Written by Ruth S. King
Thursday, October 19, 2006 (hat tip Wits0)
Author Rita Kramer once wrote that anti-Semitism is the bedrock culture of Europe, always stirring within the great wars that have shaken the continent. The alarming escalation of anti-Semitism on the continent today would certainly bear this out.
In the aftermath of World War II, anti-Semitism was subdued in most Western nations, whose citizens were appalled by the genocide that killed one third of world Jewry. This was the case even in England which was involved in a confrontation with Jewish fighters determined to liberate Palestine.
The Russians and the satellite communist nations showed no such inhibitions. Jews who survived the Holocaust to return to Hungary and Poland were met with pogroms. Stalin set into motion fake trials, purges, “disappearances,” deportations and executions of Jews, including members of his inner circle and staunch supporters of the Communist party. Only his providential death in 1953 aborted his planned deportation of all Jews to Siberia, a likely death sentence for most. Even so, the oppression of Jews continued. Secret police hounded Jews, restricting their movements, their right to worship and congregate, fining and imprisoning them.
In 1967, Israel’s lightening success in the Six Day War invigorated Zionism and inspired pioneering Soviet Jews to become refuseniks. Their numbers and determination grew with Israel’s (more difficult) victory in 1973 and they demanded the right to emigrate. American Jews, also more confident and secure after 1967, lobbied their legislators to support Soviet Jewry. The result was the Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Trade Act of 1974 which denied normal trade with states that imprisoned their populations. The rest is history. Subsequently, free of the yoke of Russia and dazzled by Israel's success, Eastern European countries made some efforts to restore Jewish communities and examine their own sordid history.
But now that the Western democracies are forced to confront Islamic terror, their Jewish citizens face an alarming surge of anti-Semitism. While most of it is fomented by Europe's large Moslem populations, the indifference and complicity of many non-Moslem citizens is startling.
The blame for this state of affairs is usually directed at Israel for its purported “occupation” of Arab lands. This is to reverse reality. In truth anti-Semitism escalated after the Oslo agreements, the Clinton/Rabin brokered swindle that made terrorism another form of statecraft. It grew exponentially with the continued pattern of surrender to terror culminating in the retreat from Gaza and Olmert’s offer of a “convergence” plan which would ineluctably thrust Israel back to the 1949 armistice line.
For a while anti-Semitism was cloaked in anti-Israel rhetoric. Dozens of leftist and “anti-war” political and communal organizations, academics, notably in the Middle East departments, the international media and, of course, the United Nations, all practiced this mode.
The Moslem world never bothered to cloak its anti-Semitism and is now full of hysterical hatred. We hear primitive anti-Jewish ranting from Iran’s president and the imams and mullahs whose vicious fulminations are so well documented by MEMRI, Daniel Pipes and the contributors to Jihad Watch. They embolden suicide bombers and Moslems worldwide, along with their cheerleaders in every corner of the world.
Even in Malaysia--with no Jewish population--the former Prime Minister Mahthir Mohamad called Jews an arrogant world power who gets others to fight its wars and issued a call to arms: “ It cannot be that there is no other way. 1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way.” The “way” is mass murder and his view clearly resonates far beyond Malaysia.
In South Africa, once home to a large and successful Jewish population, editorials set the climate, describing Hezbollah and Hamas as “Islamic Liberation Groups”--while studiously ignoring suicide attacks against innocent Israelis.
The Jewish Times of Australia (August 16) reports: “The Parramatta Synagogue has been attacked for the second time in the space of two weeks with blocks of cement hurled at it in the attack overnight….In another incident two weeks ago, an attempt was made to set alight a Jewish youth movement centre at Bondi.”
From Corsica, September 1, 2006: “A small explosive device was found Friday morning outside the synagogue of Bastia on the French island of Corsica, police said. The synagogue, the sole on the island, was vandalised in 1998 by unknown people with prayer books torn up, silk scarves shredded and religious images defaced, windows broken and silver candlestick holders stolen…”
Argentina is infamous for two terrorist attacks, the first against Israel’s embassy in 1992, which killed two dozen people, and the second in 1994, against the Jewish Community Center, which killed 85 and injured more than two hundred. Recently hundreds participated in an anti-Israel rally carrying placards denouncing the Jewish state as “genocidal” and pledging support to Hezbollah. The rally, initiated by Moslems, attracted large groups of non-Moslems including students, members of the Workers’ Party and a sizable group of middle class housewives and professionals.
In Venezuela, the Jewish communal organizations are harassed by Hugo Chavez whose pro-Jihadist sentiments were highlighted during his visits to Teheran. Hezbollah is given support and training grounds while Jews are increasingly frightened, their institutions unprotected.
In France, Belgium, and throughout the European Union, anti-Semitic incidents are on an alarming rise, including beating, stalking, desecration of synagogues and murder. The Jewish communities in EU nations are urged to keep a “low profile.” The president of Spain dons a keffya in solidarity with the intifadists and Italy joins England, Portugal, Spain and Germany in refusing to allow El Al cargo planes carrying IDF equipment from U.S. military bases to Israel to land and refuel.
In England the rise in anti-Semitic incidents is so high that a commission has been established to investigate what Melanie Phillips calls “the hate fest against the Jewish people.” Early reports of the commission state that Moslems are eightfold more likely to hate Jews. But they find like-minded folks among rank and file Britons, in the media, in government where the mayor of London and assorted parliamentarians indulge in outrageous anti-Semitic rants, and in the universities where attacking Israel is part of the core curriculum.
In Oslo, a synagogue was bombed on September 17. The home of Nobel peace prizes has a large Moslem population, but the non-Moslems are only too eager to join in bashing Jews. Jostein Gaarder, prominent author of Sophie's World, wrote in Aftenposten, Norway's leading newspaper "We do no longer recognize the state of Israel....May spirit and word sweep away the apartheid walls of Israel. The state of Israel does not exist. It is now without defense, without skin."
A sign of the times: IDF officers have been given a memorandum warning that they may face arrest and charges of war crimes in Europe. Organizations in Europe have begun to compile cases against government officials as well, and they too are warned against visiting Europe. And here in the United States, our sunny corner of the Diaspora, there are more and more anti-Israel demonstrations. In Salt Lake City, Utah, the mayor permitted defense attorney Robert Breeze to hold a "Death to Israel" demonstration on September 6, despite protests from the Jewish community. On August 12, 2006 in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Seattle, anti-war rallies attracted thousands from Moslem communities and the socialist left. From their podiums one could hear a cacophony of anti-Jewish taunts, demanding an end to American support for “the Jewish Nazis and Kikes.” Similar hate fests are repeated on many campuses.
Even the political arena is different. Democratic candidates usually made the requisite bow to America’s “special relationship” with Israel. The landscape has changed. Connecticut’s Senator Joseph Lieberman, an orthodox Jew who was a vice presidential candidate in 2000, where his nomination at the Democratic Convention elicited cheering chants of “Joe and Hadassah,” is now called “Jew Lieberman” on a website promoting the Democrats.
And, last, mainline Protestant churches routinely promote boycotts of Israel and disinvestment from companies that do business with Israel. In fact, the major strong defenders of Israel are in the Evangelical community which represents forty percent of Republican voters in America.
Had enough? This is only the tip of the iceberg, but I’ll stop. And what is the reaction of the world’s Jews? Predictably, some Jewish organizations blame Israel. Recently the World Jewish Congress sent a mission to Israel to warn Olmert that Israel’s hard line policies in Lebanon had spurred the malignant recrudescence of Jew hatred. Other groups, like the English “Engage,” voice opposition to boycotts and violence against Jews, but keep the drum beating about the “occupation” and the suffering inflicted on Arabs, which only fuels the sentiments of their enemies. Jews continue to gravitate to the anti-war left and demonstrate a dangerous unwillingness to acknowledge the necessity for tough measures to find and control would-be terrorists on our soil.
What Jews fail so signally to recognize is that the most important cause of this resurgence of anti-Semitism is the perception of Israel in retreat. It is undeniable that a powerful and victorious Israel elevated the international prestige and confidence of the Jewish people everywhere. By contrast, an Israel which has lost its way and forfeited its claim to its legitimate and historic rights is viewed with contempt, encouraging and emboldening anti-Semites. Jew hatred is an opportunistic virus that attacks weakened organisms. Like those nations of Eastern Europe which hated Jews even after there were none left, the Arabs will hate Israel and the Jews even if they were all to leave or die. Only Israel’s determination to succeed, to prevail, to prosper and to win will sedate them and anti-Semites all over the world.
There is a war within the war on terror. It is a war against the Jewish people. The consequence of ignoring the link between a strong and secure Israel and the safety of all Jews will be a dark and cold winter for Jews throughout the Diaspora.
About the Writer: Ruth S. King is on the executive committee of Americans for a Safe Israel and a member of the editorial board of "Outpost" where she contributes a monthly column .
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Written by Ruth S. King