The atrocities committed by the terrorist group Hamas in Israel on October 7 aroused fear and horror throughout the West. As soon as the Israeli government decided to retaliate and announced that it seeks to destroy Hamas, "the new ISIS", fear and horror began to fade and rapidly gave way to a return of "the world's oldest hatred".
The mainstream media described the demonstrations that swept through Western Europe and the United States as "pro-Palestinian". They were, in reality, anti-Jew and brimming with hatred towards Israel. The slogan "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" -- meaning that Israel must be wiped off the map -- was shouted out and emblazoned on banners.
In Sydney, Australia, men chanted "gas the Jews" and boasted that they, the demonstrators, were "on the hunt to kill Jews". In Berlin, demonstrators shouted "death to the Jews". In the US, anti-Semitic acts increased by 400%, Jewish students on university campuses were physically attacked and threatened. During the last three weeks of October, anti-Semitic hate crimes in London, England were up 1,350%. In France, between October 8 and November 1, the Ministry of the Interior recorded 1,762 anti-Semitic acts -- far more than throughout the entire year of 2022.
French historian Georges Bensoussan, said:
"Hundreds of Jews were murdered in Israel and as a result, anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish hatred was unleashed throughout the Western world. It is urgent to ask ourselves what went wrong, otherwise we could be heading towards a nightmare."
Bensoussan had already diagnosed what went wrong in France, when he wrote The Lost Territories of the Republic, published in 2004. He noted at the time that Muslim students in French high schools denied that the Holocaust ever even existed and expressed such hatred of Jews that even talking about the Holocaust in a classroom led to immediate physical violence. In Bensoussan 2017 book, A Submissive France, he stated that the situation had worsened, and that hatred of Jews was now pervasive in all Muslim neighborhoods of the country. He also noted that many Muslim butcher shops displayed posters supporting Hamas. Books similar to Bensoussan's have not been written in most other Western European countries, but articles published in the British, Belgian and German press show that wherever in Europe large number of Muslims settled in recent decades, the same kinds of changes have taken place.
The countries where the Muslim immigrants to Europe originated happen to be imbued with a strong hostility both to Israel and Jews. A 2014 survey by the Pew Institute, conducted in North Africa and the Middle East showed that 87% percent of Algerians were anti-Semitic. The figure for Tunisia was 86%; for Morocco 80%, and for Turkey 71%. In many Arab and Muslim countries: the name "Israel" does not appear on maps; it is replaced by the word "Palestine" or a blank space with no name.
Islamist movements have taken root in all Western countries where Muslims reside, and they are recruiting. The Muslim Brotherhood, considered a terrorist organization in most Arab and Muslim countries -- and whose motto is, "Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope" -- has nevertheless created branches across the West. In the United Kingdom, the Muslim Association of Britain has close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. The same goes for "Muslims of France," the main Muslim organization in France, as well as for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the United States.
Many Muslims living in the West remain under the influence of Islamist movements and the hatred of Israel and Jews that permeates their countries of origin. Hatred of Jews and Israel is therefore markedly present in Muslim communities in the West.
So-called leftist or progressive movements have also been adding their hatred to the widespread Muslim hatred of Jews and Israel. Throughout Europe, many have long considered immigrants from the Muslim world as victims of "capitalist exploitation", "colonialism" and the Western world, and the left has supported -- and still supports -- anti-Western uprisings wherever they are. Until the 1960s, they had no special reason to hate Israel. That quickly changed.
In the 1960s, when the Soviet Union wanted to gain more influence in the Arab Muslim world, its leaders decided to support what was at the time a sacred cause for Arab leaders: the attempt to destroy Israel. They recognized that, two decades after the Holocaust, explicitly supporting the destruction of the world's only Jewish state and its Jewish inhabitants would seem horrible and would be difficult to defend, so they chose to invent a "national liberation struggle". They convinced their Arab friends to rally behind the invention. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964 with the task of "liberating Palestine," and the borders of "Palestine" on the maps used by the PLO showed that the goal was to erase Israel from the face of the earth.
The "Palestinian people" was, according to one of its senior leaders, invented at the same time, and described by Soviet propaganda as a small people, oppressed by an imperialist, colonialist, racist state and who would have to "liberate" their land through "armed struggle". The "Palestinian cause" was born. The leaders of the Arab and Muslim world immediately supported it, as did Muslims in the West. Western communist parties and left-wing movements rapidly followed and became supporters of the "Palestinian cause" and the "liberation struggle of the Palestinian people". Western leftists started vocally to express hatred of "imperialist Israel" and, ironically, the hard-won democratic freedoms they were at that moment enjoying to the fullest: freedom of speech, assembly, education, sexuality, and supposedly equal justice under the law. One only need look at what happened overnight to females in Afghanistan:
"Since September 2021, the return to school for all Afghan girls over the age of 12 have been indefinitely postponed leaving 1.1 million girls and young women without access to formal education."
The idea that Israel, of all places, is an oppressive country nevertheless became widely dominant throughout the West. The idea that there actually is a "Palestinian people" fighting against a supposedly oppressive country became widely accepted, as well as the idea that Palestinian terrorist acts against Israeli Jews were ostensibly justifiable acts of resistance.
The Oslo Accords only made everything worse. By signing them, Israel's then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin recognized the PLO as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" and accepted the idea of Palestinian "self-government" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He therefore recognized that a terrorist organization was somehow the legitimate representative of a people invented fewer than three decades earlier, and that this invented "people" had "rights" and deserved to have territory and self-government.
The PLO, never honored its commitment, undertaken in the Oslo Accords, to:
"Reaffirming their determination to put an end to decades of confrontation and to live in peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity and security, while recognizing their mutual legitimate and political rights".
When the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994 and became the new name for the PLO, the worst wave of terrorist attacks ever perpetrated against Israeli Jews began. As a "peace process" was supposed to take shape, Western leaders pushed Israel to negotiate. Two Israeli Prime Ministers -- Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2008 -- accepted 97% of the Palestinians' demands, offering them 93% of the West Bank and the creation of a Palestinian state. Both times, the Palestinian leaders refused the offer without so much as a counter-offer, and accused Israel of not having conceded enough. In the West, Israel was also widely accused by supporters of the "Palestinian cause" of not having of not having offered enough.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority continued to receive massive financial aid from Western governments, and equipped itself with powerful propaganda tools to demonize Israel even further, a hatred quickly picked up by many Muslims and non-Muslims in the West. The West Bank has increasingly, and incorrectly, been described as "occupied Palestinian territory" -- not "occupied Israeli territory" that was promised to the Jews by the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations -- and the presence of Jews in the West Bank is often incorrectly described as the presence of "colonizers". In reality, it was Israel that decolonized the land from the grip of the British, who governed it from 1917 until Israel's war of independence in 1948.
In 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon completely and without any conditions handed over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. In 2007, Hamas (an Islamist organization that explicitly proclaims its desire, not just for the total destruction of Israel and its population, but in fact of all Jews) seized power of the Gaza Strip -- throwing officials of the Palestinian Authority from high buildings -- and turned it into an Islamic dictatorship, dedicated to the most barbaric and murderous anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli terrorism.
Since handing over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians in 2005, Israel has had to protect itself from the terrorist actions of Hamas and intervene militarily countless times since. Each time, many Muslims living in the West showed their support for Hamas, and many on the left followed and often demonstrated against Israel alongside anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli Muslims. Propaganda from Islamists and leftists has described the Gaza Strip as an "open-air prison", a misrepresentation that became widespread throughout the West.
Year after year, the number of Muslims living in the West has been increasing, as well as the number who join the expansionist objectives of Islam. Demonstrations, well-funded and organized (here, here and here), promoting hatred of Israel and the West have also been gaining ground.
The atrocities perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 were clearly genocidal, and recent pro-Hamas demonstrations in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia show that hatred of Jews and Israel among Muslims living in the West has reached a degree where many of them openly support genocidal atrocities not only against Jews in Israel but against Jews anywhere (here, here , here and here). When Israel defends itself, these Muslims express without shame or restraint their hatred of Jews and many become violent and murderous. These demonstrations also show that support for the "Palestinian cause" sometimes also leads Westerners to support genocidal atrocities so long as they are committed against Jews.
Hamas uses civilians as human shields, but many Muslims, rather than condemn the Hamas government's war crime against their own civilians in Gaza, instead accuse Israel -- in spite of the Israeli Defense Forces doing their utmost to target only Hamas terrorists and protect civilians. The IDF even guarded the Gazans moving south to avoid the crossfire, as Israel had instructed them to do, while Hamas shot at those Gazans to prevent them from fleeing. That way, if they died in the war, Hamas would have dead civilians and grisly statistics to show the Western media, on the assumption that the media would blame Israel – as they mostly did.
Many journalists in the Western world now fully support the "Palestinian cause", do not hesitate to accuse Israel of "war crimes," and "crimes against humanity", and most news channels in the Western world broadcast propaganda images and statistics from Hamas as if they were not propaganda provided by a terrorist organization for the purpose of inciting hatred.
In Europe, political parties try to attract the Muslim vote, establish relationships with Islamist movements and refuse to condemn Hamas. In the UK, the Labour Party ousted Jeremy Corbyn from the party leadership in 2020 when his support for Hamas became too blatant, but he remains a powerful and influential member of the House of Commons. In France, the leftist party Rebellious France refused to say that the October 7 massacre was a terrorist act and defined Hamas as a "resistance movement." The leader of the party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon received 22% of the votes in the 2022 French presidential election, and 69% of Muslim votes.
In the United States, Muslims are fewer than in Europe and Islamism has less influence, but the Democratic Party nevertheless has accepted into its ranks two outspoken Islamist representatives, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar , who make distasteful remarks on a regular basis.
The United States is the only country in the West where a majority of the population still has a positive image of Israel. Support for Israel had long been bipartisan; this may no longer be true. A majority of Democrats now have a negative image of Israel, and the support given to Israel by the Biden administration is apparently creating discontent within the left wing of the party.
In Paris, on November 11, a pro-Hamas demonstration in Paris was held. It brought together a few thousand people. On November 12, a march against anti-Semitism was held. Its organizers wanted no slogans to be displayed that appeared pro-Israeli or hostile to Hamas. They also banned any mention of French hostages captured by Hamas. The two French political parties that denounced Islamic anti-Semitism, the National Rally and Reconquest, were relegated to the end of the procession. No Muslim organizations participated. According to reports, more than 100,000 people came.
In Washington, DC, on November 14, when a march for Israel was organized, Hamas was thoroughly denounced, and demonstrators demanded the release of hostages captured by Hamas. Roughly 300,000 people came.
Hatred of Israel, often meaning Jews, is reaching an alarming level throughout the Western world. The support for a movement calling for the genocidal destruction of Israel by hundreds of thousands of people in Western Europe and the United States should probably be seen as a wake-up call. American columnist Dennis Prager told the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph: "Supporting Hamas is like supporting Nazis in WW2."
In a recent interview, Éric Zemmour, leader of the French political party Reconquest, said that by carrying out a genocidal attack against Jews in Israel, Hamas attacked Judeo-Christian civilization itself. He quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had noted that Israel's battle against Hamas is a battle of civilization against barbarism. Zemmour added that support for Hamas in the West shows that many Muslims living there behave as enemies of civilization, and when they receive support from the "Left", it shows that now the "Left" are also enemies of civilization. He concluded that if, in the West, the processes of a genocidal hatred of Jews continue unhindered, it means that "the West is in mortal danger" and could die.
A temporary ceasefire is currently in place, accepted by Israel in exchange for the release of some Israeli hostages, undoubtedly under pressure from Western leaders, the Biden administration, and of course the families of the hostages themselves. The argument in Israel, apparently, was that the war could go on for months but there was no assurance that the hostages could survive that. The price for Israel is high. Every day of a pause means an opportunity for Hamas to rearm, regroup and reorganize to attack Israel harder.
Calm will temporarily return in the streets of Western cities, but if nothing is done to respond to the forces seeking to overturn Western civilization, all in the name of "democracy" of course – and Western values such as equal justice under law, equality of opportunity rather than of result, education from facts rather than from propaganda, a media that actually challenges authority rather than allowing itself to be suborned by it, freedom of speech with which one disagrees, the sovereignty of the individual rather than of groups -- the worst is bound to come.
Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.