Op-Ed: The Nazi Brownshirts are Back in Europe's Universities
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He has just prblished a book about the Vatican and Israel titled "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.
Dozens of students disrupted a speech by Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to Britain, Alon Roth-Snir at Essex University, while a lecture scheduled to be given by Daniel Taub, the Ambassador to Britain, was cancelled at the University of North Ireland, due to "security reasons".
Freedom of speech is granted for everybody in Europe's universities, including Islamists and Iranian envoys, but not for Israelis.
Recently, the University of Paris VIII closed its doors to avoid a harder stance about a planned conference against the Jewish State, while septuagenarian Israeli novelist and Holocaust survivor Esther Orner has been banned from the University of Provence.
At Queen’s University in Belfast, Palestinian militants violently attacked Israeli attaché Solon Solomon.
The guest lecturer at a recent UK conference, organised by the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, should have been Motti Crystal, an expert in negotiation theory. But under pressure from one of the participating unions, his invitation was withdrawn. The reason? Crystal is an Israeli. A Jew
An Israeli student at the University of Turin, Amit Peer, confessed that “the Jews here are hiding their own identity because they risk becoming a target”. He went on to say that "Jewish classmates told me that they hide their family name or surname. Only close friends know their true origin, they do not trust even to reveal it to their teachers".
Israeli attaché Shai Cohen was prevented from speaking at Pisa University after a violent attack by students, who called him “butcher.” Former Israeli ambassador, Ehud Gol, fled Florence University after a similar “protest".
Italian blogger Dagoberto Husayn Bellucci, a neo-fascist who converted to Islam, published a blacklist of 162 Jewish professors in Rome. He called on readers to boycott and “remove” them. Bellucci’s list was based on a previous anti-Semitic blacklist, titled “Get out of University, Jewish Scum,” published in 2008 and expanded.
A shoe was hurled at Israeli ambassador Benny Dagan while he was giving a lecture at Stockholm University and a Jewish student, Anja Savosnic, was forced to give up Hebrew studies at the University of Oslo due to anti-Semitic attacks from fellow students.
Members of the Scottish Jewish Student Chaplaincy denounced the fact that Jewish students were concealing signs of their religion amid rising hostility on the world-famous institution’s campuses.
In the oldest and most famous university of France, the Sorbonne, which dates back to the XIII century, the cradle of the Enlightenment and the sanctuary of French laicité, Hizbullah has been given a stage for its anti-Semitic propaganda. Jewish students, who protested the event, were punched in the face and thrown against walls. Students proudly showed black t-shirts with the Dome of the Rock and the words "Al Quds" (Jerusalem in Arabic). Others cried "Palestine will live".
This happened in the aula magna guarded by the statues of Pascal, Descartes, Racine.
Europe today is witnessing a wave of intimidation and hatred like that of the Nazi “brownshirt” youth of 1930s, when Jews and dissidents were beaten and expelled from the universities.
Like it was then, today the goal is to suffocate Jewish intellectualism by persuading academic institutions to sever relations with Israeli universities, by not inviting Israelis to international conferences, by preventing the publication of articles from Israeli scholars, by denying recommendations to students who wish to study in Israel, by expelling Jewish organizations from campus and by not publishing in Israeli papers
Like then, today's barbarism looms like the approach of a monster in a child's nightmare: slow, terrifying, and inescapable.
Like then, today we are witnessing the spectacle of Europe's democracy committing suicide.
Like then, today the Jews are the canary in the coalmine: when the Jews feel compelled to leave, the light of freedom has been extinguished.
Like then, today it begins with disrupting Israeli speakers in Europe's universities but it could end with a physical outcome for the Jewish people.
Asher Ben Nathan, Israel's first ambassador to Germany, once had to give a lecture at Munich University, but he was severely disrupted by leftist activists. One poster in the auditorium carried the words: "Only when bombs explode in 50 supermarkets in Israel will there be peace".
The university in Europe, at which I studied philosophy, has been infested with hate. I left my alma mater with a choking sensation and a feeling of betrayal.