News Ian O'Doherty

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Not anti-Semitic - 'just anti-Israeli'

Published 12/01/2009 | 00:00

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So, here's the deal -- you bring your kid, already nervous about starting his first day at a new school into the building, only to be told by the headmaster that your child is no longer welcome. He's never met your kid, but sorry, he'll have to find another school . . .

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So, you get home, and your husband tells you that he has just been informed that people will no longer patronise his shop. A full boycott has been imposed and, just to allow strangers to know there is a boycott going on, they have spray-painted signs on the walls and windows of the shop . . .

So, you're on your way back to your home when you're confronted by a large and extremely angry mob which repeatedly chants that you, your family and all your friends should be immediately killed and burned in giant ovens . . .

So . . . the list goes on.

All the above are just three examples of what Jewish -- not Israeli -- people have been experiencing in Europe and America in the last week.

The first example comes from Denmark, a country which used to be renowned for its live-and-let-live attitude but which has, since the now infamous Jyllands-Posten cartoon incident, become increasingly feeble and desperate to avoid causing any offence to their local Muslim population.

And, in that craven spirit, some Danish headmasters have admitted that they will refuse to enrol Jewish into their schools as a result of the Israeli action in Gaza.

Quite why a Danish kid should be punished for the actions of another country thousands of miles away seems a mystery, but according to headmaster Olav Nielsen, he will "refuse to accept the wishes of Jewish parents to enrol" in his school because it would upset Muslim children.

The move has been copied by other schools in the country and is currently growing apace.

But, of course, he was quick to point out that he wasn't being anti-Semitic, just anti-Israeli.

Then, in Italy, the trade union Flaica-Cub called for a boycott of all Jewish shops in Rome in solidarity with the citizens of Gaza.

According to their spokesman Giancarlo Desiderati, there should be "a boycott of all shops in central Rome linked to the Israelite community." They have handed out flyers warning customers that anything they buy in Jewish owned shops "are tainted by blood."

But, of course, he was quick to point out that he wasn't being anti-Semitic, just anti-Israeli.

The most pathetic incident occurred in Florida when a pro-Palestinian demonstration saw protestors chant "go back to the ovens" and "Nuke Israel" to some old Jews (the clip is on youtube and is quite astonishing).

It should also be pointed out that one of the most irritating tendencies of many pro-Israeli commentators is their hair-trigger accusation of anti-Semitism towards anyone who criticises the country.

It's a pointless and frequently extremely defamatory allegation and one which merely drags the argument, once again, into the gutter. Inevitably it just ends up with two sides simply shouting at each other and neither side listening.

I make no bones of the fact that I am extremely pro-Israeli, but I know plenty of those who are on the opposite side of the argument who are quite simply not anti-Semites, they just don't like Israeli policy, which is entirely their right and doesn't make them racist.

But, equally, much of the anti-Israeli sentiment is motivated by good, old-fashioned racism.

After all, how else can you explain banning children of a certain ethnic background from school, or issuing leaflets demanding that certain shops be shunned simply because of the perceived religion of the owner?

As for the incident in Florida, if you click on the link, you will see true faces of hate, Muslim immigrants to America calling for another holocaust, this time against American citizens who happen to be Jewish. It's ironic that these people go to the land of the free and then use its freedoms to start calling for another Shoah.

In Britain, high-profile Jews have been ordered to take on extra security because hard core Muslims have compiled a wish list of the ones they want to eliminate.

Sometimes this can veer into the amusing and farcical, such as the fact that Radio Basingstoke's website was hacked by fundamentalists because the station was playing Cliff Richard and, according to the hacker, "we hate Cliff Richard" -- which at least leaves us with some hope that we can find common ground.

Targeting Alan Sugar because of IDF actions makes as much sense as targeting Salman Rushdie to avenge Hamas's constant rocket attacks.

I witnessed this hatred first-hand during the summer when confronted by a rabble of protestors outside the Burlington on the night of Israel's 60th birthday party -- everyone attending, according to the people we had to go through, were "filthy Jews" and more than one protestor made hissing sounds, the international shorthand for the noise of the gas chambers.

An Israeli friend of mine, Leiat, was visiting Ireland and she was completely stunned and upset at the levels of vitriol displayed towards her.

But while the people responsible were probably in the minority, it is up to the majority to condemn these actions. Incredibly, the organisers of the Florida protest, ANSWER, the far-left American protest organisation, have refused to condemn the people calling for another genocide, saying instead that it merely "showed the depth of the protestors' feeling." Oh well, that's okay then.

Closer to home we have numerous groups calling for the expulsion of Zion Evrony and a complete cultural boycott of all Israeli products, as well as shunning Israeli academics and artists.

Of course not all anti-Israeli activists are anti-Semites.

But you can be sure that all anti-Semites are also anti-Israeli activists.

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