By: Gol Kalev
Reprinted from the Jerusalem Post
European reaction to the recent UNESCO resolution denying Judeo-Christian ties to Jerusalem is, to say the least, alarming.
The resolution not only ignores the more than 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to Temple Mount and the Western Wall, but goes on to describe a delusional reality: “The continuous storming of al-Aksa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif by the Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces.” Such lies serve as incitement for anti-Jewish violence.
Did Europe strenuously condemn such a hateful resolution? Did European ambassadors to UNESCO walk out in protest, as did the Mexican ambassador? Not at all. While the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Estonia voted against this unequivocally antisemitic resolution, stunningly, France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden abstained.
Such European abstention in reaction to anti-Jewish incitement is not new.
As men, women and children in Jerusalem were shot and stabbed by terrorists over the last year, the Swedish foreign minister and others in Europe chose to label Israeli security shooting of terrorists while committing such attacks as “extra-judicial executions.”
Such inciting language was certainly not used in regard to the shooting to death of terrorists in France, Belgium, Germany and the United States.
(Can one imagine the Swedish foreign minister calling the 440-bullet shooting of the two San Bernardino terrorists as an “execution”? Or labeling the shooting of the Minnesota stabber as a possible war crime?) Those shocking statements by European officials not only encourage violence against Jews, but also curtail Israel’s ability to defend itself against terrorists. Unlike his European counterpart, an Israeli policeman in battle with a terrorist faces both the terrorist and those in Europe who seek to find fault with his conduct.
Indeed, there are no words of consolation for the grief of those who lost their children because an armed Israeli solider or policeman was deterred from shooting a stabber on time. Yet financed by taxpayer money, Europe continues to support a long list of organizations that incite against Israel.
The lack of a European uproar to such developments goes hand-in-hand with a disturbing trend in Europe to attempt to undermine Europe’s blame for the Holocaust – instead, increasingly promoting a narrative that “we were all victims of the Nazis.”
Research is conclusive: the Holocaust was successfully carried out due to the broad cooperation of Europeans.
The Danish example provides strong evidence.
The courageous and daring actions of Danes saved nearly the entire Danish Jewish community.
Similarly, the defiant actions of Bulgarians saved many Bulgarian Jews, as depicted in Michael Bar-Zohar’s book Beyond Hitler’s Grasp.
Regrettably, the vast majority of Europeans acted differently. Not only did they remain silent, but many Europeans actively participated in the murder of Jews.
Rather than atone and apply the lessons, some Europeans continue to dodge blame. French officials through the 20th century attempted to portray France as victims of the Nazis. Such assertions were put to shame by historians, such as Michael Curtis in his book Verdict on Vichy.
German Foreign Ministry officials through the 21st century portrayed the Foreign Office as a bastion of opposition to the Third Reich. That was put to shame by an investigation commissioned by German foreign minister Joschka Fischer in 2005, showing that the ministry actively participated in the slaughter of European Jews.
When asked about the increasing deflection of blame in a recent Jerusalem Post interview, Yad Vashem chairman and Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau responded, “On Yom Kippur, we go to synagogue and beat our chest with our fist, listing the sins we have committed. We each punch our own chest, not the chest of the other person. For Europeans to say ‘It is not us who did ill, it is them’ is punching another person’s chest for your own sins.”
Just as Yom Kippur is not only about repenting, but also about applying the lessons, so is Europe’s deflection of blame.
More than 70 years since the atrocities in Europe, a wave of Israel-bashing has engulfed the continent. Through the UN, EU, NGOs and actions of its own governments, European taxpayers continue to participate in Europe’s escalating anti-Israel incitement.
Israel today is blessed with a great economic, cultural and diplomatic relationship with Europe. But having Israelis as some of your best friends is no excuse for remaining silent when verbal assaults against the Jewish state are made.
Neutrality costs lives.
The good news is that more and more Europeans are repelled by such European obsession with Israel.
Like the Danes of the 1940s, some are beginning to take action and proclaim, “Not in our name.”