Democrats and certainly liberals have always held a healthy disdain for Israel. That is no great revelation on my part. We have seen that disdain at center stage since Obama won the presidency. The US-Israeli relationship has taken a turn for the worse because Obama and his inner circle brought with them to the White House the notion that the region’s troubles start with Israel.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged Israel on Friday to “reach out and mend fences” with Turkey, Egypt and other security partners in the Middle East, saying he is troubled by the Jewish state’s growing isolation in the volatile region.
He also pressed Israeli leaders to do more to restart peace talks with the Palestinians — “Just get to the damned table” — and underscored President Obama’s determination to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Interestingly, Panetta did not reference the Obama blueprint for international diplomacy as an example.
This view towards Israel is not entirely unlike most liberals’ belief that the victim of a crime is at least partly to blame, or that society created the conditions for the criminal (believed to be socio-economic disadvantages, discrimination, racism, etc.) for which the victim was chosen.
In other words, certain factors (factors only liberals consider) blur the line between the assaulter and the assaulted.
It is a historical fact that Israel has never led a truly offensive war against its neighbors. However, it has been thrice attacked by an Arab-Muslim coalition of armies and is constantly engaged in proxy wars against terrorists’ organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, two paramilitary wings sponsored directly by Syria and Iran. The latter of those two is pursuing a nuclear arsenal and repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel.
Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli newspaper, reported Friday that Gutman told a Jewish conference on anti-Semitism organized by the European Jewish Union that — as the newspaper described it — “a distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
According to the prepared remarks of his speech, Gutman distinguished between “anti-Semitism, of hatred and violence against Jews, from a small sector of the population who hate others who may be different or perceived to be different, largely for the sake of hating” from what he perceived to be a different phenomenon tied to Israeli policies.
“What I do see as growing, as gaining much more attention in the newspapers and among politicians and communities, is a different phenomena,” Gutman said. “It is the phenomena that led Jacques Brotchi to quit his position on the university committee a couple of months ago and that led to the massive attention last week when the Jewish female student was beaten up. It is the problem within Europe of tension, hatred and sometimes even violence between some members of Muslim communities or Arab immigrant groups and Jews. It is a tension and perhaps hatred largely born of and reflecting the tension between Israel, the Palestinian Territories and neighboring Arab states in the Middle East over the continuing Israeli-Palestinian problem.”
In July, prominent Belgian neurosurgeon and politician Dr. Jacques Brotchi resigned from the board of the Board of the University of Brussels Foundation “because I deeply deplored the absence of a strong and appropriate reaction from the university authorities to a succession of anti-Semitic incidents.” The “Jewish female student” to whom Gutman refers is a 13-year-old girl beaten up by five classmates of Moroccan origin who reportedly told her, “Shut up, you dirty Jew, and return to your country.”
While underlining that “no Jewish student – and no Muslim student or student of any heritage or religion – should ever feel intimidated on a University campus for their heritage or religion leading to academic leaders quitting in protest,” Gutman said that this phenomenon “is in my opinion different in many respects than the classic bigotry…It is more complex and requiring much more thought and analysis. This second form of what is labeled ‘growing anti-Semitism’ produces strange phenomena and results.”
Gutman said that “throughout the Muslim communities that I visit, and indeed throughout Europe, there is significant anger and resentment and, yes, perhaps sometimes hatred and indeed sometimes and all too growing intimidation and violence directed at Jews generally as a result of the continuing tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories and other Arab neighbors in the Middle East…every new settlement announced in Israel, every rocket shot over a border or suicide bomber on a bus, and every retaliatory military strike exacerbates the problem and provides a setback here in Europe for those fighting hatred and bigotry here in Europe.”