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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Anti-Semitism and the Greek Media and Government: Even Ministers Gobble It Up

For all the buggy analysis in several recent articles of the new anti-Semitism in the EU --- a strong revived thrust there, which even President Bush forthrightly condemned in his first public address in London today --- nothing has been said, it turns out, about the Greek government, its public opinion, and its media. The chief reason? It's largely an inconsequential, fairly poor country on the periphery of the EU, and small in population to boot: 10 million people, whose per capita income is $19,000 or so . . . about a quarter lower than the EU average. Then, too, there is really little important news from that country --- a member of NATO since and of the EU since 1981 --- except when its lax security, plus close identification with certain Arab terrorist movements in public opinion, leads to a terrorist eruption either in Greece or that began there with a plane hijacking.


And so the current brief article seeks to remedy this omission. Greece, it turns out, is not only full of anti-Semitic racism, but its most popular composer --- flanked by two government ministers who did nothing to dissent from the composer's views --- let loose with the usual racist blather that is now commonplace across much of the EU. What is exceptional is to have government ministers present who apparently endorse the stuff. In particular:

'Flanked by Greek government leaders, composer Mikis Theodorakis of "Zorba the Greek" fame issued a scathing denunciation of Jews at a reception covered extensively by the national media.

"Today, we can say that these little people are the root of evil," said Theodorakis, 78, according to Agence France-Presse.

Despite the media attention given to the event a Nov. 4 reception for publication of his autobiography the anti-Semitic remarks were repeated only in a small right-wing newspaper. Greek Jewish leaders have criticized government leaders for not reacting. Theodorakis "repeated in the 21st century opinions from the darkest Middle Ages and slogans used by Nazi Germany, fanning both inside and outside the country the winds of intolerance and racism," the Central Jewish Council of Greece charged in a statement, according to AFP.

AFP said neither minister reacted when Theodorakis said Greeks and Jews "are two peoples without kin, but they had fanaticism and self-knowledge and managed to prevail."

A government spokesman, faced with criticism from the local Greek Jewish population --- a few thousand in number, no more (almost all were exterminated by the Nazis in WWII) --- later said that the statement of the still "highly regarded composer" didn't reflect the government's own views. Funny then, no? Neither of the two ministers present didn't dissent from the racist stuff that could be found in any Nazi propaganda rag of the 1930s . . . or all over the Arab media these days, where it is believed fervently --- part of popular culture really --- that Jews are the root of all evil misfortunes befalling the Arab peoples like economic backwardness, despotism, systematic discrimination against women, humiliation in losing several wars with Israel, and widespread illiteracy. Come to that, were the two ministers then dismissed from the government if it didn't endorse the views?


Who Complained? Only the US Ambassador

Later, when it turned out that not one Greek newspaper or TV network criticized the composer's racism, the American ambassador was left to complain in the Greek media. Our State Department followed his complaint by insisting that the remark was anti-Semitism. The official Greek response? According to this source, it was essentially, 'Its none of your damn business." '

Observe, finally, that Theodorakis's racist assault that traced all evil to Jews wasn't his first go-around with this tripe. Like lots of addled left-wing nuts in Europe and Islamists and even mainstream Muslims everywhere, he hinted after 9/11's attacks on New York and Washington D.C. that Jews were behind them. Such is the level of intelligent discourse in a country like Greece. In New Jersey, when the moonbat poet laureate of the state --- Amiri Baraka, a mediocre talent at best --- vented similar paranoid lunacies, he was dismissed from his post by the legislature. Pell-Mell. Greece is different. According to the Greek government spokesman who denied that Theodorakis's comments weren't the government's, the composer remained a mightily loved individual by the government and all other right-thinking Greeks.

At least one Greek reporter had the brains and guts to call things by their name:

Most blame lies with Greek officials, news media and the so-called intelligentsia for not challenging the monolithic view that the Jews are to blame for the world's ills. With the excuse that Israeli policies toward the Palestinians are inexcusable, anti-Israeli feelings have intensified and been expressed in a loud and self-congratulatory way. Our debate remains at coffee-shop level, with Israel-bashing on a level with anti-Americanism. The arguments, which manage to unite both left and right, hold that the Americans and the Israelis (or Jews) are one and the same, omnipotent, and unjust to those opposing their interests. Greeks love conspiracy theories and this is the mother of them all -- the key that unlocks the universe. Tied to this, as Theodorakis pontificated, is our long and close relationship with the Jews and our sense of being outdone by them. . . .

Only . . . well, however accurate, the Greek reporter's comments were in English and published in the country's English-speaking newspaper. Not many Greek citizens, apparently, will know what he said --- assuming they would care.


Any Complaints from the EU Ambassadors?

If there were any, they weren't reported in the Greek media or anywhere else in the EU. Apparently, not the way things are done here, mon vieux.

No matter. Why worry? The BBC, once justifiably known for its care for accuracy and balance in the news, will come to our aid, won't it? Oops, apparently not. In its current period of peddling daily pc-pishposh, full of well-pocketed biases that have been taken out and aired so many times before the cameras or microphones that they are transparently threadbare and in need of replacement --- not that the replacements would be any better --- the journalists and broadcast chiefs are too busy trying to manipulate and shape the news, not report and analyze it. How commendable, no? And yes, how very post-modern of them . . . to hell with accuracy, ranging coverage, clear and balanced analysis, all the idiotic stuff of the 19th and 20th century that mature, right-thinking adults should turn their backs on.

All of this contaminated journalism was very much on display yesterday to the dismay of David Frum, a former Bush speech-writer and now a journalist --- before that a Harvard Law School graduate and a holder of an M.A. from Yale in history --- and now in Britain to report on the president's visit. Participating in a forum on US policies, he relates what the BBC broadcasters now regard as objectivity, fairness, and accuracy. In the States, we call this close-minded bigotry. See "It's True What They Say About the BBC"

The article by Frum --- who also lectured for a couple of years at Yale in history, before moving on to get his Harvard law degree (after graduating at the top of his undergrad class at Yale) --- is particularly revealing about what has happened to British journalism in its post-modernist, opinionated phase of pc-piffling, which fortunately has its few notable exceptions: especially the always admirable Economist and The Financial Times. Small wonder that one of the chief editors of the latter daily has assaulted the dominant thrust in the British media and dubbed it "attack-dog journalism." And yet . . . note something. Compared to the Continental EU stuff, even the ideologically tainted British left-wing press shows some flicker still of the traditional British adherence to balance and fair-mindedness. You will find the Guardian --- another paper that has spent a couple of decades now in the attack-dog phase, plus post-modernist blurring of fact and opinion --- inviting journalists and spokesmen representing different viewpoints. On the Continent, that's unheard of. I mean, why give your reactionary and fascist opponents in the middle or moderate conservative ranks any leeway?

Even Le Monde --- after witnessing the latest anti-Semitic outrage in France last weekend --- has belatedly taken to task the EU media and politicians for fuzzing the line between uniformly hostile, lopsided criticism of Israel and raw anti-Semitism of the sort that President Bush criticized today in his Whitehall speech in London, a reproach we'll clarify in a moment or two. Oddly, the newspaper didn't seem to think it worthwhile to reproach the French ambassador in London, who two years ago was reported in the British media to refer outrightly to Israel as "that shitty little country."


And Yes, It's Nothing New In Greece --- This Vicious Racism

No, hardly new --- any more than Theodorakis's raging rants started with his most recent outburst. The Wiesenthal Center has been tracking the extravagant spread of anti-Semitism in Greece the last few years, along with the Helsinki Monitor. As it reported recently,

"Antisemitic invective has been constant and escalating over the period of this report. Beginning with newspaper caricatures using Holocaust imagery to Nazify the Jews, this has continued with media articles attacking Jews and Judaism as responsible for all the ills of Greece, in the language of 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'. In this poisonous atmosphere, we have witnessed the desecration of both ancient cemeteries and Holocaust memorials. Most recently, even the Jewish faith itself has been vilified and the loyalty of Greek citizens of Jewish ancestry and identity has been questioned. Finally, an exhibit, which glorifies suicide bombing, is due to open in Athens on 20 October. Its favourable review by the so-called quality press is a dangerous endorsement of terrorism and a new threshold that could encourage the indiscriminate targeting of innocents in the Jewish community and beyond, in Greece and other OSCE states.

Unless the Greek authorities publicly and emphatically condemn this incitement to hate and violence, the prospect of physical racist assault cannot be ruled out. The Wiesenthal Centre has appealed to the Greek government to take appropriate measures against this offensive, which is in violation of EU provisions and international conventions."



Recall here what was quoted in the previous buggy article: not only has the French government finally admitted that there is serious Jew-hatred afoot in its country, but Le Monde --- the most prestigious paper in the country, and a fount of anti-Israel polemics for decades --- finally agreed that it might have been overdoing the unstinting vitriol and encouraging anti-Semitism, along with the EU media and even politicians. In particular, three years after serious anti-Semitic attacks started erupting in France, it unveiled an editorial on November 17, 2003, in which its discovery of a grave racist menace --- shot through with violence --- was avowed in full-tilt manner:

'the sharp attacks on Israeli policies by European leaders "has lowered the borderline, evidently, which was already uncertain for some, between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism." And for the first time the buggy professor remembers, Le Monde said that there has been an "increase, in the world and in France, of an ever more virulent Islamism" . . . to the point that it "no longer hesitates to make of the `Jews' the cause of all the earth's evils." '

Note the words in bold here. Though Le Monde seems to find the racist scapegoating is part and parcel of "an ever more virulent Islamism", the Greek composer isn't Muslim, and neither were the two government ministers who apparently acquiesced in what he said.

[If you read French, you might find this article published in the left-wing Liberation yesterday by a French high-school student, a Jew, on what it feels like to be assaulted daily by Jew-hating racists particularly revealing.]


President Bush Criticizes EU Anti-Semitism

In his impressive speech given earlier today before an assembly of British notables in London --- at Whitehall, where the government offices are located --- our president not only didn't flinch when it came to Iraq and the new US policy of uprooting and attacking tyranny, he urged our EU allies to stand fast against new bigotry and racism of the traditional sort that afflicted European civilization before WWII:

Leaders in Europe should withdraw all favor and support from any Palestinian ruler who fails his people and betrays their cause. And Europe's leaders -- and all leaders -- should strongly oppose anti-Semitism, which poisons public debates over the future of the Middle East. (Applause.)



A Former Reagan Defense UnderSecretary --- earlier a Green Beret, Jack Kelly --- commented today on this racist vitriol in Europe and the Arab world, and alas now in almost all of the non-Islamic countries besides Turkey, where the local population was horrified at the recent bombings of two Jewish synagogues. What makes his retort all the more relevant here is that it begins by citing what the Greek composer ranted about: Jews as the root-cause of evil . . . here, there, everywhere.

Hatred of the Jews has been the most durable political idea of the last 2,000 years. Jews have been hated by Christians and Muslims, by fascists and communists, by Europeans and Arabs and Africans and Asians. Jews are hated by illiterate peasants and by college professors. Jews are hated by people who think they are better than Jews, and by people who fear they are inferior to them. Jews have been hated for maintaining their identity in the societies in which they live, and for trying to assimilate into them. Jews were hated when they had no state, and because they now have one.

It's hard to understand why. Hitler wasn't Jewish. Neither was Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot or Idi Amin. Saddam Hussein isn't Jewish. Neither is Osama bin Laden or Kim Jong Il or Fidel Castro. Attila the Hun wasn't Jewish. Neither were Caligula or Genghis Khan or Ivan the Terrible. There have been a lot of mass murderers in the last 2,000 years. None have been Jewish.

Jews didn't start World Wars I or II, or the Korean War, or the Vietnam War.

Jews weren't responsible for starvation in the Ukraine in the 1930s, or genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s. It wasn't Jews who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, or who put nerve gas in Tokyo's subways. Yet Mikis Theodorakis can say: "these little people are the root of all evil," and few will contradict him.

Of the world's 6.3 billion people, only 12 million are Jewish. By contrast, there are nearly 1.3 billion Muslims, who rule 57 countries which contain most of the world's oil reserves. Yet Mahathir Mohammed, the "moderate" Muslim leader who just retired as prime minister of Malaysia, can claim that "Jews rule the world by proxy," and few will contradict him.

Iran is building a nuclear weapon, for the expressed purpose of annihilating Israel. Other Muslim nations applaud the effort, while most Europeans look the other way. Jews are hated in the world today to a degree not seen since the Nazis goose-stepped onto the world stage. All that stands between the Jews and another Holocaust is the United States of America.

2003, Jack Kelly


It deals, this stimulating piece --- which doesn't pull punches --- with the Bush trip to Britain and the left-wing moonbats and Islamist radicals and ex-Communists and anti-globalizers (lots and lots of them anti-American, anti-Israeli, and anti-Semitic racists in a hodge-podge manner) who have, with lots of media publicity, sought to convey the impression that the British public shares their hostility to our President and our country. Remember, that impression is false. A survey published in yesterday's Guardian showed that nearly 2/3 of Labour Party voters welcomed the president's visit, and a slightly larger number of Labourites and Conservative voters saw the US as essentially a force for good in the world. Still, Hanson is worth reading. It would be particularly salutary to have the Continental media pick up the article, which appeared in the London Times . . . itself, despite its lost luster in the Rupert Murdoch era, at odds with the pc pishposh that passes for profound knee-jerk commentary in almost all the EU media on almost any subject under the sun, political or otherwise.

The article starts this way. You are encouraged to read the rest here (which link doesn't require you to fill out a subscription form for the London Times itself).

Why are so many thousands on the streets of London so furious at an American President and the ongoing war in Iraq? Let us examine their misguided reasons, before getting to the truth. The animus cannot be over the demise of Saddam Hussein. His regime killed more than two million citizens in three decades of state-sponsored murder and wars. For liberal Westerners the end of the Baathists, despite the current chaos of reconstruction, means no more attacks against neighbouring countries. The destruction of the Marsh Arabs and their fragile habitat has ended. British and American pilots are no longer engaged in a 12-year, 350,000-sortie effort to patrol Iraqi airspace to prevent further genocide. A brutal UN embargo that punished Iraqi citizens for the crimes of the Baathists is over.

Is it that protesters are angry at America's purportedly cavalier treatment of Muslims? Are they ignoring that over 20 years we have helped to expel Stalinists from Islamic Afghanistan, led the effort to restore Muslim Kuwait, fed Muslims in Somalia and bombed Christians to preserve Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia? We give more than $3 billion a year to the Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians to match our aid to Israel.

Do they think it a bad thing that Noriega, Milosevic and the Taleban are gone? Whatever the endemic cynicism over US aims, the "national liberation" mantra of the 1960s seems close to realisation, if the nascent democratic movements in Panama, Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq are any indication. The demonstrators should at least harbour no sympathy for our enemy's agenda: the fundamentalists' treatment of women, homosexuals, religious dissidents and ethnic minorities is from the Dark Ages.

Are the protesters repulsed at a "_blank" American preemption? If so, we in America do not remember that Hitler first sent V2s to our shores or that Milosevic cleansed Americans before we sent planes over their skies to stop the butchery. In the recent Balkan conflict Americans thought European omission, not American commission, allowed the loss of 250,000 lives a few hours from Berlin and Paris.

Mr Bush's Christianity, cowboy metaphors, and drawl might grate on European sensitivities. But he sought approval of the US Senate and went to the UN before attacking Saddam, unlike a lip-biting Bill Clinton, who bombed the Balkans, Africa and Iraq without either national or multinational sanction. And, by the terrible arithmetic of war, the Anglo-American effort to defeat the worst regime in the Middle East has been remarkable in its efforts to minimise casualties, both ours and Iraqi.

Hanson --- one of the most distinguished military historians of his generation, a writer whose several books have roamed over warfare as practiced over the millennia, and in every civilization --- then moves on to look at the root causes of the growing anti-Americanism in the EU media and on the left and, don't forget, the far right in EU Continental countries save in Denmark and Holland.



A Good British Novelist

The novelist is Frederick Forsythe, best known for his gripping work, The Day of the Jackal, about a British assassin hired to kill Charles de Gaulle during the violent tumult of the early 1960s in France, when de Gaulle escaped several real attempts of this sort. The original film, 1969 or so, is also outstanding, one of the best of its genre. Forsythe, who has written several other novels, has also scripted several Hollywood films and has lived in this country off and on. His letter appeared in yesterday's London Guardian, and is in the form of a missive to President Bush:

"You will find yourself assailed on every hand by some pretty pretentious characters collectively known as the British left. They traditionally believe they have a monopoly on morality and that your recent actions preclude you from the club. You opposed and destroyed the world's most blood-encrusted dictator. This is quite unforgivable.

I beg you to take no notice. The British left intermittently erupts like a pustule upon the buttock of a rather good country. Seventy years ago it opposed mobilisation against Adolf Hitler and worshipped the other genocide, Josef Stalin.

It has marched for Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Andropov. It has slobbered over Ceausescu and Mugabe. It has demonstrated against everything and everyone American for a century. Broadly speaking, it hates your country first, mine second.

Eleven years ago something dreadful happened. Maggie was ousted, Ronald retired, the Berlin wall fell and Gorby abolished communism. All the left's idols fell and its demons retired. For a decade there was nothing really to hate. But thank the Lord for his limitless mercy. Now they can applaud Saddam, Bin Laden, Kim Jong-Il . . . and hate a God-fearing Texan. So hallelujah and have a good time.


The Funny Stuff

That said, the wittiest comment about the protests --- even though it's dead-on --- is by Mark Steyn, the hilarious Canadian satirist and op-ed commentator who lives in New Hampshire, where he's on the run from the collectivism that the Liberal Party under Trudeau and Chretien has imposed on his home country (much to the dismay of the English-speaking western provinces), and writes in British, American, and Canadian papers. [Sidebar comment: without ever winning even 40% of the registered voters in his three successful elections --- in one election, only 26%! --- Jean Chretien and the Liberal Party since 1990 have controlled the executive, the Parliament, and the Upper House in Canada, enabling them to impose their increasing state-regulated system all over the country. One study last year showed that 85% or so of the Canadian people were alienated from the political system. Is it any wonder?]

Surveying the London scene, Steyn starts with the usual suspects: the motley riffraff of protestors --- tens of thousands and maybe more tomorrow --- who comprise the hard-core of the frenzied Bush- and America-haters: ex-Communists who no longer can march to the drum of Maoist China or the Soviet Union; Castroists who see Cuba as the last great hope of mankind; nutbin Islamists who'd like to start throwing bombs; anti-globalizers who see globalization as Neo-, Neo-Imperialism run by Jews and Americans; pacifists who seem to think that slavery, Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, Stalin, and Communism were all defeated by manifestos and UN speeches; the unregenerate apologists for every vicious crackpot third-world dictator who ever espoused an anti-US line, while slaughtering millions of their own citizens; pc-pundits, pc-profs, and the British equivalents of Sean Penn and Barbara Streisland, experts on Islamic affairs, military strategy, and WMD one and all; and --- needless to add --- the usual drugged-out hirsuite anarchists who love nothing more than riots, firebombs, broken shop-windows, and charges and counter-charges with the police. All of these disparate groups agree on one thing: America is to blame. For what? You name it.

The fanatical Muslims despise America because it's all lapdancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it's all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it's controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian, too Godless, America is also too isolationist, except when it's too imperialist.



As the EU heads into turbulent times, full of inevitable and dislocating changes of a painful sort as governments and businesses strive to overhaul their economies and make them more globally competitive, expect more psychic unhinging and backlashes all across the EU . . . with violence very likely in Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and Belgium. Remember here: kidnappings, political murders, and bomb-throwing shook Germany and Italy in the 1970s and 1980s; Northern Ireland for decades, with bombs thrown repeatedly by the IRA in English cities; France in the 1990s and still today in Corsica; ditto in Spain, not just in the Basque areas. Every day, too, it seems, some radical Islamist terrorist cell is uncovered in this or that EU country. The current German interior minister, in charge of the police, has recently dubbed the rapid growth of neo-Nazi groups a serious threat to domestic security.

The recent breakthroughs into respectability of right-wing populist parties is another augury here of what's in store. Some of these parties --- Fini's former Italian Fascist Party, the Danish People's Party in Denmark, and Prim Fortuyn's party in Holland --- have proved generally moderate in power. The same was true in Austria of the Freedom Party, once Haider was kept out of the coalition government it helped form in the early part of this decade (it is now out of power again, and Haider is once more seizing control --- as full of hatred and unpredictability as Le Pen in France). But the French National Front, the Belgium Volks Blaam, and the neo-Nazis aren't likely to put on kid-gloves, in or out of power.

Remember, too, that in the first round of the French presidential election in April 2002, Le Pen got 18% of the vote, and left-wing Trotskyites and other radicals got another 15-16%. Meanwhile, "virulent Islamism" --- which even Le Monde now grants is rife in France --- continues its fire-bombing and assaults on French Jews.


Enter the Unholy Trinity: the US, Globalization, and Jews

All across the EU, it's predictable, there will also be a related surge of resentments and envy directed at the US, the favorite scapegoat for this tumult of wrenching change, plus --- already visible in survey results and attacks on Jewish synagogues, cultural centers, schools, and individuals in some EU countries --- the preferred turnip-ghost as the root-cause of all evil in European civilization: Jews. With Jews and the US and Globalization all thrown into the same ugly psychic brew, to be ladled into addled brains. Even in Britain, where the economy has already been more overhauled than in the big Continental countries --- thanks to Mrs. Thatcher's reforms in the 1980s (Thatcher, the close friend of Reagan and hence hated by the same fervent hate-crowd out in the streets in London these days) --- severe, politically charged dislocations will likely occur and produce expected backlashes . . . not least, as in France and elsewhere on the Continent, from increasingly angry, virulent Islamists and other radical members of the riffraff crowd.

Let us hope that the usual civility and sanity of the British --- who aren't enslaved to the same pc-infested media as the Continentals are, and who welcome Bush in large number and in even larger number like our country --- continue to prevail in the turbulent years ahead. Similar things can be said about the Dutch and the Danes and the Irish, but not, I fear, the other EU countries.

Replies: 1 Comment

Apropos this article, I found this news report rather interesting: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/031122/325/eenkd.html

An extract: LONDON (Reuters) - A report on anti-Semitism in Europe has been shelved by the EU's racism watchdog after it found that Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind many of the incidents, the Financial Times has reported.

The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) decided not to publish the research after clashing with its authors over their definition of anti-Semitism, which included anti-Israel acts, the paper said.


Posted by Francis Turner @ 11/22/2003 12:59 PM PST