Firm with Nazi past buys 25% of Ha’aretz (& animals recover from Hizbullah)

August 21, 2006

* La Stampa reveals: Hamas terror money came from Italy
* Sophisticated Hizbullah equipment was “British-made”
* Red Cross admits to aiding wounded Hizbullah fighters, even if they returned to fire rockets at Israel



1. Firm with Nazi past buys 25% of Ha’aretz
2. German troops may face Jews
3. Italian foreign minister criticized for a stroll with Hizbullah
4. Leading Norwegian author says Israel has no right to exist
5. Venezuelan Pres. Chavez on Al-Jazeera: Israel uses methods of Hitler
6. Costa Rica to move embassy from Jerusalem
7. A crime to drink tea with Israelis
8. Mahmoud Abbas praises Hizbullah
9. Iranians among Hizbullah combat dead
10. Red Cross admits to aiding wounded Hizbullah fighters
11. Palestinians support Hizbullah
12. Hizbullah hands out cash to Lebanese war victims
13. Israeli zoo animals show signs of stress
14. Post-ceasefire poll: Israel failed to reach its goals
15. Double standards?

[Note by Tom Gross]


The DuMont Schauberg Group, one of Germany’s largest media concerns, has paid $30 million for a 25 percent stake in the Israeli daily newspaper, Ha’aretz. In Nazi times, the publishing house was headed by Kurt DuMont, a member of the Nazi party who was decorated by the Nazi regime.

Ha’aretz was founded in 1919 and purchased 71 years ago by Salman Schocken, a Jewish department store magnate-turned-publisher who fled Nazi Germany for pre-state Israel. Now, his Israeli heirs have sold part of their Ha’aretz newspaper to a German publisher with a Nazi past.

Kurt DuMont’s 78-year-old son, Alfred, the group’s current owner, has no Nazi ties, and shouldn’t be tarred by his father’s deeds, Amos Schocken, Salman’s grandson, told Yediot Ahronot.

The straight equity investment into the Ha’aretz group will be 25 million euros, valuing the company at 100 million euros or $130 million.


Germany may shatter its most enduring postwar taboo by sending troops into Lebanon, where they risk coming into direct conflict with Israelis.

As France continues to back away from its previous commitment made to Israel and the U.S. that it would form the backbone of the expanded UN force in south Lebanon, it looks like Germany may have to send some troops. Any German decision to participate would rank as its most delicate foreign policy move since the Holocaust.

Since then, it has been unthinkable that Germans would put themselves in a combat situation in which their soldiers could shoot at Jews.

France now says it will only send 200 troops towards the 15,000-strong Unifil peacekeeping force. It had previously promised 4,000 troops as a way of getting Israel and the U.S. to agree to an early ceasefire last week. France’s reticence to contribute more troops follows disastrous peacekeeping missions in the past. It lost 58 paratroopers to a Hizbullah suicide bomb attack in Beirut in 1983 and 84 soldiers in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

“We have to do this, not in spite of the Holocaust, but because of it,” Werner Sonne, a leading commentator, said on German state television. “If German troops guard Israel’s borders, they are there to protect Jewish lives. Frankly, there has never been a better reason to bring in soldiers in German uniform.”

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said she was ready to send some 3,000 troops, of whom about 1,000 will be Pioneers with heavy earth-moving equipment to help to rebuild airports and harbors. The navy, already in the eastern Mediterranean on Operation Active Endeavor, would be strengthened with frigates to patrol the coast of Lebanon.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung: “There is at the moment no nation that is behaving in a more friendly way towards Israel than Germany. If Germany can contribute to the security of the Israeli people, that would be a worthwhile task for your country. I would be very happy if Germany participated.”

Other troops are likely to come from Muslim countries such as Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as Italy. Mark Malloch Brown, UN vice-secretary general, said on Friday that the international force that will be deployed in south Lebanon “will be very well equipped but not aggressive.”


A photograph of Italian foreign minister Massimo D’Alema strolling, arm-in-arm with a Hizbullah-linked Lebanese cabinet minister has stirred controversy in Italy, with a spokesman for Rome’s Jewish community condemning the gesture. “It’s incredible that our foreign minister can go arm-in-arm with an enemy, not just of Israel, but of peace,” the spokesman, Riccardo Pacifici, said in an interview published by the Turin-based daily La Stampa.

Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party also criticized the new leftist foreign minister.

La Stampa also reported on 18 and 19 August that Italian magistrates have alleged that Italian sources are funding the military wing of Hamas. Italian anti-terrorism authorities have applied for the arrest of a Jordanian architect of Palestinian origin, who had raised funds which he said were for “the Bethlehem Orphan Care Society and other charitable activities in Palestine,” but, according to the Italian magistrates, “actually ended up directly in the hands of Hamas fighting groups”, the paper reports. Between 2001 and 2004, 4.6m Euros (over $5m) left Italy, which ended up “financing suicide terrorists,” the paper says. Investigators said the money was gathered in Italian mosques.

Among the terrorist’s families awarded with Italian funds, according to La Stampa, was $56,000 which went to the family of August 2001 Sbarro pizzeria massacre in Jerusalem, where 15 people (mainly children) were killed and another $56,000 went to the family of the murderer of 23 people (including schoolchildren), on the number 2 bus in Jerusalem on August 19, 2003.


In an article on August 5, 2006, entitled “God’s chosen people,” in the leading Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, Jostein Gaarder, author of the book “Sophie’s World” (which has been translated into 53 languages and sold 26 million copies), says Israel should be dismantled.

His article compares Israel’s government to the Afghan Taliban regime and South African apartheid, and states, “We no longer recognize the State of Israel” and “the State of Israel in its current form is history.”

“We call child murderers ‘child murderers,’ and will never accept that they have a divine or historic mandate excusing their outrages,” Gaarder writes. “Shame on ethnic cleansing, shame on every terrorist strike against civilians [… by] the State of Israel!”

He added that “the first Zionist terrorists started operating in the days of Jesus.”

The article has triggered thousands of comments and dozens of stormy debates in the Norwegian media, mostly critical of Gaarder’s alleged anti-Semitism.

The Norwegian-Jewish music critic Mona Levin said she was shocked by the Norwegian government’s silence. She blasted the cabinet for not denouncing what she described as “the most appalling thing I’ve read since ‘Mein Kampf.’”

“This is a classic anti-Semitic manifesto, which cannot even disguise itself as criticism of Israel,” said the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University.

Gaarder, Norway’s most famous living writer, denies being anti-Semitic. Aftenposten’s political editor Harald Stanghelle said he saw no problem publishing Gaarder’s article. “Of course I don’t agree with what he says,” he said. “But an open debate on the issue is better than a covert one.

Meanwhile, the furor over Gaarder’s article coincides with a series of anti-Semitic incidents in Norway, including the desecration of an Oslo Synagogue and cemeteries and the assault and battery of a skullcap-wearing teenager.


In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV that aired on August 4, 2006, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expressed his solidarity with the entire Arab people on the occasion of his birthday, stating that his heart “beats along with millions of Arab hearts.” He then said that Israel is “doing what Hitler did to the Jews.”

“My heart is with Al-Jazeera and with its media people, its employees, and its workers. You should continue to serve as an example, and present the truth to the world, because the truth is that you have a role in liberating the world.”

Chavez’s remarks were welcomed in the Arab world, including by so-called moderate countries. For example, this Egyptian website prominently displays a photo (taken by AFP) showing an Egyptian child sent as part of an official Egyptian government delegation to the Venezuelan embassy in Cairo to thank Chavez.

Last month, after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared in Chavez’s presence that the Holocaust was Zionist propaganda, the Venezuelan president embraced the Iranian dictator, calling him a “a true friend and brother.”

For more on Chavez, see Venezuelan President Chavez: “The descendants of the Christ-killers’ control the world” (Jan. 2, 2006).


The president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, announced on Wednesday that his country would transfer its embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

“It is time to maintain friendly ties with the Arab world and the culture of Islam, to which a sixth of humanity belongs,” Arias said at an event marking his first 100 days in office. Arias was the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Arias said that Vice Premier Shimon Peres phoned him on Tuesday and tried to persuade him to change his decision, but he refused.

The Costa Rican leader, however, stressed that there was “no doubt” that Israel had the right to exist and live in peace without the threat of terrorism.

If implemented, the only country to have its embassy in the Israeli capital would be El Salvador. Former Costa Rican President Luis Alberto Monge moved the embassy to Jerusalem in 1982 as a show of support for Israel.


A Lebanese general was arrested Wednesday after a video broadcast on Hizbullah’s Al-Manar television showed him drinking tea with Israeli soldiers last week.

“They came peacefully up to our gate, asking to speak with me by name,” Lebanese Interior Ministry Brig. Gen. Adnan Daoud said. He said the Israeli ranking officer was very polite, and his encounter with them was a pleasant experience

Following the broadcast on Hizbullah’s Al-Manar television, the Lebanese interior ministry ordered that Daoud be arrested. Lebanon does not recognize Israel and forbids its citizens any contact with Israelis.


Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas praised Hizbullah terrorists. He told reporters in Yemen that the Hizbullah war has re-awakened the Arab world with honor and is an example for others to follow.


Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard have been found among Hizbullah guerrillas slain by Israeli forces in southern Lebanon, Israel’s Channel 10 television reported August 9, citing diplomatic sources. It said the Iranians were identified by documents found on their bodies. Iran insists its support for the Shiite guerrilla group is purely moral, and is not financial or practical. Hizbullah, though, admit to receiving arms, training and money from Teheran.

While Iran denies sending Revolutionary Guards, the leading pan-Arab newspaper, the Saudi-owned al-Sharq al-Awsat, reported on July 16, 2006 (in remarks translated exclusively for this website), that the leadership of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had told al-Sharq al-Awsat that 150 to 250 of the IRG’s best trainers had been sent to aid Hizbullah. The paper added that some 3,000 Hizbullah men had taken part in training in Iran during the last two years. It also stated that Iran had equipped 20 Hizbullah bases in the Bekka valley and the Lebanese Israeli border.



The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided medical care to Hizbullah terrorists wounded while fighting against Israel, the Jerusalem Post reports.

“The moment a Hizbullah fighter is injured, he is considered a non-combatant, so we must take care of him,” ICRC spokeswoman Carla Haddad told The Jerusalem Post’s Michael Freund by phone from Geneva. “We are a neutral intermediary and the ICRC has a mandate to intervene.”

Haddad confirmed that ICRC personnel in southern Lebanon, working together with members of the Lebanese Red Cross, had offered medical assistance and other unspecified forms of relief to Hizbullah members hurt on the battlefield.

The Post contacted the ICRC after a photograph appeared in Thursday’s New York Times depicting Red Cross workers assisting wounded members of Hizbullah to cross a makeshift bridge over the Litani River.

Asked if the ICRC would assist wounded Hizbullah fighters even if it meant they would then be able to return immediately to the battle or continue firing rockets at Israel, Haddad replied, “There is nothing wrong with assisting the war wounded.”

The American Red Cross has thus far sent $500,000 to the ICRC for relief activities in Lebanon and an additional $80,000 has been raised.


About 97% of Palestinians say they supported Hizbullah’s war against Israel, according to an opinion poll. This rate went down to 95% among Palestinian Christians.


Hizbullah began handing out bundles of cash on Friday to people whose homes were wrecked by Israeli bombing, consolidating the Iranian-backed group’s support among Lebanon’s Shi’ites and embarrassing the Beirut government, reports Reuters.

“This is a very, very reasonable amount. It is not small,” Ayman Jaber, 27, told Reuters, holding a wad he had just picked up from Hizbullah of $12,000 in banknotes wrapped in tissue.

Israeli and U.S. officials have voiced concern that Hizbullah will entrench its popularity by moving fast, using Iranian oil money, to help people whose homes were destroyed or damaged in the 34-day conflict with Israel. The scheme appears likely to cost at least $150 million. The Lebanese government has yet to launch anything similar.


After 34 days in indoor shelters, many of the animals at the Haifa Zoo are now recovering. Haifa officials moved all the carnivores, bears and monkeys indoors to protect them from Hizbullah rocket strikes. “The baboons got stressed, the lions got fat and we worry the antelopes might have heart attacks,” zoo officials told the Associated Press.

AP reporters said the lions roared at them and flashed their teeth when they visited them at the 3 by 2 meter indoor cages where they were confined for more than a month.

Now the animals have been allowed outside again. “They’re thrilled with the ceasefire,” said veterinarian Ayelet Shmueli yesterday.

Many cows and other farm animals were killed by Hizbullah missiles over the last month.


The first major Israeli poll taken after the ceasefire was announced indicates that few Israelis feel the conflict’s stated goals were met. The survey was conducted by the Globes financial newspaper. According to the poll, 58% of Israelis believe the fighting achieved none or few of its goals; only 66% have a bad impression of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701; and only half the population thinks the ceasefire can last one month. In terms of political support, the new survey showed a severe loss of confidence in Ehud Olmert’s Kadima and Amir Peretz’s Labor parties – a distinct turnaround from figures posted during the course of the month-long conflict.

In another poll, in the daily Yediot Ahronot, 63% said they thought Minister of Defense Peretz is not up to the job, and 57% think that he should resign. 51% are not satisfied with the performance of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and 41% want him to resign. Army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz received an approval rating of 49%. 94% of Israelis expressed admiration for their army.

Olmert has put his proposal for an Israeli pullout from parts of the West Bank on hold for now following the war in Lebanon, Ha’aretz reported on Friday.


On August 16, 2006, British troops clashed with a Shiite militia (south of Baghdad) in sustained battles that left a dozen Shia dead. Whereas British politicians of all political parties (Tony Blair excepted) continue to condemn Israel for “disproportionate use of force” in battling Shia militiamen, none have condemned Britain for doing the same thing.

Yesterday in Afghanistan, Nato forces (including a large British and Canadian contingent) killed 72 Afghans, with the loss of one British life. Again, Kofi Annan and the BBC didn’t rush to make statements about “disproportionate use of force.”

Of even more startling double standards was the severe criticism British politicians from all parties made of America aiding Israel during the conflict with Hizbullah. Now that it has been revealed that the Hizbullah night-vision gear (which helped Hizbullah kill many Israelis) was supplied by Britain, those same politicians are suddenly silent.

(For more, see this article from the San Francisco Chronicle: See also:

-- Tom Gross



In yesterday’s dispatch (Hollywood stars blast Nasrallah, but Spielberg, Streisand & others remain silent), I noted that Steven Spielberg was not among those 84 Hollywood celebrities who signed a petition condemning Hizbullah and Hamas. While it is true that Steven Spielberg did not add his name to the condemnation, it would be incorrect to have given the impression that Spielberg was unconcerned about Israeli victims. A friend of his who is a subscriber to this email list reliably informs me that Spielberg has donated $250,000 to the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, and a further $750,000 to the New Israel Fund for reconstruction efforts in Israel following the Hizbullah attacks. I am told that Spielberg also made similar-sized donations following the Southeast Asia Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

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