In wake of Israel-Hamas war, anti-Semitic attacks on the rise in Europe

In six major Swedish dailies, coverage has been extensive regarding instances of anti-Semitism, as it relates to the war between Israel and Hamas.

A demonstrator holds a placard during a Muslim protest in Berlin last week against the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A demonstrator holds a placard during a Muslim protest in Berlin last week against the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Reports of anti-Semitic attacks are increasing exponentially since the launch of Operation Protective Edge last month, and have yet to dissipate with the pullout of IDF troops from the Gaza Strip last week.
In six major Swedish dailies, coverage has been extensive regarding instances of anti-Semitism, as it relates to the war between Israel and Hamas. One opinion article, “The hatred is a shame for Europe,” was read by an overwhelming 96 percent of the Swedish population.
This type of acknowledgment of anti-Semitism has not happened in Sweden for at least a decade – it’s ranked one of the least anti-Semitic countries in Europe by the ADL.
The media frenzy is a result of multiple attacks targeted against Malmö’s rabbi Shneur Kesselman.
In England, such attacks are also on the rise, doubling in numbers.
In Neuköln, Germany, an imam has called out to “kill all Zionist Jews.” In Austria, a group of young men with Palestinian flags jumped on the players of visiting team Maccabi Haifa.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned anti-Semitic chants from pro-Palestinian demonstrators. An unprecedented number of Jews are leaving France due to fear, and even in Rome, anti-Semitic cries have been heard on the streets.
Italian Prime Minister Manuel Valls spoke last week of a “new,” “normalized” anti-Semitism. “It blends the Palestinian cause, jihadism, the detestation of Israel and the hatred of France and its values,” he told the National Assembly.
Samuel Salzborn, a professor in political science in Göttingen, stated in an article in a popular German daily: “There is a startling indifference in the German public to the current display of anti-Semitism.”
The German daily Die Zeit published an interview with linguist Monika Schwarz-Friesel, a researcher at TU Berlin University whose focus is on how Israel is covered in the German media.
Her research suggests that the Jewish state faces far more criticism than any other country in German media. Die Zeit asks: “Are people not saying that criticizing Israel is taboo in Germany?” She answers: “Quite the contrary. In comparison to Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and North Korea, German media portray a very dark image of Israel when it comes to, for example, alleged human rights violations which simply does not stand in proportion to these other countries.”
Die Zeit: “You have analyzed 400 headlines, and in a third of these Israel is depicted as the aggressor. Is that not to be expected due to the fact that Israel’s military is stronger? Schwarz-Friesel replies: “I’ll give you an example. Last week, Israel was said to be the aggressor in the headline. But in fact, as the actual text in the article went on to explain, Hamas has been breaking the cease-fire.”
Israel is intensifying the assault
Tagesschau, Germany, August 2
Israel is intensifying the assault on Gaza in search of missing soldier [2nd Lt.] Hadar Goldin who is believed to be captured. [Editor’s note: This report came out before Goldin was declared dead.] The Israeli soldiers are making their way into the Hamas-controled southern areas, under the protection of tanks and aircraft. Additionally, a 72-hour cease-fire was broken just hours after it began. The end of the cease-fire also ended the hope for a pause to carry out wounded civilians in Gaza. The United States has stated that the kidnapping [of Goldin’s body] and ending of the cease-fire by radical Palestinians was “barbaric.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has also reacted with a similar statement. But Jordan’s King Abdullah II criticized the world for an “inexcusable” silence against the “war crimes conducted in Palestinian territories.”
Israel might have tapped John Kerry’s phone
Der Spiegel, Germany, August 6
Information suggests that US Secretary of State John Kerry’s phone was tapped by Israel and another unidentified state during last year’s Middle East peace negotiations. This could potentially damage Israel-US relations.
Kerry spoke on a non-encrypted phone with several high-profile politicians during the negotiations.
The information that intelligence services picked up was later used for the negotiations.
Kerry’s plan for a cease-fire was rejected by the Israeli government as they did not include any steps towards destroying Hamas’s tunnels or rocket systems.
It’s Israel’s most justified war in years
El Mundo, Spain, August 6
David Blatt, the coach for basketball team Cleveland Cavaliers, has came out with his “total support” for Israel’s offensive in Gaza.
“What is happening In Gaza is regrettable, but I think we have to be there in order for Israel to remain as a nation and to ensure peace for everyone,” he said.
Blatt has spent three decades of his career in Israel and says he feels “distressed” not to be there.
“It’s not easy to think about what’s happening in Israel. My two oldest daughters are serving abroad in the IDF…” All of Blatt’s children will return to Israel and Blatt feels compelled to visit them. “To simply exist [as a state],” he stated, “is sometimes not enough.”
Massive pro-Palestinian protest in Paris
Le Parisien, France, August 2
A sizable number of protesters (11,500 according to police, 20,000 according to the organizers) shouted “Stop Israeli aggression” at Denfert Rochereau Street in Paris. Forty-eight protesters were arrested by the police at the Saint-Paul metro station. According to a police source, the protesters were heading towards Rosiers, a notable Jewish quarter in Paris. Political slogans such as “Israel Assassin, Hollande complice,” and “Gaza Gaza we are all with you,” could be heard during the three hours that the demonstration took place. After a surprising rainfall, protesters started scattering.