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    Israël - Palestina Info: Anti-Semitism

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    Anti-Semitism Anti-Semitism in Europe: New prejudice and the oldest hatred (Morten Berthelsen)
    Geplaatst door abby op Monday 30 November @ 01:25:30 GMT+1 (2208 maal gelezen)

    Last update - 20:15 27/11/2009       
    Comment / Anti-Semitism in Europe: New prejudice fans flames of the oldest hatred
    By Morten Berthelsen

    Israeli soldiers harvest Palestinians' organs for profit, the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reports in August, following up with an op-ed claiming Muslims are the greatest threat to society since the Second World War. The latest installment is an article on foetus diagnostics under the headline: "It is not wrong to want perfect human beings" ? in effect an excuse to discard "weak individuals" in order to breed the ideal. Ideas not a million miles away from the ones that rang across the Rhineland seven decades ago.

    Aftonbladet, albeit a mere tabloid, perfectly illustrates the tide that has swept over all of Europe once again.

    Take a look, for instance, at the political handling of the three articles mentioned. The article on cultivating perfect human beings fostered no response. Donald Boström's report on the IDF harvesting organs of Palestinian youth caused massive outrage in Israel but no official denouncement from the Swedish government. As it should be. Though the article is highly problematic, unreliable in its web of rumours, assumptions, myths, and whispers, scientifically ludicrous and the author's agenda seems crystal clear, the Swedish government was right in minding its own business.

    And that is exactly the reason why the entire political spectrum's harsh condemnation of the op-ed by Sweden Democrat Jimmie Åkesson on the Muslim threat to Sweden, and therein Europe, is that more conspicious. Politicians should stick to their own affairs, and not interfere. Their indignation can partly be explained by the fact that the piece was an actual political statement ? a man with a mission to combat Islam. But in a rhetorical perspective the need to defend Muslims but not Jews is nonetheless remarkable.

    The double standard should be obvious, but aren't. There is no comment on the fact that the op-ed's criticism of circumcision, a lack of New Testament and "ritual slaughter" also targets Jews. All party leaders condemned the piece. One government minister even claimed that Islamophobia has replaced anti-Semitism, as though the latter has ceased to exist.

    Ancient demons reawoken

    It is beyond any doubt that the scourge of Islamophobia intensifies and comes under extreme scrutiny as Muslim populations increase all over Europe. But even though it is blatantly obvious that anti-Semitism is very much alive and back with a vengeance, this ancient demon of Europe is being silently suffocated by the wave of anti-Islamism.
    In an otherwise important piece by The Independent columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on the growing aversion towards everything Islam in Europe, she surrenders to the grave mistake of describing Islamophobia as "a yellow star [of David, a symbol of Nazi persecution of the Jews] ... of our time." This only weeks after she on Yom Kippur wrote a column characterising Israel as "fanatic and aggressive" as Iran, referring to the Goldstone Report as "the long, sober, unbiased UN report on the last assault on Gaza", and citing images from Operation Cast Lead.

    Alibhai-Brown is dead right, though, in pointing out the hatred of "the enemy within", namely, the Muslims, based on the deeds of the "soldiers in Allah's mercenary army" - the radical Islamists. Here, the dimension of fear plays a key role. It has become commonly accepted to equate Islam with fanaticism and terrorism, an appaling misconception that will only result in marginalisation, stigmatisation, and an amplified impact in a self-fulfilling prophecy with increased radicalisation. Much in the same way that persistent jealousy in a relationship stimulates adultery. Keep calling me a cheater, and I will become one.

    New anti-Semitism

    But while European Islamophobia mostly manifests itself in straight forward hatespeech, and should be slammed and fought as such, the anti-Semitism of today is far more sophisticated. It originated from the same extreme right that fuels anti-Islamism, but right-wing anti-Semitism has not evolved. Neo-Nazis spout the same gall, but are widely despised, if even heard, and as such cannot be considered dangerous.

    In the words of Andrei S. Markovits, paraphrasing an American automobile commercial: "Right-wing anti-Semitism was your father's anti-Semitism. It is obsolete." It is the perilous language of the left that has gained a strong foothold across all of Europe. It's the left's disturbing discourse that echoes through the mainstream, swaying a susceptible audience.

    The left hides conveniently behind the cloak of "new anti-Semitism," that, not being new at all, vilifies the State of Israel and not the Jewish people in a wider sense, thus maintaining the European self delusion of not being anti-Semitic. On top of that, it is comme il faut to define Israel as an occupational force because the land has been bestowed on the Jews, and the question about who actually holds the rights to it is so delicate and tangled that it is easiest to uphold that view. In their version of recent history, the Holy Land was taken from the Palestinians and given to the Jews, who accepted it. Like knowingly buying stolen goods. That the history goes much further back, and is in no way simple, seems to be of less interest. For instance, when Western European media report from the Middle Eastern witches' cauldron, timelines begin at 1948, not 1917, 1010, or 1047 BCE for that matter.

    Reporting from a distorted truth

    In common parlance, Israel is still demonized, Nazified; it is the harbinger of all evil, racism, colonialism, imperialism and ethnic genocide. This is evident through practically the entire European media, in news reports, op-eds, editorials, cartoons ? and the anti-Israel approach of the media is becoming far more distinct with the emergence of an Arabic media ocean of hostile messages dished up as journalism, religious spin, and children's TV shows.

    Add to that selective reporting even from journalistic powerhouses, notably the BBC, The Guardian, The Independent, El País, El Mundo, Le Monde, and you will be excused for cursing the child-mutilating Jewish pariah. In Europe, you hear not of the daily threats of annihilation against the Jewish people, of Hamas test-firing Tel Aviv-bound rockets, of the seized Iranian ship carrying hundreds of tons of arms and missiles for Hezbollah. You will, however, read the same Gaza tunnel report over and over, and hear of settlers pillaging West Bank olive harvests, of Israel stealing water from the Palestinians, of a rabbi condoning murder of all "subhuman" gentiles, of Ahmadinejad's Jewish heritage. White phosphorus in Gaza? No doubt. Qassams in Sderot? Where?

    Let it be clear that critical reports of settler violence, checkpoint harassment, and illegal annexation are based in truth, despicable, and roar through the Israeli media. But when European media wrestles with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is is more often than not reporting from a one-sided, distorted dimension of truth. The path from Christian childrens' blood for matzot to Palestinian childrens' organs for profit is a short one. What would´ve come to pass had the organ story starred a Muslim protagonist?

    That scenario was witnessed only far too well after the 2006 Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, which resulted in protests and violence across the Muslim world, a commercial boycot of Denmark, the burning of Danish embassies, and left more than a hundred deaths in its wake.

    Ssshh, the Holocaust is sleeping

    That anti-Semitism is running rampant through Europe should come as no surprise. More than 50 percent of Germans equate Israel?s policies toward the Palestinians with Nazi treatment of the Jews. Sixty-eight percent of Germans say that Israel is waging a "war of extermination" against the Palestinian people. A European poll shows that the nearly 60 percent regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace, more than Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan. And in a more recent survey, stereotypes prosper as one in five Europeans continue to blame Jews for the death of Jesus.

    Only there is no room for realising it, admitting it, and standing up to it. It is as if the monster of Holocaust may not be reawoken, and every reminder of the continued existence of anti-Semitism consequently hides in the shadows, chained there by denial. It is as if everything would shatter if the bogeyman was brought to life, named and allowed to breathe. Its comatose state is guaranteed by the cultural crisis and the war of values fought between Europe's Christian-traditional majority ("us") and its Muslim minority ("them"). Everything else is toned down. As if population size decides significance. At the same time Jews are a long-time exiled people that blends in and functions in all aspects of society. But they are present and have a long, tough history of managing in an eternal environment of spite. But in Israel they dominate the culture. Israelis demonstrate strength and exude power. Transformed from Shylock to Rambo, they break the unwritten European code of the underdog. And the Palestinians belong religiously to the majority-minority battle Europe keeps in focus.

    Crosshairs on Israel

    Anti-Semitism is to a great extent subhumed by Islamophobia as a consequence of being struck by a double-edged sword: The fear of reprisals from extreme Muslim factions ? and the fearful realisation that the fundamental European values are collapsing.

    Aiming the resultant anger at Israel is the easy choice between two evils. The fear of "Muslim invasion and hostile takeover" on one hand is obvious in both political rhetoric and popular opinion, especially on national level all over Europe. But when the image of "Evil Israel" is simultaneously presented on the other hand, the impact of Islamophobia is mitigated and cushioned.

    In turn, the significance of both hatreds is lost. By equating the two, you underestimate both. Amid this smelly fog floats the main differences in the European approach to the two religions. The swollen hate-language against Islam is the voice of fear. It is based on religious clashes and troublesome assimilation. The forked tongue of anti-Semitism speaks in politically correct riddles, with its foundations laid in 1948 just beneath the State of Israel. The former is the blunt weapon of the extreme right and is easily parried. The latter is a cascade of razor blades from both sides of the political sphere and thus harder to repel.

    Also, the collective left of European media and public are hypersensitive towards Islam. They cave in to fear and shout foul at any hostile opinion delivered, such as with the Danish cartoons and the Swedish condemnation of the anti-Muslim op-ed in Aftonbladet. Editor-in-Chief Jan Helin justified in advance publication of the opinion piece, dissociating himself from the views presented. When the story on transplant organ theft by the IDF blew up, Helin hit back hard at Israel saying: "It's deeply unpleasant and sad to see such a strong propaganda machine using centuries-old anti-Semitic images in an apparent attempt to get an obviously topical issue off the table."

    Call out the culprit

    Biased reporting and fixation on Israeli crimes ? proven or not ? is paving the way for neo-Nazis, radical Islamists, right-wing and left-wing extremists to coalesce and form so-called anti-Zionist parties in Sweden and France. Boycott campaigns and anti-Semitic NGOs openly funded by EU member-states feed Islam's battle of rhetoric against the Jews, and it is high time the media realised the link between its inflammatory reporting on Israel and physical attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions in the countries where the reports are published or broadcast.

    And the violence has re-emerged ? this decade has seen a rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes throughout Europe and exploded following the Gaza war of a year ago. The "typical" violent offender has apparently ceased to be the "extreme right skinhead' and is now the "disaffected young Muslim," evidenced by the fact that most cases occur in countries with a large Muslim population, such as Sweden and France, where Jews are often forced to hide their religious identity in public.

    To whit, A Danish study published Friday exposes the magnitude of distrust and prejudice against Jews in Denmark. Up to 75 percent of Muslim immigrants from five different countries and approximately twenty percent of ethnic Danes possess anti-Jewish attitudes, the study shows. A figure immediately causing political uproar, with some politicians quoted as saying it is "highly disturbing" and "embarassing", calling for a plan of action to restore freedom of religion and other fundamental freedom rights. The UN commission is now being asked to recommend similar

    investigations in other member states, to give the public an insight into the extent of anti-Semitism in Europe. Of Muslim immigrants questioned in the study, 31.9 percent say "there are too many Jews in Denmark." In fact, not even 6,000 Jews reside in Denmark, compared to some 200,000 Muslims.

    In order to salvage free speech, taken hostage by nationalist preachers who call it theirs and make themselves its squires, the media of all Europe needs to develop some chutzpa and tear it from the hands of those who believe freedom of speech and of the Fourth Estate is the same as printing anything, anywhere. More worrisome is the immunity displayed throughout the European media towards the kind of callous stigmatisation seen in Aftonbladet ? no broadside, no foundations shaken. The ghost of 1930s Nazi rhetoric is one we can all see standing behind the curtain, but no one dares point a finger at it.

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    Anti-Semitism The long, toxic afterlife of Nazi propaganda in the Arab world (Jeffrey Herf)
    Geplaatst door abby op Wednesday 25 November @ 20:50:20 GMT+1 (2072 maal gelezen)

    Hate Radio: The long, toxic afterlife of Nazi propaganda in the Arab world
    By Jeffrey Herf 
    The Chronicle of Higher Education
    Between 1939 and 1945, shortwave radio transmitters near Berlin broadcast Nazi propaganda in many languages around the world, including Arabic throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and Persian programs in Iran. English-language transcripts of the Arabic broadcasts shed light on a particularly dark chapter in the globalization of pernicious ideas. The transcripts' significance, however, is not purely historical. Since September 11, 2001, scholars have debated the lineages, similarities, and differences between Nazi anti-Semitism and the anti-Semitism of Islamic extremists. These radio broadcasts suggest that Nazi Arabic-language propaganda helped introduce radical anti-Semitism into the Middle East, where it found common ground with anti-Jewish currents in Islam.

    In a 2007 book, Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 (Telos Press), the German political scientist Matthias Kuentzel details how Nazi ideology influenced Islamist ideologues like Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as well as the Palestinian leader Haj Amin al-Husseini. More recent examples abound. The founding charter of Hamas, the militant Palestinian group, recapitulates conspiracy theories about Jews that were popular in Europe in the 20th century. Al Qaeda's war against "the Zionist-Crusader Alliance" and the anti-Zionist rants of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran also display a blend of anti-Semitic themes rooted in Nazi and fascist, as well as Islamist, traditions. To be sure, each of these movements and ideologies have non-European, local, and regional causes and inspirations. But the formulation of Nazi propaganda during World War II and its dissemination stand as a decisive episode in the development of radical Islamism.

    After Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939, German embassies and consulates were closed throughout North Africa and the Middle East, hampering Nazi propaganda efforts. Between 1941 and 1943, as German forces were engaged in heavy fighting in North Africa, millions of leaflets were dropped from airplanes and distributed on the ground by propaganda units operating with Rommel's Afrika Korps. But in a region where fewer than 20 percent of adults were literate, radio was considered a much more effective medium of communication. Radio stations like Radio Berlin and the Voice of Free Arabism adapted Nazi propaganda to the circumstances of the Middle East.

    Only a fraction of the Nazi regime's broadcasts in Arabic survived the war in the German archives. But in the fall of 1941, the American Embassy in Egypt began to produce verbatim English-language translations of Nazi broadcasts. Every week for the remainder of the war, the embassy sent a digest, "Axis Broadcasts in Arabic," to the secretary of state in Washington. In the parlance of contemporary intelligence operations, "Axis Broadcasts in Arabic" would be described as "open source" intelligence gathering, that is, an examination of what adversaries say in public. As far as I have been able to determine, "Axis Broadcasts in Arabic" comprise the most complete record of Nazi Germany's efforts to win the hearts and minds of the Arab and Islamic world.

    That task was made more difficult because of ideas about Aryan racial superiority and purity that were central to Nazi ideology. Nazi diplomats had long been sensitive to the fact that such views made it difficult to garner Arab allies. Before the war, German officials went to great lengths to reassure Arabs that Nazi policies, like the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935, were aimed strictly at Jews, not non-Jewish Semites. In addition, Arab leaders were given private assurances that the Third Reich opposed British and French colonialism, as well as Zionist aspirations in Palestine. But Mussolini's imperial ambitions around the Mediterranean remained at odds with an open declaration of support by the Axis powers for Arab independence. By the summer of 1942, however, when Hitler and Mussolini believed that they were on the verge of victory over the Allies in North Africa, the two leaders publicly called for an end to colonialism in the region. And for the remainder of the war, Nazi radio broadcast an unrelenting flood of anti-British, anti-American, anti-Soviet, and especially anti-Jewish propaganda into the Middle East. It was hate radio with a vengeance.
    The Nazi Arabic-language broadcasts were the result of a collaboration between officials in the German foreign ministry and pro-Nazi Arab exiles who found refuge from the British in Berlin, most notably Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the most important Palestinian religious and political figure of the era, and Rashid Ali al-Kilani, leader of a pro-Axis coup in Iraq in 1941, which was quickly reversed by the British military. Husseini's and Kilani's arrival in Berlin in 1941 provided the Axis with a rare asset: Arabs who could communicate Nazi ideas in colloquial, fluent, and passionate Arabic. Previously, the Arabic broadcasts drew on the expertise of German Orientalists and the local knowledge of German diplomats who had served in the Middle East.

    Those early broadcasts tended to present the Third Reich as an ally of both Arab nationalists and Muslim fundamentalists. Speeches by Hitler or Joseph Goebbels, his propaganda minister, were generally omitted. Instead, the programs combined commentary on political events in the Middle East with a selective appropriation and interpretation of the Koran. The broadcasts began with an incantation-"Oh Muslims"-and a call for listeners to return to the words of the Koran. During the winter of 1940-41, several broadcasts described Muslims as "backward" because they had "not shown God the proper piety and do not fear him." A return to traditional Islam, the broadcasts suggested, would lead to victory over Islam's enemies.

    This appeal is indicative of the reactionary modernist character of Nazi propaganda, which combined modern technology with calls to reject modern liberal democratic values and institutions. The early Arabic-language broadcasts created the perception of affinity between Nazi ideology and the Koran.

    Following the arrival of Husseini and Kilani in Berlin, the broadcasts more skillfully integrated the Nazi perspective on World War II with themes of Arab nationalism, as well as rhetoric that we would now call fundamentalist or radical Islamic. On July 3, 1942, as Rommel's Afrika Korps advanced toward El 'Alamein, about 60 miles west of Alexandria, Egypt, a station called Berlin in Arabic announced that German and Italian forces were coming to "guarantee Egypt's independence and sovereignty," and "to liberate the whole of the Near East from the British yoke." Husseini, who came on the air to celebrate Rommel's "glorious victory," declared that "the Axis powers are fighting against the common enemy, namely the British and the Jews."

    In Germany, Nazi propaganda routinely blamed the Jews for starting World War II. Hitler, for instance, famously boasted that the war would result not in "the extermination of the Aryan race but rather the extermination of the Jewish race in Europe." In broadcasts to the Middle East, the Nazis repeated that claim, arguing that Britain and the United States were stooges of the Jews. An Allied victory, the Nazis warned, would mean Jewish domination of the Arab world and the success of Zionism. Germans were reassured by the regime that the process of "fulfilling Hitler's prophecy"-to exterminate and annihilate the Jews-was under way. In broadcasts to the Middle East, listeners were called upon to participate in the massacre.

    At 8:15 p.m. on July 7, 1942, the Voice of Free Arabism played a remarkable program titled, "Kill the Jews Before They Kill You." The broadcast began with a lie: "A large number of Jews residing in Egypt and a number of Poles, Greeks, Armenians, and Free French have been issued with revolvers and ammunition" to fight "against the Egyptians at the last moment, when Britain is forced to evacuate Egypt." The broadcast continued:

    "In the face of this barbaric procedure by the British we think it best, if the life of the Egyptian nation is to be saved, that the Egyptians rise as one man to kill the Jews before they have a chance of betraying the Egyptian people. It is the duty of the Egyptians to annihilate the Jews and to destroy their property. . You must kill the Jews, before they open fire on you. Kill the Jews, who have appropriated your wealth and who are plotting against your security. Arabs of Syria, Iraq, and Palestine, what are you waiting for? The Jews are planning to violate your women, to kill your children and to destroy you. According to the Muslim religion, the defense of your life is a duty which can only be fulfilled by annihilating the Jews. This is your best opportunity to get rid of this dirty race, which has usurped your rights and brought misfortune and destruction on your countries. Kill the Jews, burn their property, destroy their stores, annihilate these base supporters of British imperialism. Your sole hope of salvation lies in annihilating the Jews before they annihilate you."

    This broadcast, which combined secular political accusations with an appeal to the religious demands of Islam, was unusual only insofar as it explicitly voiced genocidal intentions that were merely implicit in other declarations about the venality and power of the Jews. Two German historians, Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers, recently uncovered evidence that German intelligence agents were reporting back to Berlin that if Rommel succeeded in reaching Cairo and Palestine, the Axis powers could count on support from some elements in the Egyptian officer corps as well as the Muslim Brotherhood. Mallmann and Cüppers also show that an SS division was preparing to fly to Egypt to extend the Final Solution to the Middle East. The British and Australian defeat of Rommel at the Battle of El 'Alamein prevented that from happening.

    How was Nazi propaganda received by Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East? Research into this question has begun, but much more remains to be done by scholars who read Arabic and Persian. It is clear, as Meir Litvak and Esther Webman point out in their important new book, From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust (Columbia University Press), that the revulsion for fascism and Nazism that greatly influenced postwar politics in Europe was not nearly as prevalent in the Middle East. In a June 1945 report, the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency, determined that "in the Near East the popular attitude toward the trial of war criminals is one of apathy. As a result of the general Near Eastern feeling of hostility to the imperialism of certain of the Allied powers, there is a tendency to sympathize with rather than condemn those who have aided the Axis." The OSS concluded that there was no support in the region for bringing pro-Axis Arab leaders like Husseini and Kilani to trial.

    In the first months after the war, as the scope of the Jewish catastrophe in Europe was being revealed, Arab and Islamic radicals showed no sign of reconsidering their hostility to Zionism. On June 1, 1946, the OSS office in Cairo sent a report to Washington about a statement made by Hassan Al-Banna to the Arab League on the occasion of Husseini's return to Egypt. Banna, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, celebrated Husseini as a "hero who challenged an empire and fought Zionism, with the help of Hitler and Germany. Germany and Hitler are gone, but Amin Al-Husseini will continue the struggle. ... There must be a divine purpose behind the preservation of the life of this man, namely the defeat of Zionism. Amin! March on! God is with you! We are behind you! We are willing to sacrifice our necks for the cause. To death! Forward March."

    Banna's hope that Husseini would "continue the struggle" indicates that Banna perceived the battle against Zionism as a continuation of Nazism's assault on the Jews. Sayyid Qutb, another extremely influential member of the Brotherhood, incorporated anti-Jewish ideas from Europe to forge a new jihadist ideology. In his essay from the early 1950s, "Our Struggle With the Jews," which became central in the canon of radical Islamist texts - the essay was republished in 1970 and distributed throughout the world by the monarchy in Saudi Arabia - Qutb argued that Jews are implacable enemies of Islam. As such, Qutb wrote, Jews merited "the worst kind of punishment." Qutb claimed that Allah had sent Hitler to earth to "punish" the Jews for their evil deeds. In so doing, Qutb justified, rather than denied, the Holocaust. This paranoid analysis, in turn, influenced the authors of the charter of Hamas, which blends Islamist fundamentalism with the Nazi ideology of mid-20th century Europe. The Hamas Charter holds Jews responsible for the French and the Russian Revolutions, World War I and World War II, as well as the founding of the United Nations - all of which were, Hamas argues, orchestrated for the purpose of furthering Jewish world domination.

    Many decades and events stand between World War II and contemporary expressions of radical Islam. Yet the transcripts of Arabic-language propaganda broadcasts offer compelling evidence of a political and ideological meeting of minds between Nazism and radical Islam. The toxic mixture of religious and secular themes forged in Nazi-era Berlin, and disseminated to the Middle East, continues to shape the extreme politics of that region.
    Jeffrey Herf is a professor of modern European and German history at the University of Maryland at College Park and author of The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust (Harvard University Press, 2006). His latest book is Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, published this month by Yale University Press.

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    Anti-Semitism Why are Egypt's Liberals Anti-Semitic? (Amr Bargisi and Samuel Tadros)
    Geplaatst door abby op Monday 02 November @ 19:37:30 GMT+1 (2398 maal gelezen)

    Wall Street Journal - October 28, 2009


                Later this week, Egypt will play host to the 56th Congress of Liberal International, which bills itself as the world federation of liberal and progressive democratic parties. Among the nearly 70 parties represented by LI are Britain's Liberal Democrats, Germany's Free Democrats, and the Liberal Party of Canada. In the U.S., LI's Web site cites the National Democratic Institute as a cooperating organization since 1986.

                In Cairo, the visiting delegates will be hosted by the Al-Gabha, or Democratic Front Party. Western liberals (in the old-fashioned sense of that word) are always delighted to discover like-minded people in the Third World, and perhaps nowhere more so than in Arab countries. Yet, at least in Egypt, there's a dirty little secret about these self-described liberal parties: They are, for the most part, virulently anti-Semitic, sometimes opportunistically but just as often out of deeply-held rancorous convictions.

                Consider the case of Sekina Fouad, a well-known journalist who also serves as the DFP's vice president. In an article published earlier this year, Ms. Fouad dismisses any distinction between Jews and Israelis, the reason for which is "the extremity of the doctrine of arrogance, distinctiveness and condescension [the Jews] set out from and seek to achieve by all means, and on top of which blood, killing, terrorizing and frightening." She corroborates this argument with an alleged statement by "President" Benjamin Franklin, asking Americans to expel Jews since they are "like locusts, never to get on a green land without leaving it deserted and barren."

                Needless to say, Franklin never made any such statement, not that a journalist like Ms. Fouad would bother to check. She also asks the question "Are Zionists Human?" which offers backhanded credit to Jews for having "helped [her] understand a history full of examples of their expulsion, getting rid of them and their unethical and inhuman methods." In earlier writings, Ms. Fouad has written about what she calls "Talmudic teachings that determine types of purity unachievable by the Jew unless by using Christian human sacrifice" for the making of "blood pies." Not surprisingly, she also dismisses the Holocaust as part of an "arsenal of Jewish myths."

                Nor is Ms. Fouad some kind of outlier in the Egyptian liberal movement. Take Ayman Nour, who contested the 2005 presidential election under the banner of his own party and was subsequently jailed for nearly four years, becoming something of a cause célèbre among Western officials, journalists and human-rights activists.

                Immediately after his release earlier this year, he attended a celebration organized by opposition groups-including the Muslim Brotherhood-in the northern city of Port Said, commemorating "the first battalion of volunteers from the Egyptian People setting off to fight the Jews in 1948." The word "Jews" was stressed in bolded black lettering on the otherwise blue and red banner hanging above the conference panel. Yet far from trying to distance himself from that message, Mr. Nour got into the spirit of the conference, talking not only about his solidarity with Palestinians but also "the value of standing up to this enemy, behind which lies all evils, conspiracies, and threats that are spawned against Egypt."

                Then there is the case of Egypt's oldest "liberal" party, Al-Wafd, whose eponymous daily newspaper is one of Egypt's most active platforms for anti-Semitism. Following President Obama's conciliatory Cairo speech to the Muslim world, columnist Ahmed Ezz El-Arab faulted Mr. Obama for insisting that the Holocaust was an actual historical event and gave nine historical "proofs" that it had never happened. He concluded that "the evil Jewish lies succeeded in creating an atmosphere of hatred for Germans that resulted in the death of millions."

                These examples are, sadly, just the tip of an iceberg. What makes them all the more remarkable is that, contrary to stereotype, they do not have particularly ancient roots in Egypt. Until Egypt's Jews were expelled by Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s and '60s, Egypt had a millennia-old, thriving Jewish community. As late as the 1930s, Jewish politicians occupied ministerial posts in Egyptian governments and participated in nationalist politics.

                 But all that changed with the rise of totalitarian and fascist movements in Europe, which found more than their share of imitators in the Arab world, both among Islamists and secularists. When Egypt's monarchy was overthrown in 1952 by a military coup, anti-Semitism became an ideological pillar of the new totalitarian dispensation.

                Since then, Egypt has evolved, coming to terms (of a sort) with Israel and adopting at least some elements of market-based economic principle. But anti-Semitism remains the political glue holding Egypt's disparate political forces together. Paradoxically, this is especially true of the so-called liberals, who think they can traffic on their anti-Semitism to gain favor in quarters where they would otherwise be suspect or unpopular. They have taken to demonizing Jews with the proverbial zeal of a convert.

                Westerners, who tend to treat Arabs with a condescension masked as "understanding," may be quick to dismiss all this as a function of anger at Israeli policies and therefore irrelevant to the development of liberal politics in the Arab world. Yet a liberal movement that winds up espousing the kind of anti-Semitism that would have done the Nazis proud is, quite simply, not liberal. That's something the visiting delegates should know before they come to Cairo. More importantly, it's something the Arab world's genuine liberals need to understand before they once again commit moral suicide.

    Messrs. Bargisi and Tadros are senior partners with the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth.

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    Geplaatst door abby op Sunday 25 January @ 23:30:05 GMT+1 (1714 maal gelezen)

    Spiked / Monday 19 January 2009

    After Gaza: what’s behind 21st-century anti-Semitism?

    Anti-Israel sentiment is morphing into anti-Jewish sentiment, as more and more people project their disdain for the modern world on to ‘the Jew’.

    by Frank Furedi

    First, a health warning. For some time now it has been difficult to have a grown-up discussion about anti-Semitism. In post-Second World War Europe, this issue, perhaps more than any other, has provoked powerful memories and emotions. The debate about what constitutes anti-Semitism, and where it is being expressed, can be a moral minefield, and it can impact both positively and negatively on European attitudes towards Jewish people. As a result, there are frequently controversies about whether or not a certain statement or act is anti-Semitic.

    For example, in early January an appeals court in Cologne, Germany, ruled that Henryk Broder, a German-Jewish journalist, could describe the statements made by a fellow Jew, Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, as anti-Semitic. ‘Even German courts are beginning to understand that it is not enough to be Jewish in order not to be anti-Semitic’, boasted Broder (1). This court case highlighted another difficulty in understanding the nature of anti-Semitism today. In recent times, how Jews are perceived has become closely bound up with the issue of Israel. So Broder had denounced the Jewess Hecht-Galinski as anti-Semitic because she had equated Israel’s policies with those of Nazi Germany. As far as Hecht-Galinski was concerned, Broder’s claim that her criticism of Israel in such a fashion was ‘anti-Semitic’ represented defamation against her character.

    Disputes such as this one should remind us that there is a powerful subjective and interpretative element to how we characterise another individual’s words and behaviour – and these acts of interpretation can be influenced by unstated cultural and political assumptions. Today, there are at least four important trends that complicate our understanding of how anti-Semitism works.

    First of all, contemporary Western culture continually encourages groups that perceive themselves as victims to inflate the wrongs perpetuated against them. As a result, we are always being told that racism is more prevalent than ever before, or that homophobia and Islamophobia are rising, or that sexual discrimination is more powerful than in the past. It is unthinkable today for advocacy groups to concede that prejudice and discrimination against their members have decreased, and that the status of their community or people has improved. Such groups are acutely sensitive to how they are represented in the media, and to the language in which they are discussed and described. And this identity-based sensitivity is shared by Jewish organisations, too, which in recent decades have often been all-too-willing to interpret what are in fact confused and ambiguous references to their people as expressions of anti-Semitism.

    Consequently, the charge that a certain statement is ‘anti-Semitic’ should not be accepted at face value. Statements and acts need to be analysed and interpreted in the context in which they were made or carried out. It is particularly important to resist the temptation to characterise speech or behaviour as anti-Semitic by second-guessing its real meaning. An objective assessment demands analysis of what was actually said, rather than speculation about its ‘true’ or ‘hidden’ meaning. Just as we already have the irrational concept of ‘unwitting racism’ in the UK, we may soon end up with charges of ‘unwitting anti-Semitism’ being made against those individuals judged by other people’s interpretive wits to be anti-Semitic.

    The second complication is that, in recent decades, the defenders of Zionism have developed the unfortunate habit of labelling criticisms of Israel as a form of anti-Semitism. The aim of these rhetorical attacks is to devalue the moral standing of Israel’s critics, and thus avoid having to deal with their often difficult, persuasive arguments. The cumulative impact of this very defensive response to criticism of Israel is to undermine the moral weight of charges of anti-Semitism. Those who are anti-Zionist are often able to accuse Israeli politicians and their supporters of ‘hiding behind’ the charge of anti-Semitism. Worse still, the pro-Israel movement’s propagandistic association of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism has encouraged others to erode the conceptual distinction between Zionism and Jews.

    The third complication comes with the sanctification of the Holocaust. In Europe, the Holocaust has in recent years been institutionalised as a moral absolute. In education, culture and public life, the Holocaust has been turned into a marker of evil. Many countries in the European Union have instituted laws against Holocaust denial. Sanctifying the Holocaust in this way has allowed European officialdom to claim moral authority on matters of good and evil, right and wrong, in relation to the present and the past.

    Regrettably, the elevation of the Holocaust in this way does little to help people make sense of that terrible event. Instead, many Europeans experience the politicisation of the Holocaust as a bureaucratic project, something that is distant from their lives. One disturbing outcome of the politicisation of the Holocaust is that it can become more difficult to know what people genuinely think about Jews; after all, in circumstances where the official version of the Holocaust cannot be questioned, and where you can even be punished for doing so, people are unlikely to state baldly ‘I don’t like Jews’ or to express other overt anti-Semitic sentiments. Nevertheless, officialdom’s manipulation of the memory of the Holocaust as a way of gaining moral authority has had the predictable effect of breeding cynicism towards this terrible event. Some Europeans feel that ‘too much’ is made of the Holocaust these days, but they rarely state such opinions openly.

    The fourth complication poses the greatest problem. Because in contemporary Europe there are many and various obstacles to the expression of anti-Semitic sentiments in their traditional form, prejudice towards Jews is now likely to be expressed indirectly, through other issues. Although criticism of Israel can and should be conceptually distinguished from prejudice towards Jewish people, in recent years there has been a significant erosion of the distinction between these two phenomena. As a result, some people have embraced the anti-Israeli cause as a way of making a statement about their attitude towards Jews. As a sociologist, I am well aware of the danger of attributing a sentiment to a statement that is not explicitly stated – which is why this discussion needs to be handled with care, and why such interpretative statements about today’s anti-Israeli/anti-Semitic outlook need to be clearly justified.

    New expressions of anti-Semitism

    There is considerable evidence that in recent years anti-Semitism has acquired greater visibility and force in Europe. Over the past decade, and especially since the eruption of the conflict in Gaza, anti-Israeli sentiments have often mutated into anti-Jewish ones. Recent events indicate that in Europe the traditional distinction between anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish sentiment has become confusing and blurred.

    So recently, during a demonstration against Israel’s actions in Gaza, the Dutch Socialist Party MP Harry Van Bommel called for a new intifada against Israel. Of course he has every right to express this political viewpoint. However, he became an accomplice of anti-Semites when he chose to do nothing upon hearing chants of ‘Hamas, Hamas, all Jews to the gas’ and similar anti-Jewish slogans. Many people who should know better now keep quiet when they hear slogans like ‘Kill the Jews’ or ‘Jews to the oven’ on anti-Israel demonstrations. At a recent protest in London, such chants provoked little reaction from individuals who otherwise regard themselves as progressive anti-racists – and nor did they appear to be embarrassed by the sight of a man dressed as a racist Jewish caricature, wearing a ‘Jew mask’ with a crooked nose while pretending to eat bloodied babies.

    Increasingly, protesters are targeting Jews for being Jews. They have agitated for the boycott and even harassment of ‘Israeli shops’, but in practice this means boycotting and harassing Jewish-owned shops, such as Marks & Spencer (some of whose stores have been barricaded by anti-Israel protesters) and Starbucks (a number of whose coffee shops have been attacked in London and elsewhere). Some protesters in Italy don’t share the linguistic subtlety of those ostensibly calling for a boycott of ‘Israeli shops’. Giancarlo Desiderati, spokesman for the trade union Flaica-Cub, has called for a boycott of Jewish businesses in Rome. A leaflet issued by his union informed Romans that anything they purchase in Jewish-owned shops will be ‘tainted by blood’.

    Here, there is an almost effortless conceptual leap from criticising Israel to targeting Jews. Desiderati pointed out that his organisation had already called for a boycott of Israeli goods before taking the logical next step of demanding a boycott of Jewish shops. He said that his union was drawing up a list of Jewish shops, ‘though it might be better to publish a list of streets in which a majority of the shops are Jewish and ask people to avoid those streets when shopping’ (2).

    Anti-Semitism in Europe is not simply a rhetorical pastime of Islamists or pro-Palestinian protesters. In Britain, Jewish schoolchildren have been castigated for belonging to a people with ‘blood on their hands’. Their elders sometimes face intimidation and regularly report being subjected to verbal abuse. What is most disturbing about these developments is the reluctance of European society to acknowledge and confront acts of anti-Semitism. Take the riots that broke out in Paris on 3 January. If you relied upon mainstream media reports, you would never have known that groups of youngsters were shouting ‘death to the Jews’ while throwing stones at the police. In this instance, expressions of anti-Semitism were not even properly reported, much less confronted and challenged in public debate.

    Probably the saddest example of this accommodation to anti-Semitism comes from Denmark. Historically, Denmark has been one of the most enlightened societies in Europe. During the Second World War, it stood out as a country were the Nazis could find virtually nobody willing to collaborate with their anti-Jewish policies. It is sad, therefore, to read reports today about Danish school administrators who recommend that Jewish children should not enrol in their schools. It began last week, when Olav Nielsen, headmaster of Humlehave School in Odense, publicly stated that he would ‘refuse to accept the wishes of Jewish parents’ who wanted to place children at his school, because it might create tension amongst the Muslim children. Other headmasters echoed his refusal to school the children of Jews, claiming that they were putting children’s safety first. Whatever their intentions, these pedagogues were sending the powerful message that, in the interests of ‘health and safety’, the ghettoisation of Jewish children can be an acceptable and even sensible idea.

    Anti-Semitism on the left

    One reason why anti-Semitism has become more visible and forceful is because Muslim youth who protest against Israel are relatively uninfluenced by European cosmopolitan ethics that criminalise overt expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment. They are therefore less inhibited than other protesters from explicitly attacking – verbally and sometimes physically – Jews for being Jews. In their outlook, Israel is Jewish and therefore all Jews are legitimate targets for their anger. Their reluctance to make a distinction between Jewish people and Israel has been a source of consternation for some liberal-minded Muslims. A recent letter signed by a group of prominent British Muslims condemned the Gaza-related spate of attacks on Jews and synagogues, arguing that ‘British Jews should not be held responsible for the actions of the Israeli government’ (3). Such statements, however, which publicly acknowledge the problem of conflating Jews with Israeli government action, are rare these days.

    One consequence of the rise of overt anti-Semitism amongst some Muslim youth is that it has given permission to others to express more traditional forms of European anti-Semitism. Old anti-Semitic themes about Jews having too much power and influence have become widespread in recent years. However, the most striking development has been the absorption of anti-Semitic sentiments by Europeans who politically identify themselves as left wing.

    To be sure, the distinction between left and right has become less and less clear in recent years (4). But it is worth noting that, historically, anti-Semitism in Europe was predominantly linked with right-wing, nationalist movements. And a significant section of the European left played a key role in trying to counter prejudice towards Jews.

    Although anti-Semitism continues to exist within sections of the right and far right, over the past decade it has also gained support amongst the left. A study titled Unfavourable Views of Jews And Muslims on the Increase in Europe, published in September 2007, found that 34 per cent of respondents who identified themselves as being on the political right and 28 per cent of those who said they were on the left had a generally unfavourable view of Jews. Those who were least likely to harbour such prejudices – 26 per cent – identified themselves as being in the ‘political centre’ (5). The survey, carried out in the spring of 2007, some time before the recent outburst of conflict in Gaza, suggests that negative attitudes towards Jews predate Israel’s latest military venture.

    Those who are active in left-wing politics are unlikely to hold coherent anti-Jewish prejudices. Nonetheless, one disturbing development in recent years has been the reluctance of left-wing anti-Israel protesters to challenge explicit manifestations of anti-Semitism. This accommodation to prejudice is often motivated by moral cowardice. Others try to justify their failure to challenge anti-Semitism by arguing that criticising the prejudices held by some Muslim youth will only let Israel off the hook. Some suggest that Israel’s behaviour relieves Europeans of any moral obligation to empathise with Jews or Jewish sensibilities. Such an outlook was unambiguously expressed by the Italian trade unionist Desiderati, who said that ‘for 50 years we have been concerned for the Jews because of what they suffered in the Holocaust, but now it is time be concerned for the Palestinians, who are the Jews of today’ (6).

    The most worrying dynamic in Europe today is not the explicit vitriol directed against Jews by radical Muslim groups or far-right parties, but the new culture of accommodation to anti-Semitism. We can see the emergence of a slightly embarrassed ‘see nothing, hear nothing’ attitude that shows far too much ‘understanding’ towards expressions of anti-Semitism. Typically, the response to anti-Jewish prejudice is to argue that it is not anti-Semitic, just anti-Israeli. Sometimes even politically correct adherents to the creeds of diversity and anti-racism manage to switch off when it comes to confronting anti-Jewish comments.

    As a sociologist, I am a member of the online European-Sociologist discussion group. Recently, an anti-Israeli sociologist of Muslim extraction advised us to read an article by the Jewish radical author Naomi Klein. Another Muslim colleague responded by warning him against reading ‘clever Jewish authors’. He advised his co-religionist that ‘true believers should not trust these snakes’. To her credit, an American anti-Zionist sociologist objected to the depiction of Jewish authors as ‘snakes’. But European sociologists were far too busy poring over their latest training manual on diversity to express any objection to this prejudice expressed in a public academic forum. This sums up the accommodation of some so-called progressives to loathsome contemporary sentiments.

    Does new anti-Semitism have anything to do with Jews?

    The most interesting example of the rise of European anti-Semitism is Spain. Spain is the only European country where negative views of Jews (held by 46 per cent of respondents to a survey) appear to outweigh positive ones (37 per cent) (7). According to a recent study, there has been a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism in Spain over the past three years. Unfavourable views of Jews have more than doubled from 21 per cent in 2005 to 46 per cent in 2008 (8).

    It is difficult to analyse fully this dramatic rise of anti-Semitic sentiment in Spain. It is possible, of course, that the survey failed to capture the real feelings and beliefs of its respondents, and thus might have overstated the prevalence of negative emotions. Moreover, someone who expresses a negative attitude towards Jews is not necessarily an anti-Semite: there is an important distinction to be made between negative stereotypes of a people and a feeling of hatred towards them. It is also likely that Spaniards, like young Muslims, are less inhibited from acknowledging their attitudes than respondents to surveys in other, perhaps more PC countries – and therefore the gap between Spaniards and other Europeans on the issue of Jews may be narrower than these recent figures suggest. However, other studies seem to have found a similar pattern of rising anti-Semitic feeling in Spain.

    One survey, carried out by the Anti-Defamation League, found that 47 per cent of Spanish respondents stated ‘probably true’ to at least three out of four anti-Semitic stereotypes presented to them. More interesting still is a recent poll commissioned by the Spanish Ministry of Education: it found that more than 50 per cent of secondary school pupils would rather not sit next to a Jewish classmate (9).

    Since Spain has a tiny Jewish population – fewer than 20,000 – it is unlikely that attitudes towards this minority are based on any experience of interacting with them. Rather, it appears that, in Spain, negative attitudes towards Jews are influenced by ideas that these people have no real loyalty to the countries they live in – in this instance, Spain – and also that they play a sometimes destructive international role. In Spain, anti-Semitism is linked to the prevailing mood of anti-Americanism. Many public figures blame Spain’s economic crisis on America’s influence over the global financial system. This outlook appears to be underpinned by a diffuse sense of frustration about our uncertain world, where invisible forces can come to be personified in the image of the caricatured Jew. This sentiment is inadvertently fostered by the Spanish Socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, which is profoundly hostile to Israel, and by the Spanish media’s frequent reluctance to distinguish between Israel and Jewish people. Cartoons that are critical of Israel in Spanish newspapers and magazines sometimes depict medieval anti-Semitic caricatures. At a dinner party in late 2005, Zapatero let rip against Israel. He was overheard saying: ‘Es que a veces hasta se entiende que haya gente que puede justificar el holocausto.’ In English: ‘At times one can even understand that there might be people who could justify the Holocaust.’ (10)

    Negative Spanish attitudes towards Jewish people have little to do with Jews themselves, or with any widespread support for the Palestinian people. Indeed, surveys indicate that negative attitudes towards Jews rarely translate into positive attitudes towards Muslims: 52 per cent of Spanish respondents indicated that they rate Muslims unfavourably, too (11). So although Zapatero and some of his Socialist colleagues sometimes walk around wearing Palestinian scarves, the public does not share their enthusiasm for this political cause. Rather, it is a sense of diffuse frustration, a feeling that we live in an uncertain and unpredictable world, which underpins people’s incoherent hostility towards those apparent beneficiaries of the global economy: caricatured Americans and Jews.

    As in Spain, so elsewhere in Europe there is considerable evidence that anti-Jewish sentiment has been on the rise for some time, and that it is fuelled by cultural factors that have little to do with events in Gaza. Over the past two decades, and particularly since 2001, anti-Western feeling amongst European Muslims has often been expressed through the language of anti-Semitism. Denunciations of America are frequently accompanied by attacks on the alleged influence of the Jewish Lobby. Such attitudes are gaining momentum in our new century. For example, one survey carried out in 2002 suggested that 25 per cent of German respondents took the view that ‘Jewish influence’ on American politics was one important reason why the Bush administration invaded Iraq. The association of Jews with business, finance and the media has encouraged contemporary anti-consumerist and anti-modernist movements to regard the influence of ‘these people’ with grave concern. Is it any surprise, then, that last year there was an explosion of conspiracy theories on the internet that blamed Jewish bankers for the current financial crisis?

    Competing for the authority of the Holocaust

    The metamorphosis of anti-Israel feeling into anti-Jewish feeling has been paralleled by a growing tendency to detach the Holocaust from its historical context. Increasingly, the Holocaust is discussed not as a specific historic incident in which Jews were the victims, but as a recurring phenomenon – we now have many ‘holocausts’ – which crops up again and again in human history, from Auschwitz to Bosnia to Darfur. This not only disassociates the Holocaust from its Jewish victims; it also means that the Holocaust can be recycled as a moral condemnation of Israel itself, and of the people associated with Israel.

    For some time, many critics of Israel have argued that its treatment of Palestinians is comparable to the behaviour of the Nazis towards the Jews. For example, a survey of Germans carried out in 2004 found that 68 per cent of respondents believed that Israel is pursuing a war of extermination against the Palestinians, and 51 per cent said that what Israel has done to the Palestinians is not, in principle, that different to what the Nazis did to the Jews (12).

    Over the past five years, the rhetorical strategy of associating Israel with Hitler’s Final Solution has become more widespread. It is through Holocaust comparisons and imagery that the critics of Zionism increasingly make sense of the conflict in the Middle East. As a result, protesters against the current invasion of Gaza frequently portray Israel as a twenty-first century Nazi war machine. From this standpoint, the people of Gaza are facing a predicament similar to that experienced by the inhabitants of the Jewish Ghettos of 1930s and 1940s Europe. This point was forcefully made by the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who said the Israelis ‘will continue to create a Warsaw Ghetto in the Middle East’.

    Critics of Israel, some unconsciously, others consciously, try to turn the symbolic authority of the Holocaust against Israel. They frequently accuse the Israeli government of acting like Nazis. Respectable media outlets in the West now regularly claim that Israel is engaged in ‘ethnic cleansing’, ‘genocide’, ‘crimes against humanity’; some critics liken Theodor Herzl, the founding father of Zionism, to Adolf Hitler. Israeli or Jewish complicity with the Israeli government’s war crimes is said by some to be even more comprehensive than the complicity of the German people with the crimes of the Nazis. Some talk of the ‘Nazification’ of Israeli society, suggesting a role reversal, whereby Jews become the twenty-first century equivalent of their former oppressors.

    The cumulative impact of decoupling the Holocaust from its association with the Jewish experience is to encourage a cynical, questioning attitude towards Jewish victimhood; it inflames an interrogation of the status of Jews as the victims of the Nazi experience. There is evidence that the association of Jewishness with war crimes today is used to read history backwards, so that this people comes to bear responsibility for what happened during the Holocaust. According to one interesting study of anti-Semitism in Europe, prejudices are ‘projected backwards to justify behaviour towards Jews in past conflicts’. The study says that ‘in this context, anti-Semitic arguments today frequently serve the purpose of rejecting guilt and responsibility for the persecutions of the Jews [in the past]’ (13). This approach is most notable in societies that were deeply implicated in the persecution of Jews during the Second World War; according to various surveys, the idea that Jews were responsible for their own persecution was supported by 30 per cent of respondents in Russia, 27 per cent in the Ukraine, 35 per cent in Belarus, 31 per cent in Lithuania, and 17 per cent in Germany in 2004 (14).

    Contemporary attitudes towards Jewish people are influenced by a continuous interaction between the present and the past. The attempt by the enemies of Israel to appropriate the symbolism of the Holocaust is underpinned by a realisation that this tragedy can be wielded to win significant moral authority. At the same time, the project of reinventing Israel as a latter-day Nazi war machine implicitly incites the rewriting of the past. Allegations of contemporary misdeeds carried out by Jews encourage scepticism about their past moral status as victims of the Nazi experience. So, paradoxically, while contemporary anti-Semitic attitudes have little to do with people’s interactions with real-life Jews, it rebounds on Jews, and fosters a culture of scepticism towards their role as the historic victims of Europe’s darkest hour.

    Frank Furedi’s Invitation To Terror: The Expanding Empire of The Unknown has just been published by Continuum Press.

    (1) Jewish Israel critic labelled anti-Semite, Jerusalem Post, 6 January 2009

    (2) Outrage over proposals to boycott Jewish shops, The Times, London, 8 January 2009

    (3) Muslims urge end to anti-Semitism, BBC News, 16 January 2009

    (4) On this point see chapter 3 of Frank Furedi’s The Politics of Fear: Beyond Left and Right, Continuum Press (London), 2006

    (5) See The Pew Global Attitudes Project,’Unfavourable views of Jews and Muslims on the increase in Europe’, The Pew Research Center, 17 September 2008

    (6) Outrage over proposals to boycott Jewish shops, The Times, London, 8 January 2009

    (7) See The Pew Global Attitudes Project,’Unfavourable views of Jews and Muslims on the increase in Europe’, The Pew Research Center, 17 September 2008

    (8) See The Pew Global Attitudes Project,’Unfavourable views of Jews and Muslims on the increase in Europe’, The Pew Research Center, 17 September 2008

    (9) Exclusive: Antisemitism. Old or New?, European Forum on Antisemitism, 4 January 2009

    (10) Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism: The Link, History News Network, 21 June 2006

    (11) See The Pew Global Attitudes Project,’Unfavourable views of Jews and Muslims on the increase in Europe’, The Pew Research Center, 17 September 2008

    (12) Xenophobia on the Continent, The National Interest, 30 0ctober 2008

    (13) See ‘Anti-Semitic Attitudes in Europe: A Comparative Perspective’, by Werner Bergman, Journal of Social Issues, Vol.64, no.2, p.378, 2008.

    (14) See ‘Anti-Semitic Attitudes in Europe: A Comparative Perspective’, by Werner Bergman, Journal of Social Issues, Vol.64, no.2, p.378, 2008.

    reprinted from: http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/6117/

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    Anti-Semitism Europe Reimports Jew Hatred (Daniel Schwammenthal)
    Geplaatst door abby op Sunday 25 January @ 23:17:38 GMT+1 (2212 maal gelezen)


    Give Giancarlo Desiderati credit for his unintellectual honesty. While most left-wing detractors of Israel claim their animosity toward the Jewish state has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, the head of a small Italian union, Flaica-Uniti-Cub, wasted no time with such sophism. Having long called for a boycott of Israeli goods, Mr. Desiderati last week made the logical next step. "Do not buy anything from businesses run by the Jewish community," his group's Web site urged Italians.

    Jews around Europe are increasingly under attack since Israel decided two weeks ago to defend itself after years of rocket fire at its civilian population. There have been arson attempts on synagogues in Britain, Belgium and Germany. Police last week arrested Muslim protesters who wanted to enter the Jewish quarter in Antwerp. Several Danish schools with large Muslim student bodies say they won't enroll Jewish kids because they can't guarantee the children's safety. In France, a group of teenagers attacked a 14-year-old girl last week, calling her "dirty Jew" while kicking her.
    At rallies in Germany and the Netherlands over the past two weeks, protesters shouted, "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas." In Amsterdam, Socialist lawmaker Harry van Bommel and Greta Duisenberg, widow of the first European Central Bank president, marched at the front of one such "peace" demonstration. They didn't join in the background chorus calling for another Holocaust. Instead, they chanted, "Intifada, Intifada, Free Palestine." Mr. Van Bommel later insisted this wasn't a call for Jewish blood but for "civil disobedience" -- a laughable defense given that terrorists during the last intifada murdered more than 1,000 Israelis.

    Most of the anti-Jewish violence and protests in Europe come from immigrants. In what may have been a Freudian recognition of the changing face of Europe, CNN two weeks ago used footage of anti-Israeli protesters in London in a report about the growing anger in the "Arab and Muslim world." The mythical Arab Street now reaches deep into Paris, London, Berlin and Madrid.
    After a burning car was rammed into a gate outside a synagogue in Toulouse last week, President Nicolas Sarkozy issued a statement that was as morally confused as his judgment of Israel's Gaza offensive. Mr. Sarkozy, who condemned both Hamas terror and Israel's attempt to stop it, also blurred the distinction between the victims and perpetrators of anti-Semitism in France.

    His country "will not tolerate international tensions mutating into intercommunity violence," he warned, suggesting that the violence in France comes not only from French Muslims but Jews as well. Mr. Sarkozy's comments also suggest that the fighting in Gaza is the cause for attacks on Jews in France -- that is, that the Mideast conflict is fueling anti-Semitism in Europe. It is exactly the other way around.

    The rage against the Jews that is exploding in Europe has been carefully nurtured; it is not spontaneous sympathy for fellow Muslims in Gaza. How else to explain the silence when Muslims in other conflicts, from Darfur to Chechnya, are being killed?

    The depth of anti-Semitic propaganda in Palestinian and other Muslim societies is one of the most underreported facts about the Middle East. It is this anti-Semitism that predisposes Muslims in Europe to attack Jews and fuels the Mideast conflict. The hatred predates Israel's creation. To illustrate this point: The Palestinian leader during World War II, Hajj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, conspired with Hitler to bring the Holocaust to Palestine. Luckily, the British stopped the German troops in Africa. The Mufti spent the war years in Berlin and was later indicted for war crimes but with the help of the Muslim Brotherhood escaped to Egypt. Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Hamas and other Islamists continue what the Mufti had helped to start: a blend of European anti-Semitism and Islam-inspired Jew hatred. The rejection of Israel's right to exist is what drives their attacks. The media, though, largely ignores Hamas's ideology and its crimes of hiding its leaders and weapons among its own civilian population, and demonizes Israel's attempt to protect its citizens.

    Hamas and other Islamists are not even trying to hide their ideology. Just read the Hamas charter or check out Hamas TV, including children's programs, for a nauseating dose of murderous anti-Semitism. Last week, the French broadcasting authorities banned Hamas TV for inciting violence and hatred. Unfortunately, just like Hezbollah TV, which is also banned in Europe for its anti-Semitic and jihadi content, audiences here can still receive these programs due to Saudi Arabia's Arabsat and Egyptian satellite provider Nilesat.

    The Islamist variation of Jew hatred is now being reimported to Europe. Muslims in Europe, watching Hamas and Hezbollah TV with their satellite dishes, are being fed the same diet of anti-Semitism and jihadi ideology that Palestinians and much of the Middle East consume.

    This brings a unique challenge to the difficult integration of Muslims in Europe. When it comes to issues like Shariah law and terrorism, one can expect a true "clash of civilizations." There is no Western tradition that would justify "honor killings." Anti-Semitism, on the other hand, is not alien to Europe's culture -- to the contrary, the Continent once excelled at it and many still share the feeling.

    A Pew study from September shows 25% of Germans and 20% of French are still affected by this virus. In Spain, 46% have unfavorable views of Jews. Is there really no connection between this statistic and the fact that the Spanish media and government are among Europe's most hostile toward the Jewish state? Is it just a coincidence that Europe's largest anti-Israel demonstration took place Sunday in Spain, with more than 100,000 protesters?

    A 2006 study in the Journal of Conflict Resolution based on the survey in 10 European countries suggests otherwise. Yale University's Edward H. Kaplan and Charles A. Small found "that anti-Israel sentiment consistently predicts the probability that an individual is anti-Semitic, with the likelihood of measured anti-Semitism increasing with the extent of anti-Israel sentiment observed."

    With little hope that the media coverage will become more balanced and the incitement of the growing Muslim community will abate, the Jews in Europe are facing uncertain times.

    Mr. Schwammenthal edits the State of the Union column.

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    Geplaatst door abby op Friday 26 December @ 02:55:05 GMT+1 (1798 maal gelezen)

    Europe’s Jewish Problem

    In Spain, unfavorable views of Jews climbed from 21 percent in 2005 to nearly one in two this year.

    Denis MacShane
    From the magazine issue dated Dec 15, 2008

    As Europe faces up to its old demons of financial breakdown and job losses, a wind from the past is blowing through the continent. The politics of moderate center-right and left-liberal democracy that took power after 1945 are giving way to a new old populism. The extravagant rhetoric of the demagogic left and right is gaining ground, and the most obvious manifestation is the return of anti-Semitism as an organizing ideology.

    Consider the numbers: according to a recent Pew survey, the percentage of Germans who hold unfavorable views of Jews has climbed from 20 percent in 2004 to 25 percent today. In France, which has the largest number of Jews of any European nation, 20 percent of people view Jews unfavorably—up from 11 percent four years ago. In Spain, the figures are even more striking: negative views of Jews climbed from 21 percent in 2005 to nearly one in two this year. In Britain, where the numbers have remained around 9 percent for some time, anecdotal evidence of increased animosity abounds: youngsters returning from the Jewish Free School in middle-class North London are now frightened to go home on public buses on account of anti-Jewish attacks. Their parents hire private buses, as the London police seem unable to staunch anti-Semitic assaults on their children. In Manchester, a Jewish cemetery had to have a Nazi swastika hurriedly cleaned off its walls before a VIP party arrived.

    Anti-Semitism also lies at the heart of the ideology of the British National Party, the fastest-growing political party in Britain. Already, the extreme rightist party has won a seat on the London Assembly, and in local elections this year the BNP doubled its number of local councilors. The party now avoids public statements about Jews and even tries to keep its Islamophobia under control. Yet the only serious publications by BNP leader Nick Griffin are in the mainstream of traditional anti-Semitic tropes. In his short book "Who are the Mindbenders?" Griffin listed British Jews who he said were the secret controllers of the British media, accused Jewish immigrants of changing their names to disguise their origins and called the facts of the Holocaust gas chambers "unscientific nonsense."

    Alongside the Jew-hating BNP are Britain's anti-Semitic Islamist ideologues. Gordon Brown—Europe's strongest supporter of Israel—and his Labour government have done more than any other to promote British Muslims as government ministers, as M.P.s and peers, and Downing Street celebrates Muslim festivals and achievements in a manner that would amaze previous occupants of the building. Meantime, Britain, as much under Labour as under Conservative governments, has tolerated the growth of fundamentalist Islamism rooted in classic texts denouncing Jews. It took the London tube bombings of July 2005 to lift the veil off the eyes of a political establishment that had turned away from the growth of ideological extremism with its anti-Semitic focus.

    The Pew survey on public opinion shows a particularly troubling trend in Spain—a country where all Jews were expelled in 1492 and synagogues are historic monuments. The massive influx of immigrant workers from North Africa, combined with the anti-Israel language of Spain's liberal-left intellectual and media elites, may explain the puzzle of anti-Semitism in a nation with few Jews. Poland under communist rule sanctioned anti-Semitic politics even after most Polish Jews had been exterminated. Spain's indulgence of Islamism may be creating the same phenomenon of anti-Jewish feelings in a country without Jews.

    Looking east, it was staggering—but perhaps should not have been surprising—to see the faces of this new populism earlier this year, when thousands of Austrians turned out for the funeral of Jörg Haider, the right-wing extremist who presented himself as an Austrian patriot but hardly bothered to hide his anti-Jewish views. "There is no greater insult to a Germanic politician than to be accused of having Jewish blood," Haider proclaimed. Similarly, anti-Jewish politics resonate in Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania. All three countries sent politicians to the European Parliament to set up a far-right grouping alongside anti-Jewish rightists from France and Italy. In Poland, the percentage of those with unfavorable opinions about Jews is up from 27 percent in 2004 to 36 percent today, and throughout this part of Europe the target is now Israel and its support in America, and the preferred vocabulary is of "Zionists" and the "lobby" rather than "Jews" or "conspiracy." It blends with a wider xenophobia.

    As jobs are lost and welfare becomes meaner and leaner, the politics of blaming the outsider can only grow. The hard-won European politics of breaking down frontiers and trying to legislate for tolerance will get harder to defend, still less to promote. European populism and the anti-EU nationalism of both the right and the left is now the politics to watch. As America celebrates its first nonwhite president and the hope of a new politics, Europe may be beginning to revisit its past.


    MacShane is a Labour M.P. and was Britain’s Europe minister. His book “Globalising Hatred: the New Antisemitism” has just been published.

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    Anti-Semitism Norway - a paradigm for anti-Semitism (Manfred Gerstenfeld)
    Geplaatst door abby op Saturday 20 December @ 16:01:39 GMT+1 (2866 maal gelezen)

    Norway - a paradigm for anti-Semitism

    'I would like to take the opportunity to remember all the billions of fleas and lice that lost their lives in German gas chambers, without having done anything wrong other than settling on persons of Jewish background."

    This is what Norwegian comedian Otto Jespersen said on Thursday 27 November on the country's largest commercial TV station. Much worse, however, is that the director of the station defended this expression of "satire."

    A week later Jespersen, in his weekly TV appearance, gave a "satiric" monologue of mixed anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli remarks. He concluded by wishing the Jews a happy Christmas. But then as an afterthought, he said this was not proper as the Jews had murdered Jesus. Two years ago the same comedian burned pages from the Tanach in front of a TV camera, but this was no reason to terminate his employment. Jespersen explained that he wouldn't burn the Koran if he wanted to live longer than a week.

    LAST WEEK, on four consecutive days, there were anti-Israeli articles in Norway's second-largest daily Aftenposten. The first called for a general boycott of Israel. The second promoted an academic boycott, falsely accusing Israeli physicians of participating in torture and the Israeli Medical Association of remaining silent about it. Any honest debater would have reported that Israeli hospitals routinely treat Palestinian children, some of whom express joy when suicide bombers kill Israelis. One wonders whether any other country would allow this.

    The third article stressed the right to criticize Israel. This is a typical attack on a "straw man," as nobody denies this right. The fourth claimed that Israel is not a democracy. Only thereafter a pro-Israeli voice was heard.

    Two years ago the conservative Aftenposten got international attention when it published an op-ed by Jostein Gaarder which until this day remains the vilest anti-Semitic article published in a European mainstream paper since the Second World War.

    Whoever wants to understand how Jews might live in a future democratic Europe if no major counter-forces are mobilized should study Norway. Among parts of the elite there, Jew-hatred and rabid anti-Israelism intermingle. The country's population numbers only 4.6 million. The Jewish population, even before the war, was never more than 2,000. It now numbers 1,300, of which only 700 affiliate with the organized community. Yet Norway must figure prominently in any future history of post-war European anti-Semitism.

    Norwegian anti-Israelis keep repeating that their anti-Israelism is not anti-Semitism. One only has to check their statements against the European Union's working definition of anti-Semitism to see that this is often untrue. Norway has a long history of anti-Semitism. In 1929 a great majority of its parliament voted to forbid shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) - several years before Hitler's Germany did so. It is still forbidden, although hunters, including government ministers, can legally kill animals in as cruel a manner as they want. Last year Norway aimed to kill 1,000 whales, but succeeded in finding only 500. If all needs for kosher beef were met by local shechita,it would require at most several tens of cows annually.

    During the war, the Norwegians were the ones who rounded up Jews and robbed them before shipping them off to Auschwitz. After the war, emergency help was given to what the Norwegians called the two "hardest-hit groups" - fishermen and residents of the northern part of the country. The Jews, however, were robbed further by the Norwegian democrats. During the restitution process, they had to pay for the administration of those of their assets recovered from the looters. About 10 years ago a senior Norwegian Nazi official proudly told a Jewish visitor that he had no regrets, and still had paintings and furniture taken from Jews.

    In the new round of restitution in the mid-1990s, several authorities did their utmost to avoid paying. Berit Reisel, the only Jewish member of the commission of inquiry, states that she was threatened by chairman Oluf Skarpnes, a former Justice Minister. He told her that if she didn't go along with his proposed report, it would cost her dearly as far as her life and health were concerned. Reisel added that a few days later she was attacked on a street in Oslo.

    AFTER THE beginning of the second intifada, several Jewish children were harassed in school. The aggression was supported by teachers on several occasions. Since then, the Jewish community has kept a low profile. When asked by the press, its leaders will admit there is anti-Semitism, but claim that critics overstate it. They usually remain silent on the anti-Semitic aspects of anti-Israelism.

    Norwegian hate cartoons often mix anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. Some are straight-out anti-Semitic, such as one which appeared in the Labor movement daily Dagsavisen in 2003. It portrayed a Jew with a long beard reading the new Ten Commandments, including "murder, kill, liquidate, execute." During the Second Lebanon War, anti-Semitic incidents in Oslo were the most severe in Europe. The synagogue was shot at, the cantor was attacked on a main street and the Jewish cemetery was desecrated. The Jewish community's president Anne Sender was thereafter quoted in a European Jewish Congress report speaking of the considerable "atmosphere of intimidation and fear."

    Anti-Israelism has been built up systematically in Norway by trade unions, media, some prominent Christians and politicians. The demonization is classic: major media report negative things about Israel while obfuscating or omitting Palestinian suicide attacks or declared genocidal intentions. The main counterforce is a small group of Christian friends.

    NGO Monitor has analyzed how significant governmental development aid reaches NGOs engaged in political campaigning against Israel and in support of extreme Palestinian demands. The good the Norwegian government does, including subsidizing the rebuilding of synagogues in Poland, cannot be offset against the infrastructure of hatred it supports.


    The writer has published many books, the most recent of which is Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews, published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies.

    This article can also be read at www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1228728178155&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull 
    Copyright 1995- 2008 The Jerusalem Post - www.jpost.com

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    Anti-Semitism Report: Anti-Semitism on the rise globally (CNN)
    Geplaatst door abby op Friday 21 March @ 21:23:45 GMT+1 (1837 maal gelezen)

    Report: Anti-Semitism on the rise globally

    -- A report from the U.S. State Department details "an upsurge" across the world of anti-Semitism -- hostility and discrimination toward Jewish people.

    "Today, more than 60 years after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is not just a fact of history, it is a current event," the report says.

    The report -- called Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism and given to Congress on Thursday -- is dedicated to the memory of the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, a survivor of the Holocaust, the extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II.

    The report details physical acts of anti-Semitism, such as attacks, property damage, and cemetery desecration. It also lists manifestations such as conspiracy theories concerning Jews, Holocaust denial, anti-Zionism and the demonization of Israel.

    "Over much of the past decade, U.S. embassies worldwide have noted an increase in anti-Semitic incidents, such as attacks on Jewish people, property, community institutions, and religious facilities," the report says.

    The report also deals with efforts to combat the bigotry, described by Gregg J. Rickman, the department's special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, as "one of the oldest forms of malicious intolerance."

    The report says violent acts and desecration of Jewish property happen whether there are a lot of Jews or only a few living in the region. Bigoted rhetoric, conspiracy theories regarding Jews, and anti-Semitic propaganda are transmitted over the airwaves and on the Internet.

    It says that although Nazism and fascism are rejected by the West "and beyond," blatant forms of anti-Semitism are "embraced and employed by the extreme fringe."

    "Traditional forms of anti-Semitism persist and can be found across the globe. Classic anti-Semitic screeds, such as 'The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion' and 'Mein Kampf' remain commonplace.

    "Jews continue to be accused of blood libel, dual loyalty, and undue influence on government policy and the media, and the symbols and images associated with age-old forms of anti-Semitism endure."

    New forms of anti-Semitism are reflected in rhetoric that compares Israel to the Nazis and attributes "Israel's perceived faults to its Jewish character."

    This kind of anti-Semitism, the report says, "is common throughout the Middle East and in Muslim communities in Europe, but it is not confined to these populations."

    The report says various U.N. bodies are regularly asked to launch "investigations of what often are sensationalized reports of alleged atrocities and other violations of human rights by Israel."

    "The collective effect of unremitting criticism of Israel, coupled with a failure to pay attention to regimes that are demonstrably guilty of grave violations, has the effect of reinforcing the notion that the Jewish state is one of the sources, if not the greatest source, of abuse of the rights of others, and thus intentionally or not encourages anti-Semitism."

    The report gives examples of leaders and governments that "fan the flames of anti-Semitic hatred within their own societies and even beyond their borders." It cites Syria, Belarus, Venezuela, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

    "Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has actively promoted Holocaust denial, Iran's Jewish population faces official discrimination, and the official media outlets regularly produce anti-Semitic propaganda," the report adds.

    It notes "societal anti-Semitism" in places where there have been efforts to fight the problem. Among the countries are Poland, Ukraine, Russia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

    "Recent increases in anti-Semitic incidents have been documented in Argentina, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and beyond," the report said.

    The report is a follow-up to the State Department's January 2005 "Report on Global anti-Semitism."

    (See also: AFP coverage of the same report)

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    Geplaatst door abby op Tuesday 12 February @ 16:04:50 GMT+1 (2217 maal gelezen)

    Anti-Semitism and the Left that Doesn’t Learn

    A DETERMINED offensive is underway. Its target is in the Middle East, and it is an old target: the legitimacy of Israel. Hezbollah and Hamas are not the protagonists, the contested terrains are not the Galilee and southern Lebanon or southern Israel and Gaza. The means are not military. The offensive comes from within parts of the liberal and left intelligentsia in the United States and Europe. It has nothing to do with this or that negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians, and it has nothing to do with any particular Israeli policy. After all, this or that Israeli policy may be chastised, rightly or wrongly, without denying the legitimacy of the Jewish state, just as you can criticize an Israeli policy—again, rightly or wrongly—without being an anti-Semite. You can oppose all Israeli settlements in the occupied territories (as I do) and you can also recognize that Benjamin Netanyahu, not just Yasir Arafat, was responsible for undermining the Oslo peace process without being an anti-Semite or anti-Zionist. You don’t have to be an anti-Semite or anti-Zionist to think that some American Jewish organizations pander to American or Israeli right-wingers.

    The assault today is another matter. It is shaped largely by political attitudes and arguments that recall the worst of the twentieth-century left. It is time to get beyond them. But let me be clear: I am “left.” I still have no problem when someone describes me with the “s” word—socialist—although I don’t much care if you call me a social democrat, left-liberal, or some other proximate term. My “leftism” comes from a commitment to—and an ethos of—democratic humanism and social egalitarianism.

    What I care about is the reinvention of the best values of the historical left—legacies of British Labour, of the Swedish Social Democrats, of Jean Jaurès and Léon Blum in France, of Eduard Bernstein and Willy Brandt in Germany, of what has always been the relatively small (alas!) tribe in the U.S. associated with names like Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas, Michael Harrington, and Irving Howe. It’s not so much a matter of political programs, let alone labels, as it is of political sensibility. I care about finding a new basis for that old amalgam of liberty, equality, and solidarity, a basis that makes sense for our “globalizing age.” But I also want a left that draws real, not gestural, conclusions from the catastrophes done in the name of the left in the 20th century.

    There is a left that learns and there is a left that doesn’t learn. I want the left that learns to inform our Western societies (a difficult task in George W. Bush’s America) and to help find ideas that actually address poverty in what used to be called the third world—rather than romanticizing it.

    After 1989, the left that doesn’t learn was in retreat. It was hushed up by the end of all those wretched communist regimes, by images broadcast worldwide of millions in the streets demanding liberation from dictatorships that legitimized themselves in left-wing terms. You know who I mean by the left that never learns: those folks who twist and turn until they can explain or ‘understand’ almost anything in order to keep their own presuppositions—or intellectual needs—intact. Once some of them were actual Leninist; now they more regularly share some of Leninism’s worst mental features—often in postmodern, postcolonial, or even militantly liberal guise. Sometimes they move about on the political spectrum, denouncing their former selves (while patting their moral backs). You can usually recognize them without too much difficulty: same voice, that of a prosecuting commissar, even if their tune sounds different. It’s a voice you can often hear as well in ex-communists turned neoconservative.

    Their explanations, their “understandings,” often rewrite history or re-imagine what is in front of their eyes to suit their own starting point. Since their thinking usually moves along a mental closed circuit, it is also the end point. Sometimes it is an idea, sometimes a belief system (which they refuse to recognize in themselves), sometimes really a prejudice, and sometimes just ambition. Goblins were often part of the story for the older left that never learned, and so too is the case today. If things don’t work out as you know they must, some nefarious force must lurk. After all, the problem couldn’t possibly be your way of thinking, or your inability to see the world afresh, or that you got something very wrong in the past. No, it is much easier to announce that you, unlike anyone who could disagree with you, engage in ‘critical’ thinking. And if your critical thinking is criticized in any way, denounce your foe immediately for “McCarthyism.” Pretend that your denunciation is an argument about the original subject of dispute. That’s easier than answering any of the criticism.

    Consider the collateral damage done by such cries of “McCarthyism” from professors with lifetime job security: their students will never understand the evils of McCarthyism. Consider how an understanding of the evils of McCarthyism is subverted when its characteristic techniques—innuendo, for example—are used by opinionated journalists in magazines with wide circulations. Take, for instance, the case of Adam Shatz, once literary editor of the Nation and now with the London Review of Books. He published an article half a year before the beginning of the Iraq war suggesting that people around Dissent were busy hunting for a “new enemy” following the end of the cold war, and that they found it in a combination of militant Arab nationalism and Saddam Hussein.

    “Though rarely cited explicitly,” Shatz also explained, “Israel shapes and even defines the foreign policy views of a small but influential group of American liberals” (the Nation, September 23, 2002). In other words, these liberals composed the Israel lobby within the left, and they sought the American war in Iraq for the sake of the Jewish state. True, Shatz didn’t hold up a file and say, “I have a list of names of liberals who are really dual loyalists.” Instead he pointed to Paul Berman “and like-minded social democrats,” even though the overwhelming majority of Dissent’s editorial board including co-editor Michael Walzer was opposed to the war.

    Shatz didn’t deign to engage any of Berman’s actual points. And those Berman advanced in the actual run-up to the Iraq invasion did not focus on Israel, but on liberalism, democracy, and totalitarianism. Arguments made by the author of the words you now read, who was a left hawk (and is now an unhappy one), likewise had nothing to do with Israel and were different—significantly so—from those made by Berman. Nothing that appeared in Dissent before or after Shatz’s article lends credence to his innuendos.


    HISTORY MAY not progress but sometimes it regurgitates. Over the last decade, a lot of the old junk has come back. The space for it opened for many reasons. They range from the sad failures of the social-democratic imagination in the era of globalization to the postmodern and postcolonial influence in universities to George W. Bush’s ascendancy with its many, many miserable consequences (not only in Iraq). The left that never learns often became the superego of the twentieth century’s left. Its attempt to play that same role in the twenty-first century needs to be frustrated.

    Nothing exemplifies the return of old junk more than the ‘new’ anti-Semitism and the bad faith that often finds expression in the statement: “I am anti-Zionist but not anti-Semitic.” The fixation on Israel/Palestine within parts of the left, often to the exclusion of all other suffering on the globe, ought to leave any balanced observer wondering: What is going on here? This fixation needs demystification.

    In theoretical terms, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are pretty easy to distinguish. Anti-Semitism is a form of race or national prejudice that crystallized in the nineteenth century. In part, it displaced or reinvented anti-Jewish religious prejudice (although centuries of religious prejudice easily wafted into racial and national bigotry). Its target was clearly Jews, not simply “Semites.” It also, for some, mixed matters up further by identifying Jews with capitalism. Sadly, this became a steady feature within parts of the left that would later, habitually, conflate Jews, capitalism, and Zionism. Oddly enough, that is also what Jewish neoconservatives have tried to do in recent decades.

    Anti-Zionism means, theoretically, opposition to the project of a Jewish state in response to the rise of anti-Semitism. Let’s be blunt: there have been anti-Zionists who are not anti-Semites, just as there have been foes of affirmative action who are not racists. But the crucial question is prejudicial overlap, not intellectual niceties.

    Remember the bad old days, when parts of the left provided theoretical justifications of things like “democratic dictatorship.” In fact, if you understood—especially if you bought into—all sorts of assumptions and especially Leninist definitions, the justification works. Any professor of political theory can construct it for you and it will make perfect theoretical sense. But if you lived in a “democratic dictatorship,” it was intellectual poison. It was also poison if you were committed to the best values of the left.

    They are again at stake when we ask: To what extent does much anti-Zionism replicate the mental patterns of anti-Semitism? And to what extent do demagogic articulations of anti-Zionism enhance anti-Semitism? There is a curious thing about anti-Semitism, and it was captured in a remark by British novelist Iain Pears that ought to be quoted and re-quoted these days: “anti-Semitism is like alcoholism. You can go for 25 years without a drink, but if things go bad and you find yourself with a vodka in your hand, you can’t get rid of it.” (International Herald Tribune, August 11, 2003).

    Much may be gleaned from the fact that the recent campaign by some British academic unions to boycott Israel was thwarted because it was found to violate anti-discrimination laws.

    LAST YEAR, Denis MacShane, British Labour Parliament Member, chaired a committee of parliamentarians and ex-ministers that investigated rising anti-Semitism in Britain and beyond. “Hatred of Jews has reached new heights in Europe and many points south and east of the old continent,” he wrote recently in a very brave article in the Washington Post (September 4, 2007). He describes a wide array of incidents. “Militant anti-Jewish students fueled by Islamist or far-left hate” seek on campuses “to prevent Jewish students from expressing their opinions.” There is “an anti-Jewish discourse, a mood and tone whenever Jews are discussed, whether in the media, at universities, among the liberal media elite or at dinner parties of modish London. To express any support for Israel or any feeling for the right of a Jewish state to exist produces denunciation, even contempt.”

    MacShane points out that this sort of behavior is distinct from specific disputes about this or that Israeli politician. Criticism, the investigatory committee “made clear,” was “not off-limits.” Rightly so; the same should be true with the policies and office- holders of every government on the globe. But MacSchane also warns that something else has been going on, that old demons are reawakening and that “the old anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism have morphed into something more dangerous.” The threat, he says eloquently, doesn’t only concern Jews or Israel, but “everything democrats have long fought for: the truth without fear, no matter one's religion or political beliefs.”
    What is “truth without fear” when we speak of the relation between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism? Is it to be found in Tony Judt’s declaration to the New York Times that “the link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is newly created”? (January 31, 2007). How a historian—or anyone else—could assert this is astonishing. Consider what it airbrushes out of the twentieth century—the anti-Semitic binge of Stalin’s later years, just for starters.

    And surely Judt, who is based at New York University and is now taking what has turned into obsessive anti-Zionist campaigning to the École Normale Supérieure in Paris [1] 
    NYU’s Remarque Center, which defines its goal as “the study and discussion of Europe, and to encourage and facilitate communication between Americans and Europeans” is opening a center there and Judt, its director, will, according to its website, inaugurate it not with an address European or French politics or transatlantic relations but rather: "Is Israel Still Good for the Jews?"
    recalls the arrests and assassinations of the leading Jewish cultural figures of Soviet Russia on the grounds that they were “Zionist agents of American imperialism.” Surely a historian of Europe like Judt—who was once a hard leftist but then rose to intellectual celebrity in the United States in the 1980s (that is, during the Reagan era) by attacking all French Marxists for not facing up to Stalinism—recalls the charges of “Zionist conspiracy” against Jewish communists who were victimized in the Czech purge trials in the early 1950s.

    If he doesn’t recall them when he speaks to the New York Times, he might check them out in his own book Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. There he cites Stalin’s secret police chief, Lavrenti Beria, urging Czech Communists to investigate the “Zionist plot” among their comrades. Surely a historian of Europe, especially one who now refers to himself as an “old leftist,” recalls the campaign in 1967 and 1968 to cleanse Poland of “Zionist” fifth columnists (I suppose they were the Israel Lobby of the Polish Communist Party). If Judt doesn’t recall it when he talks to the New York Times, he might again look at his own book which cites Polish Communist chief Wladyslaw Gomulka’s conflation of his Jewish critics with Zionists. Since he is a historian of Europe and not the Middle East, perhaps Judt hasn’t noticed how “anti-Zionism” in broad swaths of the Muslim and Arab media has been suffused by anti-Jewish rhetoric for decades—rhetoric against “al-Yahud” not Ehud Olmert or Ehud Barak.

    Remember how air-brushing was done in the bad old days? Trotsky (or someone else) would suddenly disappear from a photo. Lenin or Stalin and the cheering crowds would still be there. The resulting picture is not entirely false. Does all this make Judt an anti-Semite? The answer is simple: no. It does make his grasp of the history of anti-Semitism tendentious. And tendentious history can be put to all sorts of pernicious use.

    Judt’s political judgment complements his historical perceptions, especially when it comes to a declared concern about Palestinian suffering. Recall his article in the New York Review of Books (October 23, 2003) advocating a binational state to replace Israel. A Jewish state, he explained, is an anachronism. But since then, Hamas, a political movement of religious fanatics, won the Palestinian elections, and later seized power—by force—in Gaza. Israel, in the meantime, had withdrawn entirely from Gaza and torn down all Jewish settlements there in summer 2005. Yet if you follow Judt’s logic, Israel should not have withdrawn but instead integrated Gaza into itself. Obviously this would have enabled a new, better life for Palestinians, perhaps even have prevented them from turning to Hamas. And it would have taken a first happy step toward saving Israel from its anachronistic status by affording Israelis, together with Palestinians, a domestic future of perpetual ethnic civil war—a feature of modern politics that farsighted historians, but perhaps not policymakers, who have to worry about real lives, will imagine is also an anachronism. Likewise, I suppose India can save itself from being an unfortunate anachronism by a reintegration with Pakistan.

    A FEW YEARS ago I sought to outline commonalities between anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist discourses in a scholarly journal. It is worth reproducing. Here are major motifs that inform classical anti-Semitism:

    1) Insinuations: Jews do not and cannot fit properly into our society. There is something foreign, not to mention sinister about them.

    2) Complaints: They are so particularistic, those Jews, so preoccupied with their “own.” Why are they so clannish and anachronistic when we need a world of solidarity and love? Really, they make themselves into a “problem.” If the so-called “Jewish problem” is singular in some way, it is their own doing and usually covered up by special pleading.

    3) Remonstrations: Those Jews, they always carp that they are victims. In fact, they have vast power, especially financial power. Their power is everywhere, even if it is not very visible. They exercise it manipulatively, behind the scenes. (But look, there are even a few of them, guilty-hearted perhaps, who will admit it all this to you).

    4) Recriminations: Look at their misdeeds, all done while they cry that they are victims. These ranged through the ages from the murder of God to the ritual slaughter of children to selling military secrets to the enemy to war-profiteering, to being capitalists or middlemen or landlords or moneylenders exploiting the poor. And they always, oh-so-cleverly, mislead you.

    Alter a few phrases, a word here and there, and we find motifs of anti-Zionism that are popular these days in parts of the left and parts of the Muslim and Arab worlds:

    1) Insinuations: The Zionists are alien implants in the Mideast. They can never fit there. Western imperialism created the Zionist state.

    2) Complaints: A Jewish state can never be democratic. Zionism is exclusivist. The very idea of a Jewish state is an anachronism.

    3) Remonstrations: The Zionists carp that they are victims but in reality they have enormous power, especially financial. Their power is everywhere, but they make sure not to let it be too visible. They exercise it manipulatively, behind people’s backs, behind the scenes – why, just look at Zionist influence in Washington. Or rather, dominance of Washington. (And look, there are even a few Jews, guilty-hearted perhaps, who admit it).

    4) Recriminations: Zionists are responsible for astonishing, endless dastardly deeds. And they cover them up with deceptions. These range from the imperialist aggression of 1967 to Ehud Barak’s claim that he offered a compromise to Palestinians back in 2000 to the Jenin “massacre” during the second Intifidah. [2] 
    These sketches of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, with just some variation, were originally in Mitchell Cohen, “Auto-Emancipation and Anti-Semitism: Homage to Bernard-Lazare,” Jewish Social Studies (Fall 2003).

    No, anti-Zionism is not in principle anti-Semitism but it is time for thoughtful minds—especially on the left—to be disturbed by how much anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism share, how much the dominant species of anti-Zionism encourages anti-Semitism.

    And so:
    If you judge a Jewish state by standards that you apply to no one else; if your neck veins bulge when you denounce Zionists but you’ve done no more than cluck “well, yes, very bad about Darfur”;

    if there is nothing Hamas can do that you won’t blame ‘in the final analysis’ on Israelis;

    if your sneer at the Zionists doesn’t sound a whole lot different from American neoconservative sneers at leftists;

    then you should not be surprised if you are criticized, fiercely so, by people who are serious about a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians and who won’t let you get away with a self-exonerating formula—“I am anti-Zionist but not anti-Semitic”—to prevent scrutiny. If you are anti-Zionist and not anti-Semitic, then don’t use the categories, allusions, and smug hiss that are all too familiar to any student of prejudice.

    It is time for the left that learns, that grows, that reflects, that has historical not rhetorical perspective, and that wants a future based on its own best values to say loudly to the left that never learns: You hijacked “left” in the last century, but you won’t get away with it again whatever guise you don.

    Mitchell Cohen is co-editor of Dissent and professor of political science at Baruch College–CUNY. He recently wrote on French politics and the 'new' Atheism.

    • [1] NYU’s Remarque Center, which defines its goal as “the study and discussion of Europe, and to encourage and facilitate communication between Americans and Europeans” is opening a center there and Judt, its director, will, according to its website, inaugurate it not with an address European or French politics or transatlantic relations but rather: "Is Israel Still Good for the Jews?"
    • [2] These sketches of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, with just some variation, were originally in Mitchell Cohen, “Auto-Emancipation and Anti-Semitism: Homage to Bernard-Lazare,” Jewish Social Studies (Fall 2003).

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    Anti-Semitism United States Says No to Anti-Racism Conference (Forward)
    Geplaatst door abby op Friday 08 February @ 03:19:30 GMT+1 (2799 maal gelezen)

    Important preparatory meetings are being called for Passover and Yom Kippur of this year, preventing Israeli officials from participating

    United States Says No to Anti-Racism Conference

    By Marc Perelman
    Tue. Feb 05, 2008

    UNITED NATIONS ­ In a major blow to an upcoming United Nations anti-racism conference, the United States has decided to not participate, out of concern it would stir up the anti-Israel sentiments that marked the first such conference, the Forward has learned.

    “We are concerned about the structure and the development of the follow-up conference,” Richard Grenell, the chief spokesman for the U.S. mission to the U.N., told the Forward on Tuesday.

    Until Tuesday, the United States had not publicly discussed their plans for the upcoming conference, for which details are still vague.

    During the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, Israel came under fire from Arab and Muslim countries, as well as a number of non-governmental organizations, prompting Israel and the United States to walk out in protest.

    In recent months, Jewish groups have been urging Western countries not to participate in the new conference out of concern that the same problems would arise, pointing to the fact that Libya had been elected to chair the gathering with Cuba as vice-chair, while Iran was appointed to the organizing committee. Moreover, the U.N. gave planning oversight for the conference to its Human Rights Council, a body that has come under criticism for its excessive focus on Israel.

    Canada was the first country to publicly back out of the conference. On January 23, Jason Kenney, Canada’s secretary of state for multiculturalism and Canadian identity announced that the so-called Durban II conference “has gone completely off the rails.”

    “Our considered judgment, having participated in the preparatory meetings, was that we were set for a replay of Durban I. And Canada has no intention of lending its good name and resources to such a systematic promotion of hatred and bigotry,” he told the Canadian media.

    The U.N. declined to comment directly on Canada pulling out of the conference, but U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said “racism is too important an issue for member states not to work out their differences.”

    The U.N. could not be reached by the Forward to comment on the decision by the United States. This decision is likely to have an oversized impact on the conference due to Washington’s weight on the international scene. For Israel, the move by its main ally is a major public relations victory.

    After the earlier decision, B’nai Brith Canada applauded the Canadian government, as did the World Jewish Congress, whose board voted a resolution last week commending the Canadian government for “its bold action in calling the world’s attention to the corrupted Durban Review Conference process.”

    Kenney noted important preparatory meetings are being called for Passover and Yom Kippur of this year, preventing Israeli officials from participating. More importantly, all of the non-governmental organizations invited to the first conference have been invited back to the second. The forum for non-governmental organizations, which took place in parallel to the governmental one at Durban, was the one where the most forceful denunciations of Israel were aired.

    Tue. Feb 05, 2008

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    Te Zionistisch (pro-Israël)
    Te anti-Zionistisch (anti-Israël)
    Teveel sensatie
    Teveel leugens
    Te veel, het onderwerp komt mijn neus uit
    Te summier
    Te weinig achtergrond
    Niks te, precies goed zo

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