Tags: antisemitism

The Rise of Anti-Semitism

Monday, 24 Mar 2008 12:33 PM

By Giancarlo Elia Valori

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The following is adapated from a speech given at Yeshiva University in New York.

Basically we can say that today in Europe we witness the resurgence of a new anti-Semitism which, after all, shows strong signs of continuity with the traditional Judeophobia.

Statistics show that in 2006 - the last year for which updated and reliable information exist - in Europe about 2,200 violent acts of anti-Semitism were perpetrated against Jews or assets and buildings belonging to the Jewish Community or its members1.

It is worth noting - and this has its own political relevance – that most European countries have no specific statistics on anti-Semitism violent actions. When statistics and data are available, they report a lower number of cases than the actions really perpetrated.

The E.U. member states where violent acts against assets and people belonging to the Jewish Community are increasing sharply are the following: Austria, where a slight decrease was recorded in 2003; Belgium, where the acts of anti-Semitism decreased in 2003; the Check Republic

where, however, no statistics are available, but we can reckon that the acts of anti-Semitism were 23, namely 9 percent of all the violent offences having a political origin; Germany, where a peak of anti-Semitism was reached in 2002 and a progressive increase was recorded over the last three years; Italy, with a stable – though limited - number of anti-Semitic acts, which, however, have often great political significance.

According to the already mentioned European Union Monitoring Centre (EUMC) data, in Great Britain, the Netherlands and France, the acts of anti-Semitism decreased, whereas in Denmark they remained stable compared to the previous year.

The European Jewish Congress, however, provides rather different data: in all European countries the acts of anti-Semitism increased during the war between Israel and Hezb’allah in July 2006 and, however, anti-Semitic violent actions increased in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Sweden and Great Britain. This is a far different picture than the one reported by the European official statistics.

Yet the very discrepancy existing between the EUMC and the European Jewish Congress data is a clear indication of this type of “new anti-Semitism”: in the European political mind it is the result of the basic overlapping between the Jewish State and the Jewish communities of the European Diaspora, with the consequent de facto unification of the “old” anti-Semitism – which originated in the pro-Fascist and pro-Nazi extreme Right groups – and the “new” anti-Semitism, which is mainly widespread in the Left and the extreme Left, and considers Israel an “imperialistic state” slave to the United States in the Middle East and the protagonist of a “repression” against the Palestinian Arab population, which – in the modules of the unified propaganda of the anti-Semitic Right and Left – is similar to the Shoah.

Hence, on the one hand, the propaganda dynamics of this new anti-Semitism deny or play down the destruction of the Jewish people by the Nazis, with a view to rejecting the basic legitimacy for the creation of the State of Israel, whereas, on the other, they summarize the old anti-Semitic propaganda about the world “Jewish power”” as a function of the New World Order proclaimed by George Bush in his speech of Sept. 11, 1990.

Hence, a “new” anti-Semitism emerges as a system of struggle, which unites the extreme Right and the extreme Left against globalism and globalization, that is still viewed - in keeping with the old anti-Semitic propaganda - as a Jewish “financial conspiracy” and the implementation of the Jewish project of world governance according to the rhetoric of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

In the Teheran negationist Conference which denied the Holocaust - held in the Iranian capital on Dec. 11-12, 2006 - both the old and the new anti-Semitism merged, thus showing their common ideological link. The idea put forward by an advisor to the Iranian President Ahmadinejad to establish an “International Foundation for the Study of the Holocaust” in Teheran at first and subsequently (as soon as possible) in Berlin – according to the directives given by Ali Ramin himself - is a clear sign of the logic where the “old” and the new anti-Semitism overlap.

The background of the members of the future anti-Semitic “Foundation” is an overt indication of the political significance of the Iranian operation: these members include a traditional negationist of the Shoah such as Faurisson - who theorized that the gas chambers in the extermination camps could not exist for mass murder – as well as Mohtashamipour, a representative of the Iranian establishment who maintains the relations between the Iranian regime and the Sunni network of the global jihad in the Middle East, and is considered to be a “progressive” by the Western media.

Other members would be David Duke from the United States, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as the whole network of the old theorists of neo-Nazism and racist Suprematism in the West, ranging from Georges Theil to Bradley Smith, from Carsten Bormann to Flavio Gonsalves, the only Portuguese.

The aim of this mix of old and new anti-Semitism is deny the legitimacy of the State of Israel, first and foremost to prepare the final destruction of this State.

If Israel did not exist, the strategic continuity between the oil producing countries and the Arab states which do not possess this resource would be clear and immediate, and the Islamic pressure on Europe and NAT0 would not create particular reactions in the European and the U.S. public. Furthermore, after the official dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, the new configuration of mass psychology in Europe shows a limited readiness to recognize the historical memory of the Old Europe’s countries.

In its current political dimension, today the European Union feels to be de facto alien to the guilt of the Nazi and Fascist anti-Semitism. The link existing between the State of Israel and the European historical and civil conscience is fading away due to generational, cultural and political reasons.

The propaganda of the old-new anti-Semitism sets in during this phase of weakness. The aspects regarding the deprivation of the national memory, as a result of the European Union process, and the widespread tendency of the popular culture to accept an infotainment system did the rest.

Besides the guilt repression process – fostered by the Iranian “new anti-Semitism” – contemporary anti-Semitism wants to globalize the Palestinian issue. In so doing it inherits all the long tradition of “lay” Islamist political leaders who, from Yasser Arafat onwards, have successfully internationalized the Palestinian issue by turning it into the essential element of the political identity versus Israel and the West from the Six Days’ War till present times.

If the Palestinian issue is ever more universalized, it can become the geopolitical area where the fight for the Islamic hegemony will be decided between the Sunni world led by Saudi Arabia and the new post-Saddam Iraq and the Shia one led by Iran. Since the Palestinian Authority’s Territories are the place where the Islamic world, except from the Lebanon (and the war of July 2006 is a sign in this regard) comes into contact with Israel, and – through the Jewish State – with the West, the issue of the supremacy over the Islamic world passes through the relationship between Islam and modernization which, for the whole Islamic world, is synonym with the relationship with the Jewish State.

Therefore it is by no mere coincidence that the Iranian negationist Conference denying the Shoah was followed by a similar one in Cairo on December 27, 2006, eloquently entitled “The Lie of the (Jewish) Holocaust and the Arab Holocaust in Palestine”.

In this Sunni version of the Iranian Conference, the issue was more instinctive: in summary, the propagandistic logic was that “if there were a Jewish Holocaust, then the “Holocaust” of the Palestinians equalizes it and makes it pale into insignificance. The media mechanism of “talking ever bigger” becomes both historical expedient and mass ideology. We must recall that this happens in a phase when the configuration of political forces and European demography are far from favourable for the memory of the Shoah.

The Cairo Conference was “older style”: the Holocaust is a historical fake, according to this old Arab National-Socialist ruling class, composed of representatives of the Arab “socialism” such as Al Aqsari, and – as also happened with the HAMAS Statute – the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” are proposed once again as interpretation model not only for the global “Jewish finance”, but also as a project where Hebraism wants to control the world through elites and politics.

It is a reaction against globalization, which is also evident in much old and new European anti-Semitism, and especially a psychological shift of guilt from the torturer to the victim. This is the typical mechanism of the “scapegoat.” Let us see, however, how this panic reaction to globalization affects the European public, over and above the Islamic and Middle East public.

While answering the question “whether the Jews are more loyal to their country of origin than to Israel” more than 50 percent of the interviewed people said “probably yes”, whereas the positive answers were basically limited in France (29 percent), Austria (38 percent) and Belgium (41 percent). These are exactly the countries which - as we have already seen8 - recorded an increase of the attacks having an anti-Semitic origin. An explanation must be found in this regard. In our opinion these are either reactions against Jewish communities, who are well integrated in the national society (hence they are “globalizing” attacks “against power”), or a radical political struggle, which fights against the “system,” both from the Right and the Left, and therefore views the Jews as part and parcel of the local power “system.”

While answering the question “whether the Jews are influenced by the Israeli State’s actions”, 15 percent of the French people said yes (the lowest rate at European level), whereas the highest peaks of affirmative answers were recorded in Switzerland (41 percent) – a country were the anti-Semitic accidents are limited - and in Hungary (22 percent) – a country having a strong anti-Semitic tradition, yet with a little community and with the passion for European integration, which has rebuilt the national dignity offended and tarnished by its former slavery to the Warsaw Pact.

Conversely, the rate of affirmative answers was high in Austria (36 percent), similar to the Spanish one (37 percent) and close to the Italian and Polish ones (25 percent and 28 percent, respectively).

The explanation is as follows: small Jewish communities in areas where anti-Semitism (regardless of its being Catholic, Fascist or extreme Leftist) is deeply entrenched, in countries that – for various reasons – suffer from a loss of identity and status following the end of the Warsaw Pact and the “elegant geometries” of the cold war.

Furthermore, who is carrying out anti-Semitic violent militancy in Europe today? The extreme Right as to the “old” and often cruel anti-Semitism (profanation of cemeteries, damage to Jewish people and assets) and today especially “young migrants” or “young Muslims”, “peoples of North-African origin”, and an increasing number of extreme Left militants of the “anti-globalization movement” in the European countries recording the highest presence of Jews of local nationality.

As to violent anti-Semitism, especially in France and the Netherlands, the local traditionalist extreme Right has been replaced by groups of young migrants of Islamic origin, Maghreb origin in particular. In the European countries with a lower number of people – hence with a lower percentage of Jewish people living there – such as Sweden, Austria, Belgium and – to a certain extent – Greece, violent anti- Semitism is largely perpetrated by the pro-Palestinian groups, who are somehow linked to the “old” Left.

In any case – either through the pressures exerted by the misinformation linked to the “Palestinian issue” explicitly or not explicitly related to the denial of the Holocaust or through the traditional Fascist and Nazist anti-Semitism – probably the pressures against the Jewish communities in Europe are bound to increase.

Today in Europe the concept of nationalism has become ever more complex. In a phase of death and resurrection of the traditional Nation-State, we can speak of a new nationalism which affects some regional areas with the typical values of the XIX century Nation-State, as is the case with Catalonia in Spain and with violent mechanisms – as has recently occurred once again in Spain, precisely in the Basque Country9. Not to mention the ever greater political separation between Walloons and Flemings in Belgium, or the emergence of small, though stable, regionalist or secessionist parties in Italy (the Northern League) and in Great Britain with the rapid creation of the Scottish Parliament thanks to the Scottish Act of 1998.

The criterion through which both the Northern League in Italy and the Scottish autonomists in Great Britain – as well as most Catalan regional movement and the non violent component of the Basque nationalism - operate is based on the concept of devolution. In its original British context, by “devolution” we mean the transfer of power (the “Home Rule”) from the central government to other local governments, irrespective of their size, on the basis of the Home Rule granted to Northern Ireland.

The reason for this operation must be found in the mix of polemics by minorities - marginalized for ethnic, religious and cultural reasons - against the central government with the related growth of regional economies as against national ones: this was the typical scenario of Catalonia and the Basque country in the second half of the 20th century.

Moreover, we must consider the memory of the political violence perpetrated by the nationalistic and Fascist states towards minorities perceived as “rebels” (again the case of Catalonia and the Basque country during Franco’s dictatorship), which viewed especially Catalonia as the “non pacified” area of the regime.

The other axis of European regionalism regards the fact of belonging to different “civil societies”, supported by strongly autonomous languages and religious traditions that cannot be integrated into the traditional Nation-States, which developed in Europe in the 19th century as the heirs of the Absolute States originated from the Peace of Westfalia in 1648.

The “civil society” is something different from the State: it has the connotation of a voluntary association and regards the collective action above the “Family” and the “Market”, according to the current definition of the Centre for Civil Society of the London School of Economics. Yet European integration – which emerged at first in the context of the globalization of financial markets, immediately before the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and as a result of the new distribution of the main European Nation-States’ geo-economic potential and means of production - changed both the states and the sub-state civil societies.

It is by no mere coincidence that the Treaty establishing the European Constitution – signed in Rome on October 29, 2004, was ratified only by the member states which need to immediately enter the large global market such as Lithuania (December 2004); Hungary (December 20, 2004); Slovenia (Feb. 1, 2005); Malta (July 2005); Luxembourg (October 2005); Latvia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Slovakia (May 2005) and by large countries which need to dilute their domestic crisis and internationalize it such as Italy (April 6, 2005); Spain (April, 28 2005); Germany (May 2005). Conversely, the other large or small countries, which have other ideas on how to use the large single market (namely a protected market) of the European Union, or have other geo-political logics - such as France (victory of the negative votes at the May 2005 referendum) or Holland, a small globalized country well before its E.U. membership (victory of the negative votes at the June 1, 2005 referendum) - or all the other countries, which have postponed their decision - such as Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom (which, after all, did not accept the European single currency, the euro), Ireland and Poland - have de facto forgone the E.U project by postponing referenda or Parliamentary decisions indefinitely.

If the European Union acts as a large single market and a wide area for protecting the goods produced or processed in the Old Continent, then the decision to become a member of the European Union will regard a geo-economic evaluation that is to say: are the productive formula and expansion projects of a given country strengthened by the entry into the E.U. envisaged by the European Constitution of 2004?

Yet if it is a strictly political Union and a Union of central representations - which are considered distorted or punitive for the voters of that area - then the issue will be different and, to a certain extent, hard to be solved.

Therefore the likely scenario would be a Eastern Europe and a South Mediterranean Europe - with Germany at the core, which will strengthen itself around its centre of unified power - that will negotiate mainly with the Russian Federation and the emerging Middle Powers of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, keeping an eye on China and India, and ever geopolitically farther from the United States and – to many extents – from Israel.

Professor Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities.

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