France to ban “revolting” anti-Semitic TV broadcasts; and other reports

February 02, 2004

CONTENTS

1. The Guardian covers Anne Frank House 'Sharon and Hitler' exhibit
2. French Prime Minister on Sat night: France will ban anti-Semitic television broadcasts from Middle East satellite operators because he says they are "unbearable to watch" and "revolting"
3. In Poland, a new floating art exhibit is very different from the Swedish one
4. In a rare move, a leading Saudi cleric yesterday called on Muslims around the world to forsake terrorism
5. Latest Arab media conspiracy theory: Israel planning to settle 150,000 Jews in northern Iraq



[Note by Tom Gross]

JEREMIAH DUGGAN FOLLOW-UP

This is a follow-up to the dispatches:
1. Inquest opens tomorrow into the death of Jeremiah Duggan (November 3, 2003).
2. Jeremiah Duggan: it was "no suicide" (November 6, 2003).

There will finally be TV news coverage in Britain, tomorrow (February 3, 2004), on the 6 pm BBC1 news and on BBC2 "Newsnight" at 10:30 pm, regarding Jeremiah Duggan. Duggan was a young British Jew who died in Germany in March 2003, possibly murdered in an anti-Semitic hate crime by extreme rightists following an anti-Iraq war rally.

For almost a year, the German authorities have refused to investigate the case, declaring it a "suicide". In November 2003, following an investigation in London, a British coroner ruled that there was nothing to suggest suicide, and that Jeremiah had been subjected to "a state of terror" before his death, and called on the German police to investigate, which they have not done.

Jeremiah's mother, Erica, is a Kindertransport Holocaust survivor, and a long-time subscriber to this email list. (Journalists on this list who want to interview Mrs. Duggan, or others who wish to contribute to her legal and campaigning costs, can email me at tomgross100@yahoo.com for her details.)

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

I attach summaries of five articles, followed by the articles in full.

1. "Israeli anger at Frank exhibit" (The Guardian, January 31, 2004). [This is a follow-up to the dispatch of January 29, 2004 titled Sharon and Hitler share space at Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, and it is to the Guardian's credit that they are one of the few international papers to have covered this.]

"... Natan Sharansky, a minister in Mr Sharon's cabinet, said it was further evidence of anti-semitism in Europe. "When at the home of Anne Frank, one of the archetypal symbols of the tragedy of the Jewish people, Hitler, is compared to prime minister Ariel Sharon, it is not a debate on freedom of expression. It is showing contempt for the memory of the 6 million who were murdered in the Holocaust."

A museum spokeswoman said: "The exhibit the Israelis object to is about the present-day manifestation of anti-semitism. "It includes video footage of a demonstration against Israel in Amsterdam in April 2002 at which some people carried banners that had pictures of Hitler and Sharon and asked the question, 'Do you see a difference, because we don't?'" ... Mr Sharansky said Anne Frank's house was the wrong place to show such pictures, whatever the intent.

2. "In Poland, floating art exhibit is testament to Jewish history" (By Ruth Ellen Gruber, JTA, January 25).

[This is a follow-up to three different dispatches last month concerning a Swedish-government sponsored exhibition glorifying a suicide bomber prepared by an artist widely-described as a self-hating Israeli. It also illustrates how anti-Semitism today is more prevalent in western "Old" Europe than, in eastern "New" Europe -- TG]

"A floating art installation by a Polish artist in a former synagogue provides a dramatic counterpoint to the now-infamous installation in Stockholm about a Palestinian suicide bomber. Israel's ambassador to Sweden made headlines earlier this month by unplugging an artwork that featured a portrait of Palestinian suicide bomber Hanadai Jaradet floating in a white boat in a basin of blood-red water. In the western Polish city of Poznan, however, artist Janusz Marciniak made far different use of a symbolic watery backdrop for an installation symbolizing Jewish loss, hope and renewal. Marciniak shaped 600 burning memorial candles into a huge Star of David and set it floating on the surface of the pool located in Poznan's former synagogue. The work was presented January 15 during the annual "Days of Judaism" initiative sponsored by the Roman Catholic church." [Full article below]

3. "France to curb anti-Jewish Arab TV broadcasts" (Reuters, February 1, 2004). [This is a follow-up to several dispatches on France, the most recent of which was: "Fury at French comic 'Heil Israel' jibe," December 8, 2003.]

"France will soon pass a law to curb anti-Semitic television broadcasts coming from the Middle East and fine satellite operators who distribute anti-Jewish programmes, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said on Saturday. Raffarin told the annual dinner of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) that he and several cabinet ministers had seen some of these broadcasts and found them "unbearable to watch (and) revolting." This followed an appeal by CRIF President Roger Cukierman to block anti-Semitic broadcasts from the Middle East, which officials here say encourage Muslim youths in France to attack Jews to take revenge for Israeli policy against the Palestinians.

"... Cukierman said satellite television broadcasters had beamed into France Egyptian and Syrian programmes based on the 19th-century Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious forgery purporting to show Jewish plots to dominate the world. "The Al Manar station, which belongs to Hezbollah, broadcasts from Lebanon unbearable scenes... one sees actors disguised as Jews who slit the throat of a non-Jewish child and collect in a saucer blood supposedly meant for their unleavened bread," he said.

4. "Top cleric denounces terror. Saudi addresses Muslim pilgrims" (Associated Press, February 1, 2004). "Saudi Arabia's top cleric called on Muslims around the world yesterday to forsake terrorism, saying those who claim to be holy warriors were an affront to the faith. In a sermon that was remarkable not only for its strong language but also its timing at the peak of the annual hajj Sheik Abdul Aziz al-Sheik told 2 million pilgrims that terrorists were giving their enemies an excuse to criticize Muslim nations... A large number of the victims of suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, and elsewhere have been Muslims." [TG adds: Reuters makes no specific reference to Israel in its report. It does however use the word terrorist in this article, which it almost never does in respect to terrorism carried out by Palestinians in Israel.]

5. "Israel taking Turkish help for settling Jews in Iraq" (Khaleej Times Online, January 28, 2004). [I attach this an example of the kind of conspiracy theory rife in Islamic news media.]

"... reports said that the cooperation between Turkish businessmen and Israeli businessmen was met with reservation in the Turkish community after revelations that Israel was involved in intelligence activities in northern Iraq and also in buying lands owned by Arabs and Turkmans in Kirkuk. The sources revealed that Israel was planning to settle 150,000 Jews in Kurdish areas in north of Iraq and as well setting up financial foundations to finance buying the lands."



FULL ARTICLES

ISRAELI ANGER AT ANNE FRANK EXHIBIT

Israeli anger at Frank exhibit
By Chris McGreal
The Guardian
January 31, 2004

Israel has demanded the removal of a "horrifying" exhibit at the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam that includes caricatures comparing Ariel Sharon to Adolf Hitler. The museum has defended the exhibit, saying it is intended to explore the limits of free speech and includes criticism of the caricatures, which appear in video footage of a demonstration against Israel.

"It is a horrifying exhibition," said Israel's president, Moshe Katzav. "The attempt to attribute to Israel's leaders acts which contravene humanitarian values is a distortion and is offensive."

Natan Sharansky, a minister in Mr Sharon's cabinet, said it was further evidence of anti-semitism in Europe. "When at the home of Anne Frank, one of the archetypal symbols of the tragedy of the Jewish people, Hitler, is compared to prime minister Ariel Sharon, it is not a debate on freedom of expression. It is showing contempt for the memory of the 6 million who were murdered in the Holocaust," he said.

A museum spokeswoman said: "The exhibit the Israelis object to is about the present-day manifestation of anti-semitism.

"It includes video footage of a demonstration against Israel in Amsterdam in April 2002 at which some people carried banners that had pictures of Hitler and Sharon and asked the question, 'Do you see a difference, because we don't?'"

The video is shown on a split screen. On the other side is criticism of the banners and other aspects of the demonstration from, among others, Amsterdam's mayor.

"We have used the video to highlight present-day anti-semitism and to ask the question: is this too much freedom of speech?" the spokeswoman said. "It is for the visitor to decide the answer but we categorically reject any comparison between Sharon and Hitler."

Told of this explanation yesterday, an aide to Mr Sharansky said Anne Frank's house was the wrong place to show such pictures, whatever the intent.

 

IN POLAND, FLOATING ART EXHIBIT IS TESTAMENT TO JEWISH HISTORY

A floating art installation by artist Janusz Marcianiak is set up in a Poznan, Poland, pool.

In Poland, floating art exhibit is testament to Jewish history
By Ruth Ellen Gruber
Jewish Telegraph Agency
January 25, 2004

A floating art installation by a Polish artist in a former synagogue provides a dramatic counterpoint to the now-infamous installation in Stockholm about a Palestinian suicide bomber.

Israel's ambassador to Sweden made headlines earlier this month by unplugging an artwork that featured a portrait of Palestinian suicide bomber Hanadai Jaradet floating in a white boat in a basin of blood-red water.

In the western Polish city of Poznan, however, artist Janusz Marciniak made far different use of a symbolic watery backdrop for an installation symbolizing Jewish loss, hope and renewal.

Marciniak shaped 600 burning memorial candles into a huge Star of David and set it floating on the surface of the pool located in Poznan's former synagogue.

Called "Atlantis," the work was presented Jan. 15 during the annual "Days of Judaism" initiative sponsored by the Roman Catholic church. The Poznan ceremony was the central event among a number of related initiatives around the country.

The glowing Star of David floated on the water, creating eerie shadows and echoes in the darkened hall.

Some 600 people, most of them holding blue torch lights, crowded into the once-grandiose structure that was turned into a swimming pool by the Nazis.

Organizers ran out of torches and had to turn people away for lack of space.

Catholic officials and Warsaw Rabbi Michael Schudrich gave speeches, followed by a concert by the Poznan University Choir which included Hatikvah, the Yiddish song "Papirossen," the Eric Clapton song "Tears in Heaven" and other pieces reflecting hopeful themes.

At the end of the ceremony, Poznan's small Jewish community placed a commemorative plaque on the synagogue wall.

"It was really a fantastic atmosphere, which was enhanced by the wonderful acoustics of the building," Marciniak told JTA by telephone. "For me, it was an unforgettable experience."

Marciniak, who is not Jewish, said he sought to convey a deeply symbolic meaning by creating the star with yahrzeit candles and setting it adrift in a building whose history reflects the tragedy of the Shoah.

Jews arrived in Poznan in the 14th century, if not earlier. The community numbered about 1,500 on the eve of World War II. Today, there are several dozen Jews in the city.

The synagogue was built as a grandiose domed structure a century ago, when Poznan was part of Germany. It was turned into a swimming pool by Nazi occupiers, who sheared off the dome and eliminated Jewish symbols and ornamentation.

Some 3.5 million Jews lived in Poland before World War II and 3 million were murdered in the Holocaust. Under the postwar Communist regime, knowledge and discussion of Jewish history, culture and religion were suppressed.

When taboos against investigating the Polish Jewish past began to be lifted more than two decades ago, many Poles compared their discovery of prewar Jewish culture and history to the discovery of Atlantis, a mythical sunken world.

Atlantis "is the symbol of a destroyed civilization, like the destroyed world of the Jews in Poland," Marciniak said.

The water in the pool built by the Nazis represented the attempt to drown memory, he said.

"The swimming pool in the synagogue isn't a metaphor but a fact," Marciniak said. "With my installation, I tried to create a moment of mood and reflection. I was motivated by sympathy and ethics, not by ideology."

Marciniak, whose installation was accompanied by an exhibition of paintings inspired by Jewish memory, also has written about the Jewish experience in Poland.

He said his interest in dealing artistically with the memory of Polish Jewry is rooted in his childhood, when he lived near the site of a devastated Jewish cemetery.

"I used to see bones in the sand there," he said.

Lena Stanley-Clamp, director of the London-based European Association for Jewish Culture, said the idea of a re-emerging Atlantis permeated Jewish-themed art in former Communist Europe.

"We are talking about submerged Jewish culture," Stanley-Clamp, herself a Polish-born Jew, told JTA by telephone.

"We are seeing examples all over the region of efforts by artists like Marciniak, who are inspired by submerged Jewish culture and employ memory and exploration of this drowned world to create new art."

 

FRANCE TO CURB ANTI-JEWISH ARAB TV BROADCASTS

France to curb anti-Jewish Arab TV broadcasts
By Tom Heneghan
Reuters
February 1, 2004

France will soon pass a law to curb anti-Semitic television broadcasts coming from the Middle East and fine satellite operators who distribute anti-Jewish programmes, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said on Saturday.

Raffarin told the annual dinner of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) that he and several cabinet ministers had seen some of these broadcasts and found them "unbearable to watch (and) revolting."

This followed an appeal by CRIF President Roger Cukierman to block anti-Semitic broadcasts from the Middle East, which officials here say encourage Muslim youths in France to attack Jews to take revenge for Israeli policy against the Palestinians.

"I believe deeply that our struggle against hate must take on a new dimension," Raffarin said as he announced the government would submit a bill to parliament to enable French judges to stop a satellite station that broadcasts anti-Semitic material.

He said the law would force satellite operators to inform Paris which stations they carried and threaten them with fines if they transmitted provocative broadcasts.

Satellite television is widely watched in the poor suburbs around French cities where most recent anti-Semitic attacks have occured.

Cukierman said: "We see that messages of anti-Jewish hate are invading the air waves. Day after day, they reach households in our cities and suburbs thanks to satellite dishes."

He said satellite television broadcasters had beamed into France Egyptian and Syrian programmes based on the 19th-century Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious forgery purporting to show Jewish plots to dominate the world.

"The Al Manar station, which belongs to Hezbollah, broadcasts from Lebanon unbearable scenes... one sees actors disguised as Jews who slit the throat of a non-Jewish child and collect in a saucer blood supposedly meant for their unleavened bread," he said.

Cukierman said France's 600,000 Jews were living "a period of malaise" and asked what their future would be.

"The anti-Jewish climate is spreading at schools and universities, across the whole country. Even small Jewish children have become victims."

He indirectly supported the government's plan to ban religious symbols from state schools, including the Jewish skullcap, to ensure that schools remained oases of neutrality where religious activists could not press their views on others.

He also urged the government to ban the Party of French Muslims, an openly anti-Zionist group whose leader Mohamed Latreche is now being investigated for a speech at a recent protest march that Jewish leaders denounced as anti-Semitic.

 

TOP SAUDI CLERIC DENOUNCES TERRORISM

Top cleric denounces terror
Saudi addresses Muslim pilgrims
By Rawya Rageh
The Associated Press
February 1, 2004

Saudi Arabia's top cleric called on Muslims around the world yesterday to forsake terrorism, saying those who claim to be holy warriors were an affront to the faith.

In a sermon that was remarkable not only for its strong language but also its timing at the peak of the annual hajj Sheik Abdul Aziz al-Sheik told 2 million pilgrims that terrorists were giving their enemies an excuse to criticize Muslim nations.

"Is it holy war to shed Muslim blood? Is it holy war to shed the blood of non-Muslims given sanctuary in Muslim lands? Is it holy war to destroy the possession of Muslims?" he said.

A large number of the victims of suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, and elsewhere have been Muslims.

Sheik, who is respected in the Arab world as the foremost cleric in the country considered the birthplace of Islam, spoke at Namira Mosque, a televised sermon watched by millions of Muslims in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

The mosque is close to Mount Arafat, where the pilgrims converged yesterday for the climax of their annual trek. This year's hajj has been carried out amid heightened security after a year of terror attacks in the kingdom.

In speaking of terrorists who killed fellow Muslims, Sheik was clearly referring to the Prophet Muhammad's final sermon, delivered on Mount Arafat 14 centuries ago.

It contained the line: "Know that every Muslim is a Muslim's brother, and the Muslims are brethren. Fighting between them should be avoided."

Sheik also criticized the international community, accusing it of attacking Wahhabism, the sect whose strict interpretation of Islam is followed in Saudi Arabia. "This country is based on this religion and will remain steadfast on it," he said.

"Islam forbids all forms of injustice, killing without just cause, treachery,... hijacking of planes, boats, and transportation means," he said. The Saudi government conducted a crackdown on extremist groups after suicide bombers attacked housing compounds inhabited by foreigners last May. Saudi and US officials blamed the attack, and a similar suicide bombing in November, on groups linked to Al Qaida, which is led by the Saudi-born Osama bin Laden.

 

ANOTHER WILD CONSPIRACY THEORY

Israel taking Turkish help for settling Jews in Iraq
Khaleej Times Online
January 28, 2004

A Turkish official sources said that delegation of Israeli businessmen will pay a visit to Turkey on February 18 this year to hold negotiations with Turkish businessmen. The Turkish-Israeli Economic Forum will hold it's meeting on February 18 to 19.

Releasing a statement, the Ankara World Trade Centre said that Israeli businessmen would come to Turkey as their guests, and hold talks with Turkish firms. The Israeli delegation will aim to sign trade contracts with Turkey and to set up joint ventures with Turkish firms in markets of other countries such as Iraq.

Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Pinhas Avivi and high-level officials from Treasury and Foreign Trade Undersecretaries are expected to attend the forum.

Meanwhile reports said that the cooperation between Turkish businessmen and Israeli businessmen was met with reservation in the Turkish community after revelations that Israel was involved in intelligence activities in northern Iraq and also in buying lands owned by Arabs and Turkmans in Kirkuk.

The sources revealed that Israel was planning to settle 150,000 Jews in Kurdish areas in north of Iraq and as well setting up financial foundations to finance buying the lands.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.