London’s Muslim mayor to consult Israel on fighting terror (& Never too late to say sorry)

June 14, 2017

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Europe’s highest profile Muslim politician, who has been critical of Israel in the past, is now consulting Israeli officials for advice on how to combat terrorism in the wake of the recent London attacks. After he criticized his party leader Jeremy Corbyn last year, even though he had not mentioned Israel or Jews, Corbyn supporters wrote Khan “spends his time helping his masters in Tel Aviv.”


This dispatch contains various items, mainly concerning Europe.



1. London’s Muslim mayor, previously the recipient of many anti-Semitic messages, says he will now consult Israel on fighting terrorism
2. Would Western intelligence agencies share information with a future prime minister Corbyn, sympathizer with Russia, Iran & Assad?
3. American journalist pleads guilty to anti-Semitic bomb threats
4. Norway to ban full-face veil in pre-schools, schools and universities
5. French-German TV channel under fire for refusing to screen anti-Semitism documentary
6. European MP and French intellectuals accuse France of covering up Jewish woman’s murder
7. Non-Jewish journalist: Two Jews called Halimi murdered, France doesn’t care
8. Memorial and museum finally to be built at France’s first concentration camp
9. Spanish police, originally tipped off by Facebook post, thwart Islamist attack
10. Switzerland legislates to end funding of anti-Semitic NGOs in the Mideast
11. Never too late to say sorry
12. “A single book to understand the 20th century”


[Notes below by Tom Gross]


London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Europe’s highest profile Muslim politician, who had been critical of Israel before becoming mayor, said he is now consulting Israeli officials for advice on how to combat terrorism in the wake of the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester.

In an interview published yesterday, Khan told London’s Jewish News that his office and Metropolitan Police counterterrorism officials were now in touch with officials in Israel.

In addition to the more general terrorism, there has been a sharp increase in violent attacks on Jews in London in recent weeks (as well as the fire-bombing of two kosher restaurants in Manchester), more so than against any other minority. Khan said that the London police have been instructed to take a “zero tolerance” approach to anti-Semitism and other hate crime.

“No hate crime will be regarded as too trivial to report,” he said.

Last summer Khan, despite being Muslim, was himself the recipient of many anti-Semitic messages after he criticized the leader of his own Labour party Jeremy Corbyn.

In August, Khan published an op-ed in The Observer (the Sunday sister paper of Britain’s Guardian) in which he called on Labour party members to replace Corbyn.

The mayor “spends his time writing articles to help his masters in Tel Aviv,” read one popular tweet from a Corbyn supporter.

“Who owns you @sadiqkhan?” read another, which included a photo of Khan wearing a Jewish skullcap eating matza.


Among previous dispatches mentioning Khan: How British leftists omitted Jews from the list of Holocaust victims (May 10, 2016)


For more on the London terror attack earlier this month: “In the name of Allah the most merciful and compassionate” --Neither ‘losers,’ ‘nihilists,’ nor ‘sick cowards’ – but rather believers and idealists



Even though Sadiq Khan and about 80 percent of Jeremy Corbyn’s own Labour MPs tried to oust Corbyn from the party leadership last year, citing disagreement with his far left-wing views on many issues, and many said the public would never vote for him in large numbers, Corbyn ran a highly-effective election campaign and made a strong showing at last week’s British general election.

(“Any early election is a gamble for a sitting government. But as gambles go, Theresa May’s is about the surest bet any politician could ever place,” predicted The Guardian in an editorial seven weeks earlier, after May called the snap election.

“The main opposition party [Labour] is going to fight this election with a leader that even many of his own MPs believe should not be prime minister,” wrote The Times of London.)

Before he become party leader, Corbyn, one of, if not the most left-wing member of parliament, voted against his own Labour Party some 500 times.

It now seems there is a realistic prospect that Corbyn -- who has previously called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends” and voiced sympathy for IRA terrorists and despots such as Castro and Chavez, while failing to condemn the Russian carpet bombing of Aleppo earlier this year -- may become Britain’s prime minister after the next election.


Of course, most people don’t vote on foreign policy issues, but for those interested, you may want to watch these short TV interviews I gave last week as polls closed but before the full election result was known. All three deal with foreign policy implications for the wider international community:


* Would Western intelligence agencies share info with Corbyn, sympathizer with Russia, Iran & Assad?


* The result weakens Britain, and weakens the West. And makes Corbyn more electable for next time


* As UK polls close, it looks like a Trump-type upset against the establishment


(Eventual results gave the Conservative Party a few more seats than exit polls had indicated at the time these interviews were recorded, allowing Theresa May to try and form a coalition with a small Northern Irish party or otherwise form a minority government and remain British Prime Minister for the time being.)



Far-left wing American journalist Juan Thompson yesterday pleaded guilty to making a series of bomb threats against at least eight Jewish Community Centers between January and March this year.

According to the charges, Thompson was responsible for threats to Jewish centers in Dallas and San Diego, the Jewish History Museum, a Jewish school in Manhattan, and other institutions, causing their evacuations and mass panic.

These threats had wrongly been blamed by many in the media on right-wing supporters of Donald Trump.

Thompson, who wrote for a publication edited by a former journalist for Britain’s Guardian newspaper, will be sentenced at a later date.

(For more on Thompson, see: Saudi police beat transgender women to death (& Israelis go to the funeral of a woman they never met) March 4, 2017.)

Police say most of the other anti-Semitic threats made in recent months against Jewish institutions in America, were made by a deranged Israeli-American Jewish teenager.

For more, see:

Israeli-American teen arrested for wave of bomb threats against U.S. Jews (& “Tomb of Jesus reopens”) March 23, 2017



Norway yesterday became the first Scandinavian country to announce it will ban the Muslim full-face veil and other face-covering clothing in nurseries, schools and universities because it says it hinders communication between pupils and teachers, reports the BBC.

“These clothes prevent good communication, which is important for students to receive a good education,” Minister of Education and Research Torbjorn Roe Isaksen said in a statement.

Interim Minister of Immigration and Integration Per Sandberg added that being able to communicate with one another was a “fundamental value” in education.

Headscarves, hats and caps will continue to be allowed.



The London Sunday Times reported on Sunday that the joint French-German TV channel ARTE is facing criticism for refusing to broadcast a documentary the channel had commissioned and paid for called “Chosen and Excluded – Jew Hatred in Europe.”

Deutsche Welle adds that ARTE’s head of programming Alain le Diberder wrote a letter to the Central Council of Jews in Germany on Thursday defending the network’s decision, on the basis that to reveal the extent of Muslim attacks on Jews may undermine relations between Muslim communities and the rest of the population.

The leading French newspaper Le Monde ran a headline on the controversy with the headline “ARTE, a hint of the censor.”

The film’s director Joachim Schroeder said ARTE was trying to censor the fact that much “modern anti-Semitism is hiding behind anti-Zionism.”



A member of the European Parliament together with 17 prominent French intellectuals have protested the omission of anti-Semitism from a draft indictment of a fundamentalist Muslim for the murder of his Jewish neighbor.

During a speech in the European parliament, Frédérique Ries, an MP from Belgium, criticized French authorities for their continuing cover-up of the anti-Semitic nature of the murder on April 4, of 66-year-old French Jew Sarah Halimi. She was savagely beaten, tortured and then thrown out of her third-story apartment balcony to her death, by a 27-year-old French Muslim Kobili Traore.

Neighbors reported that Traore shouted “Allah akbar” as he killed Sarah Halimi and then started praying after killing her. They also said that in the past Traore had often called Halimi a “dirty Jew” to her face.

“French authorities have treated her murder with icy silence,” said Ries. She pointed out that Traore had no history of mental illness, and yet had been placed in a psychiatric institution and not charged with a hate crime.

17 French intellectuals, including the historian Georges Bensoussan and the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, have published a scathing criticism of the handling of the murder by French authorities and the media.

“Everything about this crime suggests there is an ongoing denial of reality,” the intellectuals wrote in an open letter published in Le Figaro on June 4.

“The authorities’ failure to state the terrorist and anti-Semitic nature of this murder is nothing unusual,” Shmuel Trigano, a French scholar on anti-Semitism, said in an interview on Radio J. French Jewish leaders have for years accused French authorities of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism. Thousands of French Jews have cited anti-Semitism as a factor as they have emigrated to Israel and Canada in recent years.

“Sarah Halimi, a Jewish woman, a doctor who also ran a kindergarten, was murdered at her home amid cries of ‘Allah hu akbar,” French Jewish leader Robert Ejnes wrote in a statement this week titled “An Increasingly Heavy Silence”.

“And the [non-Jewish French] media has practically not spoken about this, as though the defenestration of a woman is not unusual in Paris in 2017!” he wrote.



On June 8, Hervé Gardette, a non-Jewish journalist for France’s Culture state radio, criticized his fellow French journalists for not caring about a vicious anti-Semitic murder in a program he produced titled “Is There a Denial of Anti-Semitism in France?”

Gardette added: “Strikingly, this murder immediately brings to mind another older murder, of Ilan Halimi in 2006, 24 days after his abduction, and how long it took back then for the anti-Semitic character of the crime to be admitted by the detectives and journalists. So nothing has changed.”

Among other cases where police have been criticized for downgrading the offense, were the 2014 rape and robbery of a Jewish family in the Paris suburb of Creteil, and an incident in 2015, when a man who stabbed three Jews near a synagogue in Marseille while crying “Allah Akbar” and “dirty Jews.” French police also initially refused to label a hate crime

Another case that was not properly reported by the French media was the murder in 2003 of a young French Jewish DJ, Sebastien Selam, who was approached by his Muslim neighbor, Adel Boumedienne, in their building’s underground garage. Boumedienne slit Selam’s throat, gouged out his eyes with a carving fork and then ran upstairs and told his mother, “I killed my Jew, I will go to paradise.” In the two years before the murder, the Selam family had been repeatedly harassed by their neighbors for being Jewish, according to witnesses.

I wrote an article about Ilan Halimi here.



France’s first concentration camp is finally to be converted into a memorial and museum, over 77 years after French Jews were imprisoned there by their compatriots before being deported to their deaths in Poland and Germany.

Pithiviers train station in eastern France was turned into a concentration camp for French Jews in May 1941; 3,500 men, women and children were crammed inside in appalling conditions.

The abandoned train station has not been used since the Holocaust.

France3 television reported last week that French local authorities said they would set up educational exhibitions for young people on the station walls and declare Pithiviers a historical monument.


A memorial with the names of over 100,000 Dutch victims of the Holocaust is finally being built in Amsterdam.



Spanish police have arrested a 23-year old Spanish-Moroccan woman who they said had planned attacks against the country’s small Jewish community.

The woman was arrested in Zaragoza, 170 miles northeast of the capital Madrid. She initially came to their attention after remarks she made on Facebook. Spanish media said police then tracked her activities for over a year as she began plotting.

Authorities across Western Europe have increased their monitoring of anti-Semitic hate speech following jihadist terror attacks on Jews, among them multiple murders at a Paris kosher store, and at the Brussels Jewish Museum.

The RTL broadcaster reports that earlier this month, French police arrested a man of North African origin in Marseille, on suspicion that he acted as an accomplice to the terrorist currently on trial in Belgium for the museum killing, and who was said to be plotting further attacks.



Yesterday, the Swiss Parliament became the first European legislature to pass a resolution directing the government to “amend the laws, ordinances and regulations” to prevent funding to non-governmental organizations “involved in racist, anti-Semitic or hate incitement actions.”

Swiss MP Christian Imark, who proposed the resolution, journalist Dominik Feusi of Beisler Zeitung, and the Jerusalem-based group NGO Monitor, spearheaded the efforts to enact the legislation in Switzerland.

Having previously denied it for years, the Swiss Foreign Minister recently admitted that there is a problem with the Swiss government financing of NGOs in the Middle East which are encouraging the murder of Jews.

As I have repeatedly pointed out on this dispatch list, many other European governments continue to fund such NGOs

See also this dispatch from earlier this month:

Norway, Denmark, UN, push back after PA pays over $1bn to terrorists (& “Love is Great. Britain”)



The New Jersey Jewish News reports that Peter Hirschmann, a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor now living in Maplewood, New Jersey, has received an unsolicited apology from the granddaughter of Nazis who stole and lived in his family’s Nuremberg home after he and his family were stripped of their German citizenship and sent away.

In a letter sent two weeks ago, Doris Schott-Neuse told Hirschmann that she was “deeply ashamed” over what her family and fellow Germans “did to yourself, your family and to your friends and relatives and to the members of the Nuremberg Jewish community.”

Schott-Neuse, 45, said she had researched and found that the three-bedroom house was “Aryanized” (i.e. stolen) along with all other property lived in by Jews. Schott-Neuse said her mother had never mentioned their family’s Nazi past or how they had come to “own” the house (which her family then sold in the 1970s).

Schott-Neuse tracked down Hirschmann using the Internet.

“I am 45 years now and it is a shame that I never looked into the Nazi past of my family,” she wrote to Hirschmann. “I should have realized earlier that there is a Nazi past of course.”

“It seems to be only now that we – the grandchildren generation of the men and women who became criminals – start to ask tough questions of the degree and way our families have been involved and actively contributed not only to a war but to the Shoah,” she wrote.

Hirschmann said he had written back thanking her and absolving Schott-Neuse of “any personal responsibility” for what happened to him, his parents and their home.

“While I would never disregard the lessons of the past, I have lived my life by looking forward, not backward,” he wrote. “I hope you will do likewise.”



It is extremely rare for the millions of people all over Europe who stole Jewish property – and refused to hand it back when survivors returned from the camps – to apologize, or admit their theft.

I noted this phenomenon in the obituary I wrote of Heda Margolius-Kovaly (born Heda Bloch), whom I knew, for the Canadian paper The National Post:

I wrote:

After surviving Auschwitz and a “death march” to Bergen-Belsen, Heda arrived back in Czechoslovakia in 1945 at the home of a friend who had promised to be “an anchor” for the Jews deported from her circle. He greeted her with the words: “For God’s sake, what brings you here?”

She then ventured into the countryside to visit her family’s former home (her parents were gassed upon arrival in Auschwitz), where the Czech farmer who had been allocated her confiscated property slammed the door on her with the words: “So you’ve come back? Oh no. That’s all we’ve needed.”

Heda’s husband, Rudolf Margolius, a survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau, was then murdered as part of the notorious anti-Semitic Slansky show trials which the Czechoslovak Communist party staged in 1952 at Stalin’s instigation.

Wrongly accused of being a “Zionist” and of “aiding and abetting capitalist Jews trying to undermine Czechoslovak socialism,” he was tortured, hanged and then cremated. His ashes were given to Czech security officials for disposal. In a final indignity, a few miles out of Prague, the officials’ limousine began to skid on the icy road and Rudolf Margolius’s ashes were thrown under the wheels to create traction.

“Three forces carved the landscape of my life,” wrote Heda. “Two of them crushed half the world. The third was very small and weak and, actually, invisible. It was a shy little bird hidden in my rib cage an inch or two above my stomach.

“The first force was Adolf Hitler; the second, Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin. The little bird, the third force, kept me alive to tell the story.”

Anglo-Australian writer Clive James, reviewing Heda’s memoir, wrote: “Given 30 seconds to recommend a single book that might start a serious student on the hard road to understanding the political tragedies of the 20th century, I would choose this one.”

More here: “A shy little bird hidden in my rib cage”


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