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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘German’

German Technology Giant Siemens AG to Pay $44 Million to Settle Israeli Corruption Case

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

German technology giant Siemens AG has agreed to pay Israel $44 Million to settle a charge that it bribed executives at the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to win a bid to supply turbines from 1999 to 2005, Israel’s Justice Ministry announced Monday. The company has also agreed to appoint an external inspector to supervise its business in Israel.

“We are pleased that the Israeli State Authorities chose to have an arrangement that does not include an indictment against Siemens AG recognizing…. that Siemens fully cooperated in the course of the investigation,” Siemens said in an e-mailed statement.

Siemens AG says it plans to continue its business in Israel on a major scale, including purchasing Israeli products and services and investing in Israeli companies.

Six IEC executives are facing charges in Tel Aviv court for bribery and money laundering. They are accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bribes or, for the discriminating corrupt officials, transfers to their Swiss bank accounts.

Last October a former finance officer for Siemens in Argentina admitted to paying $100 million in bribes to government officials to secure a contract to produce national identity cards.

And prosecutors in Germany are investigating Siemens for allegedly charging $2.2 million for work that was never done at Berlin’s long-delayed new airport.

JNi.Media

Jewish Group Condemns German YouTube’s Neo-Nazi Videos

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Philipp Justus, managing director of the German unit of YouTub’s parent company Google, on Monday received a letter from the World Jewish Congress (WJC), demanding he remove illegal material praising Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust. In the letter, released by news agencies, WJC Executive Vice President Robert Singer is asking, “Why is it that Google steadfastly refuses to take action against the proliferation of racist and anti-Semitic material on its platforms? Do you really believe that songs glorifying or inciting the mass murder of Jews fall under freedom of speech?”

Singer highlighted one exceptionally revolting song among many nasty numbers, “In Belsen,” by the neo-Nazi group Kommando Freisler, whose members received suspended jail terms in 2009 for inciting racial hatred. According to Singer, the despicable song is “widely available” on YouTube despite its banning in Germany.

In September, the director of the memorial at the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp Jens-Christian Wagner already asked YouTube to remove “In Belsen.” Wagner’s letter received no response, until last Saturday, when Germany’s biggest daily newspaper, Bild, reported it, and then most versions of the song were deleted from YouTube. But dozens of equally hateful Kommando Freisler and other neo-Nazi bands’ songs are still available online in “thousands of clips,” according to WJC spokesman Michael Thaidigsmann.

“It is obvious that Google/YouTube does not seriously deal with this matter, that it lacks any proactive attitude, and that even when offensive posts are being flagged, it is very slow to remove the incriminating files from its service,” Thaidigsmann said, adding bitterly, “If I post something from Adele or Taylor Swift, you can bet it’ll be gone in a few hours.”

A spokesman for YouTube’s German unit told AFP his employers have “clear guidelines to ban hate speech against certain groups or content that incites racial hatred. We remove all videos that violate these guidelines as soon as they are reported. That also applies to banned right-wing extremist music.”

And so it appears the problem lies either with the anti-hate guidelines or with the German YouTube employees who are supposed to follow them.

JNi.Media

German Rightwing Party Calling for Ban on Islam as Leftists Clash with Police

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

The rightwing party Alternative for Germany has declared that “Islam does not belong in Germany” as part of its new party manifesto which was passed on Sunday. “An orthodox Islam that does not respect our constitution or even contradicts it is incompatible with our legal system and culture,” the manifesto declares.

The Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, or AfD), led by Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen, is a rightwing, Eurocentric political party founded in 2013. The party won 4.7% of the national vote in the 2013 federal election, just short of the 5% electoral threshold. In 2014 the party won 7.1% of the votes and 7 out of 96 German seats in the European election, and joined forces the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group. As of March 2016 the AfD had gained representation in eight German state parliaments.

Current opinion polls give AfD as much as 14% of the vote in the 2017 national elections, a figure that could grow depending on immigration-related events over the summer. Even at 14%, the AfD would make the big parties’ job of coalition cobbling next to impossible.

An estimated crowd of 2,000 AfD members came to Stuttgart to discuss and adopt the manifesto during a two-day party congress that opened Saturday, complete with violent protests from leftist demonstrators. Some 2,000 leftwingers clashed with police on Saturday as they tried to break up the AfD conference. An estimated 500 leftists were detained and 10 police officers were injured, a police spokesman said.

The AfD manifesto includes a ban on foreign financing of the construction and operation of mosques, rejection of minarets and muezzin calls as Islamic symbols of power, and a ban on head scarves for girls and women in state schools. The party congress considered and rejected a proposal to ban immigration, “in particular from foreign cultures.” Instead, the new platform says, “We welcome immigrants who are qualified for the labor market and who are willing to integrate into society.”

The platform calls for the deportation of foreigners with a criminal record. It also bans the slaughtering of animals according to Muslim and Jewish laws.

Ah, well, that was to be expected.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu Circle Working Overtime to Pushback Claim of German Rift

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

The headline of Sunday morning’s Israel Hayom, the pro-Netanyahu daily freebee bankrolled by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, was: “Jerusalem Sources: ‘Relations with Germany Tight.'” The optimistic message came in response to an embarrassing probe by Der Spiegel this weekend pointing a finger at Israel Hayom as the source of a grossly misleading story in February, which attempted to assign to German Chancellor Angela Merkel a position she never knew she held.

Whenever Merkel meets with Netanyahu, according to Spiegel, you can count on Israel Hayom to publish the confidential content of their discussion shortly thereafter. But this time, they went ahead and wrote this headline: “Merkel: This Isn’t the Time for Two States.”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with this headline, and many rightwing Israelis were delighted to see a leading Western leader coming to her senses in these trying times; the only problem was, of course, that Merkel never said nor even hinted anything of the kind. Merkel and her advisors were furious, naturally, because Netanyahu, the obvious source for the “leak,” had twisted the chancellor’s warnings against his policy in Judea and Samaria into an endorsement.

“Merkel had repeatedly made it clear to Netanyahu that she believes the effects of Israeli settlement construction in the occupied territories are disastrous,” Spiegel reported. “The settlement policy, she believes, makes it unlikely that a viable Palestinian state can be established in accordance with plans aimed at a two-state solution. Any other approach, Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are convinced, would ultimately transform Israel into an apartheid regime. Netanyahu, however, has not shown himself to be the least bit impressed by such arguments.”

What emerges from the Spiegel story is a growing German concern that Netanyahu has been taking advantage of Germany’s support, cooperation and friendship and is using Berlin as a bulwark against policies Berlin supports. “The perception has been growing in the German government that Netanyahu is instrumentalizing our friendship,” Rolf Mützenich, deputy floor leader for the Social Democrats (SPD) in parliament, told Spiegel. The SPD is Merkel’s junior coalition partner. Foreign Minister Steinmeier is an SPD leader.

According to Spiegel, what Netanyahu has been doing these past few months, is turn warnings from Merkel and other senior German officials, such as Foreign Minister Steinmeier, that Israel’s settlement policy is making it impossible for a future two-state solution to ever work — into seemingly throwing in the towel and accepting this reality as inevitable. And nothing could be further from the truth. According to Spiegel, Germany, like the rest of the EU, is hell bent on establishing two states in Israel, because they are convinced that, with the Arab demographics being what they are, the only way open to Israel to remain a Jewish state otherwise is by a system of apartheid.

We can argue against this concept until we’re blue in the face, we can point to declining demographics on the Arab side, we can show a growing wave of Arab immigration from the PA and Gaza to Canada and the US, we can point to Israel’s history of an unwavering democratic approach to its minorities — the Europeans, at this point, aren’t prepared to buy any of it. And spreading headlines that they do when they don’t doesn’t change their minds, unfortunately.

The Israel Hayom Sunday article is an attempt to blame the Germans for the February faux pas. They cite “sources in Jerusalem” who say the Spiegel story is “an internal-German attempt to attack Merkel over her good relations with Prime Minister Netanyahu.” That statement could only be made by someone who didn’t read the Spiegel story, in which named sources in Merkel’s circle are accusing Netanyahu of misusing his friendship with Germany.

Then the Israeli paper claimed that this is what they heard in the Hebrew simultaneous translation, which is their version of the dog ate my homework. And finally, they pin the whole thing on Netanyahu, who pointed the entire Israeli press in that direction following the Chancellor’s remarks, saying she had finally come to her senses regarding the current slim chances of negotiations based on the two-state solution. For his part, Netanyahu pinned the blame for why the 2-state is dead for now on the “situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian Authority.”

The real problem is that the Netanyahu approach no longer works, at least according to Spiegel. The Chancellery has indeed lost hope that the peace process can be revived — “so long as Netanyahu remains in office,” the magazine insists, describing the visit of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to Berlin two weeks ago, when Merkel was “demonstrative in her support,” when she said, “I understand why President Abbas continually seeks out the Security Council.”

Ouch.

Finally, according to Spiegel, accusations from Netanyahu that the EU labeling of products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria are essentially an anti-Jewish boycott “are no longer taken seriously in the Chancellery. Merkel’s foreign policy advisor Christoph Heusgen is supportive of the EU approach.”

JNi.Media

Family of German Jewish Victim Suing Israel Museum over ‘Birds’ Head Haggadah’

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

The descendants of a German Jewish lawyer and member of parliament who was murdered by the Nazis in 1934, are demanding the return of his possession, the 13th century colorfully illustrated “Birds’ Head Haggadah,” which is part of the collection of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The heirs are asking for “less than $10 million” for the rare work, whose market value is several times that amount. The heirs do not wish to remove the Haggadah from the museum.

The so-called “Birds’ Head Haggadah,” a work in pen, ink and tempera on parchment by the scribe Menahem, gets its name from the images in the manuscript, where the human figures are depicted as having birds’ heads with beaks for mouths. Some figures also have pointed animal ears. All the men wear the compulsory conical “Jew’s hat,” imposed on the Jews of Germany in 1215.

According to The Art Newspaper, the Birds’ Head Haggadah used to belong to Ludwig Marum, a lawyer from Karlsruhe, Germany, who was a member of the anti-Nazi Social Democratic Party and served in the Reichstag from 1928 until 1933. He was arrested and sent to the Kislau concentration camp, where he was murdered in 1934 (his death was reported as a suicide). Marum’s children fled Germany shortly thereafter.

In 1946, Herman Kahn, a Jewish refugee from Karlsruhe, sold the Birds’ Head Haggadah for $600 to the National Bezalel Museum (later part of the Israel Museum). No one knows how Kahn got hold of the work. The manuscript was reproduced in a catalogue, with a note that it was “in the possession” of the Marum family before the war. But the museum display does not offer a similar acknowledgement.

Marum’s daughter, Elisabeth Lunau, visited the Israel Museum in 1984 and saw the manuscript on permanent display there. She sent a letter to the museum’s curator of Judaica, arguing that the Haggadah had been sold without the family’s consent and demanded that the “rightful owners” be recognized in the display. She wrote: “The family Marum, however, thought the Haggadah should remain in the Israel Museum for the benefit of the public.”

According to TAN, the family’s attorney handling the lawsuit is E. Randol Schoenberg, who in 2006 helped Maria Altmann successfully recover paintings by Gustav Klimt, including, most notably, “Woman in Gold,” from the Belvedere Museum in Vienna.

JNi.Media

German Museum Displays Small Scale Expressions of Racial Hatred

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

If you’re concerned about a repeat performance by the German nation of the events of the first half of the 20th Century, you may wish to visit a new exhibition at the German Historical Museum, featuring some 600 stickers and replicas, racist and anti-racist, from 1880 to the present day.

It turns out Germans continue to harbor very ugly feelings about people and things that are not German, and that they prefer their bigotry small and intimate, away from the lime lights.

The exhibition, titled “Sticky Messages — Anti-Semitic and racist stickers from 1880 to the present,” shows adhesive notes, trading cards and pictures, letter sealers and stickers from the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the reign of Nazism and on into the present day in their respective context. “Sticky Messages” tells of a social practice of misanthropic prejudices and recounts at the same time the history of fighting against antisemitic and racist stereotypes.

A sticker from around 2011 reads: "Cult of Guilt: Holocaust - I can't hear it anymore!" / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

A sticker from around 2011 reads: “Cult of Guilt: Holocaust – I can’t hear it anymore!” / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

“They are familiar to everyone and can be found sticking everywhere: on street signs, letter boxes, in underground stations, in children’s rooms, in love letters,” explains the exhibition’s flyer. “Stickers and adhesive labels, also known as sticky notes, have been around on a massive scale since the late 19th century: a small format that is zealously disseminated in public places, privately collected and often traded. Stickers have been used since the beginning as an inexpensive way of popularizing worldviews. Collector cards and albums helped to spread and reinforce racist ideas of inequality and superiority and to bring them into people’s private lives. Stickers with anti-Jewish pictures and slogans have always been extremely popular with anti-Semites. But Jewish organizations soon learned to fight back against these slanderous attacks and publicly combated the anti-Semitic propaganda. Even today stickers are used for political agitation. Stickers like ‘Refugees welcome’ or ‘Nein zum Heim’ – short for saying ‘we don’t want any refugees living here’ – serve to signal acceptance, to polarize or to intimidate people.”

A sticker from around 1900 reads: "Away with Juda! - The Jews are Germany's disaster." / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

A sticker from around 1900 reads: “Away with Juda! – The Jews are Germany’s disaster.” / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

STICKY MESSAGES
Anti-Semitic and racist stickers from 1880 to the present
April 20 to July 31, 2016
An exhibition of the Center for Research on Antisemitism at Technische Universität Berlin and the Deutsches Historisches Museum.

JNi.Media

Synagogue Arson in Germany ‘Not Anti-Semitism’ Says Judge

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Three German Palestinians convicted of arson after hurling firebombs at a synagogue in Germany were motivated by trying to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict,” according to the judge who convicted them on Thursday, Jerusalem Post journalist Benjamin Weinthal reported.

The judge in the case did not believe the men were guilty of anti-Semitism, according to outraged Green Party deputy Volker Beck, who told media he wrote to the prosecutor in the case to file a legal objection, reported.

Several days prior to the firebombing, “Free Palestine” had been sprayed in paint on to the wall of the synagogue as well.

The rebuilt synagogue in Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia was undamaged in the July 29, 2014 attack, which sparked a solidarity rally outside the building that same night. Dieter Graumann, then-president of the German Central Council of Jews, condemned the attack as did Germany’s Central Council of Muslims.

The two older attackers, ages 29 and 24, were given suspended sentences of 15 months in prison – which means they served no time – and together with their 18-year-old accomplice were ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

“This is a mistaken decision as far as the motives of the perpetrators are concerned,” Beck told international media in a statement. “Therefore, I have written the prosecutor and called for the filing of a legal objection.“ Burning a synagogue in Germany because of a conflict in the Middle East can be attributed only to anti-Semitism, Beck contended.

“What do Jews in Germany have to do with the Middle East conflict? Every bit as much as Christians, non-religious people or Muslims in Germany, namely, absolutely nothing. The ignorance of the judiciary toward anti-Semitism is for many Jews in Germany especially alarming, he said.”

The original Wuppertal synagogue was burned down by Germans during the pogrom of Kristallnacht in 1938, but the echoes of the past seem to be growing louder. The German state has seen an upswing in anti-Semitism, as has the country in general.

Anti-Semitism in Germany is on the rise, according to the Central Council of Jews in Germany, as it is in other countries across Europe.

Graumann offered a sobering comment on the situation just before leaving his post in an interview with BILD newspaper in November 2014: “For a while I noticed that anti-Semitism is becoming increasingly public and is no longer hidden. We often receive anti-Semitic messages sent according to name and address. Some people are no longer ashamed and no longer hide their hostility to Jews.

“We have seen … during the war in Gaza, demonstrations of pure primitive hatred against the Jews that broke out again. It is very hard for me to talk about it but, when there are calls in the streets of Germany, ‘Jews to the gas,’ it hurts us greatly,” he added.

Two weeks prior to the publication of Graumann’s interview, the neo-Nazi ‘Die Rechte’ party (The Right) demanded to know where all the Jews live in the city of Dortmund.

‘Die Rechte’ wrote to Mayor Ullrich Sierau through one of its city council members, Dennis Giemsch, seeking to know how many Jews live in the city and in which districts, and their addresses, according to a post on the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (CFCA).

Giemsch, a full-time computer student, wrote that the information was ‘relevant for our political work.’

The demand was refused and the letter was passed to the Interior Ministry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia – the same state in which the torched synagogue is located – and which is “looking at ways to legally ban the party.”

The political party is the smallest of the far-right groups in Germany, but its numbers are growing, particularly among the young, according to the CFCA.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/synagogue-arson-in-germany-not-anti-semitism-says-judge/2015/02/07/

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