To all the innocent souls murdered by Palestinian terrorists – you are NOT forgotten. Am Yisrael Chai.
Facebook petition urges Zuckerberg to act on anti-Semitism. Online initiative launched by Swedish Jew gets nearly 17,000 signatures.
Comfort or agony? Facebook fights and friends.
Une pétition contre l’antisémitisme sur Facebook.
פנייה לצוקרברג: הסר התכנים האנטישמיים מפייסבוק
Ten thousand sign petition urging Facebook to remove anti-Semitic pages.
Facebook urged to act on hate.
Upprop kräver att Facebook tar bort antisemitiska inlägg.
Facebook petitioned to stop anti-Semitism
Dear Mr Zuckerberg.
Kritik täckmantel för antisemitism.
Fler manifestationer för Israel utlovas.
Stockholm for Israel: Social Media In Action.
Exclusive: Labour urges Facebook to ‘enforce its own rules’ on anti-Semitism.
This is my neighborhood. My streets. This is where I have Friday brunch, a beer on Thursday night, where I shop and where I cut my hair. I have happy memories connected to every corner and every brick of this street. This is where I had my first Café Hafuch on my first visit to Israel, and this is where I’ll continue to sip my coffee and enjoy my life.
It could have been me. It’s only by chance that I didn’t spend my Friday here with good friends.
It could have been me.
But it wasn’t. Life goes on, and just by walking on this street, we are defying the terrorists that want to stop us from living our lives. The terrorists who can’t stand our way of living and our love of life.
L’chaim! To life! We are not going anywhere. You can shoot missiles at us. Stab us. Shoot us. Ram your car into us. Blow yourselves up in order to kill us. God knows you have tried hard to annihilate us for the past 70 years or so. It hasn’t worked. It will not work. We are strong. We say f*ck off to your murderous ways. In fact, the more you try to put fear into our hearts, the stronger and more united we become. The people being outside today, walking the streets, having coffee, playing with their kids, is proof of this. We are a defiant bunch, and we don’t give up easily. Sorry to disappoint you Mr Terrorist. It’s not working. So go your merry way and leave us the hell alone.
Am Yisrael Chai.
Every year, the state-owned, Swedish Television (SVT) chooses an official announcer for their Christmas TV-schedule: a “julvärd”. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, in between the traditional food and Christmas gifts, the Swedes get together in front of the TV and watch new and old programs. It’s been a tradition since 1959 and in a secular country like Sweden, this is as close to sacred as you get.
This year The-Untouchable-Can-Do-No-Wrong-Ms-Dirawi: Swedish Television’s favorite anti-Semite (who will host the local Swedish version of Eurovision in 2016, “Melodifestivalen” as well) will be the person bringing the Christmas spirit into all Swedes living rooms. Maybe choosing a Muslim as a host for this Christian holiday fits perfectly into the multicultural and oh, so politically correct Sweden: but an anti-Semite? Yes, you heard that right. Gina Dirawi has been caught with her hand in the anti-Semitic cookie jar more than once, and got away with it just as many times.
Swedish-Palestinian Gina Dirawi, born in Sundsvall in 1990, started as a blogger, and then went on to star in several public service events and shows.
In 2010, she made her first public faux pas, when comparing Israel to Hitler: “The Israeli government does the same thing as Hitler did to its people but with other means. They are racists, they oppress, and kill people who are not like them!” When she was hired to host Eurovision, Melodifestivalen, in Sweden in 2011, this blog entrance magically disappeared from cyber space, and her words were defended by the project manager for the show, Thomas Hall: “It is an unfortunate headline that she no longer stands by.” How fitting that her beliefs also magically disappeared, just in time for her public service gig.
Also this blog entrance magically disappeared, and Gina went on Twitter to say that she had no idea who the author was. Some random guy at an event had apparently given her the book and told her to read it. Yes, poor 21-year old Gina, was so young and naive she just didn’t know better. So young and naive, she failed to look at the book’s back cover to see what it was all about: “Israel is today, according to Lasse, the greatest threat to world peace and Zionism is the greatest threat to humanity.” Poor, naive, innocent little Gina. Petter Braggée, program manager for SVT in Malmö, was quick to defend her by saying: “She has a personal blog, and as long as what she writes isn’t in conflict with our democratic and principal values, we have no opinion about it.”
And it continues. In the summer of 2015, now having her own show on SVT called “Gina’s World”, she decided to travel to Israel to meet young female soldiers in the IDF. The whole point of the show and of the trip, was for poor Gina to come to terms with how Israel “had murdered a large part of her family.” In the program she goes on to tell the female soldiers how “her family was butchered by the Israeli army.” Not once do we get to see the other side: whether one of the Israeli girls has family or friends that have been killed in a war or in a terrorist attack. Not once do we get to see proof of the supposed slaughter of Gina’s family, or proof that her “grandparents were expelled from Palestine and were forced to grow up in Lebanese ghettos.” The entire half-hour show is about Gina and how hard it is for her to meet the horrible murderous IDF. That she, to her surprise, discovers that the soldiers are humans after all, does not take away the bitter taste of the one-sided, biased sob-story of the glorified Gina. And all this on SVT, financed by Swedish taxpayers.
Of course, these are just the publicly known “blunders” by Ms Dirawi. Her, not so distant, past has been scrubbed squeaky clean. Thanks to saved screen shots of deleted posts, some of her stupidity and anti-Semitism can still been seen here and here. For instance, on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2010, she wrote a blog with the title “A Memorial Day For All”, where she suggested that this day should be for everyone including “all Palestinians murdered by the Zionists in Israel”.
Isn’t she lovely, SVT’s favorite, Ms Dirawi? Such a perfect poster girl for the new Sweden.
Of course, if you do or say anything even remotely racist or islamophobic in this humanitarian super-power, and God forbid you’re a public figure, you’re automatically shunned for life by Swedish society. Unless of course the racism involves Jews – then you automatically get a free get-out-of-jail-card, no questions asked. In Sweden 2015, you can basically do and say whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t involve immigrants in general, and Muslims in particular.
But Gina Dirawi is special. Unlike others, who have been fired for mixing their private views with their professional roles, she is untouchable. Holy. A goddamn saint. Trust me, if she had been Jewish and had said something that racist about Muslims, she would have been fired so fast her head would have been spinning. But now, no one cares. Everything is forgiven, excused and then rewarded by giving her one of the most wanted spots on TV – as a host for Christmas and as a host for Eurovision, watched by millions around the globe.
There’s something rotten in a society where this can happen. There’s something deeply and morally wrong when this is happening in a country that so proudly declares itself free of racism. There’s something truly sick with a society, where a person can be an anti-Semite and then be rewarded for it, and any critique against her is silenced.
Of course, in a country where the foreign minister Margot Wallström, blames the Paris terror attacks on Israel, and where the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mehmet Kaplan, is an Islamist, one probably shouldn’t be surprised.
Whoops, you did it again Sweden. Shame on you.
(Originally posted on my blog at The Times of Israel, December 21, 2015)
Sometimes I think that the rest of the world lives in a parallel universe: a universe where Israel is an apartheid state and where the Palestinians deserve their own country. After all, they are the indigenous people of Israel since, well, the time of the dinosaurs according to themselves. In this parallel universe, knife attacks against Jews are an understandable action by downtrodden Palestinians – in fact, it’s most likely innocent incidents by accident prone Palestinians, tripping and falling with a knife in their hands, and the silly Jews just happened to be in their way. A universe where you are not allowed to protect your citizens in any way, shape or form, and a universe where everything and anything coming out of Israel is evil. “Let’s reward the terrorists and attack the only democracy in the Middle East! It’s the right thing to do! But we’re not anti-Semites, NO NO! (in fact we all have Jewish friends), just a bit critical of the Israeli state, or what we usually call it: the fascist, Zionist regime and country occupying Palestine.”
And then there’s my native country of Sweden. It’s not only like a parallel universe, but standing outside looking in, it’s like watching a small fish bowl, where the fish all of a sudden are acting completely crazy. Of course, inside the bowl, the fish aren’t aware of their abnormal behaviour – what is so clear to everyone looking in, is completely lost on them.
Sweden, the country that likes to call itself a humanitarian super power, who credits itself for welcoming more immigrants a year than most countries, who makes a big deal of being a tolerant and non-racist country, seems to have forgotten one minority living among them: the Jews.
So, what have the crazy fish been up to lately? Today, Monday November 9, is the anniversary of the Kristallnacht – the beginning of the Holocaust. Across Sweden, rallies, in the name and memory of this event, are organised against anti-Semitism, racism, Nazism and anti-Ziganism. Only, many of them forgot the anti-Semitism part. Would you believe me if I told you there will be rallies, where no Jews are allowed? Where the city’s Jewish Congregation are not invited? Yes, you heard that right.
No. Jews. Allowed.
Slowly but surely, this anniversary has been stolen by other groups, who have turned it into a general anti-Racism event, and it’s getting worse every year. There’s nothing wrong with a rally against racism, but why the hell did they have to take OUR event and turn it into THEIRS, when they have 364 other days of the year to choose from? They are spitting on our history and our memories, and all the innocent Jews that were murdered in the Holocaust. It’s a disgrace, and it makes my stomach turn.
The Kristallnacht was a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria on November 9-10, 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary forces and non-Jewish civilians. German authorities looked on without intervening. The name Kristallnacht comes from the broken glass that filled the streets after Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues had their windows smashed. In addition, Jewish homes, schools, hospitals and cemeteries were destroyed and looted. In total over 1,000 synagogues were burned, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed or damaged. Hundreds of Jews were murdered, and 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. Still, in some event descriptions, Jews are not Jews, but just “people”, synagogues are called “tempels”, and despite thousands of stores and businesses being destroyed, it is described as “a few”. Neither are the fact that so many Jews were murdered or sent to the camps mentioned. In fact, in one event description (with at least 150 words) the word “Jews” isn’t mentioned once: instead there’s talk about recent attacks on refugee camps and mosques in Sweden, and a general mention of vulnerable minorities. In other words, if you don’t know what the Kristallnacht is, you could attend one of these events, without knowing that what happened over 70 years ago, happened to the Jews and no one else. On top of this, when one organiser was confronted, he said that the Jewish Congregation (in this case in Umeå) weren’t invited (you have to sit down for this one!), since this “could cause conflicts or be uncomfortable for the Jews.”
In a time when anti-Semitism is raising its ugly head again, when Jews in Sweden and Europe are afraid to wear a kippah or a Magen David, where you have to pass heavy security in order to attend a service at your synagogue, and when your children’s schools are guarded by the police or armed soldiers – organizers in Sweden decide that an anti-Racist rally should include everyone on the planet except the Jews – and then they use the word Kristallnacht for extra attention.
This is not a new occurrence, it’s been going on for years. I remember attending a separate, quiet memorial with the Jewish Congregation in Gothenburg a few years ago, far away from the noisy anti-Israeli crowd who organized the official rally. Only now is some media starting to pay attention to this, but it’s far from enough. We all know that if Jews had hijacked some memorial from the Muslim minority in Sweden, there would have been headlines in every major newspaper and loud battle cries from the unholy marriage between Islamists, Muslim groups, the far Left, the BDS movement, and whoever else that hates Jews and Israel (quite a few in Sweden it turns out).
Maybe we should have made more noise, and demanded more attention. Maybe it’s about time, that we go out and scream out loud about the unfair, hypocritical treatment of us, the forgotten minority. But we never do. Not sure why. Maybe we assume that things will change, people will wake up, it will get better in time… Wait, this sounds familiar. When did we say this before? Just before the Kristallnacht, right? I guess we didn’t learn from history either.
Now, I don’t care about the fringe people in this parallel universe – as far as I’m concerned, they are a lost cause – but it’s the people that are still stuck in between that we need to reach. This is just one of many injustices happening, just one in a row of events where we are treated like we don’t exist and that we don’t matter. And still, this is just the beginning. Why aren’t we out on the streets demanding to be seen? Where are our battle cries, our protests? Why are we accepting this treatment? Why are we so silent? Are we numb? Used to it?
Listen. Carefully. In 2015, they are excluding Jews from attending the anniversary of the Kristallnacht. Re-read that sentence. Excluded! Not welcome! They’ve hijacked it, just like they did with the word Zionism, that they twisted into meaning something completely different, something fascist and evil. At this point they don’t even bother to hide their anti-Semitism behind words like anti-Zionism anymore, because no one cares – and if they do, they stay quiet. They are spreading the lies, propaganda and re-written history made up by Fatah and Hamas, boycotting Israel, AND they get away with it. Soon the entire country will be Judenrein, but they will still bitch about Israel, the only country in the world where we are not a forgotten minority.
How do we fight back? Is it a lost battle? I can’t even think that. It’s not acceptable. We have to fight! We have to UNITE and fight back. We need to stop being silent and bend our backs. We need to shout out loud. Protest. Make lots of balagan. This is not okay, not even in a parallel universe.
Remember, Am Yisrael Chai are not just words – they have a meaning and it’s about time we show the world this.
(Originally posted on my blog at The Times of Israel, November 9, 2015)
At first glance it looks like an abstract piece of art, a modern monument right in the middle of the busy Ben Gurion Boulevard, next to the juice stand, coffee shops and playgrounds. Upon closer look, you realise it’s a monument of a different kind, a memorial of the people killed and wounded in a suicide attack in 1997.
It just sits there. Like a silent, almost anonymous, reminder of harder times. I don’t think many people pay attention to it – it just is. Nothing odd about it, just another part of the city, like a stone on the sidewalk.
Today a boy, maybe 6 years old, was happily climbing on it – playing and pretending like only kids can. Maybe he was pretending to climb Mount Everest? Or flying a plane?
And then it hit me. This is Israel. Life is celebrated here. We move on. Even a sad monument can become a monument of joy for a small boy.
You get used to it: the memorials all over the city, the stories of what it used to be like before we built the wall: the suicide bombers, the fear of taking the bus or going to a restaurant. You get used to the security checks and metal detectors and the news of terrorist attacks: stabbings and cars running over innocent people waiting for the train. You even get used to the rocket alarms and the sound of missiles being blown up by the Iron Dome.
And there’s nothing strange sitting next to a soldier on the bus, in full uniform and armed with a M16.
We continue to go to work, raise our children, discuss domestic politics over coffee, eating out and going to the beach. We continue to celebrate life.
I made Aliyah in April 2014, and my first summer here was spent running to bomb shelters. The first time the rocket alarm sounded over Tel Aviv (and the first time I heard it for real in my life) I cried. The second and third time I did as well. A few weeks into it, I was sitting in my stairwell (our temporary bomb shelter) with a friend visiting from Sweden, holding him, comforting him and telling him we would be okay. “Listen, that’s the boom from the missile being blown up! It’ll be over soon!” A few days later, I had coffee with a friend on Dizengoff Street when the alarm sounded yet again. Everyone stood up, calmly left their tables and walked to a bomb shelter nearby, listened to the alarm, waited for the booms, and then walked back and continued drinking their coffee. The whole thing was very surreal. I kept thinking how people would have reacted if the same thing had happened in Stockholm. I realised then, that in a few weeks, I had adapted to the life here. I no longer cried, but rather had a feeling of obstinacy: “You will NEVER stop me from living my life!”
Does this mean that the war ended up being a walk in the park? Of course not. It was very stressful, and my heart still skips a beat if I hear anything that sounds remotely like an alarm.
Israelis are a tough bunch, but a warm-hearted bunch that try to live their life every day to the fullest. That’s one of the many reasons why I love living here. Despite all the worries and threats from terrorist neighbors, we live. We celebrate life. We adapt and carry on and never feel sorry for ourselves. We thrive and we blossom against all odds. We even say L’Chaim to monuments of death.
This is something our neighbors will never understand. They celebrate death, and think they can scare us into bending to their demands. We never will. I never will. Life and the will to live is so much stronger than any suicide bomber or missile attack. We are staying right here and we aren’t going anywhere. Get used to it.
I love you Israel.
(Originally posted on my blog at The Times of Israel, June 25, 2015)
Jyllands-Posten, Lars Vilks, Charlie Hebdo, Pamela Geller… They really offended you with their cartoons of Muhammad, didn’t they? So offended, you think they deserve to die. To be murdered. To be shot down in cold blood.
Guess what, I’m offended too.
I’m offended when you organise Holocaust Cartoon Contests.
I’m offended when you call me an ape and a pig.
I’m offended when you spit on and burn my flag.
I’m offended that you think “Mein Kampf” is worth reading – so much so that it’s on your bestseller list.
I’m offended that you create TV-shows (for kids!) that portray us as monsters that kill Muslim children, and use their blood to make matzah bread for Pesach.
I’m offended that I have to fear for my life if I wear any religious symbol that reveals that I’m a Jew.
I’m offended that I have to come extra early to shul because of all the security checks that I have to go through.
I’m offended that my friends kids have to have heavily armed police officers as guards outside their schools.
I’m offended that I constantly have to defend my country and our right to exist.
I’m offended that you want to annihilate us and wipe Israel off the map.
I’m offended that I can no longer speak my mind without worrying about the consequences.
I’m offended that you disrespect me as a woman and think I’m a second class citizen.
I’m offended that you constantly disrespect our culture.
I’m offended that you want to take my freedom of speech, freedom of religion and way of life away. I’m offended that you want to destroy my democratic society and replace it with tyranny and dictatorship.
I’m offended that you think you have the right to tell me how to think, how to speak, what to say, how to dress and how to act.
I’m offended that you come to our part of the world and expect us to obey by your rules, while you disobey our rules and laws every chance you get.
I’m offended that you want to kill me. And hell yes, I’m offended that you think you have the right to murder me if I draw a silly cartoon of your prophet Muhammad (who clearly has no sense of humour).
But do you see me hunting you down with a gun? Do you see me throwing molotov cocktails at your mosques? Do you see me vandalising your grave yards? Do you see me burning your flag and chanting “Death To All Muslims”? Do you see me going on a killing spree, killing innocents, because of all the horrible, anti-Semitic drawings and cartoons you publish and post every day?
No. Because that’s not who I am. And because of this I know that we are the good guys and you are not. You may terrorise us and temporarily frighten us. You may win a few battles but not the war.
The good guys always win. Light always conquers darkness. Didn’t you know? Haven’t you learned anything from history?
Don’t ask me to respect you if you don’t respect me. It’s a two-way street you know. And just because I can, I’m now going to draw Muhammad with a funny red nose and clown shoes – and I’ll enjoy every minute of it. Maybe I’ll even post it on Facebook. Because it’s my right. A right that my forefathers fought long and hard for! My right!
Offended? Tough luck.
(Originally posted on my blog at The Times of Israel, May 8, 2015)