Headlines 29 August, 2014
Police have said they are treating an incident at a Trillick takeaway in the early hours of Monday as a hate crime.
29/8/2014- Damage was caused to a hatch door and window when three men entered the ‘Big Bite Fish & Chips’ premises on the village’s Main Street at around 1am. The three men harassed the two male members of staff, who are understood to be of Indian descent, leaving the employees unable to leave the premises at closing time. One member of staff who spoke to the Ulster Herald, said the takeaway normally closes at 1am. But he said the intimidatory actions of the three men left the two staff members unable to leave, forcing them to contact the PSNI at around 2.25am. “They broke our window and they harassed the guys who were working here,” he said. “When they left they broke all the flower pots outside the houses, they put curry chips in letter boxes and they opened up bins and threw the rubbish everywhere.”
On Tuesday police said their enquiries into the disturbance were continuing but confirmed they were treating the incident as a hate crime. Local Sinn Féin shadow councillor Stephen McCann has condemned the actions of those responsible. “People should be able to go to their place of work without fear of violence or intimidation,” he said. Cllr McCann, who spoke with some of the staff, said they had felt intimidated during the incident. Calling for respect to be shown for local staff and businesses he said, “Thankfully this is not something that happens often. Whenever people are out and about, they need to cop on and take into consideration the people that live there, their property and show respect,” added the councillor.
Fellow West Tyrone councillor Mary Garrity suggested that the weekend ‘Rockin’ with the Reds’ festival had brought crowds from outside the area into Trillick on Sunday night. The SDLP representative said the staff at the ‘Big Bite’ had integrated well since they moved into the area. “There is no excuse irrespective of who it is and where they are from. I would think it is an isolated incident, because they are here a long time, but if there was any hate or malice intended, it’s something I wouldn’t condone at any time.” The PSNI have appealed for anyone with information relating to the disturbance to contact them on the new non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 137250814. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously.
© The Ulster Herald
A man who sprayed six people with a “noxious substance” in a homophobic attack outside a London gay club is expected to face jail.
27/8/2014- One victim, Pariche Frith, said he felt like his face was melting, and that he thought he was going to die, when Jonathan Lynn, 31, sprayed him in the face with a substance at the time thought to be bleach, outside Lightbox, a Vauxhall gay club, the Inner London Crown Court heard. Mr Frith said he started talking to two women, but that Lynn approached him and said the women were with him. After Mr Frith told him he was gay, Lynn responded: “Go away, we don’t like gays.” The court then heard that Lynn was told by Mr Frith that he could have any woman he wanted, if he wasn’t gay. Lynn’s reaction was to spray Mr Frith in the face with the liquid, which caused burns, including ulcers on his eyes. The model said he felt like his face had melted, and that he was going to die. A bystander, as well as two of Mr Frith’s friends were also sprayed with the substance in the attack.
As well as those victims, Lynn also sprayed another man with the substance, which he kept in an Evian water bottle, after he accidentally stood on the perpetrator’s foot. Prosecutor James Keely said: “The concern is that the gay community is vulnerable, it’s fair to say that such a serious and premeditated attack will no doubt have a detrimental effect on the community and impact the attraction to the area.” Lynn, who resides in Worcester Park, will be sentenced on Thursday. Having been arrested two days after the incidents, he later pleaded guilty to four counts of Actual Bodily Harm, two counts of common assault, and possession of a weapon for discharge of a noxious liquid.
© Pink News
UK: More homophobic hate crime reported in South Wales
More people are reporting homophobic and transgender hate crime in South Wales, according to new figures.
26/8/2014- Hate crimes on the grounds of sexual orientation jumped from 121 to 161 in a year, while gender identity crimes in the force area rose from nine to 29. South Wales Police said hate crime had been under-reported and it was "working to encourage" victims to come forward. One support organisation, the Unity Group, said more people now trusted the police to take hate crime seriously. The Swansea-based agency works supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and groups. Chief executive Andrew Davies said: "Last year for every nine callers we'd get, only one would end up going on to report hate crime to the police. "Today, it's about two in nine. There's still some distrust of the police but we've been working with the force and getting it out to the community that the police aren't what they were 30 or 40 years ago."
He said the police having a positive presence at Pride events was also helping to build up trust. "I'm quite happy to see the figure go up - it's a much better picture of what's going on," added Mr Davies. There were a total of 1,224 hate crimes recorded in the South Wales area in 2013/14 compared to 1,019 the previous year. A force spokeswoman added: "What is equally important is to see increasing levels of satisfaction of hate crime victims, particularly in the follow-up after an incident has been reported to us." The figures were obtained from police forces from Freedom Of Information requests by Plaid Cymru. Party leader Leanne Wood said: "Intolerance and hatred in all of forms must be confronted wherever it raises its ugly head. "There is an obligation on all of us in our communities to work together with people from all backgrounds to stand up against hate crime and racism."
© BBC News
Mosque Fires in Germany Trigger Concerns of Islamophobia
26/8/2014- A Turkish delegation comprised of officials from Turkish Parliament's Human Rights Committee and head of Turks Abroad and Related Communities directorate of the Turkish Prime Ministry started a two-day visit to Germany yesterday to inquire about the extent of attacks and suspicion of arson. Their first visit was to Berlin's Mevlana Mosque. A fire broke out in a part of the mosque that was being redecorated on August 11. The cause of the blaze is not yet known but German officials said they found traces of a flammable liquid at the scene, pointing to arson. Located in Kreuzberg, a district of Berlin dubbed as "Little Istanbul" due to its large population of Turks - approximately 40,000 people - the mosque was partially open for prayers as reconstruction was underway on the 40-yearold structure. One day before the attack in Berlin, the Süleymaniye Mosque in the German town of Bielefeld was set on fire by suspects who burned Qurans in the mosque. In February, the Central Mosque in Cologne, one of the largest mosques in Germany, was subject to attacks. Suspects crashed a car into the door of the mosque and attempted to set the mosque on fire.
In Germany alone, apart from three recent attacks, 78 attacks targeting mosques have been carried out since 2012 and 219 attacks were carried out between 2001 and 2012. Although arson attacks remain rare, hate crimes targeting Muslims in Europe have spread. In Norway, the Pakistani imam of a mosque, where a pig's head was earlier left on its front door, was injured in an axe attack in June. Other mosques in the country have received arson threats. Racist and Islamophobic attacks have also targeted mosques in Denmark and the U.K., although there were no casualties. Along with mosques, Muslims were targeted in hate crimes. In London, 500 Muslims have been the victims of hate crimes in 2013.
In the Netherlands, four suspects attempted to attack a mosque run by Turks in June, but the Muslim community prevented the attack. Minor attacks targeted mosques in several Dutch cities in 2013. Four mosques were subject to attacks ranging from assailants hurling eggs and Molotov cocktails to incidences of pigs' heads being left at mosques. In Austria, swastikas were drawn on the walls of a mosque earlier this month. The Turkish community views the attacks as isolated incidents by fringe groups though they criticize the German media and politicians' approach to the attacks in a way entirely dismissing the threat. In a visit to the Mevlana Mosque on Aug. 23, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, said he viewed the attack on the mosque as important as any attack on any community center. He said they do not want "conflicts" in other countries to be brought to Germany and that Germany wants the peaceful coexistence of different cultures.
© Daily Sabah
Greece: Athens gay couple attacked by homophobic mob
A gay couple in Athens have been brutally assaulted by a homophobic mob.
25/8/2014- According to the newspaper Kathimerini, the couple – who have not been named – were set upon in the Pangrati neighborhood, early on Saturday. The victims say they were attacked by a group of 10 to 15 men, who had shaved heads and were wearing black t-shirts. Both men suffered injuries following the attack, with one having to undergo surgery on his ankle. Police are investigating the incident, which is the latest in a number of alleged homophobic incidents in the country this year. Last month, George Kounanis and Harry Vassilakis were reportedly attacked in Athens by a group of police officers for holding hands. In addition, the extreme far right party Golden Dawn picked up three seats in May’s European elections, netting 9.4% of the vote and becoming the third-largest party. In January, gay rights activists in Piraeus used a kiss-in to protest against ultra-conservative Orthodox Christian Bishop Seraphim, who claims that homosexuality “is a unnatural aberration not even observed in animals”.
© Pink News
Belgium: Woman aggressed in Brussels because of her Jewish-sounding name
24/8/2014- A 75-year-old woman was the victim of a anti-Semitic abuse because of her Jewish-sounding name in Brussels. The victim had gone to the town hall in search of documents. A young man standing behind her in line at the counter heard her Jewish-sounding surname. He then hit and pushed the woman to the ground. According to the victim, she was also insulted. The Belgian League against Anti-Semitism (LBCA) said it intends to file a complaint for assault with aggravating circumstances of racism and anti-Semitism. The victim was out with bruises on her right leg. The assailant has not been identified. "Political leaders cannot accept the release of anti-Semitic speech and must fight against the climate of impunity surrounding these crimes. The liberation of anti-Semitic speech leads the such acts," said LBCA President, Joel Rubinfeld.
© EJP News
Headlines 22 August, 2014
Denmark: Jewish school vandalised in Copenhagen
Carolineskolen in Østerbro had its windows smashed and its walls painted with "political" anti-Semitic messages. The school's leader says nothing like it has happened before in the school's 200 year history.
22/8/2014- The private Jewish school Carolineskolen in Copenhagen’s Østerbro was extensively vandalised overnight between Thursday and Friday. Windows were smashed and anti-Semitic graffiti was written on the school’s walls. “We are the world’s second-oldest functioning Jewish school and we have never before in our 210 year history experienced something like this,” school leader Jan Hansen told TV2 News. “Parents and children are worried, and some parents don’t want to send their children to school.” Hansen said that the graffiti was “political” in nature and referred to the current conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The vandals cut a hole in the school’s surrounding fence in order to reach the school.
Hansen said that school officials covered up the graffiti before students arrived so that they would not have to read the anti-Semitic messages. Carolineskolen serves roughly 200 children. In addition to the school, there is a nursery and daycare facility. Earlier this month, school officials advised parents to not let their children wear Jewish religious symbols outside of school grounds as a result of rising reports of anti-Semitic harassment in Denmark. The increase in reported anti-Semitism led to a ‘kippah march’ through Nørrebro last week in support of Jews’ right to bear religious symbols in the city.
© The Local - Denmark
Austria: Islamophobic attack on 84-year-old woman
An 84-year-old woman originally from Turkey wearing a traditional headscarf was kicked to the ground on Thursday afternoon in an attack that was clearly motivated by anti-Islamic sentiments, according to a press release from Austria's Islamic Religious Community Association (IGGiÖ).
22/8/2014- Police confirmed that they received a report of the attack in the Favoriten area of Vienna, and are currently investigating. The perpetrator was a 30 to 35-year-old man who spoke and insulted the woman using a strong Viennese dialect. Another nearby woman was also knocked down by the man, according to reports. Nearby teenagers who came to the assistance of the old woman were unable to prevent the man from escaping after committing the assault. According to the IGGiÖ, the Turkish woman, who uses a cane, was initially in shock and could not be interviewed by police. She was taken to the emergency hospital in the 20th district. A police spokesman said that investigations are ongoing, while the police wait to speak to the victims of the attack and are calling for witnesses. According to the IGGiÖ, the case is unique in its brutality and shows that the xenophobic mood has further escalated. "As bad as this incident was, we hoped that it can strengthen opposition to trends of Islamophobia," it said in a press release.
© The Local - Austria
Austria: Tyrol mosque defaced with swastikas
A mosque in the town of Telfs, in Tyrol, which is known for its distinctive white minaret has been defaced with swastikas.
19/8/2014- The Nazi symbol was sprayed in black paint overnight on Tuesday, around the entrance to the mosque and on some mosaic tiles. It is not known who defaced the mosque but the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution has launched an investigation. The mosque was opened in 2001 by the local Turkish cultural association. However, many locals protested in 2005 when the cultural association announced that it wanted to build a minaret to accompany the mosque. Among the roughly 15,000 residents of Telfs, about 2,400 people signed a petition against the building of the mosque, and nearby homeowners threatened lawsuits. Locals objected that the minaret would attract crowds and cause traffic congestion. Others complained that the minaret would represent a victory of Islam over Christianity. A compromise was reached wherein the mosque's minaret would be only 15 meters tall, rather than the 20 meters originally planned by the cultural centre. It was also agreed that there would be no muezzin call for prayers from the minaret.
© The Local - Austria
Supposedly homophobic hate crime sanctioned with a ridiculous fine in Lithuania
20/8/2014- Openly gay well-known Lithuanian singer Ruslanas Kirilkinas, who had to end his concert due to an attack by bullies on June 21st would seem to finally expect justice. The citizen who threw firecrackers at him was punished with a symbolic fine of LT 225 (65 EUR). Though the singer did report the incident to officers, Kaunas district police headquarters initiated an investigation on their own initiative immediately after the incident. The elder of the town helped to identify the offender, and according to Kaunas County Police Headquarters Communications Specialist, on June 26th the decision on the penalties was taken. “The investigation is complete now. Two reports were issued on the basis of Article 176, Paragraph 1 of the Administrative Code of the Republic of Lithuania on civilian acquisition of pyrotechnics and its misuse. They were applied to the male offender, born in 1988.
Another protocol was administered in accordance to Article 174 on minor hooliganism. The act of bullying was evaluated by LT 150 (43 EUR) fine and the misuse of pyrotechnics added another LT 75 (22 EUR) to it,” concluded the spokesperson of the police. R. Kirilkinas ended the concert after the second song when explosive material was thrown at him. Fortunately, the incident experienced by the singer did not have serious consequences. The explosive went past R. Kirilkinas’ face, and he was not hurt. Unfortunately, it is not a first time when Kirilkinas became a victim of a homophobic attack. R. Kirilkinas was performing at a concert held in the Lithuanian town of Aukštadvaris on the 23rd of February 2014 when eggs were thrown at him from the audience, resulting in lip, chin and ear wounds. The singer was taken to hospital by ambulance and his injuries were treated. The singer was in shock, and refrained from giving any comment on the episode.
LGL association would like to remind you that most hate crimes, among which are many attacks against LGBT* people and allies, are left unreported, their true motives are not evaluated and attackers often remain unpunished. We urge you to report such hate crimes you were a victim of or witnessed to Law enforcement officers or to fill out the national LGBT rights LGL anonymous crime report form.
© National LGBT Rights Organization Lituania
Anti-Semitic incidents 'up 500%' in UK since start of bombardment of Gaza
Anti-Semitic incidents in the UK have rocketed by nearly 500 per cent since the start of the latest conflict in Gaza, according to a charity.
20/8/2014- The Community Security Trust (CST), which has a helpline for British Jews to report incidents, has received more than 240 calls in July alone – up from around 50 a month for the rest of 2014. Anti-Semitic incidents are classed as any verbal or physical act aimed at Jewish people, groups or property where there is evidence of an Anti-Semitic motivation. Mark Gardner, the communications director for the CST, said the number of attacks in July is likely to rise as workers process the “huge volume” of calls they have received. “The actual data is bad enough but cannot convey the mood of the Jewish community, with many people telling us that they have never felt so bad, have been under such pressure, nor worried so much about what the future may hold,” he added. “British Jews, like those elsewhere, will continue to suffer local anti-Semitic impacts from overseas events and global ideological trends.”
July was the second-worst month ever recorded by the charity, established in 1994, after 289 incidents were seen in January 2009. There have been more than 10 arrests made in relation to the reports so far and other cases are being investigated by the police, while others have not been confirmed. It follows a pattern of spikes caused by violence in the Gaza Strip, where an estimated 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in less than two months in an Israeli military operation against Hamas. Many incidents have involved verbal abuse and threats against Jews in public places, Mr Gardner said, adding that dominant themes were Jews being called child murderers or Nazis and being told “Hitler was right”. He used the analogy of a pressure cooker to describe how hatred bubbling under the surface has had the “lid blown off” by recent events.
A similar phenomenon was recorded by Muslim charities in 2013 following the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich, when a spate of Islamophobic crimes including mosque attacks broke out. Countless protests have taken place against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza across the UK and many groups have taken pains to distinguish their stance on the nation’s military policy from anti-Semitism. But Mr Gardner said it was not the Jewish community that needs telling the distinction as Jews become targets across Europe. In a letter in Friday’s Independent, Stephen Spencer Ryde, from London, described how his wife was called “scum” in a pub in Bath when she mentioned her Jewish background and a friend’s son was asked to leave a student hall in Manchester because he was eating kosher food with a Hebrew label. A blue plaque marking the birthplace of former Israeli president Chaim Herzog had to be removed in Belfast because of repeated vandalism and a Tesco supermarket in Birmingham was vandalised following a protest to boycott Israeli goods. At Kingston Synagogue, in west London, a sign reading “child murderers” was stuck up outside the building.
Rabbi Samuel Landau said he had an “initial knee-jerk reaction” fearing “blood libels of old”, but despite the attack he says Jews “should not be fearful”, and that he has had “heart-warming expressions of support” from numerous faith groups. The situation is worse in France, where Jewish families are reportedly fleeing after a rise in violent attacks, including the vandalising and looting of Jewish businesses in the Sarcelles district of Paris after a pro-Palestinian rally. The CST’s report of anti-Semitic incidents in 2014 had been promising, finding that the total of 529 was almost 20 per cent down on 2012. The charity provides guidance on anti-Semitism to authorities and offers security services and training to Jewish organistions. Even when the current conflict in Gaza comes to an end, Mr Gardner believes the current of anti-Semitism will continue. “Some of those anti-Israel and anti-Zionist passions found their physical outlet against Jewish targets, as they always do,” he said. “It is a basic political phenomenon and anti-Semitism is an old tradition.”
© The Independent
UK: Racist vandals target Muslim graves in Chadderton Cemetery
Racist yobs uprooted headstones, trampled on flowers and kicked over memorials in what police branded a ‘heinous and senseless’ crime in Chadderton Cemetery
18/8/2014- Racist vandals have carried out a sickening attack on Muslim graves in a cemetery. The yobs uprooted headstones, trampled on flowers and kicked over memorials in what police branded a ‘heinous and senseless’ crime in Chadderton Cemetery. The raid took place at the site, on Middleton Road, between 8.30pm on Friday, August 15, and 7.30pm the following day. Officers received a distressed call from someone visiting the grave of a loved one. When police arrived they found up to ten graves - all in the Muslim section of the cemetery - had been damaged, leading them to believe it was a racially-motivated attack. Wooden grave markers and headstones were uprooted from four adjoining graves, one of which had a brass plaque ripped from the headstone itself. A further two large floral tributes on other graves were smashed, trampled on and the flowers scattered across the other, while flowers on up to four other graves were also kicked over. There was also some evidence to suggest someone had walked directly over a recent grave. Police are now appealing for witnesses to come forward.
In June a community rallied around to clean up a Jewish cemetery in Blackley targeted in a racist vandalism attack. Sgt Jon Martin said: “The exact motive for this heinous and senseless vandalism is unclear, but given that only the Muslim section of the cemetery was targeted it has to be treated as being racially motivated. That makes this vandalism even more sickening, as the culprits have singled out the resting places of those who have lost their lives purely because of their religion. "This is not just wanton racism but the deliberate, calculating and cruel act of desecrating the memories of Muslims who are buried at the cemetery. “The distress this has caused to the families who have loved ones buried here is immeasurable. It is not just the vandalism itself, which can be repaired, but the thought of someone trashing what should be a place of sanctity and tranquillity for those who have lost their lives purely because of their religion. "We need to find the culprits, who may very well live the local area, so I am appealing to the community for help in identifying them. If you suspect who may be involved then please call us.
“I would also ask people to search their consciences and if you know who is responsible, do the right thing and call us. How would you feel if it was your loved one’s grave that was vandalised in this way? Think of the anguish you would feel and imagine how the victims are feeling right now. So please, if you do know anything then call us.”
© The Manchester Evening News.
Northern Ireland: War memorial attack is sectarian hate crime
Police are treating a paint attack on Glenavy War memorial as a hate crime.
18/8/2014- Detectives are appealing for information after they received a report at 8.15am yesterday of the attack in the village’s Main Street, which they confirmed they are treating as a sectarian hate crime. UUP MLA Danny Kinahan said: “It is profoundly depressing to hear of yet another act of criminal damage inflicted on the War Memorial in Glenavy, coming in the very month when we commemorated the outbreak of the First World War. The Police are treating it as a hate-crime and there must be a strong suspicion that it is linked to a similar incident at nearby Stoneyford, and the vandalism at Catholic Churches in both Stoneyford and Glenavy.” Sinn Fein representative Mary Kate Quinn said: “All of these attacks are wrong and this cycle of tit-for-tat vandalism achieves nothing and should stop immediately.” Alliance councillor Brian Dornan called for calm following the spate of vandalism. “There can be no justification for these types of sectarian ‘tit-for-tat’ attacks,” he said.
© The Newsletter
Swedish woman attacked while wearing Star of David
A Swedish woman wearing a star of David was attacked while walking through a largely Muslim neighborhood in central Sweden.
19/8/2014- Anna Sjogren, who is Jewish, had been scheduled to discuss the attack on Monday with the Jewish community’s security organization. Sjogren was attacked Aug. 14 while walking in Gottsunda, a suburb of the city of Uppsala, according to a report by the Israeli daily Maariv. Sjogren told the newspaper that the incident began when a Muslim girl saw that Sjogren was wearing a Star of David around her neck and spit on her. Sjogren then pushed the girl in retaliation, whereupon she was attacked by a group of Muslim teenagers, whom Sjogren said were wearing scarves with the colors of the Palestinian flag. The attack left Sjogren bruised, with her eyes swollen and her jaw so badly damaged that she was initially unable to speak after the attack. Sjogren told Maariv that she had not told the Swedish police for fear that giving her name and address would leave her vulnerable to further attack. She reportedly is helping to plan a Sept. 7 rally in support of Israel in conjunction with the World Zionist Organization. Sjogren had been involved in the planning before the attack.
© JTA News
Headlines 15 August, 2014
Anti-Semitic attacks rise in France as Gaza conflict stirs tensions
When Jewish and Pro-Palestinian youths clashed last month outside a Parisian synagogue on the fringe of an otherwise peaceful demonstration against Israel’s invasion of Gaza, things soon turned nasty. The next day, several hundred pro-Palestinian demonstrators armed with metal bars and wooden clubs attacked a synagogue and a Jewish-owned grocery store in Sarcelles, a northern suburb of Paris. That followed two other attempted attacks on synagogues the week before.
15/8/2014- Anti-Semitism is on the rise in France, home to the Jewish Diaspora’s second-largest community after the US. According to France’s Society for the Protection of the Jewish Community, the average annual number of anti-Semitic acts so far this century is seven times higher than during the 1990s. Some have been particularly shocking, such as the 2012 slaying of a rabbi and three Jewish children outside a Jewish school in Toulouse. But the latest outbreak has renewed leaders’ concerns. Manuel Valls, the prime minister, called the recent incidents “intolerable”, adding “to attack a Jew because he is a Jew is to attack France”. The Jewish community in France says that it has not felt as threatened as now in decades. “It is unforgiving,” Shimon Samuels of the European office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which combats anti-Semitism and extremism, told the FT. “We are reaching new thresholds.”
Unsurprisingly, the catalyst for the spike is the conflict in the Middle East and the anger and frustration that it has produced among France’s estimated 6.5m Muslims – about 10 per cent of the population. Mr Samuels has identified at least three “waves” of anti-Semitic violence in France over the past 35 years and each one coincides neatly with heightened tension between Israel and its neighbours. The Gaza conflict has led to a rise in anti-Semitic incidents and attacks elsewhere in Europe, including Britain and Germany. But Andrew Hussey, who heads the University of London Institute in Paris, argues that today’s anti-Semitism has deep roots that have tangled with the country’s colonial past and that has now found a home among the swelling ranks of disaffected Muslim youth. “Whenever a group feels under threat in France, anti-Semitism has served as the classic way of blaming a mysterious Other for your own precarious sense of self,” says Mr Hussey, author of the recent book The French Intifada. “What is happening in France now is a mutated version of this.”
On the gritty Rue de la Goutte d’Or, Ibrahim and his friends mingle in track suits and baseball caps by the gloomy entrance of a rundown tenement block. It may be just a stone’s throw from the Gare du Nord station. But it could hardly be further from what draws millions of tourists to Paris every year. All of them were born in Paris to Algerian parents but they do not feel French. “At first I did, but then I opened my eyes,” says Ibrahim, a 29-year-old who runs a small textile shop. “If you feel French but are not accepted as French, what is the point?” He and his friends say they did not participate in the recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations. But they resent what they describe as discrimination towards them and blame others, including the Jews, for the resulting lack of opportunities. “When it comes to jobs, it is whites first, then the Jews,” says one. “We are last along with the blacks.” Another puts it more bluntly. “We are Arabs. Arabs do not like Jews.”
More generally in France, academics and policy makers worry about what they describe as the gradual creep of Holocaust denial as an obscure conspiracy theory known as “negationism” towards the mainstream, particularly in the depressed banlieues. The popularity of Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a comedian who has repeatedly been found guilty of inciting racial hatred and whose recent performances contain overtly anti-Semitic sketches, has taken many French people by surprise. Even Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right, has distanced herself. “Mr Dieudonné has nothing to do with the National Front,” she said this year. Nonetheless, France’s most controversial comic is a personal friend of Jean-Marie Le Pen, her father, the party’s founder and the man who once described the Holocaust as “a mere detail of history”.
Mr Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center believes that anti-Semitism is becoming more ingrained in France. This week, he wrote a letter to Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister, asking him to change the name of a hamlet near Paris because he and other Jews found it offensive. The name in question was “La Mort aux Juifs – Death to Jews. When questioned by the AFP about the demand, Marie-Elizabeth Secretand, deputy mayor of the local jurisdiction, said: “Why change a name that goes back to the Middle Ages or even further? We should respect these old names.” Such attitudes have only added to the fear and growing sense of victimisation among France’s approximately 500,000 Jews. Many have started to leave: the Jewish Agency for Isreal, which encourages immigration to Israel, said that more than 1,400 French Jews immigrated to Israel between January and the end of March, four times the number than during the first quarter of 2013.
© The Financial Times.
France: Jewish Man Assaulted in Marseilles Over Gaza War
A man in his 60s was lightly wounded in an apparent anti-Semitic assault in Marseille.
15/8/2014- The assault Tuesday began after the victim drove up to his own garage to discover it had been blocked by a parked car, the local branch of the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jewish communities wrote in its report of the incident. The attacker showed up after the victim, who wears a kipah, sounded the horn. The attacker began chasing the victim while shouting: “Dirty Jew, this isn’t Gaza, I’m going to kill you and your family.” Catching up to the victim as he was heading for the stairs of his apartment building, the attacker, who was much younger than the victim, began hitting the victim in his face. The attacker was joined by several other people who are believed to be relatives. He continued to attack the victim, also using headbutts. The victim has filed a complaint with police for racially aggravated assault, the CRIF statement said. It did not say whether police have a suspect in custody.
The assault in Marseille — a city where such violence is relatively rare despite it being home to France’s second-largest Jewish community and a sizable Muslim population — comes amid a wave of anti-Semitic assaults triggered by Israel’s attack on Hamas in Gaza. Even before the latest Israel-Gaza war, community leaders said anti-Semitism levels had reached worrisome dimensions and were spurring on record levels of Jewish emigration out of France. From Jan. 1 to June 30, Israel saw the arrival of 2,830 new immigrants from France – nearly a 250 percent increase over the 811 French immigrants who arrived in Israel in the corresponding period in 2013.
© JTA News
Jewish man wounded in suspected hate crime in Switzerland
13/8/2014- An Orthodox Jewish man from Belgium was lightly wounded in an assault in Switzerland that witnesses called an anti-Semitic attack. The victim of the Monday evening assault in the Davos area is a 26-year-old tourist from Antwerp, according to a report published Wednesday in the online edition of the Swiss Jewish weekly Tachles. Identified only as A. Wachsstock, the victim was walking toward his car, where his wife and four children were waiting, when a man in his 60s began hitting him and shouting anti-Semitic profanities, including “Juden raus,” or “Jews, get out” in German, the paper reported. Wachsstock entered his car with lacerations on his right hand from the assault and drove away, Tachles reported. His family witnessed the assault. Wachsstock filed a police complaint on the incident. No arrests have been made. In 2011, a French Jewish man was stabbed four times in view of his family man in the parking lot of Geneva’s Natural History Museum while putting a baby carriage in the trunk of his car. The alleged assailant, a man in his 20s, was declared last year unfit to stand trial for mental reasons.
© JTA News
UK: 'Hate crime' victim is driven from his home for being gay
A lawyer subjected to concerted abuse for being gay has claimed he cannot act against his tormentors because they are children.
13/8/2014- Daniel Donaldson said he had been called a "paedo" and "beast" by youngsters while his north Edinburgh home had been bombarded with bricks and bottles during the summer. The 34-year-old praised local police for making sure the abusers, mostly aged 12, were charged and put before the Children's Panel. But, frustrated by the pace of youth justice, he tried to take out an interdict and non-harassment orders against the minors. He failed because authorities would not provide details of the perpetrators. Mr Donaldson said: "My partner and I are now looking to relocate away from Edinburgh. We have had enough. I hope that when we move, we get to enjoy the peace and quiet in our own home, and the freedom from abuse, harassment and vandalism that we should expect. "I have been branded a 'paedo' and a 'beast' in front of my own home. Our car windscreen has been smashed in. Stones, bricks and other missiles have all been thrown at our home, our property is subject to regular trespass and children will even come as far as the front door to bang and shout abuse. What is more disturbing is that the children even solicited the support of wayward adults to assist in their campaign of terror, shouting 'beast, beast, beast' at me and my home.
"The children concerned were charged and reported through the Children's Hearing System. I had hoped this would out an end to it. However, because they are under 16, they were free to continue the abuse, and to encourage others to abuse us too. They knew they would get away with it, which is why they continued, after being charged, reported and warned about their behaviour." He said that he had attempted to obtain an interdict, "with power of arrest and non-harassment orders against our abusers". But he added: "Even this route was blocked. In order to take this action, I would have required the co-operation of the local social work department and the police in order to obtain the identities of the perpetrators of the abuse. That co-operation was refused owing to 'child confidentiality'." Mr Donaldson, a specialist in equalities law, believes that his right as a victim has been trumped by the rights of the child. "The hate crime laws are dud if they have no remedy against children," he said.
Local authorities can and do take action against the child perpetrators of hate crime. The Herald understands at least one family in north Edinburgh has been evicted after children committed similar offences. However, Scottish councils have been reluctant to use anti-social behaviour orders as frequently as their colleagues in England after a period of such actions during the peak of Labour's "war on neds" a decade ago. Mr Donaldson was seeking redress through a personal civil action - something he believes could have been routinely achieved had his tormentors been adults - rather than an Asbo. Councillor Cammy Day, Edinburgh's Community Safety Leader, said: "Hate crime is completely unacceptable. The council treats all reports of hate crime extremely seriously, working with Police Scotland to investigate. We would urge anyone with concerns to get in touch with their neighbourhood office or Police Scotland as a matter of urgency." Mr Donaldson said he had been in touch with his local community safety office and the social work department and was not satisfied with the response.
© The Herald Scotland
Northern Ireland: Plaque marking birthplace of former Israeli president removed
Marked the Cliftonpark Avenue birthplace of Chaim Herzog.
12/8/2014- A blue plaque marking the Belfast birthplace of a former Israeli president has been removed 'due to a series of anti-Semitic attacks'. The plaque was first erected on a property at Cliftonpark Avenue in 1998. It marks the birthplace of Chaim Herzog - who later went on to become President of Israel between 1983 and 1993. But according to one DUP councillor, the plaque has had to be removed due to a spate of attacks. Brian Kingston said there was concern for the safety of those living in the area. "Attacks have included the scrawling of anti-Israeli graffiti on the building and items being thrown at the plaque and the house," he said. "Recently some youths were stopped in the process of trying to remove the plaque with a crowbar. "Out of concern for staff and for residents living in neighbouring houses, the community group and the Ulster History Circle have decided that it was best to remove the plaque for the foreseeable future, and it was removed at the end of last week."
Last month windows were smashed at a synagogue in north Belfast. The attack on the Somerton Road building was branded "disgraceful and despicable". Figures released last month showed incidents of antisemitism across Britain rose by more than a third in the first six months of this year, indicating rising hate crime against Jews prior to the current conflict in Gaza and Israel. Incidents since the start of the latest surge in conflict include an assault on a rabbi near a Jewish boarding school in Gateshead, the desecration of a Manchester cemetery, physical assaults and a poster displaying an antisemitic image of a hook-nosed man pasted on a Hertfordshire street.
© The Belfast Telegraph
Headlines 8 August, 2014
UK: Bedfordshire Police officers to appear in court over charges relating to assault of Luton man Faruk Ali
6/8/2014- Two police officers from Bedfordshire Police are to appear in court in connection with an assault on 33-year-old Luton man Faruk Ali earlier this year on February 20. Christopher Pitts, 39, from Bedford, will be attending court to answer charges of perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office. Christopher Thomas, 33, from Welwyn Garden City, will be attending court to answer charges of with racially aggravated assault, assault, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office. Both Police Constables will appear at Aylesbury Magistrates' Court on September 1 later this year. Leicestershire Police has been carrying out an investigation of the incident under the supervision of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). John Locke, senior crown prosecutor from the CPS Wessex Complex Casework Unit, said: "Following an investigation by Leicestershire Police I have authorised charges against Police Constable Christopher Thomas, 33 from Welwyn Garden City and Police Constable Christopher Pitts, 39 from Bedford.
"Both men will appear at Aylesbury Magistrates' Court on 1 September 2014. Police Constable Thomas is to be charged with racially aggravated assault, assault by beating, perverting the course of public justice and misconduct in public office. “Police Constable Pitts is to be charged with perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office. "It is alleged that Mr Faruk Ali, 33, from the Luton area was assaulted on 20 February 2014 by PC Thomas and that this assault was racially aggravated. "It is also alleged that PC Thomas and PC Pitts have perverted the course of public justice and committed misconduct in public office. "I carefully reviewed all the evidence provided to me by Leicestershire Police and was satisfied in accordance with the code for Crown Prosecutors that there was sufficient evidence and that it was in the public interest to charge these two officers with these offences. “Proceedings are now on-going and the defendants have the right to a fair trial. "It is very important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."
© Luton on Sunday
Sweden: Rabbi, congregant attacked in Malmo days after synagogue vandalized
4/8/2014- A rabbi from the Swedish city of Malmo was attacked by men who hurled objects at him from a car and used anti-Semitic pejoratives. Rabbi Shneur Kesselman was assaulted on Saturday night along with a member of his congregation, the Sydsvenskan daily reported Sunday. The attack, which resulted in no physical injuries, came two days after the southern city’s main synagogue was vandalized, when unidentified individuals smashed three of the building’s windows by hurling objects at them. The assault against Kesselman, who has been the subject of dozens of similar attacks in Malmo over the past decade, happened as he and congregant Hugo Klein were walking away from the synagogue at 9 p.m. According to the Sydvenskan report, a car approached them with several men inside who called out “f***ing Jews” and hurled a glass bottle at Klein and Kesselman. The bottle shattered on a wall behind them. Earlier that evening, a lighter was thrown at the men from a passing car.
Malmo, a city of 300,000, is home to a few hundred Jews. One-third of the city’s population are immigrants from Muslim countries or their descendants. Dozens of anti-Semitic crimes are reported annually in Malmo. On April 16, the district of Skane, where Malmo is located, declined the Jewish community’s request to increase the number of security cameras around Jewish buildings, according to Michael Gelvan, chairman of the Nordic Jewish Security Council, and Per-Erik Ebbestahl, director of safety and security in the City of Malmo. The municipality supported the request, Ebbestahl said. District officials did not reply to request for further information by JTA.
© JTA News