Is Europe waking up to the Antisemitism in its midst?

Is Europe starting to wake up to the dangers of Antisemitism in its midst?

In Norway a debate is under way at the highest political levels following a TV report on the findings of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW):

A debate at the highest political level is underway in Norway following NRK TV’s 11-minute report on Palestinian Media Watch‘s findings about PA hate promotion, as documented in PMW’s book Deception. The report by investigative journalist Tormod Strand showed explicit examples of ongoing hate incitement, Antisemitism and terror glorification by the PA.

The next day, two Norwegian MPs from opposition parties were interviewed by NRK TV and challenged Norway’s funding policies. They called to stop funding the PA if the PA continues its hate incitement and terror glorification:

Morten Høglund, foreign policy spokesman for the Progress Party: “We must use the power we have, and as a major donor to the PA, we must fight fire with fire and say that we will stop the aid unless the PA takes immediate action to stop this type of hate message.”

[...]

Two days later there was a long debate in parliament in which the three opposition parties – the Conservative Party, the Progress Party and the Christian Democratic Party – challenged the Norwegian Foreign Minister about Norway’s funding of the PA.

MP Hans Olav Syversen of the Christian Democratic Party asked the Foreign Minister what the government intends to do this time, noting that this is not the first time Norway has objected to Antisemitism broadcast by PA TV:

“…we are talking about state-funded and state-controlled TV broadcasts from the Palestinian territories. It is, with due respect, not the first time this problem (i.e., Antisemitic messages on PA TV) has been discussed. I have here a long list of questions that the Christian Democratic Party among others has asked about the same [issue], since 2000. My question is: what are you doing now with the PA so that this may come to an end, contrary to what has been done in the past, when you (i.e., the Norwegian Foreign Ministry) also said that you would bring it up with the Palestinian side?”

Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide replied that Norway “brought this up immediately at a high level with the PA, who responded that they would pursue this, and that they did not wish to broadcast this kind of expression through a Palestinian TV channel.”

[...]

However, later in the debate, Foreign Minister Barth Eide tried to minimize the severity of the PA hate incitement that PMW documented.

“I want to emphasize that even though we now again saw one such example that was documented here – and which the Israeli organization Palestinian Media Watch made NRK TV aware of, and it is correct and well documented that this [PA TV incitement] happened – it’s not as if nothing [positive] has happened… For example curriculum and textbooks, including in Gaza, are among the best in the Arab world in terms of how they relate to Jews and the other party.”

PMW notes that the Norwegian Foreign Minister’s reference to PA incitement as “one such example” is a gross understatement. Not only did the 11-minute NRK TV report cite several examples of PA hate incitement, libels, and terror glorification, PMW’s book Deception, which was given to the Foreign Ministry, documents many hundreds of examples. PMW has shown that the PA hate promotion, libels and terror glorification from PA leaders and their controlled media is PA policy and not just “one such example” as the minister claimed.

[...]

In the end the Foreign Minister reiterated Norway’s attitude to hate speech and Antisemitism: “This is not something we can accept, this is something we strongly denounce, something we have denounced (in the past), and something we will continue to denounce (in the future).”

Kol hakavod to PMW for their persistence in pursuing Palestinian incitement at all levels.

Meanwhile, the Danes too have become alarmed at the rising Antisemitism in their society:

Danish officials say they’re alarmed by the frequency of anti-Semitic attacks. The rise in physical and verbal assaults in Denmark is in line with claims by Jewish communities that anti-Semitism is on the rise throughout Europe.

At a forum staged by Copenhagen City Council, Danish Jews urged the authorities to take action.

Claus Bentow and his family only feel completely secure in their apartment in a middle class area of Copenhagen. Here Bentow and his sons can freely wear their skullcaps. Outside they are forced to hide their religious identity. Like other Jewish families, they’ve been advised not to send their children to public schools

At a special forum designed to raise awareness about rising anti-Semitism, Bentow dismissed official figures that said there was about one attack a week in Denmark. He said the figure was much higher as so many assaults were not reported because of the perceived impotence of police investigations.

The audience listened in sorrow as a boy with a Muslim father and Jewish mother described what happened to him in a Muslim quarter of the city.

“I heard someone call me a Jewish pig, go to hell, throw a stone at me,” said 16-year-old Moran Jakob. “I tried to protect my girlfriend of course because they tried to hit her, and one of them took a little knife and stabbed me in the leg.”

[...]

What distresses Jews is that during World War II, Denmark saved their community by smuggling its members to Sweden. Now Denmark is no longer a safe haven.

One of the impacts of this growing anti-Semitism is that an exodus of Jews has begun. They are moving to countries where Jews can live in comparative safety such as Israel, the United States and Britain.

These stories, along with earlier reports of rising Antisemitism worldwide, fuelled more by hatred of Israel and by Palestinian and Muslim incitement rather than the “old-fashioned” Christian Jew-hatred, should both set off alarm bells amongst both the local Jewish communities and amongst European society in general.

Map of Concentration Camps in Europe

On a related subject, a report published over the weekend brought us the shocking revelation that the Holocaust was much worse than anyone had previously thought. Researchers discovered that the number of concentration camps, forced labour camps, ghettoes etc. was 42,500 – far higher than anyone had previously thought:

The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.

The figure is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings at an academic forum in late January at the German Historical Institute in Washington.

“The numbers are so much higher than what we originally thought,” Hartmut Berghoff, director of the institute, said in an interview after learning of the new data.

“We knew before how horrible life in the camps and ghettos was,” he said, “but the numbers are unbelievable.”

The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.

[...]

The maps the researchers have created to identify the camps and ghettos turn wide sections of wartime Europe into black clusters of death, torture and slavery — centered in Germany and Poland, but reaching in all directions.

[...]

The research could have legal implications as well by helping a small number of survivors document their continuing claims over unpaid insurance policies, looted property, seized land and other financial matters.

“HOW many claims have been rejected because the victims were in a camp that we didn’t even know about?” asked Sam Dubbin, a Florida lawyer who represents a group of survivors who are seeking to bring claims against European insurance companies.

[...]

Dr. Megargee, the lead researcher, said the project was changing the understanding among Holocaust scholars of how the camps and ghettos evolved.

[...]

The numbers astound: 30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettos; 980 concentration camps; 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm, performing forced abortions, “Germanizing” prisoners or transporting victims to killing centers.

In Berlin alone, researchers have documented some 3,000 camps and so-called Jew houses, while Hamburg held 1,300 sites.

Dr. Dean, a co-researcher, said the findings left no doubt in his mind that many German citizens, despite the frequent claims of ignorance after the war, must have known about the widespread existence of the Nazi camps at the time.

“You literally could not go anywhere in Germany without running into forced labor camps, P.O.W. camps, concentration camps,” he said. “They were everywhere.”

Yad Vashem meanwhile has updated its online archives to include an encyclopedia of 1000 ghettoes where Jews were concentrated during the Holocaust years. It would seem they have a lot of catching up to do, judging by the NYT article.

The implications of this new research of quite explicit. We are only now discovering, over 70 years after the fact – the true staggering numbers of the Holocaust, and the realization that European civilians must have known what was happening right in their midst.

If European civil society today is now waking up to the horror of renewed Antisemitism in their countries, another Holocaust can be averted.

Of course there is one huge difference today: the State of Israel exists as a homeland for the Jews. The irony is that it is the very existence of the State of Israel that is fuelling the new Antisemitism in the first place.

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11 Responses to Is Europe waking up to the Antisemitism in its midst?

  1. Rob Harris says:

    Surprising that the Swedish find Britain is deemed safe but anything is probably better than Malmo!

    It is interesting to read that Norway also seems to have fund Palestinian terrorists http://tundratabloids.com/2011/09/northern-exposure-norwegian-aid-money-goes-to-pay-terrorists.html and a similar piece here http://www.israelwhat.com/2011/09/04/norwegian-funds-pay-for-palestinian-terrorists-serving-time/ so little wonder they also support incitement.

    I think it is time for a dedicated website to be set up addressing the issue of exaggeration and outright fabrication relating to “settler violence” (using multiple sources for verification) since this has become such a useful propagandistic tool for the Arab-Palestinian set.

  2. Rob Harris says:

    Just to clarify that an email in response to the story from the Norwegian MFA suggests that the authorities are OK with their funding going to assist terrorists.

    BTW the last paragraph of my prior post was off-topic as it was accidentially copied in from another comment I just submitted to NER. Sorry for the confusion.

    • anneinpt says:

      Yes, the Norwegians are definitely having a cognitive dissonance problem to say the least.

      Re going off-topic, you’re not so far off topic. Anything that demonises Israel is used to stir up hatred for Israel and then by extension the Jews. And you’re quite right that we need a dedicated website for anti-anti-settler propaganda. Honest Reporting does this to a certain degree, as do all the pro-Israel websites (including this one) but as you say, we are not dedicated solely to this cause.

      Actually, thinking about this some more, I’m not even sure it is a good idea or if it will work. The settlers are the “Jews” of the Israelis – i.e. when you cant’ criticise the Jews because it’s non-PC, you can criticise the Israelis. And when you cant’ criticise the Israelis it’s always OK to criticise the settlers because they are obviously intrinsically evil (in the eyes of the “progressives” etc.).

      Having a dedicated website would be almost as if we admit that “settlers” are a different category of Israelis, whereas in the eyes of the Arabs, all Israelis are settlers. Just look at their maps for proof. Their propaganda whitewashes their true feelings towards Israel for Western sensibilities, and the West gobbles up the “evil settler” meme. And for the “progressives” anyone who supports settlers (i.e. most Israelis) are equally as evil. But in truth the Arab hatred is aimed at all Israelis and also at all Jews.

  3. reality says:

    I read this post just after reading that Obama is pushing for a date when we’ll leave the west bank, and that Netanyahu(spineless man) is considering all sorts of land swaps as a friendly gesture. In all of this article where was one friendly gesture ever made? Certainly not by the PA or from Europe. How do we go about organising friendly gestures from them? ie they should stop TODAY funding the PA instead of talking about it again & again & actually nothing gets decided & practically speaking everything continues. How can Norway say that the PA schoolbooks aren’t anti Israel? Has anyone normal translated them so they can read them? But kudos for PMW for getting people to start listening.

  4. Rob Harris says:

    Hello Anne, I do understand your concern about singling out settlers but at the same time there is a whole arm of the immense Palestinian propaganda machine that targets them exclusively. This constant criticism is echoed by the international media very frequently. It seems few people in the West supporting Israel defend the settlers either so I felt they need some highly focused defense.

    • anneinpt says:

      You’re not alone in your worries – and I very much identify with them too (especially as half my family are settlers!).

      There were 2 very good articles in the Algemeiner in the last couple of days about verbal incitement: one was the full transcript of Ambassador Prosor’s speech at the UN: Incitement to terror and violence; the second was by Rabbi Shmuli Boteach: Verbal combat: the rise of Israel’s word warriors.

      Neither specifically refer to the settlers, rather to delegitimization of Israelas a whole.

      The trouble with specifying the settlers is where do you draw the line? Literally. Do you include Jerusalemites? As far as 99% of Israelis are concerned, Jerusalem is not a settlement. As far as the world is concerned, huge chunks of Jerusalem is indeed a settlement. Where is the international border beyond which Israel is considered an occupier? When you drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on route no. 1, you cross over the Green line and back again several times. Are you an occupier for those odd miles?

      It will become a ridiculous exercise, and defending the settlers will end up being an argument of “who is a settler”.

      As I have previously said, as far as most Arabs are concerned, all Israelis are settlers and therefore illegitimate.

      What we do need are people who are both articulate and well-versed in international law as well as Middle East history. Then we need a sympathetic press. The first 3 conditions are fulfilled in plenty. The last requirement is a sad joke.

  5. Rob Harris says:

    Hello Anne,

    Sorry I missed your comment a few days back. I suspect we won’t agree but just to clarify that I’m simply talking about a well publicised site that counters the propaganda against settlers. I take the point about Arabs construing that all of Israel is an occupation, and no doubt virtually all extreme pro-Palestinians feel the same way but people in the West pretty much comprehensively identify settlers as those beyond the 1949 Armstice lines, and so that would include East Jerusalem.

    I also share your concerns about those supporting Israel focusing on settlers, for to single them out could create a false dichotomy, making them seem apart but the reality is that they are the focal point of most pro-Palestinian ire, and the focus of so much false-flagging incidents. They are like the canaries in the mine so they need a particularly stout defense even to other pro-Israel folks!

    The debate in the West is so wrong-headed that most people don’t even recognise the genuine historic Jewish links to the “West Bank”, a zone which they vocally wish to see as judenrein!

    Challenging what is probably the most frought issue of the conflict, (even more so than the Gaza issue since the flotillas etc. have failed to galvanise support) in an intensive highly-focused way may in time blunt the power of what is the leading element of the pro-Palestinian assault, namely the “apartheid”, “occupation” and “theft” of the “West Bank”. Such a defense of settlers would of course be a pretty big project so in a way our discussion is academic as I doubt it would come about.

    • anneinpt says:

      I don’t disagree with you that we need a “well publicised site” to promote the cause of the settlers. I just don’t think it will work and from bitter experience it will somehow rebound in our face. Perhaps I’m just being super-cautious.

      There are in fact a few websites that do excellent counter-propaganda work for the settlers. The most widely read is Arutz Sheva, or in its English version,Israel National News. It started out as a pirate radio station in the mid-80s-90s, and then was shut down instead of being given a licence by the extreme leftist Culture Minister (or Education or Communications Minister? Can’t remember) Shulamit Aloni. They then turned to the internet where they carried on their radio broadcasts and eventually morphed into the INN website.

      But here one can see how my fears are proved correct. Any time anyone quotes an article from INN on an anti-Israel website (of which I troll a few) they are always discounted as “biased”, propaganda, even hate-speech. It ends up preaching to the converted, and persuading perhaps a few open-minded folks who are genuinely interested in the conflict.

      Yisrael Medad of My Right Word also has a very good blog. He is a settler (I hate that word) from Shilo.

      If I hear of any other sites I’ll let you know, or post them on the blog.

      By the way have you seen the excellent work of Irish4Israel? They sound right up your street. Or perhaps you're part of their team already?

  6. Rob Harris says:

    Thats interesting about how INN developed. Aloni is quite the crazy Stalinist. I’m familiar with INN but just took it as a general news site with a somewhat right leaning emphasis, rather than being an explicitely pro-Settler (sorry for the tag) website. What I envisaged was a website using a multitude of sources (and material gathered by settlers where applicable) to mount a strong defence when it came to a given story or issue. It could be linked with a low level effort to try to spread the perspective of settlers in other parts of the world because the one thing that anti-Israel politicians and NGOs constantly bellyache about is the West Bank, BS about settler violence etc. That was the idea but of course it would take effort to put into practice & you have your concerns.

    I know of Irish4Israel which I think is run by a guy called Barry. They do some good work alright. I don’t work with them as I think there was some tension in the past over a minor disagreement. lol

    • anneinpt says:

      Your idea certainly is a good one, I don’t deny it. I just find it hard to envisage it, and anyway, the tropes used against settlers – apartheid, occupation etc. – are used against Israel as a whole too, so there’s a great overlap. All the right-wing sites, particularly INN and assorted Israeli blogs (this one included) do their hardest to refute the lies aimed both at settlers and at Israelis in general. I don’t know if a “settlers-only” news-promoting site would work better. it’s more likely to be discounted in the wider media as simple propaganda.

      Your comment about working for Irish4Israel makes me wonder if they’re all Jewish after all. You know – 2 Jews, 3 opinions and all that. :-D. It must be catching, LOL!

      • Rob Harris says:

        Yeah it is likely to be discounted as propaganda by many but I have noticed at times that any Israeli news source (except the noble Hareetz lol), such as the Jerusalem Post, can be labelled the same way. In such a climate all one can be is offer an alternative view, and rely on a multitude of sources where possible to minimise the effectiveness of the claim. Just getting a different voice out there in a very sustaned way could be useful IMO.

        lol yup it seems the Irish pro-Israel groups are nothing if not fractured or at least were. A while back I thought it was self-evidently true that a decent pro-Israel site for what was the biggest group (not sure anymore) “Irish Friends of Israel” would be a very positive thing when even their letters to newspapers were rarely published. The response after extensive effort was [cue tumbleweed/whistling wind] one of restrained hostility. Very odd.

        Interestingly I saw a report a few months back that some Jewish community leaders in Europe were trying to get some assistance from Israel to try to fight all the prejudic here.

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