World leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, France’s Emmanuel Macron, and Britain’s Prince Charles, will be heading to Jerusalem on January 27, 2020, to attend a commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by Soviet troops. The gathering in Jerusalem would be meaningful if the European leaders would do something to curb antisemitism in their countries besides verbiage. Not just condemn right-wing antisemitism but focus on the antisemitism of the left as well. Philosopher George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Apparently, Europe has not learned that antisemitism led to Auschwitz, and the Holocaust.
The assembled dignitaries will recall the horrors of the Holocaust, and the murder of over a million innocent souls, mostly Jews, in the Auschwitz death camp. In their speeches, they will also touch on the rise of antisemitism, and how to combat this evil phenomenon which threatens the very foundation of an open and free society. The question is whether they will act on it?
Among the many variations of anti-Jewish hate is the new mutation of the old antisemitic virus; hatred for the Jewish State of Israel, particularly among large segments of the European left. The left’s obsession with Israel and Jews, as an evil that endangers the world, had its antecedents in the early 20th century Europe.
While the debunked Protocols of the Elders of Zion (the antisemitic track that accused Jews of manipulating to control of the world) is no longer popular as it was in the early decades of the 20th century, its residual effects have however, penetrated the radical left in Europe and to a certain extent, in America.
Modern Europe developed conspiracy theories that characterized Jews as cosmopolitan people without roots, the viper at the bosom of societies, and nations, ready to lie without shame. The Soviets anti-Jewish campaigns introduced to the mass culture such idioms as “racist,” and “fascist.” But this kind of stereotyping of Jews has now shifted from individual Jews, and Jewish communities, to the “collective Jew,” which is the State of Israel.
Nathan Sharansky, the famous Russian-Jewish dissident, and former Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Chairman of the Jewish Agency, as well as author of The Case for Democracy, developed a test on how to distinguish legitimate criticism of the Jewish state and antisemitism. He called his test “the 3D” for Demonization, Delegitimization, and Double standards. In a Newsweek Magazine piece (9/25/2019) Sharansky wrote, “If we watch a 3D movie without the 3D glasses, we see a blurred, partial picture. But when we put on our 3D glasses everything becomes clear – and when we use the 3D test for antisemitism we can easily distinguish between legitimate criticism, and antisemitism.”
Sharansky continued: “When caricatures against Israeli leaders repeat the worst antisemitic caricatures of Czarist Russia and Nazi Germany, and this time it is Israelis who are ‘crucifying’ Palestinians or making ritual use of their blood, and when Palestinians are portrayed as living in Nazi death camps – that is demonization, that is the blood libel of today; that is antisemitism. When the legitimacy of the Jewish state is denied (as promoted by the BDS movement), where there is no place for the Jewish state in any borders – that is delegitimization; that is antisemitism. And when the Jewish state is singled out for criticism that not even the vilest dictatorship is subject to, and it is held to standards that not even the most vibrant democracy is judged by – those are double standards; and that is antisemitism.”
Demonization of the Jewish state includes such notables as Nobel laureate Jose Saramago and composer Mikis Theodorakis, who have compared Gaza to Auschwitz. What defies logic is, how can anyone compare Auschwitz crematoriums that burned innocent Jewish men, women, and children with Gaza, which is led by oppressive Hamas terrorists. But the left has many such “heroes” including Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labor Party, who was recently defeated in the parliamentary election. Antisemitism in his party was exposed, as well as his support for Palestinian terrorists (a photo of him laying a wreath of flowers on the grave of Palestinian terrorists who perpetrated the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic games). He moreover rejected the definition on antisemitism based on Sharansky’s 3D’s. Another icon of the left is the German novelist and Nobel laureate, Gunter Grass, who served during WWII in the murderous Waffen-SS. He denounced the Jewish state as a “threat to world peace.” This former Nazi-SS member found Israel, not Iran, as the source of all the problems in the Middle East. His inversion of reality is symptomatic of the German and European left.
According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, “An anti-Semitic post appears in Europe every 83 seconds on Twitter and other social media networks, like Facebook, and YouTube. In 2016, more than 382,000 anti-Semitic posts in 20 different languages were uploaded; in June 2018, Berlin allowed a rally ‘against the existence of the Jewish state,’ which was managed by Hezbollah, where signs with the words “Death to the Jews” were seen. Boycotting episodes erupt at sporting events, on campuses, in theaters, supermarkets, and cinemas; important European actors and singers boycott Israel; genocidal terrorist incidents have taken place in Jerusalem, Paris, Toulouse, and Brussels without anyone saying a single word about Jews being specifically targeted.”
To many of the European left, Israel is seen as the epitome of evil. This is very much in line with the Nazi worldview that Gunter Grass represents. Grass and his European acolytes deliberately ignored the Iranian threats to “wipe Israel off the map,” and in fact reversed that paradigm. The European left’s hatred of the Jewish state has to do with latent antisemitism, and much to do with rejecting the idea of a “Jewish” state. Yet, Islamic and Christian declared states are fine for the same people. The European left also identifies Israel as a “colonial and apartheid” state. They deplore Israel for resorting to using force (albeit in self-defense) against its attackers. And, they condemn Israel for its contempt of the UN, which has become part and parcel of Israel’s enemies campaign to delegitimize and demonize it.
The European left, after WWII, has enshrined the notion of “peace” and decried any form of political particularism. The European left’s hypocrisy is self-evident. While they trust in universal institutions such as the UN, the European Union, etc., they depend on the U.S. for military protection against the former Soviet Union, and now Russia. Given the left’s secularism, and willful denial of history and reality, they have apparently “forgotten” the 1947 UN Partition resolution, which formally established the State of Israel. Jews moreover, lived and created a civilization in the land of Israel over 3,000 years ago.
Insofar as “apartheid” is concerned, it is exactly what the Muslim and Arab worlds practice against Jews and Christians in the form of dhimmitude. Israel, on the other hand, is an open and democratic society where religious freedom exists, and the rule-of-law practiced and enforced regardless of religion or creed. Human and civil rights are granted to all citizens.
Grass and his leftist devotees would like Israel to be disarmed. The answer to that was given by the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. To paraphrase her words, she quipped, “If we disarm, we will cease to exist, but if the Arabs (Palestinians included) disarm, there will be peace.”