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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Tunisia’

Tunisian Jew Stabbed in Djerba

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Hours before the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover, the Festival of Freedom, a local Jewish merchant was stabbed Monday on the island of Djerba.

The victim, Morris Bachiri, is a resident of El Hara El Kabiri. He was allegedly attacked with a sharp object by 38-year-old Lasaad Tounis, according to the Tunisian Interior Ministry, which reported the incident in a terse statement on its Facebook page. News of the report was carried in a post on Tuesday by the French-language website African Manager.

The attack was described as a “simple assault, nothing more and nothing less,” and Bachiri’s Jewish identity was not mentioned in the report.

The ministry added that Bachiri was released from a hospital shortly following the attack, which took place barely a month after a group of Israelis were stopped from disembarking  with other tourists at a Tunisian port.

Last month the government allocated $6,300 for renovation of the synagogue in what critics called an attempt at damage control in the wake of the Israeli tourist debacle. The Norwegian Cruise Line on which the Israelis were traveling has since scrapped Tunisia from its list of destinations to protest the country’s refusal to allow Israelis to disembark at port.

The annual Jewish pilgrimage for the Hilula of Ghriba, which involves a festive procession to the ancient Synagogue of El Ghriba on the island of Djerba, is meanwhile expected to take place next month – on the holiday of Lag B’Omer.

For decades thousands Jews from around the world used to gather in Djerba to participate in the procession to El Ghriba, considered the oldest existing synagogue in Africa. But the numbers have dwindled to barely 500 attending the event last year. In 2002 the Al Qaeda terrorist organization bombed the synagogue during the pilgrimage, killing 21 and wounding many more.

More than a year ago, Israeli officials expressed serious concern for the safety of the Jewish community in Tunisia, warning that any political instability in the country could negatively affect Tunisian Jews.

Since that time, the Islamist Ennahda government ended its tenure in January with the approval of a new constitution by the country’s national assembly.  A caretaker cabinet was also appointed to rule until new elections are held later this year. The arrangement was made in order to end a crisis between Ennahda and its secular opposition – but it is unclear how the current arrangement has affected the political status of the country’s Jewish community.

Ennahda was the more moderate of the Islamist parties.  Salafi Muslim extremists have for years been expressing their strong support for the Hamas terrorist organization; in January 2012 they welcomed Gaza-based de facto Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to their shores with open arms.

Norwegian Cruise Lines Drops Tunisia over Anti-Israeli Bias

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Norwegian Cruise Lines dropped Tunisia from its itineraries after the country refused to allow Israeli citizens to disembark in the Port of Tunis.

About 20 Israelis were quietly told before disembarking from the Norwegian Jade over the weekend that they were not welcome per the Tunisian government.

The cruise line’s decision to drop Tunisia was first reported by Cruise Critic, an online cruise information site.

“We want to send a strong message to Tunisia and ports around the world that we will not tolerate such random acts of discrimination against our guests,” Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO, said in a statement Tuesday.

The Norwegian Jade had been stopping in Tunisia every three weeks during the winter, according to Cruise Critic.

Tunisia Bars Jews on Cruise Ship

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Tunisia has barred Jews on a Norwegian cruise ship from leaving their cruise voyage and stepping foot in the country after theirboat docked in Tunis, according to B’nai Brith Canada.

“The cruise line has a responsibility to its passengers to advise them of this discriminatory policy in advance. Better still the cruise line should avoid ports that have such policies,” said Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada’s chief executive.

Jewish passengers held on the ship said other passengers were enraged after they disembarked and only later learned that the Jews were not allowed to visit Tunisia.

National security forces have increasingly harassed and assaulted Jews, and one Muslim cleric has publicly called for “divine genocide” of Jews.

Tunisian Jews once enjoyed a compostable and safe life. Approximately 2,000 Jews still live on the Tunisian island of Djerba, home of the El Ghriba synagogue that dates back nearly 2,600 years.

First Time in the Arab World: Events Marking the Holocaust

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Two unusual events relating to Holocaust remembrance recently took place in the Arab world – a first official conference on the Holocaust in Tunisia and the first visit by an Arab diplomat to a Holocaust memorial site, when Bahraini ambassador to France Nasser Al-Balushi visited a memorial near Paris.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports that Tunisia held the Arab world’s first official Holocaust conference in December, attended by historians, clerics, authors, and journalists who dealt with the Tunisian Jewish Holocaust. The purpose of the conference was to commemorate the 5,000 Tunisian Jews who were sent to labor camps or European death camps during the Nazi rule of the country. Speakers praised Tunisian Muslims who helped Jews during the Holocaust, including Khaled ‘Abd Al-Wahhab, who hid 20 Jews in his factory.

The president of the Association to Support Minorities, Yamina Thabet, said that “the conference aims to preserve the issue of the Holocaust in public consciousness… and ensure that a depraved act such as the Nazi Holocaust will never happen again in any form.”

The event sparked harsh criticism from some elements in the Arab world, who claim that the Holocaust is a fabrication, and that these measures constitute normalization with Israel and ‘a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.’”

Also last month, AFP, reported Bahraini ambassador to France Nasser Al-Balushi visited the Holocaust memorial center in Drancy near Paris. This was the first visit by a Muslim diplomat to the site, which was established in September 2012. The Bahraini ambassador laid a wreath on the monument and said, “It is our duty to act together to combat any expression of intolerance and hatred. Bahrain is a Muslim country, but its laws enable coexistence with other religious groups. Alongside mosques, [Bahrain] has synagogues, churches, and [other] houses of worship.”

Bahraini MP Khaled Al-Maloud of the Al-Asala Islamic bloc said that the visit was “shameful” and did not represent the Bahraini people, who stands alongside the Palestinian cause and is proud of its Arab and Islamic principles. He added: “Islam forbids harming innocents… But in today’s world it is known that the so-called Jewish Holocaust is a lie and a deception whose disgraceful [nature] is clear to all, and which was meant to harm the rights of the Palestinian people and [facilitate] the theft of its lands. The real Holocaust is the one taking place against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and all the Palestinian territories, where they have been suffering killing, expulsion and uprooting by the Zionist gangs for close to 100 years.”

Another Bahraini MP, Hassan Bokhamas, claimed in a similar vein that the visit contradicts basic Bahraini, Arab, and Islamic principles related to support of the Jerusalem and Palestine cause and the boycott of the Zionist entity.

Three Separate Attacks on Tunisian Jews in September

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

From Magharebia:

The Tunisian island of Djerba has a centuries-old reputation for religious tolerance and diversity. The island is home to the Ghriba Synagogue, the oldest in Africa, as well as 18 other synagogues, two Christian churches and dozens of mosques. But recent incidents have undermined the atmosphere of peaceful co-existence, with Jewish residents worried about a deteriorating security situation.

Magharebia sat down with Yamina Thabet, president of the Tunisian Association for the Defence of Minorities, to discuss the situation and learn just how residents of Djerba are standing up to extremists.

Magharebia: Is there an organised campaign against religious minorities or are the recent attacks isolated incidents?

Thabet: The incidents started more than three weeks ago when the Hebrew school in Djerba was attacked by two people who broke down the school’s gate while the children were in the inner yard. It should be noted that one of the men was carrying a sharp object to use for violent purposes.

The men attacked the school’s synagogue and a confrontation ensued with a citizen of the Jewish faith who had come to take his son home; he tried to calm the assailants down but was attacked by one of them. He told me they made him fear for his life, especially since the other person was waving the sharp object he was holding. After the struggle with the Jewish Tunisian citizen had caused the attackers to break off, he filed a report with the security forces station and outlined the details of the incident to the officers who took down the complaint.

Once he realised the incident was not being handled seriously, the plaintiff informed the police that the school had a video recording system used to capture everything that happens on its premises and could prove what had happened. He warned that the school would publish that video on social networks. The security forces then asked for a copy of the footage and received it; however, none of the suspects were detained and no real action was taken against the attackers.

Furthermore, one of them continued to harass and terrorise citizens of the Jewish faith, physically attacking two girls on the last day of the Jewish holiday of Succoth. He took advantage of the fact that the men were in synagogue. He charged at the Egalitarian Women’s Council riding a motorcycle, kicking one girl down to the ground with his foot and beating another one up after having kicked her.

We therefore consider these aggressions a systematic campaign implementing a shameful persecution against Jewish citizens that is encouraged by a hidden force aiming to force them out of their country.

Magharebia: How did the island’s residents react to these transgressions?

Thabet: We have encountered disapproval on the part of the Muslim residents of the island. They have conveyed to us their condemnation of these acts, which to them are strange and inconceivable, especially the official authorities’ idleness in handling this sensitive issue which violates the basic rights of Tunisian citizens.

Magharebia: And how have politicians dealt with this issue?

Thabet: We have witnessed all components of the political scene resorting to bickering and status wars and neglecting citizens’ most basic issues. As a rule, political forces should pay attention and be aware of what is happening in the depth of society, because the foundations of a democratic society are rooted in the social basis and the elite cannot diminish it to mere stances in passing. Some Jewish citizens in Djerba even told me they were fed up with the rituals of political pilgrimage of certain governmental figures for a photo opportunity in festivities, as if they were in a nature reserve or some endangered species.

Yamina Thabet is adamant about protecting the Jews of Djerba, as you can see from this press conference she called on this same topic -which MEMRI translated:



I have never seen an Arab defend Jews this passionately.

The bad news is that these incidents, nearly a month ago, had not been reported in English (outside MEMRI) that I could find until today. (There were some French reports.)

Visit Elder of Ziyon.

Tunisian Tennis Star Pulls Out Of International Match with Israeli

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

An international tennis association is investigating a Tunisian tennis player for pulling out of a match instead of facing Israeli player Amir Weintraub in the quarterfinals of an Association of Tennis Professionals match in Tashkent.

Jaziri gave a knee injury as the official reason for pulling out, and the Tunisian Sports and Youth Ministry told AFP that it does not make such demands on its players .It is believed to be the first time that a player has refused to play against an Israeli in international tennis play.

The brother of Malek Jaziri, who pulled out on Friday, told the French news agency AFP that he acted under orders of the Tunisian Tennis Federation. An e-mail ordering Jaziri to pull out of the match was published by Tunisia’s state news agency.

The two players train at the Sarcelles Tennis club in France and have known each other for several years.

Weintraub lost Saturday in the tournament’s semi-final match to Russian player Teymuraz Gabashvili.

9/11 Spreads in the Middle East

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Al Qaeda was alive and well in the Middle East Wednesday, the 12th  anniversary of the terrorist web’s attacks on the United States.

Two of Al Qaeda-linked terrorists are not so alive and well, but they had the joy of knowing they will be welcomed by 72 virgins for having killed at least 11 Egyptian soldiers and civilians in a double suicide bombing attack at Rafiah, the divided city that straddles the border between Egypt and Gaza.

Bin Laden is long and gone, but he left behind thousands of monsters who are united by a hatred of the West and a burning desire to inflict radical Islam rule on the world.

Al Qaeda is not a monolithic group, but its ideology inspired what are commonly known as “Al Qaeda-linked groups.”

Marc Sagemen, a former CIA officer and now a psychiatrist and counter terrorism consultant, has pointed out, “We like to create a mythical entity called [al-Qaeda] in our minds, but that is not the reality we are dealing with.” He described the terrorist organization as a “loose label for a movement that seems to target the West.”

Al Qaeda and copy-cat groups operate in dozens of countries and in the past three years have helped turn the Middle East into fertile ground to establish a base of power to spread hate and death in the West.

Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt and Syria are in danger of extinction as countries. President Shimon Peres noted Wednesday that if Syrian President Bassar al-Assad does not play ball and come clean with its stockpile of chemical weapons, it will continue to dissolve into “ a number of countries.”

The Russian RT news agency reported on Wednesday a disgusting example of what goes though the demented minds of Al Qaeda terrorists.

Raouchan Gazakov brought his family to Syria, taught his 5-year-old son to make bombs and bade farewell to his relative, a suicide bomber,” he told RT’s Maria Finoshina in a Damascus prison, where he explained why he came to fight for Al-Qaeda.

“A group called Murad approached me a year ago and convinced me that Muslims in Syria are being oppressed and killed, and that I should go and take up arms against Assad for world jihad.” Raouchan sneaked into Syria last January through Turkey, from where he was accompanied by two men saying they were from Al Qaeda. Once in Syria, he joined an Egyptian-run jihadist group.

Another terrorist in a Syrian prison, Amer El Khadoud, related that he left a normal family life in France to join the Syrian jihad with an Al-Qaeda affiliated group.

The Washington think tank Bipartisan Policy Center recently concluded, “The civil war in Syria may provide Al-Qaeda with an opportunity to regroup, train and plan operations. Foreign fighters hardened in that conflict could eventually destabilize the region or band together to plot attacks against the West.”

Congress heard the same message Tuesday.

“Al Qaeda and its allies dominate a large portion of northern Syria and play a key role in fighting throughout the rest of the country,” Thomas Joscelyn, an analyst with the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the House Homeland Security Committee.

His scary appraisal contradicted that of  John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State and Wishful Thinking. He said Al Qaeda does not play a major role in Syria.

Thomas Joscelyn, an analyst with the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, dumped that idea into the Foggy Bottom sea of illusions. He told the House committee on Tuesday, “These same al Qaeda-affiliated forces have fought alongside Free Syrian Army brigades. Al Qaeda has made the fight for Syria a strategic priority.”

Al Qaeda and similar groups have not forgotten 9/11.

“The Islamic Emirate of Libya,” a terrorist organization that may be an Al Qaeda affiliate first reported in 2011, warned on Tuesday that it will “celebrate” 9/11 with terrorist attacks on certain targets, such as the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

In Somalia, terrorists who work with Al Qaeda have staked out headquarters, according to the country’s Mareeg news website.

One of the terrorists is Taliban spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, who gave bin Laden and Al Qaeda leaders’ shelter prior to 9/11.

And there is  Sirajuddin Haqqani, a warlord and leader of the Haqqani network that fights American forces in Afghanistan from his base in Pakistan and which hosts Al Qaeda terrorists. He is the leader of the Haqqani network and is a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

The Obama Administration’s New 7 Pillars of Middle East ‘Wisdom’

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

See introduction, Obama policy, the second term: ”"Second-Term Obama Agenda: Part 1: –  Why U.S. Policy Betrayed the Moderates.” These are the new (hopefully temporary):

White House’s Seven Pillars of Idiocy in the Middle East:

(NAMED AFTER LAWRENCE OF ARABIA’S VERSION)

One:  Other than aid and official government rhetoric, the United States is now neutral on the Israel-Palestinian conflict and, to put it more accurately, tilting toward the Palestinian side.    This does not mean disaster for Israel—and no Israeli official will say so in public–but it is a strategic reality. Part of the dynamic motivating this U.S. policy is that:

–The White House believes it can win over “moderate Islamists” in power as in Egypt, Sudan, Turkey, Tunisia, Bahrain, Iran, and Syria, among other countries. This would form a pro-U.S. bloc against al-Qaida and, secondarily the Iran-Syria bloc. Only al-Qaida cannot be won over; but the White House believes that even the Taliban, the Tehran rulers, Hezbollah, and Hamas might be convinced. (I’m not kidding and can prove it.)

–Rather than mobilize active opposition to Palestinian Authority diplomatic gains in Europe, the UN, the World Court, and international institutions, the Obama Administration is eitherleading exploiting, or bowing to these gains.

–This of course intensifies Western cultural surrender to anti-Israel positions. Here’s an example: The highly prestigious Foyle’s bookstore in London has closed its Israel section. If you know London, you know what an intellectual earthquake that is.

–The United States will not privately pressure or publicly criticize Palestinian Authority policies or statements, but will not hesitate to do so for Israel.   --The Palestinian Authority is not even held responsible for its total inability to deliver half the Palestinian forces, including Hamas and the Gaza Strip. Imagine a White House not thrilled to use the Egyptian coup regime to press and suppress Hamas! Their strategy would be to make a deal: Palestinian concessions to get a state in exchange for the capture of Gaza! Who has even thought of that! Of course the talks will not go anywhere because the Palestinians know that they have a strong hand and they will overplay it. But, the administration’s willingness to punish Israel to win public relations points and shore up the doomed U.S. alignment with Islamists had to be reckoned with.

The problem is by no means regarding U.S.-Israel relations alone, but it is with every Middle Eastern ally and with every potentially pro-U.S democratic opposition movement.

Second pillar: The system the White House seeks to impose on the Middle East appears to be revolutionary Islamism! If many objective Iranian, Turkish, Kurdish, Israeli, and Arab observers see this as self-evident, Islamists themselves view Western policy, however, as a sign of their own victory due to Allah’s backing plus Western fear and weakness.

Consider the bizarre situation in regard to Egypt. The last time, Egypt had to join the enemy  Soviet bloc and wage war on a  U.S. ally to be America’s enemy; now it can do so by joining American goals,  opposing terrorism and working too closely with U.S. allies and goals!  

Third pillar, conservative traditionalists, moderates, and liberals seem to be viewed by the U .S. government as enemies because only Muslim Brotherhood can stop al-Qaida by out-jihading them. Instead of applauding the army coup in Egypt—would that it had happened in Turkey and Tunisia!—the White House opposed it on the belief that the Egyptian masses were the most reactionary advocates of dictatorship and hate Christians, Jews, Shia Muslims, women, gays and of course Americans. That’s partly true but doesn’t mean we should want a the Muslim Brotherhood in power there.

Instead, there is no notion of realpolitik or national interests but this strange foreign policy philosophy. –Surrender is better because it avoids international friction, and especially for conflicts involving America. — The ridiculous notion that sharing power with anti–American radicals will bring internal stability. If you force the army to have a coalition with the Muslim Brotherhood or a predictably unstable two-state solution you will get immunity from civil conflict.

–The idea that betraying allies will make more people want to be allies.

These are the ideas that, remarkably, many pompous statesmen, much prized experts, brilliant academics, and totally ignorant (you’d be amazed how little many know despite their job titles) really believe in.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/the-obama-administrations-new-seven-pillars-of-middle-east-wisdom/2013/09/09/

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