Barbara Kay: On foreign shores, anti-Semitism still rages


National Post - Wednesday August 28th, 2013

The headmaster of the Jewish school in Paris walks through a classroom full of students in 2005. Many Jews in France are thinking of moving away due to a rise in anti-Semitism.

It’s been many years since anti-Semitic motifs — like cartoons showing money-obsessed Jews lusting after power — have been part of mainstream culture here in North America. Yet in other parts of the world, such offensive notions are flourishing.

Extreme Judeophobia is widespread in the Middle East, where many Arabs imbibe it at home, school and mosque. All educated people know that. But many readers might be shocked at how acceptable openly expressed Jew-hatred has become among some people in the “civilized” countries of Britain, Europe and Scandinavia.

Since 9/11, many reliable polls have revealed rampant credulity in these nations around anti-Semitic myths, fraudulent reports and conspiracy theories. Often the culprits disseminating them are intellectuals and the media. According to the Simon Weisenthal Center, six out of 10 of the world’s most virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli slurs are of European origin.

Anti-Semitism thrives in the far left and the far right. But the latter has no credibility with ordinary citizens. The far Left, however, finds respectable conduits for its anti-Semitism, sometimes thinly veiled as anti-Zionism, through academia, the media, NGOs, some Christian organizations such as the World Council of Churches, trade unions, “peace” activism, far-left Jewish academics and the UN. Some political centrists trustingly sip their toxic Kool-Aid, its poison dissolved in sugary compassion for Israel’s enemies, who are always, for the far left, the victims.

Evidence for these assertions can be found in the newly published book “Demonizing Israel and the Jews,” a useful compendium of interviews with scholars, politicians, journalists and artists from a wide variety of countries and professional domains, edited by the Israeli writer Manfred Gerstenfeld. Gerstenfeld, an expert on anti-Semitism attached to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, focuses half of his interviews on the demonization of Israel, and half on the demonization of Jews. Highlight contributors to his volume include Canada’s Irwin Cotler on Iran; U.S. lieutenant colonel and psychiatrist Daphne Burdman on the indoctrination of hatred and incitement to violence in Palestinian children; Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Kenneth Levin on the “psychology of Jews who embrace their enemy”; and Norwegian academic Hanne Nabintu Herland, who has declared that Norway is “the most anti-Semitic country in the West.”

Ronald Evans, founder of the world’s first complaint bureau for combating Internet hatred, writes that Facebook’s European director told him they remove most postings on Holocaust denial, but not “the Holocaust denial which is not considered hatred.” Eissens says he expressed incredulity, for Holocaust denial is always evidence of hatred.

In terms of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe, the worst — such as the 2006 torture-murder of Ilan Halimi in France — tend to be perpetrated by first- or second-generation immigrants from developing countries. The influx of significant numbers of Judeophobes into European culture is a serious threat to Jewish communities, who rightly voice concern at their own government’s failure — France, Sweden, others — to adequately protect them.

The Netherlands, with its justifiably uncomfortable war memories, and its million Muslims, many overtly Judeophobic, is particularly tense for its 45,000 Jews. Frits Bolkestein, former Dutch defense minister, and professor at Leiden University, has said: “Jews have to realize that there is no future for them in the Netherlands and that they best advise their children to leave for the United States or Israel.”

Leon de Winter, a well-known Dutch writer, says what many Jews secretly think: “What is happening in the Netherlands and Europe is a prelude of terrible things to come. The great story of the love Jews have for Europe has come to an end. In this sense, the Nazis have been successful. The presence of Jews in Europe will end.”

Anyone wishing to grasp the diversity and scope of the global cultural and ideological war being waged against Israel and Jews will find an excellent reference tool in this compact, enlightening anthology.

National Post
bkay@videotron.ca