Arab Jew-hate and the western media

As much as the media like to report and opine on Israel, they usually do so in a way that presents Arab and Muslim hatred for the Jewish state as an ultimately understandable reaction to Israeli policies. The intense hatred for Jews that is so prevalent throughout the region is a topic that is rarely broached, leaving western audiences oblivious to the fact that in today’s Middle East, antisemitism is as acceptable – and perhaps even more popular – as it was in Nazi Germany.

However, it seems that the usual reluctance to report on Arab and Muslim Jew-hatred was deemed untenable when MEMRI recently posted some video clips from 2010 that showed Egypt’s current president Morsi delivering antisemitic rants.  But while this story has by now been widely covered, initially nobody was really eager to report it – as Jeffrey Goldberg highlighted when he entitled a related blog post “Egyptian President Calls Jews ‘Sons of Apes and Pigs’; World Yawns.” Goldberg also linked to a fascinating Forbes story by Richard Behar, who actually took the trouble to monitor how Morsi’s remarks were (not) covered in most of the western media for several days.

As Behar rightly notes, “the demonization of Jews is commonplace and de rigueur in the Arab media (although most Americans wouldn’t know that because they are not being made aware of it).” Behar tried to do his part to counter this lack of knowledge late last November, when he published an article highlighting the “continuous, venomous stream of hate messages disseminated by the PA [Palestinian Authority] through its media and social and education systems.”

In a follow-up to his recent story on the media’s reluctance to report Morsi’s antisemitic rants, Behar notes that eventually, even the White House got around to condemning Morsi’s vile views, and he suggests that this might justify the hope that “the media world (and Washington) may be waking up from its collective stupor–specifically, the timeworn and tiresome routine of ignoring anti-Semitic hate speech by Islamist officials as if it’s to be expected of them, and thus not newsworthy.”

While I don’t share Behar’s optimism, I sure wish he was right, because this would certainly be a most welcome development that would enable many people around the world to have a much better understanding of the Middle East and the reasons for the lack of peace between Arabs and Israel.

This point was emphasized in a related post by Walter Russell Mead, who observed:

“Morsi’s anti-Semitic views are not surprising in themselves; indeed they are completely mainstream and unobjectionable in the Egyptian context. Not many people in Egypt would disagree with the statements in question, and Morsi is more likely to be attacked for being too soft on Israel than for venting his spleen. But these statements, and the widespread support for them, should remind everyone just how slim the chances are for real peace between Israel and its neighbors.

There are a lot of illusions out there about how the exercise of power will moderate the Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups. To some degree, Morsi’s record in office shows a pragmatic willingness to maintain a treaty he deeply loathes with the ‘sons of apes and pigs.’ But we would do better to think of this as caution rather than moderation. If a real opportunity presented itself to destroy the Jewish state, there can be little doubt that Morsi and the members of his movement would think it their duty to act.

For Israel, the lesson is obvious. For the foreseeable future it must depend upon strength rather than trust if it intends to survive.”

Since I asserted above that in today’s Middle East, antisemitism is as acceptable – and perhaps even more popular – as it was in Nazi Germany, let me close with two recent examples that illustrate this point.

The first example comes from the speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to mark the recent anniversary of Fatah commemorating the group’s first terror attack against Israel on January 1, 1965. As rightly noted in an analysis of this speech by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Abbas used this opportunity to espouse a radical political doctrine:

“Abbas reinforced his uncompromising message with a pledge to continue the path of struggle of previous Palestinian leaders, mentioning the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who forged a strategic alliance with Nazi Germany, and heads of Palestinian terror organizations who were directly responsible for the murder of thousands of Israeli civilians, including Halil al-Wazir Abu Jihad (Fatah), Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (Hamas), Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi (Hamas), Fathi al-Shikaki (Islamic Jihad), George Habash (Popular Front), Abu Ali Mustafa (Popular Front), Abu al-Abbas (Arab Liberation Front), and Izzadin al-Qassam (leader of the jihad war against the Jewish Yishuv and the British in the 1930s).”

A translation of the relevant passages of the speech by MEMRI shows that Abbas named Husseini – widely known as “Hitler’s Mufti” – as one of Palestine’s “pioneers.” Given that Abbas has faced much criticism for his Ph.D. thesis that questioned the Holocaust and claimed collaboration between the Nazis and the Zionist movement, he surely knew what he was doing. (And presumably Germany’s Social Democrats know what they are doing when they declare that they have “common values” with Fatah.)

The second example illustrates how this kind of nonchalant embrace of prominent Nazi-collaborators is reflected and amplified on popular social media sites: the Facebook page of “Palestine News” boasts more than 425,000 “Likes,” and when I checked it out just now, it registered “86,142 talking about this.”

A few days ago, this image with a supposed quote from Hitler was posted on the page:

Palestine News Hitler

This posting garnered 1853 “Likes;” the accompanying text is basically the same as a purported Hitler quote provided in a popular “Hitler quotes” app:  “I could have killed all the Jews in the world, but I spared some of them so you know why I killed the rest.”

* * *

Cross-posted from my JPost blog.

Update:

The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh reported yesterday that during an interview with a Beirut-based TV station that is affiliated with Hezbollah and Iran, Palestinian President Abbas was asked about allegations that he was a Holocaust denier. Reportedly, Abbas responded with an apparent reference to his dissertation, saying that he had “70 more books that I still haven’t published” about the alleged link between the Zionist movement and the Nazis, adding: “I challenge anyone to deny the relationship between Zionism and Nazism before World War Two.”

However, a spokesman for Abbas later denied that Abbas had talked about a link between Zionism and Nazism, and the remark about the “70 more books” certainly seems bizarre.

5 responses to “Arab Jew-hate and the western media

  1. Great post. I think the world, especially in Europe, is wlling to go along with anything if it seems to avoid war. That war comes anyway is not even considered a possibility. I hope I am wrong on both counts: I do not want war and I hope I am wrong about the rest of the world.

  2. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

    Subj: Fwd: IS THIS WHAT OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO??

    Subject: IS THIS WHAT OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO??

    NO-GO AREAS FOR JEWS IN EUROPE, by Giulio Meotti, 12/26/2012

    Thinking of visiting Europe? Keep your kippah in your pocket (or like me, wear a baseball cap–then they only hate you for being American). —

    Giulio Meotti is an Italian Christian journalist…truly a modern day Righteous Gentile -of which, thank the Lord, there still are quite a few, even in Europe where Jew-hatred as always rampant.

    No-go Areas for Jews in Europe

    By Giulio Meotti Arutz-7 (Israel)

    December 18, 2012 — Surprised that Israelis entering Jordan are required to deposit religious Jewish items, like skullcaps and tefillin, for “security reasons? It’s happening in many European countries as well, where Jews are once again in grave danger and Judeophobia has become the common currency of politics. Jews in Denmark have just been warned by Israeli officials not to appear publicly wearing Jewish religious symbols such as yarmulkes or stars of David in order to avoid increasing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic altercations. “We advise Israelis who come to Denmark and want to go to the synagogue to wait to don their skull caps until they enter the building and not to wear them in the street, irrespective of whether the areas they are visiting are seen as being safe,” said Israel’s ambassador to Denmark, Arthur Avnon.

    Got that? To be identifiable as a Jew in public in Europe is to invite violence. There are European areas in its bigger cities where you cannot go outside looking like a Jew – it’s like being in Gaza. In the last few weeks, an Israeli representative of the Magen David Adom was attacked at Copenhagen Central Station, while in central Copenaghen Jews who were wearing a kippah were have been physically and verbally attacked.

    An elderly Israeli man was assaulted by a group of Arabic-looking men when he ate a kebab at Nørrebro. They kicked the victim several times and tore his necklace, on which a visible star of David was hanging, off. That’s why today most of Danish Jews think twice before deciding whether to wear a necklace with a Star of David on it.

    In the enlightened Europe of today, there is witch hunt against any authentic Jew with a beard and a skullcap. Jewish students have been advised not to wear a kippa in the streets in Germanyeither. The Jewish Abraham Geiger Theological College in Potsdam advises its rabbis against wearing a kippah in public, while the orthodox Or Avner school in Berlin has issued similar guidelines.

    Whenever its pupils go on trips to the zoo or the museum, Jewish pupils are warned: “Speak German, not Hebrew, put a baseball cap over your kippah so you don’t give stupid people something to get annoyed about.” Camouflaged in this way, young Jews travel on Berlin’s metro trains. The rector of the school has explained that “it is safer to not appear to be a Jewish person”.

    A few days ago Finland’s Jewish community was advised not to wear the skullcap in public for fear of anti-Semitic attacks. In Malmö, Sweden, the country which once gave the world saints like Raoul Wallenberg, members of the local synagogue decided not to keep on their kippahs upon exiting their synagogue.

    Norway’s Jewish Community has advised its members against speaking Hebrew loudly on the streets or wearing Jewish emblems. Norwegian police have just increased security around Oslo’s main synagogue. A teacher, Inge Telhaug, who was wearing a Magen David around his neck under a T-shirt, was informed by the Kristiansand Adult Education Center that wearing the star could be deemed a provocation towards the many Muslim students at the school.

    In France several Jews were attacked and beaten in the streets after wearing the skullcap. In Paris it is safer for young Jewish men to walk in groups, not alone. They should wear baseball caps instead of the traditional head covering to avoid being attacked by anti-Semites. In many neighborhoods of Marseille and Lyons, it is no longer safe for Jews to walk the streets. A few weeks ago a Jewish man was attacked and rendered unconscious in a Paris metro. How did the anti-Semitic mob recognize that he was Jewish? Because of a philosophy book by the chief rabbi of Paris that he was reading in the metro when he was attacked.

    Meanwhile, half the Jewish families in Villepinte, working-class suburb north of Paris, have left due to anti-Semitism, fleeing to other Paris neighborhoods considered safer for Jews, or out of France entirely. Villepinte’s 40-year-old synagogue, already torched in 2001, will close because it often lacks a minyan.

    In the UK, there have been many cases like that of an Orthodox child, who was wearing a kippa and tzitzit, verbally threatened and physically intimidated by a hooded youth as he travelled on a London bus. When the faithful leave Rome’s main synagogue they immediately hide the skullcap. Police patrol the area day and night.

    In the Netherlands, the country of Baruch Spinoza, police officers began wearing yarmulkes to catch Dutch Jew haters in the act of physical or verbal assault. Jewish students are told to “put a cap over your kippah”.

    In Amsterdam, the shelter of Spanish Jews who fled from Inquisition, the twenty-five Lester M. Wolff van Ravenswade described the difficulties faced by Jews living in an open letter to the newspaper NRC Handelsblad: “I cannot go to public events dressed as a Jew, let alone go out on Saturday night. Which party do I have to vote for in order to live safely with the kippah on my head?”.

    Everywhere in Europe, steel barriers are in place outside certain buildings with Jewish or Israeli connections to prevent parking. In many British areas where Jews live the “Shomrin”, or guardians, patrol the streets like Israelis do in isolated “settlements” in Israel. Last autumn the ancient Dutch synagogue of Weesp became the first synagogue in Europe since the Second World War to cancel Shabbat services due to the threats to the safety of the faithful.

    Eighty years ago next January, Adolf Hitler seized power in Germany. Every time I see a Jewish child walking down the street in Vienna, Paris or Rome wearing a kippah, I know that Hitler did not get to finish his job. It makes me feel proud – or at least somewhat better. But the Holocaust, in which two thirds of European Jewry were annihilated, did not end when Nazi Germany and its satellites were routed militarily. The spirit of annihilation continues eighty years later. That’s why Israel’s former chief rabbi, Meir Lau, predicted that European Jewish history is nearing its end.

    Indeed, it seems a tragic but unavoidable process: Europe as a Jew-free continent or a realm of fear in which Jews will survive as “invisible”, like during the Inquisition, where even lighting candles on Shabbath is a hazard because someone could see the holy flames from the street.

    Europe’s streets are getting very dark these days and the sublime orchestras are playing Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” and “Die Meistersinger” once more, while the faith in “truth as beauty and beauty as truth” can again meet its horrible end.

    The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book “A New Shoah”, that researched the personal stories of Israel’s terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.

  3. Rabbi Chaim Vital wrote in the 16th Century, “At the End of Days, Israel is destined to experience the Ishmaelite exile. This fifth and last exile will be the most difficult of all. It is the exile of Ishmael, who is called ‘pe’re adam,’ a wild man.” Be strong, cling to your faith and we will see Moshiach wipe all this away. As we sing in Shir Hamaahlot (Psalm 126), we were like dreamers, meaning before our redemption, now in the end times. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

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