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Monday, July 04, 2005

Anti-Semitic incident in Berlin

A report in the Berlin Tagesspiegel (2 July) gives an illustration of the consequences of the demonization of Israel.

Two groups of school students were travelling on a train, each under the supervision of a female teacher. One group was from a Jewish school, the others were Muslim. Trouble started when some of the Jewish students spoke to the Muslims in Russian (the majority of Jews in Berlin are of Russian origin). The Muslims responded by abusing the Jews with anti-Semitic hate slogans. Their teacher was unable to restrain them.

The Muslim students came from a school which prides itself on being a “school without racism”. They were persuaded to apologize in writing. However, when a meeting between the two groups was arranged a month later, aggressive outbursts from the Muslims demonstrated that they still had no sense of having done anything wrong.

An attack like this is still exceptional, says the paper. But a new study of the attitudes of 9-14-year-olds from Arab and Turkish families confirms the extent of anti-Semitism:-

‘The result: for most, “Jew” is a swearword. “If a Jew came to our school, he’d get beaten to a pulp”, says one boy. A 13-year-old thinks all Jews should get out of Palestine, and never mind where to, just so long as they don’t come back. An 18-year-old Turk hates Jews “because they’re murderers”. If he met one, he’d beat him up at once, he claims.’

There was a minority who thought that the Middle East conflict should be resolved peacefully, and that Jews should not be equated with the state of Israel. On the other hand the prejudices of the majority are by no means restricted to young Muslims. In December the Tagesspiegel reported on a survey of 3000 Germans which found that 50% believed the behaviour of Israel towards the Palestinians was comparable with that of the Nazis towards the Jews.

1 comment:

Seth Patinkin said...

Dear Oprah,

I am writing to you about discrimination which has been expressed by the selective enforcement of city ordinances against me with respect to my rental business in Southern Indiana once city officials discovered that I am a Jewish person.

More about me: I was named to the "30 under 30" list by my alma mater and did my PhD work at Princeton Univ. under John Nash. I am a applied mathematician/ entrepreneur in my day job.

In the years since I completed my undergraduate work at IU in 1998, I proceeded to buy a small number of rental properties in Bloomington, Indiana, which I have successfully run as a side business for a number of years.

However, about 2-3 years ago, the normal flow of my side rental business ran into some serious roadblocks.

It started when two housing inspectors made a number of explicit anti-semitic statements to me and to a Jewish tenant at one of my rentals.

Soon thereafter, four (4) groups of my otherwise law-abiding and happy tenants were threatened with $10,000 + fine (assessed PER tenant) for alleged ordinance violations.

Long story short, I was soon stuck with numerous vacancies and left paying the mortgage payments on these properties which were subsequently burglarized and vandalized. At the same time, the Housing Department caused complaint inspections to take place at these properties, identifying dozens and dozens of "defects" in the properties not otherwise noted in previous move-in inspections and causing me to incur thousands of dollars of needless "improvements".

And then the Legal Department went to work on me, filing at least five (5) lawsuits against me for alleged ordinance violations, and at the same time, the Legal Department Chief's wife, over at Student Legal Services, encouraged my erstwhile tenants to sue me for recovery of their security deposits, in spite of their breaches. I was soon dealing with about ten lawsuits at once.

So in April 2007, I filed a lawsuit against the City of Bloomington for violating my right to equal protection of the law, and a number of other civil rights violations. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I have become of the despotism of city government in small town Indiana. My attorneys have recently discovered that my case is not unique. Another Jewish landlord also has a case pending in federal court against the City, regarding the improper withholding of a building permit based upon the impermissible consideration that the prospective buyer of the commercial property in question was a Jewish investor from New York.

My life has been turned upside down by the systematic abuse of ordinances and
judicial proceedings. I find it outrageous that such a negative spirit still thrives in modern America. I would love the opportunity to talk about my story on your show, as I think it is in the public interest.

Seth Patinkin