Europe’s blind spot on anti-Semitism

Frida Ghitis, on CNN, asks:

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.

Read the whole essay. I’d be interested in your thoughts.

A perfect example of the blindness, the refusal to acknowledge or talk about antisemitism, is the Guardian’s editorial on the Toulouse Massacre. As CIFWatch points out, the leader does not mention antisemitism at all. Instead – working on the assumption that some white racist had set out to kill Jews and Muslims alike – it pointed the finger of blame at Sarkozy’s rhetoric on immigration:

The first to say what was on everyone’s mind was not the Socialist challenger François Hollande but the centrist François Bayrou. He said the killings were the product of a sick society, with politicians who pointed the finger and inflamed passions. No prize for guessing whom he was talking about. Nicolas Sarkozy’s lurch to the right has included such claims as there being too many immigrants in France, and that the French were secretly ingesting halal meat. Alain Juppé, the foreign minister, fought back by declaring that Bayrou’s statement was ignoble. But it is must already be clear this part of the incumbent’s re-election campaign is dead. Currying votes from the extreme right is a two-edged sword, and Sarkozy could be about to feel its blade.

CIFWatch points out, correctly, that there are only two mentions of Jews in the editorial. The second refers to a now-cancelled march on which Muslims and Jews were expected to vent their anger against right wing politicians. Well, that isn’t going to happen now.

The only other reference to Jews is in this passage:

As he was held in prison on Devil’s Island, the only prayers that Alfred Dreyfus offered up were those to the president of the republic. Piers Paul Read points out in his new account of the most infamous miscarriage of French justice that the ideals that sustained the Jewish army officer falsely accused of espionage were those of republican France.

It is very telling indeed that the Guardian’s Leader Writer has been reading Piers Paul Read on the subject of Dreyfus and antisemitism. Piers Paul Read is very interested in antisemitism:

Piers Paul Read, the writer of a new book about the 1894 Dreyfus Affair, was criticised this week after saying that the French soldier’s treatment could be linked to Jews being a “very powerful influence in finance, in business”, and that Jews should ask why people were antisemitic.

English literature Professor Jacqueline Rose, author of Proust among the Nations: From Dreyfus to the Middle East, said she was left “uncomfortable” after Catholic writer Read, whose latest book is The Dreyfus Affair, veered into an “antisemitic ways of talking”.

The pair were discussing the case on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, when Mr Read said that Dreyfus was “picked on” because he was “a difficult character” and “wasn’t the kind of person anyone would want on the General Staff”.

He said: “They didn’t pick on Dreyfus because he was a Jew, but the fact that he was a Jew made it much easier to believe that he was guilty.”

He added: “It’s so easy just to use the term antisemitism as a general catch-all phrase.”

But an astonished Prof Rose noted that, as the case unfolded, Dreyfus’s Jewishness “became absolutely central”, with people shouting “Death to the Jews” outside the courtroom. “The level of antisemitism unleashed by this affair was absolutely monstrous,” she said.

She added that she “wasn’t quite sure why [Mr Read] went to such lengths to insist that it was not an anti- Jewish plot”. Mr Read denied that his argument amounted to a justification, commenting: “If I was Jewish I would want to know why people were antisemitic.”

I have an answer for Piers Paul Read and enlightenment for the Guardian. Antisemitism is deeply ingrained in both Middle Eastern and European culture. That antisemitism probably first arose as a result of Jewish struggles against Roman rule in the first two centuries after the birth of Jesus, and was later given a theological flavour, in both Christianity and Islam. Where the persuasive force of religion has declined, Jew-hatred has been replaced by more “scientific” rationales, which unsurprisingly reproduce similar charges against Jews to those contained in scripture.

Among many people in Europe, and in recent times, there has been a conscious attempt to push back against antisemitism. The Holocaust created some understanding, at least, of the genocidal consequences of anti-Jewish racism.

And now, particularly but not exclusively among the “progressive” Left, there is a clear determination to ignore the legacy and present danger of antisemitism. So much so, that when a Jihadist murderer grabs a little 8 year old Jewish girl by her ponytail, and shoots her in the face, in front of her mother, few are prepared to acknowledge the role that conspiracism, pathological hatred, and murderous intents towards Jews, as Jews, played in that slaughter.

This blindness to antisemitism guarantees that Jews will be massacred, again and again and again.


I should have also mentioned that the Guardian leader today, also fails to mention antisemitism and focuses on Sarkozy’s “far right” rhetoric.

The Guardian needs to learn that its own approach is that of the Jew-murdering “far Right”.

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