Monday, July 5, 2010

Singling Out Jews (Or Israel)

The other day I met a group of folks from Serbia. I had been asked to give them a lecture about the Final Solution, while relating to their context, namely the centrality of the murder of hundreds of thousands of Serbs by Croats during the war (perhaps as many as 800,000 Serbs were murdered).

Casting about for a way of explaining the fundamental difference between inter-ethnic hatreds in Yugoslavia and hatred of the Jews, I mentioned that a traveler in Europe of the1930s would have found groups dedicated to hatred of the Jews in any and every European country; hatred of Serbs, on the other hand, was virulent in Croatia, but non-existent outside the area of conflict. This also meant that Serbs in Yugoslavia were in grave danger, but Serbs in Paris were not; Jews were in grave danger everywhere.

This hasn't changed, I added. In any and every Western country today there are people who are fervently committed to hating Israel. In spite of some rather ugly Serbian policies these past two decades, the same is not true about Serbs - not remotely.

They nodded thoughtfully, and accepted my thesis. I'm telling the story as background to this bitter little song. You could easily see it as an example of self-righteous Israeli self-pity and propaganda - except that unfortunately it's a reflection of a dismal reality:

There was another interesting thing about that group of Serbs. During the discussion they described themselves as human rights activists- which initially put me on guard. Then, however, as the discussion progressed, it became clear that they really are human rights activists, in the old, anti-police-state and pro-democracy meaning of the term, the one it was invented for in a previous era. They hail from a place where democracy is brand new, and until very recently they didn't have the freedoms the rest of us take for granted. For them, human rights is about human rights, and defending democracy is an urgent mission which could still fail. How startling.

(Update: I fixed the spelling of Croatia, thanks.)


Anonymous said...

"For them, human rights is about human rights, and defending democracy is an urgent mission which could still fail. How startling."

yes and how sad that so many of ours have gone so over the top due to perfectionism and theory rigidism and who knows what else that they've become a danger to the values and virtues they once started out to promote.


Anonymous said...

It's a disaster that the media can no longer distinguish between real peace activists and political actors who have usurped the label. Or between 'activists' and martyrdom seeking jihadis.

Anonymous said...

it's usually Croat and Croation in English. Looks lless like a transliteration from Cyrillic ;)

4infidels said...

The demonizing of the Jews is done most effectively by "respectable" and "objective" media through its constant drip of negative stories about Israel, done through selective quotations and lack of context.

Just had the misfortune to watch the top two stories on CNN's newscast, both relating to Israel.

First was the upcoming meeting between Netanyahu and Obama, in which the Palestinians were paraphrased as saying that continued settlement activity in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is a major obstacle to peace. CNN ran video of a huge high-rise building under construction, just in case anyone didn't get the message that Israel builds settlements. No mention, however of Israel's settlement freeze.

The second story featured on-screen headline, "No Apology to Turkey." This issue was described as a major bone of contention between Israel and United States, and troubling for the U.S. as both Israel and Turkey are "very important" allies of the United States. The cooling of relations between Israel and Turkey was reported as being the result of "Israel's attack on an aide ship" that "left 9 Turkish citizens dead."

How could the typical viewer not come away from watching these stories without the impression that Israel is a burden for the United States that is making enemies with American allies, sabotaging peace by building settlements and killing humanitarian aide workers for which it says it "will never apologize." This fits with the Obama administration line that "Israel's policies" put American lives in jeopardy in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nowhere in the stories was it mentioned that Turkey has been moving away from its alliances with the US and with Israel due to the ideological beliefs of its Islamic government. Nor was the information given to viewers that the Israeli soldiers attacked with knives and other weapons or that there were links between some of the "Turkish citizens" and an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group, something one would think would be of interest to American viewers.

Moreover, the impression was given that a major reason the upcoming meeting between Netanyahu and Obama will be warmer than the past meeting is Israel's change in its "controversial" blockade policy with regard to Gaza. This again gives the impression that Israel must have been doing something wrong if it had to change its policies following the flotilla incident for which Israel "continues to refuse to apologize."

While it was noted that last time there were not photos or press conference, and that Jewish groups expressed concern that Obama still hasn't visited Israel (despite his many travels around the globe), no indication was given as to why it might be that Obama had visited Israel or why he seems so hostile to Israel. It was mentioned that Robert Gibbs, Obama's press secretary, said that the President has no plans to visit Israel.

AKUS said...

Yakov - if you haven't encountered Alan Furst's outstanding spy novels set in pre-war and wartime Eastern Europe, here's the title of his most recent, very relevant to your lecture:

"Spies of the Balkans"

dealing with the efforts by a Saloniki policeman to help Jews escape from Germany via Saloniki. His books are brilliant and give a feel of immediacy to that period. And, of course, reading it we know in advance what happened to the Jews of Saloniki ..

Anonymous said...

now this piece is a "beauty"
- it must have been placed prominently because I hardly ever go beyond the front page of the NYT

on page 1 of the the print-out it reads like a normal report on the plight of foreign worker illegal and otherwise except for the stunning insert that they are "causing political unease of the future of the Jewish state".
That's my first time ever that I have seen in this context the future of a whole state at stakes.

On page 2 of the print-out all of a sudden I learn that the dramatic events of the first paragraph happened last year and that there was a strike in 2001, a mere 9 years ago ...
after that the piece becomes incoherent by still trying to imply by all possible turns of phrases that Israel is uniquely cruel, injust and inhospitable to foreign labour within its borders.
The NGO involved gets a relatively good description at NGO monitor and it is funded inter alia by NIF. Maybe this NYT-piece is their attempt of earning further smiles from there.

Would it be Didi's job to tell outfits like that when it's time to do something about their PR?


Anonymous said...

AKUS and y'all
here is a 22:20 talk with Alan Furst about his books from Vox Tablet


4infidels said...


Is there no evil that these Jews won't do? Killing humanitarian aid workers on ships and now oppressing and exploiting the poor foreign workers, whose working conditions it is necessary for the NY Times to contrast with the wealthy Israeli neighborhood nearby.

Interesting that at the very end of the article the one significant case of alleged major theft from foreign workers was by an Israeli-Arab (Do you think if there was a similar case against an Israeli employer that it would have been mentioned in the first few paragraphs?). Before we learn of that, though, we get all the typical concerns about Zionism and the Jewish community and a lefty-Israeli who is too happy to attribute the circumstances of foreign workers to "racism."

Wonder if the NY Times does articles on the treatment of foreign workers in UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries? If so, do you think they only quote citizens who call the home state "racist" or do they give members of the government a chance to reply/explain?

BTW, "Palestinians" weren't the original source of cheap labor in Israel; Jews were the original source of cheap labor in israel!

Anonymous said...

I thought the entire Times article could as easily have been written about Italy or South Korea or similar cases here in the U.S. I find it hard to believe that this deplorable treatment of migrant workers occurs in no developed metropolis between New York City and Tel Aviv.

There seems to be a whole spate of articles and television features lately along the line of "Israel sucks." Cf Nicholas Kristof going to the West Bank and not interviewing a single Israeli, only the Arabs whom B'Tselem handpicked for him. Is there some need to get on a bandwagon? At this point the stories practically write themselves. I'm sure we will soon hear that some Israelis don't like their healthcare system, or believe the government is running excessive deficits. Shocking!


Debbie Schlussel said...

I’ve long ago said, Europe is lost forever. Lost to Islam. Lost to anti-Semitism. Lost to extremism. Lost to perverted moral relativism. And, of course, the last three are because of the first one–Islam.

That Was Then . . .

This Is Now . . .

So, it’s no surprise that a British judge and jury said that vandalism–destruction that could have killed many and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars–is okay . . . so long as it’s against the Jews or Israel (or someone doing business with or helping them). It’s really not too different than laws the Nazis had in place. And that’s no hyperbole.

The ends justifies the means, Judenrein-style. Yup, 1940 Europe repeats itself 70 years later. Today, they use the euphemism “Israel” as their excuse, but tomorrow, they’ll openly use the word “Jew”:

Five activists who caused £180,000 damage to an arms factory were acquitted after they argued they were seeking to prevent Israeli war crimes.

The five were jubilant after a jury found them not guilty of conspiring to cause criminal damage to the factory on the outskirts of Brighton.

The five admitted they had broken in and sabotaged the factory, but argued they were legally justified in doing so.

They believed that EDO MBM, the firm that owns the factory, was breaking export regulations by manufacturing and selling to the Israelis military equipment which would be used in the occupied territories. They wanted to slow down the manufacture of these components, and impede what they believed were war crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinians.

After being acquitted, one of them, Robert Nicholls, told the Guardian: “I’m joyful really, at being a free man. The action was impulsive really, we just wanted to do something that would make a real difference to the people of Palestine.”

The acquitted are Nicholls, 52, Tom Woodhead, 25, Harvey Tadman, 44, Ornella Saibene, 50, all from Bristol, and Simon Levin [DS: In every anti-Semitic operation, there's always a kapo in there, somewhere], 35, from Brighton. They had decided to act last January after three weeks of Israeli military manoeuvres against Gaza in which many Palestinians were killed. . . .

In his summing up, Judge George Bathurst-Norman suggested to the jury that “you may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time”.

The judge highlighted the testimony by Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, that “all democratic paths had been exhausted” before the activists embarked on their action.

If you don’t think this could happen in America. Think again. It happens in courtrooms across the country every day. It happens against doctors, hospitals, professionals, corporations . . . with juries and judges out to get them because they are seen as prestigious and with deep pockets.

But tomorrow–a very soon tomorrow, sadly–it will be against Jews . . . because juries will think it’s okay and judges will tell them so.

Just like in 1939.

When you dumb down the rule of law for moral relativism and “the ends justifies the means,” you have lost society and civilization. And the West is well down that path.

Anonymous said...

just to add to what seems more and more like the NYT is on a campaign, here is dated yesterday a 9 page print-out titled:

Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank

I've ctrl-F-ed it for NGO - no result ...
thus I look forward to finding out tonight why that is - do only anti-Israel-ites qualify for the halo of being called NGO?


Anonymous said...

just to add a glimmer of hope:
the London Times today points to a piece from their archives which is a letter by Ian Fleming (James Bond) highlighting the importance of the by September 28, 1938 almost forgotten/buried/vanished 25 points of the German Worker Party (which eventually ended up in the NSDAP) - the text of Flemings letter (copied into next comment as program deemed this as being too long) eerily resembles today's (futile?) attempts to get people to take the Hamas-Charta seriously.

Fleming's letter deals with the first 3 points only but considers the remaining 22 points as being relevant only for Germans so let me quote here point
4. Staatsb├╝rger kann nur sein, wer Volksgenosse ist. Volksgenosse kann nur sein, wer deutschen Blutes ist, ohne R├╝cksichtnahme auf Konfession. Kein Jude kann daher Volksgenosse sein.
which Wikipedia translates as
Only a member of the race can be a citizen. A member of the race can only be one who is of German blood, without consideration of creed. Consequently no Jew can be a member of the race.


Anonymous said...

the programme still considers the text to be too long, so I'll split it somewhere in half

follow up to comment above i.e.

Fleming's letter of September 1938 to the Times


To The Editor Of The Times Sir,-Sincc the immediate future of Europe appears to depend largely on Herr Hitler's intentions, it is most important that we should have a clear knowledge of exactly what those intentions are. The present crisis has shown that to be forewarned is not necessarily'to be forearmed, but it may be argued that fore- arming did not appear necessary when the warning was so incredible. Doubts are dis- pelled. and it may now be of interest to-your readers to learn the exact details of the National-Socialist Party Programme as cir- cularized to members of the party and others on February 24, 1920, four years before " Mein Kampf was written. The original 25 points were issued from Munich in the form of a circular which is-now extremely rare. I know of only one other copy, in the Nazi archives at the Brown.House. This is a literal translation, from'an original copy in my possession, of the preamble and the first three points:- "The Programme of the German Workers' Party is a ' Time-Programme ' (Zeil-Progroran). The Leaders will abstain from setting up new goals. after the attainment of the goals set out in the Programme, with the sole object of per- mitting the continued existence of the Party by artificially stimulating the appetite of the Masses. " (1) We demand the union of all Germans within a Greater-Germany on the grounds of the right of peoples to self- determination. (2) We demand equality of rights for the German people vis-a-vis other nations, and repeal of the Peace Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain. " (3) We demand land and soil (colonies) for the feeding of our people and the emigration of our surplus population." The remaining 22 points deal with racial qucstions and other internal matters, and. although they do not concern the purpose of this lctter, it is remarkable with what minute fidelity each of these 22 points has been adhered to. One might say with justice that only the above three points remain to be carried out to the letter. If we finally agree, then, that Herr Hitler means what he savs, we must also be clear in our minds whethe: there is anythin- in the above three points which runs contrary to England's interests, and, if so, whether we are prel)ared to shed Europe's blood and our own in preventing their attainment. A possible answer would be that we have no great objec- tion to Germany rega;ining her pre-War strength so long as we can be sure that she will not use that strength as she did in 1914,' or, in other words, that those three points repre- sent the absolute limit of Germany's territorial ambition. It would therefore seem that there will be no peace, no return of prosperity, and no happiness in Europe until England and France agree to the fulfilment of Hlerr Hitler's stated programme in exchange for a binding disarma- ment pact, and tihe guarantee of the traditional protective alliances of the signatory Powers. If and when Herr Hitler refuses a settlement on these lines-if, that is to say, it is madce clear that Germany already aims once again at world domination by aggression-then it will be time to organize this country on a war- time basis and announce to Germany that we shall fight at the first act of aggression against our fundamental treaty obligations. Above all, should it be necessary to make this announcement, we must hope that the basic issues will be made crystal clear to the world in the immediate future. The policy of keeping our hands free in Europe has con- fused the German nation and bewildered our own. Moral issues must be disentangled from the instinct of self-preservation, and we must state what we would fight for and why.

Anonymous said...

continued ...

' ' Many people must hope that Mr. Chamber- lain will deal fully with this broader aspect of the present crisis when he addresses Parlia- ment, as it is to be presumed that it has been fully discussed in his talks with Herr Hitler. I personally hope that if he does not obtain the settlement I have outlined above he will, at any rate, put before Herr Hitler the concrete I alternative 1 mention. When it is certain that he has done neither then it will be time to turn a reluctant ear either to the dangerous counsels of tile slaughter-house brigade or to the bemused vapourings of those who long for the day when England is another Holland and out of the fight for ever. Yours faithfully, IAN L. FLEMING. I 22B, Ebury Street, S.W.l. TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES