It was first published in the Jerusalem Post, and republished here with the author’s consent. This version has the footnotes.


Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred GerstenfeldThe acceptance of a working definition of anti-Semitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in May 2016 was a major event in exposing this ancient hatred. In order to be accepted, the IHRA required the agreement of the 31 member states of the organization, among which 24 are members of the EU. One can now analyze statements and publications of a person or organization for anti-Semitism by comparing them to the definition and the examples of anti-Semitism mentioned in the IHRA document.1

One can apply this definition for instance to the frequent anti-Semitic slurs by Lady Jenny Tonge. Tonge is an independent member of the UK House of Lords and was previously an MP of the Liberal Party. Over the years, she has accused the Israel Lobby of conspiracies,2 Israel of being responsible for suicide bombings in Iraq,3 as well as the treatment of Palestinians by Israel as “the root cause of terrorism worldwide.”4 Tonge has also said that “Israel is not going to be there forever.”5 Other statements she has made include that the Jews should be “ashamed of themselves” for not stopping Israel.6 All of these are anti-Semitic slurs which are included in the examples of anti-Semitism accompanying the IHRA definition.

Yet, when analyzing Tonge’s statements, one realizes that the definition of anti-Semitism, like any other definition, has its limits. This has two major aspects. The first one is that the definition cannot list all examples of anti-Semitism. For instance, the definition says that it is anti-Semitic to draw “comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” It does not, however, mention comparing Israel to ISIS. This Islamic terror organization is currently a model for absolute evil.

Jeremy Corbyn, the extreme left leader of the British Labour Party, has indirectly made such a comparison during the official presentation of the Chakrabarti Report on Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and Racism in the Labour Party.7 It is not clear that Corbyn’s remark meets the definition of anti-Semitism. Yet former UK Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks rightly called Corbyn’s statement, “demonization of the highest order.”8

The second aspect outside the IHRA definition concerns a large number of other acts and other statements on its periphery. For instance, Lady Tonge brought the Palestinian Muslim cleric, Raed Saleh, to the British Parliament. He has propagated the libel that Jews use the blood of non-Jews to bake their Shabbat bread.9

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Dr.Gerstenfeld’s latest article on: The Letter to President Hollande Netanyahu Did NOT Write. It was originally published by INN and reposted here with the author’s consent.

The Letter to President Hollande Netanyahu Did NOT Write

Manfred Gerstenfeld

After the Nice terror attack by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who identified with ISIS and murdered 85 people, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a statement saying, “Israel strongly condemns the terrible terror attack. Israelis stand united with the French people. Israel is willing to help the French government fight this evil until it is defeated.”1 2 He did not say that Israel stands united with the French President and the government.

Had Netanyahu not followed diplomatic niceties, he might have written the French president the following text:

President Hollande,

I would like to extend my condolences to the wounded and the families of the murdered in the Nice terror attack perpetrated by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, for which ISIS claimed responsibility.3  

In writing to you, however, I am not expressing my solidarity with France or its government. Several countries, including France, directly support organizations that engage in anti-Israel incitement, calls to boycott Israel and do not recognize Israel’s right to exist. It is my intention to have this investigated.4

French ministers, and in particular Prime Minister Manuel Valls, have done their best to say the right words to the local Jewish community regarding the fight against anti-Semitism. Responding to the increasing anti-Semitic environment in France, Mr. Valls has stated, ‘I said with my words, with my heart, and I will continue to repeat it because it is a profound conviction: without the Jews of France, France would not be France.’5

Sympathy for terrorism is, however, expressed at lower levels of French government. In Aubervilliers, Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti has been awarded honorary citizenship.6 In Valenton, both a street and square have been named after him.7 By glorifying Barghouti, the municipalities of these towns are legitimizers of Palestinian murderous terrorism against Israeli citizens. Barghouti is currently serving five life sentences for the planning of three shooting attacks that killed five people. After he was convicted and imprisoned, he was re-elected as a member of the Palestinian Authority parliament. In addition, the Palestinian Authority and the PLO have recently launched a campaign to nominate Barghouti for the Nobel Peace Prize.8

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She’s no lady, she’s a Jew hater…..

Here is Dr.Gerstenfeld’s latest article on Jenny Tonge, which was published by Israel National News (and reposted here with the author’s consent). Its importance is obviously that we have now a model of how one can lay an anti-Semitic text next to the IHRA definition in order to substantiate why people are anti-Semites.

NOTE: Tonge is pictured here, next to her Norwegian Jew hating colleague, Mads Gilbert, how fitting, a pair of bookends to a shelf full of antisemitism.

Lady Jenny Tonge – A Leading British Anti-Semitic Inciter

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred GerstenfeldMuch attention has recently been given to the incitement against Israel and the Jews by elected officials of the British Labour Party.1 Yet, probably, the main anti-Israeli hate monger in the British Parliament is Lady Jenny Tonge. This former Liberal parliamentarian is nowadays an independent member of the House of Lords. Her so-far latest anti-Semitic remark in the House of Lords is “The treatment of the Palestinians by Israel is a major cause of the rise of extreme Islamism and Daesh [ISIS].”2

A few months ago the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has accepted a definition of anti-Semitism. This required the agreement of the 31 member countries of the IHRA, among which is the UK.3 The definition has greatly facilitated identifying this and other statements of Tonge as anti-Semitic.

Tonge said in 2004 that if she were Palestinian, she would consider becoming a suicide bomber.4 This fits an example of anti-Semitism from the definition – “calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.”

The IHRA definition includes among other examples of anti-Semitism, “making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective.” Tonge did so when in 2006, while still a Liberal MP, she alleged that the “pro-Israeli Lobby has grips on the Western World, its financial grips. I think they’ve got a certain grip on our party.”5 – as well as other similar remarks in 2012 about the power of the pro-Israel lobby in the UK and US.6

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Here is Dr.Gerstenfeld’s major essay on Jewish identity which has been published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and republished here with the author’s consent.

Jewish Identities in Postmodern Societies

  • Jewish identity is determined in three ways. How do Jews see themselves? How are they viewed by other Jews? And how are Jews seen by the outside world?
  • Several methods can be used to analyze contemporary Jewish identities. One is to collect information about what people write regarding Jewish identities, either in general or with respect to their own. A second, more scientific method is to analyze sociological and demographic studies of Jewish communities. A third method is to examine various examples of Jewish outreach.
  • Elements of Jewish bonding can include religion, holidays and customs, ancestry, secular Jewish culture, ties with the Jewish community, reactions to anti-Semitism, experiences of the Second World War, and attitudes toward the state of Israel.
  • Studies by the Pew Research Center show that self-identification by American Jews differs significantly from generation to generation as well as that Israelis and American Jews differ on several issues concerning what they see as essential to their Jewishness.

If one searches “Jewish identity” on Google, many millions of entries appear. Is being Jewish a matter of culture, religion, belonging to a nation or to a community? Or is it also something else? For most of the past three millennia, it was relatively simple for Jews to define their identity. Nowadays it has become more difficult than ever before. One among many reasons is the fragmentation of Jewish identities, insofar as Jews define themselves.

We live in an age that cannot be defined properly. The term postmodernity indicates that the current period is described by referring to the one before, which was called “modern.” This inability of definition is one among many manifestations of the overall contemporary crisis. Yet, if one cannot define postmodernity, one can at least explain its main features. Fragmentation is a prime one. Another characteristic is globalization.

This major fragmentation includes the breakdown of structures and the dissipation of authority. With this also comes the disintegration of norms and values. All these lead to increased individualism. Other features of postmodernity are relativism, subjectivism, and pluralism. Political correctness is an effort to establish – often distorting – norms for conduct in a postmodern society. Two characteristics of globalization are the growth of international mass communication and an overload of frequently distorted information. In such a complex and opaque reality, doubts about one’s identity flourish. Many contemporary Western societies are now undergoing an identity crisis. This heavily influences individuals, who, in turn, influence the societal reality.

Jews in Postmodern Societies

This overall environment affects Jewish identities. The main characteristics of postmodernity are also significantly present in the Jewish world.

However, one should first define what identity means. Views on this vary. For the Cambridge Dictionary, identity comprises “the qualities of a person or group which make them different from others.”1

But Steven Cohen, a leading sociologist of American Jewry, says, “There is no accurate word for the complex of Jewish belief, behavior, and belonging. As a result, we employ the term identity for lack of a better one.”2 Those features – “belief, behavior, and belonging” – are the ones mainly used in this analysis.

Threefold Identity

What does it mean to be a Jew in postmodern society? Jewish identity is determined in three ways. How do Jews see themselves? How are they viewed by other Jews? And how are Jews seen by the outside world?

In the past, answers to these questions came relatively easy. Jewish identity was derived from beliefs, behaviors, and belonging that were distinctly different from those of surrounding societies. Jews practiced specific religious commandments. They were frequently physically separated from others and lived mainly – forced to or not – in Jewish neighborhoods. They were often voluntarily or involuntarily identifiable by their clothing.

In the Middle Ages and until the Enlightenment, the Jewish leadership usually had the authority to enforce a well-defined behavior. In the autonomous Jewish communities, Jews were under the control and law of their religious and lay leaders. This mainly resulted from the policies and attitudes of the external Christian or Muslim world toward Jews. One relevant example of how Jewish law determined Jews’ expected attitude in extreme situations was how they had to behave toward mortal threats. The most common Jewish-law opinion was that at such times a Jew could transgress all commandments except three – the prohibitions on idol worship, murder, and incest.

As an example of a frequent Jewish position toward belief, Maimonides maintained that in order to be a Jew one had to believe in 13 principles of faith. Before the autonomy of Jewish communities ended in the 19th century, it was thus relatively simple to define how Jews behaved and what most of them believed.

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This was first published in Israel National News, and posted here with the author’s consent.



In memoriam Elie Wiesel

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred GerstenfeldElie Wiesel’s life means different things to different people. US President Barack Obama said, “Elie Wiesel was one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world. He raised his voice, not just against anti-Semitism but against hatred, bigotry and intolerance in all its forms.” 1 Former Israeli President Shimon Peres said in his memory, “Wiesel left his mark on humanity through preserving and upholding the legacy of the Holocaust and delivering a message of peace and respect between people worldwide. He endured the most serious atrocities of mankind – survived them and dedicated his life to conveying the message of `Never Again.” 2

My few meetings with Wiesel were very short. Before we ever met he had been kind enough to write a very positive back cover comment for my book, The Abuse of Holocaust Memory; Distortions and Responses.3 Another bond, however slight, between Wiesel and myself, was a common close friend, Ted Comet. In his nineties he is still active in Jewish life in the United States. It was Comet, a postwar American volunteer helping survivors of the Holocaust who found Wiesel in an orphanage in Paris. This exceptional person was a major inspiration for Wiesel’s lifelong devotion to the Jewish people.4

ted comet

Some persons become symbols during their lives through how they live and what they do. The Talmud says it is not the place a man occupies that gives him honor, but the man gives honor to the place he occupies.5 That was the case when Wiesel was nominated for president of Israel in 2007.6 Would he have been a good president? I doubt it. A representative function like this requires many formal duties, including shaking the hands of thousands, sitting at long dinners, and listening to all too often uninspiring speeches. These requirements stymie creativity. Wiesel, like Albert Einstein – another Jew who became a symbol during his lifetime who refused Israel’s first presidency when Ben Gurion offered it to him – wisely turned the proposal down,

One of the many things a person who has become a symbol of morality can do is to influence policy and opinion with his statements. In Romania, the country where Wiesel was born, there had been many post-war efforts to distance the country from its responsibility for the Holocaust. An important step to expose this deflection process occurred when the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania, chaired by Wiesel, released a report in November 2004 that unequivocally points to Romanian culpability. It declares: “Of all the Allies of Nazi Germany, Romania bears responsibility for the deaths of more Jews than any country other than Germany itself.”7

The increasing abuse of the term Holocaust pained Wiesel. In 1988, earlier than many others recognized this issue, he stated with emotion, “I cannot use [the word Holocaust] anymore. First, because there are no words, and also because it has become so trivialized that I cannot use it anymore. Whatever mishap occurs now, they call it ‘holocaust.’ I have seen it myself in television in the country in which I live. A commentator describing the defeat of a sports team called it a ’holocaust.’ 8 Since then the abuse of the Holocaust has multiplied many times.

As the distortion of the Holocaust and the falsification of its memory are subjects of particular interest to me, I want to mention Wiesel’s role in fighting the Bitburg scandal. In 1985, U.S. president Ronald Reagan visited the German military cemetery of Bitburg. When his visit to Germany was announced, it was also specifically mentioned that he would not visit a concentration camp. Initially the impression was that only soldiers and officers of the German Army (Wehrmacht) were buried in the Bitburg cemetery. This visit, planned by the German government, was a clear act of whitewashing part of its past. The Wehrmacht, however, gave support to the SS, which carried out most of the mass murder of the Jews. Only years later would it become more widely known that the Wehrmacht itself had played such a major part in the murders.

Shortly after the visit was announced, it transpired that members of the Waffen SS were also buried in this cemetery. This led to huge protests against the visit. Reagan had agreed to go to Bitburg in order to show that the United States now had normal relations with Germany and its pro-American chancellor Helmut Kohl, but because of the protests he later decided to visit the Bergen Belsen concentration camp as well.

In his memoirs Wiesel devoted an entire chapter to the Bitburg affair. He summarized the essence of the whitewashing: The German tactic in this affair was obvious; to whitewash the SS. He wrote, “It is the final step in a carefully conceived plan. To begin with, Germany rehabilitated the “gentle,” “innocent” Wehrmacht. And now, thanks to Kohl, it was the turn of the SS. First of all, the “good” ones. And then would come the turn of the others. And once the door was open, the torturers and the murderers would be allowed in as well. Bitburg is meant to open that door…. Officials in the State Department tell me that Kohl bears full responsibility for this debacle; he convinced Reagan that if the visit were canceled it would be his, Kohl’s defeat, and hence that of the alliance between the United States and Germany.” 9

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Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred GerstenfeldThe outcome of the 23 June referendum on Brexit, i.e whether the United Kingdom should remain or leave the European Union, will have consequences for Israel, whether direct or indirect. Polls indicate that the result will be very close.1 If the majority of the British vote to remain, the EU will get a boost. It is unlikely that there will be a new British referendum on the subject for several years to come. Furthermore no other member country is likely to consult its citizens whether to stay in the EU or to leave.

Israel has a vested interest in the continued existence of the present EU membership, albeit greatly weakened internally. Like several other supranational bodies, the EU scandalously discriminates against Israel. It regularly incites against Israel and interferes in its internal affairs. The EU applies double standards in its relations with Israel, such as its requirement for labeling of products from the West Bank and the Golan. This is an anti-Semitic act according to the IHRA definition of this hatred which was accepted by many countries.2 No such demands are made of other countries dealing with a similar territorial reality. In its stance against Israel, the EU’s actions have more to do with imperialist law than with the precepts of international law which, it claims, govern its attitudes.

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The Journal for the Study of anti-Semitism has published a lengthy review on Dr.Gerstenfeld’s book The War of a Million Cuts.

Pragmatic, Prudent, Prolific

Manfred Gerstenfeld’s The War of a Million Cuts: The Struggle Against the Delegitimization of Israel and the Jews, and the Growth of New Anti-Semitism (RVP Press 2015) 504 pp. $29 paper

Sheri Oz* One small paper-cut on a finger is painful and distracting; a million of them inflicted onto one’s entire body surface would be unbearable. With growing virulence, this is what Jewish people face today observes Manfred Gerstenfeld.

Manfred Gerstenfeld has a singular ability to tackle this topic in a way not many others could. He has academic degrees in chemistry, economics, the environment and Jewish Studies. With such a broad interdisciplinary background, he brings both scientific and goal-oriented processing to a number of contemporary problems. Perhaps its his pragmatic problem-solving approach from years as a corporate consultant mixed with holism that allow for creative new solutions and thinking “outside the box.”

Defining the Problem

The first step in solving a problem is defining it. Is the problem growing antisemitism? Is it reawakening of antisemitism that has lain dormant, in at least part of the world, for a few decades after World War II? Is it the metamorphosis of antisemitism into anti-Israelism? Or are these just facts of life whereby the problem should be defined as the lack of an effective approach to combating antisemitism/anti-Israelism? Why does this make a difference?

If the problem is antisemitism, then we are going to spend a lot of time studying the issue of antisemitism. If the problem is lack of an effective approach to combating antisemitism, then the focus of our attention is directed toward studying alternative pathways for fighting it. This may seem like a small distinction but given the fact that there has, to date, been no coordinated effort for confronting global hatred toward the Jews and demonization of Israel, it seems the time is ripe for a focus on action.

I can make this clearer with a specific example. Defining the problem as antisemitism per se results in forums with recommendations such as those summarized in The Action Plan for Combating Antisemitism in 2013 and Beyond. 1 In this report, distinguished faculty and experts offered recommendations for fighting global antisemitism but to my knowledge, no action was taken. A recipe 2 ripe for inaction–there was no overall strategy and no evaluation procedures for assessing positive and negative results. Success in the anti-Israel propaganda war will not emerge from working groups such as these. What is required is a sustainable program that has been provided with the budget necessary for mobilizing all the resources that can be brought to bear in the international arena in which the war is being waged.

Recipe for Action

We can look at Gerstenfeld’s The War of a Million Cuts as a collection of small volumes on a shelf, the Introduction and the final chapter serving as bookends holding it all together. In his Introduction he defines the problem when he states:

It is the responsibility of Israel’s government to defend its citizens from all types of attacks. This should be true for the propaganda war – also called “political war” – as well. However, despite the great intensity of this major battle against Israel in the current century, no comprehensive and systematic approach has yet been undertaken by the Israeli government to fight it. (14)

The final chapter is entitled: “How to Combat Demonization of Israel.” Contained in these 35 pages, is a counterpropaganda blueprint detailing what needs to be done and how to do it in order to successfully overcome the war of words on Israel. Gerstenfeld points out that no other nation has been globally demonized as has Israel. And the need to invent something out of nothing, is something Israelis can do–they did it with a desert–they can do it with words.

The substance of the book is a treatise on a modern history of antisemitism and conflation of open antisemitism with anti-Israelism, symbols easily recognized as antisemitic have been transformed and used in the demonization of the Jewish state. The material covers the playing fields in which Israel’s legitimacy is attacked: national and international bodies, academia, the media, faith groups and more. Its impact on Jews in Israel and the Diaspora are examined as is the phenomenon of Jews joining the fight against the Jews. It is a well-researched and documented compendium of the contemporary situation.

For many Jews involved in either Jewish community life or some form of pro-Israel activism, the material will not be totally new and will perhaps trigger, as it did for me, memories of personal encounters with antisemitism, making it heavy reading; at the same time, the wealth of information provides a depth of understanding and a wider context within which to comprehend the nature of Jew hatred and battle being waged against us.

Each chapter addresses a key issue in the propaganda war and each stands on its own merits. In fact, I was unable to read more than one chapter at a time. While I am no stranger to the phenomenon of antisemitism in both its pure and its recent anti-Israel form, I needed time to digest each chapter separately before going on to the next.

Fighting Contemporary Antisemitism: The Gerstenfeld Proposal

In contrast to extant approaches to fighting antisemitism which can be characterized as responding to events of the past and present, Gerstenfeld puts forward a structure that would also promote strategy and planning future developments. His proposal resembles military strategizing. In fact, he suggests that the body in charge of the anti-Israel propaganda war approach it in the same way as the Israeli security forces are now tackling cyber warfare.

While it may seem natural that the Foreign Ministry and the diplomatic corps engage in this war, our diplomats cannot be involved, according to Gerstenfeld. They have a distinct role to play on the international stage and cannot participate in anything that may negatively affect the relationships they 3 need to build in other nations. The anti-propaganda efforts must be run by professionals who are expert at dealing with an enemy and not with making friends.

The structure of the body fighting antisemitism/anti-Israelism would include three branches, each with its own personnel and tasks, as listed below:

1. Research Branch

  • a. Identification of:

i. Key motifs of demonization

ii. Origin of these attacks

iii. Main perpetrator categories in detail and interactions among them

iv. Means by which hatred is transmitted

  • b. Create profiles of leading anti-Israeli media and other actors
  • c. Anticipate medium and long-term societal and global developments in order to anticipate their impact on Israel and on the Jewish people as a whole

2. Monitoring Branch

  • a. Follow and document:

i. Incitement and aggression against Jews in specific countries (for example, had this been done, the antisemitism among the previous left-wing government in Norway could have been fought more effectively before it reached the extremes it has because there would have been a powerful Israeli agency to work together with local allies)

ii. Specific hate generating organs, such as media, extreme leftists, Muslim countries, Muslims in the west, Christians, NGOs, trade unions, fascists, academics, lawfare operators, etc

iii. Specific types of incidents, such as boycotts, divestments, sanctions, false accusations, application of double standards, false moral equivalence, scapegoating, and more. b. Establish a database of enemies into which to record the above

3. Operations Branch

  • a. Identify bodies best suited to respond to incidents and threat of incidents: government, NGOs in Israel or abroad, or even individuals (this was done successfully for Durban II, but not generally applied)
  • b. Devise campaigns for each case

Gerstenfeld also describes broad strategic principles that should underlie the anti-Israel propaganda war. I will list but a few of the twenty ideas:

–No more free lunches
– Every attack will be met by a counter attack.
–Sunlight is the best disinfectant
– Establish local blogs that would make valuable material available and facilitate exposure of anti-Israeli inciters in each locale.
–Use clear language
– Stop referring to the land beyond the armistice lines as “occupied territory” and call it “disputed territory”
— call the armistice lines just that, and not borders, refer to Jordan as the first Palestinian state and the current negotiations as considering giving rise to the second (Palestinian Authority-ruled) Palestinian state and possibly a third (Hamas-ruled) Palestinian state. Expose the lies and manipulations of a small number of big players (journalists, media outlets, politicians, NGOs, church leaders, academics) with the aim of destroying their reputations and many others will think twice before attacking Israel.
–Use resources efficiently
– Select the battles wisely.
–Encourage promising individual activists.

4. Is the Government Ready?

In May 2015, Gilad Erdan was appointed Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information. In December 2015, Mr. Erdan appointed Sima Vaknin-Gil as Director-General of the Ministry The retired brigadier general brings 30 years air force intelligence and ten years as the IDF chief military censor to this endeavor. Together with a staff of eleven and an annual budget (2016) of approximately 100 million new shekels (23 million EUR/$26 million US) Dr. Gerstenfeld might have hand picked her to lead the campaign against demonizing Israel.

Erdan recently stated that every time Israel has been threatened in the past “we knew how to come together and fight it and we will do so now as well.” He was proud to announce that all government ministries are cooperating with the efforts of his office and that they are in the advanced stages of designing a working strategy. It even felt to me as if he was paraphrasing Gerstenfeld when he said: “Until now those who delegitimized Israel got away with it. That is about to change – there will be a price to pay.”

At the same conference, Vaknin-Gil addressed coordinating the activities of all organizations, government and otherwise, so that each contributes what it does best. “We have not succeeded yet in getting our [Israel’s] message across because we do not yet have a unified message.” As a first step in gathering together a team over and above ministry staff, she said that 300 people came forward when a call went out asking for volunteers.

Vaknin-Gil said that antisemitism cannot be overcome if we deal with it on an emotional level. Those who demonize Israel, “operate experientially and emotionally and we will work cognitively.” The statements I heard from Erdan and Vaknin-Gil offer new hope and encouragement in that they are strongly committed to take a stand on the international stage, both overtly and covertly.

We may eventually find out that Erdan and Vaknin-Gil have patterned their recommendations along the lines of Gerstenfeld’s final chapter in The War of a Million Cuts. His notions are simple and clear. Israel has taken a global lead in cyber warfare and intelligence. Using the experiences gained from our increasing cyber warfare capabilities, Gerstenfeld notes that “offensive” and “defensive” operations are now redefined while formerly disparate anti-Israeli groups are interlinked and cross-fertilizing. The same must occur if we are to succeed in the global war against Israel.

I can think of no better way to conclude this review than by quoting Gerstenfeld, himself in his penultimate page of this weighty tome:

If the delegitimization process with its million cuts [is successful,] it will have an additional consequence. Except for those committing the actual murders, few will feel responsible for what has happened. Not the many enemies who can claim that their individual contribution to the million cuts was insignificant, not the false friends who will say that they did not attack Israel, nor the many bystanders who looked away from the clear genocidal intentions proclaimed in parts of the Muslim world. At the same time, Israel will be accused of being responsible for its own fate because it turned the Palestinians (in reality a crime-permeated populace) into victims. All these lies together may flourish in an increasingly opaque society. (406)

None of this has to happen. There is no reason to be fatalistic unless the present Israeli incompetence in the propaganda war endures. It is not too late to turn the tables on Israel’s enemies. It requires, however, an effort that is radically different from what is taking place at present. Let us hope that Erdan and Vaknin-Gil are making just that effort.

*Sheri Oz is Haifa based author and psychotherapist who blogs on www.israeldiaries.com. oz.sheri@yahoo.com 1 Action Plan for Combating Antisemitism in 2013 and Beyond (accessed April 13, 2016)

http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/AboutTheMinistry/Conferences-Seminars/Documents/AntisemitismBooklet2013.pdf 2 Erdan lecture (accessed April 13, 2016) http://stopbds.ynet.co.il/english.aspx


Dr.Gerstenfeld’s interview with Ambassador Emeritus (ret.) Freddy Eytan on French-Israeli relations under President Hollande.  It was published in Israel National News in anticipation of the visit of Prime Minister Valls of France to Israel in the coming days, and republished here with the author’s permission.

Freddy Eytan1


Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Freddy Eytan

Dr.Manfred Gerstenfeld“Prior to his election, François Hollande, President of France, had not developed close ties with the Jewish community, in contrast with the two previous right wing presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. As far as Israel is concerned, Hollande follows a basic policy line similar to that of previous socialist leaders such as Leon Blum and François Mitterrand. Their guiding principle is support for the existence of a Jewish state in secure and recognized borders. At the same time, the Palestinian people should have self-determination in a state alongside Israel.”

Freddy Eytan is a journalist and former diplomat. He was Israel’s ambassador to Mauritania and also served in Israel’s embassies in Paris and Brussels. He is an expert on France’s Middle East policy and has published twenty books, among them Sarkozy, the Jewish World and Israel, published in French in 2009 by the Alphée publishing house in Paris.

“One key element of Hollande’s foreign policy is that he wants a strong France closely bonded with Germany in the European Union. He is suspicious of the United States and was furious with Obama for his second thoughts on overturning the Assad regime in Syria, reversing his position on the issue at the last minute. Since then relations between Paris and Washington have remained tense. In military operations, such as in Mali, Hollande prefers that France should go it alone.

“In his program for the 2012 Presidential elections, the Palestinian-Israel conflict only figured in 12th place. In the Middle East, apart from his desire to get rid of Assad, Hollande saw the rise of ISIS and in particular that of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a strategic menace. In contrast to Obama’s actions, Hollande has reinforced France’s relations with the Egyptian President General El-Sisi, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. He was also far less conciliatory toward the Iranian nuclear project than the Americans, who sought an agreement at any cost.

“Hollande keeps the Palestinian-Israel conflict separate from bilateral French-Israeli relations. Bilateral French-Israeli relations have significantly improved and are currently the best they have been since Israel’s honeymoon with the French socialists in the 1950s. Both countries now have more interests in common. The wave of Muslim terror in Europe requires collaboration and exchange of information between their intelligence services. Military relationships have improved, together with economic interactions. Nowadays several major French companies are represented in Israel including the EDF energy group and the Alsthom transport company.

“At the same time however, France maintains its ‘automatic’ favorable attitude toward the Palestinians. Chirac offered the PLO a diplomatic office in 1974. Mitterrand received Arafat in 1989 at the Elysee Palace in Paris, and under Sarkozy, France voted in favor of the Palestinians joining UNESCO.

“In line with this automatic stance, under Hollande’s leadership France supported a scandalous motion ignoring the Jewish connection with the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent a strongly worded letter to Hollande to protest the motion. In Hollande’s somewhat bizarre reply, he explained that there had been a technical error and a misunderstanding. French Jewish leaders, including the Chief Rabbi Haim Corsia reacted far more forcefully than the Israeli foreign office, which limited itself to the publication of a communique on the matter.

“Another negative development is the almost obsessive French plan for an international conference on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. France sees here an opportunity to insert itself in the vacuum left by the Obama administration.

“The French parliament, with its socialist majority, voted in favor of the recognition of a Palestinian state. This was an important, albeit symbolic vote. Only the government can formalize such a decision, something it has not done. Hollande had to take into account here the power of the pro-Palestinian left wing in his socialist party, as well as the Green party. As Hollande is the least popular post-war French president to date, he will need all the support he can get if he wants to have a chance in the 2017 presidential elections.

“Under Hollande’s presidency, France has known a number of murderous terrorist attacks by Muslims, both against non-Jews and Jews. Since last November a state of emergency has been declared. Since the murders of four Jews in Toulouse in 2012 the security around Jewish synagogues and schools has been greatly reinforced.

“France’s current Prime Minister Manuel Valls, has on many occasions expressed great admiration for French Jewry. Both Hollande and Valls have come out strongly against anti-Semitism. Yet they viewed Netanyahu’s calls urging French Jews to move to Israel in a bad light, seeing this as interference in the country’s internal affairs.

“All deadly terrorist attacks against Jews have been committed by French Muslims. Despite the state of emergency and the massive presence of police and the military in the streets, there is still a feeling of insecurity in the country. This feeling is particularly strong among Jews.

“The first round of the French presidential elections will be held in April 2017. The political campaigns have already begun. It is already apparent that this will be a rude and noisy battle, which will strengthen extremists in both the left and right camp. What that means for the Jews remains to be seen.”


This was first published by INN, and republished here with the author’s consent.

phyllis chessler

The Demonization of Israel by Anti-Racist Activists and Feminists

Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Phyllis Chesler

Dr.Manfred Gerstenfeld“It is important to understand that it is not only feminists who demonize Israel. They are merely part of a global phenomenon in which the world media, academics, government leaders and human rights organizations drive this madness.”

Prof. Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies. She lives in New York City. She is the best-selling author of 16 books including “The New Anti-Semitism” (2003, 2015), “The Death of Feminism” (2005) and “American Bride in Kabul” (2013) which won a National Jewish Book Award. Her latest book is “Living History: On the Front Lines for Israel and the Jews, 2003-2015” (2016).

“In 2003, after a rather successful lecture about a feminist topic to an African-American feminist audience at a free-standing conference at Barnard, I was asked –completely off-topic– where I stood on the issue of the women of ‘Palestine.’ I responded: ‘I think you are asking me where I stand on the issue of apartheid and I oppose it. Islam is the largest practitioner of gender and religious apartheid in the world.’

“I began talking about forced veiling, arranged marriage, polygamy, honor-based violence and honor killing. A near-riot broke out. I was hustled out for my safety. These feminists did not care about ‘Palestine’ but about demonizing Israel. As women of color they identified with Arabs whom they thought were all people of color. They ignored the existence of Arab Jews or Jews of color. Neither had they any idea of the anti-black prejudice and history of slavery that characterizes Arab and Muslim history.

“By the mid- to late 1980s, feminists began to speak — like many others — more about colonialism than about women’s rights. Under the evil spell of Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Jacques Lacan and so on, they became cultural relativists and abandoned their original belief in universal human rights. They became more concerned with racism than with sexism. They became more obsessed with the occupation of a country, ‘Palestine’ — that has never existed — than they were with the occupation of women’s bodies in the Muslim world. Faux anti-racism trumped real anti-sexism every time.

“Major feminist organizations, such as The National Women’s Studies Association have had plenary panels about ‘Palestine’ and have voted to boycott Israel–not Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, or ISIS. Feminists at Brandeis University were the force behind withdrawing an offer to honor Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an anti-Islamist ex-Muslim dissident. She is a dark-skinned African, yet her critique of Islamic practices is seen as a ‘racist,’ rather than as a theological or feminist critique.

“Once people, including feminists, are infected with a fake but lethal narrative, reason alone cannot prevail. They fear that by criticizing barbaric behavior when committed by formerly colonized men of color, especially Arabs, in particular ‘Palestinians,’ they themselves will be demonized as racist ‘Islamophobes.’

“I have stood against anti-Israeli petitions and boycotts from the mid-1970s on, but am a lone voice– in terms of Second Wave feminist pioneers. Younger, pro-Israel activists may also hold feminist values. It gives me no pleasure to critique feminist leaders of my generation. Once we did hold certain beliefs in common about women’s rights and the universality of human rights. However, classical liberals have increasingly become totalitarian-like leftists. Those who were in favor of free speech and academic freedom now condone hate speech, blood libels and junk social science.

“Feminists who once understood that sexist images have a profound effect upon living beings, refuse to view the incitement against Israel as being related to anti-Semitism, or a world Intifada against the Jewish state as constituting racism. The burden of telling the truth is too punitive for many who will be unfunded, un-invited, shunned, censored, and effectively written out of intellectual and feminist history.

“Unbelievably, institutional, academic, and activist feminism today stands with Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter, not with Christians, Yazidis, Kurds and Hindus who are being massacred by Muslims—or with the women who are being kidnapped into sex slavery by ISIS and Boko Haram.

“Having lived in Afghanistan I was both an eyewitness and a survivor of the gender apartheid that is indigenous to many tribal cultures. Barbaric customs including the savage subordination of women, have not been caused by Western imperialism or colonialism. They preceded the rise of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Boko Haram, and ISIS.

“Most Western thinkers do not comprehend that Islam has a long history of slavery, anti-black racism, religious apartheid, gender apartheid, colonialism, imperialism and conversion via the sword. They also do not realize that Muslims have been persecuting Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Ba’hai—and the ‘wrong’ kind of Muslims—for fourteen centuries. This understanding should be easy to achieve given our daily, horrendous headlines. But no one wants to be the first to say: ‘The Emperor is naked.’”


This was first published, without footnotes, in the Jerusalem Post, and reposted here with the author’s consent.


Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred GerstenfeldThe upcoming Yom HaShoah is an appropriate occasion to review the many ways in which anti-Semitism has changed since the Holocaust. Identifying the current forms of anti-Semitism is all the more important as they are in continuation of the extreme hatred of Jews in much of Europe which provided the infrastructure for the genocide of six million Jews.

Such an analysis is a complex matter. The basic motifs of anti-Semitism have remained unchanged for almost two millennia, yet their manifestations have mutated and continue to do so. The outrageous idea that the Jews are absolute evil was introduced by Christians many centuries ago and holds sway in some circles until today. This demonization is based on the false blame attributed to all Jews, past, present and future, for the death of Jesus.

Nazism, the most extreme movement of ethnic/national anti-Semitism, transformed this core motif of Jews being absolute evil into a pseudo-scientific classification of Jews as subhuman. Currently the motif of absolute evil has been assigned to Nazism. This has mutated into perceptions of Israel as a Nazi state. Polls have shown that beliefs such as “Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians” have the support of at least 40% of the European population.1

Similar mutations have occurred concerning major sub-motifs. “Jewish conspiracies” have morphed into “Zionist conspiracies.”2 The blood libel, an invented medieval defamation accusing Jews of using the blood of Christian children to bake matzot, has also mutated within the context of anti-Israelism. Several years ago the largest Swedish paper, the social democrat Aftonbladet published an article stating that Israel kills Palestinians in order to harvest their organs for Jews.3

Besides mutations in ancient hate motifs, there have been significant other innovations in post-Holocaust anti-Semitism. The most obvious is the emergence of Holocaust denial. Its underlying concept is simple: the evil surviving Jews invented a genocide of 6 million of their co-religionists by the Germans and their allies. They thus assumed the false position of absolute victims and dishonestly accused many Europeans of a non-existent mass murder.

Apart from the Holocaust, a number of other factors caused changes which greatly influenced post-war anti-Semitism. One of these was the creation of the State of Israel, which permitted anti-Semites to aim their hatred at the Jewish state rather than to target the surviving Jews. The aforementioned labeling of Israel as a Nazi state is the clearest example of this.

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Dr.Gerstenfeld’s article on Europe’s neglect of terror first appeared in INN, now republished here with the author’s consent.

psychoanalysis couch sick EU

Europe’s Decades-long Neglect of Terror

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred GerstenfeldAmerican authorities expect additional terror attacks in Europe. The State Department has alerted US citizens to potential risks of travel throughout the continent writing: “Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation. This Travel Alert expires on June 20, 2016.”1

However, many European countries still do not take the risks of random mass terror attacks seriously. This form of terrorism reared its head again in the Paris attacks of November 2015, and in Brussels in March 2016. After the Brussels killings much information on the failures of Belgium’s intelligence community came to light, together with the neglect of its security infrastructure. The feeble structure and inadequate equipment of Belgium’s law enforcement bodies contributed significantly to Belgium’s failure in this crisis. Following the Paris attacks existing terror databases were not even updated concerning local terrorists,.2

Europe’s counter-terrorism apparatus needs still major improvement. Many in the political system seem to believe that better intelligence services and more adequately trained police forces may largely resolve terrorism. It is indeed true that some European countries are gravely lacking in these areas. In the Netherlands, for example, the special police units deployed to protect that country against terrorism and serious crime are understaffed and have a conflict with the top management of the Dutch police.3

Over the past fifty years, terror attacks in Europe aimed mainly against specific targets. Attacks were directed against Israel, for example, or Israel-related targets. This “targeted” form of terrorism also emerged in the murders of prominent people by the German Baader-Meinhof group, the Italian Red Brigades and the French Action Directe. Targeted terrorism was also practiced by the Muslim murderers of Charlie Hebdo magazine staffers in Paris, and Jews in Toulouse, Paris, Brussels and Copenhagen.

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Dr.Gerstenfeld’s writes about Bernie Sanders being a strong promoter of antisemites. The article was first published at INN and republished here with the author’s consent.


Bernie Sanders, a strong Promoter of extreme anti-Semites

Manfred Gerstenfeld

In 2014 the Anti-Defamation League undertook a study of anti-Semitism in a hundred states and entities. The leading ten, each with at least 80% of the population holding anti-Semitic views, all come from the Arab and Muslim world. The West Bank and Gaza, headed the list with 93%.1 Yet US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has gone on record saying that positive relations between the United States and Israel hinge on Israel improving its relationship with the Palestinians.2

Sanders also stated that the United States should not limit its friendship to Israel alone, but should also be friendly toward the Palestinians.3 In other words, if he is elected his country will seek friendship with the most anti-Semitic entity in the world. He furthermore stated that Palestinians need to be treated with “dignity and respect.”4 Perhaps interviewers should ask him why genocide promoters and inciters to murder deserve to be treated that way. An American Jewish leader once said privately to me “Sanders doesn’t have a gram of anti-Semitism in his body.” That may be true, yet he is a strong promoter of extreme anti-Semites.

Much attention has been devoted to Sanders’ being Jewish. This while avoiding any mention of his wish for friendly relations between the US and an entity whose majority party, Hamas, has publicly declared its genocidal intentions against all Jews. Perhaps Sanders should first ask them whether, in view of his desire for this friendship, Hamas will agree not to murder him if it succeeds.

Another much discussed subject is Sanders’ inflation of the number of Palestinian civilian dead in Israel’s 2014 Protective Edge campaign against Hamas in Gaza. He mentioned “10,000 innocents” when in reality it was a fraction of this number.5 But this remains a side issue in comparison with his affinity for extreme anti-Jewish hate mongers. Sanders calls this a “balanced position.”

What is far more important to understand about Sanders is his self-definition as a socialist. Americans, including American Jews, are not very familiar with what many socialists stand for nowadays. For a better understanding of contemporary socialists, one has to look at Europe.

Sanders is a great admirer of the Nordic countries.6 It is there that anti-Israelism, the newest form of anti-Semitism, has been frequently promoted by socialists. Sweden is the most populated Scandinavian state. Its best known social democratic Prime Minister Olof Palme was one of the first mainstream European leaders to call Israel a Nazi state.7 Under its social democratic mayor Ilmar Reepalu, the third largest Swedish town Malmö became Europe’s capital of anti-Semitism.8 Not surprisingly in Sweden more Jews than anywhere else in Europe conceal their identity in public.9

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Actually, it has been the US taxpayer (through NATO) that has kept Europe safe from the Soviets, as well as from fighting with each other.

The EU itself, is the single catalyst to the start of any internecine fighting between member states, due to its highly corruptive nature in the centralization of concentrated power. It never has attempted to foster individual liberty, and limited (truly representational) governance in the member states because it doesn’t believe in it, the mindset that created it and maintains it rejects the civil society, in fact, it’s constantly at war with it.

Considering that there are 57 Muslim countries in the world, some of them extremely wealthy, and 1.5 billion Muslims, the problem of the refugees should have been resolved among their co-religionists, Gerstenfeld maintained. The EU should have made a financial contribution to that end, rather than waiting passively until the massive wave of migrants crossed its borders. He compared the unwillingness of the Muslim world to take care of the refugees of today with the way it has perpetuated the refugee status of the Palestinian refugees through their offspring.

Europe, refugees, Jews and Israel

Where is Europe headed? And how will that affect its Jews?
By Rochel Sylvetsky
First Publish: 4/12/2016, 11:16 PM

Migrant in front of burning shelter in the Calais 'Jungle'

Migrant in front of burning shelter in the Calais ‘Jungle’
Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

The massive influx of refugees into European Union countries and the resulting problems can have very problematic consequences for European Jews. As far as Israel is concerned it opens up new challenges and opportunities in its relations with Europe. This was the theme of a lecture given to a capacity audience that included former Amb. Alan Baker among other known diplomatic and academic figures, at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, by its Emeritus Chairman Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld. Arutz Sheva was there.

Dr. Gerstenfeld, world renowned expert on anti-Semitism whose frequent Arutz Sheva columns are widely read, opened his PowerPoint presentation with the iconic picture of the dead three-year-old Syrian Kurdish child Aylan Kurdi on the beach of the Greek island Lesbos. This event and the picture which appeared at the beginning of September 2015 triggered many emotions among Europeans which led to what he called a “Welcome Euphoria” in Western Europe.

This euphoria would shift rather suddenly after New Year’s Eve. On that night massive sex attacks were perpetrated against women in nine German cities as well as other cities in four European countries, led by recent immigrants from Muslim countries. The press unscrupulously hid the facts for nine days, but the truth eventually emerged, leading to great concern among many European citizens about both the short and long term impact of the refugee influx.

In fact, the atmosphere in Europe can best be described as a general feeling of angst, using the evocative word once reserved for European Jewry’s anxious trepidation.

Not even the number of people who have come into Europe with this latest wave of immigrants is known. It is certainly over one million, but some sources claim that there is an additional half a million immigrants about which the authorities know nothing as their entry was not recorded anywhere.

Gerstenfeld  compared EU successes with the much longer list of its blunders, explaining why the migrant issue has made a much stronger impression on European citizens than the many other significant EU mistakes in the decades since its founding. To its credit, the EU has prevented wars between its member countries. This is in contrast to the many tens of millions who were killed or died in the two World Wars. Furthermore the Customs Union enabled Europe to be far more competitive, especially in industry, and thus contributed to increased wealth for EU members.

More here.


Dr.Gerstenfeld’s latest article was published today in Israel National News, and republished here with the author’s consent.

Gerstenfeld report

Netanyahu’s rise in the Public View since the 2015 Election

Netanyahu’s success versus Herzog’s failure: From a 1% lead over Herzog before the elections, Netanyahu now leads him by 31%

Manfred Gerstenfeld

One year has now passed since the last Knesset elections. Several polls have been published recently which engaged with the Israeli public on issues such as the popularity of possible candidates for Prime Minister, voting regrets in last year’s elections and anticipated votes for each party if new elections were to be conducted at the present time.1

A review of the now largely forgotten electoral campaign for the 20th Knesset is useful, both in order to gain perspective on the current political situation, and also to highlight the significant change in Netanyahu’s ranking in the public view over the last year.

The 2015 elections ended with the Likud, under Netanyahu’s leadership, gaining 30 seats and the main opposition, the Zionist Union, gaining 24 seats. That the Likud would win however was not even clear from the exit polls on election day.

The early elections were called after Netanyahu fired Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni, respectively Finance Minister/Yesh Atid party leader, and Justice Minister/Hatnuah party leader, at the beginning of December 2014. Netanyahu claimed that Lapid and Livni had conspired to overthrow him by attempting to form an alternative government together with some of the opposition parties.2

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As I have stated earlier;

Political Islam is in fact, post-hijra Islam (if you will, Islamism) a defacto evolvement of Islam from it’s Meccan period. There is no hijacking of Islam taking place whatsoever, just the implementation of that period of Mohamed’s life which began the Islamic calendar.

Yes, in theory, the theological debate should be left to Muslims, but we in the West should be armed with the facts about Islam, discerning wisely that it is impervious to change. Benefiting with the hindsight of history, scholarly muslims are well aware what awaits Islam if they embark upon the same path of enlightenment which led to the reformation of the Catholic church (not Christianity).

They open the doors (which I believe can never be opened) to the same type of modernity, tolerance and social/political plurality enjoyed in the West. They will consistently reject it, because they will have to, it’s entirely un-Islamic. I posit the same conundrum with ”experts on Hamas”:

“How can you ever hope for a recognition of the Jewish state of Israel by Hamas, when doing so strips any form of legitimacy from the Islamonazi terror organization itself, whose existence in predicated upon the entire destruction of the Jewish state?

I have never received a reasonable response from any of them, nor do I expect a reasonable response from those who hold out that Islam can change/reinvent itself. Death for apostasy has always acted as a successful deterrent against such hopes.

NOTE: This book review on Mitchell Bard’s “Death to the Infidels” was published in Israel National News, and republished here with the author’s permission.


Mitchell Bard: Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War against the Jews (New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) 282 pages

Reviewed by Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred Gerstenfeld

The violence emerging from many parts of the Islamic world is barely matched elsewhere. It has gained an increasingly religious character. The title of the fourth chapter of Mitchell Bard’s new book sums this up well: “From terrorists to Jihadists.”

Dr. Mitchell G. Bard is Executive Director of the non-profit American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE). One of his main achievements is the establishment and directorship of the Jewish Virtual Library, a large encyclopedia on the web. Bard has published over twenty books. An important one among many is The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance that Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East. In it he exposes the many heterogeneous components of this alliance, the main one of which is the Saudi lobby.

Developments in the Middle East continue to unfold rapidly. They are impossible to understand without possessing an infrastructure of knowledge about the area’s history, ideologies and conflicts. Bard’s new book makes a major contribution to this knowledge even though the book focuses on the religious war against Israel and the Jews furthered by a variety of violent streams of Islam. The book can be characterized as an overview of the background of Muslim anti-Jewish incitement and criminality, with focus on the past decades.

One might wrongly think that a book of this nature would inevitably lose much of its value as major new events unfold. However, even though these have occurred since its publication, the book remains valid because it highlights the context and structure in which these events take place.

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With added emphasis on sycophancy……

The mainstream (legacy) media has acted as Obama’s personal praetorian guard ever since he ran for the presidency. It’s the only explanation for the rise of a backbench jr.senator with a background that would have impaled any Republican candidacy in its tracks. In Obama’s last (lame duck) year, some of the media has finally begun to cast a more critical eye on him, stalwart sycophants of course plow ahead with course unchanged.

NOTE: Dr.Gerstenfeld’s article on how Jeffrey Goldberg avoids asking the right questions to Obama was first published in INN, and republished here with the author’s consent.


Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred GerstenfeldWhen Jeffrey Goldberg interviews Obama he zigzags between journalism and sycophancy. It is indeed an honor to be the media confidant of an American president. However, unless one is extremely careful it compromises one’s journalistic integrity, as it is crucial to sharply question doubtful presidential statements.1

Recently Goldberg allowed again some of Obama’s shaky statements to dominate the facts. This trend was already apparent in Goldberg’s interview with the President last year, published in the Atlantic.2 “The Palestinians are not an easy partner” said Obama then. Goldberg should have confronted this caricature of a statement. In 2006 the only Palestinian elections took place. The genocide promoting terrorist movement Hamas, received the majority of the parliamentary seats.

In light of such an extreme understatement, Goldberg should at least have challenged the President and demanded that he explain himself. He should have said; “Mr. President, this largest Palestinian party wants to murder all Jews, including myself. They say so in their charter, and repeat it regularly. Why do you believe Israel can reach an agreement with people ideologically committed to annihilating Israel and all Jews?”

The same occurred in Goldberg’s recent lengthy interview-cum-article about Obama’s doctrine, again published in the Atlantic.3 One can see that best if one focuses on relatively few examples. Besides some indirectly related remarks the Palestinians are mentioned directly only twice in the article, which runs to almost 70 pages. They first appear in Goldberg’s description of the 2008 Cairo speech4 when Obama “expressed great sympathy for the Palestinians,” and “complicated his relations with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister—especially because Obama had also decided to bypass Jerusalem on his first presidential visit to the Middle East.” The second mention is when Obama explained his intentions in the Cairo speech about what he wanted to accomplish: “We want to work to help achieve statehood and dignity for the Palestinians.”

This remark should have raised a number of tough questions by Goldberg, which might be grouped together as follows: “Mr. President, if there were a Nobel prize for innovative terror and hate mongering the Palestinians would be prime candidates. Their criminal track record is impressive – including hi-jacking and blowing up of airplanes, murdering athletes at the Olympics, placing explosives in coffee cans on the shelves of a Jerusalem supermarket killing two students, booby-trapping a refrigerator and exploding it in a major Jerusalem square with 15 dead and 77 wounded and more. As you like to give a Passover “seder” for your Jewish employees. I would suggest you add seats round the table in memory of the 29 people killed and 65 wounded in the 2001 Palestinian suicide attack on a seder in Netanya.5

“Mr. President, you know that this is only a very small selection of the broad range and diversity of Palestinian terrorist activities and other crimes. Before and especially since the 1993 Oslo agreements, the Palestinians have indoctrinated a new generation with hate. Their leaders, both Hamas, and Fatah promote a culture that glorifies martyrdom. Palestinian media and children’s textbooks are filled with extreme anti-Semitism. Psychologists say it can take decades to turn such an evil-permeated society around.6 Please explain how all this will be part of the dignity which will grace the Palestinians, when they have a state.”

As an aside: Obama is not the only one to mention the buzzword “dignity” in relation to the Palestinians. At this year’s AIPAC meeting Hillary Clinton said “Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their own state, in peace and dignity.”7 As she still has to campaign in a number of states this offers an excellent opportunity for journalists and others to ask her to explain how statehood will give dignity to a Palestinian leadership which prides itself on its glorification of murderers and other criminals, and to any future state under its helmsmanship.


1 www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/17008#.VvKty-J967Q

2 http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/05/obama-interview-iran-isis-israel/393782/

3 http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/04/the-obama-doctrine/471525/

4 www.nytimes.com/2009/06/04/us/politics/04obama.text.html?_r=0

5 www.shabak.gov.il/English/History/Affairs/Pages/theParkHotelinNetanya.aspx

6 www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/10769

7 www.timesofisrael.com/hillary-clintons-full-speech-to-aipac/


The following is a book review of the War of a Million Cuts by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It appeared originally in Justice, the journal of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.

war of a million cuts

NOTE: This review is republished here with the author’s consent.

The War of a Million Cuts: The Struggle against the Delegitimization of Israel and the Jews, and the Growth of New Anti-Semitism

by Manfred Gerstenfeld RVP Press, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (2015). ISBN 978-1-61861-341-7

Rabbi-Abe-CooperBy now, many Jews and other supporters of Zion have experienced one or more of the million cuts inflicted by Israel’s enemies in their burgeoning and multifaceted asymmetrical war against the Jewish state.

I recall vividly the first of many painful blows I experienced myself, as one of the spokesmen for Jewish groups at the ill-fated United Nations World Conference against Racism that was held in Durban South Africa just before September 11, 2001.

I was speaking with a veteran Egyptian journalist who accompanied Anwar Sadat on his historic visit to Jerusalem, when a younger Arab journalist from Jordan happened to pass by. “Ahmed, come here, I would like to introduce you to someone from America.” In the middle of our handshake, the Jordanian abruptly pulled back. “Are you a Jew? Had I known you were a Jew, I never would have shaken your hand,” as he reached to “clean” his hand on his jacket. Throughout the next week, and in full view of over 3,900 NGOs from around the world supposedly united by the goal of “Civil Society,” we Jews were taught a brutal lesson: Israeli policies were not the issue—Israel’s very legitimacy as a state was under assault, led and validated by the official caretakers of global human rights.

Ever since, similar scenarios have played out in leading Protestant denominations, on university campuses, and throughout the media.

How did we get to the point where the memory of Kristallnacht in Germany generates more support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement than remembering the innocent Jews who suffered the Nazis’ pogroms, where Israel’s Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day) is desecrated by “Israel Apartheid Week,” when First Amendment supporters of free speech in the U.S. can call for total boycotts of Israeli schools and academics?

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld’s definitive analysis of the current war on Israel and the Jewish people is a must for anyone who has suffered the indignity of such attacks and wants to develop strategies to defeat the haters.

Gerstenfeld begins with a historic overview of post World War II antisemitism and the mutation of medieval anti-Jewish motifs, and how they help sustain and legitimize highly discriminatory anti-Israel attitudes. The pivotal roles played by United Nations agencies, Arab and Muslim states, Muslims in the western world and the media are documented in a vivid and compelling way. Others include extreme leftist and extreme rightists, many social democrats, NGOs, trade unionists and a variety of mainstream politicians.

A short but critically important chapter provides an outline of one of the most insidious threats—“Lawfare”— where legal institutions and international law are manipulated to demean and delegitimize Israeli officials and cripple the Jewish state’s ability to defend its citizens from terrorist attacks launched by Hamas from literally behind the skirts of civilians in Gaza.

Gerstenfeld also touches a raw nerve in discussing the impact of the tsunami of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish campaigns. Jews have a heightened fear of antisemitic hate crimes. Some Jewish leaders in Europe caution their constituents not to walk in public with a “Chai” necklace or a kippah. Few synagogues in Europe can function without security. Meanwhile, many heavily biased media rarely give a platform to defenders of Israel. In Europe and in particular in France and in Scandinavia, many Jews have opted to hide their identities in public; many thousands in France and the UK have opted for Aliyah.

In covering a multiplicity of many other fronts of the newest forms of the world’s oldest hate, Gerstenfeld does not shirk from detailing the especially painful and harmful incitement by Israelis and Jews against the democratic state that is home to the world’s largest Jewish community. For these critics, the Jewish state can do nothing right and the Palestinians can never be held accountable for any atrocity, however heinous.

Throughout the book, Gerstenfeld asserts that he should have never had to be the one to write it; that it is the responsibility of the Jewish state to formulate proper strategies and tactics to battle and ultimately win this war.

We at the Simon Wiesenthal Center agree with the author that the State of Israel must create a single address to effectively counter the many fronts of this war. The toxic propaganda left unchallenged will not only weaken the Jewish state but also poison attitudes towards the Jews the world over. Gerstenfeld provides the overview of the enemies’ game plan. It is time now for Israel to approach this war as creatively and effectively as it has done in combating its enemies on the military front. The coherence of Gerstenfeld’s analysis and the compelling, if sometimes depressing, narrative of this definitive work, makes it a must read for Israeli officialdom and all lovers of Zion.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a founding member of The Global Forum on Antisemitism.


The Islamic world hasn’t forgotten this sign of weakness, reinforced by the crying EU minister Federica Mogherini. 

Dr.Gerstenfeld’s latest article on how various European countries in the past made deals with terrorists, even if these had killed their own citizens. It was published in the Jerusalem Post without footnotes published here with the author’s consent.


Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred GerstenfeldEurope is once again being held hostage by Muslim terrorism, following the lethal attacks in Brussels. Politicians and public figures have made the usual nebulous comments. To pick one out, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, said: “it is an attack on our democratic Europe. We will never accept terrorists attacking our open societies.”1

For Israelis, the terrorist attacks in Europe bring back to mind a period several decades ago, when Israel and those in any way connected with it were targeted by global Palestinian terrorism. Several European democracies then tried to come to an understanding with the terrorist organizations: they would not prosecute murderers of Israelis, or even their own citizens. In return, their own countries would not be attacked.

A clandestine agreement between the Swiss government and the terrorists of the Palestinian Liberation Organization made 45 years ago was recently disclosed in a book by Swiss journalist Marcel Gyr.2 Switzerland had been the victim of three Palestinian terror attacks. In 1969, a Palestinian terrorist shot at an El Al plane at Zurich airport, killing its Israeli pilot. The Swiss arrested the terrorists. In 1970, a bomb on board a Swissair flight to Tel Aviv exploded outside Zurich, killing all 47 passengers and crew. Later that year a Swissair flight on its way to New York was hijacked. It was redirected, together with two other hijacked planes, one British and the other American, to an airfield in Jordan where all three planes were destroyed.3

From Gyr’s book we learn that the then Swiss foreign minister Pierre Graber, who died in 2003, made a secret agreement with the PLO shortly after the 1970 hijack. The intermediary was Jean Ziegler, a notorious anti-Israel inciter and self-proclaimed human rights activist. He was a Swiss parliamentarian at the time, and is currently still active as a member of the Advisory Committee to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Ziegler has recently admitted his role in this obstruction of justice and apologized to the family members of the victims.4

As a result of the agreement the murderers of the Israeli pilot were released, and the investigation into the attack on the Swissair flight was halted. This is a prime example of a democracy deliberately assenting to the betrayal of justice for its own murdered citizens. In March this year Gyr revealed that Europe’s top international terrorist Carlos, now imprisoned for life in France, had told his lawyer that he always considered himself very secure when he was in Switzerland.5

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Dr.Manfred Gerstenfeld’s interview with Monique Schwarz was first published in INN, and republished here with the author’s consent.

Schwarz Monique


Interview with Monique Schwarz

Dr.Manfred Gerstenfeld“Recently my new documentary Beyond Paranoia was released. It tells how close anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism are. My original observations on this similarity go back to 1987 during the first Intifada. I was then living in Australia.

“I noticed that there were consistent terms being applied in describing Israel. These were often pejorative and emotional. They included expressions such as that Jews control the world and that the Israel Lobby controls the American President. I then became very aware that anti-Israel and anti-Zionist comments and attitudes were getting increasingly stronger throughout the world.”

Monique Schwarz is an Australian filmmaker who has been involved in the production and distribution of independent documentary films for the last thirty years. One of her movies Mamadrama – The Jewish Mother in Cinema, released in 2001 had very wide international television, theatrical and educational distribution, and is still being screened today.

Schwarz says: “This initial awareness gradually made me want to make a movie about how comments made about Israel and Zionism overlapped with the old traditional anti-Semitism, something I had experienced myself. I was born in Switzerland during the Holocaust to survivor parents and immigrated to Australia in 1950 from France.

“To expose the hatred of Israel I wanted to make a documentary which, in addition to pictures, would include interviews with experts. They could describe and analyze the various aspects of the overlay of anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism. They could illustrate how the main classic hate motifs have mutated and are then used against Israel. That seemed to me the best way to address both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences.

‘At the time, and still in many circles today the conventional wisdom is that anti-Zionist and anti-Israel comments are common criticism, which in an open society is acceptable. I approached people for funding the proposed film which elucidates the connection between anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. Yet both Jewish and non-Jewish funding bodies commented that this view was extreme.

“They would thus not fund this outlook, however much it is based in reality. No one said ‘We won’t fund you because the idea is not interesting, or because we already have a film like this.’

“After the release of Mamadrama I started to work on Beyond Paranoia. I wanted this movie to send the key message that dangerous anti-Semitism is very much alive in the form of anti-Israelism.

“My co-producer Benzion Tidhar and I planned for a film shot on 16 mm film with a full crew. We realized however that money would not be forthcoming, and thus could not afford that budget. Yet I found the way Israel was portrayed in the world increasingly intolerable. Benzion and I decided that we had go ahead with the film at our own expense. It was almost a moral imperative. We sacrificed many things that make daily life a little more comfortable.

“I bought a Professional Video camera. We decided that we would do the production work ourselves, which video cameras allow you to do. Benzion did the sound, and I did camera and direction. Previously on my films, I had always worked as a director and sometimes I had also done some camera work, and as the producer/writer. This would help us as we could keep the costs down. Despite our economies, we have received many compliments on the film’s professionalism.

“The editor and I decided that Beyond Paranoia had to be visually shocking. It includes harsh Holocaust pictures. The music is tense and disturbing, almost like a horror movie soundtrack. This was deliberate, because we wanted to jab viewers out of their complacency,

“The interviewees gave a broad picture of how anti-Semitism developed, what its key motifs are and how these return in anti-Israelism. All people I wanted to interview for the film agreed, with one exception. A Muslim Israeli Arab decided for his own security that he could not be in this documentary. A number of interviewees did not end up in the final cut of the film. That is uncomfortable for me and probably disappointing for them. Yet it is the nature of filmmaking.

“The Israeli premiere was screened in February 2016 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. We made it as a memorial tribute to the leading anti-Semitism scholar Prof. Robert Wistrich, who suddenly passed away last year. I found him very inspirational in our conversations and he is an important interviewee in the film.

“From the various interviews I learned several important things. The most dramatic was that the similarity in anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, which I had observed more than ten years ago had increased even further. I also had never before seen clearly the common elements in Christian, Muslim and Nazi anti-Semitism. Nor did I realize the degree to which important elements of Nazism are inherent in the ideology of many Arab countries.

“Many people have told me how courageous I was for making this film. Most disturbingly these reactions underline the constraints on the freedom of expression in contemporary society.”

Disclosure: the author is interviewed in Beyond Paranoia


Everything that this street organizer-in-chief does is flawed.

netanyahu and obamination

Here is Dr.Gerstenfeld’s new article on Obama’s flawed doctrine. It was first published in Israel National News and republished here with the author’s permission.


Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred GerstenfeldThe lengthy description of “Obama’s doctrine” recently published by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic, reflects the confusion of the American President’s behavior.1 Israel occupies a minor place in the article. Yet an analysis of Obama’s positions on Israel and Netanyahu as presented in this text reveals more than the President’s stance on these issues. It also serves as a prism bringing various flawed elements of Obama’s doctrine into focus.

One can begin a review of the article with Goldberg’s description of Obama’s admiration for Israel’s resilience in the face of constant terrorism. He added that “it is clear that he would like to see resilience replace panic in American society.” Such an American response is unlikely. A sizeable minority of Americans agree with Donald Trump regarding his proposal to temporarily prevent foreign Muslims from entering the US.2 3 This indicates that resilience, a more passive stance, is probably not on the cards, especially if more crimes are committed in the US motivated by Islamist views.

Obama stated that there are only a limited number of moral issues, not directly concerning the United States, where he would feel the need to intervene. Israel’s defense in extreme circumstances made the shortlist, supported by Obama’s words that “it would be a moral failing for me as president of the United States” not to defend Israel.

Yet Goldberg writes that Obama has “long believed that Netanyahu could bring about a two-state solution that would protect Israel’s status as a Jewish-majority democracy, but is too fearful and politically paralyzed to do so.” This view is bizarre. It is highly improbable that a lasting ‘peace’ agreement could be reached with Abbas and Fatah, who glorify murderers of Israeli civilians. Such an agreement with this Palestinian minority group would encourage the anti-Israel genocide efforts of the Hamas Islamo-Nazis even further. Goldberg would have done well to ask Obama what he meant when he said he wanted to help the Palestinians achieve “dignity,” a warped concept given that the Palestinians’ main “contributions” to humanity to date are their innovative terror and hate mongering techniques.

Obama also mentions that Netanyahu was publicly condescending in giving him “‘something of a lecture about the dangers of the brutal region in which he lives.’ Finally, the president interrupted the prime minister and said: ‘Bibi, you have to understand something … I’m the African American son of a single mother, and I live here, in this house. I live in the White House. I managed to get elected president of the United States. You think I don’t understand what you’re talking about, but I do.’” Obama’s words can be easily exposed as a non-sequitur, as it is not clear what the relevance is of Obama being the African American son of a single mother and having made it to the White House, as proof of understanding the Middle East.

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