The above video is of an anti-Israel demonstration held last week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. I learned about it from Jeff Jacoby’s column in today’s Boston Globe titled, “Yes, it is anti-Semitism.”
The quote that jumped out to me was when one protester shouted, “Murderers! Go back to the ovens! You need a big oven.”
CRITICIZING Israel doesn’t make you anti-Semitic: If it’s been said once, it’s been said a thousand times. Yet somehow that message doesn’t seem to have reached the hundreds of anti-Israel demonstrators in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who turned out last week to protest Israel’s military operation in Gaza. As their signs and chants made clear, it isn’t only the Jewish state’s policies they oppose. Their animus goes further.
Demonstrators chanted “Nuke, nuke Israel!” and carried placards accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and bearing such messages as: “Did Israel take notes during the Holocaust? Happy Hanukkah.” To the dozen or so supporters of Israel gathered across the street, one demonstrator shouted: “Murderers! Go back to the ovens! You need a big oven.”
The Arab-Israeli conflict induces strong passions, and the line that separates legitimate disapproval of Israel from anti-Semitism may not always be obvious. But it’s safe to assume the line has been crossed when you hear someone urging Jews “back to the ovens.”
The Danish website Snaphanen posted a photo the other day of a pamphlet being distributed in Copenhagen’s City Hall Square. On one side it proclaimed: “Never Peace With Israel!” and “Kill Israel’s People!” On the other side: “Kill Jewish people evry where in ther world!” The leaflet’s spelling left something to be desired, but its message of genocidal anti-Semitism couldn’t have been clearer.
Likewise the message in Amsterdam on Saturday, where the crowd at an anti-Israel rally repeatedly chanted, “Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the gas.” And the message in Belgium, where pro-Hamas demonstrators torched Israeli flags, burned a public menorah, and painted swastikas on Jewish-owned shops.
Only marginally less vile is the message that has been trumpeted at demonstrations from Boston to Los Angeles to Vancouver: “Palestine will be free/ From the river to the sea” - a restatement in rhyme of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be “wiped from the map.”
Let’s say it for the thousand-and-first time: Every negative comment about Israel is not an expression of bigotry. Israel is no more immune to criticism than any other country. But it takes willful blindness not to see that anti-Zionism today - opposition to the existence of Israel, rejection of the idea that the Jewish people are entitled to a state - is merely the old wine of anti-Semitism in its newest bottle.
I couldn’t agree more.