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Gaza: haaretz; Gaza Strip conflict engendering wave of anti-Semitic violence in Europe

Gaza Strip conflict engendering wave of anti-Semitic violence in Europe
By The Associated Press
PARIS – Signs are mounting that the conflict in Gaza is starting to spill over into violence in Europe’s towns and cities, with assaults against Jews and arson attacks on Jewish congregations in France, Sweden and Britain.

Assailants rammed a burning car into the gates of a synagogue in Toulouse, in southwest France, on Monday night. A Jewish congregation in Helsingborg, in southern Sweden, also was attacked Monday night by someone who “broke a window and threw in something that was burning,” said police spokesman Leif Nilsson. Neighbors alerted rescue services before the fire took hold.

Someone also started a blaze outside the premises last week. And on Sunday slogans including “murderers … You broke the cease-fire” and “don’t subject Palestine to ethnic cleansing” were daubed on Israel’s embassy in Stockholm.

In Denmark, a 27-year-old Dane born in Lebanon of Palestinian parents allegedly injured two young Israelis last week, opening fire with a handgun. Police suspect his actions could be linked to the Gaza crisis.

France has Western Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities and a history of anti-Semitic violence flaring when tensions in the Middle East are high. In 2002, some 2,300 Jews left France for Israel because they felt unsafe.

President Nicolas Sarkozy warned in a statement yesterday that France would not tolerate violence linked to the Gaza crisis. A day earlier, his interior minister said she was concerned about the prospect of contagion and met with the heads of the two main Muslim and Jewish groups and police officials to stress the need to “preserve national unity.”

Damage to the synagogue in Toulouse was limited to a blackened gate, and there were no injuries even though a rabbi was giving a course to adults inside, authorities said. They said unlighted gasoline bombs were also found in a car nearby and in the synagogue’s yard. A local Jewish leader, Armand Partouche, said he believed the assailants had planned to torch the synagogue, but fled when the building’s alarm went off.

“It could have been very, very serious,” Partouche said in a telephone interview. “There were people inside; there could have been deaths.”

He said Jewish leaders are asking Toulouse authorities for reinforced security for the city’s synagogues.

“We really fear that anti-Semitism will spring up again and that the current conflict will be transposed to our beautiful French republic,” he said.

In Britain, the Community Security Trust, a Jewish defense group, said it had seen a rise in anti-Semitic incidents since the start of Israel’s offensive against Gaza. The group said it had recorded 20-25 incidents across the country in the past week that it believed were connected with Gaza, including an arson attempt on a synagogue in north London on Sunday.

London police are investigating the attack, in which suspects splashed flammable liquid on the door and set it on fire.

Community Security Trust spokesman Mark Gardner said that in another incident last week, a gang of 15-20 youths walked along the main street in Golders Green, a largely Jewish neighborhood in north London, shouting “Jew” and “Free Palestine” at passers-by.

“It could get worse,” Gardner said. “We tend to see these things happen in waves.”

The government in Belgium yesterday ordered police in Antwerp and Brussels to be on increased alert after recent pro-Palestinian protests ended in violence and dozens of arrests. Police said burning rags were shoved through the mailbox of a Jewish home in Antwerp last weekend. Damage was limited and no arrests were made.

In the Danish shooting, one Israeli man was shot in the arm and another in the leg as they were selling hair care products in a shopping mall. Eli Ruvio, who owns the company that operated the stands, said his employees have been harassed by Muslim youths since they set up three kiosks in the shopping center in August.

“They kept cursing and shouting at us,” Ruvio told The Associated Press. “He added that the Muslim youths also threw mud and firecrackers at the employees and spat at them.”

Ruvio recalled an episode December 27 when some of the youths shouted “slaughter all the Jews.”

“I told my employees not to speak in Hebrew and lie about where they come from, they should say there were from Spain or somewhere else. If people ask you where you are from, never say you’re from Israel,” he said.

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Written by morris

January 8, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Gaza, Israel, Jews

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Does Israel Represent the Jewish People?

By Dan Lieberman
Close identification of the Jewish people with Israel was never a given. Repetitive urgings by those who had an interest in promoting a close relationship of world Jewry with Israel, and the innocence of those who readily accepted the notification permitted a vocal part of world Jewry into supporting Israel. By accepting the unwarranted association and making it seem that the Jewish people have the power to change Israel’s policies, activists misdirect the path to a peaceful solution of the Middle East crisis, exacerbate the crisis and, by linking Israel’s oppressive policies with the Jews, harm the security of Jewish persons throughout the world. One of many reports tells the story:

“British Jews are facing a wave of anti-Semitic attacks prompted by Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Synagogues have been daubed with graffiti, Jewish leaders have had hate-mail and ordinary people have been subjected to insults and vandalism.” (The Times of London; September 2, 2006)

History contradicts the portrayal of Zionism as a mass movement by the Jewish people. The Zionist message prompted nations to question the loyalty of their Jewish citizens, served to impede their advances, and reinforced a race-baiting theory that Jews engaged in international conspiracies. Anti-Zionist Rabbis insisted: “Zion exists everywhere but in Zion.”

The British Mandate for Palestine revived the Zionist mission. Horrific oppression of Jews during World War II moved world Jewry to support the establishment of an Israeli nation. However, it wasn’t until Israel’s 1967 battleground victory that a new generation of Jews eagerly identified themselves with Israel – chauvinism and false pride steered their actions, intensive propaganda and clever networks reinforced their attachment.

The term `Jewish nation` has never been adequately defined nor has the debate of “Who is a Jew?” been resolved. According to The Economist (Jan.11, 2007), “Only 17% of American Jews regard themselves as pro-Zionist and only 57% say that ‘caring about Israel is a very important part of being Jewish.’” Regard the totality of Israel and the nation doesn’t add up to be a nation of specifically recognized definitions of Jewish morality, culture or atmosphere. Just the opposite – the bundle of contradictions demonstrate there are no specific definitions. Many foods, architectural styles, music, dances and landscapes in Israel relate to the Arab Mediterranean. Twenty percent of Israel`s population are Arabs and a portion of the citizenry, such as the Ethiopian Falasha and many of the Russian immigrants, have dubious relation to world Jewry. Many of the oriental (Mizrahiyim) immigrants to Israel, who constitute a great part of Israel`s population, can be considered Arab – having previously spoken Arab, adopted Arab customs and culture and lived for generations in Arab lands.

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Written by morris

December 29, 2008 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Israel, Jews

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