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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

EU Official Sends Profanity-Laced Messages to UWI Rabbi

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Rabbi Ari Enkin, rabbinic director at United with Israel (UWI), received anti-Israel hate [e]mail on Sunday from an employee at the European Commission, which, according to its website, “is the EU’s [European Union’s] executive body and represents the interests of Europe as a whole.”

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Rabbi Enkin, on behalf of UWI, sends out regular emails with newsletters to subscribers only. UWI does not send unsolicited email. The crude hate mail from the EU employee, which contained foul language, was sent to Rabbi Enkin’s personal email address in response to a UWI newsletter.

Signed by Mattia Zilli, project officer, European Commission, Research Executive Agency, the email said, “STOP EXPLETIVE DELETED ****ing writing me about your Zionist bull EXPLETIVE DELETED****.”

(The foul language was spelled out in full in the original email.)

Surprised that an EU employee would openly display such vitriol against the State of Israel, UWI emailed Dennis Abbott, press spokesperson for the Marie Curie Actions Program, apprising him of the situation and asking whether any action would be taken, to which he simply responded, with no salutation:

“I’ve asked Mattia to reply to you. Best, Dennis.”

EU Official’s Signature Appeared on UWI Petition

UWI received no further correspondence from Zilli. After investigating further, the organization noted that Zilli had subscribed to the UWI newsletter back in 2011, and in 2012 he signed a UWI petition against Iran’s nuclear program. Although it is possible that another individual had signed up with Zilli’s name and email address, Zilli had ample time to unsubscribe in a civilized fashion.

UWI also found an email from Zilli sent last week, in reaction to having received a newsletter with an article about the Fatah-Hamas unity government and several pieces about the Jewish holiday of Shavuot – in which he wrote: “Spare me your Zionist bulls..t.”

All Zilli had to do, in order to stop receiving UWI emails, was to click the “unsubscribe” option below. Instead, he revealed what appears to be profound animosity towards Zionism while using an official EU email address.

UWI then emailed Koen Doens, head of the spokespersons’ service at the European Commission, asking for comment and whether any action would be taken. He replied:

“Our services will immediately look into this. Meanwhile, rest assured that the staff member of the European Commission will be told that the language used – regardless of whether or not this is in response to real or perceived harassment – is fully unacceptable. The matter will be followed up internally.”

UWI asked Doens whether he was suggesting that Mattia may have been responding to “real or perceived harassment.”

“The meaning of my sentence was to indicate that, whatever the reason Mattia may come forward with, it is not relevant to justify the remark he made, and there should be no ambiguity about this,” Doens stated.

“We at United with Israel are deeply saddened by Mr. Zilli’s repeated hateful and anti-Zionist comments,” David Zeit, UWI’s executive director, said. “We hope that his hatred toward Israel is not representative of the European Commission’s view of the Jewish State.”

Hate Mail Sent on Day that EU-Israel Agreement Signed

The European Commission offices where Zilli works are located in Brussels, Belgium, where the fatal terrorist shooting of four people two weeks ago took place at the Jewish Museum.

Rabbi Enkin received the hate mail on the same day that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso attended the signing ceremony in Jerusalem on Israel’s accession to Horizon 2020 – the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

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.

‘End of Term’ in 2014 for EU’s Catherine Ashton

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has announced she will end her term at the end of December this year.

In a speech earlier this week, Ashton — who often has faced a flood of negative press for her actions — appeared to express relief that her time in office at the EU was over at last.

In sharing the news at a meeting of the German Marshall Fund earlier this week, Ashton remarked, “you lay the foundations but there are people who can do things with this that probably I couldn’t do, so it will be good to hand it over.”

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who has led the European Council since November 2009, also said he would step down. Van Rompuy said he would retire from politics.

Ashton’s place in history will be marked by her founding the anti-Israel European External Action Service (EEAS), a body the Lisbon Treaty allegedly ensures is independent from other institutions. However, it is headed by the European Commission vice president, which calls into question the entity’s autonomous status.

Russia Scolds NATO, USA on Sanctions, Troop Movements

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

As pro-Russian separatists eat up town after town in eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin is closely monitoring NATO’s reaction – and the White House response.

Extra troops – 600 from the United States – were sent this week to Poland and the Baltic States to reassure NATO allies. In addition, new sanctions were imposed against Russian officials and pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists by the United States and the European Union.

The moves came following the kidnapping by pro-Russian separatists of some 40 people in eastern Ukraine.

Among the hostages were an Israeli American journalist (freed after Ukrainian government troops entered the city of separatist-controlled Sloviansk). Three members of the Ukraine security service and seven military observers for the Geneva-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are still being held.

The Jewish mayor of Kharkov in eastern Ukraine was likewise shot in the back by would-be assassins on Monday; he was airlifted in critical condition for advanced medical treatment to a hospital in Israel.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rebuked the United States and the European Union Tuesday over the sanctions imposed on Russia due to the Ukrainian crisis.

“We reject sanctions in any of our relationships, in particular those sanctions that were sponsored by the United States and the European Union, which defy all common sense, regarding the events in Ukraine,” Lavrov told reporters during a trip to Cuba.

He complained the West was “attempting to blame others” for the crisis after sanctions in the United States imposed Monday on seven Russians and 17 companies directly linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The European Union similarly named 15 new targets for sanctions on Tuesday, including General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian General Staff, and Lt.-Gen. Igor Sergun, head of the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU. Also on the list are Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and pro-Russian separatist leaders in Crimea and the eastern Ukrainian cities of Luhansk and Donetsk. A total of 48 individuals have so far been hit by EU sanctions thus far.

“The attempts to blame others is the result of weak politicians, or rather of those politicians who understand that their geopolitical ambitions have failed, and they are attempting to blame others,” Lavrov said.

Ukraine’s Crimea region was summarily annexed by Russia’s Kremlin after the province “elected” to secede from Ukraine following the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president in February due to massive protests by a population demanding closer ties to Europe.

In response, eastern Ukraine has become a hotbed of separatist activity, with one town after the next falling to pro-Russian terrorism. Nevertheless, Russia denies encouraging the attacks, even though the separatists who carried the assault weapons all spoke a guttural Russian, as heard in videos shot by news reporters.

Recently the pro-Russian eastern Ukraine Donetsk province also declared itself independent from the country, and now refers to itself as the “independent Republic of Donetsk.”

Russia Accuses West of Starting Ukraine Crisis

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov turned the tables on Thursday and accused the United States and the European Union of starting the crisis in Ukraine.

Last week a deal was signed in Geneva between Russia, Ukraine, the U.S. and the EU to resolve the crisis – one of the worst since the end of the Cold War. It has yet to be carried out.

But Lavrov told the Interfax news agency, “In Ukraine, the United States and the European Union tried to stage – let’s call things what they are – another ‘color revolution,’ an operation to unconstitutionally change regime.”

The ‘color revolution’ remark refers to the 2004-2005 Ukrainian ‘Orange Revolution’ that occurred when the country’s presidential run-off election was seized by pro-Kremlin leaders.

Months-long anti-government protests in Ukraine resulted in the ouster of the country’s President Viktor Yanukovich, who fled to Russia several weeks ago. The eastern part of the country has been seized by separatists, and Crimea altogether seceded from Ukraine and was formally annexed by Russia. Journalists have been kidnapped, and an Israeli-American reporter is still being held hostage in the separatist city of Slaviansk.

European Jews Ask EU Not to Recognize PA Unity Gov’t

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor has called on the European Union to ignore the upcoming Palestinian Authority unity government.

Speaking at an executive EJC meeting in Jerusalem with top Israeli government officials, Dr. Kantor pointed out that EU leaders had yet to condemn the agreement signed Wednesday between the Fatah and Hamas factions.

“The Europeans have yet to condemn the signing of this unity agreement,” Kantor said. “We hear immediate condemnation every time some houses are built over the Green Line, but Brussels is silent on the Palestinian Authority’s new alliance with Hamas, a group whose charter openly aspires to the genocide of world Jewry.

“The Palestinians ignored their obligations and unilaterally applied to UN organizations, threatened to disband the PA and have now chosen to deal with the manufacturers of terror rather than the purveyors of peace,” he said. “It is perhaps time for the European Union to finally realize that they were applying pressure on the wrong side,” he added.

Dr. Kantor noted that European Jews are constantly hearing that Israel’s relations with Europe are “contingent on the peace process.” He commented that Europe should be able to “separate its excellent trade, economic relations and scientific and hi-tech cooperation with Israel from the conflict.”

The EJC delegation included members of Jewish communities from the UK, France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, and Greece, among others.

BGU Researchers Say Oxytocin May Promote ‘Lying for Your Team’

Monday, March 31st, 2014

A team of researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev have discovered that the hormone oxytocin can promote “group-serving dishonesty.”

According to findings published today (Monday) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), participants receiving oxytocin “lied more to benefit their groups, did so quicker, and did so without expectation of reciprocal dishonesty from their group members. A control setting ruled out that oxytocin drives self-serving dishonesty.”

The team, led by Dr. Shaul Shalvi at the university’s Department of Psychology, worked in cooperation with Carsten K.W. De Dreu of the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Psychology.

Shalvi is director of BGU’s Center for Decision Making and Economic Psychology (DMEP). He noted, “Our results suggest people are willing to bend ethical rules to help the people close to us, like our team or family. This raises an interesting although perhaps more philosophical question: Are all lies immoral?”

Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and functions as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter to create bonding between couples and between mothers and babies. It also stimulates social interactions.

Researchers have found a correlation between increased oxytocin and greater empathy, lower social anxiety, more pro-social choice in anonymous games, reduction in fear response, cooperation in single-shot anonymous games and trust in interpersonal exchange. It also stimulates defense-related aggression.

The study was funded in part by the People Program (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program under a Research Executive Agency Grant Agreement and by the Netherlands Science Foundation.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bgu-researchers-say-oxytocin-may-promote-lying-for-your-team/2014/03/31/

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