Robert Wistrich, Professor of European and Jewish History at Hebrew University, one of the world’s leading experts on antisemitism, unfortunately died this year at the age of 70. It is worthwhile reading the last article he published on the subject entitled, “Gaza, Hamas and the Return of Antisemitism,” in the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs VIII : 3 (2014) (file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/user/My%20Documents/Downloads/robert-s-wistrich.pdf). This is an excellent summary of the situation today that can stand as his contribution to future generations. Here are some excerpts:
In the summer of 2014, the third war over Gaza between Israel and Hamas erupted, bringing in its wake a new explosion of global Jew-hatred that has been arguably more intense than any previous wave of hostility since 1945. At the end of May 2014, shortly before the outbreak of this latest round of fighting, I had convened a major three-day international conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on the theme of Anti-Judaism, Antisemitism, and the Delegitimization of Israel. Nearly forty participants from four continents addressed the manifold and varied manifestations of a resurgent global anti-Jewish hostility, particularly noticeable in Europe and the Middle East. The jihadi-inspired murder of four people (including two Israelis) at the Jewish Museum in Brussels earlier that month was fresh in all our minds, as was the awareness that this was but the tip of the iceberg. Still, the emergence of this latest outburst of antisemitism took even seasoned observers of this phenomenon by surprise………..
The conflict in Gaza has once more underlined the spearhead role played by Islamist “anti-Zionism” and antisemitism in stirring up antagonism toward Israel and encouraging Western moves to boycott and isolate the Jewish State. Despite the frightening religious bigotry, homophobia, misogyny, violent persecution of Christians in the Middle East, and the chilling Judeophobia, Islamists have garnered considerable sympathy in the West as authentic representatives of the Palestinian cause. On the other hand, Israel—despite being the region’s only free, tolerant, and open society—has been continually vilified by much of the mainstream Western media and by large sectors of public opinion. While Israel is denounced for a purely fictional “genocide,” the lethal character of Hamas’s Jew hatred has been largely ignored.
The Islamists have never made any secret of the centrality for them of the religious dimension of the Muslim–Jewish conflict—something very poorly understood in the West. This is clearly spelled out in the radically antisemitic Hamas Covenant of 1988, which constitutes the ideological basis for its continuing jihad to annihilate Israel. The Covenant draws on an ancient hadith attributed to Muhammad himself in which he purportedly declares: “The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, O Muslims, O Abdullah [servant of Allah], there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” …………
In my view, this is an unmistakable indication of the moral sickness steadily gnawing away at Europe’s innards as a result of its feeble response to Islamism and its own self-deceiving multiculturalist mythology. As we have seen, the characterization of Hamas as a typical liberation movement fighting for Palestinian national self-determination is deeply flawed—a symptom of European, Western, and international delusions. Even more delusional and rather insidious is the Palestinization of the old-new Christian Replacement Theology and the hypocritical moralizing of Anglican priests such as retired black South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who, like former US President Carter, never misses an opportunity to lash out at Israel while urging the recognition of Hamas. Such voices ultimately legitimize antisemitism. Along with advocates of boycotting Israeli products (or academics) and purveyors of the totally skewed “Israel=Apartheid” analogy, they actively sustain the radical jihadists in their fundamentally wicked dream of destroying Israel. Even if they are not personally antisemitic, these “fellow-travelers” are de facto accomplices of the fanatic “warriors of Allah,” hell-bent on bringing down what remains of human freedom, respect for truth, the sanctity of life and democratic values. Indeed, from Berlin to Sydney, from Paris to Santiago, antisemitism is once again providing us with a litmus test for the moral health of Islamic and Western civilization. The societal and cultural pathology of antisemitism may well be incurable, but it is nonetheless essential that governments around the world do everything in their power to limit its toxic effects.