‘Fading’ Anti-Semitism

Jewish Times of South Jersey       April 6, 2012
By Stephen Kramer

The media continues to disseminate shallow nonsense that excuses Islamist terror. A recent article in Foreign Policy, “The ‘New Normal’ in France?” proves otherwise. Author Justin Vaisse is a French historian who specializes in international relations, including French and U.S. politics and foreign policy, and the integration of Islam in Europe. His credentials are impeccable: Vaisse is a professor of U.S. history in Paris, an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, teaching classes on France and European security, and a Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institute. The subtitle of “ The ‘ New Normal’ in France?” states that the recent Toulouse attack, in which three Jewish children and their parochial school teacher were ruthlessly murdered, is merely “a banal and fading version of extremism.”

I learned about Vaisse in an excellent article by Mideast expert Barry Rubin entitled, “ France, Here Comes the Whitewash.” Rubin and a colleague interviewed Vaisse and learned that he thinks there is no political problem regarding Muslims in France. What problems there may be are based on social and economic issues, such as that Muslims are poor and badly treated. According to Vaisse, addressing those types of issues will result in the eradication of radicalism, Islamism, and terrorism.

We all know that many minorities around the world face social and economic issues, are poor, and may be badly treated in their countries. But it’s hard to name a group other than Muslims that turns to terrorism so often (especially against other Muslims). Anxiety over Muslim anti- Semitism is a hot topic among French Jews. Rubin wrote, “ I have listened in France to discussions among Jews over what parts of their cities were still safe to live in and which were too dangerous. I’ve heard Jewish parents discussing their kids’ traumatic experiences in the public schools. French Jews are either leaving France or at least buying homes in Israel. These people know what’s actually going on in France and other countries.”

Rubin’s colleague asked Vaisse about his sources for “ The ‘ New Normal’ in France?”. The answer: only French-language sources. So the “ expert” didn’t even bother to look at the Arabic material on the bookshelves of an Arabic- language bookstore a few minutes walk from his office! There he would have found, among other incendiary material, radically anti-Semitic childraising manuals that are popular and the ubiquitous forgery, “ Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

While the media incessantly comments on who said what about Iran, a quieter but no less deadly battlefront is heating up in Europe and Asia, and to a lesser extent in the Americas. I ’ m referring to the Islamist war against Jews. A few examples: 2002 – Daniel Pearl’s decapitation; 2006 – French Jew Ilan Halimi kidnapped and tortured to death in Paris; 2006 – Naveed Haq attacked the Seattle Jewish Federation building, murdering one and wounding five; 2008 – nine murdered in the Mumbai Chabad House attack; 2011 – three children and their parents stabbed to death while asleep in Itamar, Israel; 2012 – attacks on Israeli diplomats in Thailand, Georgia, and India. For the most part, these assaults are not identified by the media as anti-Semitic.

What’s happening to the media? The Washington Post editorial of March 22, about the Toulouse terror attack, tells us a lot. “Mr. Mohamed Merah [ the terrorist] reportedly told the police besieging him that his killings were meant as revenge for the ban on the public use of the Islamic veil, which was supported by Mr. Sarkozy, [and to avenge Palestinian children killed by Israel]. Though such policies [such as the ban on the veil and the ruling party’s focus on non- Muslim French identity] don’t explain or excuse the attacks, more discrimination against Muslim communities is hardly the right response.” The Washington Post effectively turns the spotlight away from Islamic terrorism to the government’s attempts to promote assimilation into French society. The politically correct fear of “ Islamophobia,” discrimination against Muslims, takes precedence over identifying terrorism.

Mark Steyn, a Canadian- born author, political commentator, and cultural critic, addressed this issue in his recent article in National Review Online, Lather, Rinse, and Repeat. He lists the four stages that the media use to describe terror attacks: 1) the killer is suspected to be a right- wing nationalist; 2) he’s a Muslim, but only a “lone wolf;” 3) the killer may be associated with al- Qaeda, but his actions have nothing to do with Islam; 4) the backlash, which never happens, because it would promote Islamophobia. Steyn left out media incitement, which is all too prevalent, even among the most professional outlets.

Honest Reporting CEO Joe Hyams recently wrote: “ In the media war against Israel, we see more and more misinformation that threatens to cross the line into incitement. The discourse is seeped in hyperbolic accusations of all manner of crimes, including genocide. Every upsurge in violence provides another chapter in the series of Big Lies against Israel.”

The world’s top diplomats also incite, or at a minimum, compare Israel to terrorist regimes. Just days after the atrocious Toulouse terror attack, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told a group of Palestinian youth in Brussels: “When we think about what happened today in Toulouse, we remember what happened in Norway last year, we know what is happening in Syria, and we see what is happening in Gaza and Sderot and other places – we remember young people and children who lose their lives.” What’s wrong with that statement? All of the locations were places where children were wantonly murdered, except one: Gaza.

By gratuitously including Gaza in speaking to Palestinian youth, Ashton has equated the Israeli Defense Forces with murderous terrorists. Catherine Ashton, like so many other prominent political and media people, doesn’t know the difference between a highly moral army which bends over backward to avoid killing bystanders, and terrorists who purposely target bystanders.

Killing Jewish children and adults is not a “fading” phenomenon. It will never fade so long as the world finds excuses for Muslim terrorists. Only by taking off the blinders and identifying Muslim jihadis as a major source of terror will any progress be made against this scourge. The first ones who must do this are Muslims who are disgusted and ashamed by the terrorists. (I’m informed by the media that there are many moderate Muslims who fit that description.) Until – or unless – the moderates prevail, there is no alternative other than clamping down on Muslims who visit terrorist websites or visit Islamist training camps. This crackdown was promised by France’s President Sarkozy after the Toulouse atrocity. Or are Sarkozy’s anti- terrorist proposals just another campaign promise that will go unfulfilled?

Stephen Kramer is the author of “ Encountering Israel – Geography, History, Culture.”

Check it out: www.encounteringisrael.com

Stephen Kramer resided and worked in the Atlantic City area until 1991, when he moved to Israel with his wife, Michal Langweiler, and two sons.



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