Europe's Alarming New Anti-Semitism, by Rabbi Lord J. Sacks

Europe's Alarming New Anti-Semitism - Jonathan Sacks (Wall Street Journal)

  • Anti-Semitism has returned to Europe within living memory of the Holocaust. Never again has become ever again. In France, worshipers in a synagogue were surrounded by a howling mob claiming to protest Israeli policy. In Brussels, four people were murdered in the Jewish museum, and a synagogue was firebombed. In London, a major supermarket said that it felt forced to remove kosher food from its shelves for fear that it would incite a riot.
  • More than once during the summer, I heard well-established British Jews saying, "For the first time in my life, I feel afraid." A survey in 2013 by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights showed that almost a third of Europe's Jews have considered emigrating because of anti-Semitism.
  • Europe today isn't Germany in the 1930s. Hatred of the Jews isn't being incited or even condoned by European governments.
  • The politics of hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. Ultimately, this campaign amounts to an attack on Western democratic freedoms as a whole. Anti-Semitism has always been, historically, the inability to make space for differences among people, which is the essential foundation of a free society.
  • Today's anti-Semitism differs from the old. Today, Jews are hated for their nation state. Israel is the only country among the 193 in the UN whose right to exist is routinely challenged. There are 102 nations in the world where Christians predominate, and there are 56 Islamic states. But a single Jewish state is deemed one too many.
  • The anti-Semitism that has taken hold in the Middle East isn't endemic to Islam. Coptic and Maronite Christians introduced the blood libel - the slander that Jews use the blood of gentiles in religious rituals - into Egypt and Syria in the 19th century.

    Lord Sacks is the emeritus chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth.

The assault on Israel and Jews world-wide is part of a larger pattern that includes attacks on Christians and other minority faiths in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia—a religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing. Ultimately, this campaign amounts to an attack on Western democratic freedoms as a whole. If not halted now, it will be Europe itself that will be pushed back toward the Dark Ages.....

Anti-Semitism has always been, historically, the inability to make space for differences among people, which is the essential foundation of a free society. That is why the politics of hate now assaults Christians, Bahai, Yazidis and many others, including Muslims on the wrong side of the Sunni/Shia divide, as well as Jews. To fight it, we must stand together, people of all faiths and of none. The future of freedom is at stake, and it will be the defining battle of the 21st century.

Israel, Us and the Rest of the World

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt
Rosh Hashana Day 2
September 26, 2014

...Although I had not intended to speak this year about Israel, with all that is going on, and after this summer's events in Gaza, how can I not do so? 

The precipitous rise of anti-Semitism in Europe is cause for serious concern. Earlier this summer a group of Moslem protestors in Paris went on a rampage and staged a pogrom terrifying Jews inside a synagogue. Israeli products have been banned and in some places physically yanked off grocery store shelves in Europe. Just a few months ago four people were shot and killed outside the Jewish Museum in Brussels. In Britain in July, there were about 100 anti-Semitic incidents, double the usual number. Based on projections of current trends Norway will soon be Judenrein. There are Moslem neighborhoods in European cities where Jews feel they cannot walk freely. Calls for Jews to be gassed have been heard in Germany. In many European countries Jews are afraid to wear a keepah or any outward signs that would identify them as Jewish.

A recent State Department report found that, "throughout Europe, the historical stain of anti-Semitism continued to be a fact of life on Internet fora, in soccer stadiums, and through Nazi-like salutes, leading many individuals who are Jewish to conceal their religious identity."  Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan charged that Israel's defense against Hamas rocket fire amounts to "barbarism that surpasses Hitler."

I do not wish to be alarmist or to belabor the point, but we dare not become used to such widespread hostility and complacent about the belligerence. We cannot accept this as normal, nor can we tolerate the current state of affairs and allow it to become the new status quo. Rather, we must be vigilant and concerned about the safety and well-being of our fellow Jews who are being threatened, attacked, and intimidated throughout Europe. The situation calls not just for a krech, but for a more forceful expression of exasperation and desperation to convey frustration and a resounding cry against injustice. It calls for an all-out shrei.

We are witnessing a multi-front, sophisticated assault against the Jewish people.  To gain a cloak of respectability the charges may be thinly veiled as opposition to Israel's policies, concern for the downtrodden, or as anti- Zionism, as if to distinguish it from good old fashioned blatant anti-Semitism, in the hope it will appear more palatable and respectable. While the attacks on Jews may be precipitated by certain policies and accusations of Israeli misconduct, the focus on Israel's actions to the exclusion of grievances against other nations or parties, as well as the intensity and excessively hostile nature of the criticism are sufficient reason to arouse cynicism about the purity of the motives of many of Israel's harshest critics.  Some do not even attempt to hide their true motives or intentions.

When it comes to Israel, reality is stood on its head. With 80% of Israel under rocket attack, the victim of the unprovoked, indiscriminate attacks is portrayed as the aggressor for defending itself. After a barrage of missiles from Gaza, Israel initiated Operation Protective Edge to neutralize the threat posed by thousands of Iranian supplied rockets in the hands of the terrorists. In the course of its operation Israel discovered the extent of the elaborate labyrinth of tunnels Hamas had built along with plans for a massive attack on Israeli civilians and targets including kibbutzim and nursery schools scheduled to take place on Rosh Hashanah.

The prophet Isaiah proclaimed a vision in which swords would be turned into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. Unfortunately Hamas has inverted the prophecy by turning plowshares into swords and pruning hooks into spears.

The book of Exodus speaks of one's right to self-defense when an intruder tunnels into your home. With Hamas building tunnels into Israeli territory, placing rockets, missiles and weapons in schools, mosques and hospitals, Israel was left with little choice but to respond. As leftist Israeli writer and peace activist Amos Oz asked, what would you do if someone across the street from you held a child on their lap and shot at you from their balcony? And what would you do if your neighbor digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or kidnap your family? They do it because they know they can win public support and sympathy through these tactics and the images they produce. It is the same reason that concrete is used to build tunnels rather than using it for housing and infrastructure. They do it because it works.  

Opinions are influenced by the images we see, and the pictures of the devastation this summer were disturbing. Now that the fighting is over, a number of the journalists in Gaza have admitted that they were threatened and intimidated by Hamas, who only allowed the images they approved to be disseminated. This is one of the reasons why there is an inverse relationship between Israel's success on the battlefield and its success in the realm of PR. Many of us complain about Israel's poor PR, but with the conflict covered the way it is, how can we expect any better. Journalist Matti Friedman wrote a heavily researched and well-documented critique of his fellow journalists. Detailing how the war was covered he wrote, "Hamas knew it could rely on the foreign media's cooperation - that it would not show rocket launches or combatants or speak at all about what Hamas wanted to accomplish."

Based on the number of reporters stationed in Israel, Friedman says one would think this is the most important story on earth. Comparing the sparse coverage assigned to other hot spots around the world he notes that, "News organizations have decided that this conflict is more important than the more than 1,600 women murdered in Pakistan last year, 271 after being raped and 193 of them burned alive," as well as China's repressive actions against Tibet and its Islamic minority, or countless other places where the death toll is much higher and the cruelty, oppression and conditions are far more grave and many more people suffer and are affected.

No nation would look good under the intense scrutiny Israel is subjected to.

I have often wondered what would have happened if other campaigns were covered the way Israel's confrontations with its enemies are covered.   If journalists would have described the bombing of targets behind enemy lines during World War II the way this war was depicted ,they would have overlooked who was the aggressor and not report on what the Nazis were doing and why the US was fighting to defeat them. Public opinion and support for the troops and war effort may have been swayed. But we need not go back in history - look at the way Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other conflicts going on today are covered. None of these are covered by a constant 24/7 barrage of pictures showing the impact of the destruction. It is not too difficult to recognize that by any standard there is no comparison with how Israel is treated and how the rest of the world is treated.

An honest and fair investigation would be welcome by an impartial, objective organization, like, say the United Nations. The UN Human Rights Council has established a commission to investigate and issue a finding on what transpired this past summer. Not surprisingly the resolution establishing the commission makes no mention of Hamas. It calls for an investigation of Israeli violations of human rights law, thereby stating the conclusion they are expected to reach before a single session has been convened.

Well, at least we can expect that the members appointed to serve on the commission will be fair and open-minded. After all, one of them is a Jew, so we can be confident he will be sure Israel's side is heard. The only problem is that David Schabas, the person selected to chair the three person panel and who is Jewish, has already let his feelings be known. In a BBC interview this July about the number of civilian casualties on one side and virtually none on the other, he declared "prima facie there is evidence of disproportionality by Israel." Never mind that Israel uses its resources to protect its citizens, whereas Hamas uses its citizens to protect its weapons.

With this as its predetermined mandate, and a judge who has already arrived at his preconceived conclusion, it is déjà vu of the Goldstone Report all over again. It reminds me of the superintendent who told police officers to arrest the usual suspects and they would figure out the charges later.

The reality is that Israel's attacks against Hamas targets were confined to areas which harbored Hamas missile launching grounds, command posts, terrorists' homes, operational bases, and places which stored weapons and tunnel entrances. Israel demonstrated exceptional unreciprocated restraint and sought to minimize collateral damage by urging civilians to evacuate ahead of bombings, thereby willingly forfeiting the element of surprise. Hamas however concentrated its terror facilities in densely populated areas and deliberately targeted Israeli civilians. 15% of their rockets and mortars fell short and hit their own civilians inside Gaza. Anyone who mourns the loss of innocent lives, as we all do and should, should place the blame where it belongs, with Hamas, for placing children in harm's way and for using human shields to protect their military targets.

In light of all that appears to be so obvious, and the justness of Israel's cause so apparent, we may ask, why is it that there are those who so vehemently question Israel's behavior? The dissent comes not just from sworn enemies of Israel, but from within the Jewish community as well. Whereas at one time Israel was a source of unity in the Jewish community, many today are torn and feel their right to express their concerns or objections are hampered and thwarted. Charges of McCarthyism are levelled against Jewish organizations by Jewish critics who accuse the organized Jewish community of stifling debate about Israel and its policies. An article just the other day in the New York Times, (a fair newspaper if ever there was one,) dealt with the difficulty rabbis have of speaking about Israel. Finally, we are told that young people are being turned off to Israel because of the lack of ability to criticize Israel.

Answering the last point first - at best it is an illogical tautology and non-sequiter. Somehow we are to believe that if we are more openly critical of the Jewish state then young people will start to feel more positively about Israel?! I fail to see the logic of such thinking. If anything, fomenting and promoting criticism of Israel will lead to greater distance, not more positive feelings. This suggestion has the potential of being self-fulfilling. This approach will not engender greater affection, for it does not take into account the large number of young people who have returned from Birthright as enthusiastic supporters and lovers of Israel, and who have discovered a new found passion for their roots and for the homeland of the Jewish people.

Israel has more than its share of critics. At a time when Israel is being unfairly assailed, criticized, condemned, and ostracized for its actions, when it is demonized and compared to Nazis, charged with committing genocide against the Palestinian people, and when its people feel isolated, I believe we must choose to stand with and in defense of Israel.

We can do so confident that Israel's democratic institutions, vibrant tradition of public debate, free press and active and engaged citizenry committed to principles of fairness, justice and ethics ensure that self-critical analysis and corrective measures are in place.

When it makes mistakes, she investigates, and when warranted, takes responsibility, as well as corrective steps and punitive actions. Israel obviously is not perfect, nor is it without fault or problems. No nation is. But the difference is that other nations are not defined by their failures or shortcomings. More importantly, critiques of other countries do not result in their legitimacy being questioned, nor do they undermine those nations' right to exist. We need to be careful and resist the temptation to be so busy pointing out Israel's shortcomings that our criticisms of Israel are louder than our expressions of love.

We can't project the reality we wish for and act as if that is the situation. I will never forget the time I was with Ambassador Michael Oren and a 12 year old child asked him, "Of all the countries that hate you, who hates you the most?" That is the reality Israel must face every day.

Despite the ceasefire, Israel must prepare for the possibility of another attack from Gaza. Almost 90% of Palestinians support Hamas, an organization whose raison d'etre is destroying Israel. The 51 day war in Gaza was but another chapter in a long-term ongoing struggle. At the same time it is dealing with Hamas, there is concern among Israeli intelligence about a possible attack from Hezbollah in the north which has accumulated thousands of missiles. Isis is moving close to Israel's border with Syria in the Golan Heights and threatening to take over Jordan.

Yet these are not even the most serious threats facing Israel. Iran, which remains the primary threat to Israel and to regional stability and global security, continues to support international terror organizations and its pursuit to acquire nuclear capability while taking steps to weaken international resolve to maintain harsh sanctions against the regime.

And let's not forget that what happens to Israel cannot be viewed in a vacuum. It needs to be seen as part of a broader effort to restore Moslem hegemony to the region. Daniel Williams, former researcher for Human Rights Watch and Washington Post correspondent, wrote a recent column about the end of Christianity in Iraq. He tells of a priest who had been kidnapped and ransomed for $85,000 a few years ago. The priest was warned by a Muslim acquaintance in Baghdad, "Saturday's gone. Why are you still here on Sunday?" meaning that Jews were no longer in Iraq, and that Christians were next. ISIS, a Moslem fundamentalist group that wants to wipe out all non-Muslims, that was not on anyone's radar screen as recently as a few months ago, that rounds up and murders tens of thousands of the Yazidi minority, and beheads westerners has suddenly caught our attention. ISIS, as well Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Al Shabab, Hezbollah and other extremist groups are all from the same ideological cloth as Hamas.

With forced conversions, kidnappings, evictions and bombings of churches we are witnessing the end of 2,000 years of Christianity in Iraq and other Arab countries in the Middle East. Inexplicably, the Presbyterians and academic groups who pass resolutions critical of Israel and calling for divestment and boycotts have nothing to say about what is being done to their co-religionists in the region.

Most of the deaths in the Middle East do not have anything to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. More violence and deaths are caused by the internecine tribal rivalries or the contentious Shia-Sunni struggle, all of which is independent of Israel. In the three years of war in Syria millions of people have become refugees and approximately 200,000 people have been killed, about 80,000 more than all who have died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago. Yet just as there is no outrage, demonstrations or calls for boycotts against China, Russia, Libya, North Korea or other repressive totalitarian regimes and perpetrators of violence, the world does nothing about Arab on Arab or Moslem killings of Moslems, even though it is a far graver problem. Clearly there is an obsession with Israel and with Jews.

It is hurtful to hear the accusations hurled against Israel and its soldiers. I know the young men and women who fight in the IDF and can attest to their decency and morality. I know many of the decision makers and know that they are guided by concern for human life and that they strive to act in accordance with Jewish law and are guided by Jewish ethics.

Inability to criticize Israel? McCarthyism?! If anything, speaking up on behalf of Israel in Jewish settings is what takes courage these days. Those who speak up for Israel are subjected to ridicule or boycotts. Some entertainers who have performed in Israel have been blacklisted. We can argue about Israel's settlement policy and prudence of the timing of announcements of new residential areas, and Jews do discuss these issues in many fora. I look forward to the day when similar debate will take place about Arab intransigence, its xenophobia, intolerance of minorities, lack of a free press, poor treatment of women and minorities and abysmal record on human rights.

Peace will come when the world will help the Palestinians and Arab nations realize they have nothing to gain from continuing to try to deny the Jewish people a Jewish homeland and when they stop promoting and promulgating hate and instead prepare their people to accept and live in peace with their Jewish neighbors.

The attacks upon Israel in the academic world and elsewhere should be viewed in the context of a broader global effort to undermine the Jewish state's right to defend itself and its right to exist. These affronts are a threat not just to Israel, but to the western principles of freedom and democracy.

Throughout history we have been the proverbial miner's canary.  Israel was the first country to be the victim and target of international terrorism. Since the world thought the problem was confined only to the Jewish state, it looked the other way. It did even more than that. The Jewish Prime Minister of Austria, Bruno Kreisky freed Palestinian terrorists who had hijacked the Achille Lauro. Later Italy also released terrorists. These nations and all the world now knows no one is immune from extremism, Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.

The situation is reminiscent of Lutheran pastor Martin Neimoller's powerful oft-quoted message from the 1940's:  "First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me."

With so many disturbing events around the world, it may be good to conclude on a hopeful note, and with a joke. First the joke.

The joke is about a rabbi who told a congregant that he wanted him to enlist in the Army of God. The man objected and said, "But Rabbi, I already am in the Army of God." The rabbi asked the man, "So if that's the case, how come I never see you in shul?" The congregant whispered to the rabbi, "That's because I am in the secret service."

We need to not be undercover agents or in the secret service. We need to be activists and advocates on behalf of the only Jewish state in the world. I urge you to purchase an Israel bond at our appeal next week. Show your support for Israel by joining Aipac and coming with me to the Policy conference in March. We will also launch a campaign on Yom Kippur to purchase a mobile bomb shelter for the community of Halutza on the border of Gaza through the Jewish National Fund. And finally, one of the most important things you can do is travel to Israel. Come with me this summer or on October 19 for a special solidarity mission to show our support.

The hopeful note is that in the 21st century Jews were confronted by the two totalitarian regimes which caused more death and destruction than any other ideology in the past several hundred years - Nazism and communism, both of which sought to wipe out Judaism and the Jewish people. We resisted their efforts and survived despite their power and might. Just as we withstood Pharaoh, Ahashverosh, the Romans, the Spanish Inquisition and other efforts to destroy the Jewish people, and we survived them all, we will prevail again today as well.

Let us recall that when we stood up for the Jews of the Soviet Union and demanded their freedom our advocacy and activism on their behalf resulted not just in their being liberated, but ultimately led to the collapse of the Iron Curtain.  We succeeded in bringing down communist regimes and freedom for others as well as for our people because we were united in working to achieve our goal and we were united by our love for our fellow Jews. We must stand tall today, as we did then. We should be proud, united and resolute in articulating our support for Israel. Too much is depending on us, for not only our fate, and not only the fate of the Jewish state, but the world needs us to lead the way.

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt
Congregation B'nai Tzedek, Potomac, MD
Rosh Hashana Day 2, September 26, 2014 

Post-Liberal Europe and its Jewish Problem, by Natan Sharansky

Post-Liberal Europe and its Jewish Problem

Recently, an article titled “European Idea will Die Here and Survive in Israel” appeared under my byline in the London Jewish Chronicle. Transcribed from my conversation with a reporter, the article offered a cursory sketch of my views on the deeper forces at work behind such developments as the dramatic rise in the number of French Jews moving to Israel. In brief, I expressed my judgment that Jews feel increasingly insecure in Europe and may no longer have a home there. I attributed this insecurity to three sources: the failure of Muslim integration; the resurgence of right-wing anti-Semitism; and the metamorphosis of European liberalism, which, in its embrace of what I call a post-identity culture, has turned decisively against the state of Israel and, implicitly or explicitly, against Israel’s European Jewish supporters.

The Show Should Go On in London, by Michael Curtis

August 11, 2014
In a popular Sherlock Holmes story, the solution to the mystery hinges on the curious incident of the dog that did not bark.  No mystery hinges on the reality that Europe did not bark about the committing of crimes against humanity and war crimes by Hamas, the terrorist group that occupies and controls Gaza in using civilians, especially children, as human shields to prevent any Israeli response to attacks on its civilians.

Instead, noises quite different in character have been voiced in the hostile words and actions of citizens in various European countries.  Only a few examples are necessary to make the point.  One example came from the lips of the Italian Marxist philosopher and former member of the European Parliament Gianni Vattimo, whose blatantly frank opinion was, in language not usually used by a philosopher, “I’d like to shoot those bastard Zionists.”  Fortunately, since he was exempted from military service, he couldn’t really shoot anyone.

Vattimo's contributions to political wisdom in regards to a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were unusual, to say the least. He called for Europeans to raise more money to “buy Hamas more rockets.”  He wanted international brigades to fight alongside Hamas.  He had already called in 2009 for the European Union to remove Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations.

Bizarre combinations of individuals espousing different political points of view have joined with raucous Palestinians and Islamists in demonstrations or other actions concerning Israel.  Ugly demonstrations of anti-Semitism have intentionally misconstrued Israeli policies as an excuse for violence.  Rationally, one can distinguish hatred of Jews from strong opposition to and appropriate criticism of specific policies of Israel.  But compelling evidence indicates the interlacing of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli or anti-Zionist declarations or actions.

In France, outbreaks of violence have occurred in a number of places.  On July 13, 2014, in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, the local synagogue, and Jewish pharmacies and shops, were attacked by a mob shouting, “Death to the Jews.”  Roger Cukierman, president of CRIF, the umbrella group for France’s Jewish organizations, has noted that demonstrators in the streets of Paris are not screaming, “Death to the Israelis”; they are shouting, “Death to Jews.”

In Germany, rioters in demonstrations have compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews.  Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Bergische synagogue in Wuppertal, Germany in the attempt to burn it.  The attack was accompanied by the slogan – in effect two hatreds for the price of one – “Destroy the Zionist Jews.”  In Bischofshofen, Austria, on July 23, 2014, twenty individuals of Turkish origin waving Palestinian flags invaded the pitch and attacked members of the Israeli soccer team, Maccabi Haifa, in their game with Lille of France.  In Amsterdam, the house of the chief rabbi was attacked.

Demonstrations in Trafalgar Square in London in late July purportedly protesting against the Israeli response to the unceasing rocket attacks by Hamas in Gaza displayed not only flags and banners such as  “Free Palestine” and “Stop Israeli State Terror,” but also outright anti-Semitic proclamations, including one declaring that “Hitler was Right.”  In Manchester, graves in the Jewish cemetery were desecrated.  In July 2014, more than 200 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded, one of the highest monthly recordings ever.  In all, between January and June 2014, there were 304 anti-Semitic incidents in the country.

The country, on August 7, 2014, was treated to another weird performance by George Galloway, the controversial MP for Bradford, Yorkshire.  Standing in front of a Palestinian flag, Galloway declared Bradford “an Israeli-free zone.”  The city would not entertain Israeli goods, academics, or tourists.

Strikingly, the infection of moral equivalence, in effect a disease of anti-Israeli bias accompanied sometimes by the virus of anti-Semitism, has taken hold, almost to the point of obsession in Britain, as elsewhere in the world.  A number of recent incidents show this outbreak.

The London Times refused to run a full-page ad, one that has appeared in a number of papers in the United States, featuring Elie Wiesel, that tells, correctly, of the use by Hamas of children as human shields in order to prevent Israeli retaliation against rocket launching sites.  The paper’s absurd explanation is that the ad was “too strong and too forcefully made ... it will cause concern amongst a significant number of Times readers.”  One can only wonder about the delicacy of those readers in acquiescing to the misuse of Palestinian children, a crime against humanity.

Even more telling is the pious hypocrisy on the issue of Israeli actions in Gaza exhibited in an action in London on August 5, 2014, when the Tricycle Theater banned the annual Jewish Film Festival, which was to feature 26 films on Jewish issues, as well as some on Israel, and six gala events.  The reason given was the circumstance that the festival was being sponsored by and had been given some funding by the Israeli Embassy in London.

Four facts reveal hypocrisy by the officials of the theater.  The first was that the funding was ludicrously small – less than $2,000.  A second was the festival has been supported by the Embassy for 17 years.  A third is that the Tricycle Theater has been associated with the festival for eight years.

Most important, the films were said by the festival organizers to constitute a diverse program with a wide perspective on the Middle East conflict and that films to be shown did not refrain from criticism of Israel.  But these perspectives should not be the basis for criticizing the cancelation of the festival by the theater.  Rather, the basis for censure of the Tricycle Theater should be that it is engaging in political censorship.  The festival, whether or not its films were sympathetic or hostile to Palestinians, should not have to conform to the political positions of the artistic director of Tricycle, especially since it appears to have double standards – one for Jewish or Israeli contributions and another for everyone else.

The theater describes itself as renowned for innovative, political, and experimental British and international productions.  Nevertheless, the theater has not lived up to a policy of political neutrality in this challenging mission.  Its initial demand was to review and vet the Israeli films that were planned, a demand that obviously constituted censorship and that was refused by the organizers of the festival.  The theater then gave the following as an excuse for banning the Jewish festival: “[g]iven the situation in Israel and Gaza, we do not believe that the Festival should accept funding from any party to the current conflict … we asked the Festival to reconsider its sponsorship by the Israeli Embassy.”

This claim of political neutrality was not borne out by previous productions of the theater.  Among others, they have included a play critical of the United States for Guantánamo Bay; one on the killing of Stephen Lawrence, a young man of Jamaican parents, murdered in a racially motivated attack in London in April 1993; plays critical of the war in Afghanistan; a season of plays “looking at London from a black perspective”; and a play on the killing of a young black man, Mark Duggan, by a police officer during riots in London in August 2011.  No conditions or questions of funding have been imposed on previous productions or events in the Theater.

The theater’s artistic director, Indhu Rubasingham, herself the daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants, in defending her decision to ban the festival, said, “I am not anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic.”  One can accept her statement at face value and still argue that she made what is at least a bad error of judgment.  In a delightful song, Noel Coward asked, “Why must the show go on, is it indispensable?”  Yes, the Jewish Film Festival must go on.  The Tricycle Theater should reconsider its shameful and biased decision to cancel the show.

Important Articles from Mosaic Magazine

Real War Crimes 
Gabriel Schoenfeld, Weekly Standard. Criticism of IDF conduct in Gaza is unrestrained. What would Churchill say? And what would Hitler say about Hamas’s conduct?  

The Curse of Statehood 
Adam Garfinkle, American Interest. States are weak or collapsing throughout the Arab world. And what is the favorite obsession of the “international community”? To create another one. 

A Global Pogrom 
Benjamin Kerstein, Tower. More than scattered incidents, violence against Jews in Europe, North America, and the Middle East is part of a worldwide trend going back to the second intifada. 

Dershowitz: The EU and Israel 


When President Barack Obama warned of "international fallout" if Israel fails to embrace the latest U.S. Middle East peace proposal, Newsmax asked noted author and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz to comment on the growing talk of a European boycott against Israel.

Why are so many of the grandchildren of Nazis and Nazi collaborators who brought us the Holocaust once again declaring war on the Jews? 

Why have we seen such an increase in anti-Semitism and irrationally virulent anti-Zionism in western Europe? 

To answer these questions, a myth must first be exposed. That myth is the one perpetrated by the French, the Dutch, the Norwegians, the Swiss, the Belgians, the Austrians, and many other western Europeans: namely that the Holocaust was solely the work of German Nazis aided perhaps by some Polish, Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian collaborators. 


The Holocaust was perpetrated by Europeans — by Nazi sympathizers and collaborators among the French, Dutch, Norwegians, Swiss, Belgians, Austrians and other Europeans, both Western and Eastern. 

If the French government had not deported to the death camps more Jews than their German occupiers asked for; if so many Dutch and Belgian citizens and government officials had not cooperated in the roundup of Jews; if so many Norwegians had not supported Quisling; if Swiss government officials and bankers had not exploited Jews; if Austria had not been more Nazi than the Nazis, the Holocaust would not have had so many Jewish victims. 

In light of the widespread European complicity in the destruction of European Jewry, the pervasive anti-Semitism and irrationally hateful anti-Zionism that has recently surfaced throughout western Europe toward Israel should surprise no one. 

"Oh no," we hear from European apologists. "This is different. We don’t hate the Jews. We only hate their nation-state. Moreover, the Nazis were right-wing. We’re left-wing, so we can’t be anti-Semites." 


And Now: Europe's Kristallnacht

They carried banners saying, "Stop Israeli State Terror," but some went off-message, deciding, apparently, that it did not matter if their targets were Israelis or not.

In the Netherlands, fresh from a pro-ISIS rally in Amsterdam, the home of the Chief Rabbi -- not Israeli, just Jewish -- was attacked twice in one week.

We live in a rightful disgust for racism of any kind. And yet here we see -- and nowhere more clearly than in Germany -- the new racist nightmare for Europe.

Is the Left Anti-Semitic?

Excerpt: However, it seems pretty clear to me that much of the left in Europe and America is becoming more anti-Semitic, or at least risks falling into the trap of anti-Semitism, sometimes quite thoughtlessly. In the language it uses, in the ideas it promotes, in the way in which it talks about the modern world, including Israel, much of the Left has adopted a style of politics that has anti-Semitic undertones, and sometimes overtones. The key problem has been the Left’s embrace of conspiratorial thinking, its growing conviction that the world is governed by what it views as uncaring “cabals”, “networks”, self-serving lobbyists and gangs of bankers, all of which has tempted it to sometimes turn its attentions towards those people who historically were so often the object and the target of conspiratorial thinking – the Jews.

Dershowitz Comments on European Boycott Against Israel


Why are so many of the grandchildren of Nazis and Nazi collaborators who brought us the Holocaust once again declaring war on the Jews? Why have we seen such an increase in anti-Semitism and irrationally virulent anti-Zionism in western Europe?

To answer these questions, a myth must first be exposed. That myth is the one perpetrated by the French, the Dutch, the Norwegians, the Swiss, the Belgians, the Austrians, and many other western Europeans: namely that the Holocaust was solely the work of German Nazis aided perhaps by some Polish, Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian collaborators.

False. The Holocaust was perpetrated by Europeans: by Nazi sympathizers and collaborators among the French, Dutch, Norwegians, Swiss, Belgians, Austrians and other Europeans, both Western and Eastern.

If the French government had not deported to the death camps more Jews than their German occupiers asked for; if so many Dutch and Belgian citizens and government officials had not cooperated in the roundup of Jews; if so many Norwegians had not supported Quisling; if Swiss government officials and bankers had not exploited Jews; if Austria had not been more Nazi than the Nazis, the Holocaust would not have had so many Jewish victims.

In light of the widespread European complicity in the destruction of European Jewry, the pervasive anti-Semitism and irrationally hateful anti-Zionism that has recently surfaced throughout western Europe toward Israel should surprise no one.

"Oh no," we hear from European apologists. "This is different. We don’t hate the Jews. We only hate their nation-state. Moreover, the Nazis were right-wing. We’re left-wing, so we can’t be anti-Semites."

Nonsense. The hard left has a history of anti-Semitism as deep and enduring as the hard right. The line from Voltaire to Karl Marx, to Levrenti Beria, to Robert Faurisson, to today’s hard-left Israel bashers is as straight as the line from Wilhelm Mars to the persecutors of Alfred Dreyfus to Hitler.

Europe Today: by Simon Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Shimon Samuels

July 24, 2014

In my three decades as Director of International Relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center in our Paris office, I thought I had seen every form of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism across the spectrum of right to left, of radical churches to mosques, to NGOs.
What has changed?
Until recently, I have never seen the coming together of so many anti-Semitic and anti-Israel groups, coupled with one-sided media hostility in effect demonizing Jews, Israel and their supporters.
I am seeing an unprecedented explosion across Europe of thousands of young Muslims, turned on by the call to Jihad. Many of these young men have been fighting in Syria, and return to their home countries poisoned even further and ready to take out their hostilities on the Jews of Europe.
Although European governments express solidarity with Jews when synagogues and Jewish institutions are rampaged and attacked, that solidarity means little when extremist demonstrations lead to violence and the perpetrators arrested are routinely released by judges with a warning or suspended sentence.
Yesterday, in Paris, I attended a rally (pictured above) of 15,000 Hamas supporters made up of ordinary French people - bank tellers, supermarket assistants and, even neighbors. 
A recent Gaza solidarity rally of 300 in the southern French provincial town of Gap, ended with a dozen hooded Islamists attacking a handicapped woman in the presence of witnesses. The reason for the assault, according to the local press: the perpetrators had seen, through the window of her apartment, what appeared to be crosses and Stars of David on the wall.
Have we forgotten the lessons we took with us from the Nazi period of how ordinary people turn into petty tyrants with unimaginable consequences? 

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