All posts by ASW Secretary

Antisemitism in Europe – Israeli Government response

Israel approves $46 million plan to absorb the Jewish immigration of thousands of European Jews.

“We are telling our Jewish brothers and sisters that Israel is your home,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during the cabinet meeting. “We are bracing ourselves and calling for a mass immigration from Europe.”

Read the full Haaretz report.

Bonehill #liberatestamfordhill arrested and banned

Joshua Bonehill, the one man band far right nationalist behind the ‘Liberate Stamford Hill’ protest who has finally managed to find a cause that gives him publicity, was arrested on Friday 13th February 2015.

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Bonehill on his own website explained that his home was stormed by 20 Metropolitan Police Officers and that he subsequently was arrested.

He goes on to complain that the police officers turned his house upside down and his privacy was destroyed as they seized mobile phones, a laptop and his militaria (Nazi?) interests. He further moans of a long and torturous, entirely miserable day sat rotting in the cells of Yeovil police station

Subsequently, he explains, he was bailed with a condition not to enter the area contained within the M25 motorway except to answer police bail in London. In other words, he has been banned from London and this is due to last until the 26th March 2015 (after the date of the proposed ‘Liberate Stamford Hill’ protest.

The Metropolitan Police used to have a slogan, “Keeping London Safe” – looks like it still is!

Major ASW investigation into Antisemitism in Scandinavia

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Following the terrorist outrage in Denmark, ASW have undertaken a major investigation into Antisemitism in the Scandinavian countries.

Typically, the likes of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland are often described in the media as some of the most content countries in the world. They are renowned for their generous social welfare programs, childcare and education provision. What is the reality for the long-established Jewish communities there?

Sweden’s history, for example, when it comes to Jews is not a happy one. It was not until 1870 that Jews were permitted to settle wherever they wanted in the country. Indeed, Sweden was behind the proposal to stamp a big “J” in the passports of German Jews, to prevent Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany from entering.

In Norway during WWII, the civilian police in many cases helped the German occupiers to arrest those Jews who failed to escape in time.

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Back in 2012 Finland’s Helsinki Jewish community security officer was advising members not to wear a kippah in public for fear of Antisemitic attacks. The security officer added that the community faced six to ten Antisemitic incidents a month (see original article). Only 1,500 Jews live in Finland today, many of them descendants of the Jewish soldiers who served in the Russian army in Finland in the mid-19th century, when Finland was an autonomous grand duchy of the czarist empire.

Norway too has had its fair share of Antisemitic incidents over the years, like back in 2012 when Professor Johan Galtung, a Norwegian academic, went on an Antisemitic rant linking mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik to the Mossad, while suggesting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are what led to the Holocaust (read more). In the same article, Irwin Cohen, the president of the Jewish community in Norway, reached out to reporters, making allegations reminiscent of the pre-second world war atmosphere in Europe, and warning that Antisemitism was growing in the county.

For many years, reported Ingrid Carlqvist and Lars Hedegaard (in a fascinating Gatestone Institute article) Sweden’s Malmö Jews have suffered from a growing number of hate crimes against their synagogue and themselves, but nobody has taken their complaints seriously.

That brings us to the recent terrorist outrage in Denmark just yesterday (although it is worth knowing that the BBC on Radio Four this afternoon suggested only that ‘others’ were referring to it as a terrorist incident). In 2014, The Copenhagen Post covered a meeting between political leaders and Jewish and Muslim representatives to examine the extent of the rise of Antisemitism triggered by the conflict in Gaza.

Their report cited The Jewish Society of Denmark alleging that they had reports of 29 physical, verbal and online attacks on Jews in a one month period from the conflict in Gaza flaring up.

The murderous attack yesterday can be seen in the context of an ongoing rising tide of global Antisemitism. However, it is also part of a specific Scandinavian context that must give us all, and particularly the Jewish communities there, cause for concern.

 

 

 

 

 

Update on shooting in Denmark

It is being reported that the guard killed outside of the synagogue in Copenhagen was a 37 year old local Jewish man, Dan Ozen. Two police officers were also  injured, shot in the arm and leg. At the time of the shooting a Bar Mitzvah was going on inside the shul.

Reportedly, police have subsequently shot the male they believe responsible for this attack who is also suspected of the attack on a cafe earlier in the day. CCTV played a crucial role in locating the shooter who was killed in the shootout near a train station.

While the identity of the suspect is known to police they have not released his details.

Look out for the ASW investigation into Antisemitism in Scandinavia coming shortly.

Shots fired in Denmark near synagogue

BBC news are reporting several people have been injured after shots were fired near a synagogue in Copenhagen, Danish police say.

One person was reportedly hit in the head, and two police officers had arm and leg injuries. The attacker is believed to have fled.

It is not clear whether the shooting is connected to an earlier attack on a cafe in the city.

There, a gunman killed one person and injured three at a free speech debate attended by a Swedish cartoonist.

ASW is born

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This is the first report from ASW.  Make sure you make us your number one learning and reference point for keeping a watch on Antisemitism.

Let us bring you up-to-date with just what is being reported currently. You may be surprised. We are not!

Archbishop of Canterbury is shocked by the rise in Antisemitism (article by Tim Wyatt).

Barry Finestone makes a fine argument that in order to tackle the current rise in Antisemitism world Jewry needs to take a leaf out of its not too distant past. He examines what the Soviet Jewry movement achieved, “We were intelligent, we were strategic, we were proactive and we just kept on fighting.” Interesting point, what do we think? Let us know below.

We could not possibly make this up even if we tried. The German government has established an Antisemitism commission that will examine the rising tide in Germany and report back in two years time. One problem, they have decided that not one single Jew will form part of the commission! (See article)

Is President Obama sending out the right message at the time of growing Antisemitism? (Chary Greengart: Treat out guests well)

Padraig Reidy in an interesting article discusses the question of whether Antisemitism should be banned from social media (alongside, no doubt, other forms of racist abuse)? Read for yourself and let us know your views?

Gordon Hecker, chief of the Jewish Federation of Columbus (Ohio, USA), recently visited Paris and spoke of the fact that there,”Is something really horrific that is going on in Europe.” The Columbus Dispatch reports on his visit (see article).

The common theme is clear. Here in the UK and across the world there is a nasty tide of Antisemitism that is rolling in. Do not be blind to it. Do not ignore it. ASW, B’H, by rooting it out and exposing the truth will continue to be your number one learning platform.