(March 19, 2018 / Mida) “An End to Anti-Semitism!” was the title of a recently held large conference in the Austrian capital of Vienna. Unfortunately, the participating scholars and intellectuals focused disproportionately on right-wing anti-Semitism, as if it were still 1938.
Yes, right-wing extremism remains a problem. However, it is now 2018, and the epicenter of current Jew-hatred is in the Islamic world and the increasingly radicalized Muslim communities in the West.
While many have reservations about populist right-wing governments in Austria, Poland and Hungary, the main threat facing Israel and the Jewish people today emanates from an Islamist-leftist alliance stretching from Iran to the streets of Western capitals.
A prominently displayed protest banner criticizing the Austrian government captured the conference’s misdirected focus: “Mr. Kurz! Your government is not kosher!” There were no similar signs decrying the openly anti-Semitic regimes in Tehran, Gaza, Damascus or Ramallah.
Yes, the current Austrian government includes the right-wing populist Freedom Party with its troublesome Nazi history. However, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is by no means an anti-Semite, and advocates strong and respectful relations with Israel and the Jewish people. Despite the ongoing controversial Polish Holocaust legislation issue, Poland and Hungary are among Israel’s staunchest European allies.
By contrast, Islamist regimes in Iran and Gaza teach their children that Jews are the descendants of apes and pigs. and openly seek Israel’s destruction. “Moderate” Palestinian Authority/Fatah/PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas—the darling of Western leftists—distorts history by calling Israel a “colonial project.”
Abbas’s regime in Ramallah embraces Islamist anti-Semitic rhetoric against Israel and annually pays millions of dollars to terrorists who murder Jews in Israel. The message is clear: Murder Jews and get rich. However, the European Union continues to roll out the red carpet for Abbas, treating the terrorist-sponsoring despot as if he were a statesman and distinguished champion of peaceful moderation.
With its central location in Europe, Vienna is a microcosm where past and current extremist forces intersect. Long before Hitler’s Nazi Anschluss annexation of Austria, Christian armies at the gates of Vienna defeated invading Ottoman Islamist forces. The decisive battle took place on the night between Sept. 11 and Sept. 12, 1683—300 years before Islamist terrorists murdered 3,000 people in the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and fallen plane in Pennsylvania.
Like Nazism, Islamists are driven by ambitious supremacist dreams and obsessive genocidal Jew-hatred. Nazis and Islamists both demonize Jews; they consider them the main enemy and obstacle to realizing their radical ideologies. While Nazism has been dramatically weakened and discredited since 1945, Islamism continues to threaten Jews and non-Jews alike in the Middle East and worldwide.
Despite challenges of right-wing extremism, Jews are far safer today in Warsaw and Budapest than in Vienna, Paris or London. Jewish community centers have transformed into fortified bunkers in Western European capitals. By contrast, there is hardly any security outside the Jewish community in Krakow, a city located approximately 70 kilometer from Auschwitz.
Political correctness aside, the differences are obvious. While Western European capitals are threatened by Islamist terrorism, Eastern European cities are not challenged by large and increasingly radicalized Muslim communities.
It has become fashionable among Western leftists to see Jews and Muslims as the twin victims of Western right-wing extremism. However, it is conveniently ignored that Hitler’s book Mein Kampf is a bestseller in much of the Arab and Muslim world.
Yasser Arafat’s ideological mentor, Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, was a passionate anti-Semite and friend of Adolf Hitler. “Allah above us in heaven, and Hitler with us on earth” was a popular catchphrase in the Middle East prior to and during World War II.
The bishop Michael Bunker, general secretary of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, told the audience at the Vienna anti-Semitism conference that the anti-Semite Martin Luther also harbored anti-Islamic feelings, yet “his anti-Islamic writings are not very well-known.”
While Luther lived centuries ago, bigotry against Jews and Christians is preached and practiced daily throughout the Islamic world without upsetting Western leftists.
Today, imported Christian anti-Semitic conspiracy theories blend seamlessly with indigenous Islamist Jew-hatred in the Middle East and beyond. Islamists and Middle Eastern despots have especially embraced the blood-libel myth about Jews using blood of gentile children for Jewish holidays.
The enduring myth of Jews as “well poisoners” has also resonated with many Arab leaders. Addressing the European parliament in 2016, Abbas claimed that Israeli rabbis urged to poison Arab water in Judea and Samaria. Instead of condemning Abbas as an anti-Semitic bigot, European lawmakers gave him a standing ovation.
The French Imam Hassen Chalghoum insists that he is a friend of Israel and Jews. Addressing the Vienna conference, Chalghoum said that “a third of the Koran talks about the Jews. I don’t know how you can be a Muslim and also anti-Semitic.” As a Muslim, Chalghoum obviously knows that there is no shortage of violent contempt towards Jews in the Koran.
It has often been suggested that Jews are hated because of “Israel’s policies.” However, Islamists and their extreme-leftist allies oppose the very existence of Israel within any borders. An independent Jewish nation state challenges the Islamist worldview that demands Jewish submission as dhimmis under Islamist rule. Just as Nazism quickly developed from a “Jewish problem” into a global one, Islamists now threaten Jews and non-Jews alike worldwide.
Like Hitler, Islamists are perpetrators who embrace a conspiracy worldview of perceived victimhood. Genuinely combating Jew-hatred in the 21st century requires shedding political correctness, and confronting Islamist extremism in the Middle East and in the West.
Daniel Kryger is a writer and a political analyst. He lives in Israel.
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