Dr.Gerstenfeld’s article “European Socialist Hate Mongers Against Israel” was first published in Israel National News and republished here with the author’s consent.
For many years, Socialist Erkki Tuomioja, was Foreign Minister of Finland. At the beginning of this century, he compared Israel’s defensive measures to the Nazi persecution of European Jewry.11
European Socialist Hate Mongers Against Israel
For decades extreme anti-Israel hatemongering has come out of many mainstream European social democratic parties. Finally, starting over a year ago, the Israeli Foreign Office is no longer willing to receive the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom.1 This Social Democrat had called for an investigation into what she called Israeli “extrajudicial killings” of terrorists during their attacks. The Simon Wiesenthal Center put her on the 2016 list of the world’s main promoters of antisemitic and anti-Israel incidents, as she had not shown any interest in investigating the Palestinian terrorism.2
This extreme anti-Israel incitement by European Socialist leaders goes back many years. Three of them have compared Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis – Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme,3 French President François Mitterrand,4 and Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.5
In a 2004 lecture in Alexandria, former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard, called the Balfour Declaration a “historic mistake.”6 Benoît Hamon, the Socialist candidate in the upcoming French presidential elections has initiated the recognition of the non-existent state of Palestine in the French parliament. He has justified this by saying that it is good way to recuperate French Muslim voters for the Socialist Party, which had been lost during the Hollande presidency.7
There has been an outburst of antisemitic and anti-Israel hatred in the British Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015. The Home Select Affairs Committee of the House of Commons was highly critical of this rise in Labour antisemitism and said that Corbyn had not done enough to combat it.8
During Israel’s 2014 Protective Edge campaign a former British deputy prime minister from the Labour Party, John Prescott, wrote a column condemning Israel. In his words, “Compare that to the toll in Gaza. Of the 1,000-plus to die, more than 80 per cent were civilians, mostly women and children. But who is to say some of the other 20 per cent weren’t innocent too? Israel brands them terrorists but it is acting as judge, jury and executioner in the concentration camp that is Gaza.” He added, “What happened to the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis is appalling. But you would think those atrocities would give Israelis a unique sense of perspective and empathy with the victims of a ghetto.”9
After the next Norwegian elections in September of this year, Labor Party leader Jonas Gahr Støre may become prime minister of Norway. Two Norwegian Hamas supporters, Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse, wrote a book in which they developed a modern version of the blood libel, claiming that during a military campaign, Israel entered Gaza to kill women and children. Støre wrote a back cover comment for this book praising the authors for their work during their stay in the Gaza strip.10
For many years, Socialist Erkki Tuomioja, was Foreign Minister of Finland. At the beginning of this century, he compared Israel’s defensive measures to the Nazi persecution of European Jewry.11 In 2002, Greek Socialist parliamentary speaker, Apostolos Kaklamanis referred to the Israeli “genocide” of the Palestinians, after which government spokesman Christos Protopapas said he had expressed the sentiments of the parliament and the Greek people.12
In 2001, Israel Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi was assassinated by Palestinian terrorists. Danish Foreign Minister Mogens Lykketoft, who later would become the leader of the Danish Socialist Party, said on television that there was no difference between this assassination and Israel’s targeted killing of terrorists.13
The Dutch Labour Party succeeded in 2016 in passing a parliamentary motion to impose sanctions on Israel if it does not enter into serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians.14 Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders claims that his government is against BDS. In truth the Dutch government subsidizes NGOs which promote BDS.15 Belgian Socialist Euro-parliamentarian Veronique de Keyser has said that she would want to “strangle” Israel’s ambassador if he would come to speak about Israel’s security.16 After Protective Edge, the socialist former secretary-general of NATO Willy Claes attacked Israel. He said, “Israel has to realize that the enormous historical credit that Judaism has built up after the Second World War has now been exhausted.”17
In 2002 Franco Cavalli, then parliamentary leader of the Swiss Social Democrats, said that Israel “very purposefully massacres an entire people” and undertakes “the systematic extermination of the Palestinians.”18
Some of the most extreme anti-Israel social democrats are Jews. The main inciter against Israel in the Dutch Labour Party is parliamentarian Michiel Servaes – who regularly mentions that his mother is Jewish. The late Austrian Socialist Prime Minister Bruno Kreisky said about the Jews, “If they are a people, they are an ugly people.”19 This self-hater was a pioneer in the slandering of Israel as a “semifascist” and “apartheid” state. He also called Israel “undemocratic,” “clerical,” and “militarist.”20
The above is only a small selection of the anti-Israel hate mongering occurring in eleven Western European socialist parties. In several countries, this trend of attacking Israel is a tool for socialists to try to attract Muslim voters without giving them anything tangible. Furthermore, socialists pretend to be in favor of the underdog, which many of them consider to include terrorists. This position can only be maintained through extreme intellectual dishonesty: by knowingly looking away from incitement to genocide of Jews by the largest Palestinian party, Hamas, and the glorification of violence by the only other significant one, Fatah.
3 Per Ahlmark, “Palme’s Legacy 15 Years On,” Project Syndicate, February 2001.
5 Moses Altsech (Daniel Perdurant, pseud.), “Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Greek Society,” Analysis of Current Trends in Anti-Semitism, 7 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1995), 10.
9 John Prescott, “Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is a war crime – and it must end,” The Mirror, 26 July 2014.
11 Efraim Karsh, “European Misreading of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Finnish Foreign Minister Tuomioja – A Case Study,” Jerusalem Issue Brief, 27, 12 July 2005.
12 “Antisemitism Worldwide, 2002-3,” Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University, 2004.
13 Herb Keinon, “Danish FM: Ze’evi Murder Same as Targeted Killings,” Jerusalem Post, 19 October 2001.
17 Walter Pauli, “Israël moet beseffen dat reusachtige historische WOII-krediet stilaan is uitgeput,” Knack, 6 August 2014. (Dutch)
18 “Israel-Kritik oder Antisemitismus?” Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 26 April 2002. (German)
19 Robert S. Wistrich, From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2012), 496.
20 Ibid. 480