Middle Eastern and Western anti-Semites compete to outdo each other

March 01, 2009

* Norman Finkelstein in The Tehran Times last week: Israel is a “vandal state,” an “insane state,” a “lunatic state,” a “terrorist state,” a “satanic state” from “the boils of hell” which “is committing a holocaust in Gaza”
* Finkelstein is a guest lecturer this week at Emory University in Atlanta and at Fordham University in New York

* New York Times fails to mention criticism of Caryl Churchill play as anti-Semitic

* Egyptian preacher in sermon repeatedly rebroadcast on TV: “Jews infect food with cancer and ship it to Muslim countries”

This dispatch is a follow-up to last month’s dispatch on anti-Semitism (Denmark – no Jews at our schools please; and “anti-Semitism in London’s theatreland”)

 

CONTENTS

1. It’s that time of year again
2. Another attack in Venezuela
3. Williamson apology over Holocaust remarks rejected
4. The BBC again gives airtime to Holocaust deniers
5. German neo-Nazi convicted to six years in jail for denying Holocaust
6. Jewish students in Britain protest against staff member’s anti-Semitic caricature
7. New York Times fails to mention criticism of Caryl Churchill play
8. Egyptian Cleric: “Jews infect food with cancer and ship it to Muslim countries”
9. U.S. government latest to say it will boycott “World Conference Against Racism”
10. Britain and Italy also say they will likely drop out of Durban II


[All notes below by Tom Gross]

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN

This week is the fifth annual “Israeli Apartheid Week” at universities across the world, a week in which students (and quite a number of professors) try to delegitimize Israel even more than usual.

This year more universities than ever are participating with events demonizing Israel and spreading falsehoods at campuses from New York to San Francisco, and from Edmonton to Atlanta. Universities in many other cities are also participating, including Johannesburg, London, Caracas and Copenhagen. Some of the events call for the outright destruction of the Jewish state, while ignoring the genuine apartheid states elsewhere in the Middle East. (A number of Arab states deny citizenship to Shia and other groups.)

Among star speakers at “Israeli Apartheid Week” are Hizbullah supporter Norman Finkelstein, who will appear at Emory University in Atlanta and at Fordham University in New York to talk about Israel’s uniquely evil nature. In an interview published last week in Iran in The Tehran Times, Finkelstein called Israel a “vandal state,” an “insane state,” a “lunatic state” and a “terrorist state.” He added it is a “satanic state” from “the boils of hell” which “is committing a holocaust in Gaza.”

Finkelstein is one of a number of people of Jewish origin who make a career out of demonizing Israel and are increasingly popular with anti-Semites worldwide.

Another is South African Ronnie Kasrils, who argues that Israelis are “baby killers... who behave like Nazis.” Kasrils will be speaking at Carlton University in Ottawa, McGill University in Montreal, and at Vancouver Public library.

 

ANOTHER ATTACK IN VENEZUELA

A small explosive device was detonated at the Jewish Center in Caracas, Venezuela on Thursday. There were no injuries. Last month the main synagogue in Caracas was attacked. (See a previous dispatch for details.)

 

WILLIAMSON APOLOGY OVER HOLOCAUST REMARKS REJECTED

The Vatican in Rome, and Catholic and Jewish leaders in Germany, have sharply rejected the “apology” made on Thursday by the Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson.

German Catholic leader Hans-Joachim Meyer told the Tagesspiegel newspaper that Williamson’s statement was “barely an apology” and “in no way satisfactory.”

Dieter Graumann, vice-president of the Central Council for Jews in Germany, told the Handelsblatt newspaper that in his “thoroughly bungled” statement, Williamson “unfortunately takes nothing back.” Williamson’s apology “leads one to the conclusion that he still believes in the Holocaust-denial,” Graumann said.

Last week Bishop Williamson, of the ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X, was expelled from Argentina and returned to his native Britain. He raised his fist and pushed a reporter at Buenos Aires airport.

 

THE BBC AGAIN GIVES AIRTIME TO HOLOCAUST DENIERS

Bishop Williamson was met at London’s Heathrow airport by the British socialite Lady Michele Renouf, who has described Judaism as a “repugnant and hate-filled religion.”

Renouf was appointed to an “international fact-finding committee on the Holocaust” at the end of Iran’s Holocaust Denial Conference in December 2006, at which she was a speaker. Bishop Williamson was introduced to Renouf by convicted Holocaust revisionist David Irving.

Last Wednesday lunchtime, on the BBC’s flagship Radio 4 World at One lunchtime news report, the BC invited on Renouf to give a platform to present the Holocaust as a “legend”.

The duplicitous BBC failed to explain to listeners that Renouf is one of the world’s most prominent the Holocaust deniers. She was merely described as “a woman supporting Williamson”.

This was yet another example of the BBC promoting anti-Semites and anti-Semitism on its tax-payer funded broadcasts. (For past examples, please see previous dispatches on this list.)

When, for example, Nick Griffin, leader of the racist British National Party is invited on the BBC (which he rarely is, thankfully) the BBC do not just introduce him as “a politician” and treat him with kid gloves, but explain who he is.

 

GERMAN NEO-NAZI CONVICTED TO SIX YEARS IN JAIL FOR DENYING HOLOCAUST

A former extreme-left activist turned neo-Nazi was last week sentenced to six years in prison in Germany, for calling the Holocaust “the biggest lie in history.” Horst Mahler, who in the 1970s co-founded the militant far-left Red Army Faction (RAF), was convicted of inciting racial hatred by the higher regional court in the southern city of Munich.

The 73-year-old has on several occasions made public statements denying that the Nazis had killed millions of European Jews during World War II. Denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany. Mahler was also found to have distributed offensive CDs and a book by convicted Holocaust denier Germar Rudolf.

He has also praised the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and has accused Jews of seeking “world domination”.

 

JEWISH STUDENTS IN BRITAIN PROTEST AGAINST STAFF MEMBER’S ANTI-SEMITIC CARICATURE

Jewish students in Britain have protested against what they said was a leading university’s lenient response last week to a member of staff who posted an anti-Semitic image on the social networking site Facebook.

Andrew Collingwood, who works at the Biology department at the University of York, in northern England, posted a caricature of Israel’s foreign minister Tzipi Livni wearing a witch’s hat and holding a wand with the Star of David, declaring, “Anti-Semitic! Anti-Semitic! Anti-Semitic!”

Collingwood is also a university council member and a harassment adviser to students, as well as an active member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The university has said it supports the principle of freedom of speech and will take no action against Collingwood. (I doubt they would be so lenient if Muslim or black students were offended.)

Criticizing the university’s response, the Union of Jewish Students said the school “should be responding much more strongly than it is, saying Collingwood was helping to stoke anti-Semitism at the university.

 

NEW YORK TIMES FAILS TO MENTION CRITICISM OF CARYL CHURCHILL PLAY

Once again, The New York Times is completely downplaying reports about anti-Semitism.

In an 800 word story about Caryl Churchill’s “Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza,” in which the Times reported that the play may be brought to New York from London, the paper failed to mention the widespread accusations that the play was blatantly anti-Semitic and not just anti-Israeli. (For more on this play, see previous dispatches on this list.)

Even the British paper The Guardian has now acknowledged that many consider the play anti-Semitic. But The New York Times – which has a century old tradition of downplaying anti-Semitism, most notably during The Holocaust – failed to mention this.

In the latest in a series of harsh reviews in Britain, the (London) Sunday Times said the facts the play presented were “myths,” that Churchill had been “economical with the truth,” and the good acting was “ruined by the play’s ludicrous lack of even-handedness.”

Its review continued: “Churchill comes across like a very minor Old Testament prophet, bewailing the Wickedness of Israel.”

“The play isn’t art, it’s straitjacketed political orthodoxy. No surprises, no challenges, no risks. Only the enclosed, fetid, smug, self-congratulating and entirely irrelevant little world of contemporary political theatre. Fresh air is urgently needed. But I’m not holding my breath,” concludes the (London) Sunday Times reviewer.

 

EGYPTIAN CLERIC: “JEWS INFECT FOOD WITH CANCER AND SHIP IT TO MUSLIM COUNTRIES”

Meanwhile the anti-Semitism in parts of the Egyptian, Saudi, Syrian and Lebanese media is becoming even worse.

Among the latest examples is a sermon by Egyptian cleric Ahmad Abd Al-Salam, which aired on Al-Nas TV on January 28, 2009. (Translation courtesy of MEMRI.)

Among his hateful remarks:

“The Jews invest their utmost efforts, day and night, in conspiring how to corrupt the Islamic nation, the nation led by the Prophet Muhammad.

“I want you, Muslim viewers, to imagine the Jews sitting around a table, conspiring how to corrupt the Muslims.

“The Jews conspire to infect the food of the Muslims with cancer. It is the Jews who infect food with cancer and ship it to Muslim countries.

“We hate the Jews because they spare no effort in stripping Muslim girls of their clothes. It is the Jews who conspire to have Muslim girls, and even married Muslim women, wear clothes that are tight, short, or see-through, or clothes that are open from the front, or the back, from the right or the left.

“The sexual temptations, which are prevalent worldwide, were conspired by the Jews.”

 

U.S. LATEST TO SAY IT WILL BOYCOTT “WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM”

The U.S. government on Friday announced it will join Canada and Israel in boycotting the upcoming so-called UN “Durban II” conference. U.S. officials said there was every indication that the conference, despite being billed as an anti-racism conference, will be as anti-Semitic as the first “World Conference Against Racism,” which was held in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

The Durban II conference is due to be held in Geneva next month. The preparatory committee for Durban II is being chaired by Libya, with Iran and Cuba as vice-chairs.

 

BRITAIN AND ITALY ALSO SAY THEY WILL LIKELY DROP OUT OF DURBAN II

Britain and Italy have also announced that they will likely drop out of Durban II.

Durban I was dominated by attacks on Jews and Israel. “I was at the first conference. I have never seen such a disgraceful event in quite a long international life,” Britain’s Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown said last week.

“There are red lines that need to be made for us to participate. We are not going to stand idly by and allow this racist stuff to get through and be seen as acceptable. We are not going to have it.”

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said: “We will not send an Italian delegation [if it is the same as Durban I], and we will try to harmonize our position with other countries that are not anti-Semitic.”

Then Secretary of State Colin Powell walked out midway through the eight-day Durban I conference saying he didn’t want to listen to any more speeches singling out Israel for attack and hateful and false accusations that Israel had exaggerated the Holocaust.


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