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European body criticizes Poland for lack of progress in fighting anti-Semitism

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–In a new report, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has criticized Poland for lack of progress in fighting anti-Semitic and racist discourse as well as a lack of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and the vulnerable situation of the Roma minority.

The report says that “it  is disturbing that discriminatory attitudes persist in Poland. Anti-Semitism is tolerated in parts of the political world and influential media. Racism among football fans, involving serious insults to Black players and crude references to the Holocaust, is a major problem which must be tackled by the authorities as well as by the Polish Football Association and football clubs.

“Some extreme right-wing organizations continue their activities unchallenged. There is an obvious need to curtail hate speech in publications and on the Internet. The courts have an important contribution to make in this respect and confidence should be built in the National Broadcasting Council’s ability to deal with complaints about ethical standards.

“There is no comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, no independent specialized body to combat racism and discrimination on grounds of race, color, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin and no independent police complaints mechanism”.

ECRI is an independent human rights body of the Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, France. It monitors problems of racism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues recommendations to the Council of Europe’s member states.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

Alleged Mossad agent wanted in Germany arrested at Warsaw Airport

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–An alleged Mossad agent who is wanted in Germany in connection with the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai has been arrested in the Polish capital Warsaw. The arrest earlier this month of Uri Brodsky, and his possible extradition to Germany, could lead to a diplomatic row between Germany and Israel.

Germany wants Brodsky to face charges of falsifying documents to obtain a German passport, but according to news reports, Israel has pressed Poland not to extradite him. The German news magazine  ‘Der Spiegel’ reported on Monday that Brodsky – an Israeli citizen suspected of working for the Mossad in Germany – was taken into custody upon arrival at Warsaw’s airport on 04 June. He is suspected of having helped another Mossad agent to illegally obtain a German passport as part of the plot to assassinate senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room in January, according to the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office.

Al-Mabhouh co-founded the military wing of Hamas and was allegedly in Dubai to conclude a weapons deal when he was killed. Dubai police investigations have pointed to the involvement of 33 people in the plot. They were placed on Interpol’s most wanted list, and Germany particularly sought Brodsky, according to media reports.

A prosecution spokesman in Poland was quoted by ‘ Haaretz’  as saying that Polish authorities will ask the court in Warsaw to meet the German request for Brodsky’s extradition. The Polish prosecutor noted that the extradition would be based on a European arrest warrant which leaves Poland little choice in the matter, consistent with its legal obligations as a member of the European Union. “The Polish court will rule in 30 days whether the incarcerated person, under the name of Brodsky, will be extradited to Germany or not,” the spokesman for the Warsaw District Court added, according to the Israeli newspaper.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

US senators press Obama to include Turkish charity in terrorism list

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–Leaders of both parties in the United States Senate have urged the Obama administration to consider placing the Turkish charity involved in the Gaza flotilla incident on the list of terrorist organizations, JTA reports. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (Democrats) and minority leader Mitch McConnell (Republicans) circulated a letter last week among colleagues that would press Obama to investigate the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which helped to charter one the six ships of the ‘ Gaza Freedom Flotilla’.

“Israeli forces were able to safely divert five of the six ships challenging the blockage,” the letter says according to the JTA news agency, adding: “However, video footage shows that the Israeli commandos who arrived on the sixth ship, which was owned by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation were brutally attacked with iron rods, knives, and broken glass. They were forced to respond to that attack and we regret the loss of life that resulted.”

Competing accounts of the melee blame both the Israeli commandos and the passengers for starting the fight. The letter alleges that IHH is affiliated with Hamas. “We recommend that your administration consider whether the IHH should be put on the list of foreign terrorist organizations, after an examination by the intelligence community, the State Department, and the Treasury Department,” it says. Placement on the list makes it a crime to raise funds for such a group. The letter also encourages Obama to continue to support Israel “before international organizations such as the United Nations.

“We ask you to stand firm in the future at the United Nations Security Council and to use your veto power, if necessary, to prevent any similar biased or one-sided resolutions from passing,” the letter states.

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Preceding provided by Worlod Jewish Congress.

Hard-line ayatollah says Iran must not give up right to build “special weapons”

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–In a thinly veiled reference to nuclear arms, Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi – a hard-line Iranian cleric who is seen as spiritual mentor of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – has called for the production of those “special weapons’’ that were a monopoly of a few nations. Yazdi wrote in a book circulated among senior clerics that Iran should not deprive itself of the right to produce these “special weapons.’’

Yazdi’s book, ‘The Islamic Revolution – Surges in Political Changes in History’, was written in 2005 and then reprinted last year but would have had only a very limited circulation among senior clerics and would not have been widely known. “The most advanced weapons must be produced inside our country even if our enemies don’t like it. There is no reason that they have the right to produce a special type of weapon, while other countries are deprived of it,’’ Yazdi wrote. The ayatollah is a member of the Assembly of Experts, a conservative body of 86 senior clerics that monitors Iran’s supreme leader and chooses his successor. He also heads the Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute, an Islamic think tank, in the city of Qom, 80 miles south of the capital.

Iran’s government and its clerical hierarchy have repeatedly denied the country is seeking nuclear weapons. The United Nations Security Council last week imposed a fourth round of sanctions in response to Tehran’s refusal to halt uranium enrichment. The fourth sanctions package includes an asset freeze of 40 additional companies and organizations, including 22 involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities.

On Monday, European Union foreign ministers agreed on a package of additional sanctions against Iran which go beyond the UN measures. The EU sanctions would focus on trade, especially on dual-use items that could have nuclear applications. They also would further restrict insurance and financial transactions.

The Australian government also imposed sanctions against two Iranian companies and an Iranian general to protest against Tehran’s nuclear program. The new measures were in addition to those adopted by the UN Security Council, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told Parliament in Canberra.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

Reason behind world’s Gaza flotilla uproar: plain, simple, old-fashioned anti-Semitism

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

By Morton A. Klein and Dr. Daniel Mandel

NEW YORK–Disturbing, shocking and eye-opening. Israel attempts to legally prevent Iranian missiles and rockets from being delivered to Gaza, controlled by the internationally recognized terrorist group, Hamas; yet the world and media condemns the Jewish state of Israel and mourns the nine Hamas supporters who were killed by Israel in self-defense. And remember – Israel stops weapons, but daily allows delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza. So why this upside-down world? There is no reasonable explanation but one – anti-Semitism against the Jewish state.

By striking contrast, North Korea’s unprovoked torpedoing and sinking a South Korean ship, killing 45 on board, evokes little response. Russia bulldozing and carpet-bombing of Chechnya, killing thousands of civilians, again evokes little response. The Sudanese regime’s endless massacre of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese Christians and animists is greeted with a deafening silence. Yet, it is Israeli officials who do not travel to certain Western countries for fear of arrest on war crimes charges. North Korean leaders, Russian officers, Sudanese officials and Hamas terrorists travel freely without fear of arrest and prosecution.

Colonel Richard Kemp, former British commander in Afghanistan said, “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF in Gaza.” Yet we live in a world in which people increasingly ignore real war crimes while obsessing on fabricated Israeli ones.

The Gaza flotilla consisted of six ships, five of which peacefully complied with the Israeli blockade, were searched and proceeded without bloodshed. Only the sixth ship, the Mavi Mamara, refused to comply. Naturally, the Israelis boarded the ship. Expecting only some noisy pro-Palestinian activists, the Israelis carried merely paintball guns, often used in riot control, and side arms, which were not even drawn.

This was hardly an overreaction. However, the jihadists and their sympathizers on board, who were armed with weapons, night vision goggles and bullet-proof vests, assaulted, seized and overpowered the Israelis with metal rods, bats, knives and even shot and wounded some of the Israelis with the Israelis’ own side arms.

The evidence of the unprovoked assault on the Israelis was clear and quickly available: video footage showing the Israelis being assaulted upon setting foot on board; video clips of the Hamas supporters on board the ship singing songs celebrating the murder of Jews and happily anticipating violence and their own ‘martyrdom.’ Weapons and contraband were subsequently found on the ship. The Turkish IHH, who are known to be Al-Qaeda supporters and aligned with Iran, were the violent Hamas supporters’ enablers. The Turkish government, which permitted the flotilla to sail, claimed falsely that no weapons were on board. But there is no outrage at the violent pro-Hamas activists, the IHH or the Turkish government, who caused or made possible the bloodshed – only the Israelis who defended their lives.

In short, this is not merely a case of biased reporting, confusion or lack of relevant data – it is a case of anti-Semitic agitation. What is occurring is not just the attempted delegitimizing of Israel: this is also the re-legitimizing of anti-Semitism, the idea that Jews are a uniquely sinister force for evil in the world. Anti-Semitism produces the distorted vision which sees Jews as inflicting evil, regardless of the facts.

This resurgent disease is also evident in the generalized criticism of Israel grounded in the false notion that Israel is to blame for the absence of peace. Israeli concessions of territory, money, arms and assets to the Palestinians over 17 years since the 1993 Oslo accords are simply airbrushed from history. Palestinian terrorism is ignored or rationalized, as is the incitement to hatred and murder within the Palestinian Authority and Gaza which feeds it.

By these means Israel is held out as the aggressor, the inflexible power unwilling to make the concessions to the Palestinians that would bring peace. Israel obtains little support for taking justifiable action anyone else wouldn’t hesitate to take – like boarding a ship defying a blockade.

Anti-Semitism demands that Jews do nothing: not fight wars, not kill terrorists, not even block funds and arms reaching their would-be genocidal enemies. Anti-Semitism regards anything short of Jews being defenseless as a violation of the natural order. That is why the Jewish state of Israel is being widely condemned when it is simply trying to protect its own citizens.

Spanish leftist politician Pilar Rahola has asked of much of today’s European left, “Why, of all the world’s conflicts, only this one interests them? Why a tiny country which struggles to survive is criminalized? … why when it is the only country in the world which is threatened with destruction, it is the only one that nobody considers a victim?” The tragic answer, as Rahola rightly concludes, is that this is how “anti-Semites” behave.

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Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America. Dr. Daniel Mandel is Director of the ZOA’s Center for Middle East Policy and a Fellow in History at Melbourne University.

Conference of Presidents urges senators to sign letter to Obama urging Israel support

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW YORK (Press Release)– Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations urged members of the Senate to join Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in their letter to President Barack Obama that reaffirms “support for our strategic partnership with Israel” and encourages the President to continue to support Israel at the United Nations, citing Israel as “our strongest ally in the Middle East and a vibrant democracy.”  The letter notes the partnership “on military and intelligence issues” and the U.S. “national interest” in supporting Israel and its “right to self-defense.”

“We hope that members of the Senate will rally behind this very important statement that notes the deep concern of the Senate regarding the role of the IHH in the attack against Israeli soldiers on the Mavi Marmara and urges the Administration’s consideration of adding the IHH to the list of foreign terrorist organizations. 

While the statement commends the U.S. for preventing a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israel and for voting against the deplorable United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that did single out Israel alone for condemnation, it urges the President ‘to stand firm in the future at the United Nations Security Council,’ and to use the veto power, when necessary, to ‘prevent any similar biased or one-sided resolutions from passing.’ The letter also notes support for moving quickly to direct negotiations and ultimate resolution of the conflict,” said Chairman Alan Solow and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein.

“We are grateful to Senators Reid and McConnell and the senators who have or will sign on to show their support for this important and timely statement.  We look forward to an equivalent initiative in the House. Similar to the results of polls across the country, this letter reflects the deep commitment of the American people to the special U.S.-Israel relationship, and their understanding and support for Israel, its efforts to protect its citizens and prevent Hamas from acquiring more sophisticated and greater quantities of weapons,” the leaders said.

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Preceding provided by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

San Diego Israel Coalition plans June 17 organizing meeting

June 15, 2010 1 comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)—An organizing meeting of the San Diego Israel Coalition – described as a “grassroots, passionate, inclusive pro-Israel group focused on powerful and peaceful Israel advocacy”– will be conducted at 7:15 p.m., Thursday, June 17, at Congregation Beth Am, 5050 Del Mar Heights Road in the Carmel Valley area.

Co-chairs Audrey Jacobs and Michael Lurie said the organization will work in partnership with the United Jewish Federation, Anti-Defamation League, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Hillel, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Tritons for Israel, T.E.A.M., Tarbuton, the Zionist Organization of America and all other pro-Israel organizations.

Information about the group and the meeting may be obtained via sdisraelcoalition@gmail.com

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Preceding based on information provided by the San Diego Israel Coalition