In a move that may surprise some, more than half of the right-wing populists Alternative for Germany (AfD) lawmakers in the German state Baden-Württemberg have resigned following their failed attempt to oust a fellow parliamentarian who referred to Judaism as an “enemy” of Europe.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the AfD leader in the state’s parliament and 12 other members of the 23-member group stepped down.
The controversy is over Wolfgang Gedeon, a former doctor who quickly came under fire for several anti-Semitic remarks in writings he had published years earlier. One statement he made was to criticise the creation of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in central Berlin, saying “certain crimes” were being given too much attention.
His three-volume, 600-page opus on Christian culture in the West was subtitled “The challenges presented to Europe by secularism, Zionism and Islam”. He also wrote that while Judaism was the “domestic enemy” of the Christian West, equal suspicion should be placed on the “external enemy,” Islam.
Jörg Meuthen, the leader of the AfD in Baden-Württemberg, vowed to remove Gedeon from office. But to do so, he needed a two-thirds majority which he did not secure.
As quoted by DW, Meuthen said that “a clearing-out process” was often necessary in newly founded political parties, and that he believed that “anti-Semitism cannot and may not have any place in the AfD”.
Algeria’s soccer team have pulled out of a friendly match with Ghana only because the latter has an Israeli head coach.
The Algerian team dropped out of the match to ensure that Avram Grant did not enter the country.
“The Algerian national team cancelled the friendly match with Ghana because it refused to host Ghana’s Israeli coach, Avraham (sic) Grant,” Algerian journalist Ayman Gada confirmed on Facebook.
Grant, the former Chelsea manager, has been in Ghana for the past two years. He had been the coach of the Israeli national team from 2002 to 2006.
Algeria last played Ghana in 2015’s Africa Cup of Nations, when Grant’s team won 1-0.
Algeria has long been a supporter of the Palestinian cause. The country used to have more than 100,000 Jews, but the vast majority of them left after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and during the country’s bloody war of independence against France.
Algeria has a mixed attitude toward Jews. In 2014 the country announced it would reopen synagogues that had been closed since the 1990s. However in 2015 Algerian Islamists called for attacks on Jews and later that year a video surfaced of Algerian troops marching to chants about murdering Jews.
Algeria came fourth on a list of the world’s most anti-Semitic countries.
The Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University on Tuesday honored World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder with the prestigious Guardian of Zion Award for his efforts in the perpetuation and strengthening of Jerusalem.
In his acceptance speech, Lauder outlined the challenges facing the Jewish world today and spoke about his vision for contending with contemporary anti-Semitism. “Over the last 20 years, and for the first time since the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is acceptable again,” Lauder said. “Unlike the anti-Semitism of the past, today it comes not just from the Far-Right, but increasingly it comes from the Far-Left. And the new target for this age-old hatred is not the ‘International Jew,’ as Henry Ford called us. Today, it is the Jewish state of Israel, which is constantly vilified throughout the media, on the internet, at the United Nations, and on almost every college campus.”
Lauder went on to say: “Let’s make one thing crystal-clear right now. When someone says they are not anti-Jewish, they are only anti-Israel, that is a lie. When you hold the only Jewish nation to a different standard than any other country, when you make up lies about the only Jewish nation, its past and its present, and when you want the only Jewish nation on earth to disappear, that makes you an anti-Semite. Pure and simple.”
The WJC president expressed disappointment in the United Nations’ resolve at contending with these issues, saying international body was losing legitimacy as it allowed anti-Jewish sentiment to undermine it.
Lauder said that for Jews today, “our destiny is in our own hands.”
The World Jewish Congress had come a long way since its founding in 1936, Lauder said, from the days when it had to turn to the world for help. But now, he pointed out, “the era of the quiet Jew is over.”
Lauder said the WJC was working to engage young Jewish leaders, including the flagship WJC-Jewish Diplomatic Corps program, a group of more than 200 young professionals who assist the WJC in its diplomatic and outreach endeavors as emissaries in their respected countries around the world. “I intend to make our young people, proud of their heritage again. I want them to have the same pride that we had when we were younger.”
Lauder also discussed the WJC’s efforts in combating attacks on Israel in the legal realm and on campuses, and proposed to enhance Jewish public relations efforts, “so that we, not our enemies will define who we are.”
He ended his speech with a plea: “This is the job before us now. We have to help our children and our grandchildren dust off their hearts, we have to help them re-discover that Jewish flame inside them. This isn’t just important for Jews, it’s important for everyone, Jews and gentiles, because for over 5,000 years, that flame has been lighting the entire world.”
The Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies was established at Bar-Ilan University in 1995 by US Jewish community leaders Ingeborg Hanna and Ira Leon Rennert as an expression of their heartfelt commitment to the preservation and advancement of Jerusalem’s unique heritage. Integrating studies on the history, archaeology, geography, demography, economy and sociology of Jerusalem, the Rennert Center has become the foremost academic center in the international academic community studying aspects of Jerusalem’s past and present.
This is the 20th year the Rennert Center is conferring the Guardian of Zion Award. Last year’s award was bestowed upon former US Senator Joe Lieberman. Additional recipients have included Jonathan Sacks, James S. Snyder, Dore Gold, Malcolm Hoenlein, Caroline Glick, Norman Podhoretz, Daniel Pipes, William Safire, Arthur Cohn, Charles Krauthammer, Cynthia Ozick, A.M. Rosenthal, Herman Wouk and Elie Wiesel.
When “Mein Kampf” fell into the public domain on January 1 this year, enabling it to be freely printed, often those that choose to do so justified it as the publication of a historical document. The merits of that argument were undoubtedly dubious although the German edition, published for the first time since World War II, included critical annotations by historians.
However, on Saturday, a right-wing Italian newspaper was giving away free copies of Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic manifesto in a move which, unsurprisingly, has sparked both shock and condemnation.
“Know it in order to reject it” was the weak justification given by conservative tabloid Il Giornale. Known for its right-wing position, notably over the question of immigration, Il Giornale has a circulation of around 200,000.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi quickly denounced the initiative on Twitter, writing: “I find it sordid that an Italian daily is giving away Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’. I embrace the Jewish community with affection. #neveragain”
It was also denounced by Italy’s 30,000-strong Jewish community, “It is a vile act, light years away from any in-depth learning or study about the Holocaust,” said Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, describing the initiative as “indecent.”
The paper said the text was being freely distributed alongside the first of a series of eight history books on the Nazi Third Reich.
For 70 years, the German state of Bavaria which was handed copyright of the book in 1945, refused to allow it to be republished out of respect for the victims of the Nazis and to prevent incitement of hatred.
“Together we’ll burn Jews, because Jews burn the best.”
This is the vile anti-Semitic soccer chant often heard during matches connected to Amsterdam’s Ajax football team. Their players and supporters are often dubbed “Jews” because of the historic Jewish presence in the city, which is sometimes colloquially called “Mokum” after the Yiddish word for “place.”
However, high school pupils of Elde College in the town of Schijndel, 70 miles southeast of Amsterdam decided to repeat the chant during their recent graduation gala ceremony, the Brabants Dagblad daily reported on Wednesday.
The student body and organizing committee of the Elde College gala expressed their sincere apologies for the incident, but Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs said the guilty parties “must be prosecuted for hate speech.”
Jacobs referenced the incident during his speech earlier this week in Vught, at a ceremony for Jewish Holocaust victims at a former Nazi internment camp. “Only six years ago, we were profoundly shocked when two young men screamed ‘Heil Hitler’ during a commemoration ceremony at Vught,” he said. “But today, this wouldn’t be so shocking anymore. It is happening all the time in the Netherlands, and we must face this change with honesty, and combat it with education and severe punishments for violators.”
The Chief Rabbi’s own home in Amersfoort has been attacked five times in recent years, especially during periods of unrest in Israel.
Emily Austen, a Fox Sports Reporter, was fired Friday after making insensitive remarks about Mexican, Jewish and Chinese people.
Austen’s troubles stemmed from an appearance on social media video where she disparaged Mexican and Chinese people after being asked about a high school valedictorian who used Twitter to brag about being an undocumented citizen.
“I didn’t even know Mexicans were that smart. …That’s f***ed up,” Austen said. “I didn’t mean it like that. You see, you guys know that the Chinese guy is always the smartest guy in math class.”
After that the reporter added some anti-Semitic remarks when talking about her work experience as a bar worker in Florida.
“The way I used to talk to the Jews in Boca. I just didn’t care,” she said. “They would complain and b***h about everything. I gave a guy, delivered his beer, and he was complaining to me that there was too much head. I knew that he was a stingy a** and he wasn’t going to give me a tip.”
Early Friday, Fox Sports sent out a statement regarding Austen.
“We were made aware that Emily Austen appeared in a social media video unaffiliated with FOX Sports in which she made insensitive and derogatory comments. She was not speaking on behalf of Fox Sports, nor do we condone any of the statements she made in the video,” Steve Tello, the network’s senior vice president, said. “Emily has been advised that her comments were unacceptable, and she is not scheduled to appear on any upcoming Fox Sports Florida or Fox Sports Sun broadcasts.”
The writing may have been on the wall even before the statement. At the end of the video show, host Dan Katz joked, “we might have to hire you because you’re gonna get fired.”
Police say they are treating a Belfast arson attack on a memorial recognising the contribution of Jewish soldiers in the World Wars as a hate crime.
The memorial relates the history of Colonel John Henry Patterson, from Co Westmeath, who had a distinguished war record and notably led the Zion Mule Corps, dubbed “the first Jewish fighting force in nearly two millennia” who fought in the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War.
It also incorporates a panel highlighting Patterson’s links to the Jewish state and a quotation from Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing him as “the godfather of the Israeli Army”.
Speaking to UTV, Pastor Paul Burns, from the Adullam Christian Fellowship, Belfast, said he was saddened by the attack, which he believed was anti-Semitic.
Pastor Burns, who has Jewish heritage, said it was particularly upsetting, coinciding with a deadly attack in a Tel Aviv market, that left four Israelis dead.
He said Belfast’s small Jewish community had been “deeply hurt, deeply alarmed” by the incident.
William Humphrey, a DUP MLA for the area said the attack was “clearly designed to raise tensions,” coming as it did, on the back of several instances of vandalism of a war memorial in Woodvale Park.
He said the memorial was “welcomed in the community, in Shankill, but also by the Jewish community as it showed the historic links between Belfast and Israel”.
Mr Humphrey called for calm and said those behind the attacks “need to take a long look at themselves,” as “those whom the memorial commemorates have done a great service to freedom and democracy”.
South African archbishop and prominent anti-Israel campaigner Desmond Tutu has joined politicians in Belgium in nominating imprisoned Palestinian arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Tutu tabled the nomination in a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Monday in which he hailed the convicted murderer a symbol of the “struggle for freedom, [which] constitutes a clear signal of support for the realization of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights, including to self-determination.”
Tutu is a longtime anti-Israel activist, and is a member of the “International High Level Committee of the Campaign for the freedom of Barghouti and all Palestinian prisoners.”
Barghouti is the former leader of the Tanzim armed wing of Fatah and was convicted in Israel of being the founder of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, another Fatah terror group.
He was convicted in 2004 on five counts of murder and one attempted murder, and was implicated in and held responsible for four other terror attacks.
In his letter, Tutu characterized Barghouti’s actions as fighting “for freedom and peace,” and – even more ironically – hailed the mass-murderer as “an active advocate and defender of democracy and human rights, include women’s rights, and of pluralism, both religious and political, in a region and a world that desperately needs such advocates.”
Barghouti received his support in Belgium from both the Senate and House of Representatives who penned a letter to the Nobel nominating committee praising him as a peace activist and key to future talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
While Tutu and others attempt to manipulate and distort the true character of Barghouti, the victims and countless grieving relatives of his attacks are the only ones with the legitimacy to be heard.
Canada’s post office says it will no longer deliver a crude Toronto-area newspaper that repeatedly denied the Holocaust, praised Adolf Hitler and derided Jews, Muslims, women and the LGBT community.
Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote, who oversees Canada Post, issued an order on June 6 against the future delivery of Your Ward News, a free, low-budget newspaper sent to 350,000 homes in the east end of Toronto. The publication claims an online readership of over 1 million.
The publication has been the subject of complaints for years, the Canadian Jewish News reported. B’nai Brith Canada said it has received “literally hundreds of phone calls and emails from people who have felt victimized by the content in this publication.”
The newspaper has defended itself as satire protected by free speech.
Amanda Hohmann, national director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights, said her group was pleased to see that the government “has taken appropriate steps to protect Canadians from this kind of hate propaganda.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs also hailed Canada Post’s move.
“Freedom of speech – a core Canadian value – is cheapened and corroded when it is cynically used by extremists to justify the dissemination of hate,” said CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel. “The fact that the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has supported efforts to ban the delivery of Your Ward News reflects a broad consensus about the nature of the racist propaganda featured in this newsletter.”
Your Ward News editor James Sears has filed a request for a review of Canada Post’s decision. An appeal would consist of a panel appointed by the minister. He called the Canada Post move an “Orwellian order”.
“We’re just a satirical, offensive newspaper,” Sears told CBC News. “It has been found multiple times by Canada Post lawyers that we’re not breaking any hate-speech laws.”
Sears is a former Toronto medical doctor who was stripped of his license in 1992 after a court found him guilty of sexually assaulting female patients.
An Orthodox Jewish woman is suing her former employer the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) after it punished her for observing Passover.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty joined together with the American Jewish Committee, one of the leading US Jewish advocacy groups, to file a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday defending the right of employees to observe their religious holidays.
“It takes some chutzpah for the government to punish a Jewish woman for celebrating Passover,” said Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel at Becket. “That didn’t work out so well for Pharaoh.”
Susan Abeles worked for the MWAA for 26 years and each year was given approved time off to observe Passover in accordance with her Orthodox Jewish beliefs. In 2013, Ms. Abeles followed the same procedure, giving ample notice and several reminders about her upcoming time off. However, when she returned to work, her superiors accused her of failing to follow proper protocol for obtaining leave. Eventually they forced her into early retirement.
MWAA claims that even though it was specifically created by Congress and exercises powers Congress gave it, MWAA has nothing to do with the federal government. At the same time MWAA says it is not subject to state laws either. That would lead to the absurd and frightening result that MWAA is a law until itself.
Unsurprisingly, Becket and the American Jewish Committee argue that MWAA is not above the law.
Passover is observed for eight days, and Jewish religious law prohibits work during the first two and last two days. Millions of Orthodox Jews like Ms. Abeles have observed Passover for thousands of years, yet the MWAA’s policy is to simply ignore this important religious holiday.
“This case is just one more example of the rampant antisemitism that Orthodox Jews face every day,” said Rassbach. “In recent years there has been a concerted effort to keep the Orthodox out of certain neighborhoods, out of certain schools, and out of certain jobs. The Fourth Circuit [Court of Appeals] can send a strong message in favor of interreligious understanding by recognizing MWAA’s duty to provide reasonable accommodations to believers.”