Tag Archives: kippah

Visibility must be a price worth paying as anti-Semitism continues to thrive in Europe

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When AntiSemitismWatch launched its groundbreaking survey on the experience of ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in the UK last year, it had a working premise. Namely, that their visibility would mean they were likely to have a markedly different experience in regards to anti-Semitism than the wider mainstream Jewish communities.

The results significantly bore out that theory, casting a huge shadow over the reliability of the published UK anti-Semitic hate crime figures.

Of all the respondents, 77% had witnessed or experienced anti-Semitism in the previous 12 months.

Of those, 49% had witnessed or experienced 3 or more anti-Semitic incidents (8% had witnessed or experienced 10 or more Anti-Semitic incidents in the previous 12 months).

images-3However, it would be wrong to leave the impression that vulnerability of visibility is an exclusive preserve of the ultra-Orthodox or the UK.

Just recently a Jewish student was denied a seat on a train in Berlin due to her Magen-David necklace.

Two women saw her, noticed her necklace, then put their bags on the empty seats next to them, to prevent her from sitting down.  They reaffirmed their actions through words of hate towards her.

Disgracefully, the other passengers studiously ignored what was going on and looked at the floor or window.

images-2The victim said she experiences such negative experiences whenever her Magen-David is visible, therefore,  usually choosing to hide it with a scarf.

On Wednesday we reported that Guy Muller of the Netherlands Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) explained the hazards of appearing externally Jewish in public: “If you walk around and are identifiable as a Jew, there is a higher chance that you will be attacked. We know that there are people who are attacked more than once each year.”

Famously, Zvi Ammar, the head of Marseille’s Israelite Consistory urged men to stop wearing their kippah after yet a further violent anti-Semitic attack on a Jew.

Mr Ammar called on Jews “not to wear the kippah in the street to avoid being identified as Jewish”.

“It is sad to find ourselves in this position in 2016, in a great democratic country like France,” he said.

images“But faced with an exceptional situation, we have to take exceptional measures. It causes me such pain to come to this conclusion but I do not want anyone to die in Marseille because they had a kippah on their head.”

This led to remarkable scenes of French politicians, so usually ardent in their advocacy of secularism, wearing kippot into the national parliament.

None of these are truly a surprise against the backdrop of the rocketing rates of European anti-Semitism.

Just to say it was revealed that 35% of Hungarians hold “high or moderate” anti-Semitic views.

The survey, which questioned 1,200 Hungarian citizens on their views toward Jews, was initiated by the Action and Protection Foundation, a Hungarian organization combating anti-Semitism in the country.

Twenty-three percent of respondents claimed to hold “extreme” anti-Semitic views towards Jews, while 12% claimed to hold “moderate” anti-Semitic views towards Jews. Shockingly, 31% said they do not wish to have Jewish neighbors.

Even in neighboring Poland there is a high level of anti-Semitism. A survey conducted by the National Institute for Public Opinion Research found that 37% of respondents said they “do not like Jews”.

Yet, despite all of this, does AntiSemitismWatch suggest hiding away our precious signs of our Judaism? Of course not!

Do not hide. Take sensible precautions, in the same way any community or individual should, and rally, campaign and argue the point, but never hide. When they have forced us into hiding, that is a victory, the first broken window.

It will only encourage more of the same actions. Instead, find wherever the hate is being preached and stand against it.

Stand strong our friends!

Is Sweden a lost cause? Has battle against anti-Semitism been lost?

In one of the most shocking recent anti-Semitism episodes to emerge, a Jewish-Israeli woman referred to as ‘A’ who emigrated to Sweden 39 years ago, has claimed she was fired from a teaching post for being Jewish.

images-6After just a week’s employment at the school in Malmö, the principal told ‘A’ there could be problems because of her origins. “It won’t be easy for you here. Most of the Swedish students are racists. They hate everybody, but especially the Jews, so it’s very possible you’ll ‘get it’ from both the Swedish and the Arab students.” He suggested she find a different job, far from any school.

Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, a Swedish-Jewish activist well-known in the country for her pro-Israel activism and both personal and public battles against anti-Semitism in Europe, told The Algemeiner that, “Malmö is lost to us. And by that I mean Sweden, not merely Jews. This is a city that represents an accelerated version of what we see going on in the rest of the country and the continent today.”

Annika Hernroth-Rothstein
Annika Hernroth-Rothstein

Hernroth-Rothstein said that Swedish municipalities have started segregating communal swimming pools, due to the complaints by young women that immigrant men molest them when they go swimming. This, she said, “is how Sweden responds to the violation of human rights and transgression of the Swedish law — it adapts to the perpetrator and abandons the victim, and I see the same thing happening to us Jews in Sweden today. Indeed, the teacher in question will likely receive neither a public apology nor compensation, but she is asked to adapt to the perpetrators and accept this reality. There is no excuse for this travesty of justice.”

‘A’ drew a similar analogy suggesting that Malmö “has become a place I no longer recognize. I feel the way I did when I arrived here 39 years ago – like a tourist. Though the buildings and streets are familiar, everything else has changed.”

When she started working in this school, the history teacher came to her and told explained, “I’m on your [ie, the Jews] side, but it’s important you know this school has a serious problem with racism.”

Although she naturally felt like crying when the principal fired her she also understood what problems he was talking about. She understood that it is not enough to cover up her Magen David necklace with scarves, and that she will have to continue and stay silent when people ask her about her origins.

Hernroth-Rothstein meanwhile also explained, “The Malmö orthodox Rabbi has long sounded the alarm and filed numerous police reports citing harassment, both physical and verbal. Yet the answer, from both politicians and intellectuals, has been to condemn the Jewish state and excuse anti-Semitism by saying that it is the logical consequence of Israeli military actions. The fish rots from the head, and Malmö is an excellent example of this, as it has sold out and abandoned its once significant Jewish population.”

Another former Israeli, Noami Lind, a friend of ‘A’, has said she faced similar problems. Lind emigrated to Sweden 34 years ago and lives in a Stockholm suburb, where she taught computer science.

“A girl was upset at her marks and told me she hopes Hitler will come back and finish the job. I always felt that the school administration wasn’t comfortable with the fact that I’m Israeli. They talked in class about the Holocaust, but despite that, they didn’t know how to deal with modern anti-Semitism. The school didn’t deal with the girl who said those racist things, even though it’s a criminal offense here. I’m a daughter of Holocaust survivors, and I took it really hard. My coworkers were amazing, they demanded the school lodge a complaint and expel the girl, but the administration didn’t do it.”

“Over the years, I also got uncalled for remarks from Arab students.” For example, an Arab student asked if she was Jewish, and when she answered in the affirmative, he started arguing and saying bad things. She also had a student from a Muslim country who became very devout “because the Jews control Coca-Cola and the all world.”

She finally decided she could not stand it. “I felt that I don’t want to expose myself. I left the school. I quit / was fired.”

When asked about the situation of the Jews in Sweden, Lind said, “They, the Swedes, are pushing us away. They’re scared, they don’t want conflicts. They suddenly didn’t feel comfortable because now there’s a lot of Muslim students, so they just push us, the Jewish teachers, away. It’s not easy and it’s not okay.”

She sued the school and was awarded the highest compensation level possible. However, she had not found a good job since.

Another Jewish teacher, Katrine Hamori, lives in Southern Sweden. Now retired, she said she faced anti-Semitic harassment. A few years ago, late at night, she got an anti-Semitic picture by mail. The picture showed two men with a kippah and long, crooked noses, murdering a Christian child.

It turned out the picture was sent by her principal. When she asked him about it, he said he sent it by mistake, that he meant to send it to himself. She did not buy it, since she was the only Jew in the school. He said he was sorry.

When she spoke to her union, the union rep said, “The principal apologized, it was by mistake, you Jews get insulted so easily. Why don’t you drop it?”

After her dismissal, alone in a train car, ‘A’, “Allowed the tears of my frustration to flow. I was angry with myself. I was angry with my frustration. I was angry with my tears. I was angry about maybe having to find other work, not as a teacher. Above all, I was angry at Sweden in 2016. When I arrived home, I began to look for another job.”

Her union will not back her up because she can not prove she was fired due to racism. She has also discovered that her co-workers have blocked her on Facebook.

Is there any future left for the Jews in Sweden?

Let us know your thoughts and / or your experiences – use the comment section below or email us at secretary@antisemitismwatch.com

 

After Anti-Semitic stabbing, Doctor says wearing kippah is a sign of loyalty to Israel!

French Jews have condemned a prominent doctor who said that the act of wearing a kippah is a sign of allegiance to the policies of the State of Israel.

Rony Brauman, former president of Doctors Without Borders
Rony Brauman, former president of Doctors Without Borders

Rony Brauman, a former president of Doctors Without Borders, made the statement last week during an interview on the Europe1 radio station about the January 11th stabbing of a devout Jew in Marseille, allegedly by a 15-year-old boy who told police he assaulted the victim as part of the jihad of the Islamic State terrorist group.

 “We have to wonder about the significance of wearing a kippah — not for that person,” Brauman said of the victim in Marseille, “as I have no reason to suspect him, but in society in general.” In addition to an affirmation of faith, Brauman said, wearing a kippah is “an affirmation of loyalty to the State of Israel, why not after all, but also, and this is much more problematic, a sign of a kind of allegiance to the policies of the state of Israel.”

According to the Tribune Juive daily, both CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, and French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia condemned this statement. André Mamou, the paper’s editor-in-chief, wrote in an op-ed that, “what made this left-wing physician venture so far into self-hatred is incomprehensible.”

And Yohann Taïeb, another Jewish journalist, filed a complaint against Brauman for alleged hate speech to France’s Superior Council for Audiovisual, or CSA.

After the stabbing, a Jewish community representative from Marseille called on Jews to remove their kippot for security reasons, though his call was squarely rejected by other community leaders. Korsia said recently that “removing the kippah today means removing the cross tomorrow.”

Last month, CRIF accused Doctors without Borders of glorifying Palestinian terrorism in an exhibition that featured a poster praising the killer of Jews in the West Bank.

Read more here.

Jewish leader in France urges men to stop wearing the kippah

The main Jewish leader in the French city of Marseille has urged men to stop wearing their kippah after a further violent, anti-Semitic attack on a teacher.

Zvi Ammar, head of Marseille’s Israelite Consistory, said the “exceptional measure” was needed to protect Jewish lives. However, France’s Chief Rabbi urged Jews to keep covering their heads.

The teacher was stabbed by a boy who reportedly said he had done it for the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group. Monday’s machete attack left the teacher, Benjamin Amsellem, who was wearing a kippah at the time, with an injured shoulder and hand.

Speaking to La Provence newspaper (in French), Mr Ammar called on Jews “not to wear the kippah [skullcap] in the street to avoid being identified as Jewish”.

“It is sad to find ourselves in this position in 2016, in a great democratic country like France,” he said.

“But faced with an exceptional situation, we have to take exceptional measures. It causes me such pain to come to this conclusion but I do not want anyone to die in Marseille because they had a kippah on their head.”

Mr Ammar, the head of Marseille’s Israeli Consistory, the top Jewish governing body, said he knew his comments would anger some Jews, but “nothing is more important” than protecting human lives.

However, France’s Chief Rabbi, Haim Korsia, urged Jews in Marseille not to follow such advice. “We should not give in to anything, we will continue to wear the kippah,” he said, stressing that Jews and the skullcap were not responsible for the violence.

Chief Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia.
Chief Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia.

Monday’s attack was the third on Jews in recent months in Marseille, which has the third-largest urban population of Jews in Europe after Paris and London:

  • In November, a teacher at a Jewish school in Marseille was stabbed by three people who shouted anti-Semitic insults at him.
  • Three Jews were assaulted in the city in October, one with a knife near a synagogue, by a drunken assailant, AFP news agency reports
  • A 15-year-old Turkish Kurd was arrested after attacking Mr Amsellem, 35, in a Marseille street in broad daylight.

The teacher’s lawyer, Fabrice Labi, said his client had told him: “I had the feeling [the attacker] wanted to decapitate me.”

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve earlier called the latest attack a “revolting anti-Semitic aggression” while French President Francois Hollande later said such acts were “unspeakable and unjustifiable”.

The latest stabbing in Marseille came just days after France held memorial events for those killed in the Paris attacks last January.
Four Jewish shoppers were killed by an IS supporter at a kosher supermarket, shortly after the deadly assault on the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

Since then, more than 700 synagogues, Jewish schools and community centres have been protected by police or soldiers.

Read the original article here.

And another European country shows rise in Antisemitic hate

Mirroring what has been happening in much of Europe, and further afield, the Netherlands is the latest nation to report a significant rise in Antisemitic hate crime and incidents.

Last year the number recorded rose by 71 percent and, worryingly, some police officers are unwilling to intervene, the Jewish community’s watchdog (the Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI) on Antisemitism said.

Their statement noted “a worrisome phenomenon — Police officers’ failure to intervene in cases of evident anti-Semitism. Some police officer prefers to look the other way.”

ASW24A woman who wanted to report an anti-Semitic threat after hosting a party was questioned about whether she had permission to hold the party, CIDI wrote.

“The filing of a complaint was sometimes discouraged in contrast with the policy that indeed seeks to enhance reporting,” according to the report.

CIDI also said the severity of the incidents increased. Those who wore kippahs or other Jewish symbols on the street accounted for a large portion of the overall number of victims of anti-Semitic harassment or attacks last year.

The prevalence of incidents in which individuals were harassed on the street because they were perceived as Jewish rose by 90 percent in 2014 over the previous year. Incidents in which people were physically assaulted in anti-Semitic attacks doubled.

“The serious increase of the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2014 worsened the feeling of insecurity within the Jewish community, especially in view of the May 2014 attack on the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels and the threat of returning jihadists,” CIDI wrote.

Read more here.

German Jews hiding again?

ASW recently reported that the Jewish community in Berlin had taken the decision to remove its logo from envelopes containing its monthly community newsletter. ASW warned at that time against ‘hiding’, explaining it was not a positive step forward. Such a decision can only ultimately buoy those that seek to promote and perpetuate hate. Well in the latest unfortunate act, the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, has suggested it is not “useful” to wear a kippah in predominantly Muslim populated areas of the country. His solution to the problem ……”wearing a different hat”!

Let us know what you think?