(Twitter image) A flag advocating a caliphate appears at a Dutch protest against the Israel-Hamas fighting.
Indeed, across Europe last weekend, in protests against the latest violence erupting between Palestinian militants and the Israeli military, thousands of Islamist extremists, members of pro-Palestinian groups, far-left activists, and neo-Nazis joined together in calls for the destruction of Israel and the Jews.
Every escalation of tensions between Israel and the Palestinians leads inevitably to anti-Israel (but never anti-Hamas) protests worldwide, with demonstrations becoming increasingly virulent in Europe – thanks to its growing Muslim population, its right-wing extremists who have gained popularity in the face of Muslim immigration, and the leftist extremists who have emerged to counter the growing right. They are three groups ideologically at odds in more than a few ways – be it support of or opposition to homosexuality and women's rights, or pro- or anti-Islamist standpoints – but there is one area on which they all agree: Israel must be destroyed, and, as much as possible, the world's population of Jews along with it.
The bottom line, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert, is "the fact that Jews in Germany cannot move around as freely and safely in some areas and in some situations as is the right of every citizen in Germany. And that makes us angry and it is shameful for all of us."
But perhaps that shouldn't really be surprising. "Every time the virus of antisemitism reenters our society, it masks itself as social justice - selling itself as speaking truth to power," British Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick noted Monday.
The most salient word here is "masks." After all, there have been no protests across European capitals calling for the destruction of China or the death and rape of its people even as China has detained over 1 million Uyghur and other Muslims in prison camps since 2017. It is the kosher, not the Chinese, restaurants whose windows are smashed open, the Israeli, not the Chinese flags they burn. And as Saudi warplanes drop bombs over the starving people of Yemen, prompting accusations of genocide, most "social justice" warriors have not lifted a single weapon, not even a voice, to fight them.
By contrast, research from the University of Utrecht finds increasing numbers of Dutch and other European non-Muslims are becoming engaged in the pro-Palestinian movement, especially so-called social media "influencers." Increasingly, the pro-Palestinian movement has less to do with support for Palestine than it does condemnation of Israel and the Jews. The latest conflict in Gaza makes this trend more evident now than ever.
In response, Europe's politicians are starting to call for greater security for Jewish institutions and voicing opposition to the anti-Semitic violence and vandalism in their countries. In Germany, where much anti-Semitic speech is illegal, police are upping their presence at synagogues. "The burning of Israeli flags and attacks on Jewish institutions on German soil will not be tolerated," said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.
German-Moroccan comedian Abdel Karim posted on Twitter, "There are a lot of ways to express one's understandable human empathy for the Palestinians. Attacking synagogues is not one of them."
But when 200 cars travel through North London blaring "F___ the Jews and rape their daughters," and Islamists call for a new Islamic State; when Jew-hate fills the streets from Amsterdam to Vienna, from Rome to Paris and Madrid, such sentiment is welcome; but it is not enough. Where, for instance, are Muslim leaders calling for the hate speech and violence against the Jews to stop? Where are the social media influencers – those same people who breed pro-Palestinian sentiment – explaining that support for Palestine does not demand destruction of the Jews, or the rape of Jewish women, or the building of a new Islamic State?
Jews in the United States are also not immune. Tuesday night, a mob of pro-Palestinian supporters assaulted Jewish diners outside a Los Angeles restaurant.
As the protests spread to America, demonstrators chant the same ubiquitous, thinly-veiled call for Israel's destruction, "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." Social justice leaders – people like New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who so loudly and so rightly stressed that "Black lives matter," now declare with equal vigor that "Palestinian lives matter," but speak not a word about Jewish lives, even as Jews are disproportionately the targets of the vast majority of hate crimes both in America and abroad. In 2018, for instance, FBI determined that Jews, who comprise only 2 percent of the U.S. population, were the targets of 60 percent of all religiously-motivated hate crimes.
And across Europe, where Jews make up 1 percent of the population, 22 percent of all religiously-motivated hate crimes in 2019 were anti-Semitic. Notably, the number of hate crimes against Jews – 1,300 – was more than twice the number of hate crimes against Muslims, at 507. Since Hamas started firing rockets at Israel May 10, the United Kingdom has reported 116 anti-Semitic incidents, a 500 percent spike over the same time last year, the Community Service Trust reports.
And yet those who could speak out against the violence, the perpetuation of lies and hate and calls for destruction of the Jews, those whose voices could make a difference, still say nothing. Perhaps it is intimidation that keeps them still. Perhaps it is their fear. Perhaps it is simply ignorance.
In the end, it all comes out the same: their silence is their complicity.
IPT Senior Fellow Abigail R. Esman is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands. Her new book, Rage: Narcissism, Patriarchy, and the Culture of Terrorism, was published by Potomac Books in October 2020. Follow her at @abigailesman.
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