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De Morgen - Belgium | 28/07/2014

Gaza war must not divide Belgium

In Belgium too, the protests against the war in Gaza have been marked by anti-Semitic acts. The left-liberal daily De Morgen warns of increasing polarisation in the country: "The silent exodus of Jews from Belgium is gaining momentum. Because they're afraid in their own country. Just weeks after four people were murdered in the Jewish Museum in Brussels, we must not ignore this warning signal. At the same time it was not very heartening to see pro-Israeli demonstrators reinforce the us-them mentality yesterday when they lit candles only for 'their' dead. The growing gap between the two sides increasingly underscores the duty our politicians and society have to do more to foster dialogue between Muslims and Jews in the battle against all forms of extremism. Before there are more victims." (28/07/2014)

Népszabadság - Hungary | 26/07/2014

Occupation memorial prompts reflection

The protests against the monument commemorating the Nazi occupation of Hungary on March 19, 1944, continue unabated. The left-liberal daily Népszabadság points out that right in front of the controversial monument symbolic objects of protest are piling up which lend it a new significance: "Passersby don't look at the monument itself, but what's lying in front of it. A huge mirror: a place for self-contemplation. Shoes that bring to mind the Shoes on the Danube Bank [in remembrance of the many Jews murdered on the banks of the Danube]. Leather jackets, photos, names, stones. One of the stones bears two names: Gyuri and Valika. ... The monument is alive. Not through any dynamic of its own, but through politics. People come and lie objects in front of it. And we know that even today someone is still mourning for a Gyuri and a Valika." (26/07/2014)

Le Monde - France | 25/07/2014

Expulsion of Christians truncates Arab world

The Christian minority has been forced to flee the Iraqi city of Mosul after the ultimatum issued by the terrorist group Isil. The expulsion is not just a drama for the Christians, the left-liberal daily Le Monde writes: "A part of history has been erased, swept away by the torments of this century in a Middle East caught up in an acute political and religious regression. ... With the exception of Lebanon, the entire region is being emptied of its Christian minorities, victims of the rise of political Islam, forced into exile by economic difficulties and a political climate marked by intolerance and fanaticism. The Christian Arabs are not the only victims of this religious purification: the entire Arab world is performing a self-amputation." (25/07/2014)

Hürriyet - Turkey | 28/07/2014

No Sugar Feast for children in the Middle East

The Islamic world celebrates the end of its month of fasting, Ramadan, with the Sugar Feast starting this Monday. But the children in the Middle East won't enjoy the celebrations, columnist Nilgün Tekfidan Gümüş laments in the conservative daily Hürriyet: "Normally they would be donning their best outfits and visiting relatives. ... But in the Gaza Strip their neighbourhoods lie in ruins. No children are to be seen or merry laughter to be heard on its streets. Some have been buried in shrouds. The luckier ones are waiting to recover in the hospitals. ... Thousands of Iraqi Christians have been driven out of Mosul by Isil; thousands of Turkmens from Kirkuk and Tal Afar have had to leave their homes. There is no protection for their lives. ... Naturally I would like to be hopeful, to celebrate this festival. But all the reports and the hundreds of terrible photos I see daily in the newspapers don't let me. All I can manage is a bitter festival greeting." (28/07/2014)

Protagon - Greece | 25/07/2014

Poverty can be fatal in Greece

A seriously ill 56-year-old woman died in Chania on Crete on Wednesday after the state-run electricity company DEI switched off her power supply because she hadn't paid her bills. The bed-ridden woman was dependent on electric medical equipment. Web portal Protagon denounces the helpless situation of destitute Greeks: "The risk of dying or becoming seriously ill is unfortunately very high. People with disabilities are mostly ignored by the media when they constantly point to the incredible difficulties they face in everyday life: the long wait for disabled passes, disability reports that are only valid for a short period, after which they must be renewed, social benefits cuts, etc. All this means that a human life can easily be lost. And when the case in question isn't as shocking as that in Chania, we never even hear about it because many people's deaths go completely uncommented." (25/07/2014)

La Croix - France | 25/07/2014

France not experiencing a Kristallnacht

Panic mongering about a new wave of anti-Semitism should be avoided in discussion of the riots that accompanied pro-Palestinian demonstrations on the weekend in Paris and its suburbs, the Catholic daily La Croix warns: "Often we hear that the 'new anti-Semites' are the culprits. Of course clear cases of anti-Semitism must be condemned with utmost severity. Nevertheless it must be stressed that the riots were contained, even if some images made it look like France was going down in flames and that we were witnessing a new Kristallnacht. ... And the riots that did take place must not make us forget that many pro-Palestinian demonstrations like the one on Wednesday night in Paris took place without incident. The violence shouldn't be played down, but it shouldn't be exaggerated either. Yes, people are right to express their emotions. But these must not get in the way of a level-headed understanding and assessment of the facts." (25/07/2014)

Die Presse - Austria | 25/07/2014

Turkey exports anti-Semitism to Bischofshofen

Israeli football team Maccabi Haifa's friendly game against the French team Lille in Bischofshofen, Austria, was disrupted on Wednesday after pro-Palestinian demonstrators of Turkish origin stormed the pitch and attacked the players. Europe must take action to counter the militant anti-Israeli propaganda from Ankara, the liberal-conservative daily Die Presse comments: "What happened in Bishofshofen highlights a genuine, dangerous problem for security in the entire Mediterranean region. Turkey is successfully exporting a new militant anti-Semitism to Europe. .... Hundreds of associations with direct ties to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's headquarters are spreading the extreme rejection of the state of Israel that has come to a head in the protests against the new Gaza war - also, and in particular in Austria. The argument that not all criticism of Israel is automatically anti-Semitic is out of place here. In the most recent demonstrations across Europe no distinction is made between the inhabitants of the state of Israel and the Jews." (25/07/2014)

Blog Pitsirikos - Greece | 24/07/2014

Democracy based on loans isn't democracy

Greece is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the end of the military dictatorship and the restoration of democracy today, Thursday. President Karolos Papoulias stated that the withdrawal of democracy was the 'most dramatic side effect of the economic adventure'. Blogger Pitsirikos wonders how anyone can talk of Greece as a democratic society: "This state was built on loans. The loans were taken out even before the Greek state was founded, and this state continued to exist only thanks to loans. Democracy based on loans doesn't exist. ... Anyone who is familiar with Greek history knows that major problems arise when the loans come to a halt. There are no more loans. And now the politicians, the 'compradors' [who benefit from foreign trade] and the descendants of the traitors have no more money and are in trouble. Nonetheless, most Greeks tolerate them and keep them in power, despite the fact that most Greeks don't even know what true democracy is." (24/07/2014)

The Daily Telegraph - United Kingdom | 23/07/2014

Europe's Jewish population is scared

In the conservative Daily Telegraph, Emma Barnett examines the consequences of Israel's Gaza Strip offensive for Jews in Europe: "The truth is that up and down this island, Jews are arguing, debating, crying and worrying about what's going on in an even smaller country across the ocean. Some British Jews are fasting for peace; some are angry at one or both sides; but many are just scared - scared not just about events in Gaza, but events in Europe. These include reports about gangs of Muslims chanting 'death to Jews' on the streets of France, and attacking synagogues and setting fire to Jewish-owned stores. … Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Germany, too. … British Jews aren't scared to talk to each other about the situation in Israel. We're becoming scared to talk at all." (23/07/2014)

România Liberă - Romania | 24/07/2014

Liberate wheelchair users from house arrest

Hundreds of demonstrators took to Bucharest's streets to demand a more pedestrian-friendly and wheelchair-friendly city on Sunday. Wheelchair users are virtually excluded from public life, the conservative daily România Liberă complains: "There's no space for them on the pavements, so they're basically condemned to house arrest. At best they can move around in front of the block of flats where they live if there's a lift which fits wheelchairs. Forced into invisibility like this, the disabled go ignored by most Romanians, and worse still: also by the authorities. Bucharest is inaccessible for an important section of its population - the disabled, the elderly and parents with pushchairs. This was the reason for the march on Sunday. ... And also to prevent what happened to a young man in a wheelchair who took part in the protest from happening again: a bodyguard denied him entry to a newly opened shopping mall, saying that with his wheelchair he would 'damage the mall's image'." (24/07/2014)

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