A German Court Rules a Synagogue-Burning “Criticism of Israel”

March 16 2017

Two years ago, three German men of Palestinian descent threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue. In a ruling recently upheld by a higher court, the three were declared guilty of the attack but were not convicted of committing a hate crime since—in the courts’ logic—they had been engaged in a political protest against Israel’s policies. Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein write:

The German courts’ decisions will further fuel the anti-Semitism engulfing Europe. Jews are specifically warned not to wear kippot or other Jewish symbols in many European capitals. Holocaust survivors in Malmo, Sweden—where, ironically, they settled after escaping the Nazis—are fearful of walking to synagogue on the Sabbath because the anti-Israel political establishment won’t protect them or their rabbi from anti-Semitic threats. Armed guards are stationed in front of synagogues throughout the continent—yet, according to the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, Jews do not feel safe inside their own houses of worship.

The German court decision fits the pattern of European officials and the media who find it [safer] to attribute attacks against Jewish citizens to hooliganism, to anger at Israel, or to the plight of unemployed youth [than] to anti-Semitism. . . . [This verdict] has created a new tool for those who seek to deny or to do nothing about the world’s oldest hatred: simply dismissing it as political protest. That allows the guilty to go unpunished, removes the urgency for law-enforcement to act, and soothes the consciences of the apathetic.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, European Jewry, German Jewry, Germany, Jewish World

 

Israel’s Nation-State Law and the Hysteria of the Western Media

Aug. 17 2018

Nearly a month after it was passed by the Knesset, the new Basic Law defining Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” is still causing outrage in the American and European press. The attacks, however, are almost uniformly incommensurate with this largely symbolic law, whose text, in the English translation found on the Knesset website, is barely over 400 words in length. Matthew Continetti comments:

Major journalistic institutions have become so wedded to a pro-Palestinian, anti-Benjamin Netanyahu narrative, in which Israel is part of a global trend toward nationalist authoritarian populism, that they have abdicated any responsibility for presenting the news in a dispassionate and balanced manner. The shameful result of this inflammatory coverage is the normalization of anti-Israel rhetoric and policies and widening divisions between Israel and the diaspora.

For example, a July 18, 2018, article in the Los Angeles Times described the nation-state law as “granting an advantageous status to Jewish-only communities.” But that is false: the bill contained no such language. (An earlier version might have been interpreted in this way, but the provision was removed.) Yet, as I write, the Los Angeles Times has not corrected the piece that contained the error. . . .

Such through-the-looking-glass analysis riddled [the five] news articles and four op-eds the New York Times has published on the matter at the time of this writing. In these pieces, “democracy” is defined as results favored by the New York Times editorial board, and Israel’s national self-understanding as in irrevocable conflict with its democratic form of government. . . .

The truth is that democracy is thriving in Israel. . . .  The New York Times quoted Avi Shilon, a historian at Ben-Gurion University, who said [that] “Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era.” Judging by the fallacious, paranoid, fevered, and at times bigoted reaction to the nation-state bill, however, Bibi may have good reason to believe that Israel is still in the battle of 1948, and still defending itself against assaults on the very idea of a Jewish state.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel's Basic Law, Israeli democracy, Media, New York Times