web analytics
July 28, 2016 / 22 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘JEWS’

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

Facebook: ‘Kill Jews’ Not Violation of Community Standards

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Facebook has always been the most accessible tool available to the average person for means of freedom of speech. Turns out terror organizations like Hamas are very aware of that, and largely use it to their advantage. Being a huge fan of freedom of speech, Facebook has made its terms of usage very, shall we say, flexible. For that reason, five families, Israeli and American, all of whom lost a family member in the recent murderous wave of terror, are suing Facebook for $1 billion. The lawsuit was brought under the 1992 Anti-Terrorism Act that prohibits American businesses from providing any material support, including services, to designated terrorist groups and their leaders. In this case, that would apply to giving terror a stage on Facebook through memes, groups, pages, and viral hateful posts of incitement (all of which can be found in the hundreds on your favorite social media site).

I decided to test Facebook’s innocence (or lack thereof). I searched the social network for anti-Semitic groups and pages to report. I was disappointed, but not surprised, at how easily I came across “juicy” material. Firstly, I found a user whose profile name was followed by “(Kill Jews).” He actually decided to blatantly state his murderous views on Facebook, and had thus far not been called out for it. I proudly reported the profile to Facebook, assuming they had simply not yet seen this hateful profile name, claiming it to be “sharing inappropriate or offensive posts” (the closest option Facebook has to offer).

Next I found a large photo posted by a news page on Facebook called “Pure Stream.” This page has over 10,000 likes. The picture shows an “innocent” Palestinian child being “viciously attacked by an Israeli monster tank,” with the large bold text “Death to Israel.” This post had close to 200 shares, and close to 400 likes. That means, thanks to Facebook, this post was seen by tens of thousands of people, many of whom had no previous knowledge about Israel. And you know what they say about first impressions.

The most important viewers of this photo are the teenage Palestinians, raised to hate Israel and everything it stands for. When they are exposed to a photo stating “Death to Israel” with hundreds of likes and shares, this only strengthens their views and may very well push them over the edge from sitting in front of their computer to stabbing a mother and child in the streets. Once again, naively assuming Facebook had simply missed this hateful and blood-thirsty post, I reported it, claiming it to be a violent hate speech.

After about half an hour I received messages from Facebook regarding both of my reports. I was astonished, and yet not surprised, at Facebook’s uncaring response:

Facebook response

Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the photo you reported for promoting graphic violence and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”

So now you know that “Death to Israel” and “Kill Jews” are both well within proper community standards, and no, the year is not 1942.

Asher Schwartz

How to Talk to Jews about Israel

Monday, July 11th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Abu Yehuda}

Quite a few years ago, I went to a meeting in San Francisco about Israel advocacy, sponsored by the ADL (when the ADL was still interested in Israel advocacy). One of the speakers suggested a form of triage: There are those that are strongly against us, those that are strongly with us and those that haven’t decided. Talk to the ones that are undecided, he said.

I decided to take his advice, and in particular I wanted to talk to the Jews in my own community who (I thought) simply didn’t have the information they needed to understand what was happening.

I failed, utterly, both in my personal appeals and via the media.

The media was less than helpful. During one of our wars, a local TV station asked to interview my wife and me, since our children lived in Israel. I talked to the pleasant reporter on camera for at least a half hour. I mentioned how Hamas fires rockets from populated areas, how Arab casualty figures are inflated, how Israel takes great care not to hurt civilians, and how the terrorism never stops. The reporter kept asking me “but aren’t you worried about your kids?” I deflected the question several times, but finally said “Of course I’m worried, who wouldn’t be?” Guess what 10 second sound bite appeared on the news program!

I tried to buy a day sponsorship from the local NPR station “in honor of the 1000 [or whatever the number was at the time] Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism since 2000.” They refused, saying that I couldn’t prove that there were so many victims. I provided names, dates and locations. They said that it was ‘too political.’ I said it wasn’t political, it was factual and asked how it was different from the sponsorship they did accept “in honor of the victims of the Stonewall Uprising.” That’s different, they said. That was a matter of civil rights, not politics. Anyway, you can’t prove that there were so many victims.

The local newspaper sometimes printed my letters, all 200 words of them, and sometimes not. They rarely printed op-eds that I wrote. Meanwhile the ‘news stories’ that ran every day pushed the ‘cycle of violence’ line that presented the attempts to kill us as a squabble between two parties both at fault.

My personal approaches were, if anything, more frustrating. People were polite, but noncommittal. As time went on, I realized that they weren’t uninterested; rather, they sensed that my position wasn’t shared by many Democratic politicians, NPR and the New York Times. They suspected that I was influenced by Republican ideas or even becoming a Republican myself. I realized, in 1960s slang, that they were shining me on. Anything I said was tainted and could be ignored.

As time went by and Barack Obama became president and Israel more and more a partisan issue, it got much worse. Now it wasn’t the ‘cycle of violence’ anymore, it was ‘Netanyahu won’t negotiate and won’t stop building settlements’. The local Reform rabbi refused to allow a film critical of J Street to be shown in his building. The Jewish Federation, of which I was a board member, was increasingly nervous about programs related to Israel.

It soon became clear that there weren’t very many ‘undecideds’. There were those that were pro-Israel, those that were against us, and those that would not listen because being pro-Israel was out of their political comfort zone.

Last night I attended another meeting, also dealing with Israel advocacy, in Jerusalem. One of the speakers was the brilliant Evelyn Gordon, and one of the things she said was that maybe trying to convince the unconvinced – at least by means of logical arguments – didn’t pay, and we should concentrate on providing the facts and the ideological basis to support those who were already emotionally on our side.

Another speaker, young activist Alexandra Markus contrasted her campus experience of pro-Israel people reciting facts with the emotionally effective drama staged by Students for Justice in Palestine.

I immediately realized that they were right. One of the lessons gleaned from Jonathan Haidt’s insightful book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, is that our emotions are in the driver’s seat, and reasoning only comes along as a rider that helps us explain the choices our emotions have already made.

All those years in California, it turns out, I was doing it wrong. That TV reporter understood that in order to make an impact on her viewers, she had to pick out the most emotionally powerful moment in her footage – even if it didn’t help my cause.

The Jewish woman who is emotionally invested in the ‘first black president’, who sees him as a father figure, who comments “I love this man” on a picture of him in Facebook,  is not going to hear me when I list the ways that Obama has damaged Israel and helped her enemies. She is not likely to listen when I bore her to tears by explaining the basis in international law for Jewish settlements across the Green Line. Her President said they were ‘illegitimate’ and if she is anything, she is loyal and patriotic.

What I should have said to her (instead of “armistice lines, 4th Geneva Convention, blah blah”) was something like this:

You are a loyal person, but what are you loyal to? Your ancestors came out of slavery in Egypt, were thrown out of Judea by the Romans, scattered across the world, lived in ghettos, paid jizya to Muslim kings, were burned in the ovens of the Holocaust, and now the Jewish people, your people have finally become sovereign in their historic homeland, and you side with this mediocrity from Kenya instead of them?

And to the Jewish students cowering on their campuses in fear of black and Arab students, I would say this:

You are not ‘privileged white colonizers’, you are an ancient people, the most ancient around. Where is your pride? Nobody has the right or the power to define you. Learn your language and speak it among yourselves, practice your krav maga and deter them from harassing you. Learn the truth about your homeland – and make it your goal to join your people there.

The best thing that pro-Israel American Jews can do is to exemplify Jewish pride, self-respect and self-reliance (like the Jewish state itself). Trying to be ‘Americans of the Mosaic persuasion’ is not a good strategy, as Jewish students are discovering. They should act like Jews, representatives of the people whose roots are in ancient Judea.

They will be accused of ‘dual loyalty’ – a misnomer, because the accusation is that their loyalty to the Jewish people and state is greater than that to America. It can’t be avoided, because they are required to be loyal to their people.

That is the basic contradiction of Diaspora life. If you like living in America, you can decide to live with it. Or you can make aliyah.

Vic Rosenthal

After Family Escapes Drive-By Slaughter, Gush Etzion Jews Demand No more ‘Containment’

Monday, July 11th, 2016

On Sunday afternoon residents of the communities of Eastern Gush Etzion along with members from Women in Green met at the ‘T’ intersection east of the Gush Etzion cluster, between Mezad and Ma’ale Amos on one side and Tekoa and Nokdim on the other, for a vigil following the shooting by Arab terrorists at a resident’s car the night before.

The organizers of the protest, Women in Green’s Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, together with Michael Luria of the Pnei Kedem community, noted that last night’s shooting incident ended miraculously, since only the driver’s leg was injured when terrorists shot at his car, while his wife and their six children, including a one-week-old infant, were also in the vehicle.

Deputy Head of the Gush Etzion Council Moshe Savil called for an end to the policy of “containing” terror incidents and for the implementation of full security for the residents of the area in all of the main roads.

Brigade commander of the area, Col. (Res.) Roman Gofman, also came to the site and heard from representatives of Women in Green that it was exactly in that place, about two years ago, there had been a protest vigil for several weeks, which ended after protesters were promised cellular reception in the area to assure the security forces’ quick and effective response, a regular transport station and a manned pillbox, all of which were supposed to offer a message of security to travelers in the area.

The protesters complained to the brigade commander that since that promise was made, there has been no actual change. There still is no cellular reception, a transportation station has not been set up and there is no pillbox. Their demand, they explained to the brigade commander, is now even sharper and more emphatic because of the recurring terror attacks in the area and in the traffic routes around the intersection.

JNi.Media

Spanish, Portuguese Jews Support Sephardi and Mizrahi Heritage Empowerment Program

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Reconectar, the movement to reconnect the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities and the Jewish world, welcomed the recommendations made by Israel’s Ministry of Education’s Committee to Empower the Heritage of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in the Education System, led by Chairman Erez Biton.

“It is an important day for Sephardi Jews where our history, culture and tradition will be recognized and taught in the Israeli school system,” President of Reconectar Ashley Perry (Perez) said. “This has taken far too long, but it is vital that the scope of Jewish history and culture be widened to include Jews from the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.”

“However, there is still more work to be done and it should be widened further to include our millions of Sephardi brothers and sisters who were forcibly disconnected from us over the centuries and are seeking a reconnection to the Jewish world. Our education system should be preparing the formal Jewish world for the immense and necessary challenge of reconnecting our people,” Perry said.

Beginning in the 14th Century, hundreds of thousands of Jews were forcibly converted, or otherwise disconnected from the Jewish People, and many among their descendants, numbering around 100 million, are seeking different levels of reconnection with Israel and the Jewish world.

Perry, who is also Director General of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities, Chaired by MK Robert Ilatov, said that the more Israeli children travel to Spain, as the recommendations state, the more they will encounter the story of the Anousim who are becoming more and more aware of their Jewish roots.

“We have an enormous opportunity to use our shared history and traditions, to empower and embolden relations with those who share our roots and heritage whether in the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America or among Latinos and Hispanics in the US,” Perry said. “We have a moral, ethical and even a halakhic mandate to do so, and the more we learn about our roots in the Hispanic world and the more the Hispanic world learns about their possible Jewish roots, the closer the potential relations between our communities will grow.”

Perry was also heavily involved in placing the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries on the national and international agenda while he worked in government as advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other politicians, including former MK Dr. Shimon Ohayon, who passed a law to create a day of commemoration in the official Israeli calendar.

“The history of the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa is sadly overlooked, even though every other Jew in Isr

ael comes from this region,” Perry said. “It is vital for Jewish Peoplehood that the vibrant and ancient Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa and their subsequent ethnic cleansing in the Twentieth Century are understood and studied.”

“It is absurd that it has taken 68 years for Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews to be able to learn about their own history and culture, and it is hoped that their history will be placed on an equal plane to the history of other Jews from around the world,” Perry said.

Jewish Press Staff

Survey: Majority of Israeli Jews Favor Keeping Judea and Samaria, Israeli Arabs Favor Keeping Large Settlement Blocs

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

“Sometime after the Six Day War the settlement enterprise began to develop. In your opinion, from a perspective of 50 years later, has the settlement enterprise contributed to or damaged Israel’s national interest?” was one of the opening questions in a June survey comparing the attitudes of Israeli Jews and Arabs on the liberated territories.

The survey found that 52% of the Jewish public thinks the settlement enterprise has contributed to the national interest.

And so the survey noted that “some claim that over the years Israeli governments have invested many resources and monies in developing the Jewish settlements and infrastructures in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria, and previously also in Gaza, at the expense of other areas and populations in Israel that are disadvantaged and would have needed these resources and budgets. Others claim that there is no connection between the two because one does not come at the expense of the other.” Then it inquired, “With which claim do you agree?”

49% of the Jews said there is no connection between the two; 45% say the investment in the territories comes at the expense of budgets for deprived areas and disadvantaged populations.

In the Arab public, a two-thirds majority considers the investments in the territories a detraction from investments in deprived areas and disadvantaged populations inside green line Israel.

The Peace Index is a project of the Evens Program for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Guttman Center for Surveys of the Israel Democracy Institute. The June survey, conducted by phone on June 28-29, 2016, included 600 respondents — 500 Jews, 100 Arabs, who constitute a representative national sample of the entire adult population of Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum margin of error for the entire sample is ±4.1%.

The survey also found that a majority of the Jewish respondents do not know for sure the size of the Jewish or of the Palestinian population in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. Asked how many Jews live in these territories (not counting the neighborhoods of expanded Jerusalem such as Gilo or Pisgat Ze’ev), about 25% underestimated the figure to be 100,000-250,000, 30% answered correctly that the number is 250,000-500,000, 13% gave an overestimate of 500,000-750,000, 3% thought the correct number was 750,000 to a million, and about 25% did not know at all.

As to the Arab population in Judea and Samaria, not counting Jerusalem, the estimates were: 24%—half a million to a million, 36%—one to two million, 10%—two million to three million, and 3%—over three million. 27% did not know.

The fact is that no one really knows how many Arabs live today in the parts of Judea and Samaria governed by the Palestinian Authority, and so, in this instance, there is no wrong answer.

59% of the Jews and 73% of the Arabs favor holding a referendum on Israel leaving the territories. As to how the respondents would vote in such a referendum, 52% of the Jews reported that in the existing situation they would vote against a withdrawal, while 36% answered that they would vote in favor.

Among the Arabs 69% said that if a referendum were to be held today, they would vote in favor of leaving the territories while retaining the large settlement blocs.

Only 51% the Jewish respondents believe all the citizens of the state would be entitled to participate in such a referendum. 44% believe that only the Jewish citizens of the country should be entitled to participate.

David Israel

Israeli Leftists Ejected From Ramallah, Attacked En Route to Iftar

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

A trip to attend an Iftar meal on Wednesday night to break the Islamic Ramadan fast in the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah turned out to be much more exciting than activists from the leftist “Two States, One Homeland” organization expected.

The group of nine activists drove in their vehicles into the city, which is located in an area designated as Area A under the Oslo Accords, meaning it is under the complete administrative, legal and security control of the Palestinian Authority.

Israelis are forbidden to enter this area without the specific authorization of the PA government.

Apparently the members of the group were invited by unidentified Arab “friends” who are citizens of the Palestinian Authority to attend an Iftar meal in Ramallah, although it is not clear who issued the invitation.

However, the group was “welcomed” in the manner reserved for most other Jews as they headed towards the PA capital.

“Late Wednesday night nine Israelis entered Ramallah of their own volition. One of their vehicles was damaged by firebombs and rocks that were hurled at the travelers,” the IDF later told reporters. “No injuries were reported.

“Eight of the Israelis exited voluntarily; the ninth Israeli left with the assistance of an escort by Palestinian Authority police,” military officials continued, explaining that the activists were not allowed to remain in Ramallah. One of the group was not pleased with this turn of events.

“The Israelis were transferred to Israeli security personnel for follow-up,” the IDF added, noting “An investigation has been launched into the reasons behind the entry of the Israelis into Ramallah.”

It is standard protocol for Palestinian Authority security personnel to transfer any Israeli found or caught in Area A or B directly into the custody of Israeli security personnel.

Despite all the conflict and difficulties that have taken place between the two populations over the past eight months, it is clear that when it comes to some matters, at least, cooperation still exists between the two security forces.

The activists themselves saw things quite differently — and some of the things that occurred apparently they did not see at all. Following is the account of the night’s events, as related by the “Two States, One Homeland” group.

“This evening activists from “Two States, One Homeland” set out to participate in a joint Iftar meal.

“One of the vehicles apparently torched and sustained minor damage while it was empty. The Palestinian Authority security apparatus quickly took control over the incident and assisted us in filing a complaint.

“At no time did we feel threatened and our Palestinian friends were outraged by the incident.

“The most frightening thing to anyone who wants to maintain the existing situation is to see Israelis and Palestinians who continue to work and speak together.

“We agreed that we would not flinch and will continue with all our strength to bring our two peoples into line.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-leftists-ejected-from-ramallah-attacked-en-route-to-iftar/2016/06/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: