The Jerusalem Post
By Uri Dan
(The writer is an author of The Mossad: Secrets of the Israel Secret Service and other books on the Middle East.)
PARIS - The US Embassy here, situated near the Place de la Concorde, looks like a fortified position. To reach my hotel behind the embassy, I have to pass through police check- points. The street bordering on the embassy is blocked to traffic at both ends, to protect the building against suicide bombers. The check-points cause tremendous traffic problems.
The French authorities, in cooperation with the US, have tightened security measures since September 11, particularly after the French arrested North African Muslims who planned to blow up the embassy. Arrests were also made in Belgium, where, just as in France, large Muslim communities have developed in which there is tremendous support for Osama bin Laden and for suicide bombers.
The great reduction in the number of tourists visiting this city reminds the French that the world is not only going through an economic depression, but is also subject to fear because of the massacre perpetrated by Muslims in New York and Washington. But of course, none of this affects the beauty of Paris. The bare trees, and the women dressed for zero temperatures, look as picturesque as ever in this season, in St. Germain or the Champs-Elysees, which are lit up as only the French know how.
These wonderful lights are incapable of dispelling the shadow of the wave of anti-Semitism flooding the French media. In the guise of unremitting attacks on the policy of the Israeli government toward Yasser Arafat, by presenting Israel as an "invader" in contrast to the poor Palestinian victims, most of the French media are actually waging an attack against the Jewish state.
What is really serious is that Jewish, or Israeli- Jewish, correspondents, who live in France and belong to the lunatic fringe of the Left are aiding the anti-Semites in their task. When you complain that the reports appearing in the newspapers are one-sided and anti-Israel, they reply innocently: "What do you want? After all, we invited a French Jew, or an Israeli Jew, to comment, and he is also opposed to the policy of the government in Jerusalem."
It is no use explaining that the Jew invited to speak on the radio or TV, or to write in Le Monde, belongs to the extreme Left and hates everything Jewish and/or Zionist. For elderly Jews, who were saved from the clutches of the Nazis and the Frenchmen who collaborated with them, and who are living in Paris, the attacks of the French media against Israel remind them of the anti-Semitic publications during the Vichy regime.
IN BRUSSELS, a similar, and perhaps even graver, anti- Semitic offensive is being waged. The Belgian media are frequently even more venomous and primitive than those in France in their attacks on Israel and Ariel Sharon's government. The Belgian government, which is currently serving as the president of the European Union, claims that it has no influence over the judicial branch. The latter is, therefore, engaged obsessively in the issue of Sharon being possibly brought to trial for the blood libel regarding Sabra and Shatila.
At the same time, the Belgian government is deliberately using this fake legal process as a whip, in the hope of forcing Sharon to give in to the EU's demands on behalf of Arafat. It is quite clear that if justice was of importance to the Belgian government, it could remove the charge against Sharon from the agenda. But the Belgian government encourages this dirty game because anti-Semitism is in its blood, and is now bursting out in the guise of an attack against the policy of the Israeli government.
The Belgian media are inflating stories that Israel is about to commence an anti-Belgian campaign, when in fact the opposite is the case. Naturally, Belgium also makes use of Jews - some of whom are simply ignorant, while others are also suffering from self-hate - and fail to understand that if anti- Semitism gains the upper hand, their fate will be identical to that of the Jews of Germany and France under Nazi rule.
The leftist French weekly Novel Observateur recently printed a blood libel copied from a British newspaper, according to which IDF soldiers were raping Palestinian women to cause their murder by members of their families, because the family honor had been sullied.
Sarah, the daughter of the respectable editor of the weekly, Jean Daniel, published this terrible lie. Good Jews. Jean Daniel apologized in a long and convoluted article, instead of admitting that the item was false, and requesting forgiveness from the IDF and Israel in a single clear sentence. Roger Zuckerman, the president of the council of Jewish communities in France, justifiably refused to accept the too-clever apology of the weekly, because he is aware of the dangers of the anti-Semitic publications hidden in the guise of blunt attacks on Israel.
At a time when Israel is waging an extremely painful but successful campaign against Arafat and his terrorists, it must not neglect the dangerous anti-Semitic front in Europe. This is not a matter for lawyers working for the attorney-general or for the Foreign Ministry. This is also too big a job for the Israeli officials dealing with information. A special Israeli organization to direct the struggle against covert and overt anti-Semitism must be set up. It must employ Jews willing to act, everywhere.
The expected victory over Arafat and the Palestinian terrorist authority will, of course, hasten the destruction of the European anti-Semitic animal that has again raised its ugly head for the first time in more than 50 years.
(c) Jerusalem Post