Op-Ed: Closed Sky Over Tel Aviv. Dark Sky Over Europe
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
The Israeli ambassador in Berlin, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, this week used three words and that fatal number to describe the situation: "It’s like 1938." Because the Jews are attacked once again in the streets of Germany.
Paraphrased slogans that date back to the days of Hitler, such as "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas", are heard during pro-Palestinian manifestations throughout all of Europe. And since Israel launched Operation Zuk Eitan - Protective Edge - the European Jews are falling back into a state of inferiority and fear.
Once again it is dangerous to be a Jew in Europe. The imam of a mosque in Berlin is under investigation for this sermon: “Oh Allah, destroy the Zionist Jews, count them and kill them to the last one”.
In Paris protesters are urged to adhere to “a raid in the Jewish Quarter”. It seems that the days of Klaus Barbie are come back in Paris.
Hundreds of French young people marched toward a synagogue shouting "Mort aux juifs," as happened in the days of Captain Dreyfus. In large urban areas such as Sarcelles, Créteil, Sartrouville and Saint-Denis, the tension is high. In the Marais, the historic Jewish district of the French capital, Jewish students are attacked if they are wearing tzitzit or kippahs. Meanwhile in the town of Roubaix, the home of the perpetrator of the massacre at the Jewish Museum in Brussels has become a pilgrimage site for Islamists.
There is no shortage of slogans like "Merah max", which praise the terrorist who killed Jewish students at a school in Tolouse.
Anti-Semitism is an old "maladie française", a French sickness. But now, it is worse than ever. Ten years ago, a million French people took to the streets against the wave of anti-Semitism crying "Synagogues brûlées, en République ranger”. Today the same streets are full of hatred for the Jews. And synagogues have been targeted.
In Amsterdam, the city of Baruch Spinoza, the home of the Dutch Chief Rabbi Benjamin Jacobs, has just been attacked twice in one week.
Even in the Washington Post, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been portrayed beating a Palestinian child in a cartoon. And the degeneration of journalism is rampant everywhere, from the Independent to Le Monde, newspapers where Jews are often depicted with a big nose (the Jew "Satan scarlet hawk-nosed" as Joseph Goebbels said).
Opinion makers and renowned directors of the humanitarian NGOs are comparing Gaza to Guernica and the security barrier to the Warsaw ghetto.
The CNN journalist in Israel, Diana Magnay, has been forced to resign after having defined the Israelis as "scum".
A war is waged against Israel in the best universities. Freedom of speech is granted to everyone in European universities, including the Islamists, but not to the Israelis, who are intimidated, isolated, execrated, often hunted. Recently, to name just one example, one of the most important US academic associations, the American Studies Association, voted for a boycott of Israeli universities and colleges.
In the parliamentary debates of Europe, Jews are called “avengers” and charged with the world’s ills, while Islamic leaders enjoy the hypocrisy. From Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who compared Netanyahu to Hitler, to the former Malaysian mufti, Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, who evoked the Austrian painter to explain that perhaps "he was right to exterminate the Jews" .
A number of Nobel Prize winners (Desmond Tu-tu, Betty Williams, Federico Mayor Zara-goza, Jody Williams, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Mairead Maguire and Rigoberta Men-chu) just called for a boycott of Israel, compared Israel to Apartheid in South Africa.
The Jewish State in the West has become an "appendix," a foreign entity, colonial, something to be removed. Europe seems to want to solve, once and for all, the "péché originel of Israel." The original sin of the creation of Israel.
The isolation of Israel is also economic, especially in northern Europe. The largest Danish bank, Danske Bank, has put the Israeli Hapoalim in its black list. Then came the decision of the Swedish bank Nordea to put under scrutiny the Israeli Leumi and Tefahot for their presence in Judea and Samaria. The largest Dutch pension fund, PGGM, withdrew five investments with financial institutions in Jerusalem. Even Abp, the third most important pension fund in the world, withdrew from the Israeli market.
Asher Ben-Natan, the Israeli ambassador to Germany in the ‘60s, attended a conference at the University of Munich. He was violently interrupted by activists of Israel’s boycott. A poster hanging in the auditorium read: "Only when the bombs explode in fifty Israeli supermarkets can be peace." Forty years have passed since then, the boycott has become mainstream and missiles are falling on the territory of Israel.
Since then, as the Dutch journalist Paul Andersson Toussaint has written, "anti-Semitism is again salonfähig." It is a German word used seventy years ago. It means acceptable in polite society.
An acid rain is falling on our heads. The sky is sick over Europe. Meanwhile, over Tel Aviv, the sky has been closed. It is the first time in three decades.