Photo: Li Muzi/Zuma
EUROZONE RULES OUT TALKS BEFORE GREEK VOTE
Finance Ministers of the Eurozone have ruled out any negotiations over a third Greek bailout before Sundayâ€™s referendum, but divisions are starting to show between Germany and France, Le Monde reports. French President François Hollande said yesterday that an agreement had to be found â€œnow, it canâ€™t be delayed anymore,â€ while German Chancellor Angela Merkel favors a harder line that Germanyâ€™s leftist party Die Linke says aims at toppling the Greek government.
- This comes after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsiprasâ€™ letter to Athensâ€™ creditors yesterday in which he seemed to accept austerity terms previously put forward by the lenders, on condition that they agree to restructuring Greeceâ€™s debt, which stands at more than 170% of its GDP. Addressing the nation after the Eurogroupâ€™s rebuff, Tsipras denounced â€œthe prevalence of extreme conservative forcesâ€ in Europe, which he said â€œled to the decision to asphyxiate our countryâ€™s banks â€" with the obvious aim of blackmailing not just the government, but each each citizen individually.â€ He reaffirmed his call for voters to vote â€œOxi,â€ no in Greek, in Sundayâ€™s referendum and insisted this wouldnâ€™t mean returning to the drachma. Read the full address on To Vima.
- In an interview with Bloomberg, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he would â€œrather cut my arm offâ€ than sign a new accord that doesnâ€™t include debt relief and suggested a â€œYesâ€ vote on Sunday could be the end of the Syriza-led coalition government. And the latest poll suggests this is a strong possibility.
- Long lines of pensioners formed outside some 1,000 Greek banks branches, which the government reopened to be able to pay pensions to the elderly.
Those who know him best say Greek Prime Minister Tsipras is driven by three contradictory strands. Le Monde offers an in-depth profile of a leader battling his "inner troika" â€" and changing with the momentous events he has stepped into. "Heâ€™s become grayer. He took his role too seriously and overestimated our momentum, weâ€™re still isolated in Europe," says Loukas Axelos, a member of Syrizaâ€™s far-left wing who has known Tsipras for years. The leftâ€™s electoral successes led him to believe that Syrizaâ€™s rise to power could be a spearhead for similar parties to rise across the continent. Read the full article: Who Is The Real Alexis Tsipras?
TENNESSEE TRAIN DERAILS
As many as 5,000 residents around Knoxville, Tennessee, have been evacuated after a freight train transporting what authorities described as â€œhighly flammable and toxic gasâ€ derailed and caught fire, NBC reports. This story is developing.
EGYPT VOWS TO DEFEAT ISIS IN SINAI
The Egyptian army says it has killed more than 100 ISIS fighters in the Sinai and vowed to continue to fight until the peninsula is cleared of the terrorists, after yesterdayâ€™s simultaneous attacks that killed 17 soldiers. ISIS-claimed attacks on Egypt have reached a new high this week, with the death of prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat in an attack on Monday. Read more from Mada Masr.
FERRY CAPSIZES IN THE PHILIPPINES
At least 36 people have died after a passenger ferry transporting 189 people capsized in rough waters in central Philippines this morning, AP reports. More than 100 passengers have been rescued but 19 are reported missing.
NSA ALSO SPIED ON GERMANY MINISTERS
New documents published by Wikileaks reveal that the NSAâ€™s targeting of German officials went well beyond eavesdropping on Chancellor Angela Merkelâ€™s phone, with ministers and public officials responsible for commerce, finances, economics and agriculture also targeted. The documents highlight the partnership between the NSA and its British equivalent GCHQ, with the latter reported to have intercepted and transmitted to U.S. authorities German and French plans for a BRICS-supported bailout of Greece, a move that Julian Assange writes must have left Washington â€œhorrifiedâ€ due to its geopolitical implications. This comes amid accusations that GCHQ also spied on Amnesty International.
The Japanese population is not only ageing fast, itâ€™s also declining at an alarming rate. The latest population survey shows that the country lost 271,058 inhabitants in 2014, the biggest decline since records started, news agency Kyodo reports. This is the sixth straight annual decline, and the number of births has fallen to its lowest since 1979.
HILLARY TOPS OBAMA FOR DONATIONS
Hillary Clinton has raised a record $45 million in the first quarter of her campaign for Presidency, smashing by $3 million the previous record held by President Barack Obama, in what is shaping up to be the most expensive White House race in history. But the former First Lady could soon face some serious competition in the Democratic Party, with reports that Vice President Joe Biden is mulling entering the race.
DENMARK TO CUT MIGRANT BENEFITS
Denmarkâ€™s right-wing government coalition has announced plans to cut benefits for asylum seekers, in a bid to reduce the number of applicants coming to the country, Jyllands-Posten reports. According to AFP, asylum seekers without children will see their benefits slashed by half to 5,945 kroner ($880) from September, while those who master the Danish language will obtain a 1,500-kroner bonus. â€œWe want to reward the people who come here and wish to become integrated,â€ Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said. More than 15,000 refugees arrived in Denmark last year, twice as many as in 2013, and 2015 could see that figure rise further. According to UN figures published yesterday, 137,000 migrants have already crossed the Mediterranean this year, 83% more than for the same period in 2014.
ON THIS DAY
Twenty-four years separate the July 2 that Amelia vanish and the July 2 that Ernest bid farewell. See these and other events in our 57-second video On This Day.
Itâ€™s not quite an I, Robot moment (yet?), but a 21-year-old worker at a Volkswagen factory in Germany has been killed by a robot he was installing.
A controversial recipe published yesterday in The New York Times had Barack Obama and Jeb Bush agree on one thing: You just donâ€™t put peas in guacamole. And the Texas Republican Party takes guacamole recipes very seriously.
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.
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.
The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender
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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