One has the impression that former US president Barack Obama had been – and may still be – inclined to regard himself as an attendee of the Bandung Conference, more Kwame Nkrumah or Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein than the President of the United States of America. He, at one time, had taken to claiming that the upheavals Egypt, Syria, and Libya were experiencing in 2011 meant those societies were transitioning to democracy. It was not to be. Obama continued however to stick it to the Jewish state, the only democracy in the region, while pursuing a deal with Iran.
The end of the Cold War anticipated the rise of Islam, Sunni and Shia, as a global phenomenon. A study released in May 2015 found the most serious crimes against Jews in Europe were the work of European Muslims, a pattern that had persisted over a fifteen-year period. The author of the study, Gunther Jikeli, observed that on the one hand “the level of anti-Semitism increased with the level of religiosity and with fundamentalist interpretations of Islam.” On the other, “the level of anti-Semitism among less religious Muslims was still higher than in the general population.”
The French celebrity philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who persuaded former French President Nicholas Sarkozy to go to war with Muammar Gaddfafi, was banned from accompanying Sarkozy on a visit to Libya because he is Jewish.
In October 1962, Jack Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev were able to negotiate their way out of the Cuban missile crisis. It seems unlikely that a negotiation between the USA and the Islamic State, to avoid some global calamity, might be possible in our time. We have been warned not to underestimate the ruthlessness of these messianic true believers: “…the Islamic State seeks to negate and destroy any evidence of the passing of time, such as monuments and ruins, in Palmyra and elsewhere. It tries to extend the desert’s domain: to replace walls with sand to flatten out landscape, to return to a vacuum so as to start history all over again.”
The Jew-hatred that had gone underground in the wake of the post WWII Holocaust revelations has re-emerged. By an odd sort of coincidence the impact of the Holocaust discourse that had blossomed during the Cold War, perhaps peaking with the release Claude Lanzmann’s nine-and-a half-hour documentary Shoah (1985), seemed to have begun to fade with the end of the Cold War. After Lanzmann’s screen tsunami of cold, hard detail, denial would be, one might have thought, out of the question. We are now witnessing an innovation in Holocaust denial: commemoration decried as the “prioritizing of some lives over others” instituted by the “Zionist media.” There are those who do not deny that six-million murders did occur, but label them “white-on-white crime” and as such “undeserving of recognition.” It is a claim related to the larger effort to delegitimize the Jewish State. An Israeli flag was set on fire at a 2016 Kiev Holocaust memorial event.
Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “The Libya Gamble Part 1: Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall,” The New York Times, “ 27 February, 2016; Scott Shane and Jo Becker, “The Libya Gamble Part 2: A New Libya, With ‘Very Little Time Left’,” The New York Times, 27 February, 2016.
Kamel Daoud, “ISIS’ War on Christmas.” Translated from the French by John Cullen. The New York Times, 1 January, 2016.
Gil Hoffman, “Oren: Obama Has Selective Memory on Middle East,” The Jerusalem Post, 13 March, 2016.
James Kirchick, “The Holocaust Without Jews: Attempts to Universalize the specific suffering of Jews in the Shoah go hand in hand with efforts to de-legitimize the Jewish State,” Tablet, 4 May 2016.
Isi Leibler, “A Time for Unity Against Dangerous New Obama Initiatives,” The Jerusalem Post, 15 March, 2016