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UN holds first ever meeting devoted to anti-Semitism
'Faulting the Jews is once again becoming the rallying cry of a new order of assassins,' French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy says at meeting.
January 14, 2015
By Associated Press
French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy challenged the world at the first-ever UN General Assembly meeting devoted to anti-Semitism to counter the rising hatred of Jews, which he denounced as "radical inhumanity."
In a keynote address on Thursday, Levy decried that "faulting the Jews is once again becoming the rallying cry of a new order of assassins."
The United Nations was established on the ashes of the Holocaust after World War II, and one reason was to fight the "plague" of anti-Semitism, Levy noted.
The assembly was held in response to the global increase in violence against Jews and was scheduled before the killing of four French Jews at a kosher market during three days of terror in Paris earlier this month. Paris was just the latest attack to raise fears among European Jews, following killings at a Belgian Jewish Museum and a Jewish school in southwestern France.
A surprise speaker was Saudi Arabia's Ambassador Abdallah Al-Moualimi, who told the meeting that Islamic countries condemn all words and acts that lead "to hatred, anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia."
Note to reader - Given the widespread reporting around the events in Paris regarding the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher murders, we have chosen to report on stories that have arisen from these events rather than the events themselves
Dieudonné arrested over Facebook post on Paris gunman
January 18, 2015
French comedian accused of justifying terrorism after linking attacker to tribute slogan by writing ‘I feel like Charlie Coulibaly’
January 15, 2015
Agence France Presse
Notorious French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala has been arrested for being an “apologist for terrorism” after suggesting on Facebook that he sympathised with one of the Paris gunmen, a judicial source has said.
Prosecutors had opened the case against him on Monday after he wrote “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly” – mixing the slogan “Je suis Charlie”, used in tribute to the journalists killed at magazine Charlie Hebdo, with a reference to gunman Amédy Coulibaly. Dieudonné was arrested on Wednesday.
Coulibaly killed four people at a Jewish supermarket on Friday and a police officer the day before.
The comedian made international headlines in 2013 when French footballer Nicolas Anelka was banned for five matches by English football authorities for using a gesture created by Dieudonné that many consider to echo the Nazi salute.
Dieudonné posted his controversial Facebook post after attending Sunday’s unity march against extremism that brought more than 1.5 million people on to the streets of Paris in the wake of the attacks.
He described the march – considered the biggest rally in modern French history – as “a magical moment comparable to the big bang”.
The French government has in the past banned Dieudonné’s shows because it considers them “antisemitic”.
Dieudonné has removed the remark from his Facebook page.
Egyptian Court Bans Annual Festival Honoring Moroccan Rabbi
December 31, 2014
An Egyptian court on Monday banned an annual festival in honor of a Moroccan rabbi that was regularly attended by hundreds of Jewish pilgrims.
After the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, Egypt began allowing organized and heavily secured trips to the tomb of Yaakov Abu Hatzira in the Nile Delta province of Beheira, south of Alexandria. The Culture Ministry declared the site an Egyptian cultural monument in 2001.
The Administrative Court of Alexandria banned the visits and stripped the ministry's designation. It acted on a complaint filed by local residents who objected to the mingling of men and women and the consumption of alcohol at the festival, and claimed that strict security measures applied during the festival negatively affected their normal daily life.
Abu Hatzira, born in northern Morocco in 1805, was a son of the chief Rabbi of Morocco. He fell ill during a visit to the sacred sites in Jerusalem and died in Egypt in 1879. His grave became a shrine built on a small plot of land in the largely rural Nile Delta province. He is revered by some Jews as a mystic renowned for his piety and for performing miracles. The annual festival has in the past drawn hundreds of religious pilgrims each year, mostly Jews from Israel, Morocco and France.
The tomb is a vestige of Egypt's once-prosperous and thriving Jewish community, which dates back to the time before Moses. At the time of the founding of Israel in 1948, they numbered about 80,000 people. But the multiple Arab-Israeli wars, and the resentment and expulsions that they engendered, have reduced Egypt's Jewish community to a few dozen elderly people in Alexandria and Cairo, according to the Israeli embassy.
The annual religious festival has been a long-term source of controversy in Egypt. A court cancelled the event in 2001, but it was later resumed. In 2009, the Egyptian government banned Jewish pilgrims from entering because it took place during the Israeli government's Cast Lead offensive in the Gaza Strip; officials said they could not guarantee the pilgrims' safety at a time of intense public anger toward Israel.
In 2010, Egyptian security authorities arrested 25 men suspected of forming a new Islamic militant group that planned to carry out attacks on targets inside Egypt including the tomb of Abu Hatzira. In 2012, the government called off the festival, citing political instability in the wake of the 2011 revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power. Monday's court ruling, if it stands, seeks to permanently ban the festival.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said his office is examining the decision of the local Egyptian court and, if necessary, will approach the Egyptian authorities about the issue and stress the importance of freedom of worship.
Bullet smashes through window at Paris synagogue
Earlier this month, France was rocked by a rape of a Jewish woman in an anti-Semitic attack. In what President Francois Hollande described as an “unbearable” attack, assailants stormed the flat of a young couple, raping the woman and stealing jewelry and bank cards on December 3. That attack also drew fierce criticism from Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who said the fight against anti-Semitism must be “a national cause.”
December 23, 2013
Times of Israel
By JTA and Marissa Newman
A bullet fired from an air gun crashed through a window of a Paris synagogue’s office. The rabbi and his assistant were in the David Ben Ichay Synagogue in Belleville, in the northeastern section of the French capital, when the bullet was fired on Monday night. Nobody was injured in the attack. French police arrested a suspect, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Tuesday night. It said the shooting took place during evening prayers.
Two suspects were seen outside the synagogue about 10 minutes before the attack, the JSSNews website reported earlier.
Police found a bullet hole in the office windowpane, Israel Radio said.
Surveillance cameras did not provide much information on the incident, according to the website. It was unclear whether the shots originated from the street or a nearby building.
The Bureau for National Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, condemned what it called the “anti-Semitic assault on a place of worship in Paris.” The watchdog group has made a public call for “everything to be done to identify and question the anti-Jewish criminals.”
Earlier Monday, a motorist had rammed his vehicle into a crowd in western France shouting “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is greatest.” On Sunday, in a similar attack, a driver in eastern France had shouted “This is in the name of the children of Palestine” while slamming into a Christmas market crowd.