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French tax system deliberately employs “extreme discrimination” against Jews, says expert

French tax expert and leading Advocate Itay Bracha has expressed his dismay over new French tax measures designed to subject French Jews, both those residing domestically and those emigrating to Israel, to a disproportionate level of scrutiny. Bracha has stated he knows of no similar regime anywhere else in the world.

The new department already employs 20 Hebrew-speaking staff and is in the process of hiring more.

Ostensibly US tax authorities have a similar department, but whilst the purpose of the US department is to regulate movements of capital between the US and Israel, the French department has been established with the primary aim of subjecting Jews to a greater level of scrutiny for tax offences than non-Jews.

Bracha described the department as constituting “extreme discrimination”, commenting:

“I know of no similar department to the one founded in France, and certainly not with that number of employees. There is a special department in the US because of the need for direct communication with the authorities in Israel, and taking into account the volume of trade between Israel and the US, but the main purpose is absolutely not to catch tax evaders.” Bracha added, “Such a department, which constitutes extreme discrimination against Jews in France, does violence to equality between different citizens. Establishing such a department is an unacceptable statement by the authorities in France, and puts the Jewish community in a very unflattering spotlight”.

A European nation subjecting Jews to extra legal scrutiny comes with worrying connotations, not only being eerily evocative of the centuries of legal persecution of Jews in Europe, but in that it seems to evoke antisemitic canards about Jews being conniving and miserly with money. The tacit expression of these sentiments is bad enough, but their writing into national tax policy in breach of the basic principles upon which western nations are founded is unconscionable. This comes at a time when French Jews are perpetually failed by their government by its impotence against rising antisemitism, which has been driving French Jews out of the country at an alarming rate. This visits upon French Jews the double indignity of being gradually pushed from their homes by escalating antisemitism whilst they are subjected to disproportionate scrutiny from their government.



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New Jersey Erev debate sparks concerns that lawfare is being used to target religious Jews, as vandalism and online abuse escalate

Residents of Mahwah, a town in New Jersey have raised concerns about an Orthodox Jewish community just across the New York border which plans to expand. More than 200 people gathered to support the removal of an eruv last month. The opposition to the expansion was met with criticism, the concerns of which lie with antisemitism.

The town of Mahwah is reconsidering implementing a new law which limits its parks and playgrounds to New Jersey residents alone.  The law was initially proposed when residents complained that cars with New York license plates were being parked near the border.

However, the county’s prosecutor ordered the police not to enforce it after Mahwah’s police chief suspected that people reporting the violations were targeting Jews.

Rabbi Moses Witriol, a frequent liaison between Mahwah’s police force and the Hasidic  community found the move perplexing, “What’s your real target and agenda here?” questioning the motives of the council members who were for implementation. “It’s a park for kids to play. Are we going to differentiate between which kids can play?” Additionally, an eruv marking in the same area was also vandalised the week before; with some targeting the Jewish community with antisemitic posts in an online petition protesting against the Erev.

Some signatories to the petition described Jews as thinking they “can do whatever the hell they want”, imploring residents to “keep them out”. Another called Jews “things”. Another signatory wrote “they are clearly trying to annex land like they’ve been doing in Occupied Palestine. Look up the satanic verses of the Talmud and tell me what you see”. Multiple people described Hasidic Jews as detracting from the “quality” of the community, or “taking over illegally” in other areas. These are all blatantly antisemitic comments, and of the 1200 people who have signed it, most seem to be expressing views which see religious Jews as little more than pests who must be kept out.

The eruv dispute arose contemporaneously with the park ordinance issue; deepening Jewish concerns that this may be an antisemitic incident. Supporters of the measure however say they are being unfairly depicted as antisemitic; their interests simply lie in the wellbeing of their town.

The Mahwah Council President Rob Hermansen issued a statement saying Mahwah residents began complaining earlier in the year about vehicles from New York occupying parking lots at Winter Pond, a recreational area close to the town’s train station. He went on to say that the ordinance was to curb the number of people from outside the town using parks, not to target Jews.

Mr Hermansen made further assurances, stating that “the principle behind this ordinance is very simple, in Mahwah, Mahwah residents come first.” He also condemned the anti-Semitic comments made online, and the town is now looking to release a second ordinance that clarifies how the ban might be enforced.

Europe Featured Lawfare Location Medium Ukraine

Ukraine moves to prosecute 94-year-old Jewish war hero for allegedly killing Nazi collaborator in 1952

Colonel Boris Steckler, a 94-year-old Jewish man who served in the Soviet Army, has been told by Ukrainian authorities that he should expect to face trial for a murder he is accused of committing in 1952.

Steckler was assigned the task of tracking down Nazis and Nazi collaborators in the post-War period. In 1952 he was involved in a confrontation with Ukrainian Nationalists groups who had cooperated with the Nazis, including having helped to round up Jews to be sent to the concentration camps. During the fighting, Neil Hasiewicz, a judge and propagandist, was killed.

Steckler had previous fought against the Nazis in the Second World War, when he was injured in action. He has appeared in public ceremonies celebrating the defeat of Nazism, but Ukrainian ultra-Nationalists, who have frequently glorified Nazi collaborators and increasingly so in recent years, filed a complaint against Steckler for the assassination, which he does not deny. Unusually, this complaint appears to have been pursued.

Alex Tantzer, a Ukrainian Jew whose family was murdered by the Nazis, commented:“I do not know whether this is anti-Semitism or not. In Ukraine, there are occasional complaints from nationalist organizations, and it’s a shame that the authorities take it seriously … It’s a shame that the government in Ukraine does not stop these horrific things. Now when we celebrate victory over Nazi Germany, we are persecuting this Jew who fought against Nazis”.

The prosecution of a Jewish War Hero who killed an acknowledged Nazi collaborator does appear to indicate a resurgence of antisemitism, particularly when it has been initiated by Nationalist groups who have no problem glorifying figures who murdered, or helped the Nazi to murder, Jews. In January, Ukrainian Nationalists chanted “Jews out” at a rally which memorialised a Nazi collaborator, and last August a street in Kiev was renamed to honour a Nazi collaborator who told his followers to “destroy” Jews.

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Dutch court rules “I hate those f***ing Jews more than the Nazis” rap lyric not hate speech

The prosecution of Dutch rapper Ismo (Ismael Houllich) has come to a halt. A court criminal court in Breda acquitted him because the judge felt that the rapper’s lyrics were “artistic expression” rather than hate speech, even though they “are of an offensive nature.”

Filmed in Breda, the video for Ismo’s first single, “Eenmans” (or “One Man’s”), shows Ismo singing: “I hate those f***ing Jews more than the Nazis” and “don’t shake hands with faggots”.

The prosecution had sought a fine of €1,000 euros and a further suspended fine of another €500. The prosecution also requested the removal of Ismo’s video clip from YouTube.

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel and an umbrella group of gay organisations in the Netherlands issued a joint statement calling on the prosecution to appeal the “disquieting sentence, which appears to be a carte blanche for discriminative statements as long as they are made in a rap song.”

Source: Forward

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Australian Holocaust denier’s lawsuit thrown out as “abuse of process”

According to the New South Wales Supreme Court in Australia, notorious “historian” Fredrick Toben wanted to use a defamation case against The Australian newspaper as a platform to argue that the Holocaust never happened, and to air his antisemitic views. The court dismissed his legal action as an abuse of process.

The Australian reports: “Justice McCallum found that Dr Toben’s own evidence under cross-examination persuaded her he had not the least interest in vindicating his reputation against imputations that he fabricated history about the Holocaust, was a Holocaust denier and was an antisemite with a racist anti-Jewish agenda who had been ­jailed in Germany and Australia.”

The judge said: “The defendants have established to my satisfaction that Dr Toben seeks by these proceedings to manipulate the process of the court to create a forum in which to assert the very views by the ­attribution with which he claims to have been defamed.”

Justice McCallum said that Toben appeared to deny he held any views on the Holocaust and was “merely a philosopher” interested in “philosophical discourse”. She rejected this as “cynical and disingenuous”.

“It is a transparent rhetorical device in which Dr Toben’s own anti-Semitic views are deliberately attributed to a straw man … so as to enable Dr Toben to record views he plainly espouses on a pretended lawful basis,” she said.

She noted that as recently as last December he had published material on his website questioning the history of the Holocaust.

Source: The Australian