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August 29, 2016 / 25 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘United Kingdom’

Livni to British Police: ‘Absurd Arrest Warrants Have to Stop’

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Zionist Union leader Tzipi Livni has come out with guns blazing following an attempt by British police to present her with an arrest warrant and summon her for questioning over suspected “war crimes” committed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2009.

“What I have to say to British police I will say in every place: Israel will continue to fight terror and the absurdity of arrest warrants has to stop,” the Israeli Knesset member tweeted in response to the incident, which took place this weekend during her attendance at a Haaretz Israel conference held in the UK.

Livni, who was serving as Israel’s foreign minister during Operation Cast Lead, has also served as a justice minister.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Palestinian Authority (PA) and pro-PA NGO groups have been waging international lawfare campaigns against Israel for more than a decade by filing criminal complaints via local the courts against senior Israeli officials and military personnel whenever they travel abroad.

The main NGOs behind the campaigns in the UK and beyond — including at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, are the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Haq and Al Mezan, according to the NGO Monitor. All are funded by European governments.

Last year the legal codes were revised in Britain to prevent such tactics, but this weekend’s incident highlighted loopholes in the legislation.

At least Livni did not lose her sense of humor over the matter, tweeting her take on a recent anti-Israel comment by British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn:

The summons against Livni was ultimately cancelled after intervention by the Israeli Embassy in London and action by senior officials in the ministries of foreign affairs and justice, which required granting Livni diplomatic immunity.

It has become particularly enticing for these bodies to use the European Union nations for this purpose, since the EU has been especially supportive of the PA activities.

The European Union has financially supported and even participated in illegal PA construction in Area C territories where under the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, where Israel is supposed to have full legal, administrative and security control.

Hana Levi Julian

Berlin Rabbi Urges European Rabbis to ‘Help Save EU’ to Keep Jews Safe

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal, Rabbi of the Jewish community of Berlin, called on fellow European rabbis this week to “help save the European Union” in the wake of the British vote to leave the European body.

Rabbi Teichtel met Tuesday with Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary head of the German Social Democratic Party (SDP), the second largest party in Germany, at his offices at the Bundestag. The two discussed the future of Europe and its Jewish communities, in light of the British referendum.

The Berlin rabbi told Oppermann that he has been encouraging fellow European rabbis and Jewish leaders to ‘take action’ and prevent any further breaking in the EU.

“I call upon the leaders of all Jewish communities around Europe to do whatever they can and execute all of their influence, in order to prevent any other countries from leaving the EU,” Teichtel said.

During the meeting, Oppermann expressed his worries about the continent’s political future.

“The EU means that people can move from one country to another and can settle down. If anyone believes that they should go back to their own nation and try to live for themselves, it is not the right way,” he said.

Oppermann added, “We have to cooperate, we have to work together and we have to keep this European Union. We don’t want more ‘Brexits’ or “exits” so that the people of Europe will get the feeling that we have to defend our values, our democracy, our freedom and our welfare.”

Oppermann also spoke of the importance of the relations between the Jewish communities and the EU. “It is equally important to keep the EU in good constitution because it enables us to have Jewish life in every European country, one that can develop from one country to another. Jewish life is a great enrichment to have in Europe, in Israel and all around the world,” he said. Teichtel maintains that the establishment of the EU and the multi-cultural approach it symbolizes contributes to the welfare of Europe’s Jewish communities.

He told Opperman “the possibility of dismantling the EU and reverting back to nation states should worry all Jewish people around Europe… A strong European union is a paramount interest to the Jewish people of Europe in general and to Jewish people of Germany in particular.”

The two also discussed the rising worries among Berlin’s Jewish community in the wake of the ‘Brexit.’

“It is a worrisome sign to the strengthening of nationalism and of extreme right-wing parties and movements,” Teichtel warned. “The Jewish community in Berlin joins a great number of Jewish community leaders from all over Europe who expressed their sorrow over the UK’s decision.”

The rabbi thanked MP Oppermann for his support for the Jewish life, speaking of the politician’s “support of Jewish life… I recognize your achievements, your dedication, and your care and I want to thank you in the name of the community here. I wish that God will give you great success in all your important work.”

Earlier that day, speaking at the Bundestag, Oppermann urged Chancellor Angella Merkel to carry the negotiations “as quickly as possible, in order to provide clarity.

“Years of stalemate’ will not serve Europe’s interests”, he said. “We want fair negotiations and to continue deep and friendly relations with the United Kingdom. But there must be no rewards for nationalism and European hostility. If the message is at the end, that one can get rid of the liabilities, without losing the benefits, then there will soon be referendums everywhere.”

Hana Levi Julian

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.

JNi.Media

Analysis: One Scary Outcome of Brexit Could Be Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn

Friday, June 24th, 2016

As a million more Britons said no than yes to their country’s EU membership, Israel’s future relationship with the UK may take a downturn, and not because of the argument Prime Minister David Cameron was making during his campaign to remain in the Union.

Cameron earlier this week told an audience at the Jewish Care dinner in London that he wants to be at the EU discussion table, influencing policy whenever the EU decides on yet another anti-Israel move. Cameron also attacked Brexit proponent UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s message as being “opposite of everything that makes Britain great.”

“When we’re fighting terrorism and Islamist extremism are we better doing that out on our own or fighting together with our European partners,” Cameron said at the dinner (which raised almost $7 million). “When Europe is discussing its attitude towards Israel do you want Britain – Israel’s greatest friends – in there opposing boycotts, or do you want us outside the room, powerless to affect the conversation.”

It’s a nice argument, made by the same greatest friend of Israel who only last February called Israeli construction in eastern Jerusalem “genuinely shocking” during a discussion in Parliament. “I am well-known for being a strong friend of Israel, but I have to say the first time I visited Jerusalem and had a proper tour around that wonderful city and saw what had happened with the effective encirclement of East Jerusalem, occupied East Jerusalem, it is genuinely shocking,” Cameron said during a weekly question-answer session.

With friends like that…

But that’s water under the bridge now, on Friday morning, after Cameron has already announced he is quitting his post as Prime Minister since Britain had voted to leave the European Union after being a member since the 1970s. “We must now prepare for a renegotiations with the EU,” he said, explaining that “above all this will require strong determined and committed leadership. I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in that direction.”

The Labour party’s response to the referendum results was a masterpiece of spin. Unlike the Conservatives, who were split over Brexit, Labour was all out in favor of remaining in the EU. Now read the Labour talking points as sent out to members Friday morning:

“Clearly many communities across our country feel left behind and cut off by the political establishment in Brussels and Westminster. This was a rejection of the status quo by millions of people who are not sharing in the wealth of this country, for whom the economy is not working.

“After this divisive campaign and close vote, the first task is to come together and heal the divisions. Our country is divided and things need to change. Politicians on all sides must respect the voice of the British people, who have spoken.

“Labour is the only party that can meet the challenge we now face. We realize that people want politicians who put them first. As the party that stands up for working people, Labour is best placed re-unite the country – we can do so as we did not engage in project fear, and we share people’s dissatisfaction with the status quo, which is why we put a critical case for both remain and reform.

“In making this argument Labour showed that it is far closer to the centre of gravity of the British public than other political parties. Jeremy is uniquely placed as a critical remainer. He understands why people voted to leave, he understood people’s criticisms of Europe – and is the only leader of a major party in Britain to whom that applies.”

The talking points document concluded:

“The Tories cannot possibly provide the leadership we need — they are divided from top to bottom. It is hard to see how David Cameron has a long-term future as Prime Minister, but Labour’s immediate priority is to stabilize the country and the markets.”

Possibly. Which would throw a new, more menacing light on Cameron’s warnings regarding Israel’s only friend in Great Britain: should the Tories exit stage-right, Israel would not need to worry so much about facing a more hostile European Union, rather it should be concerned about facing arch-anti-Israel Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

JNi.Media

‘Bye Bye Brussels!’ – Britain Votes to Leave the EU

Friday, June 24th, 2016

British citizens are done with being one of many — 28, to be precise — and they made their views clear in a referendum Thursday with a vote to leave the European Union.

They wanted their borders back, their own British Pound Sterling, thank you, and the safety of being able to make their own security decisions.

The vote was called late Thursday night at 52 percent in favor of ‘Brexit’ as the leaving was called, and 48 percent against, according to ITV and the BBC.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who said his position would be ‘untenable’ if the country chose not to remain within the EU, now finds himself having to decide his next move. Cameron had warned there would be “no turning back” if the UK were to separate itself from the European body, looking at the impact on banks and other financial institutions as well as other issues.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage described a poster showing a line of asylum seekers as “a statement about the whole of the European Union,” according to CNN. Farage delivered a victory speech to supporters upon hearing the news of the final results at a polling station in Birmingham.

The ‘victory’ may be a bit premature, however: Scotland warned from the outset that should England decide to leave the EU, the decision would launch a discussion about whether or not to hold another referendum on whether or not to secede from the United Kingdom.

Should Scotland vote for independence, the UK decision to leave the European Union — which may ultimately lead to the disintegration of the EU — will have led to its own dissolution as well.

Analysts around the world are now weighing the effect of the British decision on the world economy and it impacts individual nations along with their currencies, pension funds and banking systems. It is also not clear what effect this will have on the British Jewish community both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

In trading Thursday night, the British pound Sterling fell against the U.S. dollar and against the euro; however, the euro fell against the Japanese yen as well. All three stock markets dropped, and were set to open lower on Friday.

Political leaders in Europe are now deeply concerned that the split that exists in England may continue to divide other member states in the EU, prompting them to leave as well and perhaps lead to the dissolution of the entire European body.

Hana Levi Julian

Rightwing NGO Proves the Left Has No Sense of Humor, Introspection [video]

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Israel’s remaining vestige of leftwing cultural tradition, Ha’aretz, fell for a rightwing hoax that exposed it as utterly bereft of the capacity for introspection, and worse, utterly without a sense of humor. This absence of humor could be attributed both to the paper’s proud tradition of German publishing (Ve don’t like jokes, sank you very much), as well as to the decline of the Israeli left, which used to do funny.

What’s good for the goose, the gander should at least try once, figured Israeli rightwing NGO Regavim, which is usually engaged in tracking European Union and Arab violations of real estate regulations in areas legally under Israeli control in Judea and Samaria. If upwards of 30 Israeli and Arab leftwing NGOs are receiving millions of euros annually to influence Israeli policy, why not invest a couple of shekels in influencing European policy? Take, for instance, the Brexit referendum coming up this week, in which Britons will decide whether or not to leave the European Union, and which all UK citizens find annoying, humiliating and repressive, but about half of them say it’s worth it for the economic benefits (which brings to mind certain obvious professions).

So Regavim launched a campaign featuring a website with a message to expat Britons in Israel to vote yes on leaving the EU: Support Israel – Leave Europe, which features some inflammatory text, actually making their case about the goose and the gander:

“The EU pumps hundreds of millions of pounds into Israel annually through an array of NGOs in addition to the Palestinian Authority. With over 200 land disputes worldwide, the EU’s constant singling out of Israel is tantamount to state sponsored anti-Semitism.

“For decades, the pro-Israel community has sat and watched as the Europeans increase their influence and meddle with the lives and future of the people of Israel. Finally Israel supporters in the UK and abroad can take a stand against the EU, by voting leave.”

How much could that have cost? Eight bucks to register the URL, plus, say $50 to get a guy to put it up. Then they invested another hundred bucks or so in a video showing a Hamas traditionally masked press conference encouraging Britons to stay in the EU, because it would advance the Hamas cause. The bang they got for their buck was huge, because Ha’aretz reporter Uriel David leaped on the opportunity to slam the right, leaped without looking, we should add.

“Rightwing NGO Receiving Public Funds Calling on British to Leave the Union” was the headline, followed by, “The rightwing NGO Regavim supports the UK leaving the European Union as revenge for its support for the Palestinians. A January examination revealed that, according to the same NGO, it received about 11 million shekels ($2.85 million) from government entities.”

Then Ha’aretz added, without a shred of self awareness, apparently, after decades in which it has supported the vast flow of European money to fully fund anti-Israeli, leftwing NGOs: “Regavim is a non-profit active in favor of judaizing lands and against illegal Palestinian construction in Israel and the West Bank. The organization’s heads often criticize the European Union and other international entities for their alleged (sic) intervention in Israel’s internal affairs and their support for illegal construction programs.”

So now it’s been established, the goose really hates it when the gander is doing goosey things, and sees nothing funny about it.

 

Finally, the most rewarding reaction from the left came from Peace Now founder Yariv Oppenheimer, who regularly reminds you of the kid who gets picked last for games but hasn’t given up trying to look cool, who tweeted: “The Israeli government is funding an NGO that tries to meddle in the internal affairs of another country? Can it be?”

Hey, if the Brexit goes in favor of cutting away from the continent—a move endorsed by John Cleese of Monty Python fame, who really knows humor—it could be blamed on those pesky settlers.

JNi.Media

Israel Exports 500 Million Predatory Insects, Bumblebees, to Russia

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Israel has sent Russia 500 million predatory insects as part of its assistance in developing an independent Russian agriculture.

Following the European boycott on Russian produce as a result of the Russian invasion of Crimea, Russian agriculture was abruptly cut off from its traditional economic base, and so the state is investing great efforts in developing and sustaining the local agriculture — which is where Israel’s superior agricultural know-how comes into the picture. Israeli companies are now working to construct hothouses for Russian farmers, and consult them on utilizing innovative methods, including using natural, non-toxic methods to get rid of pests.

BioBee Biological Systems, in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, just south of Beit She’an in northern Israel, is a unique company which breeds and implements beneficial insects and mites (swirskii, phytoseiulus persimilis) for agricultural purposes. These have proven priceless in pest control in tomatoes, cucumbers and roses.

BioBee also sent Russian farmers its home-grown bumblebees for pollination, without which there is no horticulture.

Part of the collaboration involves experiments being carried out by BioBee in using bumblebees to pollinate cherry orchards in Crimea. The company expects that should the trials prove a success this would open new markets for Israel in pollinating cherry trees around the world.

Crop pollination by insects has been estimated at $14.6 billion to the US economy, for instance, but bee diversity has declined considerably in the US and Europe, with many species disappearing from much of their former range, and some species going extinct. The UK alone has lost three species of native bumblebee, and six more are listed as endangered. Four bumblebee species have gone extinct from Europe, and similar declines are seen in China.

Chinese agricultural publications have described falling and increasingly unpredictable yields of insect-pollinated crops, particularly in the areas with the most intensive farming. Where crops are grown in vast fields, there are not enough insects to go around. And where insecticides are sprayed frequently, those vital little pollinators cannot survive.

Israeli innovation offers a viable solution to a major problem plaguing world agriculture, combining non-toxic pest control in a growing number of crops, with a complementary plan to revitalize the bumblebee hives around the world.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-exports-500-million-predatory-insects-bumblebees-to-russia/2016/06/19/

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