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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Neo-Nazi’

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.

Nazi Epithet Removes Amos Oz From Israeli Discourse

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

The true shame about Amos Oz’s epithet “neo-Nazi” to describe Israeli price-tag thugs is that the essence of his comments are important food for thought. But by choosing outrageous populist rhetoric over nuanced criticism, Oz essentially relegated his concerns to the wastebasket of history.

Before rejecting Oz’s comments, it is important to note that he could be an important social voice for Israelis of every stripe. His books, from My Michael to In the Land of Israel to A Tale of Love and Darkness reveal a passion for Israeli society, and for the Land of Israel, that few contemporary writers have managed to capture. Oz’s 1950s-era Jerusalem is a quiet border town where observant and secular Jews lived together as neighbors. His writing betrays a deep, emotional connection to the city, and to the Jerusalemites with whom he shared his adolescent years.

Oz’s relationship with Jewish tradition is less obvious, but a close reading of his work in Hebrew brings to mind another of Israel’s leading writers: Nobel laureate Shai Agnon. In contrast to Agnon, Oz’s work does not obviously draw on traditional sources or Jewish history. But he is clearly influenced by Agnon, and perhaps therefore by Agnon’s close relationship with Jewish sources. In short, it is simply impossible to dismiss Amos Oz as a “self-hating” Jew or Israeli.

All of which is what makes Oz’s absurd comparison of price tag vandals to European neo-Nazis so upsetting. Self-criticism is a sign of strength, not weakness, and many of Oz’s observations about the religious-Zionist world are deserving of consideration. Yes, many religious Zionist communities have failed to excise the price taggers from their midsts (public condemnations from religious Zionist leaders notwithstanding, does anyone doubt that price taggers would be awarded aliyot [Torah honors] at most synagogues in Judea and Samaria?). It is true that the price taggers enjoy a certain measure of backing, stated or implied, from rabbinic figures in Judea and Samaria and farther afield. Religious Zionist would do well to consider those facts.

Similarly, the need to denigrate Muslims or Christians in order to validate Judaism, settlement activity or our historic connection to the Land of Israel is a sad comment on the state of Torah Judaism. Is our belief in the Torah really that shaky that we feel a need to bring down other faiths, rather than rely on the validity of ours?

Our rights to and in the Land of Israel not dependent on rejecting other groups, and it does not do our community proud to be associated with pathetic grafitti. It is rightly a point of pride that Israel is a haven for religious freedom. It should go without saying that minority groups need not be made to feel subject to attack.

These criticisms are valid, or at least are important points for discussion, in our communities. Oz is correct to ask whether a Judaism that relies on insulting others is a Judaism we want to sustain.

But his use of the epithet “Nazi” effectively reduces his views to little more than the wild ranting of a hate-filled man. By equating graffiti on a mosque wall to the gas chambers for which real neo-Nazis clamor, Oz has taken himself out of the realm of legitimate social commentator. His comments are no longer astute, concerned observations about Israeli society, but rather venomous invective directed at a subset of that society that Oz has designated as “enemy.” If the settlement community are neo-Nazis, if Judea and Samaria Israelis – rather than the price tagging minority here – are the errant weed of Israeli society, it stands to reason there can be no compromise on the uprooting of their communities and of the total neutralization of their role in society.

Stockholm School ‘Love-Bombed’ after Nazi Graffiti Attack

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

The youth wing of Sweden’s Liberal party organized a “love bombing” Monday night and pasted heart-shaped papers on the same school that was attacked by neo-Nazi vandals the night before.

Stockholm’s “Vasa Real” school was sprayed with swastikas and slogans, such as “disgusting Jews” and the number 1488 that is a symbol for white power and the Nazi Heil Hitler salute.

“We wanted the pupils at the school to be greeted by love in the morning instead of all the hate they saw on Monday,” young Liberal Bawar Esmail told The Local, Sweden’s largest English daily. “So a group of us got together and cut (out) some heart-shaped paper and put them up on the doors and in the hallways at the school,” he explained. “People passing by joined in, and everyone wrote messages for the students.”

The messages contained words such as “Love overcomes hate” and “Love comes in all shapes and colors.” Others wrote that there were 1,000 times more people lovers than haters in Sweden.

More than 800 children study at the school, which includes three high school  classes with Jewish children studying both the Swedish curriculum and Hebrew and Jewish studies.

Greek Doctor Arrested for ‘Jews Not Welcome’ Sign

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

A Greek doctor who posted a “Jews Not Welcome” sign outside his office was arrested for inciting racial hatred.

The doctor, a 57-year-old neurologist from Thessaloniki, also was charged with weapons possession and pro-Nazi beliefs, according to the Greek Reporter.

The sign was written in German. The doctor, who has not been named, is a member of the Greek ultranationalist Golden Dawn party and an avowed Nazi supporter, according to reports. The party is known for its Nazi swastika-like flag and Holocaust-denying leadership.

Police found three daggers, 12 knives and pills without prescriptions at the doctor’s home. Two of the daggers were engraved with Nazi symbols.

The Jewish community of Thessaloniki was an important center of Sephardic Jewry for 450 years following the expulsion from Spain. It had a pre-World War II Jewish population of 55,000; now about 1,000 Jews live there.

Pope’s Prayers for Peace Omit Iran and Korea

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Pope Francis’ first Christmas message was full of hope for peace in war-torn Syria and South Sudan, the “often and overlooked” war-torn Central African Republic and – as if the chaos and mutual barbarity are comparable – for a “favorable” outcome” in talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

He made no mention of what are the widely acknowledged two biggest threats to the world’s security – the nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea. He also did not utter a word about neo-Nazism.

Not surprisingly, the Associated Press led off its report with the pope’s prayers for “successful Middle East negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” followed by peace in Syria and African countries. An estimated nine million Syrians – one third of the country’s population – are homeless, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, have been killed and wounded.

The world has not been able to do anything to stop the barbarity in Syria, but Pope Francis prayed that Jesus would “bless the land where you chose to come into the world and grant a favorable outcome to the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq, once more struck by frequent acts of violence.”

Speaking to a cheering crowd of 70, 000 outside the Vatican, the pope explained his idea of peace.

“True peace is not a balancing of opposing forces. It’s not a lovely facade which conceals conflicts and divisions. Peace calls for daily commitment,” he intoned.

That brings to mind “commitments” made by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in previous accords. Virtually no one has accused Israel of not living up to commitments. Israel has a list longer than the width of the country of commitments that the Palestinian Authority has not fulfilled – such as halting incitement and tearing apart the terrorist infrastructure.

He has made the establishment of a Palestinian Authority state his highest priority by announcing a visit to Israel and Bethlehem in May.

Pope Francis also called on atheists to join the effort for peace. “I invite even non-believers to desire peace,” he said.

Greek City to Build Holocaust Museum and Research Center

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

The northern Greek city of Thessaloniki will build a Holocaust research center at the site where some 50,000 of the city’s Jews were deported to Nazi death camps. “This is the fulfilment of a historic responsibility for Thessaloniki,” city Mayor Yiannis Boutaris told reporters.

The agreement to establish the Memorial Center on Holocaust Education Remembrance and Research at the city’s old railway station was signed among the Thessaloniki Jewish community, the city and the Greek transport ministry.

The Jewish community of Thessaloniki was one of the most important centers of Sephardic Jewry for 450 years following the expulsion from Spain. Known as the Flower of the Balkans, it was the center of Ladino culture in the region. In March 1943 the Nazis began sending Jews in railway convoys to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. By August, 49,000 out of the city’s pre-war population of 55,000 Jews had been deported. Fewer than 2,000 survived.

Boutaris has been instrumental in acknowledging the city’s rich Jewish history and the extent of its devastation. Earlier this year he organized a public march to commemorate 70 years since the first deportations, the first such display by the Jewish community since the end of the war.

The Thessaloniki Jewish community said the project was a long-held dream and particularly important at a time when Greece is struggling to deal with the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party which has 18 seats in parliament.

Italian Police Launch Crackdown on Neo-Nazi Internet Group Stormfront

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Italian police launched a widespread operation against the neo-Nazi Internet hate organization Stormfront.

On Thursday, police searched the homes of 35 people aged 17-51 in more than 20 towns and cities up and down the Italian peninsula on suspicion of spreading ideas on the Internet “based on racial and ethnic hatred and incitement to commit acts of discrimination and violence for racist and ethnic reasons.”

Police also uncovered weapons and a swastika flag in the home of a man in Mantova, and they confiscated at least one anti-Semitic video, according to reports.

“This is a dangerous organization under an ideological profile that finds its roots in a historical period that apparently seems distant,” prosecutor Giancarlo Capaldo told a news conference. “We must deal with the ideological extremism that is stirring in Europe.”

Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, issued a statement expressing “warm thanks” to the forces of order for the “massive” crackdown.

Thursday’s operation came one year after another widespread operation against Stormfront in which police blocked the Italian version of the group’s website and arrested four people on charges of inciting racial and ethnic hatred and anti-Semitism. They also raided the homes of 17 others, confiscating fascist and neo-Nazi material.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/italian-police-launch-crackdown-on-neo-nazi-internet-group-stormfront/2013/11/16/

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