2:32 PM, Aug 14, 2014 • By EDWARD ALEXANDER
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece of August 6 about “the surge of poisonous anti-Semitism around the world, particularly in Europe,” Andrew Nagorski had the temerity to note that “the president [Obama] has not prominently addressed the subject of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, much less its pervasiveness in the Muslim world.” This is, of course, an understatement.
Let us have a history lesson. President Obama's first presidential grand tour of Europe took place in spring of 2009, shortly after Muslims had been expressing outrage over Israeli actions (in Gaza in January) by staging violent pro-Hamas demonstrations throughout the continent. Mobs of Brotherhood members and their leftist sympathizers had intimidated policemen in London and Malmo, smashed up the Place de'Opera in Paris, burned Israeli and American flags.
Nowhere in Europe was this more blatant than in Turkey, chosen by Obama for the culmination of his European tour, in part because Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was his "favorite European politician," to whom he is reportedly “closer” than to any other world leader. In the months prior to that April 6-7 visit five years ago, Turkey had been the scene of the fiercest anti-Semitic agitation in Europe, extending from streets to schools, newspapers, and TV--for the very good reason that it was encouraged by Obama's friend Erdogan, who declared that "Israelis know very well how to kill" and that "Jews control the media." But nary a word of this unpleasantness crept into Obama's speeches to Turkish parliamentarians and students. Rather they were full of his usual calls for "respect" for Islam and assurances that America is not and "never will be" at war with Islam. (How quaint, dangerously so, this now sounds when leaders of the ISIS/ Islamic State juggernaut declare several times a day that “We will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”)
The resurgence of anti-Semitism, “particularly in Europe,” is hardly a new subject. In fact, If we extend our history lesson by six more years to 2003, we find that another American president, named George W. Bush, directly addressed it in a speech at London’s Whitehall Palace on November 19 of that year. He not only warned of the return of anti-Semitism; he scolded European leaders for averting their eyes from it. “Leaders in Europe should withdraw all favor and support from any Palestinian ruler who fails his people and betrays their cause. And Europe's leaders -- and all leaders -- should strongly oppose anti-Semitism, which poisons public debates over the future of the Middle East.” (When I had the opportunity, at a White House reception, to thank Mr. Bush in person for these remarks, he replied that “it’s much worse there than you can imagine.”)
The late Irving Howe once said to me that “in the warmest of hearts there’s always a cold spot for the Jews.” But we need not take President Obama’s temperature to know that he always mocks American exceptionalism, without having any clear idea of what the term means. What it means, primarily, is that historical conditions in the U.S. differ crucially from those laid down by the Marxist model for the development of capitalism. Werner Sombart defined America as “the promised land of capitalism [where] on the reefs of roast beef and apple pie socialist Utopias are sent to their doom.” This can hardly be music to Obama’s ears; but he is also blind, willfully so, to the fact that America has differed from Europe in its rejection of political antisemitism, which continues to be endemic in the old continent, where its current tribunes hold that the Holocaust gave it a bad name.
Edward Alexander is the author of, among other books, Irving Howe: Socialist, Critic, Jew.
11:58 AM, Jul 25, 2014 • By JEFFREY GEDMIN
I've lived in Europe the past dozen years—in Berlin, Prague, and London. When it comes to Israel, Europe's ways seldom cease to amaze.
7:01 AM, Apr 14, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Here's video of the detained suspect in yesterday's shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas:
"Heil Hitler," the suspect yells from the back of a police cruiser.
The Kansas City Star has more details:
Some gloomy reflections on the presidential conscience. Jan 13, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 17 • By EDWARD ALEXANDER
In his ponderously titled book Contributions to the Correction of the Public’s Judgement Concerning the French Revolution (1793), the German philosopher and political leader Johann Gottlieb Fichte took time out from his defense of the Reign of Terror to compose what has been called by Daniel Johnson “the most notorious footnote in history.” It warned his German countrymen of the Jewish menace in their midst. The Jews, he told them, constituted “a state within a state. . . .
A bicentennial sense of his life and work.Nov 25, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 11 • By PAUL A. CANTOR
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner (1813-1883), arguably the greatest of all opera composers. (Mozart and Verdi fans: Please note the “arguably.”) Accordingly, the Wagner industry, active enough in off years, has kicked into high gear. The major recording companies have issued large boxes of commemorative CD collections, with varying degrees of completeness.
There’s a message here, but what is it?
Jul 8, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 41 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
So I saw World War Z, the new Brad Pitt movie about a worldwide zombie outbreak, and here’s the surprising thing: I can’t decide whether it’s the most anti-Semitic movie ever made, or the most Zionist movie ever made.
12:00 AM, Jan 7, 2013 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
During the hearings on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be secretary of defense, it’s clear that the views of gay rights organizations will be heard. There the issue seems to be whether Hagel’s apology for previous remarks and beliefs was sincere, or motivated solely by self-interest. He had years to apologize publicly, but did so only when opposition from gay rights groups threatened his nomination.
5:54 PM, Dec 19, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Adam Kredo reports on an opportunity Chuck Hagel passed on to condemn ant-Semitism:
6:41 PM, Dec 13, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
In response to reports that Barack Obama is likely to choose Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense, a top Republican Senate aide emails, "Send us Hagel and we will make sure every American knows he is an anti-Semite."
10:23 AM, Nov 23, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The World Jewish Congress is expressing concern about an anti-Semitic and racist outburst at a recent soccer game. The concern relates to a Europa League game between Italian team S.S. Lazio and the English the Tottenham Hotspur. The match took place Thursday night in Rome.
4:32 PM, Sep 24, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking in New York today, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Israel will be "eliminated." Ahmadinejad made the remarks to reporters. He's in New York in for the United Nations General Assembly.
6:20 PM, Aug 8, 2012 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
Scandinavia is boring. People living there apparently have little to do. And as European history teaches, when there is nothing much to do you may as well amuse yourself by attacking the Jews.
5:00 PM, Mar 21, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
French officials have identified the gunman responsible for the deaths of seven people, including three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse, as a French-Algerian named Mohammad Merah. As with other terrorist attacks, there was early confusion in the press reporting about the identity and motives of the killer. Some suggested he was a neo-Nazi or another brand of right-wing extremist, which was certainly possible.