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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Holland’

Visiting Dutch Dignitaries Squabble over Israel’s Role in Gaza, PA

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Sunday visit started out fine, with a visit to Yad Vashem (with yarmulke), but then was spoiled by a major disagreement between the Dutch and Israeli premiers over a new security scanner that was to be installed with great fanfare on the Gaza border.

Rutte expected to inaugurate the scanner at the Kerem Shalom crossing, on the border with the Gaza Strip, but that’s probably not going to happen.

“Installation of the Dutch scanner, which would have been used to verify the contents of containers from Gaza destined for export, was postponed after the Netherlands made unexpected demands,” an Israeli official told AFP.

“Technically, there is no problem about the scanner at the Kerem Shalom crossing, through which goods originating in Gaza pass,” the official said, explaining: “The Dutch suddenly imposed political conditions, notably on the percentage of merchandise destined for the West Bank or abroad. These are political issues that need to be resolved at the highest level, which will delay the start-up of the scanner.”

In a lengthy, face to face conversation, Prime Minister Netanyahu told his Dutch counterpart that, as much as he would like there to be normal relations between the PA and Gaza, with goods traveling in both directions, the Arabs “sometimes use this to negative ends.”

Netanyahu gave the example of how the Hamas used too tons of cement which Israel permitted through its border with Gaza, to dig a terror tunnel into Israel, for the purpose of kidnapping Israeli civilians, to be used later in exchange with terrorist killers held in Israeli jails.

Netanyahu conceded that security considerations should not come at the expense of the civilian population in Gaza, but on occasion there’s no avoiding it.

According to Ha’aretz, the past two weeks have been marked by hectic disputes between the Netherlands and Israel over the use of the scanner the Dutch donated for use in the Gaza border crossing. Israeli security officials told the Dutch they wanted a separation between Gaza and the PA, and so the scanner must be used chiefly for goods being exported abroad, and not going to the PA.

The Dutch were making the case that the scanner was fool proof and should offer the guarantee Israel needed to accept shipments from Gaza to the PA. But the Israeli defense ministry stuck to its guns.

Prime Minister Rutte met with Israeli-Palestinian peace organizations Monday morning, and expressed his disappointment of the Israeli stubbornness.

“I don’t understand this decision,” he said. “The scanner was donated by Holland and positioned at Kerem Shalom precisely because of the Israeli security concerns.”

There was also a diplomatic spat Sunday concerning Judea and Samaria, where Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, who is traveling with Rutte, cancelled a planned event rather than accept an Israeli military escort, a Dutch foreign ministry official said.

Timmermans had planned to visit Palestinians in Hebron.

“It was the minister himself who decided to cancel that part of the visit,” Ahmed Dadou, a spokesman for Timmermans, told AFP in The Hague.

“It’s normal to be accompanied by the Israeli military in the part occupied by settlers but it’s not usual in the Palestinian part,” he said.

“Other foreign ministers have previously visited the city unaccompanied by Israeli soldiers in the Palestinian sector and Mr. Timmermans did not want to accept this new condition in order not to set a precedent.”

Netanyahu said that he had not been aware of the planned visit.

“These are not political directives,” he said, according to a statement by his office. “I do not know how we guard foreign dignitaries on visits. We have security details that do what is necessary. Minister Timmermans is a welcome guest.”

Timmermans instead visited a Palestinian dairy in another part of Hebron.

Finally an area of life a Dutchman fully comprehends.

Dutch Christians’ Mega-Menorah Helps Jews Come Out of their Shell

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Amsterdam’s Chabad Rabbi Binyamin Jacobs lit the candles on the first night Hanukkah Wednesday on a 36-foot menorah with a six-ton base that was made with donations by Christian Zionists.

Klaas Zijlstr designed and built the menorah, in the shape of a Star of David, in his metal workshop in the northern tip of the Netherlands. Possibly the largest in all of Europe, the handiwork of a Protestant metal contractor is meant to be a sign of solidarity by Christian Zionists with the Jewish people.

“It’s exactly like the rabbi wanted,” Zijlstra said.

Rabbi Jacobs helped Zijlstra and a group called Christians for Israel design the nine-branch candelabrum so it could be used for the eight-day holiday, which began Wednesday night and which was lit in front of hundreds of Christians and Jews during a public ceremony in Nijkerk, not far from Amsterdam.

Though commonplace in the United States and even in Russia, public Hanukkah events are a recent and revolutionary development in the Netherlands. Here they signify the growing self-confidence and openness of a Jewish community whose near annihilation in the Holocaust left a deeply entrenched tendency to keep a low profile.

“Twenty years ago, this wouldn’t‎‎ have been possible,” said Arjen Lont, the Christian Zionist businessman who donated $40,000 to build and transport the menorah. “It requires a lot of openness.”

Lont says the purpose of the giant menorah, which can be used either with electric bulbs or oil lamps, is to send a message.

“After unspeakable suffering, the horrors of the Holocaust and most recently the attacks on Israel, Jews may feel they are alone,” Lont told JTA. “This is our way of saying you are not alone; we are behind you.”

The first public Hanukkah lighting ceremony in the country was organized in 1989 in Buitenveldert, near Amsterdam, by the wife of a Chabad rabbi, according to Bart Wallet, a historian of Dutch Jewry at the University of Amsterdam.

Today, such events are held annually in 19 municipalities, from the northern city of Leeuwarden, near Berlikum, to the southern border city of Maastricht, according to Rabbi Jacobs.

He said that public menorah lightings in the country signify the Jewish community’s confidence in asserting its place in Dutch society.

“Nowadays it’s also saying we are here; we are also a part of the fabric of religious communities and society,” he explained.

Dutch Jewish reticence toward public displays of faith dates back at least to the 19th century, according to Wallet, when Dutch rabbis decreed that no Jewish rituals should be held in the public domain. At the time, Dutch Jews were keen on integrating into a democratic society as equal citizens, and they considered it counterproductive to showcase religious customs that set them apart from their compatriots.

The tendency was greatly reinforced after the Holocaust, when three-quarters of Holland’s population of 140,000 Jews perished — a higher percentage than anywhere else in occupied Western Europe. Today, about 40,000 Jews live in the Netherlands.

Wallet says things began to change in the 1970s, when Dutch Jews began displaying greater activism around anti-Semitism and Israel.

Even today, however, many Dutch Jews retain a sense of reticence when it comes to public displays of religion.

“There’s nothing wrong with these Hanukkah events, but to me they don’t seem familiar,” said Jaap Hartog, chairman of the umbrella group of Dutch Jewry, called the Dutch Israelite Religious Community, or NIK. “To me, Hanukkah is more a holiday that you celebrate at home with your family. The public candle lightings are more of an American thing.

“On a personal level, I’m not too keen on participating.”

Initially, Chabad rabbis organized candle lighting ceremonies as part of their efforts to reach lapsed Jews, but today the menorah lightings are not organized exclusively by Chabad. Nathan Bouscher, a Jewish activist who is not himself religious, has co-organized candle lightings at the Dam, Amsterdam’s best-known square.

“It’s a way to build bridges between Jews and the non-Jewish environment, but also within the community and between Dutch-born Jews and the thousands of Israelis who live here and the tourists from Israel,” Bouscher said.

Back at Zijlstra’s metal workshop, his menorah is attracting attention from neighbors. During the test run last week, a few of them stopped by to admire his handiwork and congratulate him.

La Pen’s Right-Wing Party Makes Strong Gains in EU Election Poll

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

France’s right-wing National Front party headed by Marine Le Pen is leading the country’s two major parties in the polls for May’s elections to the European Parliament.

The Le Nouvel Observateur weekly reported that the party has the support of 24 percent of French voters, compared with only 22 and 19 percent respectively for the center-right UMP and Socialist parties.

The latest poll came as Alain Delon, one of France’s most celebrated actors, expressed his sympathy for the National Front and said he “approved” of the party’s rise, the European Jewish Press reported.

Other right-wing parties in other countries, such as Holland’s Freedom party headed by anti-Islamist Geert Wilder also might win more support. In Britain, the anti-immigration Independence also has won increasing popularity in polls.

Council of Europe Says Ritual Circumcision Won’t Be Banned

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

The Council of Europe has assured President Shimon Peres that Europe will not ban religious circumcision despite last week’s non-binding resolution of the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly that cited circumcision of males as a violation of human rights and equated it with female genital mutilation.

President Peres wrote on Monday to Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, to protest the resolution. Although it has no legal significance, the Council is very influential on decisions by the European Union.

Jangland said male circumcision did not violate human rights, and Daniel Holtgen, the Director of Communications at the Council of Europe, sent a tweet quoting Jagland as saying, “Female genital mutilation violates human rights. Male circumcision does not.”

The resolution angered Muslims as well as Jews. It called for European states to “promote further awareness in their societies of the potential risks of some of these procedures,” which the assembly lists as the circumcision of boys, early childhood interventions in the case of intersexual children and the coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery.

Marlene Rupprecht, the rapporteur behind the resolution, claimed the text did not aim to “stigmatize any religious community or its practices” but simply called for public debate “aimed at reaching a wide consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity.”

While Jagland’s statements were good news for Jews and also for Muslims, it is scary that we are so susceptible to the threat of a ban on circumcision that we have to be grateful to someone deciding to suspend what would be a death sentence to Judaism.

Jews have died rather than accept decrees against circumcision, but today’s trend to use “human rights”  and “animal rights” to disguise campaigns that deprive Jewish rights is more subtle and devious than the open anti-Semitism of the past.

A judge in a German province earlier this year banned circumcision, leading to an uproar that prompted the national parliament to make it clear that ritual circumcision is legal.

The anti-circumcision movement is increasingly popular in Scandinavia, where the influx of Muslims also is a factor behind the campaign to prohibit the religious rite.

Jews and Muslims are constantly threatened with a ban on local slaughtering of animals according to Jewish and Muslim laws, which prohibit the method of stunning before using the knife. There are some leniencies in Muslim law.

The most recent controversy is in Poland, which banned ritual slaughter this year but where Jews now have to be thankful to the Catholic Church for supporting the rights of Jews and Muslims to slaughter animals according to religious laws.

The Polish parliament in July rejected a bill, sponsored by the government, to legalize kosher slaughter, but Pope Francis recently has voiced concern over the ban.

“Animal rights” supporters have successfully campaigned in Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland to outlaw kosher slaughter.

The European Union’s official policy states, “European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter” generally requires stunning before slaughter, but allows member states to allow exemptions for religious slaughter.”

Holland two years nearly outlawed kosher slaughter after the Animal Rights Party managed to convince the Lower House of parliament to pass a bill, which was rejected by the Upper House, to ban the practice.

Israel is the only country that comes to mind where Jewish rights still are unquestionably more important than “animals’ rights.”

As for circumcision, the only argument might be over “Metzitzah b’peh.”

Holland Hebrew Bookstore Ex-Owners Move to Israel, Close Up Shop

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

One of Western Europe’s largest Hebrew bookstores has closed down in Amsterdam as its former owners prepare to move to Israel.

The Samech bookstore has been supplying Hebrew-language books to members of Holland’s Jewish community for nearly 40 years and possessed a stock of 100,000 books, according to the website of the Dutch Israelite Religious Community, or NIK.

The store, which used to be the largest of its kind in the Netherlands, belonged to Daan and Shulamit Daniel, who are planning to move to Israel. All their children had already moved out of the Netherlands in favor of “places with richer Jewish lives than Amsterdam,” according to NIK.

The store’s entire stock was sold or given away last month, the report by NIK said. Holland has a Jewish population of 41,000 -45,000, the European Jewish Congress reported.

Anti-Zionist Rabbi Blames Israel for Attack by Muslim

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

An anti-Zionist rabbi said he was attacked in Amsterdam because of Israel, but police maintain that the incident simply was an argument over an “almost” traffic accident.”

The facts of the story are clear, but it takes a very open mind, if not a deranged one, to understand the interpretation.

A car almost hit a pedestrian, who was so angry at the near mishap that he snapped a picture of the driver who had supposedly stopped his car in order to threaten to do to him what he didn’t do by hitting him with his car.

The motorist then supposedly ran after the man and attacked him, who apparently was not happy with the idea that he already had escaped injury by not being run over by the car. The victim was a rabbi and dressed in traditional Haredi gear. For that reason or for another, the driver, a Muslim, reportedly hurled hate insults at him and then attacked him after a chase..

The police said the whole affair was not an anti-Semitic attack, while the rabbi drew the obvious conclusion that Israel is to blame for the attack.

Israel?

Of course, but you have to understand Neturei Karta to follow the reasoning.

The rabbi is named Joseph Antebi, and just to make the story stranger than fiction, he is an Israel living in Holland, where he is not contaminated by a Zionist state. He prefers anti-Zionists like himself.

And perhaps like the Muslim who attacked him.

The driver-attacker “had relatively dark skin and didn’t look very Dutch, or at least didn’t look like his family has been living in Holland for centuries,” Antebi told the JTA.

He claimed that the driver, according to the rabbi, stopped the car and threatened to hit him. Antebi pulled out his cell phone to photograph the Muslim, perhaps for nostalgia to remember he is not the only one who hates others because of their race, religion or citizenship.

The good rabbi calls himself a “Palestinian Jew,” JTA reported.

But he really loves his brethren. He said that the attacker “shouted negative things about my religion and about my people.”

And that is why Israel is to blame.

You see, people hate Jews because Israel is such an awful country.

“People hear about the atrocities, the way the Zionist state is treating the nations around them, and they are angry about it,” Antebi told JTA. “I’m not surprised he did what he did, it’s human behavior. The one to blame is the Zionist state, which is doing a lot of bad things to people.”

Now we know that Antebi sympathizes with his attacker, apparently a fellow anti-Zionist.

His account of the incident is a bit much to believe. First of all, if the driver almost hit him, maybe, just maybe, Antebi was crossing the street without looking past his cell phone?

Not only did the driver supposedly stop his car, get out and shout at Antebi, the rabbi also claims the “dark-skinned” driver then ran after him when he asked a fishmonger to call the police. While the fishmonger refused, the driver attacked Antebi, who ended up in the hospital, where he was released after being treated for minor injuries.

Can you see this scene? A driver leaves his car in the street to run after an innocent Jew in order to attack him?

A spokesperson for the Amsterdam police told JTA police are investigating but are not certain the attack was anti-Semitic. “Currently, we are assuming it is an argument about traffic that got out of hand,” she said.

Neturei Karta blamed the attack on the “Zionist evil, which causes anti-Semitism all around the world, until even those who are truly observant and faithful Jews are liable to fall victim, and pay a high price for the Zionists’ sins.”

Antebi and his anti-Zionist cult know God’s system for reward and punishment.

But did it ever come to their minds, what is left of them, that maybe God is trying to tell something else to an anti-Zionist Israeli who is attacked by a Muslim who hates Jews?

Jewish Press blogger Paula Stern wrote, “The Muslim was being honest enough to know that there is no real difference between a Zionist and a Jew. The rabbi, however, remains stupidly blind to this simple fact.”

Bahrain Officially Labels Hezballah a Terrorist Organization

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

The tiny Gulf State of Bahrain on Tuesday, April 9, became the first Arab country to place the Arab terrorist group Hezballah (Party of Allah) on its state designated terrorist list.

It is not that Bahrain is concerned over Hezballah’s decades-long genocidal intentions against Israel. But as a radical Shia sect, Hezballah also plays a destabilizing role in the Arab world. The terrorist group receives financial support, weapons and military training from Iran.

The Lebanese Shiite movement based in Lebanon has allegedly been backing and training radical Shiite groups against Bahrain.  That appeared to be the main reason the group received the terrorism designation.  Although the majority of Bahrainis are Shia, the monarchy is Sunni.

“The measure is to protect Bahrain’s security and stability from Hezballah’s threats,” Bahraini MP Adil al-Asoumi told Al Arabiya. There is evidence that Hezbollah is instigating violence against the government in Bahrain, Asoumi added.

“When we were in Syrian refugee camps in Turkey, we met with defected Syrian soldiers. They told us that in the past years, the Syrian regime was conspiring against the people of Bahrain,” in coordination with Iran and Hezbollah, Abdulhalim Murad, deputy head of Bahrain’s Islamist al-Asala bloc said, according to Al Arabiya.

The United States, Canada and Israel have all had Hezballah on terrorism-designated lists for some time.  Such a designation means that the bank accounts of the organization can be frozen, and suspected members can be legally monitored.

During the Mubarak regime, Egypt considered Hezballah a terrorist organization, but in late December of last year the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egyptian government announced it would pursue a “tight relationship” with the terrorist group.

An investigation into the deadly bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria last July, revealed that Hezballah was behind the violence that killed 5 Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver.

In the wake of the Burgas bombing, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barrosso said the European Union would consider including Hezballah on its list of terrorist organizations.  The Israeli government and Shurat HaDin (the Israeli Law Center) had each attempted to convince the EU to make that designation.

However, on March 7, the EU announced it would not make the change, claiming it “did not yet have sufficient evidence of its activity in Europe” to place Hezballah on the EU terrorist organization list.  Presently, Holland is the only European country to officially sanction Hezballah as a terrorist entity.

Were the EU to follow suit behind the U.S., Canada, Holland and Bahrain, and place the terrorist organization on its list of official terrorist groups, it would likely have a serious impact on Hezballah’s financial footing, and therefore its ability to continue its global terrorism operations.

 

Nazi-Looted Art to Return to Heirs of N.Y. Collector

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Two artworks sold under duress during the Nazi occupation of Germany will be returned to the heirs of New York art collector Michael Berolzheimer, who died in 1942 after escaping from Germany and settling in suburban WestchesterCounty.

Berolzheimer and his family fled from Germany in 1938 after selling his art under duress, traveling first to Switzerland before immigrating to the United States. He lived in WestchesterCounty until he died at the age of 76.

In 2011, the Holocaust Claims Processing Office of the financial services’ department opened a claim to recover works for the heirs of Berolzheimer, an attorney who pursued a lifetime interest in fine art and served on the acquisitions committees of several art museums. The HCPO earlier had recovered three other artworks for the heirs; it is working on 26 other restitution claims for the estate.

A Dutch antiquarian bookseller who owned one of the two drawings agreed to return it after learning of its origin, according to a statement from the office of Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of financial services for the State of New York.

The 1834 pen-and-ink portrait of a geographer by Reinier Craeyvanger was bought by the Dutch bookseller at a Sotheby’s auction in 2005.

The Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany is returning a drawing attributed to the 17th century Italian artist Giacomo Cavedone. The museum acquired the drawing in 1941.

The works once belonged to an art collection of more than 800 pieces.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/nazi-looted-art-to-return-to-heirs-of-n-y-collector/2013/04/05/

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