a different side of Israel

Tag: anti-Semitism (page 2 of 2)

Mr. Campbell

Tom CampbellRepublican US Senate candidate, former congressman, Tom Campbell, running in the state of California was accused by his opponents of anti-Semitism and taking an anti-Israel stance. He denies these accusations.

His opponents, Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore have claimed that Campbell opposes Israel because of the way he has voted while in office and because of the donations which he accepted from Sami al-Arian, a prominent leader of Islamic Jihad.

When asked whether he has ever supported Israel during his ten years in the House of Representatives his response was, “There’s no place for calling me an anti-Semite and then denying it. That whispering campaign, that silent slander stops today.”

Campbell was a Stanford law professor and spearheaded a House of Representatives claim against former President Bill Clinton for the manner in which he commanded the war in Kosovo.
Fiorina mentioned that Campbell voted in favor of a cut in financial aid to the Jewish Country and was one of 34 members of the House who voted against the move to define Jerusalem as its undivided capital – 435 others supported the move.

DeVore called Campbell “a friend to our enemies”, alluding to the fact that he accepted $1,300 from al-Arian in 2000, after he was arrested on suspicion of running an Islamic Jihad campaign in the University of South Florida.

Rising Hatred

Sadly, anti-Semitism reared its ugly head in 2009 in formidable measures, especially in Western Europe. The record number of incidents was the largest since World War II. The first three months of the year saw more anti-Semitism than all of 2008.

The sharpest increase was in France, where 631 anti-Semitic incidents happened in the first half of 2009 (compared with 474 throughout 2008); Britain came in second with over 600 incidents, while the Netherlands recorded 100 anti-Semitic acts – the same number as the year before.

In addition to the increase in the number of cases, the severity of the attacks also escalated. Hundreds of incidents were considered extremely violent, and included eight murders:

Six slain during the terror attack in Mumbai, India.

Johanna Justin-Jinich, a Jewish student, murdered in Connecticut.

The security guard, Stephen T. Johns that was killed during the attack on the holocaust museum in Washington D.C.

This does not count Israeli casualties.

The “modern blood-libel” phenomenon was very much prevalent: one Swedish newspaper article accused Israel of organ trafficking. There have also been reports of Israeli organ trafficking in Haiti. Anti-Semitic TV shows have been broadcasted in several Muslim countries including Turkey.

Also seen was an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents that stem from domestic political conflicts ahead of elections, like those that occurred in Hungary and the Ukraine, with cooperation between radical left factions and Muslim communities.

The report done by Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (CFCA) also noted that when governments actively battle Anti-Semitism, it results in cases such as those that were witnessed in the U.S., Ukraine and the Czech Republic.

One of the report’s main findings was that some 42% of Western European citizens, mainly from Poland and Spain, believe Jews exploit their past as victims in order to extort money.

The report was published in time for the International Day against Fascism and Anti-Semitism and the Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz, which happened on January 27th.

Shooting At American Synagogue

shooting in US synagogueThis last Thursday morning at the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic synagogue, in North Hollywood, a gunman opened fire and shot two people in the legs. The shooting happened at about 6:20 am, around the time of morning prayers, and the two casualties were both men in their thirties. This attack happened just 10 miles away from a Jewish Community Center which was the scene of another shooting in 1999. The Israeli consulate in Los Angeles said that the shooter was an African American male wearing a hooded sweatshirt. The man was seen earlier having an argument with two Jews in the synagogue’s parking lot.

Meanwhile, in related news, a U.S. jury indicted James Von Brunn on Wednesday, an 89 year old, World War II veteran, white supremacist, who opened fire inside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
Brunn killed a museum guard named Stephen T. Johns, before he was shot in the face (thereby incurring wounds from which he survived). He was indicted on seven counts of first-degree murder and could face the death penalty.
The last time such violence against Jews happened on American turf was in 2006, when a mentally ill gunman burst into a Seattle Jewish center, killing one woman and wounding five others; this attack coincided with the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

While these incidents are indeed very frightening, the Anti-Defamation League conducted a phone survey last week – the results of which expressed that anti-Semitism in America is at a historic low, with only 12% of Americans openly prejudiced toward Jewish people. The level of anti-Semitism measured in this survey matches that of the same survey taken in 1998, and is the lowest in the 45-year history of this particular poll. The first time that the survey was conducted in 1964, 29% of Americans were said to have “held anti-Semetic views”.

The poll was taken between Sept. 26 and Oct. 4 and consisted of 1,200 adult participants. It further showed men were more likely to be anti-Semitic than women, and that African Americans had higher tendencies to be anti-Jewish than any other ethnic group in the population.

Is Richard Goldstone An Anti-Semite?

Head of the UN fact finding Mission on Operation Cast Lead, Richard Goldstone, released in the Jerusalem Post an op-ed article, in defense of his, mainly Israeli and American criticizers. The article comes five weeks after the official release of the Goldstone Report.

Switzerland UN Gaza War CrimesThe President of the Human Rights Council announced the mandate that the Report was:

“to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.”

Justice Goldstone maintained in the article that his intentions were entirely subjective. He reminded his enemies that he is former member of the South African Constitutional Court and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; that he has a history of supporting the Jewish State, and served on the Board of Governors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And also that he was highly critical of the “alleged fraud and theft by governments and political leaders in a number of countries in connection with the United Nations Iraq Oil for Food program.”

He explained that

“In all of these, allegations [I] reached the highest political echelons. In every instance, I spoke out strongly in favor of full investigations and, where appropriate, criminal prosecutions. I have spoken out over the years on behalf of the International Bar Association against human rights violations in many countries, including Sri Lanka, China, Russia, Iran, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.”

Since the likes of Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz called him a Jewish “anti-Semite”; Goldstone felt the need to clear things up. “As A Jew” he wrote, “I felt a greater and not a lesser obligation to do so. It is well documented that as a condition of my participation I insisted upon and received an evenhanded mandate to investigate all sides and that is what we sought to do.”

Richard Falk, a Princeton University professor, and strong criticizer of the IDF in terms of alleged violations of Human Rights against Palestinians, predicts that “the weight of the report will be felt by world public opinion.

Durban II and The Horribly Racist Israel

Racist Jews?I am not sure if some of the countries boycotting the Durban II summit are doing it out of solidarity for Israel or the Jewish people. Regardless, I think its very symbolic that today the eve of the Holocaust memorial day the UN conference on racism is on its way with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad taking center stage and meeting with the Swiss President. As I write this I hear that as he started to speak, attacking Israel immediately, people started leaving the hall. What a shock.

R I PThe channel 10 News morning show today showed some Holocaust survivors who were invited to visit one of the Air Force’s largest and oldest bases. The seniors met with the pilots and saw some of the jets on the runway. There was a point where one of the visitors spoke to a pilot and asked him to assure her that there will be no more Holocausts. When asked if these air crafts can reach Iran, he answered that they could reach anywhere they were needed.

This is just one example and extension of the general mood lately. The powers in Israel are preparing the Israeli psyche for the next phase which would be the annihilation of the Iranian Nuclear program. In this case a UN summit “dedicated” to fighting racism and whoring itself out to a notorious Holocaust denier who clearly is calling for destruction of Israel (a UN member) is just the sort of confirmation that the Israeli government is looking for.

I hope the UN books an alternate speaker for the next Durban summit because I have a feeling President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won’t be available.

Heckler disrupts Peres in Oxford

President Shimon Peres gave a lecture at Oxford University yesterday. In the middle of his speech, a man tried to approach him from the audience, while shouting “You’re responsible for the massacre of hundreds of people. You’re responsible for an apartheid state.”

Press this link to watch the incident.

Among other things, Peres noted that the election of Barack Obama marks the end of racism in the United States. He also reminded the audience that the Zionist movement had been born as a reaction to European anti-Semitism and racism.

From Behind

Human Narration on

Where Do I Come From?Yesterday I walked down the street and noticed someone walking a few meters before me. I could only see his back. But there was something about him — perhaps his walk, or his haircut — that intuitively made me think he’s Japanese. So I hastened my steps and walked passed him, turning my head to take a quick glimpse of the man… and yes, he was indeed Japanese.

This event made me think about my travels abroad. It’s a common joke among Israelis that we can easily spot each other overseas, even before the other opened his mouth. I assume it’s true for other cultures as well, and it makes me wonder “How this phenomenon works”. And it is just an illusion?

I wrote two weeks ago about Chinese stereotypes of Jews and raised the question whether it can be considered anti-semitism. Now I once again stir up the issue, from a different perspective. I don’t focus on Jews this time, but rather on the Israeli mainstream culture. Personally I do believe that a culture has the social power to greatly modify a person’s behavior and mentality, starting with the way people think and the associations they’re most likely to conjure, and up to the way they move their body and their patterns of personal grooming.

I want to emphasize that I’m alluding to the power of cultural socialization, and not to inborn motifs of race. I do not believe there are any innate differences between a Japanese baby and an Israeli baby. I do believe they grow up to conceive the world differently. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that language plays a pivotal role in this issue. There is also a debatable notion in linguistics, titled the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, which states pretty much what I had just said at the end of the previous paragraph.

Can we assume from this that cultural stereotypes (as opposed to racial stereotypes) have some basis? Are German people truly pedantic? French folks really impatient? And Israelis genuinely…

…What? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Is this Anti-Semitism?

Millionaire Avi Shaked tried to enter politicsYair Lapid hosts a weekly television newsmagazine called “Ool’Pan Shi’Shi” (Friday’s Studio). This last Friday I watched a piece in Ool’Pan Shi’Shi about Israeli entrepreneur Avi Shaked who set out to establish a chain of coffee shops in Shanghai, China. You see, apparently the Chinese favour the traditional tea over coffee, and drink it only because it’s trendy and it symbolizes the West.

In any case, this Israeli brand, titled Citta Caffe, has currently only 3 branches in the entire country — while the competing Starbucks already has 350(!) branches in China. Yet, according to the reporter, the Chinese people see Citta as equal in dominance and relevance to Starbucks, a widespread notion that derives from the way the Chinese view the Israeli. As evident from the piece, Jewish people are considered in China to be intelligent and savvy in the business world. One could find books in Shanghai titled “How to make money like the Jews” and so forth.

What really caught my attention was one innocent quote… At the end, the reporter asked a young Chinese woman what she thinks of Israel and its people, and the woman responded that “the whole world is controlled by the Israeli people, but the whole world is made in China”. This tongue-in-cheek answer, which may seem at first like an attempt at flattering, turned a red light in my mental dashboard.

Is this reputation true? We’re intelligent? We’re business savvy? Well, of course there are many intelligent Jews, and many who succeed in business, but there are just as many successful Americans, rich French, or savvy Chinese. See, it’s true that historical reasons drove a large percentage of the Jewish diaspora into the business world as they were forbidden to engage in many other professions, and it’s also true that the Israeli culture promotes its members to be daredevils and to claim their place in the world. I don’t think it’s a bad thing; on the contrary, I’m proud of my culture. But these characteristics cause our tiny country to be very “noisy”, from a global perspective, relative to its size — and this notion fosters hostility and envy by many.

When the Chinese revere Jewish people as smart and successful, it may be a sign of affection and respect on their part — yet I can’t help but to think how these very same stereotypes were so prevalent across Europe in the 1930’s.

German Youth Suffering Holocaust Fatigue

A report issued by a German Foreign Ministry delegation that deals with teaching the lessons of the Holocaust to German school children said that many children in the country are becoming weary of this subject, even to the point that they may be suffering from what is now being called “Holocaust fatigue”. The report was given by Dr. Benedikt Haller, a Foreign ministry official who is involved in relations with Jewish organizations in respect to issues involving the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.

German Youth Suffering Holocaust FatigueThe gist of the problem, according to Haller, revolves around a new generation of educators who believe that German children “must know the truth about what happened in their country before and during WWII”. Previously, not all the actual details had been conveyed to schoolchildren, perhaps for the reason that their parents and others of the same age group were embarrassed by what had happened during the Holocaust. This new idea of literally “bombarding” German children with literature dealing with this subject has now worked in reverse of what it was intended to do.

An example of this feeling was expressed in a recent cartoon in Der Speigel, one of Germany’s top newspapers. In this cartoon, a young, bewildered German student is standing in a bookstore that is literally crammed with books and other literature dealing with the Holocaust. This cartoon ironically came out on the 60th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.

A specially designed comic book, entitled “The Search”, has recently been introduced into German school curriculum, and deals with Jewish children of about the same age who became victims of the Holocaust. German schoolchildren are required to read the book and afterwards discuss it in class. German kids then give their ideas of what they would have done if in the same situation.

These issues come on the eve of German’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s planned visit to Israel in which she addressed the Knesset in her native language – German. This has already been criticized by some officials in Israel, while others do not have a problem with it as German is, after all, Merkel’s native tongue. The German Chancellor visited Israel not long after she took up her post, and visited the Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem. Her uncomfortable feelings regarding her country’s past were very evident during this visit.

A new Holocaust remembrance and memorial office is soon to be opened in Berlin, which Haller is very proper since Berlin was the city where the Holocaust actually began during the1930’s and where acts of genocide against were later planned.

If German children are taught less about their country’s darker past, it could later reflect on how they feel about Israel and Jews in general, and could result in a rise in antisemitism in Germany. And as the well said saying goes: “he who forgets the lessons of history is doomed to repeat them”.

He’s at it Again! Ahmadinejed and the 2006 Football World Cup

It seems that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just doesn’t know when to shut up. His latest contribution to his country’s increased isolation now comes from remarks he made today regarding the German Government’s refusal to let him attend this year’s World Cup, scheduled to begin in Germany this coming July. In an interview with a reporter for the German newspaper Der Spiegel, Mr. Ahmadinejad continued with his opinions concerning the Holocaust.

Mahmoud AhmadinejadDuring the interview, Mr.Ahmadinejad continued to state that the story of The Holocaust is “a series of lies” told by the world Zionest ‘conspiracy’, and that he personally would believe it and accept it as the truth only if be believed it to be so. “I only believe that something can be true if I totally believe in it.”, Ahmadinejad commented, regarding The Holocaust.

Since being elected of the Islamic Republic of Iran, few if any kind words regarding the non-Islamic word have been uttered by Mr. Ahmadinejad. If personally barred from the World Cup, the Iranian president will most likely take out his wrath against countries who simply do not accept Mr. Ahmadinjad and his line of rhetoric.

Iranians themselves view their president’s statements with mixed emotion. “We feel that our government does not care for out well fare, and only gives money to terrorist groups and similar organizations”, a young Iranian student was reported to have said recently in a protest gathering of university students. Perhaps Iran’s younger generation, being more and more frustrated, due to lack of job opportunities and curtailing of individual freedoms, are beginning to view their president in a different manner. “Islam may have a strong pull in this country, but in the long run, people have to live” an Iranian businessman commented.

Iran’s pledge to give the Palestinian Authority a sum of 50 million dollars has also been met with protest by Iranians, many of whom would love to see that money used to help create job opportunities to young (and not so young) Iranians.

Returning to the Iranian president’s World Cup remarks, Mr Ahmadinejad had planned to be present in Germany when the Iranian team plays there this summer. “A Zionest web is preventing me from traveling to Germany to see may country’s team play”, he remarked to the reporter. Interesting that he should say this, in light of all the rhetoric that has been coming from him in an almost continuous flow, since he assumed office as Iran’s president. “My decision (to the attend) depends upon a lot of things”, Ahmadinejad was reported to have said.

Perhaps Mr. Ahmadinejad should take time to consider just what people have against him outside (and probably inside) of Iran. With this in mind, and the Iranian nuclear issue still very much in the forefront, Mr. Ahmadinejad should consider being more compromising in terms of his feelings toward the West, in general, and Israel in particular. The Iranian president ended the interview commenting that Germans are not being allowed to “write the truth” regarding the Holocaust. He claims to only be speaking the truth – his version that is.

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