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Europe's blind spot on anti-semitism

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by AroundTheWorld, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. AroundTheWorld

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    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/22/opinion/ghitis-toulouse-palestinian/?hpt=hp_mid

    (CNN) -- What would prompt a 23-year-old man, born and raised in France, to chase a small, terrified Jewish girl into a school courtyard, look her in the eye and shoot her in the head?
    The very idea brings back memories of the 1940s, of an era that many Europeans have worked diligently, with considerable success, to put behind them. But the echoes of history should not be silenced. The tragedy of Toulouse is a call to take another look at that crucial fight against the poisonous prejudice that ultimately devastated Europe in the middle of the 20th century.
    I believe an honest examination will reveal a blind spot among those fighting prejudice that has allowed the ancient Jew hatred that infected Europe for centuries to survive. The blind spot is this: When the prejudice -- and even the call for murder -- is made in connection with the Palestinian cause, people look the other way and give it a pass.

    Blood-chilling security camera video from the city of Toulouse on Monday shows a man we now believe was Mohammed Merah shooting 7-year-old Miriam Monsonego as her mother watched. The chase and murder came moments after he shot two other children -- 4-year-old Gabriel and 5-year-old Arieh -- and their father, Jonathan Sandler, a rabbi and teacher at the Jewish school. Days earlier, Merah had allegedly killed three French soldiers of Arab origin.
    Initially, the fact that he had murdered both Arabs and Jews made people conclude that this was the work of a racist, right-wing extremist. In recent years, Europeans have been alarmed by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment. With a presidential election around the corner in France, the murders quickly took on political significance.
    Could more have been done in Toulouse? Timeline of Toulouse standoff Gunfire heard as police carried out raid
    But the trail led to Merah, a self-described jihadist. Merah apparently called a television station to explain his actions, saying he wanted to "take revenge on the law against the full Islamic veil (in France) and also on France's participation in the war in Afghanistan and to protest against the situation in Palestine."
    The prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, reacted indignantly to the familiar, phony link. "It is time for those criminals," he said, "to stop exploiting the name of Palestine through their terrorist actions."
    It's not just the criminals and the terrorists who should stop.
    It is time to stop excusing anti-Semitic calls for the murder of Jews as an acceptable outgrowth of the Palestinian cause.
    A couple of years ago, I was in the Netherlands when a pro-Palestinian demonstration broke into a familiar chant: "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas." The "Jews to the gas" is a common cheer at Dutch soccer games. This was nothing new.
    What was new is that this demonstration included a Dutch member of Parliament, Harry van Bommel of the Socialist Party, who continued along as his comrades called for a repeat of the Holocaust.
    Political leaders and government authorities often act dismissively when Jews are the target of violence, particularly from Arabs. When a Jewish girl was beaten at school by five Muslim girls who called her a "dirty Jew" and shouted that she should "return to your country," community leaders said they were "exasperated" by the endless attacks on Belgian Jews and asked the government to take action. Viviane Teitelbaum, a Jewish member of Parliament, condemned the failure of the Belgian media and the political establishment to speak out.
    The earlier confusion in Toulouse is understandable. After all, when Jews are murdered, the killer could come from the left or from the right.
    It's easy to blame the situation of the Arab-Israel conflict, but Jean-Yves Camus, a French expert in extremism, says today's prejudice includes the "new anti-Semitism" from radicalized Muslims and the old-fashioned hatred from the right, including neo-Nazis.
    Often, when the Palestinian link is made, the prejudice comes from the left, couched as passion for human rights.
    At times, human rights activists seem to have no problem with anti-Semitism -- even of the genocidal variety -- condemning it forcefully only if it is accompanied by anti-immigrant or anti-Muslim sentiment.
    Just days before the Toulouse murders, on March 19, the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva hosted an event featuring a high official from Hamas. That is a group whose easily obtainable charter calls not just for the creation of a Palestinian state, which is something I, like many other people, wholeheartedly support.
    But Hamas' charter also declares: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it. ... The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews). ..." If a white supremacist organization advocated genocide as this one does, polite society would keep its distance, at the very least.
    Instead, polite society contributes to a campaign to demonize Israel, fueling the hatred that is then unleashed against Jews in France and elsewhere. Last week, a U.N. official posted to Twitter a picture of a heartbreakingly injured Palestinian girl, tweeting "Another child killed by #Israel ..." Turns out it was a 2006 picture of a girl who died falling from a swing. Back in 2006, Reuters had sent out the same picture, saying she was the target of a military strike, but later retracted it, explaining that the girl was the victim of a playground accident. Portraying Israelis as baby killers fits neatly into the old anti-Semitic narrative that outrageously claims Jews kill Christian children to make Passover matzos.
    These types of "errors" are all too common, and they contribute to an air of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment. In Europe, that falls on fertile ground.
    At least 400 anti-Semitic (which means anti-Jewish, for those who will argue Arabs are also Semites) incidents are recorded yearly in France. French Jews have been killed in bombings. Belgian Jewish children are beaten, and Dutch Jews are afraid to wear their traditional head cover outside because it so often leads to pummelings.
    A just-released survey in 10 European countries found that 24% of the French population holds anti-Jewish sentiment, up from 20% in 2009. In Hungary, Spain and Poland, anti-Semitic sentiment is "off the charts," according to Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League. Surveys show that 15% of Americans hold anti-Jewish views.
    The sentiment is most common among European Muslims, some of whom have attended Islamic schools, whose Saudi-financed textbooks explained that Jews look like monkeys and pigs and seek "world domination."
    Why would a man kill small Jewish children? The answer has intrigued historians and psychologists for many centuries. But the more urgent question is what we can do to stop it from happening again. And the answer is that the first requirement is telling the truth about anti-Jewish ideologies.
     
  2. gwayneco

    gwayneco Contributing Member

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    They tried to make it fit the narrative of right wing extremism. Typical.
     
  3. AroundTheWorld

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    Well, to be fair, it could have been. One just needs to think of what happened in Norway. Unfortunately, there are crazy idiots on every extremist end of the political spectrum.
     
  4. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    Muslims in Europe appear to be the source of many problems.

    What are the potential solutions for this?

    • Cut off future immigration from certain countries?
    • Change their educational textbooks?
    • Hope for them to achieve higher income levels over time and integrate more pleasantly?
    • Integrate them by similar "bussing programs" that were employed in the US for African Americans?

    • Much higher police presence in their ghettos?

    something else?
     
  5. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    According to Wikipedia, which is never wrong, Muslims make up about 5-10% of the population of France, ~1% of the population of Spain, and >1% of the population of Hungary and Poland. I don't know if you can pin this one on the Muslims.
     
  6. gwayneco

    gwayneco Contributing Member

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    Yeah, but the gut instinct of the chattering classes tells you a lot and the gut instinct is always to blame "right wingers". See Jared Loughner here in the US.
     
  7. gwayneco

    gwayneco Contributing Member

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    A lot of this seems to be second and third generation Muslims. I don't know if that was the case here. However, a typical pattern is that the first generation seem to adjust well to their new country while their children and grand-children - who one would think would be even more Westernized - actually seem to be more radicalized. Obviously something is going wrong.

    EDIT - I see that this Mareh guy was born and raised in France.
     
  8. AroundTheWorld

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    Muslims certainly do not have a monopoly on anti-semitism.

    Does Wikipedia also tell you what percentage of the followers of a religion holds anti-semitic views?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    I will say that from my experience a lot of Spaniards and Portuguese seem to be incredibly racist towards blacks, asians, and brazilians. Like, unthinkably insensitive compared to what you'd see in the US (maybe an unfair standard to hold people against given what a melting pot this country is, but there it is). Wouldn't surprise me if there were anti-semitic feelings there too.
     
  10. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    It's low among Jews, I'd wager.
     
  11. AroundTheWorld

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    Not sure about the superlatives, but at least it is also my experience that Spaniards and people in South America are certainly less worried about being politically correct. In other words, they seem to be more open to making jokes and saying things the average American would consider racist. That picture of Spanish athletes mimicking "chinky" eyes and a racist quote by the former Spanish football (soccer) national team coach come to mind.

    But it is also true that e.g. in Hungary (where there is not much of a Muslim population), nationalism and racism are too pronounced right now.
     
  12. AroundTheWorld

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    Well, you see the figures from the Pew survey I posted. What do the countries which seem to hate Jews the most have in common?
     
  13. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    Well, we're talking about Europe, right? Looks to me like the countries in Europe that hate the Jews the most share a border with the French. Are the French covertly spreading anti-semitism through their neighbors? I'll need to see some information about Belgium, Italy and the Swiss to support this hypothesis, Luxembourg and Andorra too. Andorrans definitely strike me as Jew-haters.
     
  14. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    On a related note, "The German calls the Muslim anti-semitic" makes for a neat new idiom.
     
  15. AroundTheWorld

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    Turkey shares a border with France?
     
  16. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    Can you provide a statistical breakdown of the East Thracian population's view on Jews?
     
  17. da_juice

    da_juice Member

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    I think nationalism as a whole is on the rise in Europe now that the euro and the idea of one unifed europe seems to be falling by the wayside.

    I think the ise of anti-semitism is due in part to that, yes, but also the rise of immigrants from middle-eastern countries.

    I think a major probelm is that there are very little Jews left in Europe because of the Holocaust. It's easy to have stereotypes and preconceived notions towards a grouo of people if you never really met them.
     
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  18. AroundTheWorld

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    Why don't you do that, so that, for a change, you can provide something other than factually incorrect statements.
     
  19. Mathloom

    Mathloom Consumption is a waste of time.
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    Without a doubt, hatred of Jews must be highest in Germany given that the numbers are on par with everyone else but their rules are far more strict regarding anti-semitism and there is their obvious history with anti-semitism and to be honest harsh opposition to almost all immigrants except European immigration. Also, they have killed around 5.99 million more Jews than anyone else in recent history.

    I'm not aware of any government which hates Jews, and such a statement deserves to be substantiated.
     
  20. gwayneco

    gwayneco Contributing Member

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    The Palestinian Authority (or whatever it's called) and the Saudis do.
     

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