July 7, 2020

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03/03 Links: Texas blacklists Airbnb over Israel boycott; Pinkwashing or Brainwashing the Israeli Eurovision?; Afghanistan donates $1 million to UNRWA


From Ian:

Texas blacklists Airbnb over West Bank settlement boycott
The state of Texas has blacklisted the global vacation rental company Airbnb over its boycott of West Bank settlements.

“We welcome this decision very much and we hope that it will be emulated by other states and other countries in the world,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said on Saturday night.

On Friday, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Glenn Hegar, publicly updated the list of businesses on the state’s “List of Companies that Boycott Israel” to include Airbnb.

Texas’s move followed a decision by Florida in January to place Airbnb on its list of scrutinized companies.

Airbnb has a 90-day period to prove that it has not boycotted Israel before any action is taken against it. Under the Texas regulation that governs the list, should the Israel boycott continue, “the state governmental entity shall sell, redeem, divest, or withdraw all publicly traded securities of the company, except securities.”

HonestReporting: Pinkwashing or Brainwashing the Israeli Eurovision?

Anything good Israel does is just an insidious way to distract the world from the “occupation” of Palestine.

Planting trees to make the desert bloom? That’s what critics call greenwashing the occupation. Israeli humanitarian to disaster zones abroad is bluewashing. Israeli ties with indigenous North American peoples is redwashing while ties with African-Americans is blackwashing.

When it comes to Israel, trees, a helping hand and friendship — things the world needs more of — are purely perfidious plots against the Palestinians. Period.

Which brings us to one more example of Palestinian activists wrecking the color wheel. The Independent gave an op-ed soapbox to Haneen Maikey and Hilary Aked to take Israel to task for “pinkwashing” — which is exploiting the Jewish state’s LGBTQ+ rights to distract everyone from “its systematic denial of Palestinian rights.” Aked’s a third-rate academic writing a book on the Israeli lobby for a company that publishes anything disgusting about Israel.

They myopically argue:

It could not be clearer that nothing is apolitical where Israel is concerned. That’s why the idea that holding Eurovision in Israel is “just a bit of fun”, is so misguided.

Translation: Israel’s acceptance of gays means absolutely nothing as long as the Mideast conflict — which is not a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT+) issue — remains unresolved.

Palestinians have a reputation for homophobia in the West Bank and in Gaza, but rather than have an honest conversation about it, Maikey and Aked blame Israel.

Iceland band planning anti-Israel protest gets Eurovision nod

Iceland on Saturday made its pick to represent the country at the upcoming Eurovision song contest, choosing a band that has threatened an onstage protest against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and has issued a challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a bout of Scandinavian combat known as trouser wrestling.

Hatari themes its performances on bondage, domination, and sadomasochism, known as BDSM — not to be confused with BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The group won the local selection contest with its song “Hatrid Mun Sigra,” Icelandic for “Hatred will prevail” and will now go on to compete in the semifinals scheduled for May 16, in Israel.

In a February interview with Iceland’s biweekly Stundin newspaper, band members spoke of their strong identity with the Palestinian cause, saying they felt it was their duty to use the Eurovision contest as a platform to broadcast their views.

Under the terms of the contest, participants are prohibited from making political statements at the event.

Hatari criticized its home country for not boycotting the contest because it is being hosted by Israel, a country it said violates human rights.

German government refuses to ban Hezbollah, rebuffs Israel and U.S.

After the United Kingdom outlawed all of the terrorist entity Hezbollah last week, Germany’s government refused to ban the political wing of the Lebanese Shi’ite organization.

A spokesman for Germany’s interior ministry (BMI) wrote The Jerusalem Post: “The BMI does not comment on concrete prohibition considerations in general; this applies regardless of whether there is reason to do so in individual cases.”

The BMI has provided the same answer to Post queries since 2008 about whether German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration plans to outlaw all of Hezbollah, while the EU has banned its military arm since 2013.

According to 2018 German intelligence reports analyzed by the Post, there are 950 Hezbollah operatives in the federal republic who raise funds, recruit new members and spread Hezbollah’s lethal antisemitic ideology.

“According to the case law of the Federal Administrative Court the entire Hezbollah is against the idea of international understanding in the sense of the Basic Law, because it fights the right of existence of the State of Israel with terrorist means,” the BMI’s spokesman said. “Such an objective is antisemitic in nature.”

The UK government announced on Friday: “An order laid in Parliament on Monday (February 25) to proscribe the terrorist organizations Hezbollah, Ansaroul Islam and Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam Wal-Muslimin (JNIM) has now come into effect, following debates in the Houses of Parliament.”

“Under the Terrorism Act 2000, being a member – or inviting support for – these groups will be a criminal offense, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment,” the statement continued. “All three groups have been assessed as being concerned in terrorism.”

Germany, like the UK, is within its rights to unilaterally outlaw Hezbollah’s political wing. It is merely a matter of political will from Germany’s interior minister Horst Seehofer, from the Christian Social Union Party, and Merkel, who has described Israel’s security as “non-negotiable” for her government.

PMW: Trump’s Special Envoy Greenblatt “is a mongoloid” – op-ed in official PA daily

In an unprecedented personal attack, Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, a regular columnist for the official PA daily and once the advisor to former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on national affairs called US President Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, a “mongoloid.”

In an op-ed rejecting the as yet unpublished US Middle East peace initiative, Trump’s “deal of the century,” Al-Ghoul compared Greenblatt’s appearance and conduct to that of someone suffering from Down Syndrome:

“Anyone who follows the prattle of Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s envoy in the matter of the deal of the century, sees that his condition is very similar to Down Syndrome… Anyone who looks at the American envoy [Greenblatt] discovers that he has external and inner characteristics similar to those suffering from Down Syndrome: He is short, his eyes are similar to Mongoloid eyes, he prattles unrestrainedly, and is politically retarded.”[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 3, 2019]

Al-Ghoul added, that it is not only Greenblatt who suffers from Down Syndrome but the entire Trump administration:

“The ill Greenblatt is not the only one who has Down Syndrome, for it strikes all the components of the American administration. Anyone who examines the general genes of the components of the Trump administration sees that it is a politically crippled creature.”

Israeli defense officials oppose US Golan Heights bill

Israeli defense officials stationed in the United States have conveyed messages to American senator expressing reservations over proposed legislation to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The bill was introduced last week by U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and is also supported by senior Democrats.

Despite the bipartisan support, Israel Hayom has learned that representatives of Israel’s defense establishment have told senior senators that passing the bill into law, at least at the present time, was not ideal.

According to the Israeli position, as presented in internal Senate discussions on the matter, Israel’s presence on the Golan Heights was regardless an undeniable fact on the ground, and that pursuing legislation would only spark debate on the matter.

The Israeli position vexed the American lawmakers, who believed such a law would be in Israel’s interest.

The bill emphasizes the strategic importance of Israeli control over the Golan Heights, which the Jewish state captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, in protecting civilians against threats from Iran in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Israel annexed the region in 1981, a move that has not been recognized by the international community.

It also states that “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of a peace agreement between Israel and Syria will be an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.”

The bill adds that “it is in the United States’ national security interest to ensure that Israel retains control of the Golan Heights [and that] the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad faces diplomatic and geopolitical consequences for its killing of civilians, the ethnic cleansing of Arab Sunnis, and the use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Iran, Hezbollah commanding forces located along Golan border – report

Forces commanded by Hezbollah and Iran are facing Israel along the Golan Heights border and are being used as sources of tactical information, according to a report on the Nziv.net news site.

Hezbollah began returning home to Lebanon after fighting in the Syrian civil war for some eight years, the report said. The fighters, though worn out from the years of intense battle in Syria, were positioned by Iran on the border and tasked with being the “eyes and ears” for the Iranian High Command under the leadership of General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The goal is for these troops to provide tactical intelligence on what is happening on both sides of the border.

The report further explained that an additional brigade of Shi’ite fighters was formed. It is comprised of men from Hezbollah, the Iraqi al-Hashd al-Shaabi, Afghani forces and villagers from north Syria. These men are now situated in the Jezreel Valley, north east of the southern Syrian capital Daraa. They will remain in Syria to watch the southeastern Syrian-Israel border.

Similarly, Iranian and Hezbollah commanders are also in the Jezreel Valley in southern Syria. This brigade is focused on capturing the Golan border across from Israel; that border had previously been defeated by rebel and ISIS fighters.

Labor’s No. 2 calls Gaza disengagement ‘genius move’

Maj. Gen. (res.) Tal Russo, No. 2 on the Labor Party’s Knesset list, is praising Israel’s 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip as a “genius move.”

Russo, who in 2005 served as commander of the IDF’s 162nd Armored Division, which took part in the evacuation of four settlements in northern Samaria that were also uprooted as part of the disengagement plan, gave an interview to Channel 13 News over the weekend.

“There would have been major terrorist attacks and a lot more wounded if we hadn’t gotten out of there,” Russo said.

“We were on our way to something much worse. There are people who say, ‘Yes, but now we have missiles’ – because it’s difficult to compare to what would have happened if we hadn’t left Gaza. The current conflict with Gaza … isn’t being handled through thought,” Russo criticized.

“Them not having electricity – is that bringing down Hamas? No. It brings them running to the [border] fence. There is no leadership here. Everything is about putting out fires: responsive, survivalist. That isn’t how you run a state,” Russo said.

Also this weekend, Russo angered residents of the Israeli communities along the Gaza border when one media outlet quoted him saying he was “surprised at the whining” about arson terrorism from Gaza in the form of explosives-laden balloons and kites.

In response to the outrage at his comments, Russo said Saturday, “I value and admire the residents of Gaza-adjacent communities. I’ve been with them in very difficult times of daily attacks and terrorist attacks. When I was GOC Southern Command, I got to know the residents of the communities near the border fence, and how stalwart they are.

CAMERA Prompts Correction After CBC Counts Gunmen, Infiltrators as Demonstrators

New York Magazine also corrected after a report lumped in Hamas fighters who attacked Israeli forces with grenades and pipe bombs and engaged in a shootout and militants who planted an explosive device together with protesters.
Unfortunately, CBC missed an opportunity to convey the violent nature of the “March of Return” events, and the fact that, according to the U.N., at least 25 percent of those killed were engaged in violent attacks, by publishing a chart (at left) of the casualties which omitted key information.

The note at the bottom of the graphic had originally stated: “This figure includes 171 Palestinians killed during the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations and other activities and 57 killed in other circumstances.” Yet, it omitted the key information that the U.N. did provide: the “other activities” include Palestinian attacks, Israeli airstrikes (on militants) and infiltrations.

In response to CAMERA’s communication with editors, CBC commendably amended the text to state:
The United Nations estimates 171 Palestinians were killed and thousands more injured during demonstrations that lasted for most of the year, and another 57 were killed in “other contexts,” including “Palestinian attacks, Israeli airstrikes and infiltration attempts into Israel.”

In addition, the text under the graphic was amended to reflect that not all killed were demonstrators. It now states:
Deaths and injuries sustained during demonstrations and other confrontations in Gaza in the period of March 30 to Oct. 31, 2018.

BBC Radio 4 tells listeners that Gaza rioters were ‘innocent civilians’

Once again we see uncritical and unquestioning amplification of the UNHRC report, including the term “war crimes” which, as NGO Monitor explains, is inapplicable given the legal framework selected by the commission.

“…according to the Commission, the violence along the Israel-Gaza border was not a “military” or “combat” situation and therefore human rights law was the appropriate standard. Therefore, its conclusion that “human rights violations may also constitute “war crimes” is baseless, since war crimes can only where the laws of war are applicable.”

BBC coverage of the ‘Great Return March’ has been highly unsatisfactory over the past eleven months, meaning that audiences come to this latest story without the background information necessary for its proper understanding. As we see, rather than try to make up for the serial failure to clarify that what it uniformly portrays as “protests” and “demonstrations” is actually violent rioting which has included hundreds of petrol bomb attacks, IED attacks, grenade attacks and shooting attacks as well as infiltration attempts, the BBC elected to unquestioningly amplify the UNHRC report which dovetails with its own existing politically motivated narrative.

BBC News website unquestioningly amplifies UNHRC’s report

Among the under-18s killed were those with direct links to Hamas who were sent to sabotage the border fence while others – such as Ahmad al-Sha’ar [also al Shaer] who is named on page 9 of the UNHRC report – were terror operatives (see page 20 here).

In fact around 80% of those killed during the ‘Great Return March’ have been shown to be affiliated with terror factions – a fact totally ignored by the BBC in its unquestioning amplification of this UNHRC report.

Thus BBC audiences were denied the ability to judge for themselves the UNHRC’s preposterous claim that the violent rioting is “civilian in nature”.

“…it [the commission] concluded the demonstrations were “civilian in nature”, with clearly stated political aims, and that despite some acts of significant violence they did not constitute combat or military campaigns.”

So much for the BBC’s public purpose obligation to “provide accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming of the highest editorial standards so that all audiences can engage fully with issues across the UK and the world.”

Palestinian suspect in teen murder ‘bought yarmulke to enter Israel undetected’

The Palestinian man suspected of brutally murdering teen Ori Ansbacher last month told investigators that he did not plan much of the attack in advance aside from purchasing a yarmulke so he could slip into Israel undetected, Channel 12 news reported Saturday.

“I bought the skullcap two weeks before, so I could enter Israel without being suspected or identified as an illegal resident,” Arafat Irfaiya reportedly told investigators, adding that he did not tell anyone else of his plans in advance.

“I left my home to kill a Jew due to the occupation and treatment of Arabs at checkpoints,” he reportedly told investigators.

According to the report, Irfaiya told investigators he met Ansbacher, 19, by chance in a forested area close to Jerusalem where she was sitting on a rock, writing in a notebook, and decided he would have sex with her “whether she agreed to it, or not.”

Irfaiya reportedly said he stabbed Ansbacher three times and dragged her as she tried to resist. He then stabbed her further, before gagging her with her scarf and binding her hands.

The suspect said that after the attack, he took Ansbacher’s cellphone and destroyed the memory card.

IDF strikes Hamas post in response to explosive balloons

IDF aircraft struck multiple Hamas positions in the southern Gaza Strip in response to the launching of explosive balloons towards Israel Saturday night.

Thousands of Gazans have been violently demonstrating along the security fence with Israel demanding an end to the 12-year long blockade every week for the past 11 months.

Three Palestinians, including a medic and a journalist were injured on Friday during the protests.

According to the IDF some 8,000 Palestinians gathered at several points along the fence, burning tires, hurling stones, explosives devices and grenades at troops stationed along the fence. Demonstrators also burnt tires and launched incendiary balloons towards several locations.

IDF troops responded with riot-control means.

Afghanistan donates $1 million to UN agency for Palestinians

Afghanistan on Sunday gave $1 million to the main UN program for Palestinian refugees.

Abdul Rahim Sayed Jan, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Turkey, presented the donation to Pierre Krähenbühl, commissioner of the UN Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, in an Istanbul ceremony.

Turkey’s foreign minister, who hosted the meeting, congratulated Afghanistan for the donation. Mevlut Cavusoglu said that despite the hardships suffered by the Afghan people, their country has shown “the most beautiful example of international brotherhood with its noble act.”

Cavusoglu added that UNRWA would need more support in the future and promised Turkey would increase its aid to Palestinians.

In first since 2014, Egypt allows Palestinians to exit Gaza for Mecca pilgrimage

Some 800 Palestinians crossed Sunday from the Gaza Strip into Egypt on the initial stage of a pilgrimage to Mecca, the first time since 2014 Egyptian authorities have granted visas for such trips.

The pilgrims left at around dawn and were to be met by buses on the Egyptian side to bring them to Cairo’s airport, from where they would fly to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, said a Palestinian official at the Rafah crossing in the Gaza Strip.

Fifteen Gazans among the 800 were not authorized to cross, according to a Palestinian security official at Rafah, without providing the reasons.

Security sources on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing confirmed it was the first such permission for the Muslim umrah pilgrimage since the start of Egyptian military operations in northern Sinai in 2014.

Umrah is the lesser pilgrimage to Mecca that can be completed throughout the year, as opposed to the annual hajj pilgrimage.

The United Church of Christ Wrongfully Attacks Israel

Mistakes and falsehoods such as those we encounter throughout the UCC’s misnamed guide to “Promoting a Just Peace in Palestine-Israel”, each one seemingly trivial, cannot be dismissed as the results of a moment’s inattention. Much effort has gone into the writing of this Guide, and factual errors, which take up so much of the text, are clearly the result of conscious assumptions that have never been checked against reputable facts.

If a body of Christians really cares about Palestinian lives, Muslim and Christian alike, not to mention the lives of Israeli children, the lives of everyone on either side, then supporting an illegal and fanatical use of violence by telling lies and permitting distortions in order to incite an anti-Semitic hatred that will embolden and activate further terrorist attacks is beyond measure a contradiction of normative Christian ethics.

The UCC cannot continue to assert its association with Jesus Christ, a man of peace, when they so openly espouse the cause of Palestinian resistance that embraces violence as a solution above any form of peace-making. Jesus said “Blessed be the peace-makers”, yet here is a Christian church that blesses men of violence.

Trump promises Executive Order requiring universities “to support free speech if they want federal research dollars”

During his long speech at the CPAC conference on Saturday, March 2, 2019, Donald Trump promised to sign an Executive Order requiring that all universities and college that receive federal funds to protect free speech.
“I will be signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research dollars”
“I will be signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research dollars” @realDonaldTrump #CPAC2019 #WhatMakesAmericaGreat pic.twitter.com/hyeNZ3jI6F
– CPAC 2019 (@CPAC) March 2, 2019

The line got a good round of applause, but the applause was nothing compared to the shock such an Executive Order would be to the liberal dominance of campus life.

We have hundreds if not thousands of posts over the past 10 years devoted to the shut down of campus speech for conservatives. That shut down comes in many forms, most of which related one way or another to identity politics and social justice warfare. The many examples of non-liberal speakers being shouted down and attacked get the headlines because there is video. Attacks on “microaggressions” are humorous, so they get some mocking coverage.

But the silencing of alternative voices on campus comes through more systemic and pernicious methods and ideologies.

U. of San Francisco Prof Stephen Zunes Joins Code Pink ‘Delegation’ to Iran to ‘Challenge’ Trump’s Policies

University of San Francisco Middle East studies professor and Tehran regime shill Stephen Zunes recently traveled to Iran with “anti-war” group Code Pink—and its notorious co-founder Medea Benjamin, who met with the since-resigned Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif—to “challenge” President Trump on his policies towards the country.

In particular, the “delegation” opposed the reinstatement of sanctions and US withdrawal from the Iran deal (JCPOA), which Trump accurately described as “disastrous.” Zunes claimed that “abrogating multilateral international agreements and threatening war” (the latter is untrue) would only increase “the suffering of ordinary Iranians.” In fact, the theocratic regime in Iran is the cause of the people’s suffering.

Iran’s mullahs must be thrilled.

PreOccupiedTerritory: The Cat In The Hat Comes Back Is A Zionist Ethnosupremacist Allegory By Gree Vance, Professor of Literature, Bumblethuck College (satire)

Theodore Seuss Geisel earned numerous plaudits for his children’s books, but a new examination of one of his better-known works reveals a dark undercurrent of racism, Islamophobia, and support of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by colonialist Europeans under the pretext of Jewish self-determination.

Other scholars have already provided academic treatment of the first book in the series, The Cat in The Hat (1957), notable among them: Uppjørs (1977), who perceived Freudian themes; Dissin-Terry (1980), who explored the recurring motif of Eurocentric anthropomorphism in gestalt as symbolized by the fish, the nameless mother figure, and the large red box; and the deconstructionist feminist modalities as brought to bear on the text and imagery by Blecch (1996). None of these, however, gave thorough treatment of the sequel The Cat in the Hat Comes Back (1958), and none of them touched on the glaring use of Zionist, colonialist, anti-Palestinian, Islamophobic, and Jewish-supremacist in the latter work. This article aims to fill that void.

Seuss’s name itself provides the first indication of intersectional problematics qua problematics, in that the author consciously uses a German surname coupled with the honorific “Dr.,” a term that invites association with the established Jewish reverence for practice in the medical field; Seuss thus a priori plants in the unsuspecting reader’s mind – it is a children’s book – the notion that doctors, especially Jewish ones, should be trusted, effectively ignoring those doctors involved in the harvesting of Palestinian organs.

In general, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back traffics in classic racist assumptions, chief among them the notion that white, as represented by the snow, must remain free of color, represented by the bathtub ring. Disaster, in this Zionist racist view, occurs when the snow takes on color, as the European colonialist Zionists try to “cleanse” Palestine of peoples of color and only barely tolerate the Jews of color among them.

Guardian headline obfuscates antisemitism

On that day, the Guardian published the same AP article, but, as you can see, significantly changed the headline.

The headline not only ignores the dual loyalty trope within Omar’s comments, but also seems to attack her Jewish critics, by suggesting they’re falsely characterising mere criticism of the “pro-Israel lobby” as antisemitic.

Indeed, by using the word “again”, it appears as if editors are expressing skepticism over previous accusations of antisemitism against Omar after she suggested that the pro-Israel lobby buys the support of US politicians. As we noted at the time, the Guardian ran several articles following the February row that were sympathetic of Omar, showing that the latest biased headline is part of a pattern of such bias – and in fact illustrates a broader editorial tendency to question accusations of antisemitism when directed at those deemed, by intersectionality calculus, to be higher on the victim scale.

Whilst it’s true that Omar has been the target of ugly abuse by some due to her ethnic and/or religious background, such completely unjustifiable bigotry doesn’t seem intellectually dissimilar to the liberal racism which rejects universal moral standards by minimising, obfuscating or justifying antisemitism due merely to the gender, race or religion of the perpetrator.

Jewish channel preparing discrimination lawsuit against Dutch TV fund

The Dutch national television fund is facing a discrimination lawsuit for rejecting all production pitches by the country’s Jewish broadcaster.

Since the 2017 creation of the television fund of the Dutch Foundation for Public Broadcasting, the Jewish Programming division of Holland’s EO broadcaster has applied 11 times for funding for documentary productions that have all been rejected, the Jewish broadcaster’s editor in chief, Alfred Edelstein, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

“There seems to be an institutional decision not to fund our projects,” Edelstein said. “I don’t know why. But there seems to be discrimination. There’s no functioning appeal process, so we’re preparing to sue at the Council of State.”

The fund disputes the allegation, with a spokesman saying the Jewish channel’s pitches weren’t strong enough.

In 2017 and 2018, the fund handed out nearly $30 million in government subsidies to applicants for cinematic projects. It approved one application for preliminary research by the Jewish broadcaster, which has made several critically acclaimed productions, but rejected the application based on the research.

Desecrated Jewish cemetery in France restored

A Jewish cemetery in the town of Quatzenheim in eastern France, where nearly 100 gravestones were desecrated and spray painted with swastikas two weeks ago, has now been restored and a prayer service was held at the site on Sunday.

Present at the service in Quatzenheim, which is close to Strasbourg, was the Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg Rabbi Avraham Weill as well as mayor of Strasbourg Roland Ries, several members of the national parliament and senate, and at least 1,000 members of the public, including many non-Jewish residents of Quatzenheim and the surrounding towns.

Weill said that it was very touching that so many members of the public came to the event in solidarity with the Jewish community, and said that many of them, including non-Jews, had been visibly emotional during the service.

Ries told Weill after the ceremony on Sunday that “any injury to the Jews is an injury to us,” and said that he was certain the perpetrators would be caught and brought to justice.

“We will do everything to find these contemptible people and we will not allow the fabric of our good relations with the Jewish community to be broken,” said the mayor.

Weill, who is also a member of the Council of European Rabbis’ standing committee, said that the Jewish community was demanding greater efforts to stop the recent spate of antisemitic attacks.

After Latest Antisemitic Incident in Strasbourg, Israeli PM Calls for Global Condemnation of Jew-Hatred

A memorial monument for a synagogue in the French city of Strasbourg that was destroyed by the Nazis was vandalized on Friday night.

Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries visited the site where the Synagogue du Quai Kléber once stood, and wrote on Facebook on Saturday, “I say it again: that’s enough!”

Deputy Mayor Alain Fontanel noted, “Sadly, history repeats itself.”

Police have opened an investigation into the incident, in which the stone memorial was toppled from its base.

The monument was restored on Saturday.

Australian Jewish leader gets ‘chilling barrage’ of online anti-Semitic abuse

An Australian Jewish organization has expressed “horror” at what it said Sunday has been a torrent of anti-Semitic online abuse directed at its chairman following a successful campaign last month to prevent British conspiracy theorist David Icke from entering the country.

Icke, who denies widespread charges of anti-Semitism and believes the world is run by giant shape-shifting reptiles, was due to start a speaking tour in major Australian cities.

Australian media confirmed on February 20 that his visa had been canceled on “character grounds,” following a campaign by opposition Labour MP Tim Watts, who blasted him as a Holocaust denier, and by the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), a local Jewish anti-discrimination group.

A former professional soccer player, Icke worked for the BBC as a sports broadcaster before leaving in 1990. He has since become known as a conspiracy theorist, and has been slammed by anti-discrimination groups, who say he holds dangerous views about the world being secretly controlled by an elite Jewish group and that Jews bankrolled Hitler.

As Europe battles anti-Semitism, Thailand grapples with ‘Nazi chic’

Thai teen idol Namsai feared being booted from her band after a photo of her wearing a t-shirt with a Nazi swastika went viral, but without the uproar she says she would have remained ignorant about the offensive implications of her fashion choices.

As Europe battles a surge in anti-Semitism, including the desecration of graves in France, Southeast Asia is wrestling with a lack of understanding about the provenance of Nazi paraphernalia that casually creeps into public spaces.

From swastika-adorned trinkets on sale at Thai markets to selfies with Hitler statues in Indonesia, Nazi symbols are easy to find — a problem critics attribute to ignorance and a misplaced fascination with the fascist regime.

“I was shocked,” the contrite singer said of the outcry. “But I felt it was my fault. I wasn’t aware even though I should have known.”

In Rome, spectacular ancient Jewish catacomb’s opening haunted by delays

In 1925, Prince Giovanni Torlonia offered Italian dictator Benito Mussolini the use of his majestic family villa in Rome as a residence. In the prince’s family since 1797, the villa had been restored and expanded over the centuries.

The Duce promptly accepted the prince’s offer. For the next 18 years Mussolini would live in Villa Torlonia with his family for the symbolic payment of one lira per month, enjoying the sprawling mansions and beautiful grounds.

But only a few years before the Mussolinis arrived, in 1919 an extraordinary discovery was made: Beneath the estate lay an underground Jewish cemetery — an ancient catacomb likely used between the 3rd and 5th centuries. Mussolini took advantage of them to help build the safest, most advanced possible underground bunker for himself and his family.

Torlonia died heirless in 1938. Four decades later, after years of neglect, the grounds of the estate were reopened as a public park. In addition, several buildings were restored and made available to the public after 1993. After years of excavations, the Jewish catacombs are also expected to open to the public in the near future.

It was discovered that there are roughly 3,800 graves in the cemetery under the villa, which covers more that 13,000 square meters (140,000 square feet). It has been excavated over multiple levels and is one of the few Jewish catacombs in Rome among dozens of Christian subterranean tomb sites.

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