Sheldon Kirshner

Scapegoating Jews as the Gaza conflict rages

Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, made a good point a couple of days ago when he said that the Jewish community in Germany should not be held responsible, “either in the street or on social media,” for Israel’s current armed conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

His comment was prompted by several developments.

With Israel and Hamas trading blows around the clock in what is increasingly looking like a full-blown war, pro-Palestinian demonstrators took to the streets in several German cities. In Bonn and Muenster, they burned Israeli flags outside synagogues, and in Gelsenkirchen, they marched menacingly toward a synagogue chanting “shitty Jews.”

In a country like Germany, which has accepted full responsibility for the greatest single crime of the 20th century, the Holocaust, such manifestations of racial hatred are extremely unsettling and intolerable.

These protesters, in the name of free speech and unfettered assembly, could easily have staged a legitimate peaceful march in support of their cause and then gone back home without stirring too much rancor or controversy. But instead of comporting themselves decently, they resurrected the ghosts of Germany’s Nazi past with a tasteless display of implicit and explicit antisemitism.

By desecrating the Magen David in front of synagogues, they mistakenly conflated German Jews with Israelis, which was a leap too far. And by gratuitously insulting Jews by comparing them to excrement, they exposed themselves as miserable antisemites.

In short, they brought back bitter memories of the Kristallnacht pogrom of 1938, when, at the behest of Adolf Hitler’s antisemitic regime, synagogues were burned and plundered by fascist thugs in a disgraceful orgy of violence that removed Nazi Germany from the orbit of civilization.

Maas, a decent and upright German, was appalled by that intimidating spectacle staged by Hamas supporters. Vowing to protect synagogues unwaveringly, he said, “There must be no tolerance for attacks against synagogues in our country.”

Regrettably, these were not the only incidents of their kind in Europe. In Spain, whose image is still stained by its expulsion and forcible conversion of  Jews during the Inquisition, vandals spray-painted the words “Free Palestine” on the wall of a synagogue, as if its congregants could be blamed for the latest upsurge of violence in the Middle East, or the plight of Palestinian refugees.

Worse still, a Muslim actress from Pakistan named Veena Malik posted a tweet on her personal Twitter account tacitly justifying the mass murder of European Jews during the Holocaust.

Venting her rage over retaliatory Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in response to indiscriminate Hamas rocket launchings aimed at Israeli cities, Malik posted a particularly vile quote she attributed to Hitler: “I would have killed all the Jews of the world … but I kept some to show the world why I killed them.”

If Hitler had uttered such a despicable remark, it would have been completely in character with his obsessive and destructive antisemitism. The truth is that these comments cannot be traced back to Hitler because they never left his lips and were presumably fabricated by one of his loathsome admirers.

Having been apprised of her stupid error, Malik deleted the tweet with embarrassment. But by that point, some of her 1.2 million followers already had read the misbegotten quote and probably had been influenced by its malicious message.

She should rejoice, having succeeded in poisoning the minds of her gullible fans with an antisemitic fantasy.

Subsequently, Malik hastened to publish two more tweets. One bore the hashtag “Free Palestine.” The other predicted that Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system “is doomed.”

It’s obvious that Malik, an ignoramus of a high caliber, is not up to speed about recent developments in Israel’s ongoing confrontation with Hamas. In case she hasn’t heard, the Iron Dome has so far succeeded in shooting down about 90 percent of the 2,200 rockets Hamas has fired at Israel.

Cheap propagandists like Malik are not only congenitally anti-Zionist, but hopelessly antisemitic. Their opinions should be treated as stinking rubbish, but unfortunately, they are bound to warp the minds of impressionable people whose knowledge of Jews, Israel and the Middle East is not even skin deep.


About the Author
Sheldon Kirshner is a journalist in Toronto. He writes at his online journal,
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