Sunday, August 29, 2004

Attacks against French Jews increase... 

French official: Attacks on Jews tripled since start of year

By Amiram Barkat
Sun., August 29, 2004 Elul 12, 5764

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in France has soared by hundreds of percent since the beginning of the year and the law enforcement authorities are having difficulty coping with them.
Justice Minister Dominique Perben issued figures last Thursday showing a tripling of anti-Semitic attacks this year, with 298 so far, compared to 108 in all of 2003.
Perben's figures were broken down by their targets, showing there were 67 attacks on Jewish people, 162 on property and 69 cases of anti-Semitic writings.
Some 80 percent of this year's cases have not yet been solved, Perben said after meeting with France's Chief Rabbi Joseph Sitruk to discuss government efforts to fight anti-Semitism. French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin said the number of violent incidents against Jews and Jewish property this year reached 160, marking a 113 percent rise compared to the equivalent period last year, in which only 75 incidents were reported. In an interview with Le Monde on Friday, de Villepin said the reasons for 80 percent of the incidents were unclear and the perpetrators have not been found. Only 11 attacks were committed by extreme right-wingers and 50 were committed by people of Arab or Muslim origin.

Israel and most Jewish organizations in France have been saying for some time that Moslem youngsters, especially of North African origin, are the main perpetrators of anti-Semitic attacks.

Last month Prime Minister Ariel Sharon evoked sharp comments in France when he hinted that the Islam in France is behind "the most extreme anti-Semitism."

De Villepin rejected the statement "that religion is the source of hatred and divisiveness in our country." He said the motives in 99 anti-Semitic incidents (more than 60 percent) are described as "vague" while 50 incidents are believed to have been carried out by "Arab-Moslem individuals." Another 11 incidents were carried out by radical right-wingers. In addition, de Villepin said "Islamophobic acts have multiplied dangerously" and noted that Christian, Jewish and Moslem cemeteries have been desecrated.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Anti-Semitism in New Zealand 

NZ parliament condemns anti-Semitic cemetery attacks

By The Associated Press
Haaretz Service http://www.haaretz.com/
WELLINGTON - New Zealand
Tue., August 10, 2004 Av 23, 5764

New Zealand lawmakers Tuesday unanimously condemned vandals who wrecked Jewish gravestones in two cemeteries and torched a Jewish prayer house in recent weeks.

The attacks on cemeteries in the capital, Wellington, described as the worst anti-Semitic acts in New Zealand history, saw scores of graves ransacked, with headstones smashed and desecrated.

In both incidents, three weeks apart, German Nazi swastika symbols were hacked into nearby lawns. The first, on July 16, came just hours after two Israeli men were imprisoned for passport fraud and labeled as Mossad spies by New Zealand's government.In a special parliamentary motion, lawmakers deplored the destructive attacks and expressed "unequivocal condemnation of anti-Semitism, violence directed against Jews, and Jewish religious and cultural institutions and all forms of racial and ethnic hatred, persecution and discrimination."

The resolution will be sent to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin with a record of the speeches by party leaders, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Acting Prime Minister Michael Cullen said "there is no justification and no cause" for the revival of anti-Semitism in recent years in many countries around the world." "Let it be hoped that the recent vandalism is the work of an isolated crank or cranks. But given its nature it inevitably raises emotions and memories which are deep-seated and profound, especially for Jewish New Zealanders and many others as well," he said,. according to the Herald. "For the survivors of the holocaust, or those related to them, such actions as we have recently seen are particularly frightening and appalling.""They remind us how thin the veneer of tolerance and civilization can sometimes be, even in a country such as New Zealand," Cullen said.While noting that some explained the incidents as a result of the diplomatic conflict stemming from the passport fraud incident and the proposed visit by Holocaust denier David Irving, Cullin said, "The danger of entering into that area is that it gives some kind of rationale for something that is both evil and irrational, though sadly deep-seated in European culture."

National Party deputy leader Gerry Brownlee said, while supporting the movement, that the incidents have "badly damaged New Zealand's reputation overseas," the Herald reported. ACT party leader Rodney Hide said his party wanted to go further and state its concern about anti-Israel sentiment, which he said was growing in the West, the Herald reported. "My party wholeheartedly supports the right of the state of Israel to exist," he said, according to the Herald. Meantime, security guards are on round-the-clock watch at all Wellington cemeteries as police continue inquiries into the attacks. No arrests have been made in either attack.

The controversial historian Irving, in an interview Tuesday with National Radio, offered a reward of U.S. $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals.Irving had previously said that the "disordered members" of the local Jewish community might be responsible for the attack, a claim repeated by the New Zealand secretary of the National Front, the Herald reported.Irving, the author of nearly 30 books, including "Hitler's War," which challenges the extent of the Holocaust, wants to visit New Zealand to give a lecture, but the government has indicated it is unlikely to let him into the country.

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