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Anti-Semitism in Europe: Guy Millière, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 31, 2013—Jews who can do so, leave Europe. Those who do not have the means to leave know they must be extremely careful: it is dangerous again to be a Jew in Europe. It is even more dangerous to be a Jew who supports Israel.
The European Left and Its Trouble With Jews: Colin Shindler, New York Times, Oct. 27, 2012— Today, a sizable section of the European left has been reluctant to take a clear stand when anti-Zionism spills over into anti-Semitism. Beginning in the 1990s, many on the European left began to view the growing Muslim minorities in their countries as a new proletariat and the Palestinian cause as a recruiting mechanism.
Israel Winning in Europe: Arsen Ostrovsky, Ynet News, Dec.14, 2012—Before the ink was even dry on the Palestinian vote at the UN last [November], headlines already started flooding in on how Israel 'lost Europe.' The reality however, could not be further from the truth, as Israel continues to make stunning headway in its trade and bilateral relations with the EU.
'Darker Sides': The Vast Islamist Sanctuary of 'Sahelistan': Paul Hyacinthe Mben, Jan Puhl, Thilo Thielke, Der Spiegel, Jan 28, 2013
Connecting the Dots in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya: Abukar Arman, The Commentator, Jan. 7 2013
Gatestone Institute, Jan. 31, 2013
In 2012, the number of anti-Semitic crimes in France sharply increased. The six-month period that followed the March killings in a Jewish school in Toulouse were particularly harsh. The killer, Mohammed Merah, became a hero in many suburbs, his name on many graffiti. For some people, apparently, shooting children in the head just because they are Jewish is inspiring.
Although acts such as the killing in Toulouse had no equivalent elsewhere, France is not an exception: statistics show that insults, assaults, and cries of hatred against Jews multiply throughout Europe. Jewish schools, synagogues and Jewish cultural centers are everywhere threatened and urgently require more stringent security measures.
Political leaders say they are aware of the problem and are determined to act. In November, French President François Hollande said that "the struggle against anti-Semitism is a top priority." Angela Merkel used the same words a few weeks later in Germany. In the beginning of December, after a spike in verbal and physical anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, David Cameron said that he wanted to "tackle Antisemitism head on."
Words such as those were uttered many times in recent decades, but clearly had no effect. They did not reverse the trend. When European political leaders and commentators speak of anti-Semitism, they are vague and almost never give more detailed explanations. They never say why anti-Semitism is despicable and dangerous. They perform a sort of abstract ritual that seems more and more detached from reality.
On the other hand, when European political leaders and commentators are more precise, they generally refer only to a certain type of anti-Semitism: fascist anti-Semitism. Even if fascist anti-Semitism has not disappeared, it is not the most virulent anti-Semitism in Europe now, and no longer involved in much anti-Semitic crime. It is as if they are fighting a sickness by designating only one aspect of the sickness and sparing its most important dimensions.
European political leaders and commentators almost never speak of the most virulent strain of anti-Semitism in Europe today: Islamic anti-Semitism. They are afraid to combine the two words "Islamic" and "anti-Semitism." They know that if they do, they will be immediately accused of being "racist" and "Islamophobic." They know that Muslim organizations will start to say in the mainstream media that Muslims are being unfairly "stigmatized." They also know that the Muslim population in Europe is increasing quickly, and that some of its members may react with violence.
There is no fight against Islamic anti-Semitism in Europe today. If a non-Muslim bookseller wanted to sell The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Paris, Berlin or Brussels, the police would intervene immediately, and he would be arrested and prosecuted. If a Muslim bookseller wants to do the same thing, he can, without risking anything. If a French or a German television station decided to broadcast anti-Semitic programs, it would be shut down, and it would cause a scandal. Islamic TV channels broadcast anti-Semitic programs that attract a wide audience in Europe, and nobody dares talk about it.
A further cause of anti-Semitism never evoked in Europe is the spread of "anti-Zionism." The "Palestinian cause" and the "suffering of the Palestinian People" have become the main concern of a growing number of Europeans who, strangely, are not interested in the suffering of any other people — Syrians for example. Israel has become the country that it is fashionable to hate. Widespread hatred of successive Israeli governments in Israel has led to hatred toward the Israeli population, and hatred toward the Jews in general, especially if they support Israel.
European political leaders and commentators do not fight "anti-Zionism" except when it becomes extreme and when its anti-Semitic dimension becomes impossible to hide. Many seem to have anti-Israel prejudices and consciously or unconsciously contribute to the spread of this hatred. Anti-Semitism in Europe today is like a complex dark nebula. It includes remnants of fascist anti-Semitism and increasing levels of Islamic anti-Semitism, with "Anti-Zionism" added to the mix. Fascist anti-Semites, to hide their anti-Semitism, often join "anti-Zionist" movements, where they work hand in hand with Islamic anti-Semites to organize protests against Israel. Islamic anti-Semites use elements of fascist propaganda and disseminate them without any barrier….
Jews who can do so, leave Europe. Those who do not have the means to leave know they must be extremely careful: it is dangerous again to be a Jew in Europe. It is even more dangerous to be a Jew who supports Israel.
Jews who publicly despise Israel, or who say that the Jewish people does not exist, are widely praised. What Theodor Lessing called "Jüdische Selbsthass" (Jewish self-hatred), in a book published in Germany in 1930, impregnates the atmosphere again. Calling to mind the darkest period of the history of Europe may seem pessimistic. And those who say that history does not repeat itself are probably right, but certain forms of malevolence seem particularly able to find new clothing to survive and thrive again. In an interview in a French magazine a few years ago, a man who survived the death camp in Auschwitz said: "In the 1930s, the pessimists found ways to survive; it was the optimists who died."
New York Times, Oct. 27, 2012
Last week, Twitter shut down a popular account for posting anti-Semitic messages in France. This came soon after the firing of blanks at a synagogue near Paris, the discovery of a network of radical Islamists who had thrown a hand grenade into a kosher restaurant, and the killing of a teacher and young pupils at a Jewish school in Toulouse earlier this year. The attacks were part of an escalating campaign of violence against Jews in France.
Today, a sizable section of the European left has been reluctant to take a clear stand when anti-Zionism spills over into anti-Semitism. Beginning in the 1990s, many on the European left began to view the growing Muslim minorities in their countries as a new proletariat and the Palestinian cause as a recruiting mechanism. The issue of Palestine was particularly seductive for the children of immigrants, marooned between identities.
Capitalism was depicted as undermining a perfect Islamic society while cultural imperialism corrupted Islam. The tactic has a distinguished revolutionary pedigree. Indeed, the cry, “Long live Soviet power, long live the Shariah,” was heard in Central Asia during the 1920s after Lenin tried to cultivate Muslim nationalists in the Soviet East once his attempt to spread revolution to Europe had failed. But the question remains: why do today’s European socialists identify with Islamists whose worldview is light-years removed from their own?
In recent years, there has been an increased blurring of the distinction between Jew, Zionist and Israeli. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the militant group Hezbollah, famously commented: “If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice I do not say the Israeli.”
Whereas historically Islam has often been benevolent toward Jews, compared to Christianity, many contemporary Islamists have evoked the idea of “the eternal Jew.” For example, the Battle of Khaybar in 629, fought by the Prophet Muhammad against the Jewish tribes, is recalled in victory chants at Hezbollah rallies: “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return,” and the name Khaybar sometimes graces Hezbollah rockets aimed at Israel….
The old left in Europe was forged in the struggle against local fascists in the 1930s. Most of Europe experienced a brutal Nazi occupation and bore witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust. The European left strongly identified with Jewish suffering and therefore welcomed the birth of the state of Israel in 1948. Some viewed the struggle for Israel in the same light as the fight for freedom in the Spanish Civil War.
But the succeeding generation of the European left did not see things this way. Its frame of reference was the anticolonial struggle — in Vietnam, South Africa, Rhodesia and a host of other places. Its hallowed icon was not the soldier of the International Brigades who fought against Franco in Spain, but Che Guevara — whose image adorned countless student bedrooms. Anticolonialism further influenced myriad causes, from America’s Black Panthers in the 1960s to Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela today.
It began with Israel’s exclusion from the ranks of the nonaligned nations more than 50 years ago, when Arab states refused to attend a 1955 nonaligned conference in Indonesia if an Israeli delegate was present. The Jewish state was snubbed in favour of such feudal kingdoms as Saudi Arabia, Libya and Yemen. And Israel’s collusion with imperial powers like Britain and France during the Suez crisis the following year cemented its ostracism….
Amid this rising hostility toward Israel, the French philosopher and political activist Jean-Paul Sartre advocated a different way forward. He was scarred by the memory of what had happened to France’s Jews during World War II — the discrimination, betrayals, deportations and exterminations. He understood the legitimacy of Israel’s war for independence and later commented that the establishment of the state of Israel was one of the few events “that allows us to preserve hope.” Yet Sartre also strongly supported Algeria’s fight for independence from France.
This double legacy of supporting Israel and the Algerian struggle symbolized the predicament of the entire postwar European left. Sartre argued that the left shouldn’t choose between two moral causes and that it was up to the Jews and the Arabs to resolve their conflict through discussion and negotiation. Sartre tried to create a space for a dialogue, lending his name and prestige to private and public meetings between the two sides such as the Comité Israël-Palestine in the 1970s. His approach reached its apogee with the many quiet meetings between Israelis and Palestinians in Europe that eventually led to the Oslo accords.
But Sartre’s vision was stymied as Israeli settlements proliferated after 1977, strengthening the left’s caricature of Israel as an imperialist power and a settler-colonial enterprise. Some prominent voices on the European left have mouthed time-honoured anti-Semitic tropes in their desire to appear supportive of the Palestinian cause. Ken Livingstone, a former newspaper editor and mayor of London, has a long history of insensitive remarks about Jews — from publishing a cartoon in 1982 of Menachem Begin, then Israel’s prime minister, in Gestapo uniform atop a pile of Palestinian skulls to likening a known Jewish reporter to “a concentration camp guard” 20 years later. Today, he contributes to Press TV, the English-language outlet for the Iranian government.
Sometimes the left distinguishes between vulnerable European Jews who have been persecuted and latter-day “Prussians” in Israel. Yet it is often forgotten that a majority of Israelis just happen to be Jews, who fear therefore that what begins with the delegitimization of the state will end with the delegitimization of the people.
Such Israelophobia, enunciated by sections of the European left, dovetailed neatly with the rise of Islamism among Palestinians and throughout the Arab world. The Islamist obfuscation of “the Jew” mirrored the blindness of many a European Marxist. Despite the well-intentioned efforts of many Jews and Muslims to put aside their differing perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the offensive imagery of “the Jew” has persisted in many immigrant communities in Western Europe. Islamists were willing to share platforms with socialists and atheists, but not with Zionists.
The New Left’s profound opposition to American power, and the convergence of reactionary Islamists and unquestioning leftists was reflected in the million-strong London protest against the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It was organized by the Muslim Association of Britain, the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and the Stalinist Communist Party of Britain. When some Muslims voiced apprehension about participating in the protest with non-Muslims, the M.A.B. leadership decreed that it was religiously permissible if halal food was provided and men and women were given separate areas. Such displays of “reactionary clericalism,” as the early Bolsheviks would have called it, were happily glossed over.
Sartre understood that the conflict was not simply between Israelis and Palestinians, but between those advocating peace on both sides and their rejectionists. This conflict within the conflict is something that many on Europe’s left, as they ally themselves with unsavoury forces, still fail to comprehend.
Instead, the swallowing up of both the Israeli and Palestinian peace camps by political polarization has accelerated the closing of the progressive mind. And static fatalism has allowed the assailant of synagogue congregants and the killer of young children to fill the vacuum.
Colin Shindler is an emeritus professor at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.
Before the ink was even dry on the Palestinian vote at the UN last [November], headlines already started flooding in on how Israel 'lost Europe.' The reality however, could not be further from the truth, as Israel continues to make stunning headway in its trade and bilateral relations with the EU….
Regrettably, when commentators lament how Israel has 'lost' Europe, they overlook the impressive list of achievements by this [Israeli] government in the past four years. For example, in May 2010 the OECD unanimously voted to invite Israel to join the organization. This was no small achievement, and came despite intensive lobbying by the Palestinians. Even countries like Norway, Spain and Ireland, traditionally the most hostile to Israel in Europe, voted in favor.
In September 2011 Israel became the first non-European member of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, while in July this year the EU and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen their scientific cooperation in the fields of energy and water desalination, where Israel is a world leader.
Moreover, in October the European Parliament ratified the ACAA agreement (Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products) with Israel. The agreement is unprecedented in that it recognizes Israel’s industrial standards as equivalent to those in Europe, especially in healthcare, and is a prime example of a 'win-win' situation for both Europe and Israel.
According to David Saranga, the head of European Parliament Liaison Department for the Israeli Mission to the EU: "The ACAA protocol will eliminate technical barriers to trade by facilitating the mutual recognition of assessment procedures. This will in turn help lead to facilitating imports of high-quality, low-cost Israeli medicines into the EU, while at the same time increasing medicinal choice for European patients and healthcare professionals."
In the last few years, Israel has also held an increasing number of government-to-government meetings at the highest level of Cabinet with various European allies, including the Czechs, Italy, Poland, Bulgaria and Germany (with whom Israel is meeting in Berlin this week). As a result of these meetings, Israel has signed a number of significant bilateral agreements in areas of high-tech, green energy, culture and the sciences.
This year alone, Israel has signed multi-billion dollar gas deals with Cyprus and Greece; Israel’s Aerospace Industries has secured two contracts worth nearly $1 billion to provide Italy with air force military equipment; whilst the past year has also been Israel’s “best tourism year ever”, with more than 3.5 million visitors to the Holy Land – most of whom have come from European countries.
Importantly, in 2011 the EU was Israel's largest trading partner, with total trade amounting to approximately €29.4 billion for the year – an increase of 45% from 2009; and this came during the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis in Europe. Achievements like this do not come easily, nor do they occur overnight. Whilst the United States will always remain Israel's most important ally, the Foreign Ministry, under the present political leadership, has made a concerted effort to reach out to allies in Europe (and elsewhere) that had been neglected in the past.
Perhaps the key factor though behind Israel’s success in Europe has been its ability to successfully extricate 'the conflict' from their bilateral relations. Previously, there had been a direct correlation between how the conflict was progressing and Israel's trade relations. Today, Israel has created an environment in which its bilateral agreements are increasingly judged on trade merits alone, while membership in international organizations is based on the same criteria as for every other nation – that is, what can Israel contribute by way of skills, experience and expertise. No, Israel has not 'lost' Europe. Rather, Israel is 'winning' in Europe.
Arsen Ostrovsky is an International Human Rights Lawyer and freelance journalist.
Europe: The World’s New Superpower: Anne Applebaum, National Post, Jan 28, 2013—“A decade of war is now ending,” U.S. President Barack Obama declared Monday. Maybe that’s true in America, but it isn’t true anywhere else. Extremists are still plotting acts of terror. Authoritarian and autocratic regimes are still using violence to preserve their power. The United States can step back from international conflicts, but that won’t make them disappear.
Mali War Exposes Europe's Security Shortcomings: By Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer & Martin Michelot, Real Clear World, Jan. 18, 2013—Since the intervention in Libya in 2011, which highlighted strong dissensions between France and Germany in the conduct of military engagement, Europeans have been waiting for a new opportunity to prove they could unite around a common objective, away from Brussels and the near-constant series of crisis meetings.
The Weimar Union: Walter Laqueur, The New Republic, July 13, 2012—The public discussion of Europe’s economic crisis has carried a curious air of repression: When commentators have worried about worst-case scenarios—the scenarios that harken back to the dark moments in the Continent’s history—they have generally been dismissed as alarmist.
The Blood Libel That Won’t Quit: Nathalie Rothschild, Tablet Magazine, Dec. 3, 2012—In 2009, the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet ran a story alleging that members of the Israel Defense Forces had stolen the organs of up to 69 Palestinians who died in their custody. Titled “Our sons are plundered of their organs” it accused the IDF of having conducted “macabre operations” in the Occupied Territories during the early 1990s.
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