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August 25, 2016 / 21 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Museum’

EU Counter-Anti-Semitism Czar: Our Goal to Allow Jews Fear-Free Life in Europe

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

The EU’s coordinator for combating anti-Semitism, Katharina von Schnurbein, this week told the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs about the European Union’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism. “The goal of all this activity is that Jews will be able to live in Europe without fear,” she said. “The fact that we have reached a situation whereby Jews send their children to schools behind barbed wire fences or send them to public schools without knowing whether they will be exposed to incitement there – this situation is unacceptable. The fact that we see security guards outside synagogues – and we have grown used to this – this is also unacceptable. But it doesn’t end there. There are security guards outside government buildings. The security situation is no longer limited to Jewish communities. We are convinced that it is the responsibility of society as a whole to combat anti-Semitism.”

Von Schnurbein said the general increase in anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe and the “atmosphere of hatred,” particularly online, are very worrying. She said that since her appointment in December, the EU’s activity against anti-Semitism has included dialogue with the major Internet companies — Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft — which brought about the formation of the Code of Conduct. Under the code, the online giants pledged to fund organizations that would help them monitor the situation and train people who will report any inciting content online.

Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) thanked von Schnurbein for the Code of Conduct legislation, which he said would allow social media companies to “remove hate speech inciting to violence within 24 hours,” which is “a correct and important step, the fruits of which I hope we will see immediately.”

Neguise told the meeting, which was also attended by EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen, of a survey conducted ahead of the meeting among rabbis and Jewish community leaders in Europe. The survey, commissioned by the European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Center of Europe, indicates that anti-Semitism is intensifying in Western European countries, but pointed out that the involvement of Muslim refugees in anti-Semitic incidents is marginal. The same survey showed that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Eastern Europe is decreasing.

“We are currently monitoring the process to see if there really is a change. We want to see a real change on the ground,” von Schnurbein said. “Today, only 13 of the 28 member states properly apply the [Code of Conduct] law . . . We are pressuring them to implement it.”

Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg of the Rabbinical Center of Europe said, “You cannot on the one hand constantly try to undermine the foundations of Judaism – be it brit milah (male circumcision ritual) or kosher shechitah (slaughtering of animals for food in accordance with Jewish law) – and on the other hand talk all the time about wanting to eradicate anti-Semitism.”

Yogev Karasenty, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry’s Director for Combating Anti-Semitism, said “It is not at all certain that the legislation trickles down to the ground level. There are Internet companies which declare a policy [of removing inciting content] but do not implement it.”

Yaakov Haguel, head of the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Countering Anti-Semitism, mentioned an EU survey conducted a few years ago which revealed that 74% of the victims of anti-Semitic attacks do not report them to the authorities. This indicates, he said, that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe is significantly higher than what the official figures show.

Addressing von Schnurbein and Faaborg-Andersen, Haguel said, “These Jews are your citizens, they are European citizens, proud citizens who want to live in Europe, who want to raise their children in Europe, who pay taxes. Before legislation and enforcement and education – what kind of atmosphere is being created for your citizens there? For us, the Jewish people, it is very concerning, but you, who represent the sovereign governments of each country, are responsible for the Jewish citizens, just as you are responsible for all the other citizens.”

NGO Monitor President Gerald M. Steinberg spoke of the “new anti-Semitism” and said the rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents and terror attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions “is directly linked to the incitement we hear about every day in Europe and the world. It is obvious that phrases such as ‘war crimes,’ ‘genocide,’ ‘violation of international law,’ ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘apartheid’ — which are said repeatedly in reference to Israel — feed this anti-Semitism.”

Ido Daniel, Program Director at Israeli Students Combating Anti-Semitism, mentioned that in 2014 the organization filed some 14,000 complaints with new media companies regarding anti-Semitic content online, and in 2015 the number of complaints to Twitter, Google, Facebook and Instagram rose to about 29,000. The trend is continuing in 2016, and the organization expects to file over 30,000 complaints by the end of the year, he told the committee.

“The social networks allow many people to disseminate inciting messages which are then translated into physical acts against Jews,” said Daniel, who noted that Jewish students from Brussels told him that they conceal their real last names on Facebook to avoid receiving hateful and insulting messages.

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) said, “History has already shown us what happens when displays of hatred and violence are not dealt with. There is terror all over the world now, and the social networks serve as a [broad platform] for this activity. This is not only Israel’s — it is the problem of entire world. Terror strikes in Brussels, Paris, Turkey and the United States. It’s a global problem.”

Rut Zach of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Combating Antisemitism said that since von Schnurbein’s appointment “we can see concrete action against anti-Semitism in Europe,” adding that the left in Europe must take the lead on this issue. “The left is supposed to protect human rights,” she said.

Carol Nuriel, Acting Director of ADL’s Israel office, presented the findings of a poll showing that one in every three Europeans holds anti-Semitic opinions. Another survey conducted by ADL after the terror attacks at the offices of the satirical weekly French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the kosher supermarket Hypercacher and the Jewish Museum in Brussels indicated a 10-20% decrease in anti-Semitism in France, Germany and Belgium.

“The awareness of the danger of violence against Jews created a sort of solidarity with the Jewish communities, and it is very important to preserve this solidarity,” Nuriel stressed. “Another conclusion is that when elected officials act – and we all remember French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’s historic speech – there are results on the ground.”

Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen said, “We are all in agreement about the urgency of the battle against anti-Semitism, which is a despicable phenomenon. The EU is committed 100 percent to this fight.”

Chairman Neguise concluded the meeting by saying that the committee calls on the EU to act against anti-Semitism through legislation and education. He also urged the organizations combating the phenomenon to work together.

JNi.Media

President Rivlin to Inaugurate Jewish Museum of Warsaw

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

President Reuven Rivlin is set to inaugurate the Jewish Museum of Warsaw next month during his first state visit to Poland.

Rivlin was invited by his counter part, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, with whom he will meet together with other senior state officials.

Rivlin is also scheduled to address Poland’s governing parliament during his visit, in Hebrew.

Israeli high school students travel to Poland every other year to participate in the “March of the Living.” The pilgrimage honors the fallen Jews who were murdered at concentration camps such as Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Hana Levi Julian

ISIS Terrorist Identified as Murderer in Brussels Jewish Museum Attack

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

The murderer of four people, including two Jews from Tel Aviv, in the attack last May on the Jewish Museum in Brussels was an ISIS terrorist who was one of the captors and torturers of James Foley, Steve Sotloff and a French journalist, who was released and now had identified the killer.

The terrorist is Medhi Nemmouche, a French citizen who is to go on trial in Belgium on Friday for the murders at the museum. He was arrested several days after the terrorist attack, and he fought for the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2013 only three weeks after he was released from prison, where he served five years for armed robbery.

The immediate reaction of Brussels officials after the attack was typical of the head in the sand illusion that makes believe that many terrorists are “lone wolves,” that many attacks on Jews or Jewish institutions are just a coincidence and that the radical Islamic movement in Europe does not threaten to overthrow the entire continent.

The fact that at that time of his arrest he had a white sheet emblazoned with the name of the ISIS clearly indicates Nemmouche, even if he acted alone, was not just some jihadist who woke up one morning and decided to become a terrorist.

Anti-Semitism in France is rampant. Considering that the motive was “open” was a denial of reality.

Nemmouche was identified by French journalist Nicolas Henin as the terrorist who attacked the museum. The fact that he is a French citizen belies the false belief among many European leaders that the jihadists are imports.

“The accused gunman is also French, increasing fears in Europe over European citizens’ ties to extremist groups,” National Public Radio reported. French authorities estimate that nearly 1,000 other people from France have joined the jihadists in Syria, and every one of them, unless they are killed first, could be the next Nemmouche.

Henin, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2013 and held for almost a year, said that Nemmouche was only one of several French citizens who were in charge of the prison where he was held.

The journalist has known for some time that one of his captors was Nemmouche but did not say anything in order to protect other Westerners held by ISIS. He broke his silence after Le Monde reported that investigators have linked the killer with ISIS, which really should not be a surprise considering that the sheet with the name ISIS n it at the time of his arrest was widely reported.

“When Nemmouche wasn’t singing, he tortured,” Henin wrote in Le Point. “The torture lasted the night, up until the dawn prayer,” when radical Muslims appeal to Allah to give them the strength for more barbarism.

Europe’s “everything is just dandy” mirage is its own death sentence. Nemmouche used his French citizenship to return to enter Belgium from Germany and is “a perfect example of the difficulty in tracking European jihadists, reported NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley.

Henin’s lawyer Marie-Laure Ingouf told AFP that “Nemmouche was one of his jailers. All the hostages confirm this. They lived alongside him for several months.”

Henin spent part of his time as hostage along with journalists Foley and Sotloff, who were beheaded by ISIS in the past two weeks. He added that it was clear to him and others in captivity that Nemmouche did not leave Syria in order to become a good citizen.

“It seemed to us that he did not leave for Syria because of some grand ideals but, above all, to make his mark, to carry out a murderous path that he had traced,” Henin said.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

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.

Hana Levi Julian

Updated: 3 Killed in Brussels Jewish Museum Shooting

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Two men and a woman were killed in a shooting at the Brussels Jewish Museum on Saturday morning. A fourth person who was seriously injured is in the hospital.

Twelve people were treated for shock.

Belgium’s interior minister told Belgian TV that the attack might be anti-Semitic.

Witnesses say the attack was done by a single shooter.

Belgium media is reporting that a suspect has been arrested, and police are looking for a second suspect.

42,000 Jews live in Brussels.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the attack was the result of the unending incitement against Jews and the state of Israel, in Europe.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Anti-Israel Blogger Defends His Racism Against Black Zionist

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The Jewish Press first featured Chloé Simone Valdary on our site over a year ago. She is the African American Christian Zionist student founder and president of the University of New Orleans’ Allies for Israel. She helped organize and also ran a major pro-Israel event there last spring.

Valdary has only become more sophisticated and deeply devoted to Israel over the past year.

She’s been to Israel several times, attended numerous pro-Israel events, written sophisticated op-eds, articles and prose about the Middle East.

In addition to being a junior at the University of New Orleans, Valdary is also the assistant director of special programs at the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel. She is also currently in the final stages of preparation for her second major pro-Israel event, Declare Your Freedom, to be held in New Orleans this spring.

This past week an outcry arose from New York Israel supporters when it was discovered that the Jewish Museum in New York City planned to provide a platform for Judith Butler, well-known member of the virulently anti-Israel crowd.

Butler last aroused an outcry when she spoke in favor of the BDS movement at Brooklyn College, almost a year ago. BDS is the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel, which promotes economic and legal warfare against the Jewish State.

Valdary wrote a letter to Brooklyn College students last year, urging them to rise up and speak out against that anti-Israel event.

Many active in the New York City area pro-Israel community met Valdary when the college student was recently in New York. She, along with this unofficial yet effective group, was part of the emailing, phone calling and tweeting against Butler that resulted in the Jewish Museum rescinding its offer of a platform for Judith Butler at the Jewish Museum.

In a blog entry Valdary penned at the Times of Israel, she called out Butler for her anti-Semitism, and included herself in the “we” of Zionists. Her article was published on Feb. 21. This is the final paragraph:

So in this endeavor for morality and justice, we, the proud Zionist community of America, rose up. We lit up the phone lines of the Jewish Museum in New York and demanded that this event be canceled. We organized on social media, we emailed, we protested. We, this people, with a history, and a creed, and a culture, and a cause,  which we intend to perpetuate with every fiber of our being, rose up and affected positive and meaningful change. And we have every intention to continue this fight for the right to be free.

Not surprisingly, those who support Butler’s view of the Middle East conflict, those who support the BDS movement and who are willing to “understand” what drives the terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, do not agree with Valdary.

Richard Silverstein, however, a fairly well-known, member of the Israel-is-always-wrong clan but who is generally considered to be too much of a crackpot to invite a response from Israel supporters, crossed a line that shocked many, even considering Silverstein’s inglorious history.

In a tweet sent at 8:48 ET, on Feb. 21, Silverstein suggested Valdary was manipulated by Zionists, referred to her as a “Negro,” and wrote that she would be making “Uncle Tom” dance with joy, presumably because he saw her pro-Israel activities as sucking up to white folks. This is the tweet:

Anti-Israel blogger Richard Silverstein uses racial slurs to attack an African American Zionist

Anti-Israel blogger Richard Silverstein uses racial slurs to attack an African American Zionist

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

NYC’s Jewish Museum Invites, then Uninvites, Major BDS Advocate

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Most of the New York City pro-Israel community was upset, but not shocked, when Brooklyn College invited two of the best known advocates for legal and economic warfare (the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) to be featured speakers at an event last year.

But this past week most of those same people were both upset and shocked when they learned that New York City’s Jewish Museum had invited and was going to feature one of those same speakers: Judith Butler, the Berkeley professor known primarily as a leader in the fields of “gender, power, sexuality and identity theory.”

Butler is not only a huge supporter of the BDS movement, she has also spoken sympathetically about the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah.

On March 6, Judith Butler was slated to give a “performance” of Franz Kafka, as one in a series of three programs entitled “Wish You Were Here.”  The series features “interviews” of Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, conducted by the museum’s deputy director Jens Hoffmann.

Although Butler has written about Kafka, it is not what she is known for. Queer theory? Yes. Gender identity? Yes. Power theory and subjugation? Sure. Franz Kafka? Not so much.

The focus of Butler’s recent work on Kafka is a labored effort to distance the man from the category labeled Zionist. That article, “Who Owns Kafka?” addresses the trial over who owned the rights to Kafka’s unpublished manuscripts,  after his death. The State of Israel was one of the parties seeking ownership, partially based on the claim that Kafka was an “asset” of the Jewish people.

Butler’s abiding distaste for Israel drove her to prove that Kafka was not a Zionist (based primarily on his not emigrating, although discriminatory quotas and Kafka’s own tuberculosis probably played a larger role) in order to prevent the Jewish people from claiming him as an asset, and his manuscripts from ending up in Israel.

Most non-literary theorist New Yorkers, however, were not aware of the Butler anti-Zionist Kafka connection. But her reputation as a leader of the BDS movement, and as sympathetic to terrorist groups committed to wiping out the Jewish state, were sufficient motivations for action.

The calls and outcries reached a crescendo on Thursday, Feb. 20.

The Jewish Museum could not hide behind the false, but frequently invoked, veil of “academic freedom” to hide behind, as had the Brooklyn College administration. And the Jewish Museum could not point fingers at students who insisted that a hater of Israel be invited in, and doted upon, by the people who run the Jewish Museum.

There was no getting around it, the Jewish Museum of New York City, an institution that was founded in, and remains under the auspices of  the Conservative movement of American Judaism, the Jewish Theological Seminary, deliberately chose to showcase a person whose animosity towards Israel was well known.

Judith Butler is most often described as an “American philosopher” and a “gender, power, sexuality and identity theorist.” She is a professor at the University of California at Berkely, in the department of comparative literature.

Although, according to her Berkeley webpage, Butler has recently taught a course on Kafka, her overwhelming focus and interest is sexuality, queer theory and feminist theory. Of the more than a dozen books Butler authored, none are about Kafka or his writing.

“How ironic that a Museum which is a scion of one of the three American Jewish movements, in this case, the JTS; and how ironic that a Museum whose heritage begins with Jews of German origin, where boycotts preceded our extermination in Europe – how ironic that such a museum would feature a leading advocate of boycotts of the Jewish people,” Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a New York City businessman and leader of New York’s pro-Israel Jewish community told The Jewish Press.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

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