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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘report’

Report: Germany Returned Nazi-Looted Art to the Nazis who Looted It

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Germany returned Nazi-looted art to the high-ranking Nazi families who stole it rather than to the families from whom it had been taken, according to a report by the London-based Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE), which says it has recently discovered this remarkable scandal that has been covered up by Germany for decades.

The family of the late Gottlieb and Mathilde Kraus of Vienna, represented by CLAE, who are still trying to recover their 160 looted paintings, had good reason to think two of their paintings would be in the state-owned museum in Munich, the Bayerische Staatsgemaeldesammlungen (Bavarian State Paintings Collections). Records show they were handed over to Bavaria by the US government in 1952 for the purpose of restitution. To their shock, they found the paintings had instead been given by the Bavarian State in the early 1960s to Henriette Hoffmann-von Schirach, daughter of Hitler’s close friend and photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, and wife of the notorious Gauleiter of Vienna, Baldur von Schirach. Von Schirach was condemned at Nuremberg for crimes against humanity for the deportation of 60,000 Austrian Jews.

Bavarian State Paintings Collections

Bavarian State Paintings Collections

Gottlieb Kraus (1867-1952) and his wife Mathilde Kraus (1873-1954) were prominent members of Viennese society. Gottlieb Kraus was a businessman and honorary consul for Czechoslovakia in Austria. Beginning in the early years of the 20th century, he and his wife assembled a notable art collection of over 160 paintings, and their apartment was opened as a public museum to display it in 1923.

Gottlieb and Mathilde, together with their daughter Marie, fled Vienna soon after the Nazis took power in March 1938. Their flight took them via Prague, Brussels, England and Canada, before they were eventually able to settle in Washington DC. They discovered after the war that their entire collection left in Vienna had been seized by the Nazis in 1941, some selected for Hitler’s Linz Museum. Their daughter Marie made unsuccessful efforts over decades with both Germany and Austria to find and recover their possessions, but was blocked at every turn. These efforts were continued after her death in 1997 by the several grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Gottlieb and Mathilde.

The Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE), is an international, expert and non-profit representative body which negotiates policies and procedures with governments and cultural institutions and promotes the identification of looted cultural property and the tracing of its rightful owners. It represents families from all over the world, acting on their behalf to locate and recover their looted artworks. It has been instrumental in the return to its rightful owners of over 3,500 items of looted property since it was set up in 1999. It also provides a Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945 at www.lootedart.com to fulfil Washington Principle VI which called for the creation of such a repository of information.

Anne Webber, Co-Chair of CLAE, said CLAE’s research shows that in the 1950s and 1960s Henriette Hoffmann-von Schirach recovered scores of paintings from Bavaria. It seems that Bavaria thought restitution meant restitution to the Nazis rather than to their victims.

Among the high ranking Nazi families negotiating to get back art, some of it looted, were the Goering, Hoffmann, Bormann, von Schirach, Frank and Streicher families. In many cases they negotiated directly with the Director of the Bavarian State Museums and Ministers in the Bavarian government. While their demands were dealt with promptly and efficiently and with little requirement to prove their claims of ownership, the looted families had their claims thrown out or impossible hurdles were created to prevent them recovering their artworks. The families are still experiencing the same barriers to recovery of their looted works of art today.

One of the two Old Master paintings handed over to Mrs Hoffmann-von Schirach in 1962 in exchange for the paltry sum of 300 Deutsch Marks, was sold by her the following year for 16,100 Deutsch Marks to the Catholic Cathedral Association of Xanten in Germany’s North-Rhine Westphalia.

In July 2011, on behalf of the Kraus family, CLAE made a claim to Xanten for the painting, providing extensive proofs of its shocking history: looted by the Gestapo in Vienna in 1941 from the collection of Gottlieb and Mathilde Kraus; acquired in Vienna with other paintings from the Kraus collection by Heinrich Hoffman through the good offices of his son-in-law Baldur von Schirach; found by the Allies at the end of the war; returned to Bavaria by the US with the restitution obligation; and then returned to Mrs Hoffmann-von Schirach in 1962 on the flimsiest of grounds.

Despite the Cathedral of Xanten publicly proclaiming its proud ‘anti-Nazi’ past, it seems this attitude does not extend to property stolen from Jewish families. In the five years that CLAE has been trying to achieve an amicable settlement, the Cathedral Association, of which the local Bishop is part, has not once acknowledged the historical injustice perpetrated on this family or the persecution it has suffered. It has provided no documentation of any kind, nor a single proof of evidence of a good faith purchase. It has locked away the painting and only and repeatedly denied settlement of the claim on the grounds that it must have “an index linked return on its investment” of 1963. The last settlement offer by CLAE was made in September 2015 when the family stated their wish that their claim be resolved by the end of October 2015. Anne Webber said there has only been silence from Xanten in the nine months since.

CLAE’s several requests for an explanation of the post-war ‘return-sales’ to the Nazi families, made to the Bavarian State Museums, the Bavarian State government and the German Foreign Ministry, met with equal lack of success, as did its requests for documentation. CLAE was told that there were only four documents consisting of five pages in total. CLAE embarked on its own research, uncovering hundreds of pages of records and the details of this scandalous history.


What Word will be Missing from BBC Report on Sentencing of Hamas Terrorists?

Monday, June 27th, 2016

{Originally posted to the BBC Watch website}

As has been mentioned here on prior occasions, it is extremely rare to see any follow-up reporting by the BBC after Palestinian terrorists have been arrested and put on trial but just such a report did appear on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on June 22nd under the headline “Palestinians jailed for life for killing Israeli couple“.

However, despite this being a story about the sentencing of convicted terrorists belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization who murdered two Israelis in a pre-planned terror attack, the words terror, terrorist or terrorism do not appear even once in this report.

“An Israeli military court has sentenced four Palestinians to life in prison for the murder of an Israeli couple in the occupied West Bank, the military says.

Eitam and Naama Henkin were killed in front of their four young children in a drive-by shooting on 1 October.

The military said the assailants, members of the Islamist movement Hamas, opened fire at the Henkins’ car after an attempt to abduct them failed.”

What does appear in this article is the above link to the BBC’s original report on the attack. There we learn that over nine months since its publication, BBC Online has still not got round to correcting its inaccurate presentation of Eitam Henkin’s name.


Sadly, there is of course nothing surprising about the BBC’s censoring of the word terror from this article: the same pattern was seen in its earlier reporting on the same story (see ‘related articles’ below).

However, just a few days earlier the BBC was capable of reporting that “jihadist terror struck Paris in November.


Similarly, BBC audiences were recently informed of “counter-terror raids” in Belgium which resulted in three men being charged.

“The charges they face include attempting to commit murder through terrorism and participating in a terrorist group.”

The BBC was also able to tell audiences in its own words that these raids were:

“…the biggest coordinated operation since the terror attacks here in Brussels three months ago.”

And that:

“Thirty-two people were murdered in the terror attacks in March…”


Once again we see that while the BBC rightly uses the word terror when it reports on that topic in Europe, the same word is censored from its reporting from Israel, even an article about terrorists already convicted in court.

Related Articles:

BBC’s Connolly refrains from using the word terror in report on terror attack

BBC News describes Henkin family attackers as “alleged militants”

Hadar Sela

Report: IDF Prosecutor, Brass, Media Railroading Sergeant Elor Azaria

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Political activist Baruch Marzel is identified strongly with the radical rightwing in Israel. He even ran for the Knesset on the extreme rightwing party Otzma LeYisrael list and has been visible in its many events of political street theater during the last election and the elections before that. After the medic Sergeant Elor Azaria had shot dead a terrorist who was already lying on the ground, “neutralized,” in Hebron last Purim, Marzel reportedly shook the shooter’s hand. Marzel also told anyone who would have cared to listen at the time that security forces were keeping him and other civilians away from the stabbing site where two terrorists were under guard, meaning there was fear one of them could blow himself up.

Ma’ariv reporter Kalman Liebskind noted on Saturday that there’s no doubt Baruch Marzel believed Azaria’s shooting was justified, surely on ideological grounds but also, it appears, based on the IDF rules of engagement. So how come, asks Liebskind, Military Police never took down Marzel’s testimony? Does it mean the MPs were only soliciting testimonies that fit an already preconceived theory on the shooting? It’s starting to look that way, Liebskind argues.

The most disturbing point about the Azaria episode is the counter-intuitive behavior of the IDF brass. One would have thought that in the case of an excellent soldier with a perfect record such as Sergeant Azaria, the IDF would be invested in finding him not guilty. But the fact is that the IDF prosecution is invested not only in finding him guilty, but in having him suffer humiliating conditions through the process, and associating him with political interests that he is not remotely connected to. And to make sure they find him guilty, the military prosecution conscripted one of Israel’s top litigators, Nadav Weisman, to lead its team.

So why are so many top officers and politicians, including the IDF chief of staff, the IDF spokesperson, and the former defense minister, so invested in giving the IDF a bad name should the court decide against Sergeant Azaria? Is it because they committed themselves early on to the B’Tselem version of events, based on a video, smeared a soldier’s name in public, accusing him of murder — and now they’ll look bad should he be found not guilty?

“The situation we’re in, with IDF and security apparatus senior officials who are crossing their fingers and praying for the conviction of the soldier and for a ruling that the terrorist was eliminated in an illegal manner — this might be the real story,” writes Liebskind.

Last Thursday, Azaria’s company commander Major Tom Naaman testified against him. There’s no doubt that his testimony did not help the defendant’s case. But then Israeli media began to report a huge incitement campaign against Naaman, complete with death threats. This incitement story was then repeated like a mantra by politicians, until eventually it became an established fact — the brave officer who dared testify against the shooter Azaria is now in fear for his life because of the thousands of rightwing hooligans looking to get even with him.

The only problem with this story is that it never actually happened. The website Perspectiva contacted the two biggest social network monitoring companies in Israel, which showed that on Facebook there had been only 100 large scale group discussions of the testimony, of which 68 were critical. Altogether, over the entire period there were 4,400 entries online mentioning Naaman’s name, out of which 1,500 used blunt language that could be described as crossing a red line. This out of 3.3 million daily entries on Facebook in Israel.

When former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon attacked Sergeant Azaria, he was vilified in 1,600 group conversations per day, and when President Rivlin spoke at a Breaking the Silence gathering in New York he was the subject of 1,000 daily hostile large-scale conversations online. The response to the company commander’s testimony was truly puny in comparison — but the powers that be in Israel’s politics and media needed a witch hunt against him, so a witch hunt they reported.

It was also an opportunity for Kfir Brigade commander, Col. Guy Hazut, and other senior officers to tell the media they supported Major Naaman, who stands alone against the mob of rightwing thugs — never mind that they are imaginary.

“Imagine what goes on inside the head of a soldier who is supposed to testify in this trial and wishes to support [the defendant] Azaria’s version,” writes Liebskind. “He has to be nuts to do it. He knows his testimony would contradict the testimony of his company commander, that it would show up the chief of staff, that it negates the perception of his brigade commander. Can anyone take seriously any of the testimonies in this case?”

Finally, Liebskind compares the two testimonies given by Major Naaman. In the first one, shortly after the shooting, Naaman repeats the very same answer: “I approached the soldier, asked him why he did it, and he said he saw [the terrorist] move.” Naaman later the same day told the MPs, “When I asked Elor after the event, on the side, what happened, he told me he saw him moving and that’s why he shot.” The MP investigator asked him, “In your opinion, did Elor feel danger from the terrorists who were lying down?” and Naaman responded, “I don’t know. I don’t think so, maybe he saw him moving and got scared.”

One night later, with the media circus celebrating all around the episode, Naaman gave a second testimony, and the version he had repeated four times, about Azaria telling him he had seen the terrorist, vanished. Instead, Naaman shared that Azaria told him the terrorist “needed to die.”

Two days later, Naaman gave yet another testimony, and now he told investigators: “I asked him why he did it and he told me, this terrorist is alive and he needs to die.”

When Azaria’s attorneys asked Naaman in court which of his testimonies they should go with, did the terrorist move, didn’t he, Naaman answered, “Now I don’t recall exactly.”

Needless to say, Liebskind does not believe it is possible for the court to make a reliable ruling with this much pollution surrounding the testimonies.


The man Who Gave Everything: Report Exposes Herzog’s Plan to End Israel As We Know It

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

A paper of understanding that was exposed Sunday night by Channel 10 News shows that MK Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Zionist Camp, who conducted extensive meetings with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas before the March 2015 elections, agreed to hand over all of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem to a Palestinian State, and reached a deal on letting Arab refugees come back to live inside 1967 Israel. The negotiations with Abbas were conducted in secret between retired Brigadier General and former MK and Minister Ephraim Sneh and a senior PA official. It should be noted that during the weeks just before the March 17 elections, the polls showed the Zionist Camp edging out Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party, and the plan back then was seen as the shape of things to come in the most realistic way.

On the issue of the borders between Israel and Palestine, Herzog agreed to giving up 100% of the post 1967 territories, with an allowance for a mere 4% of Israeli settlements staying put in exchange for comparable land in pre-1967 Israel to be handed to the Palestinians. Eastern Jerusalem was going to become the capital of Palestine, but the two halves of the city would share municipal responsibilities. Temple Mount would be turned over to an international monitoring force, but Israel would have retained its hold on the Western Wall.

The Arab refugees were going to be taken care of based on UN resolution 194, with some being allowed back into Israel and the rest receiving financial compensation for the lands they left behind.

Israel was going to maintain a symbolic presence in the Jordan Valley, including two armored bases, and terrorism would be handled by a combined force made up of Jordanians, Palestinians and Israelis.

In response to the revelation, MK Herzog’s office released a statement saying, “In my contacts with the Palestinian Authority Chairman in 2014 I made an effort to reach understandings that would have prevented the wave of terror which I predicted, just as I am working now to prevent a situation where the abandoning of a regional conference on the part of the extreme right-wing government won’t bring on us the next war. After the rounds of the almost annual wars and funerals of the past decade I am no longer prepared to listen to the mantra that says we can defeat every threat with only military force.”

Minister Ze’ev Elkin said in response to the revelations that “an abyss separates us and them and they have no place in a Liked led government.”

David Israel

Report: Undercover Policeman Incited Rightwing Jews to Harm Arabs

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

According to the Honenu legal aid society, Israel’s secret police has been operating at least one agent provocateur in an attempt to trap rightwing activists in the performance of extremist acts. Honenu has dubbed the undercover officer Champagne 2.

Shortly after the capture of Prime Minister Rabin’s murderer Yigal Amir, Israelis learned that Amir had been guided and controlled by a Shabak agent named Avishai Raviv, whose code name was Champagne and whose mission, many believed, was to encourage and fabricate activities of right-wing extremists. He was, for instance, the behind the poster showing Rabin in an SS uniform, just days before the murder, making sure it appeared on the news. And there was testimony cited in at least one newspaper article that Raviv was urging Amir to kill the prime minister. In his trial, Raviv was able to get off by saying he was merely carrying out his duties as an agent provocateur.

The new undercover agent provocateur has been posing for two year as a member of the Lehava organization, and used his fake identity to incite Jewish activists over Whatsapp and Facebook. The officer was exposed after he had tried last week to recruit an informer from a Samaria community. The latter called on Honenu for legal advice and informed the officer he was not interested.

The officer contacted him for about 15 times from two different phone numbers, which the resident kept on his smartphone. Later, when the same resident entered a Whatsapp group where he is a member, he spotted the same number the officer had used to call him, but now the user was presenting himself as one of the gang of Jewish extremists, just aching to hurt himself some Arabs.

The Samaria resident approached the group leader who quickly removed the officer, and the latter protested, claiming that his name was Miro Amzaleg and that he was a Lehava activist from Jerusalem. But when he was challenged to come up with anyone who knows him in Lehava he was only able to provide names of people he had been in virtual contact with.

The undercover officer’s Facebook page, which has since been taken down, offered posts containing incitements against Arabs. One shares a story about the Jewish man who later burned down the bilingual school in Jerusalem, with the comment: No Arabs, No Terror Attacks. According to Honenu, the fact that the post was dated about a month before the arson might suggest that the agent provocateur was involved in inciting the man, Shlomi Tuito, to carry out the crime. There were several other posts that could be seen as calculated provocations of young and easily influenced fringe Jews, similar in profile to Yigal Amir.

One telling episode had to do with the picture of Rabbi Kahane’s grandson Meir Ettinger on the morning of his release from administrative detention earlier this month, a picture which the undercover officer posted online ahead of all the other media. The fact was Ettinger had been let out of jail earlier than scheduled and was left standing there, waiting for his family to come pick him up. No one else had the picture, and when reporters and activists asked “Amzaleg” how he got it, he said his relative, a prison guard, had sent it to him. But a quick investigation revealed that Ettinger had been standing in the company of three police detectives who handed him his release papers and shot his pictures from every conceivable angle. The detectives were the only possible source for the image, and when the agent posted it he outed himself.

Honenu is in the process of examining two-years’ worth of correspondence the officer had kept with activists, and they intend to turn them into a lawsuit. The officer is known to Honenu as a recruiter of Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to inform on their neighbors. That part, as repulsive as it may sound, is not illegal. However, Honenu officials contend, for the same police officer to be involved in inciting young Jews to commit acts of violence against Arabs should be grounds for suspension, followed by dismissal.

Police on Sunday refused to comment on intelligence operations.

David Israel

Report: Hamas Tunnel Warfare Commander Defected to Israel

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Gaza Arabs have been debating the mystery of the disappearance of a commander in the Al Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military arm, and many have suggested that he defected to Israel, Channel 2 News reported Tuesday night. The man in question is a senior commander in the Nukhba unit, an elite Hamas force specializing in underground tunnel warfare and in kidnapping Israeli civilians and soldiers. He is a resident of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, and the son of a Hamas religious judge.

According to rumors from Gaza, the man told his family he was going for a walk and would be back in the evening, but instead crossed the border fence to Israel. Some in Hamas claim that the man was kidnapped by the IDF. In any event, he should be a source of valuable information for Israeli security forces.

In early May the Shin Bet revealed that another Hamas senior from the tunnel forces, Mahmoud Atawnah, 29, was arrested and has been providing information about the Hamas tunnel digging enterprise. Atawnah was reportedly arrested at the beginning of April after crossing from Gaza into Israeli territory armed with two knives. The Shin Bet said he confessed his plan to kill Israeli civilians or soldiers.

A five-year veteran of the Al Qassam Brigades, Atawnah reported that Hamas was creating an interwoven network of tunnels designed for the movement of fighters and weaponry, equipped with sleeping chambers, showers, and dining areas. Atawnah’s training included placing improvised explosive devices targeting Israeli troops.

Atawnah provided his interrogators with information on the tunnels routes in the northern Gaza Strip, the methods for digging the tunnels, using private homes and public institutions as bases for the digging crews, and the construction materials being used.

David Israel

Report: Israel Attacked Missile Stocks at Syrian Military Base

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Syrian website Zaman Al Wasl reported Tuesday that the Israeli air force over the weekend attacked a military installation south of Homs, with an air defense division and a compound of an air defense school of the Syrian Army. According to the report, the Israeli planes did not train their rockets at the air defense systems but focused on the base warehouses, which were stocked with anti-aircraft missiles. The attack resulted in major damage to the stocks.

According to reports, the Israeli airforce planes flew very low above the region, and were exposed throughout the attack to the defense systems, but the Syrians apparently held back and did not fire at the attackers.

The Homs area is a war theater involving President Assad’s forces, rebel forces and ISIS troops, but Zaman Al Wasl, which has a reputation for reliable reports, insists the attackers were Israeli.

Defense Minister Liberman visits the northern front

Defense Minister Liberman visits the northern front

This would be the first attack ordered by the new defense minister Avigdor Liberman, who on Tuesday visited the northern front with Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and senior officers in the Northern Command.

During the tour, Liberman said, “I’ve been hearing today reviews of this region, which is always sensitive, and I can say that our northern border is in good and secure hands.” He noted: “We have no plans here other than to maintain the quiet, I hope everyone understands this well enough, including our neighbors, and in any case I don’t suggest for anyone to try and test us.”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-israel-attacked-missile-stocks-at-syrian-military-base/2016/06/07/

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