Beyond the Cusp

August 1, 2014

Do Anti-Israel Demonstrations Equal Anti-Semitism?

Even in normal times one can often find some form of demonstration against Israel for one reason or another. There are the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protests aimed at stores carrying goods most often from Israeli owned businesses beyond the Green Line in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) claiming that they are stealing lands and profits which should belong to the Palestinian people. The fact that these companies all employ Palestinian Arabs right next to Israelis giving them equal pay and equal benefits providing them with the second best paying positions for those residing in the Palestinian areas, the terror prisoners receive a greater stipend which is proportional to the number of years they are sentenced to serve and how many Israelis they murdered and are among the highest paid officials within the Palestinian Authority government. Some of these BDS protesters and protests call for the complete divestment in all matters against all of Israel claiming that Israel is an illegal entity and actually belongs to the Palestinians. What is telling about many of these protests, especially those which are held on University grounds where Jewish students are more likely known to many of those demonstrating making recognizing whether a passer-by is Jewish than a regular street protest, is that the manner in which they react to any Jewish person passing by with threats, taunts, personal space infringement including such offenses of bumping and spitting. These Jews are not Israelis and may not even support Israel yet their being Jewish is sufficient to make them a target for scorn and potentially violent assaults.

Every year in a growing number of University and College campuses across the Western world there is an event under the idea of protesting perceived racial preferences placing Jews presumably in an advantageous position by racial preferences. The effort is to equate Israel with the racist apartheid in South Africa and is often titled “Israel Apartheid Week”. Often these demonstrations will include fake checkpoints and references to the separation anti-terror fence constructed in Israel which decreased suicide bombing and other terror acts by close to 90% by making a mock stone or brick wall labeled Apartheid Wall. During these demonstrations and even outside of Apartheid Week there have been protest of Israeli anti-terror actions such as destroying the homes where there is a tunnel entrance found by placing eviction notices made to resemble a valid University order often using official stationary which has been provided by sympathetic University employees. Another tactic often utilized during these demonstrations where known Jews, more often known pro-Israel Jews but not always so restricted, are surrounded and screamed at with accusations such as “murderer”, “baby killer”, “apartheid supporter”, “hater” and other hateful and scornful derisions.

During the current confrontation between Israel and Hamas we have had on display some of the most virulent anti-Israel demonstrations accusing Israel of war crimes, using disproportional force, murdering civilians, genocide, and a litany of other recriminations. They have pictures that were taken from the internet supposedly showing the result of the Israeli actions though the BBC noted that many of these pictures have been taken from other areas in conflict such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya and more. Why let something so minor get in the way of a good cause? What has also become obvious is that these demonstrations are not solely against Israel as much as they are calling for the annihilation of the Jewish People in every nation. This has been made evident the clearest has been in Europe, France in particular and Paris to focus in tightly at the worst of the worst. These demonstrations have often turned violent attacking the police and once they are able to break free they went on a rampage damaging Jewish owned businesses and attempting to make assaults on Synagogues including throwing Molotov Cocktails in attempts to burn down the Synagogue with the Jews inside. Across Europe in particular there have been protest signs and chants claiming Hitler was right and that the time to finish what the Nazis started has come. There are calls to annihilate the Jews, not just Israelis. What is most interesting is that at any of these demonstrations you are equally capable of hearing people advocate the destruction of Israel and returning the Jews to the countries from which they originated and people demanding that the Jews residing in their country be deported to Israel where those Jews belong. There are two ideas which are difficult to reconcile. Well, actually there is a path in which two ideas are reconcilable, but that leaves very few Jews in the world if it is applied universally.

Another result of returning the Jews to their nations of origin would require returning half of the population of Israel across the Arab and Muslim world as by the middle of the 1950s approximately half of the Jews residing in Israel were from Arab and Muslim nations where they were actually and under threat of or acts of violence used to drive them out or their lives made so difficult that they felt forced to leave. Those making such claims mistakenly believe that all of the Jews in Israel came from Europe. Further, what would these people suggest be done with those Jewish families who had never left their ancestral homes with some of them only being forced from their ancestral homes after the Israel Arab war at the birth of the state of Israel. These Jews had resided in places like Hevron, East Jerusalem and other areas which Jordan occupied and demanded these Jews leave or face death at the hands of the Jordanian leadership. Despite these differences between reality and the perceptions of many at these anti-Israel demonstrations, that is not as dangerous as the equating Israel with Judaism which would be equal to equating Japan with all Japanese or Ireland with every Irishman. Would it have been acceptable if during a demonstration against the Irish fighting with the British to deride all of the Irish worldwide or anybody who ever celebrated St. Patrick’s Day? Of course not and such would be roundly denounced by virtually everyone. Not so much when hatreds of Israel are further applied broadly to include all Jews worldwide and there are many who stand by such generalizations as being obviously valid and true. Those who permit and accept such are not only anti-Israel but anti-Semitic.

There was a set of three questions which can be applied to determine if an action is anti-Israel and potentially a valid point or if it is driven by anti-Semitism and thus invalidated as it is based on a venal hatred and not so much facts. This guild is referred to as the “Three D’s of Anti-Semitism” and was formulated by Russian Refusenik and head of the Israeli Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky. Quoting from the website of the “Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs” here are the “Three D’s” and their description for application.

The first “D” is the test of demonization. When the Jewish state is being demonized; when Israel’s actions are blown out of all sensible proportion; when comparisons are made between Israelis and Nazis and between Palestinian refugee camps and Auschwitz – this is anti- Semitism, not legitimate criticism of Israel.

The second “D” is the test of double standards. When criticism of Israel is applied selectively; when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while the behavior of known and major abusers, such as China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria, is ignored; when Israel’s Magen David Adom, alone among the world’s ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross – this is anti-Semitism.

The third “D” is the test of delegitimization: when Israel’s fundamental right to exist is denied – alone among all peoples in the world – this too is anti-Semitism.

The guide is quite simple to apply to any situation, any commentary, and demonstration or individual demonstrator or any other situation where there may be a hint of doubt as to whether some criticism of Israel should be taken as valid or dismissed as anti-Semitism. The revelations after applying these three determining factors are a real wakeup call and show the base hatreds which lie within much of the anti-Israel vindictiveness. This becomes even more clear and obvious when one realizes that so many of those at the United Nations vindictively tearing into Israel are remaining silent concerning the wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya or the actions of Boko Haram or ISIS. One of the telling events which demonstrated the anti-Semitism from anything else was the former Mayor of Malmo, Sweden. Former Malmo Mayor Reepalu was considered to be one of the problems challenging the Jewish residents of Malmo. In March he told a Swedish magazine that the far-right Sweden Democrat party had “infiltrated the Jewish community in order to push its hatred of Muslims”.  Furthermore, he had stated that should the Jews of Malmo want to avoid being attacked they should publicly denounce Israeli policies.

There have been reports and commentary claiming that anti-Semitism has returned and become acceptable once again in Europe. The only problem I have with that statement is that it does not go far enough. Anti-Semitism actually never completely disappeared and has been growing since the early 1960s and has reached the tipping point and has crossed into acceptable, and that is true well beyond Europe as some Jews have experienced outside of Israel. The United States has not escaped this rise and will very soon cross that same tipping point and return to the days when people who were openly anti-Semitic paid no price as proven by Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh. It was not until the horrors of World War II were revealed that anti-Semitism was relegated to the dark recesses and back alleys of our societies in the West. But as has been proven throughout the history of mankind, no matter how honest and worthy the efforts to bury hatred of the Jews is initially engaged and its apparent initial success, over time this ugly side of humanity returns and anti-Semitism rises and grows until it brings forth the one chosen to rise up against the Jewish People. We are warned of this truth in the Passover Haggadah and the world is once again proving the old proverbs and warnings are far more valid than our wishes and chosen blindness to avoid those truths which we find deplorable or even threatening. But eventually all threats if ignored and permitted to steep and ferment will eventually explode and subsume a society, nation, continent or in this age possibly the entire planet and drag the human race into darkness in the belly of stark hatreds. If anti-Semitism continues to be ignored, excused, refused ridicule, not taken seriously and dismissed as belonging to only those at the extreme fringes of society and not generally accepted, then it will subsume all that is humane and rot the compassion of mankind for the entirety of humanity to except the Jew from being a part of the body of humankind allowing for the worst of inhumanity to blossom and become acceptable and even desirable. This disease has struck before next to countless times and apparently has not worn out its welcome if the current demonstrations around the world are any sign of our future. If nothing else makes the case, the growing anti-Semitism is reason enough for Israel’s existence as a safe refuge when the need should again arise.


Beyond the Cusp


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