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Weekly roundup of world briefs


England’s Chelsea soccer club joins Anti-Defamation League in partnership to fight bigotry

By Ron Kampeas

(JTA) — The famed London-based Chelsea Football Club and the Anti-Defamation League have joined in a partnership to combat bigotry.

For the next three years, Chelsea’s foundation will fund the expansion of the ADL’s Center on Extremism — which feeds information on extremist activity to law enforcement — and the ADL’s work with a British group tracking extremism, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

Also funded will be BINAH Europe, a resource for non-Jewish students to learn about antisemitism and Jewish identity, Chelsea said in a release last week.

The release did not say how much Chelsea’s foundation would pay toward the partnership. The team and the ADL already work together on “No Place for Hate,” an anti-bigotry curriculum for school-aged children.

Roman Abramovich, the dual Russian-Israeli citizen who owns Chelsea Football Club, has made combating antisemitism and bigotry in sports and elsewhere a focus of his ownership.

In the statement announcing the partnership, Bruce Buck, the Chelsea FC chairman, alluded to online antisemitic attacks on Abramovich and racist attacks on players.

“The online hate towards our players, both men and women, towards our executives and towards our owner has increased several-fold in the last year alone,” he said.

In April, the football club banned a fan from attending games for ten years for targeting a journalist with antisemitic messages online.

Jewish man documents himself encountering antisemitic abuse twice in one hour in London

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A Jewish man documented himself encountering antisemitic rhetoric twice in one hour while using London’s public transportation system, refocusing British media attention to the issue.

In one incident aboard a bus, a passenger threatened to ” shank” the Jewish man, who is an Orthodox Jew, and “slit his throat for Palestine.” The man also called the alleged victim “f***ing scumbag” and told him he’d “f***ing beat the s*** out of you.”

An hour later, the same Jewish man filmed himself being mocked by young men while exiting a subway station. One of the men shouted: “F***ing hate the Jews.”

The Daily Mail tabloid reported on the incidents, which happened Saturday night.

Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, in a statement called the rhetoric “disgusting racist threats and abuse” and added that those responsible “should be must be tracked down and prosecuted.”

Community Security Trust, British Jewry’s security unit, documented 460 incidents from May 8 to June 7, the highest monthly total since records began in 1984, with 316 happening offline and 144 online. Israel’s latest violent conflict with Hamas militants in Gaza began on May 9.

Belarus president says Jews got the world to ‘bow before them’ after the Holocaust

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — In a speech about raising awareness of Nazi war crimes against Belarusian citizens, President Alexander Lukashenko said his country’s people should follow the example of “the Jews,” who got the world to “bow before them.”

“I have already said that we began to do this, investigating the crimes of Nazism on the Belarusian land. This is akin to the Belarusian Holocaust, or the Holocaust of the Belarusian people. The Jews were able to prove it. The whole world today bows before them, they are even afraid to point a finger at them, and we are so tolerant, so kind, we did not want to offend anyone,” he said.

Lukashenko, an authoritarian leader who last year faced widespread protests by pro-democracy demonstrators, said this Saturday in a speech at the Mound of Glory memorial complex outside Minsk, which commemorates Soviet soldiers who fought during World War II.

In the speech, timed to Belarus’ independence day, Lukashenko warned against revisionism of World War II history but did not say who is behind these attempts.

The Nazis killed about 3 million civilians in Belarus, including about 800,000 Jews.

Public expressions of antisemitism are rare in Belarus, but the country saw an uptick in online antisemitic rhetoric in 2018, after a Jewish businessman opened a restaurant on the edge of a mass grave of non-Jewish victims of the Soviet secret police.

Israel launches probe into Mount Meron disaster

(Israel Hayom) — The state commission of inquiry into the April 30 Mount Meron tragedy, which saw 45 people killed and 150 injured in a stampede during the Lag B’Omer festival at the site, began its work on Sunday.

The panel, headed by retired Chief Justice Miriam Naor, has already requested various documents from local and religious authorities regarding the preparation for the event.

The committee set a deadline of about six weeks for its work, which will be held in close cooperation with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. He has already ordered a criminal investigation into the deadly stampede.

Eight people so far, including two engineers and two heads of the Center for the Development and Preservation of Holy Places—a unit of the Religious Services Ministry—have been questioned by the police on suspicion of negligence manslaughter.

In first phone call, Bennett thanks Putin for Russia’s role in ‘regional stability’

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for the role that his country is playing in maintaining regional stability, his office said in a statement.

The phone call was the first time that the two leaders have spoken since Bennett was sworn in on June 13 as the head of Israel’s 36th government.

Bennett expressed his appreciation for the historic bond between the Russian and Jewish peoples, saying that he views aliyah from Russia as a bridge between the two countries.

The heads of state also discussed security and diplomacy, said the statement, with Bennett voicing gratitude for Putin’s assistance “on the issue of the captives and the missing”—presumably a reference to the Israeli citizens and fallen Israel Defense Forces soldiers held by Hamas in Gaza—and agreed to soon meet in person.

Palestinian prime minister: No connection exists between Israelis and Jews

(JNS) — Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh made the false claim on June 29 that “there is no connection between Israelis and the Jews;” rather, they are “Khazar Jews” who converted to Judaism in the sixth century C.E.

The Hebrews, the Jews and the Israelis are not the same thing,” he said, according to a report by MEMRI.

“Furthermore, the Israelis … Israel is Jacob. The Israelites are the sons of Jacob, [and] 1,300 years separated Jacob and the Prophet Moses. Therefore, 1,300 years separate the Israelis and Judaism. So there is no connection between the Israelis and the Jews,” he said.

“This issue requires research,” he added, noting that “there are many sources and books about the Khazar Jews.”

Shtayyeh made these remarks in a public address aired last week on Palestine TV, the Palestinian Broadcasting Company.

“What did [Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist Theodor] Herzl write to [former British Prime Minister Arthur] Balfour? He said: ‘Do you want us to be a ‘function’ state for the protection of Britain’s interests in the Middle East and in the Suez Canal? We are prepared to be a ‘function’ state.’ ”

Gaza terror squad to Israelis: ‘We are here to burn you, to make you wish you were dead’

(MEMRI via JNS) — A Gaza-based terror group posted a video on Sunday vowing to continue their arson attacks on southern Israel “day and night.”

The video, in Arabic with Hebrew subtitles, was posted to the Telegram account of “Ahfad Al-Nasser,” which belongs to the Popular Resistance Committees.

“We are here to burn you […] to make you wish you were dead,” the video says. “You will not enjoy a decent life […] this is part of our rage.”

In the video, members of the group are seen preparing incendiary balloons.

On Saturday, following three consecutive days of arson attacks from the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes struck a weapons-manufacturing facility and rocket-launching site in Gaza belonging to Hamas, according to the Israeli military.

In mid-June, incendiary devices launched from Gaza ignited a total of 26 conflagrations in southern Israel.


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