RAFAH, Gaza Strip — It was clear from the bod­ies laid out in the park­ing lot of the ma­ter­ni­ty hos­pi­tal here that it had as­sumed new du­ties: No longer a place that wel­comed new life, it was now a make­shift morgue.

Oth­er bod­ies lay in hall­ways and on the floor of the kitchen at Hi­lal Emi­rati Ma­ter­ni­ty Hos­pi­tal. In the walk-in cool­er, they were stacked three high, wait­ing for rel­a­tives to claim them for burial.

Sat­ur­day was the sec­ond day of heavy bom­bard­ment by Is­raeli forces on this city on Gaza’s bor­der with Egypt af­ter Is­rael’s an­nounce­ment that one of its of­fi­cers had been cap­tured by Pal­es­tin­ian mil­i­tants here dur­ing a clash.

But ear­ly Sun­day morn­ing, the Is­raeli mil­i­tary an­nounced that the of­fi­cer, Sec­ond Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, was now con­sid­ered to have been killed in bat­tle.

Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
Medics at a field hospital in Rafah, Gaza Strip. More than 120 Palestinians were killed in Rafah alone on Friday and Saturday.

“It is just an ex­cuse,” said Dr. Ab­dul­lah She­hadeh,

di­rec­tor of the Abu Yousef al-Na­j­jar Hos­pi­tal, the city’s larg­est. “There is no rea­son for them to force the women and chil­dren of Gaza to pay the price for some­thing that hap­pened on the bat­tle­field.”

Af­ter two days of Is­raeli shelling and airstrikes, cen­tral Rafah ap­peared de­serted on Sat­ur­day, with shops closed and res­i­dents hid­ing in their homes. The pres­ence of Is­raeli forces east of the city had caused many to flee west, crowd­ing in with friends and rel­a­tives in neigh­bor­hoods by the Med­i­ter­ra­nean.

More than 120 Pales­tini­ans were killed in Rafah alone on Fri­day and Sat­ur­day — the dead­li­est two days in the city since the war be­gan 25 days ago. Those deaths, and hun­dreds of in­ju­ries, over­whelmed the city’s health care fa­cil­i­ties.

Mak­ing mat­ters worse, Is­raeli shells hit the cen­tral Na­j­jar hos­pi­tal on Fri­day af­ter­noon, Dr. She­hadeh said, lead­ing its em­ploy­ees and pa­tients to evac­u­ate.

To con­tinue re­ceiv­ing pa­tients, his staff mem­bers moved to the small­er Ku­waiti Spe­cial­ized Hos­pi­tal, al­though it was ill equipped to han­dle the large num­ber of peo­ple seek­ing care.

Am­bu­lances screamed in­to the hos­pi­tal’s park­ing lot, where medics un­loaded cases on­to stretch­ers some­times bear­ing the blood of pre­vi­ous pa­tients. Since the hos­pi­tal had on­ly 12 beds, the staff mem­bers had lined up gur­neys out­side to han­dle the over­flow.

The city’s cen­tral hos­pi­tal had al­so housed its on­ly morgue, so its clo­sure cre­ated a new prob­lem as the ca­su­al­ties mount­ed: where to put the bod­ies.

At the Ku­waiti Spe­cial­ized Hos­pi­tal, they were put on the floor of the den­tal ward un­der a poster pro­mot­ing den­tal hy­giene. In a back room lay the bod­ies of Sa­di­ah Abu Taha, 60, and her grand­son Rezeq Abu Taha, 1, who had been killed in an airstrike on their home near­by.

Few peo­ple ap­proached the main en­trance to the pink-and-white ma­ter­ni­ty hos­pi­tal, in­stead head­ing around back, where there was a con­stant flow of bod­ies. Near­ly 60 had been left in the morgue of the cen­tral hos­pi­tal when it closed, so am­bu­lance crews who had man­aged to reach the site brought back as many bod­ies as they could car­ry. Oth­er bod­ies came from new at­tacks or were re­cov­ered from dam­aged build­ings.

New ar­rivals were laid out in the park­ing lot or car­ried down a ramp to the kitchen, fea­tur­ing a large walk-in cool­er. Some were kept on the ground, and those not claimed right away were added to the pile in the cool­er.

Word had spread that the dead were at the ma­ter­ni­ty hos­pi­tal, so peo­ple who had lost rel­a­tives came to talk to the medics or look in the cool­er for their loved ones.

One short, sun­burned man point­ed to the body of a woman wear­ing pink sweat­pants and said she was his sis­ter Souad al-Tara­bin.

The medics pulled her out, laid her on a ta­ble and wrapped her in white cloth and plas­tic. Some teenagers helped the man car­ry her body up­stairs and lay it in the back of a yel­low taxi. A man in the front seat cra­dled a small bun­dle con­tain­ing the re­mains of the woman’s 4-year-old son, Anas.

Sit­ting near­by, As­ma Abu Ju­main wait­ed for the body of her moth­er-in-law, who she said had been killed the day be­fore and was in the morgue at the cen­tral hos­pi­tal when it was evac­u­ated.

“She is an old woman,” Ms. Abu Ju­main said. “She did noth­ing wrong.”

The move­ment of bod­ies made record-keep­ing im­pos­si­ble, al­though Arafat Ad­wan, a hos­pi­tal vol­un­teer, tried to jot down names in a small red note­book he kept in his pock­et.

He wor­ried that some bod­ies would re­main there for days, be­cause fam­ilies had been scat­tered and might not know that their rel­a­tives had been killed.

“There are peo­ple in here whose fam­ilies have no idea what hap­pened to them,” he said.

Oth­ers knew they had lost rel­a­tives but could not find them.

Mo­ham­med al-Ban­na said an airstrike the morn­ing be­fore had killed nine of his in-laws, in­clud­ing his wife’s fa­ther and four of her broth­ers.

“The ag­gres­sion here is cre­at­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of youth who want re­venge for all the crimes,” he said.

He had looked at the cen­tral hos­pi­tal the day be­fore, to no avail. Then, on Sat­ur­day, he re­ceived a mes­sage sent to lo­cal cell­phones telling those who had lost rel­a­tives to re­trieve them from the ma­ter­ni­ty hos­pi­tal. He had come right away, but had not found them.

“I’ll keep wait­ing for their bod­ies to come in so we can

take them home and bury them,” he said.

Mr. Ban­na added that he had been too wor­ried to tell his wife what had hap­pened to her fam­ily and want­ed to break the news to her grad­u­ally. Ear­lier that day, she had told him that she was start­ing to wor­ry be­cause her fa­ther’s cell­phone had been switched off all day.

“I told her maybe he has no elec­tricity and his phone is dead,” Mr. Ban­na said.

 

 

JERUSALEM — The Is­raeli mil­i­tary said ear­ly Sun­day morn­ing that an of­fi­cer thought to have been cap­tured by Pales­tin­ian mil­i­tants dur­ing a dead­ly clash Fri­day morn­ing, which shat­tered a planned 72-hour cease-fire, was now con­sid­ered to have been killed in bat­tle.

The an­nounce­ment came just hours af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu vowed to con­tin­ue Is­rael’s mil­i­tary cam­paign in the Gaza Strip as long as nec­es­sary to stop Hamas at­tacks, while sug­gest­ing a de-es­ca­la­tion of the ground war in Gaza may be near.

The case of the miss­ing sol­dier, Sec­ond Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, be­came the lat­est flash point in the con­flict, prompt­ing a fierce Is­raeli bom­bard­ment and calls from lead­ers around the world for his re­lease. His dis­ap­pear­ance came af­ter Hamas mil­i­tants am­bushed Is­raeli sol­diers near the south­ern bor­der town of Rafah, at the start of what was sup­posed to have been a pause in the fight­ing.

As the death toll mount­ed Sat­ur­day to more than 1,650 Pales­tini­ans, many of them women and chil­dren, and im­ages of homes, mosques and schools smashed in­to rub­ble filled the me­dia, Mr. Ne­tanyahu was un­der con­sid­er­able in­ter­na­tion­al pres­sure, from Wash­ing­ton and Eu­rope, to end the con­flict. The Unit­ed Na­tions warned of “an un­fold­ing health dis­as­ter” in Gaza with lit­tle elec­tric­i­ty, bad wa­ter and a lack of med­ical sup­plies.

At the same time, Mr. Ne­tanyahu was un­der po­lit­i­cal pres­sure at home to de­liv­er on his promis­es to crush.

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Hamas, par­tic­u­lar­ly with 64 Is­raeli sol­diers dead. He in­sist­ed Sat­ur­day that Hamas had been se­vere­ly hurt and he warned that it would pay “an in­tol­er­a­ble price” if it con­tin­ues to fire rock­ets at Is­rael.

His for­mer deputy de­fense min­is­ter, Dan­ny Danon,who was fired by Mr. Ne­tanyahu for pub­lic crit­i­cism of the gov­ern­ment, said in a state­ment Sat­ur­day that “the cab­i­net is grave­ly mis­tak­en in its de­ci­sion to with­draw forces from Gaza. This is a step in the wrong di­rec­tion.”

But Mr. Ne­tanyahu, in a na­tion­al­ly tele­vised speech with his de­fense min­is­ter be­side him, in­sist­ed that Is­rael was achiev­ing its goals and could al­ter its tac­tics. “We promised to re­turn the qui­et to Is­rael’s cit­i­zens, and we will con­tin­ue to act un­til that aim is achieved,” Mr. Ne­tanyahu said. “We will take as much time as nec­es­sary, and will ex­ert as much force as need­ed.”

Is­rael was not end­ing its op­er­a­tion uni­lat­er­al­ly, he said, adding: “We will de­ploy in the places most con­ve­nient to us to re­duce fric­tion on I.D.F. sol­diers, be­cause we care about them.” There were Is­raeli tele­vi­sion re­ports on Sat­ur­day that some Is­rael De­fense Forces troops were pulling out of Gaza, and Is­rael in­formed Pales­tini­ans in Beit Lahiya and al-Ata­tra, in north­ern Gaza, that it was now safe to re­turn to their homes. Is­raeli of­fi­cials have said that the army’s ef­fort to de­stroy the elab­o­rate tun­nel sys­tem from Gaza in­to Is­rael would be fin­ished in the next day or two.

Is­raeli of­fi­cials sug­gest­ed that the army would leave built-up ar­eas and some forces would re­de­ploy in­side Gaza, clos­er to the bor­der fence, to re­spond to at­tacks if nec­es­sary. Oth­er units will re­turn to south­ern Is­rael.

Hamas, for its part, vowed to con­tin­ue fight­ing. Sa­mi Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, told the news agency Maan that “a uni­lat­er­al with­draw­al or re­de­ploy­ment by Is­rael in the Strip will be an­swered by a fit­ting re­sponse by the Hamas mil­i­tary arm.” He said that “the forces of oc­cu­pa­tion must choose be­tween re­main­ing in Gaza and pay­ing the price or re­treat­ing and pay­ing the price or hold­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions and pay­ing the price.”

Mr. Ne­tanyahu thanked the Unit­ed States, which along with the Unit­ed Na­tions ap­peared to sup­port Is­rael’s po­si­tion that Hamas’s ac­tions vi­o­lat­ed the cease-fire, and he asked for in­ter­na­tion­al help to re­build Gaza on the con­di­tion of its “de­mil­i­ta­riza­tion.” Is­rael ap­pears to be hop­ing that with the sup­port of Egypt and the in­ter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty, Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas of the Pales­tin­ian Au­thor­i­ty can con­trol Gaza through a uni­ty gov­ern­ment agreed up­on with Hamas and take re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for se­cu­ri­ty there and for the Rafah cross­ing to Egypt.

Mr. Ne­tanyahu re­peat­ed that his goal was to re­store “peace and calm” to Is­rael and that he in­tend­ed to do so by what­ev­er means — diplo­mat­i­cal­ly or mil­i­tar­i­ly. “All op­tions are on the ta­ble,” he said. But he in­di­cat­ed that Is­rael would not get caught up again in talk about a ne­go­ti­at­ed cease-fire with Hamas and Is­lam­ic Ji­had and would act in its own in­ter­ests, while seek­ing sup­port from Mr. Ab­bas and the in­ter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty for what Mr. Ne­tanyahu de­scribed vague­ly as “a new re­al­i­ty” in Gaza.

Is­rael has de­cid­ed not to send a del­e­ga­tion to cease-fire talks host­ed by Egypt, at least not now, Is­raeli of­fi­cials said. In Wash­ing­ton, Jen Psa­ki, a State De­part­ment

spokes­woman, said: “In the end, this par­tic­u­lar­ly bloody chap­ter will ul­ti­mate­ly re­quire a durable so­lu­tion so that all the fun­da­men­tal is­sues, in­clud­ing Is­rael’s se­cu­ri­ty, can be ne­go­ti­at­ed, and we will keep work­ing with Is­rael and oth­er part­ners to achieve that goal.” She said that Is­rael had a right to de­fend it­self.

Hours be­fore the mil­i­tary an­nounced that Lieu­tenant Goldin had died, his par­ents called on the prime min­is­ter and the army not to leave their son be­hind.

The cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his death re­mained cloudy. A mil­i­tary spokes­woman de­clined to say whether Lieu­tenant Goldin had been killed along with two com­rades by a sui­cide bomb one of the mil­i­tants ex­plod­ed, or lat­er by Is­rael’s as­sault on the area to hunt for him; she al­so re­fused to an­swer whether his re­mains had been re­cov­ered.

As word spread on Sat­ur­day that Is­rael’s lead­ers were con­sid­er­ing pulling all ground forces from Gaza, Lieu­tenant Goldin’s fam­i­ly spoke to jour­nal­ists out­side their home in Kfar Sa­ba, a Tel Aviv sub­urb. “I de­mand that the state of Is­rael not leave Gaza un­til they bring my son back home,” said his moth­er, Hed­va. His sis­ter, Ayelet, 35, added, “If a cap­tive sol­dier is left in Gaza, it’s a de­feat.”

The fam­i­ly said they were con­vinced that Lieu­tenant Goldin was alive.

“I hope and be­lieve in hu­man kind­ness, that the world will do any­thing to bring Hadar with a smile back home,” his broth­er Che­mi, 32, said in an in­ter­view.

When his moth­er called him on Fri­day, Che­mi said, he

knew some­thing ter­ri­ble had hap­pened, but did not know whether it in­volved Lieu­tenant Goldin or his twin, Tzur, who was al­so fight­ing in Gaza. Che­mi said the twins, who at­tend­ed kinder­garten in Cam­bridge, Eng­land, did not talk much about their mil­i­tary ser­vice. In Gaza, the armed wing of Hamas said ear­ly Sat­ur­day that it was not hold­ing the Is­raeli of­fi­cer. The Qas­sam Brigades sug­gest­ed in a state­ment that the of­fi­cer might have been killed along with his cap­tors in an Is­raeli as­sault that fol­lowed a sui­cide-bomb at­tack by Pales­tin­ian mil­i­tants, who emerged from a tun­nel that Is­raeli troops were try­ing to de­stroy near Rafah.

“Un­til now, we have no idea about the dis­ap­pear­ance of the Is­raeli sol­dier,” the state­ment said. Say­ing the lead­er­ship had lost touch with its “troops de­ployed in the am­bush,” the state­ment added, “Our ac­count is that the sol­dier could have been kid­napped and killed to­geth­er with our fight­ers.”

The Is­raeli Army con­tin­ued to pound Rafah in its search for Lieu­tenant Goldin, strik­ing more than 200 tar­gets across Gaza in the 24 hours since the Rafah con­fronta­tion, in­clud­ing what it de­scribed as a “re­search and de­vel­op­ment” lab for weapons man­u­fac­tur­ing at the Is­lam­ic Uni­ver­si­ty, run by Hamas. Five mosques that the mil­i­tary said con­cealed weapons or Hamas out­posts were al­so hit, the Is­raelis said.

Around noon, a bar­rage of rock­ets flew in­to south­ern Is­rael.

The Gaza-based health min­istry, which had re­port­ed 70 peo­ple killed in Rafah on Fri­day, said the ca­su­al­ties had con­tin­ued there overnight, in­clud­ing sev­en mem­bers of one fam­i­ly who died when their home was bombed.

 

Steven Erlanger reported from Jerusalem, and Jodi Rudoren from Kfar Saba, Israel. Fares Akram contributed reporting from Gaza City, and Michael R. Gordon from Washington.

This section of Graphic Humor in political-economic, national or international issues, are very ingenious in describing what happened, is happening or will happen. It also extends to various other local issues or passing around the world. There are also other non-political humor that ranges from reflective or just to get us a smile when we see them. Anyone with basic education and to stay informed of important news happening in our local and global world may understand and enjoy them. Farewell!. (CTsT)

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Singer-songwriter Rona Kenan panned by right-wing extremists after expressing sympathy for Gazan children

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An Israeli singer-songwriter canceled her show in Haifa Thursday after she was harshly criticized and threatened by right-wing Israelis who accused her of showing solidarity with the mothers of dead terrorists.

Rona Kenan announced that her acoustic show in Haifa’s Turkish Market, which was scheduled to begin at 9 p.m., would not take place due to what she described as incitement against her.

Kenan said she had been “subjected to severe verbal attacks and threats over a false report” that during a conference with Palestinian women, she had observed a moment of silence in solidarity with Palestinian “martyrs.”

She said that while she had sung two songs at the conference, she had not observed a moment of silence. But this week, right-wing extremists raised the accusations again in comments on Kenan’s Facebook page after she expressed sympathy for the children of Gaza and called for an end to war between Israel and Hamas.

The onslaught began after Kenan posted a message on July 11, three days into the Gaza war, reproaching Israeli society and the Israeli press over their reaction to the offensive in Gaza, which she described as “one of the saddest places in the world.”

Kenan expressed sympathy for the children of both Sderot and Gaza, saying it “fills her with despair” to think that they “wet their beds at night out of fear and will grow up to see each other not as human beings, but as children of the devil.”

Kenan said she was “left speechless” by the knowledge that “any objections to the war, which Israel named Operation Protective Edge, was perceived in Israeli society as treason, as a lack of solidarity.” She ended her post with a prayer for quiet both in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

While many fans echoed Kenan’s sentiments, others criticized her for overlooking the threat posed by Hamas and Iranian-funded terror groups, as well as the suffering of residents of southern Israel and the risks IDF soldiers were taking to ensure Israel’s security. Some urged her to blame Hamas, not Israel, for the plight of the children of Gaza. Yet others said the children were themselves future terrorists, with one poster saying she had thought Kenan was “smarter than that” and another calling her “hypocritical, self-righteous filth.”

One poster wrote, “I’ve never responded to people like you, but to observe a moment of silence for martyrs with whom we are engaged in combat on a daily basis? For shame, and we even provide her livelihood. With people like you among us, we don’t need enemies.”

After the Haifa show was canceled, one Facebook user suggested, “Why don’t you volunteer to sing in Gaza? I think you will find a stage to sing on there without being subjected to criticism. You’re so stupid to voice criticism in wartime.”

The Thursday evening show will still take place, but will be headlined by singer-songwriter Shai Gabso rather than Kenan.

Kenan, the daughter of Lehi underground member, sculptor and journalist Amos Kenan and author and literary scholar Nurith Gertz, has released four albums so far, to critical acclaim.

 

July 31, 2014

He mob howled for vengeance, the missiles raining down on the synagogue walls as the worshippers huddled inside. It was a scene from Europe in the 1930s – except this was eastern Paris on the evening of July 13th, 2014.

Thousands had gathered to demonstrate against the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. But the protest soon turned violent – and against Jews in general. One of those trapped told Israeli television that the streets outside were “like an intifada”, the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.

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Some of the trapped Jews fought their way out as the riot police dispersed the crowd. Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, condemned the attack in “the strongest possible terms”, while Joel Mergei, a community leader, said he was “profoundly shocked and revolted”. The words had no effect. Two weeks later, 400 protesters attacked a synagogue and Jewish-owned businesses in Sarcelles, in the north of Paris, shouting “Death to the Jews”. Posters had even advertised the raid in advance, like the pogroms of Tsarist Russia.

France has suffered the worst violence, but anti-Semitism is spiking across Europe, fuelled by the war in Gaza. In Britain, the Community Security Trust (CST) says there were around 100 anti-Semitic incidents in July, double the usual  number. The CST has issued a security alert for Jewish institutions. In Berlin a crowd of anti-Israel protesters had to be prevented from attacking a synagogue. In Liege, Belgium, a café owner put up a sign saying dogs were welcome, but Jews were not allowed.Yet for many French and European Jews, the violence comes as no surprise. Seventy years after the Holocaust, from Amiens to Athens, the world’s oldest hatred flourishes anew. For some, opposition to Israeli policies is now a justification for open hatred of Jews – even though many Jews are strongly opposed to Israel’s rightward lurch, and support the establishment of a Palestinian state.

As Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, argues: “These people were not attacked because they were showing their support for the Israeli government. They were attacked because they were Jews, going about their daily business.”

One weekend in May seemed to epitomise the darkness. On May 24th a gunman pulled out a Kalashnikov assault rifle at the Jewish Museum in Brussels and opened fire, killing four people. The next day the results of the elections to the European parliament showed a surge in support for extreme-right ­parties in France, Greece, Hungary and Germany. The National Front in France won the election, which many fear could be a precursor to eventually taking power in a national election.

Perhaps the most shocking result was the surge in support for Golden Dawn in Greece. The party, which has been described as openly neo-Nazi, won almost 10% of the vote, bringing it three members of the European parliament.

In parts of Hungary, especially the impoverished north and east, Jobbik is the main opposition to the governing right-wing Fidesz. Jobbik won 14.7% of votes at the European elections. The party denies being antisemitic but even Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, ruled out cooperating with them in the European parliament.

In November 2012, Marton Gyöngyösi, a senior Jobbik MP, called for a list to be made of Hungarian Jews, especially those working in Parliament or for the government, as they posed a “national security risk”. (Gyöngyösi later apologised and said he was referring only to Jews with dual Israeli-­Hungarian citizenship.)

Some saw the Brussels attack and the election results as dark portents. “At what point,” asked Jeffrey Goldberg, a prominent American Jewish journalist, “do the Jews of America and the Jews of Israel tell the Jews of Europe that it might be time to get out?” Around now, it seems.

GETTING OUT

A survey published in November 2013 by the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union found that 29% had considered emigrating as they did not feel safe. Jews across Europe, the survey noted, “face insults, discrimination and physical violence, which despite concerted efforts by both the EU and its member states, shows no signs of fading into the past”.

Two-thirds considered anti-Semitism to be a problem across the countries surveyed. Overall, 76% said that anti-Semitism had worsened over the past five years in their home countries, with the most marked deteriorations in France, Hungary and Belgium. The European Jewish Congress has now set up a website, sacc.eu, to give advice and contacts in the events of an attack.

“The tendency is very alarming,” says Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency, which links Israel with diaspora communities and organises immigration. “The level of concern about security in Europe is higher than in Asia or Latin America. This feeling of insecurity is growing. It’s difficult to imagine that in France, Belgium and many other countries Jewish people are told not to go out on the streets wearing a kippah.”

A survey by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in New York found similar results. The ADL Global 100 surveyed 53,000 adults in 102 countries. It found that 26% held deeply anti-Semitic attitudes, answering “probably true” to six or more of 11 negative stereotypes of Jews.

The highest levels of prejudice were found in the Arab world, with the Palestinian Terri Hungary 41%. The Czech Republic was lowest at 13%.

But the picture is more complex than the survey suggests. Malmo, Sweden’s third-largest city, is one of the most unsettling places in Europe for Jews. Anti-Semitic attacks tripled between 2010 and 2012, when the community, around 700-strong, recorded 60 incidents. In October 2012 a bomb exploded at the Jewish community centre.

Jewish leaders accused Ilmar Reepalu, who served as mayor between 1994 and 2013, of inflammatory comments. Reepalu called for Jews to distance themselves from Zionism, and claimed that the Jewish community had been “infiltrated” by the Sweden Democrats party, which has its roots in the far-right. Reepalu has denied being anti-Semitic. But his remarks provoked a storm of protest and he was forced to retract them. Hannah Rosenthal, the former US Special Envoy for combating anti-Semitism, said Malmo was a prime example of the “new anti-Semitism” where hatred of Israel is used to disguise hatred of Jews.

It is not anti-Semitic to criticise the Israeli government or its policies towards the Palestinians, say Jewish leaders. A reasoned, open debate on the conflict is always welcome – especially now, when passions are running so high over Gaza. But the morbid obsession with the only democracy in the Middle East, they say, its relentless demonisation and the calls for its destruction are indicative of anti-Semitism.

Social media provides an easy platform for the spread of hate, which has been given impetus by the alliance between Islamists and the left, says Ben Cohen, author of Some of My Best Friends: A Journey Through Twenty-First Century Anti-Semitism. “Saying that Jews are the only nation who don’t have the right to self-determination, smearing Israel as a modern incarnation of Nazi Germany or apartheid South Africa, asserting that the ‘Israel Lobby’ manipulates American foreign policy from the shadows is unmistakably anti-Semitism.”

tories topping the list at 93%, followed by Iraq at 92%. In Europe Greece topped the list at 69%, while France scored 37% and Belgium 27%. Britain had 8%, the Netherlands 5% and Sweden was the lowest at 4%. In Eastern Europe Poland had 45% and

QuenelleYouths make the “quenelle” gesture outside the a concert hall in Nantes where a banned show by French humorist Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, also known as Dieudonne, was due to take place, January 9, 2014. Critics say the comic’s trademark straight-arm gesture is a Nazi salute in reverse. Dieudonne, 46, says it is anti-Zionist and anti-establishment, but not anti-Semitic. Stephane Mahe/Reuters

In 1997 I wrote a book about Muslim minorities in Europe, called A Heart Turned East. It was optimistic, and, with hindsight, naïve of me. I travelled across France, Germany, Britain, Turkey and Bosnia. I hoped then that a tolerant, modern Islam could emerge in Europe, in the Ottoman tradition. The Ottomans had not been perfect, but they had been comparably tolerant – especially in comparison to the Catholic church. In France I met Muslim intellectuals, exiles and artists. They were resentful of their second class status, and had been scarred by racism and discrimination. But their anger was directed at the French authorities and they were keen to co-exist with their Jewish compatriots.

So what went wrong? The undercurrents had long been swirling, but had been little noticed. They date back to the Islamic revolution in Iran, the siege of Mecca and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, says Ghaffar Hussain, of the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think-tank in London. “Islamist extremism experienced a global upsurge post 1979. These events played into the hands of Islamists.” That anger was further fuelled by the Bosnian war, which helped nurture a global Muslim consciousness.

Many western Muslim communities are suffering an identity crisis, says Hussain. The politics of hate offers an easy escape and a means of blaming personal feelings on others. “In many cases it resonates with the life experiences of young Muslims. They feel alienated and disenfranchised, due to negative experiences, personal inadequacies or even cultural differences.”

Jews, Muslims, African and other immigrants once lived in reasonable harmony in the banlieues, sharing hard time. La Haine (Hate), a hugely successful thriller directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, released in 1995, starred three protagonists: one Jewish, one Afro-French and a third from a North African family. The violence and brutality are experienced by all three friends.

Such a film is nearly unimaginable nowadays. The turning point came in January 2006 with the kidnapping and murder of Ilan Halimi. A 23-year-old mobile telephone salesman, Halimi was lured into a honey-trap, abducted and held for three weeks in Bagneux, outside Paris. There he was tortured while his abductors telephoned his family, so they could hear his screams. Youssouf Fofana, the leader of the gang, was later sentenced to life imprisonment.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the case was that 28 people were involved in the kidnapping and many more living on the housing estate knew about it. “The murder of Ilan Halimi was the first murder of a Jew because he was a Jew,” says Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF). “The prejudice and lack of humanity were impressive. It is unbelievable that in the 24 days he was held and tortured not one of the people involved even considered making an anonymous call to the police.”

Many blame the controversial comedian Dieudonne and his “quenelle”, supposedly a modified version of the Nazi salute, for fuelling hatred. Social media are awash with his followers, performing the quenelle in front of synagogues, Holocaust memorials, the school in Toulouse where three Jewish children and a teacher were murdered and even at the gates of Auschwitz.

Dieudonne denies that the gesture is anti-Semitic. The quenelle, he says, is a “gesture of liberation” from slavery.  Dieudonne is also the creator of the “ShoahNanas” (Holocaust Pineapples) song, which he sings, accompanied by a young man wearing a large yellow star over a pair of pyjamas.

Now a new ingredient has been tossed into the cauldron: the wars in Syria and Iraq. The French government estimates that 800 jihadists are fighting in Syria, accompanied by several hundred from Britain. Among their number was Mehdi Nemmouche, who is accused of the attack on the Brussels Jewish museum. French police found he had in his possession a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a pistol, which they believed were used in the attack.

Together with the weapons, police found a white sheet emblazoned with the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), the militia judged too extreme even for al-Qaida, which has captured large swathes of Iraq.

In May 2012 in Toulouse a gunman killed seven people, including a teacher and three children, at a Jewish school. “Jews in France or Belgium are being killed because they are Jews,” says Cukierman. “Jihadism has become the new Nazism. This makes people consider leaving France.”

The murders have not dampened anti-Jewish hatred. On the contrary, they seem to have inflamed it. The spike in anti-Semitism has seen emigration to Israel soar. In 2011 and 2012 just under 2,000 French Jews emigrated to Israel.

In 2013, the year after the Toulouse attack, 3,289 left. In the first quarter of this year 1,778 Jews emigrated. “This year I expect 5-6,000 Jews to leave,” says Cukierman. “If they move to Israel because of Zionism, it’s OK. But if it is because of fear, then that is not pleasant. The problem is that democracy is not well equipped to fight against terrorism. What we saw in Toulouse and Brussels is terrorism.”

Laurent LouisMember of the Belgian Parliament Laurent Louis speaks in front of a closed congress hall in Brussels May 4, 2014. Local authorities banned what they called “an anti-semitic congress” which was co-organised by Louis, local media reported. Francois Lenoir/Reuters

TERROR ATTACKS

Across Europe Jewish communities are investing in security infrastructure and boosting protection. After the Toulouse attacks, the Jewish Agency established a Fund for Emergency Assistance. So far it has distributed almost $4m to boost security at 116 Jewish institutions in more than 30 countries. In Britain the government pays £2.5m a year for security guards at Jewish schools.

There is a direct link between events in the Middle East, especially ­concerning Israel/Palestine and spikes in anti-Semitism, says CST spokesman Mark Gardener. Gaza has caused a new spike in attacks. “The situation is like a pressure cooker, awaiting any spark to set it off, with local Jewish communities the targets of racist attacks.”

So far, British Jews have not suffered a terrorist attack like Toulouse or ­Brussels, but not for want of jihadis trying. In 2011 Somali troops shot dead an al-Qaida leader in Africa when he tried to ram his car through a checkpoint. Documents found inside his car included detailed plans for attacks on Eton College, the Ritz and Dorchester hotels, and the Golders Green and Stamford Hill neighbourhoods of London, which have large Jewish populations.

The following year nine British jihadis were convicted of plotting terrorist acts including the potential targeting of two rabbis, and a husband-and-wife team from Oldham, north England, were convicted of plotting terrorist attacks on Manchester’s Jewish community.

Muslims are over-represented among the perpetrators of anti-Semitic incidents, says Gardener. “It is not as extreme as France, Belgium, Holland or Malmo, where the levels of anti-Semitism make life difficult for Jews, but it is a phenomenon. A large number of Muslims believe that 9/11 was a Jewish plot, that Jews run the media and that Jewish money controls politicians. Of course there are Muslim organisations that speak out against anti-Semitism and many Muslim leaders are fully aware of the damage anti-Semitism does to their own community.”

Yet the picture is not all bleak. In Berlin and Budapest Jewish life is flourishing. The epicentre of the Holocaust seems an unlikely centre for a Jewish renaissance. But the German capital is now home to one of the world’s fastest-growing Jewish communities, tens of thousands strong. There is a growing sense, particularly among younger Germans, that the city is incomplete without a Jewish presence, especially in the arts, culture and literature. The glory days of the pre-war years can never be recreated, but they can be remembered and used as inspiration for a new form of German-Jewish culture.

Berlin’s Jewish revival is boosted by influxes from Russia and a growing number of Israelis who have applied for German passports.

Hungary is home to the region’s largest indigenous Jewish community, usually estimated at between 80,000 and 100,000, although perhaps a fifth of that number are affiliated with the Jewish community. Still the city is home to a dozen working synagogues, a thriving community centre, kosher shops, bars and restaurants and each summer hosts the Jewish summer festival, which is supported by the government and the municipality. District VII, the traditional Jewish quarter, is now the hippest part of town, home to numerous bohemian “ruin-pubs”.

Communal life was moribund under Communism. Until recently, the ­Jewish establishment was perceived by many as insular and self-serving. Only now are a new generation of activists such as Adam Schönburger revitalising Jewish life, in part by focusing on cultural, social and ethical issues, rather than religion. Schönburger is one of the founders of Siraly, a Jewish cultural centre that will re-open later this year.

The result is a new confidence among many Hungarian Jews and a pride in their heritage. So much so that they are boycotting the government’s Holocaust commemoration events, accusing the government of whitewashing the country’s collaboration in the Holocaust – which the government strongly denies, pointing out that numerous officials, including the president, have admitted Hungary’s responsibility.

“We have to redefine what it means to be Jewish,” says Schönburger. “I don’t see many possibilities through solely religious continuity. We need to educate people about their heritage and have new reference points for them to feel connected. These can be cultural or through social activism, the idea of Tikkun Olam, ‘healing the world’.”

ENRICHING A KINGDOM

Few of the angry youths of the banlieues know that Muslims and Jews share a common history, of tolerance and co-existence.

Jewish life flourished under Islamic rule in Spain, an era known as the Golden Age, which produced some of the most important works of Jewish scholarship and a flowering of knowledge and science. Jews served as advisers to the Muslim rulers, as doctors, lawyers, teachers and engineers. Although there were sporadic outbreaks of violence, Jews living under Muslim rule in medieval times were far more prosperous, secure and integrated than those in Christian Europe.

When in 1492 the Jews were expelled from Spain, the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II was so incredulous that he sent a fleet of boats to collect them. Such a prize, of doctors, lawyers, scientists and traders, could not be allowed to slip by.

“Do they call this Ferdinand a wise prince who impoverishes his kingdom and enriches mine?” he asked. The Jewish immigrants settled across the Ottoman empire, from Salonika to Baghdad.

Teaching about that common heritage, and the shared roots of Islam and Judaism could help defuse the hatred, argues Roger Cukierman. “We have to teach children, from the age of five or six to respect their neighbours, whatever their colour, religion or origin. This is not done today. We have to educate parents and the media, not to promote hatred.”

Moderate Muslim and Jewish leaders are working together against campaigns to ban circumcision and ritual ­slaughter, says Ghaffar Hussain, of the Quilliam Foundation. “We only hear about what the extremists are doing. But we need to challenge extremist narratives and work for a liberal, secular democratic space, where people from a wide variety of backgrounds can thrive and co-exist.”

The future of European Jewry is more than a question for Jews themselves, argues Natan Sharansky. “I would like to see strong Jewish communities in Europe, but they are more and more hesitant about what their future is. Europe’s leaders are working hard to convince that Europe is multicultural and post-nationalist. But if the oldest minority in Europe feels uncomfortable and is disappearing, that raises questions of education and citizenship. That is the challenge for Europe’s leaders.”

By / July 29, 2014 (Newsweek)

This section of Graphic Humor in political-economic, national or international issues, are very ingenious in describing what happened, is happening or will happen. It also extends to various other local issues or passing around the world. There are also other non-political humor that ranges from reflective or just to get us a smile when we see them. Anyone with basic education and to stay informed of important news happening in our local and global world may understand and enjoy them. Farewell!. (CTsT)

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The devastation wrought by the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history grows daily. As of Thursday, the deaths totalled 729 deaths in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), but it’s far from over; ”Ebola is worsening in West Africa,” CDC director Tom Frieden said not once, or twice, but three times on Thursday.

Infectious disease experts are mobilizing, borders are shutting down, and, despite the fact that there is no cure for Ebola haemorrhagic fever (the illness caused by Ebola virus infection), health care officials are trying anything they can to help the stricken—especially those who put themselves at risk to save others. That means digging deep into the list of experimental methods the WHO, CDC and others have developed over the past few years to cure the deadly viral infection—including a simple but controversial therapy called immune plasma infusion.

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In Monrovia, Liberia, 33-year old Dr. Kent Brantly of Forth Worth, Texas had been treating Ebola patients since June, as part of an international relief group called Samaritan’s Purse. But in mid-July, Brantly recognized that he himself was showing symptoms of Ebola. He isolated himself, and told the rest of the team of his suspicions; soon after, his diagnosis was confirmed.

On Thursday Brantly was given a shot at survival: a 14-year-old male Ebola patient who had been under Brantly’s care, and survived, donated a “unit of blood” to Brantly, according to Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham. “The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life.”

The idea—novel, though not unprecedented—is that the blood (plasma, in medical parlance) of a survivor, full of antibodies proven to be strong enough to fight off the disease (i.e., immune), when transfused into an infected body, might help that body become immune itself. Though it sounds a bit like something Hollywood might have cooked up, there’s some science behind it—and an historical precedent that offers hope.

By the time Robert Colebunders arrived in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo (known as Zaire at the time), on June 15 of 1995, the Ebola virus had ravaged the city of 250,000 and the neighboring area for nearly 6 months. The hospitals in the riverport town were empty; patients and healthcare workers had fled to other parts of the country for fear of contracting the deadly disease, which would ultimately affect 317 people and kill 245.

Eventually, the Kikwit Ebola outbreak was traced back to January 1995, but it wasn’t until the start of May of that year that local public health officials recognized the many sick patients in the area as victims of the infectious disease. On May 8th, the Zairian government officially declared the epidemic, asking the World Health Organization to mobilize international assistance. Soon after, infectious disease experts arrived from the WHO, the CDC, Doctors Without Borders, the South African Medical Institute, the Red Cross, and Belgium’s Institute of Tropical Medicine—which sent Colebunders.

Immediately, the team went to work to contain the disease.

“We rapidly began talking to local leaders, quickly helping create an understanding in the population that an intervention was needed,” says Colebunders. The team established a surveillance network to identify and isolate patients who were suspected to have Ebola, and distributed protective equipment that gave local health care workers the ability—and the confidence—to safely work with the infected.

“We buried the dead bodies ourselves,” says Colebunders, working with Red Cross volunteers. Not just the known Ebola victims, either; every dead body in the area. The traditional burial rituals in the area involve family members cleaning the dead body, mourners coming to touch and kiss the body, and even keeping hair and nail as souvenirs. “If its not done in the right way, they think the ghost of the person will do them some harm,” says Colebunders. They had to convince them to put the bodies in plastic bags, a hard sell anywhere. “Putting your loved one in a plastic body bag is really not acceptable. That’s for your trash,” Colebunders says. “You need to help them understand.”

It worked: soon enough, reports of newly infected patients petered out. They were near declaring victory.

Then, in the last days, a nurse at Kikwit General Hospital, who had volunteered to care for a pair of Ebola-infected Italian nuns, developed symptoms of Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

“The rest of the team became concerned,” says Colebunders, and some of the medical professionals there who had suffered through and survived an earlier infection (“convalescent patients” in the literature) wanted to donate some of their blood to the nurse. “The Americans and Scientists from the States didnt believe it could work,” says Colebunders, but the Congolese doctors did it anyway. The same blood transfusion procedure was repeated for seven others who were ill, the final group of Ebola-stricken patients in the hospital.

The results were staggering: seven of the eight survived.

Typically, Ebola is almost unbelievably deadly, historically killing almost 90 percent of those it infects. It’s “very dramatic and even preternatural,” says David Quammen, a journalist and author of Spillover, a book documenting the impact of zoonotic diseases like Ebola. “It kills people quickly and it kills a high proportion of the people it infects.” The Kikwit case study (which would go on to be published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases) showed an almost 90 percent survival rate.

There’s precedent for this treatment approach, too. “We use this in other infectious diseases, and we can—and should—use that experience and apply it to Ebola,” says Heinrich Feldmann, the head of the National Institute of Health’s Laboratory of Virology. In Argentina, for example, infection of the Junin virus is often (and effectively) treated with blood transfusions from a Junin survivor.

So, why hasn’t the CDC, the WHO and the rest of the public health organizations worldwide jumped all over immune plasma infusion for Ebola? Why are we still scrambling for an Ebola treatment 20 years later?

The answer is that it has been essentially impossible to test. Why? Because Ebola only pops up occasionally, infects a relative few, and kills most. There’s no way, says Feldmann, to get enough plasma during an outbreak to treat others involved in that same outbreak. “Of course if you are collecting plasma now for the next outbreak, then you will have the time to do it,” Feldmann adds, though he is unaware of anyone collecting plasma during the current West African outbreak.

At least, until the unnamed 14-year-old boy, who, of his own accord, is about to become a key piece of the second test case in 20 years for what could be the treatment we’ve all been waiting for.

“We clearly need more effective ways to treat these patients and to protect health care workers,” says Colebunders. “Confronted with such a deadly disease, it is time to consider the use of experimental vaccines and treatments as compassionate use.”

* By  , 8/1/14 (Newsweek)
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