Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Sivan 5762 - June 5, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Antisemitic Propaganda In European Establishment Circles
by Arnon Yaffe, reporting from Paris

In Holland, Central European Bank Director Wim Duisenberg consented when his wife hung a Palestinian flag from the balcony of their Amsterdam apartment. Over the course of several weeks the flag she originally acquired through a Palestinian support organization led to a scandal over antisemitic remarks made by Mrs. Duisenberg and the use of her husband's senior position for anti-Israel propagandizing. Throughout Europe similar, lower profile incidents between Palestinians and Jews have degenerated into blatant antisemitism.

After it was first hung out, the flag drew objections from Jewish organizations and neighbors. In subsequent interviews Mrs. Duisenberg retorted, "Like all of the rich Jews, they are responsible for the oppression the Palestinians suffer from."

Jewish organizations then accused her of inciting hatred and a Dutch attorney sued her for antisemitic provocation. Only after the Jewish organizations announced they would ask the World Jewish Congress to try to prevent Wim Duisenberg from coming to the US did he take down the flag, but his wife again accused "a rich Jewish lobby, with tremendous power, of pressuring anyone in European institutions who defends the Palestinians." Says Mrs. Duisenberg, the Palestinians have been forced to watch Israeli flags on tanks surrounding their cities while in Amsterdam the sight of the Palestinian flag is not tolerated.

In Paris, Christian and ostensibly anti-racism organizations (such as MARAP) are trying to ban the publication of a book by veteran Italian journalist Orianna Falacci that denounces the pro-Palestinian stance adopted by the European Left and the Church as old-fashioned antisemitism. Entitled Fury and Arrogance the book, which identifies fundamentalist Islam as a source of terrorism and the Left and the Church as supporters of Palestinian suicide terrorism through their antisemitism, has already sold one-and-a-half million copies in Italy.

Seething, left-wing intellectuals accuse her of racism and incitement against Arabs and Islam. Falacci, herself a journalist from European leftist circles who once interviewed Khoumeini in Teheran as well as other Arab dictators, may have special insights into their true nature.

Islamicists and Jewish intellectuals have been recruited to counter her contentions. Detractors lodge their most strident opposition against the final chapter of the book in which Falacci demonstrates that the pro-Palestinian position of the Left and the Catholic Church constitutes antisemitism no less dangerous to Jews and Europe than Islamic terrorism.

Several weeks ago an excerpt of the book appeared in various newspapers around the world as an article entitled "I am Ashamed," in which Falacci denounces demonstrations attended by Vatican priests together with protesters dressed as Palestinian suicide bombers, saying they support "the slaughter of Jews in Israel."

The Vatican publication, Observatorre, and the PLO's representative in Rome published a protest against "the racist theses." The European Union Against Racism also denounced the book as "anti-Arab, anti-Islam and anti- immigration." Only the Jews and the Minister of Culture under Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi expressed support for the book.

Jewish intellectuals said one book denouncing Islamic and Arab terrorism and Arab and European antisemitism has been enough to draw attacks labeling the book and its author racist and to induce attempts to ban it.

Meanwhile Islam and Arabs enjoy virtual immunity in Europe. Today in France any criticism and negative remarks about fundamental Islam are considered unacceptable. At the entrance to a popular Parisian bookstore shoppers are greeted by a display of books full of loathing toward Israel, and by antisemitic propaganda of every kind. Most of these books are based on falsifications and outright lies. When one such fabricator, a new historian named Maurice, retracted his writings and admitted he had erred in presenting the Palestinians as the victims of a pre-planned mass expulsion and depicting them as friends of peace, he was condemned as a "traitor and sell-out to the Zionists."

Philosopher Alan Finkelkraut says Falacci's book is not racist. Falacci is right in saying Islamic violence cannot be attributed to poverty allegedly caused by the West. "The violence does stem from their civilization, but it is not the entire Islamic civilization."

As elections in France draw near, Jewish organizations in French suburbs are holding a special conference today to warn voters of the threat posed by the radical Left and the Green Party in the present climate of antisemitism. Far Left political parties are promoting candidates in every district and could defeat the Socialists and eliminate the party, incidentally causing an increase in antisemitic politicians.


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