EU body shelves report on anti-Semitism

November 24, 2003

CONTENTS

1. Anti-Semitism in Europe, alive and kicking
2. EU report concluded Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups behind many incidents
3. "The decision not to publish was a political decision"
4. Shalom: Signs of anti-Semitism creeping into Europe
5. "Now, Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis has said that Jews are the root of all evil"
6. Israel training Greeks to deal with Olympics terror threats
7. Athens exhibit glorifies female suicide bombers
8. Sharon: Anti-Semitism is rife across Europe
9. "EU body shelves report on anti-semitism" (Financial Times, Nov. 22-23, 2003)
10. "EU racism watchdog suppressed anti-Semitism report" (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 22, 2003)
11. "Israel Proposes Anti-Semitism Council with Europe" (Reuters, Nov. 17, 2003)
12. "Another anti-Semite" (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2003)
13. "Israel helping train Greeks to handle Olympics terror threats" (Israel Insider, Nov. 20, 2003)
14. "Wiesenthal Centre to Greek Prime Minister: Athens exhibit glorifying suicide bombers escalates prospect for terrorism in the context of approaching Olympics" (Paris, Oct. 8 2003)
15. "Sharon attacks European leaders over 'anti-Semitism'" (London Times, Nov. 24, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

ANTI-SEMITISM IN EUROPE, ALIVE AND KICKING

I attach seven articles about European anti-Semitism, with summaries first:

EU REPORT CONCLUDED MUSLIMS AND PRO-PALESTINIAN GROUPS BEHIND MANY INCIDENTS

1. "EU body shelves report on anti-semitism" (This article was the lead front page report on the weekend edition of the Financial Times, November 22-23, 2003). "The European Union's racism watchdog has shelved a report on anti-semitism because the study concluded Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind many of the incidents it examined. The Vienna-based European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) decided in February not to publish the 112-page study, a copy of which was obtained by the Financial Times, after clashing with its authors over their conclusions. The news comes amid growing fears that there is an upsurge of anti-semitism in European Union countries. Among many recent incidents, a Jewish school near Paris was firebombed last Saturday, the same day two Istanbul synagogues were devastated by suicide truck bombs that killed 25 and wounded 300."

“THE DECISION NOT TO PUBLISH WAS A POLITICAL DECISION”

2. "EU racism watchdog suppressed anti-Semitism report" (The Jerusalem Post, Nov. 22, 2003). "... When the researchers submitted their work in October 2002, the centre's senior staff and management board objected to their definition of anti-Semitism, which included some anti-Israel acts, and the focus on Muslim and pro-Palestinian perpetrators was judged inflammatory. An extract from the report obtained by the Financial Times stated: "... it can be concluded that the anti-Semitic incidents in the monitoring period were committed above all by rightwing extremists and radical Islamists or young Muslims." "The decision not to publish was a political decision," a source familiar with the report told the Financial Times.

In July, US congressman Robert Wexler wrote to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana demanding the release of the study.

Beate Winkler, a EUMC director, said "There was a problem with the definition [of anti-semitism] too. It was too complicated," she said.

SHALOM: SIGNS OF ANTI-SEMITISM CREEPING INTO EUROPE

3. "Israel Proposes Anti-Semitism Council with Europe" (Reuters, Nov. 17, 2003). "Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said there were signs of anti-Semitism creeping back into Europe and he would propose setting up a joint ministerial council with the European Union to fight it off."

“NOW, GREEK COMPOSER MIKIS THEODORAKIS HAS SAID THAT JEWS ARE THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL”

4. "Another anti-Semite" (The Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2003). "Criticism of Israel, it is often said, should not be equated with anti-Semitism. True enough. But it's also true that anti-Zionism has long provided anti-Semites with political cover. Every now and then, however, the cover slips. We saw this last year, when Irish poet Tom Paulin versified against the "Zionist SS." We saw it when Gretta Duisenberg, the wife of the president of the European Central Bank, quipped that she would seek six million signatures for her pro-Palestinian petition. We saw it when Portuguese novelist and Nobel laureate Jose Saramango, on a "solidarity" visit with Yasser Arafat, equated Ramallah with Auschwitz. Now, Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis has said that the Jews are the root of all evil. Coming on the heels of Malaysian leader Mohamad Mahatir's remarks about the Jews seeking to rule the world, and of German lawmaker Martin Hohmann's accusation that Jews were behind Bolshevism's atrocities, there is a natural tendency to lump all these forms of bigotry together, and link them to Israel's behavior.

... statements made by celebrities on the scale of Theodorakis matter, because they come from people who pretend to care about the world, and who are widely respected in opinion-making circles.

... What Theodorakis and his fellow travelers who once made careers of confronting European and South American dictators have yet to concede, let alone do something about, is the flourishing of despotism in the Middle East. Instead, they have chosen to demonize the US and Israel in a way that bears ever-greater resemblance to what we hear every day from Islamic fundamentalists."

ISRAEL TRAINING GREEKS TO DEAL WITH OLYMPICS TERROR THREATS

5. "Israel helping train Greeks to handle Olympics terror threats" (Israel Insider, Nov. 20, 2003). "Israeli police are helping train their Greek counterparts in dealing with possible terror threats at next year's Summer Olympics. As part of an international security advisory team training the Greek police, Israeli instructors have been giving lessens in hostage taking scenarios, security inspections and shooting and bombing attacks, Maariv reported. The report of Israeli-Greek security cooperation comes just two weeks after Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, 78, best known for scoring the music for the film Zorba the Greek, commented that Jews are the "root of all evil" and reports circulated on the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents in Greece."

ATHENS EXHIBIT GLORIFIES FEMALE SUICIDE BOMBERS

6. "Wiesenthal Centre to Greek Prime Minister: Athens exhibit glorifying suicide bombers escalates prospect for terrorism in the context of approaching Olympics" (Paris, Oct. 8, 2003). The Simon Wiesenthal Centre expressed horror at the forthcoming inauguration of an exhibition entitled "Body Milk," glorifying female suicide bombers, to open at the Antonopoulou Gallery in Athens. According to the daily newspaper 'Ta Nea', this pink lace embroidery montage displays an Arab woman and her bomb belt "heroically" obliterating an Israeli supermarket.

In the 'Ta Nea' interview, the organizer, Thessaly University Architecture Professor Alexandros Psychoulis is quoted: "I feel that the experiment of Israel has failed... but politics do not concern me in this work, only the relations between the woman and the supermarket what is it that ultimately makes her feel pleasure in This place?...The title 'Body Milk' brings together both female cosmetics and the human milk of an 18 year old Palestinian girl bomber in an Israeli supermarket last March. A very beautiful girl, educated, in love... of an army of women in the women's space of the supermarket... the supermarket is a super female provider. If she blows herself there, she is magnifying her existence and her act."

Psychoulis acknowledges his wife's inspiration for presenting the exhibit in pink, as "black would be tragic. With pink one can say the most tragic thing in the lightest way."

SHARON: ANTI-SEMITISM IS RIFE ACROSS EUROPE

7. "Sharon attacks European leaders over 'anti-Semitism'" (London Times, Nov. 24, 2003). "Anti-Semitism is rife across Europe, its leaders are not doing enough to tackle it and they are biased against Israel, Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, says today. He added 'The state of Israel cannot afford to deposit its destiny in the hands of the Europeans who are known for their unbalanced policy.' Mr Sharon's remarks, which will add to the tensions between Europe and Israel over the Middle East peace process, are delivered in an interview with the European political website EUpolitix.com."



FULL ARTICLES

EU BODY SHELVES REPORT ON ANTI-SEMITISM

EU body shelves report on anti-semitism
By Bertrand Benoit in Berlin
The Financial Times
November 22-23 2003

The European Union's racism watchdog has shelved a report on anti-semitism because the study concluded Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind many of the incidents it examined.

The Vienna-based European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) decided in February not to publish the 112-page study, a copy of which was obtained by the Financial Times, after clashing with its authors over their conclusions.

The news comes amid growing fears that there is an upsurge of anti-semitism in European Union countries. Among many recent incidents, a Jewish school near Paris was firebombed last Saturday, the same day two Istanbul synagogues were devastated by suicide truck bombs that killed 25 and wounded 300.

Turkey, which hopes to join the EU, suffered again at the hands of what are believed to be al-Qaeda inspired terrorists on Thursday with truck bomb attacks on British targets.

Following a spate of incidents in early 2002, the EUMC commissioned a report from the Centre for Research on Anti-semitism at Berlin's Technical University.

When the researchers submitted their work in October last year, however, the centre's senior staff and management board objected to their definition of anti-semitism, which included some anti-Israel acts. The focus on Muslim and pro-Palestinian perpetrators, meanwhile, was judged inflammatory.

"There is a trend towards Muslim anti-semitism, while on the left there is mobilisation against Israel that is not always free of prejudice," said one person familiar with the report. "Merely saying the perpetrators are French, Belgian or Dutch does no justice to the full picture."

Some EUMC board members had also attacked part of the analysis ascribing anti-semitic motives to leftwing and anti-globalisation groups, this person said. "The decision not to publish was a political decision."

The board includes 18 members one for each member state, the European Commission, Parliament, and the council of Europe as well as 18 deputies. One deputy, who declined to be named, confirmed the directors had seen the study as biased.

In July, Robert Wexler, a US congressman, wrote to Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, demanding the release of the study.

Ole Espersen, law professor at Copenhagen University and board member for Denmark, said the study was "unsatisfactory" and that some members had felt anti-Islamic sentiment should be addressed too.

The EUMC, which was set in 1998, has published three reports on anti-Islamic attitudes in Europe since the September 11 attacks in the US.

Beate Winkler, a director, said the report had been rejected because the initial time scale included in the brief covering the period between May and June 2002 was later judged to be unrepresentative. "There was a problem with the definition [of anti-semitism] too. It was too complicated," she said.

This week, Silvan Shalom, Israel's foreign minister, proposed a joint ministerial council to fight what Israel sees as a rise in European anti-semitism.

 

EU RACISM WATCHDOG SUPPRESSED ANTI-SEMITISM REPORT

EU racism watchdog suppressed anti-Semitism report
The Jerusalem Post
November 22, 2003

The European Union's racism watchdog shelved a report on anti-semitism because the study concluded Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind many of the incidents examined, the Financial Times reported.

The Vienna-based European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) decided in February not to publish the 112-page study after clashing with its authors over their conclusions.

When the researchers submitted their work in October 2002, the centre's senior staff and management board objected to their definition of anti-Semitism, which included some anti-Israel acts, and the focus on Muslim and pro-Palestinian perpetrators was judged inflammatory.

An extract from the report obtained by the Financial Times stated: "...it can be concluded that the anti-Semitic incidents in the monitoring period were committed above all by rightwing extremists and radical Islamists or young Muslims."

"The decision not to publish was a political decision," a source familiar with the report told the Financial Times.

"There is a trend towards Muslim anti-semitism, while on the left there is mobilisation against Israel that is not always free of prejudice," said one person familiar with the report. "Merely saying the perpetrators are French, Belgian or Dutch does no justice to the full picture."

In July, US congressman Robert Wexler wrote to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana demanding the release of the study.

The report's leaked findings come just a week after the bombing of a Jewish school in northern Paris and suicide attacks on two Istanbul synagogues, where 23 people were killed.

Beate Winkler, a EUMC director, said the report had been rejected because the initial time scale included in the brief covering the period between May and June 2002 was later judged to be unrepresentative, the Financial Times reported. "There was a problem with the definition [of anti-Semitism] too. It was too complicated," she said.

 

ISRAEL PROPOSES ANTI-SEMITISM COUNCIL WITH EUROPE

Israel Proposes Anti-Semitism Council with Europe
Reuters
November 17, 2003

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Monday there were signs of anti-Semitism creeping back into Europe and he would propose setting up a joint ministerial council with the European Union to fight it off.

"Unfortunately recently we ... noticed that some signals of anti-Semitism are back in Europe," Shalom told Reuters in an interview before meeting with EU foreign ministers.

"I would like to ask all of them tonight to form a ministerial council of Europe and Israel that will fight together against this phenomenon of anti-Semitism. I believe that we should do it immediately."

 

ANOTHER ANTI-SEMITE

Another anti-Semite
The Jerusalem Post
November 18, 2003

Criticism of Israel, it is often said, should not be equated with anti-Semitism. True enough. But it's also true that anti-Zionism has long provided anti-Semites with political cover. Every now and then, however, the cover slips.

We saw this last year, when Irish poet Tom Paulin versified against the "Zionist SS." We saw it when Gretta Duisenberg, the wife of the president of the European Central Bank, quipped that she would seek six million signatures for her pro-Palestinian petition. We saw it when Portuguese novelist and Nobel laureate Jose Saramango, on a "solidarity" visit with Yasser Arafat, equated Ramallah with Auschwitz.

Now, Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis has said that the Jews are the root of all evil. Coming on the heels of Malaysian leader Mohamad Mahatir's remarks about the Jews seeking to rule the world, and of German lawmaker Martin Hohmann's accusation that Jews were behind Bolshevism's atrocities, there is a natural tendency to lump all these forms of bigotry together, and link them to Israel's behavior.

Reality is different.

As Mossad experts have recently said in closed forums, the Jewish people is facing today three kinds of anti-Semitism: classic, liberal, and Muslim.

For its part, the Mossad warns that the Muslim sort which is also the newest is also the most dangerous. Judging by the deadly attacks waged last year in Djerba, and last May in Casablanca, and last week in Istanbul that is clearly right, at least in the immediate term.

Conversely, the kind of pronouncement made by Hohmann represents time-honored anti-Semitic instincts, which lead people to first detect persons of Jewish background and then assume they all operate in clandestine coordination.

Those, too, while their social potency cannot be exaggerated, can at least be dismissed intellectually as little more than poor jokes.

Yet statements made by celebrities on the scale of Theodorakis matter, because they come from people who pretend to care about the world, and who are widely respected in opinion-making circles.

Moreover, as a man who sat in jail for facing up to the military junta that once ruled his country, Theodorakis carries "moral weight," or what passes for that in an increasingly immoral world.

Fortunately, Theodorakis's statements were followed by a clear and official Greek statement of disassociation. Unfortunately, the composer's pronouncements are no slip of the tongue, nor the mere case of one individual. Rather, they are evidence of a much broader disaster the moral disaster of the European Left.

To say, as Theodorakis has, that he is attacking the Jews because he has "always sided with the weak," is a good reflection of current European thinking, which effectively holds that almost any application of power is a sin and that powerlessness is a virtue.

So would Theodorakis have supported Hitler the morning after his army surrendered at Stalingrad, on the grounds that thereafter the Germans were on the defensive? The suggestion is absurd, but so too is a morality that is indifferent to anything but crude calculations of the balance of power.

(Even by Theodorakis's measure, it is far from obvious that a resource-poor country of six million is stronger than its 280 million resource-rich and almost uniformly hostile neighbors.)

What Theodorakis and his fellow travelers who once made careers of confronting European and South American dictators have yet to concede, let alone do something about, is the flourishing of despotism in the Middle East. Instead, they have chosen to demonize the US and Israel in a way that bears ever-greater resemblance to what we hear every day from Islamic fundamentalists.

Even now, most Europeans of the Left understand that the real root of the problem is religious fanaticism and political repression. But it also seems that misdirected sympathies, as well as a latent fear of Muslim advances on the Continent, are leading them to appease the worst elements of the Muslim world at Israel's expense.

To them, we say: At best, you are purchasing time at the expense of principle. And at some point, you'll run out of both. We can only hope that Theodorakis's anti-Semitic remarks awaken you to your impending moral bankruptcy.

 

ISRAEL HELPING TO TRAIN GREEKS TO HANDLE OLYMPICS TERROR THREATS

Israel helping train Greeks to handle Olympics terror threats
By Ellis Shuman
Israel Insider
November 20, 2003

Israeli police are helping train their Greek counterparts in dealing with possible terror threats at next year's Summer Olympics. As part of an international security advisory team training the Greek police, Israeli instructors have been giving lessens in hostage taking scenarios, security inspections and shooting and bombing attacks, Maariv reported.

"Israelis are regarded in Greece as experts in the field of terror and security," a senior police officer told Maariv. "Our stay in Athens has done an excellent service for Israel, and we see this in how the local authorities receive us and the feedback they are giving."

The report of Israeli-Greek security cooperation comes just two weeks after Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, 78, best known for scoring the music for the film Zorba the Greek, commented that Jews are the "root of all evil" and reports circulated on the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents in Greece.

In the wake of the suicide bombing attacks in Istanbul, Greece has increased security measures around Jewish synagogues and institutions in the country, Israel Radio reported.

Next month, a "Terror Strategy" seminar will take place in Athens for hundreds of local policemen, Maariv reported. Israeli police have taken on responsibility for much of the training process, the paper said.

Last week, the Athens daily Ta Nea reported that Israel had offered to help Greece safeguard the 2004 Olympics by sending vessels for sea patrols seeking suspected terrorists trying to enter the country and to guard Greek ports. Because of an accommodation shortage, organizers plan to house more than 10,000 officials and visitors aboard 11 cruise ships in the port of Piraeus near Athens, the Associated Press reported.

"We are ready to face any threat as a military, especially during the Olympic Games," Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said last week. Papantoniou denied reports that the United States, Israel or other nations could offer direct military support during the games. He said there is "no official proposal" for any outside military support during the games.

Two months ago, Greece came under intense international pressure for security lapses in its preparations for the 2004 Olympics. Reports from law enforcement and intelligence agencies cited disorganized police forces, breakdowns in maritime patrols and serious concerns over the pace of counter-terrorism planning.

"It took [the Greeks] a long time to go into action," said Arik Arad, former director of security for El Al Airlines. "Lately they are taking it seriously."

According to media reports, Greece hired leading terrorism and security experts as consultants from countries such as Israel, Germany, Britain and the U.S. to assess Olympic venues and train Greek security in counter-terrorism measures, including how to prevent or respond to a chemical or biological attack.

Greece budgeted a record $775 million for Olympic security. Papantoniou said the Greek forces could handle both Olympic security and border surveillance.

In September, Israel voiced displeasure with security arrangements in Athens and asked to send its own security detail to protect its athletes, the Washington Post reported. The Greek government reluctantly agreed. The security arrangement has been standard since the 1972 Munich massacre of eleven members of the Israeli Olympics delegation.

"We sent a team to Athens to look over security," a former Israeli military officer told the Post. "It was so bad that we privately threatened to boycott the Games unless things were changed."

 

SHARON ATTACKS EUROPEAN LEADERS OVER “ANTI-SEMITISM”

Sharon attacks European leaders over 'anti-Semitism'
By Philip Webster Political Editor
London Times
November 24, 2003

Anti-Semitism is rife across Europe, its leaders are not doing enough to tackle it and they are biased against Israel, Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, says today.

The ever-strengthening Muslim presence in Europe was a threat to the life of Jewish people, he said, adding: "The state of Israel cannot afford to deposit its destiny in the hands of the Europeans who are known for their unbalanced policy."

Mr Sharon's remarks, which will add to the tensions between Europe and Israel over the Middle East peace process, are delivered in an interview with the European political website EUpolitix.com.

Asked about polls showing that a majority of Europeans regard Israel as a threat to world safety, Mr Sharon says: "What we are facing in Europe is an anti-Semitism that has always existed and it really is not a new phenomenon. This anti-Semitism exists and what pushes it is a 'collective anti-Semitism' that incorporates Israel into this equation.

"Of course there are anti-Semites who use the events in Israel and the argument that Israel uses excessive force and through this they are trying to compromise Israel's right to self defence, thus there is a danger to Jews.

"An ever stronger Muslim presence in Europe is certainly endangering the life of Jewish people. This attempt of dismissing our legitimacy to self defence is testimony to anti-Semitism."

Mr Sharon throws out the distinction between anti-Semitic beliefs and legitimate criticism of Israel's policies in the Middle East. "Today there is no separation," he says. "We are talking about collective anti-Semitism.

"The state of Israel is a Jewish state and the attitude towards Israel runs accordingly. These days to conduct an anti-Semite policy is not a popular thing, so the anti-Semites bundle their policies in with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Anti-Semitism needs to be fought against.

"This is a very dangerous thing. However, certainly the right answers could be found in order to fight it. Our demand from the European countries is to fight anti-Semitism in every possible way and vigorously.

"Of course the sheer fact that there are a huge amount of Muslims, approximately 70 million in the EU, this issue has also turned into a political matter. I would say, in my opinion, EU governments are not doing enough to tackle anti-Semitism."

He says that he has told Europeans that Europe could have played a stronger and central role if it had conducted a more balanced policy in the Middle East. He says that Italy, which currently holds the presidency of the EU, is an exception.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.