A review of Demonizing Israel and the Jews by Manfred Gerstenfeld, RVP Press, New York, 2013
In the six years 1939-1945, two thirds of Europe’s 9 million Jews were executed by gunfire, starved to death, or incinerated in gas chambers during the Holocaust. While Nazi Germany was, of course the principal actor in this mass human slaughter, the Germans found many willing collaborators among the legions of Jew haters in countries they conquered, occupied, and recruited from for the slave labor and death camps. For a few decades after the end of the war, in part due to guilt for their complicity or stance as bystanders to the carnage, many Western European nations were supportive of the new state of Israel, and made the public expression of anti-Semitism verboten. Eastern European nations, in the orbit of the Soviet bloc, adopted the USSR’s position on Israel, which turned sharply negative soon after Israeli independence.
As Manfred Gerstenfeld, a scholar of Jewish communities in Europe and anti-Semitism vividly portrays in this collection of 57 interviews with academics, politicians, and writers in Europe and a few other places as well, the brief time-out on thousands of years of anti-Semitism among Europeans has ended. The end of any tilt towards Israel occurred even earlier, dating to the end of the 1967 war, when Israel was transformed in the eyes of the leftist elites from besieged victim to colonial occupier. Some Europeans pay lip service to hating Israel, but also oppose anti-Semitism. But when you treat the one majority-Jewish state in the world differently than you treat all others and use the most vicious language at your disposal to condemn Israel, then you are singling it out not for its behavior, but for the makeup of its population.
Gerstenfeld’s interviews include citizens of France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Egypt, and Libya. Interviews were also conducted with analysts from Israel and America describing how anti-Semitism is flourishing in these places as a result of activities of various Christian churches, radical Islamists, left wing political parties (e.g. the Communists, the Greens, hard left socialist parties), some nativist right wing parties, the media (the BBC worst of all in due to its influence), NGOs, and international organizations, in particular the United Nations and its councils and committees. All of these forces aligned against Israel, and in an increasingly visible way against Jews themselves , are aided and abetted by Israel-hating Jews and Israelis, who bask in the attention, financial support and worship by non-Jews whose hatred of Israel and Jews is legitimized by the self-loathing Jews.
One message that is repeated by writers from several European countries is that there is no future any more for Jews in their country, whether it be France, which has the largest Jewish community in Europe, and the third largest in the world (nearly half a …read more