Spate of anti-Jewish, anti-Israel graffiti blankets Rome


Italian police are investigating a widespread spate of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel graffiti in Rome that local media speculate could be the joint work of left-wing and right-wing extremists.

Dozens of swastikas, slogans and posters were found spray-painted or plastered on walls and shop windows Monday in various parts of the city — as many as 70 or more in all.

They included slogans such as “Dirty Jews,” “Jews your end is near,” “Out with Zionists” and “Israel executioner.”

Some posters bore a swastika and the phrase “Anne Frank storyteller.” Other posters, apparently put up by a neo-fascist group, showed a Celtic cross and a Palestinian throwing a rock at an Israeli tank.

Jewish leaders, and local and state officials, strongly condemned the vandalism.

Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino called the affair shameful and “an insult to all Romans.” He expressed solidarity with the Jewish community, saying “Rome wants and must be the capital of dialogue and peace, and not the terrain of barbarism.” Interior Minister Angelino Alfano promised “maximum” efforts by law enforcement to identify the culprits and curb further outbreaks.

Yad Vashem hit with anti-Israel, anti-Semitic graffiti


Vandals spray painted anti-Israel and anti-Semitic graffiti at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.

The slogans written in Hebrew, including “Hitler, thank you for the Holocaust,” “If Hitler did not exist, the Zionists would have invented him,” and “The war of the Zionist regime is not the war of the Jewish people,” were mostly found at the entrance to the museum and concentrated near the Warsaw Ghetto Square and the memorial to the deportees.

Police reportedly believe that haredi Jewish extremists, who are opposed to the state of Israel, believing that it should not be established until the arrival of the Messiah, are responsible for the crime, which occurred early Monday morning.

Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev, who is a Holocaust survivor, called the vandalism a “blatant act of hatred of Israel and Zionism,” and said that it “crosses a red line.”

Suspect arrested in Peace Now bomb threat


Jerusalem police arrested a suspect in the vandalism and bomb threat at the city’s offices of Peace Now.

The suspect—a 21-year-old from Mevasseret Zion, a Jerusalem neighborhood—had been arrested previously for threatening the head of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, and is believed to have been involved in other acts of vandalism, according to Ynet.

On Sunday evening, police evacuated the two-story building housing the Jerusalem offices of Peace Now after a man speaking into the building’s intercom system reportedly said that the building would soon blow up.

The words “price tag” were discovered spray-painted on the side of the building the same evening. A Star of David had been spray-painted on the building a few days ago.

Price tag refers to the strategy that extremist settlers have adopted to exact a price in attacks on Palestinians and Arabs in retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or for Palestinian attacks on Jews.

Police also are investigating whether the suspect was involved in the attack Monday night on the home of Hagit Ofran, the director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project. Graffiti painted on her building and in the stairwell included swastikas and the words “Rabin is waiting for you,” referring to the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that took place in November 1995. Other epithets referred to the recent razing of structures in two West Bank outposts.

Pink Floyd’s Waters Caught Red-Handed


“No thought control.”

The famed lyrics from rock band Pink Floyd’s much beloved “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2” make for a powerful statement regardless of context. Scrawled last week in red paint on a concrete segment of Israel’s security fence in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem by Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters himself, though, the poignancy of the verse is undeniable.

Waters visited Israel to play a concert June 22 at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam (literally Oasis of Peace), a cooperative Jewish-Palestinian Arab village between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Originally scheduled to perform at the much more mainstream Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, Rogers moved the concert to the fields of Neve Shalom in response to pressure from pro-Palestinian musicians.

“I moved the concert to Neve Shalom as a gesture of solidarity with the voices of reason — Israelis and Palestinians seeking a non-violent path to a just peace between the peoples,” Waters said in a press release.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the concert in its makeshift venue drew more than 50,000 attendees and became the cause of one of Israel’s worst traffic jams to date. Waters performed the album “Dark Side of the Moon” in its entirety, along with many of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits, including “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” “Wish You Were Here” and the especially iconic “Another Brick in the Wall.”

“We need this generation of Israelis to tear down walls and make peace,” Waters told the audience before his post-midnight encore.

Waters’ performance received much acclaim in Israel, but it is his spray-painting stint at the security fence in the West Bank the day before the showcase that is making lasting waves there and abroad. The artist’s paint and pen additions to the already graffiti-laden wall marked Waters’ first stop after arriving in Israel. According to reporters present at the Palestinian town of Bethlehem when he made the markings, Waters likened the barrier to the Berlin Wall, adding that “it may be a lot harder to get this one down, but eventually it has to happen, otherwise there’s no point to being human beings.”

The musician’s deliberately provocative gesture prompted right-wing activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir to call for the artist’s detainment.

The pair submitted an accusation to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court June 23 alleging that Waters destroyed Israel Defense Forces property, according to Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Israeli authorities have not yet issued a response to the singer’s graffiti or to Marzel and Ben-Gvir’s retaliatory petition.

The fence that Waters dubbed “a horrible edifice” is being constructed in the hopes of preventing Palestinian suicide bombers and other attackers, who have killed and wounded hundreds of Israelis in the last six years, from entering Israel proper.

Additional information courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz.

 

Anti-Semitism Takes No Holiday in France


This is the season of le grand départ, when millions of French people leave for their summer vacation. Eighty-four percent of the French population will be going away on holiday this summer, and there are traffic jams hundreds of kilometers long from Paris to the Riviera.

But this year, as the masses pack their bathing suits, say au revoir to their co-workers and squeeze into crowded trains bound for the sea, Jew haters don’t seem to be taking a holiday.

To be fair, French President Jacques Chirac is doing what he can to fight anti-Semitism in France. He has expressed his "horror and dread" at the escalation of anti-Semitic acts.

But while American cyclist Lance Armstrong recently wowed the world by pedaling toward glory in the Tour de France, Chirac is backpedaling, after telling Ariel Sharon he was not welcome in France for calling on French Jews to leave France and come to Israel, because of "unleashed anti-Semitism."

The locals I spoke to in the Jewish quarters of Paris and Nice are tired of the polémique. Though some are leaving for Israel, most French Jews want to remain in France, where they have been for centuries, and they simply want the criminals who are attacking Jews to be caught and prosecuted.

As the temperature rises, so has the number of senseless, angry acts against French Jews. Following is an edited list of hostile acts against Jews in France this year since May 1:

May 1, Créteil: Stones were thrown at the Synagogue du 8 Mai 1945. Also, a rabbi going to synagogue with his son was accosted by two men. He was called a "dirty Jew" and a "dirty Rabbi Jacob." He was hit in the face and the stomach and threatened with death.

May 4, Metz: Two young Jews returning from soccer training were accosted by five young North Africans who yelled anti-Semitic insults and then beat them with iron bars. Two of the attackers were caught by police; one was released.

May 8, Paris, 10th District, Rue Saint-Martin: A young man of Maghrebian origin (the Maghreb consists of the former French colonies of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria in Muslim North Africa) standing with friends yelled anti-Semitic insults at some Jews going into a synagogue. He threw a bottle of beer at them, hitting a Jewish man in the head. The police chased the group but they got away.

May 10, Paris Metro: "Jews-Criminals-Nazis" was scrawled on the walls of a tunnel.

May 12, Aubervilliers: A Jewish man was parking his car near his office, where his brother was waiting for him. A man of Maghrebian origin called the brother a "dirty Jew" and said he would return with his family and 50 friends now that he knew where they worked.

The Jewish man parking his car was beaten and insulted by his attacker, who threatened, "I swear on the Koran of Mecca, I am going to kill you."

May 15, Yerres: "Death to Jews" was written on a car belonging to a Jew. The car has been regularly defaced and its wheels slashed in the garage of the victim’s home.

May 27, Paris, 19th District: Two young Jewish girls were surrounded by 14 boys and girls of North African origin who beat and insulted them.

May 30, Boulogne-Billiancourt: A rabbi’s 16-year-old son was returning home on his scooter with a friend, when a young man called him a "dirty Jew." Five other young men surrounded him, as his friend went for help. The rabbi’s son was beaten and kicked before escaping. He suffered multiple contusions and a broken rib.

June 4, Epinay-sur-Seine: A young man was stabbed in the chest. The assailant, who was waiting for him in front of a yeshiva, screamed "Allah ouakbar" as he attacked him with a butcher knife.

June 6, Paris, 19th District: A woman sitting at an outdoor café was called a "dirty Jew" by a man who punched her in the face and broke her nose.

June 6, Paris, 17th District: A 20-year-old woman walking toward the Metro station was accosted by seven youths of Maghrebian origin. They called her a "dirty Jew," spit on her and threw stones at her head. She escaped but was afraid to file a complaint.

June 7, Charenton-le-Pont: The doors of several apartments belonging to Jewish families were defaced with swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti: "Kill the Jews," "Death to the Jews," "We’re going to kill your race."

June 19, Saint-Ouen: Youths of Maghrebian origin hurled insults at a young Jewish girl walking with her brother. When the brother asked why they were bothering her, he was called a "dirty Jew" and hit behind the ear with a stick. The attacker received six days of detention.

June 27, Paris, Avenue Jean Jaures, 19th District: Two religious Jews and an 8-year-old boy were attacked by two men of Maghrebian origin on a motorcycle who drove onto the sidewalk. They hit the child in the face and chest.

June 29, Paris, Rue de Flandres, 19th District: High school boys leaving school were cut off on the road by a car. The men in the car were armed with sticks that had metal points and attacked the youths. Some of the boys escaped, but one was thrown against a wall and beaten unconscious, while they called him a "dirty Jew." The men fled when one of the boys screamed for help.

July 1, Amiens: Ten swastikas were found on the Rue des Juifs and in several other streets in the village of Arquèves.

July 1, Paris, Rue Buisson, 20th District: Scrawled on the walls of an apartment building was: "Dirty Jews, the whole building wants you to get out."

July 7, Bordeaux: "Kill the Jews" was written on the walls of a shop belonging to a Jewish family.

July 11, Paris, 20th District: A swastika and Star of David were drawn on a residential parking facility.

Aug. 10, Lyon: Vandals spray paint swastikas on 60 Jewish tombstones. The third such attack at the cemetary since May.

The information was supplied by CRIF.org and consistoire.org. The reports are compiled from the Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive, an organization that works with and shares information with the police.