My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Natan Sharansky on the anti-semitism summit....

Terrific conference...but once he stepped outside, things changed...
I just returned from this week’s inaugural conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Commission for Anti-Semitism, a two-day event in London where over 100 legislators from around the democratic world convened to discuss the problem of anti-Semitism. The second day of the conference was held in the famous Lancaster House—the very place where, 70 years ago, the Peel Commission made its infamous decision to drastically limit the number of Jews that would be allowed into Palestine. This decision resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews who had nowhere else to flee from the Nazis.

It was not without a sense of historical justice that the same building that had been use to condemn Jews to their fate at the hands of anti-Semitism was now hosting a major international parley to fight it. At the conference, one delegate after another spoke against the rise in anti-Semitism and efforts to demonize Israel. Only a few years ago, in earlier conferences on anti-Semitism, I was often struck by how difficult it was for me to convince people that the more extreme attacks on Israel were a form of anti-Semitism and should be included in any discussion of it. Today, things are much better in this regard: What I have called the 3D definition of anti-Semitism – demonization of Israel, double standards, and delegitimization – was widely accepted by pretty much everyone at the conference.

But the moment I stepped outside the confines of the conference, things suddenly looked very different. At the end of the second day, while I was still in Lancaster House, I was interviewed by the BBC. At their studio they had a moderate Arab expert commenting on anti-Semitism, and everything he said was received with warm approval from the interviewer. His argument: It is true that Jews around the world today feel threatened by increasing anti-Semitism. But who is to blame? The Israeli government of course, for it launched a brutal campaign of death and destruction against the Palestinians in Gaza, without taking into account how much its actions would endanger the well-being of Jews around the world. Strangely enough, this logic is widely accepted by much of the free world today.

I have heard this kind of argument before. In my years as a member of the Israeli government, I faced countless situations where the world forced us to choose between protecting our citizens and facing international condemnation, on the one hand, and letting our citizens face suicide bombers and rocket attacks while winning world sympathy, praise, and understanding for our “restraint,” on the other.

Putting us in this situation is, itself, a form of anti-Semitism. Seventy years ago, the Peel Commission refused to allow Jewish immigration for fear of upsetting the Arabs and destabilizing the Middle East. Then as now, Jewish survival was seen as an inconvenience to the Western world. Then as now, Jews were forced to choose: Either live and be hated, or die and be loved.


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