Friday, August 22, 2014
Deborah E. Lipstadt is professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University and the author, most recently, of “The Eichmann Trial.”
ATLANTA — AN old Jewish joke goes like this: “What’s the definition of a Jewish telegram? ‘Start worrying. Details to follow.’ ”
I am often asked by fellow Jews about contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe. “Is this just like 1939? Are we on the cusp of another Holocaust?” Until now, my answer has been an unequivocal “no.” I have criticized community leaders who, either out of genuine concern or to advance their own purposes, use Holocaust analogies to describe contemporary conditions. These claims are ahistorical. They overstate what is going on now and completely understate the situation in 1939.
The differences between then and now are legion. When there is an outbreak of anti-Semitism today, officials condemn it. This is light-years away from the 1930s and 1940s, when governments were not only silent but complicit. Memory also distinguishes the present from previous events. Now, in contrast to the 1930s, we know matters can escalate. Jews today are resolute in their determination: “Never again.”
And despite all this I wonder if I am too sanguine. Last month, pro-Gaza protesters on Kurfürstendamm, the legendary avenue in Berlin, chanted, “Jews, Jews, cowardly swine.” Demonstrators in Dortmund and Frankfurt chanted, “Hamas, Hamas; Jews to the gas!” And a pro-Hamas marcher in Berlin broke away from the crowd and assaulted an older man who was quietly standing on a corner holding an Israeli flag.
On the eve of Bastille Day, a group of Parisian Jews were trapped in a synagogue by pro-Palestinian rioters and had to be rescued by the police. A few weeks ago signs were posted in Rome urging a boycott of 50 Jewish-owned businesses. In central London last week, anti-Israel protesterstargeted a Sainsbury’s grocery, and the manager reflexively pulled kosher products off the shelves. (The supermarket chain later apologized.)
It would be simple to link all this outrage to events in Gaza. But this trend has been evident for a while. In March 2012, four people were killed at a Jewish day school in Toulouse, France. (Last month, a Jewish community center there was firebombed.) In December 2012, Israeli officials warned Jewish men who wanted to visit synagogues in Denmark not to don their skullcaps until they were inside the building. It is increasingly common for Jewish tourists in Western Europe to avoid carrying anything that might distinguish them as such. A shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May, a month before the latest Gaza conflict began, killed four people.
I am unpersuaded by those who try to dismiss what is happening as “just rhetoric.” It is language, after all, that’s at the heart of the ubiquitous slippage from anger at Israeli military action to hatred of Jews.
Nor am I comforted by the explanation that these actions are being taken by “disgruntled Muslim youth.” (By one estimate, 95 percent of anti-Semitic actions in France are committed by youths of Arab or African descent.) Many of these Muslims were born in Europe, and many of those who weren’t are the parents of a new generation of Europeans.
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It’s true that this is not the anti-Semitism of the 1930s, which came from the right and was rooted in longstanding Christian views that demonized the Jews. Traditionally, Islam did not treat Jews this way. But in the past century a distinct strain of Muslim anti-Semitism has emerged. Built on a foundation of antipathy toward non-Muslims, it mixes Christian anti-Semitism — imported to the Middle East by European missionaries — and a more leftist, secular form of anti-Semitism. It is evident in political cartoons, editorials, television shows and newspaper articles.
The Hamas charter is an example. It contains references to “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notorious forgery created by Russian czarist police officers in 1903 and later used as Nazi propaganda. The charter accuses Jews of relying on secret societies to foment global economic and political disasters. It calls on adherents to prepare for “the next round with the Jews, the merchants of war.”
The rationales — “it’s just rhetoric,” “it’s just Muslims” — bother me almost as much as the outrages. Instead of explaining away these actions, cultural, religious and academic leaders in all the countries where these events have occurred should be shaken to the core, not just about the safety of their Jewish neighbors, but about the future of the seemingly liberal, enlightened societies they belong to. Yet when a Hamas spokesman recently stood by his statement that Jews used the blood of non-Jewish children for their matzos — one of the oldest anti-Semitic canards around — European elites were largely silent.
Seventy years after the Holocaust, many Jews in Europe no longer feel safe. Hiring an armed guard to protect people coming for weekly prayer is not the action of a secure people. In too many cities worldwide, directions to the local synagogue conclude with, “You will recognize it by the police car in front of the building.” France has seen a sharp rise in the number of Jews who have decided to emigrate (though the figures are still fairly small).
The telegram has arrived. Jews are worrying. It is time for those who value a free, democratic, open, multicultural and enlightened society to do so, too. This is not another Holocaust, but it’s bad enough.
Posted by Fabian Pascal at 9:29 AM
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Before Obama was re-elected, I warned that as a lame duck without electoral dependence he will be a huge danger not just to the US, but particularly to Israel's existence. Looks I was more than right.
But, as I already explained, it's not hard to understand at all: He came to power with two delusions and he acted on them systematically:It becomes ever harder to understand what the US administration thinks it is doing in the Middle East. Its influence is waning across the region. It appears insufficiently robust — to put it mildly — when dealing with the region’s most dangerous regimes, notably Iran. Its ill-judged lack of enthusiasm for Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — apparently blamed by Washington for ending an elected Muslim Brotherhood presidency, even though president Mohammed Morsi would likely have ensured no further elections — is pushing Egypt ever closer to Russia. And now ties with the region’s only democracy are fraying. --US livid with Israel? Hamas can’t believe its luck
- Israel is the root of all ME problems and the only reason Muslims hate America
- The Muslim Brotherhood is the "moderate Islam" to counter Al-Qaeda
The administration inadvertently gave away the real reason for its current displeasure with Israel in the way it expressed it:
A senior Obama administration official said the White House didn't intend to get into a "tit for tat" with the Israelis when the war broke out in Gaza. "We have many, many friends around the world. The United States is their strongest friend," the official said. "The notion that they are playing the United States, or that they're manipulating us publicly, completely miscalculates their place in the world." --Israel Outflanks the White House on StrategyIt is entirely unclear how exactly Israel "played" or "manipulated" the US (There was no end-around), but it is quite clear that it was the other way around: instead of supporting Egypt and Israel against Hamas, it betrayed them by going to Turkey and Qatar--Muslim Brotherhood (and, therefore, Hamas, supporters)--saving Hamas's ass (huge weapon contracts with both countries helped). It's the underlined expression that reveals the real problem: those pesky Jews, they don't know their place, they no longer go like sheep to slaughter, they have the gal to defend themselves, causing the ex-superpower problems with Islam (Islamic terror is a prohibited term, but fear of it is what drives the PostWest against Israel).
Once you understand all that, EU seeks region’s support to help Iraq stave off Islamic State and UN to vote on measure to combat al-Qaeda-linked fighters but "Most pro-Israel administration ever" blocks missile shipment to Israel makes perfect sense. ISIS bad, Hamas OK. Since, given the opportunity, the latter will not do to the Jews any less than what former does to takfirs and Christians, since the only difference between them is who they massacre, draw your own conclusion.
Now consider this:
UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the failure to hold a conference on establishing a nuclear-weapons-free-zone in the Middle East this year could jeopardize the success of next year's review of the landmark 1970 agreement aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear arms.
Ban urged all parties to finalize arrangements for a Mideast conference to be held as soon as possible this year, in a report to the U.N. General Assembly circulated Thursday.
It was scheduled to take place in Finland in late 2012, but the United States announced it would be delayed, apparently to save Israel, which is widely believed to possess a nuclear arsenal, though it has never confirmed having nuclear weapons. --UN chief urges meeting on nuclear-free Mideast
Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2014/08/14/6233646/un-chief-urges-meeting-on-nuclear.html#storylink=cpy
Posted by Fabian Pascal at 9:32 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Let's admit it: Israel can never win the media war against Hamas. No matter what it does, no matter how hard it tries.
Not because the Islamist terror group that is raining missiles on its cities and villages and using its own hapless subjects as human shields is the underdog in this conflict, but because the sight of Arabs killing Jews (or other Arabs for that matter) is hardly news; while the sight of Jews killing Arabs is a man-bites-dog anomaly that cannot be tolerated.
Imagine the following scenario: Thousands of foaming-at-the-mouth Jews rampaging through the streets of London and Paris to protest the blitz bombing of their co-religionists by a murderous al-Qaida/ISIS clone. They carry banners urging the killing of all Muslims wherever they are, hurl rocks and petrol bombs at the police, set fire to mosques, destroy Muslim properties and establishments, and attack all Muslims and Arabs coming their way.
Sound incredible? No doubt. For Jews in western (and Muslim) societies are be expected to know their place: to act maturely, responsibly and compassionately, to never fight fire with fire, to always understand the "other," to ever be ready to please, appease, and whenever necessary – turn the other cheek.
Not so Israel's enemies. With a sickening unanimity that has become all too familiar over the past decades, whenever the Jewish state responded in strength to Palestinian terrorism – be it rocket attacks from Lebanon; West Bank-originated suicide bombing campaigns (euphemized as the Aqsa intifada); or rocket, missile and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip – hordes of hateful, violent demonstrators flocked onto the streets of western cities throughout the world, not to call for peace or an end of violence on all sides but to demonize a sovereign democracy for daring to protect its citizens and to vilify and assault their own Jewish compatriots for no reason other than their different religious and/or ethnic identity.
"Today, non-Israeli Jews feel themselves once again exposed to criticism and vulnerable to attack for things they didn't do," the late New York University professor Tony Judt lamented amid the growing number of hate fests in the early 2000s. "The increased incidence of attacks on Jews in Europe and elsewhere is primarily attributable to misdirected efforts, often by young Muslims, to get back at Israel." [Ed. Note: Unfortunately for the late Judt, his response to anti-semitism was to intrnalize it, instead of rejecting and fighting it: Leon Wieseltier on Tony Judt.Israel inconvenienced his "citizen of the world" philosophy. Jews don't seem to accept that being hated is not their fault.] Anti-Semites, of course, have never been short of excuses for assaulting and killing Jews, and infinitely larger numbers of Jews were exterminated shortly before the founding of the State of Israel than in the 66 years of its existence, not to mention the millions massacred in Europe and the Middle East since antiquity.
Neither did European Jew-haters await Israel's establishment to unleash on the remnants of the Holocaust.
Anti-Semitic sentiments remained as pronounced as ever, especially in Eastern Europe, which witnessed a few vicious pogroms shortly after the end of World War II. Even in Germany, Jews found themselves attacked and abused in public with 60 percent of Germans condoning overt anti-Jewish acts of violence.
Yet if this bleak record failed to prevent an astute student of European history like Judt from falling for the canard that Israeli actions are the cause, rather than the pretext, for the worst wave of attacks on Jews and Jewish targets in Europe since the 1930s, why should one be surprised by its thoughtless dissemination by the international media? If it were not so appalling, one could even marvel in the irony that 80 years after being forced to wear yellow stars so they could be targeted for persecution, European Jews are being instructed to hide any signs of their Jewish identity, for their own protection.
What makes this phenomenon particularly galling is that instead of clarifying in no uncertain terms the unacceptability of this bigotry in civilized societies, western elites have treated these recurrent hate fests as legitimate, if at times excessive, manifestations of Muslim solidarity with the Palestinians, thus providing a safe environment for outright anti-Semitic attitudes and behavior. (As evidenced by the ongoing bloodbaths in Syria and Iraq, the notion of Muslim solidarity is a myth, with far more Muslims killed throughout history by their co-religionists than by non-Muslims.) Just as western politicians and the media have ignored Hamas's indiscriminate missile attacks on Israeli civilians but jumped up and down over Israel's military response, so they have been bending over backward since 9/11 to embrace their Muslim citizens and to accommodate their perceived needs and sensitivities while remaining willfully blind to the fact that it is Jews, not Muslims, whose lives have been most adversely affected by increasing hostile attitudes on the ground – after all it is the Jews, not Muslims of Europe, who are emigrating in record numbers to find a safe haven. It is Jews who feel vulnerable to attack, and who have faced the most violence, and whose institutions from synagogues to community buildings to Jewish newspaper offices have been under heavy police guard for years, because of events in the Middle East – no Muslim community in the West has had to undertake similar security precautions.
The truth of the matter is that since anti-Semites have never really distinguished among Zionists, Israelis and Jews (notwithstanding repeated protestations to the contrary), and since Israel is the world's only Jewish state, it has been tacitly construed as epitomizing the worst characteristics traditionally associated with Jews and has attracted the full brunt of anti-Jewish bigotry and hatred hitherto reserved for individuals and communities, not least because it has reversed the millenarian Jewish condition of dispersal, minority status and powerlessness. If prior to Israel's establishment Jews were despised because of their wretchedness and helplessness, they have hitherto been reviled because of their newly discovered physical and political empowerment.
So much so that 66 years after its establishment by an internationally recognized act of self-determination, the Jewish state remains the only state in the world whose right to self-defense, indeed to national existence, is constantly challenged.
In Lord Byron's memorable words: "The wild dove hath her nest, the fox his cove, mankind their country – Israel but the grave."
The Jerusalem Post
August 11, 2014
Posted by Fabian Pascal at 6:55 PM
- Senior Dutch gov’t employee: ISIS a Zionist conspiracy
- Fidel Castro Calls Israel Fascist
- Israel wants to eradicate Palestinians, Saudi minister says
- Hareidi MK Threatens 'Apartheid' Israel with Intifada
- Hamas: Israel Will Pay for Violating Ceasefire
This one takes the cake:
- UN Gaza Probe Head: Me Anti-Israel?l
- UNHRC Goldstone II chair refers to Zionists as our enemies
- Schabas Urged 'Twisting Things' to Get Israel in the Dock
- UN Gaza Probe Judge Won't Deny Double Standard Regarding Israel
- UN Committee on Israel 'Like IS on Religious Tolerance'
Posted by Fabian Pascal at 6:44 PM
Monday, August 11, 2014
Israel is an oasis surrounded by barbarians, beheaders, suicide bombers, mothers happy to send their own children to kill Jews - Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Salafists, Hezbollah, Islamic State, Iranian revolutionary guards... The list of the jihadist scum is long. But Israel’s most powerful enemy is the West itself ...
Israel’s wars to defend itself are always the chance to see an incredible eruption of hatred in the Western democracies and their élite ... the list of this Western scum is long ...
And the world can hardly wait to see the Israelis at the dock of the Hague tribunal. Moshe Yaalon like Hermann Göring?
Meanwhile, Jews are secure no more in today's Europe. In the last few weeks, in Paris and Berlin, we saw images reminiscient of the Kristallnacht ...
Muslims can kill Jewish students and bomb their homes. They can inflict pain in the wonderful society in Israel. But they can’t destroy the Jewish State. At least for the moment. At least as long as Iran is unable to produce an atomic bomb.
By undermining Israel’s raison d’etre, the Western threat to Israeli existence has become existential, not merely tactic.
The West is making the world “Judenmüde”. Tired of Jews. The West is working so that people around the world will react to Israel’s destruction with a yawn. It is making them happy to turn the page.
So many negotiations, and so little success. Not only between Israelis and Palestinians, but also in most other violent political conflicts – in Sri Lanka, Africa, Ukraine, between India and Pakistan, and elsewhere. Surely, there must be something fundamentally wrong the ways that negotiators approach their tasks ...
In academic theories, this basic error is known as the fallacy of mirror imaging – the assumption that “they” (meaning the terrorists and their supporters) are just like “us”. Obama, Kerry, most European diplomats and journalists, as well as the leaders of Israel’s peace industry, are guilty of mirror imaging — of projecting their own experiences, cultural frameworks and perceptions onto different societies around the world. Similarly, for the same reason the many well-funded and hope-filled academic peace dialogues, such as those run by Harvard social-psychologist Herbert Kelman and his followers, have produced little of significance, and caused damage ...
In the Israeli-Palestinian case, for example, the mirror imaging fallacy assumes that if the people of Gaza were able to thrive economically, they would act to protect their investments and adopt middle class values, like Americans and European, for example. As in the cases of other faith-based concepts, this belief is never examined in detail. If it were, the proponents would see that the massive economic aid to Gaza was funneled off into an industry of terror tunnels and rockets to attack Israel, and not to develop jobs and economic growth. (The Hamas leadership in Gaza poured an estimated $1.25 billion into attack tunnels alone.)As a result, while the Europeans and Americans are pushing for an end to the blockade of Gaza, including the rebuilding of the shipping port, Israelis, who are largely aware of the mirror image fallacy, are firmly opposed. From experience, Israelis know that in Gaza, as long as the hate remains, any and all facilities and goods will continue to be used for war and terror. The values, culture and collective goals of Hamas are very far removed from those of modern Western liberal societies.
Albert Einstein quipped that insanity was doing the same action repeatedly but expecting different results each time. Once again, as the smoke clears in Gaza, the European community is stepping in with calls for a donor conference. That’s simply crazy ...Watch executive director Kenneth Roth might complain that it’s not terrorism but rather resistance—but that’s just the problem: So long as their leaders and the international community indulge Palestinians in the notion that violence is honorable, then Palestinians have an excuse for their own domestic failings ...If Hamas—or any Palestinian administration—knows that the international community will always step in and rebuild houses, schools, or government buildings, then it makes it easier to dedicate what revenue the Palestinian government does have to terrorism and military adventurism. The international community’s knee-jerk reaction to violence in the Middle East has always been to subsidize the Palestinians further to the tune of billions of dollars ...A major problem, of course, is the United Nations Relief and Works Administration (UNRWA). UNRWA was never supposed to live out the 1950s. Economist Fred Gottheil did a masterful job of examining support for UNRWA as an illustration of moral hazard. Former UNRWA employee James Lindsay has also provided an in-depth study of what is wrong with UNRWA ...Perhaps it’s time to stop treating taxpayer dollars—American, European, or otherwise—as an entitlement to Palestinians who have made bad choices (or elected a government which does so). Only when Palestinians in Gaza realize that Hamas brings nothing but ruin can there be a possibility for something better. It’s time the international community act as if it truly cares about Palestinians’ fate and show some tough love; no longer should they enable the Palestinians’ self-destructive lack of accountability. The problem isn’t money; it’s culture.
Turkey and Norway - two of the most anti-Semitic countries on earth today outside of the Arab world - are offering to pay for a Gaza seaport through which Hamas can bring unlimited weapons.
Posted by Fabian Pascal at 9:34 PM
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Two observations to share.
1. Hamas leaders insists that they have no more intense desire than to martyr themselves, but at the first opportunity to fulfill that desire they burrow almost instantly underground and let their grunts and population to get the virgins. Israel, on the other hand, boasts about sanctification of life, but its commanders are the first at the front line and are a large percentage of the killed in battle. Requires no comment.
2. In "For a Fistful of Dollars" Clint Eastwood, after shooting Eli Wallach by raising a gun from under water in his bath while the latter aimed a gun at him and talked a lot, says "If you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk!".
I was reminded of that when I observed an interesting mutual reversal in the behavior of Israel and the Arabs with respect to their conflict.
I lived in Israel in 1967 during the six day war and remember a very obvious difference between Arabs and Israel: the former issued huge amounts of ridiculous boasts and threats, while Israel was mum, but always won hands down militarily, usually with initiative, aggressivity, courage, risk-taking, extreme creativity and the advantage of surprise, forcing the enemy to "dance to its tune", so to speak.
But judging by the latest skirmishes, the two sides seem to have switched roles. Lots of boasting and threats in Israel e.g.,
- Minister Warns Hamas Don't Test Us (But they did and do, continuously)
- IDF warns Gazans of continued strikes (So many times they don't give a shit)
- We will hunt down Hamas terror chief Deif, vows Lapid (Don't promise, do it; and stick to economy)
- IDF chief warns Hamas leaders fair game if attacks resume (ditto)
- Gantz 'Rocket Trickling' is Unacceptable :(Er, OK, so?)
... Egypt had been unable to bring Hamas around to any compromise because “you [Israel and the IDF] haven’t hit them hard enough.” ... Therefore, there was no point in sending Israel’s envoys back to the Egyptian capital for negotiations on a durable ceasefire, because they would be coming on a fool’s errand ... The Egyptian ceasefire initiative proposed by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi had nowhere to go, until Israel’s armed forces clobbered Hamas’ military wing, Ezz e-Din Al-Qassam, into submission ... The prime minister and defense minister Moshe Ya’alon had counted on the 72-hour ceasefire, which expired Friday morning, providing Hamas commanders with a chance to come out of their bunker hidey-holes and view the devastation on the Gaza Strip surface. They would then be shocked into throwing in the towel – or so it was hoped. But instead, Hamas commanders immediately seized on the ruins as an opportunity to parade the Palestinians of Gaza to the world as victims of “Zionist” inhumanity, of which they hands were entirely clean ... By now, Netanyahu and Ya’alon appear to be stumped for a policy. All their military and political maneuvers, including their decision to limit the IDF ground incursion in the Gaza Strip last month to a depth of no more than one kilometer, failed to wrest the tactical initiative of the war from Hamas or bring harm to its military wing.On the other hand, the Arabs have not really stopped boasting or threatening, but they certainly do less of that and it is not as frequent or ridiculous, while their creativity has much improved and they seem to take the initiative and make Israel dance to their tune.
Israel should take Clint's advice.
Posted by Fabian Pascal at 10:15 PM