Antisemitism

The rise of antisemitism in Russia and the crisis in Ukraine

The Winnipeg Media Centre has published an analysis of the Putin regime’s campaign of disinformation and defamation against Ukraine, the basis of which is an attempt to incriminate the Ukrainian government and people with the charge of organized antisemitism. In fact, as the analysis shows, the rise of antisemitism is taking place not in Ukraine but in neighboring Russia, where officially sponsored fascist and neo-Nazi ideology is creating a situation not unlike the one that existed in Germany during the 1930s.

The analysis is divided into three sections:

The first section gives the view of the Ukrainian Jewish community and of organizations that monitor human rights. It is clear from these articles that Jews in Ukraine see neither the current Ukrainian government nor the groups that brought about the change of government as a danger.  On the contrary, they are unanimous in the view that the biggest threat to the safety and security of Jewish people in Ukraine comes from the militant separatists backed by the Russian state.

The second section presents articles by scholars who are following events in the Donbas area and in Russia. These researchers are among many who warn of an alarming rise in chauvinistic and xenophobic attitudes in Russia. They are particularly worried by the rise of fascist groups supported by the government, and by the development of a fascist ideology in circles close to Putin.

The third section presents articles that indicate what we can expect from governing circles in Moscow, and raises broader issues in connection with Putin’s propaganda campaign.

Dreyfus

“Thus closes the only episode [The Dreyfus Affair] in which the subterranean forces of the nineteenth century enter the full light of recorded history. The only visible result was that it gave birth to the Zionist movement — the only political answer Jews have ever found to antisemitism and the only ideology in which they have ever taken seriously a hostility that would place them in the center of world events.”

-Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1958 edition, p. 120.

International nationalists

“…the Nazis were not simple nationalists. Their nationalist propaganda was directed toward their fellow-travelers and not their convinced members; the latter, on the contrary, were never allowed to lose sight of a consistently supranational approach to politics. Nazi "nationalism" had more than one aspect in common with the recent nationalistic propaganda in the Soviet Union, which is also used only to feed the prejudices of the masses. The Nazis had a genuine and never revoked contempt for the narrowness of nationalism, the provincialism of the nation-state, and they repeated time and again that their "movement", international in scope like the Bolshevik movement, was more important to them than any state, which would necessarily be bound to a specific territory. And not only the Nazis, but fifty years of antisemitic history, stand as evidence against the identification of antisemitism with nationalism. The first antisemitic parties in the last decades of the nineteenth century were also among the first that banded together internationally. From the very beginning, they called international congresses and were concerned with a co-ordination of international, or at least inter-European, activities.“

– Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, second edition, 1958, pp. 3-4

Israel reprimands UK ambassador

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a statement condemning the arrest warrant issued against Israel’s former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, Ynet News reports.  The statement reprimands British Ambassador Tom Phillips and tells him that Israel expects the UK to act against this “unethical” phenomenon, which is aimed at “violating Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Ambassador Phillips was summoned to the Foreign Ministry Tuesday, where Naor Gilon, deputy director for the Foreign Ministry’s Western Europe desk, told him that Israeli officials will not be able to visit the UK until the threat of lawsuits and arrest warrants is removed.

 

 

Update: Britain’s foreign secretary David Milliband has denounced the arrest warrant as “insufferable”.

Second thoughts

The board of directors of Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet (NTNU) in Trondheim have unanimously decided to reject the proposal for an academic boycott of Israel, Haaretz reports:

The vote resulted in total victory,” said Professor Bjorn Alsberg, a member of the board of the Trondheim-based Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Alsberg, a chemistry professor, led a campaign at the Norwegian city against the boycott.
He said that the vote to boycott Israel – which drew condemnations from Jewish organizations in Israel and elsewhere – was rejected after none of the 11 board members objected when NTNU Dean Torbjorn Digernes suggested scrapping the motion from the board meeting’s agenda.

Meanwhile the Jerusalem Post writes that Swedish journalist Donald Boström has “reevaluated his position” on the matter of claims that the IDF harvested organs from dead Palestinians:

According to the report, Bostrom recently canceled his participation in a Beirut conference, the goal of which was to slander Israel.
Sources close to the journalist related that Bostrom’s recent visit to Israel and the fair dialogue he held at a Dimona conference caused him to think twice about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.