US ambassador in Belgium provides controversial explanation for Muslim anti-Semitism
Growing global anti-Semitism is linked to Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians, the American ambassador to Belgium told stunned Jewish conference attendants in Brussels earlier this week.
Speaking Wednesday at a Jewish conference on anti-Semitism organized by the European Jewish Union (EJU,) Howard Gutman told participants he was apologizing in advance if his words are not to their liking. He then proceeded to make controversial statements about his views on Muslim anti-Semitism, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.
A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Gutman said. He also argued that an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty will significantly diminish Muslim anti-Semitism.
The American envoy, a lawyer by training, is Jewish and played a major role in fundraising for the Democratic Party. He was appointed to the post by President Barack Obama.
The conference was attended by Jewish lawyers from across Europe. The legal experts at the event were visibly stunned by Gutman’s words, and the next speaker offered a scathing rebuttal to the envoy’s remarks. “The modern Anti-Semite formally condemns Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust and expresses upmost sympathy with the Jewish people. He simply has created a new species, the “Anti-Zionist” or – even more sophisticated – the so-called ‘Israel critic,’” Germany attorney Nathan Gelbart said.
“The ‘Israel critic’ will never state ‘Jews go home’ but is questioning the legality of the incorporation of the State of Israel and therefore the right for the Jewish people to settle in their homeland. He will not say the Jews are the evil of the world but claim that the State of Israel is a major cause for instability and war in the region,” he said. “There is no other country, no other people on this planet the ‘Israel critic’ would dedicate so much time and devotion as to the case of Israel.”
“For no other country he would criticize or ask to boycott its goods or academics. And this for one simple reason: Because Israel is the state of the Jewish people, not more and not less,” Gelbart said.
and then we learned this:
Paul Flynn MP in 'anti-Semitic' remark row
Newport West MP Paul Flynn has been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks after questioning whether the British ambassador to Israel should be Jewish.
Mr Flynn called the claim "ludicrous" but he has been called in by Labour Party whips to explain his comments.
He had suggested that Matthew Gould, Britain's first Jewish ambassador to Israel, had "divided loyalties".
Harlow MP Robert Halfon, who is Jewish, said Mr Flynn was not anti-Semitic but he had made an "outrageous attack".
Mr Flynn has been criticised by MPs from his own side as well as by the Jewish Chronicle newspaper after saying the post of ambassador to Israel should go to "someone with roots in the UK".
He made his comments to Sir Gus O'Donnell, the UK's most senior civil servant during questioning about the relationship between former Defence Secretary Liam Fox and Mr Fox's friend and advisor Adam Werritty.
The Labour movement blog LabourList said the party's leadership was thought to be unhappy with the remarks, claiming a source said party leader Ed Miliband "thinks these comments are totally unacceptable".
Labour MP Ivan Lewis, the Shadow Secretary for International Development, described Mr Flynn's remark about Mr Gould as a "smear".
The year is almost 2012 and they still haven't learned anything.
And what about that "damn" table?
This one (*):
Panetta to Israel: ‘Get to the Damn Table’ for Peace Talks
The top U.S. defense official is warning Israel it cannot afford to further isolate itself from Arab neighbors in the Middle East. During a forum in Washington late Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Israel needs to start by getting back “to the damn table” and negotiating peace with the Palestinians. He also called on Israel to mend its fraying relationships with traditional partners like Turkey, Egypt and Jordan.
And here's some thinking by Barry Rubin:
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta Shows How the Obama Administration Is Selling Out Israel...And U.S. Interests
Let me state this in undiplomatic language: U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is a clown. True, this will not be the kind of thing written about in the mainstream media but it is true nonetheless. Panetta has no knowledge of the Middle East, no experience in grand strategy, no concept of Islamist politics, no awareness of Israel’s defense needs, and doesn’t know much about military issues generally. All that would be forgivable if it weren’t for one more problem: He has no understanding of what has happened in the last year either.
Panetta has now bashed Israel based on a premise. Here it is:
"I understand the view that this is not the time to pursue peace, and that the Arab awakening further imperils the dream of a safe and secure, Jewish and democratic Israel. But I disagree with that view." Nevertheless, Israel needs to take risks and particularly, "The problem right now is we can't get them to the damn table, to at least sit down and begin to discuss their differences."
...Every Middle East historian—well, every Middle East historian who knows something about the Middle East—knows that The Arab Awakening was the famous book written by George Antonius (subsidized by a U.S foundation to do so, by the way) advocating Arab nationalism and opposition to Zionism in 1938...
But there are three major questions raised in Panetta’s silly statement.
First, does the current “Arab Awakening” imperil Israel? Yes, of course it does. By changing a reasonably friendly Egyptian government into a totally hostile Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi dominated political system closely allied with Hamas, the Gaza Strip’s ruler, and by helping establish Islamist regimes in Tunisia and Libya allied with this Muslim Brotherhood International; the changes create a four-member alliance intent on wiping Israel off the map...
...Panetta’s statement that Israel has a responsibility to build regional support for Israeli and United States' security objectives is nonsense...
...Panetta’s suggestion, like that of Chamberlain in 1938 is that Israel should mend relations with such “traditional security partners.”...That statement is false. Israel can’t reach out and mend fences with Turkey and Egypt because they do not share an interest in regional stability. They are no longer status quo powers; they are countries that want revolutionary change in the Middle East. And this claim takes on special irony since Israel must now not just mend the fence but build an entirely new fence to protect itself from cross-border attacks from Egypt.
...What does an Israeli audience think of when it reads this? Of the same old message from the West to Israel: make gestures, give concessions, take risks, and when they are rebuked “the world will see.” This is precisely the same advice given regarding the 1990s’ peace process, the freeze of construction on settlements, and the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. And every time the world doesn’t see...Finally, Panetta also uses another weird phrase. He urges Israel to "lean forward" to obtain peace with the Palestinians...Actually, though, Israel has been leaning over backward for years to make peace without getting any credit for it.
Let me summarize. Panetta and the Obama Administration aren’t just wrong. They are dangerously and absurdly wrong...
and if you think that was out of context or directed at both sides, resad on:
MR. POLLACK: And this will have to be your last question. Mr. Secretary, you made a strong statement about Israel’s responsibility towards peace. What steps should it take now? Withdraw the Israeli army from the
Palestinian territories? It’s a suggestion and a question. It’s a suggestion in the form of a question.
SEC. PANETTA: Just get to the damn table. Just get to the table.
(Applause.) The problem right now is we can’t get them to the damn table to at least sit down and begin to discuss their differences – you know, we all
know what the pieces are here for a potential agreement. We’ve talked it
out, worked through, we understand the concerns, we understand the concerns of Israel, understand the concerns of the Palestinians. If they sit at a table and work through those concerns, and the United States can be of
assistance in that process, then I think you have the beginning of what could be a process that would lead to a peace agreement. But if they aren’t there – if they aren’t at the table, this will never happen. So first and foremost, get to the damn table. (Applause.)
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And now this:
In response to the recent criticism of Israel by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, today the chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, William Kristol, issued the following statement.
and received this:
The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to " immediately and unequivocally disassociate herself from comments made by US Amb Howard Gutman who told a Jewish group that "a distinction should be made between traditional anti-semitism which should be condemned and Muslim hatred of Jews which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians".
"The Simon Wieaenthal Center calls on Secy of State Clinton to immediately rebuke Gutman for excusing Muslim hatred of Jews"' said Rabbis Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder and Abraham Cooper, associate Dean in a statement on behalf of its 400,000 constituent families of the leading Jewish Human Rights NGO...
CJHS Calls on White House To Renounce Belgium Ambassador Who Blamed Israel
For Muslim Antisemitism
December 3, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Doris Wise Montrose
Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors (CJHS) condemns in the strongest terms the recent statements by US Ambassador to Belgium and Obama donor Howard Gutman, who said last Wednesday that global and Muslim Jew-hatred were the result of Israel's policy toward the Palestinians. CJHS calls on President Obama and the White House to renounce the Ambassador and his statements.
"As an organization devoted to making sure that the West upholds its promise of 'Never Again' by recognizing the genuine causes of genocidal Jew-hatred and the Holocaust" said CJHS founder and President Doris Wise Montrose, "we'll remind the Ambassador that Muslim antisemitism stretches back centuries before the creation of the modern state of Israel and is explicitly advocated by the Koran."
And presciently this.