How safe is Europe for Jews? Not very. AIJAC’s Jeremy Jones spoke about the rise of anti-semitism in Europe with Andrew Bolt on The Bolt Report (Network Ten).
THE BOLT REPORT 22 FEBRUARY 2015
INTERVIEW WITH JEREMY JONES
ANDREW BOLT, PRESENTER: Something very frightening is happening in Europe. Jews there are now not safe. In France an Islamist murdered three Jewish children and a teacher three years ago. Last year, Muslim mobs attacked Jewish shops, and in January a Muslim gunman shot dead four more Jews at a kosher shop. In Belgium last year, an Islamist murdered three more Jews. And last weekend in Copenhagen a young Muslim man murdered a Jew at a synagogue. When police shot the killer dead around 500 Muslims attended his funeral. It’s so bad that Israel’s Prime Minister has called on Jews to flee to Israel:
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (TRANSLATION): I would like to tell all European Jews and all Jews wherever they are, Israel is the home of every Jew.
ANDREW BOLT: Joining me is Jeremy Jones of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council. Good morning. Thanks for your time.
JEREMY JONES, AUSTRALIA/ISRAEL & JEWISH AFFAIRS COUNCIL: Good morning, Andrew.
ANDREW BOLT: How dangerous has Europe become for Jews?
JEREMY JONES: It’s certainly dangerous enough that the French Government announced they’re putting more than 10,000 police to guard Jewish institutions. That Germany has announced that every Jewish institution is also going to be… have special police details because of concerns about the safety of the Jewish community. It’s serious enough that when there is a general discussion about what’s going on in Europe, people don’t say, “Will this happen again?”, but they’re saying, “Where will this happen again?” There is a general belief, I think, in many of the Jewish communities in Europe that there are enough challenges facing that community, there are enough people who want to do them harm, that they have to take serious measures to protect their security if they’re going about their daily lives as being Jewish people. And there are many other issues feeding into this, there are many other challenges to Jewish life at the moment in Europe that you would’ve hoped would not be part of the debate in a liberal-democratic society. But, unfortunately, they’re there and there are many Jewish people and whole Jewish communities feeling that they have… now have to make a decision about where they want to live out their lives.
ANDREW BOLT: What is driving this heightened risk, this heightened fear? Is mass immigration from Muslim countries to Europe a factor?
JEREMY JONES: There are a lot of contributing factors. One factor, of course, is when there’s been large-scale immigration, and within that immigration… not only has there been large-scale immigration, but there have not been very successful methods of trying to help the people who’ve come from other countries integrate into the lifestyle and the system of the country to which they’ve come. There have been people who have not ever encountered the values of a liberal-democratic system. If somebody comes to a country like France or a country like England, or a country like Australia, or a country like Denmark, you would hope that when the person comes to that country, in a pretty early time they’re acquainted with what are the values of our society, what is important, how we’ve built a society which they wanted to come and live in. Now, of course, many people will do that almost automatically, they will want to be part of the community and make every effort to be part of the country in which they’ve moved to. But, when there’s a large-scale immigration there is also the prospect that there will be people who don’t ever move outside that smallish group and reinforce some of the negative concepts they might bring with them which go against the values of the society to which they’ve come. But, we also have to take into account that with… just within Australia and many other countries of immigration, overwhelmingly people come to the country because they want a better life. They’re not interested in ideology. They don’t want to hurt anybody else. They just want to get on with living their lives here. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a problem with an element within those immigrations and it doesn’t seem to matter in many cases where it’s from or when it comes, just when there are people who feel no need to be part of mainstream society.
ANDREW BOLT: No, I think that’s right. I mean, increasingly, mass immigration is looking like colonisation, not integration. But, Isi Leibler, the Australian who was chairman of the World Jewish Congress told me on radio this week that Jews are actually less safe in Europe today than they were before… just before Hitler. And, one reason is that now the left tends to legitimise so much Jew hatred today. Do you agree with him?
JEREMY JONES: It’s very complex. I know what… I understand the reasons he would say that or I certainly think one of the huge problems that many of the Jewish communities feel in Europe is they feel that people who should have a natural allegiance, who should be naturally the first people standing up and saying, “This is outrightly wrong”, for some reason don’t seem to have the energy or the commitment, or maybe even have decided to go the other way. But certainly I’m standing up and condemning anti-Semitism and I’m doing what you would think would be necessary. I mean I look at some of the states…
ANDREW BOLT: Well, it’s the vilification of Israel, for example. The vilification of Zionists, which seems to be a coded word for Jews, really. The boycott movements, all that kind of stuff generated from the left seems to be legitimising a lot of the rage against Jews that we see from Islamist extremists.
JEREMY JONES: There certainly seem to be people who have no compunction with using racism to serve… to further a political end. And there are certainly times, and we’ve seen it in Australia as much as anywhere else in the world, where there are people who are claiming that their concern is about the politics of the Middle East, or whatever, but behave in a way and say things which clearly say that they are… they… their enmity to Israel is based in their enmity to Jews. We’ve seen it… I’ve seen it in rallies through the middle of Sydney. I’ve seen it at many other functions within the… the people who claim they’re opposing… simply opposing Israel within Australia. But, if we come back to the point with… with the left, there’s also an issue…. Left and Liberals… I saw after Denmark there were lots of condemnations of the acts, but so many of the people who said they were standing up in sympathy with the Jewish community said, “Isn’t it sad they’re victims?”, but would not stand up and say “anti-Semitism is wrong.” “It is wrong to use this language.” “It is wrong to target Jews.” They said, “We’re sorry that something happened to the Jewish community and we feel very bad for them”, but where was the attack on the root cause? Where was the attack on the propagation of hatred? Where were the… the World Council of Churches? Why couldn’t they come out and say automatically that it is evil to promote anti-Semitism? They didn’t. They came out and said they were sorry for the victims. And in many other cases people of good will who say, “We don’t want anything bad to happen to the Jews”, don’t do what is necessary and say there’s evil ideology being promoted. There are people who are… who are feeding on this, people encouraging hatred by others of a Jewish community and we’re sitting back and acting as if it is part of some sort of debate which doesn’t concern us, and certainly doesn’t concern the nature of our society.
ANDREW BOLT: Well, you’re right. Jeremy, well, tomorrow, the Prime Minister is announcing, for example, a package of antiterrorism measures that may include a crackdown on Hizb ut-Tahrir, one of the nastiest Jew-hating groups in Australia. I was really disturbed that the Mufti of Australia, top Muslim cleric, has now said he won’t vote for Tony Abbott. And perhaps the reason Abbott wants now to crack down on Hizb ut-Tahrir is that it is just criticising the Government’s policies. Have a listen.
DR IBRAHIM ABU MOHAMMED, GRAND MUFTI OF AUSTRALIA (TRANSLATION): I am certain that Hizb ut-Tahrir does not engage in violence. They do not believe in it, nor do they support any organisation that has engaged in violence.
ANDREW BOLT: Now, the Mufti says he doesn’t support Hizb ut-Tahrir but is he right to whitewash this group and say well it’s just a critic of the government and it’s not supporting any violence?
JEREMY JONES: I think you’ve got a real problem if you think that the only issue we have when it comes to, not only terrorism, but when it comes to anti-Semitism, when it comes to racism, when it comes to any sort of extremism, is a person who goes out and knocks the other one on the head or takes a gun and shoots them. There’s also the problem of ideology which is incredibly problematic and very difficult. I don’t think any reasonable person could sit down and study Hizb ut-Tahrir and draw the conclusion that this isn’t a group which would desire a situation where, by force if necessary, they were the only people who were allowed to be part of any political system. And they target specific… they have specific targets in specific places in specific times. So, Hizb ut-Tahrir is hardly a group of nice, civic-minded citizens who are going out there talking about, “how do we improve ourselves as human beings or give to society.”
ANDREW BOLT: No, Jeremy, look, I’m shocked that the Mufti, right, doesn’t distance himself more from a group that promotes hatred of Jews, warns that their time is coming, says things like… defends Islamic State, says that people fighting for it is just reacting to Western oppression. And, that if… If we get bombs here, it just proves Muslims are angry and have every right to be angry. I think it’s disgusting. Thank you so much at least for coming here to put your point of view.
JEREMY JONES: Thank you.