Europeans ignoring antisemitism at their peril, says EU human rights commissioner

"The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews."

FRANCE’S THEN interior minister Brice Hortefeux walks next to a tombstone desecrated by vandals with a Nazi swastika and the slogan ‘Jews out’ in the Jewish Cemetery of Cronenbourg near Strasbourg in 2010 (photo credit: REUTERS)
FRANCE’S THEN interior minister Brice Hortefeux walks next to a tombstone desecrated by vandals with a Nazi swastika and the slogan ‘Jews out’ in the Jewish Cemetery of Cronenbourg near Strasbourg in 2010
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights Nils Muižnieks delivered an urgent call on Tuesday for the EU to fight antisemitism seriously and remember the Holocaust with a view toward informing the present.
“Europeans ignore the evidence of rising antisemitic hate speech, violence and Holocaust denial at their peril. The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. Antisemitism is a threat to our European continent built on freedom and the rule of law," said Muižnieks on the council’s website.
He added, “Teaching remembrance of the Holocaust is a crucial safeguard against history and serious human rights violations repeating themselves.”
Regarding litigation to stop antisemitism, he said, “In the case of Garaudy v. France, the applicant, an author of a book titled The Founding Myths of Modern Israel was convicted of disputing the existence of crimes against humanity, defamation of the Jewish community and incitement to racial hatred.”
“Contemporary manifestations of antisemitism do not just include violent crime and hate speech. Contemporary antisemitism also revolves around the Holocaust, with some blaming the Holocaust on Jews or suggesting that Jews focus on this tragedy to gain advantage," said Muižnieks.
In response to Muižnieks’s remarks, Dr. Richard Landes, the Jerusalem-based chair of the Council of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, told The Jerusalem Post, “The statement does not even address the fact that all the deadly cases of anti-semitism in Europe today come from Muslims – a sign of timidity which does not bode well for opposing the phenomenon. Indeed, one might argue that real, exterminationist antisemitism like that of the Nazis is primarily found in the European Muslim community (and among Muslims around the world), while milder forms of Jew-hatred revive at an alarming rate among others (including ‘progressive’ Jews).”
Landes, an expert on European antisemitism, added, “In Europe, it’s as if the elites quaff the wine and beer of their distaste for Jews (especially for free Jews like Israelis), while holding an open bar for the Muslims to drink all the hard alcohol of real Jew-hatred they want. It’s hard to imagine a more self-destructive indulgence in an ancient and poisonous addiction.”
Volker Beck, the head of the German-Israel parliamentary group in the Bundestag, welcomed Muižnieks’s remarks. He said “European states must intensify their efforts against all forms of antisemitism.”
Beck, a prominent Green Party MP, added, “The voices from the Jewish community are alarming and should not be played down.”
A case of alleged trivialization of the Holocaust and support for the BDS movement is ripping apart a local German teachers’ union.
German Jews slammed the teachers’ union (GEW) in the northern city of Oldenburg for belittling the antisemitism of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign targeting Israel and defending its member Christoph Glanz for promoting hatred of Israel and Jews.
Daniel Killy, the spokesman for the city of Hamburg’s 2,500-member Jewish community, told the Post on Monday: “The fact that Mr. Glanz is openly indoctrinating children and teaching hatred against Israel is totally unbearable. I therefore call to the authorities to immediately remove Glanz from teaching. Furthermore I think it is totally intolerable for a labor union to support Mr. Glanz. If a German union backs an antisemitic hate preacher like Glanz they are disqualifying themselves as a voice in the public dialogue.”
The head of the German-Israel Friendship Society in Oldenburg, Klaus Thörner, accused Glanz of minimizing the Holocaust, after Glanz said at a school event commemorating the Holocaust in 2013 that Israel committed a genocide on the Palestinians.
Beck told the Post “I am distressed that the GEW Oldenburg has called into question its disassociation from the antisemitism of BDS. It is to be sure an educational assignment for the GEW toward its members to convey that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism and no form of antisemitism should be accepted.”
The GEW parent union termed BDS anti-Semitic.
The social democratic party MP Michaela Engelmeier  responded on Twitter to the GEW Oldenburg’s decision to walk back its rejection of BDS as “incomprehensible,” adding that, “BDS is, to the core, anti-Semitic.” She said Glanz is an “antisemite and racist.” The public school authorities in the state of Lower Saxony, where Oldenburg is situated, are in the process of investigating Glanz for misconduct.