jew-nazi news

EU spreads more lies about BDS
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, Jul 3 2020

EU anti-Semitism coordinator Katharina von Schnurbein has a history of spreading smears
and lies about Palestinian rights campaigners. Photo: Andreas Gebert/Reuters

A prominent EU official is once again spreading lies about the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights. Katharina von Schnurbein, the bloc’s anti-Semitism coordinator, on Wednesday welcomed and shared suggestions from pro-Israel groups supposedly meant to “make Europe a more inclusive place for Jewish students.”

But the proposals from the European Union of Jewish Students and its German member JSUD, actually call for official condemnation of the BDS movement based on libels and fabrications. The document asserts:

BDS is an anti-Semitic movement targeting Jewish life in Europe. BDS leaders and supporters repeatedly seek to hold Jews collectively accountable for the actions of an Israeli government.

The movement calls for no such thing. Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the BDS movement, told The Electronic Intifada:

It is hardly shocking that Katharina von Schnurbein, an unelected EU bureaucrat who acts more like an advocate of Israel’s apartheid regime and a defender of its war crimes, is trading in anti-Palestinian racist fabrications and propaganda. But with this latest outrageous lie against the nonviolent Palestinian-led BDS movement, she has stooped even lower than before. The movement stands categorically against all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, as its anti-racist statement of principles explicitly states and as its 15-year record of progressive and intersectional human rights advocacy proves beyond doubt. BDS consistently targets complicity, not identity. It believes that there is nothing Jewish about Israel’s ethnic cleansing, siege, military occupation and murderous apartheid policies against Palestinians, and that Israel does not speak for or represent all Jewish communities.

By contrast, von Schnurbein appears to equate being Jewish with supporting Israel. She does not share or welcome the proposals and ideas of Jewish organizations and prominent Jewish and Israeli figures who support Palestinian rights or criticize official efforts to equate Palestinian rights advocacy with anti-Semitism. And her office recently rejected the application from European Jews for a Just Peace, a coalition of 12 groups in 10 countries, to join the EU’s working group on anti-Semitism. The organization charges that the criteria for membership in the working group were suddenly rewritten in the midst of the application process deliberately to exclude organizations that do not toe the EU’s official pro-Israel line. European Jews for a Just Peace has said:

Ms Von Schnurbein obviously refused us because it only wants the Jewish organizations that support Israeli policy in the working group.

Yet von Schnurbein maintains a very cozy relationship with the Israel lobby and with Jewish communal organizations that are hostile to Palestinians. Israel and its apologists have for years tried to portray the BDS movement as anti-Jewish, in an effort to incite goverment authorities to crack down on the movement as a purveyor of “hate speech.” But that equation was rejected in a unanimous ruling by the European Court of Human Rights last month. The landmark decision found that the criminal convictions of activists in France who called for a boycott of Israeli goods violated the guarantee of freedom of expression in the ECHR. The European judges rejected the French courts’ reasoning that calling for a boycott of Israeli goods was tantamount to inciting hatred and discrimination. The EUJS and JSUD, the groups behind the proposals welcomed by von Schnurbein, have a history of hostility towards Palestinians. EUJS defines itself as a “Zionist organization,” while JSUD campaigns for German authorities to impose an outright ban on BDS to shield Israel from criticisms by human rights campaigners. EUJS has called Israel’s massacres of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip “alleged abuses” and has claimed:

Peace will come when the rulers of Gaza choose humanity over hate, when they stop firing on our children while hiding behind their own.

This dehumanizing propaganda, a staple of Israeli hasbara, aims to absolve Israel of the killing of Palestinian children with the racist lie that Palestinian parents are willing to sacrifice their own children just to make Israel look bad. Nor is it the first time von Schnurbein has spread smears and fabrications about defenders of Palestinian human rights. Last year she accused BDS campaigners of protesting the singer Matisyahu just because he is Jewish. This was a lie. Matisyahu was protested by activists because he had raised money for Israel’s military and supported Israel’s attack on a flotilla sailing toward Gaza that killed 10 activists, not because of his religion or ethnicity. Omar Barghouti said:

In the light of the watershed decision by the European Court of Human Rights, and given von Schnurbein’s consistently anti-democratic, repressive attempts to silence EU citizens advocating for Palestinian rights, her position has become untenable. We call on the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to immediately fire her, appointing someone who carries out this important mandate with integrity, transparency and without abuse of power.

Von Schnurbein has not responded to a request for comment.

Israeli court awards Jerusalem church properties to settlers
Tamara Nassar, Electronic Intifada, Jul 3 2020

Theophilos III, Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Jan 6 2019.
Photo: Wisam Hashlamoun/APA

An Israeli court last month denied a petition by the Greek Orthodox Church to overturn the sale of leases on Jerusalem properties to an extremist Israeli settler organization. The ruling again gives Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing group involved in colonizing Palestinian land in the city, the green light to take over the three properties. The Jerusalem district court ruled in favor of the settler group last August, which seeks to ensure a Jewish majority in the Old City of Jerusalem through settlement and forcibly displacing native Palestinians.

Ateret Cohanim claims to have leased the church lands in 2004 from Irenaeus I, the Greek Orthodox patriarch at the time. The leases were for 99 years. The church said it will appeal the Jun 24 ruling with Israel’s high court, and accused Jerusalem’s district court of neglecting “a host of new evidence of delinquent behavior, including extortion, fraud and deception” regarding the 2004 transactions. The patriarchate said:

The court’s ruling came as a surprise, and it was received this morning within less than 24 hours from the conclusion of the hearing on the matter, without the court examining the evidence and without allowing it to be heard. We believe that after reviewing the evidence, the Supreme Court will accept our case and reverse the district court’s decision.

Yet that faith in Israel’s highest court may be misplaced. It has previously ruled in favor of the settler organization, giving the go-ahead for it to take over the properties. For the past 16 years, Ateret Cohanim has fought a legal battle against the church to try to seize the properties near Jaffa Gate in the Old City. Two of the three properties, New Imperial Hotel and Petra Hotel, are currently occupied by Palestinian organizations, which Ateret Cohanim seeks to evict. They are two of the oldest buildings in the city, overlooking the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Irenaeus I was ousted from the church following accusations that he approved the transactions with Ateret Cohanim. The three sites were leased at a much lesser value than they are worth, and church officials were accused of receiving payments from the settler group to advance the transaction. A commission formed by the PA in 2005 investigated the matter and exonerated Irenaeus I of involvement in the transaction. The investigation concluded that the deals were not endorsed by the Synod of Jerusalem, rendering them “legally invalid so they remain incomplete.”

Irenaeus I claimed his ousting was not legal and continued to identify as patriarch. Theophilos III, the current patriarch, has rejected the sales that his predecessor allegedly approved, saying they involved bribes and corruption. The church took over the sites following his appointment. The patriarchate claims that Ateret Cohanim bribed the church’s finance director, Nikolas Papadimos, to move forward with the deal.

The Greek Orthodox Church is one of the biggest landowners in the country. While Theophilos III is attempting to stop the three properties from being taken over by Israeli settlers, he has himself been accused of trying to sell other church assets to often mysterious buyers, including Israeli investors. This has caused Palestinian Christians to call for his ouster as patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church.

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