Political antisemitism poisons the streets of Europe

In just few recent years, attacks and vandalism against Israel and the Jews have accelerated to levels not seen since the Second World War in many parts of Europe. Unfortunately also Finland, my home country, has witnessed recurrent antisemitic incidents during the last few months.

Both domestic and international media have covered the swastika flags flown by neo-nazis on our independence day, Iraqi-born MP Hussein Al-Taee’s anti-Semitic Facebook postings, and most recently, the repeated acts of vandalism against the Israeli Embassy in Helsinki, and in particular the inability of the Finnish authorities to protect the immunity of the embassy building in the very downtown of our capital.

When we look at the pan-European political debate and the EU foreign policy, it is no wonder that such events have increased. The awkward and irrational passion shown by the European governments to support UN resolutions mainly drafted by hostile Muslim states and almost invariably based on a falsified history, has led the international community to repeatedly condemn Israel’s actions.

The latest example of this was the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meeting in Geneva last week. From year to year, the Council’s agenda has included a permanent item 16, titled Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.

At its meeting, ECOSOC condemned Israel as the only country in the world violating women’s rights by overwhelming votes 40-2, and found no problems on women’s rights among ca. 195 other countries of the world! According to the adopted resolution, Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women and girls with regard to the fulfilment of their rights, and their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society!

When you read that resolution, you may burst laughing as you hear that countries like Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen – all well known for their understanding of women’s rights and disgust for Israel – supported that resolution, but how on earth could civilized European states like Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Norway vote in favor of it?

Only the United States and Canada dared to oppose the resolution, with Brazil, Cameroon, Germany, Jamaica, Mexico, Romania, Togo, Ukraine and the United Kingdom abstained.

Finland is currently not a member of the ECOSOC. If it were, I’m afraid that our new government would have followed the line of its predecessors in condemning Israel.

Screenshot from CNN, December 21, 2017. Scroll down for the news clip.

According to a report by UN Watch, in the UN General Assembly sessions in 2018, a total of 27 condemning resolutions were adopted, of which as many as 21 or 78% were directed at Israel. The six other condemning resolutions were targeted at Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia/Crimea, Myanmar and the United States.

In another report published in 2017 UN Watch presents distribution of country-specific condemnatory resolutions in various UN bodies:

  • UN Human Rights Council UNHRC: From its establishment in 2006 to 2016, the Council adopted 135 resolutions condemning a single country. Of these, 68 or more than half, targeted Israel.
  • UN General Assembly: Of the 97 condemnatory resolutions adopted between 2012 and 2015, 83 or 86%, were directed at Israel.
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO: Between 2012 and 2016, UNESCO adopted 10 resolutions per year condemning Israel. With the exception of one condemnation for Syria in 2013, of all the countries in the world, only Israel, which is a world leader in education, science and culture, has received condemnation resolutions. Because of this absurdity, both the United States and Israel withdrew from UNESCO as of January 1, 2019.
  • World Health Organization WHO: Each year, the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the WHO, meets to decide on global health policies. The resolutions deal with global health challenges, with the sole exception of one country. Israel, one of the leading countries in healthcare and medical innovations, and who treats both Palestinians and Syrians in its hospitals, has been condemned under the heading Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. WHO’s condemnatory resolutions were not directed at any other individual country.
  • The International Labour Organization ILO: According to its website, ILO is devoted to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, pursuing its founding mission that social justice is essential to universal and lasting peace. After a thorough research and consideration ILO has found only one country in the world with severe flaws in its working conditions – Israel!

This CNN news clip is a must see to understand the hypocrisy in the UN!

As we look at European politics and media over the last decades, it is no wonder that in every country there is an ever-increasing number of individuals who hate Israel and the Jews, and who choose to demonstrate their hatred in verbal or violent form.

As the European governments – with loyal support of biased media – pave the way with the political examples, the people follow. What a shocking repetition of 1930s Germany.

Haven’t the European leaders ever thought the consequences of their politics which always present Israel in a bad light, as an aggressor, occupation power, human rights abuser, apartheid state etc? Don’t they understand the logic of cause and effect?

When something happens, they are marching in the front row demonstrating their support and sympathy for the Jewish community. And the next day they are back on track to join haters of Israel in New York and Geneva condemning the Jewish state again.

Today Israel is the Jew among the nations. It was founded in 1948 as a safe haven for Jews, after nearly 2000 years of Jewish persecution culminating in the Holocaust in Europe. This should be kept in mind when jugding the Israeli defense and security doctrine, which is based on the post-Holocaust universally accepted never again ideal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often said that Israel cannot afford not to take seriously the threats of her neighbors to wipe the Jewish state off the world map. Unfortunately the EU and most of its member states ignore his concerns over the threats from Tehran, and just want to boost the trade relations with the Islamic Republic.

I know many people say it is totally ok and acceptable to criticize Israel, and I couldn’t agree more with them, but you should never equate criticism with condemnations based on falsified facts or fabricated history.

As a Finnish and European citizen, I am ashamed of seeing how my own and most EU countries have either voted in favor of these condemnatory resolutions, or at their best, have abstained. At the same time I salute the leaders who are ready to make a difference and stand for the truth despite the enormous pressure from the international community.

For a more detailed look at anti-Semitism in the UN, download The United Nations and Antisemitism: 2008-2017 report by UN Watch. 

About the Author
Risto Huvila, a public speaker, pianist and writer from Finland, observes European and American Middle East policies and antisemitism through evangelical lenses. As chairman of the Federation of Finland-Israel Associations and vice-chair of the Finnish Holocaust Remembrance Association, he is an active advocate for Israel. Risto has authored the book The Miracle of Israel and President Truman and he appears frequently in media.
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