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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

European Politics: Double Standards Toward Israel

Filed under: Europe and Israel
Publication: Jewish Political Studies Review

Jewish Political Studies Review

The relationship between Europe and Israel is complex, tense, and historically loaded. A growing gap has developed between their political outlooks. European political actions can continue to cause Israel so many problems and harms that these in the longer run may increasingly dominate all other aspects of the relationship.

One strong gauge of Europe’s negative political attitude toward Israel is its voting record in the United Nations. Another is the frequent condemnations of Israel from Brussels. A third is the financing the EU has provided for a variety of activities directed against Israel. France has been in the forefront of many European anti-Israeli initiatives.

The mood created by the political leaders of European countries toward Israeli government officials often permeates their societies. Their discriminatory attitudes are enhanced by many media, NGOs, and some churches. These factors together help build an anti-Israeli atmosphere in large parts of European society, which is expressed in opinion polls. This is often accompanied by anti-Semitic positions.

The relationship between Europe and Israel is complex, tense, and historically loaded. An increasing gap has developed between their political outlooks. At the same time, relations in areas such as trade, science, culture, and sport have continued to expand over the decades and have only been affected by the political divergences to some extent.

It is frequently claimed that when assessing European-Israeli relations, one has to attempt to establish an average of the interactions in the various fields. To consider this a balanced approach is mistaken. European political actions can continue to cause Israel so many problems and harms that these in the longer run may increasingly dominate all other aspects of the relationship.

The European Union (EU) consists of twenty-five states with a population of 460 million covering a territory of about 3.9 million square kilometers. Israel is a small country – covering a territory far less than one-hundredth of the EU’s size – with a population of six million, partly surrounded by mortal enemies. Europe and Israel are not comparable entities. In view of the imbalance in power, populations, and geographic size of the two areas, an analysis must focus primarily on the much larger European side.

To What Extremes is Europe Willing to Go?

When looking for telling pointers in such a complex relationship, often a useful shortcut is to identify extreme attitudes. In turbulent times these become indicators of how Europe’s attitude toward Israel may evolve if the world political situation deteriorates.

Analyzing extreme European attitudes is meaningful for another reason as well. It was against the Jews that Europe reached its absolute low of barbarian behavior in the twentieth century. Although Europe’s current worldview is very remote from that of the 1930s, still there are several disquieting similarities with the demonizing of the Jews – mainly by Germans but also by others – before the Second World War.1 The focus of the defamation has shifted from the individual Jew to Israel, the Jewish state.

In the 1930s there were many Jews who closed their eyes, not wanting to see the signs of the times. In a large universe of events one can always find some positive pointers. Looking for those, while the power of Germany’s Hitler regime was increasing, one could have cited the fact that in 1936 for the first time a Jew, the socialist Leon Blum, became prime minister of France. In 1939, Lodewijk Visser was appointed the first Jewish president of the Dutch Supreme Court.

These events could have been interpreted as signals of a greater acceptance of Jews even in the highest positions in various European countries. These, however, were irrelevant in the broad framework of the overall deterioration of the Jews’ status in Europe.

Israeli historian Robert Wistrich says about today’s situation:

“According to all traditional indicators of full and equal acceptance, Jews have never had it so good in Europe. There is no serious discrimination in jobs or housing or in access to high positions in the cultural or political domains. Jews, since World War II, have steadily risen in social status, their economic position is very solid, and European societies fully accept them in public life.”

Yet he points out that: “Anti-Semitism, under the mask of anti-Zionism and in its own right, resurfaced with a vengeance in a supranational, multicultural, pluralistic, antiracist Europe.”2

The European Vote at the United Nations

One strong gauge of Europe’s negative political attitude toward Israel is its voting record in the United Nations. As it concerns democracies expressing biased judgments about another democracy, it can be characterized as abysmal. The argument that Israel’s attitude toward the Palestinians is responsible for the conflict is easily refuted. After the 1993 Oslo agreements, Europe’s voting pattern at the UN did not change.

Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the UN, mentions many aspects of consistent European anti-Israeli bias in the various institutions of the UN. In condemning Israel, Europe has frequently sided with the world’s most abject dictatorships.3

At the UN Conference on Anti-Semitism in New York in June 2004, Canadian law professor Anne Bayefsky asserted: “The United Nations has become the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism – intolerance and inequality against the Jewish people and its state.”4 Her writings frequently contrast the EU’s strong support for condemnations of Israel with its rather negligent attitude toward anti-Semitism at the UN.

Anti-Israeli Bias and Anti-Semitism

Bayefsky stresses the relationship between anti-Israeli bias and the European desire to avoid condemning world anti-Semitism, which mainly means its high Muslim and Arab component.

“One example of this occurred at the 2003 General Assembly. The issue arose of including the word “anti-Semitism” in a resolution on religious intolerance in a preamble. Ireland, which had been the lead state on the subject of religious intolerance for many years, was determined to keep mention of anti-Semitism out.

So Israel decided that it would move an amendment to add it from the floor. The Irish were unnerved. Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen and Israel’s Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom made a deal that Israel would withdraw its threatened amendment to the resolution on religious intolerance. In exchange Ireland would introduce for the first time in UN history a resolution on anti-Semitism.”

Israel was delighted by the prospect. The Irish delegation sat on the third committee, waited for the resolution on religious intolerance to pass through the committee without the mention of anti-Semitism. Then they withdrew their promised resolution on anti-Semitism. Their excuse was the lack of consensus. Among others, Ireland went to the Iranians for their support. They afterwards claimed that they were surprised at the opposition. To sum it up: there was no resolution on anti-Semitism.5

The Dilution of Resolutions

In November 2004, Bayefsky described developments after the June UN Conference on Anti-Semitism. She wrote that it served the UN’s two-track approach: “Put the Jews on one side, Israel on the other, and divide and conquer.”6

Bayefsky observed that for several months in 2004 there were discussions about a UN resolution dedicated to anti-Semitism.

“The battle associated with presenting a new and substantive standalone anti-Semitism resolution, however, scared off every democratic UN member state. The next idea was to have the European Union sponsor a resolution on anti-Semitism modeled on the Berlin Declaration, which was adopted in April by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). In that document there was a small reference to Israel, though Europeans could not quite bring themselves to say that terrorism aimed at ethnically cleansing Israel of Jews was also a form of anti-Semitism.”

Another failed expectation was that Germany would play a leadership role in presenting a specific resolution condemning anti-Semitism. Says Bayefsky:

“In true gangland style, Germany was soon given to understand that such a role would jeopardize its hoped-for permanent seat on the Security Council, and any sense of historical responsibility vanished. Nor was any other EU member prepared to confront Arab and Muslim opposition. Ultimately the word anti-Semitism was allowed into the resolution on religious intolerance. But the opposition was public and considerable, and managed to dilute the mention to a minor add-on in the midst of a range of other issues including Islamophobia.7″

The International Court of Justice

The United Nations plays an important role in the establishment of international law. Israel is confronted with many new issues where international law falls dramatically short in meeting reality. In this area as well, Israel has become an indicator of the failures of Western society.

Yehuda Blum, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, says that some fields of international law have greatly assisted society at large. He mentions as examples the law of diplomatic relations, the Law of the Sea, and the Law of Treaties. Blum adds:

“One field where international law has failed in recent years is where it relates to the use of force. Its main weakness concerns the law of war, belligerent occupation, and so forth. Since these are usually acute problems, they highlight contemporary international law’s weakness.

Another major failure of international law is to cope with the recent international terrorism. International law is premised on the existence of states, which are bound by its norms. In this particular case, we are confronted with a different phenomenon: armed groups perpetrating many crimes without any state taking responsibility for their actions.”

There is often no possibility to hold any particular state accountable for these actions. Al-Qaeda is like an octopus, which has spread its tentacles all over the world. It was headquartered in Afghanistan where it has been disposed of. International law has been unable to develop the necessary adjustments to this novel situation.

Blum adds that for many decades the Europeans have been unwilling to confront the new reality of terrorism. “It started with hijacking of planes and the kidnapping of their passengers in 1969. At that time because it was an El Al airliner, there was little concern among the Europeans about the outcome.” He adds that Israel has been at odds with Europe on matters concerning international law for several decades. “I think that the major sticking point in our relationship with the Europeans is their lack of ability or willingness to understand the perils of the current situation.”8

Two Types of International Law

International lawyer Meir Rosenne, former Israeli ambassador to the United States and France, expresses an even stronger opinion: “There are two types of international law. One is applied to Israel, the other to all other states. This comes to the fore when one looks at the way Israel is treated in international institutions.”

He observes:

“One finds this attitude also in many aspects of customary practice. In 2004 at the Athens Olympics the International Olympic Committee did not commemorate the murder of the eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. A private ceremony of the Israeli ambassador to Greece in Athens was all there was. The president of the Olympic Committee attended, but not the Olympic Committee as such. And this was their attitude despite what happened on September 11, 2001.”

Rosenne mentions as a typical example of international law’s double standards the 2004 International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the Israeli security fence. “In its judgment the Hague court decided that the inherent right of self-defense is enforced only if one is confronted by a state. If this were true, that would mean that whatever the United States undertakes against Al-Qaeda is illegal. This cannot be considered self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter because Al-Qaeda is not a state.”9

A Multiplication Factor

Israel’s enemies use UN statements as a tool in their total war on the country. The attacks come from many directions also outside the Arab and Muslim world. A number of European left-wing academics advocate that the academic world should break its ties with Israel. Mainly left-wing politicians try to abolish Israel’s trade preferences in the EU. Viewed in the broader context of the role Europe plays in the verbal demonization of Israel in the UN, this takes on a far greater significance than this body’s limited importance in world politics.

The political damage Europe’s double standards cause Israel manifests itself in other ways. The statements made by EU foreign ministers are often extremely one-sided, probably far more so than their declarations concerning any other democracy.

This became clear again under the Dutch EU presidency in the second semester of 2004. Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot condemned Israel for several of its military measures against the Palestinians. At the same time, he remained silent about far more severe actions taken against civilians by Western troops in Iraq, despite the Netherlands’ co-responsibility for these acts as part of the Western alliance there.

Israel’s bilateral relations with European countries are much more positive than the EU’s attitude. The deficiencies of the latter have been confirmed in many ways. One example: in a private meeting with several Dutch parliamentarians of the Christian CDA Party, this author criticized several of Foreign Minister Bot’s discriminatory statements against Israel. The legislators’ first counterargument was that one could not expect him to act differently as this happened during the Dutch presidency at the EU, on whose behalf Bot spoke.

The EU’s frequent excessive criticism of Israel comes at a time when European anti-Semitism has reached a post-Holocaust high. Two additional questions emerge here. First, what elements of official EU policy toward Israel use the classic methodology of anti-Semitism against the Jewish state? Second, to what extent does the anti-Israeli bias contribute to the increasing anti-Semitism in Europe? Answering these questions in more detail will require in-depth study.

Funding the Murderers of Israelis?

Besides the European voting record at the UN and the double standards of the condemnations of Israel from Brussels, a third issue appears on Israel’s charge sheet. The EU has provided funding for a variety of anti-Israeli activities.

Many questions must be asked. Some matters are not clear because they have not been sufficiently investigated, others because they are still emerging. The Israeli government claims that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has used donations received from the EU for terrorism, including the murder of Israeli civilians. The EU has for a long time stalled investigations of these claims. When the European Fraud Investigation Agency (OLAF) examined them, no conclusive evidence was found.10

Some observers are convinced that the EU has funded the Palestinian murderers of Israel’s citizens. Ilka Schröder, who left the German Green Party and became an independent member of the European Parliament until the 2004 elections, wrote:

“It is a well-known fact that parts of the EU funding to the Palestinian Authority – 945 million Eurodollars from 2000 to 2003 – were channeled to an undisclosed budget and that the PA has financed a terrorist war against Israel….Instead of preventing the use of EU money to kill citizens of Israel, the majority of the political establishment dreams of an international peace enforcement against Israel, led or joined by the EU in the United Nations.11″

Political scientist Yohanan Manor, who has studied Middle Eastern textbooks, maintains that:

“The European Union has a heavy responsibility in the transformation of the Palestinian education system into a war machine against the Oslo process. This despite the fact that it had excellent means to assure that Palestinian education should serve the process of peace and contribute to the permanence of the historic compromise that was reached.”

Manor concludes that the EU, despite the financial support it and its member countries give to the PA, has neglected its supervisory role of the textbooks.12

Financing Other Anti-Israeli Bodies

A fourth major item of Israel’s indictment of Europe concerns the EU’s financing of other anti-Israeli bodies. It is unlikely that the EU funds extremist groups opposed to an elected government and majority opinion in any other democratic country.

One example is the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN). Political scientist Gerald Steinberg points out that this organization receives 80 percent of its funding from the EU. He notes that EMHRN has been at the forefront of various campaigns for suspending trade agreements with Israel including the Association Agreement.13 Steinberg also observes that the EU was a major funder of the 2001 Durban Conference, which was exploited by the NGO network for demonizing Israel and anti-Semitism.14

Edwin Black, who has published extensively on the Ford Foundation’s funding of anti-Israeli hate groups, notes that it gave more than $1 million to the Palestinian Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW), which was a key organizer of the anti-Semitic hate campaign in Durban. He mentions that the Dutch charity Cordaid and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg are other major funders of LAW.15

Countries’ Attitudes

Several European countries stand out in their anti-Israeli policies. In Greece, both extreme and anti-Semitic remarks by top politicians mainly but not exclusively from the PASOK Socialists and other parties more to the left, as well as extreme rightists, are run-of-the-mill. The same attitudes can be found among Greek Orthodox clergy, media, and cultural heroes.16

Sweden is another highly problematic country for Israel, its Socialist government frequently moralizing against it. Its late Foreign Minister Anna Lindh often exceeded the strong statements of other European foreign ministers in her condemnations.

Several countries have on occasion promoted European verbal attacks on Israel. France, however, has undoubtedly been the leader of the European anti-Israeli campaign over the past decades. Several Israeli diplomats consider that during the last thirty-five years it has caused major political damage to Israel.

De Gaulle: Anti-Semitism in the Mainstream

For about two decades after the Second World War, France helped Israel in many ways. Says Rosenne: “Before the state was established many Jews who wanted to emigrate illegally to Palestine came to France and departed from there. Later when there was an American weapons embargo the Israeli air force was equipped with French Mirage planes.”17

In the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel’s existence was threatened, France’s President Charles de Gaulle took a pro-Arab direction and instituted a weapons embargo on the Middle East. Verbal attacks against Israel were sometimes accompanied by anti-Semitic statements. In his press conference on 27 November of that year de Gaulle included a much-publicized remark, calling the Jews “an elitist and domineering people.”

This is often considered the post-Holocaust reintroduction of anti-Semitism at the highest levels of mainstream European democratic society. There is a substantial difference between hidden and public anti-Semitism, as George Orwell so tellingly wrote decades ago:

“There is widespread awareness of the prevalence of anti-Semitic feeling, and unwillingness to admit sharing it. Among educated people, antisemitism is held to be an unforgivable sin and in a quite different category from other kinds of racial prejudice. People will go to remarkable lengths to demonstrate that they are not anti-Semitic.”

Thus, in 1943 an intercession service on behalf of the Polish Jew was held in a synagogue in St. John’s Wood. The local authorities declared themselves anxious to participate in it, and the service was attended by the mayor of the borough in his robes and chain, by representatives of all the churches, and by detachments of the R.A.F., Home Guards, nurses, Boy Scouts and what-not. On the surface it was a touching demonstration of solidarity with the suffering Jews.

But it was essentially a conscious effort to behave decently by people whose subjective feelings must in many cases have been very different. That quarter of London is partly Jewish, antisemitism is rife there, and, as I know well, some of the men sitting round me in the synagogue were tinged by it. Indeed, the commander of my own platoon of Home Guards, who had been especially keen beforehand that we should “make a good show” at the intercession service, was an ex-member of Mosley’s Blackshirts. While this division of feeling exists, tolerance of mass violence against Jews, or, what is more important, antisemitic legislation, are not possible in England. It is not at present possible, indeed, that antisemitism should become respectable. But this is less of an advantage than it might appear.18

With his breaking of a postwar taboo, de Gaulle paved the way for other European statesmen who would go much further in later years. Greek Socialist Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou,19 and Swedish Socialist Olaf Palme on his way to the prime ministership, compared Israelis to Nazis in 1982.20

De Gaulle’s successor as French president was Georges Pompidou. His anti-Israeli behavior led to an unprecedented demonstration against him by American Jews when he visited Chicago in 1970.

Embargo and Supplies

Former Israeli ambassador to Mauritania Freddy Eytan has been stationed in Paris for many years. He mentions that despite the embargo, France supplied Mirage planes Israel had already bought to Libya; they were subsequently transferred to Egypt and used in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Rosenne notes that France continued to supply certain spare parts indirectly to Israel via other countries. This undoubtedly helped, but as it was unofficial it did not affect the political damage to Israel.21

Eytan points out that French Foreign Minister Jean Sauvagnargues was the first Western official to meet Yasser Arafat, doing so in 1974 in Beirut. A year later the PLO opened its first European diplomatic office in Paris, while its charter was calling for the elimination of Israel.22

France also supplied the Osirak nuclear reactor to Iraq. Eventually, Israel had to take exceptional military action to destroy it. This led to Iraqi Scuds being launched against Israel in the first Gulf War. Had France not provided the reactor, Iraq might not later have fired its missiles against Israeli civilians.

Blum says: “The disagreements between the Europeans and the Americans with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict were largely motivated by the foreign policy of France. It dragged the other Europeans in this direction.”

France: EU Anti-Israeli Leader at the UN

Blum was Israeli ambassador to the UN at the time of the Venice Declaration in 1980, which recognized the PLO while its charter was aiming at the destruction of Israel. He says: “The French were instrumental outside the UN at the European level with regard to this evolving common European position on the Middle East conflict. The Germans as well as the British under Margaret Thatcher tried in vain to put the brakes on it at the time.”

Blum adds:

“At the UN the French positions during my ambassadorship were the worst among Europeans. To give one example, in 1982, after the start of the Lebanon campaign, there was an American initiative to bring about a cessation of hostilities. A counterproposal that never materialized was a joint venture of the Egyptians and the French. The French at the UN were the leaders of every anti-Israeli initiative originating in Europe throughout. Theirs was a totally unbalanced position. We counted them in the Arab camp.23″

Gold details the French role as an anti-Israeli leader among Europe at the UN. He notes that often in meetings of EU diplomats, the French ambassador tried to move the EU position in an anti-Israeli direction. At the UN, France has been particularly active in building Europe’s anti-Israeli voting record. The UN’s 2004 voting on the security fence issue is one example.24

French President Jacques Chirac has often been praised for admitting in 1995 that the French postwar republic was the successor of the Vichy government. That this was considered a breakthrough was only possible because his predecessors stubbornly denied the truth for over fifty years.

Leaders in Anti-Semitic Incidents

Besides Israeli interests, French foreign policy positions also frequently damage Jewish ones. In October 2003, Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamed Mahathir made strongly anti-Semitic statements at the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. He was applauded by the leaders of all Muslim countries.

Thereupon Chirac, together with Greek Socialist Prime Minister Costas Simitis, blocked the proposal to include a condemnation of these remarks in the EU summit’s official final statement and instead had it relegated to a speech by the EU’s head at the time.25

It would not be possible to gauge the individual contribution of each of the factors that have made France the democracy with the most anti-Semitic incidents in the world in the new century. In a 2004 report prepared for the French interior minister, human rights expert Jean-Christophe Ruffin links anti-Semitism explicitly to the anti-Israeli mood prevailing in France: “It is not conceivable today to fight actively in France against anti-Semitism in its new mutations without trying everything to balance anew the way public opinion views the situation in the Middle East.”26

Anti-Jewish violence in France went unchecked until after the presidential elections in spring 2002. France then received a culture shock as extreme right-wing candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen became Chirac’s challenger, defeating Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.

However, it took Chirac until November 2003, when a Jewish school in Gagny was firebombed, to come down strongly against anti-Semitism. A few months earlier he had told a delegation of the Simon Wiesenthal Center that there was no anti-Semitism in France. On the way to their next meeting, several delegates who had their heads covered were insulted with anti-Semitic remarks on the streets.27

The Jews’ Indictment of France

Over the past twenty years, CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jewry, has organized an annual dinner in which the prime minister participates. Seldom has an official representative of a national Jewish community anywhere made such an indictment against the authorities of his country in a similar situation as the 2005 speech by CRIF’s President Roger Cukierman, delivered in the presence of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.28

Cukierman stressed positive points about France where possible. If one puts his criticisms together, however, they form a lengthy charge sheet against his country. Cukierman mentioned the one thousand reported acts or threats of anti-Semitic violence in 2004 as against sixty-nine incidents five years earlier. He referred to the hostility in many French classrooms where educators faced difficulties in teaching about the Shoah, as well as to the desecration of Jewish and other cemeteries.

Cukierman then cited the limited percentage of anti-Semitic crimes that were solved. He noted that Jewish victims of violent aggressions were not supported by the justice system, which also acquitted several among those accused of making strong anti-Semitic statements.

Cukierman also mentioned the incompatibility of France’s foreign policy with its internal struggle against anti-Semitism. He quoted the Ruffin report and criticized the government for officially authorizing the Lebanese Al-Manar television channel to broadcast in France. He added: “In so doing, France was officially and legally admitting anti-Semitic propaganda in our country; something unheard of in the past 60 years.” After many public protests, a number of weeks of broadcasting later, this decision was reversed.

Cukierman also referred to the “grandiose ceremony” France had organized for Arafat, stressing that it was “even more grandiose” than the one in Egypt. “We were treated to laudatory speeches, ecstatic tributes, the French national anthem, and the Republican Guard, all in honor of Arafat’s mortal remains.” Cukierman added that since then hopes for peace had revived, and concluded: “Who can deny today that Arafat was an obstacle to peace?”

Cukierman also wondered why the French authorities had not officially denied the rumors that Arafat had been poisoned, and tolerated as well the false civil status registry declaration that he was born in Jerusalem instead of his true birthplace, Cairo.29

The Fireman-Arsonist

France’s official policy today can best be described as that of a fireman-arsonist. It tries to extinguish domestic anti-Semitic flames, at the same time fueling hatred with official attacks on Israel.

In October 2004 Nicole Guedj, France’s Jewish deputy minister for victims, stated at the Global Forum against Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem that France intends to lead the European battle against anti-Semitism. When challenged by this author about France’s leading role in simultaneously fostering it, she did not deny the facts but replied that Jews should not look backward but to the future.

A few weeks later, Chirac invited the terminally ill Yasser Arafat to die in Paris. He and France went out of their way to pay homage to Arafat before and after his death. Thus France honored the person who had given international terrorism against civilians probably its largest and most innovative push in the past decades. It recalled Chirac’s insulting 1996 visit to Israel, after which he kowtowed to Arafat.

When Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom visited President Chirac in February 2004, he asked him to support the inclusion of Hizbullah on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations. Chirac refused.

An editorial in the Jerusalem Post reacted: “France’s argument for its position, that Hizbullah is a political faction in Lebanon, is ludicrous to the point of insult. This ‘political faction’ has thousands of missiles pointed at Israel, is committed to Israel’s destruction and is actively supporting Palestinian terrorism and undermining the PA.”30

Belgium as an Example

The situation in Europe concerning attitudes toward Israel differs somewhat from country to country. When discussing Belgium, political scientist Joël Kotek asserts that the country’s morality versus other states differs according to the importance of its exports to them. It therefore remains silent about the atrocities committed by China.

Kotek ascribes Belgium’s hostility toward Israel to four factors. The first is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is elaborated to the extreme by the media. The second derives from the Jew-hating traditions of both Christianity and the extreme Left, which in the Belgian case is exacerbated by a colonial past, for which it still avoids assuming responsibility. Kotek also notes that since the nineteenth century the Jew has been the symbol of capitalism.

A third element of hostility is the development of an intifada-type atmosphere in the suburbs resulting from a new Arab-Muslim Judeophobia. This attributes to the Jew the responsibility for the evils of the Arab world.

A fourth factor is the crisis of modernity in a new demographic context. On the one hand, Belgian Jewry is in decline; on the other, dynamic communities of Muslim origin represent 17 percent of the population of the country’s capital, Brussels. Kotek maintains that all these factors lead to the marginalization of the Jews and turn Israel into the “Jew of the nations.”31

The Jew as a Symbol

Jews have fulfilled symbolic functions in European society for well over a millennium. In the fifth century, St. Augustine defined the Jews as a witness people: their continuous existence would prove that Christianity was superior and represented the truth.

Later, the Jew in Christian Europe became a symbol of the Devil. What could one expect from the descendants of people who had murdered God’s son? The Jew represented all evil in society, Satan and his messenger. With the arrival of capitalism and Communism, the Jew became for the adherents of each system the personification of the opposite one.

These symbols survive in contemporary European society. After the Holocaust, for a certain period their use became politically incorrect. Many Europeans started to become aware that if there was absolute evil in the world, it was represented by parts of Europe rather than the Jews. For many others, however, this was too painful to admit. It created the psychological necessity to attach evil again to the Jews, this time to Israel, the Jewish state.

The Israeli psychologist Nathan Durst remarks:

If the guilty person is bad, the Jewish victim becomes good. The moment it can be shown the latter is bad too, the “other” – that is, the European – is relieved of his guilt feelings. To claim that Israelis behave like Nazis reduces the sin of the grandparents. Then the children of the victims can no longer be the accusers. This equalizes everybody.32

In particular, Germany in recent years has witnessed a trend of seeking to cleanse its past by accusing others. It speaks with multiple voices. One strong message is that of moral equivalence between Germany’s Second World War crimes and the behavior of others then and now. Those making these claims are no longer marginal individuals. The most effective approach to sanitize Germany’s immense crimes is to accuse Israel of acting similarly.

The initial Holocaust deniers were usually extreme right-wingers with nostalgia for Hitler’s days. Their attempt to purge Germany’s past by radically falsifying history did not go far. Nowadays, members of the country’s elite have found a formula to clean up their country’s history. The message is that while the Germans were indeed Nazis, how important is that if so many others conducted themselves comparably in the past or are behaving so now? If so many are guilty, why single out the Germans?33

Classic anti-Semitism has also become fashionable again in Europe, as demonstrated by many studies. If one were to apply a mental exercise, one could say that if all hardcore anti-Semites in Europe were to die soon, the number of dead would by far exceed that of the Europeans killed in the Second World War. That anti-Semitism is an integral part of European culture is not difficult to prove. This is radically different, however, from falsely stating that most Europeans are anti-Semites.34

European Socialists against Israel

Among major parties the Socialists are probably the best organized Europe-wide. Their grouping PSE has 201 members among the 732 European parliamentarians. An analysis of the extreme anti-Israeli statements made by various key European Socialists provides yet another perspective on Europe’s double political standards.

Analyzing matters that concern Israel and the Jews gives indicators of how soft some European Socialist parties are on terrorism. Once one has identified these indicators, one can also track them in future. One is: how negatively will these parties campaign against Israel so as to win domestic Muslim votes? Another concerns the additional actions they may undertake out of anti-Israeli bias. Thereafter, one can investigate how much anti-Semitism these will cause.

Some of these questions were already raised after an article by British Labour minister of energy, Mike O’Brien, in the Muslim Weekly at the beginning of 2005.35 It was published at a time when UK anti-Semitic violence – much of it by Muslims – reached almost French proportions. O’Brien solicited Muslim votes for an as-yet unannounced parliamentary election. He asked what Michael Howard, the Conservative Party’s leader, would do for them. Although not explicitly saying that the latter was a Jew, the suggestion was clear. Before turning to domestic issues, O’Brien wrote: “Will his foreign policy aim to help Palestine?”

O’Brien also mentioned that he had visited Yasser Arafat to convey that the UK, unlike the Americans, had not abandoned him. Additionally, O’Brien stressed that British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was the first Western politician to condemn Israel’s assassination of Hamas leaders.

Soft on Terrorism

There are many other aspects of extreme double standards by Socialists against Israel and the Jews not necessarily connected to electoral considerations. In a study on Greek anti-Semitism, Moses Altsech wrote in 1995 that at the end of 1988 under the rule of the Pasok Socialist Party, “following a judicial investigation, the Athens Court of Appeals and the Greek Supreme Court decided that Abdel Osama Al-Zomar, an alleged Palestinian terrorist apprehended in Greece, should be extradited to Italy to face charges of bombing the synagogue of Rome in October 1982, injuring thirty-four people and killing a three-year- old child. Greek Justice Minister V. Rotis used his authority to overrule the court decisions, stating that Osama’s acts were part of the “Palestinian struggle for liberation of their homeland, and, therefore, cannot be considered acts of terrorism.”36

Altsech comments: “Rotis compared these deeds to the acts of terrorism as part of anti-Nazi resistance during World War II. Osama could choose a country to fly to and went to Libya. The Washington Post wrote that Greece had rolled out a red carpet for terrorists.”37

In October 2001, Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi was assassinated by Palestinian terrorists. Danish Foreign Minister Mogens Lykketoft, who later would become the leader of the Danish Socialists, said on television that there was no difference between the assassination and Israel’s targeted killing of terrorists.38

In 2003, senior Labour MP Tam Dalyell claimed that a Jewish cabal of Zionists in the United States and Great Britain was driving their governments into war against Syria.39 In February 2005 Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, called a Jewish Evening Standard reporter a “concentration camp guard.”40 This was too much for part of the British Labour Party. Prime Minister Tony Blair asked Livingstone on television to apologize; he refused. The discussion in the British media was not limited to the anti-Semitic nature of the remark. It also focused on how the Socialist mayor’s statement came at an inconvenient time as the International Olympic Committee was aiming to evaluate London as a possible candidate for the 2012 Olympics.41

Franco Cavalli, then parliamentary leader of the Swiss Social Democrats, said at a meeting in 2002 where Israeli flags were burned that Israel “very purposefully massacres an entire people” and undertakes “the systematic extermination of the Palestinians.”42

Anna Lindh, destined to become Sweden’s prime minister before being murdered, was known for her anti-Israeli bias. Her successor as foreign minister, Laila Freivalds, visited Yad Vashem in 2004 to honor murdered Jews. Thereafter she heavily criticized Israel and remained silent on the extensive anti-Semitism in Sweden, much of which is perpetrated by Muslims. Freivalds’s silence was exposed by four former chairmen of the Swedish Jewish community, who wrote of how rampant racism and anti-Semitism is in the country.43

Two prominent Socialist Holocaust distorters already in the early 1980s demonized Israel with methods similar to those of classic anti-Semitism. As mentioned, Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme and Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou were the first leading European politicians to compare Israel’s policies to those of the Nazis.

In March 2002, Greek Socialist parliamentary speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis referred to the Israeli “genocide” of the Palestinians, upon which government spokesman Christos Protopapas said that he expressed the sentiments of the parliament and the Greek people. The daily Ethnos, close to Pasok, published what is probably the most anti-Semitic cartoon to appear in the new century in a mainstream European paper, stating that the Jews were in Auschwitz and Dachau not to suffer but to learn.44

Soft on Terrorism: Continued

Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center ironically exposed Socialist-terrorist collaboration and European hypocrisy at the 2004 OCSE (Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe) meeting in Berlin. He mentioned an imaginary congress on creative solutions for immigration into Europe in which the French extreme-Right politician Le Pen and the Russian anti-Semitic leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky would participate. He claimed it would be financed by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, associated with the German Christian Democrat Party. His remarks caused an uproar in the audience.

Samuels apologized for his “mistake.” He said that instead of the right-wing conference he had invented, he had intended to refer to a real three-day congress held in Beirut funded by the German Socialist Friedrich Ebert Foundation with speakers from the terrorist organizations Hizbullah and Hamas.

The Wiesenthal Center wrote on its website that conference participants at the meeting funded by the “flagship of Germany’s ruling Social Democratic party” included

“Shaykh Naeem Qasim from Hizbullah; Azzam Tamimi, from the Institute of Islamic Thought in London, who presents himself in the Arab press as a counselor to Hamas; Tariq Ramadan, from the University of Fribourg, a Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, notorious for his public incitement to anti-Semitism in France; Ibrahim al- Masri, vice president of Lebanon’s al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya, a group linked by terrorism experts to al-Qaeda; and Munir Shafiq, a leading Hamas ideologist and former activist in Islamic Jihad.45″

Honoring the World’s Leading Terrorist

While the aforementioned cases deal with what might be considered extreme behavior, there are many lesser instances of profoundly distorted attitudes, as a few examples demonstrate.

When British Foreign Secretary Straw visited the Middle East, he laid a garland of red and gold chrysanthemums on Arafat’s grave in Ramallah and signed the book of condolences. A senior Israeli diplomat was quoted anonymously as saying, “When you lay a wreath at someone’s grave, you are identifying with what the person believed in.”46 At the same time, the European leaders constantly proclaim the need for a more effective fight against terrorism.

In February 2005, after Swiss Socialist Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey visited Arafat’s grave, the Swiss Federation of Jewish communities criticized her. They said she had given “equal treatment to a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of the deceased Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and another ceremony at the Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem.”471

In an interview, Thomas Lissy said on behalf of the Jewish community that the Federation had spoken out because it considered that the anti-Israeli bias in Switzerland had become a danger to the community. “The portrayal that Israel is always wrong and the Palestinians are always right has created a tense atmosphere.”48

Common among the extreme Left and extreme Right, these attitudes are by no means exclusively Socialist ones as far as mainstream parties are concerned. One only has to recall how Chirac, who belongs to the right-of-center UMP, honored Arafat. Yet it seems that uncritical attitudes toward terrorists are particularly strong among Socialists.

Also on this matter, attitudes toward Jews and Israel are a prime indicator of broader societal phenomena. In this case, what is reflected is the further degradation of European socialism, which has lost its humanist character without giving up its pretensions in that regard.

Perhaps Deeper Roots

The insults and manipulations of the aforementioned politicians may come from deeper roots in the Socialist mindset. The French author and journalist Jean-François Revel found the records of the French Human Rights League, which at the end of 1917 and beginning of 1918 staged hearings about the Russian Revolution “with many qualified French or Russian eyewitnesses, most of whom were Socialists or close to the Socialists.”49

Revel notes that the commission that held the hearings consisted of some of the most prominent Frenchmen in the fields of literature, science, philosophy, history, economics, sociology, and politics. When he read the records, Revel saw “that as early as 1918 the highest political and intellectual leaders of socialism already knew absolutely all they needed to know about Soviet despotism, since the system in its virtual entirety had been established during the first year of its existence.”

Revel explains how afterward the French Socialists censored the news in their media. The responsibility for Communism’s atrocities was shunted to its adversaries. If possible, these were real foes; otherwise they were invented. Revel wrote his initial French text in 1988 and concluded: “The French Left thus brilliantly inaugurated a tradition of censorship, which has not ceased to flourish right up to the present, varying the doses within the limits of credibility, first on behalf of the USSR, then of Red China, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Angola, Guinea, Nicaragua, and many self-styled ‘socialist’ Third World countries.”50

Diplomats’ Undiplomatic Behavior

The mood created by the political leaders of European countries toward Israeli government officials often permeates their societies. The EU’s mindset and discriminatory attitude toward Israel is also manifested by various European ambassadors. It is unlikely that some of their statements would be tolerated concerning any other democratic country.

One of the most publicized scandals involved the former French ambassador to the UK, the late Daniel Bernard. At the dinner table in the home of then Daily Telegraph owner Lord Black, he said Israel was a “shitty little country” that had triggered the international security crisis.51 Bernard’s remark was typical of the new anti-Semitism, in which Israel has taken the place of the Jews as the scapegoat for the world’s evil.

Black’s wife, journalist Barbara Amiel who is Jewish, quoted her guest without giving his name or the country he represented in a Daily Telegraph column. It did not take long until other papers revealed who Israel’s undiplomatic detractor was.

Bernard’s subsequent reaction gave even clearer insight into his mindset. Initially the press secretary at the French embassy said that the ambassador did not remember if he had used those words.52 Thereafter Bernard insisted that what he had said had been thoroughly distorted. It was reported that he – rather than addressing his own anti-Semitism – was outraged “that a private discussion found its way into the media.”53 Zvi Shtauber, former Israeli ambassador to the UK, relates that Bernard came to the Israeli embassy afterward to apologize though publicly he had denied that he would do so.54

European Ambassadors to Israel

Such comments are even more offensive when made by European ambassadors stationed in Israel. French Ambassador to Israel Gerard Araud damaged his public reputation in an interview with Israeli Army Radio, saying that the Israeli public loves to hate France and that Israel has an “anti-French neurosis.”55 Already before coming to Israel, Araud managed to antagonize its public opinion. Boaz Bismuth, the French correspondent of the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, had overheard him at a Paris cocktail party referring repeatedly to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a “thug” and to Israel as a “paranoid country.” The French foreign office in a formal statement denied that he had said these things.56

After 11 September 2001, Araud’s predecessor in Israel, Jacques Huntzinger also created a diplomatic incident by saying that the terrorist attacks in Israel could not be compared to those in New York and Washington. When asked for a reaction, the American ambassador Daniel Kurtzer noted that a UN Security Council resolution after 11 September condemned all terror including Palestinian.57

Belgium’s ambassador to Israel, Wilfred Geens, at the end of his posting in 2002 was quoted by the Arabic weekly Kul al-Arab as calling Infrastructure Minister E. Eitam a “fascist.” He also described the territories as the “biggest detention camp in the world.” Geens later claimed that the remarks attributed to him were misinterpreted.

Geens’s comments were very similar to those British Ambassador Sherard Cowper-Coles had made a few weeks earlier in a leaked conversation with IDF Major General Amos Gilad, then coordinator of government activities in the territories.58 The denials should largely be seen as a diplomatic exercise.

Several of this author’s acquaintances attended the Belgian consul general’s reception in Jerusalem in honor of his king’s birthday at the beginning of 2005. The diplomat eulogized Yasser Arafat as a humanitarian before an audience comprised of the diplomatic corps, notables, Christian and Muslim Arabs, and Jews. This was the more offensive as Belgium had pretended to be the champion of human rights with its universal law. Arafat was a prominent war criminal by the standards promulgated in this law.

Media Bias

Israel encounters grave difficulties with the media. Slowly, international awareness is increasing that the media’s lack of accountability is becoming a major problem for democratic society at large. Once again Israel has become a test case for what is a much larger issue for the Western world.

Many European media have consistently taken extreme anti-Israeli positions. German Christian Democratic parliamentarian Hildegard Müller, who chairs the German-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group, considers that the media are partly responsible for Israel’s problematic image in Europe. She states that many of them copy news without verifying its truth. They frequently show the same pictures, which she calls “news preserves.” Müller also mentions that a large number of newspapers take their news from press agencies – for instance, Agence France Press (AFP) – which leads to their identical reporting.59

France stands out, once again, for its negative attitude toward Israel to a point that French sociologist Shmuel Trigano says: “One can only wonder how it was possible in French democracy that all major currents in society propagate similar ideas. It was frightening to open one’s television, read one’s papers and see the same ideological discourse of disinformation about Israel.”60

In 2002, journalist Clément Weill Raynal analyzed several cases of AFP’s reporting. The first concerned the incidents on the Temple Mount on 28 September 2000, considered the start of the second Palestinian uprising. Another event he investigated was the death of the Palestinian boy Mohammed Al-Dura, which AFP ascribed to bullets fired by Israeli soldiers, while other observers believe they were probably Palestinian ones. The debate on how the French media have treated the Al-Dura affair has continued now for three years.

In January 2005 Denis Jeambar, editor in chief of l’Express and Daniel Leconte, another French journalist, wrote that they had seen all the footage shot by the cameraman, including the half-hour that had not been shown on France 2 television. They concluded that many staged events were visible in the videotape with Palestinians pretending to be wounded and being brought to ambulances.61

A third case studied by Weill Raynal concerned AFP’s silence about Palestinian Communication Minister Imad Faloudji’s declaration on 2 March 2001 that the Palestinian uprising had been planned for more than a year, and was not due to Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount.62

A major step forward in exposing the French media’s anti-Israeli bias was the documentary Décryptage (Decoding). Its directors, Jacques Tarnero and Philippe Bensoussan, analyzed AFP’s reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through interviews and scenes from the media. They said this enabled the viewers to form their own opinion on the press agency’s anti-Israeli bias.63

RAI and the Ramallah Lynching

Some extremely severe offenders among journalists have had their Israeli press cards withdrawn. One of the best-known examples of a journalist intentionally hiding negative facts about the Palestinians concerned Riccardo Cristiano, the correspondent of the Italian state network, RAI, in the Palestinian territories.

On 12 October 2000, two Israeli reserve soldiers were lynched by Palestinians in Ramallah. The Italian private TV network Mediaset filmed the murder and smuggled the pictures out. These included, among others, a picture of a murderer who stood at a window with “his bloodied hands raised in triumph to signal to the crowd below that the soldiers had been killed.”

To avoid misunderstanding as to which Italian network had taken the pictures, Cristiano wrote a letter published on 16 October in the Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida. He disclosed that the pictures were taken by Mediaset. As a result, this media had to withdraw its correspondents from the area to avoid Palestinian revenge.

Cristiano also declared that he would never have published the pictures had they been his. In his open letter, he also offered “congratulations and blessings” to his dear friends in Palestine.64

Europe’s Worst Media Offender: The BBC

Trevor Asserson, a senior British litigation lawyer, has undertaken one of the most sophisticated media analyses ever, focusing on the BBC. He points to many breaches of the government charter, biases, and double standards when reporting on the Middle East conflict.65 More than ten years ago, after the Oslo agreements, then Jerusalem Post editor David Bar-Illan already called the BBC “by far the worst offender when it comes to Israel.” He said there were hundreds of examples of this in the political sphere.66

Another telling perspective on the international media’s attitudes toward Jews was provided by Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations:

“The American political and lobbying systems are unique. Foreign media cannot understand it. In every interview with the BBC and other European and Japanese media, the main question inevitably boils down to the influence of “the Jewish lobby.” They do not understand and therefore ascribe negative connotations to what is consistent with American democracy, which offers minorities a say if they choose to get involved.67″

There is a large corpus of evidence of the BBC’s anti-Israeli bias. When Arafat, before his death, was flown to Paris, its correspondent Barbara Plett for BBC Radio 4 said: “When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry…without warning. In quieter moments since, I have asked myself, why the sudden surge of emotion?”68

The media-watching organization Honest Reporting wrote under the title “Weeping for Yasser”: “Plett’s revelation of an emotional bond with Yasser Arafat is a clear acknowledgement of her partisan stand in the conflict….What does it say about the BBC that they employ news reporters who are emotionally or ideologically attached to one side of the conflict?”69

There are many recent examples of the BBC’s biased mindset. Sometimes even the BBC feels the need to apologize. In February 2005 in a religious program, BBC Radio 4 suggested that a Muslim corporal in the Israeli army had been jailed because he refused to shoot Palestinian children. The remark was made by the Reverend Dr. John Bell of an ecumenical Christian organization, the Iona community. In his apology he admitted that his story could have been interpreted “as furtive racism,” and this at a time when UK Jews are already sensitive because of the rising anti-Semitism.70

Media Watching

As Israel and the Jews are defamed by so many media, Jewish organizations and individuals have developed substantial media-watching activities. Pro-Israeli media watching has, however, to a large extent focused on the American press.

When analyzing these monitoring organizations, one finds that their activities have a social and political importance that goes far beyond the current public affairs aspects. More generally, media watching may make a major contribution toward imposing on the media – sometimes called the “fourth branch” of government – certain checks and balances such as those existing for the executive, legislative, and judiciary.

Making media more accountable for what they say is a major contribution to making societies more democratic. The more criticism comes from many concerned people, the more monitoring will become important to holding media accountable. As Diaspora Jews and Israelis are in the forefront of this activity they fulfill a crucial role in Western society in this important area.71

Creating an Anti-Israeli Atmosphere

All aforementioned factors together have helped create an anti-Israeli atmosphere in large parts of European society. Israeli political scientist Steinberg says:

“Many in European politics, academia, the media, and the NGOs use almost identical semantics. These four elements of society parallel each other, and work together as well, reinforcing each other in the overall attack on Israel. Analysis can start with any one of them. When various European Union representatives and diplomats condemn Israel they use standard vocabulary such as “excessive force,” “violation of human rights,” or “violation of international law.”72

A fifth factor comprises various Christian churches and organizations.

A detailed assessment of the complex process of European demonization of Israel would require much more in-depth research. It would have to include as well a study of the penetration of ongoing Arab hate propaganda into European society. Furthermore, an assessment would have to be made of the role of the media, politicians, extreme European groups on the Left and the Right, as well as parts of the European Muslim population and their representative bodies. Such research would also have to include a sociological and psychological analysis of those European countries whose governments have been in the forefront of promoting the anti-Israeli sentiment.

Ten years ago, Bar-Illan considered that the politicians were responsible for the change in the European attitude toward Israel. De Gaulle was their precursor in 1967. After the Oslo agreements, Bar-Illan said concerning the anti-Israeli bias: “A general atmosphere and attitude toward a problem is created by governments. Western governments treat the Israeli-Palestinian issue completely differently from the way they treat any other self-determination issue.”73

He added: “The media are influenced by that. The press can claim that they are very independent, but once it becomes fashionable to think about the relationship between the Palestinians and Israel in a David-and-Goliath context, almost everybody follows the trend. The general mood thus created is an anti-Israeli mood.”74

Academics, mainly left-wing, are another important anti-Israeli component in Europe. Several have worked to get European universities to cut ties with Israel. The main anti-Israeli campaigns have been in England and to a lesser extent in France, though there have been some efforts elsewhere such as in Belgium, Italy, and Norway.75

Indicators of Europe’s Mood

The frequent repetition by many Europeans of excessive charges against Israel has created in many places a climate hostile to those who want to defend Israel. It expresses itself in many ways also outside the media and public discourse. It has also made criticizing Israel in elite salons both frequent and politically correct.

Jeffrey Gedmin, the American director of the Berlin Aspen Institute, mentions that elegant dinner parties in Germany have become places where the majority commonly bashes Bush and Sharon as substitutes for anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism of various kinds. Those who disagree often remain silent under the onslaught.75

An American Jewish political scientist who prefers to remain anonymous – which is telling – said to this author:

“When I’m in Europe I move among left-liberal intellectuals, which are mainly my circle. Going to dinner parties I can be sure in advance that they will rant and rave about the United States. It is completely acceptable – I also generally welcome that – to do so against the powerful. In Vienna, such people will hold back, when I’m present, about Israel because of the bizarre and unclear overlap between Israel and the Jews. In Paris they have no reservations to speak similarly about Israel as they do about the United States because they think they do not have a Holocaust past.”

An assessment of such a mindset can only be anecdotic. It is thus important to bring more supporting evidence from as many EU countries as possible. Robin Shepherd of the Center for Strategic and International Studies writes:

“Go to a dinner party in Paris, London or any other European capital and watch how things develop. The topic of conversation may be Iraq, it may be George Bush, it may be Islam, terrorism or weapons of mass destruction. However it starts out, you can be sure of where it will inevitably, and often irrationally, end – with a dissection of the Middle East situation and a condemnation of Israeli actions in the occupied territories. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen it. European sympathy for the Palestinians runs high, while hostility toward Israel is often palpable.77″

Nineteen Days without Abuse

Carol Gould, an American Jew living in London, mentions that her American accent gives her away while she is not necessarily identified as a Jew. When visiting the United States, she suddenly realized: “I’ve gone for nineteen days without anybody – not taxi drivers, shop clerks or waiters – launching an abusive tirade at me.”78

Gould also relates her experiences concerning Israel and says: “the daily dose of relentless American bashing in the European media combined with the abundance of criticism of Israel has created an atmosphere of anger and hostility that for the first time in my lifetime makes me fearful for my safety in my beloved adopted country, Great Britain.” She also asks: “Where will it all end? I know Jews – including Anglo-Jews – who have ceased socializing because of the abuse they receive from old friends.”

Gould observes: “The paradox is that we have Islamic extremists in our midst in Britain preaching all manner of mayhem and holding ‘festivals’ to celebrate the ‘magnificent nineteen of September 11th.'” She asks a rhetorical question stressing British double standards: “How many Americans invite ex-pat Brits to their dinner table only to abuse and intimidate them, especially if they are Jewish?” She does not have to add that nobody does so because it is so obvious.79

Salon Anti-Semitism

“Salon anti-Israelism” is a widespread European phenomenon. U.S. journalism professor Ari Goldman wrote about his travel in Greece:

“As an American Jewish academic traveling in Europe, I expected that I would get angry questions about U.S. foreign policy, especially the war in Iraq and President George W. Bush’s support for the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon. But I didn’t expect the anger would be directed toward Jews.

“Don’t you think that American Jews have too much power?” one well dressed man challenged me at a university-sponsored dinner in Athens. “They control everything. They control Bush. They control America. It’s got to be stopped.”

Goldman adds that when he was in Salonika “another professor called the Christian Zionists hypocrites for their support of Israeli policies. ‘How can they profess a religion of love and at the same time support “targeted killings” of Palestinians?’ he asked.”80 This question acquires particular resonance if one considers that Greece’s mainly Orthodox population overwhelmingly and enthusiastically supported the Serbs in the Yugoslav War, when they carried out even more mass murders than the other parties involved in the conflict. This Greek viewpoint gains also more perspective in light of the multiple atrocities committed by the government units and the communist revolutionaries in the Greek civil war of the mid-1940s.

Trigano mentions that he frequently hears French Jews say things like: “We don’t go to dinner with our non-Jewish friends anymore, nor do we see them.” He explains that at many dinners, people talk aggressively about Israel and, thus, about Jews – who then feel the need to defend Israel’s position in view of the excessive criticism. They are then accused of being supporters of Sharon and violence. In light of this, Jews decide to avoid such discussions and meetings.81

Even though only some cases can be documented, the phenomenon is Europe-wide. One Jewish woman told this author that she is one of the few Dutch Jews who is so fed up with the Netherlands that she is preparing to leave for Israel. She also mentioned that some of her Gentile neighbors say things like, “It is not very nice what you people are doing to the Palestinians,” thus holding her, as a Dutch Jew, responsible for Israel’s actions. Her ancestors have lived in the Netherlands for centuries.

This story dates back to before the more than hundred attacks on Muslims and their institutions in the Netherlands in the first month after the killing by a Dutch Muslim fanatic, Mohammed Bouyeri, of an autochtone Dutchman, the filmmaker Theo van Gogh in November 2004.

A Spanish Mindset

Indications of this anti-Israeli attitude are widespread in Europe. On the municipal information board in Oleiros, a small town in northern Spain, a bright red illuminated sign said: “Let’s stop the animal, Sharon the assassin, stop the neo-Nazis.” When the Israeli ambassador called the mayor of Oleiros, Angel Garcia Seoane, he told him that he stood fully behind the message. The municipality was also selling on its website T-shirts with anti-Sharon slogans.82

This happened in November 2004 in a country where in March of that year Arabs belonging to an international Islamist organization had murdered almost two hundred and wounded many more. How did it occur to the mayor to devote this billboard to Sharon? Why not to Bin Laden or another Islamist terrorist leader who had supported murdering and wounding so many Spaniards?

Spain is a country where before the Second World War, both the Republicans, i.e., the forces of the legal Spanish government and the Nationalists, the fascist rebels, committed frequent mass atrocities against civilians of a nature unheard of on the Israeli side of the conflict with the Palestinians.

To put the deaths resulting from the current Palestinian uprising in historical perspective, some information on the Spanish Civil War is indicative. The British historian Hugh Thomas estimates that about 75,000 people were executed or murdered by the Republicans between 18 July and 1 September 1936. He notes:

“Many of these crimes were accompanied by a partly frivolous, partly sadistic cruelty….The bishop of Jaé n was killed with his sister by a specially invited militiawoman nicknamed La Pescosa (the freckled) before a crowd of two thousand tumultuous people near Madrid…. There were isolated instances of the violation of nuns, before their execution….Several priests were undoubtedly burned alive….An exhibition of the exhumed bodies of Salesian nuns attracted great crowds in Barcelona….In Ciudad Real, eight hundred persons were thrown down a mine shaft….And always the moment of death would be greeted with applause, as if it were the moment of truth in a corrida. Then there would be shouts of “Liberty! Down with Fascism.”83

All in all, the number of murdered by the progressive forces, precursors of the current Spanish Left, was probably around 85,000 during the Civil War. Thomas estimates that the Nationalists killed and executed about forty thousand civilians and also committed countless atrocities.84

Ilka Schröder gives another indication of the mood of Europe: “You have only to see the exhibitions on Israel and Palestine in the European Parliament’s foyer – where Israel is accused of sociocide and branded as an apartheid state – to know which side the EU is on.”85


We have seen that attacks and accusations in Europe against Israel and Jews are often interlinked. This is a subject for a book rather than for a few paragraphs in an essay. Yet the resurgence of European anti-Semitism after the Holocaust proves again unequivocally how deep its roots are in European society.

A phenomenon that develops intensely in an entire continent over a period of many centuries becomes deeply embedded in its societal mindset and behavior. The anti-Semitic wave in Europe of the past few years indicates that it is impossible to eradicate such a deep-seated irrational attitude.

Christian anti-Semitism, the oldest European type of Jew-hatred, continues to manifest itself as well. In Greece, for instance, there are multiple remnants of Christian anti-Semitism to which new elements are added. Every year in hundreds of places an Easter ritual takes place of “burning the effigy of Judas as a tourist attraction. Sometimes it is described as burning the Jew.” Past condemnations of this ritual by the Greek Orthodox Church have had very little influence.86

The New Anti-Semitism

While anti-Semitism’s main motifs have remained remarkably identical, they have mutated over the centuries.87 Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler observed: “Traditional anti-Semitism denied Jews the right to live as equal members of society, but the new anti-Jewishness denies the right of the Jewish people to live as an equal member of the family of nations.”88

The most recent major version of anti-Semitism targets Israel. This variant of Jew-hatred is now commonly referred to as “new anti-Semitism.” Its perpetrators often call themselves anti-Zionists. They aim to isolate Israel and present it – in the words of the Berlin Technical University’s Center for Research on Anti-Semitism – “as a state that is fundamentally negatively distinct from all others, which therefore has no right to exist.”89

Cotler has defined the new, Israel-oriented anti-Semitism in a number of ways. One of these is that it denies the Jewish people the right to self-determination, delegitimizing Israel as a state and attributing all the world’s misfortune to it. It ascribes to the country a mix of evil qualities (cultural anti-Semitism). It also calls for restrictions against those trading with Israel (economic anti-Semitism) and singles out Israel for discriminatory treatment in the international arena through denial of equality before the law.90


Cartoons are one of the simple tools to identify and analyze anti-Semitism. Those who draw them have to invoke widely known, simple stereotypes of the Jews. Many contemporary extreme anti-Israeli cartoons are mutations of motifs used in the Nazi media. The main source of cartoons demonizing Jews is the Arab world. Some motifs have filtered into various European media including mainstream ones.

Kotek has analyzed how the main recurrent motif in Arab cartoons concerning Israel is “the devilish Jew.” This image conveys the idea that Jews behave like Nazis, kill children, and love blood. The similarity of the themes with those promulgated by the Nazis is evident. Many Arab cartoons praise suicide bombing or call for murder. To dehumanize Jews, Arab cartoonists often depict them as malevolent creatures: spiders, vampires, or octopuses. The collective image of the Jews thus projected lays the groundwork for a possible genocide.

Palestinian cartoonists often emphasize the anti-Semitic theme of ritual murder by Jews of children. This is underscored by their false claim that Israelis specifically target Palestinian children.91, 92

Also in European cartoons there are many comparisons between Jews and Nazis, the Star of David and the swastika, the security fence and the Warsaw Ghetto wall. One finds anti-Semitic cartoons in leading mainstream papers remote from fascism or the extreme Left. These include the London Independent, the Italian La Stampa, the Spanish El Pais, and many others. Even if these publications are incidental, it still indicates that all borders have been breached in a continent where sixty years ago, the overwhelming majority of the Jews were murdered by Germans and Austrians with the assistance of many other Europeans.

One typical illustration of this phenomenon was when the British daily The Independent published a cartoon by Dave Brown depicting Sharon as a child-eater. It should be pointed out that the libel of Jews using the blood of Gentile children for religious purposes originated in England during the Middle Ages. In response to protests, the UK Press Complaints Commission cleared the cartoon.93

The discriminatory character of the Independent cartoon was emphasized by Shtauber. He asked the paper’s Jewish editor, Simon Kelner, when it had ever published a similar caricature of a public figure. Kelner had to go back eighteen years to find one.94

Anti-Semitism in European schools is not unusual. One cannot blame only Muslims for this, many of which are now nationals of European countries. Even in Germany, with its great efforts at Holocaust education, polls indicate that anti-Semitism has returned massively.

To believe that this is largely unrelated to the image of Israel created by European politicians, media, and academics is to bury one’s head in the sand.

The Polls

Polls express in numbers what the anecdotes of the mood among the elites at the dinner table or in universities indicate qualitatively. The most relevant country here is Germany in view of the major investment in reeducation after its defeat in World War II. A 2004 poll of the University of Bielefeld analyzed various aspects of German critical attitudes regarding Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians. The study concludes that the criticism of Israel is to a certain extent a cover for anti-Semitic attitudes.

The authors, in their quest to locate the borderlines between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel, conclude:

“Criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic when it denies Israel’s right of existence and of self-defense. When it draws historical comparisons between Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians and the persecution of the Jews in the Third Reich, when it judges Israel’s policy with a double standard, when it transfers anti-Semitic stereotypes onto the state of Israel or transfers this criticism to Jews in general and makes Jews generally responsible for events in the Near East.95″

According to the authors’ definition, on at least one of these criteria the majority of the Germans polled hold anti-Semitic positions. It concerns comparing Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians with the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany. Thirty-five percent fully agree and 33 percent are inclined to agree with the statement that Israel “is conducting a war to destroy the Palestinians.” Twenty-seven percent fully agree and 24 percent are inclined to agree that “what Israel does to the Palestinians in principle is not different than what the Nazis in the Third Reich did to the Jews.” Only 19 percent disagree totally and 30 percent are inclined to disagree. The findings of this 2004 survey confirm and strengthen findings of earlier surveys on German anti-Semitism that have been analyzed by several authors.96

Many other polls found substantial anti-Semitic stereotypes among European populations.97 A 2002 opinion poll carried out on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League found that one out of five respondents in five countries: Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands, can be characterized as “most anti-Semitic.”98

The ADL’s 2005 survey, carried out in twelve countries, found that “A plurality of those surveyed across Europe, 43 percent, believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, with a majority of respondents in Italy, Germany, Poland and Spain saying they believe that this statement is ‘probably true.'” Twenty-nine percent of those polled say their opinion of Jews is influenced by Israeli actions.99

Yet another poll carried out in nine EU countries for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera found substantial anti-Semitic trends. In all countries, anti-Semitic sentiment paralleled anti-Israeli sentiment.100 A poll conducted around the same time in the UK found that almost 20 percent of Britons consider that a Jewish prime minister would be less acceptable than a non-Jewish one.101 This is particularly relevant as Michael Howard, the Conservative Party’s leader, is Jewish.

Is Europe Sick and Decadent?

As illustrated, there are widespread double standards toward Israel in Europe. Major newspapers publish extreme anti-Semitic cartoons. All polls find substantial anti-Semitism of the old and new varieties on the continent. Under Soviet rule, Russian writer Andrei Siniavsky is reputed to have said that: “anti-Semitism is a disaster for the Jews, but it is the sickness of the Russians and their disaster as well.”102

Not surprisingly, several Jewish and Israeli observers – remembering the mass-murder of Jews in the twentieth century – consider Europe a sick or decadent continent. Robert Wistrich says: “Anti-Semitism is a primary symptom of social pathology. Every society that becomes seriously infected by it is receiving a wakeup call about its social, cultural, and political health.” He sees in Europe’s anti-Israelism a “deep pathology, a suicidal syndrome.”103

Melanie Phillips wrote under the title “The Moral Sickness of the World”:

“The degradation and corruption of British and western society, not to mention the United Nations, are now on sickening display for all with eyes to see from the disgusting response to the death of Arafat. This man, the godfather of modern terrorism, who caused the deaths of thousands of souls, who preached death and destruction towards the Jews, who terrorized and swindled the Palestinian Arabs he purported to lead and kept them trapped in penury, servitude and squalor, is being feted in death as a world statesman.”

She concludes:

“The reaction of the free world to Arafat’s death, along with the opprobrium heaped daily upon his victims in Israel, illustrates the decadence that now rewards evil and punishes those whom it terrorizes. It is a horrifying indication of a world that has simply lost its fundamental understanding of right and wrong. All who value life, liberty and justice should take careful note and shudder at this moral – and mortal – sickness. This is the way a civilization dies.104″

Decadent or Criminal?

Blum says when discussing the European attitude toward terrorism:

“I think Israel finds greater understanding for its predicament in the former Communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, rather than in the countries of Western Europe which seem to have become quite decadent. They prefer short range comfort and don’t want to be bothered by inconvenient developments. Most probably they have lost their vital instincts in this regard.105″

After the van Gogh murder this author asked a Dutch Protestant theologian friend: “When will the Dutch finally understand that Palestinian bloodshed and radical Islamist violence belong to the same family?” He answered: “When you are schizophrenic, making such a connection can take a long time.”

As mentioned, the EU reaches its most extreme bias against Israel at the United Nations. Bayefsky summarizes her view: “The evil of anti-Semitism today moves through its UN host like an opportunistic pathogen. First discrimination of Israel, followed by its demonization, the deification of the enemies of the Jewish state, the denial of Jewish victimhood, denunciation of the Israeli who fights back, and finally the refusal to identify the assailants.”106

A French non-Jewish philosopher took these negative judgments of Europe a step further. Jean-Claude Milner titled a book The Criminal Inclinations of Democratic Europe. In an interview he referred to the anti-Semitism – other than Muslim – in Europe:

“I think there is an autochthonous anti-Semitism in Europe which doesn’t come from the past but from the future….Today we see an anti-Semitism which doesn’t originate from old people, but from youth, and thus is not likely to disappear, but rather to become stronger….This is an actual problem. We are dealing with a modern anti-Semitism.107″

Are the Jews Leaving?

In conversations with committed Jews in Europe, they often express doubts about their future as Jews on the continent. Yet it is not simple for them to leave the society in which they have grown up. One feels familiar there even if threatened culturally or physically.

Some more specific indications have been obtained by polls or otherwise. Seventy-seven percent of French Jews feared in 2002 for their personal safety due to Islamic terrorism. In a poll, Eric Cohen of Bar-Ilan University found that those willing to consider emigration to Israel amounted to about 36 percent while 6 percent of the families surveyed had already decided to do so.108

Kotek gives his impressions on Belgium: “Many Jews think about leaving Belgium. Very few will do so because it is difficult. Where should they go? Israel is a tough country to live in even if they like it. What remains – United States, Australia? Identified Jews do not know what to do, even if they ask themselves questions about their future in Belgium.”109

In a letter to Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Bondevik, the Norwegian Israel Center against Anti-Semitism (NIS) accused him of discrimination toward Israel by frequently criticizing it while Norway keeps silent about the Arabs’ repression of the Kurds, the Christians, the Copts, the Berbers, and the Jews. The NIS pointed out that: “approximately half of the Jewish youths of Norway have chosen to move out of Norway during your tenure as Prime Minister. The reason for this is the increasing hatred of the Jews.”110

Germany is the one exception as far as number of Jews is concerned. Because of the influx of Jews from the former Soviet Union, many of whom have little Jewish identification, the community is growing.

Characterizing the EU and Its Worldviews

The foregoing describes Europe’s double standards toward Israel and what they have caused. One has to assess as well what should have separated Israel and Europe objectively. Only a few indicative remarks can be made.

To do so one has to define Europe’s characteristics, policies, and worldviews. For Israeli strategy expert Yehezkel Dror, Europe is characterized by its focus on citizens’ welfare and neglect of security risks. It is busy with current issues but does not devote adequate attention to the long-term future.111

For Trigano, the EU’s ambitions mainly create associations with the Napoleonic Empire because of its bureaucratic political character. He points out that every empire needs an enemy, and Europe defines itself in opposition to the policies of the nationalist American state.112

Andrei Markovits, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, says: “Nobody knows what it means to be a European. It is unclear what Greeks and Swedes have in common. But one important characteristic they share is their not being American.” He also observes that anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are the only major icons shared by the European extreme Left and Right, including neo- Nazis.113

The rejection of its proposed constitution by the populations of France and The Netherlands in spring 2005 has created some uncertainty about the direction the European Union may take. It is telling mainly in regard to the EU’s worldview that many observers consider that a crisis in a democratic entity such as the EU may be advantageous for another democracy, Israel. This author summed it up by saying: “While past EU policies have been heavily biased against Israel, as it enters a period of disarray, EU policies may become less threatening to Israel.”114

Eastern Europe

Within the overall tension between Europe and Israel, the new East European entrants into the EU do not play a major role. Mark Sofer, a deputy director-general at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, notes that these countries do not have a common policy within the EU. He considers that factors such as historical obligation toward the Jews, wanting to distance themselves from their Communist past, their gratitude to the United States for liberating them from Soviet domination, and the absence of significant Muslim minorities all make these countries more positive toward Israel than the older EU members.

Sofer concludes that in terms of how relations with these countries will develop, much will depend on Israel itself and how much it invests in the relationship. He considers that there is major goodwill on both sides.115

It would be mistaken, though, to consider Israel’s relationships with the East European countries without problems. Some of these countries were allies of Germany in World War II. Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center says that East European societies are being forced to confront for the first time the role their own nationals played in the murders of the Jews or in assisting in their deportation. In the Baltic states this local participation in war crimes was substantial.

He adds: “practical issues such as the acknowledgment of the crimes, commemoration of the victims, prosecution of the perpetrators, and documentation of the events are proving to be a major source of tension and conflict between Jews and non-Jews.”116

A Growing Abyss

This raises the question of whether the gap between Israel and Europe is widening. Once again, one can base oneself only on impressions. Gedmin considers that Europe’s anti-Israeli sentiment is increasing. He attributes this to four factors: the attempt to assuage guilt over Europe’s murderous past, rivalry with the United States, anti-Semitism, and the rejection of European concepts of society by the majority of Israelis.117

Milner contends that European anti-Judaism is linked to the affirmation of Europe itself. On the one hand, it wants to assert itself vis-à-vis the United States. On the other, having realized its unity, it wants to present itself as a model for humanity. In his view, at the Anti-Racism Conference in Durban, Europe and the Islamic world found themselves standing together on an anti-Jewish platform.118

After the 1993 Oslo agreements, Italian-Israeli political scientist Dan Segre reflected on the changes in the European position toward Israel. He said many Europeans were enthusiastic about Israel’s independence in 1948 because they saw in it the realization of an ideal state. The shock of the Holocaust was another reason for this positive attitude.

Segre saw four reasons why this attitude changed:

“The dream of the ideal state, unrealistic from the beginning, had to break down. Israel refused to be the only vegetarian state in a world of predators. To this came the sudden increase in Arab wealth as a result of the inept way the West handled the oil crisis in 1973. A third factor was the conjunction of Arab and communist propaganda against Zionism. A fourth factor was Israel’s ties with the United States or, in leftist propaganda terms, American imperialism.119″

At the time, Segre already wondered whether Israel could ever trust Europe. He considered that the central thread of European attitudes toward Jews consisted of long-held historical prejudices, complexes, and frustrations. These had been extended over the decades toward the state of Israel. Already then, Segre asserted that anti-Semitism had not disappeared but rather been broadened to include anti-Zionism.120

Israel’s Attitudes

Europe has applied to Israel many double political standards. This indicates that Israel cannot meet Europe’s desires without endangering itself. Israel’s attitude thus affects nuances of European policies rather than its essence.

In such a context one would have expected the Israeli government to undertake a profound analysis of what it is up against and to assess how the total war waged against it operates. This necessary first step to use Israel’s limited resources more effectively in the propaganda battle has still not been properly undertaken.

Even worse, Israeli government reactions on specific issues have lacked competence and understanding. Johannes Gerster, representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Israel, recounts how after the beginning of the new Palestinian uprising in 2000 he attempted to convince important figures in the Israeli government that propaganda was a crucial part of the war. He said that Israelis had to provide pictures to counter the one-sided ones from Palestinian society and political groups. Israeli reactions for a long time showed no comprehension of this.121

What to Do?

The first step in the process of Israel trying to change its relationship with Europe is to systematically expose Europe’s double standards toward it. The foregoing outlines many elements of these. Doing so requires a thorough and detailed analysis of the European bias. Even the fact that such a broad assessment involving historians, lawyers, psychologists, and public relations experts was being undertaken would perhaps make some appliers of double standards nervous.

Any such exposure would not focus on a whole front, but rather deal with individual cases. Much effort would have to be applied to these. It does not require much to take on the media in a country like Norway, which is not part of the EU. It is a country that pretends to be human rights oriented yet has severely discriminated against the Jews after the Second World War and now does so against Israel. It is not by chance that the internationally best-known Norwegian is the Nazi collaborator Quisling. Many of the dark elements in Norway’s past are well documented. Its current biases against Israel are easy to expose.

Preliminary work has already been done by the NIS. Some quotes from a letter to Prime Minister Bondevik illustrate this:

“Norway and yourself consistently react strongly against the least breach of human rights in Israel, but only when it benefits Israel’s enemies. Norway remained silent when the PLO and Syria carried out a massacre of the Christians in Lebanon (1974-82), when Iraq carried out a massacre of the Kurds in North Iraq, and when Syria massacred its own civilians in Hama in 1982. Yourself and Norway were also concerned about Israel’s affairs but at the same time kept silent about the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, and the silence continues when these days Muslims are carrying out a genocide in Sudan, until now of two million Christians, where the situation in Darfour is only a drop in the ocean. This is discrimination.”

The letter added:

“We notice the difference in your criticism of Israel and the others. We note that yourself and Norway are not equally concerned about human rights in other places, and do not let such facts as oppressions, murder and torture stop you from investing billions in Iran, Libya and other dictatorships. In the Nazi period, Norway invested in companies which contributed to the Holocaust. Even today, Norwegian companies invest heavily with the government’s full support and blessing in countries which try to “complete Hitler’s unfinished job” on the Jews in Israel.122″

Similarly one can confront media, particularly state-owned ones, in other European countries. For years the Mohammed Al-Dura affair has been simmering, while there are strong indications that France 2, one of the French state-owned television stations, has knowingly presented a distorted picture of the material it possessed.

These are only a few examples concerning some of those who apply double standards. It is highly likely that a few successful exposures would make others more careful. Today attacking Israel is often free of risk for its European defamers.

Developing a Strategy

Simultaneously Israel has to develop a strategy toward Europe. The tension between Israel and Europe has led to many ideas about what could be done to improve relations. Yehezkel Dror writes: “Israel urgently needs to craft a grand strategy toward the European Union aimed at improving relations and upgrading cooperation with the EU also in political and security matters. This would require substantial changes in the Israeli political system and the machinery of government.123

Shtauber says that while Israel does not have many resources, “we must invest heavily in expanding the dialogue with Europe. We must spend more time on contacts with various groups including opinion leaders and students. We must consider Europe almost in the same category as the United States. With the Americans, Israel maintains various frameworks where one can talk freely outside the official system. That gives both parties a chance to better understand each other’s problems.124″

Müller concludes:

“Israelis and Europeans should not give up the fight for a common understanding. Despite all the difficulties, there are no alternatives. We will not find other friends so rapidly and thus must stay together. A more intensive European-Israeli dialogue should be initiated. This should be done through a privileged partnership of Israel with the EU. A European security guarantee for Israel must be part of such a privileged partnership.125″

To all of this one major conclusion should be added, which is drawn by several observers. As Israel can much less afford the frequent hostility than the Europeans, it should take the initiative to see how the damage can be limited. This without endangering vital interests or remaining silent about the injustice Europe is doing to it.

*     *     *





1. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “The Deep Roots of Anti-Semitism in European Society,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 17, Nos. 1 & 2 (Spring 2005), 3-48.

2. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Robert Wistrich, “Something Is Rotten in the State of Europe: Anti-Semitism as a Civilizational Pathology,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, no. 25, 1 October 2004.

3. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Dore Gold, “Europe’s Consistent Anti-Israeli Bias at the United Nations,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 34, 1 July 2005.

4. Anne Bayefsky, “Perspectives on Anti-Semitism Today,” lecture at conference “Confronting Anti-Semitism: Education for Tolerance and Understanding,” United Nations Department of Information, New York, 21 June 2004. “One Small Step,”, Opinion Journal, Wall Street Journal, 21 June 2004,>110005245.

5. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Anne Bayefsky, “The United Nations: Leading Global Purveyor of Anti-Semitism,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 31, 1 April 2005.

6. Anne Bayefsky, “Fatal Failure,” National Review Online, 30 November 2004.

7. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Anne Bayefsky, “The United Nations: Leading Global Purveyor of Anti-Semitism.”

8. Personal interview with Yehuda Blum.

9. Personal interview with Meir Rosenne.

10. Amos Harel, “EU Wants to Question Palestinian Prisoners about PA Funds,” Haaretz web edition, 4 August 2004.

11. Ilka Schröder, “Europe’s Crocodile Tears,” Jerusalem Post, 19 February 2004.

12. Yohanan Manor, Les manuels scolaires palestiniens: une génération sacrifiéé (Paris: Berg International éditeurs, 2003), 130ff. (French).

13. Gerald Steinberg, “Abusing the Legacy of the Holocaust: The Role of NGOs in Exploiting Human Rights to Demonize Israel,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 16, Nos. 3 & 4 (Fall 2004), 67.

14. Ibid.

15. Edwin Black, “Funding Hate, Part IV: Audit of Palestinian Group Suggests Lax Funding Controls,” JTA, 16 October 2003.

16. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Moses Altsech, “Anti-Semitism in Greece: Embedded in Society,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 23, 1 August 2004.

17. Personal interview with Meir Rosenne.

18. George Orwell, Collected Essays (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970), 3: 381- 382.

19. Moses Altsech writing under the pseudonym Daniel Perdurant, “Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Greek Society,” Analysis of Current Trends in Anti-Semitism, No. 7 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1995), 10.

20. Per Ahlmark, “Palme’s Legacy 15 Years On,” Project Syndicate, February 2001.

21. Personal interview with Meir Rosenne.

22. Freddy Eytan, La France, Israel et les Arabes: le double jeu? (Paris: Jean Picollec, 2005), 21 (French).

23. Personal interview with Yehuda Blum.

24. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Dore Gold, “Europe’s Consistent Anti-Israeli Bias at the United Nations,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 34, 1 July 2005.

25. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “The Mahathir Affair: A Case Study in Mainstream Islamic Anti-Semitism” Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 506, 2 November 2003.

26. Jean-Christophe Ruffin, “Chantier sur la Lutte contre le Racisme et l’antisémitisme,” Ministère de l’interieur, de la sécurité interieure, et des libertés locales, 30 October 2004 (French).

27. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Martin Hier, “Building a Major Organization from Scratch,” in American Jewry’s Challenge: Conversations Confronting the 21st Century (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), 188.


29. Ibid.

30. “Europe and Hizbullah,” Jerusalem Post, 15 February 2005.

31. Joël Kotek, “La Belgique et ses Juifs: de l’Antijudaisme comme code culturel, á l’Antisionisme comme religion civique,” Les Ëtudes du Crif 4, 4, Paris, 2004 (French).

32. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Nathan Durst, “Europe: From Guilt Feelings to Repackaging Anti-Semitism,” in Europe’s Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today’s Anti-Semitism (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2003), 35.

33. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Rewriting Germany’s Nazi Past: A Society in Moral Decline,” Jerusalem Viewpoints, no. 530, 1 May 2005.

34. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Anti-Semitism: Integral to European Culture,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 19, 1 April 2004.

35. Mike O’Brien, “Labour and British Muslims: Can We Dream the Same Dream?” Muslim Weekly, No. 61, 7-13 January 2005.

36. Moses Altsech writing under the pseudonym Daniel Perdurant, “Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Greek Society,” 10.

37. “You Can Kill a Jew,” Central Jewish Board Information Bulletin, 1 January 1989; the Washington Post article was quoted therein.

38. Herb Keinon, “Danish FM: Ze’evi Murder Same as Targeted Killings,” Jerusalem Post, 19 October 2001.

39. Fraser Nelson, “Anger over Dalyells’s ‘Jewish Cabal’ Slur,” The Scotsman, 5 May 2003.

40. Chris Tryhorn, “Ken Called Ex-Times Mana Nazi Too,”, 18 February 2005.

41. “Blair Asks London Mayor to Apologize for Anti-Semitic Remarks,”, 16 February 2005.

42. “Israel-Kritik oder Antisemitismus?” Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 26 April 2002 (German).

43. Salomo Berlinger, Stefan Meisels, Torsten Press, and Willy Salomon, “Sweden Can Do Much More for Country’s Jewish Community,” Haaretz, 10 June 2004.

44. “Antisemitism Worldwide, 2002-3,” Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University.

45.>fwLYKnN8LzH&b>2531- 62&ct>285288.

46. Herb Keinon, “Israel Fumes at Straw’s Floral Tribute to Arafat,” Jerusalem Post, 26 November 2004.

47. “Swiss Jews Criticize Middle East Trip,” NZZ Online, 14 February 2005.

48. Sam Ser, “European Jews Speak Out against Their Gov’ts,” Jerusalem Post, 24 February 2005. 49. Jean-François Revel, The Flight from Truth (New York: Random House, 1991), 375.

50. Ibid.

51. Andrew Pierce, “French Ambassador Blurts Out: ‘That Shitty Little Country Israel,'” The Times, 19 December 2001.

52. Matthew Norman, “Diary,” The Guardian, 19 December 2001.

53. “‘Anti-Semitic’ French Envoy under Fire,” BBC News internet edition, 20 December 2001.

54. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Zvi Shtauber, “British Attitudes toward Israel and the Jews,” in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? (Jerusalem: JCPA and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 2005), 190.

55. Herb Keinon, “French Envoy Criticizes Israel,” Jerusalem Post, 9 December 2004.

56. Philip Carmel, “Even before He Arrives in Israel, French Envoy Starts Off on the Wrong Foot,” JTA, 1 September 2003.

57. Dala Shehori, Yossi Verter, and Nitzan Horowitz, “French Envoy: No Comparing Terror in U.S. and Israel,”, 15 February 2005.

58. Charlotte Halle, “Belgian Ambassador Denies Calling Eitam a ‘Fascist,'” Haaretz, 15 November 2002.

59. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Hildegard Müller, “Israel and Europe: The Positive and the Negative,” in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? 40.

60. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Shmuel Trigano, “French Anti-Semitism: A Barometer for Gauging Society’s Perverseness,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 26, 1 November 2004.

61. Denis Jeambar and Daniel Leconte, “Guet-apens dans la guerre des images,” Le Figaro, 25 January 2005 (French).

62. Clément Weill Raynal, “L’Agence France Presse: le récit contre les faits,” Observatoire du monde juif, No. 2, March 2002 (French).

63. Décryptage, directed by Jacques Tarnero and Philippe Bensoussan, 2002.

64. Rory Carroll and Ian Black, “TV Row over Mob Footage ‘Betrayal,'” The Guardian, 20 October 2000.

65. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Trevor Asserson, “The BBC: Widespread Antipathy toward Israel,” in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? 193-207.

66. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with David Bar-Illan, “The Loaded Dice of the Foreign Media Are There to Stay,” in Israel’s New Future: Interviews (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1994), 117.

67. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Malcolm Hoenlein, in American Jewry’s Challenge: Conversations Confronting the 21st Century, 152.

68. Jason Deans, “BBC’s Arafat Report Sparks Protest,” The Guardian, 5 November 2004.

69. Ibid.

70. “BBC Apologizes for Airing Erroneous Story on IDF soldier,”, 18 February 2005.

71. Manfred Gerstenfeld and Ben Green, “Watching the Pro-Israeli Media Watchers,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 16, Nos. 3 & 4 (Fall 2004), 33-58.

72. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Gerald Steinberg, “European NGOs against Israel,” in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? 112.

73. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with David Bar-Illan, “The Loaded Dice of the Foreign Media Are There to Stay” in Israel’s New Future: Interviews, 112.

74. Ibid.

75. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “The Academic Boycott against Israel,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 15, Nos. 3 & 4 (Fall 2003), 9.

76. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Jeffrey Gedmin, “Experiencing European Anti-Americanism and Anti-Israelism,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 27, 1 December 2004.

77. Robin Shepherd, “In Europe, an Unhealthy Fixation on Israel,” Washington Post, 30 January 2005.

78. Carol Gould, “An American Scapegoat in London,” The Guardian, 16 October 2004.

79. Ibid.

80. Ari L. Goldman, “Meanwhile: The Jewish Ghosts of Salonika,” International Herald Tribune, 6 May 2004.

81. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Shmuel Trigano, “French Anti-Semitism: A Barometer for Gauging Society’s Perverseness,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 26, 1 November 2004.

82. Herb Keinon, “Spain: Anti-Sharon Municipality Sign,” Jerusalem Post, 16 November 2004.

83. Hugh Thomas, The Spanish Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1961), 173-174.

84. Ibid., 169.

85. Beth R. Alexander, “Analysis: Europe’s Secret Battleground,”, 8 August 2004.

86. Simon Wiesenthal Center, Press Release, “Easter Pogrom Hatemongering – Effigies, Desecration, Caricature: Greek Antisemitism Epidemic Persists,” 20 April 2004.

87. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “The Deep Roots of Anti-Semitism in European Society,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 17, Nos. 1 & 2 (Spring 2005), 3-46.

88. Robert Fife, “UN Promotes Systematic Hatred of Jews,MP Says,” National Post, 2 April 2002.

89. “Manifestations of Antisemitism in the European Union,” drafted for the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) by the Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZFA) at Berlin Technical University, p. 17,


91. Joël et Dan Kotek, “Au nom de l’antisionisme: L’image des Juifs et d’Israel dans la caricature depuis la seconde Intifada,” Brussels: Editions Complexe, 2003 (French).

92. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Joël Kotek, “Major Anti-Semitic Motifs in Arab Cartoons,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 21, 1 June 2004.


94. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Zvi Shtauber, in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? 188.

95. Wilhelm Heitmeyer, “Texte zu Ergebnissen der Umfrage 2004 des Projektes,” Universítát Bielefeld, Institut fur interdisziplinare Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung, 2004 (German).

96. See, e.g., Martin Ulmer, “Current Trends in Germany,” lecture at conference of SICSA in Jerusalem: “Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism in Western Europe since 2000,”, 18 December 2002; Susanne Urban, “Anti-Semitism in Germany Today: Its Roots and Tendencies,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 16, Nos. 3 & 4 (Fall 2005), 119-130.

97. See Manfred Gerstenfeld, “The Deep Roots of Anti-Semitism in European Society.”

98. Anti-Defamation League, Press Release, “ADL Survey of Five European Countries Finds One in Five Holds Strong Anti-Semitic Sentiments: Majority Believes Canard of Jewish Disloyalty,” New York, 31 October 2002.

99. Anti-Defamation League, “Attitudes toward Jews in Twelve European Countries,” May 2005.

100. “European Poll: 46% Say Jews Are ‘Different,'” Haaretz, 26 January 2004.

101. Stephen Bates, “One in Seven Britons Say Holocaust Is Exaggerated,” The Guardian, 23 January 2004.

102. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Meir Litvak, “The Development of Arab Anti-Semitism,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 5, 2 February 2003.

103. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Robert Wistrich, Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 25, 1 October 2004.

104. Melanie Phillips, “The Moral Sickness of the World,”, 12 November 2004.

105. Personal interview with Yehuda Blum.

106. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Anne Bayefsky, “The United Nations: Leading Global Purveyor.”

107. Claude Meyer, interview with Jean-Claude Milner, Actualité Juive Hebdo, no. 823, 11 December 2003 (French).


109. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Joël Kotek, “Anti-Zionism in Belgium: The Country’s Civil Religion that Reflects the New Anti-Semitism,” Post- Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 29, 1 February 2005.

110. Norwegian Israel Center against Anti-Semitism, letter to Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, “Double Moral and Unreasonable Criticism of Israel,” 17 February 2005.

111. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Yehezkel Dror, “The EU and Israel: Radically Different Worldviews,” in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? 25.

112. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Shmuel Trigano, “The European Union: Continuously Creating Problems for Israel and the Jews,” in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? 82-83.

113. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Andrei S. Markovits, “European Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism: Similarities and Differences,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 16, 1 January 2004.

114. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “The EU Constitutional Crisis, the Middle East, and Israel,” Jerusalem Issue Brief, Vol. 4, No. 25, 26 June 2005, brief/brief004-25.htm.

115. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Mark Sofer, “Israel and the New Accession States of the European Union,” in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? 209-216.

116. Efraim Zuroff, “Eastern Europe: Anti-Semitism in the Wake of Holocaust- Related Issues,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 17, Nos. 1 & 2 (Spring 2005), 63-79.

117. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Je.rey Gedmin, “Experiencing European Anti-Americanism and Anti-Israelism,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 27, 1 December 2004.

118. Claude Meyer, interview with Jean-Claude Milner, Actualité Juive Hebdo, No. 823, 11 December 2003 (French).

119. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Dan Segre, “Can Israel Ever Trust Europe?” in Israel’s New Future: Interviews (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1994), 60.

120. Ibid.

121. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Johannes Gerster, “Confronting European- Israeli Misunderstandings,” in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? 67-79.

122. Norwegian Israel Center against Anti-Semitism, letter to Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, “Double Moral and Unreasonable Criticism of Israel,” 17 February 2005.

123. Yehezkel Dror, “Foundations for an Israeli Grand Strategy toward the European Union,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 16, Nos. 3 & 4 (Fall 2004), 22-23.

124. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Zvi Shtauber, in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? 191-192.

125. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Hildegard Müller, in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? 44.

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DR. MANFRED GERSTENFELD is chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is an international business strategist who has been a consultant to governments, international agencies, and boards of some of the world’s largest corporations. Among his ten books are Europe’s Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today’s Anti-Semitism (JCPA, Yad Vashem, WJC, 2003); The New Clothing of European Anti-Semitism, co-edited with Shmuel Trigano (Editions Café Noir, 2004, French); and, most recently, Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? (JCPA and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 2005).