At first glance, data released this week on violent anti-Semitic attacks around
the world is actually encouraging. The number of these sorts of violent attacks
fell 27 percent to “only” 446 in 2011, according to The Moshe Kantor Center for
the Study of Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University.
Prof. Dina Porat, head of the center, pointed out, the findings do not tell the
“Anti-Semitic expressions are not only found in fringe or
radical groups,” said Porat, “but have infiltrated the mainstream and it creates
an atmosphere that cannot be quantified.”
Most commonly, noted Porat and
Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, distorted perceptions
of Israeli policies are being used as justification for attacking Jewish
communities around the world, particularly in Europe.
Just this month
there were ample examples of how pervasive it has become for Israel’s many
detractors to resort to the odious tactic of misrepresenting Israeli policies
and using these lies as an excuse to lash out at Jews or those who support the
In the US, Connecticut senatorial candidate Lee Whitum
called Connecticut Congressman Chris Murphy a “whore” who “sells his soul to
AIPAC” during a debate ahead of a primary election, and claimed the US is hated
throughout the world because of “American settlers” who kill Palestinians “in
the Promised Land.”
In a recent piece in Tablet Magazine, the prejudices
of Ilmar Reepalu, the mayor of Malmö, Sweden, who has held his post for 17
years, were revealed in all their infamy.
Asked in January 2010 about
growing anti-Semitism in his city, he replied, “We accept neither anti-Semitism
nor Zionism in Malmö.” And just recently, Reepalu incited against the Jewish
community by claiming most supported an anti-immigration, anti-Muslim political
party in Sweden.
In Britain, 36 directors and actors, including Emma
Thompson, signed a petition calling to exclude the Tel Aviv-based Habimah
Theater company from an upcoming international Shakespeare festival set to take
place at London’s Globe Theater in protest against alleged Israeli
In Germany, Günter Grass, a former Waffen SS storm trooper
and leftist cultural icon wrote a “poem” claiming it was Israel, not the
Holocaust denying, pro-terrorist mullahs of Iran, that was threatened the world
with nuclear Armageddon.
On the backdrop of this spate of gratuitous
attacks on Israel or on those supportive of the Jewish state, The Jerusalem Post
is organizing its First Annual Conference appropriately entitled “Fighting for
the Zionist Dream.”
Central on the agenda is a discussion of the
systematic delegitimization of Israel and Zionism and ways of combating
distortions and lies spread about the Jewish state.
There is no more
appropriate organizer of such a conference than The Jerusalem Post, a news
provider that combats unsubstantiated attacks on Israel on a daily basis. We do
this not by actively engaging in hasbara [public diplomacy] or disseminating
propaganda about Israeli policies, but simply by telling it as it is. Twenty-four
hours a day, seven days a week, 364 days a year (unless something really
important happens on Yom Kippur) the Post provides vital information about
Israel in an unbigoted, balanced way.
If readers are truly open to the
truth they will quickly discover, for instance, that Palestinian support for
terror and rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a secure and legitimate
Jewish state are exceedingly more substantial impediments to peace than
settlements. They will realize that Palestinians are not passive observers in
the peace process. Rather, they have rejected multiple offers by Israel to solve
the conflict through a two-state solution.
In elections in the Gaza Strip
in 2006, a majority voted for Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to
Israel’s destruction. And to this day Palestinian leadership balks at entering
direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions.
Post is just one source of news about Israel. Too much information made
available – in both mainstream and alternative media outlets – is distorted and
helps cultivate hatred for Israel, which is then used against Jews and
supporters of Israel around the world.
Therefore, at the upcoming
“Fighting for the Zionist Dream” conference taking place in New York on April
29, some of Israel’s most thoughtful and innovative advocates will discuss ways
of bringing the truth to the world. In doing so, they will help to combat the
new form of anti- Semitic rhetoric disingenuously disguised as legitimate
criticism of Israeli policies.