Monthly Archives: June 2016

Hungarian Soccer Fans salute the Hitler way – and they are not the only ones

The following report reached me from the Algemeiner, Sunday afternoon, written by Ruthie Blum:

“French police are investigating a group of Hungarian soccer fans who were caught on camera performing the Nazi salute during their team’s Euro 2016 match against Iceland on Saturday, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. The fans in question, believed by police to be far-right “ultras” (soccer enthusiasts whose fanaticism about the game often erupts into violence), were wearing identical black shirts with the word “Magyarország” (Hungary) in white letters, as they made the Hitlerian gesture, en masse, in the direction of the competing team.(…)

According to the Daily Mail, the Stade Velodrome, the stadium in Marseilles where the match took place, is located near a Jewish district, whose residents regularly complain of verbal and physical intimidation at the hands of antisemites. The Hungarian fans under investigation were seen climbing over segregation walls after the match and brawling with stewards. Riot police from the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (Republican Security Companies) and plain-clothed officers intervened to restore order, the Daily Mail reported.

This is only one of many violent incidents that have occurred since the opening of the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe on June 10, which is scheduled to continue until July 10. England fans have been arrested for clashes on the streets of Marseille, and Russian and Ireland supporters were also caught fighting in the streets of Nice. Ukraine and Germany fans were also caught battling outside a bar in Lille last week.

2016-06-13-hooligans-2_0German soccer hooligans, brandishing a German war flag, show the “Hitlergruß”, too. (Foto courtesy of Fuß, Screenshot Twitter, 13 June, 2016)


As was reported by The Algemeiner on Thursday, a new survey – conducted by the Median Opinion and Market Research Institute on behalf of the watchdog group the Action and Protection Foundation — a full third of all Hungarians hold antisemitic views, a phenomenon that jibes with “general xenophobic attitudes found to be rampant in Hungarian society.” In addition, the third largest political party in Hungary is the far-Right Jobbik, which won 20% of the parliamentary votes in the 2014 election. Jobbik, as The Algemeiner reported, is quickly growing in popularity across Hungary, and party leaders have spoken out against what they call “Zionist Israel’s efforts to dominate Hungary and the world.”

“Brexit” – no good prospect from a Jewish point of view





Hellen Joanne Cox, pro-European MP and human rights activist, one of the rising stars of British Labour, was murdered by an assassin shouting anti-European slogans on 16 June, 2016. I dedicate my article to her memory.




With seven days to go to the decision of whether the UK stays in the Union, Jewish observers ask what a “Brexit” would mean for the Jewish community in Europe. Besides that, what does it mean for Israel if Britain leaves Europe? Many years ago it was Winston Churchill who, in a historic speech calling for reconciliation after (and in spite of) the Second World War and the atrocities  perpetrated by Nazi Germany, called out to his fellow-countrymen: “Let Europe arise!” Some years later, when the European Economic Community was formed, France, under de Gaulle, went out of her way to bar Britain from joining. In the end, Britain did join Europe. But with anti-European resentment in the UK growing and nationalism on the rise everywhere in Europe, it is not unlikely that the popular vote on 23 June might be “Leave”.

Dissent between those against and those in favour of “Remain” has grown and become fiercer over the past weeks. On 16 June, pro-EU Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed in the street after a constituency meeting in the small Northern English town of Birstall. The assailant had shouted “Britain first” before his deadly attack put the 42 y-o mother of two to the ground.

No doubt leaving the EU would have devastating political and economic consequences for Britain. Most of the continental EU members as well as the United States have come out in favour of continued British membership. But what is the Jewish position on the issue?

A “Brexit” could have a detrimental effect on the fate of the Jewish community in Europe. Rising numbers of Muslim immigrants, especially in the Southern and Western member states, have accompanied, and probably strengthened, an upsurge of anti-Semitism during recent years. Blatant anti-Semitism is widespread among Muslims in Europe, in particular Muslim youth, and is displayed by them with a gross frankness. Unrestrained by historical reservations usually encountered in Western Europeans, many Muslims in Europe seem to be convinced that anti-Semitism is a natural fact. It is not uncommon for a German, when introduced to an individual with Arab background, to be “complimented” with side remarks on how Hitler was a “good man”. It is so absurd, one might feel an impulse to laugh it off. But it has to be seen in the context of nationalism (and anti-Semitism) on the rise in quite a few member states. Europe needs British liberalism and humanism to continue to be factors in shaping European political and cultural developments, and so do European Jews.

Alliances of European democrats and human rights activists cannot afford to lose their British allies. They have an important role to play in the struggle to keep Europe an open pluralist society. It is not a coincidence that right wing populists and outright nationalists form a large proportion within the anti-European movement. For European Jewry, no hopeful vision can emanate from this constellation.

Looking at Israel, there should be more than just vague concerns about the prospect of the UK opting out of the EU. Without the mitigating influence of Britain on EU policies critical of the Jewish state, advocates of the Boycott might be strengthened. While the European attitude towards Israel has hardened during recent years, traditionally liberal UK negotiators have often argued for more empathy with Israel’s security interests in Brussels and Strasbourg. Economically, the EU is Israel’s most important partner. European investors stand for a strong section of foreign capital in Israel. There is a good deal of cooperation in scientific fields, as well. European tourism to Israel is still flourishing. Tel Aviv ranks alongside Berlin as a destination for young travelers in search of sizzling urban culture. Against this background, Israel’s position in Europe may be weakened by the loss of a friend in the sphere of European decision-making. At the same time, Israel’s interests in Britain will suffer from the decline forecast for British economy in case of a “Brexit”. Even now, British assets are at risk of stumbling, as many investors get prepared for a negative outcome of the referendum. A considerable number of Israeli companies are listed in the City.

2 July 2016: Berlin protests against the “Quds March”, against racism and anti-Semitism

Public execution in Tehran. (Amnesty International Report 2015/2016)

Public execution in Tehran. (Amnesty International Report 2015/2016)

Shortly after the Islamic Revolution, in 1979, Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini designated the so-called Quds Day as a global day of combat mobilising for the annihilation of Israel. Quds is the Arabian name of Jerusalem. In spite of the current “softies“ in power in Tehran, that basic objective has not been cancelled.

In Germany, too, the ”Quds March“ has been staged and supported by anti-Semitic and anti-Israel organisations for decades. Hatred against Jews and Israel has since linked a motley crowd of supporters: islamists, nazis, racists across a broad range including the anti-Zionist left.

Anti-Semitism is a main source of the evil energy powering the Iranian regime, and a determining factor in its policies. Israel is the constant target of its destructive motivation. Time and again, the Iranian government has underlined its aim to eliminate Israel by force. Iran pays for the missiles Hamas rains on Israel. Iran does not hide its intentions either: long range missiles tested in March 2016 showed inscriptions of Israel must be rooted out.

Iranian Quds Brigades are responsible for terrorist attacks around the globe. Tehran’s co-operation with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad und the Lebanese terrorist militia Hizbollah is meant to sustain an “axis of resistance“ against Israel. Critics of the Iranian regime are invariably denounced as “Zionist agents”.

At the same time the mullahs, assisted by their willing executioners, continue repression of their own population. Critics, “infidels“, women, LGBT and national minorities such as the Kurds and the Bahai are relentlessly suppressed, persecuted, detained, tortured, murdered or publicly executed. Under Hassan Rohani, a supposed reformer, more executions than ever have been performed: almost 1000 in 2015, according to Amnesty International. That is the highest number of executions worldwide in relation to a country’s number of inhabitants. In Syria, the Iranian regime shares direct responsibility for the crimes and mass murders perpetrated by their ally Assad. Assad’s war on his fellow Syrians has cost half a million dead and has turned several millions more into refugees. The Syrian dictator is able to cling to power only through the massive presence of Iranian revolutionary guards and Shi’ite militias.

It is nothing but an outright scandal that Germany is still in the forefront of those who do business with the Tehran regime. It is equally a scandal that Sigmar Gabriel, Minister of Economy, has visited Iran for the second time within a year early in May. A government-funded, leading cultural institution in Germany, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, continues to link up with Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art, in spite of its calling for a competition of, and awarding a prize to, Holocaust-denying cartoonists. Compromises with Tehran do not change the regime’s ideology or its actual policies. On the contrary, raising sanctions and releasing billions of frozen funds after the signing of the nuclear deal help the regime to proceed on its road towards nuclear armament and go on spreading terror inside and outside the country.

The imminant Quds March is intended to mobilise Tehran’s supporters in Germany. It will highlight the anti-Semitic and generally destructive character of the regime’s action. A demonstration against this blatant display of racism and anti-Semitism in Berlin is planned for 2 July. Its organisers appeal to all Members of the German Parliament, the Berlin Senate, and all democratic organisations of civil society in Germany to support and join the public protest against the Quds March.

We demand:

  • to ban the anti-Semitic Quds March
  • to ban the terror organisation Hisbollah
  • to stop the appeasement policy towards the terrorist Iranian regime
  • solidarity with the Syrian and Iranian democratic opposition
  • solidarity with Israel

The organisers of the demo will not allow any utterances of xenophobia or racism. This text is based on the public appeal made by the Mideast Freedom Forum.

A Friend and Fighter has gone

Muhammad Ali (Ira Rosenberg)

Muhammed Ali, d. 3 June, 2016

(Photo by Ira Rosenberg, 1967)

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