Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Horrible.
Horrible.
Horrible.
"Later this week representatives of 55 governments will gather in Vienna for an unprecedented conference on anti-Semitism in Europe. The Vienna meeting, convened by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is a recognition of the gravity of this problem, and implicitly, of the reluctance of some European leaders to address it.

Last month in Berlin a man wearing a pendant with the Star of David was attacked on a bus by a group of teenagers who spat on him, kicked him in the face and shouted anti-Semitic insults. A day earlier in Vienna a rabbi was physically assaulted by two young people as he was walking home from prayer. In Minsk, Belarus, vandals desecrated a memorial at Yama, which marks the site where 100,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II, spraying Nazi slogans, swastikas and threats. And in London, vandals desecrated 386 Jewish graves at the Plashnet Cemetery in East Ham.

Each of these attacks and desecrations of Jewish sites took place in the last month. None have received much public attention. But they are illustrative of a growing pattern of anti-Semitic attacks that has escalated dramatically since 2001.

In a report published last year the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights found "an alarming rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Europe." The committee noted that with the exception of Jewish organizations and some human rights and anti-racism groups, "the world community - governments, intergovernmental organizations and nongovernment organizations alike - has not responded adequately to this growing problem. Anti-Semitism is racism. Anti-Semitic acts need to be confronted more forcefully and treated as serious violations of international human rights."

In France, anti-Semitism has been particularly acute. Home to 650,000 Jews, France has the largest Jewish population in Western Europe. Scores of French synagogues and Jewish day schools have been firebombed or desecrated. In April 2002 alone, French Jewish leaders reported 119 anti-Semitic acts and 448 anti-Semitic threats. In the first three months of 2003, one group that monitors these attacks verified 290 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in Paris alone.
...
The gathering this week in Vienna will offer a unique opportunity for representatives of each of the 55 governments present to issue similar public statements, condemning anti-Semitism and labeling it for what it is, a form of racism and xenophobia.

Acts of anti-Semitic violence need to be investigated and prosecuted for what they are - criminal acts. A first step in strengthening law enforcement in this area is to improve official reporting of these crimes. Many European governments have been slow or reluctant to establish clear criteria for registering and reporting crimes motivated by racial animus. They should do so now and make public their norms and procedures for registering and acting upon racially motivated crimes.
...
Europe has a long and tragic history of anti-Semitism, not least the horrors of the Holocaust. Many postwar European leaders demonstrated a commitment to combating this evil. But now, as we confront a resurgence of anti-Semitism, it is critical that European leaders - government officials, representatives of respected nongovernment organizations and other opinion leaders - do everything in their power to combat these racist acts."
I will be both shocked and delighted if this conference isn't turned into another evil Israel fest.

posted by Rachel 6/18/2003
. . .
Delicious.
"The Council of Europe--an influential quasi-governmental body that drafts conventions and treaties--is meeting on Monday to finalize a proposal that veers in exactly the opposite direction.

The all-but-final proposal draft says that Internet news organizations, individual Web sites, moderated mailing lists and even Web logs (or "blogs"), must offer a "right of reply" to those who have been criticized by a person or organization.

With clinical precision, the council's bureaucracy had decided exactly what would be required. Some excerpts from its proposal:

• "The reply should be made publicly available in a prominent place for a period of time (that) is at least equal to the period of time during which the contested information was publicly available, but, in any case, no less than for 24 hours."

• Hyperlinking to a reply is acceptable. "It may be considered sufficient to publish (the reply) or make available a link to it" from the spot of the original mention.

• "So long as the contested information is available online, the reply should be attached to it, for example through a clearly visible link."

• Long replies are fine. "There should be flexibility regarding the length of the reply, since there are (fewer) capacity limits for content than (there are) in off-line media."
...
Then again, Eurobloggers who wish to use their real names may be out of luck. For better or for worse, Europe lacks a First Amendment and the respect for limited government, private property and free enterprise that America still enjoys. And Europe sure doesn't have a Judge Stewart Dalzell, who correctly predicted seven years ago that "the strength of our liberty depends upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech the First Amendment protects."
Of course I think a lot of the shit that Europeans do still stems from the medieval heritage of rulers and betters. Only now it's the intelligentsia and a network of political cronies. It seems odd to me that even after 200 years the ideals born in the revolution have not really taken root in Europe.

posted by Rachel 6/18/2003
. . .
I haven't posted about
this but it's a very good thing. Now it looks like the UK will follow suit. Equality: it's a good thing.

posted by Rachel 6/18/2003
. . .
Schadenfreude. It aint flattering but it's just so irresistable.

posted by Rachel 6/18/2003
. . .
Well Bill O'Reilly isn't quite
this far yet. Having read his first book I can say that he does have a lot of worthwhile things to say, though his jerkiness shows through even there. If I were willing to sit through his next book and the movie that's sure to follow I'm quite sure that this covergence would continue.

posted by Rachel 6/18/2003
. . .
Always nice to see
it said.

posted by Rachel 6/18/2003
. . .
Go
Ohio! And the red-blue divide becomes larger...

posted by Rachel 6/18/2003
. . .


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