As an observer of the developments of the rise of global anti-Semitism over the last fifteen years , a long time producer of an international television network, and currently a documentary filmmaker (Blame it on the Jews: A Story About Hate) I have a front row seat of how coverage of the Arab-Israel conflict plays itself out in the international arena.
An Iranian invention called Al-Quds Day (Jerusalem Day), in which participants from Iran, Pakistan, Turkey not to mention the capitals of Europe become a hysterical mob in an orgy of hatred, this year coincides with the most recent Israeli-Gaza war.
I feel that there is an assault going on against Israel and the Jewish people, inside and out. The Israeli population is targeted indiscriminately and Hamas’s allies in the world are targeting Jews as well.
Since the war has begun, the appearance of open anti-Semitism has become commonplace and the conflict in Gaza has extended to attacks against Jewish communities throughout the world. In Belfast, the windows of a synagogue were twice smashed by thugs. A protest in Toronto grew so violent that pro-Palestinian protestors bludgeoned both bystanders and the police with flag poles. The Israeli soccer team, Macabi Haifa were violently attacked by a group of Palestinian flag waving protesters while playing a game against Lilles, France.
In Paris, rioters have besieged synagogues and have smashed the windows of shops owned by Jews – it is a pogrom by any other name. In Germany, home of the Holocaust, there are demonstrations throughout the country, largely attended by Muslim immigrants with chants of “gas the Jews”. It has become so serious that even anti-Zionist leftists that in the past were demonstrating against Israel are now boycotting these violent protests.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has called the acts in Paris anti-Semitic and in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has as well. In fact, many other EU leaders have joined in expressions of outrage. The Israeli ambassador in Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, has likened the current mood in Germany to that of 1938.
Roger Cukierman, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in Frances says that protesters are not saying “Death to Israel” – they are saying “Death to Jews”.
In Israel, a place where there is so much argument, where the left and the right are constantly at each other’s throats there is unity right now. Even the Zionist opposition in the Knesset is in agreement that Hamas must be ended. Hamas’s war reveals that this is a war against the Jews in Israel and throughout the world.
Even critics of Israel in Europe are saying that Israel has a right to defend itself and are standing up with the Jewish community in Europe against the violence against Jews.
As I am documenting anti-Semitism for my film, it seems to me that there is enough anti-Semitism to fuel a film on the topic every day. The journalist in me wants to continue telling the story, the human in me wants it to stop. Unfortunately the story has a life of its own.