The world cries “Never Again” every year on the annual International Holocaust Memorial Day. And yet, seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz and the defeat of the Nazis by the allies, it is becoming sickeningly evident that the lessons have not been learned, and that “never again” means “maybe now it’s acceptable”. Antisemitism is not only raising its ugly head again, but is alive and kicking and growing daily, as we have seen in the huge rise (some say by 400%) in antisemitic attacks throughout Europe. This is also not to ignore the constant drip-drip of anti-Semitic incitement, disguised as anti-Israel or anti-Zionism, emanating from the Muslim world, and particularly from the Palestinians.
We have seen several nasty examples of this anti-Semitism in the guise of pro-Palestinian, or rather anti-Israel, activism in recent days. One of the most blatant occurred, of all places, in a New York City Council meeting commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz, when anti-Israel pro-Palestinian protestors chose to interrupt precisely as the name of Auschwitz came up during a discussion of an upcoming Council visit to Israel.
Anti-Israel activists in New York City have started a campaign as part of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement to try to prevent City Council members and other politicians from visiting Israel. A coalition of 40 groups, most of which are quite small but including the usual suspects like the inaccurately named Jewish Voice for Peace are leading the effort.
At a NY City Council meeting today, anti-Israel activists disrupted a vote commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, shouting for one of the council members not to travel to Israel, as reported by Jacob Kornbluh at Jewish Political News & Updates website, which has video:
Pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activists disrupted the City Council’s stated meeting on Thursday while members were voting on a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
The protesters started yelling, “shame on you, Melissa”, “why are you supporting an apartheid” and “Palestinian lives matter.”
After five minutes of yelling and screaming, the some 40 protesters were ordered to leave and escorted out the balcony.
Council member Cory Johnson called it “incredibly disrespectful and offensive. Simply awful.” Councilman Mark Weprin added, “The State of Israel has never supported the killing of innocent people, and they want to love in peace.”
NYC councilman David Greenfield, grandson of Holocaust survivors, hit back with admirable ferocity and eloquence:
In Britain, as previously reported, anti-Semitism is on the rise,of which an extreme example occurred in Gateshead when a gang of Muslim youth decided to go “Jew-bashing and beat up a passing Jewish man walking in the street.
Generally, though, British anti-Semitism is of a more genteel type, although it is still not only prevalent, but becoming fashionable again, as Philip Mark McGough documents in his Huffington Post article: “Anti-Semitism means hating the Jews more than necessary”:
There exists a weighty and sublimely pointless literature about the difference between so-called Old Anti-Semitism (religious, racial, xenophobic) and New Anti-Semitism (political, anti-Zionist, Third Worldist); but lately this academic fine-tuning of distinctions between various shades of hate has become practically and provisionally meaningless. Among a long litany of prejudices, anti-Semitism robed as anti-Zionism (when it even bothers to dress for the occasion) is now uniquely acceptable, even respectable, in a style quite without precedent in these hyper-sensitive, judgment-phobic times. Society has given itself a free pass, an ideological Rumspringa, where canards, tropes, and stereotypes totally forbidden in any other context can be affixed to Israel (and, by extension, the Jews) with impunity.
… while after each and every Islamist atrocity we are warned- and warned incessantly- of the dangers of an anti-Muslim backlash, the fact remains that in Britain, in 2015, it’s the Jews who are double-bolting their doors.
CiFWatch (Cross posted from Richard Millett’s Blog) brings us a concrete example of the above in its report of an obtuse former British diplomat who said that Israel should “dismantle its security fence “for peace”.
Elsewhere in Europe, (via Honest Reporting) Ynet brings us the story of a Swedish journalist who donned a kipa and posed as a Jew to see what people’s reactions would be. Unsurprisingly he encountered much anti-Semitic abuse. He’s lucky he escaped unharmed.
After more anti-Semitic crimes were reported in Malmo than in any other city in Sweden, Swedish reporter Peter Lindgren decided to conduct a social experiment by putting on a kippa (yarmulke or skullcap) and a Star of David necklace and walking around the city to see how locals treated Jews.
With a hidden camera and microphone documenting his stroll through the streets of Malmo, Lindgren encountered harsh verbal and physical anti-Semitic abuse.
The footage, aired Wednesday on Sveriges Television as part of a 58-minute documentary titled “Jew-hatred in Malmo,” shows Lindgren sitting at a cafe in central Malmo reading a newspaper as several passersby hurled abuse at him.
In another location, Lindgren was called “Jewish shit” and a “Jewish Satan” and one person even hit his hand – though that incident was not recorded, only recounted. One passerby told Lindgren to “get out,” while another warned him to leave for his own safety.
In Rosengard, a neighborhood heavily populated by Muslims, Lindgren was surrounded by a dozen men who threatened him, while residents of nearby apartments threw eggs at him and shouted anti-Semitic slogans. Lindgren then decided to leave for fear of increased violence.
In 2013, Patrick Riley, a journalist for The Local, conducted a similar social experiment in which he donned a kippa and walked through the streets of Malmo. He encountered stares of “disbelief and menace” and insults.
Writing about his experience, Riley said: “As an Irish person abroad I’ve never felt remotely threatened, but wearing the kippa for a few hours was enough to instill feelings of fear. Even when I didn’t feel afraid I was made to feel different and unwelcome.”
Watch this Swedish language video with English subtitles:
Another European anti-Semite pretending to be “only” anti-Israel is the Dutch ex-minister who said (h/t Reality) that if only all the Israeli Jews would move to the US there would be world peace. Because when the Jews did not live in Israel there was world peace… I seriously worry about this man’s sanity.
The first journalist to report on the death of a Argentine state prosecutor, who was investigating the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, arrived in Israel on Sunday after fleeing the South American country.
Damian Pachter, who also holds Argentine-Israeli citizenship, said he had “quickly” fled Argentina fearing for his life following threats to his security.
“I’m leaving because my life is in danger. My phones are tapped,” Pachter, a journalist with the Buenos Aires Herald, told the website Infobae.
The website carried a photograph of Pachter, wearing a cap and carrying sunglasses, at the airport before he boarded an Aerolineas Argentinas flight.
Despite the fact that his and Nisman’s persecution were as much political as religious, the basis of this whole story was the bombing of a Jewish – not Israeli – community center, and the subsequent cover-up and perversion of justice by the Argentinians and Iranians.
Returning to today’s commemoration events in Europe, this year, on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a grand memorial ceremony is taking place at Auschwitz, including survivors of that hell-on-earth. Check out the Daily Mail link above for the story including pictures, videos.
One very important person however will be skipping the ceremony: Barack Obama, who has refused to see Binyamin Netanyahu on his visit to Washington, is not going to attend the memorial service at Auschwitz. (H/t TCKT)
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will represent the United States at the 70th anniversary ceremony for the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on Tuesday—rather than President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden—while other countries are slated to send their heads of state.
Obama’s absence demonstrates an apathy towards the fate of the Jews both in the past and in the present – not the best attitude to display if he hopes to persuade Israel of his determination to confront Iran. Besides the questionable propriety of his decision, I’m surprised that Obama is prepared to miss such a feel-good PR opportunity. I wonder what his advisors were thinking.
But for sheer surealism, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited the UN and thanked Ban Ki-Moon for fighting antisemitism. Considering that the UN is one of the prime movers of antisemitism in the entire world, all I can do is agree with the following Tweeter:
As I always do on these days of commemoration, I invite readers to visit my pages on my family history during the Shoah.