Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Merkel calls PM's decision to cancel meeting 'regrettable'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday it was "regrettable" that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denied her foreign minister a meeting after the diplomat held talks with radical leftist groups. Merkel's spokesman said that talks with non-governmental organisations were common during foreign travel and should not set off a rift between allies. "The chancellor finds it regrettable that a meeting between Foreign Minister (Sigmar) Gabriel and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Netanyahu did not take place," he told reporters at a regular government briefing. "It should not be problematic for foreign visitors to meet with critical representatives of civil society." Netanyahu called off the planned meeting Tuesday with Gabriel after the German diplomat decided to go ahead with talks with Israeli radical groups Breaking The Silence and B'Tselem. Netanyahu's rare move marked an affront against one of Israel's closest international partners. Israeli critics of the German funding of radical groups say that it is unacceptable for other nations to undermine a democratic ally by funding radical and subversive organizations which seek to overturn the will of the electorate as expressed in legitimate elections.

Austrian President: Day will come when we ask all women to wear headscarf

Because of “rampant Islamophobia,” to stand in “solidarity” with hijab-wearing Muslim women.
Great. But who stands in solidarity with Aqsa Parvez, whose Muslim father choked her to death with her hijab after she refused to wear it? Or with Amina Muse Ali, a Christian woman in Somalia whom Muslims murdered because she wasn’t wearing a hijab? Or the 40 women who were murdered in Iraq in 2007 for not wearing the hijab; or Alya Al-Safar, whose Muslim cousin threatened to kill her and harm her family because she stopped wearing the hijab in Britain; or Amira Osman Hamid, who faced whipping in Sudan for refusing to wear the hijab; or the Egyptian girl, also named Amira, who committed suicide after being brutalized for her family for refusing to wear the hijab; or the Muslim and non-Muslim teachers at the Islamic College of South Australia who were told that they had to wear the hijab or be fired; or the women in Chechnya whom police shot with paintballs because they weren’t wearing hijab; or the women also in Chechnya who were threatened by men with automatic rifles for not wearing hijab; or the elementary school teachers in Tunisia who were threatened with death for not wearing hijab; or the Syrian schoolgirls who were forbidden to go to school unless they wore hijab; or the women in Gaza whom Hamas has forced to wear hijab; or the women in Iran who protested against the regime by daring to take off their legally-required hijab; or the women in London whom Muslim thugs threatened to murder if they didn’t wear hijab; or the anonymous young Muslim woman who doffed her hijab outside her home and started living a double life in fear of her parents; or the fifteen girls in Saudi Arabia who were killed when the religious police wouldn’t let them leave their burning school building because they had taken off their hijabs in their all-female environment; or all the other women and girls who have been killed or threatened, or who live in fear for daring not to wear the hijab?
Who is standing in solidarity with them? Those who taunt or brutalize hijab-wearing women are louts and creeps, and should be prosecuted if they commit any acts of violence. At the same time, the women who don’t wear hijab in Muslim countries are far more likely to be victims of violence than hijabis in the West. Who speaks for them?

France: As Fillon Switches to Macron, Many of His Voters Break for Le Pen

By Michele Antaki

The French voted on Sunday to elect their president and their verdict came like a thunderbolt, marking their desire to turn the page on their big traditional parties .
The two candidates to go into a run-off in a fortnight are Emmanuel Macron - the globalist candidate who claims to represent both the right and left, and Marine Le Pen, the nationalist candidate who refuses to be defined by right or left.
With the nominal conservative, Francois Fillon defeated, it was the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic instituted by Charles de Gaulle that a large right-wing party was not represented.
But the real bombshell occurred when Fillon announced he would vote for Macron, moments after the results were out. He cited the fight against the extremist course that Le Pen represented as his motivation.
The man who, not so long ago, mockingly called  Macron "Emmanuel Hollande” or “Hollande’s towel holder,” was asking now for his his fans to rally behind him? In doing so, Fillon also revealed his true colors and proved he was, in fact, a globalist, even though his version of globalism was softer than Macron’s and could have represented a real alternative to Le Pen, had the establishment not mounted a defamation campaign against him.
In the "Les Républicains” camp, Alain Juppé (Fillon’s defeated rival at the primary) and François Baroin, his presumptive prime minister, also rallied for Macron. The spokesman for Les Républicains said the political bureau was to meet to adopt a common position but that "not a voice should go to Le Pen."
It was the first time that the LR party departed from the line of neutrality it had set for itself, by taking sides in the second round.
Fillon’s decision to back Macron, to block the Front National did not sit well with some of his voters for whom Plan B had never been Macron, but Le Pen. First comments revealed that they felt betrayed and unlikely to follow Fillon’s voting instructions.
This was the case for George Fenech, a judge and member of Les Républicains party, who told journalists with irritation that of course he would never vote for Macron or instruct Fillon’s voters to do so. For how could he back a candidate that he had previously fought without losing all credibility? He also believed that such a wholesale transfer of votes to a rival party was a tactical mistake, a political suicide, for it meant for LR would cease to exist as an independent political entity, and would effectively merge into Macron’s En Marche movement.
Fillon’s speed in backing his former competitor was especially shocking given the circumstances of his campaign. Fillon had been investigated for a claim of fake jobs that cost him his lead in the polls. He had counter-attacked and accused Hollande of dirty tricks against him to boost his protégé Emmanuel Macron, even going so far as filing a claim with the Public Prosecutor for the President, a French office, to investigate the president.
In the camp of the old Left, political alliances also began to recompose as soon as the results were announced. Socialist Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve made a solemn appeal to vote for Macron to combat "regressive forces." The socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, followed suit.
As for socialist party leader Benoit Hamon, despite his enmity toward Macron, and the latter's betrayal of the party, which he left six months before the campaign to run as an independent, he announced he was supporting Macron, who was “a mere political rival” while Marine Le Pen was an "enemy of the Republic.”
Hollande himself made a solemn appearance on the following day to say he was voting for Macron. In a pathetic display of demagoguery, he lashed out at Le Pen who he claimed represented “extremism, narrow parochialism and discrimination against a whole segment of the French citizens, based on their origin and religion.”
All this political effervescence was captured in a humoristic show
In view of the outpouring of support from the traditional left and right for the candidate of La France en Marche, the gap separating him from the candidate of the Front National is likely to widen further.
Macron could conceivably embody "renewal" for voters with his youthful looks that get him likened to “the ideal son-in-law,” provided they are able to filter out his “Rothschild candidate” profile - a reference to the four years he spent at Rothschild & Cie Banque as a managing partner. Rothschild bankers are known as globalists and some believe that in case of a Le Pen victory, they would block all credit to France.
Le Pen does not miss an opportunity to say that Macron stands for “unbridled globalization” and “a world without borders.” When he was Minister of Economy and Industry, he sold Toulouse airport to the Chinese, and Alstom [a French multinational company in the rail transport industry] to General Electric.
Polls indicate that many French are reluctant to embrace globalization with open arms - especially in rural France where Le Pen has widespread support.
In the second round of the election, the key topic of globalization and the EU, “euro-globalization’ as it is called in France, will be brought front and center in the political debate, which explains Le Pen’s declaration that the real debate would then finally begin.
She said she did not fear having Macron, that media creation, as her opponent. She repeatedly said he was the one she dreamed of confronting, for he represents her polar opposite and thus offers her an opportunity to showcase her program in the areas of terrorism, migrants, financial dictatorship, the EU and globalism.
Macron, on the other hand, does not have a defining theme that could mobilize his supporters. He distinguished himself during the campaign by the vacuousness of his speeches. He gave the impression of being a 'default' candidate, while Le Pen could count on a base of convinced fans.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine Le Pen's father, interviewed on the BFM TV channel on election night, described Macron as a smiley but masked man, whose intentions were largely unknown.
In his message to his supporters  that night, Macron positioned himself as the future president “of all patriots facing the threat of nationalists." By introducing this specious distinction, he was laying claim to patriotism. He had been criticized as unpatriotic a few weeks ago for saying - while on a trip to Algeria - that French colonization had been a crime against humanity. He celebrated his victory  at the Rotonde-Montparnasse with his wife Brigitte, friend and mentor Jacques Attali, and European MP Daniel Cohn-Benditt, all of them inveterate globalists.
Le Pen enjoyed another kind of treat - “anti-fascist demonstrations," where nine were wounded, including six policemen, and 29 were arrested. They were likely financed by non-government organizations affiliated with the ubiquitous George Soros, who was reported to have invested in Google to step up its “Fake News” campaign designed to depress the vote of anti-globalist Le Pen. Soros has also invested 970,000 euros this year to thwart France’s counter-terrorism efforts, under the guise of defending "human rights."
Beyond the euphoria of the Lepenistes, the chance for Le Pen to win on May 7 is objectively slimmer than Macron's, unless the 21.75% of voters who abstained in the first round decide to come out and massively cast their ballots for her. True enough, her anti-globalization stance is shared by 50% of the French population, but a good segment of this potential electorate is ‘sterilized’ as it perceives her as a “racist” and a “xenophobe.” The way forward in the rest of her campaign is, therefore, to focus more on the anti-globalization dimension of her program, and less on the migrant issue, in order to capture as much of that dormant electorate as possible.
Other than that, she might be able to tap into 33% of François Fillon's electorate, mainly from members of  'Sens Commun.' This is a movement which had opposed same-sex marriage back in 2013 and formed the last bastion of loyalists to Fillon during his judicial woes. There is no way they could identify with Macron's values and therefore, they are likely to switch to Le Pen or abstain from voting altogether. Moments ago, that movement, also calledLa Manif pour tous, because it had called people to take to the streets to protest same-sex marriage, asked supporters not to vote for Macron, “the openly anti-family candidate.” Meanwhile, on Royalists' Facebook pages (yes, France still has royalists), its adherents are also voicing opposition to a Macron vote, such as this one of the Prince of Orleans.
Other sympathizers go so far as to express a preference for Le Pen.
A reader of the conservative magazine Valeurs Actuelles wrote: “We want a fighting party, with a warrior at the head. Not weather-vanes rotating in every direction .”
Another denounced the “patronizing approach” of Fillon's call to vote for a designated candidate. "The best for him would have been, like Melenchon, to shut up and tell his voters to follow the promptings of their conscience. We are not children to be told what to do.” He added that he would personally vote for Le Pen, and that five years of Hollande were quite enough without having to endure five more years under his “spiritual heir.”
As things stand now, two days after results came out, and depending on whom you pop the question to, only around one-third of former Fillonists are saying they will vote for Le Pen, while one-third will abstain or return a blank ballot. The remaining third will dutifully do as told and rally behind Macron. However, abstentions will ‘mechanically’ boost Le Pen more than Macron, and this prompted Juppé to warn against them in a tweet this week.
Le Pen may also possibly count on the 5% votes obtained by the sovereignist Dupont Aignant - who had been asking Fillon to desist and transfer his votes to him. He announced that he would communicate his voting instructions early next week.
She could perhaps also benefit from a small segment of Jean-Luc Melenchon's electorate (19.4% of the votes), since he left his voters free to vote for whomever they wanted. He said he was not mandated by his constituents to represent them at the poll. Consequently, he would not ask them to vote for a particular candidate. The leader of La France insoumise remained unbending to the end.
Although Melenchon is a populist like Le Pen, his is a leftwing and socially liberal brand of populism, and he recoils in horror at what he views as her "racism" and “xenophobia.” Consequently, very few Melenchonists could realistically cross the Rubicon into Le Pen’s lap. Furthermore, the spokesperson for Melenchon’s party, called today on voters to refrain from giving a single vote to Le Pen’s Front National. He also told them not to vote for Macron and abstain altogether, focusing on the next legislative race instead. It was not clear whether he was speaking in Melenchon's name or his own
Le Pen, who was also interviewed today on prime time TV, winked at Melenchon’s electorate when she portrayed Macron as a the “submission” candidate who bowed to everything and everyone - lobbies, banks,  Brussels…etc. She said France under Macron would be a “submissive France,” as opposed to the France Insoumise in Melenchon's motto, meaning, unbending France.
According to political scientists, the Front National can realistically gain 10% to 15% during the second round. This party has previously shown its ability to gain traction even between the two rounds of an election. Polls are currently predicting 38% for Le Pen, versus 62% for Macron at the end of the second round.
Le Pen has taken leave from her party’s presidency to devote herself to her campaign, and she is traveling all over France to speak to the people.
Last night, another thunderstorm brought the curtain down on Fillon’s political involvement in the foreseeable future. He kissed goodbye his Les Républicains party, announcing to its political bureau that he would not campaign for the legislative elections next June. "I no longer have the legitimacy to lead the fight," he said. "I will become a militant in spirit among the rest of you.” He said he now intends to rebuild his bruised family.
The knives were out for him in his own clan. Alain Juppé, his crushed rival at the presidential primary, said the defeat of the Right in the first round was partly attributable to Fillon, the other part being his program - too liberal economically but too conservative socially, with its emphasis on the ‘work, patriotism and family' trinity. Others echoed his denial of Fillon, so subtly that poison would be more appropriate a term than knife.
Almost simultaneously, rearguard maneuvers started, indicating that good old Nicolas Sarkozy could perhaps vie for the party’s leadership. He denied it, claiming all he was interested in was the unity of his political family and to provide ‘the unifying cement” among its members. A meeting organized at the party’s headquarters on the day following the results of the first round pointed to a Right feverishly trying to strategize to win the upcoming legislative elections and avoid political death.
A working breakfast on Wednesday morning, supposedly among members of Les Républicains, but in actual fact with only a subset of 40 Sarkozyistes, was also held to devise a way forward. It emerged from it that François Baroin - formerly slated to become prime minister in a Fillon presidency - would probably become the leader of Les Republicains. This would position him to also be selected as prime minister under a Macron presidency, given that the LR is the largest political formation and that Macron has no MPs of his own, having created his En Marche ‘party’ a mere six months before the presidential campaign. A final statement was issued, urging voters to block Le Pen, but falling short of instructing to vote for Macron because of lack of consensus.
The winners of the presidential first round are, too, already projecting themselves into the legislative elections of June 11 and June 18. Given the recomposition of the political chessboard, neither Macron nor Le Pen would have a majority in the National Assembly if elected president. But if Le Pen is unable to win the presidency, her party is in a position to win many constituencies in Spring 2017. The Front National is now a party that carries substantial political weight. Le Pen is looking, therefore, to turn it into a fixture of the political landscape.

Schengen Danger: ‘Thousands’ of Former Taliban Fighters May Have Entered Germany

Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has confessed it is dealing with a “four-digit number” of migrants with declared links to the Taliban, potentially endangering neighbouring countries such as France.

According to a Der Spiegel report, German federal prosecutors are currently investigating at least 70 Afghans, although is unclear whether they are all suspected of links to the Islamist group.
Six have actually been detained, and cases are pending against several more – with prosecutor-general Peter Frank warning politicians that the authorities, which are also contending with suspected Islamic State sympathisers, have now reached “the limits of their capacity”.
Europe has been plagued by a number of mass-casualty terror attacks perpetrated by migrants in recent years. Recent examples include Uzbek asylum seeker Rakhmat Akilov, who drove a hijacked lorry into civilians on a pedestrianised street in Stockholm, and Anis Amri, a Tunisian asylum seeker who carried out a similar attack against a Christmas market in Berlin.
The revelations concerning Taliban fighters in Germany could, therefore, have an impact on the presidential run-off in neighbouring France: anti-mass migration populist Marine Le Pen is facing off against former Rothschild banker and Socialist economy minister Emmanuel Macron, and the issue of border control has been hotly contested.
Ms Le Pen has pledged to quit Schengen, the European Union agreement which eliminates border controls between most EU member-states, very early on in her presidency.
Radical Islamists have previously taken advantage of Schengen, which has been denounced as “an international passport-free zone for terrorists” by former Interpol chief Robert Noble, to attack France, often from extremist enclaves in neighbouring Belgium.
Macron, on the other hand, is deeply committed to the EU, saying that France was a “valley of tears” before the bloc. He also accepts mass immigration will be a fact of life moving forward:
“We have entered a world of great migrations,” he said in February 2017, “and we will have more and more of it.”
Macron is also relatively laid back with respect to terrorism, describing it as “an imponderable problem”, which will be “part of our daily lives for years to come”.
Similar comments after the Nice lorry attack on Bastille Day 2016 by Macron’s former colleague, ex-prime minister Manuel Valls, proved extremely unpopular with the French public, who loudly heckled him at a crowded memorial event.
“Times have changed and we should learn to live with terrorism,” Valls had said following the attack, which killed 86.
The backlash against this remark is thought to have played a prominent role in terminating his own hopes of a presidential run.

Marine Le Pen Calls Francois Fillon’s Endorsement of Macron a ‘Betrayal’


During a visit to the international market in Rungis Tuesday, anti-mass migration candidate Marine Le Pen called conservative former Republican candidate François Fillon’s immediate endorsement of Emmanuel Macron an act of “treason” against his supporters.

Ms. Le Pen visited the famous international market in the southern Paris suburb and talked to media about a number of issues including the endorsement by Fillon of Macron. During a breakfast consisting of coffee and croissants, she slammed Fillon saying she could understand how many of his supporters could feel let down by his immediate endorsement of pro-globalist Macron on Sunday evening, Le Figaro reports.
“These are the people who defended their candidate in extremely difficult conditions and who were rewarded by listening to their candidate at 8:02 pm saying that we must vote for Mr. Macron,” she said adding: “Do you realise the feeling of betrayal of these people?”
The endorsement of Macron by Fillon took many observers by surprise by how quickly he endorsed the En Marche candidate after realising that he could not progress to the second round.
Fillon, who was plagued by scandal during the first round campaign, ran on similar issues as Le Pen, promising to be tougher on crime and radical Islam.
Le Pen also took the opportunity to hit out at her opponent Macron who she will face in the second round of the French presidential election on 7 May. Calling Macron and his party En Marche adherents of “radical ultra-liberalism”, she said she would protect farmers and producers like those at the market from Macron’s policies and the stifling effect of European Union regulations.
Le Pen outlined three things she wanted to see come about under her presidency: more economic protection, less immigration, and more France.
Reactions to her visit were mixed. Business owners and producers gave Le Pen a warm welcome, while workers, often of immigrant backgrounds, shouted “racist” at her as she passed by. One journalist was even hit by a tomato directed at the candidate by one worker.
Eric Rocher at butcher shop Déplanche said he supported Le Pen because of her economic policy saying: “She claims to be an advocate for small and medium-sized businesses, and it seems to me to be more secure.”
After her visit to the market, Le Pen paid her respects at Les Invalides for the policeman who was killed in the terrorist shooting last Friday in central Paris on the Champs Elysee.

France on Edge: Police Blow up Suspicious Car Outside Synagogue

Police in the French city of Metz have blown up a car parked outside of a synagogue as the country remains on edge, fearing fresh terror attacks.

Police say the vehicle was suspiciously parked near the entrance of the Metz synagogue, located on the Rue du Rabbin Élie Bloch, in close proximity to the centre of the city. The car was, according to authorities, reported stolen so police executed two controlled explosions in case there were any explosives hidden in the vehicle, Le Parisien reports.
The incident turned out to be a false alarm but has highlighted the tension amongst French police and security services.
After the fatal shooting of a police officer in central Paris last Friday, authorities are increasingly nervous about the possibility of radical Islamic terrorism and potential attacks during the French presidential elections.
Hervé Niel, director of the region’s department of public security, commented on the controlled explosions saying: “Sappers [bomb disposal engineers] intervened after a stolen vehicle was discovered parked not far from the synagogue.” Niel said the explosion was carried out in the trunk of the car and that no explosive material was found.
Islamic radicals in France have routinely targetted the Jewish community over the last several years, most notably in 2015 when Islamists Amedy Coulibaly and his common-law wife and suspected accomplice Hayat Boumeddiene killed four hostages in a Kosher market in eastern Paris. Coulibaly, who had links to the jihadi group who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attack, was killed after French police stormed the market (Boumeddiene remains at large).
Earlier this year, a Jewish teacher was attacked in Marseille by a teen armed with a machete who claimed to have acted on behalf of Islamic State. The teen, originally from Turkey, was charged with attempted murder with the aggravating factor of anti-Semitism.
Islamic radicalism has also been linked to the growing number of anti-Semitic incidents in France which is causing many French Jews to pack up and move to Israel in record numbers. In 2015, almost 8,000 Jews left France citing the rise of anti-Semitic attacks from radical Islamists and others.
French Jews are not the only ones living due to a heightened sense of animosity towards their community. Jews in Germany are now fearing an increase in anti-Semitism from radical Muslims, as well. The Independent Experts Group on Anti-Semitism said that “there is concern about anti-Semitism among Muslims, these days especially in refugee and migrant populations”.

Germany: Relationship with Israel ‘Unchanged’ After Netanyahu Cancels Meeting to Protest Sit-Down with Anti-IDF Groups

The Algemeiner reports: German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel moved quickly to defuse a diplomatic row with Israel on Tuesday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a face-to-face sit-down in protest of Gabriel’s meeting with a far-left Israeli group during an official visit to the Jewish state.

“My relationship with Israel, and Germany’s relationship to Israel, will not be changed by this in any way,” Gabriel said, after learning that Netanyahu had axed their meeting. Netanyahu was furious over Gabriel’s decision to meet with Breaking the Silence — an NGO that releases anonymous testimonies purportedly from IDF soldiers. Many of the testimonies accuse Israel of committing war crimes.
In a terse statement, Netanyahu’s office commented: “Imagine if foreign diplomats visiting the United States or Britain met with NGOs that call American or British soldiers war criminals. Leaders of those countries would surely not accept this.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Interior Ministry Admits Migrant Crime Up 50 Per Cent in 2016, Contuining Year-on-Year Trend

Germany’s interior ministry has once against reported a significant rise in crimes committed by so-called asylum seekers, “tolerated foreigners”, and unauthorised foreigners in the country, with the migrants in the groups suspected of crimes rising by over half since 2016.

The number of migrants who were suspected of crimes in 2016 rose to 616,230 reports German newspaper Welt, excluding crimes that only migrants can commit so to give a balanced view compared to normal German citizens. Those excluded crimes include entering Germany illegally and overstaying the permitted period of residence.
While the crimes committed by migrants is small compared to all crime in Germany — just 8.6 per cent of the total — the statistics show the immigrant groups counted are significantly over-represented in the statistics, suggesting they may commit more crime, or are caught more often than the average native German criminal.
Some 31 per cent of those suspected immigrants stood accused of more than one crime, the report said.
While they account for 8.6 per cent of the crimes, they make up just two per cent of the whole national population. The Figure is up from 5.7 per cent of all crime in 2015, the previous year of figures to have been released.
The report also shows a propensity towards certain crimes — again compared to the two per cent of the population they make up, the migrant groups account for 15 per cent of assault and sexual assault, and one tenth of burglaries. These figures have also risen compared to the last release of statistics covering 2015.
The count does not include long settled foreigners with residence and jobs, and tourists. Most criminal foreign groups were shown in the statistics to be from the Balkans, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Syrians were the single largest group of foreign offenders but were also the largest single group of migrants to have arrived in the country recently — other foreign nations beat them in crimes per head of population in Germany.
One noted growth area for migrant crime in 2016 was a politically motivated crime, including that by Jihadists and Kurdish militants. German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere called the trend of rising political violence “unacceptable”.
Breitbart London reported in May 2016 when these statistics were last released, which then also showed a steep rise in migrant crime. Just like in the following year overall crime had risen as well — however, statistical analysis showed that if crime by recently arrived migrants was stripped out of the statistics, overall crime would have actually fallen.
That report followed another in 2015 reporting the end of year statistics, which again showed a rise in migrant crime in the state of Saxony and came among hundreds of reports by Breitbart London including the migrant crisis livewire, reporting on the Cologne sex attacks, and numerous swimming pool sexual assaults against children and young women.
Germany has admitted more than one million migrants since 2015 as part of a policy of open borders, which has seen significant damage done to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s poll ratings as she heads to a national election later this year.

German FM refuses to talk to Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to explain his decision to cancel their meeting Tuesday. However, the minister refused to talk with Netanyahu.
Netanyahu cancelled the meeting after Gabriel refused to cancel a meeting with radical leftist organizations B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence.
The Prime Minister's Office released a statement explaining Netanyahu's reasons for cancelling the meeting.
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy is not to meet with diplomats who visit Israel and meet with organizations that defame IDF soldiers and seek to prosecute them as war criminals," the prime minister's office said.
"The same diplomats will not consider meeting in the US or Britain with representatives of organizations calling for the prosecution of American or British soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces and its soldiers are the basis of our existence. Relations with Germany are very important to Israel and will continue."
Gabriel was informed that his meeting with the Prime Minister was cancelled during a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin.
"The Israeli ambassador has informed us that - to my regret - the meeting with Netanyahu has been cancelled," Gabriel told the German Bild newspaper.
He added that his views on the German-Israeli relationship had not changed.

Muslim "Peace Tour" Ends With 4 Stabbed

It's vitally important for us to understand our cultural differences if we are to have peace. For example, to us, peace means the absence of hostilities. In Islam, peace means submission to Muslims. This latest misunderstanding of cultural differences led to four being stabbed by a Muslim peaceseeker.
The Natural Peace Tours NGO, which arranges for one day entry passes for PA Arabs wishing to tour and become acquainted with Israeli society, confessed they had no idea one of their clients would grab a sharp object and stab four innocent Israeli civilians – one out on the street near Tel Aviv’s Atarim Square and three more inside Leonardo Beach Hotel.
A representative of the NPT management spoke to Army Radio and admitted, “We didn’t take this into consideration.” This, meaning that, as documented on CCTV, the Arab visitor sponsored by NPT grabbed a sharp object, stabbed a pedestrian on the street, then attacked the hotel gallery owner and her spouse, then stabbed a male guest in the lobby and tried to run out—breaking the glass entrance door.
The stabber was finally stopped and neutralized by the gallery owner’s husband, Claudio Wengerowicz, who, unarmed, jumped the attacker near the lobby’s revolving door.
 It's really the sort of thing you ought to take into consideration if you're going to run tours of Muslims into Israel. Probably the first thing to ask prospective clients is, "Are you planning to stab four people while shouting Allahu Akbar?"

At Meat Market, Marine Le Pen Backs ‘Eating French’

French right wing presidential contender Marine Le Pen has called for more food to be produced and consumed in the country known as the gastronomic center of the Western world. Le Pen, visiting the Rungis wholesale market outside Paris on Tuesday, said the French government must promote meat from France. “Let’s promote the ‘eating French’ especially in (school) canteens where our children must take advantage of healthy, quality products,” she said. Le Pen was booed by some workers in the fruits and vegetables section. The National Front leader is facing pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron in France’s May 7 presidential runoff. But even presidential candidates sometimes have to face criticism from the family. Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie, told France Inter radio Tuesday that he thinks his daughter has produced a “too laid-back” campaign. He said in her position, he would have done a “Trump-style” campaign that would have been “very aggressive against those who are responsible for the country’s decadency.” He still supports her candidacy in the presidential runoff. Jean-Marie Le Pen, who repeatedly has been convicted of crimes based on anti-Semitism and racism, founded the National Front party that his daughter now leads but the two have had strong political disagreements at times. In 2015, his daughter pushed him out of the party because he had refused to desist from anti-Semitic provocations that were undermining both her bid to become French president and her bid to make the National Front an acceptable political alternative.

German politician wants to humiliate Netanyahu

The German politician Martin Hans Sonneborn, a member of the European Parliament, wrote on April 25, 2017 via Facebook:
„That’s funny. For the first time I’m on Sigm. Gabriel’s side … I’d visit Netanjahu with a few bulldozers, cut off his water, and then humiliate him even further.“
Sigmar Gabriel is the Foreign Minister of Germany who on March 24, 2017 emphasized on Facebook his friendship with Mahmoud Abbas.
I’m Gerd Buurmann, a German theater artist, and I reply as follows:
If Netanjahu had lived in Frankfurt in 1938, you could have visited him with Sigmar Gabriel riding a bulldozer, cut off his water, and humiliate him further, but thank G_d, Netanyahu lives in Israel today and not in Germany. Therefore, he’s not at risk to suffer the „funny“ fantasies of a German politician.
Best regards,
Gerd Buurmann
PS: What exactly do you mean with “further humiliations”? Things like poisoning Israeli wells and making organic German bread from Jewish blood?

Translation: William Wires

Barely a Quarter of Scots Support Sturgeon’s Plans for Second Referendum

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to hold a second referendum on leaving the United Kingdom have suffered a blow after polls show barely a quarter of voters back the proposed ballot.

According to the Kantar Scottish Opinion Monitor, only 26 per cent of Scots want another separation referendum between the Autumn of 2018 and Spring 2019.
The Daily Mail reports the poll also showed a drop in support for leaving the United Kingdom overall, with 60 per cent opposed a breakup and 40 per cent in favour – a statistically significant fall from the 45 per cent support which Sturgeon’s predecessor Alex Salmond was able to garner in 2014.
Previously, the first minister had said she would not consider a second referendum unless polls demonstrated significant and consistent support. An SNP spokesman had said: “There will only be a second referendum on independence if there is clear evidence of a shift of opinion.”
Nicola Sturgeon has, however, attempted to play down any link between her party’s fortunes in the snap election and her mandate for a second referendum, called in response to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June 2016.
“The election won’t decide whether or not Scotland becomes independent,” she told the Scottish Trades Union Congress. “We got a mandate for a referendum in the election last year so this is about Scotland’s voice is heard and Scotland’s interests are protected.”
Responding, Scottish Conservative MSP Miles Briggs said: “There is one cast-iron rule about the SNP: whenever it says something has got nothing to do with independence, it’s a sure-fire way of knowing it has everything to do with independence.”

The Scottish Conservatives are currently on course to capture around ten seats from the SNP – a huge boost for the party, which was wiped off the Scottish electoral map in 1997 and has never managed to return more than one Scottish MP since.

German Foreign Minister responds to Netanyahu's ultimatum

Germany’s Foreign Minister responded Tuesday morning to an ultimatum issued by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday night, warning the German official that he would not be received by the Israeli government if he went through with a planned meeting with a radical left-wing organization.
Netanyahu issued the ultimatum to German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel Monday night, after it was revealed that Gabriel was slated to meet with radical leftist groups critical of the IDF, including Breaking the Silence.
"Choosing these meetings [with Peace Now] constitutes a defiant message against the policy of the government and against its leader personally, and Netanyahu thinks that a red line should be placed against the German officials," a senior political official told Channel 2.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to meet with Gabriel, but has warned that the meeting will not go forward should Gabriel meet with Breaking the Silence members as planned.
Responding to Netanyahu’s ultimatum Tuesday, Gabriel told ZDF it would be “regrettable” to cancel, saying that if Netanyahu carried out the threat it would be a “remarkable event, to put it mildly.”
"Imagine if the Israeli Prime Minister ... came to Germany and wanted to meet people critical of the government and we said that is not possible ... That would be unthinkable."

'Germany’s EU dominance promotes frustration’ French anger at Merkel’s power, say expets

FRANCE is becoming increasingly frustrated with Germany’s dominance of the European Union (EU) with voters across the Channel wanting a revival of the Franco-German axis, according to experts.With Britain now on its way out of the the bloc due to Brexit, the imbalance in the relationships between the two key EU countries has been highlighted with France being exposed as the junior partner as it struggles to revive a flagging economy. French frustration with Germany’s dominance of the group is reflected in the sizeable vote on Sunday for the right-wing, anti-EU Front National party in the first round of voting in the presidential election, according to one expert. Sven Giegold, a spokesman for the the German Greens in the European Parliament said that the high level of support for Marine Le Pen, who at the time was leading the Front National, indicated “just how much German dominance in the EU promotes frustration about the EU in many countries.He added: “German EU policy has to gear for more solidarity.” Some French voters are also disillusioned with Emmanuel Macron, the En Marche! presidential candidate who will face Ms Le Pen in the second round of voting. Critics of the 39-year-old have dismissed the pro-European as simply being “deputy Chancellor” to Germany’s leader Angela Merkel.While Mr Macron came out top in the first round of voting in France with 24 per cent of the vote, France clearly indicated a sizeable anti-EU opinion with 41 per cent of all voters opting for one of two anti-EU candidates. Although the financial markets initially reacted favourably to the outcome in France, with the Dax in Frankfurt rising three per cent on the news, it appears that there are fundamental doubts over the future relationship between the two power-houses of the EU. The biggest problem appears to be the future direction of the eurozone, according to financial experts, with Mr Macron either unable or unwilling to push through needed reform.The two countries are at loggerheads over economic policy. Germany is pushing for France to adopt tax cuts and deregulation of its labour market as a way of revitalising its economy while France wants Germany to loosen its grip on its fiscal policy in an attempt to soften the impact of needed reforms. Jorge Kramer, chief economist at Commerzbank said: “Macron isn’t a genuine reformer. Discord over economic policy will persist in the eurozone.”EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici said recently at a meeting of the Peterson Institute for International Economics: "The challenges that lie ahead for Europe now are mostly of a political nature, but brought on by fundamental flaws in the eurozone single currency area, which have created a north-south divide that has led to a rise in populism in countries struggling to stay within fiscal limits. “The incomplete governance of the eurozone has produced or contributed to economic divergence rather than convergence between and within its members. “And this divergence has in turn fuelled populism, which still has its roots in economic discontent.“There is cultural discontent, but the cultural discontent comes from the economic discontent.” Mrs Merkel, so far, has been wary of softening her hard-line fiscal stance as she has one eye on re-election in September and any concession she made now would almost certainly impact negatively on the German people which could cost her votes. Indications appear to show that Mrs Merkel would be willing to change her stance as long as the future French president introduced credible reforms.Daniela Schwarzer, head of the German Council on Foreign Relations, a Berlin-based think-tank, said Mrs Merkel was likely to react positively to reforms but warned that “the eurozone must be strengthened before the next crisis”. Divisions though are not just at the national level, splits have also been appearing in the financial world. On one side is the European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi who wants to avoid any dramatic policy shifts due to the political uncertainty while Jens Weidmann, President of Germany’s Bundesbank is seen as an ardent critic of the ECB.

“Resisting” Marwan Barghouti in Britain: An Israeli watchdog scores two wins against the terrorist.


It started last week when the New York Times, in its Sunday edition, ran an op-ed by Marwan Barghouti, a convicted Palestinian terrorist serving five life sentences plus 40 years in an Israeli prison.
The article identified Barghouti as “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.” The Israeli government and others protested to the Times that this description left out some vital information. The Times then added an “Editors’ Note” saying:
This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization.
But as many pointed out, the Times’s printing of the article remained problematic. Neither the Times nor other papers had, for instance, provided op-ed space to Terry Nichols, now serving a life term for having been Timothy McVeigh’s accomplice in the Oklahoma City bombing; or to Omar Abdel-Rahman (the Blind Sheikh), who before his death in February spent almost 24 years in U.S. prisons for planning the first World Trade Center bombing.
So far as I know, the practice in Western countries is that conviction on a mass-murder count removes you from the legitimate political discourse. The fact that the Times still has not acknowledged any wrongdoing in publishing Barghouti’s op-ed—apart from not fully identifying him—indicates either that it sees the murder of Israelis, and Israelis alone, as acceptable, or that it—slanderously—does not see Israel as having a bona fide judicial system.
Considering that Barghouti is an anti-Israeli terrorist, it comes as no surprise that his op-ed—which announced the launching of a hunger strike by a thousand Palestinian prisoners—does not paint Israel in a favorable light. It does, though, laud Barghouti himself as a freedom fighter—“here I still am, pursuing this struggle for freedom”—and constantly refers to “freedom” as the goal for which the Palestinians are striving.
In fact, the Second Intifada—the vicious terror assault (2000-2004) of which Barghouti was a major ringleader until his arrest in 2002—was launched in September 2000 two months after, at Camp David, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak had offered the Palestinians an independent state in almost all of the West Bank and Gaza.
In that case as in many others, the Palestinians could have had the “freedom” for which they purportedly long simply by saying yes. Instead the response to Barak’s offer by Barghouti’s boss, Yasser Arafat, by Barghouti himself, and by thousands of other Palestinians was a campaign of slaughter in Israeli buses, streets, and restaurants.
Meanwhile the Palestinian effort to glorify Barghouti continues. Having successfully made use of the compliant New York Times to present him as a freedom fighter and Israel as a dark and brutal colonizer, the struggle is also being waged in Britain.
But there, thanks to the efforts of the Israeli watchdog organization Palestinian Media Watch, it has so far met less success.
The Palestinian Authority’s embassy in Britain has been trying since last week to get a film screened about Barghouti’s life. The announcement for the film (reproduced here) says:
Marwan is 70min docudrama which depicts the life of Palestinian resistance fighter Marwan Barghouti…. The film shows the many faces of the Fateh representative from resistance fighter to advocate of the two-state solution and demonstrates how his personal story is symbolic of the Palestinian people’s fight for freedom and independence.
But while Marwan was supposed to be screened on Sunday at the Mayfair Hotel in London, PMW reports that, following its exposure of Barghouti’s identity as a terrorist, the hotel canceled the event.
The showing was, however, moved to a second London hotel, the Copthorne Tara. But that showing, too, was canceled.
In that case, PMW’s legal director Maurice Hirsch sent a letter to the manager of the Copthorne Tara, a Mr. Braudi, that changed his mind about screening Marwan.
“Barghouti,” Hirsch pointed out,
is a terrorist convicted of the murder of five people, including four Israelis and a Greek priest.  
Noting the planned screening, we would like to bring to your attention that paragraph 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 prohibits “direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement…to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.” Subsection (3) of that paragraph includes glorification of acts of terrorism as incitement.
…Should the event take place as scheduled, it is our intention to submit a formal complaint to the Metropolitan Police against you as the Manager of the Hotel for being an accomplice to the offence….
Not surprisingly, Braudi decided not to host Marwan in his hotel. Whether it will yet be screened anywhere else in Britain remains to be seen.
So far, though, this episode indicates that, first, determined “resistance” to Palestinian glorification of terrorism can get results.
Second, while the New York Times may not have broken the law by running Barghouti’s op-ed, it clearly violated moral norms by doing so—and continues to do so by failing to apologize for providing an outlet to a terrorist.
And, third, with President Trump scheduled to meet with 82-year-old Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on May 3 for the purported beginning of a peacemaking venture, it should be noted that, as the Times itself acknowledges, Barghouti “is the most popular choice to replace…Abbas”—with all that implies about the Palestinians’ ability to give up their war on Israel.

Roger Waters Leads Cry for Radiohead to Scrap Show in ‘Apartheid’ Israel


 Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters has joined a line-up of arts world figures urging British rock band Radiohead to scrap its upcoming show in Israel and “stay away, until apartheid is over.”

An open letter signed by a number of performers, as well as by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, tells the band to “think again” about heading to Tel Aviv and playing in a country  “where a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people”.
Among the 47 signatories are Wolf Hall writer Peter Kosminsky, Scottish Mercury Prize-winners Young Fathers and actors Ricky Tomlinson, Miriam Margolyes, Maxine Peake, and Juliet Stevenson.
The letter was organised by Artists For Palestine UK. It follows previous requests by Palestinian activists for Radiohead to pull out of the 19 July concert.
“In asking you not to perform in Israel, Palestinians have appealed to you to take one small step to help pressure Israel to end its violation of basic rights and international law,” the letter reads.
It cites Radiohead’s support of Tibet’s independence as a reason to turn down the gig. “Since Radiohead campaigns for freedom for the Tibetans, we’re wondering why you’d turn down a request to stand up for another people under foreign occupation.”
The letter adds: “Surely if making a stand against the politics of division, of discrimination and of hate means anything at all, it means standing against it everywhere – and that has to include what happens to Palestinians every day.”
In a separate comment on the issue, Loach said the band should cancel the gig “for their own self respect”.
The Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood is married to an Israeli artist, Sharona Katan, and he recently released an album with an Israeli singer, Shye Ben Tzur.
The band made its original announcement of the gig in Feberuary. As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, the band’s upcoming summer tour is intended to promote their latest album.
Radiohead played three shows in Tel Aviv in 1993 when they were still a struggling band with only a single album under their belt.
“Creep,” the most famous song from their debut album, gained wide radio play in Israel and the country was one of the first places outside the UK where the band won recognition.

Analysis: A Le Pen Wins More Acceptance than Ever in France

 le pen

When France last put a Le Pen onto the threshold of the presidential Elysee Palace, one step from power, it could write off the 2002 election shock as a mere accident.

Jean-Marie Le Pen squeezed into the winner-takes-all runoff against Jacques Chirac with just 17 percent of the vote, a record low. Ashamed and stunned by the ultra-right leader’s breakthrough, French voters of all political persuasions regrouped for round two, filling the streets in protest and rallying at the ballot box to hand Le Pen a humiliating defeat from which his sulfurous political career never recovered.
This time, the presidential election success of another Le Pen, Jean-Marie’s daughter, Marine, was anything but accidental.
Voters propelled her Sunday into the decisive May 7 duel against Emmanuel Macron with their eyes wide open. The entire political establishment and every poll had forewarned and foretold of Le Pen’s first-round breakthrough.
That voters pulled the trigger anyway – giving her 1.2 million more votes than in 2012 and, with 21.5 percent of the total, the best score in a presidential race for a Le Pen – showed how ingrained her brand of anti-establishment “French-first” nationalism has become in areas most bruised by and fearful of globalization’s blows.
A less divisive and more polished politician than her father, the mother of three has made voting for the National Front party that Jean-Marie founded in 1972 more socially acceptable than ever. Many of his voters kept their ultra-right political sympathies to themselves, afraid of being labelled racists and anti-Semites by association with the ex-Foreign Legionnaire convicted for describing Nazi gas chambers as a “detail of history.”
Marine Le Pen’s backers are far less inhibited. Although older voters on the left still sniff that the National Front remains a redoubt of “fachos” – or fascists – she has partially punctured that argument by sidelining much of the party’s old guard, including her father in 2015.
By consistently hammering on her populist themes that the European Union is straightjacketing and impoverishing France, that open borders are open doors for job-taking migrants and murderous Islamic extremism, and that the French political elite is guilty in all this and more, Marine Le Pen is more on-message than her father.
Sharp-tongued like him, she also jumps the tracks of respectability from time to time – for instance, with her denial earlier this month that France was responsible for rounding up more than 13,000 Jews at a Paris cycle track to be sent to Nazi death camps during the Holocaust. Overall, however, she is better packaged and more media- savvy than the cantankerous Jean-Marie ever was.
Macron quickly agreed to share the stage with Le Pen in the traditional televised debate between rounds one and two. That showed how she and her expanding electorate are becoming an increasingly unavoidable force and feature on the landscape, however unsavory that reality is to mainstream politicians who immediately appealed for a repeat of the “all against Le Pen” second-round unity of 2002.
By refusing to debate Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002, Chirac cast his opponent as a pariah and himself as a champion of French democracy. That Macron couldn’t do likewise without looking undemocratic is another measure of how Marine Le Pen is fighting her way into France’s political inner circle. By stopping both the mainstream right and left from reaching the second round – a first for modern France – Le Pen and the centrist, pro-EU Macron are redrawing the contours of that circle and taking the country into unchartered territory.
Fifteen years ago, Jean-Marie Le Pen’s qualification to the runoff provoked massive street protests – voters’ way of making amends for not turning out in sufficient numbers to keep him out in round one. There were scattered protests in Paris on Sunday night, with police reporting 29 arrests. But it appears less likely this time that more than 1 million people will take to streets across France on Monday’s May Day holiday as they did against Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002.
With slow but sure gains at the ballot box since she assumed leadership of the National Front in 2011, Le Pen is planting ever-deeper roots into a broader spectrum of voters – including 18- to 24-year-olds hit hardest by chronic unemployment and, despite her plans to roll back some of their rights, among gays. Those groups largely wouldn’t have been seen dead voting for her father.
Sunday’s outcome shows a France split almost down the middle. Le Pen outperformed Macron in National Front strongholds along the Mediterranean coast, on the front lines of Europe’s efforts to control migration from Africa and the Middle East that she rails against, and in the east and northeast, with rust-belt pockets of despairing working-class voters who see succor in “French first” economic and social protectionism. Le Pen is their whip to sanction the French and EU political establishment – even among some voters who don’t otherwise share her politics.
As in 2002, voters probably will come together in sufficient numbers to keep a Le Pen from power. After election setbacks for right-wing populists in the Netherlands and Austria, a Le Pen defeat will signal a halting – at least for now – of the populist wave that crashed over the EU with Britain’s Brexit vote last year to leave the bloc and, across the Atlantic, helped put Donald Trump in the White House.
But polls suggest Le Pen won’t suffer a beating as severe as that endured by her father. At 48, she still has time and, with each passing vote, perhaps a little bit more of France on her side.

Cinema Commandos of the Armenian Genocide: Lessons from a courageous and long overdue film.


The Promise, Survival Pictures, directed by Terry George, PG-13, 2 hr. 12 min.
In southern Turkey in 1914, Mikael Boghosian wants to attend medical school but doesn’t have the money, so he gets engaged to Maral, a young woman in his village, and uses her dowry to pay tuition. In Constantinople, he meets the dashing Ana Khesarian, who is consorting with American reporter Chris Meyers.
This love quadrangle plays out in fine style, with homage to Dr. Zhivago and Casablanca. The larger back story is probably unknown to many viewers, so The Promise takes pains to spell it out up front.
At the outset of World War I, the Ottoman Empire was coming apart and that was bad news for the non-Muslim minorities, particularly the Christian Armenians. The Ottoman Turks set out to exterminate the Armenians, the first attempt at genocide of the past century and the most well documented. So the filmmakers, who claim an “educational” purpose, had plenty of source material.
As in any Islamic state, the Christian Armenians are third-class citizens, derided as “dogs” and such. One prominent Turks says the Armenians are a “microbe,” and that was indeed the pronouncement of Turkish physician Mahmed Reshid. An Islamic state can’t tolerate an invasive infection, and when war breaks out Turkish mobs attack Armenians and loot their shops and homes. The film does not explain why the oppressors met with such little resistance.
The Turks took great pains to disarm the Armenians, and that left them essentially helpless against their highly mechanized oppressors. The Turks did indeed load Armenian captives into railroad freight cars, as the film shows. As Peter Balakian noted in The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, a good companion volume for the film, the Turks packed 90 Armenian men, women and children into a car with a capacity of 36. That was hardly the only way they perished.
In villages and on death marches, as one witness wrote, the Turks “killed without exception all Armenians.” The Promise shows Armenians hanged in one of their towns but does not show the Turks hanging them. The Turks nailed horseshoes to Armenians’ feet and crucified them while taunting the victims about their savior. The Turks forced men to watch the rape of their wives before executing them. The Promise shows none of this. 
The Turks butchered innocent Armenians and ripped the unborn from their mothers’ wombs. Late in the film, Mikael Boghosian says they did that to his wife Maral, but viewers don’t see the Turks cutting up the women.
U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau appears briefly but the film does not include what he wrote: “I do not believe the darkest ages ever presented scenes more horrible” than those then going on “all over Turkey.”
In similar style, U.S. consul Leslie Davis wrote, “We could all hear them [Muslims] piously calling upon Allah to bless them in their efforts to kill the hated Christians.” Around Lake Goeljik, Davis wrote, “thousands and thousands of Armenians, mostly innocent and helpless women and children, were butchered on its shores and barbarously mutilated.”
All told The Promise fails to portray the detail and vast scale of the slaughter. As Mikael Boghosian says in one scene, “I couldn’t pull the trigger.”  On the other hand, the film does show that the Turks punished those Muslims who dared to help the persecuted Armenians. Medical student Emre Ogan is executed for his efforts to help Mikael Boghosian and his family.
For most viewers, The Promise will be more than enough to confirm the grim reality, and to its great credit the film never gives the impression that there are two sides to this story. Neither were there two sides to what happened in Germany under the Nazi regime, and the Cambodian genocide of the Khmer Rouge.
Viewers might get the impression that Chris Meyers of the Associated Press was telling the story all alone. The film’s real heroes are the missionaries who in the face of great danger took care of the orphans, nursed the wounded, and helped Armenians escape. That is why Armenians can say with Mikael Boghosian, at the end of the film, “we’re still here.”
In 1939, on the eve of World War II, Adolph Hitler said “who today, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Today, in 2017, many will be speaking of the Armenians thanks to The Promise, a long overdue and courageous film with lessons for filmmakers and viewers alike.
If an Islamic country objects to your film project, push back and make it anyway. Resist the political correctness of entertainment industry and tell the truth about a neglected story. Viewers will thank you for it, with good reason.
The current Islamic State perpetrates the same atrocities as the Ottoman Turks, against the same victims, and with the same deadly goals. Most viewers will want to resist any submission to Islamic rule or Islamic law, and it will be okay with them if President Trump continues to “bomb the shit out of ISIS,” as he said he would.
Meanwhile, those trolls who trashed The Promise without seeing it might try a new tactic. Get a bag of jellybeans, a six-pack of Pepsi, and a can of spray paint. Find a wall under a bridge and do your writing down there where you belong.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Germany Sees Rise in Political Crimes by Foreigners

Germany recorded a sharp rise in politically motivated crimes by foreigners including jihadists and Kurdish militants last year, a trend branded “unacceptable” by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Monday. Some 3,372 such cases were recorded last year, up 66.5 percent from 2015, according to the latest crime statistics unveiled by de Maiziere. They include “criminal offences carried out in the name of foreign extremists of the so-called IS, or the (outlawed Kurdish militants) PKK”, said the interior minister. Germany was hit by a string of jihadist attacks last year, with the deadliest being last December’s assault on a Christmas market in Berlin. A Tunisian suspect had rammed a truck into the crowded market in the attack claimed by the Islamic State organisation that killed 12. But beyond jihadist attacks, Germany has also seen a rise in violence pitting its sizeable minority communities of Turks and Kurds, as Turkey was increasingly split over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule. Overall, the number of politically driven crimes was also up in Germany, reaching 41,549 such offences in 2016, 6.6 percent more than a year ago.

Report: German Jews Fear Growing Muslim Anti-Semitism

Jews in Germany say they feel a “growing threat” of anti-Semitism, especially from Muslims but also from xenophobic far-right groups, a parliamentary report said Monday. They are “increasingly concerned for their safety due to everyday experiences of anti-Semitism,” said the Independent Experts Group on Anti-Semitism. In a 2016 survey, Jewish people questioned about verbal and physical attacks against them put “Muslim persons or groups” first as the perpetrators, ahead of “people unknown” or far-right or left groups, said the report, without providing specific data. In Germany, which has long struggled with the dark memory of Nazi-era World War II and the Holocaust, there was now “a significant discrepancy in perception” about anti-Semitism, said the group set up by the German Bundestag in 2014. “While the non-Jewish majority does not see current manifestations of anti-Semitism as a relevant problem, Jews in Germany feel they are facing a growing threat,” it said. “In addition to the disconcerting rise of right-wing populism, there is concern about anti-Semitism among Muslims, these days especially in refugee and migrant populations.” About 200,000 Jews live in Germany, Europe’s third largest community after Britain and France, up from only about 15,000 after the end of the Nazi Third Reich. Germany has taken in more than one million asylum seekers since 2015, many fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The case of a 14-year-old Jewish boy in Berlin recently made headlines — his parents took him out of a state school with many pupils of Turkish and Arabic descent after he was allegedly bullied and threatened by classmates who told him that “all Jews are murderers”. The parliamentary panel report said rising Jewish fears were partly due to “the growing importance of social media”, which was “key to the spread of hate speech and anti-Semitic agitation”. It called for closer online monitoring and for using legal instruments “to delete the social bots and fake accounts through which anti-Semitic hate speech is spread”. And it recommended the appointment of an ombudsperson for anti-Semitism and better nationwide coordination on fighting the problem. It also called for study into anti-Muslim discrimination and other prejudices, finding that “these attitudes overlap with anti-Semitic attitudes”.