* Chavez’s Christmas speech: Jews own all the gold and water, the “good lands” and the petrol
* UK chief rabbi: A “tsunami of anti-Semitism” threatens parts of world
1. Chavez makes anti-Semitic Christmas speech
2. UK chief rabbi fears a “tsunami of anti-Semitism” across much of the world
3. BBC: Israeli roadblocks would stop Jesus’ parents reaching Bethlehem
4. Israeli readers’ reaction to the BBC
5. Norway’s Israel boycott
6. London mayor Livingstone hosts Chanukah event
7. “Chief Rabbi warns of anti-Semitic ‘tsunami’” (Sunday Telegraph, Jan. 1, 2006)
8. “BBC: Jesus’ parents would get stuck in roadblock” (Ynetnews, Dec. 25, 2005)
9. “Norway: Parliament shuns Israeli products” (Ynetnews, Dec. 22, 2005)
10. “Mayor hosts Chanukah event” (London Jewish News, Dec. 29, 2005)
[Note by Tom Gross]
CHAVEZ MAKES ANTI-SEMITIC CHRISTMAS SPEECH
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced in a Christmas speech that “the descendants of those who crucified Christ” have appropriated the riches of the world.
Speaking at a rehabilitation center on December 24, the controversial left-wing president said “the descendants of those who crucified Christ... have taken ownership of the riches of the world, a minority has taken ownership of the gold of the world, the silver, the minerals, water, the good lands, petrol, well, the riches, and they have concentrated the riches in a small number of hands.”
For Spanish speakers on this list, the full speech can be found at
(The remarks about Jews are on page 18.)
UK CHIEF RABBI FEARS A “TSUNAMI OF ANTI-SEMITISM” ACROSS MUCH OF WORLD
In an interview with BBC Radio yesterday to mark the Christian New Year, Britain’s normally mild-mannered chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, warned that a “tsunami of anti-Semitism” is threatening to engulf many parts of the world. Dr Sacks said he was “very scared” by the rise in anti-Jewish feeling, which had led to Holocaust denial, attacks on synagogues and a boycott of Jewish groups on university campuses.
Among British concerns, he cited the fact that since 2002, Jewish student groups on 17 British campuses have faced the threat of expulsion from fellow students who claim to merely be anti-Israeli rather than anti-Semitic. Dr Sacks said attempts to “silence and even ban” Jewish student groups were “quite extraordinary” because most of Britain’s 350,000 Jews regarded themselves primarily as “British citizens”.
Sacks added: “If, God forbid, one could imagine a world in which the state of Israel did not exist and, I repeat, God forbid, then not one of the world’s conflicts would be changed by one millimeter – there would still be conflict in Chechnya, in Ossetia, in Indonesia, in the Philippines. So to make this [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict – where the two sides have worked now for 12 years in a process of peace – the epicenter of global politics is not merely wrong … but it is also quite troubling.”
BBC: JESUS’ PARENTS WOULD GET STUCK IN ISRAELI ROADBLOCK
In a broadcast just before Christmas, the BBC claimed that the historical trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem made by Jesus’ parents, Joseph and Mary, would have been rendered impossible today, due to Israeli army restrictions.
Israel’s highest circulation newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, said that the report by BBC correspondent Matthew Price brought the already shaky relations between the BBC and Israel to “a new low.”
An Israeli Foreign Ministry official said: “This is one of the most dreadful stories ever broadcasted by the BBC, adding that they plan to officially protest the report to the channel’s heads.”
A previous dispatch on this list titled BBC: How the Israelis have stolen Christmas
(March 4, 2003), illustrated how in December 2002, BBC correspondent Orla Guerin reported from Bethlehem on how “the Israelis have stolen Christmas”. In her report there was no mention of the Palestinian terrorists who had occupied the Church of the Nativity earlier that month and no context given to Israel’s actions.
ISRAELI READERS’ REACTION TO THE BBC
The story last week about Jesus’ parents generated many comments made by readers to Yediot Ahronot. Here are some of them:
“What the BBC doesn’t tell us is that Jesus’ parents would have been murdered by Palestinian groups just like any Jews would have if they went into PA-occupied areas.”
“Jesus’s parents would have been kicked out of Bethlehem as illegal Jewish settlers. And Jesus would never have been born there.”
“The BBC does this every Christmas… yammering on about how bad Israel is and how they can’t go and worship Jesus. Wait until Hamas take over Bethlehem, then we’ll see how much they truly miss Bethlehem.”
“Why is the BBC tolerated in Israel? Is there some reason why the BBC and its correspondents are accredited and allowed to work in Israel? The damage they do is enormous. They need to be kicked out and the reasons for their expulsion need to be widely publicized. Israel has no obligation to cooperate in anti-Israel propaganda. This is not freedom of the press. A standard of fairness should be applied to all foreign media working in Israel as part of the accreditation process.”
For more on the BBC see Living in a Bubble: The BBC’s very own Mideast foreign policy
NORWAY’S ISRAEL BOYCOTT
Three days before Christmas, the Norwegian Provincial Government of Sor-Trondelag voted to boycott Israeli products in protest at “Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.”
The boycott is in violation of the freedom of commerce provisions of the World Trade Organization.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a statement saying the resolution to boycott Israeli products was “an act of anti-Semitism in the spirit of Hitler’s ‘Don’t buy from Jews’ campaign of the 1930s.”
The Anti-Defamation League condemned the ruling, saying the “decision only serves to exacerbate tensions and ill-will.”
Norway had a particularly shameful collaborationist history against Jews in the past under its own pro-Nazi leader, Vidkun Quisling.
For more on Norway please see the dispatch (1) Norway school bans Star of David (2) Norwegian says she infiltrated the Mossad
(Oct. 25, 2005).
KEN LIVINGSTONE HOSTS CHANUKAH EVENT
Several politicians have expressed cynicism over London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s late decision to host a menorah-lighting ceremony at London’s City Hall. The mayor said he hoped the event would become an annual one to mark the importance of the Jewish community to London.
But a number of observers questioned Livingstone’s motives given his ongoing tribunal over his “Nazi slur” row. Councillor Brian Gordon said: “After all the hostility Livingstone has shown towards Israel and the Jewish community his sudden desire to celebrate Chanukah sounds to me like an absolute farce.”
Liverpool MP Louise Ellman said of her party colleague: “I welcome this recognition of Chanukah but it is no substitute for making a proper apology for offence he has given previously.”
The final article below, on this subject, is a follow up to a number of recent dispatches on Livingstone. The last of which was London Mayor Ken Livingstone may be Jewish: ‘I could be a self-hater, couldn’t I?’
(Nov. 30, 2005).
I attach four articles below.
-- Tom Gross
“A TSUNAMI OF ANTI-SEMITISM”
Chief Rabbi warns of anti-Semitic ‘tsunami’
By Chris Hastings, Arts Correspondent
The Sunday Telegraph
January 1, 2006
Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, fears that a “tsunami of anti-Semitism” is threatening to engulf parts of the world.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme, to be broadcast today, Dr Sacks admitted he was “very scared” by the rise in anti-Jewish feeling, which had led to Holocaust denial, attacks on synagogues and a boycott of Jewish groups on university campuses.
He said: “I am very scared by [it] and I’m very scared that more protests have not been delivered against it, but this [anti-Semitism] is part of the vocabulary of politics in certain parts of the world.”
Figures produced by the London-based Community Security Trust and the Israeli government show that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Britain. The trust recorded 532 anti-Semitic incidents in 2004, including 83 physical assaults.
Meanwhile, some groups opposed to Israeli government policy have organised boycotts of Jewish academics and student groups. Since 2002, Jewish student groups on 17 British campuses have faced the threat of expulsion from fellow students opposed to Israeli action.
In April, the Association of University Teachers became the latest in a line of academic bodies to announce action against Israel. It declared a boycott of two Israeli universities at the request of Palestinian leaders, but later changed its mind after widespread condemnation.
Dr Sacks said attempts to “silence and even ban” Jewish student groups were “quite extraordinary” because most of Britain’s 350,000 Jews regarded themselves primarily as “British citizens”.
He continued: “If, God forbid, one could imagine a world in which the state of Israel did not exist and, I repeat, God forbid, then not one of the world’s conflicts would be changed by one millimetre - there would still be conflict in Chechnya, in Ossetia, in Indonesia, in the Philippines. So to make this [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict - where the two sides have worked now for 12 years in a process of peace - the epicentre of global politics is not merely wrong … but it is also quite troubling.”
He said that while the Jewish experience in Britain was in general a “real cause for celebration”, British Jews were experiencing a globalised anti-Semitism through satellite television, the internet and e-mail. He was also worried by the strength of anti-Jewish feeling in some European states including France.
“A number of my rabbinical colleagues throughout Europe have been assaulted and attacked on the streets. We’ve had synagogues desecrated. We’ve had Jewish schools burnt to the ground - not here but in France … So it’s the kind of feeling that you don’t know what’s going to happen next, and that is making some European Jewish communities feel uncomfortable.”
Dr Sacks, who was being interviewed to mark the 350th anniversary of the re-entry of Jews to England, said he hoped that the Jewish voice would become more “articulate” over the coming year.
BBC: JESUS’ PARENTS WOULD GET STUCK IN ISRAELI ROADBLOCK
BBC: Jesus’ parents would get stuck in roadblock
British TV channel broadcast this week claims Jesus’ parents’ historical trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem would have been rendered impossible today, due to IDF restrictions. Israel Foreign Ministry outraged
By Itamar Eichner
December 25, 2005
Had Jesus’ parents Joseph and Mary tried to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem nowadays, they would find it to be a near impossible task due to the IDF roadblocks and the West Bank security fence, a BBC reporter claimed in a televised broadcast this week.
The news story, by BBC correspondent in Israel Matthew Price, has brought the already shaky relations between the U.K. television channel and Israel to a new low, Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday.
In the report, Price reenacted Joseph and Mary’s historical route from Nazareth to Bethlehem, by accompanying an Israeli-Arab Nazareth carpenter, who will be forced to skip his annual visit to Bethlehem on Christmas this year, due to the army’s traffic restrictions and the exhausting effort entailed in crossing the IDF roadblocks.
Today, Nazareth and Bethlehem are two separate worlds, Price claimed in the broadcast, describing the ‘reminders to the Israeli occupation’ evident throughout the route archeologist say was taken by Jesus’ parents in their trip.
In the section of the report dedicated to Jerusalem, Price called the capital “a town of suicides,” and a place of old and new walls.
As expected, the report spurred outrage in the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.
This is one of the most dreadful stories ever broadcasted by the BBC, Foreign Ministry sources said, adding that they plan to officially protest the report to the channel’s heads.
“The story is filled with Christian and religious elements, and it unequivocally states that Israel prevents free passage to Bethlehem,” a ministry source said.
NORWEGIAN REGIONAL PARLIAMENT SHUNS ISRAELI PRODUCTS
Norway: Parliament shuns Israeli products
A regional parliament has ruled to boycott Israeli products in protest of ‘Israel’s oppression of Palestinians’; ADL condemns ruling, says ‘decision only serves to exacerbate tensions and ill-will’
By Eytan Amit
December 22, 2005
The Norwegian parliament in the Sor-Trondelag region ruled Saturday to boycott products made in Israel and to forbid the sale and purchase of Israeli goods.
It is estimated that the decision, determined by a parliamentary vote, was made due to Norway’s stance that Israel oppresses the Palestinians.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) strongly condemned the ruling Wednesday, saying that “this decision does nothing to promote Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, but only serves to exacerbate tensions and ill-will.”
“It is shocking and ironic that this one-sided boycott effort comes at a time when Israel is making a series of dramatic steps toward peace, including the recent withdrawal from Gaza,” ADL Director Abraham Foxman said in a press release following the incident.
In a letter to Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S. Knut Vollebaek, the ADL expressed concern over the bias stance taken by the regional parliament in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Boycotts against Israel are predicated on odious comparisons to apartheid-era South Africa,” the letter said. “It is our sincere hope that the Norwegian government will condemn this unjust decision and take necessary measures to secure its reversal.”
KEN LIVINGSTONE HOSTS CHANUKAH EVENT
Mayor hosts Chanukah event
By Alex Sholem
London Jewish News
December 29, 2005
Community leaders and politicians this week expressed cynicism over Mayor Ken Livingstone’s late decision to host a menorah-lighting ceremony at City Hall.
The Mayor said he hoped the event, which took place yesterday, would become an annual one to mark the importance of the Jewish community to London.
But a number of observers questioned Livingstone’s motives given his often troubled relationship with the Anglo-Jewry and the ongoing tribunal over his “nazi slur” row with Jewish journalist Oliver Finegold.
The event was organised in conjunction with Chabad House Hendon. Director Rabbi Gershon Overlander, who was due to speak at the event, was unavailable for comment.
Livingstone, who must wait until next month to find out if he will face punishment over his comments to Finegold, said: “Jewish people have made a vast contribution to freedom of religion and cultural expression in this city over many centuries. In recognition of this, I intend this to be an annual event at City Hall.”
But City Hall rival, Conservative GLA Member for Barnet and Camden Brian Coleman, who like many of those we contacted was unaware of the Mayor’s plans, said he was “suspicious of the timing of event”.
He added: “Perhaps he will take the opportunity of chanukah to issue an apology for his remark earlier this year.”
Councillor Brian Gordon, who represents Hale ward in Barnet, said: “After all the hostility Livingstone has shown towards Israel and the Jewish community his sudden desire to celebrate Chanukah sounds to me like an absolute farce. I have not received an invitation and if I did I know what I would do with it.”
Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman said of her party colleague: “I welcome this recognition of Chanukah but it is no substitute for making a proper apology for offence he has given previously.”
Lee Scott, Conservative MP for Ilford North, told Jewish News: “I would very much like Mr Livingstone to apologise to the community for his comment to the reporter but I welcome this gesture.”
There were mixed views, meanwhile, from London’s religious figures. Former Stanmore United Synagogue minister, Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen, said he hoped the ceremony would mark “a new and very welcome objectivity on the mayor’s part”, adding: “I am a passionate believer in penitence”.
But Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue’s Rabbi Reuven Livingstone had greater reservations, saying the ceremony had to be seen in the context of his “difficult relations with the Jewish community”.
He added: “Frankly I am sceptical that a man who hosts the rather nefarious Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and refuses to apologise for his gross insult to our community, could be a friend of Jews. Unfortunately, for most Jews the Mayor appears to be far better at generating heat than light.”
Livingstone faces a charge of having brought his office into disrepute after branding Evening Standard journalist Finegold a “concentration camp guard”. He could receive several possible punishments when the Adjudication Panel for England hearing reconvenes in January, including a ban from public office of up to five years.