Successful Briefing at UK Parliament: Insightful Session on Palestinian Ideology and Challenges in the Presence of Mr. Itamar Marcus

February 5, 2024

Our recent briefing at the UK Parliament, within the House of Lords, in collaboration with UK Israel Future Projects and hosted by Lord Bew, was a highly successful occasion.

The session included an insightful presentation by Mr. Itamar Marcus, Director of Palestinian Media Watch. He explored Palestinian ideology and policy in the context of events leading up to October 7th, providing valuable insights into the potential developments of Gaza leadership. This discussion particularly focused on the significant challenges within the broader Palestinian Authority ideology.

The event drew a diverse audience, including parliamentarians, journalists, presidents of Israel societies at London universities, think tank representatives, and key members of the Jewish community.

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Bulgarian Synagogue and Halle Memorial Targeted in Anti-Semitic Attacks in Europe

Vandals struck a synagogue gate in Bulgaria and a monument to the victims of the shooting attack last Yom Kippur near a synagogue in Halle, Germany, in a spate of unrelated incidents last week in Europe, the JTA reported.
In Bulgaria, the words “Free Palestine Israel=Nazis Antifa Bulgaria” were spray-painted Wednesday on the gate to the synagogue of Plovdiv, a city situated about 100 miles southeast of the capital Sofia.
While in Germany, in Halle, a plexiglas panel on the monument of the shooting was smashed. The vandals also tried to set fire to a flag of Israel under the Plexiglas, the Jewish Community of Halle wrote Tuesday on their social media page.
Also in Germany, in a third incident, a structure inside the Jewish cemetery of the town of Krumbach, in southern Germany, was damaged. Police are treating the vandalism as an anti-Semitic case because earlier this year, a nearby picnic table was dismantled and the wooden polls comprising it rearranged on the floor in the shape of a swastika, the website AllgaeuRechtsaussen reported Monday.
Also Monday, metal thieves removed dozens of fences and railings from around tombstones at the Jewish cemetery of Babruysk in Belarus, the news reported.
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Dutch right-wing politician resigns following party’s anti-Semitism scandal

The leader of the Dutch right-wing Forum for Democracy party resigned Monday following reports that members of its youth movement had engaged in anti-Semitic behavior.
Thierry Baudet, a colorful politician who in 2018 published a nude self-portrait on Instagram, said that assuming responsibility for the anti-Semitism scandal was not the immediate reason for stepping down. Rather the trigger was demands within the party that the guilty members be kicked out before the completion of an internal disciplinary review of their actions.
The review is of members of the party’s section for young members who in a WhatsApp group shared Nazi songs. One of them called “Der Untermensch,” or “Subhuman,” a 1942 Nazi propaganda book inciting hatred of Jews and Slavs, a “masterpiece,” the Het Parool newspaper reported last week.
Some party members seek to “skip the process and throw people under the bus before we know what’s happened,” Baudet said in video he shared on social media announcing his resignation as party leader. He warned against a “trial by the media, which isn’t trustworthy.”
If the accused engaged in anti-Semitism,  he said, “they should leave the party, and my resignation will be an act of assuming responsibility for what happened.”
Forum for Democracy seeks a Dutch exit from the European Union and stricter immigration policies. It’s also consistently pro-Israel.
It won only two seats out of 150 in parliament in the 2017 elections but three of the 26 in the 2019 Dutch elections for the European Parliament.
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COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page:
“Schoenmaker, houd je bij je leest”, is a Dutch expression, which means “cobbler stick to your trade” And so, as I’m not a medic, I don’t get involved with medical technology. But if someone is dead, then I could and should get involved. And if something takes place between life and death, the dying process, then it seems to me that both the doctor and the rabbi may operate together (in the figurative sense of the word of course). What am I referring to? Organ donations. Not organ donations from a healthy person who donates a kidney to a fellow human being and thereby saves a life. Nor am I talking about donating organs after death, whether that should or should not be done. No, I’m referring to the case of a donor who would normally have been dead, kept alive artificially and now being used as an organ supplier. He is declared brain dead. In the past, a person was dead, alive or dying. We expect respect for life, for death, but also respect for that intermediate phase. I remember nurses in the gerontopsychiatric ward of the Sinai Center. “Mrs Cohen, how are you today? Your children have arrived to visit you.” They spoke fondly to Mrs. Cohen, who was on a ventilator, although perhaps she would have been legal declared brain dead if she had been a donor. But was Mrs. Cohen already dead? Her body still had temperature, her heart was beating, all organ functions were still intact and she was given medication. The donor is considered brain dead, which is a legal terminology. Without this legal assistance the donor would be considered alive! And ‘the operation’ would have bee an illegal and punishable act. Is the public aware that the donor will receive medication during the organ donation procedure? Medication for a dead body? He is given sleeping pills to control blood pressure. To counteract resistance, the donor was initially tied up to the bed, but nowadays muscle relaxants are administered by the anaesthetist. The impression that the donor is actively resisting is dismissed as reflexes! Enough written about organ donations. Another (less morbid?) topic: There is quite a bit of
opposition to kosher slaughter. I will spare you the details. But the cow would still be alive after the kosher slaughter, because there are visible reflexes. I just don't get it: cattle reflexes are signs of life; human donor reflexes are signs of death!? And therefore is my conclusion: when in doubt do without!

Remembering the horrors of Auschwitz, German chancellor warns of antisemitism, threats to democracy

The Independent:


Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday called on all citizens to defend Germany’s democracy and fight antisemitism as the country marked the 79th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II.

Since 1996, Germany has also marked January 27 as a day to remember the horrors of the Holocaust.

“’Never again’ is every day,” Scholz said in his weekly video podcast. “January 27 calls out to us: Stay visible! Stay audible! Against antisemitism, against racism, against misanthropy — and for our democracy.”

On that day in 1945, Soviet Red Army troops liberated some 7,000 prisoners at Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland. The Nazis murdered more than a million people in Auschwitz, most of them Jews.

In the days before the liberation, the Germans had evacuated tens of thousands of other inmates on foot in what is now called the Death March, because many inmates died of exhaustion and cold in the sub-freezing temperatures.

Altogether, they killed six million European Jews during the Holocaust.

On Saturday, as people in Germany put down flowers and lit candles at memorials for the victims of the Nazi terror, the German chancellor said that his country would continue to carry the responsibility for this “crime against humanity.”

He stressed that the fight against any kind of antisemitism and for democracy is not something that can be done by the government only, but needs the support of all Germans.

“Never again” demands the vigilance of everyone,” Scholz said. “Our democracy is not God-given. It is man-made.”

“It is strong when we support it,’ he added. ”And it needs us when it is under attack.”

Scholz referred specifically to the threat posed by the rise of far-right populists in Germany, elsewhere across Europe and worldwide “who are stirring up fears and sowing hatred.”

At the same time, the chancellor praised the millions of Germans who have joined pro-democracy protests in recent weeks.

“Our country is on its feet right now. Millions of citizens are taking to the streets: For democracy, for respect and humanity,” he said, adding that it was their solidarity “that makes our democracy strong. Showing it confidently in public — as is happening now — is a good thing.”

A report that right-wing extremists recently met to discuss the deportation of millions of immigrants, including some with German citizenship triggered massive demonstrations across the country. Some members of the far-right Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, were present at the meeting.

Growing anxiety over the AfD’s rising support among the German electorate also catalyzed pro-democracy protesters.

The AfD was founded as a eurosceptic party in 2013 and first entered the German Bundestag in 2017. Polling now puts it in second place nationally with around 23%, far above the 10.3% it won during the last federal election in 2021.

The party enjoys major support and is leading in eastern Germany, including the states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia, slated to hold elections this fall.

One of the oldest German Holocaust survivors, 102-year-old Margot Friedlaender expressed concern about the the spike in antisemitic incidents in the country.

“I would never have thought that it would happen like this again, because that’s how it started back then,” she said on public Television ARD on Friday, referring to the rise of the far-right. Friedlaender said for those of endured the horrors of the Holocaust it is “particularly difficult to understand and very sad.”

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