World NewsAUSTRIA | War memorial dismantled by Graz council
Friday, 25 July 2014, 23:18 | Source: thelocal.at |
One of the commemorative boards in Graz. Photo: APA
Ten commemorative boards which serve to remind people of specific WWII Nazi atrocities in the city of Graz are being removed.
The Freedom Party (FPÖ) run city council decided by a majority vote on Friday that the “temporary” installation should be removed - but the local Greens and Socialist Party are not happy.
The works were commissioned by the city in 2008 from German artist Jochen Gerz, who worked in collaboration with local historians.
Installed in 2010, the boards are billboard-sized and feature historical photos with accompanying text that detail acts of Nazi terror at site-specific points around Graz.
Graz City Councillor Mario Eustacchio (FPÖ), in charge of streets and roads in the Styrian city, is overseeing the removal of the works on Friday.
He told The Local that he is simply acting according to the formal legal requirements of the City of Graz, and is not himself opposed to Gerz’s work.
Lisa Rücker, Graz City Councillor for the Greens party, told The Local that the Greens are opposed to the removal of this art project.
“Yes - it was a project that had a specific date when it should be taken down, but it was extended four times, and this fifth time it has been denied.
The material is not durable in the long term and it was not made to last forever, but we thought the best alternative was to wait until the end of next year and find a fitting and proper end for this installation.
Unlike other works of art, there are always arguments about this sort of installation in open spaces, but the role of Graz in 1938 was tragic and we have a special responsibility in Graz to continue this discussion,” she said.
Rücker also noted that from her experience on the council, the mayor could very easily have overruled this decision, but chose not to.
Helmut Konrad, historian and former Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Graz, was one of the experts who worked with Gerz on the boards.
“It’s a real political decision and disappointing to see. It’s hard to understand why the mayor doesn’t listen to the hundreds and hundreds of voices around him,” he told The Local.
“If there was at least a political discussion about a different way to tell these stories that would be something, but other art installations intended as ‘temporary’ art works, for example the Rusty Nail in the city park and the Kafka-inspired statue outside the Graz Opera House, are still in place around the city after ten or 20 years!”
Raimund Fastenbauer, General Secretary for Jewish Affairs at the Israeli Cultural Society in Vienna, told The Local that he was very surprised by the decision.
“This is an action going in the wrong direction. If anything, there should be more works of this kind.”
Fastenbauer went on to say that he has detected an increase in anti-Semitism in Austria, but was still very surprised at the news because he had never heard any voices against this installation.
GERMANY | Neo-nazi group banned in Germany's Bavaria state
Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 18:39 | Source: nzherald.co.nz |
Authorities in the German state of Bavaria say they have banned a neo-Nazi group that operated in the region.
The state interior ministry said it banned the Free Network South group on Wednesday and accused it of pursuing the "anti-constitutional endeavors" of an organization that was banned a decade ago, the Franconian Action Front.
Officials searched a property in the small town of Regnitzlosau in northern Bavaria where, the ministry said, an outfit called Final Resistance Mail Order supported the group's activities.
Bavarian authorities didn't immediately give details on the size of the group and its activities.
Along with other state governments, Bavaria is seeking a ban on Germany's biggest far-right party, the National Democratic Party. Germany's highest court is considering the case.
HUNGARY | Hungary’s new ambassador to Italy thinks Jews are ‘agents of Satan’ who ‘enslave mankind’
Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 18:38 | Source: Vox |
Members of the Hungarian Jewish community protest Jobbik, a far-right anti-Semitic party. The sign reads "the face of the executioner." Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images
Normally, not many people would pay attention to the Hungarian Ambassador to Italy — even within Hungary or Italy. But when the new ambassador is the kind of guy who has written that Jews are "the agents of Satan," it's probably time to start taking note. Especially in a week marked by an upswing in European anti-Semitism.
Sunday night, the Hungarian media learned that Péter Szentmihályi Szabó, a former poet and right-wing political commentator, was going to be the next ambassador to Rome. Eva S. Balogh, a Hungarian and former Yale lecturer in Eastern European history, was appalled. "One thing is sure," Balogh wrote : "Szentmihályi Szabó is an inveterate anti-Semite."
To prove her point, Balogh translated an essay of Szabó's from 2000. It's about Jews, and it's pretty appalling stuff:
I don't know, I don't understand why they hate us so much. They live here in Hungary, they speak and write in Hungarian, but they loathe us. I really don't understand why they stay if it is that bad here, in this welcoming country that is so foolishly patient. It is not difficult to recognize them because they are cowardly and impertinent at the same time. Money is their God, their mother tongue in which they have trusted from time immemorial. Dark circles under their eyes, flabby skin, clammy palms, cold feet, freakish smiles give them away.
They can be found everywhere on the earth. They are the agents of Satan. They arouse fear and they live off of fear. They create turmoil and discord. They are constantly packing, yet they don't leave. Are they foreign spirits whose mission is to destroy the local communities? International criminals who, following Marx and Lenin, decided to enslave mankind? Eternally homeless folk condemned to be constant wanderers?
They are the debt collectors. The ones who first figured out that money "works" without labor although there are no goods behind the merchandise, only a piece of metal, a piece of paper, or by now only a digital symbol on the computer. Everybody is afraid of them, yet they dread those who fear them. The world's strongest army guards their security, and yet they still don't dare to get close to those whose rights they defend so loudly.
This is especially troubling given that it happened in Hungary, where there has been a trend of anti-Semitism, particularly in right-wing politics. Though right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán condemns anti-Semitism, his government doesn't have the best track record on it. The World Jewish Congress, writing about a 2013 Orbán address on anti-Semitism, told Bloomberg that he failed to "address any recent anti- Semitic or racist incidents in the country, nor did he provide sufficient reassurance that a clear line has been drawn between his government and the far-right fringe."
That last bit, about the far-right fringe, is key. Jobbik, Hungary's third largest party, is vehemently anti-Semitic (though they deny it publicly). "Blatant anti-Semitism is a risky electoral strategy," Anne Appelbaum wrote in an excellent New Yorker feature on Jobbik. "But they drop hints that their voters understand."
For instance, Jobbik officials may joke that the only thing the European Union brought Hungary was "a whole lot of Canaanites" (a biblical reference serving as code for Jews). Jobbik hates the EU, to put it mildly, so linking Jews to EU in front of a Jobbik-friendly audience isn't a compliment.
In the 2014 election, Jobbik won about 20 percent of the vote. In that context, Orbán appointing an open anti-Semite to an important ambassadorial post may not be a pure accident, and is a troubling sign that the mainstream and extreme right in Hungary may not be as far off as they appear. Amidst a week of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe linked to the Gaza conflict, the Szabó incident is a reminder that older forms of European anti-Semitism are still around.
FRANCE | France's Jews flee As rioters burn Paris shops, attack synagogue
Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 00:20 | Source: Huffington Post |
France's politicians and community leaders have criticised the "intolerable" violence against Paris' Jewish community, after a pro-Palestinian rally led to the vandalizing and looting of Jewish businesses and the burning of cars.
It is the third time in a week where pro-Palestinian activists have clashed with the city's Jewish residents. On Sunday, locals reported chats of "Gas the Jews" and "Kill the Jews", as rioters attacked businesses in the Sarcelles district, known as "little Jerusalem".
Manuel Valls, France's prime minister said: “What happened in Sarcelles is intolerable. An attack on a synagogue and on a kosher shop is simply anti-Semitism. Nothing in France can justify this violence.”
Religious leaders gathered for an interfaith service on Monday to call for calm, and Haim Korsia, the chief rabbi of France, and Hassen Chalghoumi, the imam of Drancy shook hands on the steps of the synagogue.
Francois Pupponi, the mayor of Sarcelles, told BFMTV that the violent attacks were carried out by a "horde of savages."
"When you head for the synagogue, when you burn a corner shop because it is Jewish-owned, you are committing an anti-Semitic act," interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters at a press conference at the local synagogue.
- MIGUEL MEDINA via Getty Images
- A worker prepares to repair a shop windowin Sarcelles, a northern Paris suburb, a day after a rally against Israel's Gaza offensive descended into violence
- MIGUEL MEDINA via Getty Images
- A man walks in Sarcelles, a northern Paris suburb, by broken windows as he enters a shopping center in Les Flanades neighborhood
- MIGUEL MEDINA via Getty Images
- The broken shop window of a restaurant in a shopping center in Les Flanades neighborhood, damaged on July 20 after a rally against Israel's Gaza offensive descended into violence pitting an angry pro-Palestinian crowd against local Jewish businesses
- MIGUEL MEDINA via Getty Images
- Projectiles were thrown at police, burned cars and looted shops
- MIGUEL MEDINA via Getty Images
- The Parisian suburb is known for its multiculturalism
- MIGUEL MEDINA via Getty Images
- Damages in a restaurant of a shopping center in Les Flanades neighborhood
- MIGUEL MEDINA via Getty Images
- A policewoman takes part in an investigation in Sarcelles, a northern Paris suburb in front of a chemist in a shopping center of Les Flanades neighborhood, which was burnt down
- STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN via Getty Images
- The Imam of the eastern suburb of Drancy, Hassen Chalghoumi, the President of the Central Jewish consistory of France, Joel Mergui, the Great Rabbi of France Haim Korsia, and the Bishop of Pontoise for the Conference of Bishops of France, Stanislas Lalanne attend an ecumenical ceremony at the synagogue of Sarcelles
- STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN via Getty Images
- French singer Enrico Macias (4th L), French writer Marek Halter (C), the Imam of the eastern Paris suburb of Drancy, Hassen Chalghoumi (4th R), the President of the Central Jewish consistory of France Joel Mergui (3rd R_ and Bishop of Pontoise for the Conference of Bishops of France Stanislas Lalanne (2nd R) pose during an ecumenical ceremony at the synagogue of Sarcelles, north of Paris
Eighteen people were arrested for attacks on shops, including a kosher supermarket, a Jewish-owned chemist and a funeral home. Rioters, who carried batons and threw petrol bombs according to eyewitnesses, were yards from the synagogue when they were driven back by riot police who used tear gas.
“They were shouting: ‘Death to Jews,’ and ‘Slit Jews’ throats’,” David, a Jewish sound engineer told The Times. “It took us back to 1938.”
“We called our town 'Little Jerusalem' because we felt at home here,”
Laetitia, a longtime Sarcelles resident, told France 24. “We were safe, there were never any problems. And I just wasn't expecting anything like this. We are very shocked, really very shocked."
Roger Cuikerman, head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France told Radio France International: "They are not screaming, 'Death to the Israelis' on the streets of Paris. They are screaming, "Death to the Jews." The community was not just scared, but "anguished."
The government had banned a demonstration planned in Paris for Saturday, but posters were seen around the area which said “Come equipped with hammers, fire extinguishers and batons" and promised a "raid on the Jewish district”.
France has around half a million Jews, the biggest population in Europe, and around five million Muslims.
The Society for the Protection of the Jewish Community's figures suggest that anti-Jewish violence is seven times higher than in the 1990s, and 40% of racist violence is against Jews, despite them making up just 1% of the population.
In March 2012, a shooting spree by Mohammed Merah in the south of France left three French soldiers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi dead. The gunman claimed a connection to al Qaeda.
More than a thousand Jews have made aliyah (the term used when Jews immigrate to Israel) in the past 10 days, according to the Israeli government.
"I came because of anti-Semitism,” said teary-eyed Veronique Rivka Buzaglo, one of 430 immigrants who arrived from France the day before. "You see it in the eyes of people. I see it in everything," she told HuffPost.
Buzaglo says nothing would have stopped her from becoming an Israeli citizen this week - not even the rocket sirens frequently blaring in the south of the country, where she plans to live.
BULGARIA | Volen Siderov faces prosecution over hooliganism
Monday, 21 July 2014, 13:45 | Source: novinite.com |
Volen Siderov, leader of Bulgaria's far-right nationalist party Ataka, photo by BGNES.
The leader of Bulgaria's nationalist party Ataka, Volen Siderov is to face prosecution in a hooliganism and infliction of minor injuries case, Monday.
The first court hearing will be held seven months after incident on January 6 when the nationalist leader was involved in a conflict, which started on an airplane, where he reportedly insulted the French cultural attaché. Later in the shuttle bus at Varna Airport, Siderov continued with his assault, hitting a policeman and a passenger who had expressed his outrage at the incident.
Siderov faces up to 5 years behind bars for hooliganism, and up to 3 years in jail for infliction of minor injuries. More than 20 witnesses have been interrogated so far, BGNES reminds.
This was not the first time the notorious Ataka leader has been involved in a scandal. In 2010, Siderov was detained in Germany for stirring a row on a Lufthansa flight.
HUNGARY | Controversial statue goes up overnight
Monday, 21 July 2014, 13:42 | Source: bbj.hu |
The statue depicts the Angel Gabriel, who is traditionally considered Hungary’s own guardian angel, being tormented from above by an eagle, which represents Nazi Germany. An inscription that runs atop a colonnade behind the statue can be translated as “Memorial for the Victims of German Occupation”.
Opponents of the statue say that it is not only meant to commemorate victims of the Holocaust, but also those who were “duped” by Nazis into killing their fellow country members. They claim that it is a cynical ploy by the ruling Fidesz party to woo voters away from the largest opposition group, the far-right Jobbik party.
Supporters say the statue reminds us that it is wrong to blame Hungarians for things that happened while the country was under occupation. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has frequently expressed his support for the statue, saying it is "not a Holocaust memorial".
The site for the statue in Szabadság tér – a name that means “Freedom Square” – has attracted protestors since plans for it were announced. Pál Steiner, a member of the Socialist Party and former mayor of Budapest’s District V, sued to demand a referendum on whether the statue should be erected. A Budapest Court threw out the case, saying that “the government had decreed that the memorial was a project of primary importance for the national economy”, according to a report by state news agency MTI.
The court ruling was announced by the Socialist Party on Saturday, and around 1am on Sunday, a cordon of police reportedly surrounded the site while workers put the statue up.
Protests have continued at the site since then.
POLAND | Polish MEP's racist remark sparks anger
Thursday, 17 July 2014, 17:36 | Source: AFP |
A far-right Polish MEP outraged lawmakers gathered in the European Parliament on Wednesday by comparing the continent's unemployed youth to "n*****s" in the US South.
Janusz Korwin-Mikke, the outspoken leader of the royalist and libertarian Congress of the New Right party, delivered the remark during a speech to deputies decrying the existence of minimum wage laws.
Comparing job-seeking youth to black labourers in the American South during the 1960s, Korwin-Mikke said: "Four millions humans lost jobs. Well, it was four million n******s. But now we have 20 millions Europeans who are the Negroes of Europe.
"Yes, they are treated like Negroes!
"We must destroy the minimum wage and we must destroy the power of trade unions," the 72-year-old added, before being shouted down in the parliament session.
The Socialist coalition immediately called on Korwen-Mikke to apologise or resign over what it called the "worst insult of racist discrimination and humiliation".
"What Mr. Korwin-Mikke has preached did not only offend those that have a different skin colour, but everyone who is inspired by the European values of dignity and equality," said Italian Socialist Cecile Kyenge, who is of Congolese origin.
Korwin-Mikke had already stirred controversy during campaigning for EU elections in May by claiming Adolf Hitler "was not aware of the extermination of the Jews".
SPAIN | Neo-nazi 'not sorry' over 'blood bath' speech
Thursday, 17 July 2014, 16:37 | Source:thelocal.es |
"Catalonia won't become independent without a lot of blood being spilled," he is reported to have said in a speech during the demonstration which saw the group's members carrying banners calling for Catalonia's regional president Artur Mas to be sent to the gas chambers.
Catalan leaders are pushing for a November 9th referendum on the issue of independence for the region with 7.5 million people. Many in Catalonia feel they would be better off without Spain, saying they feel short-changed by the central government which redistributes their taxes.
But the far-right Alianza Nacional, which is anti-immigrant and anti-gay marriage, believes the region is an essential part of Spanish territory.
On Wednesday, an unrepentant Peña refused to back down over his 2013 comments, Spain's 20 minutos newspaper reported.
He is now on trial for charges of inciting hatred and discrimination.
The leader of Spain's far-right Falange group had also been summonsed to appear in court on the same charges on Wednesday but failed to show.
He did, however, answer questions from Madrid. During that declaration he said the "Spanish people" could legitimately use violence if the government failed to prevent the independence of Catalona.
The Falange leader, however, refused to answer questions relating to charges of inciting hatred and violence.
HUNGARY | Neo-Nazi website owner flees the US
Thursday, 17 July 2014, 12:20 | Source: Politics.hu |
Béla Varga, owner of the extreme right-wing website kuruc.info, registered in the US, has fled to Canada after the FBI issued a warrant for his arrest.
Varga, a resident of California, is a Canadian-Hungarian dual citizen.
Varga is suspected of harassing and threatening to kill the lawyer who had obtained a subpoena to question him about the website.
He was arrested in California in May but set free on $250,000 bail. When he failed to appear at two hearings in San Francisco, a warrant for his arrest was issued. Varga, his wife and two sons then fled to Canada.
FRANCE | Ex-FN candidate handed jail term for monkey slur
Thursday, 17 July 2014, 12:12 | Source: thelocal.fr |
On Tuesday a French court in the overseas territory of Cayenne, French Guyana, slapped a nine month prison sentence on Leclère as well as a €5,000 fine.
It also slapped the FN with a 30,000-euro fine, putting an end to a case brought by French Guiana's Walwari political party founded by Taubira.
The court went well beyond the demands of prosecutors, who had asked for a four-month jail sentence, five years of ineligibility and a 5,000-euro fine.
Leclère, who was not present in the court, said on Wednesday that she would appeal the verdict.
In a statement, the FN also said it would appeal, denouncing the sentences as "appalling" and blasting the trial as a "trap" as the party was unable to find a lawyer in Cayenne to defend it.
The incident came to light when France 2 television revealed a photo montage Leclere had posted on her Facebook page, showing a baby monkey, with a caption underneath reading “At 18 months”, alongside Taubira – who is black – with the caption “Now.”
'I'd prefer to see her swinging from a tree'
Leclere published the image on her Facebook page on August 31st last year, before deleted it on the advice of friends, according to France 2.
During a documentary entitled “The new faces of the National Front?”, Leclere was confronted with the image, but defended publishing it, repeatedly insisting Taubira was “une sauvage”, which can translate as "wild animal" or "savage".
“Honestly, she’s a wild animal, coming on TV with that devil’s smile,” said Leclère.
“I’d prefer to see her swinging from a tree than in government,” she added, denying that she or the photo were racist, claiming “I have friends who are black.”
Leclère, who will face a disciplinary hearing, defended herself on Friday afternoon, saying: "I did not make racist remarks even though my comments on television were clumsy."
She said the photo-montage was a "joke" and added: "The photo was posted on my Facebook page and I took it off a few days later. I was not the creator of this photograph.
GERMANY | Zschaepe wants to fire lawyers
Thursday, 17 July 2014, 11:59 | Source: Reuters |
Beate Zschaepe, accused of being at the heart of neo-Nazi killer cell NSU, arrives for another session of her trial at the regional courthouse in Munich, June 13, 2013.
CREDIT: REUTERS/CHRISTOF STACHE/POOLA suspected neo-Nazi charged with complicity in a series of racist murders that scandalized Germany wants to fire her lawyers in a move that could delay her trial which has already dragged on for more than a year.
Beate Zschaepe, 39, told the Munich court on Wednesday she no longer had confidence in her three lawyers, her spokeswoman said.
Zschaepe is accused of helping found a neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), and of complicity in the murders of 10 people, mostly ethnic Turks, from 2000 to 2007.
The murders went undetected for more than a decade and came to light only by chance in late 2011, shocking Germans and triggering criticism of the country's intelligence service.
The judge said Zschaepe needed to give reasons for her loss of confidence in the lawyers by Thursday morning, a court official said.
Defendants were usually only allowed to drop their lawyers in extraordinary cases, and had to show that confidence had been completely shattered, court spokeswoman Andrea Titz said.
The trial was adjourned until Tuesday. Such hearings can only be held up for a maximum of 30 days under Germany's code of criminal procedure.
AUSTRIA | Anti-corruption raid on Carinthian FPÖ
Thursday, 17 July 2014, 11:47 | Source:thelocal.se |
According to the Austrian Press Agency the investigation concerns freebies accepted by former members of government.
Antoinette Tröster, spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office in Klagenfurt, confirmed that the raids had taken place, and said they were to do with “the procurement of promotional gifts in 2008 and 2009”.
It has emerged that watches, worth almost €15,000, were given away as gifts by the regional government.
Three unnamed defendants are being investigated, under suspicion of having abused their authority.
Dobernig’s lawyer Franz Großmann confirmed that his client was under investigation for “breach of trust” and said it concerned freebies that “all members of the government were accepting”. He added that the allegations were unfounded and would soon be discredited.
Christian Ragger, the leader of the FPÖ in Carinthia, said he did not “give a damn” about the allegations - and that not a single FPÖ member was guilty of such a thing.
The investigation relates specifically to the activities of the right-wing populist party Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) in 2008 and 2009, which was founded by former Freedom Party leader Jörg Haider.
Haider died as a result of driving under the influence in 2008, and the Carinthia chapter of the BZÖ broke off from the national party to work together with the FPÖ.
Willi Korak, the current BZÖ member of parliament for Carinthia, denied that his party had anything to do with the allegations of corruption. “This is about the FPÖ... we made a completely new start,” he said.
SWEDEN | 'Battered women should stop whining' – Sweden Democrat
Thursday, 17 July 2014, 11:44 | Source: thelocal.se |
Sweden Democrat MP Anna Hagwall has been censured by the party after saying that women should "stop whining" about domestic violence and that they shoulder the responsibility to end the abuse."These types of statement signal a high level of naivete and it's obvious this person shouldn't handle these kind of questions," Sweden Democrat party spokesperson Paula Bieler told The Local. Hagwall uttered the comments when asked by Sveriges Radio her view on equality and men's violence against women. The Swedish MP, one of four female Sweden Democrats sitting in parliament, later declined to retract her position in an interview with the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily. "You should deal with it at an early stage and think twice about who you marry and move in with," she said. "Often these men show tendencies of treating women around them badly, their mothers and sisters." Hagwall claimed that women need to be more aware and take better care of themselves. They also need to exercise cunning as they are generally at a physically disadvantage. The 61-year-old, who emigrated to Sweden from Hungary in 1972, pointed out that the welfare system offers a great deal of support for women in abusive relationships. "All you have to do is go to the social services and let them know what's going on. You do actually get help in Sweden and don't have to let it end in the woman being murdered," she told DN. She did however point out that the men also have some responsibility for the situation, explaining that it is not acceptable to break down a woman or a family and that these men deserved to be dumped. "I feel sorry for the women as victims but it's still their darned responsibility as well," she told DN. The Sweden Democrats told The Local that Hagwall's views did not represent those of the party as a whole. "We believe there should be an even stronger support system in place for women who are being abused in order to encourage them to go through the legal process and achieve justice."
UKRAINE | Ukraine conflict: 'White power' warrior from Sweden
Thursday, 17 July 2014, 11:39 | Source: BBC |
Mikael Skillt in Ukraine The appearance of far-right activists, both foreign and home-grown, among the Ukrainian volunteers fighting in east Ukraine is causing unease.
Mikael Skillt is a Swedish sniper, with seven years' experience in the Swedish Army and the Swedish National Guard. He is currently fighting with the Azov Battalion, a pro-Ukrainian volunteer armed group in eastern Ukraine. He is known to be dangerous to the rebels: reportedly there is a bounty of nearly $7,000 (£4,090; 5,150 euros) on his head.
In a telephone conversation from an undisclosed location, Mr Skillt told me more about his duties: "I have at least three purposes in the Azov Battalion: I am a commander of a small reconnaissance unit, I am also a sniper, and sometimes I work as a special coordinator for clearing houses and going into civilian areas."
As to his political views, Mr Skillt prefers to call himself a nationalist, but in fact his views are typical of a neo-Nazi.
"It's all about how you see it," he says. "I would be an idiot if I said I did not want to see survival of white people. After World War Two, the victors wrote their history. They decided that it's always a bad thing to say I am white and I am proud."
Mr Skillt believes races should not mix. He says the Jews are not white and should not mix with white people. His next project is to go fight for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because he believes Mr Assad is standing up to "international Zionism".Mikael Skillt in Ukraine
Not all of Mr Skillt's views are widely shared in the Azov Battalion, which is about 300-strong in total.
He says his comrades do not discuss politics much, though some of them may be "national socialists" and may wear swastikas. On the other hand, "there is even one liberal, though I don't know how he got there", he adds, with a smile in his voice.
Mr Skillt says there is only a handful of foreign fighters in the Azov Battalion and they do not get paid. "They see it as a good thing, to come and fight," he explains. However, Mr Skillt is expecting more foreigners to join soon: he says there is now a recruiter who is looking for "serious fighters" from outside Ukraine.
The key figures in the Azov Battalion are its commander, Andriy Biletsky, and his deputy, Ihor Mosiychuk.
Andriy Biletsky is also the leader of a Ukrainian organisation called the Social National Assembly. Its aims are stated in one of their online publications:
- "to prepare Ukraine for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital"
- "to punish severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man"
This, according to experts, is a typical neo-Nazi narrative.
The Azov Battalion was formed and armed by Ukraine's interior ministry. A ministerial adviser, Anton Gerashchenko, got angry when I asked him if the battalion had any neo-Nazi links through the Social National Assembly.Azov Battalion fighters parading with the Wolfsangel banner favoured by neo-Nazis Young women saying goodbye to Azov Battalion fighters in Kiev last month Azov fighters guarding suspected rebels in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, last month
"The Social National Assembly is not a neo-Nazi organisation," he said.
"It is a party of Ukrainian patriots who are giving their lives while the rich Europeans are only talking about supporting Ukraine. When, may I ask, will English people come here and help us fight terrorists sent by Russia's President [Vladimir] Putin, instead of lecturing us on our moral values or people's political affiliations?"
Mr Gerashchenko was adamant, however, that there were no foreign citizens fighting in the Azov Battalion."There are foreign journalists, from Sweden, Spain and Italy, who have come to report on the heroic achievements of the fighters in their struggle against terrorism," he said.
He insisted he had never heard of Mikael Skillt, the Swedish sniper.
Ukraine is a democratic state, which held a democratic election in May, where the far right and nationalist parties got hardly any votes. These views are not popular with the electorate.
But Anton Shekhovtsov, a prominent expert on far-right and neo-Nazi movements in Europe, believes the Ukrainian government should be clear about whom it is arming to fight for Ukraine's democratic cause.
"It is a pressing concern, especially with regards to the anti-terrorist operation," he said. "In my view, the war against pro-Russia separatists is the war for democratic values. Neo-Nazis are as dangerous as pro-Russia extremists in eastern Ukraine."
SPAIN | Neo-Nazi gang extorts neighbour to pay lawyer
Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 17:45 | Source: thelocal.es |
The four men, whose home was found to house a vast arsenal of weapons and fascist memorabilia, beat up their neighbour on repeated occasions. Photo: Mossos D'Esquadra
Police in Spain's Catalonia region have arrested four members of a neo-Nazi gang who beat up one of their neighbours to extort up to €2,500 ($3,400) from him, money that would later go to pay for the defence of ten of their associates standing trial for violent crimes.
The four men, whose home was found to house a vast arsenal of weapons and fascist memorabilia, beat up their neighbour on repeated occasions.
According to Catalan police, they burst the victim’s ear drum during a beating and were planning a kidnapping to extort even bigger sums of moneyfrom him.
Although the man did not report the case to Catalan police, medical staff informed local authorities when he turned up in hospital with serious injuries.
The four men, known to have ties to radical football groups, have since been arrested, Catalan daily La Vanguardia reported.
Their aim was to cover the costs of their jailed colleagues' defence, behind bars while awaiting trial for attacking a group of youths with knuckledusters and crowbars.
During the attack, which took place at an anti-fascism concert in the Catalan city of Manresa in 2012, the Nazi sympathizers injured one of their victims so badly “he would have died had he not received immediate medical help”, the court heard.
GERMANY | Neo-nazis, Islamists declare 'You Jews are beasts' during protest of Israeli operation
Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 08:31 | Source: Jerusalem Post |
Man holds boycott Israel sign Photo: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN A demonstration in Frankfurt against Operation Protective Edge erupted into violence, with protesters tossing stones at the police.
According to the Frankfurter Rundschau paper, about 2,500 protesters appeared in downtown Frankfurt, screaming “God is great,” and slogans such as “freedom for Palestine” and “children-murderer Israel.”
Eight police officers were injured. One sign at the rally was titled, “You Jews are Beasts.”
German media reported that after the protests, groups sought to locate Jewish institutions. The Frankfurt police said Jewish institutions would be protected. It is unclear if the goal was to attack said institutions.
According to the Rundschau, student organization Left-SDS, Islamists and some members of the Neo-Nazi group National Socialists Rhein-Main attended the anti-Israel protest. Flags from Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Hamas were on display at the protest. Banners compared Prime Minister Netanyahu with Adolf Hitler.
Supporters of Assad’s regime were also present at the protest.
In a bizarre act of cooperation, German journalist and publicist Thomas von der Osten-Sacken reported on the website of the weekly Jungle World that Frankfurt’s police allowed the demonstrators to use a police vehicle and loudspeaker to blast anti-Israeli slogans.According to a police statement, the authorities allowed the use of their equipment in order to deescalate the situation. The Jungle World article sarcastically titled its account, “The Police, Friend and Helper.”
ISRAEL | Israel's far-right spreads from the fringes
Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 08:23 | Source: Deutsche Welle |
Demonstrators have gathered in Jerusalem's city center, close to the former border between east and west. They carry Israeli flags and signs, and shout "Mavet la aravim" (Death to Arabs).
They flag down taxi drivers, so they can check if they are Jews or Palestinians. The atmosphere is tense. Many Palestinian taxi drivers from occupied East Jerusalem work in the city.
One young protester shouts an invective at Palestinians, while another replies: "Give it to them."
The uproar was sparked by the deaths of three Israili yeshiva students who were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank. Their bodies were discovered buried beneath a pile of rubble near Hebron at the end of June. Hamas has been blamed for the deaths, although the group denies responsibility.
Speaking at the youths' funeral, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "A deep and wide chasm separates us from our enemies. They sanctify death; we sanctify life. They sanctify cruelty, and we sanctify mercy. That is the secret and the foundation of our unity."
The murder of three Israeli teenagers sparked an outcry
One day later, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a young Palestinian from East Jerusalem, was kidnapped, tortured and brutally murdered. The perpetrators belong to Israel's extreme right-wing religious scene.
Their teachers and educators are rabbis with a racist world view. They support the settlement movement and claim that all the land between the Mediterranean and Jordan is rightfully theirs. There is no room for Palestinians in this picture.
Rabbi Dov Lior is one of the leaders of the settlement movement. He was arrested in 2011 for making racist remarks, and questioned by police on suspicion of inciting violence. Lior was also the spiritual teacher of Yigal Amir, the man who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.
'Only room for one nation'
Lior's sums up his teachings succintly: "All of those who believe in the Torah know that this land was promised solely to these people. There is no room for another national entity in this place. There has never been a state belonging to another people here. It belongs exclusively to the Jewish people."
Like Lior, Rabbi David Batzri has many followers, especially among Jews from the Middle East. He previously faced court, and was also sentenced, for making racist comments about Arabs. He fought against the establishment of a combined Arab-Jewish school in Jerusalem, arguing Jews are pure and Arabs impure, and the two should not be mixed.
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is another well-known face from Israel's right wing. He has called for Palestinian terrorists to face the death penalty. And in 2010, he published an appeal, signed by more than 50 rabbis, for Arabs to be prevented from renting apartments.
Aviner serves as a rabbi in the Beit El settlement in the occupied West Bank. His salary is paid by the state - just like the former military rabbi, Avichai Rontzki. Rontzki supervised soldiers during the Gaza War in 2008-2009. He instructed them to show the Palestinians no mercy. He said civilians could even be killed if it meant the life of a Jew would be saved - a clear violation of martial law.
According to Rachel Elior, a professor of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, these are dangerous statements that should be banned.
"There are certain circles that want to deny the fact that Palestinians are people just like us. No more, no less," she said on Israeli radio. "Unfortunately, many think that we are a holy people, and that non-Jews can be defined as unclean and worthy of death."
The rabbis base their views on ancient and traditional Jewish texts, said Elior, adding that this doesn't, however, legitimize racism.
The Jewish people have a long history that stretches back more than 3,000 years, she added. The collective memory is shaped by texts, which resulted, in part, from Jews living as a persecuted minority among other peoples, said Elior.
There are written sources over 3,000 years old, and it's clear "that over such a long period of time there are all sorts of beliefs that are no longer acceptable today," she said. "Just as we no longer have slaves or maidservants, although there are religious laws that permit doing so, you cannot allow racist comments based on these Israeli sources."
Right-wing football fans
Far-right ideas aren't only limited to religious circles, though. Ultra-nationalist and racist sentiment is also widespread in non-religious society in Israel. For example, the football club Beitar Jerusalem is a rallying point for right-wing extremists and radical fans who make no secret of their anti-Islam views.
That became clear last year when the club enlisted two Muslim players from Chechnya. Beitar supporters from the ultra-nationalist fan club "La Familia" climbed on the barricades and booed the players. There's little reaction when their battle cry "Death to Arabs" is heard in the stadium. The alleged murderers of the young Palestinian Mohammad Abu Kheidra are also said to be associated with the club.
Extremists in the Knesset
The Knesset increasingly home to extreme nationalists?
Racist remarks even emerge with some regularly in Israel's parliament, the Knesset. The 49-year-old Likud MP Miri Regev, for example, admits quite openly to being a fascist. The former army brigadier general has called for Arab parties to be excluded from the Knesset, dubbing them a "fifth column."
She's not the only one in her party making controversial claims. Likud MP Danny Danon has labeled Arab MPs "masked terrorists," while his party colleague Ofir Akunis has declared that only the Jewish people are entitled to the occupied West Bank. "This is our country," he said.
Ayelet Shaked, an MP with the far-right Jewish Home party, is just as vocal as her Likud colleagues. In a recent post on her Facebook page, she wrote that Israel wasn't waging a war against terrorists, but against the Palestinian people, and that Palestinians were an enemy whose blood must be shed.
Such views are no longer limited to the margins in Israel, having gained in social acceptability. Israel's right wing has moved to the center of the Knesset, and toward the center of society.
EUROPEAN UNION | Neo-Nazi’s EU Parliament appointment ‘ultimate insult’ to Jews
Monday, 14 July 2014, 23:24 | Source: euractiv.com |
Neo-Nazi MEP Udo Voigt's place on the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee has sparked international outcry. [Marek Peters/Wikimedia]
Jewish leaders worldwide have called on the European Union to introduce minimum election thresholds for the European Parliament after a neo-Nazi took a seat on its Civil Liberties Committee.
The call comes after EurActiv's exclusive story about German MEP Udo Voigt, which sparked furious reactions from outraged Jews in Israel, the US and Europe.
Voigt is a Holocaust denier. He claims no more than 340,000 Jews died in the Holocaust, rather than the six million who were murdered by the Nazis. His Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD), is classified by German intelligence as a far right extremist party.
A German court ruling prior to May’s elections ended the minimum 3% European election threshold for MEPs. That meant Voigt, with 1% of the vote, was re-elected to the Parliament.
World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer urged the EU to make “the necessary statutory changes” to stop extremists being elected to the Parliament at the 2019 elections.
“The threshold percentage for parties entering the European Parliament should be considered just as important as the rules in place in the German Bundestag, where [the threshold] is a minimum of 5%, and most other national parliaments in Europe,” he said.
“The idea of a neo-Nazi as a guardian of European human rights is sickening,” said Stephan Kramer, director of the American Jewish Committee’s European Office on Anti-Semitism.
Kramer, the last Secretary-General of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, also demanded a minimum threshold percentage for all parties entering the European Parliament.
He told the Jerusalem Post, “A person whose ideology is racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, a dyed-in-the-wool enemy of democracy and freedom simply should not hold a seat on this committee – as he should not be a member of a democratic parliament at all.”
A request for comment from European President Martin Schulz on the calls for changes to EU electoral law was refused but he earlier told EurActiv any Holocaust denier had no place in the Parliament.
Dr Moshe Kantor, president of the Brussels-based European Jewish Congress, said Europe had not listened to Jewish calls to ban the Voigt’s party, the NDP. There was a failed attempt to ban the party in 2003. Another attempt, arguing its ideology is identical to Hitler’s, is currently in the German courts.
“It is surreal and the ultimate insult to the Jews of Europe and to the European Union itself, Kantor said, “We now see the results affecting the whole of Europe by this refusal to take action against hate, racist incitement and Holocaust denial.”
He urged lawmakers “to refuse to allow this man to participate in the workings of the committee”.
The controversy erupted amid fears of increased European anti-Semitism. In May, four people were shot dead at Brussels’ Jewish Museum. A French suspect has since been arrested.
Far right parties, such as France's National Front made gains in the European elections. Some of those parties, led by Marine Le Pen’s party, tried but ultimately failed to form a group in the European Parliament.
The group would have qualified for extra funding, potential chairs and vice-chairs on committees and more speaking time. Front National MEPs have claimed it could still be formed.
“The situation in Europe and in France — especially I can say in France — is very much in tension,” Dr Kantor said.
There was another attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France in 2012. French Jews are emigrating to Israel in record numbers because of fears of rising anti-Semitism from the far right and extremist Islam.
Insult to Holocaust victims
The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s senior Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff told the Jerusalem Post that Voigt’s position on the committee was like “appointing a Ku Klux Klan Dragon to a committee to ensure the civil liberties of Afro-Americans.”
The centre is an influential global Jewish human rights organisation that confronts anti-Semitism and preserves the memory of the Holocaust.
Zuroff added, “One would imagine that Voigt's public statements in praise of Hitler and the Waffen-SS and his denial of the Shoa [Holocaust] would have been sufficient to bar his entry to a committee whose primary purpose is the defence of justice and civil rights, but obviously that is not the case in contemporary Europe.”
Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum said someone with a Nazi ideology “has no place on a committee committed to civil rights, neither in the European Parliament nor anywhere else.”
A spokesman for the Israeli Jewish Congress said, “That a neo-Nazi Holocaust denier like Voigt could join the Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, which is responsible for the protection of citizens’ rights, human rights, and measures to combat discrimination, is not only a travesty of justice, but an insult to the memory of all the victims of the Holocaust.”
Influential media including Israel’s Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel and Haaretz covered the story.
On Monday, European Parliament President Martin Schulz also condemned Voigt, who took the committee seat from a pool reserved for independent MEPs. Committee members and anti-racism campaigners also reacted.
Schulz told EurActiv anyone who denied the Holocaust would face the “strongest of resistance” from him.
EurActiv requested a comment from Voigt, 62, who was convicted of incitement to hate prior to the elections, on Monday. He is yet to respond.
POLAND | Outside forces help stoke anti-Roma tension in Polish town
Monday, 14 July 2014, 23:19 | Source: Thompsons Reuters Foundation |
The Roma have never got on particularly well with their neighbours in this Polish town, but they cannot remember things being as bad as they are now.
What has changed is that radical nationalists showed up in Andrychow last month in what may be the start of efforts to emulate allies in the Jobbik party from Hungary, which has exploited anti-Roma sentiment there to widen its electoral appeal and become the most powerful far-right movement in eastern Europe.
The Polish gameplan involved Robert Winnicki, a far-right leader from Warsaw with personal ties to Jobbik, attending a protest in Andrychow where he said all the 100 or so ethnic Roma living in the southern town of 20,000 should be driven out.
At the rally, 30 km (20 miles) from where the Nazis killed over a million Jews, Roma and others at Auschwitz, supporters of a local soccer club chanted "Cyganie raus!" - an echo of the German "Juden raus", or Jews out, using the Polish for Gypsy.
Jobbik and Winnicki's Ruch Narodowy, or National Movement, deny inciting racial hatred in Andrychow. And they dismiss suggestions that Jobbik, which took 21 percent of the vote in April's parliamentary election, is pushing its agenda in Poland. But they do call it an inspiration to its small Polish ally.
Roman Kwiatkowski, head of the Association of Roma in Poland, says Andrychow is the first case he has seen in Poland of far-right parties stoking anti-Roma feeling in this way:
"It is very dangerous," he told Reuters. "It does not allow us to look to the future with confidence."
Roma residents said they had kept their children from school in recent weeks and stayed home after dark for fear of attack.
Few see Ruch Narodowy, which took 1.4 percent in May's EU election, gaining the kind of clout Jobbik has in Budapest. It tapped in to resentment of Hungary's 6.5 percent Roma minority - part of an ethnic community of some 10 million scattered across Europe and long discriminated against. Poland's Roma number only about 50,000, or 0.13 percent of its population.
Nonetheless, events in Andrychow indicate that Jobbik - snubbed even by many west European far-right parties as anti-Semitic and racist - is spreading its ideology beyond Hungary's borders, in this case to Poland, by far the biggest and most influential ex-Soviet bloc state in the European Union.
Jobbik, now Hungary's second strongest party, has been using its domestic success to build contacts and share tactics around eastern Europe, alarming rights campaigners.
Yet until now there has been little hard evidence of the implementation elsewhere of tactics that including seize on incidents of violence in poor towns between Roma and others.
Jobbik's usual tactic has been to hold rallies blaming Roma for crime and other social grievances. And they recruit local youths into vigilante patrols with the stated aim of protecting citizens from the Roma.
In Andrychow, the Jobbik playbook from Hungary seems to be being implemented almost move for move. Early in June, locals say, a pregnant Roma woman was attacked as she walked in the street. Soon after, two young ethnic Poles were beaten up in what many residents assumed was a Roma revenge attack.
Anger erupted. Supporters of the local soccer club, Beskid Andrychow, set up a page on Facebook. It published accounts of what it said were violent attacks by Roma, and photographs of ethnic Poles it said had been beaten up. The page has now been "liked" by 14,182 people.
One post read: "We're not going to sit quietly and pretend that everything is OK. We are shouting long and loud: enough of Gypsy impunity!"
On June 13, about 200 people, many of them young soccer fans, held a rally in a tree-lined square in the centre of Andrychow. It was there that some chanted "Cyganie raus!"
Winnicki of Ruch Narodowy said at the protest: "We have been dealing here for several years with a terror by the Gypsy minority for which the town authorities and the police have no answer.
"The town should expel the whole Gypsy group."
In the days that followed, groups of men in white shirts began "civil protection patrols", roaming the streets each evening. One student and soccer fan who took part said they had been discontinued after succeeding in ending violence by Roma.
"They have seen that they cannot get away with everything like it was before," he said. He did not want to be identified for fear he might be penalised for his part in the patrols.
Party officials from Jobbik and Ruch Narodowy said that the events in Andrychow were a spontaneous, grassroots upsurge of anger. The politicians were only there to help, they said.
But they acknowledge that the example of how Jobbik grew on the back of anti-Roma sentiment may have been an influence:
"I think that the organisers may have viewed certain successes in Hungary as an inspiration," said Winnicki.
Andrychow holds an election for mayor later this year and Roma community leaders fear the far-right may use the tensions to get their candidate elected - as Jobbik did in Hungary. Winnicki said he could not rule out that the party might bid for the office.
Tamas Fodor, a Jobbik activist who was in Warsaw this month for meetings with like-minded Poles, said his movement was not giving recommendations to anyone in Poland.
"But if they see something that worked in Hungary, they can use it," he told Reuters.
Who inspired the far-right surge in Andrychow does not matter much to the Roma families gathered in the backyard of their apartment building on Stefan Batory Street, on the outskirts of the town. They are just scared.
They said the patrols by soccer fans were still going on at weekends. They only went out at night to get essentials from the shops and then never alone. One man, Rafal Strauss, said the community had started keeping their children home from school.
Two Roma woman said they had heard that ethnic Poles in at least local two apartment blocks had submitted petitions to the city authorities asking that Roma neighbours be moved out - an assertion that could not be verified.
Another Roma man, Mieczyslaw Pankowski, said he was now too scared to take his 7-year-old disabled daughter for treatment in a nearby town and the family lived in fear of attacks at night: "We take it in turns to keep watch," he said.
"We're frightened to go to sleep in case someone throws a bottle through the window."
BULGARIA | Sofia Pride march blocked by neo-Nazis
Monday, 14 July 2014, 20:17 | Source: Seattle Gay News |
Police outnumbered Pride marchers in Sofia, Bulgaria, on July 5, as 100 LGBT activists attempted the city's seventh Pride march, in defiance of neo-Nazi thugs.
Marchers planned to march past the monument to Bulgarian national hero Vasil Levski in the center of the capital city, but were blocked by members of the Ataka (Attack) Party. While Attack members deny being neo-Nazis, their ideology is anti-Semitic, anti-Roma, anti-Muslim, and anti-Gay.
Right-wing thugs also attacked previous Sofia Pride marches. Last year's Pride had to be postponed till September because police refused to guarantee the safety of marchers. The high point for Pride events in Bulgaria came in 2012, when more than 2,000 people turned out for a largely peaceful march.
As in past years, foreign embassies issued a joint statement supporting Bulgaria's LGBT community.
'We would like to convey our support to all people who either actively participate in or back this year's Sofia Pride on 5 July 2014,' the statement reads.
'Promoting the principle of equal treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people is an important aspect of a tolerant and respectful civil society. No one should ever be discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. By signing this statement, we would like to stress that any democratic society should stand up for open-mindedness towards LGBTI people.'
The document was signed by the ambassadors of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the United States, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, and South Africa.
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church, on the other hand, condemned the event, calling it a 'march of proud sin.'
'They are a danger to the good upbringing of our children, destroy the foundations of the traditional family and threaten the good health of our society,' the church said in a statement in June.
Pride organizers had originally called the march for June 21, but postponed it till July 5 out of respect for victims of severe floods on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast.
Same-sex relations were legalized in Bulgaria by the Communist government in 1968, and anti-discrimination laws protecting sexual orientation were passed in 2003, but there are no legal protections for Transgender Bulgarians and no hate crimes laws.
USA | Warrant issued for Healdsburg man with ties to far-right Hungarian website
Monday, 14 July 2014, 20:08 | Source: pressdemocrat.com |
To his neighbors, Bela Varga seemed like a nice guy who kept to himself. The owner of a short-lived specialty spice shop in downtown Healdsburg, he played the keyboard and claimed to have learned about wine-making in his native Hungary.
One resident on the quiet cul de sac where he lived called Varga, 51, “a man of mystery,” especially after authorities showed up about a month ago to ask about him.
“An FBI woman agent showed me a picture. She asked me if I was familiar with him,” said neighbor John Manning.
Although some of his neighbors were unaware of it, Manning had heard previously that Varga was associated with a far right Hungarian website known for its anti-Semitism and homophobia, which has drawn attention from the Hungarian government and even U.S. congressional representatives.
“I'm shocked. He's always been so sweet and kind when I've talked to him,” said one neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous.
“It doesn't fit the limited interaction we've had with him,” said Andrew Beard, his landlord of more than six years.
Last week, Varga also became a wanted man. A $300,000 bench warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to show up twice in San Francisco court on criminal charges of stalking and harassing an attorney who obtained a subpoena to question him about his ties to the Hungarian website.
Varga's family told neighbors he is in Canada, where he is a citizen.
The Fitch Mountain Villas townhouse where he lived with his wife Judit Pesti and their sons, 18 and 20 years old, is now empty, scarred from an upstairs fire on June 16. The cause appeared to be electrical malfunction, according to the Healdsburg Fire Department.
Human rights groups say the website that Varga allegedly registered, kuruc.info, regularly disputes the Holocaust and organizes hate campaigns against Hungary's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Roma communities.
HUNGARY | Far right Jobbik party nationalists fail to ruin Hungary’s Budapest Pride
Monday, 14 July 2014, 19:59 | Source: Gay Star News |
Activists from the extremist Hungarian nationalist Jobbik party were thwarted by organizers and police from marching in Budapest’s Pride March on Saturday – though one of their MPs managed to hang a homophobic banner out a window at the parliamentPhoto by Budapest Pride Festival/Facebook
The 19th Budapest Pride Festival closed successfully this weekend with over 10,000 taking to the streets to march for LGBTI equality in Hungary on Saturday.
However the event was loudly condemned by the far-right ultra-nationalist Jobbik party who also blasted foreign diplomats for showing their support for the event.
The embassies of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US signed a group statement of support for the event.
However Jobbik spokesman Ádám Mirkóczki called their support ‘appalling,’ complaining that some embassies had even helped sponsor the event.
Jobbik labelled the event a ‘provocation to the majority,’ and ‘perverted.’
However that didn’t stop the Jobbik mayor of Érpatak, Mihály Zoltán Orosz, trying to join the pride march along with around 30 ‘family values’ demonstrators.
Orosz had demanded that he be allowed to join the parade holding a sign covered with biblical quotations attacking homosexuality but was not allowed to by police.
More successful in his attempt to rain on the parade was Jobbik MP Előd Novák who hung a banner from a window in the parliament building which read ‘This house does not want your deviant propaganda.’
When the parade reached Budapest’s Heroes’ Square some homophobic counter-protesters broke through a cordon but they were quickly dealt with by police.
The Jobbik party are a far right racist and homophobic political party and as of April this year the third largest party in Hungary’s National Assembly after garnering 20.5% of the vote.
- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/far-right-jobbik-party-nationalists-fail-ruin-hungary’s-budapest-pride140714#sthash.seRUB1yz.dpuf
EUROPEAN UNION | Farage's star far right recruit on EU Committee
Thursday, 10 July 2014, 10:38 | Source: HOPE not hate. |
The right-wing populist Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFD) group in the European Parliament led by UKIP’s Nigel Farage has appointed Joëlle Bergeron as its representative on the parliament’s influential Legal Affairs Committee.
Bergeron, 65, was a long-time member of the right-wing extremist Front National (FN) in France, having joined it in when it was formed in 1972 and worked as a party official in Brittany until her husband died when she became an elected representative in Lorient.
Though a relatively unknown figure outside Brittany, she regularly contested elections in her region and was elected to the European Parliament in May this year.
The election was to be her downfall in the FN when, after publicly challenging its policy on voting rights for immigrants, she was asked by party leader Marine Le Pen to stand down.
Holding to her position, she refused to resign her seat and defected to the EFD, citing the fact that she is an Anglophile for joining Farages’ group.
What leverage she will have on the Legal Affairs Committee is not yet known but the EFD’s appointment of someone of such far-right provenance and vintage is bound to raise eyebrows, if not cause uproar, in Strasbourg.
HUNGARY | Far-right wants revenge on Pride Parade security guard
Wednesday, 9 July 2014, 00:57 | Source: politics.hu |
Far-right website Kuruc.info and the 64 Counties Youth Movement have launched a revenge campaign and set a Ft 50,000-100,000 bounty for information on one of three security guards who removed a far-right activist who had climbed aboard a float on at the Budapest Pride parade on Saturday.
When the activist resisted, the guard kicked him repeatedly.
The activist is a member of the Székesfehérvár chapter of the irredentist 64 Counties organisation. He is a student at the Atilla (sic) Király School run by Jobbik MP Dániel Z. Kárpát.
Police launched proceedings against the activist for disturbance of order and against the three security guards who removed him from the float on charges of disorderly group behaviour. All four are in police custody.
FRANCE | Norwegian rocker sentenced for inciting racial hatred in France
Wednesday, 9 July 2014, 00:55 | Source: expatica.com |
A French court Tuesday has slapped a six-month suspended sentence and an 8,000-euro ($10,000) fine on a Norwegian heavy metal musician accused of inciting racial hatred in his blogs.
Kristian Vikernes, 41, was not present in court and neither was his lawyer as the verdict was delivered. He has denied posting racist blogs and said they were written by someone else.
Vikernes was arrested in July last year in France's central Correze region on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks but was released after 48 hours due to lack of evidence.
He was however charged with inciting racial hatred and defending war crimes on his blog. Police allegedly found racist and anti-Semitic material on his computer as well.
Vikernes had told the court he was not the author of the blogs and said a possible misunderstanding could have arisen because he communicated through a Danish interpreter when he was briefly held in custody last year.
Ten excerpts from the blogs written between March and June 2013 that attack Muslims and Jews were presented as evidence in court.
The rocker, who adopted the name of Varg ("wolf" in Norwegian), first made front-page news in August 1993 when he killed a fellow musician in Norway.
Vikernes, who was also reportedly involved in arson attacks on churches, was sentenced to 21 years in prison for the murder. He was released after 16 and moved to Correze with his French wife soon after.
Vikernes told the court that according to Norwegian secret police there were "at any given moment 350 people pretending to be Varg Vikernes on Facebook", adding that "anybody can very easily put up a blog" that appeared to be one of his.
AUSTRIA | Austrian far-right party makes Islamophobic poster
Thursday, 3 July 2014, 22:26 | Source:worldbulletin.net |
Next week the party proposes to introduce a private member's bill into the Austrian parliament regarding the burqa.
Leader Heinz-Christian Strache on his Facebook page launched a new poster campaign by the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party (FPO). It shows a blonde woman with the phrase "Too beautiful for a veil".
The poster references a recent call for a ban on the public wearing of the burqa by the FPO.
Next week the party proposes to introduce a private member's bill into the Austrian parliament.
Upper Austrian provincial leader Manfred Haimbuchner who has repeatedly warned of the threat of Islamification and problems with integration in Austria, has connections with the image.
The Freedom Party critic known as FPO used a photograph in their poster that was taken from the Fotolia image company. Specific conditions for use of this image preclude its use in any political activity, and require a clear copyright notice to be retained, neither of which conditions were observed.
Further investigation revealed that the FPO appear to have copied the idea for the poster campaign from the extreme-right-wing group ‘Identitären Movement’, who are active in France and Germany.
AUSTRIA | Four sentenced for neo-nazi acts
Thursday, 3 July 2014, 22:23 | Source: thelocal.at |
Four young adults from Vorarlberg have been handed suspended sentences for violating the Prohibition Law - which aims to suppress any potential revival of Nazism in Austria.
Two 18-year-old men, a 17-year-old woman, and a 19-year-old man were all given suspended sentences for taking pictures of themselves making Nazi salutes in public places and singing xenophobic songs.
“We need another Hitler so that the Jews know what’s coming for them,” the only female defendant was quoted as saying when she was arrested. She was sentenced to eight months probation and a €960 fine.
One youth reportedly said that Hitler was “the messiah, he freed the German people”.
The defendants admitted their actions but said that they were very drunk at the time. They have sworn never to repeat them and have said they are willing to do vocational training and look for jobs.
The judge imposed suspended sentences of between eight months and a year. Two of the defendants have been ordered to serve four months in prison, and three were also convicted of burglary, theft, and injury.
Vienna Mayor Michael Häupl has called for a right-wing group calling themselves The Identity Movement to be banned under the Prohibition Act (Verbotsgesetz).
The law prohibits Holocaust denial as well as the deliberate belittlement of any Nazi atrocities.
MEXICO | Youth Neo-Nazi Group in Mexico
Tuesday, 1 July 2014, 00:57 | Source: SanDiegoRed.com |
The Nationalist Mexican Workers’ Movement is a small Neo-Nazi group formed November of last year that describes itself as a National Humanist political alternative.
This morning, this young group of Jalisco natives have caused an online frenzy on social media after the website Animal Politico revealed that in addition to sympathising with Hitler's ideology, this group is comprised by militants members of the PAN party (National Action Party).Members of the Neo-Nazi movement, at PAN offices. Amongst the objectives of this Neo-Nazi group is the goal to help preserve traditional Christian families, eliminate pro-homosexual propaganda, namely, that which promotes homosexual marriage rights and adoption rights, as well as other rights related to freedom of expression.
They have also stated that protecting micro, small, and medium sized businesses is an objective of this group in response to abuses suffered by workers at the hand of capitalist interests.
The organization is reportedly lead by Juan Barrera Espinosa, who is currently named as a State Student Council Member for PAN in Jalisco and is the Lead Representative for the Alonso Lujambio Youth Parliament. Animal Politico reports that these organizations are mock legislative groups designed to create future PAN political leaders, where they practice participating in environments similar to Congress. Within these organizations, initiatives that are later presented to local congressman are formulated by the student members.
Juan Barrera has posted various photos alongside PAN leadership and does not shy away from publishing his devotion of Adolf Hitler, whom he considers “one of the greatest politicians and speakers of all time.” On April 20, he even organized a meeting to celebrate the 125th birth date of the German dictator.
The devotion of Hitler and his ideology is clearly evident just by looking at pictures of these youths. In various photographs, members of the Nationalist Mexican Workers’ Movement depict a like-ness to Hitler ranging from their haircuts, to uniforms and symbols that they wear, and even body language. They appear in very serious and military like poses.
When this news was published, internet users nicknamed them the Morenazis, a play on the word “Moreno” (meaning dark) and Nazis, as a sarcastic jab at the clash of non-whites being Neo-Nazis.
Neo-Nazism can be centered around racial purity or white supremacists, those whose lineage relates back to White Europeans, although this didn’t prevent Germany from trying take Mexico on as an ally during the Greater German Reich of 1933 to 1945. During the period, the indigenous heritage of the Mexican race was less important than the privileges that Germany would have obtained by gaining Mexico as an ally, which is why imbedding Nationalist Socialist ideology in Mexico became an important goal for the German Reich.
In the documentary titled Nazis: The Nazi Network in Mexico (Nazis: La Red Nazin en Mexico) the film discusses the importance of Mexico for Hitler and Nazi Germany. This country was seen as a gateway to the United States and also possessed an important geographic location, and natural resources such as petroleum, all of which increased its importance.
The Third Reichs strategy was simple: to involve the Press -- Excelsior and El Universal- to embed Nazi ideals in Mexico. According to the publication “Timon Magazine and the Nazi Collaboration of Jose Vasconcelos,” the Timon magazine was also used for this purpose, and it claims its editorial is extra-officially linked to Jose Vasconcelos.
Jose Vasconcelos is an important Mexican philosopher and politician who was the head of the Department of Education and director of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and declared himself pro-Nazi and anti-semite in various publications in the capital. In the publication “The Forgotten Mexican Nazi Named Jose Vasconcelos” we can learn a bit more about the background of the Third Reich’s group of admirers and it is evidenced that it is not that difficult to find Adolf Hitler sympathizers in a country such as Mexico.