Weekend News Round-up

What They Are Saying

UAE publishes list of terrorist organisations

Gulf News, UAE reports: The UAE Cabinet on Saturday announced the names of dozens of extremist groups that have been put on its list of terrorist organisations.  The list, which is in line with the anti-terror law issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in August, includes major terror groups such as Al Qaida, Daesh and the Muslim Brotherhood, and its regional and local affiliates, as well as smaller regional and international groups…  Among the terror groups on the UAE list are Al Qaida and its affiliates in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, Daesh (the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), the International Organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Syrian-based Jabhat Al Nusra and its Ahrar Al Sham allies, the Nigerian-based Boko Haram, Al Houthis group in Yemen, Hezbollah’s affiliates in the Gulf, Iraqi militias such as Badr, Asaaeb Al Haq, Abul Fadhl Al Abbas, Pakistan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. 

ISIS now threatens to behead female hostage

IsraelNews reports: To increase shock and awe. The Islamic State claims its next victim is a 26 year-old American woman, the only woman captivated by the organization. The American woman was captivated by IS in August 2013, after travelling to Syria to aid children who had been separated from their families in the civil war. The rest of the humanitarian aid workers who had been with her were reportedly released by IS.

ISIS will not find reservoir of recruits in Lebanon: expert

The Daily Star, Lebanon reports: Although a number of Lebanese have joined the ranks of ISIS, the terrorist group will not find a deep reservoir of recruits in Lebanon, according to leading security expert Ali Soufan. Soufan, a Lebanese-American who was previously a special agent with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations, says Lebanon does not provide a “nurturing environment” for those seeking to wage violent jihad with groups like ISIS or Al-Qaeda. The majority of the foreign fighters in Syria hail from predominantly Sunni countries with relative religious homogeneity, Soufan explained. Lebanon, however, is more of a confessional patchwork where an appreciable percent of the population supports dialogue and peaceful coexistence.

Infighting mars memorial

Al-Ahram Weekly, Egypt reports: Mutual recriminations and threats between Fatah and Hamas following the explosions that targeted the homes of several Fatah leaders in Gaza and led to the cancellation of ceremonies to commemorate President Yasser Arafat have revived fears of a return to factional violence in Gaza.  A renewed security breakdown would jeopardise many crucial issues, including Palestinian reconciliation, the reconstruction of Gaza and the resumption of Egyptian-brokered ceasefire negotiations with the Israeli occupation authorities. The bombings, for which no one has yet claimed responsibility, targeted the stage for the ceremonies commemorating the tenth anniversary of the death of Arafat as well as the properties of some Fatah leaders. Fatah officially cancelled the ceremonies on Sunday and blamed Hamas for the bombings and for sending threatening letters to a number of Fatah leaders. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused Hamas of carrying out the bombings.

Afghan MP survives assassination bid

Gulf Daily News, Bahrain reports: A suicide bomber attacked an armoured car carrying a prominent Afghan women’s rights leader and MP in Kabul yesterday, killing three people and wounding 32 others, Afghan officials said. The MP who was apparently the target of the attack, Shukria Barakzai, survived the blast, which occurred several hundred feet away from the parliament building, her destination at the time. Barakzai, 42, had once helped run underground schools for girls during the Taliban era. She quickly emerged as a public figure in Afghanistan not long after the American-led coalition toppled the Taliban government. A member of the assembly that approved Afghanistan’s Constitution in early 2004, she was elected to parliament the following year and re-elected in 2010.

Tehran’s former prosecutor disbarred over protest deaths

Arab News, Saudi Arabia reports: Iran’s supreme court has permanently disbarred Tehran’s ex-chief prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, upholding a previous ruling, over the deaths of three jailed anti-government protesters, media said Sunday. Mortazavi was also suspended from public office for five years, the pro-government newspaper Iran said. The notorious former prosecutor was suspended in August 2010 over the deaths of Mohammad Kamrani, Amir Javadifar and Mohsen Ruholamini in Kahrizak jail the previous summer. The men had been jailed in connection with anti-government protests that swept Iran following the disputed June 2009 re-election of hard-line president Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Their deaths, from injuries inflicted in custody, were denounced by lawmakers at the time as a “crime.”

 Turkish police chief found dead in hotel room

Today’s Zaman, Turkey reports:  A police chief in eastern Turkish province of Bayburt was found dead in an hotel room on Friday, with cuts on his arms and stomach. Turkish security services immediately launched an investigation to figure out how and why the police chief, Ömer Lütfi Evci, 42, was murdered or if he committed a suicide. The body of Evci was found in the hotel room in Zahit neighbourhood, when police broke into the room after the police chief didn’t respond to calls by his colleagues for a long time. The police chief was on duty at Bayburt Police Academy.

 Greece’s Neo-Nazis Were Scarier Than Anyone Imagined

Foreign Policy, USA reports:  In the prosecutors’ 697-page case file, he is known only as Witness E — a Golden Dawn ex-member turned state informant. And what he has to share about the neo-Nazi political party — its ideology, its training methods, and its plans for the future — is terrifying.  Golden Dawn recruited a butcher to train its members in the art of using a knife effectively, in order to “neutralize opponents,” Witness E told prosecutors. Party members participated in the mass slaughter of sheep in various farms around the Attica region, which encompasses Athens and its suburbs, to learn the best technique for “striking directly at the jugular.” He’d heard, Witness E said, that the same butcher supplied guns to Golden Dawn members, as well. Other evidence prosecutors uncovered seems to back up his claim: The case file is littered with photos of members in military clothing carrying knives, swords, handguns, rifles, and, in one case, even a bazooka.  All this training was “in preparation to overthrow the Greek government,” Witness E suggested to prosecutors — a jarring reminder of how little the Greek public truly understood the operational capabilities of Golden Dawn, or what the party even aimed to be.

 Erdoğan says America was discovered by Muslims, not Columbus

The Hürriyet Daily News,Turkey reports: America was discovered by Muslims, not by Christopher Columbus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has claimed, vowing to build a mosque “on that hill” in Cuba if the authorities of the Caribbean nation grant the permit.  Speaking at the closing ceremony of the first Latin American Muslim leaders summit in Istanbul on Nov. 15, Erdoğan slammed colonialism before referring to a controversial claim about the discovery of the Americas. “Muslim sailors had arrived in the shores of America in 1178. In his diaries, Christopher Columbus referred to the presence of a mosque on top of a mountain in Cuba,” Erdoğan said, claiming the diary is a proof that “the religion of Islam was widespread” when the first European explorer discovered the New World in 1492.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard showcases ballistic capabilities to “attack and destroy” Israel

Asharq Al-Awsat, London reports: Iranian websites close to the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have run special feature reports and interviews relating to Iran’s capability to “attack and destroy” Israel using ballistic missiles, the semi-state-run Fars and Tasnim news agencies reported on Saturday.  A special feature report published by Fars on three missiles—named Israel-hitter—stated the missiles could be launched quickly from Iranian territory to reach targets in Israel, and explained the extensive infrastructure that has been built underground to house them. A Tehran-based analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that publishing such “provocative” reports just two weeks before the November 24 deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement with Western powers on Iran’s nuclear program was an intentional move by more conservative elements in the Iranian leadership, and designed to derail President’s Hassan Rouhani’s reconciliatory foreign policy approach to close the nuclear dossier.

Saudi school ‘teaching anti-Semitism’

The Local, Austria reports: Vienna’s Saudi School – a private school for Islamic immigrants from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East – is under review by the city council after allegations that it is teaching conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism. A reporter from News magazine got hold of a copy of a school history textbook which is said to contain “a smorgasbord of conspiracy theories and incitement against Jews, Israelis and divergent trends in Islam”. News commissioned a translation of the book from Arabic – which has sentences like “the Freemasons were a secret, subversive Jewish organization, which aimed to secure Jewish control of the world”.  The school has now been asked to provide certified German translations of all its teaching materials by the end of the year. The Saudi School is run by the Saudi government and is not a religious institution. All lessons are taught in Arabic and follow the Saudi curriculum. However, the school must still comply with statutes set by the Austrian Education Ministry, and anti-Semitism and incitement is against Austrian law. The ministry could withdraw the school’s educational status if it identifies serious teaching problems or a lack of responsible leadership – meaning the students would have to be home schooled or attend another school.

Orthodox Jew stabbed in Antwerp

Flanders News, Belgium reports: A 31-year-old Jew from Antwerp was attacked on Saturday. His assailant stabbed him with a knife, apparently out of the blue. The victim was taken to hospital, but was able to return home later on Saturday. The aggressor is still on the run. The attack took place around 9.15am under the rail bridge in the Kievitstraat, near Antwerp’s Central Station. The victim was walking on the pavement when he was suddenly attacked by another pedestrian. The assailant managed to escape. Police arrested a suspect using a description made by witnesses, but it turned out they had the wrong man. The assailant is still on the run. Investigators do not exclude any possible motive just yet. 

Indonesia. No Religion on ID Cards, no Public Services

Jakarta Globe, Indonesia reports: Residents of Pontianak in West Kalimantan who do not list their religion on identification cards will not be allowed to access public services, the city’s deputy mayor has said. In comments that are likely to inflame debate about religious freedom and the rights of minority groups, Sutarmidji said he would instruct the region’s population agency and sub-district offices not to serve people who fail to put their religion on ID cards, known as KTP. He said the religion column on the cards should not be omitted as it was required under current law. “If you want to add another religion or belief you should first amend the law that stipulates it,” he told detik.com. Indonesia formally recognizes only six religious designations: Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Confucian, Hindu and Muslim. Adherents are required to identify themselves on their KTP.

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER - "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" | "The more things change, the more they stay the same"

SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

 Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

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Neo-fascist Greece. The Nazi scumbags have their day!

Caption: "Don't feel guilty brother. We were not in Auschwitz and Dachau to suffer but to learn." - Ethnos

Caption: “Don’t feel guilty brother. We were not in Auschwitz and Dachau to suffer but to learn.” – Ethnos

Χρυσή Αυγή. Πηγαίνετε και γαμήσου!

by Alan Simons

Helena Smith, in last weekend’s The Observer (UK) explained it this way with the headline:

SS songs and antisemitism: the week Golden Dawn turned openly Nazi

It has been a bad week for democracy in Athens. All around this great Greek city, the politics of hate now lurk. On Friday I got a taste of it in the tiny Italian-style cafe I frequent off Syntagma Square.

It arrived in the form of two middle-aged men, both supporters of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn – and, by their own account, the holders of university degrees, well-travelled and well-informed. Over espressos, they began to engage in an animated discussion about all that is wrong with Greece.

The first, a self-described businessman decked out in designer suit, brogues and silk tie, blamed the country’s economic collapse on malfeasance, corruption and uncontrolled immigration. “The only way to teach our filthy politicians is to bring in Golden Dawn,” he trilled, his eyes locked in a fierce glare. “These gentlemen are patriots, proud Greek nationalists, and they know how to deal with the scum, the foreigners who never pay taxes, who steal our jobs, who have taken over our streets.”

Dismissing charges that Golden Dawn is a criminal gang masquerading as a political group, the second – a self-described government employee – said the far right was the best response yet to the great Jewish conspiracy of an interconnected banking system that has come with globalisation. “Let’s not forget all the faggots and the Jews, the wankers who control the banks, the foreigners who are behind them, who came in and fucked Greece,” he insisted. “The criminals who have governed us, who have robbed us of our future, of our dreams, need a big thwack.”

Such is one’s ghastly impression of Greece.

Currently, Greece’s population stands around 11.3 million of which no more than 5,000 of its citizens are Jews. You do the calculation! 

Golden Dawn - photo credit: pasportoy.blogspot.com

Golden Dawn – photo credit: pasportoy.blogspot.com

Today, Golden Dawn has forged links with Germany, Australia, Canada and the US. In the United States their website says:

Our goals are to promote and support the Golden Dawn’s nationalist ideals and vision for Greece among the Greek diaspora. To preserve our Hellenic culture, we must resist and overcome the genocidal multi-culturalist, and anti- Hellenic agenda of the New World Order. The unholy alliance of the bankers, media, corrupt politicians and the educational system are rabidly attempting to extinguish all traces of Hellenism- past, present and future through poverty, historical revisionism, media distortions and third world immigration.

“Will the next Selahattin Ülkümen please stand up and be recognised!”

A number of years ago I wrote about how a Turkish diplomat, in particular, Selahattin Ülkümen in Rhodes, Greece saved scores of Jews from Nazi persecution and extermination. For his heroism he was subsequently imprisoned by the Nazis after his consulate was bombed and his pregnant wife killed by the Germans. The Turkish consuls at Athens, Salonica, Gümülcine and on the island of Midilli also provided the same sort of assistance. In 1990, Israel issued a postage stamp in Ülkümen’s honour. He died in 2003. If still alive, I wonder what he would have to say about the sickness now pervading Greece. I say, will the next Selahattin Ülkümen please stand up and be recognised!

Oh yes! Sorry, I’m too embarrassed to translate the Greek headline above. After all, I’m Canadian!

Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

 

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What in God’s name is happening in the world? Part II

by Alan Simons

There’s a well-known Yiddish expression. Di velt iz sheyn nor di mentshn makhn zi mies. The world is beautiful but people make it ugly.  This is Part II in a series that sees no end in site. Antisemitism, Holocaust denial, Islamophobia, hate towards the Roma, Nigerian children being kidnapped by perverted terrorist sick-os that go by their adopted name of the “Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad,”  Geert Wilders, the darling of many American Jews, until he announced his intention of joining the far-right bloc in the upcoming EU parliamentary elections. He’s now somewhat changed his mind! And then there’s Ukraine, South Sudan and the garbage being spewed from the lips of numerous Fatah officials. Hamas, who on TV have pleasure in enticing their children to kill the Jews and finally Canada, of all places, where many Jews wonder who is actually looking after their interests.  Need I say more?

The world is not only in kerfuffle it is ready to self-implode.  If you have any doubts just take a few minutes to read the following items recently published in various media. Their links are attached:

CANADA

A 6 Year old in Hiding in a Church, in Canada.  The Psuma family are Roma/Jewish. They were chased out of their home in Hungary after being set upon by neo-Nazi thugs. They have been threatened with death if they return. Yet Canada, compassionate understanding Canada under the present government want to do just that, deny their refugee claim for safety and return them to the clutches of racist hooligans.

FRANCE

Jewish mother, baby assaulted in Paris.  A woman assaulted a Jewish mother and her baby in Paris while shouting antisemitic slurs.  In Tuesday’s incident, the assailant shook the stroller belonging to a 27-year-old mother while her 6-month-old baby was inside, according to the Drancy-based National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. The mother described the attacker as being in her 50s with a European complexion and features, BNVCA said. The mother said the attacker shouted, “Dirty Jewess, enough with your children already, you Jews have too many children, screw you.” Identified by BNVCA by her initials, A.M., the mother said the assailant continued to hurl insults at her in front of onlookers at the Faubourg Monmartre bus stop in the 9th arrondissement, a district in central Paris. BNVCA founder Sammy Ghozlan said the mother has filed a complaint with police and can identify her attacker… He added, “The anti-Semitism which persists despite all the measures taken is causing great distress to many Jewish citizens, who are contemplating their future in our country.”

RUSSIA

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights group, on Monday demanded an apology from the directors of state-owned Russia Today Television for airing anti-Semitic programming that contravened Russia’s membership obligations under the 2004 Berlin Declaration on Anti-Semitism of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Known as RT, the outlet has long come under criticism for serving as a Kremlin mouthpiece and for vicious attacks on Israel. “In the very week that the Russian Federation criminalized the denial of the Holocaust and the State of Israel celebrated its 66th Independence Day, your channel apparently decided to trash both Jewish Holocaust victims and Jewish sovereignty…

HUNGARY

Hungary’s far-right party set to come second in EU vote…  Both the European Commission and the European Parliament have taken Budapest to task over questions of rule of law and media freedom. While Fidesz will undoubtedly win the EU elections, far-right party Jobbik is also set to do very well in the 25 May vote. “The surprise would be if they didn’t come in second,” says Csaba Toth of the Republikon Institute. He notes that Jobbik is continuing its push for the political centre, a strategy that already paid off at the polls in April. “Its strategic goal is to become an alternating party to Fidesz,” he adds.

THE NETHERLANDS

Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders is riding high ahead of this month’s European Parliament The best of Geert Wilderselections, hoping to destroy from within what he calls the ‘monster of Brussels’.  Despite an unprecedented backlash after he called for “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands, his Party for Freedom (PVV) looks set to make gains in the May 22 vote, including extra clout and cash by joining a pan-European populist alliance.  The platinum-haired Wilders in November announced “the start of the liberation of Europe” from the European Union after forming a partnership with French far-right party National Front (FN).  Like the FN’s leader Marine Le Pen, Wilders wants to take his country out of the EU and to abandon the euro. “Wilders is hunting for power in Europe. He wants to be part of a broader movement and wants more influence in the European Parliament,” says Adriaan Schout, senior researcher at the Clingendael Institute for International Relations. The latest Ipsos opinion poll on May 1 ranked Wilders’ PVV third in the Netherlands, just below the ruling coalition partner People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the pro-Europe D66.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Czech Cabinet will not pay for demolition of pig farm in Lety.  Over 1,300 Romanies were interned in Lety during the German Nazi occupation, 327 of whom perished in the camp and over 500 were sent to the extermination camp in Auschwitz where most of them died.  A memorial to the Romany Holocaust was set up at the former burial ground of the Lety concentration camp for Romanies. However, it is situated near a pig farm that is at the site now. Romanies and human rights activists have protested against it for years. Relatives of the Romany Holocaust victims along with the U.N. Human Rights Committee have demanded that the pig farm be abolished.

GREECE

Greece’s top court allows far-right party to contest EU vote.  Greece’s Supreme Court on Sunday allowed the far-right Golden Dawn party to run in European elections this month, despite calls to ban it as its leader waits in jail to be tried for membership of a criminal organization. The court routinely permits parties to take part in elections but a private citizen had asked it to exclude Golden Dawn this time because its leadership is under investigation over a string of attacks against immigrants and opponents…  The party is running between third and fifth in opinion polls, and a strong showing would pose a challenge to the fragile coalition government.

CANADA

Canadians more likely to be antisemitic than Americans, poll finds.  A new global poll reveals Canadians are more likely to be antisemitic than Americans.  The survey by the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found 14% of Canadians harbour anti-Jewish attitudes, compared with only 9% of Americans…  Although many Canadians want to dismiss anti-Semitism as being a problem of the past, the survey makes it clear it persists. If anything, the modern form of anti-Semitism may be even more dangerous than it was in the past. In Canada, anti-Jewish bullying and abuse take place on campuses, in classrooms and workplaces…

USA

Twitter Is Platform of Choice for Antisemites as Hate Rises on Social Media.  Twitter is the “weapon of choice” for bigots and racists, according to a new report on digital hate and intolerance released by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The center surveyed hateful content on over 30,000 websites and found that online hatred rose more than 30% over the past year. The report also graded top social media platforms on their commitment to removing hateful posts and on whether the prevalence of these posts on their sites is increasing or decreasing. “If the world is going to effectively deal with the growing threat from lone wolf terrorists, the leading social media companies, including Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter must do more,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, assistant dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. But Cooper reserved special criticism for Twitter, which received a D grade in the report. He said Twitter has shown little inclination to work with his center or to seriously address hateful speech and even terrorist activity. “There are terrorist groups that use Twitter to communicate,” he said. “Twitter hasn’t shown us they have an institutional grasp or commitment of the issue, and that needs to change.”

SOUTH SUDAN

South Sudan violence leaves trail of bodies, starving children and destruction. Bodies stuffed in wells. Houses burned down. Children playing on military hardware. And infants showing the skeletal outlines of severe hunger. These are the scenes from a remote part of South Sudan – Leer – where Doctors Without Borders has just begun feeding severely malnourished children about three months after the aid group’s hospital was destroyed in violence that has been ripping apart the country since December. One child brought to the clinic by a mother hoping for life-saving aid instead died the next day. That and other scenes of desperation were recently filmed by an Associated Press journalist.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council on Monday that he visited South Sudan this month in order to “sound the alarm about the violence and the risk of catastrophic famine.” Ban warned that if the fighting continues, half of South Sudan’s 12 million people will be displaced, starving or dead by year’s end.

FRANCE

JIN France attack on a Jewish man May 17 2014

Click on this image

French Jewish leader: ‘It’s not so pleasant living there as Jews.’ France’s flag has three stripes, and its motto promotes three values: liberty, equality and fraternity. Now, its Jewish community – Europe’s largest — faces three threats, according to Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish organizations and a vice president of the World Jewish Congress. In an appearance at New York’s French consulate, Cukierman laid out the trio of challenges: an increasingly radicalized Muslim immigrant population that scapegoats Jews, the growing popularity of the far-right National Front party headed by Marine Le Pen, and widespread anti-Israel sentiment among French leftists. “It’s not so pleasant living there as Jews in this period,” Cukierman said, adding that at a recent anti-government demonstration, “a crowd of 17,000 people was yelling, ‘Jews, France does not belong to you.’” (An audience member disputed his characterization later during a Q&A session, arguing that only about 500 demonstrators joined in the anti-Jewish chants.) Forty percent of violent hate crimes in France target Jews, Cukierman said.

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

Israel’s creation is “greatest crime known to humanity,” writes official PA daily op-ed.  To coincide with Israel’s Independence Day, the official Palestinian Authority daily published an op-ed describing Israel’s creation – “the occupation of Palestine” – as “the greatest crime known to humanity.” Other terms of demonization used to refer to Israel’s creation were “a monstrosity was born” and “an despicable mission.” Jewish fighting forces in the War of Independence were referred to as “the Zionist gangs.”… Children in the PA are likewise taught in official education to reject Israel’s right to exist. A PA schoolbook uses some of the same terms that appeared in the op-ed when teaching 12th graders about the establishment of Israel. 

 (Text credit: Canada, Psuma family- Bernie Farber. Photo credit: Greece- universityobserver; South Sudan- sam-bronx photo; France- alliancefr)

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