The Fern Sidman Commentaries:
November 28th, 2006: "UPDATE: GLOBAL ANTI-SEMITISM ON THE RISE"
While the attention of the world is now focused on the latest “cease fire” agreement between Hamas terrorists and the State of Israel and the escalating hostilities in Iraq, it would appear that lurking in the periphery of the news is the dramatic rise of global Jew hatred.
According to an Arutz Sheva report of 11/27/06, French rioters attacked Jews following a soccer match in Paris. The report states, "The incident took place at 11 PM at a McDonald’s restaurant near the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, following Tel Aviv’s 4-2 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in a UEFA Cup match. Paris fans attacked four French Jewish Tel Aviv team followers after members of the mob identified them as Jewsť." The Jews fled in different directions, and at least one of them, Yaniv Hazout, found himself being chased by a mob.
Initial reports indicated that the attacked fans were Israelis who came to France to support the Israeli team. It turned out, though, that the attacked fans were local French Jews who came out in support of the Israeli team. Israeli fans were actually kept in the stadium for more than an hour after the game to prevent them from becoming targets of the angry mob, after they insisted on coming onto the field to celebrate the victory.
The spokesman for Hapoel Tel Aviv, Amir Lubin, told Army Radio that French fans were extremely hostile toward the Israelis who came to support their team. "We could hear the chants of the French crowd, which were in no way connected to soccer," he said. "It was obvious that the Paris supporters were enraged by the result of the game, but we didn’t imagine it would come to this." Witnesses told police that the Paris fans were shouting "filthy Jews" and other anti-Semitic slogans at the Jewish fans and would have truly killed them had Granomort, an immigrant from the Caribbean, not fired into the crowd. The policeman himself said he fired in self-defense. French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said many of the Paris fans were chanting "Death to the Jews" during the attack. Five fans are in police custody and may face charges of racism and anti-Semitism.
So much for the old adage that sporting events unites people and nations. If the truth be told, we are not surprised. France is a virulently anti-Semitic country. Within the past year Paris was the scene of the sadistic and heinous murder of French Jew, Ilan Halimi. Yeshiva students and other Jews have been attacked and beaten there as well. In February of 2006, a local rabbi’s 17 year old son was attacked by two men near a synagogue in a Parisian suburb and suffered a broken nose. An 18 year old man was attacked by a group of five men, who insulted him and stole his cell phone. A 28 year old man wearing a Kippah was verbally and physically abused by four men and suffered a dislocated shoulder, according to police sources. France has also been the staging ground for hate filled demonstrations against Israel, as was evidenced during the War between Israel and Hezbollah terrorists during the summer of 2006.
And to those who believe that such shocking stories of Jew hatred can only emanate from countries such as France where Jew hatred has risen to epidemic proportions, we must think again. In a report published in The New York Post on 11/26/06, Jewish public school teachers are again being singled out for persecution simply because they are Jews. The report states, "A Jewish art teacher claims her principal’s Christian prayer groups and the staff’s anti-Semitic slurs turned her job at a Brooklyn public school into a living hell" - and now she’s fighting back with a lawsuit. Melissa Eder, 43, thought she’d finally found her dream job when she was hired by the 219-student East New York Family Academy on Linden Boulevard in October 2003.
What she didn’t realize was that in this hard-bitten corner of the education system, the edict about separation of church and state was routinely ignored, she said. Eder also had no idea she would eventually have to face off with staff who compared Adolf Hitler to Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Eder said the problems began about six months into her new job. She said she was approached by one of the teachers and asked whether she wanted to join the "prayer circle" of six faculty members who huddled every morning with Principal Sheila Richards. She declined.
Then, during a staff meeting at the beginning of her second year, the principal invited the teachers out into the hallway to join in a group prayer. "She asked Jesus Christ for guidance in the upcoming school year," Eder said. "I was the only one that didn’t participate. I do fundamentally believe in the separation of church and state so you can have religious freedom." The other teachers, however, were shocked that Eder bowed out of the prayer, she said. Another prayer session detailed by Eder occurred in 2003, when, she said, English department staff asked students to bow their heads as they waited to start their Regents exams.
The Department of Education refused to comment on the allegations, but a 1964 Supreme Court decision prohibits faculty-led prayer in school. Eder said her alienation from her Christian peers reached a peak during a staff-development seminar in 2004, when faculty members were instructed to divide into groups and discuss why Gandhi, King and Hitler were considered "revolutionary figures." "Somebody said, 'Let the students draw their own conclusions about the Holocaust,'" she said. "I didn’t realize the Holocaust was a revolution that made a positive change. I couldn’t make them understand." Eder also claimed that a picture card of Rebbe Moshiach, the Jewish prophet, was placed on her seat in the teacher’s lounge to identify it as hers.
There was a time when the New York City public school system boasted a large percentage of Jewish teachers. This is no longer the case. For those old enough to remember the New York City teachers’ strike of 1968, we recall that those times marked the beginning of the end for Jewish teachers in New York City. The Jew hating vituperative had begun and the strike was riddled with vicious anti-Semitism.
On the international front, the burgeoning rise of anti-Semitic statements by world leader continues unabated. According to a Bloomberg news report of 11/26/06 it states, "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted the collapse of Israel, the US and Britain, attacking what he called their 'oppressive behavior.' 'The Zionist regime is on a steep downhill towards collapse and disgrace,' Ahmandinejad told supporters at a rally of Basiji militia forces near Tehran today. In a reference to the U.S. and U.K., he said 'the collapse and crumbling of your devilish rule has started.' The speech was carried live on state television. Iran doesn’t recognize Israel, and Ahmadinejad drew international condemnation after saying in October 2005 that Israel should be 'wiped off the map.' The U.S. and Iran have had no diplomatic ties since 1980 following the seizure of diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979."
As Ahmadinejad prepares to unleash his nuclear arsenal in the not so distant future, he has made his intentions to destroy Israel as his first priority. He continues to denigrate Jews as he questions of the veracity of the Holocaust and encourages the world to mock and ridicule the memory of the six million. Ahmadinejad is not alone as he spews forth his incendiary rhetoric against the Jews and Israel. He is joined by friend and close ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In a recent investigative report published by the Anti-Defamation League in New York, anti-Semitism in Venezuela is on the rise and has been buttressed and endorsed by Chavez himself.
The report states, "Under the leadership of firebrand President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela has experienced a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism, fostered in large part by Chavez’s own rhetoric and that of his government institutions." The Chavez Regime: Fostering Anti-Semitism and Supporting Radical Islam” examines recent statements by Chavez, articles in the government-sponsored media and the remarks of academics and government leaders, creating a portrait of a regime that promotes virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attitudes as it seeks to position itself as a regional and world player.
The Chavez regime’s frequent anti-Israel statements, open support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah and collusion with radical Islamic leaders like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran are having a '“spillover effect" in Venezuelan society, with anti-Israel demonstrations, anti-Jewish graffiti and other displays of anti-Semitism becoming dangerously commonplace, according to ADL. The Jewish population of Venezuela is reportedly about 25,000 people.
"President Hugo Chavez and his government institutions have elevated their anti-Israel rhetoric to dangerous levels, and it often crosses the line into anti-Semitism," said Abraham H. Foxman. "It is troubling that the leadership of a Latin American country, that once served as a safe-haven for Holocaust survivors and that still boasts a sizeable Jewish community, has taken a wrong turn into fostering hatred, prejudice and bigotry while supporting countries and groups who call for Israel’s total destruction."
Chavez and his government have resorted to implicit and explicit anti-Semitic displays, including rehashing the ancient canard of Jewish control, blaming Israel and the Jews for the world’s problems, and adopting anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jewish financial influence.
Recently, in a series of public statements on Israel’s war with Hezbollah, Chavez repeatedly compared Israel to the Nazis and Hitler, and in speaking to his own people he has on at least one occasion dabbled in classical anti-Semitic canards:
Chavez has strengthened and formed new alliances with extreme leaders in the Middle East, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Chavez also has fostered relationships with convicted guerrilla terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez (a.k.a. "Carlos the Jackal") and Holocaust denier Norberto Ceresole of Argentina.
- "Israel was committing genocide in Lebanon and its leaders should be held responsible and should be judged by an international tribunal. The Israelis criticize Hitler but have done something worse." August 25, 2006.
- "This fascism is something similar to what Hitler did: bombard cities, kill innocent children, women and men, and destroy the infrastructure of people." July 26, 2006
- The world is for all of us, then, but it so happens that a minority, the descendents of the same ones that crucified Christ, the descendants of the same ones that kicked Bolivar out of here and also crucified him in their own way over there in Santa Marta, in Colombia.
- A minority has taken possession of all the wealth in the world — December, 24, 2005.
Anti-Semitism is routinely found in Venezuela’s government-sponsored press, with stereotypical descriptions and caricatures of Jews and anti-Israel invective appearing in opinion pieces and editorial cartoons.
And so the modern day Hitlers speak. They speak with confidence and zeal and their words and ideas are being willing embraced by their followers. They are not afraid of international recriminations, nor are they afraid of global isolation. We hear of no leaders of the free world taking the podium to condemn the statements of tyrants and despots, nor do we hear an international outcry against anti-Semitic incidents be they in Paris, New York, Teheran or Caracas.
The world remains silent as anti-Semitic diatribes and actions reach hitherto unknown proportions. The Jewish people and the State of Israel are alone. Our only ally has been and will always be the Almighty G-d of Israel. During these critical times for the Jewish people, it would behoove us all to resolve to become closer to G-d. It is time to understand that with each passing moment our very survival as a people and as a nation is in dire jeopardy. It is time to reach out in sincere prayer and supplication before G-d. It is time to return to Torah. It is time to sanctify G-d’s name through Jewish strength, power and pride. It is time to place our fear only in G-d and not in the nations of the world. Let us remember and utter the words of King David (Psalms 5), "Hashem, guide me in your righteousness because of my watchful enemies; make straight before me Your way."