Oriana Fallaci, Ron Rosenbaum, speak out on anti-Semitism

April 19, 2002


1. "Oriana Fallaci on Antisemitism" (Panorama [Italian magazine], April 12, 2002)
2. "'Second Holocaust,' Roth's Invention, Isn't Novelistic" (New York Observer, April 14, 2002)


[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach two articles on European anti-Semitism.

This strongly-worded piece by Oriana Fallaci first appeared in the Italian magazine Panorama. This translation is from www.fallaci.blogspot.com.

For those of you in Israel and the U.S. who may not know, Oriana Fallaci is one of Europe's best-known journalists and authors. In the 1960s, Fallaci, now aged 71, was ultra-trendy and a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause and anti-Vietnam war movement.

In this article she speaks out on behalf of the Jewish people against Europe's "new fascism, new nazism" and says it is even more "revolting" than the old fascism "because it is conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders, progressives, communists, pacifists, Catholics."

The article has made a certain amount of impact in Italy, where it was reprinted in the daily Corriere della Sera. The country's Defense Minister, Antonio Martino, judged her argument to be "convincing".

The second article attached in this email is by Ron Rosenbaum in the liberal weekly newspaper, the New York Observer, entitled "'Second Holocaust' – Philip Roth's Invention, Isn't Novelistic."

Rosenbaum asks why are there no "European peace activists" volunteering to place themselves in real danger – in the Tel Aviv cafes and pizzerias, or at the Seders of Netanya?

(He might also have added: or at the birthday parties of 12 year old girls in Hadera, or on Jewish school buses in Paris, or at the synagogues of Oslo, Amsterdam, Berlin, Kiev, Tunisia?)

-- Tom Gross



Oriana Fallaci on Antisemitism
Panorama (Italian magazine)
April 12, 2002

I find it shameful that in Italy there should be a procession of individuals dressed as suicide bombers who spew vile abuse at Israel, hold up photographs of Israeli leaders on whose foreheads they have drawn the swasitka, incite people to hate the Jews. And who, in order to see Jews once again in the extermination camps, in the gas chambers, in the ovens of Dachau and Mauthausen and Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen et cetera, would sell their own mother to a harem.

I find it shameful that the Catholic Church should permit a bishop, one with lodgings in the Vatican no less, a saintly man who was found in Jerusalem with an arsenal of arms and explosives hidden in the secret compartments of his sacred Mercedes, to participate in that procession and plant himself in front of a microphone to thank in the name of God the suicide bombers who massacre the Jews in pizzerias and supermarkets. To call them "martyrs who go to their deaths as to a party."

I find it shameful that in France, the France of Liberty-Equality-Fraternity, they burn synagogues, terrorize Jews, profane their cemeteries. I find it shameful that the youth of Holland and Germany and Denmark flaunt the kaffiah just as Mussolini's avant garde used to flaunt the club and the fascist badge. I find it shameful that in nearly all the universities of Europe Palestinian students sponsor and nurture anti-semitism. That in Sweden they asked that the Nobel Peace Prize given to Shimon Peres in 1994 be taken back and conferred on the dove with the olive branch in his mouth, that is on Arafat. I find it shameful that the distinguished members of the Committee, a Committee that (it would appear) rewards political color rather than merit, should take this request into consideration and even respond to it. In hell the Nobel Prize honors he who does not receive it.

I find it shameful (we're back in Italy) that state-run television stations contribute to the resurgent antisemitism, crying only over Palestinian deaths while playing down Israeli deaths, glossing over them in unwilling tones. I find it shameful that in their debates they host with much deference the scoundrels with turban or kaffiah who yesterday sang hymns to the slaughter at New York and today sing hymns to the slaughters at Jerusalem, at Haifa, at Netanya, at Tel Aviv. I find it shameful that the press does the same, that it is indignant because Israeli tanks surround the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, that it is not indignant because inside that same church two hundred Palestinian terrorists well armed with machine guns and munitions and explosives (among them are various leaders of Hamas and Al-Aqsa) are not unwelcome guests of the monks (who then accept bottles of mineral water and jars of honey from the soldiers of those tanks). I find it shameful that, in giving the number of Israelis killed since the beginning of the Second Intifada (four hundred twelve), a noted daily newspaper found it appropriate to underline in capital letters that more people are killed in their traffic accidents. (Six hundred a year).

I find it shameful that the Roman Observer, the newspaper of the Pope – a Pope who not long ago left in the Wailing Wall a letter of apology for the Jews – accuses of extermination a people who were exterminated in the millions by Christians. By Europeans. I find it shameful that this newspaper denies to the survivors of that people (survivors who still have numbers tattooed on their arms) the right to react, to defend themselves, to not be exterminated again. I find it shameful that in the name of Jesus Christ (a Jew without whom they would all be unemployed), the priests of our parishes or Social Centers or whatever they are flirt with the assassins of those in Jerusalem who cannot go to eat a pizza or buy some eggs without being blown up. I find it shameful that they are on the side of the very ones who inaugurated terrorism, killing us on airplanes, in airports, at the Olympics, and who today entertain themselves by killing western journalists. By shooting them, abducting them, cutting their throats, decapitating them. (There's someone in Italy who, since the appearance of Anger and Pride, would like to do the same to me. Citing verses of the Koran he exorts his "brothers" in the mosques and the Islamic Community to chastise me in the name of Allah. To kill me. Or rather to die with me. Since he's someone who speaks English well, I'll respond to him in English: "Fuck you.")

I find it shameful that almost all of the left, the left that twenty years ago permitted one of its union processionals to deposit a coffin (as a mafioso warning) in front of the synagogue of Rome, forgets the contribution made by the Jews to the fight against fascism. Made by Carlo and Nello Rossini, for example, by Leone Ginzburg, by Umberto Terracini, by Leo Valiani, by Emilio Sereni, by women like my friend Anna Maria Enriques Agnoletti who was shot at Florence on June 12, 1944, by seventy-five of the three-hundred-thirty-five people killed at the Fosse Ardeatine, by the infinite others killed under torture or in combat or before firing squads. (The companions, the teachers, of my infancy and my youth.) I find it shameful that in part through the fault of the left--or rather, primarily through the fault of the left (think of the left that inaugurates its congresses applauding the representative of the PLO, leader in Italy of the Palestinians who want the destruction of Israel) – Jews in Italian cities are once again afraid. And in French cities and Dutch cities and Danish cities and German cities, it is the same. I find it shameful that Jews tremble at the passage of the scoundrels dressed like suicide bombers just as they trembled during Krystallnacht, the night in which Hitler gave free rein to the Hunt of the Jews. I find it shameful that in obedience to the stupid, vile, dishonest, and for them extremely advantageous fashion of Political Correctness the usual opportunists – or better the usual parasites – exploit the word Peace. That in the name of the word Peace, by now more debauched than the words Love and Humanity, they absolve one side alone of its hate and bestiality. That in the name of a pacifism (read conformism) delegated to the singing crickets and buffoons who used to lick Pol Pot's feet they incite people who are confused or ingenuous or intimidated. Trick them, corrupt them, carry them back a half century to the time of the yellow star on the coat. These charlatans who care about the Palestinians as much as I care about the charlatans. That is not at all.

I find it shameful that many Italians and many Europeans have chosen as their standard-bearer the gentleman (or so it is polite to say) Arafat. This nonentity who thanks to the money of the Saudi Royal Family plays the Mussolini ad perpetuum and in his megalomania believes he will pass into History as the George Washington of Palestine. This ungrammatical wretch who when I interviewed him was unable even to put together a complete sentence, to make articulate conversation. So that to put it all together, write it, publish it, cost me a tremendous effort and I concluded that compared to him even Ghaddafi sounds like Leonardo da Vinci. This false warrior who always goes around in uniform like Pinochet, never putting on civilian garb, and yet despite this has never participated in a battle. War is something he sends, has always sent, others to do for him. That is, the poor souls who believe in him. This pompous incompetent who playing the part of Head of State caused the failure of the Camp David negotiations, Clinton's mediation. No-no-I-want-Jerusalem-all-to-myself. This eternal liar who has a flash of sincerity only when (in private) he denies Israel's right to exist, and who as I say in my book contradicts himself every five minutes. He always plays the double-cross, lies even if you ask him what time it is, so that you can never trust him. Never! With him you will always wind up systematically betrayed. This eternal terrorist who knows only how to be a terrorist (while keeping himself safe) and who during the Seventies, that is when I interviewed him, even trained the terrorists of Baader-Meinhof. With them, children ten years of age. Poor children. (Now he trains them to become suicide bombers. A hundred baby suicide bombers are in the works: a hundred!). This weathercock who keeps his wife at Paris, served and revered like a queen, and keeps his people down in the shit. He takes them out of the shit only to send them to die, to kill and to die, like the eighteen year old girls who in order to earn equality with men have to strap on explosives and disintegrate with their victims. And yet many Italians love him, yes. Just like they loved Mussolini. And many other Europeans do the same.

I find it shameful and see in all this the rise of a new fascism, a new nazism. A fascism, a nazism, that much more grim and revolting because it is conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders, progressives, communists, pacifists, Catholics or rather Christians, and who have the gall to label a warmonger anyone like me who screams the truth.

I see it, yes, and I say the following. I have never been tender with the tragic and Shakespearean figure Sharon. ("I know you've come to add another scalp to your necklace," he murmured almost with sadness when I went to interview him in 1982.) I have often had disagreements with the Israelis, ugly ones, and in the past I have defended the Palestinians a great deal. Maybe more than they deserved. But I stand with Israel, I stand with the Jews. I stand just as I stood as a young girl during the time when I fought with them, and when the Anna Marias were shot. I defend their right to exist, to defend themselves, to not let themselves be exterminated a second time. And disgusted by the antisemitism of many Italians, of many Europeans, I am ashamed of this shame that dishonors my Country and Europe. At best, it is not a community of States, but a pit of Pontius Pilates. And even if all the inhabitants of this planet were to think otherwise, I would continue to think so.



'Second Holocaust,' Roth's Invention, Isn't Novelistic
By Ron Rosenbaum
The New York Observer
April 14, 2002

The memory of the Holocaust is precisely what explains the one-sided anti-Israel stance of European culture.

He writes:

"...the astonishing hypocrisy of European diplomats and politicians in supporting the Palestinian "right of return" when so many Europeans are still living in homes stolen from Jews they helped murder..." (as pointed out by John Podhoretz in the NYPost, Apr.12/02, "Europe Loves Hate", posted previously).

The Second Holocaust. It's a phrase we may have to begin thinking about. A possibility we may have to contemplate. A reality we may have to witness. Somebody has to think about the unthinkable, about the unbearable, and the way it looks now, it's at least as likely to happen as not. One can imagine several ways it will happen: the current, terrible situation devolves from slow-motion mutual slaughter into instantaneous conflagration, nuclear, chemical or biological. Scenarios that remain regional. Scenarios that go global.

What is harder to imagine are ways in which it won't happen. A peace process? Goodwill among men? An end to suicidal fanaticism? In your dreams.

Instead we must begin to examine the variety of nightmare scenarios.

The Second Holocaust. It's a phrase first coined, as far as I know, by Philip Roth in his 1993 novel Operation Shylock. It's a novel which seemed incredibly bleak back then. And yet, reexamining Mr. Roth's use of the phrase "Second Holocaust" less than a decade later, even his darkest imaginings seem optimistic now. Especially when examined by the glare of burning synagogues in France.

I was reminded of Mr. Roth's Second Holocaust scenario when I came across an excerpt from Operation Shylock on the Web site of a Canadian blogger (www.davidartemiw.com) via the all-seeing Instapundit.com.

Here's the crucial exchange between a character Roth calls the "Diasporist" and the novel's narrator:

"The meanings of the Holocaust," says the Diasporist "are for us to determine, but one thing is sure – its meaning will be no less tragic than it is now if there is a second Holocaust and the offspring of the European Jews who evacuated Europe for a seemingly safer haven should meet collective annihilation in the Middle East… but a second Holocaust could happen here all too easily, and, if the conflict between Arab and Jew escalates much longer, it will – it must. The destruction of Israel in a nuclear exchange is a possibility much less far-fetched today than was the Holocaust itself fifty years ago."

"The resettlement in Europe of more than a million Jews … It sounds to me that you are proposing the final solution to the Jewish problem for Yasir Arafat."

"No. Arafat's final solution is the same as Hitler's: extermination. I am proposing the alternate to extermination [the return of the Jews from Israel to Europe]."

"You speak about resettling the Jews in Poland, Romania, Germany? In Slovakia, the Ukraine, Yugoslavia, the Baltic states? And you realize do you … how much hatred for Jews still exists in most of these countries?"

"Whatever hatred for Jews may be present in Europe … there are ranged against this residual anti-Semitism powerful currents of enlightenment and morality that are sustained by the memory of the Holocaust, a horror that operates now as a bulwark against European anti-Semitism."

Here, it is clear, is where Roth's darkest fantasy is too optimistic. Here is where we have to examine the dynamic going on in the mind of Europe at this moment: a dynamic that suggests that Europeans, on some deep if not entirely conscious level, are willing to be complicit in the murder of the Jews again.

The novel's narrator believes that there are in Europe "powerful currents of enlightenment and morality that are sustained by the memory of the Holocaust … a bulwark against European anti-Semitism," however virulent. It may be true in the case of some Europeans, although if so they have been very quiet about it. In fact, it seems that the memory of the Holocaust is precisely what ignites the darker currents in the European soul. The memory of the Holocaust is precisely what explains the one-sided anti-Israel stance of the European press, the European politicians, European culture. The complacency about synagogue burnings, the preference for focusing on the Israeli response to suicide bombers blowing up families at prayer, rather than on the mass murderers (as the suicide bombers should more properly be called) and those who subsidize them and throw parties for their families ….

There is a horrid but obvious dynamic going on here: At some deep level, Europeans, European politicians, European culture is aware that almost without exception every European nation was deeply complicit in Hitler's genocide. Some manned the death camps, others stamped the orders for the transport of the Jews to the death camps, everyone knew what was going on – and yet the Nazis didn't have to use much if any force to make them accomplices. For the most part, Europeans volunteered. That is why "European civilization" will always be a kind of oxymoron for anyone who looks too closely at things, beginning with the foolish and unnecessary slaughters of World War I, Holocaust-scale slaughter that paved the way for Hitler's more focused effort.

And so, at some deep level, there is a need to blame someone else for the shame of "European civilization." To blame the victim. To blame the Jews. And the more European nations can focus one-sidedly on the Israeli response to terror and not to the terror itself, the more they can portray the Jews as the real villains, as Nazis, the more salve to their collective conscience for their complicity in collective mass murder in the past. Hitler may have gone too far, and perhaps we shouldn't have been so cowardly and slavish in assisting him, but look at what the Jews are doing.

Isn't it interesting that you didn't see any "European peace activists" volunteering to "put their bodies on the line" by announcing that they would place themselves in real danger – in the Tel Aviv cafיs and pizza parlors, favorite targets of the suicide bombers. Why no "European peace activists" at the Seders of Netanya or the streets of Jerusalem? Instead, "European peace activists" do their best to protect the brave sponsors of the suicide bombers in Ramallah.

One has to put the European guilt complex not just in the context of complicity during World War II. One must also consider the malign neglect involved in the creation of the state of Israel. The begrudging grant of an indefensible sliver of desert in a sea of hostile peoples, to get the surviving Jews – reminders of European shame – off the continent, and leave the European peoples in possession of the property stolen from the Jews during the war. And that was when they didn't continue murdering Jews, the way some Poles did when some Jews were foolish enough to try to return to their stolen homes.

Someone remarked recently at the astonishing hypocrisy of European diplomats and politicians in supporting the Palestinian "right of return" when so many Europeans are still living in homes stolen from Jews they helped murder.

Make no mistake of it, the Palestinians are victims of history as well as the Jews. The last thing the nations of Europe wanted to do was the right thing, which would be to restore the Jews to their stolen homes, and so they acquiesced in the creation of a Jewish state and then did nothing to make it viable for either the Jews or the Palestinians, preferring to wash their hands of the destruction: let the Semites murder each other and blame the Jews, the Semites they were more familiar with hating.

And now it's so much easier for the Europeans to persecute the Jews, because they can just allow their own Arab populations to burn synagogues and beat Jews on the street for them. The way Hitler used the eager Croatians, for instance, as death-camp guards. Still, there's something particularly repulsive about the synagogue-burnings in France. I think in a way it goes a long way toward explaining why the Israeli government is acting the way it is now – with a little less restraint against those who murder their children. Yes, restraint: If Israel were to act with true ruthlessness to end the suicide bombings, they would tell the prospective bombers – who go to their deaths expecting that their families will celebrate their mass murders with a subsidized party and reap lucrative financial rewards courtesy of the Saudis and Saddam – that their families instead will share the exact same fate of the people the bombers blow up. That might put a crimp into the recruiting and the partying over dead Jewish children. But the Israelis won't do that, and that is why there's likely to be a second Holocaust. Not because the Israelis are acting without restraint, but because they are, so far, still acting with restraint despite the massacres making their country uninhabitable.

Consider that remarkable Joel Brinkley story in the April 4 edition of The Times, in which the leaders of Hamas spoke joyfully and complacently of their great triumph in the Passover massacre and the subsequent slaughters in Jerusalem and Haifa. Two things made this interview remarkable. One was the unashamed assertion that they had no interest in any "peace process" that would produce a viable Palestinian state living side-by-side with a Jewish state. They only wanted the destruction of the Jewish state and its replacement with one in which "the Jews could remain living 'in an Islamic state with Islamic law.'"

That defines the reality that has been hidden by the illusion of hope placed in a "peace process." The Palestinians, along with their 300 million "Arab brothers" surrounding the five million Jews, are not interested in a "negotiated settlement."

Israelis are forever being criticized for not negotiating, for not giving away enough of their security, but they have no one to negotiate with who doesn't, in their heart of hearts, want to exterminate their state and their people as well, if necessary.

The other thing that made the Times interview such a defining document was the description of its setting. The interview with one of the four directors of the Hamas mass murderers, a Dr. Zahar, was conducted in a comfortable home in which "Dr. Zahar, a surgeon, has a table tennis set in his vast living room for his seven children."

If the Israelis were as ruthless as the Europeans take great pleasure in calling them, there would be, let's say, no ping-pong playing for the murderer of their children.

Now let's talk further about the relationship between the first Holocaust and the next. The relationship between the European response to the first one and the likely Israeli response to the one in the making.

I think it might best be summed up by that old proverb: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

The first time, when the Jewish people were threatened by someone who called for their extinction, they trusted to the "enlightenment" values of the European people, as Philip Roth's character put it.

Civilized people wouldn't let something like that happen. Pogroms, well yes, but death camps, extermination? Never. They're transporting us to camps, yes, but what could it be, labor camps at worst? The world wouldn't let such a thing happen.

Well, the world did let it happen – with extraordinary complacency, a deaf ear, a blind eye and not a little pleasure on the part of some. And it's clear from the reaction of Europe today that the world is prepared, is preparing itself, to let it happen again.

But I suspect that deep in the heart of most Israelis is the idea that this time we're not going to depend on others to prevent it from happening. We're not going to hope that the world will care that they're killing our children. This time, we won't go quietly; this time, if we go down, we'll go down fighting and take them with us and take more of them if we can, and the rest of the world be damned. Fool us twice, shame on us.

I feel bad for the plight of the Palestinians; I believe they deserve a state. But they had a state: They were part of a state, a state called Jordan, that declared war on the state of Israel, that invaded it in order to destroy it – and lost the war. There are consequences to losing a war, and the consequences should at least in part be laid at the feet of the three nations that sought and lost the war. One sympathizes with the plight of the Palestinians, but one wonders what the plight of the Israelis might have been had they lost that war. One doesn't envision spacious homes and ping-pong for their leaders.

But somehow the Israelis are told that they must trust the world – trust the European Union as guarantors of their safety, trust the Arab League's promises of "normal relations," trust the Saudis who subsidize suicide-bomber parties and ignore the exterminationist textbooks the Arab world tutors its children with. The Israelis must learn to make nice; the Jews must behave better with people who want to kill them. I don't think so.

As a secular Jew, I've always been more of a diasporist than a Zionist. I've supported the Jewish state, but thought that it was a necessary but not ideal solution with a pronounced dark side: The concentration of so many Jews in one place – and I use the word "concentration" advisedly – gives the world a chance to kill the Jews en masse again. And I also thought that Jews flourished best where they were no longer under the thumb of Orthodox rabbis and could bring to the whole world – indeed, the whole universe – the exegetical skills that are the glory of the people: reading the universe as the Torah, as Einstein and Spinoza did, rather than the Torah as the universe, as the Orthodox do.

But the implacable hatred of Arab fundamentalism makes no distinction between Jewish fundamentalists and Jewish secularists, just as Hitler didn't. It's not just the settlements they want to extirpate, it's the Jewish state, the Jewish people.

This is the way it is likely to happen: Sooner or later, a nuclear weapon is detonated in Tel Aviv, and sooner, not later, there is nuclear retaliation – Baghdad, Damascus, Tehran, perhaps all three. Someone once said that while Jesus called on Christians to "turn the other cheek," it's the Jews who have been the only ones who have actually practiced that. Not this time. The unspoken corollary of the slogan "Never again" is: "And if again, not us alone."

So the time has come to think about the Second Holocaust. It's coming sooner or later; it's not "whether," but when. I hope I don't live to see it. It will be unbearable for those who do. That is, for all but the Europeans – whose consciences, as always, will be clear and untroubled.

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