BERLIN – The Simon Wiesenthal Center announced on Monday its 2013 top-10 list of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slurs, giving the top two slots to the leaders of Iran and Turkey.
The list underlined the failure of the international community to confront contemporary anti-Semitism by citing state-sponsored drives to attack Jews and Israel and the role of a UN official, authors, academic and church groups and celebrities in stoking Jew-hatred.
The center, an international human rights organization best known for combating modern anti-Semitism and bringing World War II Nazis to justice, topped the list with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s “genocidal threats against the Jewish state.”
In November, Khamenei described Israel as the “rabid dog in the region,” adding, “Its leaders look like beasts and cannot be called human.” Khamenei said shortly before the Iranian election that “Zionists” were the real agents in control of the United States – an accusation with which he was “updating the old canard of a global Jewish conspiracy,” according to the center.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan garnered the second spot on the list for blaming the actions of the June anti-government Turkish demonstrators, who sought greater democracy, on the “interest rate lobby,” which Erdogan’s deputy said was “The Jewish Diaspora.” The Wiesenthal center said Erdogan had suggested that Israel engineered the ouster of Egypt’s Islamic president Mohamed Morsi.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday from Herzliya via telephone, Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the aim of this year’s list was “to get across the point” that people who have credentials or are prime minister or the Supreme Leader should not receive free passes because of their positions of power.
“The rest of the world should not be so friendly with them. It is not correct to have meetings with the prime minister of Turkey when he is a common bigot,” Hier said.
Hier criticized the Geneva photograph of euphoric foreign ministers celebrating the Iran nuclear deal in November as a dismissal of Khamenei’s threats against Israel. “The jubilant mood” took place, he said, days after Iran’s leader called for “the elimination of the state of Israel, making it clear that Iran’s singular foreign policy is the elimination of Israel.”
Also notable on this year’s list was the presence of two anti-Israel Jewish Americans whose language contributes to anti-Semitism, according to Hier. Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, occupied the third spot and the journalist Max Blumenthal scored ninth place.
Rabbi Hier told the Post that he considers Falk and Blumenthal to “absolutely” fall in the category of Jewish anti-Semites.
“It is not the first time in the history of the Jewish people” that Jews have made anti-Jewish rants, Hier said. He stressed that one has to “judge people by their words. You can be an anti-Semite if you talk like anti-Semites.”
Hier continued, “Richard Falk should not be given a free pass because he is Jewish. We think he, Richard Falk, is an outright anti-Semite.” Likewise, Hier said of Blumental, “we judge him by what he wrote. He crossed the line into outright anti-Semitism.”
According to the Wiesenthal list, Blumenthal uses chapter titles in his book Goliath to equate Israel with the Nazi regime. Chapters in his book are entitled “Summer Camp of Destruction,” “Date with the Devil,” “There Is No Dream,” “The Concentration Camp,” “The Night of Broken Glass” and “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People.” The center noted that “he quotes approvingly characterizations of Israelis soldiers as ‘Judeo-Nazis.’”
Dr. Eric Alterman, a prominent professor of English in New York City, wrote that Blumenthal’s “book could have been a selection of a hypothetical Hamas Book of the Month Club.” Alterman penned his critical review of Blumenthal’s book in the left-wing magazine The Nation, where he is a columnist.
Speaking from Washington with the Post, Josh Block, a former Clinton administration spokesman who is CEO of The Israel Project, said of Blumenthal: “I am sure his colleagues at the Hezbollah newspaper where he was a writer for years are pleased and not at all surprised to see their guy on this list... Turns out the anti-Semites of Al-Akhbar and Iran’s Press TV discovered this modern- day Jewish Father Coughlin before anyone else.”
The Wiesenthal Center said Falk had argued that Israel might be organizing a Nazi-like Holocaust, and had defended Palestinian terrorism as “the right of resistance” because suicide attacks would inflict significant pressure on Israel.
European cartoonists from Norway, Germany and France landed the seventh slot for their depictions of Israel and Jews. In Germany in particular, the center cited “cartoons in two different newspapers (the Badische Zeitung and the Stuttgarter Zeitung) depicting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu poisoning peace talks.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, told the Post, “It is especially galling and outrageous in the midst of all this that two German newspapers would publish cartoons that – consciously or otherwise – deploy deep-rooted European anti-Semitic imagery of the Jew as poisoner. Those images do the poisoning and also validate [a] toxic attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people.”
Henryk M. Broder, a leading German author and an expert on new forms of anti-Semitism, praised the list for classifying the Badische Zeitung cartoon as anti-Semitic. He told the Post that “it hit the nail on the head.”
The German-Israel friendship society in Freiburg, where the Badische Zeitung is published, wrote in a statement to the Post, “In view of this ranking, we would appreciate if the editorial team of the Badische Zeitung could reconsider their statement about the cartoon. We hope that in the future the Badische Zeitung will exercise more care when it comes to the release of anti-Semitic depictions. In this context, we would like to mention that anti-Semitism can also be disguised as anti-Zionism.”
Fourth on the list were political and church groups, along with Pink Floyd’s cofounder, Roger Waters. The center said that Waters slandered “Israel as an apartheid state, compares it to Nazi Germany and denies that the Iranian regime poses any threat to the Jewish State.”
The American Studies Association was cited for singling out Israel for a boycott. A right-wing extremist Hungarian political party called for a registry for Jews for “security reasons.”
The United Church of Canada was listed because “As Christians suffer in Syria, [are subject to] ethnic cleansing in Iraq and threatened in Egypt, The United Church of Canada endorsed the boycott of Israel – the only Middle East state that guarantees full religious freedom and protection to all faiths.”
The Pine Bush New York school district occupied the eighth spot for failing to protect Jewish pupils from “anti-Semitic slurs and physical abuse by bullies.”
The glorification of Hitler in Muslim-majority countries and elsewhere was listed sixth.
Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Alice Walker was co-listed as ninth for her latest book, Pin in the Cushion, which “is a diatribe against the Jewish state. Walker depicts Hamas-ruled Gaza as a benign place” and compares Israelis to the Nazis.
European anti-Semitism and racism in sports stadiums captured the tenth spot on the list.
The list included a call on NBA star Tony Parker to apologize for a Nazi-like salute.