Thursday, December 29, 2011

SVT’s Deliberate Provocation

Just as biased as NRK?
picture credit: Wikipedia
The recent airing of the Norwegian propaganda film “Gaza’s Tears” seems to have been a deliberate attempt to prop up anti-Israel sentiment and an intentional slap to Israel.
In March of this year NRK, Norway’s major public television broadcaster, aired the film. In response, NRK was roundly criticized by Israel’s ambassador to Norway both for putting up anti-Israel propaganda, and also having the chutzpah to call the film a documentary.  The Norway Israel and the Jews blog covered the airing of “Gaza’s Tears” with an analysis of ongoing anti-Israel media bias, and included Ambassador Michael Eligal’s protest letter which we also reproduce below.
Given the open criticism of the film by Israel, Sweden’s SVT cannot be innocent of the charge of deliberate bias and provocation as well.
By Chanah Shapira

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gaza's Crocodile Tears

Happy Chanukah!
Kassam Menorah
Judaica Webstore
In a recent Norwegian film titled "Gaza's Tears", the old propaganda is dragged out again about how Israel gratuiously smacks up pathetic Gazans out of pure nastiness. I admit that all I watched was the trailer, and that was enough for me. But, apparently SVT, Sweden's national broadcaster, liked it enough to put it on the programming schedule. And that's a topic for another post. In the meantime here are some reminders...

The Gaza war was provoked by the barrages of Kassam rockets and mortar shells fired by Hamas at southern Israel. These attacks actually increased in frequency after Israel's Gaza pullout, terrorizing Israeli civilians with tens of rockets daily.

Despite the fact that Hamas fighters used the Gaza civilian population as human shields, civilian casualties were very low compared to worldwide combat casualty ratios.This was due to precision attacks and the phone calls made and leaflets dropped to warn Gaza civilians to clear out of areas with terrorist targets.

So what's the real back story? Hamas uses Islam to justify its attacks on Jews. Have a look at the following short list of excerpts from the Hamas Charter translated by MEMRI , and you can decide for yourself who the actual aggressors are.

1. Jew Hatred Based in Islamic Teaching Predates the Founding of Israel

"The Islamic Resistance connected and linked to the [courageous] uprising of the martyr 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam and his brethren the jihad fighters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the year 1936...the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet... says: "The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"

2. Jewish State an "Insult" for Muslims

"Israel with its Jewish identity and Jewish people is challenging Islam and the Muslims. May the cowardly know no sleep."

3. Jews Inherently "Evil"

"They [Jews] strive to spread evil upon the earth, and Allah does not love those who do evil." (Koran, 5:64)

Have a happy holiday season!

By Chanah Shapira

Monday, December 19, 2011

More Scandinavian Blurry-Headed Anti-Semitism

Martin Luther's "Chastisement" of the Jews
 Off-topic a bit again, I suggest that our readers have a look at a brief critique from "Piety on Kierkegaard". The blogger rakes Ole Jørgensen over the coals for dragging out anti-Semitic stereotypes to defend Peter Tudvad’s book Stadier på antisemitismens vej: Søren Kierkegaard og Jøderne (Stages on the way of anti-Semitism: Søren Kierkegaard and the Jews). Jørgensen's article appeared in the Danish Kristeligt Dagblad (Christian Daily News).

I think this gives you a little peek into how insular people can drag out Christ-killer accusations along with greedy-Jew characterizations, and then claim that these are simply factual depictions. Under this rubric, no one tarring Jews with these lies can be termed an anti-Semite.  The blogger concludes that:

-"It makes the textbook example of 'For a fat girl, you don’t sweat much,' seem positively considerate!"

Damning with Faint Praise: Bizarre Defense of Kierkegaard in Danish Newspaper

In Kierkegaard and the Jews, News from Copenhagen on December 16, 2011 at 9:23 pm
Just when you thought the debate surrounding Peter Tudvad’s book Stadier på antisemitismens vej: Søren Kierkegaard og Jøderne (stages on the way of anti-Semitism: Søren Kierkegaard and the Jews) (Rosinante, 2010), had probably died down, it’s actually flared up again. Ole Jørgensen published what has got to be the most bizarre defense of Kierkegaard yet. Jørgensen’s article, “Sjusk med ord. Søren Kierkegaard var ikke antisemit” (Linguistic carelessness. Kierkegaard was not an anti-Semite) appeared in Monday’s edition of Kristeligt Dagblad (Christian daily news). The title might lead one to suppose that Kristeligt Dagblad is a relatively obscure paper. It isn’t. Remember, Denmark has a state church. The Danish Lutheran Church is the official church of the Danish people. This undoubtedly explains why Jørgensen took it upon himself to defend not only Kierkegaard, but also Martin Luther against the charge of anti-Semitism. Luther, he asserts, merely “chastens the Jews in his book On the Jews and their Lies.” One might be tempted to conclude from that remark that Jørgensen hasn’t actually read Luther (or Tudvad either since Tudvad quotes extensively from Luther’s works where they bear on the Jews).
It’s not clear whether Jørgensen has seriously studied Luther on this issue. What is clear, however, is that Jørgensen has what one could charitably call a rather idiosyncratic understanding of what constitutes anti-Semitism. He observes, for example, that far from being an anti-Semite, “Kierkegaard even had a Jew in his employ for several years: Israel Levin, who […] was thus able to advance himself, in the manner Jews are so good at...Post in full here.

By Chanah Shapira

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Swedish Academic Links Israel to Norway Terror Acts

Tunander: Conspiracies R Us
A Swedish researcher at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) has suggested that July’s terror bombing in Oslo and shooting massacre at a Norwegian summer camp were the result of state-sponsored terror and points the finger at Israel. Citing coincidences of dates and the strained relationship between Norway and Israel, the so-called academic Ola Tunander sets forth what amounts to a paranoid conspiracy theory, in which the deranged shooter, Anders Breivik, was aided by Israel in his plans.

Articles which appeared in both the Local and Ynet cite Tunander’s claims that Israel “celebrates” the July 22nd bombing of the British occupation forces in 1946 at the King David Hotel by the Irgun. This is a ridiculous and baseless claim—anyone here on July 22nd would wait pointlessly for a parade or fireworks. Using this coincidental date to link Breivik to Israel is Tunander’s first idiocy, and claiming that he needed the support of a foreign government to carry out his actions is his second. Even the head of PRIO questioned the wisdom of publishing the article, which appeared in Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift, a quarterly “scientific” journal of science, politics and culture. (To learn more about the lax standards of Norwegian academia and Norwegian anti-Semitism, have a look at the Norway Israel and the Jews blog, and Behind the Mask.)

Tunander’s assertions fit into a general pattern. Despite Breivik’s diagnosis, the Norwegian left found his right-wing political ramblings useful fodder for Israel-bashing and demonzation. Obviously this derives from the false genocidal accusations popular among anti-Israel activists, and ultimately from blood libel claims in which Jews are responsible for murdering children.

The icing on this stale and rancid cake is that having thrown out these insinuations, Tunander then denied that his article made any such claims, while any reader can see them quite plainly. His spineless defense is well in line with oft-practiced Swedish hypocrisy.

By Chanah Shapira

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Update: Video Link for Trier's Nazi Rant

The Israel and the Jews in Demark blog has its post on this story here. In addition to the material we covered, the Danish blogger also adds a link to the video version of Trier's rambling Nazi sympathies.

SWC: Danish Director on Top Anti-Semites List

Trier: Not funny, just nasty
(photo credit: Mathrubhumi)
Some of the Neighbors Aren't So Nice Either

Going slightly off-topic here, or at least across the bridge. The Simon Wiesenthal Center's 2011 list of top anti-Israel/anti-Semitic slurs is out. Danish film maker Lars "von" Trier is in the #5 spot for his vocal admiration of Hitler and Albert Speer. His remarks got him booted out of Cannes in May of this year. The list is defined as follows:

-"For the last two years, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights NGO, has compiled a list of the top ten anti-Israel and anti-Semitic slurs. The list continues to reflect the growing global anti-Semitism and de-legitimization of Israel coming from mainstream voices. It does not include statements by terrorist organizations, the lunatic fringe, or the government of Iran. These citings should serve as a wake-up call to those who believe that such rants are the exclusive domain of Neo-Nazis and crackpots."

Trier has the dubiuos honour of coming in after the deservedly-fired Dior designer John Galliano. Galliano raved at Jews in a bar: “I love Hitler…People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f****** gassed.”

Here are Trier's remarks as cited in the HuffPo:
-“I understand Hitler... He’s not what you would call a good guy, but yeah, I understand much about him and I sympathize with him a little bit. But come on, I’m not for the Second World War, and I’m not against Jews... I am of course, very much for Jews. No, not too much, because Israel is a pain in the ass… I’m very much for Speer. Albert Speer [Hitler’s Architect]… He was also maybe one of God’s best children… Okay, I’m a Nazi.”

film blog notes that :

-"French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand -- whose department covers a good chunk of the festival's 20 million euro ($28.5 million) budget -- called von Trier's remarks 'disgraceful'.
'His remarks and the way he said them, this type of provocation, does not have a place in the festival or anywhere else for that matter,' he said.
'The only award that Lars von Trier should receive is the Cannes Film Festival 'Bigot of the Year',' echoed the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish rights group based in Los Angeles.

Trier later explained that his remarks were meant to be funny.
Did we miss the joke? Nah, don't think so.

by Chanah Shapira


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Leftist Romance with Islamism...

How they learned to ignore the bomb...
A thorough and thoughtful essay from Alan Johnson (via the Jewish Chronicle) explains how the anti-U.S. stance of the Iranian regime makes the nuclear mullahs the darlings of the revolutionary-minded left. Ignoring brutal realities and glorifying the "struggle" are key components. Sweden gets a mention for falling into the trap also. H/T: Jewish Ideas Daily:

Blindness that excuses Iran's excesses

By Alan Johnson, December 9, 2011

Don't listen to the nuclear nonsense, screamed one of the main left-wing weeklies, the New Statesman, only days after a sober and authoritative International Atomic Energy Agency report had laid bare Iran's pursuit of a nuclear bomb.

Why do some of our intellectuals find it so very difficult to see dictatorship when it is clear, or to summon up the moral clarity to oppose it? This question has preoccupied me since 9/11. It led me to create the online journal Democratiya and to co-author the statement of principles for a new democratic left, The Euston Manifesto.

The Iranian revolution bamboozled left-wingers from the start. First, where class consciousness "should" have been, there was religious fervour. Second, because its world-view split the globe into just two warring camps - reactionary exploiting nations that must be opposed and progressive exploited nations (usually also romanticised as noble and authentic) that must be supported - the left struggled to see clearly the independent history and reactionary character of Islamism, or to grasp the importance of religion (actually, of ideas per se) in the modern world.

That revolutionary Iran could be a brutal and reactionary sub-imperialist power seeking regional hegemony did not compute to many commentators. The Manichean left could not even rouse itself to oppose the brutal tyranny of the regime because, when tyranny was opposed by America, it was miraculously reborn as "the resistance".

Article in full here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sweden- Humanitarians or Hypocrites?

A Swedish newspaper recently published an article stating that Sweden is the country in the world that exports the most weapons in the world per capita. During 2010, Sweden reportedly exported weapons worth 16 billion Euros.
The second country on the list was Israel…
The fact that Sweden is the first country on the list is quite disturbing, as Sweden internationally, likes to portray itself as a peace-loving and humanitarian country that strives to uphold human rights.
In accordance with this principle, the Swedish government has in fact issued a guideline stating that weapons “will not be exported to countries conducting wars or countries where severe or wide-spread human rights violations occur”.

Nonetheless, the United States, a country that in the last decade has been involved in several wars beyond its borders, appears as the primary recipient of Swedish weaponry. Pakistan comes in as number two on the list—a country with an abysmal human rights record that speaks for itself.

It is time that we break the image of Sweden as a Scandinavian peace-lover. A country which serves as one of the world’s premier weapons exporters needs to be acknowledged as such and not as a guardian of human rights.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Veiled Police, Vilks and Al-Shabaab

Banned in court, but a future on the force?
photo credit: Local
The Local has a bit of local color as a top story today:
-“Donna, 26, Sweden's first police recruit in hijab: Sweden’s first veiled police recruit, Donna Eljammal, 26, does not regard her traditional Muslim hijab as a hindrance but rather an asset for her future career within the Swedish police force.” No accompanying photo, of course.
All this is pretty surprising (not!)—and can be seen as a logical extension of the will to multi-culti as much as possible in Sweden. Why offend Muslim sensibilities by banning the veil for police? An official is quoted as saying that the police have formulated no policy regarding future candidates for the force who might opt to wear a full-body veil or burka.
Luckily, the authorities’ appeasement strategy does not include going along with other Islamic sensibilities. In another top story Cartoonist Lars Vilks’ would-be assassins were sentenced today for plotting his murder—all three were apparently all in possession of knives at the time of the arrest.  Vilks has been the subject of numerous attacks and threats due to his outspoken stance on Islam, including a publishing a cartoon depicting Mohammed as a dog. Avenging the honor of the Muslim prophet has been the motive behind these attacks, which has included physical assault and attempted arson. 
Interestingly, the judge for this case banned women in full burka gear from the courtroom.
-”’I am responsible for order in this court room and I feel I can't achieve that if I am unable to see the faces of the people present,’ said district court judge Stefan Wikmark.”
The authorities claim that the al-Shabaab material found on a computer belonging to one of the criminals does not prove the murder plot was linked to the terror group.  As we reported last month, the Al-Shabaab Somali terror group has its main Scandinavian recruiting center in Stockholm’s Rinkeby neighborhood, also referred to as “Little Mogadishu”. Even if no direct link to Al-Shabaab is proven in this case, its influence cannot be discounted. At least one of the men charged today is a Somali citizen living in Sweden, but the others are described only as “Swedish citizens”.  No details of the sentencing were published.
These reports in the Local show the extent of what at best could be called Swedish “cognitive dissonance”, and at worst “schizophrenia”.  How can a court judge disallow the burka in the courtroom for spectators, but the police allow the face veil on a member of the force? Ignoring the influence of Al-Shabaab in the Somali immigrant community will not solve the problem of active terror recruitment.
Inclusion in Swedish society should be predicated on common values, but is up to Sweden to clearly define these values. Leaving the possibility open for policewomen in burkas, and carefully defining Islamist would-be murderers as simply “Swedish citizens”, are more worrying signs for the road ahead.
By Chanah Shapira

Bildt: Keeping Syria Under Assad’s Thumb?

One for the money...
 Anyone who knows about intel and field ops (or has ever watched 24) knows that staying in pursuit of the enemy means getting real time data. And that’s what Sweden is helping Syria’s President Assad to do these days. While other EU foreign ministers unanimously pushed for trade sanctions against the bloody-handed Syrian regime, the exemplary Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt weakened the sanctions by exempting two telecom firms. Bildt’s rationale seems to be turning a Swedish profit, since both firms sell Ericsson telecom technology to Syria. But Bildt’s actions work against the rationale of the sanctions—stopping the Syrian government from tracking protestors in real time.
SIJ readers know that “money before morals” is a bit of a theme for Bildt. In this case, (also reported by Tundra Tabloids) the problem isn’t cell phone use per se, but the complicity of cell phone providers in aiding the regime to track users.
...Two for the show
A CNN report on privacy issues reminds us that:
-“It doesn't matter whether your phone is a smartphone or whether you use it to make calls; as long as your phone is turned on, it registers its location with cell phone networks several times a minute.”
For Syrian protesters, cell phones have turned into tracking devices that allow Assad’s troops to hunt them down.  Bildt has claimed that the two firms he is exempting are essential to the functioning of Syrian telecom networks. He also denied that either state-owned STE or the South Africa-based mobile company, MTN, are providing such capacity to the regime. Evidence indicates that Syria has exactly that capacity. Banning the sale of equipment would limit the regime’s capabilities by preventing further expansion of surveillance and denying the re-supply of parts, which would reduce capacity further.

It’s nice that Bildt is concerned about the viability of the Syrian mobile phone networks. But now that everyone, including the Arab League, has “gotten the message” about Assad’s lethal repression, isn’t time to “hang up” business and save lives?

By Chanah Shapira