American Jewish Committee agent tries to dig up anti-Semitic dirt in a German refugee housing block

Middle East
on 20 Comments

My Berlin contact Dror Dayan alerted me yesterday to a worrying case: An agent of the American Jewish Committe (AJC), a Jewish Israeli named Yonatan Shay, has visited a refugee housing block in Berlin, attempting to find evidence that would implicate mostly Syrian refugees in being inherently anti-Semitic, making the case that “Jews are being put in danger, when there are so many refugees here”, with an obvious agenda of riding the nationalist xenophobic wave.

The article appeared on the respected Die Welt’s internet site on the 25th January with an embedded video. Dror Dayan has made subtitles in English for the clip (select subtitles):

When the article went up, the AJC Berlin immediately tweeted: “Unser Yonathan Shay (AJC) war mit Kippa unterwegs in einem Flüchtlingsheim” – “Our Jonathan Shay (AJC) wearing a kippa walking around in a refugee housing block”, linking to the article.

The ACJ states on its website: “For more than a century, AJC has been the leading global Jewish advocacy organization. With offices across the United States and around the globe, and partnerships with Jewish communities worldwide, AJC works to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and to advance human rights and democratic values for all.”

Interestingly, the Jerusalem Post took up the story on the same day. In reference to the Die Welt article and on the Post’s own initiative as well, we get some colorful twists. The Post’s title is “Israel native encounters swastikas, anti-Semitic slurs while visiting Berlin refugee camp”. It continues with a second headline: ‘”I’m not afraid, but I’m on guard,” German paper quotes Israeli Yonatan Shai as saying before visiting former Nazi airport-cum-refugee center.’

Why the Nazi issue now? Germany did have a Nazi regime at a point, but it was still Germany. The airport is not a Nazi airport – it’s an old German airport. The Nazi-twist of the Jerusalem Post is apparently meant to add to the austere anti-Semitic ‘atmosphere’ of the whole story.

The Post mentions that “the visiting Israeli came across anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled across the walls” where one could get the impression that it’s all over the place. And true, we see a swastika and a star of David with ‘666’ marked near it, at the beginning of the video. But that’s all we see that could really support the ‘anti-Semitic’ allegation. The other graffiti which shows a map of historical Palestine with the colours of the Palestinian flag, requires more effort from Shay in order to make the ‘anti-Semitic’ accusation credible. It may be ‘anti-Israeli’ – but is it thus  anti-Semitic? (Interestingly, such maps showing the whole of Israel without differentiating Israel and Palestinian occupied territories, are to be seen in Israeli textbooks. It doesn’t need the Israeli flag painted over it – it’s tacitly understood by default. Does this directly mean ‘hate of Palestinians?’)

Now in order to bolster his point, Shay resorts to the tactic of trying to put words in the mouth of a boy whom he encounters. “All Palestine? No Israel?”

The boy kind of agrees, though it’s not clear whether he fully understands.

Shay continues: “So Jews all back to Europe? But not here, here no Jews”.

This is the part which the Post apparently refers to with the following: “Yet in a more hostile encounter, Die Welt reported that one young refugee boy had menacingly gestured and told Shai “the Jews must get out of the country.””

This is enough for Shay:

“This is proof that antisemitism is present here. Especially the young refugees are indoctrinated, and they can´t break away from those opinions, from this hate, from those views. Which they grew up with, and unfortunately they import it to Germany. It´s terrible. Germany, after the holocaust, after what happened because of the German nation, yes they have the historical responsibility to take all the refugees of the world, OK good, but there are also other factors to consider: Jews live here, and those Jews are being put in danger, when there are so many refugees here, who grew up with the opinion that all the evil and bad of the world comes from Jews and Israel.”

The Jerusalem Post further notes that there were “grown men ominously whispering “Jew.”” So, is that an indication of anti-Semitism?

Given, Shay saw some anti-Semitic graffiti on one wall filling about a square foot in total. The thing is, that Shay’s “operation” is so thin, that it has very little substance. Shay seems to have a wish to stir up some commotion with his kippa, but as the video in article notes, “Yonatan was not attacked verbally or physically on this day.” The Post says “According to the Tel Aviv native, who moved to Berlin a year ago, he planned the visit as a means for open dialogue”, whilst on the video Shay clearly says that this is an “experiment” to see how they would “react”. As an apparent compensation for the lack of action in the video, we get added text in reference to Yonatan’s allegation where he “reports that he was attacked several times by Arabs in Berlin because of his Kippa.”

The greater concern than the mere thinness of the case, is not only how it is inflated from nearly nothing to something by mainstream media – but also its suggestion and apparent agenda:

To make a case against refugee influx from war-torn countries, on the supposition that this will end up endangering Jews. This is a dangerous generalisation, which if taken seriously may have effect upon people who are in real need.

That an American Jewish advocacy organisation, through its foreign Berlin branch, supports making such a case seems to me distasteful to the extreme, where its purported goal of advancing advancing “human rights and democratic values for all” seems to be superseded by its other goal – to “enhance the well-being of the Jewish people”. It would seem that for AJC, the latter must come at the expense of the former.

20 Responses

  1. hophmi
    January 28, 2016, 3:15 pm

    This is really complete nonsense. American Jewish organizations across the political spectrum have been supportive of Western countries taking in refugees and migrants from Syria, and they’ve all supported upping the number that the United States takes. link to jta.org

    That includes AJC. link to ajc.org

    The only concern they’ve raised is that the process be orderly in order to ensure that Europe knows who is coming in and that the countries do a better job of integrating the migrants, given Europe’s poor track record in this regard over the years. The Jewish community in the United States and internationally has strongly supported Chancellor Merkel, President Obama, and others who have called for taking in the refugees.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 29, 2016, 12:58 pm

      American Jewish organizations across the political spectrum have been supportive of Western countries taking in refugees

      hops, there’s a well worn campaign to tarnish refugees and you know about it too because it was addressed in a comment/response to you just recently, or don’t you recall? it could very well be that Dror Dayan has affiliation with this kind of negative campaigning. besides, what other reason for there be to go to a refugee camp on a fishing expedition for anti semitism? what’s he really doing there anyway?

      here’s the recent mention: link to mondoweiss.net

      If you haven’t been to the Gatestone Institute’s website here’s just a sample of the kinds of stories they cover.

      Sweden’s Afghan “Rapefugees”
      by Ingrid Carlqvist

      Palestinians: Western Media’s Ignorance and Bias
      by Khaled Abu Toameh

      Islam and Islamism in America in 2015: Part I
      by Soeren Kern

      The Islamization of France in 2015
      by Soeren Kern

      Sweden: Rape Capital of the West
      by Ingrid Carlqvist and Lars Hedegaard

      Germany: Migrants’ Rape Epidemic
      by Soeren Kern

      • hophmi
        January 31, 2016, 8:23 am

        Yeah, Annie, guess what? There are a lot of organizations out there, and they have a lot of different perspectives. This article is about AJC. And although I know you’re completely incapable of acknowledging the antisemitism that Jews in Europe face, AJC has been supportive of Germany’s decision to take in refugees and migrants and has indeed called for the United States to take more.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 31, 2016, 10:55 pm

        yeah, hops, guess what?
        i already know there are a lot of organizations out there, and they have a lot of different perspectives. but you claimed American Jewish organizations across the political spectrum have been supportive of Western countries taking in refugees, therefore i pointed out just one high profile org that doesn’t.

      • hophmi
        February 1, 2016, 4:02 pm

        Just one problem: The Gatestone Institute isn’t a Jewish organization. It’s a conservative thinktank, and the chairperson is John Bolton, who isn’t Jewish. Even if it was a Jewish organization, I’m not getting how your pointing out one very right-wing organization that is critical of Europe’s refugee policy undermines my point that the Jewish community has taken a pro-refugee position across the spectrum.

        When I said across the political spectrum, I had in mind the Orthodox Union, which is usually on the right, and which strongly endorsed bring in more refugees.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 1, 2016, 4:06 pm

        ah, my mistake. sorry.

    • Mooser
      January 29, 2016, 2:26 pm

      “Hophmi”, what do you think of the yamulke?
      Great disguise, isn’t it?

  2. a blah chick
    January 28, 2016, 4:27 pm

    Wow, don’t you just love the haunted look on his face in that second picture? I wonder how long it took him to get just the right expression.

    This is vile. These people have been driven from their homes by the U.S. and its allies (including Israel) proxy wars in Syria and does this guy feel any sympathy? Does he use this opportunity to find out what happened to them? Does he try to relate to them as a fellow human being? No, his whole mission is to find out how much they “hate” him so he can validate his own dismissal of their pain. Horrible and pathological on so many levels.

  3. W.Jones
    January 28, 2016, 8:06 pm

    It doesn’t need the Israeli flag painted over it – it’s tacitly understood by default. Does this directly mean ‘hate of Palestinians?’)

    Of course not. “Palestinians” do not exist in their minds, so there is nothing to hate. It also proves why Palestinians cannot have rights and must accept any illegal abuses. After all, how can something nonexistant have rights.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    January 29, 2016, 10:38 pm

    RE: “An agent of the American Jewish Committe (AJC), a Jewish Israeli named Yonatan Shay, has visited a refugee housing block in Berlin, attempting to find evidence that would implicate mostly Syrian refugees in being inherently anti-Semitic, making the case that ‘Jews are being put in danger, when there are so many refugees here’, with an obvious agenda of riding the nationalist xenophobic wave. The article appeared on the respected Die Welt’s internet site on the 25th January with an embedded video.” ~ Jonathan Ofir

    MY COMMENT: Why do I have such an intense feeling of déjà vu? Oh yeah, now I remember:

    “Israeli Reporter’s Fraudulent Paris Walk on Muslim ‘Wild Side'” | By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | February 18, 2015

    [EXCERPTS] Though Israeli “journalist” Zvika Klein’s Paris “walk on the wild side” through allegedly Muslim Paris neighborhoods [for use in writing an article for the Adelson-owned, Makor Rishon/NRG – J.L.D.] aroused indignation in Israeli and western media, the story aroused skepticism in French media. The French publication Les Inrocks published an investigative piece and interview with Klein which undermined many of the claims and assumptions on which his video was based. . .

    . . . As I noted in an earlier post, Klein claims he walked through Paris for “ten hours,” yet the entire video is 1:36. Almost half of the video shows him walking with no interaction with anyone (let alone being insulted). So there is less than one minute of negative interaction with Parisian Muslims.

    At one point, Klein claims a woman spat at him. Yet you cannot see what he claims on the video itself. He admits in his NRG article that he also was accompanied by a “security guard” because of “tense conditions” in the city. One wonders if Klein half expected or hoped that he would be attacked by an Islamist in order to get a really good story.

    In an interview with Les Inrocks, Klein claims to have walked through the 23rd Arrondissement. There are only 20 in Paris. He also claims he walked through Barbes in the Parisian suburbs when it’s in the city center. He claimed he was constantly harassed in Saracelles, but one-third of this neighborhood is itself Jewish. Apparently, Jewish residents have figured out a way to live with their Muslim neighbors.

    The Les Inrocks reporter who wrote the story interviewed Klein. The interview was conducted in English, since he doesn’t speak French. Klein told him “a friend” translated the purported French slurs. We know nothing about who did the translations, what his background was, his level of knowledge of French, etc. Several French speakers have told me after listening repeatedly to the audio, that they can’t hear the comments purported in the captions. This raises further concerns about the authenticity of this entire project. . .

    . . . Klein’s foray into the heart of the Paris’ Muslim beast is an extension of the Robert Spencer fake “No-Go” claims about UK cities like Birmingham. The truth is that there are no No-Go neighborhoods in any European city where Jews may not walk without being in fear of their lives. If you create a provocation and act suspiciously as Klein did taking a cameraman and security guard with him into such a neighborhood, then of course you will arouse suspicion. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to richardsilverstein.com

  5. Marnie
    January 30, 2016, 4:04 am

    This clown better keep his day job. As a reporter, he’s a joke. The young guy he was talking at looked, at least to me, uncomfortable because he possibly had no idea what Shay was asking him/puting words into his mouth. Schmuck.

    • echinococcus
      January 30, 2016, 4:48 am

      He’s got one: spy and traitor.

  6. Stephen Shenfield
    January 30, 2016, 6:34 am

    This whole operation smacks of amateurism. Why didn’t Shay arrange in advance for a few refugees to be paid to yell “dirty Jew” at him? Or to beat him up, if he’s willing to make some personal sacrifice for his cause?

    • Annie Robbins
      January 30, 2016, 9:07 am

      Why didn’t Shay arrange in advance for a few refugees to be paid to yell “dirty Jew” at him?

      why assume he didn’t? the only real evidence at the scene is the graffiti. who knows who put it there.

    • Mooser
      January 30, 2016, 11:56 am

      “Why didn’t Shay arrange in advance for a few refugees to be paid to yell “dirty Jew” at him? Or to beat him up…”

      Pay? I’ve known how to get those for free, ever since I was a kid. Heck, it’s easy, anybody could do it. Especially if you aren’t really frightened of the consequences, or can turn them to your advantage.

  7. Rashers2
    January 30, 2016, 7:56 am

    The “Shay Report” has a similarly hollow ring and this kind of “journalism” (for want of a better, more apposite term) is symptomatic of Ziopathy: there is a desperate need for affirmation; to find evidence that anti-Semitism lurks round every corner and down every alley throughout Europe, awaiting only some pre-arranged signal known only to the Jew-haters for the start of a second Holocaust. “So, you see, the original Zionists were right and Jews really do need Israel as their “only safe haven”…” The harm inflicted by this kind of reportage in terms of its consciously helping to stoke European Islamophobia is probably regarded by such as Shay & Klein as collateral benefit.
    Shay et al. should remember the lessons from the 20th Century (indeed, from the Israel of today) that the extreme right, if unchecked, tends not to stop at one minority but quickly broadens its focus: Syrians refugees in Germany/Algerians in Paris may be the hors d’oeuvre but be wary who becomes the entrée.

  8. Tigger
    February 23, 2016, 5:47 pm

    So – someone spat at him because he was wearing a kippa in Paris? Big deal! In London had to endure 20 minutes of a woman screaming filth at me in the street.
    I wasn’t wearing a kippa – I was carrying a bag designed like the Palestinian flag. And she screamed so loud and so long that a policeman crossed the road to ask if I needed assistance.
    (I thanked him and said I could handle it, thanks. I’m only 70, so not in need of assistance – yet.)
    Thing is, I haven’t a clue what made her so red-faced. When people shout and scream I tend to switch my hearing off. But I wonder – is there a word to describe such people? Perhaps Zvika Klein could help …

    • Mooser
      February 24, 2016, 10:37 am

      “When people shout and scream I tend to switch my hearing off. But I wonder – is there a word to describe such people?”

      Two words, actually. Two words which must engage the deepest compassion of any thoughtful person.
      They suffer from an affliction, a deleterious emotional and character disturbance known as “The Ziocaine Syndrome”. The episodes of Ziocaine Syndrome behavior are often mistaken for chemical intoxication, (or as we used to say “a bum voyage“) and can be potentiated by any concurrent emotional disabilities. As it says in the GASDSM: ‘They got it bad and that ain’t good.”

      They got a fever, and the only cure is: “More cowbell!”

      • Mooser
        February 24, 2016, 10:57 am

        Look, I got yarmulke trouble myself. I just got mine back from the tailor, who let it out two inches to provide increased coverage.
        Well, I was trying it on in front of the mirror and I heard my wife remark, “well, that’s one desert that’ll never bloom again”

        I should never have taught her how to talk.

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