Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Iran's Khamenei = Top Antisemite of 2013 

Arutz Sheva / Israel National News 

Khamenei Tops SWC List of 2013 Anti-Semites

Iran's Supreme Leader, Turkish PM Erdogan and Roger Waters among those named in 2013 “Top Ten Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel List”.

By Elad Benari

Iran’s Supreme Leader tops the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s (SWC) “Top Ten Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel List” for 2013.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center said Monday that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was placed at the top of the list “because of his continuous calls for Israel’s annihilation even during the announcement of the interim nuclear agreement.”

The annual list released by the center exposes Jew-hatred by government leaders, movements, and cultural elites who are influential, have impact, and wield real power.

“Throughout 2013, as the US conducted secret talks with Tehran, the Ayatollah’s anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate flowed unabated,” said SWC, adding, “On the eve of Iranian elections, Khamenei declared, ‘Zionists’ were the real power in the United States, updating the old canard of a global Jewish conspiracy.

The #2 spot on the list was taken by Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who in 2013 continued his verbal attacks on Israel, including blaming the Jewish State for the Gezi Park protests. Erdogan also fingered Israel as for being responsible for the Egyptian military’s ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

In next spot on the SWC list one can find Richard Falk, the United Nations’ human rights expert who has a history of anti-Israel statements.

This year, Falk said that if renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) fail, the UN General Assembly should turn to the International Court of Justice and seek an opinion on “the legal consequences of Israel's occupation of land claimed by the Palestinians."

Others named by the SWC include the American Studies Association (ASA) that only several weeks ago voted in favor of an academic boycott of Israel and Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters, who this year compared Israel to Nazi Germany.

“The situation in Israel/Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable,” Waters, who has previously faced criticism for virulently anti-Israel statements, said in an interview earlier this month.


Arutz Sheva / Israel National News 

Iranian supreme leader Khamenei threatens Israel's 'collapse' amid various insults as latest round of Iran nuclear talks held in Geneva.

By Ari Yashar  

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that Israel is a "regime doomed to collapse." His threats come as the latest round of talks over Iran's nuclear weapons program is being held in Geneva. 

AFP reports that Khamenei told commanders of the Islamist Basij militia force in Tehran: "the Zionist regime (Israel) is a regime whose pillars are extremely shaky and is doomed to collapse."

Responding to Israeli concerns over Iran's nuclear weapons program, Khamenei called Israel "the rabid dog of the region" and claimed Israel poses a threat to the world, not Iran. The Basij crowd responded with cries of "Death to Israel" and "Death to America."

Khamenei had insults for Israeli officials as well.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) on Tuesday backed previous statements that Israel could militarily act alone to defend itself from the Iranian nuclear threat.

Perhaps in response, Khamenei said "the title of human is not worthy of the leaders of the Zionist regime," adding that the Iranian response to a military action would be "a slap in the face they will never forget."
Khamenei further said in a live state television broadcast that "any phenomenon that is created by force cannot endure," referring to Israel's numerous defensive wars fought to ensure the country's existence.

This is not the first time Khamenei has made threats or attacks on Israel.

In early November the supreme leader of Iran called Israel an "illegitimate and bastard regime," and further called the US a "smiling enemy" that is not to be trusted.

The statements reveal a deep-seated animosity that raises further doubts about the ongoing talks in Geneva aimed at reaching an agreement over Iran's nuclear program.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been a vocal opponent of the program, noting that proposals risk easing sanctions on Iran and leaving the Islamic regime at "breakout capacity." If that were to happen Iran could turn its reactors back on and produce a nuclear weapon whenever it chooses.

Amid disagreement with US President Barack Obama's administration over the nuclear talks, Netanyahu on Wednesday took off for last minute talks in Russia with President Vladimir Putin to try and explain Israel's concerns.

International sanctions have been crippling Iran through an ongoing diplomatic effort to block the country's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Concerns have been raised that the sanctions may be lifted in the Geneva talks without Iran's program being dismantled.

Regarding the sanctions, recent reports revealed that despite his country's economic suffering, Khamenei controls a business empire worth $95 billion, which is more than Iran's current annual oil exports.


Arutz Sheva / Israel National News 

Khamenei: Israel, Zionists 'Illegitimate and Bastard Regime'

Remarks on Iranian government website denounce State of Israel, blame American "indulgence."

By Tova Dvorin

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attacked Israel and the US in remarks on his state-backed website today (Sunday), firing at Israel's supposed "illegitimate and bastard" regime and labeling the US alliance with Israel as an alleged "indulgence."

"The Americans have the highest indulgence toward the Zionists," Khamenei stated, "and they have to. But we don't share such indulgence[s]." Khamenei further referred to the US as a "smiling enemy" who is not to be trusted for leaving the option of a US and Israeli strike on Iran in the event of continued nuclear weapons development.

This is not the first time Khamenei has attacked Israel with verbal force. In a speech last year, the dictator called Israelis "ferocious Zionist wolves who digest the Palestinian people."

Today, Khamenei's inflammatory remarks follow reports that he has been in ill-health. Arabic media sources have noted that the usually highly public leader, now 74, has remained in seclusion for over three weeks, leading to speculation about Iran's future.

Further reports of a possible change in leadership have been brought this week by United Nations watchgroup the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which reported that Iran may be willing to engage in negotiations with world leaders regarding its controversial nuclear program.

Regarding the official UN negotiations, Khamenei has reportedly said that he is "not optimistic" and that "the country should rely on itself."
No official Israeli response has been issued yet regarding the claims.


Arutz Sheva / Israel National News
Iranian Supreme Leader: Israelis are 'Ferocious Zionist Wolves'

Iranian Supreme Leader, speaking at NAM summit, called Israelis “ferocious Zionist wolves who digest the Palestinian people.”

 By Rachel Hirshfeld

In yet another outrageously anti-Semitic speech, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaking Thursday at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, called Israelis “ferocious Zionist wolves who digest the Palestinian people.”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who decided to attend the summit in Iran despite a wave of protests calling on him to boycott the event, remained seated throughout the duration of the speech, refraining from showing opposition to the outwardly hateful remarks.

In comments made prior to the beginning of the summit, Ban said that he "strongly rejects threats by any member state to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust," without explicitly mentioning Iran.

“Claiming that Israel does not have the right to exist or describing it in racist terms is not only wrong but undermines the very principle we all have pledged to uphold,” Ban said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently called the summit, which drew more than 120 countries to Iran, “a disgrace and a stain on humanity.”

Amid backlash, the UN felt compelled to release a statement to the media Wednesday justifying the Ban Ki-moon’s attendance at the international summit.

The “Secretary-General conveyed the clear concerns and expectations of the international community on the issues for which cooperation and progress are urgent for both regional stability and the welfare of the Iranian people,” the statement read.

During his meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ban Ki-moon “thanked” the Iranian leader for the invitation to the NAM Summit.

“On the nuclear question, the Secretary-General said he has been following closely Iran’s talks with the P5+1,” the statement said, referring to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. “He said he regretted that little tangible progress has been achieved so far during these intensive talks and that the talks needed to be serious and substantive.”

“He said that Iran needed to take concrete steps to address the concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency and prove to the world that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. He said that there is no alternative to peaceful, diplomatic and negotiated settlement which should be reached step by step and based on reciprocity,” the statement continued.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Terrorists aim at Israeli and Jewish targets 

The Times of Israel


"Israelis ordered out of Sinai, told to avoid Jordan

Terrorists ‘aim to hit Israeli, Jewish targets worldwide’ in coming weeks

Counter-Terror Bureau issues strident warning, citing ‘concrete, very high’ threats in numerous countries

August 19, 2013

Israeli and Jewish targets all over the world are likely to be sought out by terrorist organizations in the coming weeks, the Israeli government’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned in strikingly strident tones on Monday, listing dozens of countries where it said it had “concrete” indications of a terrorist threat.  

It cited concerns about terrorist acts timed to coincide with the forthcoming Rosh Hashana (New Year), Yom Kippur and Succot festivals, and also said that the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US was likely to be “a favored period” for al-Qaeda and other global jihadist groups to attempt to carry out acts of terrorism.

Iran and Hezbollah, it warned, were continuing their “global terror campaign” against Israeli and Jewish targets. It noted that Iran remained bent on avenging alleged Israeli responsibility for the killing of Hezbollah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh in a Damascus car-bombing in 2008, and the deaths of three Iranian nuclear scientists.

It said its information indicated that Israeli businessmen and ex-government officials were prime potential targets for assassination and/or kidnapping.

With all that in mind, the bureau reconfirmed that Israelis are barred altogether from travel to Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, where the “concrete” terror threat was “very high.”

In addition, it ordered Israelis not to travel to Sudan, Somalia, Algeria, Djibouti, Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia, and to leave these countries immediately if they were there, because of a similarly “very high” terror threat. Where Tunisia was concerned, it underlined what it said were the “threats to carry out attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets.”

The unusually shrill and widespread alert included an order to Israelis not to travel to the Sinai Peninsula, because of the chaotic situation in Egypt. The Sinai’s Red Sea resorts are a traditionally popular holiday destination for Israelis, especially at this time of year. The advisory noted that Sinai was off limits not only because of the general Egyptian disorder and a series of recent attacks in the Sinai, however, but also because of “information on the intention to carry out further attacks.”

Using only slightly less urgent language, the bureau, part of the National Security Council under the authority of the Prime Minister’s Office, ordered Israelis to “avoid visiting” the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt and Qatar, where it cited what it called a “basic” terrorist threat. Israel maintains peace agreements with both Jordan and Egypt, and the warning underlines what the bureau called “the complex security realities” in nations adjacent to Israel.

The bureau also told Israelis to postpone nonessential visits to Turkey, Oman and Morocco, because of “ongoing potential threats.”

Slightly further afield, it cited “very high” terror threats in Afghanistan, parts of southern Thailand, parts of the southern Philippines, east Senegal, India’s Kashmir province, northern Nigeria, parts of Kenya, and Chechnya. Israel were not to travel to any of those areas, and to leave immediately if they were there, it ordered.

The advisory also specified a “high” terror threat in Indonesia, Burkina-Faso, Ivory Coast, Togo, Mali, Malaysia and Pakistan, telling Israelis not to go there and urging them to leave as soon as possible if they were there now.

The bureau’s warning also specified concerns about terror threats to Israeli “business targets” worldwide, and especially in Africa, “in the wake of the exposure of a terrorist infrastructure in Nigeria over the past year.”

Generally, it urged Israelis traveling worldwide to take extra precautions, such as avoiding unexpected meetings or out of the way places, and to change regular travel routes.

The full report was made available on the National Security Council website (Hebrew only). [PDF, 6 pages]."

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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Catholic Sect Head: Jews 'Enemies of Church' 

Israel National News - Arutz Sheva:


Head of Catholic Sect Calls Jews 'Enemies of Church'
Vatican reaffirms its commitment to dialogue with Jews after head of a traditionalist breakaway group called them "enemies of the Church." 
By Rachel Hirshfeld    

The Vatican reaffirmed its commitment to dialogue with the Jewish people after the head of a traditionalist breakaway group called Jews "enemies of the Church" in a late December video, which is currently circulating on YouTube.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), said on Dec. 28 that "the enemies of the Church: the Jews, the Masons, the modernists" were opposing the group's reconciliation with the Church.

Chief spokesman for the Vatican, Rev. Federico Lombardi, on Monday called Fellay’s comment "meaningless" and "unacceptable.”

"[B]oth Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor John Paul II personally engaged in dialogue with Jews," he said, noting their visits to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Lombardi declined to comment on the potential impact of Fellay's words on the dialogue between the Vatican and the SSPX breakaway group.

In a statement, the American branch of the SSPX dismissed the “false accusations of anti-Semitism or hate speech” made against the group, maintaining that the SSPX leader used the word “enemies” as a “religious concept,” referring to “any group or religious sect which opposes the mission of the Catholic Church and her efforts to fulfill it: the salvation of souls.”

Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization that combats anti-Semitism, said, “Bishop Fellay’s description of Jews as ‘enemies’ amply proves once again the deep rooted anti-Semitism that lies at the heart of the SSPX’s theology.”

“Despite all of the group’s efforts to present a cleansed public face, their teaching of hate still seeps to the surface,” he added. “Instead of blaming their traditional bogeymen of Jews and Masons for their problems with the Church, and accusing these enemies of being responsible for subverting the Church through the Vatican II, which shifted the relationship between Catholics and Jews into a positive direction in 1965, they would be better served by acknowledging the teachings of Vatican II and cleansing their theology of the bigotry that it espouses."

Thursday, January 03, 2013

24-Year-Old Jew Murdered in Iran 

From Israel National News - Arutz Sheva:

"24-Year-Old Jew Murdered in Iran
24-year-old Daniel Magrufta, who was dating the daughter of a member of the Revolutionary Guards, was murdered in Iran.
By Elad Benari  

A 24-year-old Iranian Jew, a member of one the most well-known and wealthiest families in Iran, was murdered last week, Channel 2 News reported on Wednesday.

According to the report the man, who was identified as Daniel Magrufta, was dating the daughter of a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The report added that it was at first believed that Magrufta was murdered during a robbery at his home, but no evidence indicating that his home had been broken into was found.

The woman whom Magrufta was dating was reportedly arrested on suspicion of being responsible for the murder but was released without being indicted. Members of the Jewish community in Iran told Channel 2 News that the investigators reportedly told the woman that “if you were involved in killing a Jew, you did a good deed.”

The incident comes just over one month after a Jewish woman was murdered by Muslim extremists intent on taking away her home. The brutal killing took place in the city of Isfahan, today home to fewer than 100 Jewish families.

The woman's family said that a mosque has been under construction near the home. Its worshipers demanded that the family vacate their house in order to expand the mosque building. The owner denied and thugs later came to the home, tied up the woman's two sisters who were living there as well, and stabbed the owner to death.

In 2011, Iran executed an Israeli-born Jewish woman along with her Armenian Christian husband.
The current Iranian government census reports that there are still 8,756 Jews left in the country. In 2009, there were 25,000 Jews across the country; in Isfahan, Iran's third-largest city, there were 1,200."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Spanish soccer antisemites 

Spanish soccer fans chant anti-Semitic slogans at Israeli goalkeeper

By Haaretz Staff and Agencies
Wed., December 16, 2009 Kislev 29, 5770

The Spanish soccer federation is set to haul Osasuna before a disciplinary panel this week, after the referee at the team's game against Real Mallorca over the weekend reported that home fans subjected Mallorca's Israeli goalkeeper, Dudu Aouate, to anti-Semitic abuse.

Aouate kept a clean sheet in the game, as his team recorded its first road victory of the season, winning 1-0.

According to referee Alfonso Alvarez Izquierdo, "From the 14th minute and on five other occasions in the first half, (anti-Semitic) chants... were directed at the visiting goalkeeper by the home fans behind the goal, every time he touched the ball," the referee said in his match report posted on the Spanish federation Web site. Izquierdo informed the match delegate and a message was put out over the stadium PA system calling for the chants to stop. They were not repeated in the second half.

The fans waved Palestinian flags and also shouted "murderer" at Aouate.

Aouate sounded unfazed by the chanting, telling local media that, "This happens to me every time I play here in Pamplona. It really makes me happy that we won."

This is not the first time that the Israeli 'keeper has been subjected to anti-Semitic taunts by Osasuna fans. In 2006, while playing for Deportivo La Coruna, he also came in for some untoward treatment.

Aouate joined Mallorca last year, when the team was facing relegation. The Israeli international helped Mallorca finish mid-table last season, while this year the team has placed fifth, and is challenging for a top-four Champions League qualification place.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Australian Anti-Semitism Report Reveals anti-Jewish Violence 

Spike in number of anti-Jewish incidents

Posted on 01 December 2009

AUSTRALIA has seen an alarming spike in the number of anti-Jewish incidents during the past year, according to new research released this week.

The 144-page Anti-Semitism Report revealed 962 accounts of anti-Jewish violence, vandalism, harassment and intimidation in the past 12 months.

“That’s more than twice the annual average. [It's] unprecedented,” said Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council’s director of international and community affairs and former ECAJ president, Jeremy Jones, who compiled the report.

He released his findings at the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) annual conference in Sydney on November 29.

“More than in any other 12-month period, Jewish-Australians walking to and from synagogue were abused by passing motorists, Jewish people were confronted with incitement against them in Australian cities, and abusive, offensive and intimidatory emails were received by Jewish-Australians at their homes and workplaces.”

Jones, who has been tracking anti-Semitic incidents in Australia for the past 20 years, also noted that anti-Jewish propaganda in fringe publications and from extremist organisations remains an “ongoing concern”.

The results were backed by testimonies from heads of Jewish security groups in both Sydney and Melbourne, who said they have also noticed a surge of incidents in recent years.

David Rothman, head of Sydney’s Communal Security Group, said: “Since 2001, there has been a yearly increase in anti-Semitic incidents, verbal abuse and assault that we see on the ground, and reports from the community.”

Amit Bar-Giora, head of Melbourne’s Community Security Group, added: “Although most of these incidents are not of a violent nature, the fact that there has been an increase is of a great concern. We ask [the community] to be alert to any suspicious activity and report them accordingly.”

On a more positive note, Jones disclosed a marked decrease in reports of physical violence against Jewish individuals and property — with 27 incidents reported this year, compared with 58 and 46 in the previous two years.

Telephone threats, hate mail and graffiti were also reported at “below average rates”.

“It is important to emphasise that my research over 20 years indicates Australians are fundamentally tolerant and opposed to discrimination, vilification or harassment of Jews and other segments of the population, but that a relatively small number of fanatic and offensive individuals are increasingly active in trying to diminish the quality of life of Jewish-Australians,” he said.

“Internationally, Australia scores very well as a successful multicultural society,” he added.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Venezuela's Anti-Semite in chief spews Anti-Israel hatred in public 

Chavez calls Israel "murderous" U.S. arm

Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:48pm EST
By Frank Jack Daniel and Andrew Cawthorne

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez used a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday to brand Israel as a murderous agent of Washington.

Chavez and Ahmadinejad, on the last leg of a tour of three left-leaning South American nations, hugged, held hands, and praised each other as fellow revolutionaries.

The Venezuelan singled out a comment by Israeli President Shimon Peres during a visit this month to South America that his and Ahmadinejad's days in power may be numbered.

"We know what the state of Israel stands for -- a murderous arm of the Yankee empire," Chavez told joint news conference. "What the president of Israel said, we take as a threat."

Chavez broke relations with Israel this year. He won praise in the Muslim world after branding an Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip as genocide.

His fierce speeches against Israel are taken by some supporters as a green light for anti-Semitism and walls in Caracas are often daubed with anti-Jewish slogans.

Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust and has called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

OPEC members Venezuela and Iran have grown much closer in recent years. Chavez supports Ahmadinejad's controversial nuclear program, while Iran is helping Venezuela map uranium deposits.

The two leaders signed a raft of business and industrial agreements relating to 129 joint projects that Chavez said ranged from assembling bikes and producing car-parts, to processing milk and building houses.

Ahmadinejad clinched a second term after a disputed June election brought the worst unrest in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution and a heavy-handed clampdown on opponents.

His trips to left-leaning Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela this week have helped cement ties with countries that back Iran's right to develop atomic power for peaceful purposes.

Iran is under pressure to accept a U.N. plan aimed at checking nuclear ambitions which it says are peaceful but the West fears could be intended to create atomic weapons.

"What do the imperialists say? That Ahmadinejad is here because we are making the atomic bomb here too," Chavez said.

"They're the ones with the atomic bombs, and remember the Yankee imperialists dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki," he added, referring to the bombings of Japanese cities that ended World War II.

A leading Chavez critic and newspaper director, Teodoro Petkoff, mocked Ahmadinejad's visit, saying past cooperation deals had led to little of substance, not even the planned production of bicycles.

Karen Hooper, Latin America analyst for Stratfor consultancy, agreed that the worst fears in Washington about Venezuela and Iran's ties may be overblown.

"There is little danger of Venezuela being able to help Iran proliferate," she said.

"Although Iran is short on uranium and Venezuela might have some, even if Venezuela were to deliver sufficient quantities, the real problem for Iran is the enrichment process, which requires technology that Venezuela could not possibly wield."

(Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Alan Elsner and Walker Simon)"

[Note how Ms. Karen Hooper can't help herself from acting as an apologist for evil even when it's smacking her between the eyes!]

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Anti-semite hosted by J Street 

J Street should rescind its invitation to Al-Marayati

By Morton A. Klein
Jewish Journal.com
September 21, 2009

"Is J Street a pro-Israel group? The lobbying organization never tires of claiming it is., Yet what pro-Israel group would invite a man to speak at its forthcoming conference who has called for Israel’s destruction, stating that “the establishment by force, violence and terrorism of a Jewish state in Palestine in 1948” was “unjust” and “a crime, ” and vowed to “work to overturn the injustice”?

The man who signed this Sept. 17, 1993 statement by the Muslim Public Affairs Council was its executive director, Salam Al-Marayati, who will be speaking next month at J Street’s Oct. 25-28 conference.

Marayati and MPAC have made numerous other hateful anti-Israel and anti-American statements:

* A few hours after the 9/11 attacks, Marayati said on a radio show in Los Angeles, “We should put the State of Israel on the suspect list” of possible 9/11 perpetrators.

* After a suicide bombing at a Jerusalem pizzeria on Aug. 8, 2001, his organization issued a statement calling the attack “the expected bitter result of the reckless policy of Israeli assassination that did not spare children and political figures.”

* Marayati’s group condemned the U.S. strikes against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Sudan following the bombings in 1998 of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as “illegal, immoral and illogical.”

* He has likened Israel’s supporters to Hitler.

Marayati also has condemned France’s fining of Roger Garaudy for Holocaust denial as “persecution of his right to express an opinion” and in 1997 gave a chilling, anticipatory justification for anti-American terrorism, saying, “Where Israel goes, our government follows. ... What is important is whether the American people are aware of and ready for the consequences.”

Some of these statements caused Marayati’s 1999 appointment to a U.S. congressional committee on terrorism to be rescinded.

J Street’s invitation to Marayati makes one wonder whose side the organization is on.

J Street pressures Israel to make concessions, yet says virtually nothing specifically about the 16-year failure of the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority to dismantle terrorist groups. The lobby group also said nothing about Fatah’s recent conference, which proclaimed the legitimacy of terrorism against Israel and honored, by name, killers of Jews as heroes.

Additionally, J Street showed its animus toward Israel by citing polls inaccurately to bolster its claim that Israelis and American Jews want greater Israeli concessions and agree with President Obama’s pressure on Israel to stop Jews building in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria—the land known as the West Bank.

In June, J Street’s campaign director, Isaac Luria, misleadingly claimed that “Israelis want the president to stand up to the settlers.”

Luria said, “A poll recently showed that 52 percent of Israelis want a freeze on settlement construction and 56 percent want Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree to President Obama’s call for an end to settlement construction.”

In fact, the Dahaf Institute poll to which Luria referred actually showed that Israelis favor continued natural growth of Jewish communities by 54 percent to 42 percent, and that they believe that Obama’s policies are not good for Israel by a margin of 53 percent to 26 percent.

J Street simply buried the evidence of actual support for natural growth and cited only a contradictory general finding of support for a construction freeze. More damning still, the only other partial truth in J Street’s claim—that 56 percent of respondents said they wanted Netanyahu to agree to Obama’s demands—left out the major point that they favored this only if the alternative meant U.S. sanctions.

J Street misrepresents polling data and ignores other polls that show majority Israeli and American Jewish opposition to Obama’s demands. For instance, a recent Smith Research Institute poll shows that Israelis, by a decisive 69 percent to 27 percent margin, oppose freezing construction within large Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and that only 4 percent of Israelis favor Obama’s policies.

Additionally, a July Global Marketing Services poll of American Jews who are Democrats shows 55 percent believe that Obama is naive in thinking Palestinians want peace. Only 27 percent supported Obama’s promoting of a Palestinian state and 52 percent said Israel should be allowed to build in existing settlements.

While the poll also showed that 58 percent of Jewish Democrats believe Obama is “doing a good job promoting peace in the Middle East,” the question isn’t specific to Israel and may include Obama’s policies on Iraq, Iran, Egypt, etc. The poll also showed 55 percent of respondents believe Obama is not “too tough on Israel”—but they disagree with Obama’s specific policies on Israel, as other answers in the poll indicate.

Most disturbing, despite strong support by most Israeli and American Jews for Israel’s campaign last January to stop Hamas’ rockets from Gaza, J Street opposed the operation. It even has challenged the adoption of more robust sanctions against Iran right now.

All these issues have enhanced relevance in view of the fact that J Street receives tens of thousands of dollars in donations from dozens of Arab and Muslim Americans, according to the Federal Election Commission filings cited by the Jerusalem Post, as well as money from individuals connected to Palestinian and pro-Iranian advocacy groups.

J Street continues to relentlessly display its support for the Palestinian cause. We urge the group to start doing the right thing by rescinding its invitation to Salam Al-Marayati and ceasing to accept donations from those hostile to Israel.

Morton Klein is the president of the Zionist Organization of America."

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Muslims invade Sweden and Jew-hatred rises 

Jews Leaving Malmo, Sweden

by Yated Ne'eman Staff
20 Iyar 5769 - May 14, 2009

Jewish out-migration is on the rise in Malmo, Sweden's third largest city. One-third of the southern port city are Muslims, forming a population group that has created a considerable challenge due to their reluctance to integrate and adopt local norms. In Stockholm, Sweden's largest city, the population is 20% Muslim.

In recent years Malmo has become a symbol of intolerance toward Jews. The situation worsened significantly following the recent war in Gaza and continued to deteriorate following the protests against allowing Israeli tennis players to participate in Davis Cup matches held in the city.

In recent interviews, young members of the local Jewish community, which currently numbers 900, said Jewish residents feel they would be better off leaving the city than being subject to harassment and threats by Muslims.

"We're leaving," one young Jew declared during an interview on a news program at a local radio station. "It's not a question of if but when, and maybe not just Malmo, but Sweden, too."

The Jewish community is not only disappointed by its treatment by the Muslim neighbors. That would have been bearable, they said, since they expect the situation to improve in the future. Rather they are more disappointed by city leaders, who are largely dependent on the Muslim vote.

It was the mayor of this traditionally working-class city, socialist Ilmar Reepalu, who justified the criticism of Israel during the recent Davis Cup protests, saying the city must display solidarity toward Palestinian residents whose relatives were affected by the war. Yet the protesters in Malmo demonstrated not only against Israel, but against the Jews as well. The Judisk Kronika ("Jewish Chronicle") recently published a transcript from one of the demonstrations where calls to wipe out the Jews were clearly audible. "It's unfortunate such shouts are heard, but they are not from Palestinians, but from members of neo-Nazi organizations," said Mayor Reepalu, choosing to totally overlook the city's Jewish-Muslim tensions.

The Muslim population is a source of problems elsewhere in Sweden, whose non-Muslim citizens are also largely unfriendly towards Israel and Swedish Jews. Growing public support for the Social Democratic Party (SAP), which is highly critical of Israel, has boosted Party Chairman Mona Sahlin, known for her extreme views against Israel.

"I don't want to be among those who didn't leave the city on time," another young Jew said during the radio program. "The situation in Malmo today might not be quite the same as what was happening in Germany during the 1930s. There, too, many people fled the rising wave of hatred, but many other stayed and were washed away. I don't want to be one of them," he said cryptically.

Not all Scandinavian Muslims are hostile toward Jews and not all of the Jews are packing their bags to leave. Just 40 miles away in Copenhagen the atmosphere is totally different. But the sense of fear and uncertainty palpable in Malmo is liable to reach epidemic proportions if left unchecked, and today Sweden has no leader brave enough to step forward and take a firm stand.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Egyptian & Jordanian Anti-Semitism 

PMW: Jordanian Media Report 'Jews Descend from Pigs'

by Hana Levi Julian
Published: 05/14/09, 12:22 PM

(IsraelNN.com) Jordanian media last week quoted Egyptian clerics who declared that Jews are the descendants of pigs -- the only point of debate was whether they are direct descendants or not.

According to a report broadcast May 10 on the Al-Moheed Arab News Network and translated by the media watchdog group, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), "pigs in our time have their origins in Jews who angered Allah... and it is obligatory to kill and slaughter them."

The report quoted Sheikh Ahmed Ali Othman, supervisor of the Da'awa (Islamic Indoctrination) of the Egyptian Waqf (Authority of Islamic Holy Places), and head of its slaughtering division.

Othman based his ruling on a Koranic verse (Koran sura 5, verse 60) that refers to those that Allah (G-d) has cursed and "made into monkeys and pigs, and who have served abominations. Their place is worst of all, and their deviation is the greatest of all..." He added that this verse referred to the nation of the descendants of the prohet Moses.

An article published May 9 in the Jordanian newspaper Al-Hakika al-Dawliya also quoted the Egyptian cleric: "I personally tend towards the view that the pigs that exist now have their origins with the Jews, and therefore their consumption is forbidden..."

A second view, expressed by sheikh Ali Abu Al-Hassan, head of the Fatwa Committee (which issues rulings) at Al-Azhar [Sunni Islamic] University, does not draw a relationship between today's pigs and Jews.

Al-Hassan explained "when Allah punishes a group of people, He punishes only them. When Allah grew angry with the nation of Moses, He turned them into pigs and monkeys as an extraordinary punishment... but they died without leaving descendants."

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Belgium breeding antisemitism 

Watchdog group says anti-Semitism skyrocketing in Belgium

By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent

Anti-Semitic attacks have skyrocketed in Belgium in 2009, according to a local government watchdog. The agency's director compared the hike to "the anti-Muslim hate campaign after 9/11."

The Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism last week said that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the first four months of 2009 has equaled the number of such incidents recorded in the whole of 2008.

According to Jozef De Witte, director of the government agency, which is under the direct responsibility of Belgium's prime minister, the hike owes to the Middle East conflict between Israel and some of its enemies.

Between 2004 and 2008, the Centre recorded around 60 anti-Semitic incidents every year. The same number of incidents was recorded in the first four months of this year. Incidents include violent attacks but also hate-mail. About one third of the incidents are hate-mails. The remaining two thirds are hecklings or physical abuses.

A few cases are of severe violence. The perpetrators mostly belong to Muslim groups, but also to extreme right organizations and persons.

The impact of what de Witte defined as "the conflict between Israel and Palestine" is according to the director "comparable with the hate-campaign against Muslims in Belgium" which followed the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. This statement irked some Belgian Jews.

"The two realities are incomparable," said David Lowy, founder of the JOBI group for Belgian youth in Israel. "There were some deplorable attacks against Muslims after 9/11 by extreme rightists, but mosques were not lit on fire as synagogues had been in January. Muslims were not threatened on the street."

Lowy noted that the attack in 9/11 was perpetrated in Islam's name, while Israel's invasion into Gaza was "in self-defense, unconnected to Belgian Jewery." He also remarked that no Belgian Jew or Belgian American attacked any Muslim after 9/11. "The same cannot be said about Belgian Muslims during Operation Cast Lead."

The Middle East conflict, de Witte said, is "a dormant issue which could still erupt and add new worries in the form a new wave of incidents under the mandate of the Centre." The Centre has commissioned a new report designed to delineate the manner in which the Middle East conflict is affecting racism in Belgium.


Belgian opera shows Jew raping woman in anti-Israel piece

By Cnaan Liphshiz

By portraying a religious Jew raping a woman in a show about Israel, the state-funded Flanders Opera is in danger of encouraging anti-Semitic stereotypes, leading members from Belgium's Jewish community told Haaretz.

The highly-controversial scene appeared in the premier of "Samson and Delilah" in Antwerp on Tuesday evening. The contested show was created by two Israelis, who turned the biblical tale of Samson into a reverse-role protest against Israel's occupation of Palestinians.

Belgium's Jewish community has condemned the opera directed by Omri Nitzan and Amir Nizar Zuabi for dressing Philistine conquerors in Western garb while Hebrew fighters like Samson wear Arab clothes.

The rape scene shows a Philistine religious priest dressed up as a religious Jew while raping Delilah, who was Samson's lover. The rapist was the only man in the show wearing a skull cap. The Flanders Opera could not be reached for a comment.

Samson lived in the 11th century BCE as a partisan under occupation of the Philistines - a powerful and technologically-advanced people of European roots. The Bible says he died at the hands of his occupiers, while killing many of his captors. This, according to the opera's creators, makes him "the world's first shaheed," or martyr.

"From conversation with the creators, I gather the rape scene was meant to protest religious coercion inside Israel," said Michael Freilich, editor-in-chief of the Dutch-language Jewish affairs newspaper Joods Actueel. "But most people in Belgium don't make such distinctions. To them a man wearing a skull cap in a show about Israel is a Jewish Israeli."

Another image from the show showed occupying soldiers clad in black combat suits and armed with M-16 assault rifles stroking the weapons while placing them horizontally against their crotches.

Israel's ambassador to Belgium, Tamar Samash, was invited to the event but eventually canceled. Sources involved with the embassy's work in Belgium said the ambassador felt it was "inappropriate" for her to attend on Tuedsay night, the eve of Israel's 61st anniversary.

"I have not seen the show so I would rather not comment on the specifics," Eli Ringer, vice-chairman of the forum of Jewish Organizations of Belgium, told Haaretz. "But I gather it portrayed a man wearing a skull cap in the ugliest way possible and of course this is not helpful to combat anti-Semitism."

Ringer also said that he is concerned about the use of holy scriptures to promote political causes. "History tells us this is not a good idea," he said. A number of members of Jewish organizations attended the premier to report on it. They said the production provoked members of the crowd to boo the cast at certain points. This was confirmed by Dutch radio. The Jewish onlookers said the jeers did not come from the delegation.

Meanwhile, most Belgian media offered negative criticism of the opera on artistic grounds rather than ideological ones. "If you go to the opera, close your eyes because the music is wonderful," one critic wrote.

Another connoisseur said the role reversal is too complicated to follow because the original text of the opera was not changed to fit it. "Imagine seeing a production of Little Red Riding Hood where a wolf who is dressed up like a little girl meets another little girl while he is on his way to visit her granny," the opera-lover said.


Flemish Jews irked by state-funded `anti-Israel` Samson opera

By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haarez Correspondent

Prominent figures from the Jewish community in Belgium and Israel have harshly criticized the Flemish Opera for staging what they regard as an anti-Israeli, political event disguised as a première. The contested show was created by two Israelis.

The production of Samson and Delilah is scheduled to premiere Tuesday, along with a political debate. The community has condemned the opera directed by Omri Nitzan and Amir Nizar Zuabi - for dressing the Philistine conquerors in Western clothing while Hebrew fighters like Samson wear Arab clothes.

Samson, who lived in the 11th century BCE, was a partisan living under occupation of the Philistines a powerful and technologically-advanced people of European roots. The bible says he died in Philistine hands while killing many of his captors.

Zuabi and Nitzan's reverse-role adaptation of his love story with a Philistine woman leads Samson to become "history's first shaheed" (or martyr, in the Islamic tradition), the say. "Samson is a shaheed, and Delilah is his lover from the enemy camp," the directors explained.

"This isn't the first time public Flemish culture institutions stage unabashedly anti-Israel events," David Lowy, founder of the JOBI group for Belgian youth in Israel, told Haaretz. "Israel is misunderstood in Belgium and distorting bible stories will only compound this. The analogy's ludicrous and state-funded bodies mustn't help it."

Guido Joris from the Dutch-language Jewish-affairs newspaper Joods Actueel condemned the event's political character, and a planned screening of a film calling Israel's 2002 military operation in the West Bank a "blood bath" at the event.

The paper also criticized the involvement of a state-funded institution in the show. "I imagine we are in store for Israeli flags burned, as we've seen in the past in Belgium," Joris said.

Nitzan insists that the opera's political messages are not an attempt to jump on Europe's pro-Palestinian bandwagon. A spokesperson from Flanders Opera said his institution isn't anti-Israeli and that the criticism is "premature," adding: "We may argue about the Mideast conflict, but there will be no flag burning."


Belgium to stop exporting 'arms that bolster the IDF' to Israel

By Cnaan Liphshiz

Belgium's government has agreed to ban the export to Israel of weapons that "strengthen it militarily," a Belgian minister said on Thursday. A Brussels-based research group accused Israel of enlisting child soldiers.

The Belgian daily De Morgen quotes Minister Patricia Ceysens from the Flemish regional government as saying: "There's a consensus [among ministers] not to approve exports that would strengthen Israel's military capacity."

Ceysens said this after a discussion on policy regarding weapons exports to Israel following the operation in Gaza. A final resolution has not been passed yet, but Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht already said recently that "given the current circumstances, weapons cannot be shipped from Belgium to Israel."

According to a recently-released report by the European Institute for Research and Information on Peace and Security on Belgian arms exports to the Jewish state, Israel is the fourth largest importer of Belgian arms in the Middle East. In 2007, Belgium sold Israel weapons (mostly light firearms) to the tune of $5,409,223, according to the report.

The report, which accuses Israel of human rights violations, also says that Belgium's major weapons clients in the Middle East are Saudi Arabia (69 percent), Jordan (17 percent) and the United Arab Emirates (4.2 percent). The 15-page report does not deal with human rights violation in those countries.

Quoting a 2003 amendment to Belgian law which forbids the sale of weapons to armies with child soldiers, the report says that Israel "accepts and arms underage volunteers." Further on, the report mentions "use of underage Palestinians as informants and sometimes human shields."

The Israeli Defense Forces' Gadna program runs a one-week military training session on a base as part of the curriculum at most Israeli high schools. The army accepts volunteers from the age of 17 into non-combat posts.

Meanwhile, 13 Belgian politicians, authors and scholars released a statement that calls for a more evenhanded approach to Israel.


Report: Belgian court petitioned to arrest Livni upon arrival in Brussels

By Barak Ravid and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents

European attorneys have reportedly petitioned a Belgian court to arrest Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni upon her arrival in Brussels later Wednesday, according to the Jawalan.com Web Site.

The complaints was apparently lodged on behalf of Belgian and French nationals with relatives who were either wounded or killed in Gaza, and calls for Livni to be arrested for war crimes.

The Foreign Ministry is looking into the report and the Israeli embassy in Brussels has not yet been involved in the matter, sources said.

Belgian law does not actually allow the arrest of a foreign official with high standing, but the matter could bring embarrassment to Israel and may represent the first in a string of lawsuits now being prepared by pro-Palestinian elements around the world.

Israeli human rights activists: Arrest Olmert, Livni, and Barak for war crimes

Meanwhile, anonymous self-described Israeli human rights activists have set up an Internet site detailing alleged war crimes committed by senior government officials and Israel Defense Forces officers.

No known human rights organization is behind the site, whose founders refuse to give their names.

The site, www.wanted.org.il, includes "arrest orders," complete with pictures and personal details, for Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,Livni, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, National Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and his two predecessors, Dan Halutz and Moshe Ya'alon, former air force commander Eliezer Shkedy and others.

It also explains how to inform the International Criminal Court in The Hague of when the "suspects" are outside Israel, and hence vulnerable to arrest.

The "arrest order" for Barak, for instance, states: "On December 27, 2008, the suspect ordered an aerial assault on all of Gaza's population centers.

The assault included hundreds of sorties by fighter jets that dropped hundreds of tons of bombs on residential areas of Gaza, which led to the deaths of 1,200 people - men, women and children.

Some 5,300 people were wounded and hundreds of thousands became refugees. On December 10, 2008, a formal complaint was filed against Ehud Barak to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Holland ... on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity because of the siege of Gaza."


Jewish groups blast Belgian TV for comic's Holocaust jokes

By The Associated Press

Jewish groups have condemned a Belgian public broadcaster for airing a show in which a standup comedian jokes about the Holocaust and the persecution of Jews.

The protest marked the third time in two months the VRT broadcaster was
accused of gross insensitivity toward Jews. On October 27, protests forced it to scrap a TV show about Adolf Hitler's supposed favorite dish - alpine trout in butter sauce - as part of a series about famous people's favorite foods.

In the 2008 review show Het Besluit - which aired December 21 and is available on the VRT web site - comedian Philippe Geubels accused Belgians Jews of overreacting to the food show.

"What are they going to do if there is a big gas leak in Antwerp?" asked Geubels referring to the Belgian port city, which has a large Jewish community. "Take the city to court for provocation? Preemptively file charges against anyone who dares joke about that?"

Geubels also said the Holocaust cannot happen again because Jews are much
smarter now.

"They have spread across the world. Try rounding them up! Most are in America so you cannot send them by train to Germany to die in gas chambers."

"What a comedian does is up to him, but the VRT decides to include it in the show. At that point, the question can be asked, is this the task of a public broadcaster?" asked Michael Freilich, the head of the Jewish group Joods Actueel.

The VRT also came under criticism for a recent ad about a travel show focusing on Berlin.

It showed a drawing of Hitler as a male stripper giving the Nazi salute in front of a swastika flag, the banner of Nazi Germany. That incident triggered a protest by the German embassy, which called it totally tasteless.

The CCOJB, a Jewish umbrella organization, said the VRT's multiplication of anti-Semitic provocations disguised as humor dishonored its role as a public broadcaster.

It said it planned legal steps against the VRT and asked the government of Dutch-speaking Belgium, which is responsible for the VRT, to act against those responsible for the broadcast.

Repeated phone calls and two messages left with the VRT were not immediately answered.

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Austrian hotel bars Jews (in 2009) 

'No Jews' policy employed at Austria hotel


A hotel in the Austrian region of Tyrol that said it does not accept Jewish guests has caused shock in the local media and tourism industry, the daily Tiroler Tageszeitung reported Sunday.

A Vienna family of seven had had tried to make a reservation at the Haus Sonnenhof apartment hotel in the village of Serfaus, but the owner replied by e-mail that although the room was free, she did not want to take in Jewish guests because of "bad experiences" in the past.

The region around Serfaus has become popular among orthodox Jewish tourists in recent years, and several hotels in Tyrol have begun offering kosher food.

At Hotel Alpenruh-Micheluzzi, owner Petra Micheluzzi told the German Press Agency DPA that the rejection by the Sonnenhof was "bad for the image" of Serfaus.

One such incident could destroy all the hard work by others in the travel industry, she said, a view echoed by local and regional tourism officials.

"That's terrible," said Esther Fritsch, the president of the regional Jewish community. So far there have been no such incidents, she told the newspaper.

Irmgard Monz, the owner of the Haus Sonnenhof apartment hotel, could not be reached for comment on Sunday. In an interview with Tiroler Tageszeitung, she offered no justification for her e-mail.

For his part, the rejected father of five has decided to spend the
summer elsewhere: "I don't want to spend my vacation in such a racist
nest, and I will inform all my friends about what is going on in
Tyrol," the unidentified man was quoted as saying.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Spanish antisemitism against Israeli ambassador 

Israeli ambassador to Spain called 'Jew dog' at Real Madrid game

By Barak Ravid

A torrent of anti-Semitic epithets met Israel's ambassador to Spain, Rafi Shotz, Saturday evening as he walked home from a Real Madrid-Barcelona soccer match in the Spanish capital. Shotz said the three perpetrators, patrons of a pub, shouted slurs like "Jewish dog" and "dirty Jew" until they were driven off by Spanish police escorting Shotz.

Shotz and his partner Michal chose to walk from Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to their nearby home. Three patrons of a pub noticed the ambassador, whom they apparently recognized from having seen him on television.

In a wire report Shotz sent the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem under the heading "Anti-Semitism - a personal testimony," Shotz wrote the perpetrators stood mere meters from him, shouting slurs like "Jewish dog," "dirty Jew" and others "which cannot appear in print."

The ambassador and his partner ignored the slurs and continued walking; meanwhile dozens of bystanders watched the scene, but did nothing to stop the verbal assault.

Shotz told Haaretz yesterday, "It was an ugly incident, the kind one hears about or reads about in a newspaper, but to experience personally the force of hatred and anti-Semitism is difficult and emotionally charged."

Spain's ambassador to Israel, Alvaro Iranzo, told Haaretz that "Spanish security forces protected the ambassador and prevented any harm coming to him."

Spain has seen an upsurge in anti-Israel sentiment in recent years, fueled by critical media reports about Israel Defense Forces operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including Operation Cast Lead earlier this year.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

British airline's antisemitism and pro-Arabism 

British Airline Removes Israel from the Map

Iyar 6, 5769, 30 April 09 04:27
by Avraham Zuroff(IsraelNN.com)

"The British airline, BMI, has removed Israel from the electronic maps displayed to passengers in some of its planes, Army Radio reports. The report claimed that the reason was to avoid offending Muslim passengers. However, the maps showed passengers the direction of Mecca.

Israel does not appear in maps on BMI flights between London and Tel Aviv, and Khefa, the pre-independence Arabic name for Haifa, appears on the maps.

In addition, the electronic maps display the distance between the plane and Mecca. The airline claims that the map has not been changed due to a “logistical problem.” Instead, it has presently been removed from the two planes that transport passengers to Tel Aviv.

“For this reason, the inflight entertainment system in the two planes was made to adapt to the passengers flying to and from those destinations and therefore the map showed mainly places holy to Islam,” the airline company said in a statement.

BMI denied that it had a political agenda. “If BMI had any political agenda in order not to anger neighboring countries, it would not have invested so much in the Tel Aviv line,” the company stated.

“This is a fault. The electronic map will be removed from the airline’s two planes that operate the route to Tel Aviv,” BMI stated. “We make every effort to take passengers’ sensitivities into account through an apolitical policy.”

The airline has flights to Syria, Lebanon, and even Iran, whose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed “to wipe Israel off the map.” BMI has recently received an agreement with Israel’s Ministry of Tourism for expanding its flight operations to Israel.

Transport Minister director-general Gideon Sitterman told Army Radio, “Doing business with Israel has its advantages and disadvantages, but we will not agree to a situation where they hide the existence of Israel but want to do business with Israel.”

When in Saudi Arabia, Do What the Saudis Do…
BMI is apparently bending over backwards to accommodate the sensitivities of its Saudi passengers. The British weekly Sunday Times reported last week that a stewardess was fired because she refused to don an abaya head covering and to walk behind male flight attendants on a flight bound for Saudi Arabia, regardless of rank.

The BMI internal document issued to crewmembers bound for Saudi Arabia stated: “It is expected that female crew members will walk behind their male counterparts in public areas such as airports no matter what rank.”

The flight attendant, Lisa Ashton, refused to abide by BMI’s policy, and was fired when she refused to travel to Saudi Arabia if she would be required to don an abaya."

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Anti-Semitism in modern Norway 

Anti-Semitism at Supermarket Checkout Counter in Norway

Iyar 4, 5769, 28 April 09 11:54
by Ernie Singer(IsraelNN.com)

Anti-Semitism is taking subtle and not-so-subtle forms in Norway, according to a report published Sunday by blogger Bennett Epstein of the Cleveland News.

Managers of a number of supermarkets in the Scandinavian country are drawing attention to the Israeli origin of oranges and other products, reported Epstein, who said the move was designed to help anti-Israeli citizens avoid them. The managers deny that anti-Semitism is a motive.

Boikott Israel I, a group that has urged Norwegians to avoid Israeli oranges since the beginning of the 1990's, recently extended its boycott to all Israeli products. A number of labor unions are also refusing to handle products imported from the Jewish State.

In addition, Norway’s Youth Labor Movement organized a demonstration against Israeli participants in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Norway has served as a neo-Nazi niche and free zone for European anti-Semites since the 1930's, when many people supported the Nazis, even though many others opposed them.

The second largest party in the country’s parliament today is an extreme right group which opposes the Jewish ritual of circumcision, among other things. Only 30 of Norway's pre-Holocaust communities remain. Most of the country's 1,500 Jews live in the nation’s capital, Oslo."

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI Pardons Holocaust-denying Bishop 

British bishop – whose excommunication was lifted by the Pope - denies the Holocaust

European Jewish Press
Updated: 23/Jan/2009

STOCKHOLM/ROME (AFP)--A British bishop, whose excommunication has been canceled by Pope Benedict XVI, gave an interview to Swedish television in which he appeared to deny the Holocaust.

"I believe there were no gas chambers... I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers," said 68-year-old Richard Williamson during an interview with the SVT channel.

"There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!"

"There was certainly a great exploitation of these facts. Germany paid billions and billions of deutschmarks and now euros because Germans suffer from a culpability complex for having gassed six million Jews, but I don’t think that six millions died in gas chambers," he said in the interview aired Wednesday evening.

Lars-Goran Svensson, the programme's producer, said the interview had been pre-recorded in Germany last November and its airing at this time was "pure coincidence."

"Our reporter went to Germany and did this interview last November. The bishop agreed... we didn't know that the pope would make this decision (to lift his excommunication) yesterday. It's pure coincidence," Svensson said.

According to the Italian daily Il Giornale, Pope Benedict XVI has decided to cancel the excommunication of four bishops, including Williamson, ordained in 1998 by the controversial French bishop Marcel Lefebvre.

The pope has already signed the decree lifting the excommunication, which will be made public later in the week, said the paper's Vatican specialist Andrea Tornielli.

The Vatican has neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Since assuming office in April 2005, Benedict has made great efforts to heal the schism with the more traditionalist Catholic movement, granting a private audience to Bishop Fellay in mid-2005.

Lefebvre, who died in 1991, was excommunicated in 1988 by pope Jean Paul II for having ordained the bishops in defiance of the Vatican's authority.

Lefebvre led a schism from the Church over the more ecumenical approach reflected in the Vatican II reforms (1962-65) and in particular the abandonment of the traditional Latin mass.

He founded the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X, which claims 150,000 followers across the world, mainly in France and Brazil.


British bishop faces German probe for Holocaust denial

European Jewish Press
Updated: 23/Jan/2009

BERLIN (AFP)---German prosecutors said Friday they had launched a probe against a controversial British bishop on suspicion of inciting racial hatred for comments he made about the Holocaust on Swedish television.

A spokesman for the public prosecutor's office in the southern city of Regensburg said it had opened an investigation against Richard Williamson, 68, for remarks he made in an interview broadcast this week.

"I believe there were no gas chambers... I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers," said Williamson during an interview with the SVT channel.

"There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!"

Six million Jews were murdered by Nazi Germany during World War II including vast numbers by systematic extermination in gas chambers.

This week, Pope Benedict XVI reportedly decided to cancel the excommunication of four bishops who were consecrated in 1998 by the conservative French bishop Marcel Lefebvre, including Williamson.

The pope has already signed the decree lifting the excommunication, which will be made public later in the week, according to the Italian report Thursday which the Vatican neither confirmed nor denied.

Lefebvre, who died in 1991, was excommunicated in 1988 by pope Jean Paul II for having consecrated the bishops in defiance of the Vatican's authority.

Since assuming office in April 2005, Benedict has made great efforts to heal the schism with the more traditionalist Catholic movement.

Lars-Goran Svensson, the Swedish programme's producer, said the interview had been pre-recorded in Germany last November and its airing at this time was "pure coincidence."


Yad Vashem slams rehabilitation of Holocaust denying bishop by Pope Benedict XVI

European Jewish Press
Updated: 25/Jan/2009

JERUSALEM (EJP)---Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre on Sunday slammed a Holocaust-denying English bishop whose ex-communication has been cancelled by Pope Benedict XVI.

"The reinstatement is an internal Church matter.However, it is scandalous that someone of this stature in the Church denies the Holocaust.Denial of the Holocaust not only insults the survivors, memory of the victims, and the Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives to rescue Jews, it is a brutal attack on Truth," Yad Vashem said in a statement, referring to Bishop Richard Williamson who has publicly denied the murder of six million Jews during World
War II.

"Even if the revocation of the excommunication is unrelated to Williamson’s comments regarding the Holocaust, what kind of message is this sending regarding the Church’s attitude toward the Holocaust? Although we understand that Williamson’s statements do not represent the Church’s stance, we continue to hope that the Church will vigorously condemn these unacceptable and odious comments.," it added.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, an international Jewish human rights body, said: "The Pope's decision to welcome back such a hater into the Church lends moral credence to deniers of history's worst crime.

"In addition to Bishop Williamson's Holocaust denial looms the unchanging virulent anti-Semitism of the Society of Saint Pius as a whole," it said.

The pope cancelled the ex-communication of Williamson and three other bishops in a bid to heal a 20-year schism with traditionalists led by rebel French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

The Roman Catholic Church published an edict lifting the 1998 sanction on Lefebvre's successor Bernard Fellay and three other bishops in his breakaway conservative movement, including Williamson.

He is on record as denying the existence of the gas chambers.

"I believe there were no gas chambers.... I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers," Williamson was quoted as saying in an interview with Swedish SVT television.

"There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!"

Italian Jewish groups criticised the decision as a "negative, worrying and incomprehensible signal" on Saturday.

Uneasy relations between the Vatican and Israel have been further strained by plans to declare Nazi-era Pope Pius XII a saint, despite widespread criticism of his inaction during the Holocaust.


Pope Lifts Excommunication Of Holocaust Denier

Jan 22, 2009

Vatican -- According to local media sources, Pope Benedict XVI has signed a decree lifting the excommunication of four Catholic bishops of the ultra-conservative Society of St Pius X, including one who believes the Holocaust never happened and the gas chambers were a myth.

Richard Williamson, an English former Anglican and graduate of Winchester and Cambridge, gave an interview to Swedish TV this week in which he said: “There were no gas chambers.” He has also made comments endorsing the anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The Vatican is neither confirming nor denying reports that the Pope has cancelled the excommunication. A source close to the Vatical told the media: “It is extremely sensitive. There is something going on.”

If Benedict XVI goes ahead with lifting the excommunication in spite of Bishop Williamson’s comments, he may wreak havoc on more than 40 years of attempts to rebuild relations with the Jewish community after centuries of Christian anti-Semitism.

The damage will be doubled, coming as it will on top of the Pope’s revival of the Tridentine Mass with its Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews [see story HERE].


Jewish-Catholic Relations Strained After Pope Forgives Holocaust Denier Bishop

Jan 25, 2009

Vatican City, Rome -- Pope Benedict XVI's rehabilitation of a traditionalist bishop who denies the full extent of the Holocaust could lead to a crisis in Jewish-Catholic relations [see story HERE].

“By welcoming an open Holocaust denier into the Catholic Church without any recantation on his part, the Vatican has made a mockery of John Paul II's moving and impressive repudiation and condemnation of anti-Semitism," R' David Rosen, the chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, said in a statement.

Over the weekend, the pope rescinded the 1988 excommunication of British-born Richard Williamson and three other traditionalist bishops who were followers of Marcel Lefebvre, the late French archbishop who rejected Vatican reforms including those recognizing the validity of Judaism as a living religion.

Williamson has made several statements over the years questioning the reality of the Shoah. Last week he told Swedish television, "I believe there were no gas chambers," adding that only up to 300,000 Jews were killed in Nazi camps.

The pope's action came just days before the annual international Holocaust Memorial Day on Jan. 27 – the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Jewish leaders in Italy and elsewhere had warned that rehabilitating Williamson could prove a serious setback to Jewish-Catholic relations, already strained by controversy over the wartime role of Pope Pius XII and last year's reintroduction of an Easter prayer that some see as calling for conversion of the Jews.

Rome's Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni said that rehabilitating Williamson would open a "deep wound."

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, said in a statement released Sunday: "The reinstatement is an internal Church matter. However, it is scandalous that someone of this stature in the Church denies the Holocaust. Denial of the Holocaust not only insults the survivors, memory of the victims, and the Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives to rescue Jews, it is a brutal attack on truth. Even if the revocation of the excommunication is unrelated to Williamson’s comments regarding the Holocaust, what kind of message is this sending regarding the Church’s attitude toward the Holocaust? Although we understand that Williamson’s statements do not represent the Church’s stance, we continue to hope that the Church will vigorously condemn these unacceptable and odious comments."


Vatican Condemns Anti-Semitic Remarks Of Rehabiliated Bishop

Jan 26, 2009

Vatican City -- The Vatican said Monday that comments by a recently rehabilitated bishop that no Jews were gassed during the Holocaust were "unacceptable."

The Vatican stressed in its newspaper, the Osservatore Romano, that removing the excommunication by no means implies that the Catholic Church shares Williamson's anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying views.

The statement was issued after Pope Benedict XVI last week lifted the excommunication of a traditionalist bishop, Richard Williamson, who has denied that 6 million Jews were murdered during World War II [see story HERE]. Williamson has also made comments endorsing the anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The rehabilitation prompted a storm of outrage from Jewish groups [see story HERE].

In a recent interview on Swedish television, Williamson said that historical evidence "is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler." He cited what he called the "most serious" revisionists who he said had concluded that "between 200,000-300,000 perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber."

On Monday, the head of the Italian bishops' conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, defended Benedict's decision to rehabilitate Williamson. But he decried Williamson's views as "unfounded and unjustified."

The German Bishops' Conference also denounced Williamson's views. "We object in the strongest terms to this explicit denial of the Holocaust," Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff, the head of a commission at the German Bishops Conference responsible for relations with Jews, said in a statement.


Pope decision to rehabilitate Holocaust-denying bishop sparks Jewish-Catholic row

By Haaretz Service
Last update - 25/01/2009

Pope Benedict is still due to visit to Israel in May, an Israeli official said on Sunday, despite angering Jews worldwide by re-admitting a bishop who has denied the full extent of the Nazi genocide of six million Jews.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and Memorial in Jerusalem decried as
"scandalous" Benedict's decision to lift excommunications on British-born bishop, Richard Williamson, who has said there were no gas chambers and only 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps in World War Two.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, said, however, the pontiff's planned visit in May to Israel was not in doubt. "This has nothing to do with relations between states," he said.

The Israeli museum's fury marked another step in the row between the Catholic Church and world Jewish groups, who were outraged by announcements of the rehabilitation.

"The reinstatement is an internal Church matter...[however] denial of the Holocaust not only insults the survivors, memory of the victims, and the Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives to rescue Jews, it is a brutal attack on truth," Yad Vashem said in a statement.

A senior official in the Jewish Agency on Sunday also slammed the decisions, calling it a "scandal."

"It is something we cannot understand," said Amos Hermon, head of the Task Force Against Anti-Semitism at the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency.

Bishop Williamson was one of four traditionalist bishops to have his excommunication lifted Saturday, just days after he was shown in a Swedish state TV interview saying that historical evidence is hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

The four bishops were excommunicated 20 years ago after they were consecrated by the late ultraconservative Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre without papal consent - a move the Vatican said at the time was an act of schism.

"Even if the revocation of the excommunication is unrelated to Williamson's comments regarding the Holocaust, what kind of message is this sending regarding the Church's attitude toward the Holocaust?" Yad Vashem wrote. "Although we understand that Williamson's statements do not represent the Church's stance, we continue to hope that the Church will vigorously condemn these unacceptable and odious comments."

Jewish groups denounced the Vatican for having embraced a Holocaust denier and warned that the pope's decision would have serious implications for Catholic-Jewish relations as well as the pontiff's planned visit to the Holy Land later this year.

"I do not see how business can proceed as usual," said Rabbi David Rosen,
Jerusalem-based head of interrelgious affairs at the American Jewish Committee and a key Vatican-Jewish negotiator late last week.

He called for the pope or a senior adviser to issue a clear condemnation of all Holocaust denials and deniers.

Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Paris said he understood the German-born pope's desire for Christian unity, but said Benedict could have excluded Williamson. He warned that his rehabilitation will have a political cost for the Vatican.

"I'm certain as a man who has known the Nazi regime in his own flesh, he
understands you have to be very careful and very selective," Samuels said.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Williamson's views were absolutely indefensible. But he denied that rehabilitating Williamson implied that the Vatican shared them.

"They are his personal ideas ... that we certainly don't share but they have nothing to do with the issue of the excommunication and the removal of the excommunication," Lombardi told AP Television News.


Jewish leaders urge Pope not to rehabilitate Holocaust-denying bishop

By Reuters
Sat., January 24, 2009 Tevet 28, 5769

Jewish leaders on Friday urged Pope Benedict not to rehabilitate a traditionalist bishop who denies the Holocaust, saying it would foment anti-Semitism and open a deep wound in Christian-Jewish relations.

Italian media have said the pope could this weekend revoke the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops from the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) in his latest attempt to heal a 20-year-old schism in the Roman Catholic Church.

The rift became a crisis in 1998, when the late French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre illegally consecrated four bishops in defiance of the late Pope John Paul.

One of the four bishops, the British-born Bishop Richard Williamson, has made a number of statements denying the full extent of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jews, as accepted by most mainstream historians. In comments to Swedish television
broadcast on Wednesday, he said: "I believe that the historical evidence is hugely against 6 million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler...I believe there were no gas chambers".

Williamson said he agreed with "revisionists" who say that "between 200,000 and 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber".

Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said the possibility that the pope would accept Williamson back into the mainstream church "has been received with shock and consternation".

"For the Jewish people and all persons who feel the pain of the terrible years of the Shoah, this development marks a dangerous blow to interfaith dialogue and encourages hate-mongers everywhere," he said.

Rome's chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, said he was "shocked by such a horror of denial, which is even more grave since it comes from a bishop".

Di Segni told the newspaper La Stampa that Williamson's re-admission into the Church would open "a deep wound in dialogue with Judaism".

The traditionalists bishops reject many reforms of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, notably its decision that Mass should be said in local languages rather than Latin, and its advocacy of dialogue with other religions.

A statement from the traditionalists said the implication they are racist was "entirely false and unjust".

But it said the group had the right to "pray for conversion (of Jews) to the true faith, to study their recent and tragic history, or to question some of their political objectives".

At the end of the Swedish interview, William says he realizes he could go to jail for Holocaust denial in Germany.

Pope Benedict has already made several gestures of reconciliation to the schismatic group, including allowing the unconditional return of the old-style Latin Mass.

That move angered Jews because the ceremony includes a Good Friday prayer for their conversion.


Bishop Who Denied Holocaust Apologizes to Pope Without Retracting

News Source BBC
Published on: January 31st, 2009

Vatican City - A UK-born cleric who denied the existence of Nazi gas chambers has apologised to the Pope for causing any distress - but without retracting.

Richard Williamson also thanked Pope Benedict for allowing him to rejoin the Roman Catholic Church after being excommunicated on an unrelated issue.

He apologised for his "imprudent remarks" in a Swedish TV interview.

Pope Benedict has reiterated his "full and indisputable solidarity" with Jews on the subject of the Nazi death camps.

He has been under pressure from Nobel Peace Prize winner and death camp survivor Elie Wiesel among others to distance himself from Mr Williamson, who was promoted to bishop along with others by the breakaway Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of France.

Mr Williamson, who lives in Argentina, blogged his apology in an open letter to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the mediator between the Vatican and the breakaway Catholic faction.

"Amidst this tremendous media storm stirred up by imprudent remarks of mine on Swedish television, I beg of you to accept... my sincere regrets for having caused to yourself and to the Holy Father so much unnecessary distress and problems," he said.

He made no mention of the Holocaust in the brief letter.

In an interview with Swedish TV, he had said: "I believe there were no gas chambers... I think that two to three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers."

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, contacted by AFP news agency, refused to comment on the content of the letter, saying only: "The Vatican has asked nothing of Monsignor Williamson, who is not an 'ordinary bishop' of the Catholic Church."

Mr Williamson and three other "bishops" whose excommunications were lifted are members of the Society of St Pius X, which was founded by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1970 as a protest against the Second Vatican Council's reforms on religious freedom and pluralism.

The late Archbishop Lefebvre made them bishops in unsanctioned consecrations in Switzerland in 1988, prompting the immediate excommunication of all five by the late Pope John Paul II.

When it recently lifted their excommunication, the Vatican said the four men had been asked to recognise the authority of the Pope and the Second Vatican Council.


German-born pope under fire in his homeland over tolerance of Holocaust denial

By Reuters
Last update - 03/02/2009

Nearly four years after a rare outburst of national pride over the election of a German pope, Germans are falling out of love with Pope Benedict because of his rehabilitation of a bishop who denies the Holocaust.

Prominent Catholics, politicians and newspaper commentators in Joseph Ratzinger's homeland are pulling no punches in their criticism of his lifting of the excommunications of four bishops, including one who denies the extent of the Holocaust.

In a rare move, even Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized him, saying that the Vatican must make clear that it does not tolerate any denial of the Holocaust.

"I do not believe that sufficient clarification has been made," Merkel said.

"Worldwide criticism of the Pope," read the front page of top-selling German daily Bild which devoted most of its second page to the furore. It was a stark contrast to the jubilant "We are the pope!" headline in April 2005 to celebrate his election.

"The pope has made a serious mistake. That he is a German pope makes the matter especially bad," read its editorial.

"Pope Benedict XVI is inflicting great damage on Germany... The pope must correct his mistake, reverse his decision and excuse himself," it said, in comments echoed by other papers.

Former foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher wrote in the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung: "Poles can be proud of Pope John Paul II. At the last papal election, we said "We are the pope!" But please -- not like this."

The Vatican on Tuesday moved quickly to counter any suggestion that the pope has been unclear in his stance on the Holocaust. "The pope's thinking on the subject of the Holocaust has been expressed very clearly," said Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi.

He cited Benedict's visit to a synagogue during his first visit to Germany as pope in 2005, a visit to Auschwitz in 2006 and his remarks during last week's general audience.

Lombardi quoted from what he called the pope's unequivocal words at that public audience. "I hope that the memory of the Shoah leads humanity to reflect on the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the heart of men," he quoted the pope as saying. "May the Shoah be a warning for all against oblivion, against denial or reductionism."

Lombardi said that during the audience the pope himself clearly explained the purpose of lifting the excommunication, which has nothing to do with any legitimization of positions denying the Holocaust, which were clearly condemned by Benedict.

More than 60 years after the end of World War Two, Germans are still struggling to come to terms with the legacy of the Holocaust, in which Nazis deliberately killed 6 million European Jews, and relations with the Jewish community are highly charged.

Last week, Germany's Central Council of Jews said it was breaking off ties with the Catholic Church over the pope's move.

The rehabilitated bishop at the centre of the storm is Richard Williamson, who belongs to the ultra-traditional Society of Saint Pius X and denies the extent of the Holocaust.

Last month, the British-born bishop told a Swedish broadcaster he believed there were no gas chambers and no more than 300,000 Jews perished in concentration camps.

Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany and state prosecutors in the southern city of Regensburg are investigating Williamson for incitement. German neo-Nazi websites and blogs have published contributions supporting Williamson's stand.

In his commentary, Genscher argued that Ratzinger, forced to join the Hitler Youth as a boy though his parents opposed the Nazis, was making a habit of offending non-Catholics.

He has shown little respect to Protestants and angered Muslims by hinting Islam was violent and irrational in a 2006 speech in Regensburg, Genscher said.

"This is a deep moral and political question. It is about respect for the victims of crimes against humanity," he wrote.

Other politicians joined in and in an unusual intervention Chancellor Merkel, daughter of a Protestant pastor, called on him to make clear he rejected any Holocaust denial.

"It is a fundamental question if, through a decision by the Vatican, the impression arises that the Holocaust can be denied," she said, adding she wanted the pope to issue a clarification.

The pope has also faced harsh criticism from German Catholics. Hamburg Archbishop Werner Thissen was quoted as saying the decision risked undermining trust in the church.

Cardinal Karl Lehmann, former chair of Germany's Catholic bishops' conference and head of Germany's 26 million Catholics, has described the affair as a catastrophe. Others say it has exposed flaws in the pope's detached governing style.

"It's an unforgivable mistake, and also a political error that Swiss, German and French bishops' conferences, where most people of the brotherhood live, were not informed beforehand," widely respected theologian Hans Maier told Vatican Radio.


Cardinal slams Pope for restoring bishop who denied Holocaust

By Reuters
Tue., February 03, 2009 Shvat 9, 5769

The cardinal in charge of relations with Jews has acknowledged that the Vatican handled the rehabilitation of a Holocaust-denying bishop very badly and complained that Pope Benedict did not consult him.

"There wasn't enough talking with each other in the Vatican and there are no longer checks to see where problems could arise," said Cardinal Walter Kasper in a blunt interview with Vatican Radio's German program, broadcast on Monday night.

Benedict on Jan. 24 lifted the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops, including Richard Williamson, a Briton who denies the full extent of the Holocaust, to try to heal a 20-year-old schism in the Church.

Among those who condemned Williamson and the pope's decision were Holocaust survivors, progressive Catholics, members of the U.S. Congress, Israel's Chief Rabbinate, German Jewish leaders and Jewish writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

Vatican sources and officials had said privately the decision was taken without wide consultation. Kasper, who was left in the dark, appeared to be venting his frustration.

"Of course, explaining something after the fact is always much more difficult than if one did it right away. I would have also liked to see more communication in advance," said the cardinal, who like Pope Benedict is German.

"I'm watching this debate with great concern. Nobody can be pleased that misunderstandings have turned up. Mistakes in the management of the curia (Vatican administration) have certainly also been made. I want to say that very clearly," he said.

Leading Catholic commentators have said the Williamson affair shows fundamental flaws in Benedict's governing style.

"This and other controversies point to a fatal systemic flaw in the Benedict papacy that is destroying his effectiveness as pope: He does not consult experts who might challenge his views and inclinations," said Father Tom Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

"He is surrounded by people who are not as smart as he is and who would never think of questioning him."

Father Eberhard von Gemmingen, head of Vatican Radio German service, said: "There are obviously shortcomings in the Vatican's organization and communications ... Such a misunderstanding and debacle must never happen again."

Williamson told Swedish television in an interview broadcast on Jan. 21: "I believe there were no gas chambers". He said no more than 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, rather than the 6 million accepted by mainstream historians.

He later posted on his blog a letter apologizing to the pope for the "unnecessary distress" he caused him but he did not take back the comments. Jews said the apology was not enough.

The controversy has led many to take a closer look at the traditionalist group, the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), its view of Jews and its future place in the Church.

Traditionalists reject most of the teachings of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council. One of its key documents, "Nostra Aetate" (In Our Times) repudiated the concept of collective Jewish guilt for Christ's death and urged dialogue with all major religions.


Vatican: Holocaust denier must recant

Published: 02.04.09

Day after German chancellor calls for clear rejection of Holocaust denials, Vatican demands bishop who denied Shoah recant before being fully admited to Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI reportedly unaware of bishop's views when lifting excommunication

The Vatican demanded Wednesday that a bishop who denied the Holocaust recant his positions before being fully admitted into the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican also said in a statement that Pope Benedict XVI didn't know about Bishop Richard Williamson's views when he agreed to lift his excommunication and that of three other ultraconservative bishops January 21.

The statement was issued by the Vatican's Secretariat of State a day after German Chacellor Angela Merkel urged the pope to make a clearer rejection of Holocaust denials, saying there hadn't been adequate clarification from the Vatican.

Williamson was shown on Swedish state television days before his rehabilitation was made public saying historical evidence "is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed" during World War II.

Williamson subsequently apologized to the pope for having stirred controversy, but he did not repudiate his comments, in which he also said only 200,000 to 300,000 Jews were killed during World War II and none were gassed.

The Holy See said when it announced the rehabilitation of the bishops January 24 that removing the excommunication did not mean the Vatican shared Williamson's views. But Jewish groups voiced outrage and demanded that Williamson recant his views.

In the statement Wednesday, the Vatican said that while Williamson's excommunication had been lifted, he still had no canonical function in the church because he was consecrated illegitimately by Lefebvre.

"Bishop Williamson, in order to be admitted to episcopal functions within the church, will have to take his distance, in an absolutely unequivocal and public fashion, from his position on the Shoah, which the Holy Father was not aware of when the excommunication was lifted," the statement said.

In addition, the Vatican said that the society as a whole must fully recognize the teachings of Vatican II and the teachings of all the popes who came during and after it in order to have a legitimate canonical function in the church.


Top cardinal: Vatican botched Shoah affair

First Published: 02.03.09

Cardinal in charge of relations with Jews says in radio interview that Catholic Church handled rehabilitation of Holocaust denying Bishop Richard Williamson badly, adds he was not consulted by Pope Benedict

The cardinal in charge of relations with Jews has acknowledged that the Vatican handled the rehabilitation of a Holocaust-denying bishop very badly and complained that Pope Benedict did not consult him.

"There wasn't enough talking with each other in the Vatican and there are no longer checks to see where problems could arise," said Cardinal Walter Kasper in a blunt interview with Vatican Radio's German program, broadcast on Monday night.

Benedict on January 24 lifted the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops, including Richard Williamson, a Briton who denies the full extent of the Holocaust, to try to heal a 20-year-old schism in the Church.

Among those who condemned Williamson and the pope's decision were Holocaust survivors, progressive Catholics, members of the US Congress, Israel's Chief Rabbinate, German Jewish leaders and Jewish writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

Vatican sources and officials had said privately the decision was taken without wide consultation. Kasper, who was left in the dark, appeared to be venting his frustration.

"Of course, explaining something after the fact is always much more difficult than if one did it right away. I would have also liked to see more communication in advance," said the cardinal, who like Pope Benedict is German.

"I'm watching this debate with great concern. Nobody can be pleased that misunderstandings have turned up. Mistakes in the management of the curia (Vatican administration) have certainly also been made. I want to say that very clearly," he said.

'Fatal systematic flaw'

"This and other controversies point to a fatal systemic flaw in the Benedict papacy that is destroying his effectiveness as pope: He does not consult experts who might challenge his views and inclinations," said Father Tom Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

"He is surrounded by people who are not as smart as he is and who would never think of questioning him."

Father Eberhard von Gemmingen, head of Vatican Radio German service, said: "There are obviously shortcomings in the Vatican's organisation and communications ... Such a misunderstanding and debacle must never happen again."

Williamson told Swedish television in an interview broadcast on January 21: "I believe there were no gas chambers". He said no more than 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, rather than the 6 million accepted by mainstream historians.

He later posted on his blog a letter apologising to the pope for the "unnecessary distress" he caused him but he did not take back the comments. Jews said the apology was not enough.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Pope Benedict XVI for a "very clear" rejection of Holocaust denial after he rehabilitated a bishop who questioned its existence.

Merkel said Tuesday that she does not believe there has been sufficient clarification after the rehabilitation of Richard Williamson, who questioned whether 6 million Jews were gassed. The German-born pope has expressed solidarity with Jews and warned against any denial of the horror of the Holocaust.


Rabbinate cuts ties with Vatican

Published: 01.28.09

Chief Rabbinate of Israel cuts ties with Vatican over pardon of Holocaust denier until apology is made, Vatican's position clarified. Survivor Eli Wiesel also comes out against pontiff's pardon of known Holocaust denying bishop, says slight may even have been 'intentional.' Pope reaffirms 'solidarity' with Jewish people

The chief Rabbinate of Israel sent a letter to the Vatican saying that dialogue with Catholics could not continue as before "without a public apology from
Bishop Williamson and recanting his deplorable statements".

The Rabbinate said it would not attend a meeting scheduled for March "until this matter is clarified".

Chief Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he hoped the pope's words at the audience would be "sufficient to respond to the doubts expressed about the position of the pope and the Catholic Church" on the Holocaust.

Lombardi said he hoped the Israeli Rabbinate would now rethink its position and continue "fruitful and serene dialogue".

British-born Richard Williamson, one of four traditionalist bishops whose excommunications were lifted on Saturday, has made several statements denying the full extent of the Holocaust of European Jews, as accepted by mainstream historians.

Williamson told Swedish television: "I believe there were no gas chambers" and only up to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, instead of 6 million. His comments caused an uproar among Jewish leaders and progressive Catholics, many of whom said it had cast a dark shadow over 50 years of Christian-Jewish dialogue.

Pope Benedict has given credence to "the most vulgar aspect of anti-Semitism" by rehabilitating a Holocaust-denying bishop, said Elie Wiesel, the death camp survivor, author and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Wiesel also said there was no way the Vatican could have not known about the bishop's past and it may have been done "intentionally".

"What does the pope think we feel when he did that? That a man who is a bishop and Holocaust denier - and today of course the most vulgar aspect of anti-Semitism is Holocaust denial - and for the pope to go that far and do what he did, knowing what he knows, is disturbing," Wiesel said by phone from New York.

"The result of this move is very simple: to give credence to a man who is a Holocaust denier, which means that the sensitivity to us as Jews is not what it should be," he said late on Tuesday.

"It's a pity because Jewish-Catholic relations, thanks to John XXIII and John Paul II, had never been as good, never in history," Wiesel said, referring to the popes who revolutionized relations with Jews after 2,000 years of persecution and mistrust.

Vatican 'had to know'

Asked if he believed it was possible that the Vatican did not know that Williamson was a Holocaust denier, Wiesel, who won the Nobel in 1986 and survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald, said, "Oh no! The Church knows what it does, especially on that level for the pope to readmit this man, they know what they are doing. They know what they are doing and they did it intentionally. What the intention was, I don't know."

Since the fury over the pope's decision to lift the excommunication, the Vatican has condemned Williamson's comments as "grave, upsetting (and) unacceptable", restating the Church's -- and Benedict's -- teachings against anti-Semitism.

Wiesel said he could not offer the Vatican any advice on how to put things right with Jews but something had to be done.

On Tuesday, Williamson's superior in the traditionalist movement publicly apologised to the pope and said William had been disciplined and ordered to remain silent on political or historical issues.

Pope Benedict on Wednesday reaffirmed his "full and unquestionable solidarity with Jews" in an attempt to relieve tensions with Jews after a Catholic bishop denied the Holocaust.

Speaking at his Wednesday audience, the pope said the attempt to exterminate the Jews in the Holocaust should remain a warning for all people.


German Leader Talks With Pope About Holocaust

The New York Times
Published: February 8, 2009

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany have had a “cordial and constructive” phone conversation, just days after Mrs. Merkel openly criticized the pope for rehabilitating a bishop who has denied that the Holocaust happened, the German government and the Vatican said Sunday.

Two weeks ago, Benedict provoked wide outrage by revoking the excommunications of four schismatic bishops from a traditionalist society, including one, Richard Williamson, who has said he does not believe the Nazis had gas chambers.

A joint statement issued Sunday by the Vatican and the chancellor’s office said that both the pope and Mrs. Merkel referred to Benedict’s Jan. 28 remarks condemning Holocaust denial and expressing solidarity with Jews.

A statement released Wednesday by the Vatican Secretariat of State called on Bishop Williamson to recant his comments. In a rare case of the Vatican’s diplomatic arm furthering remarks by the pope, the Secretariat of State also made clear that the traditionalist bishops would not be welcomed back into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church unless they accepted the liberalizing teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

Last week’s statement by the Secretariat of State seemed to repair relations with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which said it planned to continue its dialogue with the Vatican, according to the Chief Rabbinate’s director general, Oded Wiener. The body had asked to postpone a March meeting with the Vatican in protest.

Vatican officials are expected to meet Thursday with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella organization.


Holocaust-denier removed from Argentine seminary

Sun Feb 8, 2009

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - An ultra-traditionalist Roman Catholic bishop who has drawn sharp criticism from the Vatican and Jewish groups for denying the extent of the Holocaust was removed as the head of an Argentine seminary, a Catholic Church official said on Sunday.

Pope Benedict angered Jewish leaders and progressive Catholics last month when he lifted excommunications on the bishop, Richard Williamson, and three other traditionalists to try to heal a 20-year-old schism within the Church.

The Vatican has since ordered the bishop to publicly recant his views questioning whether the Nazis used gas chambers and the number of Jews who died.

But Williamson, who is British-born, recently told Germany's Spiegel magazine he must first review historical evidence before considering an apology.

In a statement, Father Christian Bouchacourt, the head of the Latin American chapter of the Catholic Society St. Pius X, said Williamson had been relieved as the head of the La Reja seminary on the outskirts of the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.

"Monsignor Williamson's statements do not in any way reflect the position of our congregation," it said.

The decision came hours after Pope Benedict and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who publicly criticized the pontiff for his decision to rehabilitate the bishop, spoke by telephone.

The two had a "cordial and constructive" conversation on the issue, the Vatican said.

The Vatican has been at pains since the excommunications of the four bishops were lifted on January 24 to contain damage provoked by Williamson's comments, which he made during an interview with Swedish television last month.

The Vatican has said Pope Benedict, who expressed his full solidarity with Jews, was not aware of Williamson's denial of the Holocaust when he rehabilitated the bishops.

(Writing by Kevin Gray, additional reporting by Silvia Aloisivy, editing by Vicki Allen)

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