Monday, April 30, 2012

Vienna: Ex Gadhafi minister found dead in Danube

One of toppled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s top official’s has been discovered dead floating in the river Danube. Shukri Ghanem, 69, who was Libyan prime minister between 2003 and 2006, was dressed normally when he left his home on Sunday morning and was found dead in the Danube at 6:40am the same day, according to Austrian police spokesman Roman Hahslinger. He said: "There is no suspicion at all of foul play at this stage. The corpse exhibited no signs of violence. "There would be no signs of violence if someone pushed him in, but it's also possible that he became ill and fell into the water." There was speculation that Mr Ghanem, 69, had died of a heart attack, but police declined to comment until after the autopsy. Mr Ghanem was dressed normally when found in the river but had no personal identification other than a document that named the company he was working for, Mr Hahslinger said. An employee of the Vienna-based company was subsequently contacted and identified him. An autopsy is due to be performed to determine the cause of death. The former energy chief fled from Libya to Italy several months after opponents of Muammar Gaddafi had risen up against the Libyan leader last year. At the time he told the Italian Ansa news service that he deserted for Italy ‘to fight for a democratic country.’ As chairman of the Libya state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) since 2006, he had helped to steer the country’s oil policy and held the high-profile job of representing Libya at OPEC meetings and regularly visited Vienna for meetings in that role. He was believed to have been living in Europe in exile since he left Libya but was still closely associated with Gaddafi's rule by Libya's new leaders and had ruled out returning home. Mr Hahslinger said Mr Ghanem apparently left his Vienna home in the early morning after spending Saturday evening at home with an acquaintance. Police were alerted by a passer-by who saw his body floating near his home, close to the modernistic building housing United Nations agencies in the Austrian capital. Considered a member of Gaddafi's inner circle until his defection, Mr Ghanem insisted that Libya bore no responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. He also repudiated Libyan responsibility in the 1984 shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher during a protest in front of his country's embassy - an incident that led to the severing of British-Libyan relations. Mr Ghanem's efforts were supported by Saif al-Islam, the Gaddafi son associated with the reform wing. At the same time, he was viewed with suspicion by the old guard opposed to change - and their opposition to him led to his ousting as prime minister and subsequent appointment as head of the state oil company and de-facto oil minister. He was reinstated in those positions in 2009 just weeks after his resignation, a move reflecting the power struggle between reformists and nationalists in his oil-rich North African nation. Mr Ghanem continued to live in Vienna after Gaddafi was ousted and later killed last year in the Nato-backed rebel campaign.
Austrian Times

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Julia Gorin: More on Journalism in Independent Kosovo

May I just say again: Good job, Free World. This is related to my previous posts about attacks on journalists in Albanian-ruled Kosovo, where Albanian journalists have themselves contrasted this “Newborn” Kosovo with the one from the days under Belgrade, when they could print what they wanted about the “evil Serbian regime” — without getting killed.
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Germany: Hesse turning into a center for radical Salafists


An ever increasing number of radical Islamists gather in Hesse. A prominent figure among them is Mohamed Mahmoud, who openly incites against Germany. It seems that the authorities have their hands tied. Florian Flade reports. “Allah willing we will conquer Rome! And them St. Peter’s square will be the place where punishments in the name of Allah will be carried out,” The man with the military vest and the traditional Pashtun wool cap says. “Explain to your children what jihad is! Tell them about Guantánamo, about Gaza, tell them that! So they will grow up with hatred towards the Kuffar (unbelievers)”, says the somewhat bull-like preacher with shoulder-length curly haired, thus sharpening his audience’s mood. One might think that sermons such as these come from the mountains of Afghanistan. But the man who preaches them lives in the middle of Germany, specifically in the Hessian Odenwald. His name is Mohamed Mahmoud, but he calls himself “Abu Usama al-Gharib.” Security authorities see in the 26-year-old Austrian a spiritual arsonist, a pioneer of Islamic terror.
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Friday, April 27, 2012

German Islam Conference Ends in Failure

by Soeren Kern
Muslim representatives insisted instead that the German government amend its "misguided" approach to Muslim immigration. Many want to establish a "Koran-state" in Germany; they believe Islamic Sharia law is a divine ordinance that will replace democracy, a man-made form of government.
Senior German officials gathered in Berlin with Muslim leaders from around the country on April 19 for the seventh annual German Islam Conference. The official focus of this year's forum -- aimed at furthering Muslim integration in Germany -- was finding ways to deal with the spiraling rates of forced marriages and domestic violence among the estimated 4.3 million Muslims who now reside there. The main topic for discussion at the conference, however, was not on the official agenda: it was the unprecedented nationwide campaign by Islamic radicals to distribute 25 million free copies of the Koran, with the stated goal of placing one Koran into every home in Germany. Muslim representatives attending the forum this year were in no mood for compromise, and refused to accept responsibility for any of the myriad irritants in German-Muslim relations, insisting instead that the German government amend its "misguided" approach to Muslim integration. German officials were left trying to put the best spin on this year's event, which ended without a joint press conference, reportedly because of lingering Muslim pique at "offensive" comments which were uttered at the press conference that ended last year's event. Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich opened the one-day conference by declaring that Islamic extremism has no place in Germany. "We all agree that Salafist extremism is not acceptable and does not work in a free society, as we have in Germany," he insisted. "Religion must not be abused in an ideological bid for power." He was referring to the mass proselytization campaign -- called Project "READ!" -- being organized by dozens of Islamic Salafist groups located in cities and towns throughout Germany, as well as in Austria and Switzerland. The bid to convert non-Muslims has provoked uproar in Germany. Salafism is a branch of radical Islam that seeks to establish an Islamic empire [Caliphate] across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe -- and eventually the entire world. The Caliphate would be governed exclusively by Islamic Sharia law, which would apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims. But Friedrich did not say what, if anything, the German government was doing about the Salafists, who analysts say have launched a Europe-wide "frontal assault" against people of other faiths and "unbelievers." Although Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), regards the Salafist groups as a threat to German security, Salafists have free rein in the country, and Salafist preachers are known regularly to preach hatred against the West in the mosques and prayer centers that are proliferating across Germany. According to the BfV, there are an estimated 29 Islamist groups in Germany with 34,720 members or supporters who pose a major threat to homeland security. Many of them want to establish a "Koran-state" in Germany; they believe Islamic Sharia law is a divine ordinance that will replace democracy, a man-made form of government. German authorities view the Koran project as a "most worrisome" recruiting campaign for radical Islam. Security analysts say the campaign is also a public-relations gimmick intended to persuade Germans that the Salafists are transparent and "citizen friendly." Although Friedrich urged Muslim representatives attending the conference to join him in condemning the Salafists, Muslims declined to meet him even half way. Instead, they dismissed fears over the Koran being distributed in every home as "hysterical" and "misguided." Kenan Kolat, chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany, intervened personally to prevent the Salafist issue from becoming part of the official conference agenda. In an interview with the Rheinischen Post newspaper, Kolat justified his action by saying: "A hysterical debate is not helpful." Ali Kizilkaya, chairman of the German Islamic Council, told German public radio that non-Muslims were engaged in "a panicked discussion" about the Salafist campaign. He insisted: "It is definitely not the spirit of the Koran to foment unrest in society." Muslims were equally unwilling to discuss the main item on the official agenda of the conference, "Gender Equality as a Common Value" (Geschlechtergerechtigkeit als gemeinsamen Wert leben). Conference attendees refused even to acknowledge any connection between Islam and forced marriage. Instead, they issued a statement which says: "Domestic violence and the practice of forced marriage do not originate from a particular religion, but come from certain traditional, patriarchal structures… Muslims taking part in the German Islam Conference state explicitly that Islam is an open and tolerant religion that opposes physical and psychological violence and forced marriage and encourages individual self-determination, self-development and freedom of opinion and expression." Regrettably, thousands of young women and girls living in Germany are, in fact, victims of forced marriages every year. Most of the victims come from Muslim families; many have been threatened with violence and even death. According to a 160-page report, "Forced Marriages in Germany: Numbers and Analysis of Counseling Cases," commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of the Family, the problem of forced marriage is far more widespread than previously believed. The study -- the first and most detailed of its kind in Germany -- reveals that in 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 3,443 people sought help at counseling and social services centers across the country because they were being, or already had been, forced into marriage. The vast majority of these victims are women or girls, although 6% are young men. Almost one-third of those forced into marriage in Germany were 17 years old or younger. Another 40% were between the ages of 18 and 21. Many of the victims experienced extreme violence. More than half (70%) were beaten or otherwise physically abused to convince them to marry, and 27% were threatened with weapons or with death if they did not go through with the forced marriage. The vast majority -- 83.4% -- of the victims of forced marriages were from Muslim households. Friedrich did not press the issue of forced marriage apparently to avoid offending the Muslims in attendance. Instead, he later told reporters that he was pleased about the "forged consensus" on forced marriage and domestic violence, and that these problems "do not come from religion, but from the patriarchal structures and traditions in the countries of origin." Friedrich then congratulated himself for this achievement: "It is the first time that so many Muslim organizations and individuals were able to agree on such a declaration." Commenting on Friedrich's kid-gloves approach to Muslims and Islam at this year's conference, Kenan Kolat, the leader of Germany's Turkish community, told Deutschlandradio: "I think he is learning." To be sure, conference attendees were able to agree on one thing: The official focus of next year's conference will be…Islamophobia.
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Goebbels Gambit

This is a tale of two experiments, one deliberate, and one incidental - but both quite interesting.


Photo: onizive.wordpress.com

Back in February, two Serbian artists decided to mock the political establishment (both the regime and the "opposition"). They did so by joining the Democrats, Serbian Democrats, Progressives, Socalists, Liberal Democrats, United Regions and another, minor party - all at the same time! To all these parties, they offered a "marketing program" which was entirely plagiarized from a 1928 treatise by Joseph Goebbels, called "Knowledge and Propaganda". Until the duo made their deception public, no one had figured out the Goebbels connection, nor did they realize these "bright young things" were prostituting themselves to a half-dozen parties all at once.

That in itself is quite a story, demonstrating empirically that Serbia's mainstream political parties are callous as well as clueless, obsessed with gaining power at all cost. I'm not really surprised that nobody recognized the Goebbels treatise, though. Few know much about Hitler's chief propagandist save for the fact that he was the Reich's minister of propaganda, and fewer still have read any of his work. Furthermore, a lot of the manipulation techniques he wrote about and used are still in use around the world, because they are effective. Sad but true. Also, expecting the Serbs to remember history - which has been systematically corrupted by a succession of regimes over the past 70 years, if not more - is a tall order these days. Even Americans routinely fail the Hitler test.

But the way this story ended up being reported is an experiment as well - one that concerns journalism, rather than politics. Imperial propaganda mills such as RFE and B92 set the tone, suggesting that Serbs like Nazi ideas. Inter Press Service actually headlined its story "Nazi Propaganda Gets a Makeover in Serbia." While technically true, it misses the point, doesn't it? Instead of the story being how two young artists pranked the mainstream political establishment, it ends up tarring the Serbs (yet again) with the Nazi brush.

Left out of the story was the notable fact that nearly all the parties that got pranked are part of the establishment created by the October 2000 coup, which was organized, financed and managed from Washington. This includes the Socialists, who in 2008 accepted Imperial dominance and signed a pact with the Democrats. The Progressives came into being when a former Radical leader defected to the "Empire is great" camp. One would think it might prove embarrassing for the Empire if its "democratic progressive social liberal democrats" turned out to be Nazi sympathizers, if unwittingly. Then again, maybe not.

The one exception are the Serbian Democrats - a party whose leader once fronted the 2000 coup, but which has opposed the Empire ever since. While they don't take marching orders from the U.S. Embassy like everyone else, they haven't been terribly effective, either - preferring to strategically withdraw from confrontations and more given to sulking than leading. Their leader translated the Federalist Papers, so they should have known better than to like the disguised Goebbels tract.

Finally, note that two parties that don't take orders from Washington are absent from this list: the Radicals and Dveri. Ironically, it is these two that get labeled (unfairly and inaccurately) as "clerical fascists", "hardline ultranationalists" and "right-wing extremists", by both the Western and the Empire-controlled Serbian media - while it is Empire's favorite Serbs who express enthusiasm for Nazi techniques repackaged as "democracy".

So you see, it's a bit more complicated than both the pranksters and the presstitutes would have you believe. But that's hardly "news," is it?
grayfalcon

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

German terrorism convict granted early release

BERLIN — A lawyer for the wife of a convicted German terrorist says she has been released from prison after a court commuted her own jail sentence for supporting terror groups to probation. German news agency dapd reported that lawyer Mutlu Gunal said Filiz Gelowicz was released Monday. Gelowicz was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in March 2011 for supporting the Islamic Jihad Union and German Taliban Mujahideen. Berlin state court spokesman Tobias Kaehne said the remainder of Gelowicz' sentence was commuted to probation as she's unlikely to reoffend. Gelowicz has said she turned her back on radical Islam in 2007, following the arrest of her husband, Fritz Gelowicz. He and three others were convicted in 2010 of plotting unsuccessfully to attack American soldiers and citizens in Germany.
ajc

Open Letter to the Friedrich Ebert Foundation: STOP the Cooperation with the Iranian lobby organization CASMII

Dear Mr. Hajo Lanz,
Dear Sir or Madam,

In February this year Sebastian Mohr (STOP THE BOMB) contacted the Friedrich Ebert Foundation to request information about the cooperation noted on your website with the Iranian IPIS Institute which has organized the Holocaust denial conference in Teheran 2006. [1]
You have disclosed in February that the state of the FES website is “terribly outdated” and that a cooperation with organizations of the Iranian regime like the “Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) of the Iranian foreign ministry […] is not acceptable for the time being”.
In view of your conference “Iran, Israel and the West: Is there a way out of the threat spiral?” [2] which is scheduled for April 23, 2012, we are asking ourselves if the announcement in your reply is not valid anymore.
The reason is that the FES invited Ali Fathollah-Nejad to participate at the conference. Fathollah-Nejad is no official representative of the Iranian regime; however he is a professional apologist thereof. On the website of the organization “Campaign against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran” (CASMII) Fathollah-Nejad is listed as a member of the “Board of Advisors”.[3]
You won’t hear any criticism from him against the Iranian regime, because it is part of the official politics of CASMII founder Abbas Edalat to not even seemingly criticize the Islamic Republic. [4] CASMII’s “peace activities” among others consist of organizing meetings between the terrorist Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Western so-called peace activists. [5]
In February 2004 the FES had already organized the conference “The Islamic World and Europe: From dialogue towards understanding” with the German Orient Institute and on initiative of a think tank of the Lebanese Hezbollah in Beirut for which it faced severe criticism. [6]
According to their self-portrayal the Friedrich Ebert Foundation advocates “to promote the political renewal of social democracy”, “to justly form the economic and the social system” as well as “to deepen the dialogue between trade unions and politics”.
We ask you for a comment to our letter and for an answer to the question if you see the objectives of the FES achieved by the invitation of an apologist of the anti-Semitic, misogynist and anti-union regime in Teheran. We will publish your statement on our website.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Spaney
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Letter to Emma Thompson and Caryl Churchill

Dear Emma Thompson,

In the 90s you fought along with Ellen DeGeneres for the equality of gays and lesbians. Today, you call for a boycott of the only country in the Middle East, where gays and lesbians have equal rights. Why? Why do you ask the Globe Theatre to boycott Israel at the “Globe to Globe” Festival, while tolerating the participation of a theatre group from the Palestinian Authority, where homosexuals do face the death penalty, while some politicians call for the annihilation of all Jews?
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tapferimnirgendwo

German Pirates Party: Our success similar to Hitler's

Senior member of party ranking third in opinion polls draws harsh criticism for comparing faction's ascent to Nazis' rise to power; party activist criticizes Israel in YouTube clip
A senior member of Germany's Pirates party caused an uproar when he compared its meteoric rise to that of Adolf Hitler before 1933. The party ranks third in opinion polls and expected to enter parliament next year. "The ascent of the Pirate Party is proceeding as swiftly as the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers' Party, or Nazis) between 1928 and 1933," Martin Delius told the weekly news magazine Spiegel. Delius, 29, a former software designer, later apologized for his remark and withdrew from an election for the Pirates' executive board, but resisted calls to quit his post in the Berlin city assembly. The Pirates, whose platform is based on internet freedom and more direct participation in politics, won seats in the city government of the capital last September. Recent opinion polls indicate that the Pirates, an offshoot of a party founded in Sweden, have now overtaken the Greens to become the third biggest party with about 13% support, behind only Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservatives and the main opposition Social Democrats. The party is suspected by police of having links to a small far-right cell that carried out a decade-long murder campaign against immigrants. The cell was exposed late last year. Moreover, the Pirates party suffered the embarrassment of having two members exposed as former members of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). The two members resigned late last year, but the Pirate's federal chairman Sebastian Nerz said there were "almost certainly a few more Pirates who used to be NPD." A Pirates party activist recently posted a video on YouTube in which he criticized Israel. The Bild daily quoted the blog of another party activist as suggesting that Germany had acted in self-defense in 1939 when it attacked Poland because the Poles had ordered a general mobilization. Apart from its far-right tendencies, the party has also been accused by other parties of misogyny due to the lack of women members, as well as being devoid of political content. In response to Delius' remarks, Nertz told the Bild, "Everyone should think properly about what he says, about the historical analogies he draws and what effect they may have." But a commentary published by the Bild said parties without an understanding of history had no place in parliament. Other German parties, which viewed the Pirates' ascent with great concern, jumped at the opportunity to discredit it. Claudia Roth, leader of the Greens, who have suffered particularly from the Pirates' success, called the remarks an "outrageous transgression" that could not be excused by the party's lack of experience. Senior Social Democrat MP Thomas Oppermann said the "tasteless" comparison proved that the Pirates have yet to clarify their view of far-right militancy.
ynetnews

Will the Pirates Capture Germany?

The crisis surrounding the euro is leading to growing dissatisfaction with existing parties all over the eurozone. In France, as explained here last week, the current crisis has breathed new life into the far left. In Germany, where the far-left Die Linke party is the successor of the Communist Party of East-Germany, an altogether new party has emerged: the Piratenpartei, the Pirates' Party. "I recognize we have a Nazi problem in the Pirates," Harmut Semken, the head of the Berlin PP said. "There's no alternative: a party which accepts members without any pre-screening can't help but attract people trying to hide their contempt for humanity behind freedom of expression," he added. It is, however, a strange position for a party not to allow any criticism of immigration and religions, such as Islam, while at the same time condoning anti-Semitic activities under the pretext The Pirate movement, which originated in Sweden in 2006, began as a loosely organized group of digital activists whose main aim is the free sharing of information online, including through less stringent copyright laws. Their political activities began with protesting the raid of the Swedish police on the Stockholm servers of the website The Pirate Bay, where music and movies could be downloaded illegally. In 2009, the Swedish Piratpartiet won 7.1 percent of the votes and two of Sweden's 20 seats in the European Parliament. In the EP, the Pirates belong to the Green Group, led by the Franco-German former revolutionary Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Following the Swedish example, PPs were established in some 40 countries, but none has had the electoral impact of the German branch. The Pirates want an exemption of non-commercial activity from copyright regulations and advocate the abolishment of patents. They want to strengthen civil rights and abolish anti-terrorism laws which violate people's right to privacy.
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Part-time anti-Semites: Grass affair revealed the nature of most contemporary European anti-Semites

by Manfred Gerstenfeld
“Guenter Grass, this big fish of letters, this turbot frozen by 60 years of posing and lies has finally decomposed,” wrote French philosopher Bernard Henri Levi. It is easy to fill an article with other quotes from the past weeks criticizing German Literature Nobel Prize winner and former Waffen SS member Guenter Grass. His defamatory poem about Israel is full of lies, of which the main one is that Israel intends to commit genocide on the Iranian people by launching atom bombs. That Grass’ poem is anti-Semitic is not difficult to prove. One only has to place it next to the European Union’s definition of anti-Semitism to see that. Yet focusing on the hate poem’s content and on the many criticisms of it leaves a number of other substantial issues in the shadows. One of the main items of the public debate was whether Grass is an anti-Semite. This misses the point. In contemporary Western societies, mainly neo-Nazis and a substantial number of Muslims are full-time anti-Semites. The predominant type of European anti-Semite is the part-time one. It is a typical expression of contemporary society in which structures, attitudes and opinions have fragmented and many personalities are split. Grass is a part-time anti-Semite. He demonizes Israel, yet claims in his poem that he’s a friend of Israel. However false that claim is, no full-time anti-Semite would take the trouble to say it. It is also important to observe who supports or whitewashes Grass – the poet who called Israel a danger to world peace. The enthusiasm shown by Iranian Deputy Minister Dschawad Schamadari for Grass is revealing. Perhaps Grass’ most prominent whitewasher is Sigmar Gabriel, Chairman of the German Social Democrat Party. He called the attacks on Grass “exaggerated” and partly “hysterical.” Flawed Israeli reaction Gabriel said that the poem was a permissible expression of “opinion.” He should have more accurately stated: “of incitement.” Gabriel added that Grass is not an anti-Semite. He then expressly stated that the SPD would continue to appreciate the support of Grass in future elections. A few weeks earlier, Gabriel had accused Israel of apartheid policies. After much criticism leveled against him, he said that he only mentioned that it took place in Hebron. The SPD chairman has stated falsely that he is a friend of Israel. If this were true, he would have asked the German government to bring Iran before an International Court long ago due to its breach of the United Nations Genocide Convention, as Iranian leaders wish to eradicate Israel. Germany is a signatory of this convention and the Social Democrats were a partner in the coalition government until 2009. The Grass affair thus helps us unmask Gabriel as a hypocrite even further. Much can also be learned by looking at Israel’s reactions to Grass’ poem. Why did Prime Minister Netanyahu get involved with a poem, however ugly? Why did Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman do so also? Why did Minister of Interior Eli Yishai declare Grass persona non grata? The poet had not announced any intention to visit Israel. Israel does not usually declare which ones of its many haters will be allowed entry. Grass thereupon compared Minister Yishai to former DDR Minister Erich Mielke, who was head of the Stasi Secret service. If Yishai had competent advisers, they could have told him in advance that a politician cannot win a shouting match with an author who can say the most absurd things. The Israeli travel ban also enabled other German politicians to criticize Israel without risking accusations of whitewashing the anti-Semitic poem. The Israeli government’s reactions illustrated once again the helplessness of the authorities in the propaganda war against the country. Not having analyzed it, nor having understood it, the authorities produce only ad hoc reactions to each new incident. If there had to be any Israeli reaction at all, it should have been made by a low official who could have said: “When it was fashionable, Grass was a Nazi. When that became objectionable, he hid his past. He revealed it only late in his life, when little harm could be done to him. When it became fashionable to demonize Israel, he published his lies in poetry form.” Finally there is the question - why did five major European papers publish an anti-Semitic poem? One must mention that the Italian Repubblica did so, yet published critical articles next to it. The answer to this seems simple because the German Suddeutsche Zeitung, the Spanish El Pais, the British The Guardian and the Danish Politiken are not contemporary mutations of the Nazi paper Der Stürmer. Like Grass, who is a part-time anti-Semitic poet, they are part-time anti-Semitic publications.
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Vandals desecrate war memorial in Jerusalem: Among the slogans, vandals write "Gunter Grass was right"

Anonymous vandals desecrated a Jerusalem war memorial, police discovered Monday, just days before the national Memorial Day commemoration. Vandals spray-painting anti-Zionist slogans on Jerusalem's Givat Hatachmoshet memorial, which commemorates a fierce battle between Jordanian and Israeli troops during the 1967 Six-Day War. Among the slogans, the vandals wrote "Zionism is the original sin, Zionists are wretched," and "Gunter Grass was right," referring to a German writer who wrote earlier this month that Israel was the world's greatest threat to global peace and security, and who the Interior Ministry declared a persona non grata. Police said they believed the perpetrators also sought but failed to burn an Israeli flag hanging at the site. Police opened an investigation, but have made no arrests. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the attack, which came days after vandals in the Jordan Valley spray-painted anti-Israel graffiti, desecrating three monuments to Israeli terror victims and fallen members of the security services there. Barkat said the city sent a municipal crew to clean up the anti-Israel graffiti so that Memorial Day commemorations could take place this week as scheduled.
jpost

Half of Germans see Iran as greatest world threat

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
‘Die Welt’ shows rejection of Grass’s anti-Israel positions.
BERLIN – Forty-eight percent of Germans see the Islamic Republic of Iran as the greatest threat to world peace, according to a survey published in the Die Welt newspaper on Saturday. Eighteen percent of those questioned said Israel was the main danger to peace. Twenty-two percent said that both Iran and Israel represent a danger. Fifty-eight percent of the respondents said that Iran’s nuclear program was a threat to the existence of the Jewish state. The Infratest dimap pollsters questioned German voters spanning the political spectrum in the Federal Republic. A large majority rejected the Nobel Prize laureate Günter Grass’s thesis that Germans are not being allowed to criticize Israel. Seventy-five percent of respondents agreed with the statement that Israel can be subjected to the identical criticism as other nations. In short, the poll shows that three-quarters of Germans believe there are no taboos in terms of criticizing Israel. Some German journalists slammed Grass, saying media and political criticism of Israel is ubiquitous. Many media experts who follow Israel in the German press, such as the Frankfurt-based pro-Israel media watchdog organization Honestly Concerned and its editor-in-chief Sacha Stawski, see disproportional criticism and preoccupation with the Jewish state at the expense of other conflicts in the world. According to the Die Welt survey, 52% of Left Party voters viewed Israel as a greater threat than the Islamic Republic. Günter Grass argued in his poem “What Must Be Said,” published earlier this month, that there is a widespread muzzle on criticism of Israel in the Federal Republic. “This general silence on the facts, before which my own silence has bowed, seems to me a troubling, enforced lie, leading to a likely punishment, the moment it’s broken: The verdict ‘anti-Semitism’ falls easily,” he wrote. Grass argued in his poem that Israel, and not Iran, is the chief impediment to global peace and that Israel seeks to obliterate the Iranian population. The results of Die Welt’s survey contradict a Financial Times online newspaper poll from this month, as well as other online blog and TV questionnaires, that show widespread German support for Grass and negative attitudes toward Israel. For example, the Financial Times’ reported that 57% of the respondents in Germany agreed with Grass’ statements. Eight percent said his views were “dangerous” or “anti-Semitic.” And 27% of those polled said his contentions were worthy of discussion. Roughly 22,000 readers participated in the Financial Times survey. The results appears in line with earlier surveys showing German dislike of Israel and Jews. In 2011, a think tank affiliated with the Social Democratic Party issued a report revealing that 47.7% of respondents agreed that “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.” A BBC poll in 2007 showed that 77% of Germans harbored anti-Israel sentiments – more than those of any other country in Europe. In 2003, an EU study showed that a majority of Germans viewed Israel, in sharp contrast to Iran, as the greatest threat to global peace. In an interview published on Sunday in Die Welt am Sonntag, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu alluded to anti-Israel and pro- Grass sentiments among broad swaths of the German population. “And those now who agree with Günter Grass about the Jewish state should ask themselves if they wouldn’t have agreed with the slanders against the Jewish people in the time of the Holocaust. That’s the question the Germans must ask themselves. I am glad that Germany’s leadership has responded clearly. But it’s something I hope the German people will do as well,” he said. “How would Germany feel if it was showered with rockets by people who call outright for Germany’s destruction? which is what we have around us. Iran that supports Hezbollah and Hamas who are firing on the tiny State of Israel,” the prime minister said.
jpost

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Iran and Hamas' Swiss enablers

I remember two years ago in 2010 when Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and I uncovered the Swiss heavy earth-moving equipment company Ceresola TLS agreement with Rahab Engineering Establishment in Tehran.
In our Wall Street Journal expose, we noted that Ceresola TLS's decision to deliver tunneling technology is vital to the success of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, largely because “Tehran needs this know-how to hide military nuclear installations deep underground, as it did with the Qom and Natanz enrichment facilities.” At the time, the Swiss government remained indifferent to international efforts to stop the sale of dual-use (military and civilian) goods to Iran.
All of this helps to partially explain why Switzerland's economic ministry did not fall into line last week with EU and US sanctions seeking to halt Iran's atomic program.
Traditionally, the Swiss government has been the weakest link in Europe's efforts to both inflict economic warfare against Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program and to punish Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for his bloody repression of the country's pro-democracy movement.
In addition to shunning hard-hitting sanctions last week against Iran's central bank and oil industry, the Swiss government has granted forums to Hamas representatives in 2012.
Though the EU and the US classify Hamas as a terror entity, the Swiss—argue critics—tend to abandon core Western security principals to promote “active neutrality” with all sorts of nefarious regimes. When questioned if Bern, the seat of Switzerland's government, views Hamas as a terrorist group, George Farago, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, wrote in February that “Switzerland does not maintain a comparable EU terror list in which groups are designated as terrorists.”
Anne Bayefsky, a prominent UN legal expert and director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, wrote in the Jpost in late March that the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council welcomed Hamas’s own Ismail al-Ashqar.
She summed up her article on the topsy-turvy world of the Swiss-based UN body that permitted an EU labeled terrorist to speak: “Only the UN could twist the security threat so that the terrorist front man became the victim.”
Last week, the Swiss economics ministry announced it would delay its decision to apply EU oil sanctions to the Islamic Republic, and to exempt the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) from US and EU sanctions. Switzerland is not a member of the EU. Nonetheless, after considerable EU and US pressure on the central European country, the Swiss adopted in January, 2011 EU sanctions targeting the delivery of vital gas and oil technology to Iran.
The Reuters headline on Wednesday captured Bern's new sanctions position: Swiss leave loophole on Iran's oil embargo.
To confront Iran's nuclear weapons program, the West has reached a consensus that the CBI is one of the key targets for economic pressure. Are the Swiss prioritizing their economic interests over the security of the West and the Mideast region?
By way of background, it is worth highlighting that Micheline Calmy-Rey, the former Swiss foreign minister, flew to Tehran in 2008 and enthusiastically embraced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran. The point of her visit was to participate in a signing ceremony for the 18-22 billion euro Swiss EGL gas deal with the National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC). This is the same Calmy-Rey, a leader of the Social Democratic Party, who proposed seminars on different perspectives of the Holocaust back in 2006 when meeting with an Iranian delegation on the nuclear crisis. Roger Köppel, the owner and editor-in-chief of the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche, wrote at the time a Wall Street Journal Europe piece entitled, “Somebody Stop Calmy-Rey.”
The massive EGL deal prompted rebukes from the Israelis and Americans in 2008 and 2010. The US Embassy in Bern said, "As we noted in the past when this deal was first announced, oil and gas deals with Iran send the wrong message when Iran continues to defy U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
The controversial Swiss posture toward Iran's government and Hamas raises a host of questions. Is the relatively new Swiss foreign minister Didier Burkhalter advancing Ms. Calmy-Rey's policy of "active neutrality" toward Iran and its ally Hamas?
Since the United States cut diplomatic relations with Tehran in 1980, the Swiss government took over in 1981 the representation of US diplomacy in Iran.
Given the perceived Swiss defiance of US and EU policies and sanctions toward Iran and Hamas, will the Americans change diplomatic representation in Tehran? The US, for example, could transfer its interests section lodged at the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to a more reliable partner. The Polish or Czech Republic embassies might be the most likely candidates to replace the Swiss, largely because both countries seem to understand the democratic interests of the US and the free world.
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Benjamin Weinthal,/jpost

From Sderot, an Open Letter to Gunter Grass: There is much for you to learn here

Dear Mr. Grass,
In reaction to your recent poem, Israeli Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai has declared you persona non grata in Israel. While I can empathize with the feeling Yishai expressed by his action, he might also have considered it good for your education if you would visit Israel, and specifically the little town of Sderot, where I live and write. I will be delighted to show you around Sderot for some educational sightseeing. It might do you good. You worry about what Israel might do to Iran, but I will show you what Iran has done to Israel through her ally Hamas. Our first stop will be a pleasant square in the middle of Sderot. A musical statue presides here. Behind the square stands an unusual structure: a huge, curving piece of concrete that stretches over a local school. A thousand years hence, this outlandish architecture will baffle archeologists excavating Sderot. No one will guess what function it might have fulfilled, unless written records of our time survive to explain this mystery. The curvaceous concrete is a huge bomb-shelter whose purpose is to prevent Hamas terrorists from killing the children who study in that school with the rockets they fire from across the border in the Gaza Strip. Iran, the country whose actions you equate to Israel’s, financially and militarily helps those murderers.
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

PM slams Grass, defends travel ban against author

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
In interview with German paper, Netanyahu says poem accusing Israel of being main impediment to world peace all the more shocking because it came from Nobel laureate, and not from "some neo-Nazi teenager."
BERLIN - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called German Author Gunter Grass' poem sharply criticizing Israel "an absolute scandal," speaking in an interview slated to be published Sunday in German paper Die Welt am Sonntag. Netanyahu ratcheted up his criticism of the Nobel laureate in the interview with the German paper, as well as defending Interior Minister Eli Yishai's decision to ban Grass from entering Israel. Netanyahu termed the poem “shameful” and a “collapse of moral judgment,” in excerpts of the interview published Saturday on the Die Welt online website. The prime minister's comments highlight that the international row surrounding Grass' perceived anti-Semitic attacks on the Jewish state will not fizzle away in the short-term. The 84-year-old German author, who served as a member of the Nazi Waffen SS as a teenager, published a poem “What must be said” in early April in the left-leaning, Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung. Critics in Germany and the United States, as well as Israeli politicians, asserted that the poem demonstrates hate against Jews and Israel. Grass accused Israel of warmongering and planning a first nuclear strike against the Islamic Republic to “extinguish the Iranian people.” He blamed Israel as a main impediment to world peace. In the Die Welt am Sonntag interview, Netanyahu said the fact that "this comes from a German Nobel prize winner and not from some teenager in a neo-Nazi party, makes it still more shocking, “ Netanyahu defended the travel ban against Grass in the interview, saying, "Sometimes there are things that are so shocking that one has to react in other ways. He went too far in the direction of untruth and defamation. Our reaction expressed that.” He continued in the Welt am Sonntag interview that Grass ”created a perfect moral misrepresentation, in that the aggressor becomes a victim and the victim becomes an aggressor. “According to Netanyahu, Israel's efforts to defend itself against extermination become a threat to world peace in Grass' poem. "The firefighter and not the arsonist becomes the true danger," said the prime minister. Netanyahu made comparisons between the defamation of Jews in the Nazi period and the defamation of Israel today through the poetry of Grass. He noted that today the attacks against Israel are comparable to the perfidy and defamation of the attacks launched against Jews during the period of Nazi Germany, which resulted in the Holocaust. “The question which people should pose reads: What if I had back then believed in this perfidy and defamation against Jews? Because defamation is always the precursor to complicity," said Netanyahu. The prime minister added that it was “important and positive” that leading German politicians condemned Grass' statements. He, however, had hoped for more support from the German population. According to some surveys, 70 to 80 percent of responses from Germans on online blogs, newspaper comment sections and television polls showed that Germans nonetheless support Grass’ attacks against Israel. One leading German politician, however, has shown solidarity with Grass. The head of the German Social Democratic party, Sigmar Gabriel, defended Grass last week. Gabriel termed Israel to be an “Apartheid regime” in March and has gone to great lengths to support Grass, who is a longstanding activist in the Social Democratic party.
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German Gubmint Educates the Ignorant Masses on How to Properly Dispose of a Koran

How are unworthy sons of apes and swine to dispose of the Muslim ‘holy book’ without  hurting the feelings of 1.5 gazillion muslims around the world who would then have no other choice but to wage holy war and murder every infidel in sight?
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Commission decision taken last week: Brussels bringing Turkey into EU under the radar

The Slog has obtained sight of an official Brussels Commission document which, while not confidential, has not as far as I can tell been the subject of MSM coverage, or indeed any vote at all among MEPs. Although dated March 30th 2012 as a ‘proposal for a decision’, I can reveal that the decision has been approved and is already going ahead. It is to grant Turkish citizens the same residency and labour rights in Europe as existing EU citizens. The unelected European Commission has repealed the 1980 Ankara Accord between what was then the EEC and Turkey, and replaced it with a major change to the rights of Turkish citizens in the EU. The proposal was presented to a working group (we know not who) eleven days ago on March 30th, and approved by that same anonymous gathering. It specifically adds that ‘A first package with similar proposals in respect of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Israel was adopted by the Council in October 2010′ and that this too will be updated to bring it into line with the Turkish proposals. I was certainly not aware of the October 2010 ‘package’, and I doubt very much if even the eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party is up to speed with the fact that this Turkish grant of rights is about to pass quietly into law – as so many of these lunatic Commission decisions have a tendency to do. But the clauses in relation to non-eurozone members like the UK (already sinking under the weight of unrestricted migration) are truly mind-boggling.
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Light sentence for honor killing in Switzerland: Muslim gets 17 years for brutally murdering daughter with axe

Be sure to register for our Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference on honor killings on April 29th in Dearborn, Michigan. Register here.
There will be more and more honor killings in the West until Western authorities have the courage to address its root causes, but that day may never come, but Islamic teaching contains a justification for the practice, and no one dares speak against something that is taught in Islam.
It is no accident or coincidence that Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law.
And here the killer got 17 years. 17 years for a brutal premeditated murder? Why not life in prison, at very least? Only because he showed remorse? I am sure his performance was Oscar-worthy, but there is an issue of justice involved.
Switzerland seems to be becoming like Muslim polities that lessen penalties for honor killings. The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but "the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour 'provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.'" And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that "Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values."
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

German companies at the Teheran trade fair „Iran Oil Show“ - Participation fee must be paid to sanctioned Iranian bank

STOP THE BOMB Press Release
Currently the four-day trade show „Iran Oil Show 2012 – 17. International Oil, Gas, Refining, and Petrochemical Exhibition“ takes place in Teheran, where numerous German companies participate, presenting their technology for the sanctioned Iranian energy sector [1] Key technology for the Iranian energy sector is sanctioned since July 2010. The non-governmental organization STOP THE BOMB calls on the responsible authorities in Germany to actively look into the business deals of these companies. Only through participation at the exhibition, companies cooperate with the Iranian regime and sanctioned companies. The exhibition is essentially organized by the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum. The participating companies must pay the stand fees to an account of Iran's Bank Mellat, which is sanctioned by the EU and the USA.[2] An extract from the EU legislation regarding Bank Mellat from October, 2011 says “The conduct of Bank Mellat fosters and relieves Iran's nuclear program and Iran's program for ballistic missiles.“ [3] Also, Iranian companies such as Khatam Ol Anbia, which belongs to the sanctioned Revolutionary Guards, uses the exhibition to cultivate business contacts. Among the German companies that have confirmed their participation at the Iran Oil Show to STOP THE BOMB are for example Bopp & Reuther, Helmke, Hova and Schauenburg. The companies Herrenknecht and Pepperl + Fuchs are also present at the Iran Oil Show, according to exhibition's homepage. [4] The range of products of the German companies include all kinds of products for the energy sector, including pumps, pipes and construction machines and specialized measuring instruments. During April 2011 STOP THE BOMB had compiled a list of German companies which took part at the Iran Oil Show in Teheran last year. [5] Deals in the Iranian energy sector support the Iranian regime. The German companies that are active in this sector are therefore responsible for the fact that the regime can go on with its policy of human rights violations, its nuclear program and the export of terror against the will of the Iranian people and in spite of massive protests against the regime. Revenues from the energy sector made up nearly 50% of the state budget and 80% of the export income in 2009/2010.[6] The biggest part of the Iranian energy sector is state owned.[7] Business partners in Iran are mostly companies connected to the economic empire of the Revolutionary Guards, who run the majority of the projects in the energy sector.[8] The Revolutionary Guards are on the US terror list and since July 2010 also on the EU sanctions list.
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German Minister slams Salafism at Islam conference

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich condemned domestic violence, forced marriage and the fundamentalist Muslim branch the Salafists at the latest Islam conference on Thursday. Speaking at the opening of the conference in Berlin, Friedrich said, "We won't allow the Salafists to set our agenda with their propaganda," but he added that an "important signal" needed to be sent. The Salafists, one of the strictest branches of Islam, caused a media controversy last weekend by handing out free copies of the Koran in several German cities. This year's Islam conference is to concentrate on the position of Muslim women in German society, but a number of politicians, including Lower Saxony state Interior Minister Uwe Schünemann, had called for a "clear signal" to address the Salafist Koran giveaway. Friedrich also said that the conference's declaration against domestic violence and forced marriage was the first time that Muslims of various backgrounds had "agreed on a text that unambiguously condemned such practices." Theologian Tuba Isik-Yigit told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that she would like the conference to address the fears of many immigrants following the revelation of a series of far-right murders last year. The conference was first called by former Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in 2006 as a forum for discussion between Germany's Muslims and the state. Friedrich praised the progress that had been made since then, particularly the introduction of Islam into religious education in schools.
thelocal

Merkel ally says Islam not part of Germany

Leading member of German chancellor's conservative bloc says Islam isn't part of German 'tradition, identity'; remarks sure to stir controversy
Head of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc in parliament, Volker Kauder, told the Passauer Neue Presse on Thursday that "Islam is not part of our tradition and identity in Germany and so does not belong to Germany." The remarks are sure to stir controversy as the government hosts a conference to improve the integration of Muslims. A row over whether an ultra-conservative Salafist Muslim group should be allowed to hand out millions of free German translations of the Koran to non-Muslims had already raised tensions and threatened to overshadow the conference. Adding to her remark, Kauder stressed that "Muslims belong to Germany. As state citizens, of course, they enjoy their full rights." Germany is home to some 4 million Muslims, about half of whom have German citizenship. Many came from Turkey in the 1960s and 1970s and their hard work contributed to Germany's post-war economic miracle. Germany's total population is about 80 million. While some people of Turkish origin have risen to prominent political and public positions, many others live in their own communities and studies show many youngsters struggle to learn German properly, limiting their chances of finding work. In response to concerns about radicalization and aware of the potential boost a well-qualified cohort of young Muslims could give to Europe's biggest economy, Merkel set up forums six years ago to improve integration, a highly charged issue. Two years ago a painful row erupted over a bestselling book by former central banker Thilo Sarrazin, who argued that Turkish and Arab immigrants sponged off the state and threatened Germany's culture. Soon after, Germany's then-President Christian Wulff won wide praise from Muslims by saying Islam was part of Germany. Thursday's conference is set to discuss the controversial distribution of the Koran by Salafists. The group "The True Religion" has already handed out several hundred thousand copies on streets across Germany, drawing criticism from many in Merkel's conservative bloc, which is traditionally Catholic. The printer has now stopped printing the books. Some Muslim groups have also criticized the Koran campaign but Kenan Kolat, the head of Turkish Communities in Germany, warned against hysteria. "If there is a glorification of violence, if there is an infringement of free, democratic basic values, then there are police measures that can be used," said Kolat. "A statement by the Islam Conference which stresses the open and liberal spirit of our Republic against the background of the distribution of the Koran by Salafists would be a good signal," Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told Spiegel Online. She is a member of the Free Democrats (FDP), Merkel's liberal junior coalition partner. Officially the Islam conference, comprising delegates from the federal and state governments and Islamic groups, will discuss questions such as forced marriage and the influence of Islamist groups on young people.
ynetnews

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Raheb-Herzog Affair: "A Former German President Wants to Honor an Antisemitic Pastor"

When the German concern Media Control announced the four winners of its 2011 German Media Prize (Deutscher Medienpreis) on January 13, 2012, the choice of the fourth, Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb of Bethlehem, provoked a storm of hundreds of protests. Why such a fuss? After all, even the Nobel Peace Prize is a nonsense prize if you can get it for giving a speech in Cairo. There is a website in Germany, Kulturpreise.de, that catalogues hundreds of such awards; Raheb already held some of them. The primary cause of the protests was that a former federal German president, Prof. Roman Herzog, had agreed to come and laud the prize winners on February 24. More generally, the affair brought into the open the seething conflict between two contradictory tendencies in churches worldwide, but especially in German Protestant churches. While on the one hand, many of these churches have issued official statements deploring the Christian history of denigration and demonization of Jews, on the other, they foster and fawn upon Palestinian clerics who denigrate and demonize the State of Israel. Often, of course, it is distinct groups within a church that promote the one tendency or the other. When the same individual does both, it requires a considerable measure of cognitive dissonance or hypocrisy. The Raheb-Herzog Affair has provided a defining moment in this struggle.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Europeans play checkers while the Iranians play chess

The ever sharp German commentator, Dr. Richard Herzinger, wrote in his daily Die Welt column that “the participating negotiating parties are pursing one goal… to win time.” His analysis concludes that the process advances Iran’s aim to bring its nuclear weapons program closer to the “point of no return” because the process plays to Tehran's penchant for mucking around and engaging in delay tactics.
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Europe's hate for Israel

Many Europeans believe Israel is illegitimate, must be removed from Middle East
by Giulio Meotti
After the massacre of Jews in Toulouse, many people cried when seeing Miriam Monsonego’s little body wrapped in a white shroud. But most Europeans looked the other way, and the United Nations, EU and the chattering classes all washed their hands of the Jewish blood. Europe has already forsaken the Jews. The same process can be seen in respect to Günter Grass, the Nobel Prize laureate who published an anti-Israel poem in European newspapers. According to the polls, 70-80% of Germans support Grass. A Facebook page called “Support Günter Grass” already has thousands of “Likes.” A special Financial Times’ survey sheds more light on Grass’ popularity. Given the question “The statements by Grass are…”, only the 8% answered “dangerous” and “anti-Semitic.” Some 57% said “correct” while 27% said “worth discussing/arguable.” The total figure of respondents who see Grass’ incitement against Israel as correct or arguable is 84%. A similar survey about Toulouse would find the Muslim perpetrator as the real victim and the victims as the real murderers (“Jews, Zionists, murderers of Palestinian children, they got what they deserved.”) It was a relief that many brave writers denounced Grass’ horrible blood libel, including Daniel Goldhagen, Leon de Winter and Marcel Reich-Ranicki. But the dominant feeling regarding Grass is oen of deep consensus. Western media focused their hypocrisy on Israel’s decision to ban the writer. The Daily Telegraph ran an opinion comparing Benjamin Netanyahu to Joseph Goebbels’ burning of books, while a Los Angeles Times editorial declared that Israeli officials are like Iran’s mullahs. Salman Rushdie tweeted in favor of Grass.
Longing for ‘good old days’
German public opinion loved the poem, because Grass fanned the flames of their Jew-hatred in a very comfortable way. Who’s better than the “conscience of Germany,” the former Heinrich Himmler volunteer, the most famous anti-fascist to indict the post-Holocaust Jews? In a 2001 Der Spiegel interview, Grass declared: “Israel doesn’t just need to clear out of the occupied areas. The appropriation of Palestinian territory and its Israeli settlements are also a criminal activity. That not only needs to be stopped - it also needs to be reversed. Otherwise there will be no peace.” According to Grass, Israel must leave not only Hebron and Beit El; it must disengage from Haifa, Tel Aviv and Nazareth as well. How many famous columnists had declared, before the Fogel massacre, that the Palestinians had the right to attack Itamar-like towns? Grass simply wrote what most Westerners believe. The polls must be translated, ultimately, into one overriding conclusion: Israel is illegitimate, it's the purveyor of all ills, it’s the instigator of every type of disorder, and it therefore must be disengaged from the Middle East as soon as possible. This is not only a German phenomenon. During the second Intifada, a majority of Europeans said that Israel is “the greatest threat to world peace,” according to a European Commission survey. To sum up, there is a German caption, “Schoene Zeiten,” taken from the photo album of Kurt Franz, Treblinka’s last commandant. It means, idiomatically, “the good old days.” Let’s be very honest and say: the Western conscience is longing for these “old good days.”
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Pressure of sanctions on Iran must not be decreased after unsuccessful nuclear talks: Former IAEA expert warns against “fatal bargain” with Iran

STOP THE BOMB press release
The mostly optimistic comments on the nuclear talks in Istanbul between Iran and the international 5+1 group is inappropriate, says Jonathan Weckerle, spokesperson of the campaign STOP THE BOMB: “Until now, the Iranian regime is the winning party, because it gained valuable time until the next round of talks, without giving anything in return. The pressure of international sanctions, concluded after hard efforts , mustn’t be lowered just because of some allegedly positive signals. Instead, Tehran must be confronted with clear demands and increasing sanctions pressure. This is the only way that could lead to a non-military solution of the nuclear issue.”
Reports about the alleged “positive signals” from the Iranian delegation to the 5+1 group stand in sharp contrast to the unyielding positions that the Iranian elite communicates via regime media to the Iranian public. (1)
Furthermore, the former IAEA chief inspector Olli Heinonen warns of a “fatal bargain” with Iran, where the regime would still have the breakout capacity towards a nuclear bomb. The expert specifically pointed out that any uranium enrichment would be dangerous, unnecessary for the allegedly peaceful aims of the regime. Even enrichment to 3.5% means that 75% of the effort you need to get highly enriched Uranium for a bomb is already done. Furthermore, today’s technology allows the construction and operation of enrichment facilities in inconspicuous buildings, as the example North Korea shows. (2) The Israeli intelligence services expert Ronen Bergman recently warned in the New York Times not to rely on intelligence information to timely detect Iranian breakout efforts towards a bomb. (3) The Iranian regime must prove comprehensibly that it gives up all components of it’s nuclear weapons program.
A recent article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Fereydun Abbasi-Davani in 2003 oversaw a test for the development of an ignition device for nuclear weapons. So from the start, the Iranian nuclear program had a non-civilian character. (4)
„Even when an acceptable solution for the nuclear issue should be reached via pressure and negotiations, this wouldn’t change the dangerous and inhuman character of the Iranian regime. The freedom yearning Iranian people must not betrayed for an unstable deal with the illegitimate Iranian rulers. Iranian human rights violations should be sanctioned consequently and democratic forces should be supported”, says Jonathan Weckerle. (5)
Meanwhile, the German “business as usual” with Iran continues. STOP THE BOMB researchers discovered that many German companies will offer their products in Tehran at the “12. Iran Oil Show”, a trade show for the energy sector that starts on April 17. 2012 (6) „German-Iranian business is still openly promoted in Iran and Germany, especially the Iranian energy sector is provided with German technology, while the German export control agencies are neither willing nor able to stop this”, concludes Jonathan Weckerle.
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Islamists to hand out millions of Korans in Germany

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
Media: Security agency says Gulf state financing effort.
BERLIN – Salafist Muslims launched a concerted campaign in Germany on Saturday and Sunday aimed at distributing 25 million free Korans across German cities. German media reported on Sunday that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution – Germany’s domestic intelligence agency – suspects that either the government of Saudi Arabia or Qatar has financed the German Salafist plan to spread Korans in the Federal Republic. 'The Palestinian-born preacher Ibrahim Abu Nagie is spearheading the action to inculcate German-speaking pedestrians in cities with a radical form of Islam. The Salafist strand of Islam propagates a strict adherence to the Koran, and the fundamentalist group divides the world into believers and non-believers of Islam. Salafists aim to convert non-believers to their form of radical Islam. In an interview with the magazine Der Spiegel on Sunday, Hans-Werner Wargel, the head of the Lower Saxony state government’s domestic intelligence service, said: “I assume that there are external financiers” for the distribution of Korans. He added that, “We have knowledge that in the past financial streams for Salafist networks in Germany came from the Arabian Peninsula.” According to an article in Die Welt on Saturday, the journalist Florian Fade quoted the Salafist Abu Nagie saying, “If someone says: I want to follow the Bible. Will he enter Paradise? Never, he will forever go to hell!” According to an intelligence agency document obtained by Die Welt, Abu Nagie said “Imagine if all of Germany and Europe were to be Islamized.” The Christian Democratic Union party interior expert Wolfgang Bosbach told the Passauer Neue Presse that though it is legally difficult to ban the action “the local authorities should examine in each case if a permit needs to be issued or if there is a violation of public order and security.” Bosbach added that for the Salafists it is not only promotion for religious convictions “rather the promotion of a radical political ideology that is not compatible with a free democratic system.” German media reported that the city of Ludwigshafen prohibited the distribution of Korans, noting that the Muslim group had not obtained a permit in a timely manner for public space. The Salafists have distributed so far about 300,000 Korans in Germany. In addition to setting up stands in the pedestrian zones of German cities, the Islamists are passing out Korans in Austria and Switzerland. The chief sponsor and organizer of the Koran hand-out action is Cologne-based businessman Ibrahim Abu Nagie and his “True Religion” group. Abu Nagie, a Salafist preacher, speaking in an undated video on the group’s website, urged all German Muslims to hand out copies to their neighbors. Speaking on the video, Abu Nagie said the first 20,000 copies were financed by two Turkish people, and that he had rejected financial support from organizations in Bahrain as they wanted to “write their names in the book.” The plans by the Salafist school of Sunni Islam, which has its roots in Saudi Arabia, have re-ignited debate in the German media about Islam and the integration of the country’s Turkish population of four million. “There is little in principle against the distribution of religious works,” Guenter Krings, vice chairman of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, told the Rheinische Post newspaper, but added that this depended on the distributor. “The radical Salafist group is disturbing the religious peace in our country with their aggressive approach,” he said. The growing presence of Salafism in the Federal Republic has alarmed security officials. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Verfassungsschutz, has monitored the activities of “Invitation to Paradise” members, who advocate a Salafist version of Islam that calls for the decapitation of non-believers and the imprisonment of women in burqas.
jpost

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Germany: Salafis threatening newspapers, planning to distrubute 28 million Qur'ans

Salafis in Germany have been frequently linked to jihad terror plots. And the Qur'an, of course, with its exhortations to violence against nonbelievers (2:190-193; 4:89; 9:5; 9:29; 9:123; 47:4; etc.) is not as innocuous a book as Rauf Ceylan makes it out to be. It is, as we document here every day, all too easily "misunderstood" by the pious.
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Gunter Grass, Red Flags and Anti-Semitism

A few days after September 11, I saw a quote from Gunter Grass on a Manhattan lamppost. In those dark days, the lampposts and walls that weren’t covered in missing persons posters were decorated with the hysterical pamphleteering of the left urging us to blame ourselves for the attacks. The quote has long since been lost to memory, buried under smoke and ash, a green parrot perched on an empty staircase and crowds thronging on foot across the bridge.
The quote itself, like the latest Grassian screed, does not matter. Grass, like Gandhi and King, was one of the favorite go-to guys for the left’s sticky sheets of paper. When you want to write a suicide note, then you reach for a line from Sylvia Plath or Emily Dickinson, but when you want to write a national or civilizational suicide note, there’s always Gunter Grass.
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Germany: A Koran in every household

Salafists in Germany launched a project aimed at distributing 25 million free Korans.
Project "Lies!" (Read!) was started in October 2011 by Ibrahim Abou Nagie, who says he wants a Koran in every German household. Other Salafist groups like DawaFFM from Frankfut and the Ibrahim Millatu movement from Solingen are also involved. So far the Salafists set up more than 100 stands in cities across North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Hesse and Hamburg.
According to Abou Nagie they already distributed 300,000 copies of the German language Koran. He had already ordered tens of thousands of additional copies. On Easter the Koran project entered a new phase. On Saturday the Salafists set up distribution stands in 35 cities including Hamburg, Cologne, Konstanz, Frankfurt, Dresden, Osnabrück, Hanover and Berlin.
The project is financed by donations. Abou Nagie says most donations come from Muslim women and Turkish Muslims. German Muslims are being encouraged to buy a copy of the Koran (red-cover) in order to finance the blue-cover free Korans.
The German security services are concerned as the goal is not only to convert people to Islam, but to the radical preachings of Salafism. Last year the prosecution started investigating Abou Nagie for inciting to violence on the Internet against people of other faiths.
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Manfred Lahnstein: My response to Gunter Grass -- Former German minister slams Grass poem, says writer should have remained silent

There are people who may write the greatest possible nonsense and nevertheless make it to the “culture section“ front pages of major newspapers. One of them is Günter Grass, German writer of fame and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature. He has written a text (titled “What has to be said“) about the conflict between Iran and Israel, a pamphlet beefed up by some technical tricks to make it look like a “poem.“ Here is the world according to Grass:
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The Left’s Defense of Nazi Günter Grass

Günter Grass has been transformed overnight into the poster boy of Neo-Nazis, leftist anti-Semites, and jihadists from all around the world.  This is of course thanks to his “poem,” in which he proclaims Israel a far worse danger to world peace than Iran is.  (Grass’s original poem is in the language of Himmler but an English translation can be read here.)  Grass insists that an Iran openly building nukes and threatening to use them against Israel and the West is far less of a global threat than an Israel that dares to defend its civilians from terrorist attacks.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

German Jews agree with travel ban on author Grass

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s decided to ban Günter Grass from visiting Israel because of the writer’s anti-Semitic poem.
BERLIN – Leading German Jewish intellectuals expressed support on Tuesday for Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s decision to ban Günter Grass from visiting Israel because of the writer’s anti-Semitic poem. The Munich-based Jewish historian Michael Wolffsohn told the daily Tagesspiegel that the ban was “absolutely legitimate.” Wolffsohn, a contemporary history professor at the Bundeswehr University in Munich and Israeli native, said it is important to show the world that criticism is permitted ”but not from former SS people.” It is unacceptable that an author who was silent about his history for over 60 years and has not really processed it “is now elevated to a moral authority in general and over the descendants of the victims of the Nazis in particular,” he said. Grass covered up his WWII membership in the SS – a unit that played a key role in murdering Jews – for six decades until 2006 when he confessed in an interview that he was a member of the Nazi organization. The Jewish journalist and author Ralph Giordano told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper that he could “absolutely understand the Netanyahu government” and its reaction to Grass. Giordano survived the Holocaust in hiding and has authored books on Germany and its failures and successes in working through its Nazi history. Giordano justified the ban because of the existential threat that the Jewish state faces from the Islamic Republic of Iran. In his poem, published in various newspapers last week, Grass asserted that Israel seeks to “extinguish the Iranian people” and that Israel is the principal threat to world peace. In contrast to Giordano and Wolffsohn, Harvard University law Prof. Alan Dershowitz wrote a Huffington Post opinion piece titled “Günter Grass Shouldn’t Be Barred From Israel.” Dershowitz argued that the interior minister’s decision is “both foolish and self-defeating.” “Grass’s poem has also been effectively critiqued by Israelis across the political and literary spectrum. That is as it should be in an open, vibrant democracy, accustomed to rancorous public debate. But a great nation, committed to freedom of expression and dissent, should not bar a critic, even a critic as bigoted as Grass, from its territory,” he wrote. “Günter Grass has always had a problem with Jews, from his early days as a member of the Hitler youth and Nazi SS to his most recent application of a nasty double standard to the Jewish state. But his ridiculous poem doesn’t pose any security threat to Israel that would justify his physical exclusion from the country.” Dershowitz wrote he believes that Grass “should be welcomed in Israel and shown the real facts on the ground: That Israel is a tiny country doing its best to defend itself against existential threats posed by Iran’s determination to develop nuclear weapons and by the increasing radical Islamization of Israel’s neighborhood. He should also be shown why Israel’s submarines, which provide a second-strike capacity, serve as a deterrent to a possible nuclear attack by Iran. He should be made to feel shame for misusing his literary talents in the interests of bigotry and falsehood.” Author Salman Rushdie also criticized the Israeli government decision on Tuesday, calling it “infantile.” It is “OK to dislike [or] even be disgusted by the poem, but to ban him is infantile pique,” the Indian-born writer posted on his Twitter feed. “The answer to words must always be other words.” Rushdie has been under an Iranian fatwa, or death threat, since 1989, after he published The Satanic Verses, which critics claim depicts the prophet Muhammad in an irreverent manner.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gunter Grass Shouldn't Be Barred From Israel

by Alan M. Dershowitz
The decision by Israel's Interior Minister to bar German writer, Gunter Grass, from entering the Jewish state is both foolish and self-defeating. Grass wrote an absurdly ignorant and perversely bigoted poem comparing Israel to Iran and declaring Israel to pose a great danger to world peace. He also warned Germany that by selling submarines to Israel, it is becoming complicit in a crime against humanity.
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The Lies of Günter Grass

by David Solway
It’s a curious fact that the reputation of many contemporary novelists of popular distinction rests on a single book. Think, for example, of Umberto Eco. Had he not written The Name of the Rose, he would be better known today as an essayist and semiotician who had also published some interesting if not particularly memorable fiction. (The one exception to the rule might be Foucault’s Pendulum.) This is even truer of Norwegian antisemite, Jostein Gaarder, whose Sophie’s World catapulted him to international acclaim. The works that followed might best be portrayed as competent-to-forgettable. Ditto the anti-Zionist Louis De Bernière whose Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was his one resonant success, and Portuguese antisemite and Nobel Laureate José Saramago, whose only readable book was The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis.

As for Germany’s most famous living novelist, Günter Grass pretty well consorts with the paradigm, The Tin Drum having established him as a major literary and political voice of the twentieth century. Admittedly, subsequent books like Dog Years and The Flounder were notable achievements. But absent the beating of The Tin Drum, the callithumpian parade of Grass’ works in the public arena would have been far less spectacular. He cannot be dismissed as a one-shot Johnny, but his oeuvre arguably does not justify his inflated réclame. Indeed, for some time now, he has been living off the interest from the capital he invested in his heyday. Sadly, Grass lost it long ago.
This has not prevented him from generating considerable controversy with the publication in the German daily Süddeutschen Zeitung of an anti-Israeli poem titled What Must Be Said (Was gesagt werden muss). As Sebastian Hammelehle informs us in Der Spiegal Online, the German expression “what must be said” connotes the conversational cliché “There’s no law against saying that…”, which would appear to carry the same smarmy patina in our culture as “Some of my best friends are Jews.” Thus Grass does not hesitate to assert in the poem that Israel is a country “to which I am bound.” The lie is so palpable as to be embarrassing.
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Monday, April 09, 2012

Bruce Bawer: Günter Grass Goes From Bad to Verse

The only surprising thing about the anti-Semitic “poem” that Günter Grass published last week, and that has created an international firestorm, is that he waited so long to write such a thing. Anti-Semitism, after all, is all the rage these days among left-wing European literary intellectuals (excuse the multiple redundancy), and Grass has always prided himself on being in the forefront of these trends, not being a Johann-come-lately.
Who is Günter Grass, you ask? For decades after the 1959 publication of his first and most famous (and highly overrated) novel, The Tin Drum, he was described by admirers as the conscience of postwar Germany. His detractors had other words for him: smug, arrogant, obnoxious. Even Richard Gilman, a writer for the left-wing The Nation whom one might have expected to celebrate the guy, complained in 1982 about his “lofty, hectoring tone,” stating: “Today there is no writer more swollen with self-importance…than Gunter Grass, who has begun to think of himself as identical with the fates of German literature, German politics, and German mores.” John Updike, for his part, saw Grass as a “cautionary case” for politically engaged writers: “he can’t be bothered to write a novel; he just sends dispatches…from the front lines of his engagement.”
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German Noble laureate Günter Grass loves Iran’s clerical regime

While Germany’s media are reporting non-stop on the country’s most famous contemporary writer—the 1999 Nobel Laureate in Literature Günter Grass—because of his “poetic” attacks on Israel’s right to defend itself, the plight of Iran’s severely repressed democracy activists has been largely ignored by both Grass’s defenders and critics.
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Easter Island

iowntheworld

An Open Letter to Günter Grass

By David P. Goldman

Herr Günter Grass:

By now you must be tired of hearing how shameful it is for a former SS man to denounce Israel as a threat to world peace at a time when the government of Iran (among others) publicly threatens to annihilate the Jewish state. It is obscene to suggest, as you did in your diatribe “What Must Be Said,” that Israel might “annihilate the Iranian people.” Now that we have that out of the way, I would to set your straight about your own country’s tragedy. It’s all your fault. Well, perhaps not exactly your fault, but the fault of your way of thinking and of people who thought like you. I am not talking about your enthusiastic service to the Nazis. I am going to surprise you.
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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Israel bans Günter Grass over poem

German writer and Nobel laureate Günter Grass has effectively been banned from Israel after a poem he published accused the country of endangering world peace sparked a global firestorm of criticism and counter-criticism.
Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai confirmed that Grass had been declared Persona non grata, and would not be allowed to go there again.
Yishai’s spokesman said on Sunday that Grass’ poem which he published last week had been aimed at, “fuelling the fire of hate against the State of Israel and the People of Israel.”
Grass wanted to, “further the idea that he had openly supported earlier as he had worn the uniform of the SS,” the spokesman said.
The poem said that Iran was in danger of a preventative nuclear attack from Israel which had the potential to wipe out the Iranian people and that this endangered world peace.
Grass was immediately attacked from all sides, and accused of being anti-Semitic.
A monument he backed in the Lower Saxony university town of Göttingen to commemorate a group of pro-consitution professors was this weekend covered in grafitti reading "SS-Günni, shut your mouth".
Yishai said “If Günter Grass wants to continue to spread his outlandish and lie-filled works, he should do that from Iran – he can certainly find himself an enthusiastic audience there.”
Iran has in fact lauded the poem, calling it a “literary work of human and historical responsibility”.
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Poem sparks lively debate in Germany

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
Grass's poem triggered harsh criticism, especially from Jewish and Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Netanyahu.
BERLIN – The publication last week of Günter Grass’s poem in German and Italian dailies, which called Israel the primary impediment to world peace, has triggered a national debate in Germany. In the poem, “What Must Be Said,” which appeared in the newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, on Wednesday, the 84-year-old Grass, a former Nazi SS member, 1999 Nobel Prize laureate in Literature and lifelong Social Democratic party activist, wrote that “the nuclear power Israel is endangering an already fragile world peace.” Arguing that criticism of Israel is a taboo subject in Germany, Grass declared the Israel wanted to “extinguish the Iranian people” with a first nuclear strike. His poem triggered harsh criticism, especially from Jewish and Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Though German academics and journalists have devoted significant analysis to Nazi-based anti-Semitism from 1933 to 1945, there has been scarce attention to modern Jew-hatred in post-Holocaust Germany. The Grass debate has brought to the fore the most potent modern expression of German anti-Semitism – namely, the loathing of Israel among some segments of the population and intellectuals in the Federal Republic. Marieluise Beck, a Green Party deputy and member of the German-Israeli friendship society, said Grass’s anti-Israel poem “reveals the entire truth about the truth of this sentence: ‘The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.’” The sentence is attributed to Israeli psychoanalyst Zvi Rex, who with bitter irony and sarcasm, sought to capture the development of post-Holocaust anti-Semitism in Germany. He argued that Germans were filled with pathological guilt and shame about the Holocaust, and turn Israel into a punching bag to purge their guilt complexes. Grass, it appears, has become the poster boy for this form of modern anti-Semitism in Germany by turning Israel into the perpetrator of the world’s ills and depicting Iran’s regime as a victim. Comments from Beck as well as journalists and politicians in Germany suggest that the Grass spat might shed light on a largely ignored definition and understanding of contemporary anti-Semitism in Germany. Frank Schirrmacher, the prominent editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s culture section, called Grass’s poem a “document of revenge” and sharply criticized Grass and his anti-Israeli sentiments. Schirrmacher slammed Grass for employing the language of Holocaust survivors to “justify that the entire world is a victim of Israel” in order that an “85-year-old man can make peace with his own biography.” Schirrmacher cited Grass’s use of the word Überlebende (survivor) to describe his situation and the plight of Germans in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran. Traditionally, the word “survivor” is associated—in a German-language context—with Jewish survivors of the Shoah. Stefan Frank, a local journalist who has written extensively on anti-Zionism in Germany, told The Jerusalem Post that he was pleasantly surprised by the outcry against Grass. “It is encouraging to see so many people condemn this outburst of anti-Semitism, often in surprisingly clear terms,” Frank said on Saturday. “Based on earlier experience, that was not to be expected at all. Up until now, many anti-Semites, who are in no way better than Grass, could count on understanding and agreement, as long as they formally disguised their hatred as ‘criticism of Israel’ and substituted the words ‘Zionist’ or ‘Israel’ for ‘Jew.’ “This worked like a magic formula. Why is that now different? I would also like to know. The next debate about Israel (which is probably right around the corner), will show whether something good has changed or not.” Nasrin Amirsedghi, a leading German- Iranian intellectual, told the Post that she was pleased about the Grass controversy because “the publication of his poem shows that he is anti-Israel, and the priceless proof for anti-Semitism is unmistakably on paper.” She termed Grass a “demagogue,” and argued that “one does not need a big study to show there is considerable anti-Semitism in Germany.” Amirsedgh added that Grass was so fixated on Israel that he refused “to see and hear and feel that Iran’s people and the country’s children are being hanged, stoned, humiliated, and, to put it simply, destroyed” by the current regime in Tehran. Dr. Clemens Heni, who has authored books on German anti- Semitism, told the Post that the Grass debate showed a failure of Germany’s elites. He criticized the Süddeutsche Zeitung for publishing the “agitation from Grass on its front page.“ Heni said Grass had contributed to attempts in Germany to play down the Iranian threat and fascism in the Islamic Republic. He said he believed that the best articles and commentaries against Grass were from Netanyahu, the Israeli Embassy in Berlin, and US political scientist Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. Goldhagen, one of the world’s leading experts on German anti- Semitism, penned an essay in Die Welt on Saturday, accusing Grass of an “aversion toward Israel and its population” and a writer who fabricated his personal history by covering up for six decades his membership in the Waffen SS.
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German author Grass defends anti-Israel poem

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
Nobel laureate says subject of his criticism was Netanyahu; poem prompts praise from Iran’s government and press.
BERLIN - Germany’s most famous living writer, the Nobel literature laureate Günter Grass, defended the content of his poem attacking the alleged jingoism of the Jewish state, but said in media interviews that the subjects of his criticism are Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the policies of Israel's government. The 84-year-old social democratic activist and former member of the Nazi Waffen SS published a poem on Wednesday entitled “What must be said” in the left-liberal Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung. He accused Israel of planning a first nuclear strike against Iran to “extinguish the Iranian people” and noted that Israel is the principal impediment to world peace. After mounting criticism in the German media, including accusations that he is an “educated anti-Semite,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday and a German television station on Thursday that, in retrospect, he should have avoided the word Israel and criticized the policies of the current Israeli government. According to the interview in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Grass said he criticized “the policies that continue to go against every UN resolution against settlement construction.” He continued: “The man who damages Israel the most at the moment is, in my opinion, Netanyahu — and I should have included that in the poem.” Grass added that Israel’s policies “are creating ever more enemies of Israel, and are ever more increasing the country’s isolation.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu scolded Grass on Thursday for his “ignorant and reprehensible statements.” Netanyahu said that Grass covered up his Nazi membership in the Waffen SS. “It is Iran, not Israel, that is a threat to the peace and security of the world,” Netanyahu said. He continued that “It is Iran, not Israel, that threatens other states with annihilation. It is Iran, not Israel, that supports terror organizations that fire rockets on innocent civilians. It is Iran, not Israel, that is supporting the Syrian regime’s massacre of its own people. It is Iran, not Israel, that stones women, hangs gays and brutally represses tens of millions of its own citizens.” German media reported that The New York Times published the poem. However, in an email to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Eileen Murphy, spokeswoman for the paper in New York, wrote,”This appears to be misinformation in the German press. While we don't typically discuss what we plan to publish on our op-ed pages, I can tell you that our op-ed editor has never seen this piece and as far as we can tell, it was not submitted to us.” Grass’s poem prompted praise from Iran’s government and press. Press TV, Iran's state-owned English-language television station, noted. "Never before in Germany's postwar history has a prominent intellectual attacked Israel in such a courageous way… Metaphorically speaking, the poet has launched a deadly lyrical strike against Israel." Iranian Deputy Culture Minister Javad Shamaqdari issued a letter to Grass, writing, "I read your literary work of human and historical responsibility, and it warns beautifully." Some German intellectuals have voiced support for Grass's poem. Klaus Staeck, the president of the Academy of the Arts in Berlin, defended Grass, saying on German radio that it is Grass’s “duty as a citizen” to intervene. Johano Strasser, the head of the German section of Pen, praised Grass’s criticism of Israel’s threats against Iran. In contrast to Strasser and Staeck, the German-French Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld compared Grass’s word choice to Hitler’s speech in 1939.“If Grass looks at himself in the mirror, does he see a Noble Prize laureate or an old Waffen SS member?”, asked Klarsfeld. In commentaries in „Münchner Merkur and Die Welt on Saturday, Rolf Hochhuth, a distinguished playwright in Germany, who exposed the Vatican’s support of Nazism in his work, wrote about Grass, “You remained what you voluntarily became: the SS man.” The 81-year-old Hochhuth blasted Grass for failing to see that since Hitler's time, there has been no other state except for Iran that has threatened to wipe out the Jewish people. The Polish-born German Jewish literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki termed Grass’s poem on Saturday to be "disgusting.“ Reich-Ranicki is widely considered to be Germany’s most important poem and book critic. Writing in Saturday’s Die Welt, the US Political Scientist Daniel Jonah Goldhagen said Grass” falsified his own Nazi past” and sharply criticized Grass for claiming Israel plans a nuclear attack against Iran when Tehran’s leaders have threatened Israel with nuclear destruction. The Berlin-based opinion page editor of the prestigious daily Tagesspiegel, Malte Lehming , wrote: “Is Günter Grass an anti-Semite? Yes, he is that. His most recent poem could have exactly been called “The Jews Are Our Misfortune.”’ The Nazi-era slogan “The Jews Are Our Misfortune” coined by the anti-Semitic historian Heinrich Gotthardt von Treitschke appeared in the Nazi Der Stürmer paper. Lehming delves into the genealogy of Grass’s psyche and shows that he ends up where he started in life, namely, by the Nazi Waffen-SS.
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