What Others Are Saying
Never the twain shall meet?
Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey reports: Iranians, Israelis rush to Antalya. The first four months of the year saw a rise in Iranian and Israeli tourists to Turkey’s southern holiday mecca of Antalya. According to a report released in May by the Antalya Touristic Hotels and Businesses Union, the number of Iranian tourists who visited Antalya skyrocketed by 464 percent between January and April, while visitors from Israel soared by 146 percent. The number of Iranian visitors surpassed 53,000, whereas the number of Israelis visiting Antalya was more than 39,000. The rise in Iranian and Israeli visitors outstripped some of the top Antalya-loving countries during the period, in which the overall number of foreign visitors rose 5.1 percent to 1.32 million… Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s apology to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last year over the Mavi Marmara incident gave a boost to Turkey’s allure for Israeli holiday markets.
“Judenfrei” sign posted on the gates of nursery school in Latvia
Latvian news site Vesti Segodniya reports the Pucite School, owned by Imants Paradnieks, [who has in the past made anti-Semitic statements] posted a sign reading “Judenfrei” (free of Jews) on the gate at the front entrance of the school. The school was in the news two years ago for bringing in men dressed in Waffen SS uniforms to show the kindergarten class what they called a patriotic lesson. In a video taken of that lesson, children are shown World War II era weapons such as grenades, pistols, rifles and machine guns.
‘We feel the Nazi frost in the air’: Sweden
The Local, Sweden reports: Two of Sweden’s most prominent politicians have asked their European counterparts “to wake up”. Cecilia Malmström and Birgitta Ohlsson argue that it is time to fight “Hitler’s ideological heirs, who are marching towards our legislative assemblies”. On May 9th, 1945 there were celebrations across Europe as the Third Reich capitulated and the second world war finally ended. Last week, some 200 Nazis from the Party of the Swedes demonstrated in Jönköping. They protested against the EU and brandished the slogan “Sweden for the Swedes”. Through the duration of the demonstration, church bells rang out across the southern Swedish town. It was the first time since 1939 that the churches rang their bells to warn of danger. School students across our country have this spring been met by Nazi hate propaganda. Some dismiss the scrawled swastiskas and hateful words as pranks. But we feel the frost in the air.
BBC’s Addis Ababa correspondent decides who is Jewish
BBC Watch, UK reports: Here’s a heart-breaking story which was broadcast on BBC World News television and promoted on the Middle East and Africa pages of the BBC News website… Presenter Emmanuel Igunza reports: Shouts of praise for the holy scrolls but make no mistake; this is not Israel. Welcome to Gondar – an ancient historic city in northern Ethiopia and home to the Falash Mura: the last Jews of Ethiopia. They spend their days living according to Jewish tradition, passed onto them over hundreds of years. The tranquility here betrays the emotional turmoil that many feel, not able to join their families in Israel. Stories of siblings separated, children allowed to settle in the Jewish homeland while their parents remain behind. Under the Israeli government criteria, only those Falash Mura who can show evidence of Jewish ancestry on their mother’s side are allowed into Israel and granted citizenship… The problem with Emmanuel Igunza’s story is that he has left out some very critical details, the most obvious one being that the Falash Mura are Christians whose Jewish ancestors were converted by Western missionaries from around the end of the nineteenth century.
Peres barred from entering Swedish airspace
The Jewish Chronicle, UK reports: Israeli President Peres was held up in mid-air on Sunday after Swedish authorities refused to permit the plane he was travelling in from entering their airspace. The president had been en route to Norway in a private jet, owned by the company Kishrev Teufa, when he hit problems over the Baltic Sea.
According to Haaretz, his flight was 15 minutes away from Swedish airspace when the pilot was told that the country’s air traffic authorities had no prior knowledge of clearance being given. After circling the area, the plane was finally re-routed through Danish airspace, making Mr Peres 50 minutes late for his arrival in Oslo. Although the Foreign Ministry blamed the problem on the fact that a private company had been transporting Mr Peres, his office has criticised the Swedish authorities. A spokesperson at the President’s Office said: “It was a technical problem. The Swedes immediately gave approval, but later revoked it for reasons unknown to us.”
Jewish boat making waves ahead of Amsterdam gay parade
JTA reports: Its maiden voyage is months away and will only take a couple of hours, but the Jewish boat of Amsterdam’s annual gay parade-on-the-canals is already making international waves. On Monday, the Jewish boat got the thumbs up from the British actor Stephen Fry, who described it on Twitter as an “Ace event for LGBT Jews worldwide,” adding: “As one of each I wish I could be there!” The Jewish boat for the Amsterdam Pride Canal Parade 2014 is scheduled to hit the murky waters of Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht canal on August 2. It was one of approximately 80 boats to win a March lottery ensuring its participation in the world-famous event, believed to be the world’s only aquatic pride parade. Other winners included the first boat for Moroccan gays. The 18-year-old annual event draws hundreds of thousands of spectators who huddle along the canal to watch the decorated, themed vessels chart a west-east course through one of the Dutch capital’s main waterways. The Jewish boat, and an international Jewish LGBT conference that immediately precedes it, are being organized by a group called Exodays, whose board is made up of several young Jewish activists.
Israel says to normalize relations with Turkey
Kuwait News Agency reports: Israel announced on Monday that it will begin normalizing relations with Turkey in a matter of days after the return of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from his visit to Japan. The normalization comes after four years of tension between the two countries caused by the Israeli attack on the Turkish (Mavi Marmara) flotilla carrying Turkish activists supporting Gaza in May 2010, killing and injuring dozens of those on board. Turkey withdrew its Ambassador to Israel after the incident, and demanded the same from the Hebrew state. Israel has agreed to pay compensation of USD 21 million to the victims’ families, according to Radio Israel. The two sides will reach a final agreement regarding compensations once Netanyahu has returned, the radio added. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously said that Israel must pay the compensation and end the siege on Gaza, if it really wanted to normalize relations with his country. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu meanwhile said in a press conference that the Turkish-Israeli negotiations are coming out with positive results and have solved big issues between the two countries.
Israel’s creation is “the greatest crime known to humanity” writes official PA daily op-ed
Palestinian Media Watch reports: To coincide with Israel’s Independence Day last week, 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.”
Syria jihadists ban mannequins in shops
Gulf News, UAE reports: Militants in Raqa also ban men and women shopping together unless he is her husband, father or brotherSyria’s most extreme jihadist faction issued a ban Monday on mannequins in shop displays and the sale of women’s underwear to male customers, a monitoring group said. The decision by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in their northern stronghold of Raqa also bans men and women shopping together unless he is her husband, father or brother, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Observatory also said ISIL has decided that traditional garments on sale must be neither “tight, transparent or ornate”. Raqa is the only provincial capital in Syria to have fallen from the hands of President Bashar Al Assad’s regime, and it is now completely under Isil control. Isil is believed to be holding some 1,000 hostages in Raqa, rights groups say, many of them peaceful activists, rival rebels or civilians caught committing “crimes” such as heresy or smoking. The group also carries out frequent public executions, with some victims reportedly crucified in Raqa.
West ‘stupid’ to expect Iran missile curb: Khamenei
Gulf Times, Qatar reports: Iran’s supreme leader described as “stupid and idiotic” Western expectations for his country to curb its missile development, striking a defiant tone ahead of a fresh round of nuclear talks. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to mass produce missiles and said the nuclear negotiations were not the place to discuss Tehran’s defence programme or to solve the problem of sanctions damaging the Iranian economy. “They expect us to limit our missile programme while they constantly threaten Iran with military action,” Khamenei was quoted as telling the Irna news agency while on a visit to an aeronautics fair held by the Revolutionary Guards. “So this is a stupid, idiotic expectation … The revolutionary guards should definitely carry out their programme and not be satisfied with the present level. They should mass produce. This is a main duty of all military officials.”
We thought Rouhani was supposed to be moderate? Iran censors, shuts down two newspapers
AlBawaba, Jordan reports: Iranians expecting to buy Thursday’s edition of reformist newspaper Ghanoon were disappointed not to find it on news stands as the publication has been forced to close by the Iranian Ministry of Culture. The latest closures bring the total number of Iranian media outlets shut down by the Ministry of Culture to at least five since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in August. Ghanoon, the Persian word for “law,” was shut down for its coverage of the arrest of Mohammad Rouyanian, the former chair of the Persepolis soccer club and member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp. Rouyanian, who was arrested on fraud charges in March, was head of Iran’s powerful Management Transportation and Fuel Center under controversial former Iranian PresidentMahmoud Ahmadinejad. “The newspaper published false reports aimed at disturbing public opinion, and (articles) against the Islamic values,” read the Ministry of Culture’s statement. The statement is posted on Ghanoon’s still-operational website. Ghanoon’s article was just a reprint of a report published by Iranian news agency Dana, which the Ministry of Culture also shutdown when that fact became apparent.
Warsaw’s Jewish Heritage on Show
The Warsaw Voice reports: A new exhibition at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews offers a glimpse of Warsaw as it was before World War II, when the city was home to the world’s second-largest Jewish community after New York City. Entitled Warszawa, Warsze, the exhibition comprises archival documents, paintings and photographs. Arranged in chronological order, the exhibition begins with items from the late 18th century. The primary focus of Warszawa, Warsze are Warsaw’s distinctly Jewish neighborhoods, such as Muranów and Nalewki Street, where Yiddish was spoken and the streets bustled with sidewalk stalls, stores and craftsmen’s workshops. Visitors to the museum can see how the elegant Senatorska Street and the Tłomackie Street area, a favorite meeting place for progressive intellectuals, once looked. The exhibition also delves into the shady atmosphere of Gnojna Street and Iron Gate Square, and brings to life the Jewish microcosm of Warsaw’s Praga district, whose local horse fair attracted many Jews in the 18th century. The exhibition also takes in the Vistula River, which used to be a popular bathing spot and which simultaneously served as a trade route for Jewish merchants dealing in grain and other products.
Quilliam releases new report on online extremism
A new report by Quilliam entitled ‘Jihad Trending: A Comprehensive Analysis of Online Extremism and How to Counter it’ is released today. The report maps Islamist extremist usage of the Internet and explores the role extremist materials online play in the radicalisation process. It also focuses on how online extremism can be countered, offering a comprehensive range of counter-measures.
Key findings of the report include:
• The vast majority of radicalised individuals come into contact with extremist ideology through offline socialisation prior to being indoctrinated online. This challenges popular discourse about ‘lone wolf’ actors radicalised solely through the Internet.
• Although governments are increasingly relying on censorship and filtering methods to counter online extremism, this report found that negative measures, or censorship in general, was not only ineffective and costly but also potentially counter-productive.
(Photo credit Vesti Segodniya)