The latest conflict in Gaza is not only uncovering terror tunnels in Gaza but also revealing that beneath the surface of European civility runs a vein of anti-Semitism crisscrossing the continent.
In the major capitals of Europe — London, Paris, Berlin — demonstrators are protesting Israel’s right to defend itself against rockets launched at its civilian population. Why? Because of the toll their defensive action takes on the Arab civilian population.
Israel desperately wants to avoid causing civilian casualties, to the point that its’ soldiers are instructed to put themselves into danger if necessary. Yet, during World War II, the RAF reduced German cities to rubble, killing an estimated 450,000 civilians. The annihilation of German civilians through bombing was deliberate British policy, formulated with the express consent of Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his cabinet. British bombers dropped bombs over cities through thick cloud cover with no way of knowing where they would explode. The number of civilians killed in Hamburg and Dresden rivaled the number of dead in the historic atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No apology from the British has ever been heard for their carpet-bombing tactics.
Not only did the RAF pound German targets, wiping out whole cities; they also killed thousands of French civilians, their own allies, before and during the invasion of Normandy. Between 13,000 and 20,000 French non-combatants were killed in air raids aimed at softening up German positions in France. No war crimes trials were ever held holding anyone in Bomber Command responsible for the “collateral” carnage committed in France.
If the behavior of the British in WWII has to be understood in the context of the epic struggle they were engaged in at the time, what is the excuse for the treatment British forces meted out in Malaysia during the 1950s? The British detained, tortured and killed thousands of civilians thought to be aiding the Malaysian rebels. British air raids killed hundreds more. Their houses destroyed, 500,000 Malaysians were “relocated” under the Briggs Plan as a form of collective punishment. This, though the Malaysian rebels never targeted civilians in London or Liverpool with indiscriminate firing of deadly rockets, as Hamas does daily in the towns and cities of Israel.
The French, so horrified at the casualty toll in Gaza, are quick to forget the tens if not hundreds of thousands of Muslims they killed in Algeria between 1954 and 1962. The French military routinely tortured rebel detainees with Gestapo-like brutality. Yet, French cities too were never victims of rebel rockets.
Even in Berlin, the capital of 20th- century genocide, of the most heinous crime in history, demonstrations have taken place against the right of Jews to defend their homeland and their children from unprovoked death from the sky. The protestors carry signs “Hitler was right” and
“Death to Jews”… .
There’s little embarrassment in the capitals of Europe over the fact that Jews are under attack and feeling threatened, and leaving European countries because of that. While European governments continue to aid the refugees in Gaza — still “refugees” after 70 years — they are creating Jewish “refugees”: an estimated 5,000 French Jews are expected to leave France for Israel this year, representing a more than 100 percent increase over the year before. Nearly 75 percent of French Jews say they are considering leaving the country. (The French government is making no concerted effort to stem the tide.) Just wondering: Given all the hand-wringing over the eternal Gazan refugee, will the United Nations give those Jews refugee status as well, building schools and homes for them in Israel?
Anti-Semitism has always been irrational; it is no less so today. The Jews being harassed in the countries of Europe are citizens of those countries; in France they go back more than 1,000 years; yet they are being held responsible for what’s taking place in Gaza.
Are Africans in France attacked because of the 300,000 dead in Sudan? Is the Syrian community in France targeted because of the 170,000 killed in Syria? Or the Russians over the bloodshed in the Ukraine, not to mention the Putin-backed obliteration of cities in Chechnya? No, because what sense would that make?
Of course many Europeans are horrified over the anti-Semitic outbreaks cropping up around Europe, but they are not doing enough to stem this new wave of hate that demonizes Israel and all Jews. Europeans have looked at their ugly past behavior towards the Jews with some shame, but if they would look in the mirror now, they would start to see a similar ugly reflection forming.