Anti-Semitism has featured in the News More

By Penny Hoffmann

One reason why anti-Semitism is publically reported more is due to the Combatting European Anti-Semitism Act of 2017. This was introduced by sponsor Republican Marco Rubio on the twenty-fourth of January 2017 and became public law on the fourteenth of January 2019.

Volume 64 section 198 (2018) of the Congressional Record outlines the purpose of the bill:

“A bill to require continued and enhanced annual reporting to Congress in the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom on anti-Semitic incidents in Europe, the safety and security of European Jewish communities, and the efforts of the United States to partner with European governments, the European Union, and
civil society groups, to combat anti-Semitism, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Foreign Relations.”

The sponsors include “Mr. Rubio (for himself, Mr. Kaine, Mr. Gardner, Mr. Menendez, Mr. Perdue, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Boozman, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Lankford, Mr. Brown, Mr. Schatz, and Mr. Hatch)”.

Though the new year began nearly two months ago, recently the media and other organisations spoke out against “growing anti-Semitism”:

Seven MP’s Quit Labour Party due to Brexit Betrayal and Anti-Semitism

Seven of Britain’s Labour Party members of parliament recently resigned to protest the handling of brexit and “growing anti-Semitism”. Anti-Semitism reports have grown by 75%, and it should be noted that there are many anti-Semitic attacks that are not reported, and that some European nations report them more than others. One question being asked by the Labour Party and others is whether one can oppose Israeli policies without being anti-Semitic.

The handling of brexit is the most important issue of the two according to the Labour Party. Despite Britain desiring to leave the European Union, the EU is demanding for Britain to accept their decision to remain or there will be further action.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is attending Brussels to advocate for an Irish deal that does mot re-open the brexit deal.

Poland Pulls out of Israel meeting over Anti-Semitism and Nazi Comments

Poland “collaborated with the Nazis” and “sucked anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk”, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and newly appointed interim Foreign Minister Israel Katz respectively.

Poland’s pull-out from the Visegrad Summit caused the cancellation of the Visegrad group meeting that was held in Israel.

Visegrad involves four central European nations. The members include Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated earlier that he was not attending the meeting because of comments made by Netanyahu about Polish co-operation:

Katz stated the following:

“Poles collaborated with the Nazis, definitely. Collaborated with the Nazis. As (former Israeli Prime Minister) Yitzhak Shamir said — his father was murdered by Poles — he said that from his point of view they sucked anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk. You can’t sugarcoat this history.”

“I am the son of Holocaust survivors… The memory of the Holocaust is not something to compromise about. It is obvious. We will not forget, and we will not forgive.”

Macron Condemns Anti-Semitism at Paris Yellow Vest Protest

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Left: French President Emmanuel Marcon. Right: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: EPA

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned anti-Semitic insults that French 69-year-old philosopher and head of The Academy Alain Finkielkraut was subject to by yellow vest protesters.

These insults include:

“Palestine! France is ours!” “Dirty Zionist!” “Dirty race!” “The people will punish you!”

Macron tweeted this in response:

“The anti-Semitic insults he has been subjected to are the absolute negation of what we are and what makes us a great nation. We will not tolerate it. The son of Polish immigrants who became a French academician, Alain Finkielkraut is not only a prominent man of letters but the symbol of what the Republic allows everyone.”

Finkielkraut is the author of “The Imaginary Jew” and the son of a Jewish-Polish manufacturer of fine goods.

French interior minister Christophe Castaner stated that incidents of antisemitism rose to 541 last year from 311 in 2017, an increase of 74 per cent. National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism (BNVCA) leader Sammy Ghozlan stated that “the ‘Yellow Vests’ movement has an anti-Semitic base that repeats conspiracy theories about Jews and power.” Fourteen political parties called for a solution to growing anti-Semitism.

A protest against anti-Semitism is happening, in which Merie Le Pen says she won’t be attending.

Recently, graves at a cemetery were attacked with swatstikas.

US Vice-President Mike Pence Accuses Iran of Anti-Semitism

US Vice President Mike Pence has accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism.

Pence had visited Poland’s Auschwitz concentration camp. A day prior to this, he was “attacking European powers for trying to undermine U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic”.

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US Vice President Mike Pence with his wife Karen and Polish President Andrzej Duda with first lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda stand at the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ gate at the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, Feb. 15, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Kacper Pempel.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi responded to the accusations of Nazi-like anti-Semitism by supporting Judaism but opposing Israel as the nation was acting like a “killing machine against the Palestinians”:

“Iran’s historic and cultural record of coexistence and respect for divine religions, particularly Judaism, is recorded in reliable historic documents of various nations.”

“The principle that underlies our foreign policy is the aggressive and occupying nature of the Zionist regime (Israel)…, which is a killing machine against the Palestinian people.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also responded to Pence’s accusation, calling it “laughable”.

Zarif also added:

“Iran has always supported the Jews. We are just against Zionists. The Holocaust was a disaster.”

There is an ongoing proxy conflict between Iran and Israel that began in the early 1990’s.

Iran voted against the UN Partitian Plan for Palestine in 1947 and Israel’s admission to the UN two years later. Iran initially recognised Israel as a sovereign state, but as tensions grew the Islamic government does not.

Anti-Semitism “has spread through the Islamic world like a cancer” according to Fareed Zakaria of the Washington Post

Fareed Zakaria, columnist of the Washington Post, political scientist, and author, recently wrote an article suggesting that anti-Semitism “has spread through the Islamic world like a cancer”.

Zakaria stated the following in his article, mentioning freshman Democratic members of Congress Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.):

“I don’t know what is in the hearts of the two representatives. But I believe that Muslims should be particularly thoughtful when speaking about these issues because anti-Semitism has spread through the Islamic world like a cancer. (Omar and Tlaib are not responsible for this in any way, of course, but they should be aware of this poisonous climate.)”

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, apologised “unequivocally” for social media comments that were deemed “anti-Semitic” by many:

“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes.”

“We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

This is the original comment she made:

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Many Jewish figures have condemned her and similar comments, one figure including Democratic Freshman lawyer Max Rose:

“Congresswoman Omar’s comments are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself.”

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of ADL stated the following in a statement:

“As Americans and Jews, we expect our politicians to condemn bigotry, not to fuel it. Words matter. At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in the U.S. and abroad, Rep. Omar is promoting the ugly, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews have an outsized influence over politics.”

Fareed Zakaria, in his article, states that “Arab states became vast propaganda machines for anti-Semitism”:

“In their zeal to delegitimize the Jewish state, men such as Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser promoted all kinds of anti-Semitic literature and rhetoric. Arab states became vast propaganda machines for anti-Semitism, brainwashing generations of their people with the most hateful ideas about Jews. Even the supposedly secular president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, declared in 2001 that Israelis were “trying to kill all the values of the divine religions, with the same mentality that brought about the betrayal and torturing of Christ and in the same way that they tried to betray the Prophet Muhammad.” Religious states such as Saudi Arabia were just as bad, if not worse.”

Fareed Zakaria is “one of the 25 most influential liberals in the American media” according to Forbes, but Zakaria states that “I feel that’s part of my job… which is not to pick sides but to explain what I think is happening on the ground. I can’t say, ‘This is my team and I’m going to root for them no matter what they do.'”

Zakaria also states that Trump’s missile strike against a Syrian government-controlled airbase in April 2017 is when Trump “became president of the United States”.

 

Iran Supreme Leader: “Obvious mistake to negotiate with the U.S.” after Trump opted out of JCPOA

By Stefan M. Kløvning

International Relations, Washington-Tehran

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the foreign ministry on Saturday that it would be an “obvious mistake” to negotiate with the U.S. due to their unreliability. “The word and even the signature of the Americans cannot be relied upon, so negotiations with America are of no avail,” his website quotes him as saying, alluding to Trump opting out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May and reinstating sanctions against Iran.

Also known as the Iran nuclear agreement, JCPOA was signed by the U.S., China, EU, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, and Iran in 2015, in order to curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. Trump determined the deal to be ultimately ineffective as he perceived it was time-limited and would allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons within 5 years and went too far in easing sanctions on Iran without demanding them put a permanent stop to their nuclear development.

As Goldfire Media predicted in its analysis of the deal in October, however, Iran could get an advantage from Trump’s decision:

Iran is following the requirements of the agreement. If decertified, it would therefore allow Iran to claim moral high ground over the US by portraying themselves as a reasonable player in the world compared to them.

This is what the Supreme Leader is now trying to emphasize, and has been doing since he opted out of the agreement since May. There isn’t any point in negotiating a deal and follow it, only to have the adversary come and change the rules informally and punish you for deviating from the non-official new ones.

As Rex Tillerson, then-State Secretary, tried to renegotiate the deal on behalf of the President in November last year, he was turned a blind eye by most of the constituents. The New York Times reported,

Mr. Tillerson acknowledged that international inspectors have found that Iran “is in technical compliance with the agreement, and no one around the table took exception to that.” But he argued that Iran was violating the larger aspirations of the deal by engaging in destabilizing activities not directly covered by it, like supporting terrorist groups.

The lack of success in renegotiating the agreement was what took Trump to move out from the agreement, without having Iran directly break any of its instructions. Iranians may have pondered upon Tillerson’s argument: If one can violate the “larger aspirations” of a deal without violating any of its instructions, isn’t it the instructions that have been poorly formulated with respect to the purpose of the deal? That was what Trump and Tillerson thought too, but they couldn’t do anything to change it, alas opting out of the poorly-formulated deal (though most of the rest of JCPOA’s constituents perceived it to still be a working/better than nothing-deal).

Iranian politicians alongside Khamenei has thus been debating the past week whether they still ought to honour the obligations of the deal after the United States was no longer a constituent. RFERL reported that Iran recently announced that they would be “continuing to acquire uranium and is close to finishing a plant where it can build more centrifuges to enrich uranium.” The Vice President and Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akhbar Salehi, however, insisted that Iran’s increase in nuclear activities would remain within the boundaries of the nuclear deal. While Washington accuses Iran of using the uranium to develop nuclear weapons, Iran claims it’s strictly used for civilian purposes.

Furthermore, Iran filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice against the United States on Wednesday, firing even more tension between them.

At the NATO summit, earlier in July, Trump said that he expected Iran at some point to call him to make a deal after pressure from increasing sanctions abounds upon them. The spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Bahram Ghasemi, however, says that Trump would have to initiate the call himself if he wants to negotiate anew after leaving the JCPOA, as the top leadership in Iran now rejects talks with the United States on principle.