Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism, still alive and kicking around the world

Jack Straw (far left) and Einat Wilf (far right) pictured at last week’s Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum at the House of Commons

Despite ongoing, if fruitless, peace talks with the Palestinians, and against the background of the barbaric civil wars taking place just over our borders in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, all of which ought to shine a more positive light on Israel, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish feeling still runs rife around the world – and the two are very often synonymous.

One of the more bizarre antisemitic statements emanated from the Mother of Parliaments, Britain’s House of Commons, where former British Foreign Minister Jack Straw said that Jewish money controls US policy, blocking Middle East peace.

Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw reportedly said during a debate in the British parliament that “unlimited” funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US are used to control American policy in the Middle East.

The comments were made last week during the Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum in the British House of Commons, according to former Knesset member Einat Wilf.

Wilf was participating in the debate and posted what she said were Straw’s comments on her Facebook page.

Straw said, according to Wilf, that the greatest obstacles to peace between Israel and the Palestinians and her Arab neighbors are the “unlimited” funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US, as well as Germany’s “obsession” with defending Israel.

Wrote Wilf: “I nearly fell off my rickety British chair today when former UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw spoke at the Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum in the British House of Commons. Listing the greatest obstacles to peace, he said ‘unlimited’ funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US are used to control and divert American policy in the region and that Germany’s ‘obsession’ with defending Israel were the problem.

“I guess he neglected to mention Jewish control of the media….”

Wilf told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper on Sunday that “It was appalling to listen to Britain’s former foreign secretary. His remarks reflect prejudice of the worst kind.” She added: “We’re used to hearing groundless accusations from Palestinian envoys but I thought British diplomats, including former ones, were still capable of a measure of rational thought.”

Straw has past form with anti-Jewish sentiments:

Straw has a history of offending Israeli leaders with his remarks on the Israeli-Arab conflict. In 2003, he angered the Foreign Ministry by comparing Israel to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

In 2006, he said the world should be as concerned with disabling Israel’s nuclear capabilities, as it is with Iran’s nuclear program.

Under Straw, Britain’s foreign ministry considered maintaining diplomatic ties with members of Hamas, a terrorist group which openly states that its goal is Israel’s destruction.

Straw compounded the felony by admitting that his views were influenced by the notorious academics Walt & Mearsheimer, who wrote an antisemitic screed about the sinister Israel Lobby’s malign influence on Washington:

Today, TrendingCentral.com is able to bring you a full statement from Jack Straw MP clarifying his remarks, and hitting back at those who reported the incident as an “anti-Semitic rant”.

TrendingCentral.com did not report the incident as such, but instead responsibly wrote: 

“A report from an ex-Member of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) yesterday claimed that during a meeting in the British Houses of Parliament, former Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary Jack Straw (Lab) peddled an anti-Semitic trope about Jewish control over U.S. and Germany foreign policy.”

But Straw’s response, below, will unlikely assuage the concerns about his comments, given that he admits, they are influenced by the book “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

He would have been better off claiming “some of my best friends are Jews”.

Israeli flag whited out for Nevo at no. 6 on Qatar TV

A bit further afield, in Qatar to be precise, they were progressive enough to allow Israelis to compete in the FINA swimming competition, but Qatar TV removed all signs of the Israeli flag:

The Dubai organizers of this year’s FINA Swimming World Cup in Doha have broken the world swimming organization’s ethical standards after the Qatari body tasked with overseeing the event removed an Israeli flag from outside one of its venues and state broadcasters whited out the Israeli flag on the swimming lanes as they were seen on TV.

Israeli competitor Ivry, no. 5, has no flag

Aspire Zone, a 2.5 square kilometer (1 square mile) sporting zone in the Qatari capital, may have been responding to pressure from local groups, who expressed opposition to raising the Israeli flag publicly. Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Soccer Cup. It will be the first Arab state to host the tournament.

According to the English-language website Doha News, the hubbub began on the back of a single tweet, which showed an amateur photograph of the Israeli flag alongside several others.

“At the pool in Qatar, #FINA, another picture of an Israeli flag demonstrating the team participating in the tournament, outside the Aspire Zone this time,” the tweet read, ending with a hashtag on the Arabic word for “normalization,” which commonly refers to Israel.

A security guard told Doha News on Monday that the flag had been removed, which was apparently proved by later photographs of the same stadium uploaded to Twitter.

Ynet has more, and Israellycool went to town mocking this blatant display of antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism, including the removal of the Israeli flag from outside the competition arena:

Israeli flag flies at Qatar stadium before its removal

Israeli flag removed from outside Qatar stadium

Travelling even further, it was shocking to read of a vicious antisemitic assault in Australia, traditionally one of the most philo-Semitic and pro-Israel countries in the world.

Four men and a woman were walking on Blair Street, Bondi, at about 12:30 AM Saturday,  on their way home from a Sabbath eve meal, when a group of about eight young men began yelling anti-Semitic insults at them, and then attacked them.

The five suffered injuries including a fractured cheekbone, broken nose, concussion, lacerations and bruising. Police said the victims are four men, aged 27 to 66, and a 62-year-old woman. One man, who is in his sixties, suffered serious internal head injuries. According to Israel’s Channel 2 television, he is in critical condition.

Police arrested two 17-year-olds and a 23-year-old man at the scene, but the rest of the attackers managed to run away.

The two teenagers were charged with affray – fighting or terrorizing people in a public place – and breach of bail. They were refused bail and will appear in children’s court tomorrow.

[…]

Beach Road Hotel licensee Ben Pearce told the Morning Herald that four bouncers and two managers from the hotel jumped into the brawl in an effort to break it up and were able to restrain a couple of the attackers before the police arrived.

”The guys did the best they could to grab as many of [the attackers] as possible,” Pearce said. ”The fact that it had that extra component [was racially motivated] makes it even more ugly. ‘If it ever happened again we’d do the same to try and help.”

Despite rumours to the effect that the attackers were Muslim, it appears that the facts are somewhat different. Below is a report received by email from a resident of Sydney, reprinted with permission, via a friend who wishes to remain anonymous:

The incident was all over the media both here and in Israel over the weekend.  It was quite a shock to everyone and is considered to be the worst act of anti-semitism in Australia.

This happened in the early hours of Saturday morning when a family were walking home from shabbos dinner and we heard about it from friends when we were out for dinner on Saturday night.  I was originally told that the attackers were Lebanese Muslims, but couldn’t find anything to substantiate that in the media.

Today I read that the 3 attackers who were arrested were of Pacific Islander origin and were not Muslim.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.  Pacific Islanders tend to be quite a rough bunch anyway and it sounds as if they were a gang of drunken hoodlums out to make trouble.  One of the 17 year old kids had been let out on bail recently after attacking an Asian police officer at Coogee Beach and was in juvenile detention prior to that for an attack at a train station.  I believe that they were troubled kids who would have picked on any minority who crossed their path.

I have just read the article that you attached and am quite alarmed by the manipulation of the truth.  According to all the sources I have come across, there were 8 attackers – 3 were arrested and the other 5 are on the loose.  It was 12.30 at night.  I know that area, and can confirm it is not an open street lined with restaurants, but suburban back streets with a few shops.  By midnight even Bondi is closed for business.  Bouncers at a local hotel immediately ran to break up the fight (all caught on CCTV).  The police were alerted immediately.  A taxi driver chased one of the offenders down the street and caught him, while passersby held down 2 other offenders.  The police and ambulance were on the scene very quickly.  There was immediate responses by the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW, the NSW Premier and the local (and very vocal) MP.  By Sunday the PM had spoken out about it too.  The families involved have released a detailed statement thanking all those involved for their very quick intervention.  The quotes in the article are the most accurate part of it.  Very little has been written about the identities of the victims apart from their ages and gender.

I would encourage you to Google search this news story.  This particular article seems to be unnecessarily alarmist.

Hopefully this was an unfortunate isolated incident by a bunch of sociopaths.  As you know, in Australia, Jewish buildings have high security, just like they do everywhere else in the World.  Australia does have a large Muslim population (no different than UK).  Not such a surprise considering we neighbour Muslim Indonesia and Malaysia.  Anti-semitic and racist attacks can happen anywhere.  Fortunately Australia is a very tolerant country, accepting of all minorities.

I’m not sure how much of a difference it makes whether the attackers were Pacific Islanders or Muslims. The fact remains that this was a nasty antisemitic attack in a place which has rarely experienced such assaults. Let us echo the email writer’s fervent hope that this was an isolated event.

But we don’t need to go as far as England, Australia or Qatar to find antisemitism. It’s right here on our doorstep in Egypt.

Yad Vashem Righteous Gentile award to Mohammed Helmy

The family of an Egyptian man who was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Gentile for saving Jews during the Holocaust has rejected the award because it comes from Israel:

A member of the family of the first Arab honored by Israel for risking his life to save Jews during the Holocaust says the family isn’t interested in the recognition.

The Egyptian doctor Mohamed Helmy was honored posthumously last month by Israel’s Holocaust memorial for hiding Jews in Berlin during the Nazis’ genocide, but a family member tracked down by The Associated Press this week in Cairo said her relatives wouldn’t accept the award, one of Israel’s most prestigious.

“If any other country offered to honor Helmy, we would have been happy with it,” Mervat Hassan, the wife of Helmy’s great-nephew, told The Associated Press during an interview at her home in Cairo this week.

Mohamed Helmy was an Egyptian doctor who lived in Berlin and hid several Jews during the Holocaust. Last month, he was honored by Israel’s Yad Vashem Museum as “Righteous Among the Nations” — the highest honor given to a non-Jew for risking great personal dangers to rescue Jews from the Nazis’ gas chambers.

[…]

Hassan said the family wasn’t interested in the award from Israel because relations between Egypt and Israel remain hostile, despite a peace treaty signed more than three decades ago. But, she cautioned, “I respect Judaism as a religion and I respect Jews. Islam recognizes Judaism as a heavenly religion.”

“Helmy was not picking a certain nationality, race or religion to help. He treated patients regardless of who they were,” she said.

[…]

Yad Vashem says it has other names of relatives of Helmy that appeared in his will as his heirs and Yad Vashem forwarded this information to the Egyptian ambassador in Israel and were informed that authorities in Egypt were looking to find them.

First of all, kol hakavod to Yad Vashem for researching Helmy’s heroism and granting him his well-deserved award. And kudos to them for not giving up after this rejection and searching out other, perhaps more amenable relatives.

But shame on these relatives for their mean-spiritedness in rejecting this award. What would Helmy himself have had to say? Would they reject an award from any other country?  This may be disguised as anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism, but it is antisemitism by any other name – the very policy that Helmy risked his life to counteract.

And locally, right here in Israel where one would think we would be immune to antisemitism, Israeli residents were astounded and appalled to see a Nazi flag flying over route 60 (the main route through Judea):

For at least the second time in five months, Arab residents of Beit Umar in the Palestinian Authority (PA) have placed a Nazi flag over a major thoroughfare where Jews pass in their vehicles.

Beit Umar is located a half hour south of Jerusalem, between Halhoul and the Etzion Bloc, not far from Hevron.

Soldiers from the Haruv battalion in Kfir Regiment tried to take down the flag Saturday, but encountered difficulty because it was placed very high up.

A similar event took place at Beit Umar in May, when hundreds of residents of Gush Etzion who drove down Highway 60 were astounded to see an oversized Nazi flag flying next to a mosque in the Arab town.

There is no need to explain the despicableness of this act, and the horror and disgust felt by all Israelis at this provocative hateful and hate-filled prank. The only motive would appear to be pure antisemitism.

And the same motive applies to all the acts and statements mentioned above, and many more that go unreported.  These attacks cause physical harm and psychological distress to Jews and Israelis, and buttress the antisemites and the haters of Israel. The only way to counteract them is to shine a light on them and not let the bigots get away with it.

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6 Responses to Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism, still alive and kicking around the world

  1. NormanF says:

    The Israeli government rewarded Arab Nazis with those who killed Jews, adding its own modest contribution to the tidal wave of Jew-hatred engulfing the world.

  2. These reports of anti-Semitism, even if merely anecdotal, are important to maintain a raised consciousness of citizens that not even an event as egregious as the holocaust is able to dispel the hatred against Jews that remains. This persistent hatred begs the question of how to effectively deal with what is manifestly a symptom of ignorance. And ignorance defining the problem also provides the solution. Debates between “anti-Zionists” and pro-Israelis are extremely effective and draw huge crowds. Presenting anti-Semites like Jack Straw with questions before a camera and microphone exposing his ignorance of the legality of Israel’s claim to the disputed territories, provisions in the PLA Charter calling for the elimination of Jews and Israel, Israel’s educational, economic, social and cultural assistance to Palestinians after its 1967 defeat of its Arab aggressors, etc., etc. not only exposes their corrupt ignorance but publishes the legitimacy of Israel’s and Jews’ defense of the nation and the people. Unfortunately, there is no established program provided by any public or private entity to execute such a policy to respond to these incidents by exposing their ignorant foundations and silence in the face of an accusation is too often viewed as a tacit admission of its validity.

    • anneinpt says:

      You are right – in theory – that exposing the antisemites’ ignorance is the best way to demolish their biases. But that’s in theory. In practice, nearly all these forums and debates are loaded in favour of the other side, and Israel and the Jews rarely get a fair hearing. Which is not to say that we shouldn’t continue in our efforts to expose the bigotry. Mockery and derision also serve a very useful purpose in exposing the antisemites’ biases.

      I think the lack of an “established program provided by any public or private entity to execute such a policy to respond to these incidents” is due to the widespread nature of these biases. First of all they occur all over the world; secondly they take different forms at different times in different places. They can be purely antisemitic in Europe, anti-Israel in Asia, and a mixture of both in the Middle East. Also, they occur in physical attacks in the streets, hostile forums on college campuses in Europe and the US, and in incessant incitement in the Arab media. How can one program possibly cope with all that?

      There certainly are many established programs combatting the various forms of anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Stand With Us combats campus bias; CAMERA and its susbidiaries contend with media bias; UN Watch deals with the UN; the ADL with institutional antisemitism… the list goes on. I don’t see how they could all combine into one massive organization. Especially considering where there are 2 Jews there are 3 opinions… 🙂

      In any event, antisemitism is as much a problem for the Gentiles as for the Jews. It should be up to them to combat it as much as it is up to us to defend ourselves.

      • ealha3 says:

        The response to the problem that “we’ve tried and we get overwhelmed,” means that what we’ve tried and failed needs to be given a better try that meets the issue of being overwhelmed. Failure to respond to the defeat magnifies the loss and fills the leadership vacuum with that of our adversaries. My complaint/suggestion relating to exposing ignorance is not merely of procedure, but of policy. We haven’t even thought of an “Opposing Response Strategy” that would be given to an “Opposing Response Committee” led by leaders as passionate about our cause as they have for theirs. The reason they win is that they are organized and we are not. We go into an event naked without any pre-emptive defensive strategies, expecting everybody at the forum will be of noble, civilized heritage. We are being opposed with savages and barbarians as we try to inform the civilized. Do we have a strategy to meet this threat on the platform of public opinion? If we do, I am not aware of it. Instead, we are told, “they are just too overwhelming and they drive us from the platform – what to do?” The immediate answer is leadership that organizes to meet the savages, defeat them, and, like the savages that have succeeded, develop “legs” to sustain itself and carry it to meet future challenges. A very substantial reason for the sustained successes of the anti-Semitics is that our response is “we can’t seem to be able to do anything about it….” Guess who’s celebrating that response!

        • anneinpt says:

          Thank you for your thoughtful response Elliott. You raise many excellent points which, however, make me despair – which is exactly the wrong response, I know!

          I do know that Jewish leaders around the world despair of the Israeli response which is incoherent, disorganized, and speaks with many voices. What to do about this is another question. I would have thought that Bibi, with his eloquence and good presentation, would have been promoting our side, hasbara if you will, but he seems to have gone awfully quiet since becoming PM.

          • ealha3 says:

            You express my sentiments, as well. What you perceive as the problem of a response being focused on Bibi, is what we are experiencing here by the Republican Party and the conservative movement as well. The response effort must be decentralized. Failure of the focused personality to respond usually means no effective response and the vacuum is filled with the inference of the legitimacy of adversary’s assault. Much of this problem is the refusal of the media to publish responses from other sources, either because the response comes too late when the issue is cold or that the responders are perceived as insignificant to draw public interest. These are both well understood problems that are not being addressed specifically, intelligently and with the necessary resources to effectively resolve. Ignoring an issue encourages its continuation.

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