Archive for Orthodox

Members of Greece’s Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party Took Part in Srebrenica Genocide

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2012 by loonwatch

Golden_Dawn_Neo-Nazi

Golden Dawn

The Greek neo-Nazi party, The Golden Dawn has won 7% of the vote in Greece. According to Neni Panourgia, members of the Golden Dawn were also a part of the massacres in Srebrenica, Bosnia (h.t: HSMoghul),

Golden Dawn gained notoriety after 1991, when it started attacking the first Albanian immigrants and after some of its members participated in the Srebrenica massacre. The organisation registered as a political party in 1993 and first won political representation in 2010, when Michaloliakos was elected to the Athens City Council.

Neni describes the Golden Dawn as a “European problem”:

Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn is a European problem

by Neni Panourgia (AlJazeera English)

New York, New York – By now, nearly everybody has been exposed to the phenomenon of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi in Greek), the neo-Nazi organisation that received almost 7 per cent of the vote in the Greek elections of May 6.

After the initial shock, the question “How is this possible?” was followed by the legitimate worry: “Are Greeks becoming fascists?” Some commentators on various blogs (many of them from northern and western Europe) even left messages urging the Greek electorate to feel shame, the deeper the better, for this unsightly and frightening development.

But let’s set a few things straight. First of all, Golden Dawn, despite its recent claims, is indeed a neo-Nazi party. Their ideology, which they describe on their website as “Popular and Social Nationalism”, gives their precise coordinates within Nazi ideology.

So do the origins of their party, which was founded by Nikolaos Michaloliakos in 1985 under a direct order from the imprisoned leader of the Greek junta, George Papadopoulos. And so do their self-representation, language and tactics. The official publication of Golden Dawn runs articles praising the Nazis and often places photographs of Hitler, Himmler, and Nazi gatherings on its front cover. The members of the organisation have the same uneducated, invented, and highly idiosyncratic understanding of ancient Greece as the Nazis did.

And their tactics are virtually indistinguishable from Nazi terrorist tactics: they terrorise immigrants, leftists, and journalists; they beat and maul teachers and students; they have infiltrated athletic clubs and have introduced hooliganism to the Greek landscape; and they have assumed the role of vigilantes and protectors of the general public. Some of those attacks have been documented, and the Golden Dawn-affiliated perpetrators have gone on trial and been imprisoned.

The history of the organisation is inextricably connected to the history of Michaloliakos, whose first public intervention in 1976 was an attack on journalists who were covering the funeral of the junta torturer Evangelos Mallios, who had been executed by the urban guerrilla organisation 17 November. Arrested and briefly detained, Michaloliakos met the leaders of the military junta in jail. Two years after his release he engaged in a series of bombings of public places in Athens, for which he was indicted. Golden Dawn gained notoriety after 1991, when it started attacking the first Albanian immigrants and after some of its members participated in the Srebrenica massacre. The organisation registered as a political party in 1993 and first won political representation in 2010, when Michaloliakos was elected to the Athens City Council.

It is doubtful, however, whether the 21 Golden Dawn deputies will ever enter the Greek parliament (legally, that is). We now know that no coalition government can be formed (without a gross violation of the Constitution), which means that new elections will be held, probably on June 17. Yesterday’s polls showed that 76 per cent of the Greek electorate expects Golden Dawn to lose most of its vote, with a large number of those polled expressing doubts that it would even win the 3 per cent needed to enter parliament.

Two questions remain, however, regardless of whether Golden Dawn ever enters parliament. The first one is a question of democracy: namely, what sorts of legitimate steps are available to democratic polities when they face the development of a totalitarian, racist, exclusionary formulation that actively engages in violent acts that severely restrict the civil and human rights of others? I argue that when a state is faced not simply with ideas but with themateriality of actions, then the state is obligated to outlaw them and the media are obligated to report on them. In Greece this is a multiply complex issue, since what I suggest was used from the beginning of the 20th century as the groundwork upon which the elimination of the left took place, based on fabricated accusations.

A second question remains: Why would Greeks, who fought against totalitarianism in massive numbers and paid one of the heaviest tolls in Europe for their participation in the resistance against Nazi Germany, vote for this despicable, emetic, and deeply anti-political formation, even as a protest?

What we need to keep in mind is that this tolerance of violence in the public sphere, especially violence that is directed towards the unarmed and the unprotected, is the result of the state’s long-term suppression of dissent and the collaboration of the police forces with right-wing extremists whose violent tactics the police have used. This tolerance is evident even in mundane instances, such as when, in 1999, the ludicrous Gerasimos Yakoumatos, a deputy and member of the centre-right New Democracy party, wanting to show the Minister of Public Order that he “meant business”, walked into Parliament brandishing his (legally obtained) revolver as protest for his house having been burglarised by immigrants the previous evening. Not only was this tolerated, but he was not arrested and was not in any way reprimanded.

The Greek polity has always found itself in a tug-of-war. On one end, there is a wide, democratic, proceduralist, but largely powerless (and ultimately apathetic) body politic. On the other end, there is a small but powerful authoritarian class that constitutes the core of state structures. Decades of brutal suppression of dissent has relied upon various para-state and paramilitary organisations. Police brutality, hooliganism, and the deep-seated intimacy between fragments of the police force and Golden Dawn have made the organisation’s temporary surge possible.

There is no right, centre, or left distinction in this, if by left one means the nominally socialist PASOK party. All post-junta Greek governments have availed themselves of this intimate relationship, as all Greek governments, at least from the early years of the 20th century, have invested more energy and resources into producing a polity that relies on snitches and turncoats than in producing responsible, accountable, and democratically minded citizens. For example, in the summer of 2002, as the dismantling of 17 November was taking place, the Greek prime minister – clearly at the behest of the British and the American antiterrorist secret services – asked the citizens to report anyone who appeared to be suspicious and dangerous.

A month ago I wrote in the Anthropology Newsletter about the claim that under the current circumstances in Europe, in which the social welfare state is being eviscerated and the destitute are pitted against the poor, the distinction between right and left is no longer useful. I argue, however, that it is precisely now that the elision of such a distinction is pregnant with dangers that the world has faced before.

The neo-cons, the neo-fascists, and the neo-Nazis have been selectively appropriating leftist discourses and practices in order to obscure and obfuscate the distinctions between left and right. Michaloliakos, the coddled child of the junta, uses the term “junta” pejoratively (to indicate the totally inept but democratically elected Greek government, the press, and the memorandum), calls the actions of Golden Dawn “national resistance” when he instigates violence against immigrants and politicians, and has warned about an “uprising of the masses”.

Europe stands on the head of a needle, steeped in a crisis that threatens the foundational premises of democracy, self-determination, and autonomy. Golden Dawn is a European problem, not a limited and containable Greek one. It is a European problem because its ideology developed and flourished in Germany and Italy of the early 20th century. It is not a “natural”, essential, ontological property of Greece, and it is intractably connected to the moralistic and punitive positions that have organised the actions of the troika that put the bailout packages together.

When people are pushed to the brink, ugly things happen, and the troika (and particularly Merkel) ought never to forget the warning of George Santayana: “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it”.

Shaul Spitzer: Teen Gets Prison in Religious Dispute Firebomb

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2012 by loonwatch

 

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Shaul Spitzer

What if he were Muslim? Spitzer firebombed his neighbor for disagreeing with a Rabbi’s religious opinion. Should Judaism be blamed for this now? Of course not.

Spitzer’s sentence was reduced because of concern about how he will fair in prison life. Hopefully some Muslim prisoners can protect Spitzer while he is in prison, he will certainly need help (h/t: JD):

NY teen gets prison in religious-dispute firebomb

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A Hasidic teenager was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison for the firebomb attack that badly burned a neighbor during a religious dispute in an insular Jewish enclave.

A defense attorney said the sentence was fair but worried about prison life for an 18-year-old who has “never seen TV, never been on the Internet, doesn’t know who Babe Ruth and Derek Jeter are.”

Shaul Spitzer of New Square had been charged with attempted murder but pleaded guilty to assault as potential jurors gathered for his trial in February. A trial would have brought unwanted attention to New Square, a New York village where nearly every one of the 7,000 residents is a member of the Skver Hasidic sect.

Spitzer admitted that he attacked Aron Rottenberg, a plumber, outside Rottenberg’s home in May. He said he did it because Rottenberg defied New Square’s grand rabbi by worshiping with nursing home residents rather than at New Square’s main synagogue.

Rottenberg, a plumber, claimed in a lawsuit that Spitzer was acting at the direction of the rabbi, David Twersky. The rabbi denied involvement and was not charged. The lawsuit was settled for $2.3 million.

Rottenberg had asked Rockland County Court Judge William Kelly to be lenient with Spitzer, who was also burned, and the judge came down from the 10-year cap he had promised after the plea deal.

Defense attorney Kenneth Gribetz said the sentence was “fair and compassionate.” But he said he fears for Spitzer, who he said will be the rare inmate who has had “no exposure to the outside world.”

“His whole life has been the rabbi and the synagogue and now he’s going to state prison,” Gribetz said. “This is a very severe sentence for a boy from New Square. I hope he can be safeguarded.”

New Square is about 30 miles north of Manhattan. The sect and the village are named for the Ukrainian village of Skver, where sect members were killed during the Holocaust.

Israeli Settlers Vandalize and Set Mosque on Fire

Posted in Loon Rabbis, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by loonwatch
Settler crying after his illegal outpost was demolished. Later they went and set a mosque on fire.

Can anyone imagine if Muslims had done this to a so-called “disused” Synagogue, Church, etc.? You can be sure there would be a big brouhaha over how Islam is evil and is trying to destroy the “infidel.”

Earlier in the day, Israeli settlers in the West Bank tried to set a fire inside a disused mosque to protest the Israeli military’s destruction of three settler houses at an illegal outpost.

The police and witnesses said the settlers threw burning tires into the mosque and spray-painted the names of two settlement outposts on the walls, including that of Migron, where the army destroyed three buildings constructed on private Palestinian land. The Israeli Supreme Court determined that the entire outpost was built on such private land, but the three chosen for destruction had been built after that decision was handed down. (Via the NewYorkTimes)

Pamela Geller Watch: Serbian War Criminal Mladic Caught – Pamela Geller Inconsolable

Posted in Loon Sites, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2011 by loonwatch

How do we know that Geller wants Muslims dead? She grieves when genocidal war criminals are caught.

Serbian War Criminal Mladic Caught – Pamela Geller Inconsolable

by Charles Johnson (Little Green Footballs)

War criminal Ratko Mladic was arrested yesterday in Serbia, where he was hiding from justice under an assumed name. Time’s Mark Benjamin has this excerpt from Mladic’s indictment, with horrifying details of his massacre of thousands of Muslim prisoners.

Between 12 July and about 20 July 1995, thousands of Bosnian Muslim men were captured by, or surrendered to, Bosnian Serb Forces under the command and control of General Ratko MLADIC. Over 7,000 Bosnian Muslim prisoners captured in the area around Srebrenica were summarily executed from 13 July to 19 July 1995. Killings continued thereafter. From about 1 August 1995 through about 1 November 1995, VRS units under the command and control of General Ratko MLADIC participated in an organised and comprehensive effort to conceal the killings and executions of the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica by reburying, in isolated locations, bodies exhumed from mass graves.

“The Serbs dared to fight.”It’s important to note that one of the most relentless whitewashers of Mladic’s monstrous crimes is none other than anti-Muslim lunatic Pamela Geller, and the reason is obvious: Mladic slaughtered Muslims, and that makes him an ally of Geller, Robert Spencer, and the rest of their thuggish crowd.

In her usual weasely fashion, Geller tries to have it both ways; she cheers on Mladic for “daring to fight,” but at the same time posts numerous articles at her website denying the genocide at Srebrenica as “a lie.” For example:

CANADIAN PM STEVEN HARPER, LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD, VETOES BOSNIAN LIE RESOLUTION
ISLAMIC BOSNIA: “IT BEGAN WITH A LIE”

It’s easy to make fun of Pamela Geller, because she’s so completely deranged. But there’s absolutely nothing funny about her support for war criminals and mass murderers, or her denial of genocide.

And she continues to defend this butcher, even today: JULIA GORIN: “ROASTING MLADIC”.

Instead of admitting their terrible mistake, the dhimmi Western powers are digging in their heels and further prosecuting the Serbs in their sisyphean and thankless efforts to stop Islamic imperialism.

Look, there are no heroes in the Bosnian conflict, but the Muslim atrocities were far worse. The Serbs dared to fight. That’s what this is all about. As Gorin so succinctly put it, “They are guilty of ….. daring to answer war with war.” The question is, why would the Western powers send in troops and pave the way for a militant Islamic state in the heart of Europe? The catastrophic consequences have not yet manifested themselves, but they will impact the geopolitical landscape in what promises to be a bloody 21st century.

Just disgusting.

Hate Crime Goes Unpunished

Posted in Loon Flashback with tags , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2010 by loonwatch
Greek Orthodox priest rushed to hospital; found guilty of "looking ArabGreek Orthodox priest rushed to hospital; found guilty of looking Arab

We reported this in November of last year; Jason D. Bruce, a Marine reservist, physically assaulted a Greek Orthodox priest, mistaking him for an Arab (and thus a terrorist, since we all know that Arab = terrorist).  Bruce hit the Muslim-looking man with a tire iron, chasing him for three blocks.  The Tampa Bay Times had  reported:

Tampa police: Marine reservist attacked Greek priest he mistook for terrorist

By Alexandra Zayas and Demorris A. Lee, Times Staff Writers
In Print: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

TAMPA — Marine reservist Jasen Bruce was getting clothes out of the trunk of his car Monday evening when a bearded man in a robe approached him.

That man, a Greek Orthodox priest named Father Alexios Marakis, speaks little English and was lost, police said. He wanted directions.

What the priest got instead, police say, was a tire iron to the head. Then he was chased for three blocks and pinned to the ground — as the Marine kept a 911 operator on the phone, saying he had captured a terrorist.

Can you imagine what would have happened if Bruce had done the same thing to a Jewish or black person?  The book would have been thrown at him.  Well, this was just a hate crime against a raghead. (Ok fine, he wasn’t really a raghead…but the point is that Bruce thought he was a raghead.)

Anyways, here’s an unfortunate update: James D. Bruce is getting off scot-free;  the Tampa Bay Times recently wrote:

Charges dropped against Marine reservist accused of attacking priest in Tampa
By Colleen JenkinsKameel Stanley and Alexandra Zayas, Times Staff Writers
In Print: Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bruce was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The case gained national attention and drew strong reactions from the public, most of it negative toward Bruce.

On Tuesday, the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office announced it will not pursue any criminal charges against him.

Maybe now Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller can honor James D. Bruce like they do other hate-mongers.

 

Orthodox Jewish Men Harass Women for Praying at the Western Wall, What if they were Muslim?

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2009 by loonwatch

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Interesting piece about challenging traditions in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. In it we read about how some ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather to harass women,

Across a partition, in the men’s section of the Kotel, a group of ultra-Orthodox men gathered to harass the women as they sang and prayed. The men shouted “Gevalt!” — expressing their revulsion in Yiddish — and called the women’s prayer an abomination. One or two threw objects and spat at them. In the women’s section, some Orthodox female worshipers joined in the insults.

Imagine if this had been Mooslims hurling insults at women, Pamela GellerRobert Spencer and the whole goof troop would be waxing on how this is “Islam” and just part and parcel of the “misogyny Islam preaches.” Will they cover this story?

Challenging Traditions at the Heart of Judaism

JERUSALEM — A struggle for the character of the Western Wall, this city’s iconic Jewish holy site and central place of worship, is under way, and it is being fought with prayer shawls and Torah scrolls.

On Friday, sheets of rain obscured the Old City’s ancient domes. But by 7 a.m. about 150 Jewish women had gathered at the Western Wall to pray and to challenge the constraints imposed on them by traditional Jewish Orthodoxy and a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Under their coats many of the women, supporters of a group of religious activists called Women of the Wall, wore a tallit, or fringed prayer shawl, a ritual garment traditionally worn only by men. Some wore their prayer shawls openly, an illegal act in this particular setting that can incur a fine or several months in jail.

Last month Nofrat Frenkel, 28, an Israeli medical student and a committed follower of Conservative Judaism, a modern, egalitarian strain, was the first woman in Israel to be arrested during prayers at the Western Wall, also known as the Kotel, for publicly wrapping herself in a tallit.

The police accused her of acting provocatively and in a way that upset public order. Ms. Frenkel said the investigation was still under way.

The Women of the Wall, who meet for prayers at the Kotel at the start of every Hebrew month, are at the vanguard of a feminist struggle in Orthodox Judaism and other more contemporary strains to adapt time-honored religious practice for the modern age. They came in droves on Friday, the first day of the Hebrew month of Tevet, to express their outrage over Ms. Frenkel’s case.

Anat Hoffman, chairwoman of Women of the Wall, which was founded in 1988, said she had never seen so many turn up in the month of Tevet.

“We are pushing the envelope. History is made of moments like this,” she said.

The group’s activities present a head-on challenge to the religious establishment, which is dominated in Israel by Orthodox rabbis who interpret and apply the rules of religious law in their strictest form.

The Kotel is defined in Israel as a national and holy site that is open to all. In practice, the women say, it operates like an Orthodox synagogue, with separate prayer sections for men and women and a modesty patrol to ensure that visitors are appropriately dressed.

Traditional Orthodox women pray individually, and quietly, by the Kotel’s massive beige stones, a remnant of the retaining wall of the mount revered by Jews as the site where their ancient temples once stood. Al Aksa mosque now sits on the top of the mount.

Critics of the Women of the Wall say that their practices — like holding organized prayers, singing out loud, carrying a Torah scroll and wearing prayer shawls — offend the more traditional worshipers at the site.

Twenty years ago, having suffered verbal and physical abuse as they prayed, the Women of the Wall petitioned the Supreme Court to have their right to religious freedom recognized, on grounds that the Kotel does not belong to the Orthodox establishment alone.

After a lengthy legal battle, the court ultimately ruled against the women in the interest of public order. Consequently, it is illegal for them to read aloud from the Torah or to wear prayer shawls openly by the wall. Instead, the authorities have allocated them a special area where they can conduct services in their own fashion, in an archaeological garden tucked around a corner, out of sight.

“These women come here like a persecuted group,” said David Barhoum, a criminal lawyer there on behalf of the Women of the Wall. If anything, he said on Friday, the criminal behavior seemed to be coming from the other side.

Across a partition, in the men’s section of the Kotel, a group of ultra-Orthodox men gathered to harass the women as they sang and prayed. The men shouted “Gevalt!” — expressing their revulsion in Yiddish — and called the women’s prayer an abomination. One or two threw objects and spat at them. In the women’s section, some Orthodox female worshipers joined in the insults.

Jewish religious law is open to interpretation. The Women of the Wall argue that even according to some Orthodox opinions, they are doing nothing wrong.

“Women are exempt from carrying out certain commandments, but not forbidden,” said Ms. Frenkel, who kept her prayer shawl hidden beneath her jacket by the Kotel this time around.

But the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, said “there is no value to prayer that creates controversy and offends other female worshipers” at the site.

The dispute is not about interpretations of religious law, he added, but about the sanctity and the accepted custom of the place. “On Friday the heavens wept,” he said.

Others saw the rain as a blessing in this parched land. The downpour was “so fitting,” said Simonne Horwitz, an assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan in western Canada, who said she had flown in especially for the event.

By and large, the inclement weather was on the side of the police who were sent to uphold the law and keep the peace.

There had been a plan for the women concealing their prayer shawls to open their coats, but Ms. Hoffman said most did not want to because of the storm.

Plans to take out a Torah scroll at the Kotel, and perhaps to read from it, were also aborted for fear the parchment would be damaged by the rain. Even so, one of the scrolls ended up with water stains.

Whether or not it was an act of divine intervention, the deluge allowed everyone to claim victory — the drenched women, their detractors and the police. The women were obviously wearing prayer shawls at the wall, but no arrests were made.