Fight Hatred

Thursday, Jul 31st

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Recent Events

Al Jazeera promoting anti-semitism

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A lot has been said about the Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV channel's role in instigating against Israel. But now it seems certain that this channel holds anti-semitic sentiments. Look at this caricature that was published in its website. On the right corner sitting on a cannon is an Israeli (above it written "Israeli cabinet"). Is this portrait of a Jew in al Jazeera is different from the caricature of the Jews in Nazi Der Sturmer?


Germany: Jews left alone

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The Central Council of Jews lamented the lack of support from the civil society in light of the recent anti-Semitic slogans at rallies against Israel. "Why is there no wave of solidarity with us the Jews in the face of the wave of anti-Semitism?" asked chairman Dieter Graumann in comments published Thursday by the "Rheinische Post". The churches and the political elites should have stand up so the Jewish citizens would not feel they were left alone.


Hundreds of Jews had already asked the Central Council whether to stay here or pack their bags. "We are concerned," Graumann said. "When we here in German streets that Jews should be gassed, burned, or be slaughtered, then this has certainly has nothing to do with Gaza and Israeli politics."


Graumann was reacting to a variety of anti-Semitic remarks that were voiced in recent weeks at demonstrations against the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Many of them included immigrants from Turkish and Arab roots.

Anti-semitism now in Europe reminds 1930s

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In Italy, Germany and France, anti-Semitism is gaining momentum in the streets, fueled by the current Israeli offensive against Palestinians in Gaza. The entire political class has already repudiated these manifestations.


We are not in 1933, perhaps the only common element between the 1930s and today is the severe economic crisis experienced by the European peoples that destroyed the hopes and confused ideas. Maybe this is the reason that in Italy, France, Belgium, Germany and Britain, spurred by the current serious conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, anti-Semitism is gaining more and more supporters.


In almost all European cities there were demonstrations for Palestine these days, and there was no shortage in outbursts of anti-Semitic slogans and chants. In some cities like Toulouse, in France, there was even a person who tried to make a violent attack. Synagogues become the target of serious attacks. Yesterday, the German police reported that three people threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in the city of Wuppertal. To avoid further escalation, anti-Jewish slogans in the German demonstrations were banned.


This week in Rome, dozens of anti-Semitic graffiti appeared in windows and shutters of Jewish business owners. "Death to the Jews", "Anne Frank told lies", "Zionists Out", "Israel murderer" and many more slurs were accompanied with swastikas, Celtic crosses (a symbol of the far right) and flyers plastered all sides.


The voice of the Italian political world this time was immediate: "The graffiti appeared in different areas of the city are a disgrace and an insult to all Romans. I want to express my solidarity with the Jewish community. Rome wants and should be the capital of dialogue and peace and not barbaric land, "said Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino, the Democratic Party.


According to the spokesman of the Israeli Embassy in Rome, Amit Zarouk, what has happened in the Italian capital is the sign of a "dangerous form of anti-Semitism."

Germany: Jews in danger

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The former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Charlotte Knobloch , thinks Jewish citizens are living in danger. After a fire bomb attack on the synagogue in Wuppertal, she advised all Jews in Germany, "not to make themselves recognizable as Jews". The risk of being a target of an attack, is otherwise too great, she told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper. The "unbridled Jew-baiting" had "reached a new level in Germany," according to Knobloch.


On Tuesday night, three men threw several Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Wuppertal. The attack, according to investigators, did not hurt anybody. A suspected 18-year-old was detained by the police while the other two suspects were able to flee. In other countries, there were also attacks on Jewish institutions. In Rome for instance, anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas were drawn on dozens of Jewish businesses.

Germany: rabbi gets death threat

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An unknown person has called a Frankfurt rabbi and threatened to murder Jews living in the city. Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the Frankfurter Rundschau the man had called the rabbi last Friday and posed as a Palestinian with relatives in Gaza. The man then said, "I'll kill 30 Frankfurt Jews in retaliation," Graumann said. The man related his threat to the current raids by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip.


Such a concrete threat had not previously existed, Graumann said. He said he takes the incident seriously and sees it as an indication "that the hatred had reached a new level." The Jewish community is already in contact with the police. An indication of the identity of the caller will not be given.


Since the escalation in the Middle East, anti-Semitic slogans were made during anti-Israel demonstrations in several German cities.

France: Man arrested after attacking Jewish center

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A man was arrested late Saturday afternoon in Toulouse shortly after trying to attack with incendiary devices the "Space Judaism", the main meeting place for the Jewish community in the city. For Nicole Yardeni, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in Midi-Pyrenees, this anti-Semitic attack, which took place an hour after a pro-Palestinian demonstration which brought together 500 people in the city center of Toulouse, reflects a climate where "it is allowed to hurt the Jews, far beyond what is happening in Gaza."

The man came near the entrance gate, first threw two devices that did not work and stones, before throwing a third molotov cocktail at police on duty outside the building and fled, said Yardeni. It did not hit the police. Police sources confirmed that one man "was arrested quickly" .


Switzerland: Facebook users not shy of making anti-Jewish comments under real names

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The Foundation against Racism and Anti-Semitism has submitted in the Zurich cantonal police criminal charges against seven people that called on Facebook to hatred and violence against Jews, the "NZZ am Sonntag" reported. "Racist and anti-Semitic statements of this kind are found otherwise only in anonymously authored blogs and reader comments," says managing director Leila Feit. What is shocking is that some people today apparently no longer shy away from making publicly racist remarks by their own name.


Several Facebook users in Switzerland had called in advance for the demonstration on July 18, using phrases like making a genocide of the Jews. For instance, a user called on a page that promoted the rally on to move the Jews into a "Jewish quarter" and there to commit acts of violence.


Given the confrontation in the Middle East anti-jewish sentiment is piling up. A lot of Internet users let their anger run wild - apparently without being aware of possible criminal consequences. Sabine Simkhovitch-Dreyfus, Vice-President of the Federal Commission against Racism, says she considers this development dangerous. Especially young people might get the impression that everything on the Internet is permitted. "It seems that many would take their own statements seriously. Sometimes, however, this lead to further (actions). "


The worst cases would be pursued. Suspected cases can be reported via the website of the Swiss Coordination Unit for Cybercrime Control (Kobik).


According to reports, the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) has complained against six people at the Zurich prosecutor. It is connected "particularly to aggressive and discriminatory comments expressed or extremely explicit threats," SIG-President Herbert Winter told the newspaper.

Yad Vashem expresses concern

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Yad Vashem, Israel's institution established in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, published a press release saying it is “deeply alarmed” by the recent escalation of anti-Semitism and violence against Jews in the world.


According to the statement, the physical and verbal violence against Jews intended as a response to events in Gaza, is plain and simple anti-Semitism, which could be compared to the one from the Holocaust time.


It also notes that “virulent hatred is finding various expressions, ranging from attacks on synagogues in France and physical attacks against Jews, to calls such as “Jews to the Gas” in Germany, to the use of swastikas at anti-Israel demonstrations, and antisemitic caricatures in newspapers and social media”.


Yad Vashem in Jerusalem that houses a museum and several institutions dedicated to the dissemination, study and memory of the Holocaust, says it was “gravely concerned by the demagogic abuse of Holocaust imagery and language which distorts the past as well as the current reality for political purposes. Exploiting these terms from the Holocaust, in order to incite and inflame hatred, desecrates the memory of the Holocaust.”


The director of the institution, Avner Shalev, called “governments of the democracies around the world, particularly in Europe, to take immediate steps, using the legal and moral tools at their disposal, to protect Jewish citizens in their countries, and combat the expressions of antisemitism which we are witnessing in recent weeks.”


Germany: Muslim Council president rejects anti-Semitism

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The president of the Muslim Council of Germany, Ali Kizilkaya denied that among the Muslim community in Germany there is a serious problem of anti-Semitism, however he defended criticism against Israel's military operation in Gaza Strip.


"Muslims reject anti-Semitism," Kizilkaya told the "Mitteldeutschen Zeitung" newspaper in its Saturday edition. The Muslim leader also argued that "criticism of Israel's conduct is justified", but not the activities against Jewish people. "All kinds of hatred, either anti-Semitism or racism against Muslims is unacceptable," said the representative of the Muslim Council.


The demonstrations against Israel's military offensive in Gaza have raised concerns in Germany, after last week when some incidents against Jewish people or buildings were reported. In some pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Berlin, anti-Jewish insults were heard, while in the city of Essen a dozen of people were arrested allegedly when trying to attack a synagogue.


Dozens of celebrities and politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have warned of the risk of a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Germany.

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