January 16, 2009
The Cancer known as Anti-SemitismBy Lauri B. Regan
The escalating conflict between Hamas and Israel has served to highlight the disturbing prevalence of antisemitism throughout the world. Attacks on Jewish interests across the globe in the form of physical violence and hate rallies are occurring regularly.
Andrew G. Botsom addressed the rising antisemitism in Europe and chronicled the various anti-Semitic incidents since the start of Israel's military incursion in Gaza here. However, in recent days, the number of violent protests has increased at an alarming pace. In France, Britain, Norway, Greece, Malaysia, Sweden, Bosnia, Lebanon, Thailand, South Korea and India, the hate manifests itself in hysterical behavior. Flag burnings and fires are accompanied by missiles of paint, eggs, sticks, and shoes.
Here at home, the pro-Palestinian demonstrations have gone well beyond chants supporting the citizens of Gaza. It seems a lifetime of pent up anger has been unleashed on Jews across America. "Death to Israel", "God Bless Hitler" and "Kill the Jews" are just a few of the sentiments being shared by the irrational mobs.
In a country where it is illegal to yell "Fire" in a movie theater, it is shocking to hear "Reopen the Ovens" on the streets of New York, Los Angeles, Washington, and Fort Lauderdale. When Americans are seen screaming out to their fellow Americans, "Go back to the ovens; you need a big oven," we all need to take notice. Jews across the globe, and in particular, American Jews who feel safe and far from harm's way, need to snap out of their comfort zone.
The hate is not simply being hurled by Muslim protesters. Rosanne Barr described Israel as a "Nazi state." Annie Lennox spoke out calling for the end of the "slaughter and systematic murder" of Arabs by Israel. And a New York Times terrorist expert considers Israel "an untreated and spreading cancer."
What is most distressing about all of this is the fact that the "citizens of the world" to whom Obama so eloquently spoke this summer are comfortable putting their offensive, racist views out there. But where has Obama been since the inception of this conflict? The President-elect, who is very comfortable discussing the state of the economy, has been remarkably silent regarding the State of Israel. And that silence is deafening.
Yet Obama's silence is being drowned out by the drumming of hate and violence by many of the people who elected him to lead. It has become acceptable to be an antisemite and take to the streets with vitriol and rage. And the media has become the cheerleader du jour in this regard.
I watched FoxNews last week with utter dismay as Alan Combs had the audacity to accuse Israel of prohibiting humanitarian aid from entering Gaza based on UN allegations. The irony of the fair and balanced news organization using the unfair and unbalanced bastion of human rights known as the United Nations as a source would have been amusing if it wasn't so offensive.
On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece entitled "Israel Is Committing War Crimes." I had always held the editorial board of the Journal to a higher ethical standard than say, the membership of the United Nations Security Council. So when I read about the conviction of Israel in the opinion of an unknown professor from a little-known college of law in the pages of The Wall Street Journal, I was offended.
It is not surprising that the reporting of the conflict between Israel and Hamas is biased in the foreign press. One even expects pro-Palestinian reporting from The New York Times. However, when FoxNews and the Journal cover this story repeating lies and distortions, I begin to worry that the propaganda is starting to have its intended effect of altering public opinion in favor of the ideology that wants to see Israel annihilated.
I opened up an email this morning which purportedly contained an image of the front page of the New York Times dated May 10, 1943. The banner headline read "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising An Over Reaction: European Leaders Blame Jews for Disproportionate Response". I actually thought this was real until I saw the header describing the page as what the paper would have looked like had today's NYT editors been in charge in 1943.
Where has the media been in reporting the anti-Israel, violent demonstrations and hate rallies? We know that they were too busy to count the number of missiles dropped on Israel leading up to this war. But since they seem to have found the time to count the number of dead Palestinians shouldn't they also take the time to report the stories of desecrated synagogues and threats of death to Jews.
And if the media have jumped on the pro-Palestinian bandwagon, fueling the hate and helping to encourage the violence with dishonest reporting, we have even more reason to expect that our elected representatives should step in with rational thought and leadership.
With this in mind, I examined the picture of the former Presidents and President-elect taken in the Oval Office last week. I took some comfort in my analysis that Jimmy Carter appeared to be standing apart from the others. But I read that Obama spoke with Carter and I wonder what words of "wisdom" our most anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian, ex-President passed along.
Did the former President, author of the book, Palestine:Peace Not Apartheid, praise Obama for his concern expressed during the campaign that "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people"? Did Obama ask Carter how to deal with this "constant wound," "constant sore" that is infecting "all of our foreign policy?"
A day or two after the White House photo op, it was reported that Obama is ready to open up a dialogue with Hamas. I am not surprised. American Thinker has extensively reported on Obama's pro-Palestinian friends and advisors. One in particular, Samantha Powers, is now working in his State Department. This is the woman who suggested that a military invasion of Israel might be necessary in order to prevent genocide of the Palestinian people.
Protesters, newspapers and television reporters across the country and the world are screaming and yelling that Israel is in fact the terrorist, a state of murderers committing genocide. I am deeply concerned that all too many Americans actually believe that. But what I'd like to know is whether Barack Obama believes that as well.
Will Obama develop foreign policy based on the opinions of his anti-Semitic advisors? Will he be influenced by the very vocal, aggressive portion of his supporters that hates Jews and wants to "Nuke Israel"? What type of dialogue does he envision with a terrorist entity whose sole raison d'etre is the destruction of Israel?
Only time will tell. But I for one am comforted by the fact that the leaders of the State of Israel understand that they must defeat the growth of the real cancer in this world known as anti-Semitism. And I am happy that they were smart enough to begin that eradication prior to Obama taking the oath of office.
Lauri B. Regan is an attorney at a global law firm based in New York City.