Sunday, 30 March 2008

UN Human Rights Council elects Jean Ziegler, supporter of Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy

Switzerland ... here we go again:
Swiss blasted for anti-Israel UN vote
Swiss coincidence

From JTA:

"A Swiss writer who praised a Holocaust denier won an advisory position to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Jean Ziegler won 40 of 47 votes Wednesday to become one of 18 "expert" counselors.

His election to the Geneva-based council, dominated by anti-Western authoritarian states, was virtually guaranteed and U.N. Watch, a United Nations monitor, had campaigned to convince Switzerland to withdraw his nomination.

That culminated in a letter this week signed by 24 human rights activists and groups opposing Ziegler. Swiss officials dismissed the effort as politicking.

Ziegler, a leftist theorist, has praised and supported dictators including Cuba's Fidel Castro, Ethiopia's Haile Mengistu, Libya's Moammar Ghadafy, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and North Korea's Kim Il-Sung.

In 1996, Ziegler praised French Holocaust denier Roger Gaurady as "one of the leading thinkers of our time."In interviews, Ziegler says his critics are puppets of his Western opponents and notes that he had helped expose how Swiss banks hoarded funds deposited by Jews during the Holocaust.

Also elected as an "expert" adviser to the council was Richard Falk, a Princeton emeritus professor who has likened Israel's dealings with the Palestinians to the Holocaust."

Read also:
To Sounds of Cheers, UN Human Rights Council Elects Khaddafi Prize Founder to Expert Post
Norwegian Parliament Protests Jean Ziegler UN Nomination

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Israel on trial in Brussels: Iranian and Syrian Ambassadors give standing ovation to judges

A prelude to Durban II?

A Durban-style mock trial of the State of Israel was held in February in Brussels, the capital of Europe. The Court declared "the Israeli authorities in charge of the 2006 war against Lebanon guilty of the following international crimes: war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide." No less!

John Catalinotto, Miguel Urbano Rodrigues and Ángeles Maestro (who coined a new word "falsimedia" for the occasion) complained that the European "corporate" media did not report the trial implying that they take their marching orders from their imperialist paymasters (Ramsey Clark's IA Center website), whereas Al Jazeera TV broadcast the proceedings in full to Arab countries.

What they failed to say is that the progressive anti-imperialist European media and blogs have not reported the trial either. An article by Lebanese journalist Scarlett Haddad may hold the clue as to why the "progressives" thought it wiser not to trumpet their unparalled triumph.

It transpires that the Syrian and Iranian Ambassadors to Belgium were at the trial and that they gave a ten-minute standing ovation to the judges after the reading of the verdict. Such shocking news would probably not have gone down well with European public opinion.

"The Ambassadors of Lebanon, Syria and Iran, as well as the Vice President of the European Parliament, Luisa Morgantini, were among the 300 odd attendees who gave the judges a ten-minute standing ovation after the reading of the verdict", excerpt from an article "The "tribunal of conscience" harshly condemns Israel from Brussels" by Scarlett Haddad for L’Orient-Le Jour. Posted on Islam in Belgium, tag: the Empire of Evil.

Let's see what two individuals Pierre Galand and Jean Bricmont who are well known for their obsessive anti-Israeli militancy did or rather did not do:

Pierre Galand is the head of the Belgian-Palestinian Association, which specialises in the most outrageous vilification of Israel. There is no mention whatsoever of the event on the association’s website.

One would be hard put to find a fiercer (and more ludicrous) critic of Israel than Jean Bricmont, a Professor at the Catholic University of Louvain. Unsurprisingly, not only was he a member of the Peoples' Court Executive Committee but he also "gave political statements on the issues before the court". Bricmont too has kept silent about the whole pantomime. For someone who relishes the anti-Israeli limelight it is strange indeed.

On the Kangooroo Court:
Lebanon war mock tribunal condemns Israel and U.S.
Israel on trial in Brussels - a prelude to Durban II?

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Say No to Human Rights: the U.N. Versus Human Rights

"The United Nations Versus Human Rights" - petition on LICRA's (Ligue Internationale contre le Racisme et l'Antisémitisme) website. To sign the petition go here.

"The United Nations Versus Human Rights

Will 2008 be the year when the United Nations celebrates the 60th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights and simultaneously destroys its own principles? There is, indeed, cause for great concern because the institution has lost its way in recent years, becoming a caricature of itself.

In 2001, the U.N. sponsored the World Conference on Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, the city where Gandhi began his law career. The phrases "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" were chanted in the name of people’s rights. In the name of cultural relativism, all remained silent in the face of discrimination and violence against women.

Alarmed by the serious problems this highlighted within its Commission on Human Rights, in June 2006, the United Nations launched a new Human Rights Council, intended to correct these profoundly disturbing trends. Today, the picture is particularly grim. As the Durban II conference-- scheduled for 2009--takes shape, it is sanctioning those same trends. What is worse, if new official standards are developed and carved into the stone of a new and very unusual Declaration of Human Rights, that will mark the death of universal rights.

Through its internal processes, the coalitions and alliances that are forming, the speeches being delivered, the texts being negotiated and the terminology being used are destroying freedom of expression, legitimizing the oppression of women and systematically stigmatizing Western democracies. The HRC has become a machine of ideological warfare conducted against its own founding principles. Unknown to the major media, day after day, session after session, resolution after resolution, a political rhetoric is being forged in order to legitimize the acts to follow and the violence of tomorrow.

A "triple alliance"--composed of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, represented by Pakistan; the Non-Aligned Movement, in which Cuba, Venezuela and Iran play a central role; and China, with Russia’s cynical consent--is working to launch a supposedly "multicultural" revolution. Doudou Diène, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, has thus stated that criticizing the wearing of the burka constitutes a racist attack, that secularism is rooted in a slaveholding, colonialist culture and that the French law prohibiting students from wearing religious symbols at school constitutes anti-Muslim racism, renamed "Western Islamophobia."

Confusion of thought reaches new heights when any criticism of religion is denounced as racism. The U.N. is sanctioning a radical threat to freedom of thought. By likening any criticism of these abuses on the part of those speaking in the name of Islam to racism--supposedly a product of neo-colonialist thinking--the spokespeople for this new alliance are tightening the noose they have placed around the neck of their own people. They are undermining the foundations of a civility that Europe achieved, at great cost, following the wars of religion.

In September 2007, Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights, participated in a conference in Tehran dedicated to "human rights and cultural diversity." Wearing the veil, as required by law in the Islamic Republic, the High Commissioner was a passive witness to the utterance of the principles to come, which may be summarized as follows: "an offense against religious values is regarded as racist." Still worse, on the day following her visit, twenty-one Iranians, including several minors, were executed in public. President Ahmadinejad renewed his call, in her presence, for the destruction of Israel, a member state of the United Nations created by that same organization. Questioned about her silence, the High Commissioner justified her passivity as a sign of respect for Iranian law to which, as an attorney, she felt herself bound and out of a concern "not to offend her hosts." "A man’s home is his castle," said Dr. Goebbels. He used that opportunistic argument when speaking before the League of Nations in 1933 to reject all criticism from an impotent international institution, but one whose principles were, at least, respected, unlike those of the United Nations today.

Great political crimes have always needed words to legitimize themselves. Speech foreshadows the move to action. Examples abound, from Mein Kampf to the Mille Collines radio station, from Stalin to Pol Pot, confirming the need to exterminate the enemy of the people in the name of the race, the emancipation of the toiling masses and a supposedly divine order. Totalitarian ideologies have replaced religions. Their crimes and unmet promises of a "radiant future" have invited God back into politics. The greatest terrorist crime in history was committed in the name of God on September 11, 2001, just days after the Durban conference ended.

Confronted by that strategy, the democracies--concerned primarily about their balance of trade--demonstrate an extraordinary passivity. What does the fate of the Tibetan people matter, compared to exports to China? What is the price of freedom for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Dutch legislator, threatened with death after her friend, filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, was killed in 2002, accused of blasphemy for his film, "Submission"? The examples of Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie, Robert Redeker and Mohamed Sifaoui prove that Islamist fundamentalism imposes its law through terror. How many Algerians, how many women in North Africa, the Near East, Turkey and Pakistan have already paid with their lives for refusing to submit to religious obscurantism?

If by some misfortune, the U.N. were to enshrine such criteria, if blasphemy were to be considered racism, if the right to criticize religion were made illegal, if religious law were inscribed in international standards, that would constitute a regression of disastrous proportions and a radical perversion of our tradition of struggle against racism, which has taken place, and can continue to take place, only under absolute freedom of conscience. The December 2007 General Assembly has already begun to approve texts that condemn certain forms of expression considered as defamatory of Islam. The issue is clear and it is global: we are dealing with the defense of individual freedoms. Unless the democracies rally, following the example of Canada, which has just announced that it will not participate in Durban II, noting that the event could be "marked by statements of intolerance and anti-Semitism," and no longer abstain on or vote for resolutions contrary to the universal ideal of 1948, then religious obscurantism and its parade of political crimes will triumph--under the good auspices of the United Nations. And when words of hate turn into action, no one will be able to say, "We didn’t know.""

Elisabeth BADINTER, Adrien BARROT, Patrice BILLAUD, Pascal BRUCKNER, Jean-Claude
BUHRER, Chala CHAFIQ, Georges CHARPAK, Christian CHARRIERE-BOURNAZEL, Bernard DEBRE, Chahdortt DJAVANN, Jacques DUGOWSON, Frédéric ENCEL, Alain FINKIELKRAUT, Elisabeth de FONTENAY, Patrick GAUBERT, Claude GOASGUEN, Thierry JONQUET, Liliane KANDEL, Patrick KESSEL, Catherine KINTZLER, Claude LANZMANN, Michel LAVAL, Barbara LEFEVBRE, Corinne LEPAGE, Malka MARCOVICH, Albert MEMMI, Jean-Philippe MOINET, Jean-Claude PECKER, Philippe SCHMIDT, Alain SEKSIG, Mohamed SIFAOUI, Antoine SPIRE, Pierre-André TAGUIEFF, Jacques TARNERO, Michèle TRIBALAT, Michèle VIANES, Elie WIESEL, Michel ZAOUI, etc.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Most Germans reject notion of 'special responsibility' toward Israel

This leaves 48% of Germans believing that they have a significant obligation toward Israel, although 91% wish to remain neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ...

From The Jerusalem Post:

"A little more than 60 years after the Holocaust, a public opinion poll shows that a majority of Germans believe their country has no special responsibility toward Israel.

A recent opinion poll conducted by the German television station Sat1/N24 and the Emnid polling organization revealed that 52 percent of 1,000 respondents see no significant obligation toward the Jewish state.

Sat1 spokeswoman Kristina Fassler told The Jerusalem Post that the finding is "extremely alarming" and displays "an ignorance of history" in Germany. (...)

The result of the survey prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel, who just completed a three-day visit to Israel, to say before her visit: "This is exactly the reason why we must place Israeli-German relations on a sustainable footing, and in addition we must remember our history." (…)

Josef Joffe, a leading German commentator and co-publisher of the widely read German weekly Die Zeit, told the Post that "What the government does is more weighty than what the pollsters find out."

Joffe sees Germany's "friendship with Israel not as a popular project but as a government project," and stressed that under Merkel's tenure German foreign policy had shifted in a more defined and clearer commitment toward Israel.

The gap between Merkel's defense of Israel's right to counterattack in response to rocket fire from Hamas terrorists in Gaza and German mainstream opinion remains dramatic. Joffe cited a Der Spiegel opinion poll in his Die Zeit commentary showing that 91% of the German public wish to remain "neutral" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and only 3% back the Israeli side, while 1% embrace the Palestinian view."

Monday, 24 March 2008

Conversion: Magdi Allam, from Muslim to Catholic

From Holy Smoke, Damian Thompson's blog:

"How wonderful that Pope Benedict XVI should baptise one of Italy’s most prominent Muslims at the East Vigil service last night.

Magdi Allam, a maverick Muslim journalist loathed by his community for his support for the right of Israel to exist, is now a Christian convert. That gives Muslims yet another reason to hate him – even, perhaps to kill him.

Mr Allam is very brave to make his conversion so publicly, in St Peter’s Basilica. The Holy Father, too, has shown courage. Some of the Vatican’s inter-faith functionaries would much rather have done this quietly (if at all).

The Pope is sending out a potent message to Islam: you are not the only religion that seeks to convert all mankind. Only, these days, we do it peacefully."

What Angela Merkel couldn't say out loud

Manfred Gerstenfeld's column on Angela Merkel's visit to Israel in The Jerusalem Post (excerpts):

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel's successful visit to Israel came in conjunction with worrisome developments back in her own country. Few in Israel realize that a majority of Germans probably disagree with several key statements she made here about her country's past - including the mention of shame and guilt - in the Knesset.

In contemporary Germany there are significant expressions of anti-Semitism and racism. This includes attacks on Jews, their cemeteries and Holocaust monuments, together with ongoing anti-Semitic prejudice toward Jews among significant parts of the population. In eastern Germany particularly, there are no-go areas for non-white people in several cities, major racist incidents and sometimes even murders.

At the same time, there are efforts in Germany to rewrite the past. Books by historian Jörg Friedrich, who compares the Allied actions to his nation's atrocities during the war, are best-sellers. They promote "Holocaust equivalence" by using Nazi semantics to describe the Allied bombings of Germany during WWII. Another aspect of the same attitude is expressed by the many Germans who think that Israel is showing Nazi-like behavior toward the Palestinians. What they mean to say is, "If everybody is guilty, then nobody is." (…)

Given the character of her visit, and in view of today's German reality, Merkel sent, besides her explicitly stated messages to Israelis, a number of implicit ones to her own nation. I'd summarize them as follows:

You may think what you want about Israel and the Jews. Many media and others in Germany defame Israel. Yet I wish, publicly, to show on behalf of the German people our responsibility for the acts of our Nazi forebears, whom we elected. I want to do that in many ways, and my visit to Yad Vashem and my speech in the Knesset - which you may strongly dislike - best symbolize this.

Simultaneously, there was Merkel's implicit message to the world:

Since the war, Germany has been welcomed back into the family of nations and has again become a major political force. However, many abroad wonder how much of the criminal past is still latent within us, and when and to what extent it will reemerge. My frequent visits to Israel - and the nature of our relations with it - also show that I am well aware of that.

Merkel’s attitude probably also expresses a world view different from that of most other Western European leaders. It can, in part, be explained by her personal experience, having grown up and lived in communist East Germany. She knows what totalitarianism means, and not only from teachers of the history of Nazi Germany. Being trained as a physicist rather than in the humanities may also be helpful in confronting threats realistically.

Without saying it explicitly, Merkel seems to understand that various threats from the world of Islam, besides the Iranian one she mentioned, share the totalitarian characteristics of Nazism and communism. That is probably included when she says that threats to Israel are also threats to Germany."

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Bruno Guigue, a French civil servant sacked over anti-Israeli article

Old habits die hard:

Source: Press TV

"France has sacked a senior civil servant over publishing an anti-Israeli diatribe on a web site, the interior ministry announced.

Bruno Guigue wrote in an online column this month that Israel was the only regime that allows "snipers shoot down little girls outside their school gates," AFP reported.

Guigue, author of several books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, also wrote of the "Israeli jails where - thanks to religious law - they stop torturing on the Sabbath.

Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie dismissed Guigue, deputy prefect of the southwestern town of Saintes, after learning of the column on Wednesday. HE/PA "

Bruno Guige's column (in French) at
"When the pro-Israel lobby lashes out at the United Nations"
"Il arrive que justice soit faite: Guigue passe à la trappe qu'il avait préparée pour Israël"

Saturday, 22 March 2008

84% of Palestinians support yeshiva attack

From The Jerusalem Post:

"The vast majority of Palestinian Authority residents support the terror attack on Jerusalem's Mercaz Harav Yeshiva that killed eight students earlier on March 6, according to a new poll cited in the New York Times on Wednesday.

According to the survey, which was conducted among 1,270 Palestinians in the West Bank, 84 percent of those polled stood behind the shooting attack. In addition, 64% supported firing Kassam rockets at Negev towns. (...)

The survey also indicated that the majority of Palestinians would choose Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (47%) over PalestinianAuthority President Mahmoud Abbas (46%) if elections were called now, and that three-quarters of Palestinians favored terminating negotiations between the Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert."

Friday, 21 March 2008

Serge Gainsbourg's portrait by Ben Heine deleted from Wikipedia

Good and long overdue news.

Serge Gainsbourg's portrait by cartoonist Ben Heine has been deleted from his biography on Wikipedia. The reason given for the deletion was "poor quality" - and quite rightly so. Wikipedia admistrators went one step further and also deleted the awful portrait from Wikipedia Commons (March 8).

Not only was the portrait objectionable on artistic grounds (admittedly a subjective judgment) but it was equally objectionable with regard to the personality of the "artist". Ben Heine is the only Belgian who took part in the infamous international Teheran cartoon contest mocking the Holocaust. His blog is chock-full of articles and illustrations deriding Jews and Israelis who he equates with Zionists.

One of the cartoons Ben Heine presented at the infamous contest illustrates the Auschwitz concentration camp morphed into an orthodox Jew. His peyos are linked to railway tracks, a swastika and a Star of David. It is entitled "Welcome Home" (below). It is Heine's contention that there is nothing antisemitc about the drawing - and that he intended it to be educational... He also believes that the contest has been "outrageously depicted as "negationist" by all European and North American media".

Heine probably hopes to deflect accusations of antisemitism by portraying dead Jews (Serge Gainsbourg, Norman Mailer, Marcel Marceau) who are no longer around to voice their opposition. The irony with Serge Gainsbourg is that he was a staunch supporter of Israel ... and Heine is a self-declared anti-Zionist, to say the least.
"Welcome Home" by Ben Heine
Iran's "Holocaust" cartoonists whine, wheedle and above all, LIE (Joshua Pundit)
Cartoonist Ben Heine portrays Avigdor Lieberman as Zionist Hitler and Zionist Pig and Ahmadinejad as Iranian President (
Is it possible for antisemitism to be considered acceptable by antiracists? (
Attention Zionists at Work !!! (
Simply Jews)
Media Without Conscience (
Cartoonist Ben Heine draws a Zionist "Myriam" (Tlaxcala blog) (

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Swiss coincidence

Earlier this month we had this from Switzerland:
Swiss blasted for anti-Israel UN vote

And now - what a happy coincidence - we have this:
Iranian-Swiss gas deal irks Israel. Foreign Ministry summons Swiss ambassador to Israel for urgent meeting following signing of major agreement to provide gas between Switzerland and Iran

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Paris Mayor hails "miracle" of the creation of Israel

The Socialist Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, to visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres (from EJP):

""The creation of your state certifies that in spite of everything, right and freedom remain accessible to will. It is in order to pay tribute to this accomplished miracle that we gave the name of Theodor Herzl, who inspired the state of Israel, to a square in Paris,” he added.

The mayor of Paris declared that Israel, which celebrates this year the 60th anniversary of its creation, had written "a new page of the right of the people to self-determination."

He said that in the name of this right to self-determination, the Palestinian people "must be able to live in freedom and dignity, which supposes the quick creation of a sovereign and viable state."

Five days ahead of the second round of municipal elections in France, which should see his reelection, Delanoë celebrated "the distinguished role of the Jews of Paris." He greeted their "contribution to the intellectual and spiritual identity" of the French capital.""

Monday, 17 March 2008

Over 3000 journalists in Gaza: one Western journalist in Lhasa

The imbalance is mind bloggling.

According to Justin Kilcullen, over 3,000 journalists (mostly European), covered Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005. In 2008, one single Western journalist is in Lhasa covering the anti-Chinese uprising in Tibet. These figures tell us a lot about media priorities and NGOs’ political agendas. Above all, they als tell us about democracy, tolerance and freedom of speech in Israel.

Gaza August 2005
(From "Gaza strip: An open air prison?", by Justin Kilcullen, Director of Trócaire, the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and head of CONCORD, the powerful European confederation of 1,600 NGOs across 21 countries for relief and development.)

"Last December I turned up at a border crossing leading from Israel to the infamous Gaza strip as part of a delegation of Catholic development agencies. I was looking forward to the visit, to seeing first-hand the situation in which thousands of Palestinians were living. But four hours later I walked away, together with half the group, refused entry by Israeli security because our papers for entry did not have the required approvals. While the Palestinians living within this small piece of land could not get out, I could not get in. (…)

Over 3,000 journalists are expected to descend on the Gaza strip in the coming days to watch the dismantling of the 17 settlements that have been occupied by roughly 8,000 Israeli settlers since the war in 1967."

Tibet March 2008
Lhasa: one Western journalist, James Miles of The Times.
"Midnight ultimatum for Tibet showdown", by James Miles, "The only Western journalist in Lhasa reports from a city gripped by fear".

NGO Monitor has been looking at Trócaire's anti-Israeli activities:

"Ignoring the campaign of Palestinian suicide bombings and terror attacks, Trocaire claims its "work in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) began in 2002 in response to the unprecedented levels of military confrontation and restrictions on the movement of Palestinians imposed by the Israeli army." In his introduction to the organization’s 2005/6 Annual Report, Trocaire’s Director, Justin Kilcullen, writes that he was "shocked at seeing people stripped of their dignity at checkpoints, or separated from their farms . . . . I saw cities and towns that had simply died through economic strangulation as the Wall enclosed them." He also alleges that "it is because of these injustices that Trocaire is involved in the region." Kilcullen makes no mention of the Israelis killed and maimed by the "injustices" of Palestinian terror, nor that the violation of Israeli human rights motivated the organization to get "involved in the region".

On Trocaire’s Webpage for International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Trocaire relies on sources lacking credibility, including B’tselem, and John Dugard. The text refers to Gaza as "the world’s largest prison"; ignores continued Qassam rocket attacks on Israeli civilians; and advocates for Palestinian claim to a “right of return”. (...)

In 2007, Trocaire joined an NGO coalition spearheaded by Badil to implement the organization’s "Call to Action", a strategy which includes anti-Israel boycott and sanction campaigns; efforts to "[e]nlist journalists to organize a targeted campaign to expose the lies of AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League and to expose the Jewish and Zionist community's double standards regarding Nakba & Occupation"; and enlisting the help of anti-Israel "Jewish" NGOs to "rais[e] awareness of the . . . right of return among the Jewish public in Israel."
"Protests near Labrang Monastery. (Photo: TCHRD)

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Lebanon war mock tribunal condemns Israel and U.S.

Follow-up on:
Israel on trial in Brussels - a prelude to Durban II?
The latest in a long list of initiatives in Europe to demonise Israel

John Catalinotto reports on the condemnation of Israel by the "Peoples' Court".
From the Ramsey Clark's International Action Center website

"A four-member jury of distinguished legal officials, after hearing and considering two days of intense, moving and precise testimony at the International Associations Center in Brussels, Belgium, on Feb. 24 found the Israeli state guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in its 2006 war on Lebanon.

Some 250 people filling the center stood as one to applaud as Judge Adolfo Abascal from Cuba finished reading the decision. Those in the courtroom, many from Lebanon or from the Lebanese diaspora, already knew or had heard enough to make up their minds. But a formal decision based on a body of evidence can more effectively counter reactionary imperialist propaganda in the corporate media.
The organizers counted on the media coverage of the hearing - which was broadcast throughout the Arab world and in Latin America in whole or in part - to bring a convincing statement of Israeli guilt of serious war crimes to their audiences throughout the world. In the imperialist countries it will be up to progressive media and organizations in solidarity with the liberation struggles to spread the news of the tribunal.

There was representative support from organizations in Europe and the U.S., including present and former European Union parliamentary members Louisa Morgantini from Italy and Miguel Urbano Rodrigues from Portugal, and former MP Ángeles Maestro from Spain. Human rights, anti-war and anti-imperialist organizations sent representatives to watch, participate and report on the hearings.
Introducing the verdict, Justice Lilia Solana made sure to also inculpate the United States for its complicity in the war. The final decision was that the judges "declare the Israeli authorities in charge of the 2006 war against Lebanon guilty of the following international crimes:
1. war crimes
2. crimes against humanity
3. genocide."

Final verdict here

Whereas John Catalinotto indicated that the organizers "counted on the media coverage of the hearing - which was broadcast throughout the Arab world and in Latin America" (organized in Europe for the Arab world – this is intriguing!) Miguel Tavares Rodrigues (an 83-old Portuguese communist) offered a conspirationist and more colourful version of the trials and tribulations of the Peoples' court and their supporters (translated for this blog):

"Al Jazeera TV broadcast the proceedings in full to Arab countries. The so-called mainstream European, as well as Belgian, media ignored the event.
Their silence was the result of pressure from the US Embassy in Brussels, but mainly from the Israeli Embassy, which lobbied actively with a view to preventing the Tribunal from meeting in the Belgian capital city.
The event venue had to be changed because of intimidation and foreign delegations also had to change hotels due to Israeli pressure.
Distinguished members of the organizing committee received repeated phone threats.
It became clear that Mossad, the Israeli political police, operatives were very active before and during the event.
Lawyers and magistrates were unable to attend because they were not granted visas.
Sabotage attempts to prevent the Tribunal from successfully fulfilling its mission failed."

US State Department releases report on global anti-Semitism

Via Engage

"Below is a brief excerpt from the Report outlining contemporary anti-Semitism:

"Anti-Semitism has proven to be an adaptive phenomenon. New forms of anti-Semitism have evolved. They often incorporate elements of traditional anti-Semitism. However, the distinguishing feature of the new anti-Semitism is criticism of Zionism or Israeli policy that - whether intentionally or unintentionally - has the effect of promoting prejudice against all Jews by demonizing Israel and Israelis and attributing Israel’s perceived faults to its Jewish character.

This new anti-Semitism is common throughout the Middle East and in Muslim communities in Europe, but it is not confined to these populations. For example, various United Nations bodies are asked each year on multiple occasions to commission investigations of what often are sensationalized reports of alleged atrocities and other violations of human rights by Israel. Various bodies have been set up within the UN system with the sole purpose of reporting on what is assumed to be ongoing, abusive Israeli behavior. The motive for such actions may be to defuse an immediate crisis, to show others in the Middle East that there are credible means of addressing their concerns other than resorting to violence, or to pursue other legitimate ends. But the collective effect of unremitting criticism of Israel, coupled with a failure to pay attention to regimes that are demonstrably guilty of grave violations, has the effect of reinforcing the notion that the Jewish state is one of the sources, if not the greatest source, of abuse of the rights of others, and thus intentionally or not encourages anti-Semitism.

Comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is increasingly commonplace. Anti-Semitism couched as criticism of Zionism or Israel often escapes condemnation since it can be more subtle than traditional forms of anti-Semitism, and promoting anti-Semitic attitudes may not be the conscious intent of the purveyor. Israel’s policies and practices must be subject to responsible criticism and scrutiny to the same degree as those of any other country. At the same time, those criticizing Israel have a responsibility to consider the effect their actions may have in prompting hatred of Jews. At times hostility toward Israel has translated into physical violence directed at Jews in general. There was, for example, a sharp upsurge in anti-Semitic incidents worldwide during the conflict between Hizballah and Israel in the summer of 2006.(…)

Today, more than 60 years after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is not just a fact of history, it is a current event.""

Please read the entire report here and the European Union definition of anti-Semitism(European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC)) here.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Poll: More Americans are pro-Israeli (71%)

New Gallup survey reveals Israel is one of five countries Americans feel most favorably about; Palestinian Authority ranks near bottom along with Iran, North Korea, Yetnews

"Americans are decidedly more pro-Israeli these days, at least according to a new poll published on Thursday by the Gallup Organization. Gallup’s survey data revealed that 71% of Americans look favorably upon the State of Israel, a rise of some 8% from last year’s figures. (...)

Republicans, revealed the Gallup data, are emphatically more pro-Israeli in their views than their Democratic counterparts. A staggering 84% of Republicans indicated that they supported the State of Israel, as compared to only 64% of Democrats.

In respect to the Palestinian Authority, only a measly 16% of Democratic Party voters, and 15% of Republicans indicated that they looked favorably upon the PA.

Which countries are Americans most partial to? The Gallup poll, which asked respondents to rank their attitude regarding 22 countries worldwide, revealed that while Israel and France have made the greatest strides with the American public, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan are most popular with Americans, with an approval rating of nearly 80%.

Conversely, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, Iran and North Korea are least popular with the American public, with only 20% of Americans indicating that they support these countries. (...)

Israel’s Ambassador to Washington Salai Meridor, said in response to the Gallup data that "this is yet another indication of the strong bond shared by Israel and the American people. The friendship between our two countries is especially critical now at days as both our countries wage a prolonged and drawn out battle against terror.”
Via Simply Jews

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Israelis compared to Nazi SS on Belgian radio blog

These are some of the comments (translated for this blog) posted on the Belgian public radio (RTBF, French-speaking) website (comments are moderated!) following the interview of Ms. Tamar Samash, Israeli Ambassador to Belgium, on March 10.

It seems that defamation of Israelis and Jews by malicious association with the most powerful symbols of evil (Nazis, S.S., tumours, genocide perpetrators, child killers, land grabbers etc.) does not count as anti-Semitism any more - it has become, in some quarters, acceptable criticism. No other groups or countries are vilified in this way.

"At 17 your people are children (but at 18 they are soldiers !). The babies on the other side are terrorists. Shut up, Madam! You resort to doublepeak like your predecessors. Anne-Françoise"

"Each time I listen to Israeli representatives, I am disgusted. You have created an open air prison. All the resources of the region belong to you. You steal their land (colonies). You ask them not to attack Israel, but you carry on stealing their land for your benefit. If I were Palestinian, I would act like them. Stop being hypocrites, you do not want peace. You want their land! You are doing to the Palestinians what the SS did to the Jews! Vincent"

"During the second world war, my father protected Jewish children thus saving their lives. He did not act out of "love" for Jews, but for the good of humanity, out of love for human beings, out of love for children. He would turn in his grave if he witnessed the atrocities inflicted on the Palestinians, by other human beings, by the very people he helped to save. LeSauveur"

"When will Israel realise that it is no longer the Jews who are the victims of today’s Holocaust? This would surely help counter anti-Semitism (which they confuse - deliberately - with anti-Israel sentiment...). Philippe Sergeant"

"Israel was granted more than 55 percent of historic Palestine land by the League of Nations (United Nations) even though the land did not belong to it … but they have not had enough… Their bad faith is sordid and scandalous. LD"

"Madam, When you speak you should mention a story you seem to forget. The existence of the State Israel was the result of a "cowardly" United Nations decision in favour of a people who had indeed suffered, but to whom a state was offered within a Palestinian state [sic]. (…) There is no doubt that the Jews have suffered, but you are among the wealthiest people in the world, why then build borders on a territory you ought to share. The Panda"

"I listened to the new ambassador. She made me feel nauseous and made me want to vomit… No, Madam, Israel has never made a single mistake: it is us who do not belong to the "Chosen People", it is us who are "Cattle", who are guilty: we perpetrated a crime against Humanity when, in 1948, we allowed the triumph of Zionism, a "Tumour in the midst of Judaism". For the last 60 years, Palestinians have been paying every day with their blood for our boundless cowardice. Israel does not want peace. Patiently, it grabs the whole land through ethnic cleansing - a slow genocide. Are all your new historians who, very courageously revealed the historic truth, traitors? Madam, your founding myths have been blown apart: your position is … pathetic. Jacques Rossignol"

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Zionism, a "Tumour in the midst of Judaism", Belgian radio forum

The newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Belgium, Tamar Samash, was interviewed yesterday by the Belgian state radio (RTBF, French-speaking). The following comment was posted on the RTBF website forum - comments on the forum are moderated...

"I listened to the new ambassador. She made me feel nauseous and made me want to vomit…

No, Madam, Israel has never made a single mistake: it is us who do not belong to the "Chosen People", it is us who are "Cattle", who are guilty: we perpetrated a crime against Humanity when, in 1948, we allowed the triumph of Zionism, a "Tumour in the midst of Judaism". For the last 60 years, Palestinians have been paying every day with their blood for our boundless cowardice. Israel does not want peace. Patiently, it grabs the whole land through ethnic cleansing - a slow genocide.

Are all your new historians who, very courageously revealed the historic truth, traitors? Madam, your founding myths have been blown apart: your position is … pathetic.

Jacques Rossignol"

The RTBF is well known for its anti-Israeli stance. Recently Shoah survivors and Sderot residents were qualified as colonialists.

Who else has been saying that Israel is a tumour ? Perish the thought: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Khaled Meshal ! And what is to be done with a tumour? It has to be removed.

AFP: "Ahmadinejad, who sparked an international outcry in October when he said Israel "must be wiped off the map", also repeated his view Thursday that the Jewish state was a "tumour"."

The Times: "Iran’s hardline president provoked international outrage yesterday by saying that the "tumour" of Israel should be moved to Europe to foster peace in the Middle East."

BBC: "Arab countries are trying to forget the existence of a cancerous tumour in the heart of the World of Islam and are closing their eyes to this real enemy of Muslims... The Islamic Republic of Iran and any other country that enjoys sovereignty should do their best to launch an Islamic anti-Zionist movement against Israel." (Editorial in Iranian Jomhuri-ye-Eslami)

Dr. Majid Goudarzi: "I hope that one day humanity will reach the conclusion that the only solution for this cancerous tumor is surgery.", Iran TV Discussion on the Myth of the Gas Chambers and the Truth of Protocols of the Elders of Zion; "The Only Solution for This Cancerous Tumor [Israel] is Surgery""

Haaretz: "Exiled Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshal on Thursday called Israel a "cancer that must be pulled out by its roots"."

Monday, 10 March 2008

Swiss blasted for anti-Israel UN vote

Canada opposed the anti-Israel UN vote while Switzerland supported it
Haviv Retting in the TJP reports:

"Switzerland has "joined forces with countries that have little regard for human rights" in its vote in support of a UN Human Rights Council resolution on Thursday condemnding Israel over the escalating violence in Gaza, according to the American Jewish Committee.

In a letter to Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey on Sunday, the AJC blasted the move as "detrimental" to "efforts to rectify the situation in the Human Rights Council, and even more importantly, to promote peace in the Middle East."

"Most appallingly, the resolution fails to even mention the terror attack perpetrated last week by a Palestinian gunman against a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem, in which eight students were murdered, although this heinous crime was committed on the same day that the Human Rights Council adopted its resolution," reads the letter, signed by AJC's director David Harris and president Richard Sideman.

The resolution condemning the situation in Gaza was adopted by a vote of 33 to 1, with 16 abstentions. Canada was the only state to vote against the resolution, which made no mention of terrorism or Hamas. All Western states abstained on the vote except Switzerland.

According to the AJC, "by some accounts, the Swiss delegation actively lobbied the EU and other countries to support the Arab-sponsored draft in exchange for minor amendments."

"The idea that reasonable countries rooted in democratic values can't distinguish between the arsonist and the fireman, the terrorist and the peace-seeker, despotic Hamas and democratic Israel is dismaying," Harris told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Israel was having a difficult time explaining its position in Europe because "the Europeans are so far removed in recent years from immediate conflict situations or threats to their borders," Harris added. "In the Middle East, either you beat the bully or you get eaten by the bully. Maybe if Switzerland had Hamas on its borders, it would have a different perspective.""

Excerpt from AJC's letter to the Swiss Foreign Minister:
"In our various meetings with you over the past two years, we have shared with you our concerns regarding the situation in the Human Rights Council, which has totally betrayed the mandate given to it by the UN General Assembly in 2006. The Council, we have told you, has been derailed by countries that have little regard for human rights, and whose only agenda, it seems, is to single out and censure Israel. We deeply regret that last Thursday your Government saw fit to join forces with such countries, to the detriment of efforts to rectify the situation in the Human Rights Council, and even more importantly, to promote peace in the Middle East."

Saturday, 8 March 2008

The world has grown weary of the Islamist's creed

From Haaretz: "To the Westerner who 'understands' the terrorist", by Bradley Burston

"Last week, when Israeli forces drove into Gaza, and some 120 Palestinians were killed, many of them were gunmen, but with children making up another sixth of the total, one grieving father spoke with quiet eloquence, saying "Other places in the world, when this happens, there is a great outcry. When this happens here, the world is silent. No one cares."

He's right. The world has grown content to let Palestinians die. The reason is not simple callousness. And it is not, as Hamas proclaims to its followers in Gaza, that the Jews control the world media and world finance, and thus Western government as well.

The reason is terrorism.

The world has grown weary of the Islamist's creed, that only the armed struggle can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the only proper resolution is the end of Israel.

Even the Israeli left, which for decades championed the Palestinian with courage and determination, has, in large part, had it with the Palestinians. The reason is terrorism. The reason is murder. The reason is that the rulers of Gaza are people who see an intrinsic value in the killing of Jews for the sake of increasing the number of dead Jews in the world. The rulers of Gaza cannot bring themselves to accept the concept of sharing the Holy Land with the Jews.

The best that the rulers of Gaza can do, is to bring an end to hope among their own people and ours as well.

They believe that the Jewish state is temporary, and that they Jews will soon abandon it to Islamic rule.

After all this time, you'd think they'd know the Jews a little better."
Decent people in the West have indeed grown thoroughly weary of the Islamist's creed. The lack of sympathy is such that, in spite of the usual hype, very few attended pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Europe last week. About 200 gathered in Paris and less than ... 100 in Brussels (photo).

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Guarded at every single synagogue service or communal event

Melanie is spot on. The situation is the same in other countries in Europe. By way of illustration, this is what the Lisbon synagogue looks like from the street - there are less than 2000 Jews left in Portugal!

From Melanie Phillips' blog:

"Last night I attended the annual dinner of the Community Security Trust, the organisation that provides the astounding degree of security now needed to help protect Britain’s tiny Jewish population against attack. Sitting there listening to the appeal for money to finance this organisation, and watching the video of what it does and why it is needed, I was struck afresh by the shocking nature of this situation. The video showed Jewish schools in Britain being fitted with bomb-proof windows, Jewish children in Britain being taught how to fend off attack. Jews in Britain are now attacked more frequently than any other minority group.

Although racists have always attacked each and every minority group and that situation has not changed, the fact remains that minorities such as Hindus, Sikhs or Muslims don’t need to be guarded at their communal events; it is only Britain’s Jews for whom that is considered a necessity, and they are guarded at every single synagogue service or communal event. Indeed, the street outside the London hotel where last night’s dinner was held was knee-deep in police and CST volunteers.

I was sitting with some very decent people, non-Jews, of the kind who might have been called in a different age the backbone of England. Did they not think that all this was quite extraordinary? I asked them. Shameful, they said; absolutely shameful and appalling; and they shook their heads in sorrow that such a thing should be the case in Britain in 2008, that British Jews should be at such risk that the task of guarding them was quite beyond the regular police and had to be undertaken in large measure by a standing force of Jewish volunteers.

At this dinner the guest of honour was David Cameron. He made a simply outstanding speech ripping into the moral bankruptcy of the useful idiots and worse who are appeasing Islamism in Britain - a speech of a strength, clarity and passion that I had not heard before. It marked a notable step change in Tory policy on terror and Islamism. It was basically a speech which said in effect ‘They shall not pass’ and it threw down the gauntlet to the government which has effectively been prostrating itself before the Islamists instead."

From David Cameron's speech:
"During protests against the conflict in Lebanon, we witnessed the nauseating sight of well-scrubbed, middle class English people… marching through central London holding placards that read ‘We are all Hizbollah’. That is the extremist mindset in action. These are the same people who urge a boycott of Israeli goods and academics… while saying nothing about China, Iran or Zimbabwe. Unless we challenge such attitudes and expose them for the morally-bankrupt nonsense they are… they will spread through the body politic and become the received wisdom of millions…"

For Belgian Minister Israeli military operations in Gaza are "shocking"

Le Soir reports that, at a press conference held in Ramallah on Tuesday, Belgian Minister for Foreign Aid, Charles Michel, stated that operations conducted on Saturday in response to Hamas terrorist attacks by the Israeli army in Gaza were "shocking".

The Minister conceded that "Israel is entitled to security and that rocket attacks against cities are unacceptable", but added that "the Israeli response is excessive and disproportionate. It goes against international human rights law".

He stressed that "As a politician and a minister of the Belgian government, I represent our country and am the bearer of this message".

Mr. Michel's statements are at odds with those by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's (BBC):

"Ms Rice said the US was concerned about the toll of innocent life, but blamed Hamas for triggering the bloodshed." And: "The people who are firing rockets do not want peace, they sow instability, that is what Hamas is doing."

See : Zan Studio of Ramallah - anti-Israeli artists invited to Belgium

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

"Anti-Semitism is an elusive and protean phenomenon", Christopher Hitchens

From Christopher Hitchens' review of Memoirs of an Anti-Semite by Gregor von Rezzori in The Atlantic:

"Anti-Semitism is an elusive and protean phenomenon, but it certainly involves the paradox whereby great power is attributed to the powerless. In the mind of the anti-Jewish paranoid, some shabby bearded figure in a distant shtetl is a putative member of a secret world government: hence the enduring fascination of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. (...)

Of course when Jews do achieve actual power, like the famous Rothschilds, they often become the targets of even more envy than other plutocrats. Political anti-Semitism in its more modern form often de-emphasized the supposed murder of Christ in favor of polemics against monopolies and cartels, leading the great German Marxist August Bebel to describe its propaganda as "the socialism of fools." Peter Pulzer’s essential history of anti-Semitism in pre-1914 Germany and Austria, which shows the element of populist opportunism in the deployment of the Jew-baiting repertoire, is, among other things, a great illustration of that ironic observation. And then there is the notion of the Jews’ lack of rooted allegiance: their indifference to the wholesome loyalties of the rural, the hierarchical, and the traditional, and their concomitant attraction to modernity. Writing from the prewar Balkans in her Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, Rebecca West noticed this suspicion at work in old Serbia and wrote:

"Now I understand another cause for anti-Semitism; many primitive peoples must receive their first intimation of the toxic quality of thought from Jews. They know only the fortifying idea of religion; they see in Jews the effect of the tormenting and disintegrating ideas of skepticism."

The best recent illustration of that point that I know comes from Jacobo Timerman, the Argentine Jewish newspaper editor who was kidnapped and tortured by the death-squad regime in his country in the late 1970s. In his luminous memoir, Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number, he analyzes the work of the neo-Nazi element that formed such an important part of the military/clerical dictatorship, and quotes one of the "diagnoses" that animated their ferocity:

"Argentina has three main enemies: Karl Marx, because he tried to destroy the Christian concept of society; Sigmund Freud, because he tried to destroy the Christian concept of the family; and Albert Einstein, because he tried to destroy the Christian concept of time and space."

The three cosmopolitan surnames involved in this anti-Trinity, it was made perfectly clear to Timerman between thrusts of the electric cattle prod, were considered to be no coincidence."
Caricature from the antisemitic Viennese magazine Kikeriki (1912)

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Durban II: Just Say "Non", Judeosphere

Judeosphere makes this appeal - you can sign the petition by sending an email to Ligue Internationale contre le Racisme et l'Antisémitisme (LICRA)

"On Feb. 27, a petition was sent to the French newspaper Le Monde, signed by such prominent figures as Alan Finkielkraut, Claude Lanzmann and Elie Wiesel.

The letter denounces the rise of anti-semitism in public forums and urges Western democracies to follow the example of Canada and refuse to participate in the second UN-sponsored conference against racism known as Durban II.

You can read the full text of the letter and the growing number of signatories here. Some excerpts:

"At Durban, in South Africa, the global conference against racism was held under the auspices of the United Nations, in the very city where Gandhi began his career as a lawyer. It is in the name of human rights that "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" was chanted; and it is in the name of cultural relativism that there was silence on the discrimination and violence committed against women.

The great political crimes have always needed words to lend themselves legitimacy. Words presage action. From Mein Kampf ... to Stalin to Pol Pot, examples abound that justify the necessary extermination of the people’s enemy in the name of a race, in the name of the workers’ emancipation or in the name of some divine spiritual order. Totalitarian ideologues have replaced religions. … On September 11, 2001, several days after the Durban conference, it was in God’s name that the worst terrorist crime in history was committed.

Either democracies get their act together, following Canada's example, who just announced its refusal to participate in Durban II, recognizing that it risked being "marked by expressions of intolerance and anti-Semitism," and cease to abstain from or vote for resolutions contrary to the universal ideal of 1948, or religious obscurantism and its trail of political crimes will triumph under the good auspices of the United Nations. And when the hateful words are transformed into acts, nobody will be able to say: "We didn’t know.""

Let’s be reminded of the role played by some European NGOs at Durban, namely the Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP), a Brussels based association of NGOs cooperating with the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, headed by a Belgian Pierre Galand, who is still busy demonising Israel. Pierre Galand is the Chairman of the Belgo-Palestinian Association and, amazingly, in 2006 was appointed Chairman of the Belgian francophone secular movement (Centre d’action laïque) , a member of the International Humanist Ethical Union (IHEU)!!!
NGO Monitor Special Report: "Pierre Galand (Belgium) Using Political NGOs to Promote Demonization & Anti-Semitism in the UN & EU"
Philosemitism: "Israel on trial in Brussels - a prelude to Durban II?, The latest in a long list of initiatives in Europe to demonise Israel"

Monday, 3 March 2008

There is evidence proving the AL-Dura event was staged for the cameras, Danny Seaman

Statement on the al-Durah affair by Danny Seaman, Director of the Israeli Government Press Office, to Guysen International News, from Augean Stables:

"In the very least France 2 is guilty of poor journalism. Charles Enderlin failed to meet the professional journalist’s minimum standard of verification, before accusing Israel of killing the boy a-Dura. There is enough independent evidence proving the A-Dura event was staged for the cameras.

The State of Israel has tremendous respect for the media. Many media organizations from the Arab world, not to mention Iran, work freely in Israel. Allowing them to work freely in Israel does not imply that we in anyway agree with there positions. Like every democracy, Israel provides absolute freedom to the press and does not remove press credentials from journalists very easily. This is especially true for journalists working for a respected organization like France 2. Enderlin is fully aware of this and hides behind it in an attempt to distract attention away from his obvious professional failure.

The fact that Charles Enderlin still has press credentials from the State of Israel attests to the strength, character and tolerance of Israel’s democracy, not the quality or integrity of Charles Enderlin’s report on that day. The question is not why he still has press credentials from the State of Israel but rather, why is he still employed by France 2?"

On the al-Dura affair:

Spotlight On L'affaire al-Dura, by Tom Gross, from Backspin.

The Daniel Pearl Standard, by Judea Pearl, from WSJ:

"At the time, it was not clear whether she [the Pakistani Consul] was trying to exonerate Pakistan from responsibility for Danny's murder, or to pass on the responsibility to European and Arab media for their persistent de-humanization of Jews, Americans and Israelis. The answer was unveiled in 2004, when a friend told me that photos of Muhammad Al Dura were used as background in the video tape of Danny's murder.

Al Dura, readers may recall, is the 12-year-old Palestinian boy who allegedly died from Israeli bullets in Gaza in September of 2001. As we now know, the whole scene is very likely to have been a fraud, choreographed by stringers and cameramen of France 2, the official news channel of France. France 2 aired the tape repeatedly and distributed it all over the world to anyone who needed an excuse to ratchet up anger or violence, among them Danny's killers.

The Pakistani Consul was right. The media cannot be totally exonerated from responsibility for Daniel's murder, as well as for the "tsunami of hate" that has swept the world and continues to rise."

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Why keep apologising to the Jews?, Alex Agnew

There is a belief that, with Hitler’s death and the end of Nazism, the ancestral hatred of which Jews were the object in Europe became a thing of the past. But reality reminds regularly and brutally that this is not the case, though it must also be said that most Europeans (like the Prince de Ligne who warned in 1801 that "this 1800-year-old anger has lasted long enough") do not subscribe to such obnoxious views.

It has been reported that a popular Flemish magazine, P-magazine, carried an interview of comedian Alex Agnew who made statements that reflect the familiar and, by now, 2008-year-old "anger":

"And why should we keep apologising to the Jews who let themselves be killed in concentration camps, instead of fighting with a weapon in their hands as my grand-father did (he was an English soldier)?".

Surely, Alex Agnew must joking. Apologies? Who has so far apologised for the slaughter of six million European Jews - of which one and half million were children? How many survivors have received a letter expressing regret for the murder, gassing, torture, deportation, spoliation of their relatives?

Did Gypsies and other victims of the Nazis and their accomplices also let themselves be killed rather than fight with a weapon in their hands? Who has apologised to the Gypsies? Who talks about their martyrdom? What were they guilty of other than being born?

"I live among Hassidic Jews in Berchem. And sometimes I think: "If they have always behaved themselves in the way they behave themselves towards us nowadays, I am not surprised at the fate meted out to them several times in the past."

If one accepts Alex Agnew’s warped reasoning, then the victims of wars, massacres, religious or racial persecution, colonialism are the guilty parties whereas their tormenters and executioners deserve our understanding.

In 2001, P-magazine published a disturbing poem by Rudolphus De Groote entitled "The free-thinker ":

"I do not like the shape of the country of Israel.
To me, its shape is far too thin and far too long.
It makes me think of a tapeworm.
I do not like Israel’s policies.
To me, they are far too bloody
and have no respect for the native population.
It makes me think of a tapeworm.
I do not like the Jewish religion of the country of Israel.
To me, this religion is too arrogant and parasitic,
it relentlessly exploits feelings of collective guilt that
have lasted for over half a century.
It makes me think of a tapeworm.
I am not anti-Semitic.
Israel deserves such a qualification. (…)
Since its creation in 1948, Israel has
Transformed anti-Semitism into a popular culture
and state terrorism into a trademark. (…)
Israel has exploited to the full
[literally: milked the cow to the very last drop]
the anti-Jewish sentiment it ascribes to others, and
has turned it into a shield to cover the carnage it perpetrates. (…)
Slowly but surely, Europe is liberating itself
from the penitence which has been inflicted on it
since World War II.
It is indeed odd that it has taken so long
for the world to realize that one genocide
does not justify another.
An umpteenth monument, museum or memorial, erected
under the pressure of the Holocaust industrialists
will have no effect whatsoever.
Moreover, it is indecent to dance on the corpses of one’s ancestors. (…)"