Violence against Israel advocate during IAW

Israel Apartheid Week is an unconvincing masquerade of an annual Palestine solidarity event which aims to indoctrinate students against Israel. It is known for violence and threats against Jews and Israelis on campuses, and a growing number of voices are calling it part of the problem.

The Jewish Chronicle reports that a member of Stand With Us was physically attacked as he challenged the delegitimation of Israel at a public event.

No less worrying was the reported victim-blaming reaction of SOAS’ student union president and security guards:

“There was a struggle and the university security guards came out. A number of other people then began to say we shouldn’t be there. The president of the union came out and said we had made our point. A policeman strongly advised us to leave.”

Ro’i Goldman, who plans to study in the UK next year, said he was very shocked by the experience. But Tony Coren said he was not shocked, but was angry that the university authorities had indicated that by their very presence, the protesters had possibly provoked the attack. The alleged victim, whose name the JC is withholding for community security reasons, was taken to University College Hospital..”

You see Hanzala a lot at these events – I’m picturing him watching the Israel advocate get bitten, wishing Palestinians had better advocates.

In Canada, where the atmosphere around IAW has been fraught, University of Winnipeg President Lloyd Axworthy has responded with a programme of events and activities to give the Israel-Palestine conflict “a full and fair hearing as opposed to a one-sided hearing”:

“We felt the most effective way to respond to Israel Apartheid Week was to organize a series of opportunities in March for Arab-Jewish dialogue [that is] respectful, more open and fair” and promotes a greater understanding of the issues involved.”

That’s what university campuses are for.

Update: more at Harry’s Place.

BBC World Service Documentary on Contemporary Antisemitism

Part 1 is out now on iplayer and is well worth listening to – click here

With material from Malmo in Sweden, from Vilnius in Lithuania, from Anthony Julius, Howard Jacobson, Mark Gardner, David Hirsh, Brian Klug, Edie Friedman, Deborah Fink and Dovid Katz.

Broadcasts today at 16:32, and tomorrow, Thursday at 16:32, 00:32 and 0432

Montreal Jews face rise in antisemitic incidents

Via Bob, James Martin has a piece in Ha’aretz, :

Montreal Jews fear ‘gang atmosphere’ amid rise in anti-Semitic incidents

Quebec is the latest region to fall prey to Canada’s growing anti-Semitism, registering the largest rise in incidents in a city over the course of the year – 373 incidents in 2009, compared to 245 in 2008.

Many in Montreal’s Orthodox Jewish community say they are afraid to leave their homes, due to the “gang atmosphere” that has taken over their neighborhood amid renewed anti-Semitic activity.

The Chabad community in the city’s Côte des Neiges district has experienced a number of violent incidences against it over the past few weeks, including the mugging of a visibly pregnant woman.

In addition, swastikas have been sprayed in at least three locations in the Montreal suburb of Outremont – home to a large segment of Hasidic Jews who wear traditional garb.

According to B’nai Brith Canada, which compiles the country’s figures on anti-Semitic incidents, reports of vandalism targeting Jewish schools, synagogues and businesses have accelerated rate in the last month.

“Some community members now reportedly think twice before they leave their homes. The ongoing fear and intimidation suffered by our community is an unacceptable situation in a free and democratic society like Quebec,” a spokesperson for the Quebec branch of B’nai Brith said.

“There have also been and anti Semitic slurs in educational and workplace settings and web-based hate activity is also on the increase,” the spokesperson added.

In March, the Ahavas Yisroel Viznitz synagogue in Outremont was broken into and two swastikas were drawn inside the synagogue. Vandals also threw prayer shawls and holy books onto the floor.

The rabbi of the synagogue met with police following that incident, but the perpetrators have still not been found.

Rabbi Mendel Marasow, executive director of Beth Rivkah Academy in Côte des Neiges, told a local paper. “I live in the area and if I compare the situation now to five years ago there is a serious problem.

“There is a gang atmosphere, with tough individuals walking the streets. It is uncomfortable and unsafe out there. Is it anti Semitic? Listen, all I can say is that Jews make good targets.”

One local Jewish café owner who had a swastika painted on the sidewalk in front of his business said he was worried about the “media attention” being given to anti-Semitic incidents.

“The Jewish community in Outremont has been getting a lot of media attention,” he told the Jewish Tribune. “I don’t want to see these incidents get too much publicity because it is only going to stir things up more. I did not even report this. Someone else did.”

Quebec is the latest region to fall prey to Canada’s growing anti-Semitism, registering the largest rise in incidents in a city over the course of the year – 373 incidents in 2009, compared to 245 in 2008. The province holds 90,000 Jews – around a quarter of Canada’s Jewish community.

In total, 1,264 incidents were reported in Canada throughout 2009, representing a 12% increase over the 1,135 cases in 2008, and a more than five-fold increase in incidents over the past decade. Last year there were 884 cases of harassment, 348 of vandalism and a doubling from 2008 in the incidents of violence to 32.

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The anti-Semitic daubing seen in Montreal is nothing new in Canada. Calgary, Toronto, Oshawa, Woodstock, and Barrie have recently seen anti Semitic incidents including swastikas and slogans, such as “Kill Jews” and “six million more,” spray-painted on Jewish community property, community centers, Holocaust memorials, Jewish-owned residential property and vehicles.

B’nai Brith’s audit into anti Semitic incidents identified “anti-Israel agitators” fuelled by opposition to Operation Cast Lead as the trigger for the spike in attacks.

“Anti-Israel agitators, far-left-wing groups, and more recently Islamists, have latched onto Nazi motifs and age old anti-Jewish stereotypes, in an attempt to bolster their campaigns against the Jewish State, while the far-right-wing camp has eagerly embraced anti-Israel propaganda to give an updated appearance to its traditional hate material.”

According to Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B’nai Brith Canada, “Anti Semitism is a serious and ongoing problem here in Canada. We have encountered everything from harassment and vandalism to physical assaults on individuals. “
B’nai Birth’s community Anti-Hate Hotline is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to provide assistance and consultation but the organization is apprehensive about whether they are investigated as hate crimes.
“We hope that the law enforcement officials across the nation investigate these crimes as hate-crimes from the outset – hesitation to designate as a hate crime is simply unacceptable. We also urge that these crimes are treated seriously, and that proper resources are dedicated to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice,” said Dimant.

Although vandalism causes on-going fear in the street, the theme of anti-Israel agitation has reached boiling point, particularly on Campuses. This came to a head three weeks ago after an alleged machete attack on pro-Israel students. Two Ottawa students, both well-known for their pro-Israel views, were assaulted when they left a local lounge in the early hours of the morning, by a large group of anti-Israel agitators, one of whom was wielding a machete.

The Jewish student, who along with his friend was called numerous derogatory and anti Semitic slurs during the assault, was a local organizer of B’nai Brith’s recent Imagine With Us pro-Israel campus initiative – an initiative which was banned by York University, a university which last year saw Jewish Hillel students verbally abused by an anti-Israel group while trying to convene a press conference.
Actions like this are leading to calls for a ban on anti-Israel campaigns on campus, such as those witnessed during Israel Apartheid Week.

Antisemitic incidents 2009, in pictures

A long and depressing YouTube slideshow of graffiti and vandalism against Jews, from the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism.

Via Modernity.

Yemen’s non-Zionist Jewish community driven out

This not so recent piece by Lyn Julius (who co-founded Harif, the association for Jews of the Middle East and North Africa) tells how the last Jews of Yemen have been harassed by jihadist gangs involved in a wider conflict.

The Yemeni government has ignored the vigorous campaigning of Yemeni human rights activists and has failed to protect its tiny Jewish community. Many of these Jews are descended from a community who declined to be airlifted by Israel in the 1950s because they were inclined toward the non-Zionist Satmar sect. Now most are packing their bags for the US and for Israel. Lyn Julius ends:

“The lesson one draws from the final exodus of the Jews of Yemen is that the Arab world does not even tolerate non-Zionist Jews. There can be no future for the pitiful remnant in Arab lands if their safety cannot be guaranteed.

In Morocco, where the Jewish community is largest, Jews traditionally repaid the king’s sympathy with tremendous loyalty. But the king of Morocco was unable or unwilling to prevent 260,000 Jews leaving in the face of rising antisemitism in the 1960s, media incitement and forced conversions.

Even benevolent rulers have been powerless to stem the rising tide of anti-Jewish hatred engulfing the Arab world. Few Arabs are now likely to meet a Jew in their lifetime, and the gullible believe the demonisation and conspiracy theories peddled by their media.

No wonder Jews have spurned official invitations for them to return to live in their countries of birth. Jews visit as tourists, but few see their future in these countries. In Tunisia and Morocco al-Qaida targeted Jews in 2002 and 2003. In April the murder of a Jew in Casablanca sent the community into a panic.In May, eight terrorists were arrested for planning attacks on Jewish sites.

If Morocco and Tunisia fail to keep a lid on jihadist terrorism and incitement, their last Jews, too, will soon be following the beleaguered Jews of Yemen into exile.”

That was June – last week Point of No Return directed readers to a Washington Post article indicating that the Yemeni security forces foiled an assassination attempt on a Jewish leader a fortnight ago.

Even where there are no Jews, antisemitism has its uses. In October Cairo hosted the 56th Congress of Liberal International, which includes delegations from the British Liberal Democrats, among many others. Two members of the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth, Amr Bargisi and Samuel Tadros wrote, with examples, that “anti-Semitism remains the glue holding Egypt’s disparate political forces together”. The hosts, Egypts Al-Gabha, or Democratic Front Party (DFP), are implicated.

I came by these pieces via Middle East Pact, whose English-language site is sadly looking as neglected as the minority groups of the Middle East it is valiantly trying to help. I hope it manages to recover soon, because its cause is the cause of everyone who cares about peace in the Middle East.

JPR regains its senses.

Jonathan Boyd is acting director of JPR, the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London.

Read Jonathan’s piece “Antisemitism and the reported world” on CIF.

Antisemitic harassment in London

An Israeli family living in Edgware say they fear for their safety after being subjected to a campaign of antisemitic abuse by their neighbours.

Read the rest in the JC.

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