Antisemitism in 2016: A Year in Review (Part I)

Another year just went by and unfortunately, the world is getting further and further from being a safer place. Global terrorism has gotten so deeply rooted into our daily routines that fewer people notice the frequency and intensity of the attacks. Not a week goes by without some sort of terrorist attack taking place somewhere in the world. While they are not ALL targeted at Israel and/or the global Jewish community, many are. Any student of current world events would easily notice that there is connection and progression from hatred of the Jewish people to hatred of the West and Judeo-Christian values. For a while now, Jewish people have been the "canaries in the coal mine of civilization." 2017 will be a very interesting transitional year in many ways. We can certainly learn from some of the key events of 2016. It could be remembered as the year when the world tried to erase Israel from history. Here is my summary of antisemitism through the year 2016:

January 2016: John Kerry Excludes Jewish Victims from Paris Attack Anniversary!On January 7, 2016, The U.S. Department of State issued a statement in which Secretary of State John Kerry wanted to recognize the victims of the Paris attacks of January 7, 8, 9, 2015: “On the one-year anniversary of the January 7-9, 2015, attacks that took the lives of 17 people, we honor the victims of this tragedy and share the sadness of their loss. Their legacy endures as a challenge and inspiration to all of us. Charlie Hebdo continues to publish, and journalists around the world continue in their essential mission to tell the stories that people everywhere need to hear.... Just as we tackle today’s most daunting challenges side by side, the United States and France will always stand together.” There was no mention of the police officer or the four Jewish victims. The whole tragedy was bundled under the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

For John Kerry not to mention the Jewish victim was a diplomatic faux pas at best and antisemitism by omission at worst. It would have been easy to say “12 members of the Charlie Hebdo staff, one police officer in the line of duty and four Jewish people shopping in a kosher Market.” By generalizing his statement, he ignored the French Jewish victims and offended them. I wonder…. was there any other group he cared not to offend by leaving the Jews out of his statement?

February 2016: Is Germany Heading for the 1930’s Again?

There is no real consensus within Greater Europe as to how to handle the flow of migrants. Some Balkan countries like Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia are now closing their borders. Hungary closed its southern border and even sent armored vehicles to protect it. Sweden on the other hand, like many European countries has had an “open borders” policy allowing for a heavy flow of mostly unchecked refugees. Of course, Germany has been the dream come true for hundreds of thousands of “migrants.” This dream come true is now a real nightmare for Europe in general and Germany in particular. Countries like Sweden and Germany are in big trouble, and the kind of trouble they have allowed and continue to allow cannot be contained within their respective borders, at least not under the current conditions. So they are now controlling their borders and possibly closing them. Well, it’s about time, but could it already be too late?

Is Germany subconsciously suffering from Post-holocaust guilt? It took decades for the German people to get over the Nazi Holocaust. Today, Germany has strong laws against hate crimes and anti-Semitism, even if they might not all be enforced. Obviously, the last thing that Germany would want to be accused of is a repeat of its treatment of human beings during WWII. Thus the pendulum swings opposite side the Nazi ideology. Good for them, but be careful because there is bad in both extremes! Germany has been trying so hard to distance itself from the 1930s that it is blinded by a crisis that could put them right back there!

March 2016: Mourning for Brussels or Bashing Israel?

On March 22, 2016 the world witnessed the deadliest terrorist attack on Belgian soil. The concerted bombings at the Brussels Airport and the Maalbeek Metro station claimed the lives of over 30 people and injured over 300. In the midst of a tragedy like this, people–Religious or not, Belgians or not– seem to cling together in a sobering demonstration of solidarity.

Apparently, this is true for all people except those who are pro-Palestinian. In a despicable display of hatred, we have seen several people come to vigils and either tear or remove Israeli flags to only cover them with a Palestinian flag. What in the world does this have to do with the Islamic State attacking Belgium? Absolutely nothing! At a time when the world mourns the innocent victims of yet another terrorist attack,  pro-Palestinian people cannot even stomach the mere sight of and Israeli flag at a peace vigil for the Brussels victims. In some cases, they will even go as far as burning the flag and chanting anti-Israel slogans.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that these acts don’t seem to phase anyone in the media. A woman in a Hijab and wearing a Palestinian scarf is seen tearing an Israeli flag apart and then covering the remains with the Palestinian flag as people all around her watch in silence. Apparently, Israel bashing now supersedes any international display of unity in honor of terror victims.

April 2016: I am still looking for Palestinian relief workers!

On Monday April 18, 2016, a bus exploded in south Jerusalem, making it the first major explosion of that type since the Second Intifada. Twenty-one people were injured in the process. This newest act of terrorism was welcomed with cheers from many Palestinians on the streets.  Of course, you would be hard pressed to find any denouncing of the Palestinian jubilation from the United Nations. Imagine for a moment that Israel would be the one celebrating the death of Palestinians. The Palestinian authority would cry to the world and the media would feed on that opportunity for days if not weeks, finding enough evidence to validate their hatred of the Jewish state.

Around the same time, the world was shaken by a serious earthquake claiming over 410 lives in Ecuador and injuring over 2,500 people. Additionally, Japan was also hit by a 7.3 earthquake just a few days prior to Ecuador. Forty-four people died and over a thousand were injured, not to mention the tremendous tolls on both economies and the tens of thousands of people left without homes and/or basic resources. Once again, Israel sent help to both Japan and Ecuador almost immediately. Where was the Palestinian team in Ecuador, Japan, Haiti or any other area of the world where humanitarian aid was needed? Nowhere! I don’t expect Palestinians to go out of their way to help Israeli in a crisis situation (although it is always possible), but I expect Palestinians of good will to reach out to the world community and give a helping hand. Where were they?

May 2016: UNESCO and Israel: Factual Truth or Fatal Lies?

Most people have forgotten or didn’t even know that in October 2011, UNESCO recognized Palestine as their 195th member country. Back then, I warned that this would only open the door to more damage done against Israel and the Jewish people. There is no Palestinian culture, history, language, customs or even foods. All of the above are Arab, not Palestinian. An agency founded on peace and justice for all is endorsing terrorism and violence and is in the process of  rewriting history. But this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when we see that since 1978, UNESCO has selected November 29th as “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”, and, in what I see as another by-product of UNESCO’s historical revisionism of the last 40 years, they declared on April 15, 2016 that the Temple Mount, the holiest of Jewish sites had no Jewish connection.

These moves not only delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people, but hey also embolden her enemies. All this is being done with absolutely no historical foundation, simply in an attempt to weaken Israel. If factual truth mattered, UNESCO would obviously admit that the Temple Mount existed centuries before Islam was even born in 610 CE. Archeological and historical evidence are here to prove it and it should be exactly what the United Nation Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization uses to determine the legitimacy of historical sites.

June 2016: BDS and the Great Evangelical Divide!

There are plenty of Evangelical denominations loving Israel such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the Calvary Chapel movement, the Assemblies of God and others. But, Israel has also been treated as a pariah by several mainline Evangelical groups for years. The Presbyterian Church USA (PC-USA) voted to divest from Motorola, HP and Caterpillar at their last General Assembly in 2014.

Another denomination that isn’t necessarily known for its support of Israel is the United Methodist Church (UM). Possibly the largest mainline Protestant denomination, the UM have been struggling with their support for Israel in an age of social justice and political correctness. They already turned down two divestment proposals in 2012. Like the PC(USA) members, United Methodists are far from unanimous on their support for Israel. Many would rather see BDS being enforced. Yet, they recently suffered a major setback when all four proposed BDS resolutions were turned down at their May 2016 General Conference.

It is clear that the BDS movement, while still a force to be reckoned with, isn’t equally embraced across the whole spectrum of all Christian denominations. We must also seek biblical/factual truth about the Middle East crisis, something that conferences like Christ at the Checkpoint and documents such as Kairos-Palestine are not interested in. I am also convinced that in due time all BDS proponents will suffer the curse of Genesis 12:3.

Labelling Israeli Products Can Work Both Ways!

On November 11, 2015, the European Union decided to start labelling Israeli products that originate from what the world calls the "Occupied Territories." I prefer the term "Disputed Territories", nevertheless, the two terms describe the same geographical areas. The decision was taken to label these Israeli products one of several ways: “Product from the Golan Heights (Israeli settlement)”, “Product from West Bank (Israeli settlement)”, “Product from West Bank (product from Palestine)”, “Product from Gaza (Palestinian product)” or “(Product from Palestine).”

The first two examples are meant to identify products that are of Israeli origin but come from "Palestinian territories", while the last three are to identify products that are of Palestinian origin and come from "Palestinian territories."

The little known fact is that the EU started to apply coding on similar products in 2003 for customs officials. This will be the first time that such labelling is done for consumers. The process started in 2012 and finally saw its official launching on November 11.

The reaction was immediate. People who support Israel started to look at the move and accuse the EU of boycotting. Many complaints came, trying to expose the European Union's move as a shameful, one-sided, political move to further ostracize Israel. While I don't believe that we can call the move a boycott of Israeli products, there are ramifications to its implementation, but I am not certain that they are all negative.

The first thing that we need to understand, is that labelling a product doesn't constitute a boycott in and of itself. It certainly can contribute to it or encourage people towards boycotting, but it is not a boycott. That being said, once the product is labelled something like “Product from West Bank (Israeli settlement)”, the words are not meaningless, they will invite a response that can vary from one individual to the next.

It also raises the issue of double-standards–something Israel has grown accustomed to over the years. There are other countries with territorial discrepancies in the world that are not affected by such labelling. Benyamin Netanyahu who felt that the EU should be ashamed and said "that the EU decision constituted a 'double standard' as the bloc didn’t label products from other disputed territories around the world." There are no questions that this constitutes a case of double-standards and that the labelling is much more political that the EU wants to admit. There is no way to add the word "settlement" in a description without having it carry the heavy connotation of "occupation" or "invasion" that the world has now accepted as fact.

Netanyahu's most recent reaction was to suspend diplomatic ties with the European Union (not necessarily with individual countries within the EU though!) This a sign of protest against that decision. I don't think it will force the EU to revert it, but it shows Israel's disdain for this biased move.

It is obvious that people will use the information differently and that some will choose to use it to facilitate their boycotting of Israeli products. These individual are mostly the same individuals who would indiscriminately boycott Israel with or without the labelling. I don't see the labelling as hurting Israel's economy that much. But no matter how much it might hurt, there is another side to that coin. Whatever product is labelled from the "Occupied Territories" is just labelled and not banned and it can just as well become a preferential label for some. Many people are fighting the boycott of Israeli product by going out of their way to purchase Israeli brands. This could easily be the case with the new labels applied to "Territories" products.

It reminds me of the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis chapters 13-50. Joseph was abandoned and sold by his brothers. Ultimately, he ended up in Egypt, became Pharaoh's right-hand man and was used in a mighty way to save and protect his extended family. There is a lot of negative to be found in the story of Joseph, yet we could all learn from Genesis 50:20 in Joseph’s final words to his family: : "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."

What the enemies of Israel meant for harm can be used to glorify God and support Israel. The boycotting of Israel is not about to stop tomorrow, but we can all do our part to buy Israeli products and this is how I see that labelling Israeli products could work both ways. In the process, if you find products labelled "Made in Palestine" or "Made in the Palestinian Territories", nobody prevents you from boycotting these. I know I will!

Sir Winston Churchill would say: "I told you so!"

When you fail to be proactive you are left with two choices. You can completely ignore the crisis at hand and quickly become overtaken by it, or you can do your best to handle it as you become reactive. Today, the European Union finds itself somewhere in the middle of denial and reaction.

There is not one country in Europe that can ignore the reality of the current wave of emigration out of Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and other countries. Some news outlets are even starting to describe it as an exodus, as we are seeing very large numbers of people fleeing various countries. Europe was touched by the photo of a Syrian baby's body dead on the beach. The whole world reacted in horror and sadness. I join them in mourning the loss of that innocent little boy and the many others who tried to escape their respective countries. Germany reacted the strongest and took the lead in welcoming migrants. They might receive as many as 1.5 million people by year’s end.

German chancellor Angela Merkel continues to open Germany's borders to tens of thousands of migrants. The Economist sees her as the catalyst of the migrants movement "the political courage of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, who told her people to set aside their fear of immigrants and show compassion to the needy".

I am not ready to call Merkel's move "political courage."I don't doubt that she wants to help desperate people seeking asylum but I cannot ignore the fact that she is hoping to boost Germany's economy by allowing migrants to be added to its workforce.  I would prefer to call it political courage mixed with economic greed. Yet, the professional skills and talent brought by the migrants remain to be determined. If they turn out to be unskilled laborers, Germany could find itself at the head of a bigger problem.

Sweden isn't far behind and neither is France along with other countries like Serbia, Austria, the Netherlands and Hungary. Let's face it, ethnic migrations are not a bad thing. America's fabric is mostly the result of massive migrations over the years, and there is nothing wrong with that as long as there is a certain amount of control in the process of integrating migrants.

Control is exactly what Germany and most of the EU are lacking. Germany is seeing an increase of rape and forced prostitution between asylum seekers forced to temporarily live in tight co-ed quarters. But there are also many reports of rape of German women by migrants, as there are apparently more males than females migrating to Europe and the demand for female sex partners is high. Even if many of the new immigrants are not rapists or thugs, reports abound of Muslims refusing treatment by women in hospitals and relief centers.

Another ignored danger coming to Europe is anti-Semitism. Almost all the asylum seekers, being war refugees or economic migrants come from Muslim countries. They were raised where anti-Semitism is a congenital indoctrination. Hating Jews and desiring the destruction of Israel is in their cultural DNA. No, this doesn't make every single Muslim an anti-Semite, but it still increases the danger of Jew hatred on a continent that certainly could use a break in that area. With about a million refugees coming to Germany by the end of 2015, the scale is quickly being tipped. Apparently, some Palestinians and some members of ISIS are mixed in the current flux of migrants. They didn’t flee Islam, they fled a geographical area to bring Islam to another, and that is a critical difference that we shouldn’t ignore. The jewish communities of Germany, France and the Netherlands to name just a few, are worried about surges of radical Islamic anti-Semitism.

Some will be quick to react and claim that this is Islam's ultimate goal of a global Caliphate as they attempt to retake areas that were previously under the Muslim banner. It is possible, but even if the current "exodus" is not a direct invasion–and it probably isn't–it creates a lot of tension as Islam still continues to grow in Europe.

When I was conducting my research for my first book "They Have Conspired", I came to the conclusion that at the current rate (2000-2005) of Muslim immigration and birthrate, Europe would probably become a continent with a majority of Muslims by 2050. I was not counting on the current mass exodus that has been taking place for the last few months. I do not think that it will take another 35 years for the scale to be tipped. Of course, we have to also take in consideration that many European countries are seeing their natives immigrate to other countries. What I am saying here is no different that what I said 10 years ago except for the fact that things are speeding up in front of our eyes.

Several European countries are on the verge of economic collapse. Greece is already there. The migrant crisis is not just a humanitarian crisis. It is also a cultural crisis, a financial crisis and a political crisis. It looks like Europe is letting the fox inside the chicken coop. In the meantime, there are plenty of countries that could welcome some of the refugees but won't. Many of them in the Middle East and the Gulf States, a place where culture, ideology, language and religion are already familiar to many of the refugees.

The very fabric of Europe and even of Western Civilization is about to change forever very quickly, and I am not sure that it is for the better! It might surprise you but look at what Sir Winston Churchill said it in 1899:"Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome."

If he was around today, he would look at the European leaders take a puff off his cigar and say: “I told you so!”