JewishinfoNews Wednesday Evening Briefs: A Selection of International Reports

What others are saying

The man who coined the term ‘genocide’: Today is Raphael Lemkin’s 120th birth anniversary

Raphael Lemkin

Public Radio of Armenia reports: Today marks 120th birth anniversary of Raphael Lemkin, the lawyer, who coined the term “genocide” and participated in the preparation of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of December 9, 1948. The Armenian Genocide has a special place for study in Lemkin’s extensive scientific heritage. Raphael Lemkin was, by all accounts, obsessed with genocide long before he invented a name for it. It began when he was a teenager in Poland, as he read about the Ottoman Empire crushing its Armenian population in 1915—what is now thought to be the 20th century’s first genocide. He was shocked not just by the killing, but by the brazen way it was conducted, as if there was no concern about outside intervention or repercussion. Lemkin went to his law professor and was told that the Turks were the rulers, and therefore had absolute sovereignty within their borders. The citizens of each country, the professor said, were just like chickens, and the ruler was as a farmer, and he could do with them what he liked. Many years later, in 1943, he’d construct a word—scratching out many others (ethnocide, vandalism)—to properly convey the most heinous act of human evil. The equation for “Genocide” was half “genos,” Greek for people tribe or race, and half a derivative of “caedere,” Latin for killing or destroying.

Muslim World League Secretary-General Dr Al-Issa Addresses the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Forum

             Click on the above photo

The American Jewish Committee reports: Muslim World League Secretary-General Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, addressing the opening plenary of the 2020 American Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Forum, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reaffirmed his commitment to preserving Holocaust memory and advancing Muslim-Jewish cooperation. “I commend you for your tireless work and dedication in an effort to rebuild positive Muslim-Jewish relations,” said Al-Issa, whose global organization is headquartered in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. “It is a testament to the strong ideals of the American Jewish Committee that you speak out as strongly against those who wish to sow division and proliferate Islamophobia as you do against those who promote antisemitism.”

Senior Saudi Cleric’s Criticism of Antisemitism Draws Islamists’ Ire

Investigative Project reports: Saudi cleric Mohamed Al-Issa visited Auschwitz earlier this year, and last week, he addressed the American Jewish Committee’s online global forum. He expressed a desire to improve Muslim-Jewish relations and fight Holocaust denial. “We have repeatedly seen how we share the same concerns around growing intolerance and the same threats [from extremists] facing each of our communities,” he said. “But also we share the same determination to build a more tolerant and peaceful world – a world ruled by a just and all-encompassing peace.” So, of course, Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, is being attacked by Islamists, led by those on Qatar’s state-owned network Al Jazeera. Senior Al Jazeera anchor Ahmed Mansour on Saturday mocked a video showing Al-Issa in Auschwitz last January and receiving an award for his efforts in combating anti-Semitism. “We congratulate Saudi Sheikh Mohammed Al-Issa, Secretary-General of ‘The Association of Bin Salman,’ for the warm hospitality of the Zionists and their honour and grant him the Great Medal of the Zionist!”

Austria: 17th century matzevot discovered in a wall built to protect a castle from the Ottoman invasion of 1683

Jewish Heritage Europe reports: In what has been described as a “sensational” find, some 28 Jewish gravestones and fragments dating from the 17th century have been discovered during restoration work at a castle in Austria. The matzevot were discovered early this year. They had been used in the foundations of a wall built against the Ottoman invasion in 1683 at Schloss Ebenfurth, about 50 km south of Vienna on the border between Lower Austria and Burgenland. “It is undoubtedly a sensational find,” wrote Johannes Reiss, the director of the Austrian Jewish Museum in nearby Eisenstadt, on the museum’s blog. He wrote that all the matzevot and fragments with legible dates dated from between 1622 and 1669. The oldest is the gravestone of one Elieser, son of Abraham Moses, who died on 08 Tevet 383 (= Sunday, December 11, 1622).

Portuguese diplomat who rescued 10,000 Jews to be honoured with a monument at famed Lisbon site

JTA reports: Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, will be recognized with a monument at a site in Lisbon that recognizes the country’s greatest figures. The parliament decreed the honour unanimously earlier this month at the National Assembly in Portugal’s capital. The monument will go in the National Pantheon, a former church. “Aristides Sousa Mendes, as a heroic historical figure, is part of Portugal’s national patrimony,” the resolution reads. “A moral legacy for all, his heritage is for the whole of civil society and above all a virtuous example for future generations.”

Cyprus to host trilateral meeting with Greece and Israel

EU Observer reports: Cyprus will host the next trilateral meeting with Israel and Greece, the Cypriot foreign ministry said on Tuesday, after a meeting between foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides and Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi in Tel Aviv, Greek newspaper Ekathimerini reports. They will discuss developments in the eastern Mediterranean, the situation in Libya, Syria, and Turkey’s activities in the Mediterranean.

Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Program: Approaching Breakout

BESA Center reports: Iran continues to insist that its nuclear program is designed for peaceful purposes despite all evidence of its military nature. This evidence includes the IAEA’s recent findings regarding Tehran’s progress in the field of uranium enrichment. Given Iran’s current uranium holdings and enrichment capabilities, it can theoretically break out from its NPT commitment and develop its first nuclear bomb within four months. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General issued a report on June 5, 2020, that is worded to deflate Iran’s renunciation of its signing of the JCPOA nuclear agreement. The report notes Tehran’s announcement on January 5 that its nuclear program is no longer “subject to any restrictions in the operational sphere,” but also notes that it claims a willingness to “continue to cooperate with the agency as in the past.”

Jihadist and far-right killers most dangerous in EU

EU Observer reports: Jihadist and far-right extremists were the most lethal, but Northern Irish nationalists also posed a threat, according to a new EU report on terrorism. The killing of 17 EU civilians in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday last year showed that “the so-called Islamic State (IS) still looks to conduct large-scale attacks targeting EU citizens”, Europol, the EU’s joint police agency in The Hague, said on Tuesday (23 June).

The Lebanese Armed Forces Won’t Disarm Hezbollah

Frontpage Magazine reports: The Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah has been in control of Lebanon for some time now. With the strong support it receives from Iran and the Assad regime, Hezbollah has been able to control the Lebanese parliament, the office of the Presidency (Michel Aoun, though a Christian, is a tool in Hezbollah’s hands), and thus controls the government. However, not everything is going well for Hezbollah and its General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah. The recent demonstrations in Lebanon over the deteriorating economic conditions in the country included a call to strip Hezbollah of its large military arsenal. The protesters called for, among other things, the implementation of the 2004 UN Security Council resolution 1559, which called on all Lebanese militias to disband. All the sectarian militias indeed disbanded except for Hezbollah. In 2020, Hezbollah’s missile arsenal and its other arms overshadow and overpowers the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

BDS and its critics

Middle East Monitor reports: No civil society group in the United States has undergone as much censorious repression as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement — better known simply as BDS — and the most radical critic of Israeli policy in Gaza and the West Bank. Twenty-eight states have passed “anti-boycott” legislation condemning BDS. Israel has published a “blacklist” of groups whose members will be denied entry into the country. With an air of paranoia, mainstream Jewish and Zionist organisations have condemned BDS. And why not? It helps justify their existence. Campus after campus has made BDS unwelcome, although it is true that support for the movement has grown among young student radicals, and it has prompted offshoots and allied groupings in Europe. 

Mindfulness SOS for refugees rolls out from Israel

Israel 21c reports: Israeli team pioneers a mental-health intervention to improve the wellbeing of refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Living by the thousands in crowded conditions, African asylum seekers in South Tel Aviv currently account for about one-third of the city’s 400 cases of Covid-19. Many of these Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers already live with trauma from their forced displacement and their journey to Israel. They face a precarious everyday existence and an uncertain future. Can mindfulness training help them deal with this latest crisis? University of Haifa professor of clinical psychology Amit Bernstein thinks so. Just as coronavirus reached Israel, Bernstein and his Observing Minds Lab were poised for an international launch of their Moments of Refuge Project following a year-long randomized control trial of a groundbreaking group intervention he calls Mindfulness-Based Trauma Recovery for Refugees (MBTR-R). The study found powerful stress-buffering effects of MBTR-R, including significant reductions in post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety.

Mel Gibson and Winona Ryder at odds over antisemitism claims 

BBC News reports: Mel Gibson and Winona Ryder have become embroiled in a row after she claimed he made antisemitic comments to her. The actress said he referred to her as an “oven dodger” in an apparent reference to her Jewish background. Gibson’s representative said Ryder’s allegations, which she made in 2010 and repeated in a recent interview with The Sunday Times, were “100% untrue”. Ryder responded by asserting again that she and a late friend had been “on the receiving end of his hateful words”. The Stranger Things actress described the alleged encounter as “a painful and vivid memory”.

Photo and Video Credits: Public Radio of Armenia | YouTube

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