* Bomber of Paris synagogue in 1980 found teaching at Canadian university
* Australia switches position to vote twice against Israel at the UN, ending the previous (Howard) government’s alignment with the U.S. and Israel
* Swedish civil servant unlawfully demoted for defending Israel
1. Academics who bomb
2. Lawyers who hate
3. Diplomats who switch
4. Civil servants who are “persecuted”
5. Hypocrites that occupy
6. “Ottawa university instructor arrested in 1980 blast at Paris synagogue” (The Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 13, 2008)
7. “UN vote: Rudd breaks with Howard on Israel” (Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 10, 2008)
8. “Egyptian lawyer: Arab men should sexually harass Israeli women and says: leave the land so we won’t rape you” (Al-Arabiya TV, Oct. 31, 2008)
9. “Swedish court: Civil servant unlawfully demoted for pro-Israel views” (Ha’aretz, Nov. 11, 2008)
10. “Britain’s occupied territories” (By Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 11, 2008)
ACADEMICS WHO BOMB
[Note by Tom Gross]
I attach five articles below, involving Canada, Australia, Sweden, Britain and Egypt. There are brief summaries first for those who don’t have time to read them in full.
In the first article, The Ottawa Citizen reports that an Ottawa university professor has been arrested for the infamous terrorist bombing of a Paris synagogue in 1980 that killed four people and injured scores of others. Hassan Diab, 54, was arrested on Thursday in a posh suburb of the Canadian capital, Ottawa, as he was getting dressed to go to work.
Following the election of Nicolas Sarkozy, and a new climate in French politics which is less supportive of terrorism against Jews, the French authorities finally issued an international arrest warrant against Diab. It is the first such international warrant for terrorism ever executed in Canada.
The Oct. 3, 1980, bombing of central Paris’ Copernic Road Synagogue was triggered by high explosives planted in a parked motorcycle outside the building. The blast killed three French Jews and a young Israeli woman. Hundreds of worshippers gathered inside the synagogue for a Sabbath service were spared the full force of the blast, though many were injured, as were many bystanders. A Palestinian group claimed responsibility.
Diab teaches sociology and anthropology at the University of Ottawa, and also teaches part-time at Carleton University.
* Updating The Ottawa Citizen article, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported that Diab appeared before the Ontario Superior Court on Friday, where Justice Michel Charbonneau ordered a publication ban on further details of the case at the request of federal lawyers. The trial is scheduled to start in February. He faces multiple murder charges.
LAWYERS WHO HATE
The second item below is a transcript of an interview which Egyptian lawyer Nagla Al-Imam gave to Al-Arabiya TV on October 31, 2008. He urges young Arab men to sexually harass Israeli girls “wherever they may be” as a new means of “resistance.”
Nagla Al-Imam said: “This is a form of resistance. In my opinion, they are fair game for all Arabs, and there is nothing wrong with it.”
“[The message of this sexual harassment is] leave the land so we won’t rape you.”
DIPLOMATS WHO SWITCH
In the third article below, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australia has switched its position to vote against Israel on two resolutions at the United Nations, ending the previous Howard government’s alignment with the United States and raising concern from the Jewish community.
“The move also signals to the incoming Obama administration that the Rudd government plans to take a different approach to the Howard government on the international stage,” writes the paper.
The president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry said he was concerned over the government’s switch. “We are concerned that the vote has changed, we do not understand the basis for the change,” he said.
Australia was the only major country in the world that joined the U.S. in recent years in supporting Israel.
The Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Micronesia continue to vote alongside Israel at the UN, saying their historic commitment to the Jewish people will not change.
CIVIL SERVANTS WHO ARE “PERSECUTED”
In the fourth article, Ha’aretz reports that a Swedish court has ruled that a civil servant was unlawfully demoted for pro-Israel views.
The court ruled in favor of a government employee (Lennart Eriksson, 51) who sued his employers for demoting him because he expressed support for Israel and the U.S. on a private blog.
Eriksson said that he had been demoted in September last year from the position of manager of an asylum assessment unit – which he had held for six years – to manager of one of the board’s shelters, after he condemned Hamas terrorism against Israelis. Eriksson, who is not Jewish, told the court he had been “politically persecuted” by his government employer.
During the case, the head of the Migration Board called Hamas a “liberation movement” and its former head, Sheikh Yassin, a “freedom-fighter.”
The court ordered the government agency to pay Eriksson the equivalent of $30,000 in damages and legal expenses.
Swedish Christian Democrat MP Annelie Enochson pressed her foreign minister, Carl Bildt, about the matter, but Bildt refused to comment.
HYPOCRITES THAT OCCUPY
In the final article below, Jerusalem Post columnist Michael Freund points to British hypocrisy in its new measures to “impose an economic choke hold on the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria” (measurers which Ha’aretz’s edition this weekend also expressed concerns about).
On November 3, The Independent newspaper reported that London is pressing all 27 European Union member states to clamp down on imports produced by Jews living beyond Israel’s 1967 borders. “While Palestinian terrorists in Gaza are busy firing rockets into the Negev, the British government is more concerned about tomatoes being grown in the West Bank,” writes Freund
Freund points out that Britain has “occupied territories” throughout the world that the local populations or other countries would like back.
“From Europe to South America to the Middle East to the South Pole, there is hardly a corner of the world in which Britain isn’t involved in some territorial dispute or another as it obstinately clings to control over disparate chunks of terrain.”
Among the examples Freund gives are:
* The Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, which Britain fought a brief war over in 1982 (which left 900 dead)
* The Chagos Archipelago, in the Indian Ocean (which both Mauritius and the Seychelles claim, and from which Britain forcibly expelled all the inhabitants between 1965 and 1971 to make way for a military base and until now deny the Chagossians their “right of return”)
* Parts of the polar icecaps of Antarctica that Britain has “occupied” to the fury of Chile
* The Cypriot territories of Akrotiri and Dhekelia which Britain has kept as sovereign military bases (Cyprus’ new president vowed earlier this year to remove the British “colonial bloodstain” from his country)
* Gibraltar further across the Mediterranean, which Spain wants back. And so on.
-- Tom Gross
OTTAWA UNIVERSITY INSTRUCTOR ARRESTED IN 1980 BLAST AT PARIS SYNAGOGUE
Ottawa university instructor arrested in 1980 blast at Paris synagogue
The Ottawa Citizen
November 13, 2008
An Ottawa university instructor has been arrested for the infamous terrorist bombing of a Paris synagogue in 1980 that killed four people, injured scores of others and put synagogues around the world on a tough new security footing. Hassan Diab, 54, was arrested by the RCMP at Gatineau residence Thursday morning as he was getting dressed, and placed in custody at the RCMP’s A division on McArthur Road, said his lawyer, René Duval. He is to appear in an Ottawa court on Friday.
The RCMP would not confirm the identity of the person they arrested, but a justice department official confirmed it to be Mr. Diab.
Two French judges reportedly issued an international arrest warrant against Mr. Diab earlier this month, believed to be the first such international warrant for terrorism ever executed in Canada.
The Oct. 3, 1980, bombing of central Paris’ Copernic Road synagogue was triggered by high explosives planted in the saddlebags of a parked motorcycle outside the building. The blast killed three Frenchmen and a young Israeli woman. Hundreds of worshippers gathered inside the synagogue for a Sabbath service were to emerge minutes later. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-Special Operations was blamed.
As one of the first contemporary terrorist strikes on a synagogue outside the Middle East, the blast trigged the fortification of Jewish community sites across Europe and North America.
France’s Le Figaro newspaper, quoting unnamed sources, reported last fall that French authorities suspect Mr. Diab was the leader of the small commando team responsible for the attack and had asked Canada for assistance with their investigation.
The French magazine L’Express reported on Thursday that a team of French police, magistrates and intelligence officers had been in Canada working on the case and would try to arrange Mr. Diab’s extradition to France. The French arrest warrant executed on Thursday accuses him of making and planting the bomb, according to the Reuters news agency.
Soon after details of the French authorities’ interest in him were reported in October of last year, Mr. Diab issued a statement to the Citizen through his lawyer, stating he had no involvement in the bombing, no criminal record and was never a member of the Palestinian group or known anyone associated with the group. Nor, he said, has he been active with any other militant organizations.
Though he visited a cousin in Paris roughly a year or two after the explosion, he only learned of the bombing when a Le Figaro reporter approached him last fall at the University of Ottawa, where he is a part-time sociology and anthropology instructor teaching one bachelor of arts-level class.
Married with two grown children from a previous marriage, his lawyer said he also teaches part-time at Carleton University, where the Citizen unsuccessfully attempted to interview him last November following one of his classes.
EGYPTIAN LAWYER SUGGESTS ARAB MEN SHOULD SEXUALLY HARASS ISRAELI WOMEN AND SAYS: LEAVE THE LAND SO WE WON’T RAPE YOU
The following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian lawyer Nagla Al-Imam, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on October 31, 2008. (Translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI))
Interviewer: Egyptian lawyer Nagla Al-Imam has proposed that young Arab men should sexually harass Israeli girls wherever they may be and using any possible method, as a new means in the resistance against Israel.
Interviewer: We have with us the lawyer Nagla Al-Imam from Cairo. Welcome. What is the purpose of this proposal of yours?
Nagla Al-Imam: This is a form of resistance. In my opinion, they are fair game for all Arabs, and there is nothing wrong with...
Interviewer: On what grounds?
Nagla Al-Imam: First of all, they violate our rights, and they “rape” the land. Few things are as grave as the rape of land. In my view, this is a new form of resistance.
Interviewer: As a lawyer, don’t you think this might expose Arab youth to punishment for violating laws against sexual harassment?
Nagla Al-Imam: Most Arab countries... With the exception of three or four Arab countries, which I don’t think allow Israeli women to enter anyway, most Arab countries do not have sexual harassment laws. Therefore, if [Arab women] are fair game for Arab men, there is nothing wrong with Israeli women being fair game as well.
Interviewer: Does this also include rape?
Nagla Al-Imam: No. Sexual harassment... In my view, the [Israeli women] do not have any right to respond. The resistance fighters would not initiate such a thing, because their moral values are much loftier than that. However if such a thing did happen to them, the [Israeli women] have no right to make any demands, because this would put us on equal terms – leave the land so we won’t rape you. These two things are equal.
I don’t want young Arab men to be interrogated. I want these Zionist girls with Israeli citizenship to be expelled from our Arab countries. This is a form of resistance, and a way of rejecting their presence.
AUSTRALIA SWITCHES POSITION TO VOTE AGAINST ISRAEL AT THE UN
UN vote: Rudd breaks with Howard on Israel
By Phillip Hudson
Sydney Morning Herald
November 10, 2008
AUSTRALIA has switched its position to vote against Israel on two resolutions at the United Nations, ending the Howard government’s unswerving alignment with the United States and raising concern from the Jewish community.
The move also signals to the incoming Obama administration that the Rudd Government plans to take a different approach to the Howard government on the international stage.
In the weekend vote in New York, Australia supported a resolution calling on Israel to stop establishing settlements in the Palestinian territories and a resolution calling for the Geneva Conventions to apply in the Palestinian territories.
The resolutions on the Middle East peace process are held annually and the Howard government had backed both from 1996 to 2002 but in 2003 began to vote against or abstain. It was a move that aligned Australia with only the US, Israel, the US Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Micronesia and put the country at odds with Britain, Canada, New Zealand and France.
Australian officials told the UN the Government had changed its position because it supported a two-state resolution of the conflict to deliver a secure Israel living beside a viable Palestinian state and that Australia believed both sides should abide by their obligations under the Road Map for Peace.
Australia said it was concerned activity in the disputed settlements undermined confidence in the negotiations. It was among 161 countries that supported both resolutions, with two abstaining and six against.
The president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Robert Goot, last night was concerned over the Government’s switch. “We are concerned that the vote has changed, we do not understand the basis for the change,” he said.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, last night said there had been no change to Australia’s policy on the Middle East. He said he had met the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, in Jerusalem two weeks ago and told them Australia was a strong supporter of Israel and the Middle East peace process.
“Australia’s friendship with Israel is longstanding and enduring and we understand completely Israel’s legitimate security concerns,” he said.
“As a staunch and longstanding friend of Israel, we want its people to be able to enjoy the fruits of a normal, peaceful existence, within a Middle East that recognizes Israel’s right to live within secure and internationally recognized boundaries. That is an approach that has strong bipartisan support in Australia and it’s an approach that will continue.”
The Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman, Helen Coonan, called on Mr Smith to explain why Australia changed its vote. “The change in emphasis is concerning unless it can be better explained as giving effect to a bipartisan and balanced approach,” she said.
Australia maintained its vote on seven other UN resolutions relating to Israel, in particular opposing a resolution criticizing Israel on Palestinian human rights. Australia said it believed the resolution was too one-sided against Israel and failed to take account of Israel’s legitimate security concerns or reflect the responsibility of Palestinians to end attacks against Israel. Australia was one of eight countries, including Canada, to vote against this resolution that was supported by 87 countries with 70 abstaining.
Last month Australia announced new sanctions on Israel’s rival Iran but backed down on a pledge to force the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, before an international court on charges of inciting genocide.
SWEDISH CIVIL SERVANT UNLAWFULLY DEMOTED FOR DEFENDING ISRAEL
Swedish court: Civil servant unlawfully demoted for pro-Israel views
By Cnaan Liphshiz
November 11, 2008
A Swedish court ruled on Tuesday in favor of a government employee who sued his employers for demoting him because he expressed support for Israel and the U.S. on a private blog. During the trial, the defender caused a local upset by calling Hamas a “liberation movement.”
Lennart Eriksson, 51, told Ha’aretz by phone that his boss, Eugene Palmer, had demoted him in September 2007 from the position of manager of an asylum assessment unit – which he had held for six years – to manager of one of the board’s shelters. Eriksson, who is not Jewish, said he viewed this as political persecution.
According to the verdict delivered by the Molndal District Court, the demotion was an illegal and discriminatory attempt to unjustly dismiss Eriksson. The court ordered the Board to pay Eriksson the equivalent of roughly $30,000 in damages and legal expenses.
According to Eriksson, Palmer told him he had seen Eriksson’s Web site and that Eriksson’s views were both “unusual and controversial.” Palmer told him he was being demoted because of the Web site, and that running it was inappropriate for a senior Board official.
“I will continue to work at the Migration Board,” Eriksson told Ha’aretz following the verdict. He added that he has received congratulation calls and emails from about a dozen of his coworkers at the board.
Swedish media has so far expressed a partial interest in the case. Eriksson has been interviewed for a few local papers, but no national circulation medium has shown interest in the verdict.
At the final hearing last month, Staffan Opitz, representing the Migration Board, said Hamas should be considered a ‘liberation movement,” adding that its slain spiritual leader, Sheikh Yassin, was a “Palestinian freedom-fighter,” according to Eriksson and witnesses present at the courthouse.
Christian Democrat MP Annelie Enochson has subsequently queried her foreign minister, Carl Bildt, about the matter, noting that the “statements made by a government representative” conflict with Sweden’s official position, which views Hamas a terror organization.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry has not replied to the query so far. Its Tel Aviv embassy declined to comment on this issue when contacted by Ha’aretz.
“Unfortunately, this case is probably not indicative of any change in the prevalent attitudes in government toward Israel or the conservative school of thought,” said Ilya Mayer, vice chair of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Society, who launched a public campaign to raise awareness to Eriksson’s case. “It’s merely a case of arrogance and abysmal performance on the part of the defense.”
BRITAIN’S OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
Britain’s occupied territories
By Michael Freund
The Jerusalem Post
November 11, 2008
Even as its armed forces are valiantly prosecuting the war on terror overseas, Britain’s diplomats at home are doing their utmost to ensure that this will not be remembered as their country’s finest hour.
In a baffling turn of events, the government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown has quietly begun turning up the political heat on Israel in recent weeks, seeking to impose an economic choke hold on the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria.
On November 3, the UK Independent newspaper reported that London is pressing the European Union to clamp down on imports produced by Jews living beyond Israel’s 1967 borders. In a circular distributed to all 27 EU member states, the British Foreign Office grumbled that “there has been an acceleration in settlement construction,” and it urged Europe “to look at how UK and Community policies can avoid inadvertently supporting or encouraging settlement activity.”
Israeli officials are said to be concerned that this may be the first step in a British campaign to bring about a total boycott of Jewish goods from Judea and Samaria.
And so, while Palestinian terrorists in Gaza are busy firing rockets into the Negev, the British government is more concerned about Israeli tomatoes being grown in the West Bank.
This latest British intrusion into Israel’s internal affairs will likely get an additional boost next week, when Foreign Secretary David Miliband visits here and reportedly plans to raise the issue of settlement construction in Judea and Samaria with his hosts.
WELL, IF the Brits want to have an open and frank discussion about “occupied territories,” I say bring it on. A good place to start would be with Britain’s own “occupied territories,” which are far more extensive and widespread than anything it accuses Israel of possessing.
Indeed, from Europe to South America to the Middle East to the South Pole, there is hardly a corner of the world in which Britain isn’t involved in some territorial dispute or another as it obstinately clings to control over disparate chunks of terrain.
The most famous of these, of course, are the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, which are claimed by Argentina. Although the islands are of little economic value and are home to more penguins than people, Britain fought a brief war with Argentina over them in 1982 which left 900 dead. And just last week, the British sparked a diplomatic row with Buenos Aires by issuing a new constitution for the Falklands, which it said is intended “to protect UK interests.”
This prompted Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taina to call a press conference at which he denounced the British for attempting to perpetuate “an anachronistic colonial situation.”
AND THEY call us stubborn occupiers? Half way around the world lies another fine example of British hypocrisy – the Chagos Archipelago, which London refers to as the British Indian Ocean Territory. Both Mauritius and the Seychelles have strong claims to it as their own, but that didn’t stop Britain from forcibly expelling all the inhabitants between 1965 and 1971 to make way for a military base it wanted to lease to the US.
And though the Chagossians, as they are known, have repeatedly won court cases against the British government demanding their “right of return,” the Brits will have none of it, and have largely left the islands’ former residents to fend for themselves in exile.
As prominent British columnist Matthew Parris put it in the Times of London last week: “The saga is a stinking disgrace, a slur on Britain’s good name.” Nonetheless, her majesty’s government simply refuses to let go.
Thousands of miles to the south, even the polar icecaps of Antarctica have not escaped London’s lust for land. Britain has staked a claim to a whopping 1.7 million square kilometers of the South Pole’s frozen terrain, part of which overlaps with territories claimed by Chile and Argentina.
But the fact that it is stepping on other nations’ toes, and ignoring their rightful claims, does not seem to trouble Britain’s Foreign Office one bit.
Back here in the Middle East, our neighbors in Cyprus continue to suffer from some good old-fashioned British colonial covetousness. While efforts are under way to reunite the Greek and Turkish controlled parts of the isle, Britain doggedly continues to cling to 254 sq. km. of Cypriot territory in the form of the Akrotiri and Dhekelia sovereign military bases. This has sparked the ire of Cyprus’ new president, who vowed earlier this year to remove the British “colonial bloodstain” from his country.
WHILE WE are on the subject of British colonialism, need we mention the territory of Gibraltar, which Spain wants back? And what about Northern Ireland? So before Britain decides to preach to Israel about the issue of “occupied territories,” it would do well to put its own house in order.
Put in perspective, it is clear that all of London’s harrumphing about Israel’s “occupied territories” is just a lot of duplicitous hot air.
By contrast, Judea and Samaria are the ancient heartland of the Jewish people, the cradle of our civilization, and Israel has every right – morally, historically, theologically and militarily – to be there.
The same can hardly be said for Britain’s dubious claims to various specks of land at other nations’ expense. As Winston Churchill once famously pointed out: “The English never draw a line without blurring it.” And nowhere is that line presently more blurred than when it comes to London’s barefaced hypocrisy on the subject of “occupation.”