Category Archives: Europe

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Italian newspaper derided for giving away free copies of ‘Mein Kampf’

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1 this year, enabling it to be freely printed, often those that choose to do so justified it as the publication of a historical document.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”

Il Giornale

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.

Anti-Semitic Dutch soccer chant makes its way to school

“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.”

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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.

Repeat desecration of French synagogue

The President of CRIF, the representative umbrella body of the French Jewish community, has strongly condemned the discovery of anti-Semitic tags on the front of the synagogue in Verdun and on the Rabbi’s house.

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Swastikas and the inscription ” white power ” were daubed on the synagogue during the weekend, nearly two months after a first desecration, said Jean-Claude Levy, president of the Jewish community in this city of eastern France.

” It’s the police who informed me. I went there and saw swastikas on the wall of the synagogue as well as the inscription ‘white power’’, he explained.

” The vandalism of a place of worship is unacceptable. I strongly condemn the anti-Semitic tags on the Verdun synagogue, ” said CRIF President Francis Kalifat on his Twitter account.

The president of the Jewish community of Verdun has asked to secure the synagogue to prevent such incidents from recurring. “The only solution we have is to secure the place. We will do everything to protect it. I’ll contact the Jewish Central Consistory of France,” Levy said.

Follow this link to the original article here.

Do we really believe new EU initiative will clean up anti-Semitic and other hate speech from social media?

The European Commission together with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft have today unveiled a code of conduct that includes a series of commitments to combat the spread of illegal hate speech online in Europe.media

The code is seen as part of the response to the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally.

While the effective application of provisions criminalising hate speech is dependent on a robust system of enforcement of criminal law sanctions against the individual perpetrators of hate speech, the Commission and IT companies recognised such work must be complemented with actions geared at ensuring illegal hate speech online is expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame. However, they did argue that to be considered valid in this respect, a notification should not be insufficiently precise or inadequately substantiated.

Twitter’s Head of Public Policy for Europe, Karen White, commented: “Hateful conduct has no place on Twitter and we will continue to tackle this issue head on alongside our partners in industry and civil society. We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow. However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate.”

Google’s Public Policy and Government Relations Director, Lie Junius, said: “We’re committed to giving people access to information through our services, but we have always prohibited illegal hate speech on our platforms. We have efficient systems to review valid notifications in less than 24 hours and to remove illegal content.”

Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management at Facebook said: “We welcome today’s announcement and the chance to continue our work with the Commission and wider tech industry to fight hate speech. With a global community of 1.6 billion people we work hard to balance giving people the power to express themselves whilst ensuring we provide a respectful environment. As we make clear in our Community Standards, there’s no place for hate speech on Facebook. We urge people to use our reporting tools if they find content that they believe violates our standards so we can investigate. Our teams around the world review these reports around the clock and take swift action.”

The code of conduct includes the following public commitments:

  • The IT Companies to have in place clear and effective processes to review notifications regarding illegal hate speech on their services so they can remove or disable access to such content.
  • Upon receipt of a valid removal notification, the IT Companies to review such requests against their rules and community guidelines and where necessary national laws.
  • The IT Companies to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.
  • The IT Companies to educate and raise awareness with their users about the types of content not permitted under their rules and community guidelines.
  • The IT Companies to encourage the provision of notices and flagging of content that promotes incitement to violence and hateful conduct at scale by experts.
  • The IT Companies to provide regular training to their staff on current societal developments and to exchange views on the potential for further improvement.
  • The IT Companies to intensify cooperation between themselves and other platforms and social media companies to enhance best practice sharing.
  • The IT Companies and the European Commission, recognising the value of independent counter speech against hateful rhetoric and prejudice, aim to continue their work in identifying and promoting independent counter-narratives, new ideas and initiatives and supporting educational programs that encourage critical thinking.

However, considering the sheer scale of anti-Semitic and other hate speech that floods social media platforms and the suspect nature of the IT companies response to it, we believe many in the community will wait to see the results of this initiative in action before endorsing it.

 

Jewish actress, “I do not see beauty as an advantage against anti-Semitism”

Popular French-Israeli actress Julia Levy-Boeken said that people would be shocked at the anti-Semitic comments people say in front of her, assuming she is not Jewish.

Julia Levy-Boeken (photo from Twitter)
Julia Levy-Boeken (photo from Twitter)

In an interview with French magazine Paris Match, Levy-Boeken, who was born in France, was asked by the interviewer whether her beauty protected her from anti-Semitism? The actress responded strongly suggesting, “
I do not see beauty as an advantage against anti-Semitism.”

However, Levy-Boeken did explain, “It is precisely because of my blond hair and fair skin that many people think I’m not Jewish, and I often hear comments that they wouldn’t dare say if they knew, like, ‘They [Jews] are everywhere’ or, ‘We are no longer the majority here.’ This has shocked me more than anything.”

Levy-Boeken is best known for her roles in the movie “World War Z,” the HBO hit series “Entourage” and the Israeli hit drama Ha-Alufa, where she played an American spy working for the Mossad.

The French-Israeli actress plays a small part in the upcoming controversial comedic movie “They Are Everywhere,” which critically examines anti-Semitism in France. Directed by French-Israeli director Yvan Attal, the film centres on a Jewish man (played by Attal himself) who attends therapy sessions to talk about how he was persecuted by growing anti-Semitism in France. His sessions are punctuated by a series of tragi-comic short stories showcasing the most tenacious anti-Semitic stereotypes.

Turkish Jewish wedding shown live on social media draws anti-Semitic influx

The small Jewish community in Edirne, in northwest Turkey, has waited patiently since 1976 for a wedding in its local synagogue – and when it finally occurred yesterday, the response it drew from other Turks was less than celebratory.

Edirne

The wedding was set to be such a significant and joyous event that it was decided to broadcast it via Periscope and Twitter – a particularly popular social medium in Turkey. However, it drew the attention of anti-Semites in the country, and the bride, groom and Jewish community in general were told, “Too bad Hitler didn’t finish the job” and the like.

Edirne has a Jewish history of some 1,500 years, but just 50 years ago, only 100 Jews lived in Edirne. Finally, the local Jewish cemetery there was confiscated by the authorities, and then destroyed to make way for a residential neighbourhood.

Then began the upswing. In 2013, the synagogue was renovated, and last year it was opened to the public. Its first wedding, yesterday, drew many members of the budding Jewish community, and the joy was great. Community leader Yitzchak Ibrahimzadeh even decided that it should be shared with the public at large, via Twitter. The happiness turned to consternation, however, as the responses began tweeting in: “Kill the Jews!” “Get out of occupied Palestine!” etc.

Ibrahimzadeh did not lose heart. “Many anti-Semites expressed their hatred on the Periscope broadcast,” he tweeted back. “Together, hand in hand, we will overcome them.” He proudly included pictures of a synagogue, church, mosque and Turkish flag, symbolizing his hope that unity would win the day.

The small Turkish-Jewish community, numbering not more than 17,000, disseminated the news of the anti-Semitic barrage, and it was mentioned in various news media.

Anti-Semitism in Turkey is a common phenomenon. Polls conducted in 2007–2009 showed that 64% of Turks would not want to see Jews as their neighbors, and 76% have a negative attitude towards Jews. A recent article by the New York-based Gatestone Institute entitled “Turkey’s Runaway Anti-Semitism” states that while there is “always an unusual optimism in the official language chosen by Israeli officials or Jewish community leaders [regarding anti-Semitism in Turkey], facts on the ground are a little bit different than the rosy picture.”

Follow this link to the original article here.

Latest United Nations farce supported by UK, France and Germany

The United Nations has demonstrated yet again just how unfit it is to hold that name title. Also worrying is how it has been supported in its last farce by the UK, France, Germany.

2016-05-26-16-01-14-267196083These nations, together with other EU states have voted for a UN resolution, co-sponsored by the Arab group of states and the Palestinian delegation, that uniquely singled out Israel at the annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the only violator of “mental, physical and environmental health.”

They further commissioned a WHO delegation to investigate and report on “the health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory” and in “the occupied Syrian Golan,” and to place it on the agenda again at next year’s meeting.

By contrast, the UN assembly did not address Syrian hospitals being bombed by Syrian and Russian warplanes, or millions of Yemenis denied access to food and water by the Saudi-led bombings and blockade, nor did it pass a resolution on China, North Korea, Libya or any other world nation.

Out of twenty-four items on the meeting’s agenda, only one, Item number nineteen against Israel, focused on a specific country.

“The UN reached new heights of absurdity today,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, “by enacting a resolution which accuses Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan, even as in reality Israeli hospitals continue their life-saving treatment for Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks.”

“Shame on Britain, France and Germany for encouraging this hijacking of the annual world health assembly, Neuer added.

In contrast to the shocking collaboration of the UK, France and Germany, there is much to commend the principled stand taken by the U.S., Canada, Australia, Paraguay, Guatemala, Micronesia and Papua New Guinea in joining Israel to oppose perpetuating a politicized agenda item.

The U.S. and Canada both took the floor today to strongly object to the anti-Israel exercise.

The vote was 107 to 8 for the resolution, with 8 abstentions and 58 absent.  The resolution calls for reports on a series of alleged Israeli violations, including on “the impact of prolonged occupation and human rights violations on mental,
physical and environmental health” in “the occupied Palestinian territory.”

By backing the measure, EU states effectively adopted an inflammatory report which, amongst other things, blamed the increase in Palestinian traffic accidents on the fear of “being pursued by settlers”; as well as a Syrian submission laced with anti-Semitic conspiracy tropes, yet circulated as an official UN document on the conference agenda, which alleges that “the Israeli occupation authorities” continue “to experiment on Syrian and Arab prisoners with medicines and drugs and to inject them with pathogenic viruses.”

Unable to deny Israel’s medical treatment of thousands of wounded Syrians, the regime accuses Israel of a plot: healing “armed terrorists from Jabhah al-Nusrah” so that they can “resume their subversive terrorist activities directed against the country’s peaceful citizens and its infrastructure.”

The EU states could have introduced their own resolution about how Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of its own people, destroying the health rights of the Syrian people.

Last month, France and Spain voted for an Arab-sponsored UNESCO resolution that contained the wild conspiracy accusation that Israel was “planting fake Jewish graves” in Jerusalem.

With today’s vote, which robs the world health assembly of limited time and resources in order to portray Israel as the world’s only violator of health rights, the entire EU now descends into irrationalism.

By scapegoating the Jewish state for all the world’s health problems, just as medieval Europe once accused the Jews of poisoning the wells, the EU aids and abets the UN and its World Health Organization to betray the cause of humanity and the very principles upon which they were founded.

This article is adapted from one published by UN Watch. Follow the link to it here.

Amsterdam to pay its Jewish community millions for Holocaust survivor taxes

The city of Amsterdam will give its Jewish community $11 million as compensation for taxes imposed on Holocaust survivors who returned home to the Dutch capital following World War II.

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Upon their return, according to an article in The Telegraph on Monday, the survivors were made to pay a tax because their homes were left empty during the Holocaust. They also had to pay back taxes for the years they had been taken away from the city, as well as insurance fees.

The taxes were discovered by a student in 2013, and that year, Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said the city should “put it right,” according to The Telegraph. On Friday, the city said it would pay the $11 million — an estimate of the total taxes paid by survivors following the war.

“Amsterdam has 5 million to 10 million euros in its coffers that it doesn’t want, and we have no right to it, so we want to give it back to the Jewish community to be used for important projects,” a spokesman for the mayor said, according to the Telegraph. “Finding the individual people or their relatives would be very costly and complex, and that is not the idea.”

The city has suggested the money be put toward a Holocaust memorial monument or community programs.