And so it was that I found myself once again in a meeting in the twilight world of Brussels -- an ugly city filled with ugly buildings, ugly overpriced food and overpaid officials. The objective of any visit must always be a hit-an-run: to get in and get out as swiftly as possible, The only reason to go is to try and inject some sense into a city so starved of it. When, therefore, asked to address the matter of what the European Union might do to tackle anti-Semitism, the answer is easy: "Stop funding anti-Semites." What is hard is that this is Brussels, where words are meaningless and nothing makes any sense. Here is just one example:
The Palestinian Ma'an News Agency is one of the most supremely anti-Semitic organs in the Middle East. Which I hope readers realize is putting it in the premier league of anti-Semitic slander.
Here is an excerpt from a recent article on the Ma'an website by one Saswan Najib Abd Al-Halim:
Jews think that their fortresses will protect them from death, but any breach of these fortresses or protective walls instills panic and fear in their hearts, and they are seized by fear and trembling. If a missile falls beyond their protective walls or if even a bullet passes over them, you can see how their hearts fill with horror -- and this is because Allah has stricken fear in their hearts and decreed humiliation and degradation upon them until Judgment Day...
Historically, it is known that the lives of Jews have always been war and fighting. The only reason for this is that they have been outcasts in every corner of the earth, and not one nation in the world respects them, for they cause strife, and scheme everywhere they settle. We know that they have been defeated in every war they have fought throughout history, and they have been dispersed in every direction, but Allah's curse upon them and his fury at them cause them to continue with their transgression and tyranny.
It is possible that there are people willing to concede that the Ma'an News Agency has the right to run this sort of libelous venom. But now we come to the real question: Why on earth should we pay for it?
The Ma'an News Agency is not able to run this type of libel unaided. It does not run it because it manages to gather enough subscribers and enough advertising "clicks" from cosmetic companies. It runs because we actually pay for part of it. I wish the jaw were still able to drop at this. As I have said for years – it is not surprising when you find people who hate you. What is surprising is when you pay people to hate you.
The Ma'an News Agency has been funded by a range of international bodies. These include – astoundingly – the British government. Also the Danish and Dutch governments. And of course it also receives funding from the EU. When Mr Al-Halim and friends pour out their anti-Semitic hate speech – calling Jews "the root of conflict in the world," "cursed by Allah" and "outcasts in every corner of the earth," it is we who are paying part of his cheque. When Ma'an propagates the idea that "Allah has decreed" that Jews are destined to be "humiliated," it is we who are acting in the role of publisher.
As Palestinian Media Watch has previously revealed, Ma'an News Agency, part of the Ma'an Network, was launched thanks to funding from the Danish Representative Office to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Other donors with whom Ma'an partners are the European Commission, UNESCO, and UKaid. And just in case you thought these peaceable-sounding bodies could not possibly realize what they are doing, or that Ma'an's fraudulent language must somehow be hidden from them, you just have to remind yourself of how in-plain-sight all of this is. The latest Ma'an atrocity finishes with the words of the Fatah slogan -- not Hamas, Fatah -- "Revolution Until Victory."
"Revolution Until Victory?" Surely not. As the British, Dutch and Danish governments might say: Surely you mean: "Can't we all work towards a two-state solution where Palestinian and Jewish states can live side by side?" No, I'm afraid not. "Revolution Until Victory": There it is. There it always is. I fear that even if Brussels hosts a thousand more seminars on tackling anti-Semitism, absolutely nothing will be done about it. And we remain so blind, so stupid, so vicious or so wicked that we will actually pay for this malevolence. And so we will -- in more senses than one.