe of the Shoah is becoming a Europe supporting our renaissance,” he added.

He thanked Europe for its close ties with Israel and pleaded with the Parliament to declare Hizbullah a terrorist organization.

“Today, Hizbullah, supported by Iran, is destroying Lebanon. Hizbullah is a terror organization. Not a political movement,” he stated. “They collect missiles. They are trigger-happy. They hide missiles in peaceful towns and villages. By doing so, they turn them into a war target. Hizbullah divided Lebanon politically, religiously and ethnically. It turned the land of the cedar tree into a scorched and barren land.”

The President also said that Iran not only denies the Holocaust but also calls for a Holocaust. “A nuclear bomb in the hands of an irresponsible regime is an imminent danger to the world,” he said.

He repeated his dream of peace between the Palestinian Authority and Israel but pointed out that the PA used Israel’s withdrawal of Jews and the IDF from Gaza to create a terrorist base instead of building peace.

A Journey of a Thousand Steps

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

http://israelisoldiersmother.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/a-journey-of-thousand-steps.html

I sometimes surprise myself with the titles I come up with – this is one of those. I read an article today. My emotions went up and down as I read it, ending with the thought that the man in the story was about to embark on a journey of a thousand steps and that somewhere along that journey, his grandparents would smile.

Szegedi Csanad is a Hungarian politician. He is about 30 years old. He was elected as a Member of the European Parliament as part of the Jobbik party. One of Csanad’s fellow members posted an article that said, “Given our current situation, anti-Semitism is not just our right, but it is the duty of every Hungarian homeland lover, and we must prepare for armed battle against the Jews.” Jobbik calls itself a “radical nationalism” party – more easily identified as fascists or perhaps neo-Nazis.

And quietly,  Csanad got the shock of a lifetime when he found out, about 7 months ago, that his grandparents were Orthodox Jews but chose to hide their religion. It is understandable – to some extent. They were Holocaust survivors – his grandmother was in Auschwitz…as was my husband’s grandmother. My  husband’s parents survived; though they returned to their tiny villages in Hungary as orphans. Their parents, uncles and aunts, even some of their brothers and sisters had been murdered. All they and their remaining siblings wanted was to leave Europe and get as far away as possible. They tried for Australia, Palestine, the United States – anything that would get them out.

The first visas they got for the whole group were to the US and so they went. They stayed observant Jews and raised their children that way. It was a matter of faith and yes, there was pride in it as well. Csanad’s grandparents chose a different path. I can’t judge them; I can only wonder how they would feel (if they are still alive) or how they might have felt to know that their grandson had become one with the ideology that almost cost them their lives.

And then, Csanad found out – a basic truth. His grandmother and grandfather were Jews. Judaism is passed down in the womb – from mother to child. Csanad’s grandmother gave birth to a Jewish child – a girl. That girl was Jewish, is Jewish. She is a software engineer in Hungary, and her son, Szegedi is Jewish.

Csanad has resigned from Jobbik, though he has requested to keep his position in the European Parliament. And, he has chosen to meet with an Orthodox rabbi, to begin what I believe will be a journey of a thousand steps. I have to believe that somewhere in this world or in the next, his grandparents are watching. Generations of Jews behind them. Perhaps they are not smiling, but I have to believe the weight of the world has been taken off their shoulders and their hearts.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/a-journey-of-a-thousand-steps/2012/08/08/

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