"Liberal" Anti-"Zionism" - 'Palestine is our land, The Jews are our dogs'
This report of the Stephen Roth institute shows that 2006 was marked by a rise in so-called "anti-Zionist" activity, resulting in about 600 violent incidents and several major attacks. The Lebanon war provided the excuse for this "anti-Zionist" activity, which was greatest apparently in the UK and France.
The content of this "anti-Zionist" activity and the targets of attacks shed light on the question of whether or not "criticism of Israel" might be anti-Semitism, and whether such criticism is a good cause to be endorsed by liberals everywhere.
In the USA:
The liberal and progressive slogan “Palestine is our land and the Jews are our dogs!” was first chanted in 1920 by crowds organized by the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini, a follower of Adolf Hitler. They were attacking Jews in order to protest the occupation of their land.
It seems that these liberal gentlemen were anticipating the Lebanon war, and expressing their liberal criticism of the Jews ahead of the event?
In Germany of course, the protests against "Zionism" began in 1933. Hitler was a far -sighted man.
In the UK:
Obviously, the cause of anti-Zionism should attract all those progressives who are for justice in the Middle East, right?
Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities
(in cooperation with the World Jewish Congress)
Antisemitism Worldwide 2006
A sharp escalation in physical, verbal and visual manifestations of antisemitism was recorded in 2006, marking a peak since 2000. All in all, about 590 cases of violence and vandalism were registered worldwide (compared to 406 in 2005), including major attacks perpetrated with a weapon and intent to kill (19 compared to 15 in 2005) and serious incidents of violence and vandalism aimed at Jewish persons, property and institutions (574 compared to 391 in 2005). It should be noted that the decrease in antisemitic violence between 2004 and 2005 (501 in 2004, the highest number since 2000, versus 406 in 2005) gave rise to cautious hope that a variety of measures taken by national and international bodies against antisemitism had begun to bear fruit. Although the 2006 statistics belied this optimism, the efforts of these organizations continued throughout the year, motivated by their desire to diminish this phenomenon.
Perhaps the most alarming finding that emerges from the 2006 data is the number of physical attacks on Jews – 270 (double the amount compared to 2005 − 132). Such assaults, which took place mostly in schools, at the work place and in streets near Jewish institutions, were usually randomly perpetrated when an opportunity presented itself. While desecration of cemeteries and memorials remained roughly on the same level as in 2005, 50 percent more schools and community centers were attacked, and 94 synagogues were damaged, compared to 56 in 2005.
Assaults on Jewish individuals, including youth and children, constitute an increasing threat. Although once the victims file a complaint they are asked by the police or other authorities to provide details of the perpetrators’ identity, this is often hard to establish because of the nature of the attacks, and because extreme rightists as well as Muslims sometimes use identical anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist slogans. However, evidence at the scene of the crime clearly indicates that the proportion of Muslims among the attackers is far higher than their share in the population at large. (Recent estimates point to close to 20 million Muslim immigrants, both legal and illegal, in Central and Western Europe.) While the victims often feel vulnerable and unprotected by state institutions, the perpetrators tend to escape unpunished. Australia, Canada, the UK and France witnessed the greatest rise in antisemitic violence. Of the 442 cases of all types recorded in Australia (including harassment, intimidation, threats and incitement to kill − 47 percent above the annual average), 50 were violent attacks targeting persons and community facilities. Canada recorded a 13 percent increase in all categories, and the number of violent cases rose from 44 to 74. In the past Canada enjoyed a low level of antisemitism; however, anti- Jewish feeling has increased steadily in recent years, especially in the French- speaking parts. The year 2006 in the UK marked a nadir in antisemitic manifestations since monitoring began in 1984: an overall increase of 60 percent was registered in the second half of the year, and 37 percent in violent cases, all of which – over 100 – were directed against individuals. France recorded a 24 percent rise in manifestations of all kinds, and a 45 percent increase in violent incidents. Norway became a focus of concern in 2006 due to several planned and actual attacks on persons and synagogues and to the virulence of anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish expressions, which prompted Jewish community leaders to recommend that members avoid wearing Jewish symbols outside the home. In Belgium the figure for acts of violence doubled, while it remained high in Germany. Antisemitic acts occurred on an almost daily basis in Germany, mostly harassment, and the incidence of desecration of cemeteries and particularly of Holocaust monuments there was the highest in Europe. In total, 324 violent cases were recorded in Western Europe. In addition, a host of anti-Israel demonstrations accompanied by antisemitic slogans took place notably in Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
In 2006, South Africa registered the highest number of antisemitic incidents since the commencement of detailed record keeping two decades ago. Antisemitic activities peaked during the period of the Lebanon war and its aftermath. Seventy- nine antisemitic incidents were recorded in 2006, compared to 20 in 2005 and 37 a year before. The number of major incidents of violence and vandalism rose from three in 2005 to 15 in 2006. The Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) reported that the prevalence of strong anti-Israel sentiment within the mainstream South African media and NGO culture, particularly during the war, clearly contributed to a more hostile atmosphere toward Jews and Jewish institutions. The CIS countries saw an increase from 62 to 76 violent incidents, especially in Ukraine (from 21 to 34). The ten East European countries that recently joined the European Union were required to demonstrate a low level of antisemitism and breaches of other minority rights as a precondition for acceptance − which is ironic, considering that this stipulation was set by West European countries where antisemitism flourishes. However, antisemitism appears to be on the rise in these countries, especially in Hungary, Romania and Poland.
Although most violent acts worldwide were spontaneous, a deliberate murder of a Jew took place in 2006 in the US (in Spain, the victim survived an attempt to kill him), while plans, both terrorist ones against Jewish institutions and those against individuals, were foiled in Norway, Russia, Ukraine and Corsica. It should be noted that premeditated acts have become more difficult to carry out because of stricter police monitoring of extremist groups, border regulations and surveillance in general. Thus, individual spur-of-the moment acts have become more common.
The impact of Middle Eastern events on antisemitism is never clear cut. Although, as in Australia, for instance, the Second Lebanon War was linked directly to the rise in antisemitic violence and rhetoric, this was not the sole or main trigger everywhere: France, Canada and the UK all witnessed a high level of antisemitic manifestations in the first part of 2006, with half the number of cases recorded then; Holland and Belgium also registered some serious incidents during this period, a fact attesting to internal social and political problems no less than the influence of Middle Eastern events. Although the US saw an overall decrease of 12 percent in antisemitic manifestations, some serious assaults and incidents of vandalism were recorded in 2006. Antisemitic acts and expressions in the US demonstrate, in some measure, a desire on the part of the radical, and sometimes liberal, left, as well as the extreme right, to use Middle Eastern events as a weapon against the President Bush administration As noted in previous reports, while data on violent cases highlight the picture of antisemitism, analysis of the causes and nature of the incidents, as well as the uncountable numbers of verbal and visual manifestations, complete it. In this regard, two major events marking 2006 account for many antisemitic expressions and for the image of the Jew and the Israeli they enhanced: the efforts invested by Iran to delegitimize Israel by denying the Holocaust, and the Second Lebanon War. In late 2005 the present Iranian leadership decided to launch a well-planned campaign aimed at denying the Holocaust, with a specific political intention: Once they succeeded in having public opinion makers in Arab countries, and perhaps in the West, question whether the Holocaust indeed took place or at least was not grossly exaggerated, then, what they deem as a major argument for the establishment of the State of Israel would be undermined, and the Iranian president would be depicted as the defender of the Arab and Muslim world against the so-called Zionist threat. Even if the Holocaust took place, argued Ahmadinejad, the Europeans, perpetrators of the Holocaust, should pay for it and not the Palestinians. It is here that Ahmadinejad’s claims not only converge with those of the radical anti-Zionist left but reflect a widening consensus among the European mainstream, which considers Palestinians indirect victims of the Holocaust who have to suffer for the crimes of the Europeans.
Holocaust denial of the Iranian leadership is political in nature, in contrast to the classical, more theoretical denial that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s. Moreover, Iran’s destructive intentions have been reinforced and sustained by Western Holocaust deniers, some of whom fled to Tehran in order to avoid trials or verdicts in their respective countries and shared their experience with President Ahmadinejad. The Holocaust caricature contest, themes reiterated in public speeches, and in mid-December 2006, the conference of so-called experts convened on the Holocaust, all attest to this cooperation. Iranian-style attitudes toward the Holocaust radiate in two directions: first, they are echoed in the recent academic/intellectual anti-American, anti-globalization and post-colonial leftist trend which considers the establishment of the State of Israel a mistake. Such circles, particularly in the West, have their own bone of contention, which is not the Holocaust but rather Israeli policies. Still, the conclusions of both are identical: denying the Jewish people the elementary right of statehood in the land of Israel.
Venezuela, too, is under the sway of Iran. President Hugo Chavez signed an alliance with his “brother, Ahmadinejad,” who convinced him that Israel was acting in Lebanon as the Nazis did in Europe. Chavez actively encourages and supports the extreme anti-Israel and anti-Jewish stance of the country’s higher echelons, expressed in the official media, including relativization of the Holocaust, and blaming the local community for championing both Israel and Chavez’s opponents. Thus, state-supported antisemitism, which was prevalent until the 1970s in the Soviet Union, and in the Arab and Third World, has been re-introduced openly by Iran and Venezuela, and in an indirect manner, in Russia and Poland. In the Western world, especially, it has been replaced by non-governmental antisemitism, which comes from below. The notion that in the Arab world the level of antisemitic expressions is dictated by the Sunni-Shi`i conflict according to the whim of rulers is complicated by the flood of gory cartoons and virulently anti-Jewish TV series that originate in both moderate and radical Arab states. Since these are a weapon used in the conflict with Israel, the involvement, or at least financing, of the various regimes is sometimes clearly evident.
In addition, Iranian Holocaust denial re-enhances an image of Jews and Israelis, whose allegedly sick minds and thirst for money, power and security made them invent this horror story. This stereotype was confirmed by the events of the Second Lebanon War. The short period of sympathy which Israel enjoyed at the beginning of the war in July 2006 was swiftly reversed after the Qana incident, in which civilians, including children, were killed. The typecast of the Israeli as a killer of children, which Arab propaganda and TV series have fostered in recent years, blended with that of the Jew which has featured in history since the Middle Ages, reaching new heights during and after the war. Indeed, the image of the Jew created over the centuries has not basically changed: however, in each period or context a supposed characteristic is highlighted. During the Lebanon war the political anti- Zionist agenda emphasized the cruel child killer, allegedly the essence of Jews and Israelis, as well as Nazi-like behavior – an analogy that has become virtually an axiom no longer needing any further proof. Cruelty as a Jewish feature is reflected mainly in caricatures (see below). In today’s communication channels, the Internet is the medium that best transmits a visual message. Indeed, a host of cartoons published in newspapers and distributed on the net conveyed an image of such vicious, cruel, bloodthirsty, Nazi-like, stereotypical Jewish Israelis, that – and this is the subtext − they have no right to exist. This view was best exemplified in 2006, by the well-known Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder. He attributed current Israeli policies to ancient Jewish scripts, which he claimed, advocated cruelty and revenge against the enemies of the Chosen People, thus implying that such an evil entity would never change (see below for further details). Many similar expressions which appeared in mainstream media channels hence validate British scholar David Hirsch’s phrase about the period of the war in 2006: “the summer in which anti-Semitism entered the mainstream.”
THE IMPACT OF THE SECOND LEBANON WAR ON THE LEVEL OF ANTISEMITISM
The year 2006 witnessed an escalation in both physical and verbal violence against Jews compared to the previous year, which saw a relative decline in these phenomena. The rise in both physical violence and vandalism as well as antisemitic propaganda observed in various parts of the world, and especially in Western Europe, Australia and Canada, was coupled with the accumulative effect of continuing propaganda against the legitimacy of the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, reinforced by the events of the Second Lebanon War in the period July-August 2006.
Violence and Vandalism While the war in Lebanon was probably the main trigger for the intensification of antisemitic manifestations in most countries of Western Europe, in France a considerable rise which began in late 2005, escalated further in February and March 2006 due to an internal event: the murder of Ilan Halimi, a young French Jew. On 21 January, Halimi, was found naked, hand-cuffed and critically wounded alongside a railway track in the suburb of Saint Genevieve des Bois, 30 kilometers south of Paris, three weeks after he had been kidnapped by a gang in Paris who thought he was “one of these rich Jews.” He died on the way to hospital. To commemorate his memory, 200,000 people demonstrated on 26 February in Paris against racism and antisemitism. However, the murder seemingly inspired hatemongers, generating a clear increase in violent antisemitic manifestations.
The Second Lebanon War incited a second wave of antisemitic manifestations in France. According to the SPCJ (Service de Protection de la Communuté Juive), there was a 24 percent increase in antisemitic manifestations in 2006 compared to 2005 and a 45 percent rise in violent incidents. Our statistics on major acts of violence and vandalism indicate a rise from 72 to 99 incidents, particularly in assault of identifiably Jewish persons, and especially children, in France. In March, for example, Jews were accosted and severely beaten almost daily in public places such as railway stations or in the workplace. The attackers were often gangs who also shouted antisemitic insults. On 3 March, two Jews in Paris were severely beaten in separate incidents, one of them by a gang of five perpetrators. On 26 February, a non- Jewish social worker at a hospital in Schiltigheim, Strasbourg, was beaten by two men who also painted “Muhammad” on her stomach and “dirty Jew” on her office wall. In another serious incident on 13 March, a handicapped Jewish man was attacked in an underground parking lot in Antony and his nose broken. His assailant drew a swastika on his car.
The impact of the Lebanon war on the level of antisemitic manifestations, including violent attacks, was also evident in the UK. Of the 594 incidents recorded by the CST (Community Security Trust) in 2006, 59 percent occurred during the second half of the year. The total for 2006 was the highest ever recorded by the CST (since 1984). The organization registered 112 violent assaults, all against people − also a record − 37 percent more than in 2005. Vandalism of Jewish property rose by 46 percent. According to our database, there were 138 acts of violence and vandalism compared to 90 the previous year, a 50 percent increase. As in France physical attacks on Jewish individuals were the most common form of violence. Our data point to 90 such incidents out of the total figure for violence and vandalism. Violent acts were perpetrated in the streets, near Jewish institutions and in the workplace. In August, for example, two men called a waitress a “dirty Jew” as they passed a kosher restaurant in Golders Green, London, and punched the restaurant manager in the face. In another incident in the same month a Jewish woman, Linda Cohen, was attacked while serving drinks in her north London cafe. Two unidentified men in their twenties entered the cafe, grabbed her, threatened her with a knife and said that they would kill her for being a “stinking dirty Jew.” A Jewish man was punched in the face and an attempt was made to push him onto the train tracks at Leytonstone Underground train station, and in Manchester two visibly Jewish men were attacked by a gang who shouted antisemitic abuse. One of the men was struck several times over the head with a metal bar. In addition, antisemitic insults were often directed at Jews walking in the street or in public places.
In other Western European countries too, serious violent and vandalistic incidents occurred during the Lebanon war and in its aftermath, although to a lesser extent than in France and the UK. In Italy, for example, 20 Jewish shops in Rome were attacked in early August, their locks filled with glue, shutters nailed and swastikas painted on the walls (see below). In Norway, three men of Middle Eastern appearance shouted antisemitic insults from a car at a visibly Jewish man in Oslo in mid-July, and then assaulted him physically. Most violent incidents in Western Europe were random events, performed on the spur of the moment. In most cases, the offenders took immediate advantage of an opportunity that presented itself to vent their antisemitic sentiments rather than carried out a premeditated plan. This accounts for the large number of visibly Jewish victims, identifiable to the perpetrators by their skullcap and traditional clothing. In Belgium, a religious Jewish couple and their baby were attacked in early January on the train to Antwerp. The father, who tried to protect his wife and baby, confronted the attacker who was armed with a knife, sustaining superficial wounds. The number of acts of violence and vandalism in Belgium increased from 9 in 2005 to 16 in 2006. In view of the escalation of assaults on identifiable Jews in the streets of Europe, Gideon Joffe, head of the community in Berlin − where in 2006 antisemitic incidents occurred on a daily basis − proposed ‘a kippa-test’. He suggested that those who wanted to experience what it felt like to be recognized as a Jew in the streets of Berlin should wear a kippa and/or a Star of David. According to Joffe, Jewish pupils were harassed and assaulted by Muslims as well as by non-Muslims.
On 1 December, a group of young people of Middle Eastern appearance attacked a 14-year-old Jewish girl, a pupil at the Lina Morgenstern High School in Berlin-Kreuzberg, as she was on her way home, after weeks of taunting and abusing her verbally. She suffered blows to the head and back. As a result, she had to be given a police escort to go to school. In Oslo, following the assault in July (see above) and a spate of extremely anti-Israel, sometimes antisemitic, articles and caricatures during the Lebanon war (see below), the Jewish community recommended that members refrain from wearing a skullcap outside their home or that they cover it under a hat, and not speak Hebrew in public. The year 2006 reportedly witnessed the highest level of verbal harassment and physical attacks against Norwegian Jews since the end of World War II. Although the perpetrators of antisemitic attacks were mainly young thugs acting spontaneously, in 2006 the threat of terrorism − which unlike street violence can cause a large number of casualties − against Jewish communities in Europe, was alarming. A plot of an organized terrorist group to strike Jewish targets in Europe was revealed in the wake of an incident in Norway on the night of 16 September, during which unknown persons fired from a vehicle at the central synagogue in Oslo, causing damage to the building. Three days later, the police arrested four suspects, who were investigated also for possible involvement in planning to blow up the US and Israeli embassies in the Norwegian capital and to murder the Israeli ambassador. Several days before the attack it was revealed that an al-Qa`ida-linked Algerian terror cell broken up by Italian police in fall 2005 had been conspiring to carry out attacks on targets in Oslo, including the city’s main synagogue. Another suspected terrorist attack on a Jewish prayer house occurred on Corsica, where on 1 September a small home-made explosive was found outside the Bet-Meir synagogue in Bastia. The bomb, made of a gas canister connected to a detonator, failed to explode. As in previous years, identification of the perpetrators and their motives remained a very difficult task. Most of the offenders were not caught by the police and in many cases the victims could not provide sufficient details about their attacker. The fact that both Islamists and right-wing extremists often use similar slogans, incorporating old antisemitic stereotypes and/or referring to Zionism and Israel, complicates identification of the perpetrator and his motives. Additionally, it is unclear to what extent events in the Middle East have become a trigger affecting not only Arabs and Islamists but extreme right-wingers, as well. The ‘success’ of an antisemitic incident carried out by an Islamist might inspire local right-wing and left- wing activists, and vice versa. In Italy for example the perpetrators who vandalized the 20 Jewish shops in Rome in August described themselves as “armed revolutionary fascists against the Zionist economy.”
Although the percentage of Arab and Muslim perpetrators can not be established accurately, it is clear that they are more highly represented than in the European population as a whole. Reports from the UK indicate that there is growing involvement of immigrants from Asia, probably Muslims, in violent incidents, and in France, of Africans, in antisemitic events. In the Paris suburb of Sarcelles where 20 percent of the population is Jewish, black African youths were responsible for several antisemitic incidents. On 28 May, 40 members of Tribe Ka (Tribu K), a black supremacist group, marched through the Rue des Rosiers in the historic Jewish Marais quarter of Paris. Armed with bats and clubs, they shouted threats and insults such as “Death to the Jews.” On 26 July, Interior Minister Sarkozy announced a ban on this black power group, stating: “Their antisemitism has no longer to be proved and the Republic cannot tolerate such action and behavior.” In recent years the black comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala has become one of the most provocative antisemites in France (see below). Nevertheless, extreme rightists continued to be responsible for a large number of incidents. In the UK the CST reported that ‘white’ perpetrators were involved in 47 percent of incidents in which a physical description of the perpetrators was provided. On 9 November neo-Nazis, some shouting “Heil Hitler,” vandalized the memorial in Berlin (at the site of the synagogue destroyed on Kristallnacht, 9 Nov. 1938), where Jewish community leaders had earlier attended a service. They also tore up wreaths and broke candles at the Kristallnacht memorial in Frankfurt a.d. Oder in east Germany. On 12 October, a 16-year-old boy was forced during the break by classmates in the Parey High School, Saxony-Anhalt, to carry an antisemitic sign around his neck and walk around the schoolyard. The Nazi-style placard read: “I’m the biggest pig in town, only with Jews do I hang around [Ich bin am Ort das grosste Schwein, ich lass mich nur mit Juden ein].” In August 2006, a couple and their eight- year-old child were attacked by three neo-Nazi activists at the Eisleben train station. They threatened the man, hit him on the head with a beer bottle and hurled antisemitic and xenophobic insults at him. As in recent years, Germany topped Europe in desecration of cemeteries, and especially Holocaust memorials, an act usually perpetrated by extreme rightists.
In France, the antisemitic hatred of right-wing extremists led to a killing on 23 November, following a soccer match between Hapoel Tel Aviv and PSG (Paris St. Germain). The rioters, a group of right-wing extremists, made Nazi salutes accompanied by vulgar racist and antisemitic insults. A French Jew attacked by the mob was rescued by a police officer, who was in turn assaulted. He then shot into the mob, killing one PSG fan and seriously wounding another. In Rome, during Italy’s 2006 World Cup victory festivities, swastikas were painted on the walls of the old Jewish Ghetto. Minister of Interior Giuliano Amato declared that he felt ashamed as an Italian and alarmed as interior minister. Jewish sites have become a target for both Islamists and extreme rightists on Jewish holidays. On 1 October, during the Kol Nidre service on the eve of Yom Kippur, some 20 worshippers at the Liberal Synagogue in Brussels were harassed by three young thugs of North African extraction who shouted “Dirty Jews” at them, while at the same time a group of skinheads in the street where the Ma’aleh Synagogue in Brussels is located repeatedly shouted “White Power” while making the Nazi salute. While reports from all over Europe clearly indicated that the war in Lebanon affected the level of both verbal/graphic and violent antisemitic manifestations, it should be emphasized that antisemitic incidents occurred throughout the year without any clear linkage to events in the Middle East – demonstrating the continuous and even growing animosity of extremist Muslims and ultra-rightists toward Jews. As noted above, there was a considerable increase in violence against Jews in France following the antisemitic murder of Ilan Halimi. In fact, more than 50 percent of incidents of violence and vandalism in France occurred in the first half of 2006 before the outbreak of the Lebanon war. According to the CST report, a large number of antisemitic incidents in the UK − many of them abusive e-mails − targeted Jewish organizations during and after the war. About half of the violent events, however, occurred before the outbreak of the war, including some of the most serious ones. In other countries, too, such as the Netherlands and Belgium, some of the gravest incidents against Jewish individuals occurred in the first half of the year. In Malaga, Spain, a Jewish individual was stabbed in a butcher’s shop in early February by a Muslim, who claimed after he was caught that he had been motivated by a ceremony he had attended at a nearby mosque. This incident, as well as others perpetrated by Muslims in Europe in the early part of the year, might have been triggered by the controversy over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which began in Denmark in fall 2005. It might be concluded from all reports in recent years that the level of violence directed at Jews in Western Europe is consistently high, regardless of any specific event in the Middle East, and that it tends to rise further in the wake of external events such as escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Insults and Propaganda − Antisemitic Motifs as Part of the Anti-Israel Campaign There was also a considerable growth in verbal insults and threats directed against Jews, as well in the publication of antisemitic articles, particularly during and after the Lebanon war. With the intensification of anti-Israel attitudes in public discourse, it became more common to demand the disappearance of a state depicted as a prototype for crime and destruction and a danger to world peace. The wrath against Israeli policies and military activities expressed by various groups and individuals was often directed at Jewish communities and included typical antisemitic and anti- Zionist features. Such motifs characterized Islamists, as well as the extreme right and the extreme left, in Europe. They were prevalent in newspaper articles and in statements of mainstream politicians.
Anti-Israel protesters marched in various European cities with Hizballah flags; many called for the destruction of the Jewish state and shouted slogans and brandished placards equating Israel with Nazism. On 21 July, participants at a 1,200- strong anti-Israel demonstration in Berne, which included, allegedly, representatives of the Green Party, carried Hizballah flags, posters of Nasrallah, and Israeli flags adorned with swastikas; on 18 November, 20,000 people, organized by the Italian Communist Party (PDCI), the Forum for Palestine and the Social Youth Movement of the extreme left, rallied in Rome against Israel and the US. Effigies draped in Israeli and US flags were set on fire. The head of the Israeli figure was labeled “Nazi- Zionism.” Well-known extremists also utilized the Lebanon war to further their own antisemitic agenda. NPD leader Udo Voigt, together with 40 NPD members, for example, was detained by the police on 23 July in Verden for chanting “Israel − international genocide center.”
Calls to boycott Israel multiplied in 2006, especially in the UK, appearing on the agendas of many groups and individuals. Participants at the 2006 annual conference of the National Association of Teachers of Further and Higher Education (NATFHE), for example, passed a motion in May to boycott Israeli lecturers and universities who do not speak out against Israel’s ‘apartheid’ policies. A month later the boycott was canceled after NATFHE merged with the Association of University Teachers (AUT) (which in 2005 had reversed a decision to boycott two Israeli universities − see General Analysis 2005) to form the University and College Union (UCU). In mid-September, British Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP) petitioned organizers of the prestigious architecture exhibition in Venice, Italy (Biennale Archittura), to ban an Israeli entry, which depicted 15 sculptures commemorating those who died in the Holocaust and in Israel’s wars. The APJP claimed that the exhibit was particularly distasteful in light of the war in Lebanon and the one-sided war in Gaza. The demand was rejected. During a Muslim conference held in February by the Ramadan Fund in Manchester. Yvonne Ridley, a former Daily Express journalist, branded Israel a vile state and defined a terrorist as an Israeli soldier pointing a gun at the back of the mother of a Palestinian child. She urged a boycott of “Zionist shops.” On 13−17 February the Palestine Society held an Israel Apartheid Week at Oxford University, approved by the Student Union, which urged a complete boycott of Israel “until it complies with international law and respects the rights of Palestinians to self- determination and to return home.” In May, Professor Richard Seaford of the University of Exeter refused to review a book on ancient coinage for an Israeli scholarly journal at the request of Bar Ilan University in Israel, on the grounds that he supported an academic boycott of Israel. Emma Manning, editor of the UK-based Dance Europe magazine, refused to accept a piece by journalist Stephanie Fried about the Sally-Anne Friedland Dance Drama Company in Tel Aviv, claiming that they did not accept articles about Israeli dance groups or advertisements from Israel. However, she said, the article could be considered for publication if the group were to declare that they opposed Israeli policy on the West Bank. In 2004 Dan Randolph of the Kibbutz Dance Company refused to issue such a disclaimer as a condition for placing an ad in this magazine. Verbal antisemitic insults, many directed against religious Jews in the street or in public places, as well as hate calls and e-mails sent to Jewish institutions, were common occurrences during the war and in its aftermath. The Dutch Jewish community registered a significant rise in such harassment, mainly insults, in July and August, which declined significantly only toward the end of the year. The Hamas rallying cry, “Hamas, Hamas, Joden aan het gas” (“Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas!”) and the accusation “Kankerjoden” (cancerous Jewish growth) were frequently directed against members of the local Jewish population by native Dutch citizens, often children, as well as by local Muslims.
From the beginning of the conflict in July until mid-August 2006, individual Jews and Jewish communities in Germany received hate mail on a daily basis. In Switzerland, according to figures published by the Swiss AkdH (Aktion Kinder des Holocaust − association that monitors and combats antisemitism, racism and extremism), the number of antisemitic manifestations reported in the German- speaking part of Switzerland doubled in 2006; most was verbal or written abuse against Jewish individuals and Jewish institutions. In Italy, too, Jewish organizations were flooded with e-mails blaming Jews for the violence in the Middle East. Football stadiums throughout Europe were the scene for battle cries against Jews and Israel, such as “Death to the Jews” and “Gas the Jews,” as well as “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas.” “Gas the Jews,” “Synagogues must burn again” and “Auschwitz is back,” chanted fans in Berlin, when their club played against the Jewish Maccabi club in September. Similarly, slogans such as “Holocaust for the Jews” were yelled on 6 August during a soccer match against an Israeli team in Bulgaria, while on 12 October, the insults “F---g Jew pigs,” and “f---g Israeli pigs” were hurled at young players from a Jewish soccer team in Denmark after a match against a team of immigrant youth. In November, Osasune fans in Spain shouted antisemitic and other slurs at Dudu Awate, a Deportivo player from Israel during a match between the respective teams, while in October, Dutch fans shouted “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” and other slogans during a soccer game between Ajax Amsterdam and Utrecht in Utrecht. In the Netherlands, antisemitic cries are an integral part of soccer matches, particularly at those played against Ajax Amsterdam, which is considered ‘Jewish’.
Israel and Jews in general continued to be charged throughout 2006 with the most villainous accusations that can be leveled at a modern democracy and its citizens: Nazism and apartheid. Jews outside Israel were blamed for Israeli policies and had to suffer the consequences of antisemitic anti-Israel incitement not only by Muslims but also by adherents of political ideologies on the right and the left. “There is an automatic assumption among some people that if you are Jewish, you support Israel, and since we don’t like Israel, we don’t like you,” explained Denis MacShane, the UK Labour MP who headed the 14-strong all-party committee that published a report on antisemitism on 6 September 2006.
In France, the comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala has become a leading protagonist in recent years on both the anti-Israel and the antisemitic scene. In 2006, he continued to accuse the Jews of involvement in the 15th century slave trade. In August he visited Beirut with a group of intellectuals, including the writer Alain Sorel. At a press conference he expressed his support for Hizballah’s war “against Israel and against American imperialism,” and condemned Israel’s actions as “barbarian and Nazi-like.” A continuous spill-over of hate into the mainstream, especially into the so- called chattering classes − the influential socially and politically concerned mainstream elite − was observed throughout Western Europe. The term ‘Jew’ (or ‘Israeli’, or ‘Zionist’ – the three may be interchanged deliberately) was repeatedly equated with ‘Nazi’. British Tory MP Peter Tapsell, for instance, claimed that Israel’s bombardment of Beirut was “gravely reminiscent of the Nazi atrocity on the Jewish quarter of Warsaw.” Similarly, British Conservative Party legislator, Andrew Turner, likened Israel’s actions in Lebanon to Nazi tactics. These comparisons were repeated in various permutations in the press and at demonstrations throughout the year. The Telegraph, for example, showed two identical scenes of devastation, one labeled “Warsaw, 1943,” the other, “Tyre, 2006.” At the end of July an image of a large Star of David covering the UK and Europe appeared on the letters page of the Guardian, signifying a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. According to the caption, throughout a war that had killed Lebanese people, the “Israel lobby” had charged those criticizing Israel with antisemitism. In Norway, Jostein Gaarder, author of the acclaimed novel Sophie’s World, published an op-ed in August in the Oslo daily Aftenposten, entitled “God’s Chosen People,” in which he linked Israel’s deeds to the allegedly arrogant ancient Jewish concept of the Chosen People. As in classical antisemitic rhetoric, he mixed historical periods, implying a centuries-long pattern of Jewish behavior expressed in Israeli acts. Thus, current Israel conduct was the outcome of Jewish self-perception, which permitted the Chosen People even the most immoral behavior. Gaarder went so far as to accuse Israel of child murder and ethnic cleansing, concluding that the Jewish state had forfeited its right to exist.
Politically-oriented anti-Israel articles, cartoons and caricatures also bore hallmarks of classic antisemitism. Demonization of Israel and dehumanization of the Jews were the main motifs. One of the most notorious cartoons, by Randi Mateland, appeared on 26 July in VG, the most widely-read newspaper in Norway (about 365,000 subscribers).
In the cartoon, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is shown in a bathroom, reflected in the mirror as Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah. While the latter is depicted realistically, Olmert is demonized through the use of stereotypical antisemitic attributes, including devils’ legs. The bathroom is covered with Stars of David and the water faucet made of gold, demonstrating Jewish wealth. The most extreme example of equating Israel with Nazi Germany was a cartoon, published on 10 July (two days before the war) in Norway’s largest daily Oslo Dagbladet by well-known political cartoonist Finn Graf. In it Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is likened to Amon Goeth, the commandant of the Plaszow Nazi death camp near Krakow, who murdered Jews by firing at them indiscriminately from his balcony. The scene invoked is taken from Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List.
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
A pattern of antisemitic manifestations differing from that in the West continued in Central and Eastern Europe. While the relatively low level of antisemitism in those countries that joined the EU in 2004 (the Baltic republics, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia) and the two new member states that joined in January 2007, Romania and Bulgaria, might change, at present the region remains characterized by its own specific attitudes, which might in the long run be no less disturbing than those in Western Europe.
The Second Lebanon War in summer 2006 did not serve as a platform in Central and Eastern Europe for an outburst of antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments, as it did in the West. While many media outlets in the area quoted or published Western reports which criticized Israel and accused it of ‘war crimes’, in general, the mainstream media did not initiate antisemitic and anti-Israel debates. This might be partly due to the fact that Hizballah is generally perceived as a terrorist organization and attempts by extremist elements both on the left and the right to portray it as a ‘liberation movement’ confronting ongoing Israeli aggression were not well received. Some former Communist states are still part of the shaky pro-US coalition, despite, in some cases, having second thoughts about the participation of their forces in Afghanistan and Iraq; nevertheless, the casus belli for the outbreak of violence in Lebanon − the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers − was perceived as a scenario that could happen to their own troops. Further, the images of Israeli cities attacked by Katyusha rockets might have reminded many in the region of the times when Soviet weapon systems were aimed at the West. Finally, some saw Israel as being at war with a terrorist organization acting from a state which was powerless to impose its sovereignty over its own territory. Thus, the mainstream media were usually less critical of Israel than Western outlets such as Le Monde and the Guardian, and anti- Israel views published emanated from Western, not East European, sources. Furthermore, the mainstream media was careful to avoid a direct connection between Israeli ‘conduct’ and Jewish stereotypes. On the contrary, whenever antisemitism was evident in events in the West, the Central and East European media would generally not hesitate to say so.
Nevertheless, local echoes of the war in Lebanon were manifested in several incidents, and events in the Middle East may have caused a certain rise in the terrorist threat level in the area − although, of course, it already existed due to the presence of Central and Eastern European forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In August the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic received e-mails blaming the Jews and Israel for the war against Hizballah. Similar threats of an antisemitic nature were reported in several Czech centers, such as Brno, while the head of the Jewish community in Prague received e-mails accusing Israelis of the “war against the Palestinians.” In October, the leading Czech newspaper, Mlada Fronta Dnes, reported that Islamic extremists had planned to take over a major Jewish target, reportedly the Prague synagogue, and capture hostages. A further consequence of the Middle East crisis was the threat against Jewish targets in the Czech Republic made by the notorious neo-Nazi group Narodni Odbor (National Resistance) if the Czech president refused their demand to enlist the Iranian army to fight against Jews and Israel. During the riots in Hungary in early November (see below), neo-Nazi slogans and others such as “Long live Palestine” and “Long live jihad” appeared in the city of Vac. Both moderates and extremists in most of the states of this region, however, have been engaged in ongoing debates over their national history and the fate of the Jews during the Holocaust; thus, the unresolved past is a much more immediate subject for discussion than the link between antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda. The media in the region − both left and center-right − continued to focus on historical memory from the perspective of the beginning of the seventh decade since the end of World War II in Europe and the liberation of the camps, stressing the participation of their nations’ leaders at the various ceremonies. There was also discussion on the emergence of the postwar world and the Soviet Communist takeover. In this context, right-wing extremists complained about ‘overemphasis’ on the alleged suffering of the Jews and disregard for the ‘Judeo-Communist’ terror of the Communist period. Such voices were heard especially in Romania where a public commission was formed to study the crimes of communism. A major Romanian newspaper Ziua gradually took a more overtly hostile line toward the Jewish role in the establishment of the Communist regime. Ziua, as well as other publications, such as Tricolor and Romanian Mare, repeatedly stressed that the commission was headed by an expert of Jewish origin, Vladimir Tismaneanu. Since most of the former Socialist states of Eastern Europe and the Balkans were liberated by the Soviet army, the behavior of Soviet troops was recalled, often in gruesome detail, in order to highlight the end of one of type of suffering and the beginning of another. Further, the discourse focused on the nature of ‘liberation’ and its transformation at the end of the war, into ‘occupation’ by the Soviets and local Communists.
Thus, the postwar experience also became a bone of contention over historical memory due to the different experiences of various social and ethnic groups. While Jewish collective memory stresses the element of liberation and the end of the attempt to annihilate the Jewish nation by the Nazis and their local collaborators, non- Jewish memory tends to highlight various, sometimes divergent, views of the Communist regime, the postwar plight, Soviet plunder of what remained of local economies, and the nature of the postwar trials. New disputes began emerging toward spring-summer 2006, the 60th anniversary of the wave of postwar sentencing and executions of numerous wartime leaders, and the anniversaries of postwar anti-Jewish pogroms and violence in Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. These events were again recalled in an area where historical revisionism, as in the case of Tiso in Slovakia and Antonescu in Romania, is still very much alive.
Right-wing populism is a potential ally of the more radical, openly nationalist, xenophobic antisemitic right. This new populism is anti-liberal in the sense that while it promotes democracy, it opposes liberal values of tolerance toward minorities, including homosexuals – hence the homophobic appeal of the Polish League of Polish Families. This trend promotes ‘traditional − including religious − values’, which are a short step from classical antisemitism, as voiced by Radio Maryja in Poland. In Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, electoral support for such parties and movements indicated a popular shift toward less tolerant ideas and ideals, in which Jews might figure as a potential target. The xenophobic record of the populist Polish League of Families, which is part of the government coalition in Poland, and of the Slovak National Party of Jan Slota in the Slovak government coalition – although currently it limits its discourse to attacking Hungarians and Roma − might presage the emergence of an antisemitism that competes with that of the far right. Moreover, the formation of an extremist faction in the European Parliament resulting from the election of far right Bulgarian and Romanian representatives might portend the gradual infiltration of extremist elements into democratic institutions.
The elections in Poland and the formation of a new government in 2006 heralded the emergence of this populist trend. While Polish politicians, including some at the highest level such as the president and prime minister, the twin Kaczynski brothers, attempted to distance themselves from antisemitic accusations, the Israeli government, represented by Ambassador to Poland David Peleg, refused in summer 2006 to work with the new Polish minister of education, Roman Giertych, leader of the League of Polish Families. Does this new phenomenon represent a ‘post-Haider’ syndrome in Eastern and Central Europe? Will these forces end up being ‘tamed’, as they did in Austria, or will the election of xenophobic parties generate wider cooperation between extremists on the continent? While nationalist, populist and antisemitic voices may get more publicity and public attention, in the long run they might tighten links with West European partners. At the same time, Jewish and non-Jewish monitoring agencies and institutions will attempt to generate public debate in an effort to curb this troubling trend.
Commemoration of national events from the near and more distant past may further ignite antisemitic manifestations. In Hungary, wide-scale disturbances occurred in the fall on the occasion of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Numerous demonstrations took place, some led by the extreme right, which sought to discredit the Socialist-led government. In Budapest several incidents were recorded: demonstrators shouted antisemitic slogans, and small, violent groups used the events to brandish antisemitic placards and attack Jewish sites, such as the Central Synagogue in Budapest.
The US Violence and Vandalism According to the ADL, there was a 12 percent decline in antisemitic manifestations in the US, from 1,757 in 2005 to 1,554 in 2006. Nevertheless, one of the gravest antisemitic incidents recorded worldwide during the period of the Lebanon war took place in the US. Claiming that he was angry at Israel, Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, an American Muslim, entered the Greater Seattle Jewish Federation Center in Seattle on 28 July, and shot and killed Pam Waechter, 58, and wounded five others. Further, on 6 December, Derrick Shareef, 22, a convert to Islam, also known as Talib Abu Salam Ibn Shareef, of Rockford, Illinois, was arrested by the FBI-led Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force. Shareef had planned to blow up the Rockford Cherry Vale Mall. He also discussed stabbing Jews in a synagogue and attacking the DeKalb County Courthouse.
Some of the most serious attacks on Jewish sites and property also occurred in the US during the war and in its aftermath. For example, on the day of the murder in Seattle, the synagogue Temple Beth Shalom in Queens, NY, was firebombed and damaged.
Insults and Propaganda − Antisemitic Motifs as Part of the Anti-Israel Campaign The war in Lebanon, as opposed to other conflicts in which Israel has been involved in recent decades, such as the first Lebanon war (1982) or the two intifadas, was more ambiguous and did not lend itself as readily to anti-Israel propaganda or antisemitic responses. This is not to suggest that there were no such negative reactions in the mainstream. However, the war was also depicted as Hizballah’s war, as Iran’s war, or as the Shi`i or Islamic extremist war, tempering the usual ‘blame Israel’ or ‘blame the Jews’ syndrome. This was reflected, too, in the lack of major events connected to the war on campuses in fall 2006. However, the fact that it was of relatively brief duration and occurred in the summer when campuses were out of session may also account for the relatively muted response. It might also suggest that the trigger for antisemitism lies more in Israel’s dealings with the Palestinians than with Hizballah or Iran. As illustrated by Mearsheimer and Walt’s article in the London Review of Books on the influence of ‘the Israel lobby’ in the US, or Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, claiming that a policy of apartheid exists in the ‘territories’, the Palestinian issue was the focus for attacks on Israel and on American Jews. It should be noted that both works aroused enormous criticism. Alan Dershowitz, Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard Law School, for example, charged Mearsheimer and Walt with a conspiratorial view of history in which the ‘Israel lobby’ has a stranglehold over US foreign policy and the American media. Right-Wing Extremist Response White supremacists, neo-Nazis and antisemites used the Second Lebanon War to promote their antisemitic views via extremist websites, Internet forums, and radio shows. For the most part, individuals posting on websites and forums did not make many comments about the war. Rather, remarks relating to events surrounding the war sometimes degenerated into virulently antisemitic rhetoric. If the war was mentioned at all, it served as a minor background to more general antisemitic rants. The most extreme antisemitic comments came in the form of open calls to kill Jews. One poster to the website of Hal Turner, a particularly antisemitic and racist radio host in New Jersey, wrote, “The dirty kike must be killed no matter what the outcome is. Kill them all those evil bastards.” Another poster to the same website stated, “If the jews thought they had a problem with antisemitism before, they’ve let themselves in for a world of shit now [sic] …”
Right-wing extremists on the Internet also utilized the war to propagate classic antisemitic myths, claiming that Jews control the banks, media and government in the United States. Many extremists alleged that their tax dollars were supporting Israel simply because the Jews forced the American government to ally itself with the Israelis. One posting on Turner’s website stated, “I blame this government, both the administration and congress for aiding and abetting Israel’s crimes. Who supplies these scumbags with their bombs and airplanes? Who sends billions of taxpayer dollars each year to these beggars? Who controls the media and the banking system?” Well-known extremists also exploited the Lebanon war to further their own antisemitic agenda. In addition to Hal Turner, white supremacist and former Klan leader David Duke, and August Kreis, leader of a faction of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, issued antisemitic statements on the Internet running the gamut from blaming Jews for other events such as the 9/11 attacks to calling for violence against “yehudi bastards.”
Escalation of Anti-Israel Hostility within the American Left Anti-war rallies organized throughout the country during summer 2006 in response to the war in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip marked a new stage in the increasingly hostile attitude toward Israel within significant portions of the American progressive and far left camp. The protests were marked by support for terrorist groups, calls for the destruction of Israel, messages equating Zionism with Nazism and a proliferation of antisemitic manifestations.
Cooperation between radically inclined Muslim and Arab groups and far left ones leading the movement against the war in Iraq was intensified. The majority of events against the war in Lebanon were organized by an alliance of three movements: the left-wing ANSWER Coalition and its parent organization, the International Action Center (IAC); the Muslim American Society (MAS), a Muslim Brotherhood inspired organization, and the National Association of Arab Americans (NCA). These were joined by Muslim and Arab advocacy groups which have a more mainstream public image, including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and a host of left-leaning Socialist groups and local Muslim associations. In August, for example, the ANSWER Coalition held a demonstration in Dearborn, Michigan, to protest the war. One of the speakers said that it was “known” that the American Congress had been bought by the Zionist lobby. The war between Israel and Hizballah in Lebanon validated in the eyes of more radical elements within the far left (such as ANSWER Coalition, IAC, Al-Awda, New Jersey Solidarity, Workers World Party, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, League for the Revolutionary Party, Party for Socialism and Liberation − Richard Becker) the notion that the fundamentalist Shi`i movement, as well as insurgents in Iraq and Palestinian terror organizations (which include radical Islamist groups) are important ideological partners for progressive movements in the West. For these groups, the perceived victory of Hizballah marked a significant defeat for Israel and a severe blow to what they regard as American imperialism. Protesters were outraged at what they perceived as unjustified Israeli destruction in Lebanon, but emboldened by Hizballah Secretary General Shaykh Hasan Nasrallah’s willingness to confront Israel.
This was also reflected in growing radicalism in the speeches and mood of the crowds present at the summer events. One striking example was the revival of an anti-Jewish slogan from the Middle East, chanted in Arabic, “Filastin hi arduna wa al- yahud kilabuna!” (“Palestine is our land and the Jews are our dogs!”) − documented at rallies in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City, among others. These demonstrations were organized by the IAC, ANSWER Coalition, the ADC, and CAIR. Another common catchphrase at anti-Israel and anti-war rallies in recent years (also in Arabic) has been: “Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Muhammad will return!” evoking the Qur’an’s account of a battle between the Islamic Prophet and a Jewish tribe, which resulted in the subjugation of the Jews of Arabia. Notably, some of the more radical chants were in Arabic. Protesters also called for the elimination of Israel and urged Hizballah to bomb Israeli cities. In addition, they charged Israel with committing genocide and accused it of Nazism. In December, cartoons were posted on buildings in the Brookline, Somerville and Cambridge areas of Greater Boston equating life in the occupied territories with the Warsaw Ghetto and calling for the end of the Jewish state. Organizers of one rally referred to Israel as “the genocidal Zionist state.” This rally held in San Diego, California, on 12 August, was co-sponsored by MAS, NCA, CAIR, IAC, the International Socialist Organization, the Muslim Students Association and Al-Awda. In San Francisco, a protester held a sign which read “Nazi kikes out of Lebanon.” In July, Israeli flags adorned with swastikas were raised during a demonstration organized by the ANSWER Coalition in Los Angeles. At the August 12 Washington DC rally, protesters chanted “Nasrallah, Nasrallah; the martyr is the beloved of Allah; the Zionists are the enemy of Allah.” There were also signs stating: “The Zionists are the party of the Devil,” “Zionism destroy the world [sic]” and “World without Zionism = peace.” Speakers and protesters also claimed that Zionists control America and that Israel is an outpost of capitalism and American imperialism. Clovis Maksoud, representing the ADC, argued that “when Palestine is liberated, there will be the liberation of the Jews from the dehumanization that Israel and Zionism has inflicted on their religion and cultures.” A sign at a July 28 rally in New York, organized by CAIR, MAS, the Islamic Circle of North America, Al- Awda, the Arab Muslim American Federation and endorsed by the ANSWER Coalition and IAC, asked: “Innocent Israeli civilians or Israeli Nazi occupiers?” In August, signs in San Diego read “Long Live Hizballah,” and “Israel, Israel, uber Alles.” An American flag with the stars replaced by Stars of David as well as swastikas dripping with blood was displayed.
Canada In contrast to the US, the level of antisemitic manifestations in Canada increased in 2006. The League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada (the League), which monitors antisemitic events in Canada, reported on overall rise of 12.8 percent over the previous year and an increase of 20 percent in the number of violent incidents. It should be noted that Canada has witnessed a continuing escalation in violent antisemitic incidents in recent years, despite a slight decrease in 2005. This is attributed to the growing involvement of immigrants, many of them Muslims or persons of Arab origin, who tend to be motivated by dramatic events in the Middle East, such as the Lebanon war. As in Western Europe, the war in Lebanon had a considerable impact on the level of antisemitism in Canada. The League reported that 28 percent of the total number of antisemitic incidents − 263 − occurred in July and August. These included mainly harassment, intimidation and abusive letters to Jewish institutions. At the end of July an anti-Israel demonstration was held by members of the Lebanese community and their supporters in Toronto. Placards with “Death to the Jews” and a Star of David intertwined with a swastika were raised. Jewish individuals were bombarded with phone and e-mail abuse during July and August, and a rabbi was assaulted and accused by his attackers of “wanting to start wars.” On the night of 2 September a petrol bomb was thrown through the window of the Skver-Toldos Orthodox Jewish Boys School in Outremont, Quebec. The Quebec Region of the Canadian Jewish Congress denounced the attack. Police are investigating.
It should be emphasized that as in Western Europe, in addition to the events reported during the Lebanon war, antisemitic manifestations were perpetrated by Muslim extremists and far right-wingers in Canada throughout the year without a Middle East trigger. Jewish individuals were assaulted, private property was damaged and synagogues were desecrated, particularly with Nazi symbols. In January, for example, a kosher restaurant in Montreal was attacked by a group of Arab speakers with rocks, bricks and a firecracker. A synagogue in Montreal was vandalized on three separate occasions in February. A month later two synagogues were desecrated there: members of the Chai Center discovered swastikas on the walls and windows of their synagogue and a few days later swastikas and Nazi symbols appeared on the nearby Zichron Kidoshim synagogue.
The effect of the Lebanon war on the level of antisemitism was particularly significant in Australia. The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) recorded 442 antisemitic events (violence, vandalism, harassment and intimidation) from October 2005 to September 2006, an increase of 110 incidents over the previous year and 47 percent above the annual average. According to our statistics, there were 50 violent incidents in 2006 directed against Jewish individuals and Jewish sites, in contrast to only 13 in the previous year. A comparison between the figures for all incidents in the first six months of the year and in the period of the war and its aftermath demonstrates the role of this Middle East event as a catalyst for antisemitic incidents. In July alone there were more incidents than in the entire first half of the year. In fact, the figure for antisemitic incidents in Australia in July was the highest for that month since 1945. There was a slight decrease in August and again in September, but the average remained much above that in the six months preceding the war. Some of the most serious antisemitic incidents occurred during the war, such as an attempted arson attack on a Jewish youth center in Sydney and a physical assault on a rabbi and his family. In addition, several synagogues, such as the two Reform synagogues in Melbourne, were vandalized, many threatening telephone calls and e-mails were received by Jewish individuals and Jewish institutions and antisemitic slogans such as “Jews are the new Nazis” and “Kill Jews” appeared in central locations in various cities. As in other parts of the world, it may be assumed that the incidents recorded during the period of the war were perpetrated not only by Islamists but also by extreme rightists inspired by the proliferation of virulently anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda. In July, for example, the LaRouche cult e-mailed anti-Israel conspiracy theories to Jewish groups in Sydney and Melbourne. It should be noted that prior to the war Jewish activists warned of the potential threat of virulently anti-Israel propaganda distributed by Islamists and extreme leftists to the safety of the Australian Jewish community. In February, for example, a front- page article in the University of Western Sydney student newspaper described Jews as blood suckers, money grabbers and thieves. The piece was accompanied by cartoons, one of which depicted the Jewish people as a giant squid drawing blood as it envelopes the earth. During the war Jewish student activists argued that far left groups, such as the Socialist Alternative Group, had crossed the line from political criticism of Israel to anti-Jewish slander. This accusation led in September to a fierce debate in which extreme left militants denied that they had adopted antisemitic language.
The impact of the antisemitic rhetoric of Islamist preachers on perpetrators of antisemitic incidents in Australia was also a central issue in Australia. The most notorious example was Shaykh Tajeddin al-Hilali, mufti of Lakemba Mosque, Sydney (considered the mufti of Australia). In July he was dismissed from his position on Prime Minister John Howard’s Muslim Community Reference Group because of Holocaust denial sermons he had been delivering. He also referred to Israel as a cancer planted in the Muslim community.
In the CIS attitudes toward the war in Lebanon were expressed mainly in demonstrations, public statements and articles in newspapers or on the Internet. Communists, far right-wingers and Muslim extremists participated in anti-Israel campaigns. Some anti-Israel manifestations included antisemitic motifs. In Tajikistan Molotov cocktails were thrown on two occasions at the Jewish synagogue in Dushanbe.
Russia On 20 July a demonstration took place in front of the Israeli embassy in Moscow, initiated by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and sanctioned by the city authorities. The rally was attended by about 60 people, mainly Communists and members of the Palestinian diaspora in Russia. Protestors, some of whom held the red Communist flag and the yellow Hizballah flag, shouted “Death to the Israeli aggressor,” “Israel get out of Lebanon” and “Stop the genocide of Lebanon”; they accused Israel and the US of initiating the war in Lebanon and burned Israeli flags. Some also held signs with slogans such as “Freedom for Palestine,” “Israel and the US – Terrorists Number One and Number Two” and “Zionism Equals Fascism.”
Communist Party members, including State Duma Deputy Vladimir Kashin, who was among the 19 Duma members who signed the petition to ban Jewish organizations in Russia in 2005, took part in another anti-Israel demonstration in Moscow on 4 August. Members of the Communist youth movements Union of Communist Youth and the Vanguard of Red Youth shouted catchphrases supporting Hizballah and one of the speakers called for violence against Israelis, declaring that the Arabs should fight “until the last Jew.” Anti-Israel protests also took place in St. Petersburg and in Vladikavkaz, where Israeli flags were burned during one demonstration. On 1 August the website www.soldat.ru, based in the city of Arkhangelsk and dedicated to Russian and Soviet military history, published the article “‘The Mystery of Iniquity’ in Action, or Russia for Non-Russians,” by the ‘Pravoslav fundamentalist’ Mikhail Nazarov, who is known for his antisemitic views. The phrase ‘the mystery of iniquity’ appears in the New Testament (Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, 2:7), referring to those who did not accept Christianity. Relating to events in the Middle East, in general, and to the war in Lebanon, in particular, Nazarov called the fighting between Israel and Hizballah another “unpunished riot of the Judeo-Nazi State of Israel.” He claimed that Jewish organizations in Russia sanctioned Israeli aggression and urged the Russian authorities to oppose “the main sources of worldwide terrorism − Israel and the Jews.” He also claimed that Israel and the US were carrying out provocations (such as the 9/11 attacks) in order to change the geopolitical map of the world. Nazarov was also among those who called, in 2005, to ban Jewish organizations in Russia. On 4 August, an article entitled “Lebanon in Flames: Experts and Muslim Figures on Developments in the Middle East,” was published on the most popular Islamic website in the Russian language ( www.islam.ru ). Among the opinions expressed in the article, Muhammad Karachai, deputy head of the Union of Muftis of Russia, said the war in Lebanon had revealed the “aggressive nature of the Zionist state,” which had organized “a real Holocaust in Lebanon.” Boruch Gorin, spokesman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, announced on 10 August that the federation would ask the Interfaith Council of Russia to call on the Union of Muftis to condemn Karachai’s statement. Gorin added that such comments undermined “Jewish-Muslim dialogue in Russia.” It is not known whether such a request was indeed filed. The article also quoted Ali Visama Bardvill, chairman of the Karelian Muslim Religious Board, who said that Israel was employing Nazi tactics and showing its inhuman face. Significantly, the word ‘Israel’ in the article appears in quotations marks.
The level of antisemitic violence and vandalism in Russia remained on a level similar to that in 2005 – about 30 incidents. Antisemitic events included assaults on Jewish individuals, damage to Jewish communal property and graffiti on synagogues and cemeteries, mainly antisemitic slogans. In August, a petrol bomb was thrown at a synagogue in Khabarovsk and in November, two petrol bombs were hurled at the Jewish cultural center in Surgut. One of the most serious antisemitic incidents worldwide in 2006 occurred in Russia. Claiming that he had come to kill Jews and shouting “Heil Hitler,” Aleksandr Koptsev stabbed eight people in the ChaBad synagogue on Bolshaia Bronnaia St., Moscow, in early January. During questioning he admitted that he had read extremist material on the Internet and that he was motivated by anti-Jewish feeling, hatred and jealousy. The police found extremist literature, fascist symbols and a list of addresses of three other synagogues in Moscow in his apartment.
Ukraine Demonstrations against “Israeli aggression in Lebanon” took place in several cities of Ukraine. On 19 July a rally, organized by the Russian Bloc Party (PRB), a marginal pro-Russian organization, and attended by Palestinians and Lebanese, took place in front of the Israeli embassy in Kiev. Demonstrators demanded the cessation of Israeli hostilities in Lebanon and some held signs equating the Star of David with the swastika. Anti-Israel protests were held in Kiev at least once a fortnight during the war. Attended by 20−50 people, they were initiated by the Ukrainian Conservative Party, the Arab Home organization and left-wing groups such as Che Guevara. On 24 July, practically all Ukrainian Jewish organizations − including the VAAD, Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine and All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress − held an impressive joint pro-Israel rally in Kiev. The mass media in Ukraine (including the electronic media) were relatively objective in their coverage of the war in Lebanon, bringing both the Israeli and Lebanese sides of the story, and in some cases some very pro-Israel articles and commentaries. Nevertheless, some pieces contained sentences such as “Israel is killing peaceful inhabitants in the center of Beirut” or referred to “hundreds of thousands” of Lebanese victims, but ignored what was happening in Israel. The well- known antisemitic publications of MAUP (Inter-Regional Academy of Personnel Management – see General Analysis 2005) continued to publish antisemitic articles. During the war they focused on “Israeli aggression” against Lebanon. For example, an article in Personal Plus (Aug.) stated: “What Israel is doing today in Palestine and in Lebanon can only be termed political terror. Armed with all kinds of weapons (including weapons prohibited by the UN), the Israelis are cynically bombing and shooting innocent people: elderly people, women and children.” An exception to the relatively objective coverage on Ukrainian television was Channel 5, since one of the commentators was the well-known political correspondent Igor Slisarenko, who on 8 May 2005 published an article, “Nothing Is Hate Speech When Directed against Arabs” on al-Jazeera website, expressing his concern that the whole world was insulting Arabs and Muslims; he was also chief editor of another MAUP journal, Personal.
Not withstanding the antisemitic response to the Lebanon war, antisemitism in Ukraine continued to escalate in 2006. Thirty-four incidents were recorded compared to 21 in 2005. Jewish individuals were attacked, Jewish institutions damaged and cemeteries and Holocaust memorials desecrated with swastikas and antisemitic slogans. Perhaps influenced by the incident in Moscow a month earlier, Georgii Dobrianskii entered the Brodskii synagogue in Kiev with a knife in February and threatened to kill Jews. He was stopped by the guards and arrested. Jews were attacked in the streets in various cities of Ukraine. Shouting “I don’t like Yids,” a group of youths in Odessa beat an Orthodox Jew in mid-September. In mid- December, three identifiably Jewish men in Kiev were beaten near a synagogue by a group of young men who shouted “Kikes, get out of here” and other antisemitic insults.
Transcaucasia and Central Asia Transcaucasia and Central Asia witnessed several events which were uncharacteristic of the region. Armenian Jews feared an increase in antisemitism in the wake of an influx of hundreds of Armenian refugees from Lebanon. Although most of the refugees did not support Hizballah’s actions, they viewed Israel’s conduct as “unwarranted and counterproductive.” Armenian journalist Suren Gregoryan blamed the Armenian diaspora in Syria and Iran for disinformation and stereotypes held in Armenia about Israel and the Jewish culture. He maintained there was a real need for the free flow of information on these subjects into the country. Shogher Margossian, a Lebanese Armenian who arrived from Beirut a few days after the war began, said that she did not think the war would have an impact on Armenia’s Jews. Her stories about life under Israeli bombing made no impression on people she met in Armenia, she claimed, since they had suffered a great deal during the 1990s during the war with Azerbaijan. Most Armenians saw the Lebanon war as a conflict between Israel and a terrorist organization and did not sympathize with Lebanon, a mainly Muslim country (about 94 percent of Armenians are Armenian Apostolic). Nevertheless, posters supporting Hizballah appeared in late July and early August in the center of the capital Yerevan.
In Azerbaijan, former Interior Minister (1992−93) Iskendar Gamidov, chairman of the National Democratic Party (Boz Gurd), made antisemitic and anti- Israel statements on 27 July. He accused the Jews of owning all the land in northern Azerbaijan, of trying to get hold of other assets and of acting as if they owned the world. According to Gamidov, some historians had come under the influence of Zionists and were claiming that the Jews were native inhabitants of Azerbaijan. As such, they could make demands on the state. He also alleged that Washington and Tel Aviv had formed a plan to take over Azerbaijan after they had completed the occupation of Syria and Iran. He said that Israel was discriminating against Muslims in Lebanon: when Israel bombed Christian areas in Beirut, the army command apologized, but when they bombed Muslim areas they considered this permissible, and the world also kept quiet. Commenting on the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, Gamidov asserted that if Israel had started a war when only two soldiers were kidnapped, Azerbaijan should launch a war against Armenia since in the past year alone 24 Azerbaijani soldiers had been captured. Anti-Israel demonstrations took place in the capital Baku on 27 July and 3 and 7 August. Although the rallies were not authorized, the authorities did not intervene. On 5 August, about 70 people held a pro-Hizballah demonstration in Nardaran, at which participants shouted slogans against Israel, the US, the European Union and other states. One of the speakers said that in the near future local Muslims would unite with Iranians to “destroy those demons” and another speaker criticized the government for not supporting Hizballah and for fearing the Jews instead of God. The demonstration ended with the burning of Israeli and American flags.
On 27 July 2006, during a joint press conference with the presidents of Iran and Afghanistan, who had come to Tajikistan for a visit, Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov strongly condemned Israel’s campaign against Hizballah, but completely ignored the latter’s bombing of Israel. On 16 August an anti-Israel rally took place near the offices of the Tajik Islamic Revival Party in the capital Dushanbe. More than 300 Islamists shouting “Death to Israel” participated in the demonstration, which was led by the newly elected head of the party (following the death of the former leader on 9 August 2006), Mohiddin Kabiri.
On 18 August and again on 15 September Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Jewish synagogue in Dushanbe. The authorities did not act to protect the synagogue following the first attempt, thus facilitating the second one. In fact, they were seeking, in 2006, to demolish the building as part of a campaign to renovate the city center. In the summer they razed part of the building, where the mikve, a classroom and a kosher kitchen were located. It should be noted that in response to requests made by the president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Alexander Mashkevich, to President Rahmonov, the authorities agreed to find an alternative location for the Jewish community to establish a new synagogue. Incidents like the Molotov cocktail attacks occur infrequently in the region; undoubtedly, they were a reaction to the war in Lebanon.
In Latin America, too, Jewish communities witnessed an intensification of antisemitic manifestations during the Lebanon war. Antisemitic expressions and motifs, both explicit and implicit, were part of fierce political attacks against Zionism and the existence of the State of Israel.
Brazil A serious incident occurred in Brazil at the beginning of August: two petrol bombs were thrown at the synagogue in Campinas, 60 miles north of Saõ Paulo, and the slogan “Lebanon, the true Holocaust,” painted on the sidewalk outside it. About three weeks later a lighted firecracker was tossed from a passing vehicle at the door of the Beth Jacob Synagogue in Saõ Paulo. In addition, there was a considerable rise in anti- Zionist statements, including comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany.
In August, the workers’ syndicate of Saõ Paulo University, supported by a professor of history, Trotskyist, Oswaldo Coggiola, together with Arab and pro- Hizballah groups, organized a public demonstration “against the massacre in Lebanon and in Palestine,” which was to be held in a university auditorium. After Jewish professors protested against the militant nature of the event, the rector forbade use of the lecture theater. The rally, attended by students, university staff and left-wing groups, as well as representatives of some Arab pro-Hizballah organizations, therefore took place in front of it. The closure of the auditorium provoked anger among the organizers, who, in a bulletin issued on 11 August 2006, accused the State of Israel and the Jews of being “Jewish murderers” and declared that the State of Israel should not exist. A month earlier the General Secretariat of the International Workers’ Union in the city of Saõ Paulo had issued a statement denouncing Israel’s attacks on Gaza, in which it compared actions by Israeli soldiers to the Nazi siege of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Virulently anti-Zionist statements were made by radical left-wing politicians. During a solidarity visit, together with other Congress representatives, to the ambassador of Lebanon in Brazil, Federal Congresswoman Socorro Gomes, from the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), stated that they had to “to put an end to the massacre in Lebanon by the Nazi-Zionists.”
Argentina While as of 1967, discussion in Argentina focused on Israeli withdrawal from the territories conquered in the Six Day War, in recent years, and particularly in 2006, there were calls for the total destruction of the State of Israel. With the outbreak of the war in Lebanon and intensified fighting in Gaza, it was claimed that this was a legitimate demand. For example, graffiti saying, “Death to the State of Israel. Support the Palestinians,” appeared on 12 July in a street near Plaza Congreso. The slogan “For destruction of the Zionist State of Israel” appeared in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, on 13 September. An antisemitic discourse on Israel has emerged in Argentina. It ranges from the use of traditional antisemitic motifs (the Jews’ alleged killing of Christ, evocation of the blood libel, and comparing Israel to a cancer) to banalization of the Holocaust and denial of the right of Israel and the Zionist movement to exist. Other themes are alleged Jewish control of the media, ‘Nazification’ of the State of Israel and the Jews, justifying terrorist attacks against Jews internationally and the accusation that Jewish Argentinean citizens were more loyal to the State of Israel than to Argentina. These expressions multiplied during the days of the Lebanon war. For example, an e-mail sent to the AMIA Jewish community center in July, stated: “We hope that the bomb put in the AMIA  was not the last one.” It also said: “Long Live Lebanon.” and “Death to the Dirty Jews.” Slogans stating “Jews, you are conquerors,” “Let’s kill the Jews,” “Commit a patriotic act: kill the Jews,” “Jews are fascists” and “Jews are murderers.” as well as comparisons with Nazis (such as “Israeli Hitlerian people, get out of Lebanon and Palestine”) were reported almost daily in the streets of Buenos Aires in July-August. Catchphrases such as these, disseminated by people who deny being antisemites, were also everyday occurrences in the mass media during this period. According to the DAIA, a record 550 antisemitic events were recorded in Argentina in 2006, mostly antisemitic expressions, especially graffiti, directed against Jews and their institutions. Israel is perceived as a military great power, backed by ‘the occidental empire’ (the US), which is under the control of the ‘international Zionist lobby’ and the ‘Jewish-North American lobby’ (lobby judeo-norteamericano). In September, a bookstore located between Rivadavia and Nazca Street, Buenos Aires, was selling posters showing a Star of David equated with the US flag and a swastika. On 27 September, graffiti stating “Jews are murderers,” “Jews=murders=USA” and “USA=Star of David,” appeared on the corner of Vidal and Sucre Streets, Buenos Aires.
Among some radical left-wing groups in Argentina, theocratic countries and groups such as Iran, Hizballah and Hamas are portrayed as models of cultural and political resistance fighting imperialism. Supporters of such groups displayed Hizballah flags at demonstrations and defended the Iranian president. In August, for example, Jewish demonstrators protesting Iran’s anti-Israel rhetoric and denial of the Holocaust outside the Iranian embassy were harassed by left-wingers displaying Hizballah and Iranian flags.
However, some left-wing parties (such as the Socialist Party, the center-left Argentina para una Republica de Iguales [Argentina for a Republic of Equal People – ARI], led by Elisa Carrio, and the small ‘greens’ party Partido Humanista) wondered how left-wing groups could take a stand on behalf of Iran and Hizballah and support those who denied the Holocaust. In a statement made before the European forum of the Regional Humanista Europea – Internacional humanista, Posición y Propuesta frente a los acontecimientos de Medio Oriente, these parties demonstrated a more balanced approach. They denounced antisemitism and condemned Hizballah and Hamas attacks against “the people of Israel,” but also “Israeli actions in Gaza and in Lebanon.”
Anger against Israel directed against the Jewish community, as the allegedly loyal supporter of Israel, revealed deep-seated antisemitic feelings. Jorge Abib, provincial senator of the Province of Cordoba, for example, said on a radio program on 29 July: “The Jews put the bomb in the AMIA. What Hitler did was a good thing… What Israel is doing is much worse that what Hitler did. They are the same acts that Hitler did but 10 times worse than that.” Because of the Jews’ identification with Israel, some urge restriction of their personal and/or collective civil rights or even for their deportation from Argentina to Israel. On 30 August, callers to the radio program “Rock and Pop,” hosted by Elizabeth Bernacci, demanded the expulsion of Jews from the country during a discussion about the political situation in the Middle East. The new flare-up in the conflict between Israel and Hizballah was a reminder that the latter, together with Iranian agents, was responsible for the attack on the AMIA community center (1994). It should be noted that among some sectors of Argentinean public opinion this so-called unsolved incident is perceived as a ‘Jewish problem’, not an Argentinean one, and some even justify the attack. An anonymous e-mail sent to AMIA said: “The AMIA was already bombed, so [Jews] leave, go away and get your justice in Israel. Don’t bother us any more. You are the garbage of humanity!” (see Jorge Elbaum, “El lado izquierdo de la historia y el prejuicio,” Controversias 1, 2007).
Some neo-Nazi organizations, such as Partido Nuevo Triunfo, took advantage of the situation to claim that the State of Israel has no right to exist. Generally, the word ‘Zionist’ is used by them as a synonym for ‘perversion’ or ‘cruelty’ and Israel is termed a ‘fascist state’. Partido Nuevo Triunfo does not accept the existence of a Zionist entity, “the self-proclaimed ‘State of Israel’” (see “El Partido Nuevo Triunfo no reconoce la existencia de la entidad sionista autodenominada Israel” − htttp://pnt.libreopinion.com/novedades/nov20060720; also, D. Stiglitz, Antisemitismo, Medio Oriente y política Argentina, Buenos Aires, 2006). The piece continues: “We are very glad about the very late but very positive wake up of other political sectors, which until now were allied to the International Zionist Movement, but appear now to understand the real nature of the enemy of the free people.”
Venezuela The extremely anti-Israel stand of the government, backed by the official and semi- official media, has given rise to a trend in Venezuela of delegitimizing the State of Israel, relativizing the Holocaust and employing Arab antisemitic propaganda and traditional antisemitic motifs to justify the country’s stand toward current political events, such as the 2006 war in Lebanon. This antisemitic approach, adopted at the very top of the political hierarchy, is a result of the decision of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2006 to strengthen ties with Arab countries, reject the US, and appear as the new leader of Latin America, like Cuba’s Fidel Castro in the 1960s and 1970s. The strengthening of Venezuelan-Iranian relations since February when an economic agreement was signed between the two countries may partly account for extremely anti-Israel statements made by members of Chavez circles before and especially after the war in Lebanon. During the first months of the year the pro-Chavez mass media continued to accuse Israel, the Mossad and the Jewish community in Venezuela of involvement in various events in Venezuela (such as the 2002 coup d’état against Chavez). For example, an interviewee on the program “La Hojilla,” on the official Venezuelan TV station (Venezolana de Televisión) (5 Jan.) said: “... since we ask for respect for all minorities, we ask the Jewish community to be loyal to Venezuela and that their members stop doing what they are doing against Venezuela.”
The Second Lebanon War intensified anti-Israel rhetoric. Moreover, in contrast to other Latin American countries, openly antisemitic statements were made by official representatives and organs, including Chavez himself, the vice-president, several ministers and Congressmen and the pro-Chavez media. Chavez compared Israelis and Jews to Nazis and to Hitler. Although this tendency began when he turned his back completely on the US and strengthened ties with the Arab world, his antisemitic statements were exceptional because they contradicted Venezuelan, as well as Latin American, tradition regarding the political use of antisemitism by leaders, not to mention his own previous admonition to avoid openly antisemitic statements. On 19 July, before leaving Maiquetia airport for a visit to Argentina, Chavez told journalists that Israel was carrying out “a real genocide” of the Lebanese people. At a press conference, together with President Ahmadinejad during a visit to Tehran on 30 July, he said:
My brother Ahmadinejad informed me about the horrors of Israeli bombs against shelters where women and children are hiding. This is a cowardly attitude. Why don’t they… confront a real army? They want war because they have the devil inside them... A force will emerge from the brave people [the Lebanese] that will put an end to the empire and to its people [lacayos, referring to the Israeli people].On the TV program “Alo, President” (6 Aug.) on Venezolana de Televisión, he accused Israelis of “applying to the Lebanese people and to the Palestinian people the same treatment they have so criticized about the Holocaust... But this is a new Holocaust, they are murdering children… they are using US bombs… so that the Israelis can commit this genocide.” Two days later, he said: “No matter who criticizes me I have no intention of maintaining diplomatic relations with a state like Israel.” In Peking on 25 August, and again in Doha three days later, he reiterated the genocide theme and likened Israeli behavior to that of the Nazis. In Damascus, on 30 August, he branded Israel “a creation of the North American empire in the Middle East” and “the reason for the conflict in the area.” Venezuelan government officials blamed Israel entirely for the war. Referring to both the war and its conflict with the Palestinians, Foreign Minister and President of the Congress Nicolas Maduro, said on 15 July that “no pretext can justify such aggression.” On 29 August, he said he agreed with Kuala Lumpur that Israeli leaders should be tried by an international tribunal for the crimes they were committing in Lebanon.
Angel Rafael Tortolero Leal, a former Venezuelan diplomat in Israel, wrote in the pro-Chavez Aporrea (6 Aug.) that Israel’s “invasion” of Arab land in 1948 had been legitimized by the UN, including Venezuela’s “shameful” vote. Alluding to the Jewish community in Venezuela, he declared that in the face of “Zionist aggression” against the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples, “revolutionary persons” should be “on the side of solidarity [with the Lebanese and Palestinian victims].”
Several Congressmen, some of Arab origin, made anti-Zionist and antisemitic statements. Tareck El Aissami, a member of the Chavez coalition, denied the legitimacy of the State of Israel (Aporrea, 17 July); Adel El Zabayar, from the coalition party Movimiento Venezolano Revolucionario – MVR, developed the Holocaust denial theory of Roger Garaudy under the title “El lobby terrorista del sionismo internacional” (The Terrorist Lobby of International Zionism) (Aporrea, 16 July). The Venezuelan Congress issued a statement on 19 July alleging that Lebanon was being “indiscriminately attacked by Israel with chemical weapons.” In the preceding debate, Adel El Zabayar accused Israel and Zionism of being expansionist. Rafic Souki (MVR) claimed Zionism had the power to commit mass murder.
On 31 July, Nicolas Maduro, as president of the Congress, compared the 2006 Qana tragedy to the Holocaust, alleging that the State of Israel was governed by crazy murderers.
These events remind us of the crimes committed by Hitler’s Nazi army against the innocent people of Europe in the 1940s. We have to remember the Nazi Holocaust against the Jewish people, which seems to be happening again against the Arab people.On 3 August the Venezuelan Congress passed a resolution initiated by Congressmen of Arab origin condemning the “genocidal offensive of the State of Israel.”
The pro-Chavez online journal A Plena Voz carried, in August, several articles on the war comparing Israel and its leadership to Hitler and Nazism. In “¿Hasta cuándo?” (Until When?), well known intellectual Eduardo Galeano, blamed Israel for the creation of Hizballah. In “La sangrienta huella del fascismo” (The Bloody Sign of Fascism), Waldo Bastias likened the suffering of Lebanese children to that of children in Auschwitz. Germán Pinto Saavedra, in “La cuestión judía” (The Jewish Question) recalled the persecution of the Jews during the Third Reich, claiming that since 1948 Israel had been taking its revenge. In “Sionismo, colonialismo e imperialismo,” Francisco Javier Velasco, delegitimized the Zionist movement. Huge red headlines in the pro-Chavez publication Docencia Participativa proclaimed in July: “Stop the Massacre for God’s Sake. For Allah’s Sake. Jewish Murderers! Apocalyptic Beasts!”; and, in August: “Nazis in the XXth Century, Jews in the XXIth Century”; a Star of David Star filled with swastikas appeared on the back page of this issue. An openly antisemitic campaign against Israel, the Israeli people and Jews in general, appeared in journals such as VEA and in Los papeles de Mandiga (also a radio program), as well as on Venezuelan radio and TV, both official and semi-official, especially National Venezuelan Radio, Radio YVKE Mundial and Venezolana de Televisión. The principal proponents were Vladimir Acosta, Alberto Nolia, Mario and Manuel Silva, Cristina González, Basem Tajeldine and Susana Khalil. They supported Hamas and Hizballah and accused the CAIV (representative organization of the Venezuelan Jewish community) and the Israeli ambassador of backing the “terrorist State of Israel.” On YVKE Mundial’s program “Los Papaeles de Mandiga” (19 July), Alberto Nolia referred to “the dirty people that have control over the CAIV Jewish organization, to that group of Nazis that do not represent the Jews of Venezuela, most of whom are decent people and are not responsible for the acts of the Israel government,” and asked, “How many children did the SS Jews murder? Because they are the SS in Israeli uniform. But the SS were more ethical, they were more decent than the Israeli soldier murderers.” On another program he said: “We cannot have a relationship with the terrorist, criminal, racist State of Israel… it is very strange, the democracy of Adolf Olmert or Ehud Hitler.” Nolia continued in this vein in his column “Cianuro en gotas” in the weekly Los papeles de Mandinga (8 Aug.). Interviewing a Palestinian resident of Venezuela on the TV program “La Hojilla” on Venezuelan Television (8 Aug.), Mario Silva claimed that the coup d’état of 11 April 2002 against President Chavez was organized by the Israeli embassy and the chief rabbi of Venezuela.
In “Los judíos sionistas” published in El Diario de Caracas (2 Sept.), Tarek Muci Nasir (pseudonym), claimed the Zionists were a radical and destructive sect, who had committed a Holocaust-like genocide in Palestine and in Lebanon and would once again suffer from a Holocaust because of the hate the world felt for them. “The Jewish race is condemned to disappear because they intermarry... the only way remaining for them is to provoke wars... the Jews are lying when they say they are the chosen people… they are without a homeland because they killed Christ,” he continued, alleging that in Venezuela they controlled the economy, finances, media and commerce, and were trying to infiltrate the public service and politics. “Maybe we will have to throw them out of our country,” he said. From October to December, there was a decline in antisemitic statements, probably due to the presidential elections (December), which took up much of Chavez’s, and hence the media’s, time.
THE ARAB WORLD
Similar to previous flare-ups between Israel and an Arab adversary, such as the second intifada which erupted at the end of September 2000, the Second Lebanon War unleashed a wave of anti-Israel incitement and antisemitic manifestations throughout the Arab world and within Arab and Muslim communities worldwide. The war was perceived not as a limited Israeli-Hizballah or Israeli-Lebanese confrontation but viewed within a broader regional and international context: an Israeli-Iranian war by proxy and a war that would shape a new Middle East order. As such, it aroused fears of Islamist advances in moderate Arab states and led to Arab re- alignment into two camps: a Saudi-Egyptian-Jordanian (pro-Western) axis and a Hizballah-Iranian-Syrian bloc. This division reflected an even wider, Sunni-Shi`i schism, exacerbated by the war in Iraq. In regard to the alliance of Syria − which is ruled by the Ba`th secularist party − with the ‘Shi`i’ resistance camp, President Bashir Asad, the patron of Hizballah and the Palestinian Islamist Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements, identifies with Iran’s position vis-à-vis the region and the US. This complex state of affairs was expressed in official Arab reactions and attitudes to the war, which ranged from strong condemnation of Israel to calls for restraint and even criticism of Hizballah. In contrast, ‘the Arab street’ was almost unanimous in its support of and solidarity with Hizballah, manifesting a virulently anti-Israel mood, exacerbated by the incident in Qana on 30 July, when 28 innocent Lebanese were mistakenly killed. Whether victorious or defeated, Hizballah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah became an icon, gaining “a place in the hearts of millions of Arabs angered and ashamed by their governments’ perceived acquiescence to Israeli and US policies,” wrote Hamza Hendawi (Washington Post, 22 July). Expressing complete identification, Palestinians across the political spectrum welcomed the Hizballah attack and kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. Gunmen joyfully fired into the air, and prisoners held in Israeli jails reportedly began chanting and dancing as they heard the news. The daily al-Ayyam (17 July) depicted Nasrallah as a ‘superman’ and demonstrators marched in solidarity, carrying placards proclaiming: “Yes to resistance, no to submission,” in Ramallah, Jenin, Gaza and Nablus during the month of the war; PA TV boasted on 4 August that “The Zionists” have reacted “in horror, fear and confusion… living like mice and rabbits.” Similar protests were held in Cairo, Amman, Baghdad and Bangladesh, as well as by Muslims in Berlin, London, Paris and Rome. Particularly vociferous was the reaction in Egypt, where leftists and Islamists alike, who have increasingly voiced their dissatisfaction with their president and regime, as well as with ties with Israel, discovered a new hero in Nasrallah, “a true man,” “a brave man,” whom they would even be happy to see leading their country. A message addressed to Nasrallah at a gathering of activists, intellectuals and journalists, held in Cairo on 17 July, expressed support for his resistance movement, which “guards this nation’s rights, spirit and dignity” and “has restored the nation’s confidence.” Demonstrators in various Egyptian cities wrapped their heads with Hizballah banners, waved Lebanese and Hamas flags, shouted “Resistance is the solution” and burned the Israeli flag. They demanded closure of the Israeli embassy in Egypt and expulsion of the ambassador. The Egyptian Council for Women, chaired by the president’s wife Susanne Mubarak, held a meeting on 1 August to show solidarity with Palestinian and Lebanese women, during which speakers attacked Israel’s “aggressive war,” motivated “by utter hatred of others… and by a conviction that peace is only possible when other nations decide to submit to Israel.” At the meeting a representative of the Suzanne Mubarak Women for Peace International Movement announced that photos documenting Israeli atrocities had been compiled and would be sent to all concerned humanitarian groups “to highlight the huge volume of death and damage inflicted by the Israeli war.” A National Committee for Supporting the Lebanese and Palestinian Peoples was established, and according to al-Ahram Weekly (17 Aug.), it was intending to launch a website urging people to boycott all Israeli and American goods and services, and to document war crimes committed by the Israeli army in Lebanon with the object of bringing its findings before the Hague Tribunal.
Islamists intensified the theme of Jew-hatred. “We are fighting the Jews in the name of religion, in the name of Islam, which makes this jihad an individual duty,” declared leading Sunni Islamist scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who sanctions martyrdom operations against Israeli civilian targets. This was the message in Friday sermons throughout the Arab world, which angrily denounced Israeli brutality and called for jihad. They underscored both the David-versus-Goliath glamour of Hizballah’s fight against Israel, and antipathy toward the US and its Arab allies in the region. Tens of thousands of followers of Shi`i Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr shouted slogans, such as “Death to Israel,” and “Death to the US,” in a rally held on Friday 4 August in Baghdad. Muslims who cannot join the Islamic resistance are permitted, according to Islamic law, to carry out actions to paralyze the interests of Israel and the US in their countries and in other places, stated Syrian cleric Shaykh Muhammad Sayyid Ramadan al-Buti, in an interview to Hizballah’s al-Manar TV on 8 August. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Ladin’s second in command, renewed al-Qa`ida’s call for holy war against Israel, threatening to attack everywhere. Despite the Sunni global jihad movement’s antagonism to Shi`ites, there is tacit agreement between them regarding Israel and Zionism. “It is a jihad for the sake of God and will last until [our] religion prevails…from Spain to Iraq,” he said in a message broadcast on al-Jazeera TV, 27 July.
Resentment of Israel was also expressed in antisemitic terms, such as accusing Israel of conspiring against Islam and the Arabs and embodying Israelis with age-old Jewish stereotypes, as well as with Nazi, racist traits. Venomous cartoons published almost daily across the Arab press played a major role in exposing a range of antisemitic prejudice. Israeli soldiers were depicted as bloodthirsty, Nazi-like figures; Jews were drawn with hooked noses, long beards and black hats; Israeli leaders were portrayed as greedy and manipulative and drank the blood of Lebanese victims; and the swastika was superimposed over the Star of David (al-Watan [Qatar]; 18, 20, 21 July; al-Dustur [Jordan]; 18, 26 July; al-Quds al-`Arabi (London), 19 July). An increase in anti-Zionist and antisemitic articles was observed, and coverage of the war had a clear anti-Israel bias, with al-Jazeera network taking the lead. Numerous commentaries reiterated traditional Islamic motifs, depicting traits of “the descendants of apes and pigs,” and stressing their violation of agreements, contempt for other religions, and adherence to Torah commands to kill and annihilate women and children.
“I hereby declare that I withdraw my recognition of Israel. This is not a state but an organized crime gang, more dangerous than any familiar mafia because it bribed the American judge, and acts against the law under its protection,” declared liberal Lebanese columnist Jihad al-Khazin in the daily al-Hayat, one of the most progressive papers in the Arab world, on 26 July, two weeks into the war. He went on to describe Israel as “a malignant tumor” spreading in the Middle East body, yet since he considered himself a man of peace, he did not call for uprooting it or throwing the Jews into the sea but for isolating it behind bars. Somewhat apologetically in an earlier column (22 July), he described Israel’s actions as Nazi, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as “a small führer” and his military leaders as “SS generals.” The expression “Israeli Nazism” is an oxymoron, he wrote, but “I can’t find any other logical definition for Israel’s Nazi-like actions… Is it logical for the survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants to do what the Nazis did to them?” Al-Khazin is not a Holocaust denier, but he has repeatedly equated Israel with Nazi Germany and described the Gaza Strip as a concentration camp. His columns included two major motifs: a conspiratorial alliance between Jews and Americans against Muslims and Arabs, derived from perceived unquestionable American support for Israel; and the equation of Israel and Zionism with Nazism. This analogy, and reference to the Holocaust, its terminology and symbols to describe the events, emerged as the most widespread theme in the Arab and Muslim discourse in the wake of the war, typifying mainstream and nationalist, as well as Islamist discourse.
Utilization of Holocaust references intensified after the incident in Qana, which was presented as a massacre reminiscent of the tragedy which occurred in the same village on 18 April 1996. “An Israeli-made holocaust”; “more than the Holocaust”; “Israeli terrorism is an integral part of Israel’s nature and creation”; “the symbiotic relationship between Zionism and Nazism”; and “the era of the new Nazism”, were a few of the phrases and headlines (al-Riyadh, 27 July; al-Watan [Kuwait], 31 July; al-Nahar, 1 Aug.; al-Ba`th, 18 July). Israelis were characterized as disciples of Hitler and war criminals, who should be brought to trial. A few articles (al-Wafd, 24 July; al-Ahram, 13 Aug.) wondered when Arabs and Palestinians would inaugurate museums, such as Yad Vashem, to exhibit Israeli atrocities and the ‘Arab holocaust’. Obviously, such themes sought not only to dehumanize Israel and the Jews but to de-legitimize Israel’s right to exist. Several articles delved into history to prove that the establishment of the State of Israel was a mistake. Researcher Khlaid Ibrahim Ba`ba` asserted in the Jordanian daily al-Dustur (31 July) that Israel had no legal legitimacy, while Zayd Hamza in another Jordanian daily, al-Ra’y (12 Aug.), asserted that “the biggest mistake of Israel now is that it forgets that Israel itself was a mistake!” Antisemitic waves rise and recede in relation to political events and developments and are linked to broader processes affecting Arab societies. The Lebanon war provided a glaring example of the chaos prevailing in the region, the internal instability of the various states, Sunni-Shi`i animosity and regional rivalry for hegemony, exacerbated by the rise of Iranian ambitions to dominate the Middle East and even to obtain recognition as a world power. Several Arab leaders, therefore, did not identify with Hizballah − “their reflexive anti-Zionist response has been held in check,” as Daniel Pipes phrased it − and a few of them even hoped for a swift Israeli victory. The political rift in the Arab leadership was evidenced on the religious level as well, leading to an unprecedented ‘war of fatwas’ between a camp of religious scholars, particularly Saudis, who opposed Hizballah, considering it an enemy and Nasrallah a ‘Satan’ and ‘infidel’, and one that supported it, seeing it as “glorious national resistance.” `Abd al-Rahman al-Rashid, director of al-Arabiya TV, even agreed, in al-Sharq al-Awsat (13 Aug.), with Western commentators who perceive Islamist movements as fascist. In Egypt, popular preacher Safwat Hijjazi, who issued an edict during the war calling for murdering any Israeli Jew, faced charges of instigating murder.
However, the Arab-Muslim discourse continued to interlace anti- Americanism with anti-Israelism and antisemitism, linking alleged American and Israeli interests and goals to destroy Islam. The main lesson Arabs derived from the war was that Israel is not invincible, a thought that might serve to inspire future unity and rally forces to amend the mistake committed by its establishment.
The graphs in this section refer to violent acts perpetrated against Jewish targets worldwide during 2006. The figures are based on the database of the Stephen Roth Institute and reports of the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism.
The data in the graphs are divided into two categories: (1) Major attacks. Includes attacks and attempted attacks by violent means, such as arson, firebombing and shooting. (2) Major violent incidents. Includes harassment of individuals and vandalism of Jewish property and sites, e.g., damage to community buildings and desecration of synagogues, as well as street violence not involving the use of a weapon. It should be stressed that the graphs reflect only serious acts of antisemitic violence. Israel Christian Zionism
Violent Anti-Semitic Incidents
Anti-Semitism: Major Attacks in 2006
Breakdown by Continent
Anti-Semitism: Major Attacks in 2006
Breakdown by Country
Anti-Semitism: Major Attacks in 2006
Breakdown by Modus Operandi
Anti-Semitism: Major Attacks in 2006
Breakdown by Target
Anti-Semitism: Major Violent Incidents in 2006
Breakdown by Continent
Anti-Semitism: Major Violent Incidents in 2006
Breakdown by Country
Anti-Semitism: Major Violent Incidents in 2006
Breakdown by Target
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