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April 29, 2012 4:00 pm

What is Good for the Jews?

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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Ken Livingstone. Photo: wiki commons.

The Arab World Would Celebrate the Defeat of Sarkozy in France & the Victory of Mayoral Candidate Ken Livingstone in London.

A March 2012 study by the Simon Wiesenthal Institute noted that “Europe—the historic civilization from which the Jews emerged into modern world through the crucible of triumph and tragedy—seems to be again approaching, as many prefer to avert their eyes the same paroxysm of Jew hatred that plunged the continent into its twenty century abyss. Is the twenty-first century doomed to repeat with variations the tragedies of the twentieth? The answer may depend whether Europe, this time, repeats the cycle of indifference or instead stands up against evil before it is too late.” According to the report, “today almost a third of Europeans show significant levels of anti-Semitism…..over half of Europeans view Israel as the greatest threat to world peace”, additionally, significant Anti-Jewish hate crimes have been perpetrated (including the recent massacre in Toulouse, France), and in many countries there are rapidly growing Muslim populations.

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The second Jewish generation following the Holocaust often tied their voting agenda to the answer of one simple question: “Is it good for the Jews?” While in the increasingly globalized, complex, multi-cultural world we live in today, for many Jewish communities around the world, this is no longer necessarily the first question that is asked, the next few weeks will see two high-profile European elections whose outcomes have the potential to significantly impact Jewish and Israeli sensitivities:

  • In France, Nicolas Sarkozy  – who has been among the warmest French Presidents to the State of Israel – is facing a re-election challenge from Socialist François Hollande. Sarkozy has stated “We will never compromise on Israeli security”, and said that the establishment of the Jewish state was “the most important event of the 20th century” – his opponent on the other hand is closely linked to Anti-Israel political leaders. “France would be more politically aligned with the Arab countries, and this could have an effect on its relations with Israel,” said Ivan Rioufol, columnist in the French daily Le Figaro. Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center has said it would be a “big blow to Israel” if Sarkozy lost.
  • In London, Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London who is running for mayor again is the frontrunner in polls – and has been a persistent enemy of Jews and Israel – he has stated on a number of occasions that it would be better off if Israel did not exist. According to David Hirsh, “Livingstone sees Israel as a pariah state with a menacing and malign influence well beyond its borders.” Livingstone recently used anti-Semitic language in a meeting with the city’s Jewish community leaders – and has vowed to “turn London into a beacon for the words of the Prophet Mohammed”. He has embraced Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a high profile member of the Muslim Brotherhood and avowed anti-Semite, who in July 2003 spoke in favor of suicide terror attacks, also saying that the Likud party and Hamas are “two sides of the same coin”. He has called for the forcible disarmament of Israel and claimed that Israel has engaged in ethnic cleansing, and that Jews had no right to be in Israel.

Antisemitism expert Professor Charles Small formerly of Yale University says that, “Increasingly, Jewish communities around the world feel under threat.” So one wonders – scarily – how this trend will be impacted is France and London  change elected officials further increasing open European hostility to Jews & Israel.  The polls show that it’s not such a far-fetched theory.

In August 1930 Zionist leader, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, spoke in Vienna of how European policy “has begun to strengthen certain Anti-Jewish movements…In the Eastern bazaar stretched out from Cairo to Basra, and encompassing a population of millions, the tidings, the news, the sensation is being passed on by word of mouth: Have you heard that Islam is being backed by the most powerful and most cultured of all of the nations of Europe?”

One can be sure that the Arab world would celebrate the victories of Hollande and Livingstone – and push for further democratic victories in elections taking place before the end of 2012 in Ireland, Greece, the Netherlands and Italy. Walter Russell Mead, a professor of Foreign Affairs and Editor-at-Large of The American Interest magazine wrote recently, “Seventy years after Hitler, antisemitism of the worst and most violent kind walks the streets of Europe once more. And once again the educational, religious, cultural and political institutions and leaders of Europe are ineffective and paralyzed: like a rabbit frozen with terror in the presence of a rattlesnake, the European establishment is unable to act. Its follies and errors have created a trap from which it can see no escape.”

Jabotinsky is often referred to as a prophet – and history has been known to repeat itself. His words are worth re-reading during these frightening times for the Jewish people. One hopes that Jews around the world are cognizant of the old saying “What is Good for the Jews” when they go to vote.  Let’s also hope that decent Europeans of all races and religions place their votes for decency – and not for Jew-haters  – as the potential alternatives are very scary.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading Public Relations Agency and Author of “For Immediate Release”, a best -selling PR Book.

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