Meet the packs of new Nazis, posing as Righteousness and Virtue, pursuing new exterminationist policies against Israel and, right after that, the Jews.
"In Nazi Germany," noted Brendan O'Neill in the Wall Street Journal, "it was all the rage to make one's town Judenfrei."
"Now a new fashion is sweeping Europe: to make one's town or city what we might call 'Zionistfrei' -- free of the products and culture of the Jewish state. Across the Continent, cities and towns are declaring themselves 'Israel-free zones,' insulating their citizens from Israeli produce and culture. It has ugly echoes of what happened 70 years ago."
The Nazis said "kauft nicht bei Juden": do not buy from Jews. The slogan of these new racists is "kauft nicht beim Judenstaat": do not buy from the Jewish State. The Nazis repeated "Geh nach Palästina, du Jud": Go to Palestine, you Jew. Racists in Europe shout "Jews out of Palestine!"
Let us take a look at who they are. The city council of Leicester, for one, recently approved banning products "made in Israel." Think of that: a city without Israeli products. This is not Nazi Germany in 1933; this is a British city under Labour leadership in 2016. Two Welsh councils, Swansea and Gwynedd, blocked commercial partnerships with Israeli companies. In Dublin, a well-known restaurant, Exchequer, decided not to use the Israeli products. The Irish town of Kinvara became "Israel-free". In Spain, the town of Villanueva de Duero no longer distributes Israeli water in its public buildings. The French city of Lille froze an agreement with the Israeli town of Safed.
Under racist pressure, Brussels Airlines, a Belgian airline partially owned by Lufthansa, decided that it will not serve anymore the Israeli Achva brand halva dessert. An activist of the Palestine Solidarity Movement flying from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport to Brussels found himself eating the dessert produced in Israel. This Nazi-lite complained to the airline, which quickly removed the sweet (after an outcry, the airline reversed the decision). Instead of worrying about Islamist terrorism and Molenbeek, Brussels' nest of jihadists, there are racists in Europe who want to crush Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.
An early case of trying to destroy Israel through economic means occurred in 1980, when L'Oreal had bought the Helena Rubinstein cosmetics company. Arab regimes had threatened to truncate the lucrative relationships with the multinational companies if they did not cut ties with Israel. Instead of rejecting the blackmail, L'Oreal bowed to the blackmail. Today, this antisemitism is not led by either Arab states or Western states. France, for example, recently outlawed calls to single out Israel for boycotts. Today's hate campaign and these Nazi policies are now largely led by universities, trade unions, businesses, and hypocritical so-called "human rights" groups, as well as other NGOs.
And, shamefully, churches. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), on August 11, 2016 called on the U.S. government to end all aid to Israel and embrace tactics to destroy the country by economic means. Last winter, the US Methodist Church also unchristianly divested from five Israeli banks.
They all falsely claim to be a "peaceful", using "economic means" to correct "wrongs" in the Palestinian territories. However, they never seem to try to correct any of the wrongs of the corrupt, repressive governments of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza, or even to advocate there for a free press, for the rule of law or for building a stable economy. Their true, racist motives are unmasked. They are simply coordinating with the violent strategy of Palestinians and Muslim fundamentalists in the West -- those who have repeatedly refused to make peace with Israel for seven decades and have chosen terrorism instead.
This asymmetrical war, for the first time since the Holocaust and the wholesale slaughter of six million Jews, also recently shattered a German taboo. Apparently, for some Germans, the old bloodlust never went away -- it merely slept. The teachers' union in the city of Oldenburg just published an article in its September magazine calling for "a complete boycott of the Jewish State," according to the Jerusalem Post, "the first call to boycott Israel or Jews from a German organized labor group since the Holocaust." To its belated credit, on September 5, the Oldenburg teachers' union apologized, labeling the boycott "a big mistake" and "anti-Semitic."
The European Union signed an agreement with Morocco, which has a territorial dispute with Algeria, but nevertheless enshrined its right to exploit the resources of Western Sahara; no campaign was launched to protest it. And we have not heard any protests against Turkey for its occupation of Northern Cyprus or its wholesale imprisonment of dissidents, journalists or academics. No, the boycott policy is solely against the Jewish State, which boasts one of the highest levels of academic freedom, press freedom and equality under the law on the planet. They do this in the "3-D" ways noted by the true advocate of human rights, the Soviet dissident, Natan Sharansky, in his The Case For Democracy:
- Double standard: targeting only Israel from among the 200 territorial disputes, from Tibet to Ukraine.
- Demonization: comparing Israel's actions to Nazis when it is really the people doing the comparing who should be compared to Nazis.
- Delegitimization: denying the right of Israel to exist.
The racist hypocrisy is as transparent as it is perfidious.
They are also subjecting Israel's academia to a "silent" neo-Nazi campaign from unprincipled universities: extend fewer invitations, reject more articles, and use the standards of the Third Reich Nuremberg Laws to exclude participation by Jews. Syracuse University just disinvited from a conference Simon Dotan, a Jewish professor from New York University and award-winning filmmaker, who was born in Romania, raised in Israel and is living in the US. Commentator Caroline Glick noted:
"Hamner's decision had nothing to do with the quality of Dotan's work. She admitted as much... Dotan was disinvited because he is Israeli and because the title of his film, The Settlers, does not make it immediately apparent whether he reviles the half million Israeli Jews who live in Judea and Samaria sufficiently."
Others in the world of academia who have approved these neo-Nazi measures include the British historian Catherine Hall and, disgracefully, the severely disabled Stephen Hawking, who is able to speak thanks only to an Israeli voice device.
This academic boycott campaign began when Oren Yiftachel, a scholar at the Ben Gurion University, had an academic paper rejected by the journal Political Geography. The rejection came with a note informing him that the magazine could not accept a submission from "Israel," and his paper was returned unopened. The publishing house St. Jerome Manchester, specializing in translations, refused to send academic volumes to the Bar Ilan University in Israel. The British magazine, Dance Europe, refused to publish an article about the Israeli choreographer Sally Anne Friedland; Richard Seaford declined to review a book for the Israeli magazine, Antiquity Scripta Classica Israelica. A professor of pathology at Oxford University, Andrew Wilkie, rejected an application by Amit Duvshani, a doctoral student at Tel Aviv University. Wilkie wrote in his rejection: "no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army."
These neo-Nazis spread their message at universities, churches, businesses and municipalities. They adopt measures such as teachers' petitions, public stalkings, threats of legal action (lawfare), demonstrations in front of shops, and often just violent shouting, intimidation, threats and sit-ins.
They are, of course, unable to dent the flourishing Israeli economy, but they are clearly trying to fuel a racist climate of suspicion and hostility towards Israel and Jews everywhere. The Swedish Coop has stopped selling carbonation machines made by Israel's SodaStream, while the largest Dutch pension fund, PGGM, withdrew investments from five Israeli financial institutions. Vitens, the largest supplier of drinking water in the Netherlands, cut ties with its Israeli counterpart, Mekorot. The Berlin department store KaDeWe, the largest in Europe, halted sales of Israeli wine (then reversed the decision). The largest cooperative in Europe, the Co-operative Group in the UK, has introduced a discriminatory policy towards Israeli products. McDonald's has refused to open a restaurant in the Israeli city of Ariel, in Samaria. The University of Johannesburg severed ties with Ben-Gurion University in Israel. Academic unions in the UK and Canada, from doctors to architects, have also supported the new Nuremberg Laws against Israel. Dozens of artists -- especially musicians and filmmakers -- have, like the original Nazis before them, refused to perform in Israel or have canceled their performances. Many pension funds have divested from Israel. Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest bank, raising questionable "ethical issues", included Israel's Bank Hapoalim in a blacklist of companies.
The pre- or post-1967 lines are only an alibi for these new Nazis. Many consider Israel in its entirety illegal, immoral, or both -- even though Jews have lived on that land for 3,000 years -- part of it is even called Judea. Their appetite for accusing Jews of having the audacity to "occupy" their own historical, Biblical land only reveals their collusion the darkest lies of Islamic extremists, who are trying to destroy the indigenous Christian Copts in their native land of Egypt, and the indigenous Assyrian Christians whom we see being slaughtered throughout the Middle East. Should the French be accused of "occupying" Gaul? Just look at any map of "Palestine," which blankets the entire state of Israel: to many Palestinians, all of Israel is a single giant settlement that has to be dismantled.
Instead of Israel, they would facilitate the creation of another Arab-Islamic state that will suppress freedom of expression for artists, journalists and writers; that will drive away Christians from their homes; that will stone to death homosexuals; that will torture inmates in prisons, that will put to death innocents simply for wishing to convert to Christianity; that will sentence anyone to flogging, prison or death who is even alleged to have said something someone might have found offensive to Islam; that will oblige women to wear veils and live apart; that will glorify terrorists; that will ban alcohol; that will arrest people for expressing unpopular opinions; that will encourage a new category of Muslim refugees: those who would gladly escape an oppressive and murderous regime.
These new Nazis serve up, instead of an argument, untrue and deceptive slogans such as "apartheid state", "occupation", "repressive", "violator of international law" (which Israel meticulously is not). Their goal, like that of the original Nazis, is to manipulate people, and instill in them bias and hate against Israel, and just behind this subterfuge, against the Jews.
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.