Berlin—Many European reactions to the recent murders by radical Islamists of pro- Palestinian Israeli filmmaker Juliano Mer-Khamis and Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni replicate the typical recurrence of the same: Shift the blame to Israel in an a priori fashion without delving into existing empirical evidence.
Take the example of Inge Höger, a Left Party member of the German Bundestag, who blamed both executions on the Israeli government. Relying on German taxpayer funds to pay for her Left Party website, she said:
The question one must pose is: Who profits from this terrible crime? First of all, now two of the activists most ‘dangerous’ for Israel, because they were the most engaged, well known and noted, are eliminated. The murders of Vittorio and Juliano could also be a means of dealing a serious blow to the international solidarity movement – especially given the upcoming second flotilla and the fact that international activists still won’t let themselves be prevented from going to Palestine.
She continued, “In the past there have been many documented false flag attacks (for example, the Lavon Affair [in 1954]), and in the Palestinian territories there are constantly cases of collaboration by Palestinians with Israel in the murder of Palestinians – for money, for a new ID card, for travel permits.”
Radical Salafists were responsible for Arrigoni's murder in the Gaza Strip. And it is widely believed that hardcore Islamists also killed Mer-Khamis in Jenin.
With the exception of Die Welt journalist Henryk M. Broder, who termed Höger a “flawless anti-Semite” last week because of her crude anti-Jewish and anti-Israel conspiracy theory, there has been an eerie silence from Germany’s major media outlets.
Sadly, Merkel's coalition, and the for the most part Germany's news organizations, seemed to have acquiesced to the eternal return of Israel bashing.
In standard Pavlovian form, the Merkel administration supported the Lebanese government’s U.N. resolution in February, blasting Israeli construction in the disputed territories as “illegal.” Germany had reneged on its strong assurance to Israel that it would join the United States and veto the biased U.N. Security Council resolution.
Germany's support for the anti-Israel U.N. resolution followed last year's Bundestag resolution blaming Israel for intercepting the jihadist-controlled Mavi Marmara, which attempted to violate Israel's legal blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Höger, for her part, agreed to be lodged in the segregated women's deck aboard the vessel.
The same phenomenon has happened in Italy, too. Writing in the Milan-based Italian daily Il Giornale, Fiamma Nirenstein, vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in Italy's Chamber of Deputies and chair of the Committee for the Inquiry into Anti-Semitism, noted that Italy's president Giorgio Napolitano attributed the murder of Arrigoni to the lack of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. She wrote, “[I]nstead of laying the blame on Islamic fundamentalism, he asked that 'a negotiated solution be found to the conflict which sees bloodshed in the region.'...Yet instead, Israel is being summoned to face some mysterious responsibility.”
One might even wonder if in Europe charges will be levied against Israel for the murder of Ben Yosef Livnat, who was killed on Sunday after praying at Joseph's Tomb. The evidence in this case is clear, too: Livnat was killed by the Palestinian Authority. According to a Ynet report, “Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livnat, who is Ben-Yosef's aunt, eulogized the victim saying: 'My brother's son was murdered by a terrorist masked as a Palestinian police officer, for no more reason than his wish to pray, he was innocent."'
Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.