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Anti-Semitic Attacks and Jihad Threaten US, Other Diaspora Jews

A rash of attacks and threats, including violence in the US and a warning jihadists are targeting Jews in Germany, struck the Diaspora in January.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 1/22/2008, 1:31 PM

(file)

A series of anti-Semitic attacks and threats, including a warning that Lebanese jihadists are targeting Jewish institutions in Germany, struck Diaspora Jews in January.

USA: Arrest of Bomb-Maker Alongside Vandalism and Beatings
On Monday, New York police arrested Ivaylo Ivanov in Brooklyn, after it was discovered
More ominously, Ivanov confessed to the vandalism during questioning regarding seven pipe bombs.
that he was behind vandalism of synagogues, private homes and schools in September 2007. More ominously, Ivanov confessed to the vandalism during questioning regarding seven pipe bombs police found in an apartment he shares with a noted Columbia professor. In addition to the bombs, police found the bomb-making machinery, a pistol, a shotgun, a crossbow and a bulletproof vest in Ivanov's home. According to the New York Daily News, Ivanov claimed that the bombs were for fishing.

The vandalism Ivanov is to be charged with includes spray-painting at least 23 swastikas on several buildings he identified with Jews. Ivanov also admitted that he distributed fliers that said, "Israel: Land of Pigs" and "All Jews Die" in the Brooklyn area.

In an incident on Friday night in Brooklyn, a yeshiva student was viciously beaten by five youths, as he walked to a friend's house in the Crown Heights neighborhood. According to the victim, his attackers beat him for more than five minutes while they cursed him with anti-Semitic epithets. Local first responders treated the yeshiva student near the scene and transported him to the hospital for further assistance. Police later discovered a bloody rock apparently used in the attack. On Saturday, detectives from the NYPD Bias Crime Unit interviewed the victim.

Another beating attack was reported in the same Brooklyn neighborhood that same weekend. A gang of five or six teens attacked three yeshiva students on Eastern Parkway, according to CrownHeights.Info. It is unclear if the two incidents are related.

In the Chicago area, anti-Semitic vandals caused at least $100,000 in damage to about 57 gravestones in a Jewish cemetery earlier this month. Swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans were spray-painted on tombstones in the Westlawn Cemetery in Norridge, Illinois.

In California, swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti was discovered last Thursday on residential walls over a two-mile area of Tarzana. The vandalism, targeting the mostly Jewish neighborhood, led police to initiate a hate-crimes investigation.

Democratic presidential primaries candidate Barack Obama said last week, "I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan." His statement came in reaction to revelations that Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, to which Obama belongs, honored Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as a man who "truly epitomized greatness" at an awards ceremony last year.

The American Jewish Committee called Obama's condemnation "sufficient."

Lebanese Jihadists Threaten Germany's Jewish Community
According to reports in the German press, security officials in Germany warned Jewish leaders in the country that Lebanese jihadists are targeting synagogues and Jewish
Lebanese jihadists are targeting synagogues and Jewish schools for attack.
schools for attack. The warning, which came on January 11, related to Jewish communities across Germany.

Stefan Kramer, General Secretary of the Central Council of German Jews, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that community leaders were taking increased precautions in response to the warning. Kramer said that police had increased their protection for Jewish institutions in Berlin and elsewhere.

Focus magazine reported that four Arab men had been detained for acting suspiciously near Jewish institutions in Berlin. Three of the men have been released. Other ominous discoveries reported by the magazine include a stolen army minibus with its license plates and a large quantity of explosives.

Also in Berlin, five students from a Jewish high school were attacked by a dog set upon them by four adult men. The attack, which took place last week according to the state German news agency, is being tentatively classified as an anti-Semitic incident.

Croatian 'Soccer Fans' Threaten Jews, Serbs With Death
In a letter signed by fans of Hajduk Split, a leading Croatian soccer team, and delivered to a church in Zagreb, Jews and Serbs have been threatened with genocide.

Using Ustashe and Nazi slogans such as "Jews out," the intimidating flier was addressed to Jews and Serbs. It said, "Ask yourself if these are your last days. We are going to exterminate you all."

Local police, informed of the incident by the church, are investigating.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Serbia, according to America's ABC News, a Belgrade hotel is doing a brisk business hosting guests in a Hitler-themed room. The hotel features rooms decorated with images and paraphernalia associated with many world leaders, past and present, but the Hitler room has attracted mainly German, Croat and Slovenian guests, according to the owner. It is also his most popular room.

ABC News reported that the leader of the Jewish community in Belgrade condemned the hotel for contributing to Adolph Hitler's "banalization."

Series of Anti-Semitic Attacks Down Under
The Jewish community of Melbourne, Australia, was also the target of several attacks by vandals last week.

The Caulfield Hebrew Congregation (CHC), one of the city’s largest synagogues, and Caulfield North's kosher Park Grill Restaurant were spray-painted with swastikas on Saturday night. Melbourne's popular bagel bakery, Glick's, had its front window smashed, as well. The vandals caused thousands of dollars in damage.

Victoria Police are investigating the crimes, but note that links between the incidents have not been made, nor is there evidence that the Glick's vandalism was an anti-Semitic attack. The bakery has suffered similar property damage in separate incidents over the last six months, according to the Australian Jewish News.