Danes who are not so great

November 24, 2016 23:25

Last week, the USA-based Pew Research Center released the findings of its annual study of global restrictions on religion. Looking back to 2013, the Pew study concludes that there is good news and bad news. The good news is that social hostilities involving religion declined "somewhat" in 2013, from a six-year high the previous year. The phrase "social hostilities" encompasses everything from the vandalism of religious property to violent assaults involving injury and death.

Pew found that the proportion of countries with high or very high levels of religion-based social hostilities had fallen 33 per cent in 2012 to 27 per cent in 2013.

The bad news is that global antisemitic incidents continued to rise. To quote from the Pew report's headlines: "In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the number of countries where Jews were harassed. In 2013, harassment of Jews, either by government or social groups, was found in 77 countries (39 per cent) - a seven-year high. Jews are much more likely to be harassed by individuals or groups in society than by governments. In Europe, for example, Jews were harassed by individuals or social groups in 34 of the region's 45 countries (76 per cent)."

The report also points out that, whereas in Europe in 2013 the percentage of countries experiencing social hostilities to Jews was 76 per cent, in the rest of the world it was actually a mere 25 per cent.

Of course, this research predates the much more recent shocking events in France and Denmark. But it emphasises that as far as harassment of Jews is concerned there is an undeniable and specific, pan-European problem. Pew does not speculate as to the reasons why. But we are surely entitled - indeed obliged - to do so.

Those who assault Jews have a variety of motives

Those who take it upon themselves to vandalise Jewish property and assault individual Jews do so from a variety of motives. But Europe is not a lawless entity, and antisemites do not act in a social or political vacuum. They perpetrate their crimes within the context of a public atmosphere which is heavily influenced by the predispositions of the government of the day. And the fact of the matter is that these predispositions have in recent years been turning very significantly in an anti-Jewish direction.

Denmark is a prime example. On February 15, the Danish Prime Minister, Mrs Helle Thorning-Schmidt, touchingly bowed her head as she laid flowers at the site in Copenhagen where, the day before, a Jewish synagogue security guard had been shot dead by a Muslim gunman. "A man has lost his life in a service of that synagogue," she pleaded, "and we are devastated. Our thoughts go to the whole of the Jewish community today. They belong in Denmark, they are a lasting part of our community. And we will do everything we can to protect the Jewish community."

The fact of the matter is that Thorning-Schmidt's government has been complicit in the demonisation both of Jews and of the Jewish state. Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard has called for punitive action - by both Denmark and the EU - against Israel in respect of its blockade of Gaza and West Bank settlement construction. Worse, Thorning-Schmidt's government has a history of giving financial support to anti-Israeli organisations.

Through its embassy in Tel Aviv this government has donated millions of Danish kroner in subsidies to organisations promoting BDS and invoking crude anti-Jewish stereotypes.

To take one example, Danish taxpayers' money has been given to "DanChurch Aid," a Lutheran evangelical movement that bankrolls "Badil", a Palestinian entity which, in 2010, awarded a prize to a cartoon featuring a recognisably Chasidic man (complete with side-locks and hooked nose) standing over a dead Arab child and holding a pitchfork dripping with blood.

Later that year, Badil participated in a conference that rejected "any settlement to the Palestinian/Arab–Zionist conflict" that did not include the right of return of Palestinian "refugees" - meaning the end of the Jewish state.

Between 2011 and 2014 DanChurch Aid partnered with "Grassroots Jerusalem", in whose view Jerusalem is being "ethnically cleansed" with a view to "the continued Judaisation" of the city.

November 24, 2016 23:25

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