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Climate Change Activist Greta Thunberg Meets Storm of Criticism in Germany Over ‘Antisemitic’ Comments on Gaza Conflict

Dutch climate change activist Erjan Dam attempts to grab a microphone from Greta Thunberg at a climate change rally in Amsterdam. Photo: Reuters/Piroschka van de Wouw

The outspoken Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg has encountered a storm of criticism in Germany over a speech she delivered to a rally in Amsterdam last weekend that sought to insert opposition to Israel’s defensive war in Gaza into the environmentalist movement’s agenda.

Thunberg’s statements on the war are being closely watched in Germany, following the decision last month of the German section of the “Fridays for Future” green movement she launched to suspend ties with its international organizers over a series of anti-Israel statements. Luisa Neubauer, the head of the German section, said that her group would have no interactions with the the global social media accounts of “Fridays for Future” until “we can be sure that a single group can no longer use global Fridays for Future accounts for disinformation and hate.” Recent posts from the account condemned Western media coverage of the Israel-Gaza conflict as “imperialist brainwashing” and described the Hamas terrorists who carried out the Oct. 7 pogrom in southern Israel as “martyrs.”

In the interim, Thunberg has doubled down on her statements. With a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf draped around her neck at the rally in Amsterdam on Sunday, she introduced a Palestinian speaker — Sarah Rachdan, a doctoral student — by claiming that “as a climate justice movement, we have to listen to the voices of those who are being oppressed and those who are fighting for freedom and for justice. Otherwise, there can be no climate justice without international solidarity.”

Rachdan has justified the Oct. 7 atrocities in social media posts that praised the “Palestinian resistance.” And in an earlier post last April, she mocked the Holocaust by commenting on a story about Israeli soldiers “gassing” Palestinian demonstrators by asking, “I wonder where we’ve seen that before?”

Rachdan’s speech was received critically by many climate activists frustrated by Thunberg’s insistence on linking Palestinian solidarity with climate change. Erjan Dam — a Dutch activist who attempted to seize the microphone from Thunberg’s hand before being bundled off the stage — told the Suddeutsche Zeitung news outlet that he and others present at the Amsterdam rally had felt “abused” by her actions.

“The climate protection movement should concentrate on its core issue: climate protection,” Dam said. “When Greta Thunberg or other leading activists constantly talk about the Palestine issue, it creates disunity.”

German politicians and Jewish leaders also expressed anger with Thunberg following the scenes in Amsterdam. Ricarda Lang — a German parliamentarian and the co-leader of the left-wing Green Party — said that Thunberg’s comments were “not only depressing, but absolutely indecent.” Thunberg had “brushed aside the question of Israel’s right to exist” and was guilty of “swapping the victim with the perpetrator,” Lang continued.

Martin Huber — the secretary-general of the center-right Christian Social Union (CSU) — went even further, calling Thunberg an “antisemite who supports Hamas and stirs up hatred of Israel.”

In a separate TV interview, Josef Schuster — president of the Central Council of German Jews — said he was reaching the conclusion that Thunberg was motivated by anti-Jewish bigotry.

“There is no doubt that she is very, very naive,” Schuster remarked in the Monday night interview. “Assuming antisemitism is always a serious accusation. But what I am seeing here — I am very close to that on this accusation.”

Schuster urged the German section of “Fridays for Future” to sever all ties with Thunberg, expressing concern that impressionable young activists with little knowledge of the Middle East would be influenced by her statements to adopt anti-Israel positions.

The post Climate Change Activist Greta Thunberg Meets Storm of Criticism in Germany Over ‘Antisemitic’ Comments on Gaza Conflict first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

i24 NewsRussia’s strongman President Vladimir Putin said he would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow. Kyiv swiftly rejected the demands as tantamount to surrender.

Putin demands that Ukraine transfers to Russia four regions, including a 300,000 city of Kherson and 700,000 Zaporizhzhya as a “precondition” to “peace talks”. This man is delusional, and those in the West who speak of “negotiations” or “cease fire” are enemies of the free world. pic.twitter.com/fqTGVqMdDu

— Sergej Sumlenny, LL.M (@sumlenny) June 14, 2024

“The conditions are very simple,” Putin said, listing them as the full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Putin’s maximalist conditions apparently reflect Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand in the war.

He restated his demand for Ukraine’s demilitarization and said an end to Western sanctions must also be part of a peace deal. He also repeated his call for Ukraine’s “denazification.”

“He is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat. He is offering for Ukraine to legally give up its territories to Russia. He is offering for Ukraine to sign away its geopolitical sovereignty,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, rejecting the demands as “absurd.”

The post Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah

Illustrative. Some rises after an Israeli strike as Israeli forces launch a ground and air operation in the eastern part of Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

i24 NewsEarly this morning, tragedy struck in the southern Gaza city of Rafah as eight Israeli soldiers lost their lives in a devastating explosion, marking the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the region since January.

The IDF has confirmed the casualties, with one soldier identified as Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander from Beit Jann in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.

The names of the other seven soldiers will be released after their families have been notified.

According to initial reports from the IDF, the soldiers were traveling in a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) as part of a convoy around 5 a.m., following a successful overnight operation targeting Hamas militants in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah. During the operation, troops under the 401st Armored Brigade reportedly neutralized approximately 50 gunmen.

The convoy was en route to buildings captured by the army for the soldiers to rest, when the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy, was struck by a powerful explosion. The nature of the explosion remains under investigation, with possibilities ranging from a pre-planted bomb to an improvised device placed on the vehicle by Hamas operatives.

Initial findings suggest that explosives stored on the exterior of the Namer CEV may have contributed to the severity of the blast. Normally, such explosives are designed to minimize harm to troops inside if detonated.

The IDF probe indicates there was no gunfire preceding the explosion, and the vehicle was not stationary at the time of the incident. The circumstances surrounding the tragedy have prompted intensified scrutiny into the safety protocols and operational procedures during military movements in hostile territories.

The deaths of these eight soldiers bring the total number of IDF casualties in recent ground operations against Hamas to 307. This figure includes a police officer killed during a recent hostage rescue operation and a civilian Defense Ministry contractor also slain in the conflict.

This is a developing story 

The post Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah

Israeli firefighters work following rocket attacks from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near the border on its Israeli side, June 13, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Avi Ohayon

i24 NewsRecent actions by both Israel and Hezbollah have sparked growing concerns among U.S. officials, who fear that the situation could escalate into a full-scale war, according to reports from CBS News.

The tension has intensified following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Lebanese territory, which some American authorities believe are laying the groundwork for a larger military operation.

Sources within the US government have expressed worries that such a move could trigger a conflict that might strain Israel’s alliance with Washington.

Hezbollah, in response to recent events including the assassination of senior commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, has escalated its own actions. The group has begun launching daily rocket attacks targeting northern Israeli communities since October 8, citing solidarity with Hamas amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

US officials cited by CBS News have highlighted concerns over the potential unintended consequences of Hezbollah’s increased attacks. They fear that these actions could provoke Israel into launching a significant military assault, further exacerbating the volatile situation in the region.

The developments come amid ongoing international efforts to de-escalate tensions and prevent a wider conflict. Diplomatic channels remain active, with calls for restraint and dialogue from various quarters.

The United States, a key ally of Israel, has historically played a crucial role in mediating and influencing regional conflicts. Officials are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding actions that could escalate tensions further.

The post U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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