Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ten Jewish Tombstones Smashed in Romania; Are Wrecked on Holocaust Remembrance Day

An anti-Semitic organization said that vandals smashed 10 tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in the Romanian capital of Bucharest in "a premeditated act," the Times of Israel website reports today (April 26, 2017).

The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism in Romania said the tombstones were broken into pieces at the Jewish cemetery in southern Bucharest overnight on April 24, Holocaust Remembrance Day, when the millions of Jews killed by the Nazis are commemorated in Israel.

Romania deported 150,000 Jews and 25,000 Roma to concentration camps in an area of the Soviet Union controlled by the Axis powers from 1942 to 1944, when the country was run by pro-Nazi dictator Ion Antonescu.

An estimated 6,000 Jews live in Romania today.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Migrant Camps in Greece,Italy Are Overcrowded; Camps Designed to Process 8K People, Hold 16K

European Commission auditors say that the migrant registration centers in Greece and Italy are overcrowded and urgently require more experts -- particularly to help children -- the Greek Reporter website reports today (April 25, 2017).

The auditors say that two more registration centers are needed to process migrants arriving in Italy and that facilities on the five Greek islands that receive asylum seekers from Turkey must be improved.

"There are still more migrants arriving at the hotspots [registration centers] than leaving, and they are seriously overcrowded," the auditors said.

They added that hotspots in Greece and Italy are designed to process about 8,000 people, but are routinely dealing with 15,000--16,000 migrants.

COE Puts Turkey on Watchlist for Rights Denial; Raging Turkey Claims Vote Due to Islamophobia

A leading human rights body today (April 25, 2017) voted to put Turkey on a watchlist due to its crackdown on dissent since last July's failed coup attempt, rights violations, and concerns about President Tayyip Erdogan's increased grip on power, according to the Reuters website.

Turkey reacted furiously to the vote at the Strasbourg-based Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, saying it smacked of Islamophobia and was a "disgrace to this organization, which claims to be the cradle of democracy."

The 47-member of the Council of Europe (COE) is separate from the European Union (EU), but the vote is likely to be a further setback in Turkey's attempt to join the EU.

The Council of Europe applies its monitoring scheme to all countries when they join,  but this was the first time it has been reopened against any member of the body, which includes Russia, Ukraine, and all 28 EU member states.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Jews Blast Pope for "Concentration Camp" Rant; Equated Refugee Camps to Concentration Camps

Pope Francis has drawn sharp criticism from a Jewish organization for comparing European refugee holding centers to "concentration camps," which were used by Nazis to kill millions of Jews during World War II, the Independent (British) website reports today (April 24, 2017).

The pontiff made the comparison during a visit to Rome Basilica where he met with migrants on April 22. Recalling his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos last year, he talked of encountering a Muslim refugee from the Middle East who told him how "terrorists came to our country" and beheaded his wife for refusing to throw down her crucifix.

Pope Francis said: "I don't know if he managed to leave that concentration camp, because refugee camps, many of them, are of concentration [type] because of the great number of people left inside them."

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) urged the pontiff  "to reconsider his regrettable choice of words." David Harris, head of the AJC, said in a statement: "The conditions in which migrants are currently living in some European countries may well be difficult... but concentration camps they certainly are not."

Anti-Semitic Incidents in US Rose by 1/3 in 2016; Have Shot Up 86% in First Three Months of 2017

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said today (April 24, 2017) that anti-Semitic incidents in the United States rose by more than one-third in 2016 and shot up 86 percent in the first three months of 2017, according to the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website.

There has been a massive increase in harassment of American Jews -- largely since November -- and at least 34 incidents linked to the presidential election in November, the ADL said today in its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.

There were a total of 1,266 acts targeting Jews and Jewish institutions during 2016, a 34 percent increase of incidents of assaults, vandalism, and harassment over the previous year. Nearly 30 percent of those incidents -- or 369 of them -- occurred in November and December.

The acts included 720 harassment and threat incidents, an increase of 41 percent over 2015; 510 vandalism incidents, an increase of 35 percent; and 36 physical assault incidents, a decrease of 35 percent.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

N. Korea Is Ready to Sink a US Aircraft Carrier; Can Sink Nuclear-Powered Carrier with 1 Strike

North Korea said today (April 23, 2017) that it was ready to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier to demonstrate its military might, in the latest sign of rising tension, according to the Reuters website.

The U.S. ordered the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to sail waters off the Korean peninsula in response to mounting concern over North Korea's nuclear and missile tests, and its threats to attack the United States and its Asian allies.

"Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike," the Rodong Sinmun -- the newspaper of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party -- said in a statement.

The paper likened the aircraft carrier to a "gross animal" and said a strike on it would be "an actual example to show our military force."

Four Israelis Wounded in Tel Aviv Terror Attack; Palestinian Stabbed 4 with Wire-cutters at Hotel

Four people were wounded today (April 23, 2017) in a terror attack at a hotel on the Tel Aviv beachfront by a Palestinian teen armed with wire-cutters, according to the Times of Israel website.

The attack began in the lobby of the Leonardo Beach Hotel where the Palestinian stabbed three people. He then fled outside and attacked one more person -- a man in his 70s -- before he was captured by police.

All four victims were lightly wounded and treated at the scene by medics before being taken to Ichilov Hospital.

The Palestinian -- identified as an 18-year-old from the Nablus area of the West Bank -- was apprehended by police. Police determined that the attack was a terror attack.