Obama releases Chelsea, but takes Holocaust Memorial Council prisoner

While reports come in praising outgoing President Barack Obama for shortening Chelsea Manning’s stay in the abominable US Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, the first black man in the White House apparently wants to touch off his deplorable anti-Israel stance with a final blow, this time against one of the most important institutions of global shoah remembrance, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and Council. His appointment of Ben Rhodes, until now Obama’s national security adviser for strategic communications, to serve on the Council can be interpreted as an attempt to take the institution prisoner beyond 20 January, the date for Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The US Holocaust Memorial Council is a body of 68 members. 55 of them are a appointed by the President of the USA. The Council meets twice a year, and its members have a tenure of five years.

Rhodes is a notorious chum of Holocaust-denying Iran. He championed the dreadful Iran nuclear deal and has always been highly critical of Israel’s struggle for her continued existence in spite of the many threats to territorial integrity the only Jewish state on earth faces. Only a few days ago, Rhodes was caught making false claims of Israel “constructing tens of thousands of new settlements” on the West Bank, in an interview taken by Public Broadcasting Service journalist Judith Woodruff.



Ben Rhodes at a White House staffer, february, 2013, newly published by flickr, 2016. Via Wikipedia.

Later, Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the US, characterised Rhodes as an “expert of fiction” for denying the US active role in bringing about the anti-Israel Security Council resolution of December. At previous times, Rhodes openly admitted having fabricated media processes involving reporters coming forward with “news” that supported some of the positions Rhodes had voiced.

Ben Rhodes is said to have a Jewish mother. “The only interest in the Holocaust I’ve seen from @rhodes44 is his effort to help create another one” journalist Lori LowenthalMarcus commented on his new appointment




SOS Méditerranée wins 2016 European Citizen’s Prize

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Elie Wiesel, d. 2 July, 2016


A fearless fighter for truth has departed. (Photo by David Shankbone,

2012, via Wikimedia Commons)

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 Fußball-gegen-Nazis.de, 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)

Against sexualised violence and against racism. Without exception.



Aufruf gegen sexualisierte Gewalt und Rassismus . Wir lassen nicht zu, dass nun ausgerechnet Rechtspopulist*innen sich als Frauenrechtler*innen inszenieren um Ressentiments gegen Flüchtlinge zu erheben. Gesine Agena und 22 Feminist*innen haben einen Aufruf: “Gegen sexualisierte Gewalt und Rassismus. Immer. Überall. #ausnahmslos”  verfasst.

Die Autor*innen schreiben auf der Webseite http://ausnahmslos.org:

In der Silvesternacht auf 2016 waren in Köln und anderen deutschen Städten viele Frauen sexualisierter Gewalt an öffentlichen Plätzen ausgesetzt. Diese Taten müssen zügig und umfassend aufgeklärt werden. Die Schutzlücken im Straftatbestand der sexuellen Nötigung/Vergewaltigung müssen endlich geschlossen werden.

Wir fordern, dass den Betroffenen jetzt alle Unterstützung und Hilfe zukommt, die sie benötigen. Wir stehen solidarisch mit all denjenigen, die sexualisierte Gewalt und Belästigung erfahren und erfahren haben.

Wer wir sind
Als Feminist_innen1 aus verschiedenen gesellschaftlichen Bereichen setzen wir uns seit vielen Jahren für Gerechtigkeit zwischen den Geschlechtern und für eine offene und faire Gesellschaft ein, engagieren uns gegen Sexismus und sexualisierte Gewalt. Dabei haben wir gelernt, wie wichtig es ist, auch gegen Rassismus und andere Formen von Diskriminierung zu stehen.

Dafür setzen wir uns ein
Der konsequente Einsatz gegen sexualisierte Gewalt jeder Art ist unabdingbar und von höchster Priorität. Es ist für alle schädlich, wenn feministische Anliegen von Populist_innen instrumentalisiert werden, um gegen einzelne Bevölkerungsgruppen zu hetzen, wie das aktuell in der Debatte um die Silvesternacht getan wird.

Sexualisierte Gewalt darf nicht nur dann thematisiert werden, wenn die Täter die vermeintlich „Anderen” sind: die muslimischen, arabischen, Schwarzen oder nordafrikanischen Männer – kurzum, all jene, die rechte Populist_innen als „nicht deutsch“ verstehen. Sie darf auch nicht nur dann Aufmerksamkeit finden, wenn die Opfer (vermeintlich) weiße Cis2-Frauen sind. Der Einsatz gegen sexualisierte Gewalt muss jeden Tag ausnahmslos politische Priorität haben, denn sie ist ein fortwährendes Problem, das uns alle betrifft. 2014 ergab eine Erhebung der Agentur der Europäischen Union für Grundrechte (FRA), dass mehr als die Hälfte aller Frauen bereits sexuell belästigt wurde und ein Drittel sexualisierte und/oder physische Gewalt erlebte. Die polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik weist jährlich mehr als 7.300 angezeigte Vergewaltigungen und sexuelle Nötigungen in Deutschland aus3, das sind zwanzig jeden Tag. Die Dunkelziffer liegt weitaus höher.

Alle Menschen sollen sich von klein auf, unabhängig von ihrer Ethnie, sexuellen Orientierung, Geschlechtsidentität, Religion oder Lebensweise, sicher fühlen und vor verbalen und körperlichen Übergriffen geschützt sein: egal ob auf der Straße, zu Hause, bei der Arbeit oder im Internet. Ausnahmslos. Das sind die Grundlagen einer freien Gesellschaft.
Für diese politischen Lösungen setzen wir uns ein:

1. Die Arbeit der Beratungsstellen muss gestärkt und ihr Angebot ausgebaut werden, einschließlich Therapiemöglichkeiten und besserem, schnelleren Zugang zu Therapieplätzen. Auch die Arbeit von Frauenhäusern muss gestärkt und vor allem finanziell ausreichend abgesichert werden. Alle Beratungsstellen und -angebote müssen barrierefrei sein.

2. Die Gesetzeslage muss angepasst werden: Sexuelle Belästigung ist in Deutschland immer noch keine eigenständige Straftat. Und ob eine Vergewaltigung als strafbar gilt, wird zum Beispiel auch daran festgemacht, ob sich die betroffene Person ausreichend zur Wehr setzte.

3. Mehr öffentliche Aufklärungsarbeit hilft, Gewalt zu vermeiden, und signalisiert den Betroffenen, dass sie sich Hilfe holen und mit gesellschaftlicher Unterstützung rechnen können. Wir möchten dafür sensibilisieren, dass die Gefahr, Sexismus und sexualisierte Gewalt zu erleben, im engen sozialen Umfeld besonders groß ist und in allen gesellschaftlichen Gruppen vorkommt.

4. Auch eine geschlechtersensible Pädagogik kann (sexualisierter) Gewalt vorbeugen. Dazu zählt nicht zuletzt die Aufklärung über Geschlechterstereotype und die Bedeutung von Sprache.

5. Polizei und Justiz müssen geschult werden, damit es überhaupt zur Strafverfolgung kommt und in diesen Prozessen sensibel und respektvoll mit Betroffenen umgegangen wird.

Für diese gesellschaftlichen Lösungen setzen wir uns ein:
6. Die Debatte über sexualisierte Gewalt muss offen, kritisch und differenziert geführt werden. Dazu gehört die Analyse, Aufarbeitung und Bekämpfung von soziokulturellen und weltanschaulichen Ursachen von Gewalt. Dringend muss auch über Auswirkungen gesellschaftlicher Stigmatisierung von Betroffenen sexualisierter Gewalt gesprochen werden.

7. Betroffene sexualisierter Gewalt müssen ernst genommen werden. Es darf keine Täter_innen-Opfer-Umkehrung, wie in Form von Verhaltensregeln für Betroffene, und keine Verharmlosung geben.

8. Sexismus und Rassismus sind nicht Probleme „der Anderen”: Wir alle sind von struktureller Diskriminierung geprägt und müssen erlernte Vorurteile erst einmal reflektieren, um sie abzulegen.

9. Wer Zeug_in von sexualisierter Gewalt und Sexismus wird, sollte nicht wegschauen, sondern eingreifen – von Hilfe und Beistand bei sexualisierten Übergriffen bis zum Einspruch gegen sexistische Sprüche, „Witze“ oder Werbung.

Für diese medialen Ansätze setzen wir uns ein:
10. Die mediale Berichterstattung über sexualisierte Gewalt darf die Opfer nicht verhöhnen und die Taten nicht verschleiern. Täter sollten nicht als „Sex-Gangster” oder „Sex-Mob” beschrieben – da sexualisierte Gewalt nichts mit Sex zu tun hat – und häusliche Gewalt nicht als „Familien-” oder „Beziehungsdrama” verharmlost werden.

11. Sexismus und andere Diskriminierungsformen müssen als Nährboden für sexualisierte Gewalt verstanden und als reale und bestehende Probleme anerkannt werden. Es muss ernst genommen werden, wie die mediale Darstellung u.a. weiblicher Körper als Lustobjekte mit sexualisierter Gewalt verknüpft ist. Sexismus darf weder im Alltag noch in der Werbung und in den Medien Platz haben.

12. Das Problem des Sexismus und der sexualisierten Gewalt darf nicht „islamisiert“ und damit pauschal einer Religion und ihren – häufig vermeintlichen – Angehörigen zugeschrieben werden. Damit werden mindestens 5 Millionen Menschen in Deutschland unter Generalverdacht gestellt. Redaktionen sollen reißerische und stigmatisierende Deutungen vermeiden, denn diese ziehen konkrete negative Folgen für Mitglieder unserer Gesellschaft nach sich.

13. Die Bildsprache ist frei von rassistischen und sexistischen Klischees zu halten. Bilder wirken unterbewusst und können selbst eine differenzierte Berichterstattung torpedieren.

14. Redaktionen müssen vielfältiger werden. Nach wie vor sind nur ein Bruchteil der Journalist_innen in Deutschland nicht-deutscher Herkunft und Berufswege stehen vor allem Menschen mit formal hoher Bildung offen. Männlich, heterosexuell und weiß dominierte Chefredaktionen tragen dazu bei, dass Themen, die andere Geschlechter, Ethnien und Minderheiten betreffen, nicht mit ausreichend Raum und Kompetenz behandelt werden.
Kübra Gümüşay
Anne Wizorek
Emine Aslan
Stefanie Lohaus
Teresa Bücker
Keshia Fredua-Mensah
Gizem Adıyaman
Dudu Küçükgöl
Helga Hansen
Kristina Lunz
Nicole von Horst
Antje Schrupp
Gesine Agena
Jasna Strick
Yasmina Banaszczuk
Lavinia Steiner
Katrin Gottschalk
Ninia LaGrande
Hengameh Yaghoobifarah
Makda Isak
Melahat Kisi

Auf der Webseite http://ausnahmslos.org kann mensch das Statement mitzeichnen.


Racism is on the agenda






































The most important artwork of 2015 perhaps

10 year old Hassan, a boy from Syria, created this drawing in an attempt to cope with the memory of the drowning of Zainab and Hussain, his younger sister and brother, while their father tried to rescue the kids from the sinking refugee boat off Lesbos. I call Hassan's work "The Trafficker" - he is the bearded man sitting on top of the boat. We do not know what became of him. Hassan and his older sister Hawra managed to swim to safety and are in Germany now with their father.

10 year old Hassan, a boy from Syria, created this drawing in an attempt to cope with the memory of the drowning of Zainab and Hussain, his younger sister and brother, while their father tried to rescue the kids from the sinking refugee boat off Lesbos. I call Hassan’s work “The Trafficker” – that is the bearded man shown sitting safely, for the time being, on top of the boat. We do not know what became of the smuggler. Hassan and his older sister Hawra managed to swim to safety and are in Germany now with their father.

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