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Eurovision Song Contest Faces Anti-Israel Protests Ahead of Final

2023 Eurovision Song Contest winner Loreen performs on stage during the rehearsal of the Grand Final of the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest, in Malmo, Sweden, May 10, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Thousands of people protested in Malmo on Saturday against Israel‘s participation in Eurovision Song Contest, with the Israeli military campaign in Gaza casting a shadow over the final of the glitzy contest.

Eurovision organizers, who always bill the annual event as non-political, have resisted calls to exclude Israel, but requested that the lyrics of its entry be changed to remove what organizers called references to the deadly Hamas attack on Oct. 7 that triggered the war.

A large crowd of protesters gathered on the central square of the Swedish host city before marching towards the contest venue, waving Palestinian flags and shouting “Eurovision united by genocide” – a twist on the contest’s official slogan “United by music”.

“It’s important to show, like, we are going to stand on the right side for everyone. This could be any other country and we would still be standing here because this is about children, men and women who have been occupied for so many years,” said one protester on Saturday, Maryam, who gave only her first name.

Police estimated that between 6,000 and 8,000 people joined the demonstration.

The final, the culmination of the festival of catchy songs, gaudy costumes and tongue-in-cheek kitsch, kicks off at 1900 GMT.

In Malmo, French singer Slimane halted his rehearsal act on Saturday to say it had been a childhood dream of his to sing for peace.

“We need to be united by music,” Slimane said, referring to the official Eurovision slogan, followed by cheering from the crowd in the auditorium.

More than 10,000 anti-Israel campaigners, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, staged a non-violent protest ahead of the semi-final on Thursday.

A smaller group of pro-Israel supporters, including members of Malmo’s Jewish community, also staged a peaceful demonstration on Thursday, defending Israeli solo artist Eden Golan, 20, and her right to take part in the contest.

Pro-Palestinian protesters have complained of double standards as the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) that organizes the contest banned Russia from Eurovision in 2022 following its invasion of Ukraine.

Some 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 people taken hostage in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country will not stop the war until Hamas is eliminated.

DUTCH FANS DISAPPOINTED

In another Eurovision controversy this year, Dutch contestant Joost Klein was expelled on Saturday from the competition final after a complaint by a member of the production crew, the EBU said.

“While the legal process takes its course, it would not be appropriate for him (Joost) to continue in the Contest,” the EBU said in a statement.

A representative for Klein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS, Klein was filmed despite clearly made agreements, just after getting off stage after his performance at Thursday’s semi final.

“This wasn’t respected,” AVROTROS said in a post on social media platform X, adding “This led to a threatening movement from Joost towards the camera.”

Klein did not touch the camerawoman, according to AVROTROS, who said it found the artist’s penalty “very heavy and disproportionate.”

A Dutch fan, Frank Zwarthoed, said, “We are very, very, very disappointed… And it’s not good for the for the joy, we have in all the Dutch fans here that are present.”

Dutch viewers will still be allowed to vote for other contestants and the Dutch jury result will still be included in the final, the EBU has said.

Bookmakers have Croatia’s Baby Lasagna, real name Marko Purišić, 28, with “Rim Tim Tagi Dim,” as front-runner to win the contest, followed by Israel‘s Golan, with her song “Hurricane.”

Some booing was heard from the crowd before, during and after Golan’s performance in the semi-finals on Thursday, but there was also applause and Israeli flags being waved, according to a Reuters journalist in the auditorium.

The post Eurovision Song Contest Faces Anti-Israel Protests Ahead of Final first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction

Toronto Police have arrested and charged a man for assault over an incident May 9 near the protest encampment at the University of Toronto’s King’s College Circle on its downtown campus.  Toronto Police Services (TPS) say they responded at 3:45 p.m. that day to a call for assault in the area of the road around […]

The post Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets

Terrorists in Gaza using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets. Photo: Screenshot

Terrorists in Gaza have been using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets they were preparing to shoot at Israelis, new video circulating on social media reveals, underscoring the challenges of delivering aid to Palestinian civilians in the Hamas-ruled enclave without it being stolen.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — which is the armed wing of Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbasused bags from Turkey and UNRWA — the UN agency responsible for the Palestinians — to prop up the rockets, according to the video.

At least three of the bags say they contain “wheat flour,” and the bag from Turkey specifically says it is supposed to go “to the Palestinian people.” It is unclear whether the bags had previously been opened to extract the food and then refilled with sand, for example, or if it still contained the food that was intended to feed Palestinian civilians.

“Any chance the media would cover this, yet another violation of international humanitarian law?” pro-Israel commentator Hen Mazzig wrote on X/Twitter while sharing the video.

Rafah, Gaza: Hamas is using UN humanitarian aid bags as rocket launchers today.

Any chance the media would cover this, yet another, violation of International Humanitarian Law? pic.twitter.com/eNIy2SU0Ep

— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) May 29, 2024

Almost every day for the past seven months, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations have been shooting rockets into Israel from civilian areas, which is a war crime. Tens of thousands of Israelis are internally displaced and unable to return to their homes as a result.

There is mounting evidence that Hamas has also operated in civilian clothing and in civilian infrastructure such as hospitals. However, these violations of international law are rarely noted by much of the media.

The latest video of terrorists using humanitarian aid for military purposes underscores the issue of making sure such aid gets to Palestinian civilians. 

The US built a pier to deliver 2,000,000 meals daily to Palestinian civilians, but after a few weeks of operation, the Pentagon said none of the aid unloaded from the pier had made it to those who needed it. On one occasion, about 70 percent of the aid has been stolen while en route to a UN warehouse. In other cases, it just never showed up.

Israeli estimates suggest approximately 60 percent of the aid that has gone into Gaza has been stolen — either by Hamas or other groups and individuals. Oftentimes, that aid is then sold to the population at high prices, making it difficult to impossible for most Gazans to gain access to it. 

According to Ehud Yaari, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hamas has made more than $500 million in profit from selling humanitarian aid since Oct. 7.

The terror group began the war last October by massacring 1,200 people in Israel and taking more than 250 people hostage, about half of whom have still not been released.

The post ‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas

Demonstrators take part in an anti-Israel demonstration at the Columbia University campus, in New York City, US, Feb. 2, 2024. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has endorsed Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace antisemitic violence.

“The Palestinian resistance is the only force materially fighting back against isr*el [sic],” the group said in a series of posts shared by Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus, a social media account which exposes antisemitism on college campuses. “There is no way to eliminate the resistance without ending the occupation. When you see a video of a young palestinian [sic] boy traumatized in a hospital talking about how iof [the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF] shot his pregnant mother in cold blood in front of his own eyes, do not question how he chooses to resist years later.”

.@Columbia and @BarnardCollege, @ColumbiaSJP is actively promoting terrorism and anti-Israel rhetoric on their social media channels. They are sounding more and more like Hamas spokespeople every day. When is the university going to permanently ban this “student group”? pic.twitter.com/FE0VbgmFLA

— Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus (@CampusJewHate) May 26, 2024

Campus Reform, a higher education watchdog which first reported Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus’ posts, noted that Columbia SJP has added an “inverted red triangle” to its social media biography, further indicating its support for Hamas. The Palestinian terrorist group has used an inverted red triangle in its propaganda videos to indicate an Israeli target about to be attacked, and anti-Israel protesters on university campuses have been using the symbol in their demonstrations.

Columbia SJP, a group that has reformed under multiple organizations since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, has been central in staging a slew of riotous demonstrations in which anti-Zionist activists verbally assaulted Jewish students with antisemitic epithets, clamorously expressed support for terrorism and Hamas, and caused thousands of dollars in damages to school property.

The group’s behavior after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the StandWithUs Center for League Justice (SCLJ).

The complaint alleges that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, the pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library, according to the lawsuit. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

Following the incidents, pleas for help allegedly went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while SJP held its demonstrations. The school’s apparent powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events while no one explained the inconsistency.

The explosion of end-of-year protests held by the group forced Columbia officials to shutter the campus in April and institute virtual learning. Later, the group occupied Hamilton Hall, forcing President Minouche Shafik to call on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for help, a decision she hesitated to make. According to The Columbia Spectator, over 108 arrests were made.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas, which saw some verbal skirmishes between pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist partisans. “Long live Hamas!” said others who filmed themselves dancing and praising the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Kill another solider!”

Amid the chaos, a prominent rabbi at the school urged Jewish students to leave the campus for the sake of their safety. Ultimately, the university cancelled its main commencement ceremony.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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