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Grexin?, Taliban Attacks Lawmakers, Apple Caves

Grexin?, Taliban Attacks Lawmakers, Apple Caves

GREXIN OR GREXIT?

Photo: Aristidis Vafeiadakis/Zuma


European Union leaders welcomed an 11th-hour proposal from the Greek government last night, just hours before a crucial summit that could decide the cash-strapped country’s future in the Eurozone. The news sent European stocks up, though it’s still early to say whether a deal will be reached to avoid a Greek debt default.

  • According to the Greek Reporter, the new reform package from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras could include capitulations previously branded “taboo,” such as ending early retirement and pension cuts.
  • But the new proposals could spark a political crisis in Athens, where Syriza’s right-wing coalition partner ANEL strongly opposes abolishing reduced VAT on Greece’s Aegean islands. “If they want to get rid of ANEL from the coalition government, they can bring that measure to parliament and we will vote against it,” Defense Minister and ANEL party member Panos Kammenos said this morning.
  • Grexit or no Grexit, the Eurozone is doomed and will eventually have to “integrate or disintegrate,” a new study says. Read more from The Daily Telegraph.

TALIBAN ATTACKS AFGHAN PARLIAMENT

At least 31 people were wounded in a coordinated Taliban attack against Afghanistan’s Parliament in Kabul that ended with all seven gunmen killed, news agency Pajhwok reports. Lawmakers were gathered to vote on the appointment of a new defense minister when the attackers detonated a suicide car bomb at the building’s entrance, having mysteriously been able to pass through several checkpoints,Reuters reports. The other six terrorists then entered the building and engaged in a two-hour gunfight with security forces.

VERBATIM

“Do u know what Obama Coffee is? Black and weak,” Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, the wife of Israel’s Interior Minister, wrote to her 75,000 Twitter followers. The message inspired hundreds of angry comments. The former UNICEF Israel chairwoman later apologized to the U.S. president and deleted the offensive tweet.


GERMANY ARRESTS AL JAZEERA REPORTER

Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour was detained yesterday at the Berlin airport following an Egyptian request to arrest and extradite him. Mansour was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison after a court found him guilty of torturing a lawyer in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011. The journalist denies the charges. A German court is expected to rule today whether Mansour will be extradited, but some politicians said a decision to do so could be “problematic” given Egypt’s recent verdict record. Read more in English from DW.


$450,000

A controversial auction in Nuremberg, Germany, saw 14 of Adolf Hitler’swatercolors fetch close to $450,000. Among the pieces was a painting of the Bavarian castle of Neuschwanstein, which inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella’s castle.


IRAN REMOVES HURDLE FOR NUCLEAR DEAL

Iranian lawmakers approved a bill yesterday that effectively curtails their own power to block a potential nuclear deal with world powers, removing what AFP characterizes as “a long-standing threat” to an agreement days before the June 30 deadline. Tehran Times, meanwhile, reports that the bill allows “conventional inspections of nuclear sites” but bans “access to military, security and sensitive non-nuclear sites, as well as documents and scientists,” a move that could prove to be a roadblock for some negotiators.


ON THIS DAY


Actress Judy Garland’s battle with drugs and alcohol ended 46 years ago today when she died of a barbiturate overdose at the age of 47. More in your 57-second shot of history.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Ten years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the song rising from New Orleans is not a melancholy one, Le Monde’s Marine Benoit writes. “There’s an energy and rhythm here in ‘Nola,’ as the locals call it. There’s a jerky tempo, an uplifting melody, a swing and a swagger. Jazz has again taken the upper hand. Far from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter or the Faubourg Marigny, filled with bars and clubs, is the Musician’s Village. Located in the Upper Ninth Ward, an area in the west of the city that was disproportionately affected by Katrina, it was built to accommodate destitute musicians, people who were unable to pay for the reconstruction of their houses.”

Read the full article, Jazz And The Resurrection Of Post-Katrina New Orleans.


PAKISTAN HEAT WAVE KILLS DOZENS

A devastating heat wave in the Pakistani province of Sindh has killed more than 200 people over the last three days, with most of the victims in the city of Karachi, Dawn reports. The region has been experiencing temperatures between 45° and 48° Celsius (113° to 118° Fahrenheit) in recent days, just shy of all-time highs.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD



APPLE BOWS TO TAYLOR SWIFT

In a rare concession, Apple has agreed to pay royalties to artists and music labels during the three-month free-trial period of its new Apple Music service amid protests from many in the music industry, including Taylor Swift

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Society

What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel

-Essay-

BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.


Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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