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November 24, 2015 / 12 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

It’s Official: Kill Jews Ville Became Jews’ Hill

Monday, October 26th, 2015

(JNi.media) Castrillo Mota de Judíos, which registered a population of 71 inhabitants at the 2004 census, has been an embarrassment to the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism for some time, mostly because the name, in Spanish, means Jew-killer Camp.

The town was originally named Castrillo Motajudíos (Hill of Jews Camp) in 1035, when Jews fleeing a pogrom settled there. It was changed to Castrillo Matajudíos (“Jew-killer Camp”) in 1627 during a time of religious persecution of non-Christians in Spain (well after the Jews had been expelled from Spain in 1492).

In June 2015, the name was changed back to Castrillo Mota de Judíos, as the results of a campaign led by mayor Lorenzo Rodríguez, and a vote approving the new, less offensive name, in May 2014.

Last Friday, Israeli Ambassador to Spain Daniel Kutner was an honored guest at a name-changing ceremony for the ancient hamlet that did away with the old, extremely anti-Semitic name.

Some researchers argue the town got its name from Jewish residents who converted to Catholicism and wanted to convince Spaniards that they hate Jews, as was their religious duty. Others believe it was a clerical typo at some point in history.

“It must be remembered that the expulsion from Spain was for Jews a traumatic event of historic dimensions and set out the trajectory for the Jewish people from there on,” Ambassador Kutner told the townspeople.

No Jews are living in Castrillo Motajudíos, but many there assert Jewish roots.

Next on the name changing agenda: La Mort aux Juifs, a hamlet in north-central France, whose name means “Death to the Jews.” It is believed the name was initially “la mare au juin,″ meaning “the liquid manure pond” in local old French, but evolved to become La Mort aux Juifs.

In August 2014, the Simon Wiesenthal Center petitioned the French government to change the name, but the deputy mayor of the village that oversees the oddly named hamlet, insists the tradition should be respected. “It’s ridiculous. This name has always existed,” Marie-Elizabeth Secretand told AFP at the time. “No one has anything against the Jews, of course. It doesn’t surprise me that this is coming up again. Why change a name that goes back to the Middle Ages or even earlier? We should respect these old names.”

As Tevye put it a long time ago: Tradition, tradition! Tradition! And Tevye knew pogroms.

Matisyahu Responds to Spain and BDSers

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Nearly everyone you would expect to know already knows that the Jewish musician known as Matisyahu was invited to leave a music festival in the Spanish port city of Valencia. The organizers of Rototom, the 22nd European Reggae Festival kept pressuring him to make a political statement, the booted him when he refused to express support for the creation of a Palestinian Arab state.

There has been much speculation about exactly what happened and what was Matisyahu’s response.

Here is what Matisyahu said about it:

The festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people. I support peace and compassion for all people. My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music. Music has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process. The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people. As musicians that is what we seek. – Blessed Love, Matis

The musician pressed exactly the right point. “Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform?” No.

The Jews are treated differently.

Spain Passes Citizenship Restoration Law for Jews Expelled in 1492

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

It has only taken a half a millenium, but on Thursday Spain passed a law granting citizenship to any descendant of Jews expelled from the country in 1492.

The law – which took three years to create – was hailed as a “historic rehabilitation” by Justice Minister Rafael Catala and Foreign Minister Manuel Garcia Margallo.

It was in 1492, as Colombus was preparing to set sail to explore the New World that Jews were given an ultimatum: convert to Christianity, or leave.

Those who stayed and pretended to convert became known over the centuries as “Marranos” – the “hidden” ones – or “Anusim” – the “forced” ones. Their descendants are scattered throughout the world, including many who later ended up intermarrying with Muslims, some who live in Judea and Samaria. Their families still keep fragments of Jewish traditions in their homes, although most no longer remember why.

The Jews who chose to preserve their identity and left, fled to North Africa and the Middle East, many of whom arrived in what is now known as Turkey.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain said in an official statement on Thursday that passage of the law in Madrid had launched a “new stage in the history of the relationship between Spain and the Jewish world; a new period of encounter, dialogue and harmony.

Contrary to what one might think, the descendants of those expelled not harbored feelings of hatred or resentment but rather the contrary, they cultivated a deep love for the land they were from and intense loyalty to tradition and language received of their elders,” the statement continued.

The law goes into effect in October, when the Jewish community can begin the process of checking the lineage of anyone who wishes to activate their once-proud centuries-old Spanish citizenship.

That process involves proving one’s ancestry, showing a basic knowledge of Spain and its culture, and embarking upon a minimum of one pilot trip to the country. In addition, one must pay an application fee of 100 Euros for the privilege. So much for “restoration.”

Under Israel’s Law of Return, any person is entitled to citizenship in the Jewish State if he or she can prove that one grandparent — either maternal or paternal — is Jewish. The pace of the “ingathering of the (Jewish) exiles” described in the Torah has been growing over the past decade. Jews who were driven from the Land of Israel by the Romans and the Babylonians have begun to return through the efforts of groups such as Michael Freund’s Shavei Israel, Nefesh B’Nefesh and others.

French NGOs and Palestinian Authority behind BDS Pressure on Orange

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

A coalition of French NGOs, some of them partly funded by the government, last month published a 51-page document named “Orange’s Dangerous Liaisons in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” to spearhead the campaign to pressure Orange to boycott Israel’s Partner Communications, which markets the Orange mobile phone service brand.

The Palestinian Authority joined the French NGOS to lobby the government and Orange to boycott Israel, the Israel-based NGO Monitor reported.

The NGOs reportedly met with Orphanage officials on May 26 and told them that its business link with Partner endangered its reputation. Orange told the BDS promoters that the agreement for Partner’s marketing the Orange brand expires in 10 years.

NGO Monitor reported:

The authors of the report asked Orange to publicly and explicitly state its decision to disengage and to denounce the human rights violations that Partner is involved in  Israeli settlements in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories-sic]. In other words, the statements made by the France-based company are a wholesale adoption of the NGOs’ BDS agenda (which is illegal in France).

Following the publication of the report, Saeb Erekat, lead negotiator of the Palestinian Authority (PA), wrote to France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, to denounce the link between Orange and Partner.

Organizations participating in the move to pressure Orange to boycott Israel include the European-based Who Profits, Al Haq, Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire (CCFD), FIDH, and Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS).

Who Profits, which now is a separate organization, began to campaign against all of Israel’s cell phone companies in 2009 for allegedly being “commercially involved in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights” and “exploit[ing] the Palestinian frequencies and to impose their services on the Palestinian captive market.”

The Who Profits webpage also attacks Partner for sponsoring IDF units in the Golan, Judea and Samaria in the “Adopt a Soldier” project.

The 51-page document stated:

During the attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, Partner was on the front lines providing material support, cellular services and entertainment to the Israeli soldiers. The company also waived service fees for soldiers carrying [sic] the assault during July-August 2014.

The French government, which owns 25 percent of Orange, granted the Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire received nearly $400,000 from France in 2012. The same organization is a member of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine,

FIDH last year libeled Israel with allegations that it deliberately targeted civilians in the war against Hamas rockets and missiles on Israeli civilians. The NGO is funded in part by the European Union and the governments of Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

NGO Monitor added, “Al Haq is funded directly by the governments of Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Ireland, and indirectly by UK, Sweden, Germany, and the UN.”

Its report continued:

Al Haq is a leader of lawfare and BDS against Israel. A main actor in the NGO campaign to file war crimes charges against Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC)….

Al Haq proposed sabotaging the Israeli court system by ‘flooding the [Israeli Supreme] Court with petitions in the hope of obstructing its functioning and resources.’

The Israeli Supreme Court has identified Al Haq’s general director Shawan Jabarin as ‘among the senior activists of the Popular Front terrorist organization.’

The Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) was funded by the French government in 2012, refers to the “Gaza extermination camp” and states, “It is inconceivable and unacceptable that the ‘Jewish-executioner’ would hide behind the ‘Jewish victim!’” Other AFPS rhetoric includes ethnic cleansing, apartheid state, and “Stop hunting Palestinian children!”

A French court in 2014 ruled in favor of the French distributor of Israel-based SodaStream in a lawsuit charging the pro-BDS group with stating that SodaStream products were being illegally sold in France.

Terror Plot to Bomb Jewish Bookstore Foiled in Spain

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Seven suspected Islamist terrorists have been arrested and detained in Spain in connection with a plot to bomb a Jewish bookstore in Barcelona.

According to a report posted by the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism, the would-be terrorists were among 11 people arrested last Wednesday in a sting operation.

Spanish authorities have been investigating reports of a plot to attack a number of Jewish sites, officials said. It is not clear whether a specific terrorist group was behind the plot or not — and if so, which one it was.

All seven were placed under formal investigation – a step short of arraignment on charges – and are being held pending trial.

The investigating magistrate said Friday the group had planned to target a number of synagogues, the Catalan parliament, police forces and public shops in the Catalonia region, according to the report he received from prosecutors.

More than 30 people have been arrested so far this year in a crackdown on terror networks by Spain since a week-long series of terror attacks in Paris by Al Qaeda and ISIS-linked operatives this past January left 17 dead.

Six of the seven suspects being held in Catalonia are suspected of belonging to a terror group with a profile similar to that of ISIS (also known as Da’esh, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.) The seventh member of the cell is additionally suspected of aiding the terror group and possessing weapons and explosives.

A detainee described as the cell’s founder told members he had been “about to attack a Jewish bookshop in Barcelona,” the magistrate said in the report. According to the plot described therein, the terrorist leader suggested attackers hide in a van armed with hand grenades and guns. Synagogues, police forces and the Catalan parliament were suggested as good targets and a bank branch manager was suggested as a kidnap hostage.

Among the items discovered during a search by security officials were 25 empty bags that contained traces of chemicals that could be used to make explosives, according to the report.

Three people who were initially detained were granted a conditional release. A fourth is reportedly a minor and has been sentenced to six months in a youth reform center.

Israel Quietly Acknowledges Accidental Death of Spanish UNIFIL Soldier

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

An Israeli investigator has confirmed that it was Israeli fire that accidentally killed a Spanish peacekeeper with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in January during a shootout with Hezbollah.

Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledano died after being hit in a barrage aimed at Hezbollah by Israel. The force missed and struck the UNIFIL soldier instead.

The gunfire followed an unprovoked cross-border attack with anti-tank missiles fired by Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon at Israeli military personnel and civilians about seven kilometers from the border, inside Israel. Two Israeli soldiers were killed instantly and several other people were seriously wounded. A civilian home in a nearby Druze village was destroyed in the multi-pronged attack as well.

Nevertheless, Spain’s UN ambassador blamed Israel, and the United Nations Security Council was persuaded to condemn the killing of the UNIFIL soldier, implying his death was caused by Israel alone even though that was obviously not the case.

It was the most serious exchange of gunfire between Israel and Hezbollah since the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a point of warning Hezbollah’s secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah on public media to “look at Gaza” before he considered his next step and decided whether to proceed with more violence or to cease the attacks.

According to a UN diplomat, Israel has submitted an apology privately to Spain, but there has been no public admission of responsibility. Jerusalem has made it clear the death was accidental, resulting from the deliberate attack on Israel by Hezbollah.

Israelis Win ‘Best App’ Award at Prestigious Competition in Spain

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Two Israelis behind the Fansino app won first place at a prestigious smartphone app competition held in Barcelona last week. Haran Wolfovitz Yaffe and Omri Erez won the 2015 Mobile Premier Awards “Best App of the Year” at Spain’s Mobile World Congress, the largest cross-platform app showcase in the mobile industry and attended by around 70,000 people.

The app placed first among 800 other nominees as the contest, which has been described as the Oscars for the mobile world. Yaffe and Erez were chosen out of the 16 finalists who made the cut.

In 2010, the Israeli traffic and navigation app, the now internationally-known Waze, was the first place winner of the Mobile Premier Awards and went on to draw millions of users around the world.

Fansino is an app that provides musical artists the ability to communicate directly with their fan base as they are listening in real time across all major streaming services and mobile devices. On the other end, fans receive information about their favorite artists and upcoming concerts in their area. “The app allows both sides to communicate with one another, both the artist and the fan,” said the app designers. “The idea is to help musical artists overcome a dwindling market in the area of music in the last few years and strengthen the relationship between the artist and his audience.” “We believe that a like and a follow are meaningless. It means that someone dedicated a fraction of a second of their life to click a button. The fact that the big artists have 17 million fans on Facebook and 70 million followers on Twitter is meaningless,” explained the pair in an interview with Geektime. “We say focus on the people who spend at least three minutes of their life to listen to a song.” The app also allows the musical artist to know who his or her fan base are and how much time they spend listening to their content. The technology identifies the fans that are the most serious, based on content consumption metrics and not via likes on Facebook or other social media barometers.

It was a long journey for Haran Yaffe, who was considered one of the most severely wounded soldiers of the Second Lebanon War in 2006 when his armored tank carrier was hit by an anti-tank missile.Yaffe underwent a long rehabilitation process and eventually returned to his music career as an alternative rock musician and to the start-up world. An active musician and public speaker, Yaffe also helps raise funds for disable army veterans.

Commenting on the purpose of the app, Yaffe told Geektime that the app would help musical artists make more money. “That basic connection that happens between an artist and his audience, we want to bring that back to life again. This is the juice that keeps musicians going. This is why artists work.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israelis-win-best-app-award-at-prestigious-competition-in-spain/2015/03/10/

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