Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dror Feiler-Putting Out Fires with Gasoline in the War Against Anti-Semitism

A debate is taking place in Göteborg’s daily newspaper Göteborgs Posten (GP) as members of the Ship to Gaza Movement and JIPF (Judar för israelisk-palestinsk fred—Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace) contend with those who claim that these two groups are nothing but promoters of aggressive Israel-hatred that leads to anti-Semitism.

The debate started on August 23rd when Dror Feiler, Henry Ascher and Staffan Granér, all members of Ship to Gaza Movement as well as JIPF, attacked an opinion piece written by historian and author Ingrid Lomfors. The three claimed that Lomfors had stated in her piece that “due to the probability that criticism against Israel might be interpreted as anti-Semitism one should refrain from criticizing Israel in order to avoid being allied with anti-Semitic and Israel-hating forces.”

In the piece the three authors also claimed to be on the frontrunners of combating anti-Semitism in Sweden. This is rather bizarre—as Dror Feiler in 2004 created the controversial art installation “Snövit och sanningens vansinne” (Snow White and the Madness of Truth) which was easy to interpret as glorifying a female Palestinian suicide bomber who killed 21 Israeli and injured more than 50. Feiler is also known for openly calling for Israel to recognize Hamas, an organization whose agenda states the organization’s intention to commit genocide—by eliminating the Jewish citizens of Israel. Feiler has also adopted illegal means in order encourage more people to boycott Israel.

It is widely known that Jewish people around the world have a special connection to the state of Israel, even though this doesn’t mean they support the policies of the state. Still, it seems rather odd that Feiler, a known and aggressive Israel-hater should assign himself the position of frontrunner for halting anti-Semitism in Sweden.

Taking part in the debate in GP is Allan Stutzinsky (FP) who asserts that in order for criticism against Israel to avoid anti-Semitic nuances, it is highly important that the debate is “to the point, diverse, balanced and proportional”. He also argues rightly that none of the representatives from Ship to Gaza and JIPF have been able to contribute to such criticism.

Stutzinsky continues:
“All criticism against Israel is not unjustified. Almost all criticism is, on the other hand, one-sided and unbalanced. It is also frightening that it is also untrue”. As we have seen in Sweden, “loud criticism leads to Jewish cemeteries being ravished, Jewish daycare centers and homes for elderly are vandalized, and people who wear Jewish symbols are abused”.

In another response to Feiler and his friends’ first piece, young Jewish students from Göteborg, Johanna Schreiber and Joseph Borenstein call the piece “propaganda rhetoric” and further claim that Feiler and his friends are worsening the situation for young Jews in Sweden. This further enhances the notion that the three representatives from Ship to Gaza and JIPF aren’t suitable candidates to represent Jewish interests.

On August 27th , Ingrid Lomfors decided to reply to the piece written by Feiler, Ascher, and Granér. She then clarifies that she did not write that one should not be able to criticize Israel, but, since criticism can contribute to anti-Semitism, one should consider in which contexts one wants to take part.

She also rightly claims that the trio’s response insinuates that Jews who are openly pro-Israel and connected to a congregation have themselves to blame for the hate aimed towards them. Lomfors ends her response with the quote, “the explanation lies not with the ones subjected to the Jew-hatred but amongst those who hate”.

Today the Israel-hating trio decided to write an additional response. This, of course, promised even more anti-Israel vitriol with arguably anti-Semitic tones. When the trio writes in today’s op-ed: that [Jewish] assemblies’ expressed neutrality towards Israeli policy is good, but is at odds with the experience we have learned”, this emphasizes that the trio clearly doesn’t believe that a Jewish community in Sweden can hold opinions different from the State of Israel. It further emphasizes the argument by Lomfors that the trio is holding members of Jewish communities in Sweden liable for any hate crimes aimed towards them unless they disassociate themselves from Israel.

Feiler, Ascher and Granér also stressed their complaints over the fact that they were never invited to either of the Jewish communities in Göteborg and Stockholm (yes, one can wonder why they are not invited).

If the Israel-bashers Feiler, Ascher and Granér were to be the appointed front-runners in the struggle against anti-Semitism in Sweden, the future for the Jews in Sweden would not look too bright. Thankfully, there are people such as Lomfors and Stutzinsky, who fight publically in media forums. They point out the true agenda of these Israel haters who bring nothing but unjust demonizing to the table. By contributing aggressive criticism of Israe, Feiler and his friends are far from being frontrunners in halting anti-Semitism in Sweden—it would be more accurate to characterize them as individuals responsible for generating hatred against Sweden’s Jewish community and justifying and encouraging Hamas’ genocidal aspirations towards Israel’s Jewish population.

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