The risk of speaking out for human rights (in Palestine or Iran)

A curious and rather disturbing story in Haaretz:

It is not easy to scare Simone Dinah Hartmann, but lately she has been fearing for her life. Although she resides in serene Vienna, Hartmann is not convinced the law enforcement officials in Austria are sufficiently aware of the dangers threatening her. Her concerns come in the wake of the racist and anti-Semitic neo-Nazi Web site (in German) recently posting her photograph accompanied by derogatory comments – basically marking her as a target for assassination.

Hartmann, an energetic and opinionated woman in her thirties, is the driving force behind Stop the Bomb, an international organization which for several years has been waging an aggressive campaign against firms and governments in Europe that maintain commercial ties with Iran and thus assist the regime of the ayatollahs in promoting its nuclear program. The organization’s goal is to get European countries to reduce, if not discontinue, their ties with Iran – in the hope that economic pressure will cause Iran’s leaders to abandon their plan to manufacture nuclear weapons.

Stop the Bomb is a coalition of Jewish and non-Jewish groups and activists – including Iranian opposition organizations – operating mainly in Austria and Germany, with small branches in Spain, France and England as well. Among other things, its members organize demonstrations, distribute flyers and send letters to politicians, executives and other shapers of public opinion. Initially, Stop the Bomb struggled to make an impression, with very few people paying it any attention. But its activities are gradually gaining exposure, especially after its leaders managed to spark some media interest.

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