Antisemitism Is Salonfähig Again

The Gaza flotilla was a perfect piece of Islamist theater, revealing an old European hatred

By Leon de Winter, WSJ

It’s a fascinating phenomenon: Why do people and organizations that present themselves as progressive team up with reactionary Muslims?

The Free Gaza group is just such a Leftist-Islamist alliance. Well, Gaza is already free. Israel withdrew from the narrow strip five years ago. And there is also no need for any humanitarian aid. Well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel over the last 18 months, equaling nearly a ton of aid for every man, woman and child in Gaza.

But Gaza’s population voted in democratic elections to be ruled by a party whose hatred of Jews is the cornerstone of its existence. Anyone who doubts this should read the Hamas manifesto on the Internet. The fact that Gaza is completely “judenrein” isn’t enough for Hamas. It wants Israel to be “judenrein” too. The Israeli blockade for “strategic goods” is therefore not designed to punish ordinary Palestinians but to prevent Hamas from obtaining heavy weapons and building bunkers. It’s as simple as that.

Contrary to Gaza, Chechnya, for example, isn’t free. The Russians have crushed the struggle for independence of the Chechens by carpet-bombing their capital. And what about a Kurdish state? The Turks and Iraqis have inflicted unspeakable horrors on the Kurds. And yet, there are no Free Kurdistan flotillas sailing toward Turkey, and Russian officials don’t have to fear to be arrested in European capitals for war crimes.

Here are some more facts—lousy, stubborn facts. Let’s look at the infant mortality rate in Gaza. It is a key number that says a lot about the state of hygiene, nutrition, and health care. In Israel the infant mortality rate is 4.17 per 1,000 births, which is about the same as in Western countries. In Sudan the rate is 78.1, that is, one in 13 infants die at birth. In Gaza, infant mortality per 1,000 births is 17.71. Yes, that’s higher than in Israel, but much lower than in Sudan. And Turkey’s infant mortality rate? Well, that’s 24.84. Yes, more infants die at birth in Turkey than in Gaza.

Here is another fact. Life expectancy at birth is 73.68 years in Gaza. And in Turkey, Gaza’s new protector, life expectancy is only 72.23 years. If the Israelis really wanted to make the lives of Palestinians short and nasty, then they are obviously doing something wrong.

The progressives don’t care for any other group of poor or suppressed Muslims. They only cry for the “victims” of the Jews. Why is that so?

One reason is Yasser Arafat, whose genius was to redefine the Palestinian cause in neo-Marxist and anti-imperialist rhetorics. He created a new context for his people: The struggle against colonialism and racism. He was a classic corrupt warlord with an amazing talent to play the Western media and politicians. The progressives adopted the Palestinians as their favorite, quintessential victims of imperialism and colonialism as epitomized by the Zionist state.

But there is another reason why Western progressives hate Israel but are indifferent toward human rights abuses in Turkey, Iran, or Russia. It’s because of the Holocaust.

Europeans, who represent much of what goes for world opinion, have grown tired of carrying the guilt for the destruction of the Continent’s Jews. They have started to long for some form of historical release. That comes in the form of Israel’s military response to Islamist attacks and terror. The Europeans couldn’t suppress the chance to defame the Jews and redefine Israel’s defense measures as either “disproportionate” or outright aggression—war crimes in other words.

In progressive European eyes, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict became a conflict without comparison, a unique phenomenon of European victims creating Palestinian victims, which seemed to diminish the weight of the ordinary European mass-slaughter of the Jews.

Watching Israel’s demonization, the attack on its right to defend itself as Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said, it becomes clear that there is a deep need among Europeans to call the Jews murderers. This is why the Palestinians, as “victims” of the Jews, are more important than the numerous Muslim victims of Muslim extremists; this is why millions of other Muslims living under worse conditions than the Palestinians hardly get any mention in the media; this is why Gaza is compared to the Warsaw Ghetto or Auschwitz. By calling the Israeli Nazis, the original Nazis have been legitimized. It feels as if the Europeans, led by the progressives, want the Arabs to finish the job. Enough with the Jews. It is what it is—we see Europe’s liberation from the legacy of the Holocaust.

For decades, our progressive, peace-loving Western activists have been fooled and manipulated by Arab tyrants and now by Turkish and Iranian Islamists. They have allowed themselves to assist in efforts to destroy one of the greatest adventures in modern times: the creation of the State of Israel.

What we have witnessed with the Gaza flotilla is the perfect execution of a masterful piece of Islamist theater. The media’s wild indignation, an orgasm of hypocrisy, marks the next chapter in the long story of European hatred toward the Jews. It is salonfähig again to be an anti-Semite.

Mr. de Winter is a Dutch novelist. His latest book is “The Right of Return” (De Bezige Bij ,2008).

June 14, 2010 | 10 Comments »

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10 Comments / 10 Comments

  1. So much so that many loons people believe .

    Is leens Scottish for loons?

    it was the Israelis who were responsible for 9/11

    That’s what I always believed. You say they weren’t? Then you must be a Fascist, liberal, communist, Bush lover.

    You can’t get more insane than that. Can you?

    Wanna Bet?

  2. They have accepted the Arab narrative, so Israel is guilty no matter what.

    So much so that many loons people believe it was the Israelis who were responsible for 9/11. You can’t get more insane than that. Can you?

  3. The JTA is in the tank for Obama.

    I don’t fault Israel PR. The liberal west is too quick to condemn. Why? It has nothing to do with PR. They have accepted the Arab narrative, so Israel is guilty no matter what.

  4. I think this is a brilliant piece. The source is, the website of the venerable Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

    Blah Blah Blah: This venerable Jewish Telegraphic Agency: Are a Kapo left wing mostly anti Israel org.

    We haven’t lost the PR war because we never entered the fray. PR will not sway a single anti-semite to support Israel.

    Assuming for the moment that Israel or Diaspora Jews did accept the challenge of competing with our own combined effort at PR marketing Israel.

    What’s your message? What’s your truth you want to convey?

    You want to sell Israel like soap, go ahead. You won’t get most of the Jews here or there to support or agree with your message so who is there to support such a gimmick? The government of Israel are our weakest link and enemy so what can you say that will not be taken as support for those microbes and their suicidal policies?

    Now I know why you like Salon so much.

  5. Yamit82 says:
    June 14, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Take the last letter of each word and what does it spell? R’ AKIVA!

    I penned the acronym in gold ink in my Yom Kippur Machzor Rabbah decades ago.

  6. Following is a link about the PR war against Israel. I happen to be among those that believe Israel’s government has botched public relations for years, and has suffered as a consequence. I know that many on this website don’t care (or claim they don’t care) what the world thinks of Israel, but for those of us who feel that the truth should be spoken and that it does matter, I think this is a brilliant piece. The source is, the website of the venerable Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

  7. Read the book A State Beyond the Pale.

    Thanks, I’ll order it.

    “Akiva, how can you laugh?” they asked standing at the Temple ruins.

    “Why do you cry?” he replied.

    “The Holy of Holies about which it’s written, ‘Any unauthorized person who enters shall die,’ and now foxes play there? Shall we not cry?”

    “That’s why I’m laughing,” said Rabbi Akiva. “Seeing the fulfillment of the prophecy – “Zion will be plowed like a field” – I more deeply internalize the knowledge that all the prophecies will be fulfilled, including those that foretell the rebuilding of Jerusalem!”

    Should we not be laughing today as well?


    Take the last letter of each word and what does it spell? R’ AKIVA!

  8. Israel suffered between 2,520 and 2,800 killed in action. An additional 7,250 to 8,800 soldiers were wounded. Some 293 Israelis were captured. Approximately 400 Israeli tanks were destroyed. Another 600 were disabled but returned to battle after repairs. A major Israeli advantage, noted by many observers, was their ability to quickly return damaged tanks to combat. The Israeli Air Force lost 102 aircraft consisting of 32 F-4s, 53 A-4s, 11 Mirages and 6 Super Mysteres. Two Helicopters, including a Bell 205 and a CH-53 were also shot down. According to Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, nearly half of these were shot down during the first three days of the war.

  9. Shalom Yamit,

    I remember you once wrote here how many Jews died in the Yom Kipur War because of the false strategic decisions of Golda Meir. Can you give me these numbers again, but with exact sources, please! I had an argument with somebody in the Israeli FM and he claimed that in the Yom Kipur Wat died approximatly as many people as in the Six Days War. However, I remember that you claimed significantly different numbers.