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May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Finland’

Finland’s Anti-Israel Disgrace Spawns New Activist Group

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Sometimes horrendous actions spawn unintended positive results. Like when a grossly anti-Israel, baseless singling out of Israel for humiliating exclusion from an ostensibly open international festival inspires a new pro-Israel organization that is eager to stand up for Israel.

Take Finland. Please.

Every year for the past 15 years Finland hosts an event they call a “World Village Festival.” Think World’s Fair on a smaller scale. There is always a theme for the year’s event. In 2015, the focus was on development in Africa and the Middle East. The festival took place the third weekend in May.

KEPA, which is the acronym for the Finnish word that translates to Service Centre for Development Cooperation, is the organizer of the event. KEPA services Finland’s NGOs, and while politically and ideologically independent, it operates with funding from Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

KEPA describes its World Village Festival as being “open to all and a meeting place offering tastes of different cultures and surprises from all over the world.”

The Jewish National Fund (the Keren Kajemet LeIsraeli’in, or KKL in Hebrew) which has an active presence in Finland, signed up to participate in this year’s World Village Festival, just as it has done for the past two years.

But this year a virulently anti-Israel organization, ICAHD, noticed JNF’s requested presence at the WVF and complained that such an organization which engages in “ethnic cleansing,” is an Apartheid supporter and engages in “greenwashing.”

ICAHD stands for Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions. Just a few points about ICAHD: one, it apparently does not even have a presence in Israel any longer, according to NGO-Monitor, and its primary activity appears to be championing the BDS movement.

ICAHD, according to the pro-Israel Finnish website Tundra Tabloids, pressured KEPA into disinviting the JNF. The WVF organizers then informed JNF it could not participate “due to questions about the legality of its activities,” which included the various outrageously false claims promoted by ICAHD, which were given the imprimatur of the academy, by Hannu Juusola, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Helsinki.

The head of the Finnish branch of ICAHD, Skysy Räsänen, crowed that banning the JNF was “a victory for the BDS movement.”

KEPA also pointed to testimonies by, amongst others, Rabbis for Human Rights, as justification for banning the JNF.

While the JNF was mild in its response, there were some who were less so.

One organization, a brand new pro-Israel group that calls itself VOIS – Voice of Israel in Scandinavia, is a spin-off from a larger pro-Israel organization.

VOIS at WVF

VOIS was galvanized by the rejection of JNF from the Festival. It set up a presence outside the gates to the Festival, and handed out pro-Israel literature, engaged with those entering the Village, and directly challenged the organizers of the event on the JNF ban.

One member of the group marched into the Village and spoke directly to Jonas Bistrom, KEPA’s development policy specialist. This VOIS member, Kenneth Sikorski, sought to engage Bistrom about the exclusion of the JNF from the Festival. Specifically, as Sikorski told the JewishPress.com, Bistrom was asked whether the WVF asked the JNF for a response to the allegations leveled against it, before the decision was made to exclude the pro-Israel organization. Sikorski also pressed Bistrom on whom KEPA had relied in making the exclusion determination.

Although Bistrom would not answer Sikorski’s queries, by the time the VOIS member returned to his encampment outside of the Village, KEPA’s executive director Timo Lappalainen had already been there and confirmed to the folks staffing their booth that Juusola, the professor from Helsinki University, a “respected academic” encouraged JNF’s banning because it “supports Israeli Apartheid “and “engages in ethnic cleansing.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

French NGOs and Palestinian Authority behind BDS Pressure on Orange

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

A coalition of French NGOs, some of them partly funded by the government, last month published a 51-page document named “Orange’s Dangerous Liaisons in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” to spearhead the campaign to pressure Orange to boycott Israel’s Partner Communications, which markets the Orange mobile phone service brand.

The Palestinian Authority joined the French NGOS to lobby the government and Orange to boycott Israel, the Israel-based NGO Monitor reported.

The NGOs reportedly met with Orphanage officials on May 26 and told them that its business link with Partner endangered its reputation. Orange told the BDS promoters that the agreement for Partner’s marketing the Orange brand expires in 10 years.

NGO Monitor reported:

The authors of the report asked Orange to publicly and explicitly state its decision to disengage and to denounce the human rights violations that Partner is involved in  Israeli settlements in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories-sic]. In other words, the statements made by the France-based company are a wholesale adoption of the NGOs’ BDS agenda (which is illegal in France).

Following the publication of the report, Saeb Erekat, lead negotiator of the Palestinian Authority (PA), wrote to France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, to denounce the link between Orange and Partner.

Organizations participating in the move to pressure Orange to boycott Israel include the European-based Who Profits, Al Haq, Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire (CCFD), FIDH, and Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS).

Who Profits, which now is a separate organization, began to campaign against all of Israel’s cell phone companies in 2009 for allegedly being “commercially involved in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights” and “exploit[ing] the Palestinian frequencies and to impose their services on the Palestinian captive market.”

The Who Profits webpage also attacks Partner for sponsoring IDF units in the Golan, Judea and Samaria in the “Adopt a Soldier” project.

The 51-page document stated:

During the attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, Partner was on the front lines providing material support, cellular services and entertainment to the Israeli soldiers. The company also waived service fees for soldiers carrying [sic] the assault during July-August 2014.

The French government, which owns 25 percent of Orange, granted the Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire received nearly $400,000 from France in 2012. The same organization is a member of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine,

FIDH last year libeled Israel with allegations that it deliberately targeted civilians in the war against Hamas rockets and missiles on Israeli civilians. The NGO is funded in part by the European Union and the governments of Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

NGO Monitor added, “Al Haq is funded directly by the governments of Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Ireland, and indirectly by UK, Sweden, Germany, and the UN.”

Its report continued:

Al Haq is a leader of lawfare and BDS against Israel. A main actor in the NGO campaign to file war crimes charges against Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC)….

Al Haq proposed sabotaging the Israeli court system by ‘flooding the [Israeli Supreme] Court with petitions in the hope of obstructing its functioning and resources.’

The Israeli Supreme Court has identified Al Haq’s general director Shawan Jabarin as ‘among the senior activists of the Popular Front terrorist organization.’

The Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) was funded by the French government in 2012, refers to the “Gaza extermination camp” and states, “It is inconceivable and unacceptable that the ‘Jewish-executioner’ would hide behind the ‘Jewish victim!’” Other AFPS rhetoric includes ethnic cleansing, apartheid state, and “Stop hunting Palestinian children!”

A French court in 2014 ruled in favor of the French distributor of Israel-based SodaStream in a lawsuit charging the pro-BDS group with stating that SodaStream products were being illegally sold in France.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Helsinki Environmental ‘World Village’ Bans Jewish National Fund

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

The Finnish “World Village festival emphasizing the environment has banned the participation of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the largest environmental organization in Israel. The Finnish government feigned it was powerless to interfere in the boycott and told the Israeli Ambassador to Helsinki that it has no say in the matter because the “Maailma Kylässä” festival is a “private event.”

Dan Ashbel, the Israeli ambassador to Finland, said:

I wonder how this scandalous decision is consistent with values such as eco-friendliness, fairness, tolerance, and the desire for peace. I wonder if the rest of the organizations in the festival are required to stand up to the same criteria.”

However, the Finnish government’s security forces were able to convince the World Village to ban the Freedom of Speech village, warning that an exhibition supporting the freedom of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine to publish cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed might cause violence.

The JNF has planted 240 million trees since 1901, and Israel is one of only two countries in the world that registered a net increase in the number of trees at the beginning of the 21st century.

It can be assumed that the organizers do the World Village were celebrating Boycott Israel when deciding to ban the JNF, which also has donated 3,000 trees to the Palestinian Authority for its new city of Rawabi north of Ramallah.

The World Village organizers figure that the environment is better off without a pro-environment organization, which is Jewish, and without a free speech environment that might upset Muslims.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

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.

JTA

Israel Listed as Second Most Educated in the World

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

24/7 Wall Street listed Israel as the second most educated country in the world, following Canada.

The list is as follows:

  1. Canada
  2. Israel
  3. Japan
  4. United States
  5. New Zealand
  6. South Korea
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Finland
  9. Australia
  10. Ireland

Read more: http://247wallst.com/2012/09/21/the-most-educated-countries-in-the-world/

Jewish Press News Briefs

New Worm Takes Down Iranian Nuke Plant, Plays Loud AC/DC

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The website NTG reported that an Iranian nuclear scientist told a colleague in Finland about the newest cyber worm which has paralyzed Iran’s nuclear plants.

The Finish scientist, Mikko H. Hypponen, from Helsinki, the chief security research officer at F-Secure, an anti-virus software company, has quoted an email he received from the Iranian scientist, saying “Our nuclear program has once again been attacked by a new worm, which hit the computer systems in Nataz and Fordo.”

According to the scientist, the worm comes with some unusual side effects: the infected computers started to play at high volume the song Thunderstruck by the band AC/DC, in the middle of the night and without any prior warning.

Hypponen said he had no way of confirming the veracity of the story, but he knows for sure that the email has indeed been sent by a real scientist from the Iranian nuclear program.

Jewish Press Staff

Finland’s War on Free Speech

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Finland’s Supreme Court has found a prominent politician guilty of defaming Islam for “Islamophobic” comments he made on his personal blog.

The ruling represents a major setback for free speech in a Europe that is becoming increasingly stifled by politically correct restrictions on free speech, particularly on issues related to Islam and Muslim immigration.

The Helsinki-based Supreme Court ruled on June 8 that Finns Party MP Jussi Kristian Halla-aho was guilty of “inciting hatred against an ethnic group” for blog posts he made in 2008 which compared Islam to paedophilia, and for sarcastic comments which insinuated that immigrants from Somalia are predisposed to stealing and living off welfare.

In its ruling, the court said that hate speech does not fall under the protections afforded by the freedom of speech, even though Halla-aho said his comments were a protest against public policy and not against Islam and Mohammed per se.

Halla-aho, who has become well known in Finland and elsewhere for his well-argued essays criticizing multiculturalism and runaway immigration, was ordered to pay a hefty fine and delete the comments from his blog.

Halla-aho maintains a blog called Scripta, which deals with issues such as “immigration, multiculturalism, tolerance, racism, freedom of speech and political correctness.” His blog attracts thousands of readers every day, and the Tampere-based newspaper Aamulehti has described him the best-known political blogger in Finland. Halla-aho’s notoriety has placed the guardians of Finnish multiculturalism on maximum alert.

In a blog post in June 2008, Halla-aho wrote that the Islamic prophet Mohammed was a paedophile, and that Islam is a religion of paedophilia because Mohammed had sexual intercourse with his wife, Aisha, when she was only nine years old.

According to Halla-aho: “This sentence is related to a discussion where I criticize the idea of the subjective offensiveness of some sentence as being sufficient criteria for its judicial offensiveness. In other words, if some group is offended by sentence X, sentence X is illegal irrespective of whether it is true or not. In my opinion, stating of facts cannot and must not be criminal, even if they offend someone. This is also a problem of equality. For example, a Muslim is offended by criticism of his religion far more easily than an average Christian. If subjective offensiveness suffices as the elements of a crime, the law protects a Muslim with greater force than it protects a Christian.”

He continued: “My sentences about Mohammed and Islam were not opinions, but inescapably logical conclusions based on known facts. I did not use the word ‘paedophile’ as psychopathological concept, but in its popular meaning of a person having sex with children. The traditional Muslim knowledge, the Hadith literature, tells us that Mohammed had sex with his wife Aisha when she was nine years old. A nine-year-old is seen as a child today, and physically she was a child in 7th century, no matter what her judicial status was. Therefore, if Mohammed had sex with Aisha and Aisha was a child, Mohammed had sex with a child. That Mohammed is a holy figure to Muslims cannot make him immune to criticism in West, especially if criticism is based on undisputed facts.”

In another post, Halla-aho responded to a Finnish columnist who wrote that drinking excessively and fighting when drunk were cultural and possibly genetic characteristics of Finns. In order to show the double standards of such arguments, Halla-aho asked sarcastically if it could be stated that robbing passersby and living at the expense of taxpayers are cultural and possibly genetic characteristics of Somalis.

According to Halla-aho, “I turned the newspaper Kaleva‘s sentence into parody where ‘Finns’ were replaced by ‘Somalis.’ My hypothesis was that Somalis are under the special protection of the media and government officials, and my argument is that what is permissible to present about Finns becomes impermissible when it is about Somalis. My own version was as follows: ‘Robbing passers-by and living as parasites on tax money is the national, maybe even genetic characteristic of Somalis.'”

He also wrote: “In order to poke fun at The Council for Mass Media in Finland, I mentioned in the text that I present this argument as supposition, not as a fact. In addition, I proved that by using crime statistics, the argument about Somalis can be proved just as effectively as Kaleva’s argument about Finns.”

Soeren Kern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/finlands-war-on-free-speech/2012/06/11/

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