Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gatestone Update :: Guy Millière: Anti-Semitism in Europe, and more

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Anti-Semitism in Europe

by Guy Millière
January 31, 2013 at 5:00 am
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Jews who can do so, leave Europe. Those who do not have the means to leave know they must be extremely careful: it is dangerous again to be a Jew in Europe. It is even more dangerous to be a Jew who supports Israel.
In 2012, the number of anti-Semitic crimes in France sharply increased. The six-month period that followed the March killings in a Jewish school in Toulouse were particularly harsh. The killer , Mohammed Merah, became a hero in many suburbs, his name on many graffiti. For some people, apparently, shooting children in the head just because they are Jewish is inspiring.
Although acts such as as the killing in Toulouse had no equivalent elsewhere, France is not an exception: statistics show that insults, assaults, and cries of hatred against Jews multiply throughout Europe. Jewish schools, synagogues and Jewish cultural centers are everywhere threatened and urgently require more stringent security measures.
Political leaders say they are aware of the problem and are determined to act. In November, French President François Hollande said that "the struggle against anti-Semitism is a top priority." Angela Merkel used the same words a few weeks later in Germany. In the beginning of December, after a spike in verbal and physical anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, David Cameron said that he wanted to "tackle Antisemitism head on."
Words such as that were uttered many times in recent decades, but clearly had no effect. They did not reverse the trend.
When European political leaders and commentators speak of anti-Semitism, they are vague and almost never give more detailed explanations. They never say why anti-Semitism is despicable and dangerous. They perform a sort of abstract ritual that seems more and more detached from reality.
On the other hand, when European political leaders and commentators are more precise, they generally refer only to a certain type of anti-Semitism: fascist anti-Semitism. Even if fascist anti-Semitism has not disappeared, it is not the most virulent anti-Semitism in Europe now, and no longer involved in much anti-Semitic crime. It is as if they are fighting a sickness by designating only one aspect of the sickness and sparing its most important dimensions.
European political leaders and commentators almost never speak of the most virulent strain of anti-Semitism in Europe today: Islamic anti-Semitism. They are afraid to combine the two words "Islamic" and "anti-Semitism." They know that if they do, they will be immediately accused of being "racist" and "Islamophobic." They know that Muslim organizations will start to say in the mainstream media that Muslims are being unfairly "stigmatized." They also know that the Muslim population in Europe is increasing quickly, and that some of its members may react with violence.
There is no fight against Islamic anti-Semitism in Europe today. If a non-Muslim bookseller wanted to sell The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Paris, Berlin or Brussels, the police would intervene immediately, and he would be arrested and prosecuted. If a Muslim bookseller wants to do the same thing, he can, without risking anything. If a French or a German television station decided to broadcast anti-Semitic programs, it would be shut down, and it would cause a scandal. Islamic TV channels broadcast anti-Semitic programs that attract a wide audience in Europe, and nobody dares talk about it.
A further cause of anti-Semitism never evoked in Europe is the spread of "anti-Zionism." The "Palestinian cause" and the "suffering of the Palestinian People" have become the main concern of a growing number of Europeans who, strangely, are not interested in the suffering of any other people -- Syrians for example. Israel has become the country that it is fashionable to hate. Widespread hatred of successive Israeli governments in Israel has led to hatred toward the Israeli population, and hatred toward the Jews in general, especially if they support Israel.
European political leaders and commentators do not fight "anti-Zionism" except when it becomes extreme and when its anti-Semitic dimension becomes impossible to hide. Many seem to have anti-Israel prejudices and consciously or unconsciously contribute to the spread of this hatred.
Anti-Semitism in Europe today is like a complex dark nebula. It includes remnants of fascist anti-Semitism and increasing levels of Islamic anti-Semitism, with "Anti-Zionism" added to the mix. Fascist anti-Semites, to hide their anti-Semitism, often join "anti-Zionist" movements, where they work hand in hand with Islamic anti-Semites to organize protests against Israel. Islamic anti-Semites use elements of fascist propaganda and disseminate them without any barrier.
European political leaders and commentators pretend to fight anti-Semitism; some of them might think they really are fighting anti-Semitism. But as long as they will not take into account the whole nebula, and as long as they will not speak clearly of all its components, what they say and what they do will be useless.
Jews who can do so, leave Europe. Those who do not have the means to leave know they must be extremely careful: it is dangerous again to be a Jew in Europe. It is even more dangerous to be a Jew who supports Israel.
Jews who publicly despise Israel, or who say that the Jewish people does not exist, are widely praised. What Theodor Lessing called "Jüdische Selbsthass" (Jewish self-hatred), in a book published in Germany in 1930, impregnates the atmosphere again.
Calling to mind the darkest period of the history of Europe may seem pessimistic. And those who say that history does not repeat itself are probably right, but certain forms of malevolence seem particularly able to find new clothing to survive and thrive again.
In an interview in a French magazine a few years ago, a man who survived the death camp in Auschwitz said: "In the 1930s, the pessimists found ways to survive; it was the optimists who died."
Related Topics:  France  |  Guy Millière

Oxford University and Churches in Europe Champion a Purveyor of Fraud

by Lee Kaplan
January 31, 2013 at 4:30 am
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Next time, the lies may be about any of us, or simply our right to speak the truth in public without being accused of denying rights to the very same people who plot to take them away from us.
Anna Baltzer, of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, who was exposed here at Gatestone Institute as lying about her background, is apparently still appearing in a debate Oxford University in the UK today, January 31st, as originally scheduled, after having spoken yesterday at the University of Sussex where she promoted the boycotting of, and divesting from, Israel.
One of the scheduled opponents to debate her on the side defending Israel, Mr. Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle in London and a former Chairman of European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, has already withdrawn from the event. Pollard explained his refusal to appear with Ms. Baltzer because of her lying about Israel, lying about Jews and even lying about her own background; as well as Oxford's giving her an unmerited credibility by keeping her on the speaking panel and refusing to remove her from the event.
Further, on February 4th Ms. Baltzer will be visiting Belgium to address Christian groups and radical groups opposed to Israel's existence, who are openly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. Baltzer already has a track record of speaking to Presbyterian and other Christian groups in the United States who are receptive to presentations by a Jew opposed to a Jewish national homeland. Her visit to Europe is presumably intended to expand such a base.
Baltzer is apparently going there at the invitation of a Belgian visual artist/cartoonist named Ben Heine, who is widely considered anti-Semitic. Heine's Wikipedia entry cites "the pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionism nature of some of Heine's political art and his participation in a 2006 competition calling for Holocaust-related cartoons on the Iranian website" The competition was actually meant to promote Iranian Holocaust-denial. Wikipedia continues, "Heine has been accused of anti-Semitism by critics including the Belgian satirical weekly magazine Pere UBU and the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs," and he has written or drawn many anti-Semitic articles and cartoons equating Jews with Nazis , particularly for the virulently anti-Israel blog Daily Kos, which even found some of his writing openly anti-Semitic enough to have it removed.
Heine once wrote an open letter to that said, "We are against all kinds of revisionism, anti-Semitism, racism or xenophobia. We do not at all deny that millions of Jews were horribly murdered by the Nazis." Such a denial of prejudice may get Heine in the door of churches and other organizations, but what Heine says regarding the Jewish people and religious symbolism, and what he does, are completely different. In honor of Baltzer's appearance before Christian groups in Belgium, he created a cartoon that portrays Anna Baltzer as the Pieta with a dead Palestinian Jesus on her lap and Israeli air force jets flying overhead.
Anna Baltzer as the Pieta, by Ben Heine.
Heine's blog also carries a story authored by Anna Baltzer, in which she claims that a Palestinian child was felled by poison gas dispersed by the Israeli army from an IDF base. Baltzer's tales often include alleged atrocities by Israeli soldiers against Arab children, but using only first names of "victims" that are not verifiable , except through herself and her fellow International Solidarity Movement activists. No addresses, no dates, no newspaper articles; even more, no lawsuits against the IDF that such "victims" can file. For example, speaking to a Presbyterian Church in Wyoming, Baltzer told the congregation of a Palestinian mother who was forced to watch several of her children gunned down by Israeli soldiers – a story she was later compelled to recant. When asked why she spread the false story she replied, "I don't think it's hateful to hold a nation responsible for targeting civilians." However, she never condemns missiles fired into Israeli communities from Gaza. On the contrary, Baltzer repeatedly supports Hamas, and in her presentations calls for intifadas [uprisings] against Israel, as does her sponsor, Ben Heine.
Ms. Baltzer has already been proven to have fabricated a tale of a Palestinian woman losing two babies due to an Israeli security checkpoint, put in place to to keep out terrorists. She frequently lectures in the U.S., particularly to Christians and at Presbyterian churches, to incite ill will against Israel. That Anna Baltzer lectures in churches in order to negate Christian support for a Jewish homeland, and apparently consents to be featured as Heine's Christian Pieta -- all the while proclaiming herself a Jew who expresses a need for Zionism and the Jewish state of Israel to be brought down -- are just more examples of how the Palestinian movement continues to promote anti-Semitism in Europe and America among Christians, not just Arabs and Muslims.
What is sad is that our universities, both in the U.S. and the UK, are playing host to this woman, thereby giving her the appearance of academic and intellectual legitimacy, when her goal is to persuade her audiences by lying. She does not promote "peace" or to better the human condition. She pits one side that is from the totalitarian world against the other that is from the democratic West. Our universities and churches are supporting frauds like Anna Baltzer. They should not be. Next time, the lies may be about any of us, or simply our right to speak the truth in public without being accused of denying rights to the very same people who plot to take them away from us.
Any Christian organizations and universities in Europe that are still on Baltzer's tour schedule should cancel invitations for her to speak. That is, unless they, too, are happy to compare an untrustworthy purveyor of malevolent lies to the Virgin Mary.
Related Topics:  United Kingdom  |  Lee Kaplan

The Czech Republic and the Arab World

by Michael Curtis
January 31, 2013 at 4:00 am
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Czechoslovakia was the only democratic country in Central Europe in the 1930's, as Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East today. By its vote in United Nations, the Czechs have made it clear that the Arab world should not be appeased; that the appalling Western mistake in 1938 – of trying to appease Hitler by giving him the Sudetentland to Hitler, must not be repeated by giving Israel the Arabs.
A vote in the United Nations General Assembly is often the consequence of a complicated assessment of national interests and a response to international pressures, rather than of actual convictions on a particular issue. The Czech Republic was the only country in the European Union to vote against the resolution that Palestine be granted the status of a non-member observer state at the United Nations on November 29, 2012. Fourteen members of the EU, including France, voted for the resolution, and 12, including Germany, abstained.
The Czech vote at the UNGA reflects both a fresh assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as well as a bond based on historical and personal factors. The Czech Republic does support the creation of a Palestinian state in a two state solution, but insists that it can only be established as a result of an Israeli-Palestinian negotiated process, as agreed to by both the Palestinians and the Israelis -- not only in both UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, and 1850, but also in countless bilateral agreements -- in particular the Oslo II agreements of September 28, 1995, Article 31, that "neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the final status negotiations. The Czech Republic seems to have regarded the Palestinian request to attain non-member status not only as a unilateral act that is detrimental to the peace process, but as a totally illegal one under the UN's own system of jurisprudence.
For Czechs, the memory of their betrayal by the appeasement policy of the Western powers in the 1930s remains potent. At the Munich Conference on September 30, 1938, Britain and France, wishing to avoid confrontation with Germany, allowed Adolf Hitler to control the Czech Sudetenland. The following year, Nazi Germany took control over the whole country. As a result of this Western failure to control Nazi aggression, "appeasement" has become a synonym for weakness and cowardice.
Although the vote on the November 2102 UNGA Resolution in opposition to the Palestinian position cannot of course be regarded as an exact parallel with the Western abandonment of Czechoslovakia in 1938, a similar situation exists: Czechoslovakia was the only democratic country on Central Europe in the 1930's, as Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East today. By its vote in the UNGA, the Czechs have made clear that the appalling Western mistake in 1938 -- of trying to appease Hitler by giving him the Sudetenland -- must not be repeated by giving Israel to the Arabs.
This Czech emphasis on the necessity of direct negotiations between the Middle East parties may be an echo of the successful negotiations in 1993, when the federal state of Czechoslovakia was divided between the contending parties, and the two separate states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia were established.
Czech attitudes towards Israel have varied over the years. Czechoslovakia was one of the 33 countries voting for the UNGA November 1947 Resolution which led to the establishment of the State of Israel, and on May 18, 1948, Czechoslovakia recognized the Israel, four days after its creation. It was also a main supplier to Israel of military aircraft and weapons in July of 1948, after other countries had imposed a boycott on the new state. Czechoslovakia even trained some of Israel's pilots who belonged to the Haganah, the Israeli defense organization that preceded the Israel Defense Forces before Israel's independence. The formal diplomatic relationship, broken by the Communist regime after the Six Day War of 1967, was restored with the Velvet Revolution of 1989, which ended the Communists' rule.
Since then, the Czech Republic has constantly fathomed the problems Israel faces. It agreed in 2006 that Israel had a right to defend itself against the attacks from Lebanon by Hezbollah; and in 2008-9 refused to condemn Israel's response to rocket attacks from Gaza by Hamas, which the Czechs have labeled a terrorist organization. Although the Czechs acknowledged that the conditional opening of crossings of goods and people into Gaza -- to prevent the smuggling of weapons and materiel into Gaza -- was a problem, they admitted that it was not the main problem. More important was that Gaza was ruled by a terrorist organization.
The Czech Republic also supported Israel's legal military operation in May 2010 in the Mediterranean Sea to prevent six ships, a flotilla sailing from Turkey, from breaking a legal blockade so that weapons would not be smuggled into Gaza via a sea-route.
In January 2009, when the Czech Republic served as president of the European Council of the European Union, it proposed that EU relations with Israel be upgraded. The proposal was not approved.
Historical and personal factors also played a role in the Czech attitude to Jews and to the State of Israel. The legendary hero Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the founder and first President of the State of Czechoslovakia in 1918, was a supporter of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and is remembered by a square in Tel Aviv named after him, and by a kibbutz near Haifa. In 1927, he was the first head of state to visit the Jewish village in the area of that was then the British Mandate. He spoke out against superstitious, "witch trial" claims of the Hilsner Affair, a case in Bohemia in 1899, in which a young Jewish boy was libelously accused of killing a Christian girl for her blood. Later, Vaclav Havel, as President, opposed the sale of weapons to Syria because of its hostility to Israel, and constantly spoke out against anti-Semitism.
The Czechs have apparently understood the realities of Middle East politics.
Michael Curtis is author of Should Israel Exist? A Sovereign Nation under Attack by the International Community.
Related Topics:  Michael Curtis

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