Tag Archives: The Jerusalem Post

Outcry over German university release of renowned anti-Semitism Professor

The German University of Göttingen has unleashed a firestorm of criticism from scholars, students and Jewish organsations by not extending the employment contract of Dr. Samuel Salzborn – one of the most prominent academic experts in German anti-Semitism.

“It is a scandal! It shows that critical research on right-wing radicalism/anti-Semitism is not desired in Germany,” wrote Julius Schoeps, a leading German Jewish historian and a descendant of the 18th century philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, according to The Jerusalem Post.

An open letter supported by scores of academics, student groups, and human rights NGOs was sent to the university’s administration in late April titled, “Retain the chair of Professor Salzborn.”

Dr. Samuel Salzborn
Dr. Samuel Salzborn

The letter states, “Prof. Salzborn is one of the most distinguished anti-Semitism researchers in the German-speaking area. Considering the Presidential Board’s focus on continuously being nominated as a ‘university of excellence’ (granted by a Federal research program) the decision not to extend the contract is highly inconsistent, to say the least. Prof. Salzborn is also a renowned expert on right-wing extremism, who has published many studies on the subject.”

Salzborn also has expertise in contemporary anti-Semitism – the loathing and de-legitimization of the Jewish state.

Göttingen is a major university city in the state of Lower Saxony. During the widespread outbreak of anti-Semitism, including violence, amid Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Salzborn told The New York Times, “There is a startling indifference in the German public to the current display of anti-Semitism.”

“In times of PEGIDA, arsoned refugee homes, the rise of the right-wing populist party AfD, and nearly five years after the neo-Nazi terrorist group NSU was discovered (the scope and support networks of which are yet to be fully examined) the Presidential Board’s decision to not extend the contract also sends a dubious political signal,” the open letter reads.

When asked about the reasons for terminating Salzborn’s contract, a university spokesman said it does not comment on “personnel matters.”

The university was engulfed in an anti-Semitic scandal in 2008 for teaching hatred of Israelis and a wild conspiracy theory about Jews.

The professor of sports, Arnd Krüger, argued in his lecture on “Hebron and Munich: How do we communicate sports history without getting caught in [the] snare of anti-Semitism?” that the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who died at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich essentially committed suicide “for the cause of Israel.”

Krüger also said Israel had a high abortion rate compared with other industrialized nations, and that the Jewish state went to great lengths to prevent “living with disabilities.”

Ilan Mor, the then chargé d’affairs at the Israeli Embassy, said at the time, “This is the worst form of dehumanizing the State of Israel.”

The university refused to dismiss Krüger.

Salzborn has taught at the university since 2012. His contract will end in 2017.

One German bank – Two Jewish controversies

Bank Sparkasse, one of the largest banks in Germany, has managed to generate two separate controversies in a matter of months but with one common theme.

In the first, Israel’s embassy in Berlin together with local and international Jewish groups sharply criticized the banking group for allowing an opponent of the existence of Israel, who likened the Jewish state to the Third Reich, to deliver a talk in its office space titled “Jew against Zionism.”

In the second, a Sparkasse bank teller refused to open an account for an Israeli living in Berlin, telling him that Israeli passport holders are under embargo.sparkasse

Lilian Rosengarten, an activist from New York, spoke last year in a Sparkasse office of the town of Düren, near Aachen. She is a member of the International Anti-Zionist network.

Dr. Robert Neugröschel, the head of the 1,000-member Jewish community in greater Aachen, which includes Düren, told The Jerusalem Post at the time that the Rosengarten talk was a “disgrace and of course anti-Semitic.”

Hildegard Förster-Heldmann, a Green Party politician who heads the Darmstadt municipal cultural affairs committee, said, “A comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany is absurd, disrespects the descendants of the Nazi victims and belittles the criminality of Nazi Germany.”

Efraim Zuroff
Efraim Zuroff

The action of the bank came in for further criticism from Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter who suggested the people at Sparkasse “should know better.”

“The Ostfriesen paper wrote earlier this year about an exhibit addressing the banking network’s role under the Third Reich, saying that “Sparkasse loyally served the Nazi regime.”

A Sparkasse spokesman, Dirk Hürtgen, suggested the bank “Could not establish that anti-Semitic thoughts were expressed in connection with the Düren municipal museum.”

Asked by the Post reporter if he agreed with Rosengarten’s statement that Israel is an apartheid state, Hürtgen said, “I can’t judge that.” He asked “why is it relevant whether anti-Semitism took place” in the room and noted that there are “different opinions.”

Meanwhile, just today, Ynet News reported that Israeli, Yakir Avraham, went to the Sparkasse’s branch in the Alexanderplatz area of Berlin, and when he gave the teller his Israeli passport in order to open a bank account, the teller took the passport and went into another room to check it. She returned a few minutes later and said “I’m very sorry, but we cannot open up a bank account for you here. We aren’t allowed to open accounts for citizens of countries under embargo.”

Avraham was reported as saying, “I was in shock at first. How did it get to the point that they treat us like lepers? I took my passport and left the bank.”

The bank management were challenged as to whether there was a specific bank policy concerning Israel, and what they meant by “a country under embargo.”

The bank responded by claiming, “It’s clear that this isn’t our business policy. This is an unfortunate mistake made by a young colleague who is still in training, and who didn’t know how to deal with the situation properly. She deeply apologizes for the mistake. We hope that Mr. Avraham accepts our explanation and apology.”

 

 

 

Planned glorification of Lithuanian priest who organised Jewish massacre protested

Over the last 12 months there has been an escalation in rows over historical memory related to the Second World War and the glorification of some of those with highly suspect records. They predominantly relate to Eastern European nations the most recent of which was Hungary.

Now the small town of Moletai in Lithuania has come under fire for its announcement that it intends to name a street after Jonas Zvinys, a local priest accused of organizing a gang that murdered the city’s Jews in 1941.Moletai.12

Lithuanian writer Ruta Vanagaite launched an investigation into Zvinys at the behest of Simon Wiesenthal Center Nazi hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, with whom she recently co-authored a book on Lithuanians and the Holocaust.

Speaking with The Jerusalem Post from Vilnius on Thursday, Vanagaite said that after searching through KGB archives she discovered that the priest indeed set up the gang in question, one of whose leaders was his own brother, who would later confess to his role in the massacre.

At Vanagaite’s urging, local news portal delfi.it investigated the matter as well, discovering that Zvinys had been awarded a colonelcy in 2002 by the office of the president at the behest of the country’s state-sponsored Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the Residents of Lithuania.

Delfi asked the center about Zvinys and was referred to the president’s office and the Moletai municipality, with the local mayor, who is related to Zvinys, asking why there should be a problem in honoring him if he was already feted by the government.

They were all throwing the ball to each other and no one wants to investigate without somebody else asking for it,” Vanagaite said. “I think it’s good because it shows that the whole system doesn’t work because there is nobody who takes responsibility to investigate without anybody asking for it and nobody asks for it.”

“The media exposure that this case has generated may serve as a deterrent to other towns interested in glorifying Holocaust collaborators”, she said.

Follow this link to the original article source.

Vienna looks to boycott the boycotters

The Jerusalem Post has reported that Vienna is seeking to pull the plug on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) events planned for early March in a municipal-funded building.

“We would like a cancellation,” said a spokesman for the city’s mayor, Martin Ritzmaier, when asked about the BDS activities in the city-subsidized Amerlinghaus building.

Amerlinghaus building
Amerlinghaus building

He added that the city of Vienna has contacted the management of the Amerlinghaus cultural center to urge a cancellation of the BDS activities.

“The city of Vienna rejects boycott calls against the State of Israel and the association BDS-Austria receives no funding from the city of Vienna,” said Ritzmaier. Vienna’s mayor is the Social Democrat Michael Häupl.

Vienna’s Jewish community, which has over 7,000 members, has banded together with a coalition of civil society groups fighting anti-Semitism that are slated to hold a rally against BDS-Austria events in March. The rally is titled “Against the anti-Semitic masquerade of ‘Israeli Apartheid Week.”’ The group’s website is titled “Boycott anti-Semitism.”

Stefan Schaden, a board member of the Austrian-Israeli Society, wrote: “BDS has an appalling record of perpetuating old anti-Semitic stereotypes by projecting them onto the Jewish state. Our society therefore supports the broad coalition of civil society organizations that came together to stand up against any form of anti-Semitism.”

 

Lisa Grösel, a spokeswoman for the Amerlinghaus, told the Post that the “cultural center is anti-fascist and anti-racist, in which there is no place for anti-Semitism.”

She said “anti-Semitism is in no way an opinion, rather a deeply racist position.”

Pressed to answer if the Amerlinghaus views BDS as anti-Semitic, Grösel refused to respond.

Samuel Laster, an Israeli-born journalist who is editor-in-chief of the Vienna-based news website The Jewish, told the Post the BDS-Austria group will “attack Israel in the Armerlinghaus in an old anti-Semitic connotation: ‘Don’t buy from Jews!’ it was called in 1938. Today in 2016 it is called: Boycott Israel.”

 

Austrian Prosecutor: Posting Hitler’s picture and praising death of Jews is legitimate criticism of Israel!

In  country with an inglorious record of anti-Semitism, the prosecutor’s office in Austria’s third largest city has now declared that a Facebook post showing Adolf Hitler with a statement praising the death of Jews constitutes legitimate and legal criticism of Israel.

Ibrahim, a 29-year-old owner of a hair salon outside of Linz, posted an image of Hitler in December along with the caption “I could have annihilated all the Jews in the world, but I left some of them alive so you will know why I was killing them…”.

Would the Austrian prosecutor also consider this legitimate criticism of Israel?
Would the Austrian prosecutor also consider this legitimate criticism of Israel? 

He was investigated under an Austrian law that apparently forbids praising the Nazi regime, but successfully claimed that his anti-Semitic outburst was merely criticism of Israel’s actions during Operation Protective Edge, the war with Hamas that had ended a few months prior. The statements were not glorifying Hitler, but simply expressing “displeasure toward Israel,” prosecutor’s office spokesman Philip Christl told the newspaper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten.

“This position [of the prosecutor] is, unfortunately, becoming more popular,” Stefan Schaden, a board member of the Austria-Israel Society, told The Jerusalem Post. “Everything passes as so-called criticism of Israel. Anti-Semitism seems to have been officially abolished. In view of the climate in Europe, it is a dramatic development.”

The controversy over the lack of prosecution has reportedly spurred the prosecutor’s office to take another look at the case.

A German court ruled last year that the firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal was motivated by a desire to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict,” not anti-Semitism.

Read more here.

You don’t have to be Jewish to be accused of being part of the ‘plot’!

Liz Wahl, a former Russian tv news anchor has written  in The Jerusalem Post, “In March 2014, the crisis in Ukraine had reached a pivotal juncture. Thousands of people took to the streets to protest corrupt government leadership and violent crackdowns. Dozens were killed and hundreds wounded. During these times of deadly conflict and chaos, it was critical for the media to try to get the story right. However, working as a TV anchor for Russia Today (RT), I soon realized I was part of an organization actively dedicated to skewing the facts.

The Russian state-funded station was part of a larger propaganda campaign portraying protesters as bloodthirsty fascists in an effort to misrepresent the conflict and justify Russian action. As the death toll grew, I was horrified to be part of what was becoming a manipulation machine. After the Ukraine coverage ended, I resigned, live on air, referencing the bias as the reason for my decision.

That decision put me at the center of a viral news story. I received a flood of messages, mostly on social media. Many were encouraging and inspiring but plenty were also bizarre and vile. Beyond the profanities and sexist remarks, I found the wave of anti-Semitic hate particularly shocking and confusing. I am not Jewish and I do not have any ties to Israel. But the accusations of being a “Zionist neocon” were unrelenting.

The assertion was that I was part of a Jewish, Zionist plot. Some radical anti-Israel activists wrote an article portraying my resignation as part of a conspiracy with war-hungry neocons pulling my strings to provide a pretext for another Cold War. I had become used to the knee-jerk reaction of a paranoid population attributing any atrocity to a nefarious conspiracy by power-hungry evildoers intent on controlling the world. But here they accused the Jews specifically of being behind it.”

Read more from the original article here.

German group starts ‘Rent A Jew’ project

A “Rent a Jew” project has been established by the Munich based Janusz Korczak Academy that seeks to create contact between German Jews and non-Jewish Germans.

Eva Haller, a member of the academy’s board of directors, speaking to The Jerusalem Post said the project has a “provocative name” and aims “to engage young people on the grassroots level.”

“Many people in Germany have not had a chance to meet Jews in Germany,” she said. The German Jewish participants are under 30 and have completed their high school degree. There are approximately 20 German Jews involved in the project and the number will continue to grow, said Haller.

The young German Jews are available to speak before schools, religious groups, and other institutions.

Haller said the purpose of the interactions with non-Jews will “not be to clarify religious or political questions, “rather to build interpersonal contacts for young people.”

However, she said, the participants are trained to answer political or religious questions.

 

At last, someone who speaks sense?

coollogo_com-23172872AntiSemitismWatch.com has been a frequent proponent of action and strong leadership rather than the usual words that most ‘leaders’ and organisations engage in. Well, it may just be that at last there is someone of a similar mind.

Speaking at the government’s biennial Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem, Malcolm Hoenlein – executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations – said that combating anti-Jewish prejudice and violence must become a “top priority” for the incoming government, and that new, multilateral structures were necessary to achieve this objective.

ASW31“This is a crisis, and we need a crisis mechanism for the 21st century,” Hoenlein told The Jerusalem Post. “Now is the time to take responsibility. Not more words, more action.”

Addressing the assembled diplomats and communal leaders, Hoenlein said that there was an immediate need to establish an international Jewish security network that would deal with the physical security of Jewish communities and institutions. He also called for a permanent international coordinating center on anti-Semitism, which would operate on a 24/7 basis and in which every country and relevant organization would participate.

Patterned after the US’s Secure Community Network – a joint project of the Presidents’ Conference and the Jewish Federations of North America – this new organization would not be “another behemoth,” but “an efficient and effective fast-moving entity that will leave no victim isolated, no idea ignored, no challenge unmet,” he said.

Hoenlein added that he would like to see the establishment of a global fund for Jewish security that would “be available when a country faces a crisis.” Once a crisis hits, he said, those interested in offering aid “don’t have time to start scrounging around for resources.”

Jewish leaders from a number of countries expressed their support for the idea. ASW.com similarly adds its support.

Moscow Limmud examines Antisemitism

MOSCOW – Hundreds of Jews from around the world flocked to Moscow this weekend for the Limmud Jewish learning conference, making it the second-largest event of its kind.

The three-day gig, which drew 1,500 participants to a resort just outside the Russian capital, was the largest Limmud event ever held outside Britain, Limmud International said in a statement.

Chaim Chesler, founder and chair of Limmud FSU, hailed the event as a “big success,” saying it was part of efforts to “raise awareness” to acampaign against anti-Semitism in Europe, spearheaded by the European Jewish Association and The Jerusalem Post.

The online campaign inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge calls on gentiles on the continent to don kippot and other Jewish items and film themselves walking down the street to show their opposition to rising anti-Semitism. The European Jewish organization has produced a series of videos in which young Jews, as well as key Jewish figures, urge both Jews and non-Jews to challenge five friends to post their videos on social media.

A third of participants this year were first-timers, according to Alexander Piatigorsky, co-founder of the first Moscow event in 2006 and senior executive at one of Russia’s largest cellular providers.

Among the speakers were Alexander Boroda, a senior Chabad rabbi, and Andrey Makarevich, a rock star.

“I came to Limmud FSU this year for the first time after a Jewish friend of mine, who is more religious than me, told me it has great content that broadens your horizons,” said Dennis Sher, who also volunteered at the event, which ended Sunday.

Read more here.