French ambassador to England Daniel Bernard's reference to Israel as "that shitty little country" created a brouhaha because the story had so many striking elements. Coarse anti-Semitism in polite society. Incredible stupidity on the part of a diplomat who made the remark at a party whose hostess (Barbara Amiel) was Jewish, known as a strong supporter of Israel, and a columnist to boot. A silly attempt at coverup from the ambassador who said he intended only to refer to Israel as "geographically small." But the story underlines a much more important development: the spreading brushfire--helped mightily by a huge influx of Muslim immigrants--of European anti-Semitism.
France, with its long, sorry history of anti-Semitism, is back in the forefront. Writing in the Washington Times (December 23), Andrew Borowiec describes the combined impact of a viciously anti-Israel media, Arab violence, and Christian indifference. He quotes Olivier Guland, editor of the Tribune Juive (Jewish Tribune) who says the media "portray the Palestinians as victims and Jews as their torturers." During the intifada's first month (October 2000), there were more than 100 serious anti-Semitic incidents in France, from synagague arson to attacks on Jewish schools. Joseph Sitruk, the chief rabbi of France, said there were 350 attacks against Jews in France in 2001, "not counting thousands of Jews insulted every day." The outset of 2002 saw renewed synagogue bombings and attacks on Jews. There is "an attitude of siege" among many French Jews, writes Borowiec, who feel "the government is more concerned about the nearly 4 million Muslims [most of them Arabs from North Africa] living in France than about the fate of the Jewish community." French foreign policy does nothing to alleviate these concerns. It is France that recently insisted on keeping Hizbullah off the European Union's list of terrorist organizations, winning kudos from Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud: "This shows that Lebanon's attitude with regard to Hizbullah is being more understood in calling for distinguishing between terrorism that we condemn and resistance of which we are proud."
Belgium is becoming another hotbed of anti-Semitism. The government disclaims responsibility for the current "trial" in Belgian courts of Ariel Sharon for alleged war crimes (for failing to prevent the killings by Phalangists in the Sabra and Shatilla camps in 1982), but journalist Uri Dan writes in the Jerusalem Post that the government could easily see that the case was dropped and is "deliberately using this fake legal process as a whip in the hope of forcing Sharon to give in to European Union demands on behalf of Arafat." Moreover, observes Dan, the Belgian media "are frequently even more venomous and primitive than those in France in their attacks on Israel." Once again, the Muslims seek to translate rhetoric into action, with worshippers at a Brussels mosque urged to go out and "take vengeance against the Jews."
Even Denmark, the object of Jewish admiration and affection for saving its Jewish community from the Nazis, has succumbed to the infection. Mogens Lykketoft, Denmark's Foreign Minister, has described Israel's targeted killing of terrorists as the moral equivalent of the assassination of Israel's tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi; announced that the killing of 20 Israeli teenagers outside the Dolphinarium did not change his opinion that it was Israel, not the Palestinians, which was responsible for the violence; and has called for EU economic sanctions against Israel. There have been repeated anti-Israel street demonstrations in Denmark, France and other European countries by Arabs and what economics professor Steven Plaut calls "Eurotrash."
France, with its long, sorry history of anti-Semitism, is back in the forefront.
Raphael Israeli, professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Hebrew University, writes that Arafat's renewed intifada set off a wave of violence by European Muslims who "tend to perpetuate the tradition of violence and open outrage that they bring with them from their countries of origin, resulting in clashes, eruption, rage and acts of force, intimidation, arson, beatings." According to Israeli, "the existing infrastructure of anti-Semitism in practically all of the infected countries" is "used, expanded and solidified by the Muslim/Arab rioters." The countries most affected by violent rampages, "where native anti-Semites converge with large immigrant Muslim/Arab populations, are France, Britain, and Germany."
Perhaps nowhere is the re-emergence of anti-Semitism more shocking than in England. In the same column that "outed" the French ambassador, Barbara Amiel described how a leading London political hostess "made a remark to the effect that she couldn't stand Jews and everything happening to them was their own fault." When the comment was greeted with shocked silence, the hostess chided her guests for hypocrisy: "Oh come on, you all feel like that." Amiel noted that earlier, this remark "would have cost her license as a serious political hostess, but clearly she believes the Zeitgeist is blowing her way."
It seems the hostess does indeed have her finger in the air. London Daily Mail colunist Melanie Phillips,
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January 2002 - 3 - Outpost