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MSF Bombing “War Crime,” France Floods, First Nobel

MSF Bombing “War Crime,” France Floods, First Nobel

TURKEY AIRSPACE VIOLATION AN “ERROR,” RUSSIA CLAIMS

The violation of the Turkish airspace by a Russian warplane over the weekend was a “navigation error,” Moscow has told Ankara, according to Turkish military sources quoted by Hürriyet. Two Turkish F-16 jets intercepted a Russian SU-30 hundreds of meters into Turkey’s airspace, near the Syrian border, for about two minutes Saturday. This prompted Ankara to summon the Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov in protest and urged Moscow against any repeat, warning it would be held "responsible for any undesired incident that may occur."

  • Russia launched an airstrike campaign last week to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime against ISIS.
  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has strongly criticized this move, calling it a “grave mistake,” Reuters reports. He also accused Assad of committing “state terrorism.”
  • Meanwhile, Assad said Sunday the Russian air campaign was vital for the whole Middle East: “It must succeed otherwise we face the destruction of the entire region, not only one or two states.”
  • Isis fighters have destroyed the iconic Arch of Triumph in the ancient Syria city of Palmyra, in northern Syria, the country’s Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums reports. The monument, believed to have been built about 2,000 years ago, was blown up Sunday. According to sources on site quoted by the AFP, the terrorist group destroyed the monument because of ornaments on its columns considered idolatrous. In August, the organization destroyed the historic Temple of Bel and the Temple of Baalshamin.
FLASH FLOODS KILL 17 IN FRANCE

Severe storms killed at least 17 people in southeastern France over the weekend, with three more still missing. Record rainfalls that started Saturday night caused flash floods, in particular in the cities of Cannes and Mandelieu, with the equivalent of weeks of rain within two hours, French daily Nice-Matin reports.


MSF CALLS HOSPITAL BOMBING “WAR CRIME”

The French medical aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has accused the United States-led NATO forces of committing a war crime in the bombing Saturday of a hospital in Afghanistan that left at least 22 people dead. MSF said it was “disgusted” by the Afghanistan government justifying the attack by claiming that Taliban fighters were at the hospital, and has called for an independent international investigation, Le Monde reports.


ISRAELI CRACKDOWN AMIDST RISING VIOLENCE

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the demolition of homes of Palestinians who attack Israelis as part of a crackdown following a new wave of deadly violence. The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth ran a front-page headline over the weekend warning that the “Third Intifada” had begun.


NOBEL PRIZE IN MEDICINE TO WORK ON PARASITIC DISEASES

Judges in Stockholm awarded the Nobel prize in medicine to three scientists from Ireland, Japan and China Monday, The Guardian reports. William C. Campbell, Satoshi ÅŒmura and Youyou Tu were awarded for discoveries that have helped doctors fight malaria and infections caused by roundworm parasites.


SNAPSHOT

Photo: NASA

NASA has just released over 8,400 never-before-seen, high-resolution photos of its Apollo moon landings in the 1960s and 70s. Space lovers and conspiracy theorists alike can now head to NASA’s Project Apollo Archive's Flickr account.


VATICAN FAMILY SUMMIT OPENS AFTER PRIEST COMING OUT

Pope Francis opened a much anticipated summit of the world’s Catholic bishops Monday that will focus on family issues, amidst a media storm after a Vatican priest openly declared that he was in a gay relationship. In opening remarks at the Synod on the Family, the Pope said the three-week long series of meetings “is not a Parliament where compromise reigns.” Italian daily La Repubblica reports that tension was high after Polish Vatican official Krzysztof Charamsa gave an interview Saturday declaring his homosexuality, saying he wanted to challenge the Church's "backward" attitude on the issue. The priest was dismissed from his post in the Vatican’s doctrinal office.


PORTUGAL PRO-AUSTERITY GOVERNMENT WINS

Portugal’s governing center-right coalition won Sunday’s general election â€" the first since 2011, when the government followed Greece and Ireland in requesting an international bailout to avoid default. Read more on this fragile victory here on Le Blog.


ON THIS DAY


Nothing like a Beatles tune to start your week! This and more in your 57-second shot of history.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Brazilian writer João Pereira Coutinho is flabbergasted by the effects that so-called “helicopter parents” in the U.S. have had on their children, who are now reaching adulthood after being coddled in their youth by hovering, over-attentive parents. “Nobody should be surprised that since they've been treated like small children all their lives that today's university students see ‘microaggression’ in every sentence, class or professor. Everything's a threat for anybody who's been constantly protected from any potential discomfort. A book, a sentence, a word, a concept, and of course, a stereotype.”

Read this Folha de S. Paulo/Worldcrunch article, Children Of "Helicopter Parents" Growing Into Fragile Adults.


SWEDISH CRIME WRITER HENNING MANKELL DIES

Henning Mankell, a Swedish crime writer, best-known for the series following the police officer Kurt Wallander, has died aged 67, the daily Dagens Nyheter reports.


MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD



VERBATIM

“It was all sorted out. I just wanted BA to ‘Beam me up, Scotty,’” the former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond told The Mail on Sunday after he was barred from a British Airways flight because the passenger name, no other than “James T. Kirk,” the Star Trek Captain, didn’t match his passport name. The Scottish National Party MP said he had been using this alias for security reasons for years. He eventually managed to board the plane after a few phone calls.

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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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