Europeans condemn Israel offensive in Gaza

Op-eds and reports show overwhelming support for Palestinians in the Strip.

A Swedish protester holds up a placard during a demonstration against Israel’s military action in the Gaza strip, in Stockholm on July 31. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A Swedish protester holds up a placard during a demonstration against Israel’s military action in the Gaza strip, in Stockholm on July 31.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Since the beginning of the conflict in Gaza, there has been an almost endless supply of anti- Israeli sentiment in European news outlets.
Last week was no exception. For example, Annie Stass, a journalist for Mediapart, a successful French online journal committed to investigative journalism, wrote a piece last week titled “The myth of legitimate defense,” arguing that the idea of Israel acting in self-defense is a huge fabrication. Why? “Because Israel is the aggressor as it occupies Palestinian territory,” and “ breaking articles in the Geneva Convention and international law.” Furthermore, she made the argument that Israel has a disproportionate number of casualties compared to civilians in Gaza, a point that often sees the light in European newspapers.
In another critical article, published in the French weekly magazine Le Point last Friday, an anonymous author penned that “in Israel, it’s not a good idea to protest for peace. The majority of opponents to the war are being intimidated, ridiculed and even killed.”
The author borrowed the term “witch-hunt” from an article originally published in Haaretz, to explain how he or she thinks left-wing youths and protesters are being treated in Israel.
German journalist Henryk M. Broder struck a more utopian tone in his op-ed in Die Welt, titled, “Don’t we want to end this nonsense?” The 2,000-word piece was shared over a thousand times on social media.
Broder is one of the most famous personalities in the German-Jewish community, as well as a seasoned journalist who writes for several high-profile newspapers and also a regular guest on German talk-shows. He also co-edits Der Jüdische Kalender (The Jewish Calendar), which is a popular set of texts related to Jewish-German culture.
Broder describes the leaders of Israel and “Palestine” as following the behavior of “casino players who have already lost so much that they have to bet even more each time.” He promotes a new plan for peace; suggesting that Jewish communities in the Diaspora should reach out to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Palestinians would then be invited to travel to Europe and spend time in Jewish communities such as Antwerp, Milan, Rotterdam and Liverpool, to name a few.
“I’m not saying that my plan is going to end the conflict overnight,” Broder continued. “I’m not even sure that it will work or if I’m just kidding myself. I’m only saying we should try it. If we want, it doesn’t only have to be a fairy tale.”
Dutch ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ returns medal after family killed in Gaza
El País, Spain, August 16
Dutchman Henk Zanoli, 91, had received an honorary medal for saving the life of Elhanan Pinto, whose parents were killed in the Holocaust. He has now given back the medal as a sign of protest against Israel’s role in the current conflict in the Gaza Strip, in which he has lost six of his relatives.
A July bombing in Gaza killed the husband of his niece, Isma’il Ziadah, and his children. When Zanoli was informed of what happened, he promptly returned the medal, which he shared with his mother, who played an equally important role in saving Pinto’s life. Zanoli stated: “It’s particularly tragic that these killings happened today, four generations after the Holocaust, ” and, “To keep this title would be an insult to my mother who risked her life and the lives of her children fighting against the oppression and [for] the preservation of human life.”
30 Swedish academics call on government to set hard-hitt ing demands toward Israel Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden, August 17 In an open letter to the Swedish government, 30 academics urged the state to strongly condemn Israeli violence in the Gaza Strip. The group wrote that they want the Swedish government to take a stand against the violence Israel is carrying out against Palestinian civilians. Additionally, they want pressure put on Israel to lift the blockade against Gaza, and to establish a lasting truce.
The group added: “Unquestionably, the Palestinian fight for independence is also both violent and illegitimate, with consequences to both Palestinians and Israelis. However, we are convinced that the fundamental source of this situation is Israeli policy which includes the expansion of settlements, the separation of Gaza and the West Bank, as well as the blockade of Gaza.”
Jews leave Perpignan for Israel
Midilibre, France, August 19
Traction from the Israeli government, political-religious consequences of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and anti-Semitic attacks are inspiring more Jews to leave France for Israel. Patrick Attatiech and Yohann Haddad Buchnik made aliya several years ago and have been adapting to their new life in Israel since. They say they feel more secure in Israel than they would in France. Every year, thousands of Jews leave Perpignan and France for Israel.
In a phone interview, Buchnik said, “The exportation of the conflict in Gaza makes me very sad because I grew up in Perpignan in the ‘90s among Muslim friends. As a result of what I’m seeing and hearing, I think I’m safer in Israel than I would be in my town,” adding, “Those protesting against Israel, the so-called humanists, don’t lift a finger to say anything about the conflict in Syria.” Buchnik also said that the conflict in Gaza is portrayed very differently in Israel than in France.
Jewish-Muslim marriage: the court acknowledges protests by extremists
Il fatto quotidiano, Italy, August 19
An Italian daily reported on a Tel Aviv district court allowing the marriage of a Muslim man and Jewish woman despite calls for protest against intermarriage by extreme right-wing groups. Protesters including the father of the bride clamored outside the ceremony.
The two, Mahmud Mansur, 26, and Moral Malca, 23, met in Jaffa and were married last week.
“It’s a disgrace,” the bride’s father told the press. “I have tried to talk my daughter out of it.” He gave his daughter an ultimatum: “Either you choose me, or the boy.” But it seems the daughter chose Mansur, and has converted to Islam.