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December 27, 2013 5

Campaigns In Atlanta And London Target Israeli Policy In Bethlehem

st-james-church-wall-bethlehem

St. James Church Wall

Right in time for Christ­mas, two cam­paigns have begun that demo­nize Israeli pol­icy in the West Bank city of Beth­le­hem, the birth­place of Jesus.

In Atlanta, Geor­gia, five elec­tronic bill­boards are cur­rently on dis­play for a two week dura­tion that depict Jesus’s par­ents Mary and Joseph being unable to gain entry into Beth­le­hem in mod­ern times because of Israel’s secu­rity bar­rier on the bor­der of the West Bank (the image was cre­ated by the artist Banksy). These bill­boards are spon­sored by If Amer­i­cans Knew (IAK), a vir­u­lently anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion that has been run­ning anti-Israel bill­boards in cities across the United States over the past year.

In Lon­don, Eng­land, St. James’s Church erected a large dis­play out­side of the church to depict the secu­rity bar­rier that sur­rounds Beth­le­hem. The church’s rev­erend, Lucy Win­kett, claimed that the dis­play, which resem­bles the secu­rity wall in Israel, was designed to show passersby “what the peo­ple of Beth­le­hem are expe­ri­enc­ing today.”

The mock secu­rity wall out­side St. James’ Church is part of a fes­ti­val called “Beth­le­hem Unwrapped,” which is being spon­sored by the Holy Land Trust, a Bethlehem-based group that advo­cates for Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns against Israel. The fes­ti­val will take place in Lon­don from Decem­ber 23, 2013 until Jan­u­ary 5, 2014. It will fea­ture, among other pro­grams, a com­edy show called “Stand Up Against the Wall,” a “Beth­le­hem Christ­mas din­ner,” and a debate titled “Both sides of the Bar­rier – Sep­a­ra­tion or Secu­rity?” which will fea­ture Jeff Halper, the founder of the Israeli Com­mit­tee Against House Demo­li­tions; Leila San­sour, a res­i­dent of Beth­le­hem; Yif­tah Curiel, the Pub­lic Affairs spokesman at the Embassy of Israel in Lon­don; and Alan John­son, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Britain Israel Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Research Centre.

Both the bill­board and mock wall dis­play delib­er­ately fail to account for Israel’s legit­i­mate secu­rity con­cerns. While IAK claims that their bill­boards, “will be seen an esti­mated 4 mil­lion times,” those who view the bill­boards will not receive any infor­ma­tion about why the secu­rity bar­rier was built and what it has done to thwart ter­ror­ist attacks.

Indeed, Israel’s secu­rity bar­rier was built as a defen­sive mea­sure that was first approved by the Israeli gov­ern­ment in 2002 to pre­vent Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists from reach­ing their civil­ian tar­gets inside Israel. Since it was built, there has been a sharp decrease in Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ism – not because there have been no attempted attacks, but because the secu­rity bar­rier has impeded ter­ror­ists from reach­ing Israeli cities, or has forced them to take more cir­cuitous routes, lead­ing to their capture.

Although both cam­paigns seek to rein­force the point that Beth­le­hem has become inac­ces­si­ble because of the wall, thou­sands of Chris­t­ian pil­grims from around the world visit Beth­le­hem for Christ­mas Eve cel­e­bra­tions every year. This year was no excep­tion, accord­ing to news reports, the turnout was “the high­est in years.”

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December 12, 2013 8

Anti-Semitic Christmas carol about burning Jews sung on Romanian TV

A Roman­ian pub­lic tele­vi­sion chan­nel broad­cast a Christ­mas carol with vir­u­lently anti-Semitic lyrics.

Dur­ing the Decem­ber 6 live broad­cast, a Roman­ian folk ensem­ble, Dor Tran­sil­van, sang the Christ­mas carol whose lyrics included, “A beau­ti­ful child was born / His name was Jesus Christ / All the world wor­ships Him / But the kikes / Damn kikes / Holy God would not leave the kike alive / Either in the sky or on the Earth / Only in the chim­ney as smoke / This is what the kike is good for / To make kike smoke through the chim­ney on the street.”

ADL’s affil­i­ate in Roma­nia, MCA Roma­nia, wrote to Pres­i­dent Tra­ian Basecu and Prime Min­is­ter Vic­tor Ponta, call­ing on those respon­si­ble for such anti-Semitism broad­cast on state tele­vi­sion to be held to account.   The let­ter noted that no one reacted to the anti-Semitism and the show’s host said at the end of the per­for­mance: “Thank you very much for the carol! Thank you very much for the carol!”

MCA Roma­nia also pointed out that sev­eral months prior, state-owned Radio Roma­nia had broad­cast a pro­gram that praised Romania’s Nazi-allied WWII leader Mar­shal Ion Antonescu and the anti-Semitic Legion­naire Move­ment and included a Holo­caust denial statement.

On Decem­ber 11, Roman­ian Pub­lic Tele­vi­sion Chan­nel 3, which had broad­cast the Christ­mas carol per­for­mance live as part of its show on win­ter reli­gious tra­di­tions in Roman­ian vil­lages, issued an apol­ogy, express­ing “deep regret” for the carol with “anti-Semitic expressions.”

On Decem­ber 12, For­eign Min­is­ter Titus Cor­latean said, “I pub­licly express my legit­i­mate expec­ta­tion that the rel­e­vant insti­tu­tions, the National Audio­vi­sual Coun­cil (CNA), the National Coun­cil against Dis­crim­i­na­tion (CNCD), the Gen­eral Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the spe­cial­ized com­mit­tees of Par­lia­ment will take the nec­es­sary mea­sures and inves­ti­gate, pun­ish and pre­vent” such situations.

The National Audio­vi­sual Coun­cil sub­se­quently fined the TV sta­tion 50,000 lei, about $15,500.

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