Friday, September 5, 2014

Delegitimizing Israel: Free Speech or Yelling “Fire” In a Crowded Theatre?

Last week’s Jerusalem Post weekend magazine included its round-up of European news, compiled by its European correspondent Andreas Berggren.  Berggren commented on statements made by Göran Rosenberg, whom he termed a “liberal”, regarding the right of Jews worldwide to criticize Israel.  We ask “where does one draw the line between legitimate criticisms and hate speech”?

Who is Mr. Rosenberg? He’s a Swedish author, famous inter alia, for being the son of Polish Holocaust survivors. He has written and published a book about his father’s experiences. In an Expressen column dated July 8th, Rosenberg terms Israel an “Apartheid State”.  Rosenberg complains that there will be “different justice” for the perpetrators of the terrorist murders of three Israeli teens, and the Israeli killers of the young Arab boy who was murdered in a deranged attack.  “Different justice for different people is the definition of apartheid,” Rosenberg states, and also “separate territories”. 

Enemy combatants from the PA do not get the same, hopefully thorough, due process as Israeli citizens.   That’s not “apartheid”. The Hamas terrorists are non-Israelis, engaging in acts of war by targeting and attacking civilians.  That’s a war crime, and so is using your own citizenry to shield you, something that Hamas does, and which is apparently of little or no concern to Mr. Rosenberg, as he does not and will not address the issue.

As for “separate territories”, this is the worst of Mr. Rosenberg’s canards, and it is code for rejecting Palestinian autonomy as it is now, preferring not the two-state solution, but a single, Palestinian bi-national state.  This is the fantasy of the anti-Israel extremists who salivate to think of the international community forcing this “merger” on Israel. It would include the return of the Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 and all of their descendants within the pre-1967 borders.  At best, the idea is to kill the State of Israel demographically, and at worst to totally eliminate Jews “from the river to the sea”. 
In sync with the bi-national Palestinian fantasy, Mr.  Rosenberg also complains that Israel unfairly wants the PA to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. How many Islamic countries with non-Islamic minorities style themselves specifically as Islamic—why can’t Israeli citizens have a Jewish state?  Total hypocrisy, especially if you compare the favorable situation for minorities in Israel and the abject persecution of minorities in Islamic-majority countries. 

Mr. Rosenberg’s critique is not about Israel’s policies—he is on factual thin ice regarding what actually is happening here. Rather, his main issue is with the existence of Israel as a Jewish State.  To add complexity to the situation, he is touting these opinions in a country where citizens who are identifiably Jewish are at risk of attack on the streets.  In other words, he is pouring gas on an already inflamed situation—this was already the case before the Protective Edge operation broke out, and is even worse now.

So do Jews have a right to criticize Israel? Mr. Rosenberg followed his “apartheid” article with one on August 12th about the power of the State of Israel, hoping that neither actual nor false accusations of anti-Semitism words and deeds will “poison” the criticism of Israel, as cited in the JPost.  In his opinion, life has never been better for Jews in Europe, except, perhaps in Hungary and Greece.  It’s very convenient for Mr. Rosenberg to forget the chaos in the streets of Rosengård and Rinkeby, and the repeated attacks on Jews and Jewish community sites.  On August 2nd, just ten days before the Israeli power article was published, anti-Semitic thugs again targeted Rabbi Kesselman of Malmö, and succeeded in breaking three synagogue windows.

There was nothing new in this kind of attack—but as reported by JTA , less than four months prior to the recent attack on the rabbi and the synagogue:

“…the district of Skåne, where Malmö is located, declined the Jewish community’s request to increase the number of security cameras around Jewish buildings.”
It is even more worrying that the authorities are declining the right of the Jewish community to implement self-defense.  Surveillance security would help put the perpetrators of hate crimes behind bars, and forbidding it is tacit acceptance of lawlessness. 

As in the case of the rapes and white slavery perpetuated in Rotherham, U.K., the authorities are unwilling to shine a light on the perpetrators—if they turn out to be Muslims, prosecuting them would be “racist”. So, in the end, the victims of Muslim aggression have no protection.
 There is no paradise of tolerance in Europe, and certainly not in Sweden. Jews are attacked out of simple Islamic Jew hatred, and more so when Israel acts in self defense, while the authorities fail protect Jewish citizens.  Mr. Rosenberg has every right to speak his mind, but sadly, what he brings to the mainstream Swedish discourse is his “Jewish legitimization” for adding to and aiding the delegitimization of Israel, and by default, Jews on the streets of Sweden.   

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