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Arrests of Hamas Suspects Underline Jewish Insecurity in Europe

Masked German police officers arrive at an address in Berlin during an operation targeting alleged Hamas terrorists. Photo: Reuters/Paul Zinken – Unless you follow the news from Europe closely, it’s unlikely you’ll be aware that last week, seven alleged Hamas suspects believed to be planning attacks on Jewish targets were arrested during police raids in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.

It’s not entirely clear whether these police operations were coordinated across borders, although the details that have emerged since the arrests suggest that they were.

According to a statement from the German Federal Prosecutor’s office, three of the men were arrested in Berlin while traveling back from a weapons dump allegedly set up by one of them, whose name was given by police as Abdelhamid Al A. and who reportedly arrived in Germany earlier this year on the orders of Hamas leaders based in Lebanon. Both this suspect and the other two, named as Mohamed B. and Nazih R., were alleged to have visited the weapons dump on several occasions since the Oct. 7 pogrom executed by Hamas terrorists in the south of Israel.

A fourth man allegedly connected to the trio in Germany was arrested in Rotterdam by Dutch police and handed over to the Berlin authorities. All of them are said to be closely linked to the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas, which played a key role in planning and executing the pogrom in which 1,200 people were murdered and more than 200 seized as hostages.

Separately, Danish police announced on the same day that three people had been arrested in Copenhagen on terrorism charges. In this case, however, the police said only that the detainees had intended to carry out an “act of terror” and didn’t specify whether there was a connection to Hamas. What they did do was advise the local Chabad rabbi to cancel a Chanukah candle-lighting ceremony in the center of the Danish capital on the grounds that the event was a security risk, indicating that the authorities regard terrorist attacks on Jewish communities as a clear and present danger, and that other terror suspects yet to be detained remain at large.

If it turns out that these detainees were dispatched for the purpose of carrying out terror attacks on European soil, then that would mark a major strategic departure for Hamas. The organization retains an ample presence in Europe but has restricted its activities to propaganda and fundraising—activities that European governments have attempted to clamp down before and after the Oct. 7 atrocities with varying degrees of commitment and success. But unlike its cousins ISIS and Al-Qaeda, Hamas has so far not engaged in violence against European targets, presumably out of concern that doing so would alienate public opinion and run afoul of law enforcement.

One can see that Hamas might be tempted to attack a specifically Jewish target rather than a general one, calculating that this would sit better with public opinion. During the last decade in France, Islamists carried out terror operations against both Jewish targets, including the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris, and general ones, such as the Bataclan nightclub in the French capital; public outrage and protest was typically higher following attacks on the general targets rather than the Jewish ones.

Going further back, Hamas may believe, not unreasonably, that the response of many European non-Jews to a terror attack on a synagogue or Jewish school would echo the reaction of former French Prime Minister Raymond Barre to the October 1980 Palestinian terrorist attack on the Rue Copernic synagogue in Paris. Noting that four people had been killed outside the synagogue—only one of whom happened to be Jewish—Barre stated that “this odious attack was aimed at hitting Jews going to the synagogue but hit innocent French people who were crossing Rue Copernic.”

In other words, while violence and terror should be abhorred, it’s easier to rationalize such acts when Jews are killed rather than non-Jews, because Jews are less “innocent.”

Most European politicians today would run a mile from a Barre-like reaction. Their rhetoric, especially in Germany and France, though less so in Spain, has focused on reassuring Jewish communities that they are safe and insisting to the general population that the Jewish presence among them is both welcome and non-negotiable. Yet law enforcement has lagged behind these good intentions, while public opinion remains ambiguous, tolerating angry mass protests in capitals and major cities every week in support of Hamas. At the same time, media coverage of Israel’s defensive war in the Gaza Strip, which emphasizes the plight of Palestinian civilians and lays the lion’s share of blame for their ordeal at Israel’s door, bolsters public perceptions of the Jewish state as a rogue state. In the minds of more than a few, Israeli culpability makes attacks on Jews outside Israel far more understandable, if not wholly justifiable.

There is a further dimension to the problem. Episodes like last week’s arrests encourage the view that terrorism is something imported from the outside, meticulously planned before it is executed. In many cases, of course, that is true—but not in all of them. Arguably, European Jews have more to fear from the people living in their own neighborhoods than from terrorists flying in from the Middle East. Last week, for example, an unidentified Arab man wielding a knife entered a daycare center near Paris that caters to toddlers, many of whom are from Jewish families. “You’re a Jew, you’re a Zionist. Five of us are going to rape you, cut you up like they did in Gaza,” the intruder told the daycare center’s terrified director before fleeing the scene. The center has now been forced to close.

Stories like these, as well as pettier but still ugly acts of anti-Jewish bigotry and discrimination, are a daily occurrence in Europe at present. Meanwhile, the Israeli government has said that the war to eliminate Hamas is not going to end anytime soon. As terrible as it is to say so, we need to be preparing for the aftermath of a terror outrage aimed at Jews in a European, or even American, city. We can expect the relevant governments and police agencies to be supportive and sympathetic in such an eventuality. But the jury is out on the public at large—whether their reaction will be like that of Raymond Barre, or even worse.

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The detailed plans for a Canadian law that regulates hate speech online are seen as a ‘good start’ by Jewish groups

Jewish groups and others concerned about the rise of hate speech online welcomed the introduction of a new government bill on Feb. 26. And while the parliamentary process for it to become law is only beginning, it’s a good start according to advocacy groups who have called for the government to regulate certain types of […]

The post The detailed plans for a Canadian law that regulates hate speech online are seen as a ‘good start’ by Jewish groups appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘You Jew!’: UC Berkeley Mob Attacks Jews During Event With IDF Soldier, University Pledges Investigation

Mob of anti-Zionists attempting to infiltrate event with Ran Bar-Yoshafat at University of California, Berkeley on February 27, 2024. Photo: Screenshot/Twitter

A mob of hundreds pro-Palestinian students and non-students shut down an event Monday evening at University of California-Berkeley featuring an Israeli soldier, forcing Jewish students to flee to a secret safe room as the protestors overwhelmed campus police

Footage of the incident shared by the outlet shows a serried mass of anti-Zionist agitators banging on the doors of the Zellerbach Library while an event featuring Israeli reservist Ran Bar-Yoshafat —who visited the university to discuss his military service during Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7 — took place inside. The mob then stormed the building — breaking glass windows in the process, according reports in the Daily Wire — and forced school officials to evacuate Jewish students to a secret safe-room.

“What happened last night was deeply concerning and a violation of some of our most important rules and values as a university, including freedom of speech, respect for diversity, and the ties that bind us together as a community,” UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor for communications and public affairs Dan Mogulof told The Algemeiner on Tuesday during a phone interview. “What we saw last night has no recent precedent. More than an estimated 200 protesters showed up at the venue and gained unauthorized entry into the building. There has never been anything like what occurred last night.”

Mogulof pledged that the university will launch an investigation into the incident.

“We do not and will not ignore violations of our rules and values,” he said. “When we have events like this, we always have two priorities. One, to do everything in our power so the event goes forward and the other is to do everything in our power to protect the safety and well being of our students and members of the public, and given the size of the crowd, and the violence of the crowd, we were unable to do both, even with 20 police officers. The event had to be cancelled, so that we could evacuate the building and support the safety of the students.”

During the infiltration of Zellerbach, one of the mob — which was assembled by Bears for Palestine, which had earlier proclaimed its intention to cancel the event — spit on a Jewish student and called him a “Jew,” pejoratively.

“You know what I was screamed at? ‘Jew, you Jew, you Jew,’ literally right to my face,” the student who was attacked said to a friend. “Some woman — then she spit at me.”

Shaya Keyvanfar, a student, told The Algemeiner that her sister was spit and that the incident was unlike any she had ever witnessed.

“Once the doors were closed, the protesters somehow found a side door and pushed it open, and a few of them managed to get in, and once they did, they tried to open the door for the rest of them,” Keyvanfar said. “It was really scary. They were pounding on the windows outside — they broke one — they spit at my sister and others. They called someone a dirty Jew. It was eerie.”

Keyvanfar added that it may be difficult to identify the culprits because anti-Zionists activists wear masks to conceal their identities.

Security concerns plagued the event all week, according to the Daily Wire, and after arriving on campus Bar-Yoshafat was required to conceal his identity. Prior to that, the location of the event was changed to various locations to prevent violence.

“I just felt really bad for these kids because they were scared,” Bar-Yoshafat told Daily Wire. “Girls were crying from being attacked, and I think the kid that was spat on was just so shocked. I don’t think the students anticipated so many people being violent, they thought they would just chant outside.”

During Tuesday’s interview with The Algemeiner Mogulof stressed that the university “understands now that we are in new territory” and called the incident a “black mark” on its reputation. He also explained that UC Berkeley launched an antisemitism awareness program in 2019, which included panels and talks with esteemed scholars of Jewish history such as Deborah Lipstadt, because it takes the issue of campus antisemitism seriously.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Prominent Pro-Hamas Activist in Australia Arrested on Kidnapping and Torture Charges

Australian pro-Hamas activist Laura Allam. Photo: X/Twitter

Australian police on Monday announced the arrest of a prominent pro-Hamas advocate accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and torture of a man whose perceived offense was to work for a Jewish employer.

Melbourne resident Laura Allam was charged with kidnapping, armed robbery, illegal detention, assault and battery against the 31-year-old man, who has not been named by authorities. Working with an accomplice who has also been arrested and charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, armed robbery, threats to kill, intention to cause injury, recklessly causing injury, unlawful assault and assault with weapon, the 28-year-old Allam is  understood to have targeted the man solely because his employer is Jewish.

According to a statement from police in the State of Victoria, the brutal assault occurred on the night of Feb. 16 in the Melbourne suburb of St. Albans. “It’s alleged a man was pulled from a car near the intersection of Gladstone and Cleveland streets about 9.30pm,” the statement noted. “He was then allegedly placed in another car and assaulted and robbed before being released in Braybrook.” The victim required extensive treatment in hospital for injuries sustained in the “horrific kidnapping and torture.”

Allam is a prominent member of Australia’s large Lebanese community and the CEO of the Al Jannah Foundation, which bills itself as an Islamic humanitarian organization. While Allam’s social media profiles specify that she is still running the organization, an entry on the Australian register of companies notes that the foundation ceased operations in July 2023, less than three years after it was formally incorporated. The foundation’s website additionally lists a number of projects that it is raising money for — including addressing food shortages in Lebanon and child health challenges — that apparently remain unfunded.

In the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in southern Israel, Allam dedicated most of her time to attacking Israel on social media as well as spreading false information on her TikTok account, which had 20,000 followers before being closed down, as well as X/Twitter and Instagram. One post on Feb. 5 promoted the fabricated claim that a British Royal Navy warship dispatched to the Gulf to combat attacks on shipping by Houthi terrorists in Yemen had “broken down off the coasts of England.”

Her barbs against Israel on social media included a post that declared “good riddance” over an image of four Israeli soldiers killed while serving in Gaza. On Oct. 8 — the day after the Hamas pogrom which resulted in the murder of more than 1,200 people and the kidnapping of over 200 amid atrocities that included mass rape and bodily mutilation — Allam told her followers that she had “woken up to some great news from our beloved Palestine.” Other posts spoke of “a jihad of martyrdom or victory” and lauded attempts to “avenge the martyrs in Jenin and Gaza.”

Allam discussed her arrest in her final post on her Instagram account before it was closed down. Reproduced on the pro-Israel blog Israellycool, Allam’s post boasted of her “selflessness” and her commitment to “remaining quiet — for now,” going on to declare that “[T]here are words that burn the wildest flames in the deepest pits of my heart and will only ever be extinguished when Allah takes the ‘haqq’ (truth) from every single oppressor to walk this earth.”

“This seems to be an admission as to her involvement, yet amazingly no apology for her actions,” Israellycool observed in an accompanying commentary. “In fact, she speaks as if the incident somehow passively ‘occurred’ – as opposed to her actively doing something terrible.”

In its coverage of Allam’s arrest on Monday, Melbourne’s Herald Sun news outlet reported on “an extraordinary suppression order relating to her case prevents the Herald Sun from running Ms Allam’s image, referencing some ethnic groups or providing certain detail about her advocacy activities.” However, several posts on X/Twitter shared her photograph, her name and her other affiliations.

Allam made the news earlier this month after she spoke at a pro-Hamas protest at the Australian parliament in Canberra alongside three senators from the left-wing Green Party. Responding to the event, Sky News Australia host Andrew Bolt highlighted Allam’s Islamist loyalties, saying, “[T]hat’s one of the people now sharing a stage with the Greens. The Greens may not have known of Allam’s past, but this is who they find next to them in their gutter.”

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