Sunday, February 07 2016

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Europe

The West should give financial aid, but more must be done for Syrian refugees

David Cameron meets with Chancellor Merkel at the Supporting Syria & region ConferenceThe Supporting Syria Conference, starting in London this week, aims to raise $9 billion for Syrian refugees. The purpose of this money is to end the limbo in which Syrians living in neighbouring countries are currently trapped; unable to work, their children are also in many cases missing out on education. As world leaders gather for the conference to discuss the increase in aid money and how to distribute it, the goal is to prevent the creation of a permanent underclass of frustrated, uneducated, disenfranchised Syrians. The conference has been convened by David Cameron, Angela Merkel and the leaders of Norway and Kuwait. The organisers want money to stop going solely for the purpose of food and aid handouts; instead, it should be used to encourage local host countries to allow Syrian refugees to enter the workforce.

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Empty tokenism in Danish politics creates new lows in ‘values’ debate

Grünkohl mit bregenwurst und bauchfleisch - Kale with pork belly and Bregenwurst, Danish politics is facing potentially radical changes. Not only has Denmark ruined its humanitarian socialist image of welfare and equality, but it has also seen numerous prominent politicians moving to the left as the Social Democrats perversely voted with the right-wing parties to approve the controversial amendment to the Immigration and Asylum Act L’87, last week. An upsurge of ambiguity in the use of terms such as Danish culture, integration and multiculturalism has fuelled the debates and projected domestic insecurities about what it means to be Danish onto refugees and migrants. This works to the benefit of centre and right-wing politics because the concept of Danish culture will never be clear-cut and, with culture being ever-changing, it creates fear amongst people who are under the illusion that we “once had” a pure cultural platform. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy of fear arising out of an unrealistic concept of culture as territorial or national, which needs “protection” from the perceived negative influence of the “Others”.

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France puts a spoke in Israel’s wheel

Yvonne Ridley

The world is growing weary of Israel’s ongoing settlement activity which continues unabated. It is a bitter irony that while the settler-colonial construction in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem is illegal and unnecessary, thousands of Palestinian families in the war-torn Gaza Strip are still living under canvas almost 18 months since their homes were destroyed during Israel’s summer 2014 offensive. They are desperate for contractors to begin the reconstruction of their neighbourhoods.

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The Geneva trap

Zuhair Kseibati

The Russians and Americans are keen to stick to specific “principles” for the management of the Syrian war; at least this is what President Vladimir Putin has tried hard to suggest. The US has also made great efforts to dispel the impression of a Russian “stick” which some have claimed US Secretary of State John Kerry waved at the Syrian opposition in Riyadh.

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What we forget about the Kindertransport

Arrival of Jewish refugee children, port of London, February 1939Today Britain marks the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi death camps. We remember Britain’s response to the Jewish refugees and look at its response to today’s refugee crisis.

In the dead of night, herds of parents watched their children embark on a train from the periphery of a station in Vienna. The train was destined for Britain, and the children were Jews escaping the persecution they faced in Hitler’s Germany. The Kristallnacht had just happened, a night of organised and deadly violence targeting Jewish homes, businesses and places of worship across Germany and Austria. As concern for the safety of Jewish communities grew, so did pressure on the British government.

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