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March 26, 2015 / 6 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘United Kingdom’

Anti-Semitic Thugs Attack Stamford Hill Synagogue, Worshipers in London

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

A gang of around 20 young men in the Stamford Hill section of London stormed a synagogue in the neighborhood late Saturday night. The gang yelled obscenities and threats, beat worshipers and vandalized property according to IsraelHatzolah’s official Twitter account.

British police told media in a curt statement they were treating the incident as an anti-Semitic incident due to “a remark” made by one of a group of drunken men who tried to break into the synagogue after leaving a nearby party just after 1 am local time. Six were arrested, police confirmed, on charges of assault and disturbing public order.

The police statement hardly describes the siege that was underway before help arrived.

WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AND SOME VIOLENCE. USE DISCRETION IN VIEWING.

One member of the Ahavat Torah congregation who witnessed the attack said the mob shouted “We will kill you!” He also said they physically assaulted the worshipers inside the synagogue and tore apart prayer books.

One Jewish man was beaten about the face and had a tooth knocked out after he tried to apprehend one of the attackers on his own and haul him off to police, having spotted the scene while passing by.

Police said they have increased patrols in the area to provide reassurance to the community – but if so, none were around when this attack took place.

A new Campaign Against Anti-Semitism hotline is about to be launched in response to the sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Britain over the past two years. Prime Minister David Cameron was the keynote speaker at the annual dinner for the nation’s Community Security Trust (CST) last week. The organization monitors anti-Semitic activity in the country. In his speech, Cameron announced a series of financial measures totaling more than 11 million British pounds Sterling to support Jewish community security across the country.

“At a time when once again the Jewish communities of Europe feel vulnerable and when anti-Semitism is at record levels here in Britain I will not stand idly by,” Cameron vowed. “I will not turn a blind eye to the threats that the community faces. If the Jewish community does not feel secure then our whole national fabric is diminished… We are going to fight anti-Semitism with everything we have got,” he promised.

Iran’s Rouhani Optimistic ‘Possible to Reach Agreement’ on Nuclear Deal

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani appeared optimistic on Saturday about the chances of reaching a deal with the U.S. and world powers on Tehran’s nuclear development program.

“In this round of talks, shared points of view emerged in some of the areas where there had been a difference of opinion which can be a foundation for a final agreement,” Rouhani told the IRNA state news agency.

“I believe it is possible to reach an agreement and there is nothing that cannot be resolved,” he added, after a visit with wounded military veterans at a rehabilitation center.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told media on Saturday that world powers agreed “substantial progress” had been made on “key areas.”

That having been said, however, the UK, U.S., France and Germany were more reserved in their joint statement on how much farther the negotiators had to go in order to reach an agreement.

“We agreed that substantial progress had been made in key areas although there are still important issues on which no agreement has yet been possible,” Hammond said. “Now is the time for Iran, in particular, to take difficult decisions,” he said.

US Army Vet Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ on Trying to Join ISIS

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Turkish authorities caught a U.S. Armed Forces veteran this past January as he was allegedly attempting to join Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror group, or ISIS.

U.S. federal authorities say U.S. Air Force veteran and New Jersey native Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 47, flew to Turkey from Egypt in January, but was denied entry to the country. Instead, they say Turkey sent Pugh back to Egypt, who then deported the veteran to the U.S.

(Given the skill and speed with which Turkish authorities caught this suspect, one wonders how three Islamic schoolgirls from the UK managed to sneak through the country into Syria to become Daesh “brides.”)

Pugh was arrested January 10 in Turkey and on January 16 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and has been held in custody since that time, the Wall Street Journal reported. The alleged wannabe terrorist was formally charged by the federal grand jury with attempting to provide material support to ISIS and obstruction of justice. On Wednesday he pleaded “not guilty” in a New York federal court room, CNN reported.

If found guilty, Pugh could be sentenced to a maximum of 35 years in prison.

According to a post on the blog of the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Pugh’s Face­book pro­file included mul­ti­ple anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posts as well as posts sup­port­ing Hamas.

One of the posts written by Pugh in July 2014 stated in part, “All the evil done by the Jews came from within them­selves. On the day of Judg­ment full respon­si­bil­ity of the starv­ing, tor­ture, jail­ing and killing of inno­cent Mus­lims will rest upon there (sic) shoul­ders. Allah must really hate them to give the rope to hang them­selves.” He also posted an image with text stat­ing, “Most Jews do not like to admit it, but our G-d is Lucifer.”

In August 2014, he shared an image that ref­er­enced blood libel accu­sa­tions, depict­ing Israel’s Prime Min­is­ter Binyamin Netanyahu slit­ting the throats of sleep­ing children. Pugh also posted sev­eral car­toons equat­ing Jews, Israelis or Zion­ists to Nazis, as well as numerous images claim­ing to depict Israeli war crimes.

Under questioning while being held in Egypt prior to deportation to the U.S. Pugh claimed he had traveled to Turkey to seek employment, denying he had intended to go to Syria, according to the criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court.

However, a search of the suspect’s laptop by federal agents turned up a map of Turkish-Syrian border crossing points, and some 180 jihadist propaganda videos – including a number showing ISIS prisoners being executed. Also found on his laptop was a letter addressed to “My Misha,” whicch stated, “I will use the talents and skills given to me by Allah to establish and defend the Islamic States.”

That Pugh refers to ‘Islamic States’ in the plural form is, in fact, quite chilling: Daesh has indeed spread its influence and its forces from Iraq and Syria into a number of other countries, including Yemen, Nigeria and Libya. Pockets of terrorist cells have also been found in the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, Lebanon, France, Belgium, and Denmark.

Pugh was charged with “obstruction of justice” in response to the suspect’s intentional damage and removal of memory chips from four thumb drives in order to stymie law enforcement officials in their attempts to access data, authorities said. According to the criminal complaint, Pugh was also asked why he had a photo of a machine gun on his cell phone. He replied that he had “no particular reason other than simply liking the photograph.”

But Pugh’s history did not begin with his flight to the Turkish-Syrian border; actually he has been on the “watch list” for more than 10 years. Quoting the criminal complaint, the Wall Street Journal reported that Pugh converted to Islam and then started ramping up his radical sympathies after moving to San Antonio in 1998.

The FBI received a first tip from a co-worker while Pugh was working as a mechanic for American Airlines in 2001, when he was saying he sympathized with Al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and supported the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Africa. By 2002, the FBI heard that Pugh had expressed interest in traveling to Chechnya to fight the jihad (Islamic holy war.)

Pugh had already worked as an Air Force mechanic from 1986 to 1990, and was assigned to various bases around the world, according to the U.S. Air Force. He lived abroad for some 18 months, including in Egypt and Jordan, prior to his arrest, according to the criminal complaint. But following his discharge, Pugh had trouble holding down a steady job.

At some point from 2009 to 2010, he worked as an Army contractor for a five month period in Iraq.

Earlier this year, he was fired again, this time from a gig as an airplane mechanic for a firm “based in the Middle East.”

Last Friday, three Brooklyn men also pleaded “not guilty” in Brooklyn federal court to charges of conspiring to aid the ISIS terrorist organization.

Over the past 18 months “dozens” of Americans have faced criminal charges relating to ISIS. FBI director James Comey said at a news briefing last month that his agency has active cases open “in every single state” in connection with the ISIS terror organization.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Preventing Americans from joining ISIS has become a priority for federal law-enforcement officials, but they have been unable to find a singular profile of the type of American who is inspired by the militant group’s propaganda.”

Due to the lack of a hat, a tip of the keyboard will have to do for kudos to WSJ journalists Dion Nissenbaum and Nicole Hong for being able to compose and type that last with a (presumed) straight face.

BBC TV’s Director Fears for Future of Jews in Britain

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Danny Cohen, the director of television at the BBC, is usually in the news to talk about the next big thing in British television. He is known for helping commission popular British shows such as the coming-of-age sitcom “The Inbetweeners” and the BAFTA award-winning “Skins.” Now he oversees the BBC’s four main channels.

However, on Sunday, Cohen gave the discussion about anti-Semitism in Europe a potent jolt.

“I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months,” Cohen told Israeli television anchor Yonit Levi at a conference in Jerusalem. “And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually? Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before.”

Cohen is a native Londoner who has lived in the UK his entire life. A month and a half earlier, Parliament’s opposition leader, Ed Milliband, posted about the rise of British anti-Semitism on Facebook.

Amid spikes in anti-Semitism across Europe, anti-Semitic incidents in England skyrocketed during the war in Gaza this summer.

Cohen’s position near the top of the BBC, which took a lot of heat for its coverage of the Gaza war, has helped draw great attention to his comments, including from some who suggested he uses his position of influence to defend Jews.

The UK Jewish News laid the blame in part at the feet of the BBC, saying its coverage of this summer’s war was biased.

British Jews To March Against Anti-Semitism

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

At least 1000 British Jews are expected to attend a protest rally in central London Sunday to to demand greater action by the police and Government against anti-Semitism.

The rally, which will be held at the Royal Courts of Justice, was called by the Campaign against Antisemitism, a new organization dedicated to identifying and fighting Judeophobia in the United Kingdom. Speakers will include Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim activist and co-founder of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank and Douglas Murray, a conservative commentator and associate director of the Henry Jackson Society.

Great Britain, like other European countries, has experienced a sharp spike in Judeophobic attacks, especially since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 8.  Since the beginning of August, several synagogues have been vandalized, pro-Palestinian activists have attacked supermarkets selling Israeli products, and signs reading “Hitler was right” have been featured at anti-Israel demonstrations.

“British Jews complain the existing law is not being enforced to protect them from abuse and discrimination,” said the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

British Vets Want Ban on Ritual Slaughter

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The president-elect of the British Veterinary Association called for a ban on slaughtering cattle without first stunning it, which in effect would outlaw traditional kosher slaughter.

In an interview with the Times, John Blackwell called for prohibiting kosher and halal slaughter because it causes pain to the animal for “five or six seconds,” according to reports.

“They will feel the massive injury of the tissues of the neck,” Blackwell said in the interview. “They will perceive the aspiration of blood. They will breathe in before they lose consciousness.”

Blackwell, who has been accused by religious leaders of “inflaming prejudice,” says animals must be stunned before the cut.

“We are looking for a meeting of minds to review the evidence base which clearly shows that slaughtering animals without stunning compromises welfare,” Blackwell told the Daily Mail. “If that can’t happen then I would like labelling at the point of sale that gives the consumer informed choice. If that is not possible we would be looking for a ban for killing without stunning.”

“There is no insensibility for these animals by cutting its throat and these remain conscious for seven seconds for sheep and two minutes for cattle and that is not acceptable,” he insisted. “As a vet and scientist welfare is top of our list.”

Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, responded: “I really regret John Blackwell’s remarks, which are completely misleading. Animals that are killed for the Jewish or Muslim markets do not bleed to death. Animals that are killed for the general market or the Muslim and Jewish market are killed in exactly the same way. A large animal has its throat cut and this renders it insensible to pain and unconscious. The Jewish method is designed to bring that about instantly, and using tendentious language is not helpful.”

You’ll note that neither Blackwell nor Arkush are able to offer real evidence to their claims, other than observations from a safe distance. It is impossible to discern objectively whether the animal is experiencing pain or not as its life is fading, and certainly not whether the animal is experiencing the same level of pain throughout the process.

Shimon Cohen, the campaign director of Shechita UK, which aims to preserve kosher slaughter, or shechitah, said the initiative was a “dereliction of duty.”

“Of the countless pressing animal welfare issues that we are faced with today, he has chosen to focus on an issue which is not supported by scientific consensus and which affects a tiny minority of animals,” Cohen said in a statement.

“Animal welfare is at the heart of everything that we do. It is scandalous that, once again, in the context of such pervasive cruelty in so many abattoirs, that the BVA continue to single out faith communities for criticism.”

More than 6,000 animals are killed in religious abattoirs every week in Britain, according to the Mail. The halal meat market is believed to be worth up to an estimated £2billion.

Charities including Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA also support the move to ban the slaughter of animals without stunning first.

Last week the Danish government was accused of being antisemitic for passing a law banning the religious slaughter of animals for halal and kosher meat.

The new law has been called antisemitic, the Mail reports, and “a clear interference in religious freedom.”

European Union regulations require animals be stunned before slaughter, unless an exemption can be found on religious grounds. Under Jewish law and halal under Islamic law, the animals must be conscious.

 

Some JTA content was used in this report.

British PM Cameron to Visit Israel Next Week

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

British Prime Minister David Cameron will visit Israel and address the Knesset on March 12.

Cameron was originally scheduled to visit Israel in February but had to postpone the trip because of flooding in the United Kingdom. This will be Cameron’s first visit to Israel since becoming prime minister in 2010.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein invited Cameron to Israel when the two met at former South African President Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

“I welcome the arrival of the prime minister of a great and important country like Britain to address the Knesset and believe that the visit will contribute to the friendship between Britain and Israel as well as the relations between the two countries,” Edelstein said in a statement. “I am also glad that the Knesset will once again take its place as the main stage chosen by the leaders of the world to address the Israeli people.”

French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Parliament President Martin Schulz all addressed the Knesset in the past year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/british-pm-cameron-to-visit-israel-next-week/2014/03/04/

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