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Jewish World Review May 9, 2002/ 27 Iyar, 5762

Don Feder

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European anti-Semitism has Middle East roots

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The ugly wave of anti-Semitism washing over the European continent has its origins in the Arab world. The war on Israel's Jews has spilled over to the Diaspora.

Not since the nightmare years of the Third Reich has there been anything like it -- synagogues firebombed (in one case, burned to the ground), drive-by shootings, Jews attacked in the streets, cemeteries desecrated, Belgium's chief rabbi assaulted.

In France alone, there have been more than 360 anti-Semitic incidents since last October.

Europe's ruling class is as indifferent to this Kristallnacht as its predecessors were to the first. "There is no anti-Semitism in France," President Jacques Chirac assured reporters last month.

The Arab immigrants arrested for the burning of a Jewish school in the Paris suburb of Creteil were given a three-month suspended sentence. The same court dealt more harshly with a juvenile shoplifter.

The Middle East conflict has emboldened Europe's elite to express a drawing-room bigotry long dormant. Earlier this year, the French ambassador to the Court of St. James, a Chirac confidant, was overheard at a reception calling Israel "that sh-tty little country."

But the latest pogroms aren't the product of traditional upper-class or working-class anti-Semitism. European skinheads and neo-Nazis are involved only peripherally, if at all.

In the current issue of its magazine, "Response," the Simon Wiesenthal Center observes that in France, most anti-Semitic incidents "have occurred in Paris suburbs and other neighborhoods where Jews and Moslems live in close proximity. Indeed, Moslem anti-Jewish activity has increased with the rising intensity of the Intifada."

The center notes that due to immigration from North Africa, 10 percent of the nation is now Moslem. At an anti-Israel demonstration in Marseilles, Arab marchers shouted, "Death to the Jews."

The attacks aren't spontaneous. Again, the Wiesenthal Center reports, "Many of these outrages were inspired by Iranian-backed and Algerian-trained extremist Moslem clerics, whose anti-Jewish and Anti-American diatribes continue to this day."

Attacks on European Jewry are a spillover from the Middle East. When genocidal anti-Semitism was driven out of Germany at the end of World War II, it took up residence in the Islamic world.

The late King of Saudi Arabia liked to give visitors copies of "Mein Kampf." "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" -- a 19th century Czarist forgery describing a worldwide Jewish conspiracy -- is a bestseller in the Middle East. (Arabic translations are sold in London.) Arab Radio and Television recently dramatized the Protocols as a 30-part series broadcast throughout the region.

"The Jews are Bloodsuckers and will yet conquer America," read a recent headline in an Egyptian government weekly.

Egyptian dailies run stories about Jews distributing drug-laced chewing gum and candy among Palestinians to seduce their women. Palestinian Authority textbooks are rife with anti-Semitism. One relates, "All weapons must be used against the Jews, Allah's enemies, the cursed nation in the Koran, who Allah describes as monkeys and pigs."

In Saudi Arabia, the blood libel (that Jews use the blood of gentiles in religious ceremonies) is a staple of the state media.

From sermons preached at Mecca's main mosque to Moslem gatherings in the United Kingdom, the children of Abraham are relentlessly portrayed as devils incarnate -- with Israel as their greatest, but by no means only, evil achievement.

On a six-city lecture of the United Kingdom, including London, Jamaican-born Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal listed 19 reasons why Moslems can't coexist with "filthy Jews." These included, "They are evil to the core" and "deceitful by nature."

Those who burn French synagogues and attack Jews in Germany are indoctrinated in the same Jew hatred as the suicide bombers of Jenin and Gaza.

Who could have imagined that more than a half-century after the Holocaust, Europe's Jews would again be harassed and hunted. But this time, instead of Aryan storm troopers animated by "Mein Kampf," the assailants are Arab immigrants waving the Koran. In place of "sieg heil," they're shouting "jihad."

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.


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© 2002, Creators Syndicate