Antisemitism in the Arab and Islamic world is a given. It is accepted as if there is little to be done against it. Even governments in countries that have signed peace agreements with Israel do little to quell the Jew hatred that infests their population. In many cases, political and religious officials continue to stoke the flames, blaming Jews and Israel for all the ills of the world to distract their people’s attention away from their own failures, or they do it openly to promote the global aims of Islam, which includes the destruction of the Jewish state.
The denial of Jewish history and religion in Jerusalem, particularly the Temple and the Temple Mount and the City of David is all part of this political and religious desire for conquest over the Jews. It is as ancient and as modern as Islam itself. It is fed into children with their mother milk. It is bred into them in what they are taught in their schools. It is soaked into their brains and hearts in their mosques and in their media.
When they migrate to Europe or to America they bring this baggage with them. When they enter college and university it is part of who they are as adults. When they graduate and become influence and opinion making professionals going into the media, politics, academia, community organizers, trade unionists, leaders of female, social, and human rights issues their anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is an integral part of their agenda. As for the losers, those whose lives remain miserable, whether in the land of their birth, or those who migrate to Europe and hold a grievance, many stroke out against the society in which they live and find the Jew or the Jewish state as the target to which they vent their rage. Some find glorification in it by dressing their violence in the cloak of Islam.
We do, however, expect much more of the Western world as we see a growth of antisemitism country by country. More often than not the local Jews are made to pay for the gathering hate against the Jewish state.
The Anti-Defamation League produced a report in November 2017 showing that an already high rate of anti-Semitic incidents in America in 2016 had risen by a further 67% in 2017. Both vandalism and harassment increased dramatically.
The ADL report only names one culprit – white supremacists, but it is clear by digging into the weeds that the main perpetrators leading the organized Jew-hatred in America, as in Europe and much of the Middle East, are Muslims supported by the radical left.
Take the American campus, for example.
The website of Canary Mission (https://canarymission.org/) is a good place to study the vehement antisemitism that is behind the anti-Israel boycott movement.
The BDS Movement goes way beyond calling for a boycott against Israel. The ultimate aim of the BDS Movement, in all its forms, is the elimination of the Jewish state.
The in-depth research compiled by Canary Mission reveals that a huge proportion of the antisemitism linked to anti-Zionism on US campuses is being actively propagated and promoted by professors and students originating from Muslim countries, supported by radical far-left professors who make grossly false statements against Israel, often wandering into anti-Semitic stereotyping and rhetoric.
BDS professors who denigrate Israel in their classrooms are fully aware that the aim of BDS is not Palestinian human rights but, according to the words of BDS founder, Omar Barghouti, the elimination of the Jewish state. In his words, “We oppose a Jewish State.” This is confirmed by other top BDS activists. Ahmed Mor has said, “BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state.” And Assad Abu Khalil has said, “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the State of Israel.”
The Canary Mission website makes for compelling reading as a study into the depth of anti-Semitism linked to anti-Israel activism on American campuses.
The international media plays an important role in forcing governments to confront the growing public displays of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hate crimes and violence.
SWEDEN is a country with a sad record of how permissible anti-Israel activity has led to an uncontrollable anti-Semitism.
It took an international media outcry, led by the New York Times, for the Swedish government to appoint an anti-Semitism commissioner to look into the rising outbreaks of violent anti-Jewish attacks. This followed the torching of the Gothenburg synagogue and yet another Malmo anti-Israel demonstration in which mobs chanted slogans about killing Jews. Malmo which now has a growing Muslim population of over 20% has a growing anti-Jewish hate crime incidents.
It remains to be seen if the Swedish anti-Semitism czar is effective, or if it is merely a fig leaf to cover the embarrassment of international media exposure.
It took a social media video of a man carrying a Palestinian flag smashing the windows of a kosher restaurant in AMSTERDAM to cause embarrassment in Holland.
The video showed Dutch policemen standing aside and watching the man commit his crimes. They only arrested him when he broke into the restaurant and began threatening the people inside.
To the further embarrassment of the Dutch government and its legal system this man, a Syrian-Palestinian asylum seeker was freed from jail after two days to await trial not on anti-Semitism or hate crimes but on charges of vandalism and theft. Compare this to the case of a Dutch Jew, Michael Jacobs, who was held by police for a week because he carried an Israeli flag as he stood near an anti-Israel protest in Dam Square in Amsterdam.
Holland needs to change Dutch law and its application when dealing with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidents which are increasingly violent against Jewish and Jewish property. Frequently, these incidents are perpetrated by individuals and groups with a radical anti-Israel agenda.
Further proof that the far left lead the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, violence in Europe was evident in GREECE last December. It wasn’t the far right Golden Dawn members that vandalized the Israeli Embassy in Athens over the Christmas period. It was members of the far left Rubicon anarchist group who latched onto the Palestinian cause to express their Jew hatred by targeting the symbol of the collective Jew, Israel, when they daubed red paint on the embassy walls.
FRANCE is one European crucible where Muslim migrants are using deadly violence against Jews. The name Halimi is synonymous with this murderous Muslim anti-Semitic hate.
In 2006, the barbarous and gruesome killing of young French Jew, Ilan Halimi, shocked France. Halimi was kidnapped and tortured over a thee week period by a gang of 28 Muslims known as ‘the Barbarians.’ French authorities refused to look on the Halimi case as a hate crime, despite the at-Semitic rants of the group’s leader, Yousouf Fofana, at his trial.
Following the murder of a Jewish teacher and three Jewish children in Toulouse in 2012 by Mohammad Merah, anti-Semitic crimes in France have greatly increased.
As an offshoot to the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in 2015, a French Muslim terrorist took people hostage in a kosher deli in Paris after killing four Jews. The terrorist was killed in a police shootout.
Three years later, as Jews assembled at the Hyper Casher in memory of the murdered Jews, arsonists burned down two Jewish supermarkets in the Paris district of Creteil where the population in increasingly Muslim and decreasingly Jewish.
In haunting replay of the Ilan Halimi murder, when a 66-year-old female Jewish doctor, Sarah Halimi, was brutally murdered in her Paris home by a 27-year-old Muslim man in April 2017, the police authorities again rejected the claim that this was a hate crime, despite the neighbors hearing him shout “Allahu Akbar” and recite Koranic verses as he murdered her.
In these two brutal murders, eight years apart, against French Jews named Halimi, the French authorities continued to face the awful reality the Jews are targeted for being Jews, despite the evidence.
French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, told a Jewish audience in December that “In our country, anti-Semitism is alive. It is not superficial, it is well-rooted and it is alive. And it hides always behind new masks.”
This new mask is anti-Zionism, a disguise for Jew-hatred. And yet, the Prime Minister in January approved the publication of anti-Semitic essays by the author, Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, known in France as Celine, over the heavy objection of the French Jewish community leaders.
“You cannot deny the writer’s central position in French literature,” Philippe said in defense of the publication by an anti-Semite.
There was an active boycott campaign to prevent the Israeli Habima theater company from performing a Hebrew version of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ at the Shakespeare Festival at the Globe Theater in LONDON in 2012.
Caught up in the anti-Israel frenzy, Ben White, one of the boycott campaigners, posted a picture of Howard Jacobson, the English Jewish writer who was to win the Man Booker Prize for literature, on Twitter with the quotation, “If you need another reason to support a boycott of Habima, I present a massive picture of Howard Jacobson’s face.”
How quickly hatred of Israel degenerates into picking on the local Jew.
Jacobson responded with a statement that included, “I am aware that I look Jewish. Massively Jewish. I don’t know. Massively Jewish-looking. I don’t know. But Jewish, yes. So how does this fact bear on the proposed boycott? How does it constitute a reason to support it? What does the face betoken that it might strengthen people in their commitment to boycott an Israeli theater company?
I have addressed the subject of anti-Semitism in my novels and articles. I have warned about finding prejudice where there is none: and have often spoken of how little anti-Semitism I have faced in this country. I don’t go looking for it. I would rather not find it. But to see my appearance adduced as an argument to support a boycott of Habima convinced me that, on this occasion, anti-Semitism has found me.”
In BRITAIN today, the Jewish population is concerned over a potential Labour government as their country grapples with Brexit. The reason for their concern is that anti-Semitism is rampant within the ranks of the Labour Party at all levels. The headline of an article that appeared in the Jerusalem Post on September 29, 2017, screamed, “Antisemitism engulfs the British Labor Party.”
At their annual conference, Israel was compared to the Nazis and there was a call to expel pro-Israel Jewish groups from a party in what was described “as a thinly veiled call to purge Jews from the Labour Party.”
This is the party led by Jeremy Corbyn, a leader who called Hamas and Hezbollah his friends.
Anti-Semitism within the British Labour Party was described by the Tablet magazine as “a running sore in Labour politics, in part because of Corbyn’s own past statements and associations, and in part because he has attracted the fringe left, banished in the 1980s, back into the party.”
John Cryer, the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party admitted that he had seen anti-Semitic tweets from party members “that would make your hair stand on end.”
At a side event to the Labour Party annual conference called ‘Free Speech on Israel,’ speakers called for both the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel to be “kicked out” of the party, accusing Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza.
One speaker told the audience that Israel and Israelis should not be treated any differently to the Nazis. Other speakers refused to call Israel by name, preferring to refer to it as “the Zionist state.”
A prominent Labourite, Tony Greenstein, who talked about “Zionist scum” was warmly applauded by the audience.
Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, admits to the problem. “People say there is no anti-Semitism problem, but we have seen it there in black and white.”
An internal review into anti-Semitism within the party was considered by many as a whitewash for which the author, Shami Chakrabarti, was elevated to the House of Lords.
In a poll of British Jews conducted in August 2017, 80% said that the Labour Party was too tolerant of Antisemitism within its ranks. 65% said the British government did not do enough to protect its Jews.
Outside of politics, in London, at anti-Israel demonstrations, Hezbollah flags wave in the cold British air. Hezbollah, or what is neutrally called ‘the military wing’ of that Lebanese Islamic group, is designated as a terrorist organization that targets the Jewish state for annihilation, but they are accorded protection by Jeremy Corbyn who refers to them as his friend.
Outside the American Embassy in London in December 2017, protesters screamed anti-Semitic chants as they demonstrated against the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” were heard as was the Arabic chant of “Khaybar. Khaybar, ya yahud! Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud!” which threatens the slaughter of Jews as executed by Muhammad against the Jews of Khaybar in the year 628.
This is permitted in the capital of Britain 1390 years later.
In SOUTH AFRICA, in November 2017 at a protest outside the Israeli Embassy against the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration recognizing the rights of the Jewish people to a national homeland in Palestine, one of the organizers, Julius Malema said, “We will always carry the flag. We know that what Israel is doing to the Palestinians is wrong.”
The protest was organized by one of the leading radical left-wing opposition parties. But the flag that was flying at the demonstration was the Hezbollah flag that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
More than two thousand Christians travelling to this event in support of Israel had their buses turned away and in some cases impounded on the grounds that the anti-Jewish state protesters were “very aggressive and militant.”
In GERMANY, where pictures of Israeli flags being burned in Berlin and Stuttgart went viral, the President, sensitive to German history, came out to say that the burning of flags of the Jewish state in German towns “frightens and shames me.” He went on to say that “the German Federal Republic is only fully functional when Jews are fully at home in it.”
The German Justice Minister, Heiko Maas, was forced to say, “who burns Israeli flags burns our values.”
When the CDU parliamentary faction announced it was calling for a special commission to look into antisemitism it was, as Manfred Gerstenfeld wrote in the Jerusalem Post, “an admission that hate crimes against Jews are a significant problem” in Germany.
They have reason to be concerned. In the first half of 2017, 681 anti-Semitic offenses were recorded. A German federal survey showed that 40% of Germans hold Israel related anti-Semitic views.
Volker Beck, a Green Party member of the Bundestag told Die Welt that he believed this figure “is much higher.”
Updated statistics are hard to come by, but in 2016 there were 1,468 anti-Semitic incidents in Germany and 2017 figures are certain to be higher. 62% of German Jews responded to a survey conducted by Bielefeld University by saying that they had experienced anti-Semitism in their everyday lives.
On a positive note, since Angela Merkl’s party passed a resolution in December 2016 calling the BDS Movement “anti-Semitic,” there has been a legal push back against BDS activism in Germany.
In August 2017, Frankfurt became the first German city to ban the “deeply anti-Semitic” BDS, as the deputy mayor, Uwe Becker, called them. Since then, Berlin and Munich quickly followed Frankfurt’s anti-BDS example.
In many places, particularly on campus, protests against, and the closing down of, pro-Israel speakers and events is permitted under free speech laws but, in VIENNA, we saw the reverse of such free speech activity.
Three pro-Israel activists were arrested and put on criminal charges for waving Israeli flags.
They did so in protest against anti-Semitic slogans being chanted at a demonstration against the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. The charges against them read that the Israel supporters “showed an Israeli flag at a rally in an extremely provocative way and manner that was visible to participants at the rally and thereby produced considerable offense and provocation among the Palestinians protesters.”
One of the arrested flag wavers said, “My mother is an Israeli. Her family were Jewish refugees from Iraq and Libya. An Arab-speaking friend from Israel was able to translate some of the slogans yelled at the demonstration. For example, the Arab battle cry to massacre Jews “Jews! Remember Khybar. The army of Muhammad is returning!” and “Death to Israel!”
This activist, who gave his name as Matthias, said he heard shouts of “Intifada!” and “child-murdering Israel!”
Vice magazine posted a copy of the police notice with the criminal penalties for waving an Israeli flag which the notice said was “extremely reckless” and which “disturbed public order.”
Waving an Israeli flag at a protest in Vienna is considered a criminal offense but waving Palestinian and Turkish flags at a demonstration were not.
Matthias and his friends were attacked by the pro-Palestinian demonstrators. They were arrested but the violent demonstrators were allowed to return to their anti-Israel rally.
Matthias was seeking legal aid to appeal the penalties and criminal charges against him and his friends. It cannot be that Jew-hating chants at a rally are permitted, but Israeli flag waving protest against anti-Semitic outbursts results in criminal charges
There is much need for the establishment of legal groups in individual countries to fight against the rising tide of anti-Semitism through the application of existing and introduction of new laws.
Good work has been done by the Lawfare Project in the United States and others to set back BDS with the introduction of new laws at state and government level but much more needs to be done to protect Jewish and Israeli students on campuses against the hate crimes perpetrated against them that have been allowed to develop under the banner of “free speech.”
As South Carolina became the first state to codify the universal definition of anti-Semitism into law, Governor Henry McMaster said, “Anti-Semitism has no place in South Carolina, and the passage of this bill will go a long way toward ensuring that our state and its college campuses provide a welcoming environment for those from all walks of live.”
The governor was spot on. Passing such a law enables legal challenge to discrimination against Israelis and Jews whose speech is too often closed down on campuses sometime by violent protest. Discrimination and the prevention of free speech is at play here and the introduction of state anti-Semitism laws open the way for legal defense for the victims against the perpetrators.
In Great Britain, the voluntary group, UK Lawyers for Israel, have been amazingly effective in challenging anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish actions by applying existing laws against rising problem.
In SPAIN, after 50 municipalities passed laws endorsing BDS, the brilliant Angel Mas initiated ACOM and began a campaign to strip back BDS using the application of law. Over the past year, 24 rulings and injunctions have been brought against BDS in Spain thanks to litigation by ACOM and BDS motions have been defeated, repealed or suspended in a dozen Spanish municipalities.
Similar independent legal bodies are being established in Holland, Sweden, and South Africa. All these countries have become hotbeds of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate in which the Jewish population live in increasing fear.
The problem is a simple and obvious one. Anti-Semites who hate Jews can get their thrills by slamming the Jewish state. By calling themselves anti-Zionist they are allowed to get away with their anti-Semitism. It’s that simple.
David Hirsch, in his seminal book ‘Contemporary Left Antisemitism,’ called it this way. “Anti-Semites always pose as victims of the Jews, or of ‘Zionism,’ or of ‘the Israel lobby.’ And the claim that Jews try to silence criticism of Israel by mobilizing a dishonest accusation against them is now recognizable as one of the defining tropes of contemporary antisemitism.”
A perfect example of that is Linda Sarsour, as rabid a hater of the Jewish state as you can get.
When she is recruited to address a Jewish anti-Israel gathering to protest that she is a defender of Jews you know you have a problem. You have a problem because, according to Sarsour, you cannot claim to be a feminist and support Israel at the same time. Being a believer in Israel, to her, makes you a racist and ipso facto you cannot be a feminist.
And, if you are a Jewish supporter of Israel you become a Zionist and a racist and, therefore unkosher and unwelcome in her circle of intersectionality.
Muslims, like Linda Sarsour, who want to see an end to the Jewish state, who are recruiting useful Jewish idiots to their cause, always play the victim card portraying Jews as their executioners. See Hirsch's description of them.
The Israeli government would be wise to invest money, manpower, and resources in support of volunteer groups and organizations who are defending Israel and the Jewish people from such dangerous attacks and harassment.
This report was compiled for the 2018 GFCA Conference on Anti-Semitism by
Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy,
Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.
Author of the book ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS, and Anti-Semitism.’