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JakeHolman, September 28, 2015
at the tipping point...
Slavoj Zizek: Racism is alive and well in both Europe and Israel – with different victims
The results are eye-opening and working. With 20 percent of young French people unaware of the Holocaust. Indeed, a similar number believe anti-Semitism is a response to Jewish people's own behavior. Also, a third of respondents think Jews have too much influence.
While we should, without any restraints, condemn and fight all forms of anti-Semitism, we should nonetheless add some other observations to the results of the poll.
First, it would be interesting to learn how the percentage of those with a negative stance towards Jews compares to the percentage of those with a negative stance towards Muslims and Blacks – just to make sure that we don't find some racism unacceptable and another racism normal.
Second, one should raise here the paradox of Zionist anti-Semitism: quite many European (and American) anti-Semites just don't want too many Jews in their own country but they fully support the expansion of Israel onto the West Bank. So, how do we count them?
This brings us to the key question: how do we measure anti-Semitism? Where does the legitimate criticism of Israeli politics in the West Bank end and anti-Semitism begin? Let's explain this through some further observations.
The French government hopes to raise €500 million ($572 million) with levies specifically aimed at multinational tech firms, including Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, announcing the move in December. He stressed that “the tax will be introduced whatever happens.”
Paris has been pushing for what it sees as fairer taxation of the big-tech firms in the European Union. Progress on the issue has stalled in Brussels, as the 28-member bloc is divided on imposing the levies on Silicon Valley giants. Any changes must receive unanimous approval by member states.
Critics say that the big-tech firms are making money from European countries’ economies, but use their complex structure to route some of their profits to low-tax member states.
The opposing block is led by Ireland, which has become a sort of Mecca for US tech companies, and hosts many of their headquarters. Estonia and Sweden are also among those who do not favor France’s bid, fearing that the taxes could trigger US retaliation.
The EU has been discussing plans for a three-percent tax on the revenues of large internet companies that make money from user data or digital advertising. However, the last round of talks on the matter in November resulted in no significant progress, apparently pushing France to move forward with it alone.
Separately, France and Germany reached a consensus on a three-percent levy on digital ads after Paris agreed to water down its initial proposals on a broader tax on data. The two EU powerhouses plan to introduce a new joint measure in 2021, unless the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) members have agreed on a global approach by then.
France might have its own domestic reasons – like the consequences of the massive Yellow Vest protest – to impose the GAFA tax, named after Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. The recent nationwide demonstrations will cost the French economy a hefty sum and have already resulted in lowering the country’s economic growth forecast for 2018 and 2019, while its budget deficit for next year rose to 3.2 percent, breaching EU rules.
At the same time, French President Emmanuel Macron is a known critic of the big techs. In April, he warned that Google and Facebook are becoming too big to be governed. In May, Macron demanded a gathering of global tech bosses to commit to the common good.
“There is no free lunch,” the French president said. “It is not possible just to have free-riding on one side, when you make a good business.”
Authorities fired tear gas and water cannons in Paris during scuffles between police and protesters. President Emmanuel Macron's plans for a three-month public debate have done little to assuage anger.
More than 5,000 police officers were deployed to the streets of the French capital on Saturday to monitor the ninth weekend of protests by the "gilets jaunes " (yellow vests) movement.
Volleys of tear gas and water cannons were used as scuffles broke out between protesters and police near the Arc de Triomphe.
Many of Paris' central districts were on lockdown in case of violence — security forces also had armored vehicles, dogs, and mounted officers stationed throughout Paris.
Dozens of banks, jewelry stores and other shops on the Champs-Elysees shopping street were boarded up for the day.
Reporter John Litchfield described those taunting and throwing stones at officers as looking like "hard-right youths rather than the provincial GJ's who made up most of the marchers earlier."
The protests in Paris took place close to where a massive gas explosion in a bakery killed two firefighters and a Spanish tourist and injured nearly 50 people earlier in the day.
THOUSANDS from across the world will gather in Berlin this weekend to mark the 100th anniversary of the murder of revolutionaries Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.
Communists will lead a march to the Friedrichsfelde Cemetery in the east of the city and red roses will be placed on their gravestones in their memory.
The pair, who were leaders of the German Communist Party, were murdered by the right-wing reactionary troops known as the Freikorps on January 15 1919 by authorities keen to crush the growth of a revolutionary movement.
Organisers called for a large mobilisation, with “the fanatical evil spirit of their murderers celebrating a malign resurrection in many places in Germany and Europe.”
They said the murder of the revolutionary leaders helped pave the way for “Hitler’s Brownshirts” and the emergence of fascism in Germany.
But in a statement organisers condemned capitalist forces for creating conditions where “65 million are on the run, between inflatable boats and barrier fences.” Issuing a call to join the protest, they said they rejected “Fortress Europe.”
“We want a world of peace, solidarity and a life worth living on all continents. We think that is possible, in spite of all.”
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