ByÂ Guy Milliere, REAL CLEAR POLITICS
For nearly two millennia, the European continent has been a land of persecution and hatred for the Jewish people. The blood libels and the vilest accusations against the Jews have been accompanied by violence, pogroms, and confinement in ghettos and of course death camps. Eight decades ago, in the 1930â€²s, anti-Semitism was considered honorable and aroused few objections. Later, the Nazi machine set into motion the “final solution,” and zealous collaborators existed in virtually all of continental Europe. “Willing executioners” were not only Germans – far from it.
After 1945, anti-Semitism suddenly became unmentionable, and European anti-Semites had to be silent. But they did not disappear. In the 1960s, after the Six Day War, a new way of being anti-Semitic emerged that allowed them to recycle their old way: they could not be “anti-Semites”, but they could be “anti-Israelis”. They rejoiced when General de Gaulle inFranceÂ spoke of the Jews as a “proud and domineering people,” and saw those words as a kind of official sanction, a green light. Since then, “anti-Israelism” rapidly became mainstream. European politicians, diplomats and journalists have done their best never to miss an opportunity to berate and criticizeÂ Israel. Anti-Semitic terms used in the 1930s began to be used again, this time to describe the Jewish State.
When the “Palestinian cause” appeared, it immediately became a sacred cause in Europe, never mind what sort of values or governance it espoused. When it seemed possible to accuse Jews of “behaving like Nazis,” the opportunity was not missed.
Today, hatred of Israel is one of the most shared and prominent feelings in Europe. Using anti-Semitic terms to criticize Israel is common, normal and “politically correct.” Fighting for the “Palestinian cause” in the name of “peace” is the only fight that can bring together politicians from the left and the right. Any terrorist attack against Israel is almost unanimously described as a fruit of the “cycle of violence” and of “Israeli intransigence,” never mind that it is actually the Palestinians who historically have been intransigent. An Israeli response to a terrorist attack is immediately criticized by European diplomats as “disproportionate.” A Palestinian attack is never criticized at all.
When anti-Israeli groups rally to boycott Israel and violently invade stores selling Israeli products, the only condemnations to be heard are from Jewish organizations.
It is in this context that the recent EU decision to ban its members from dealing with Jewish communities and with any Jew living beyond “1967 borders” must be viewed.
European leaders who took the decision, and those who approved it, know perfectly well that there has never been a “1967 border,” only armistice lines drawn in 1949, but they act as if they did not know. European leaders know perfectly well how indefensible the “1967 borders” are for the Israeli army, but again they act as if they did not know.