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May 4, 2012

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PAGE 14A By Cnaan Liphshiz BRUSSELS (JTA)Jihadist websites eat up a fair share of Bart Olmer's workday. He even has passwords to some closed hate forums. "Reading hate speech is part of the job," says Olmer. who reports on intelligence services for Holland's largest circulation daily, De Telegraaf. It's an explanation he may need to repeat for security ser- vices on future visits to France, if that country's parliament passes legislation aimed at making it illegal to visit hate- mongering websites. The legislation was among several measures proposed fol- lowing the March 19 slaying of three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Par- liament is tovote next month on the measures aimed at stopping "'self-radicalized lone wolves" like the killer from Toulouse, Mohammed Merah. Leftistpar- ties said they'd oppose the bills. Researchers and European politicians are split on France's post-Toulouse legislation push. Some want to use this op- HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 4, 2012 Toulouse shooting spotlights problems of tracking hate crimes in Europe portunity to introduce similar legislation elsewhere in Europe while the Toulouse shooting is still in people's minds. Others find it risky and "emotionally motivated." favoring better law enforcement rather than new legislation. "In Western Europe we have the legislatio n we need: Murder and incitement are il- legal," said Mike Whine of the Community Security Trust, the defense agency of Britain's Jew- ish community."We needbetter application of existing laws. We need to ban more hate preachers from entering our countries, for instance." Bruno de Lille, a Belgian min- ister from the Flemish Green Party who is a campaigner for gay rights, said legislation that originates in emotions should be avoided. "It's often ineffective and jeopardizes basic values and liberties in a manner dispro- portionate to the contribution to collective security," he said. Whine and de Lille made their remarks at a confer- ence last week in Brussels on monitoring hate speech and hate crimes in Europe. Titled "Facing Facts." the conference was organized by a Brussels- based nonprofit called CEJI: A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe. The goal of the conference was to talk about how countries and nongov- ernmental organizations can better cooperate on monitoring discrimination. Joanna Perry, hate crimes officer for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE. said at the conference that too many governments take a negative view of local watchdog NGOs that present them with figures about hate crimes that often are politically unsavory. Ten governments includ- ing Greece, Estonia, Latvia. Moldova and Ukraine--re- ported to the OSCE that their police forces had recorded fewer than 10 hate crimes in 2009. Portugal and Macedonia said they did not compile any data on hate crimes. Only nine members of the OSCE. the world's largest security-oriented intergovern- mental organization, submitted official dataon anti-Semitism in 2009. compared to 48 member states that did not. Other than in France, Perry said she "couldn't point to any direct impact on policy or leg- islation" followingtheToulouse shooting, though "it does raise awareness to the issue." Robert Trestan of the Anti- Defamation League said he believes the Toulouse attack helped European governments and authorities "better under- stand that people who target Jews will often also target law enforcement agents. It's some- thing American authorities know very well." Two weeks before the attack at the Ozar Hatorah school. Merah murdered three French soldiers at Montauban. Merah admitted to all the killings dur- ing a daylong siege at his apart- ment on March 22. before hewas killed by police in a shootout. "This understanding further motivates law enforcement agencies to monitor hate crime and hate speech because it helps them protect their own agents." Trestan said at the conference. NGOs monitoring racism and hate speech also need to improve their performance. accordingto findings published at the conference. A survey conducted by con- ference organizers showed more than half of watchdog NGOs in the European Union have no working definition for what constitutes a hate crime. Of the 44 NGOs surveyed, 27 reported that they had no sys- tem to verify complaints, and 17 did not share information with police. Beyond legislation, the Toulouse shooting already is changing how European gov- ernments monitor radicals, ac- cording to aBelgian civil servant who attended the conference. Since April 1, the Belgian secret service has been scrutinizing the comings and goings of suspected radicals more closely. "Before the shooting the issue was marginal. Now it's a priority," said the civil servant. who spoke under condition on anonymity. The post-Toulouse legislation in France also aims to outlaw trips abroad for weapons train- ing. After the killing, security services learned that Merah had trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hate crimes tragedies like the Toulouse shooting sometimes serve as a catalyst for change in the fight against extremism. according to Superintendent Paul Giannasi. manager of the UK interministerial program for fighting hate crime. He at- tended the CEJI conference as a representative of the British police. Public outcry following the 1993 murder of Stephen Law- rence, ablack boy from London. by a gang of white extremists "brought on massive change" in how hate crimes are handled in Britain. Giannasi said. "Since then, authorities are actually encouraging more people to complain about discrimina- tion." It was a major change in policy for British crime fighters, whose performance is usually judged on crime statistics. "'It was realized that more complaints about hate crimes don't mean greater prevalence, just more awareness and trust in the authorities." Giannasi said. Concerns From page 1A organizations."Itis commonly believed that he received a large portion of the Jewish vote in 2007--at least 70 percent." That sentiment for Sarkozy has "'persisted" in the French Jewish community, although there are some Jews "who are disillusioned" with some of Sarkozy's positions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Prasquier told The Jewish Week by phone from Paris. The Socialist Party candi- date. Francois Hollande, who finished firstApri122 with 28.6 percent of the vote to Sarkozy's 27.2 percent, is expected to get a "sizeable portion of French Jewish votes" because many still vote for the Socialist can- didate and they "expect him to have the same positions as Sarkozy in the foreign policy area," Prasquier said. He said the only reluctance Jews have expressed aboutvot- ing for Hollande is the fact that he is expected to align himself with groups like the Green and the Communist parties, both of which are "extremely anti-Israel" and support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. Tsilla Hershco. a senior research associate at the Begin- Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Israel, said she, too, is wary of those who are expected to surround Hollande. "Within the Socialist Party is the extreme left with ideas that are very anti-Israel." she said. "They have ideological anti-Zionist opinions. If Hol- lande has to form a coalition with them, he will have to pay attention to their ideas and they would draw him to their opinions." Hershco said she does not believe that Hollande is against Jews or Israel and has "moder- ate opinions." But, she added, "he is notstrong enough.., and in order to attract his electorate, he has to express ideas that are more severe on Israel. I don't think things will be good for Israel with the left coming to power." Prasquier noted, however, that in a recent interview in a Jewish newspaper Hollande said that he, like Sarkozy, favors a Palestinian state through a negotiated settlement with Israel. Simone Rodan-Benzaquen. director oftheAmerican Jewish Committee's Paris office, said the main concern she has about Hollande is the unknown. "He has spoken about get- ting French troops out of Afghanistan and recognizing a Palestinian state, but the main fear is not knowing" about his other positions, she said. "It is true that the Socialist Party in the past has had a diffi- cult relationship with Israel and the Jewish community," she pointed out. "Under [Socialist] Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, French Jews felt they were not sufficiently well protected [from anti-Semitic attacks] in the year 2000." Thus, she said, while it is clear that overall Sarkozy has been a"good friend of Israel and France has been in the fore- front of pressing for sanctions against Iran [to dissuade it from pursuing nuclearweapons],we don't know about Hol!ande." Kenneth Weinstein, presi- dent and CEO of the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank, noted that he has already "heard reports that the mullahs [Islamic fundamentalist clergy] are awaiting [Hollande's] elec- s200 Off Plus Free Installation on any Culligan Water Softener & ! Drinking Water System better water, pure and simple. TM ! Mus present coupon at time of order.  Limited time offer. See dealer for details.  Expires 06/30/12 RENT A CULUGAN $9 95 Per for the first 3 months on the ! i Water Softener and Drinking Water System. belter water, pure ond slmple. TM Must present coupon at time of order, Installation extra. Umited time offer. tion in the belief he will make it tougher to push a hard line on Iran." Sarkozy, on the other hand, "has been an historic figure in having a visibly pro-Israel stance and in being the most visible Western leader against the Iranian nuclear threat. And he has transformed the French political landscape, bringing a significant number of Jews over to the center-right.'" Arthur Goldhammer of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University said that although little is known of Hol- lande's views now, that should come to an end this week when he is slated to debate Sarkozy, with two reporters asking them questions. Hershco pointed out that in his quest to amass enough votes to push him over the 50 percent mark May 6, Sarkozy is reaching out to the far-right supporters of Marine Le Pen, whose National Front Party garnered a strong third place finish with nearly 18 percent of the vote. Prasquier said that although no one knows for sure how French voters cast their bal- lots, because there is no exit polling, he doubts Marine Le Pen received many Jewish votes because of the racist views of her father, Jean Marie Le Pen and the fact that "there are still a number ofanti-Semites in her surroundings." Goldhammer pointed out that Marine Le Pen "has moved away from the old anti- Semitic lines of her father and reoriented herself toward an anti-Islamic feeling that em- phasized the French republican tradition of secularism in the public sphere. She says Islam is not compatible with public speech. She has expressed a lot of coded messages so that she can piggyback on her father's hostility to various groups without actually saying it." He said Jews did not embrace her, even as she "took positive steps to break away from the anti-Semitism" of her father. Malcolm Hoenlein, execu- tive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Orga- nizations, said he is concerned that what is happening in France with the "extremes on the left and the right who are gaining ground" is happening throughout Europe. But even as Sarkozy appeals for the support from Le Pen followers by voicing some of the same anti-Islamic talk. Pasquier said that. "when he takes these positions, it is not the same thing. It doesn't have the same meaning." Sarkozy's relationship with Israel and the Jews has not been all good. For instance, some Jews were unhappy with Sarkozy's support late last year for the Palestinians joining UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency. In December, the Palestinians raised their flag at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris as the agency's 195th member, an historic step seen as moving them closer to United Nations recognition as an independent state. Abraham Foxman, national director oftheAnti-Defamation League, said Sarkozy's stance is puzzling in lightofthe factthat Sarkozy supports a Palestinian state created as a result of a ne- gotiated settlementwith Israel. "Why reward the Palestinian effort in UNESCO? It sends the wrong message," he said. Goldhammer also recalled the private conversation Sar- kozy hadwith President Barack Obama that was heard by the open microphones they were wearing. "Sarkozy said he finds [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Ne- tanyahu aburdensome partner, and it is known that he would like more Israeli flexibility on settlements." Foxman recalled that Sar- kozy took a lead role in calling for a settlement freeze as well as an early cease-fire in the Gaza War. "So things have not been all black and white, but on the whole Conservative gov- ernments in Europe have been friendlier than Social- ist governments." Foxman said. "That does not mean that a Socialist government cannot be as friendly or even friendlier. [Hollande's] record is on par with Europe. Most of Europe is more pro- Palestinian than pro-Israel: the question is the matter of degree. On Iran we may see a difference because France has been very tough, and I'm not sure where the Socialist government may be." Although Rabbi Marvin Hier. founder and dean of the Simon WiesenthalCenter, saiditwould be a "big blow to Israel" if Sar- kozylost, therewere otherswho said Hollande's election would mean little in terms of French foreign policy. "The most important char- acteristic of French foreign policy since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958 has been its consistency," said Nicholas Dungan, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a trans- Atlantic think tank based on Washington, D.C. "I would not anticipate any major changes from Hollande or Sarkozy .... I do not anticipate any kind of radical change with respect to Israel or Iran." Justin Vaisse, director of research at the Center on the United States and Europe and a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institute, pointed out that it is a "long- standing Socialist position to support a two-state solution [Palestinian and Israeli] dating back to the end of the '70s and early '80s--long before most other observers were in favor of it. (Hollande) does not have a distinctive take on it that would distinguish him from the Socialist mainstream." Regarding Iran, Vaisse said there might be differences in nuance between Hollande and Sarkozy, but "Hollande has been explicit in saying there would be strong continuity." Stewart Ain is a staff writer for The New York Jewish Week, from which this article was reprinted by permission.