Uri Avnery’s latest column is an important one; it says that the attacks on Jews in Europe are not anti-Semitic in the classic definition, but are an outgrowth of the conflict between Zionism and indigenous people in the Middle East and the transformation of that conflict into a global religious war.
Practically all the alarming incidents which have taken place in Europe recently – especially in Paris and Copenhagen – in which Jews were killed or attacked – had nothing to do with anti-Semitism.
All these outrages were conducted by young Muslims, mostly of Arab descent. They were part of the ongoing war between Israelis and Arabs that has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. They are not descended from the pogrom in Kishinev and not related to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion…
Avnery says there are two reasons for the French attacks. One is Algerian Muslims’ ongoing resentment for the role that Jews played in the maintenance of French colonialism in Algeria. And:
The second reason is the ongoing Arab-Zionist conflict, which started with the mass immigration of Jews to Arab Palestine, continued with the long list of wars and is now in full bloom. Practically every Arab in the world, and most Muslims are emotionally involved in the conflict.
And Avnery goes further when he says that the Israelis and the Israel lobby are making Jews potential targets by conflating Judaism and Zionism and failing to criticize Israeli policy:
But what have French Jews to do with that far-away conflict? Everything.
When Binyamin Netanyahu does not miss an opportunity to declare that he represents all the Jews in the world, he makes all the world’s Jews responsible for Israeli policies and actions.
When Jewish institutions in France, the US and everywhere totally and uncritically identify with the policies and operations of Israel, such as the recent Gaza war, they turn themselves voluntarily into potential victims of revenge actions. The French Jewish leadership, CRIF, [the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France] did so just now.
Neither of these reasons has anything to do with anti-Semitism…
He cites the fact that Muslims and Jews long got along in the Arab world.
Throughout the ages there were some rare anti-Jewish (and anti-Christian) outbreaks here and there, but Jews in Muslim lands fared incomparably better than in Christian ones.
If this had not been so, there would have been no “Golden Age” of Muslim-Jewish cultural symbiosis in medieval Spain. It would have been impossible for the Muslim Ottoman empire to accept and absorb almost all the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from medieval Spain, driven out by their Catholic Majesties, Ferdinand and Isabella. The outstanding Jewish religious thinker, Moses Maimonides (the “Rambam”) could not have become the personal physician and adviser of the outstanding Muslim sultan, Salah-al-Din al-Ayubi (Saladin).
The present conflict started as a clash between two national movements, Jewish Zionism and secular Arab nationalism, and had only slight religious overtones. As my friends and I have warned many times, it is now turning into a religious conflict – a calamity with potentially grievous consequences.
By the way, Alice Rothchild said last week in NY:
“Basically I feel like the way the Israeli state functions is really a danger to Jews. Not only to Palestinians but also to Jews. We need to really think about, What does Zionism mean. Was it a good idea? We must look at what happened. That really triggers a lot of people.”
Why move to country whose belligerent actions are partially responsible for the growing lack of security among Jewish communities in Europe and other places?
And Bruce Shipman said in his famous letter to the New York Times. Excerpts:
Deborah E. Lipstadt makes far too little of the relationship between Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza and growing anti-Semitism in Europe and beyond.
The trend to which she alludes parallels the carnage in Gaza over the last five years, not to mention the perpetually stalled peace talks and the continuing occupation of the West Bank.
I’ve got to start keeping a list.