Israel's flag flying atop Masada.
Israel's flag flying atop Masada.

Column: Mobilizing Antisemitism

‘The Shoah is part of Paris’ history’

– Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo

‘The speech by Fatima Mousa Mohammed at the CUNY Law School commencement shocked and horrified so many people in New York and around the world’

– Maura Moynihan, daughter of the late N.Y. Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Mayor Hidalgo and Maura Moynihan did not limit their outrage to outbursts of antisemitism. They made sure to interweave the challenges of antisemitism with the challenges facing Paris and New York.

Through their official capacities, Hidalgo and Moynihan tried to punish two enemies of Israel for their antisemitic speeches. Perhaps they expect that if Arabs destroy Israel, that will only be the beginning. They will move on to other targets throughout the world.

Their plans, I have come to believe, are more severe than conquering one country. Arab Muslims intend to impose Islam upon the entire world.

It is impossible to quantify how many Muslims want this vs. those Muslims who respect the practices of other religions. In the Middle East, it is clear which segment controls events at this time. My suspicion is by no means based on scientific or academic evidence. It is in large part just the feeling I get from following this conflict.

My view is that extremists among the Muslims believe that everyone should practice Islam, whether one is Jewish, Christian, Hindu and so on. They have persecuted people of various religions for centuries.

They are less upset that Israel is a predominantly Jewish nation than they are that it is not a Muslim nation, and it is located in the middle of the Muslim homeland. Would Muslim extremists tolerate any other people such as Christians or even an obscure sect from the South Seas to control what is now Israel?

I have lately wondered about this question: Did antisemitism fuel the current conflict or was antisemitism a byproduct?

I think antisemitism was more an offshoot that extremists have exploited. They recite anti-Jewish slanders to fire up their people and reassure adherents of other faiths that the fight is between them and us.

I recall many years ago that an antisemitic woman at work related a story about a group of Jews and Arabs squabbling about the Middle East. She chuckled as she said she moved away from them quickly so as not to be caught in the crossfire. I was tempted to suggest that she not become too comfortable.

Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat as president of the Palestinian Authority, spewed slanders against Jews three weeks ago that should do wonders for my ex-coworker’s sense of security.

“They say that Hitler killed the Jews because they were Jews, and that Europe hated the Jews because they were Jews,” Abbas said in a live speech on Palestinian television, according to The New York Times.

“No,” Abbas noted, adding that Jews were persecuted because of “their social role, which had to do with usury, money, and so on.” He claimed European Jews descended from a nomadic Turkic tribe that converted to Judaism during the medieval era, and therefore were not victims of antisemitism.

“When we hear them talk about Semitism and antisemitism – the Ashkenazi Jews, at least, are not Semites.”

A subtitled version of Abbas’s speech was distributed last week by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-based monitoring group that mainly translates remarks by Arab and Iranian leaders, the Times reported.

The next day, Paris Mayor Hidalgo chastened Abbas for tarnishing the purpose of an honor she bestowed upon Abbas at Paris City Hall almost eight years ago, the Times.

“On Sept. 21, 2015, I received you at Paris City Hall, in the presence of my executive and the leaders of the council’s political factions,” she wrote in the letter to Abbas. “On that occasion I bestowed upon you the Grand Vermeil de Paris medal, the city’s highest distinction. The positions you hold contradict our universal values and the historical truth of the Shoah, therefore you may no longer maintain this distinction.

“In our city, during the Second World War,” the mayor continued, “tens of thousands of Jewish children, women and men were rounded up, deported and exterminated in death camps.”

Maura Moynihan announced last week that she was boycotting the opening of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Center which will host two new fellowship programs and a slate of events dedicated to advancing public school scholarship and public service. The Moynihan Center is a new institution at City College of New York, also part of the CUNY system.

As her aforementioned quote suggests, Moynihan’s snub was triggered by scathing anti-Israel comments by Fatima Mousa Mohammed, who on May 12 declared that CUNY’s law school was a place where students could “speak out against Israeli settler colonialism.”

Moynihan faulted College officials for failing to condemn Mohammed’s remarks, which means that they were “taking his name in vain,” according to New York Jewish Week. CUNY has also been subject to numerous accusations of antisemitism and Israel-bashing. Moynihan was a strong supporter of Israel.

Her father’s words as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1975, she said, would readily apply to today’s conditions: “A great evil has been loosed upon the world; the abomination of antisemitism has been given the appearance of international sanction.”

The future senator’s comments came in response to the U.N.’s declaration that “Zionism is racism.”

An Irish Catholic, Moynihan sounded as if he was taking this personally, though he had understandable political reasons for being so vocal.

With his intellect, Moynihan likely understood the Arabs’ intentions, as his daughter and the mayor of Paris might.

It is nothing less than historic that antisemitism leads to attacks upon other groups. Muslim extremists may well have mobilized antisemitism into a military strategy.

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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