Reprinted From the Gatestone Institute.
London. May 23. An organization called The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign organized a protest against Israel. 180,000 people turned up. Placards compared Israelis to the Nazis, and black flags of jihadist movements, accompanied by cries of “Allahu Akbar”, fluttered alongside the Palestinian flags. “Israel, the new Nazi state“, some read; and “Nazis are still around, now they call themselves Zionists”. This kind of comparison is now common among many in Europe who also seem sympathetic to Marxism, in which there always has to be an “oppressor” and “oppressed”, never a “win-win” or a “making the pie bigger.” Do these new Marxists, who compare Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, to the Third Reich and the Zionists to the Nazis, really not know what the Nazis did to six million Jews, or what Communists and Marxists today, in China, Russia, Cuba, or Venezuela, are still doing to their own citizens?
The protesters in London shouted openly anti-Semitic slogans. One demonstrator, Tariq Ali, a member of the editorial committee of the New Left Review, addressing the crowd, implied that the Jews deserve a second Holocaust: “They have learned nothing from what happened to them in Europe. Nothing”. Another man exhibited a drawing of Christ carrying the cross, along with the words: “Do not let them do the same thing again”. A few days earlier, when a convoy adorned with Palestinian flags drove through a Jewish area in North London, shouts from loudspeakers included “Free Palestine”, “F**k the Jews”, “F**k their daughters”, “F**k their mothers” and “Rape their daughters”.
In Paris, the same day, protesters shouted similar slurs. Since the French government had banned the demonstration and had asked the police to disperse all groups carrying Palestinian flags, the demonstrators numbered “only” a few thousand. The French interior ministry said the ban was necessary to avoid “ugly incidents”, as when, in 2014, in the heart of Paris’s Jewish district, kosher restaurants and a synagogue were attacked.
In Berlin, a demonstration had been organized a few days earlier, on May 16. As in London and Paris, protesters also denounced Israel — and Jews. Antonia Yamin, an Israeli television journalist reporting on the protest, was assaulted with firecrackers by demonstrators who heard her speak in Hebrew.
Similar protests — in Stockholm, Brussels, Rome, Madrid, Warsaw, Los Angeles and New York — indicate that all over the Western world, those imbued with Jew-hate no longer hesitate to make false and delusional accusations against Israel and Jews — sadly, a long tradition in Europe. They no longer bother to hide it. Jew-hate is out in the open now, along with a readiness to physically attack Jews.
Although the organizers of these protests described them as “pro-Palestinian”, they soon became more pro-terrorism. When, on May 11 and for the next 10 days, Hamas — on the list of terrorist organizations in the European Union, the United States, and other nations — began firing more than 4,000 rockets and missiles at Israel, a country the size of Vancouver Island, and Israel defended itself, most demonstrators sided with Hamas.
For those who may not know, Hamas’s charter in its preamble states: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.” It adds in its Article 7:
“The day of judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (kill the Jews), when the Jews will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
Journalists from major European and American media could have pointed out these comparisons, as well as the incitement to hatred of Israel and Jews; most did not.
Nearly all of the articles published in Europe and the United States nonchalantly described the protests and the hatred shouted by protestors, without drawing any connection between the protests and the subsequent assaults.
For decades, most articles on the Middle East have portrayed Israel in a negative light, not as a democracy under constant threat. Willfully or not, they promote Jew-hate. Hamas is often described as a “Palestinian militant group,” almost never as a terrorist organization. Instead, Palestinian propaganda is repeated: the Gaza Strip is described as an “open air prison” — which it is — but imposed by its own leadership, not by Israel. Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005. All the same, Israel is accused of imposing a “blockade” on the coastal strip — without a mention that everything necessary for the residents of Gaza is allowed, or that what is being blockaded are deadly weapons. Also never mentioned is the extreme brutality of Hamas operatives towards their own residents of Gaza, who are all Arabs, or that the Palestinian Authority still supports and finances terrorism. The Palestinian Authority’s rewards and incentives for murdering Jews are also always left out.
Judea and Samaria are usually referred to as the West Bank, but recently the United States, instead, resumed using the tainted “occupied territories”. Although Jews have inhabited the area for nearly 4,000 years — Judea is named for Jews — Israel is portrayed as occupying territory not its own. In April 2018, the major French magazine Paris Match published on its front page a portrait of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, smiling, in front of a large photo of Jerusalem’s al Aqsa mosque. The caption described him not as the head of a terrorist organization but as a “political leader” — you know, like Churchill. Inside the magazine, in an interview, Haniyeh falsely accused Israel of “war crimes”. “The Palestinians”, he added, “want to regain the land that the Jews have stolen from them”. For the record, Palestinians, meaning Arabs who claim the land now home to Israel, did not even exist until the twentieth century. Yet no article correcting Haniyeh’s lies accompanied the interview.
In addition, on May 21, Newsweek published an article in which the most deceptive elements of anti-Israel propaganda are gathered and Israel is defined, incorrectly, as “the initiator of violence”. On May 28, The New York Times published on its front page photographs of Palestinian Arab children killed in Gaza. “They were only children… they wanted to be doctors artists, leaders”, the paper stressed. The accompanying article did not mention that it was the rulers of these children who began the bombardment. The article did not even discuss Hamas — or that when Israel turned over all of the Gaza Strip to the Arabs in 2005, they could easily have made it into a “Singapore on the Mediterranean“. Instead, the article falsely claimed that the Arabs in Gaza were victims of Israeli violence. The former national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, wrote in a tweet: “I am canceling my subscription to NYTimes … Today’s blood libel of Israel and the Jewish people on the front page is enough.” One wonders what took him so long.
On June 24, The New York Times published yet another biased report: “Gaza’s Deadly Night: How Israeli Airstrikes Killed 44 People”. The Times stated that “on May 16, Israeli airstrikes destroyed three apartment buildings, decimating several families”. It never noted that Hamas had attacked Israel, that Hamas uses civilians as human shields, or that Israel invariably warns residents in advance about buildings set to be destroyed (for instance here and here), to provide time for the residents to leave rather than be injured or killed.
Europe’s political leaders could have denounced the protests and incitement to hatred; instead, they spoke about Israel and the Palestinian terror organizations in the same breath, as if there were no difference between the firefighter and the arsonist. Europe’s leaders rarely spoke of Palestinian terrorism — instead, many accused Israel of “violence against the Palestinian populations”.
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, recently spoke of the “warlike arrogance” of Israeli politicians, of “the dehumanization of the Palestinians by a large part of the Israeli political class and society”. His apparently uninformed — or malicious — positions are those of the great majority of leaders of European countries. French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian went even further. On May 23, he described Israel as an “apartheid” country, thereby choosing to ignore what he must know: that Israel is home to a population of 1.8 million Arab citizens who enjoy the same rights as Jews. Israel’s government replied that Le Drian had not told the truth and had promoted antisemitic hatred.
A few days earlier, on May 18, when Israel was being subjected to some of the 4,000 missiles fired at it by Hamas, French Prime Minister Jean Castex first accused the state of “colonizing Jerusalem”, then announced that he was “worried about the fate of the civilian populations in Gaza”. He did not even touch on what Hamas and Iran are planning for Israel’s population.
American leaders, unlike many European politicians, generally show respect for the core values of democratic societies and Western civilization. Now, however, when some American politicians repeat openly anti-Semitic statements, their political party refuses to reprimand them or even remove them from committees that might lead them to further misrepresentations. After U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar made allegations that Jews buy influence with money (“It’s all about the Benjamins“), Congress passed a resolution condemning antisemitism in a vague and general manner. It condemned discrimination in just about everything. On June 7, Omar sent out a tweet saying:
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity.
“We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
The tweet prompted 12 Jewish Democrats in the House of Representatives to send a letter maintaining that “there is no moral equivalency between the US and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban” and asking Omar to “clarify” her position. Her answer was a denial of the evidence, along with an arguable, “I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries”.
House leaders then issued a joint statement. saying they “welcome[d] the clarification” from Omar and that the incident was over.
“It takes considerable skill,” Attorney Stephen M. Flatow commented, “to come up with the words to sound just apologetic enough to get your critics off your back, but without actually apologizing.”
Then, on June 29, Omar declared that her Jewish Democratic colleagues who say that she is antisemitic “haven’t been partners in justice” and “haven’t been equally engaging in seeking justice around the world”.
Another politician, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, has also been repeating, falsely, that “Israel is a racist state”. On June 15, she published a tweet saying, “Israel’s government doesn’t value Palestinian lives. It has managed a decades-long ethnic cleansing project, funded by the U.S.” On June 30, she sent another tweet about Israel: “This is not democracy, this is apartheid.” As of this writing, there has been no reaction from the leaders of her party.
In Europe, for years, most of the leading politicians have chosen to support the “Palestinian cause” while staying blind to the viciousness of Palestinian terrorism, the killing of Israeli Jews and the repeated thirst of Palestinian leaders for Jewish blood. These European leaders fund non-governmental organizations that — again dishonestly — accuse Israel of “war crimes” and other atrocities. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, now in the 16th year of his four year term, is received in Paris and Berlin with all the respect due a lawful head of state. During each of their visits, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron maintained that they support the creation of a Palestinian state — without ever addressing the lethal statements of Abbas or the support and incentivization the Palestinian Authority gives to murder, terrorism, and other breaches of human rights. When Israel is attacked, if they denounce the attacks at all, they immediately add that the Israel’s response must not be “disproportionate” and, from the U.N., that the “fighting must stop“. They never talk about the relationship between the hatred of Israel — to which they contribute — that is rising in Europe or the Jew-hate that follows Israel-hate.
The United States under the presidency of President Donald J. Trump was an unconflicted friend of Israel. Trump unequivocally denounced the Palestinian Authority’s ties to terrorism and quickly ceased regarding Abbas as a legitimate interlocutor. Trump stressed that Israel is a democracy under attack, which deserves to live in peace.
The Biden administration has been following a different path; it has promoted and funded the Palestinian Authority, without so much as a murmur on its continuing support for terrorism. Biden, rather, seems to be promising to reward terrorism. His administration has already given Abbas, who has who has not stopped calling for Israel’s destruction, $75 million and allocated an additional $100 million for aid, apparently with no guarantees that it would arrive where it was intended. The United States has additionally pledged that it will rebuild Gaza, still ruled by a genocidal Hamas, and open a consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem.
When anti-Semites attacked Jews in New York and Los Angeles a few weeks ago, Biden said nothing. On May 21, probably regarding his silence as unacceptable, several Jewish groups sent him a letter asking for a response. Three days later, he posted a simple tweet: “The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop.” Aaron Keyak, who was the “Jewish engagement director” of the 2020 Biden presidential campaign, offered advice — but to Jews. His “solution“? “It pains me to say this, but if you fear for your life or physical safety take off your kippah and hide your magen david. [star of David]…”
With the exception of a few Central European countries, Europe has become an anti-Israel continent. It is now unsafe for Jews — especially those who support Israel or do not see why they should hide that they are Jews. A 2018 poll carried out in the seven main European countries showed that only 22.6% of people in Western Europe had a favorable opinion of Israel. The poll indicated that older people were more sympathetic towards Israel than younger people. A 2019 study, conducted by the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights, found that 44% of European Jews between the ages of 16 and 34 have experienced anti-Semitic harassment; 85% reported “that people in their countries accuse or blame them for anything done by the Israeli government”, and 41% said they have considered emigration. Since 2019, the situation has not improved.
Most people in the United States are still pro-Israel. A recent poll shows that 75% of Americans have a favorable view of Israel. Although America today is also a far safer country for Jews than Europe, the recent anti-Israel demonstrations, and the physical assaults on Jews in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere, and especially the presence of outspoken anti-Semites in Congress, suggest that changes could easily take place. One hopes that Americans committed to the Judeo-Christian values of the Free World will react before it is too late.
U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, a Jewish Democratic Congressman from Minnesota, tweeted in May:
“I’ll say the quiet part out loud; it’s time for ‘progressives’ to start condemning anti-semitism and violent attacks on Jewish people with the same intention and vigor demonstrated in other areas of activism. The silence has been deafening.”
“Antisemitism is a unique prejudice with a unique history, which has resulted in unique horrors throughout history… This wave of abhorrent violence is directed at Jews for being Jewish, just like Hamas is firing rockets into Israel because they want to murder Jews and eliminate the Jewish state.”
On June 15, the U.S. Senate, passed a resolution asserting that “Anti-Semitism remains a serious and growing danger for Jews in the United States and around the world.” It is, however, merely a resolution. It does not point to the causes of the danger — presumably 2,500 years of Jew-hate combined with the newly-imported Islamic kind — or offer any means to fight it.
Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.