Chapter Sixteen: War of a Million Cuts – Other Originators of Hatred and Incitement

In addition to the groupings of hate-mongers mentioned in previous chapters, there are several other disparate originator categories of incitement against Israel and the Jews. All of these need far more attention than can be given here.

The explosive rise in internet usage in this century has brought with it new ways of transmitting a wide range of often well-known anti-Semitic messages. In addition to promoters of incitement belonging to the main categories of hate-mongering, there are hate promoters who are not members of any group. One out of an almost unlimited number of examples occurred in May 2014 after the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team defeated Real Madrid in the Euroleague final. Nearly eighteen thousand offensive messages were posted on Twitter by Spanish supporters.1 Several of these called for a second Holocaust.

The Euroleague condemned the anti-Semitic outburst on the internet. Jewish organizations in the Catalonia region announced that they would lodge a complaint.2 The damage, however, was done.

The Multiplication of Internet Anti-Semitism

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has been a pioneer in analyzing the development of hate-mongering on the internet. He said:

Terrorist, racist, bigoted and anti-Semitic sites have emerged in large numbers and are sometimes connected. Traditional hate groups, such as neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and skinheads proliferate on the web. Very different activist groups have built coalitions in the name of anti-globalization, anti-Americanism and attacks on Israel. The Internet is also a tool used to raise money, recruit new terrorists and coordinate terrorist communications for such groups.

One can put up any website on the Internet, resurrecting and dressing up any idea, while focusing one’s message on specific audiences. In this medium one can even say that the Jews drink the blood of their victims and not be challenged or rebuked by anyone. Major anti-Semitic themes are September 11 mythology, Holocaust denial and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Inter- net provides a new face for well-known anti-Semitic themes and forms part of a much bigger problem. If we want to confront this type of anti-Semitism, we have to understand the nature and scope of its challenge.

Lies are difficult to fight on the Internet because it’s not a fair game. One could spend 10 million dollars on a website proving that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a fraud, without necessarily reaching any of the people who are swayed by the book’s fraudulent allegations.

Cooper observed about the Internet:

It is a propaganda tool par excellence to get one’s message out to supporters and potential recruits, as well as a powerful way to denigrate one’s enemies. Thus, the Internet is a natural venue not only for amateurs, but also for organized extremist groups and terrorists. The latter category, in particular Al-Qaeda, utilizes the Internet not only for propaganda, but also for the transmission of messages.

A number of factors make the Internet attractive to hate promoters. It is cheap, difficult to monitor and virtually impossible to keep a message off the Internet. Furthermore, it knows no borders; so consequently, a minor local player in a hate movement can now become a global operator. From a propa- ganda point of view, there is no quality control on the Internet, no librarian, no censorship and no analysis. In some attractive web sites, racist groups aim at women’s hearts and minds—and if possible, their money.3

In 2013 Cooper added:

In 1995 there was one hate site, Stormfront. It is still active and has hundreds of thousands of postings. The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Digital Terrorism and Hate Project, in its fourteenth year, currently monitors over 15,000 hate and terror-related sites. The exponential growth of viral social networking however, makes the numbers game increasingly irrelevant, as a single posting, image, song or YouTube video can reach untold thousands and beyond.4

Young Israelis Confront Hatred

 In 2014, the Anti-Defamation League released a survey showing that more than half of Jewish Israeli teens have reported being attacked online when they identified themselves as Israelis. Five hundred Jewish Israeli teens aged fifteen to eighteen participated in the poll. Fifty-one percent said they had encountered hatred on the internet for being Israeli. An identical poll in 2013 found the figure to be 31 percent.

The anti-Semitism figures were even worse. The poll found that 83 percent of teens had been exposed to anti-Semitism on the web, compared to 69 percent in 2013. Sixty-one percent reported an increase in online anti-Semitism during the Protective Edge campaign in the summer of 2014.

“The more teenagers in Israel are using the internet to connect with friends and share social updates, the more they are coming into contact with haters and bigots who want to expose them to an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic message,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. “But Israeli teens do not feel powerless to act. In fact, a significant majority of those polled indicated that they had initiated action to respond to anti-Semitic content by reporting it to administrators or requesting its removal.”5

The Problems for Jews and Israel

Andre Oboler, an Australian analyst of cyberhate, says, “The rise of social media has caused multiple problems for Jews and Israel. Many of them manifest themselves in ways that concern society at large. Jews and Israel however, often seem to be the first ones negatively impacted.”

He remarks:

The first issue we face is ideological. The internet grew out of a lawless environment. This tradition of “internet exceptionalism” continues, even if it is increasingly challenged. A clash of cultures exists between the Americans who operate many of the global service providers, and the rest of the world. The Americans want complete freedom in their operations.

Outside America however, the common position is that hate speech is highly undesirable. The public there has a legitimate expectation that the state will take steps to prevent and perhaps even criminalize it. This is in light of how hate speech played a significant role in enabling the Holocaust.

Oboler goes on to note:

Another major issue concerns flaws in the systems of service providers such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. They can relate to the software, processes and sometimes also the people involved . . . Yet another major concern is the companies’ lack of understanding about anti-Semitism’s nature. Th s oldest form of hatred which has existed for millennia, has been studied well. In most forms, it is easily and consistently identified by scholars and experts. The providers however, want to create their own definitions and understanding of anti-Semitism. They clearly lack the expertise, skill or even a desire to do so properly.6

In autumn 2014 John Mann, chairman of a British parliamentary group on anti-Semitism, criticized Twitter in a speech to the House of Commons for failing to deal adequately with people posting anti-Semitic abuse on social media. He added, “Where individuals set up multiple accounts, Twitter finds it impossible to deal with that. That shows a lack of will.”7

Political Blogs

Yet another problematic area is political blogs. Adam Levick, who has analyzed three major American blogs, concludes:

Progressive blogs and news sites in the United States are a new field where Jew- hatred, in both its classic and anti-Israeli forms, manifests itself. This incitement is hardly monitored, as many of the most popular blogs are only a few years old and it seems counterintuitive that such anti-Semitic expressions would be found in this political milieu.

Monitoring the media for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel bigotry has so far almost exclusively consisted of reading the major American newspapers, magazines, and journals and attending to the three major news networks, as well as radio broadcasts. However, the huge amount of content in the political blogosphere makes such monitoring—which is increasingly necessary—much more difficult to achieve with any degree of thoroughness.8

Levick has also researched hate cartoons against Jews in progressive blogs. He comments that this is a yet uncharted field:

Anti-Semitic cartoons found—and seemingly tolerated—on progressive blogs such as Daily Kos, MyDD, Mondoweiss, and Indymedia are mainly expressions of anti-Israelism, a more recent category of anti-Semitism than the religious and ethnic-nationalist versions . . .

The cartoonist most frequently appearing on the progressive blogs analyzed here is Carlos Latuff. He is an extreme left-wing political activist who won second place in the notorious Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Competition. Latuff is one of the more prolific anti-Semitic cartoonists on the web, with a staggering amount of work dedicated to advancing explicitly anti-Semitic political imagery.9

Not Prosecuting Israel-Haters

Ronald Eissens, director-general of the Dutch NGO Magenta Foundation, which focuses on international human rights and combating racism, says:

We have to mark the difference between legally punishable postings and those which are discriminatory yet not illegal. The percentage of punishable postings on anti-Semitism is high. This is because most anti-Semitic postings are extreme and of a “classic” nature. Regarding these there is a large Dutch jurisprudence.

He continues:

Anti-Semitism on the internet in the Dutch language is strongly developed in three major areas—North African websites, extreme Rightwing sites and talkbacks on mainstream sites. The Dutch prosecution department of the Ministry of Justice is willing to prosecute expressions of anti-Semitism. If one writes, “All Israelis in the Netherlands have to be killed,” the prosecution may also act because it is a call for violence in the Netherlands. But if one writes, “All Israelis have to be killed,” or “Ahmadinejad should launch a nuclear bomb on Tel Aviv so that all Israelis will be fried,” the prosecution office will do nothing. The reason is that Israelis are not Dutchmen and therefore anything can be written about them. This may be in breach of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of which the Netherlands are a signatory. However, the Dutch legal position is ambiguous on this issue and this enables prosecutors to ignore it.10

State Anti-Semitism

Both in the 1930s and in the more remote past, European countries frequently established discriminatory laws against Jews. When this legislation was later abolished, de facto discrimination often remained. Over a long period of time, Jews have been demonized. This has laid the ideological basis for murder on a huge scale, culminating in the Holocaust. A similar defamatory approach is now being applied to Israel, aiming in its more extreme forms at its total elimination as a Jewish state.

Since the demise of communism in the former Soviet Union and its satel- lites, state-promoted or state-sponsored anti-Semitism has largely disappeared there. It now mainly occurs in Arab and Muslim countries to varying degrees. However, in a number of other countries, anti-Israeli positions of governments foster a societal climate conducive to anti-Semitism.

The government of the late President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is one such example. Sammy Eppel, a member of the governing body of Venezuelan Jews, says that Chavez had close relations with the anti-Semite and Holocaust denier Norberto Ceresole, an Argentinean sociologist. Eppel comments:

After Chavez became president, Ceresole published a “bible” for all revolutionaries. It was titled, ‘“Caudillo, Ejercito, Pueblo’ La Venezuela del comandante Chavez,” which translates as ‘“Boss, Army and People,’ the Venezuela of Com- mander Chavez.”

The first chapter began with “The Jewish Problem.” Due to its anti-Semitic nature, it only had one printing. Yet the text remained available on government- sponsored websites until 2009. It was downloaded by hundreds of thousands of Chavez’s followers. Not surprisingly, relations between the Jewish community and the Chavez government remained difficult throughout.11

Letting Anti-Semites Immigrate

In postmodern societies there are several modes of behavior that can be defined as state anti-Semitism. A major one is letting in immigrants who are disproportionately anti-Semitic and whose anti-Semitism is more extremely violent compared to that of the native population.

Governments must assure the well-being of all citizens. They should thus take measures to prevent discrimination against minority groups. In this new century, many European governments have often failed to do so concerning individual Jews and the Jewish community, as well as concerning others.

As mentioned previously, many European authorities must be held accountable for what they have done, or not done, for the Jewish communities. They allowed immigrants into their countries in a nonselective way without examining the cultural differences, or considering how these immigrants would be integrated into their societies. They should have known that active promotion of anti-Semitism was part and parcel of the Muslim cultures many of these people came from. Allowing them in unselectively can thus be considered an indirect type of state anti-Semitism.

Several government-owned media in Europe discriminate against Israel and the Jews. Sometimes they even incite explicit hatred. Allowing them to do so is an indirect manifestation of government anti-Semitism. These attacks frequently come from left-wing journalists.

There are many discriminatory gradations on the left side of the political spectrum. The BBC is a public service broadcaster financed by government- controlled license fees, which households pay. Asserson has revealed systematic anti-Israeli bias in its reporting on the Middle East. His conclusion that the distorted reporting creates an atmosphere in which anti-Semitism can thrive is convincing.12

Norway, Denmark, and Ritual Slaughter

It is rare that a Western state discriminates against Jews within its laws. In Norway, however, there is an example of state anti-Semitism in this context. Jewish ritual slaughter has been forbidden there since several years before this occurred in Nazi Germany. On the other hand, except for Norway, Japan, and Iceland, no countries allow whaling. In 2013 the Norwegian minister of fisheries and coastal affairs set the country’s whale quota at 1,286, the same as it was in 2012. Only half of the quota is usually realized.13 These mammals are harpooned and often die in an exceptionally cruel and barbaric way.14 This shows the discriminatory character of the prohibition of ritual slaughter.

Seal hunting is currently practiced in six countries: Canada, where most of the world’s seal hunting takes place, Namibia, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Russia. Canada’s largest market for seal products is Norway. In 2013, the aforementioned minister increased the price of seals as an incentive to combat the waning interest in seal hunting.15 The quota for harbor seals in 2012 was 435, but the final result was 355; while the quota for grey seals was 460 and only 64 were harvested in the end.16 These seals are also killed in a barbaric way, being bludgeoned to death.

In 2014, Denmark forbade ritual slaughter. At the same time, the country is well known internationally for allowing sex with animals. Denmark even has animal brothels, which are permitted under the law and freely promote their activities.

The Extreme Right

Another perpetrator category is the extreme right, which is enjoying a revival in Europe. In several East European countries, this trend is partly stimulated by reactions to the communist past combined with economic problems.

In Western Europe, right-wing radicalization involves, on the one hand, a reemergence of Nazi and related movements. On the other hand, it is fostered partly by problems related to mass immigration such as poor government policies for integration of these immigrants and anti-Western racism among some Muslim immigrant groups.

The two EU countries where neofascist parties have entered the parliament in a significant fashion are Hungary and Greece. The neofascist and anti-Semitic Jobbik Party received nearly 17 percent of votes in Hungary’s 2010 parliamentary elections and became the country’s third largest party. Their anti-Semitism is a regular component of Hungarian public debate.

In Greece the Golden Dawn Party, which has neo-Nazi leanings, has become more powerful in recent years. It entered parliament after both 2012 elections. By autumn 2012 the party received 14 percent of the votes in opinion polls. Once such parties enter a country’s parliament they also gradually attain positions in international or representative organizations.

The Extreme Left

The Soviet Union played a key role in the promotion of anti-Israelism. Dutch scholar of Russian studies André Gerrits says:

Anti-Zionism became a significant element of the Soviet Union’s foreign policy toward the end of the 1940s. The Soviet leadership had supported Israel’s creation at the United Nations General Assembly in November 1947. They believed that Israel could become an ally in the Middle East. It rapidly turned out that this would not be the case.

The initial anti-Zionism of the Soviet Union was also based on other considerations. The undesirable popularity of Israel among many Jews there became obvious in their enthusiastic welcome for the first Israeli ambassador to Russia, Golda Meir in 1948. Furthermore, from an ideological viewpoint communism was against every form of nationalism including Jewish versions, Zionist or not. Communists have always seen Zionism as a petty-bourgeois deviation, as well  as an expression of Jewish nationalism. The emphasis anti-Zionism received in the Soviet Union and other communist countries during various periods depended mainly on international developments.

. . . Anti-Zionism was also a factor in the Soviet Union’s relations with the United States and its efforts to strengthen relations with Arab countries and Iran. Only late in the 1980s, when Gorbachev changed the overall direction of foreign policy, did anti-Zionism largely stop being a Soviet political pro- paganda tool . . . One might say that anti-Zionism is a traditional ideological motif that has been mainly used and manipulated as an international political instrument.17

Norway as a Paradigm

Currently politicians and others from the extreme left, and often politicians of Socialist parties, continue to play a major role in the demonization of Israel. In Norway, Kristin Halvorsen, then leader and a government minister of the Socialist Left Party (SV), even participated in an anti-Israeli demonstration.18 In 2006, Halvorsen—then SV leader and fi ance minister—endorsed a consumer boycott of Israel. The SV program for the period of 2005-2009 did not directly advocate a consumer boycott. It stated that SV would work for a weapons boycott and embargo “as long as the state [Israel] continues to breach international law in dealings with the Palestinians.”19 Halvorsen was probably the first Western government minister to promote a boycott.20 She later apologized to her government.21

Halvorsen published her memoirs in 2012. She wrote that her initiative to boycott Israel while holding a ministerial position was her “greatest political blunder.”22 Halvorsen noted that both Prime Minister Stoltenberg and Støre had made it clear that this was contrary to government policy. That forced her to publicly retract her statement.

Before she became Norway’s deputy environment minister, Ingrid Fiskaa of SV said in 2009:

When, for example, the Palestinians are exposed to a slow genocide and the UN does not get much done, this discussion does not appear. Why not? Because it is not in the U.S. interest. In some dark moments, I might wish that the UN would send some precision-guided rockets at selected Israeli targets, but of course that wouldn’t be relevant and probably wouldn’t solve any problems either.23

Fiskaa’s statement about Israel committing genocide against the Palestinians was an explicit illustration of what 38 percent of adult Norwegians think about Israel, as an aforementioned study has found.

Trotskyites in France

Simon Epstein, a Hebrew University expert on anti-Semitism, states that Trotskyism in France has become a larger anti-Zionist force than communism. He says furthermore that “the suffering of the Jews has become an instrument in an extreme leftist strategy of attracting, recruiting and mobilizing Arab and Muslim populations in France.” Epstein also observes:

For many decades after the Second World War, the Communists were the main promoters of anti-Zionism in France. Their decline in the last 20 years ran parallel with the amazing electoral growth of another major anti-Zionist force, the Trotskyites. Today, even though divided, they are the most important component of the French extreme left.

French Trotskyites promote an anti-Zionism which originated in the 1920’s. It has never been tempered by a pro-Israel phase similar to the one which the Communists underwent in 1947 and 1948 and they have never accepted Israel’s existence. For the same reasons as the Communists, they are trying to seduce —by any means—the Arab and Muslim sectors of French society. Their goal is clear. They want those sectors to replace the traditional French working class which is rapidly vanishing for sociological and other reasons, as their main electoral and political basis. This strategy engenders a vicious anti-Zionism which often surpasses that of the Communists.

He adds:

Leftist militants dug up the Shoah during the first and even more so, the second Intifada. This time they did so in order to give articulation to their radical anti-Zionism, claiming that Israelis were doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to the Jews. In this way, the German crimes fulfilled a new historical function. They enabled the Trotskyites to turn the Shoah against the Jews, and demonize the Israelis by promoting a totally distorted picture of the Middle Eastern conflict.24

Trotskyites in the United Kingdom

Wistrich says:It is a curious fact that Trotskyites have been influential in left-wing circles in the UK—at least in comparison to other European countries. Only in France does one find anything equivalent. There seems to be no obvious reason connected to British society or culture. Perhaps it is related to the weakness of the Communist Party, which faded quickly in the 1950s in Britain. Unlike in France and Italy, communism was never very powerful on the British Left. Trotskyism could therefore fill the vacuum. It is an alternative form of communism that bears many parallels with the Stalinism that the Trotskyites love to hate and vilify. Of course, the Trotskyites were hunted down in the Soviet Union and eliminated by Stalinist communists. This persecution had antisemitic undertones.

Trotskyites have been characterized by an intense polemical energy and have often been in the forefront of the “anti-imperialist struggle.” With the collapse of official communism after 1990 in most parts of the world, they saw a chance for themselves to become what they call a “revolutionary vanguard.”

In their concept of the world, Zionism has for decades been inextricably linked with global capitalism and American imperialism. These were also the hackneyed phrases of Soviet propaganda. The communist empire has collapsed, of course, but the Trotskyites are still running with the ball. Their numbers are small but they have tenacity, ideological discipline, and use clever tactics of infiltration. They have practiced these more effectively in recent decades in the UK than perhaps anywhere else. Trotskyites infiltrated the Labour Party and the trade unions in the pre-Blair era. We see the bitter fruits in boycott actions today against Israel, sparked by people who went through this anti-Zionist indoctrination and have passed it on.25

Muslims and the Extreme Left

Taguieff has pointed out the similarity of the Islamist approach that the end justifies the means to Lenin’s and Trotsky’s doctrine. He posited that for the “Marxist orphans,” that is, the Leninists, Trotskyites, and Third Worldists, as well as for the anarchists, new mutations of Judeophobia—an expression he prefers to anti-Semitism—meet their demand for meaning in life.26

In 1954, historian Bernard Lewis wrote a seminal article on “what qualities, what tendencies exist in Islam, in Islamic civilization and society, which might either facilitate or impede the advance of Communism.”

Lewis pointed out that communist propaganda against the West could always rely on a positive response from the Muslim world when it attacked imperialism. There, communism also found a source of sympathy because of the extreme juxtaposition of the poor masses and the few very wealthy people in Muslim countries. Lewis noted that the communist doctrine of the state con- trolling economic life was not so alien to the world of Islam. He also asserted that attempts to show that Islam and democracy were identical were based on “a misunderstanding of Islam or democracy, or both.”27

Almost sixty years later Wistrich analyzed the issue of communism and the world of Islam. To Lewis’s assessment he added the more recent collaboration be- tween the extreme left and radical Islamists. He quoted Arab Palestinian Marxist terrorist leader George Habash, who stated that his wing of the PLO drew equally on Soviet and Iranian fundamentalist sources of inspiration. “Beyond ideology, we have in common anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli elements.”28

Wistrich wrote that many Shiites also share the Leninist principle that “whatever promotes the revolution is good and whatever opposes it, is bad.”29 The Supreme Guide of the Iranian Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, was partly influenced by the Iranian Islamo-Marxist Ali Shariati, a theoretician of “Red Shiism.” Like the Nazis, the communists saw Muslims as potential al- lies.30 Iraqi Baathism, according to Wistrich, presented “an eclectic mixture of Arab-nationalist, socialist, Nazi and Stalinist themes,” and found expression under Saddam Hussein.31

Among the promoters of the leftist-radical Islamic alliance one finds such diverse figures as the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the British leader of the Respect Party, George Galloway, and the terrorist Carlos. On the other side, Muslim philosopher Tariq Ramadan maintains links to the antiglobalist left through his hostility to neoliberal economics. He is supported by neocommunists, Trotskyites, and Third World circles in France.32

Radical left-wing anti-Semitism is often connected with Arab and some- times even with extreme right-wing anti-Semitism. They usually work inde- pendently toward similar goals. During Israel’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, this occurred, for instance, in Germany. The Israeli ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, observed that “the protests against Israel are attracting an ‘unholy alliance’ of Islamists, neo-Nazis and extreme leftists.”33 A November 2001 article in the French progressive weekly Le Nouvel Observateur included a claim that Israeli sodiers rape Palestinian women at checkpoints so that the women will later be subjected to “honor killings” by their families. The author, daughter of the paper’s Jewish editor Jean Daniel, thus reiterated Palestinian hate propaganda. After protests the paper was forced to admit that the allegation was untrue, but tried to belittle its importance.34


Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are in the forefront of attacks on Israel. A number of political and humanitarian NGOs have an anti-Semitic character. Part of the power of these organizations derives from the huge fund- ing they have available, over which there is little external control. The research organization NGO Monitor provides ongoing documentation on these NGOs as anti-Israeli hate-mongers.35

Gerald Steinberg, who has headed NGO Monitor since its founding in 2002, remarks:

Among Israel’s many attackers, non-governmental organizations . . . are the least subject to external monitoring. These anti-Israel NGOs claim to promote human rights and humanitarian aid, yet are characterized by a lack of professionalism and a post-colonial ideological agenda. In some cases, theological anti-Semitism is an additional factor.

Steinberg, who has studied this issue in detail, cites various reasons why NGO bias against Israel often reaches such heights. He says that heads of international NGOs are often anti-Western ideologists. Furthermore, it is beneficial to them to focus on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict because of its high media visibility. For international NGOs, it is important to be in line with the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which is controlled by Arab and Islamic blocs. For some, classic Christian replacement theology plays an important role. The situation is further complicated by the fact that many diplomats and politicians in the UN rely on these NGOs.36

Human Rights Watch

The aberrations of Human Rights Watch in its criticism of Israel went so far that its founder, Robert L. Bernstein, wrote in The Washington Post: “Most shockingly, human rights groups have become the unwitting accomplices of the United Nations as almost every mainstream human rights group has ignored hate speech and incitement to genocide, not only against Israel but against all Jews.”

Bernstein observed more specifically:

Human Rights Watch, which I founded 33 years ago, continues to attack many of Israel’s defensive measures during war, yet it says nothing about hate speech and incitement to genocide. To cite just one example, the speaker of the Hamas parliament, Ahmad Bahr, called in April 2007 for the murder of Jews, “down to the very last one.” Imagine what leading human rights groups would say if this same speech and incitement were coming from Israel, aimed at the Palestinians.37

What is true for international organizations is equally valid for several ones with a national character. Some of these Israel-hate organizations even receive substantial financing from the Dutch government. As former Dutch parliamentarian Wim Kortenoeven put it:

A number of Dutch anti-Israel NGO’s are partly financed by the Dutch government for their general activities. Three of them, the Protestant ICCO, the Catholic Cordaid and the general Oxfam Novib, have created an anti-Israel front organization called United Civilians for Peace (UCP). An additional partner is the Christian peace movement IKV Pax Christi, which is also subsidized by the Dutch government.38

Edwin Black, who has published extensively on the Ford Foundation’s fund- ing of anti-Israeli hate groups, reports that it gave more than $1 million to the Palestinian Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environ- ment (LAW), which was a key organizer of the anti-Semitic hate campaign in Durban. He notes that the Dutch charity Cordaid and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg were other major funders of LAW.39

The NGOs at the Durban Conference

At the 2001 Durban Conference, major anti-Israeli actions by many NGOs suddenly became visible internationally. Samuels noted that the steering group of the NGO Forum was dominated there by SANGOCO (South African NGO Committee), which played a leading role in attacks on Israel. It had developed an eight-point plan against Israel that clarifies many aspects of the total-propaganda-war approach.

Samuels summarized this program:

The first point: to launch an educational program to create worldwide solidarity against Israel, the last bastion of “apartheid.” The second point: to use all legal mechanisms in countries of universal jurisprudence against Israel. The third and fourth points of attack were to discredit the Law of Return—the foundation of Zionism and Israel, and replace it with a Law of Return for all Palestinian refugees in order to create moral equivalence.

The fifth point: to reinstate the Arab boycott out of Damascus, combined with a secondary boycott, as in the 1970s and 1980s. The sixth point: to impose a sports, telecommunications, academic, scientific and military embargo on Is- rael. Points seven and eight encapsulate their broad goals: the eventual rupture of all diplomatic relationships with Israel and measures against any state that does not accept ostracism of Israel. All of these eight points were to be carried out over a five-year program.40

The World Social Forum

Samuels observes, “The Durban agenda was gradually developed further in a much broader way within the framework of the World Social Forum. This was created one month after the Durban ‘anti-racism’ conference in 2001 by the Brazilian Labor Party.” He says:

The Palestinian cause has gradually taken over the agenda of the World Social Forum (WSF). Currently it is almost the WSF’s sole subject. Its meeting in November 2013 was entitled, “WSF Free Palestine.” There were 127 seminars and workshops on how to cause damage to Israel. From the WSF, regional forums such as the North American, Latin American and Asian Forum emerged. The one which is most poisonously anti-Israel is the European Social Forum (ESF). Its first gathering took place in Florence, Italy in 2002. This forum has a more operational role than the WSF.

Samuels adds:

At the 2006 Athens ESF, a handbook describing how to promote BDS was dis- tributed, illustrating how individuals, civil society and businesses can support the refusal to buy or sell Israeli products. The book explained that the main aim of these actions is to create a critical mass in public opinion so that governments will eventually follow its lead. The book also recommended “smart boycotts” such as academic targets. Proponents claimed that even if boycotts are reversed by “Zionist pressure,” their real goal is the publicity engendered.

The handbook also proposed withdrawal of investments from companies directly or indirectly involved with Israel. Emphasis was laid on divestment by churches. It stressed that the measure of success is not the amount of money withdrawn, but the repercussion on the public’s concepts and attitudes. Instruc- tions were also offered on advancing sanctions such as governmental restric- tions on travel, communication, trade, finance and arms sales.

The Official Reference Document of the Palestine National Committee and the WSF promotes 16 issues on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They include dismantling of the “apartheid wall,” ending of the “apartheid regime,” the right of return of Palestinian refugees from both 1948 and 1967, the advancement of a military embargo on Israel, the development of BDS campaigns and strategies, the promotion of academic and cultural boycotts, the intensifying of the struggle to lift the siege on Gaza, support for the release of Palestinian prisoners, as well as to bring Israel before the International Court of Justice. Other issues are designed to support anti-Zionist Jews everywhere, assist in the electronic or real intifada, alert media to “Israel’s crimes” and to attack “distortions of history” by Israel.41

International Committee of the Red Cross

The International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) attitude toward Israel requires a far more detailed analysis than can be offered here. NGO Monitor notes that it showed little interest in kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

NGO Monitor states, “In fact, while Shalit was held in Gaza without access to the Red Cross, the Red Cross sheltered Hamas officials in its East Jerusalem offices for more than a year, in violation of the organization’s alleged mandate of political neutrality.”42

Alan Baker discusses other aspects of ICRC that diverge from its proclaimed neutrality, which, it says, is the basis of its operations. In an article about the neutrality of the ICRC, Baker demonstrates that the organization refers to all land controlled by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and by Hamas in Gaza as the “occupied territories,” even though legally these areas never were occupied territory and Israel is not even the governing authority in them.43

Trade Unions

In some countries, trade unions are at the forefront of the anti-Israeli battle. They promote discriminatory actions against Israel while abstaining from activism against notorious human rights offenders in many countries. One will usually hear little if anything from them about the widespread murderous criminality in parts of the Muslim world. This happens, for instance, in Britain, Ireland,44 Belgium, Norway, Canada,45 and South Africa.

Calls for boycotts of Israel by Norwegian and Danish trade unions in 2002 were among the first by such organizations in the Western world. In that year, Gerd-Liv Valla was among the first important trade-union figures to call for a boycott of Israel.46 Valla was a former Stalin supporter who was then leader of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO). On May 1, 2002 (Labor Day), the LO’s main agenda was a call to boycott Israel.

The annual First of May celebration in Norway concerns not only the Inter- national Workers’ Day. For Norwegian trade unions, its second role might be called Israel Hate Day. The main coordinator of these events is the LO. Before each major gathering, texts and topics are agreed upon locally. They then usu- ally appear on banners or posters. Most highlight Norway’s domestic problems. Concerning foreign issues, the most dominant focus is on Israel-hate.

Prime Minister Stoltenberg spoke at the main First of May celebration in Oslo in 2013. The speaker immediately before him was the invitee Salma Abudahi from the Union of Agriculture Work Committees (UAWC) in Gaza. She called rockets a “symbol of resistance” and said that occupied people have a right to defend themselves. Abudahi added, “It is important to understand the proportions, the Israelis are killing our loved ones all the time.”47 Stoltenberg remained silent. At this gathering the only international issue referring to a country read: “Support the state of Palestine—Boycott Israel.”48

The Trades Union Congress, the umbrella organization of British trade unions, had a record of support for the Jews of Palestine and Israel. In 1982, however, the annual TUC Congress adopted a resolution condemning Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. It also recognized “the national rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination with an independent, sovereign state.”49 There- after the situation deteriorated. Ronnie Fraser has researched UK trade-union incitement against Israel.50

A variety of trade unions have passed motions to boycott Israel. For example, in 2006 the Ontario division of the largest Canadian trade union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), voted to boycott Israel for its treatment of Palestinians.51 A few weeks later the Congress of South African Trade Unions (CO- SAFU) published a letter expressing enthusiastic support for the CUPE boycott.52 André Gantman, author of a book on Belgian anti-Semitism, says, “The Socialist Trade Union (ABVV) is a major initiator of anti-Israelism. The ABVV wants to exclude the Israeli Histadrut from the international trade union organization.”53

The Interaction of the Perpetrators

One of the most complex elements of the propaganda war against Israel is interaction between the various perpetrators. To study this effectively, many more case analyses of anti-Semitic attacks against Israel need to be undertaken. The usefulness of such studies can be demonstrated by a detailed example: the previously mentioned research about the 1983 mass hysteria in the West Bank undertaken by Raphael Israeli in his book Poison: Modern Manifestations of a Blood Libel. It shows the interaction between Arab hate propaganda, the media, and the United Nations.

Israeli also analyzed the reporting of various media on the case. Among the worst distorters of the truth were French dailies such as the Communist L’Humanité, the Socialist-inclined Libération, and Le Monde. None of these apologized after the facts became known. The New York Times was one of the few media outlets that did so, yet even that was only on an inside page.54

Nonsocialist Mainstream Politicians

In 2002 Norbert Blüm, a former German Christian Democrat minister of labor, charged that the Jewish state was conducting a “Vernichtungskrieg”—a “war of destruction” against the Palestinians. This is the Nazi expression for a war of extermination.55

In 2003 the Christian Democrat Party expelled parliamentarian Martin Hohmann, months after he called Israelis a nation of criminals. He used the expression “Tätervolk”—“a nation of perpetrators”—a term commonly reserved for Nazi Germany.56

Karel de Gucht, the European Union’s chief negotiator and a Belgian Liberal, said in 2010, “Don’t underestimate the power of the Jewish Lobby on Capitol Hill . . . You shouldn’t underestimate the grip it has on American politics, no matter whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.”57

Kåre Willoch

In 2004 Jo Benkow, a former speaker of the Norwegian parliament and former leader of the Conservative Party, called former Conservative Norwegian Prime Minister Kåre Willoch—in part because of his opinions on Israel—“the most biased person participating in the public debate in this country.”58

Willoch insists that he is merely criticizing Israel and denies any accusa tions of being anti-Semitic. However, in a 2009 radio interview, when asked what he thought of the chances for advancement of peace in the Middle East with the new administration of Barack Obama, Willoch said that he was not optimistic. To substantiate this pessimism he pointed to the fact that Obama had appointed a Jew, Rahm Emanuel, as his chief of staff.59

Mona Levin, a cultural journalist, responded that with this statement Willoch had crossed a line, and his words would lead to increasing anti-Sem- itism. She added that, as a former top politician, he knows the importance of words and needs to understand that he is responsible for the opinions he generates.60

Fellow Travelers, Opportunists, Business Leaders, and Hired Guns

A separate category of hate originators is fellow travelers who occasionally may play a minor role in campaigns. Others are opportunists, such as some Western politicians who make pro-Palestinian statements to attract Muslim voters in their countries or constituencies.

Yet another category of those working against Israel consists of some busi- ness leaders and employees who have financial or commercial interests in the Arab world. Various oil companies have often been mentioned in this context. Among the promoters of anti-Israeli interests are also public relations firms, lawyers, former diplomats, and so on paid with Arab money. Some of this is exposed in Bard’s book The Arab Lobby.61

The Jews First, Others Later

A major ramification of the total propaganda war concerns the significance to others of what happens to Jews and Israel. The de facto function of the Jews and Israel in many societies has been compared to that of a canary in an underground mine. A common mining practice was to send canaries into mines so as to assess environmental hazards. When the bird stopped singing, the miners knew they were in danger. This comparison should be avoided as the canary had to die so that the miners could live. This is not the role Jews wish to fulfill again.

Others can, however, often learn what is awaiting them from what has first happened to Jews. Anti-Semitism is a construct that takes aim at the Jews initially. The aggressor first looks for what seems an easy target; thereafter he upgrades to more difficult ones. This phenomenon has often been described regarding authoritarian societies, but it also exists in democracies. The perpetrator’s aggression subsequently extends to others and endangers them as well. In the 1930s, the Jews were a prime target for Hitler and his adherents. Later tens of millions of others would also perish or suffer.

This functional role has nothing to do with how Jews and Israel see their contribution to society. The distorted image, constructs, discrimination, and attacks on the Jews and Israel are rather an indicator of substantial problems of contemporary Western society at large. Although today the Jews and Israel are prime initial and visible targets, they are rarely the sole ones.

In other words, what may manifest itself initially as scapegoating the Jews is often revealed later as a precursor of attacks on many others. A few disparate examples indicate that the Jews’ and Israel’s functioning in a precursor role for other democratic societies is a wide-ranging phenomenon.

Israel and Jews as a Prism

The fact that so many Europeans totally falsely think that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians or behaves toward them as the Nazis did toward the Jews provides a prism on the widespread decay of Europe.62 It is also an indicator of how deeply irrational many Europeans are.

Israel and Jews as well as Holocaust and post-Holocaust issues can serve as prisms for many more aspects of societies, not only Western ones. As far as the Holocaust is concerned, using it as a looking glass can show how easy it is to propagate extreme lies at the highest level in the Arab and some other parts of the Muslim world. A few examples: in these societies, Holocaust denial is rife, Palestinians and many other Arabs compare the Nakba to the Holocaust, and cartoonists of many leading papers draw Israeli prime ministers as Hitler. Israel is also a useful prism for quickly understanding what is wrong with  the United Nations and many of its associated bodies. At the UN Human Rights Council, Israel is condemned more than all other nations put together, including the most criminal ones in the world. By using Israel as an ongoing prism, we are regularly reminded to what extent this UN human rights body, while supposedly antiracist, includes many racists among the representatives of its member countries.

Israel is also a more general sensor of racists in the ostensibly antiracist camp. Probably no event shows racism in the antiracism camp better than the NGO Forum at the 2001 Durban Conference. The NGO Forum included many thousands of participants from a multitude of major humanitarian bodies. The extreme anti-Israeli resolution adopted there made it clear that it was a gathering of racists claiming to be antiracists.

Another example of racism in the antiracist world emerged after the Breivik murders at Utoya Island in Norway. It turned out that the camp of the Labour youth movement AUF was to a substantial extent a hate seminar against Israel. Children from fourteen years old were indoctrinated against Israel there.

Western postmodern societies are complex and opaque. They have a huge number of interrelated and difficult-to-analyze elements. The Jews constitute such a good prism for these countries because of their lengthy and checkered history in Europe. In recent decades Israel has also become a very good prism on European societies because of its multiple interactions with them.

There are many other realities that can be analyzed much better by using Jews and Israel as prisms. Yet another example concerns the attacks on Israel in a given society by mainstream Christian organizations, together with their relative silence about violence, and ethnic cleansing, against Christians in large parts of the Muslim world. This is an indication of many highly disturbing phenomena in contemporary Western Christendom. Many more examples of this “barometer role” of Israel can be given.63


  1. “Spanish Jews decry anti-Semitic tweets after Mac TA win,” The Jerusalem Post, May 2014.
  2. “Euroleague condemns anti-Semitic tweets after Maccabi Tel Aviv win,” The Je- rusalem Post, May 22, 2014,
  3. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Abraham Cooper, “Anti-Semitism and Ter- rorism on the Internet: New Threats,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 9, June 1, 2003.
  4. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Abraham Cooper, “Threats of Anti-Sem- itism and Terrorism on the Internet,” in Demonizing Israel and the Jews (New York: RVP Press, 2013), 101-103.
  5. “ADL Poll: In 2014 More Israeli Teens Encountered Hate on the Internet,” press release, ADL, December 2, 2014,
  6. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Andre Oboler, “Anti-Semitism in Social Media Includes Twitter,” Israel National News, September 8, 2013.
  7. “Anti-Semitism chief: bring in ASBOs for internet,” Jewish News, November 5, 2014.
  8. Adam Levick, “Anti-Israelism and Anti-Semitism in Progressive U.S. Blogs/News Websites: Influential and Poorly Monitored,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 92, January 1, 2010.
  9. Adam Levick, “Anti-Semitic Cartoons on Progressive Blogs,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 101, September 1, 2010.
  10. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Ronald Eissens, “Fighting Discrimination and Anti-Semitism on the Internet,” in Demonizing Israel and the Jews (New York: RVP Press, 2013), 104-106.
  11. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Sammy Eppel, “The Jews of Venezuela,”
    Israel National News, May 13, 2013.
  12. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Trevor Asserson, “What Went Wrong at the BBC: A Public Monopoly Abusing Its Charter through Bias against Israel,” Jerusalem Viewpoints, 511, January 15, 2004.
  13. Susanne Lysvold, “Får skyte 1286 hval i år,” NRK, February 7, 2013 (Norwegian).
  14. Jo Fidgen, “Whale hunting: ‘It is like killing an ox,’” BBC, July 14, 2013.
  15. Hilde Mangset Lorentsen, “Klarer ikke skyte nok kystsel,” NRK Nordland, April 14, 2013 (Norwegian).
  16. Ibid.
  17. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with André Gerrits, “The Development of Anti- Zionism in the Post-War Soviet Union,” Israel National News, May 28, 2014.
  18. Manfred Gerstenfeld and Tamas Berzi, “The Gaza War and the New Outburst of Anti-Semitism,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 79, April 1, 2009.
  19. “SVs program 2005-2009,” (retrieved August 1, 2013)
  20. “USA Threats after Boycott Support,” Aftenposten, January 12, 2006.
  21. Ole Berthelsen, “Halvorsen: – Beklager,” Nettavisen, January 6, 2006 (Norwegian).
  22. Ingjerd Våge, “Israel-boikott på SV-Kristins tabbetopp,” Vårt Land, October 25, 2012 (Norwegian).
  23. Olav Østrem, “Hauken og duen,” Klassekampen, April 19, 2008 (Norwegian).
  24. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Simon Epstein, “The Vicious Anti-Semitism of French Trotskyites,” Israel National News, October 7, 2013.
  25. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Robert Wistrich, “Anti-Semitism Embed- ded in British Culture,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 70, July 1, 2008.
  26. Pierre-André Taguieff, Rising from the Muck: The New Anti-Semitism in Europe(Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2004).
  27. Bernard Lewis, “Communism and Islam,” International Affairs 30, 1 (January 1954): 1-12.
  28. Robert Wistrich, From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2012), 564.
  29. Ibid., 565.
  30. Ibid., 566.
  31. Ibid., 570.
  32. Ibid. 579.
  33. Justin Huggler and Josie Ensor, “Anti-Semitism on the march: Europe braces for violence,” The Telegraph, July 26, 2014.
  34. Le Nouvel Observateur, November 8, 2001 (French).
  36. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Gerald Steinberg, “Non-Governmental Organizations against Israel,” in Demonizing Israel and the Jews (New York: RVP Press, 2013), 61-6
  37. Robert Bernstein, “Why do human rights groups ignore Palestinians’ war of words?,” The Washington Post, September 27, 2011.
  38. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Wim Kortenoeven, “The Anti-Israel Lobby in the Netherlands,” Israel National News, September 15, 2013.
  39. Edwin Black, “Funding Hate, Part IV: Audit of Palestinian Group Suggests Lax Funding Controls,” JTA, October 16, 2003.
  40. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Shimon Samuels, “Anti-Semitism and Jewish Defense at the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002 Johannesburg, South Africa,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 6, March 2, 2003.
  41. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Shimon Samuels, “The World Social Forum is an Enabler of Anti-Israelism,” Israel National News, August 13, 2013.
  42. “Justice and Human Rights Denied: Five Years of NGO Silence on Shalit,” NGO Monitor, October 17, 2011.
  43. Alan Baker, “International humanitarian law, ICRC and Israel’s status in the Ter- ritories,” International Review of the Red Cross 94, 888 (Winter 2012).
  44. Ronnie Fraser, “Trade Union and Other Boycotts of Israel in Great Britain and Ireland,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 76, December 1, 2008.
  45. “Canadian teachers union boycotts Israel,” Ynetnews, May 29, 2006.
  46. “LO-lederen vil ha fredsstyrker til Midtøsten,” Aftenposten, May 1, 2002 (Norwegian).
  47. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Norway’s Annual Israel Hate Day,” The Times of Israel, June 4, 2013; see also Vegard Velle, “Å kjempe er en måte å overleve på,” Fag bladet, April 30, 2013 (Norwegian).
  48. Conrad Myrland, “Palestinsk taler på Youngstorget tegner fiendebilder og maner til kamp,” Med Israel For Fred, April 30, 2013 (Norwegian).
  49. TUC International Committee meeting, October 4, 1982, TUC archives MSS 292D/901/23. As quoted in Fraser, “Trade Union and Other Boycotts.”
  50. Fraser, “Trade Union and Other Boycotts.”
  51. “Canadian teachers union boycotts Israel,” Ynetnews, May 29, 2006.
  52. “South African union joins boycott of Israel,” Ynetnews, June 8, 2006.
  53. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with André Gantman, “Belgian Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism,” in Demonizing Israel and the Jews (New York: RVP Press, 2013), 189-192.
  54. Raphael Israeli, Poison: Modern Manifestations of a Blood Libel (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2002).
  55. “Der Vorwurf des Antisemitismus wird auch als Knuppel benutzt,” Stern, June 18, 2002. (German)
  56. “Hohmann vor Parteigericht der CDU,” Die Welt, April 21, 2004 (German).
  57. “2010 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israeli Slurs,” Simon Wiesenthal Center.
  58. “Willoch på studietur til Arafat,” Aftenposten, April 28, 2004 (Norwegian).
  59. Anders Nordstoga, “Willoch er rasist og viser jødehat,” Aftenposten, January 15, 2009 (Norwegian).
  60. Ibid.
  61. Mitchell Bard, The Arab Lobby (New York: HarperCollins, 2010).
  63. See Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Israel and the Jews: A Prism for the Western World?,” lecture presented at the conference on “Anti-Judaism, Anti-Semitism, Delegitimizing Israel,” Vidal Sassoon Center, May 26, 2014. (Written expanded version forthcoming.)

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