Friday, August 26, 2016

Belgium: How my JTA reporting about an anti-Semitic cartoon changed my views of Belgium — for the worse

Cnaan Liphshiz @ JTA:
I used to think I had a pretty good understanding of what it means to be Jewish in Belgium.  A longtime observer of that polarized binational country, whose dysfunctions and successes often reflect those of the European Union headquartered in its capital, Brussels, I have family ties there and am fluent in the local languages.

But I had to readjust my understanding of Belgian Jewry’s circumstances this month while reporting on a local Catholic school’s stated pride in and support for a teacher who had published anti-Semitic caricatures, and who recently won a cash prize at Iran’s Holocaust mockery cartoon competition.

Shielded by education officials’ wall of silence and celebrated in mainstream Belgian media as a champion of free speech, Luc Descheemaeker was able to pass off anti-Semitic imagery as legitimate criticism of Israel in a way that I had thought impossible in an established Western democracy in the heart of Europe.

As Descheemaeker’s advocates circled the wagons around him — his school praised him as working to preserve, not distort, the memory of the Holocaust — I saw firsthand how anti-Israel vitriol has mainstreamed classic anti-Semitism in a country where Jews are leaving partly because they feel their children can no longer comfortably attend the public schools.

My Belgian eye opener began with a post on The New Antisemite blog, which tracks anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe. It said the vice director of the Sint Jozef Institute high school near Antwerp had told a Belgian Jewish publication that she was “very proud” of Descheemaeker after he won $1,000 and a special mention at the Second International Holocaust Cartoon Contest in Tehran.

An Orthodox Jew waits to bludgeon
a peaceful Arab baby and his mother
with a giant Star of David
The winning entry by Descheemaeker, a plastic arts teacher who retired this year, was a drawing of the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” over Israel’s security barrier along the West Bank. The German sentence, which means “work sets you free,” was featured on a gate of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland.
Previously, I found, Descheemaeker had published at least two cartoons that used classically anti-Semitic imagery. In one,  an Orthodox Jew waits to bludgeon a peaceful Arab baby and his mother with a giant Star of David. In another, the Jew is waiting to startle a jihadist who is holding a shopping bag while wearing an explosives vest — presumably so she blows herself up. [...]

As Belgian Jews continue to grapple with the anti-Semitism problem in their country — in 2014, a suspected jihadist was arrested for the shooting deaths of four people at the Jewish museum in Brussels — a growing number are deciding to look for a new home.

Last year, 287 Jews immigrated to Israel from Belgium, which has a Jewish population of about 40,000. It was the highest figure recorded in a decade. From 2010 to 2015, an average of 234 Belgian Jews made aliyah annually — a 56 percent increase over the annual average of 133 new arrivals from Belgium in 2005-2009, according to Israeli government data.

“In Belgium, the choice for Jews is often between abuse or ghettoization,” Rubinfeld said. “It’s not surprising that a growing number of Belgian Jews are finding alternatives to both.”
read more

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Netherlands: PSV Eindhoven sing about winning against the 'Jews'

Via SoccerNews:

New song by PSV Eindhoven fans during the team's game against PEC Zwolle: "It was May 8th, 2016, the Jews didn't make it, we were the champions by two points..."

On May 8th PSV Eindhoven won the championship in a game against PEC Zwolle (ie, the 'Jews').

Netherlands: Town vandalized with antisemitic pro-ISIS graffiti

Via AD:

Dozens of homes and cars in Voorburg were vandalized with "IS" and "ISIS" graffit.  An elementary school was vandliazed with such slogans as "fuck Wilders", "Jews will die", "7 September 2016 attack"

The town was vandalized with similar graffiti two years ago.

Germany: War Photographer Gerda Taro’s Installation Vandalized in “Politically Motivated” Attack

Via artforum (h/t CFCA):
According to Monopol, war photographer Gerda Taro’s outdoor exhibition of images depicting scenes of conflict, including the Spanish Civil War, were vandalized on August 3 in what organizers believe was a “politically motivated” act. Someone had covered the photographs with black paint during the night. A police investigation is underway.
The works were installed for the f/stop festival, which was held in Leipzig from June 25 to July 3. 
read more

Norway: Nazis preaching antisemitism at Norway's largest political gathering

Via MIFF h/t SAW:

Kristoffer Vikan is an official in MIFF, the Norwegian pro-Israel organization.  Last Saturday, he was in Arendal for the large political festival there, the Arendalsuka, and there he met Nazis on the street.

The Nazis claimed that Jews have taken over world power.  That Jews control the banks, own CNN and Fox New and all other media.

Vikan responded that those are just conspiracy theories and that there's only one country in the world where Jews don't suffer from antisemitism, but the Nazis refused to accept that and repeated that Jews control everything.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Belgium: Brussels Airlines caves into BDS, set to stop serving Israeli halva

The BDS movement is very strong in Belgium and is seldom, if ever, challenged.   L'Association Belgo-Palestinienne Wallonie-Bruxelles, which promotes the boycott of Israel and the accusation that Israel is an apartheid state, get funds from the Government. It was created in 1975 - 41 one years ago.  It's very likely the oldest anti-Israel NGO in Europe.  The University of Brussels has a BDS committee fully dedicated to the vilification of Israel and is also probably the only such outfit sponsored by a university in Europe...

From Ynet News:

Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines has stopped handing out Ahva brand halva snacks on flights following a request by the Palestine Solidarity Movement.

The snack is produced in the Barkan industrial park in the West Bank on land the organization claims is "illegally occupied."

The halva snack was discovered by a Palestine Solidarity Movement activist who was travelling from Ben Gurion Interantional Airport to Brussels and saw the product as a dessert option, realized it was produced in Israel, and told fellow activists to take action. The activists complained to the airline which quickly acquiesced to the request.

The official reason given by the airline regarding the decision not to serve the product is because the product is produced on illegally occupied land in the West Bank.

read more

UK: Man shouts “Jews, gas them all” and “Sieg Heil” as he is sentenced

Via Everyday Antisemitism:
A judge was caught up in a colourful verbal exchange with a defendant during sentencing.

John Hennigan, 50, told Judge Patricia Lynch QC that she was a “bit of a c*nt”. Judge Lynch, angered by the comments from the man who has repeatedly been involved in racist offences, told him: “You are a bit of a c*** yourself. Being offensive to me doesn’t help”.

Mr Hennigan was jailed for 18 months for insulting a black mother.

However, as he was sentenced he repeatedly banged on the glass, performed Nazi salutes and shouted “Sieg Heil”.

He also sang “Jews, gas them all” several times before being removed.

Mr Hennigan has previously been involved in many racist incidents. He was sentenced for having told a black woman that doesn’t “agree with inter-racial relationships”. This marked the ninth time he breached an ASBO designed to warn him away from racist actions.
read more

Polan: Kozienice cemetery targeted for vandalism


The ancient Jewish cemetery in Kozienice has recently been targeted for vandalism by local youth.

Recently three Polish youth were arrested after they tried climbing the high fence surrounding the cemetery.  The youths had paint spray with them.

Israeli scholar: 'If I were a British Jew, I'd be worried'

Via World Jewish Congress:
The renowned Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer, 90, has warned of growing anti-Semitism in the British Labour Party and called the former Labour mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, a "violent antisemite."

The academic adviser to Yad Vashem was referring to Livingstone’s long history of anti-Semitic rhetoric, such as his controversial comment this May that Hitler “was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

Earlier this month, the Community Security Trust, the anti-Semitism watchdog of the UK Jewish community, reported an increase in anti-Semitic incidents, with 557 cases of malicious acts from January to June 2016, an 11 per cent rise compared with the same period last year.

Asked whether UK Jews had a right to feel concerned, Bauer replied: "Yes. If I were a British Jew, I certainly would be worried by it. I mean, after all, they are being attacked one way or the other." He said that research in Israel had found that threats made verbally or on social media worldwide had fallen, but violent incidents had increased. "There are more violent incidents, therefore if I were a British Jew, the concern would certainly be there, because of that increasing violence," he said.

read more

UK: Jewish family on trip in East London told "F*cking Jews, go back to Israhell"

Via Campaign Against Antisemitism:
A Jewish family have suffered what Shomrim has described as “a tirade of antisemitic abuse” in East London.

The family were on a trip in East London when a man, who had two children with him, subjected them to the abuse.

Among other things, the man shouted “F*cking Jews, go back to Israhell, don’t come around here, go to Stamford Hill, you’re not welcome”.
read more

Hungary: Uproar After Antisemitic Journalist Receives Country’s Second Highest Honor

Via Algemeiner:
Controversy has erupted in Hungary over the government’s decision to give a prestigious award to a journalist known for making antisemitic and racist comments, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

Journalist Zsolt Bayer, whom the Bloomberg report called a “close ally” of right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, received the Order of Merit of the Knight’s Cross – Hungary’s second highest honor — last week.

In protest, more than 50 past recipients of the honor have returned their awards.
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France: "In the Paris region, there are virtually no more Jewish pupils attending public schools"

Cnaan Liphshiz @ JTA:
“Enrolling a Jewish kid into a public school was normal when I was growing up,” Tayar [a 43-year-old communications and computers specialist] said in a recent interview as he waited with two helmets in hand to pick up his youngest from her Jewish elementary school in eastern Paris. “Nowadays forget it; no longer realistically possible. Anti-Semitic bullying means it would be too damaging for any Jewish kid you put there.”

This common impression and growing religiosity among Jews in France are responsible for the departure from public schools of tens of thousands of young French and Belgian Jews, who at a time of unprecedented sectarian tensions in their countries are being brought up in a far more insular fashion than previous generations.

Whereas 30 years ago the majority of French Jews enrolled their children in public schools, now only a third of them do so. The remaining two-thirds are divided equally between Jewish schools and private schools that are not Jewish, including Catholic and Protestant institutions, according to Francis Kalifat, the newly elected president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities.

The change has been especially dramatic in the Paris area, which is home to some 350,000 Jews, or an estimated 65 percent of French Jewry.

“In the Paris region, there are virtually no more Jewish pupils attending public schools,” said Kalifat, attributing their absence to “a bad atmosphere of harassment, insults and assaults” against Jews because of their ethnicity, and to the simultaneous growth of the Jewish education system.

Whereas most anti-Semitic incidents feature taunts and insults that often are not even reported to authorities, some cases involve death threats and armed assaults. [...]

In neighboring Belgium, the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism has documented multiple incidents that it said were rapidly making Belgian public schools “Jew-free.” Some blamed Belgian schools for being more reluctant than their French counterparts to punish pupils for anti-Semitic behavior.

The latest incident there involved a 12-year-old boy at a public school outside Brussels. Classmates allegedly sprayed him with deodorant cans in the shower to simulate a gas chamber. The boy’s mother said it was an elaborate prank that also caused him burns from the deodorant nozzles.

In April, another Jewish mother said a public school in the affluent Brussels district of Uccle was deliberately ignoring systematic anti-Semitic abuse of her son, Samuel, in order to hide it. She enrolled him specifically at a non-Jewish school because she did not want him to be raised parochially, the mother said, but she had to transfer him to a Jewish school due to the abuse.

In addition to charting anti-Semitism among students, watchdogs in France and Belgium are seeing for the first time in decades a growing number of incidents involving teachers – as victims and perpetrators.

Last month, the Education Ministry in France began probing a high school teacher who shared with her students anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on Facebook — including ones about the clout of the Jewish lobby in the United States and another about French President Francois Hollande’s Jewish roots (he has none).

In 2012, a teacher from a suburb of Lyon said she was forced to resign after her bosses learned that she had suffered anti-Semitic abuse by students. Days later, two teenagers were arrested near Marseilles on suspicion of setting off an explosion near a teacher who had reported receiving anti-Semitic threats at school.

The atmosphere is pushing many French Jewish parents to leave for Israel, which is seeing record levels of immigration from France. Since 2012, 20,000 Jews have made the move. Their absence is already being felt in Jewish schools and beyond, said Kalifat, because “the people who are leaving are exactly the people who are involved in the Jewish community.”
read more

Belgium: Teacher uses Charlie Hebdo shooting to hit at Jews
Belgium: Teacher posts Jew depicted as pig cartoon on Facebook
Belgium: Catholic school supports teacher who won prize at Iran Holocaust-mocking cartoon contest

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Portugal: Government cancels police force training in Israel over human rights concerns

This is how Israel a trusted partner is ditched by the Portuguese government, at a time when Europe is facing all sorts of security threats, terrorism, transnational organised crime etc.  About 50,000 Muslims live in Portugal and the numbers keep growing whereas approximately 600 Jews (the lowest number in Europe).  Israel is constantly criticised in Portugal but Arab countries are viewed favourably.

From the Daily Mail on Line Wires:
Government cedes to pressure from Communists, cancels police force training in Israel over human rights concerns (Diario de Noticias)

From Diário de Notícias (Google translation):
The Ministry of Justice (MJ) ordered the Judicial Police (PJ) to suspend participation in the European project to train inspectors in interrogation techniques of transnational organized crime suspects. This decision came following several protests by leftist parties and organizations, mainly the Portuguese Communist Party, because the technical coordination was from Israel, whose security forces "violate human rights."

The Ministry of Justice refutes any "political motivation" in the decision. Both in the PJ, as in other forces and security services, the news, published by Jornal de Negócios, caused high concern, due to the fact that Israel has been for many years a training partner at different levels of the Portuguese police and even the secret police, as well as a supplier of almost all the telephone surveillance and interceptions technology used by the PJ.
read more (in Portuguese) 

More on the century-old antagonism against Jews and now against Israel: Portugal, the Jews and Israel - a difficult relationship.

Monday, August 22, 2016

UK: London Mayor opposes Corbyn, is attacked for being a 'Zionist stooge'

Via Yair Rosenberg, Adam Bienkov:
London's Muslim mayor came out against Labour party head Corbyn. So anti-Semites came out for him:

France: Shop targeted with anti-semitic tag

Hand-written inscription : "commerde Sale JUIF".  The first word should be Commerce (shop), instead it's written "Commerde" (merde meaning shit).  In other words this could be interpreted as: "This shit shop belongs to a dirty Jew".  Here.