_Major Steps to Confront Antisemitism
Jerusalem Post, Oct. 23, 2019In the huge battle against antisemitism, Jews and sympathetic non-Jews have to ask themselves: What can they contribute? Early in the new Jewish year is a good occasion to list priorities for action by those willing to participate in this confrontation.What can the Israeli government, citizens, Jewish leaders and individuals abroad do to improve the situation? The major impetus has to come from Israel. The State of Israel has far more possibilities to act than even the largest Jewish organizations abroad.The Israeli government has greatly failed in systematically analyzing, monitoring and confronting both classic antisemitism and anti-Israelism. The Knesset
has equally missed the opportunities to demand that the government set up an anti-propaganda entity.
There is a new Knesset now. Each adherent of a political party or person who has access to a Knesset member can ask him or her: “What are you or your party doing to convince the government to establish such an entity, even though it is very late in the game? We have an army to fight our enemies and terrorists. We have intelligence services to provide intelligence about our enemies and enact counter-intelligence. Israel invests a huge amount of resources in cyberdefense and security. Why don’t we have an anti-propaganda agency?”
It is indeed, mind-boggling that this has not been established in the past two decades.
A second priority is to target Israeli and Jewish leaders. They should encourage non-Jewish leaders and high-profile figures to publicly acknowledge that antisemitism is an integral part of Western culture – or at least to say that antisemitism is interwoven with it.
This hatred has erupted almost continuously in Western societies over the centuries. So far, only a few Jewish scholars and writers have stressed the obvious. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church, is one of the exceptionally rare non-Jews who have admitted this truth. In this context, it also has to be made clear that even though antisemitism is interwoven with Western culture by no means implies that most Westerners are antisemites. Without this intermingling of Western culture with antisemitic belief systems, the Holocaust would not have been possible. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
The UN Antisemitism Report’s Achievements and Shortcomings
Jerusalem Post, Oct. 10, 2019
Suggesting that the United Nations – a notorious inciter against Israel – could produce a valuable report on global antisemitism seemed farfetched. This however is what Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Ahmed Shaheed has done. Also remarkable is that the author hails from the island state of the Maldives, a Muslim country. He has been living in exile since 2012.
The unprecedented report – still officially in an “advance unedited version” – was positively received by Israel’s UN Representative Danny Danon and several Jewish organizations. Yet a balanced position is called for. One should praise what is good and mention what is missing in the report.
As to the merits: The report mentions that antisemitism is global and it exposes antisemitic tropes. It states that the perpetrators of the hatred of Jews include white supremacists, neo-Nazis, members of radical Islamist groups as well as leftists. The report also discusses the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement without taking a clear position. The rapporteur mentions the claims that the BDS movement is fundamentally antisemitic. He also brings up counterclaims from BDS supporters that it is not.
The report correctly points out that predominant antisemitic attitudes differ between various regions. Shaheed could have added here that they also differ substantially between individual member countries of the European Union. The major percentages of antisemitism among hate crimes in the US and Canada are also mentioned. So is the increase in antisemitic acts in various European countries. Online antisemitism receives attention as does the infringement by some governments of religious freedom.
The rapporteur gives extensive attention to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism and considers it a valuable non-legal tool in the fight against this hatred. As far as the recommendations go, the rapporteur urges “states, civil society, the media and the United Nations to follow a human rights based approach to combating antisemitism.” He stresses correctly that the primary responsibility of addressing acts of intolerance and discrimination lies with states including their political representatives.”
What is missing from the report belongs to two categories. The first is issues which are de facto taboo in a report of the UN. The second concerns subjects which could and should have been mentioned. The main item in the taboo category is the huge role played by the UN and associated organizations in promoting antisemitism. Their focus is on hatred of Israel. As a result, the rapporteur could not explicitly mention that there are three major types of antisemitism: religious, nationalistic-ethnic and anti-Israeli hatred. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Contemporary Jewish Academics and the Masochist Tradition
BESA, Aug. 20, 2019
On May 17th, the German parliament, the Bundestag, adopted a motion equating BDS with antisemitism. In response, 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars wrote a letter rejecting this equivalence. They called on the German government not to endorse the motion and to protect and respect freedom of speech, which they claim are under attack.
This is one of many typical acts of contemporary Jewish masochism. Free speech in Germany has, in the past, led to the most extreme criminal acts against Jews in history. There are still witnesses alive today who can speak to this. There are also a number of substantial antisemitism-promoting issues in contemporary German society and government policy against which these 240 scholars have not protested in an organized way, if at all.
The genocide-promoting Hezbollah organization is permitted to operate freely in Germany. Germany supports many anti-Israel resolutions in the UN and associated bodies while no similar resolutions exist against many criminal nations. This is, according to the main definition of antisemitism (the one from the International Holocaust Remembrance Association [IHRA]), an antisemitic act. Nor did the aforementioned Jewish academics protest against the immigration of hundreds of thousands of antisemites among the refugees from Muslim countries who have entered Germany since 2015. It should be noted that these imported antisemites do not distinguish in their prejudice and hatred between masochist and non-masochist Jews.
Masochism was and is a substantial strand in Israeli society and the Jewish world. It is a millennia-old tradition. Yet it is almost entirely ignored in Jewish public discourse. One can find masochistic tendencies in the origins of Judaism. During times of adversity, pagan nations often added or replaced their existing gods as they blamed the latter for their misfortunes. The Tanach (The Hebrew Bible) gives an example of this during the Assyrian rule of the land of Israel. When its new inhabitants were attacked by lions, they asked for an Israelite priest to teach them how to worship the Lord while still worshipping their existing gods. In contrast, the Israelites, under ongoing admonishment from their prophets, ultimately started to blame only themselves for their misfortunes.
Well before that time, the patriarch Abraham made an extreme effort in a detailed discussion with the Lord to save the evil city of Sodom from destruction. Yet when the Lord ordered him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Abraham was willing to fulfill this divine order without any argument.
One can also trace this masochism in the Talmud where it is stated explicitly: “Rabbi Abahu says be always among the persecuted and not among the persecutors.” One finds it in later Jewish literature and in the current Jewish prayer book, particularly before the High Holidays.
Yet another Biblical text that can lead to masochism is the one from Isaiah instructing Israelites to be a “light unto the nations.” It is masochism incarnate when Jews conclude from this injunction that the State of Israel has failed if it is anything less than perfect. This type of thinking invites discriminatory criticism of Israel against which Jewish masochists have no defense. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Anti-Israelism is Anti-Semitism: An Interview with Manfred Gerstenfeld
New English Review, September 2013
Manfred Gerstenfeld, the former Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a noted author and commentator on European and World anti-Semitism. He recently published a book of interviews, Demonizing Israel and the Jews. The book presents important themes on how prevalent anti-Semitism, anti-Israelism and what Gerstenfeld terms “humanitarian racism” are in the West today. See our review in the current edition of the New English Review.
Vienna-born Gerstenfeld is a Holocaust survivor who grew up as a child of Jews hidden in Holland not far from Anne Frank’s hiding place in Amsterdam. A product of a strongly Zionist and Orthodox Jewish family he left Amsterdam for Paris in 1964 to become a premier pharmaceutical industry stock analyst for Eurofinance – a consortium of 16 international banks. That subsequently led to an illustrious international strategic and financial consultancy career in both Europe and Israel. Making Aliyah with his family in 1968 to Israel, he served in the IDF as a Reserve Officer in Economic Intelligence. In 1999 following the passing of the founding chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, he assumed that post which he held from 2000 to 2012. While there he established a program of Post-Holocaust and anti-Semitism studies specializing in the continuing problem of European and global anti-Semitism. Near the close of the 20th Century he returned to Dutch problems, advising on the matter of restitution for Dutch Holocaust survivors on behalf of Dutch Jewish immigrants in Israel. His demand for an apology by the Dutch for the failure of the Government in exile in London during World War Two to recognize the destruction of Holland’s Jews during the Holocaust drew wide international attention. Gerstenfeld has frequently commented in books and articles about the Dutch attitude towards Jews following the Nazi occupation that witnessed the murders of over 100,000 of his Dutch coreligionists in Nazi death camps. In 2012, he was given a Lifetime Award by The Journal for the Study of Antisemitism.
Gerstenfeld’s latest work draws attention to one reason why Israel and Jews are demonized, “humanitarian racism,” meaning the attributing of an “intrinsically reduced responsibility to people of certain ethnic or national groups regarding their criminal acts and intentions.” He has developed an estimate based on several studies and polls that approximately “150 million Europeans have extreme negative views about Jews and the State of Israel.” In an email exchange, Bat Ye’or suggests that Palestianism is the root of “humanitarian racism.” Note how Bat Ye’or defined Palestinism in our interview with her:
Palestinism is a world policy initiated and imposed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and its Western allies that aims to transfer to Palestinian Muslims the history, the cultural and religious heritage of the Jewish people. . . . Palestinism encompasses all Western-Muslim relationships.
In a Jewish Telegraph interview on August 9, 2013 titled, “Europe 40 per cent do not like Jews and Israel,” Gerstenfeld commented:
Anti-Israelism is a new form of Antisemitism. People believe Israelis are evil…and behave in a manner worse than the Nazis. . . .These people call themselves anti-Zionists.
Turning from European anti-Semitism, Gerstenfeld had this observation about where a Second Holocaust might come from – the Muslim world:
Large parts of the Muslim world are willing to commit a Holocaust in the sense of exterminating Israel.
A moderate leader in Iran said Israel should disappear. That is calling for a Holocaust, if Iran uses its nuclear weapons.
Gerstenfeld argues that leftist social democratic parties in Europe are aligned with Muslim extremists engaged in demonizing Israel and Jews. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
For Further Reference:
The Long History of Progressives and Perversity: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 7, 2018 — Many progressive organizations and individuals claim that they promote a better world.
The Failed Halle Synagogue Massacre Reveals the Dysfunction of German Law: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Algemeiner, Nov. 8, 2019 –– Antisemitism in the Western world and in the Muslim world cannot be eliminated. It is far too deeply rooted. But in the West, it can be contained to a certain extent if appropriate efforts are made.
Israel Must Remain Vigilant in Its Relations with Poland: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Algemeiner, Sept. 5, 2019 — In view of Poland’s historical treatment of Jews, Israel must remain ever-vigilant that there be no falsification of history as Polish-Israeli relations develop.
Sweden’s Cycle of Anti-Semitism: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Mosaic, Dec. 14, 2018 — Last year, three Arab men threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg.
This week’s French-language briefing is titled