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French parliament deems Israel hate anti-Semitism The lower house of France’s parliament passed a nonbinding resolution on Tuesday that deems some forms of hatred of Israel to be expressions of anti-Semitism.
by JTA | Dec 05, 2019

The resolution, which passed in a 276-154 vote, also calls on the government to join other European nations in adopting the definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The definition states that some forms of vitriol against Israel, including comparing it to Nazi Germany, are examples of anti-Semitism, though criticising Israel’s policies isn’t.

Weeks of debate in the French media preceded the vote on the resolution introduced by Sylvain Maillard of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling LREM (La République En Marche) centrist party.

In October, 39 organisations wrote an open letter to national assembly president Richard Ferrand warning against passing the resolution. The letter argued against a separate definition of anti-Semitism, as it would “weaken the universalist approach to combating all forms of racism” and compromise “the defence of freedom of expression and assembly for groups and activists that must be allowed to defend the rights of Palestinians and criticise Israel’s policy without being falsely accused of anti-Semitism”.

Sale of Bergen-Belsen eyewitness accounts on hold

The auction of a rabbinical court ledger that documents eyewitness accounts of the deaths of Jews in Nazi camps has been put on hold.

The auction of the Bergen-Belsen ledger was scheduled to start on Tuesday night at the Kedem auction house in Jerusalem. But the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court put a hold on the sale after a lawsuit filed by the Organisation of Bergen-Belsen Survivors in Israel.

The ledger of about 100 pages was compiled at the end of World War II by a rabbinical court at Bergen-Belsen as proof that Holocaust victims’ spouses were dead. It allowed the survivors to remarry under Jewish law. It lists deaths that occurred at the Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Bergen-Belsen Nazi camps. Each page includes testimony signed by witnesses, a signed permit for remarriage, and is signed by known rabbis of the day.

The opening price at auction was $4 000 (R58 418).

The Bergen-Belsen survivors organisation said that the document didn’t belong in private hands, calling the sale of such documents “trade in the Holocaust”.

‘Game of Thrones’ star protests Belgian parade

Carice van Houten, a Dutch actress known for her role in the hit series Game of Thrones, cancelled a television appearance in Belgium over the use of caricatures of Jews at a parade there.

Van Houten, who portrayed Melisandre in the series, and her associate, Halina Reijn, who is married to a Jewish soccer player, both pulled out of the panel of the talk show The Appointment after learning it would host Christoph D’Haese, the mayor of Aalst, who has insisted on the legitimacy of caricaturing Jews at his city’s iconic annual carnival.

In March, the carnival featured a float with effigies of grinning Jews holding money, one carrying a rat on its shoulder. The float was widely condemned, including by Belgium’s UNIA (the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism), which called it anti-Semitic.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation, condemned the display as “racist and anti-Semitic” and scheduled a vote on whether to remove Aalst from its list of culturally significant events. On Sunday, D’Haese said Aalst would leave Unesco, and insisted again that the display fell within legitimate expression of satire in the context of the carnival’s promotion of edgy humour.

Images of women vandalised in Israeli city

Images of women on billboards and the windows of stores displaying female mannequins were recently vandalised in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod.

White paint covered the images and was painted on shop windows, according to a reporter for the Kan public broadcaster, who posted some images on Twitter.

“We must bring to justice whoever perpetrates an act of vandalism and takes the law into his own hands,” acting Ashdod Mayor Avi Amsalem told Kan.

Tension between haredi Orthodox and secular residents of Ashdod has risen in recent years. In general, images of women are considered immodest in the haredi community.

ICC declines to probe Mavi Marmara incident

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has decided for the third time not to open an investigation into the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid.

The office of Fatou Bensouda announced on Monday that any possible war crimes committed in the incident involving the Israeli commando raid on the Mavi Marmara were not serious enough to merit opening a case.

In the May 2010 incident, nine Turkish passengers including one American citizen were killed in clashes with Israeli commandos which boarded the Mavi Marmara. The ship and five others in the flotilla sponsored by the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was trying to evade Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israel isn’t a member of the ICC. It has imposed a naval blockade on Gaza since the terrorist organisation Hamas took over the coastal strip in 2007.

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