Friend of FLAME:
The left-wing Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published an article
August 17 by reporter Donald Bostrom alleging that Israeli soldiers
were kidnapping and killing Palestinians in order to harvest organs to
be used for transplanation. Bostrom freely admits that he has no evidence whatsoever
to back up this blood libel, but indicated that it is up to Israelis to prove
innocence in this matter. When the Swedish Ambassador to Israel rightfully
condemned this hate speech hiding behind the curtain of "free speech," she was condemned back home in Sweden where some members of the government
urged her recall.
The world's obsession with Israel as the embodiment of ultimate evil continues
to grow, and now Aftonbladet takes the term blood libel to shameful
heights. It is all one can do to try and respond to such utter fiction
in a levelheaded manner. Israel gets such incredible negative press anyway
that perhaps it is to be expected, but this story is despicable.
Naturally, Aftonbladet has a history of attacking Israel. In
a January interview, the paper's culture editor, Asa Linderborg, was asked, "What
do you wish for most in life right now?" Her response: "What a simple
question. What I want is a free Palestine." Apparently she isn't
concerned with Darfur, Rwanda, or Tibet; only “Palestine”.
Why haven't Aftonbladet and other Western newspapers run some of
the actual news in the Middle East?
- Hamas security forces recently killed 28 Palestinians. Apparently
whenever Israel can't be blamed for killing Palestinians, then it isn't newsworthy.
- Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier being held by Hamas, isn't so much as
heard from, yet Palestinian prisoners get cable TV, medical care, and family
visits. They can even receive university degrees. In fact, Hamas
celebrated the 100th degree received by a Hamas security prisoner. Perhaps
Israel should begin treating Palestinian prisoners the same way Israeli prisoners
- Hamas stole three more UNRWA ambulances. As has happened in the past,
Hamas can be expected to use these against Israel in a future terrorist attack. Yet
it is Israel that gets blamed for stopping ambulances at checkpoints.
- There was more Holocaust denying by the Palestinians. Abd Al-Rahman Abbad,
the (Fatah-backed) Secretary General of the Palestinian Organization of Clerics
and Disseminators of Islam said on official (and Western-funded) Palestinian
Authority TV: "Since it is known that in all of Europe there weren't 6
million Jews, the Holocaust should be seen as one more example of Jews' exaggeration
of their sufferings."
Of course it's not just Aftonbladet ignoring the real news. Desiree
Rover, a Dutch journalist, claimed that Jews are responsible for the recent
outbreak of swine flu. Can we no longer use respectable and journalism
even in the same paragraph? Apparently Rover didn't know that eight Israelis
have also died in recent weeks from the swine flu. Or perhaps Israel simply
doesn't know how to properly cause a global flu pandemic without infecting
its own citizens?
It is beyond frustrating to see these public attacks on Israel, which of course
are thinly veiled attacks on Jews themselves. The modern incarnation
of an anti-Semite can then hide behind the excuse of simply criticizing Israel
and not Jews.
Enough is enough. If those who choose to demonize Israel attempt to
clear their own consciences with this joke of an excuse, they cannot expect
us to stand idly by. We haven't, we won't, and we will never.
In his article on criticism of Israel below, Robert Fulford delves into the
ritual that this criticism has become. It is a ritual that has become
obscenely biased and one-sided. Lest we forget, anti-Semitism (and NOT
just "anti-Zionism") is flourishing worldwide once again.
FLAME Hotline Contributor
To learn more about the new anti-Semitism, hidden as it is behind
criticism of Israel, please read FLAME's position paper called The
New Anti-Semitism: Who are its advocates? What are its goals? How anti-Zionism
has become any more acceptable than being anti-Italian or anti-French is astounding. The
Jewish people deserve their own state as much as any other people. If you agree
that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is critical, I
urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public
opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider
giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18.
(Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just
go to http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html.
Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support
it needs, especially from the political leaders of the United States.
||President Obama has asked for input from U.S. citizens
on his Middle East policies. To give him your opinion about Israel's
rights to its undivided capital city, Jerusalem, please write
the President---right now.
When criticizing Israel becomes ritual
by Robert Fulford, National Post (Canada), August 15, 2009
It begins, reasonably, as a response to apparently unnecessary violence by
Israel. Then it moves on to accuse Israel of expanding on land the Arabs insist
is theirs. Nothing wrong with criticizing that, surely. Israel, a state, deserves
to be judged like any other.
Even those friendly toward Israel have often felt duty bound to point out
its mistakes. In more innocent times, I imagined that intellectuals in the
West paid careful attention to Israel's faults because they expected it to
set a high standard. Who would worry about the moral status of, say, Bolivia?
No one except Bolivians. Jews, however, live with the injunction to be (as
Isaiah quotes God) "A light unto the nations."
But now everything has changed. Opposing Israel has become an institutionalized
ritual. It's now a movement across Europe and North America. It has its traditions,
like Israel Apartheid Week, celebrated every spring in universities, often
the cause of riots and an occasion to intimidate Jewish students. Vehement
opposition to Israel appears to be the major interest of thousands of people
all over the world. Many are Muslims, sympathizing with the Palestinians, but
many are not. This week, attacks on Israel once more appeared on the agenda
of the general council meeting of the United Church of Canada, a critic of
Israel for generations.
What are reasonable people to think about these relentless
campaigns in the universities, churches and unions?
Those involved often insist that it's not a matter of anti-Semitism. They
like to say, "I'm anti-Israel, not anti-Semitic. A different thing entirely."
After decades of use, this declaration of innocence has ceased to be credible.
In my personal observation, enemies of Israel often turn out to be anti-Semites
as well. The true agenda of anti-Israel activists often is reflected in their
style of propaganda, and in the exclusive attention they give to one particular
The style of the protests goes far beyond "criticism," that benign
noun implying civil disputes. Often, anti-Israel propaganda distributed on
campuses and elsewhere borrows the style of Nazi cartoons. As Craig Offman
reported in the Post, last winter students at the University of Manitoba found
themselves confronted by posters near a campus bookshop depicting, among other
things, a hooked-nosed Hasidic Jew with a star of David pointing a bazooka
at the nose of an Arab carrying a slingshot; and an Israeli helicopter with
a swastika on top, bombing a baby bottle.
Moreover, the word "apartheid," now a favourite of
the anti-Israel movement, carries intentionally vicious overtones of racism.
It's a way of setting the final terms of an issue before it can be discussed.
The most distressing quality of the attacks, however, is their singularity.
They leave us with the impression that Israel deserves more censure than any
other country on Earth — in fact, more than all other countries combined. Enemies
of Israel may sometimes claim that they have also passed resolutions deploring
genocide in Africa or dictatorship in Burma. But these views are expressed
in comparative privacy. No widespread, long-running movements accompany them.
Does York University in Toronto, so dedicated to justice for Palestinians,
also devote a week every year to the fate of the Falun Gong in China? Do Concordia
University students in Montreal demonstrate against the mass rapes in the Congo?
Does the Ontario branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which
favours boycotting Israeli universities, have anything to say about Tibetan
freedom? Have any of them heard of the World Uighur Congress's defence of oppressed
Muslims in the Xinjiang province of western China? And when dealing with the
Gaza conflict, not one campus group anywhere (so far as I know) mounted a campaign
against Hamas killings of fellow Palestinians. They also avoid mentioning the
Hamas policy of using women and children as human shields.
So far as we can learn from how they act in public, these
organizations appear to have a foreign policy with only one item on its agenda,
the same one they would have if they were in fact motivated fundamentally by
Howard Jacobson, a British novelist and journalist, calls this phenomenon "Jew-hating
pure and simple, the Jew-hating which many of us have always suspected was
the only explanation for the disgust that contorts and disfigures faces when
the mere word Israel crops up in conversation."
Those who oppose Israel's policies have a right to their opinions and their
anger, however unreasonable. And those, like me, who are infuriated by the
relentless and totally selective drumbeat, also have a right to our grave suspicions.