Fighting Antisemitism while supporting Antisemitism?

Contradictions of a Berlin conference
by Dr. Clemens Heni

Can we fight one form of antisemitism while supporting another? Have a look at what is planned this week-end in Berlin. The groups “Mideast Freedom Forum” and “Stop the Bomb” are organizing a conference on Iran, entitled Time to Act. Indeed: it is time to act against Islamo-fascist Teheran, which works to produce nuclear weapons and said it wants to wipe Israel off the map. Every effort has to be undertaken to help stop Iran going nuclear.
But this Berlin conference most recently announced very proudly that they invited as a key speaker, Czech politician Jana Hybaskova. With no personal disrespect to Ms. Hybaskova, sorry, but it is not OK to deal with Iran and invite a politician with Hybaskova’s record on a cardinal Jewish issue in Europe: the history of the Holocaust at a time when “another branch” of antisemitism, with this politician’s help, is working overtime to delete the Holocaust from European history and try to make “equal” the perpetrators and victims of the Holocaust.

If someone is seriously concerned about the threat of antisemitism, that person cannot be active in supporting or initiating antisemitism in the EU and promoting the Prague Declaration, while donning philo-Semitic clothing when it comes to the faraway Middle East.
There is a lot to learn from this Berlin invitation to a leading figure of the Holocaust Obfuscation movement.

The following article, co-authored by Professor Dovid Katz, Vilnius (Lithuania), explains. Readers are respectfully referred to my paper, and to a page on the Jewish protests against the Prague Declaration.

The ”Prague Declaration” is Europe’s new Antisemitic Poison

Katz and Heni in Algemeiner Journal 4 Dec 2009 in: (week of November 30, 2009) Algemeiner is a New York based Jewish, Yiddish, and English weekly newspaper, editor: Rabbi Yosef Y. Jacobson, Director: Simon Jacobson, Chairman of Advisory Board: Dr. Elie Wiesel

by Dovid Katz, Vilnius, and Clemens Heni, Berlin

Your open opponent is your friend. He or she states a clear position that you can accept or dissent from. That is the spirit of robust debate in a democratic society. The real enemy is the camouflaged trick-speak of Orwellian parlance. In a one-to-one fair fight, it can be overcome by a skilled debater.

Much more difficult to come to grips with what is happening in Europe now at the odious nexus of Holocaust revisionism and a special East European brand of antisemitism. Difficult, because the product is manufactured by a cunning and powerful ultranationalist elite, based in the Baltics and spreading westward with alarming speed, working with ample government funding. It is spreading its poison with such cunning that even seasoned players, including naive Westerners (Jews included) do not always see what is happening.

In Eastern Europe, one finds a certain local kind of elitist antisemitism. One of its versions: “We love Israeli, American and British Jews, we just hate the local Jews because they continue to think that we helped Hitler while the Russians saved them or their parents or grandparents. Time to mix it all up in a trendy new model of equivalence of evils that the westerners will buy into.”

Antisemitism neo-Nazi style in Eastern Europe today (daubing of the Jewish Community of Lithuania in August 2008; there have still been no arrests)

A condensed version of a complex narrative: Instead of coming to terms honestly with their Holocaust histories (highest percentages of Jews killed — mid 90s — in all of Europe), which various individual Baltic scholars boldly tried to do, these states’ elites took the basest antisemitic version (“The Jews were all communists and got what they deserved”) and transformed it into sophisticated Eurospeak: “The Equal Evaluation of Totalitarian Regimes”, or, as it is best known, “Double Genocide”. First, the word “genocide” is legally redefined to refer to any kind of evil (particularly: Soviet deportations and deprivation of freedoms). Second, the imaginary “Jewish Bolshevist” image cherished by antisemites is revived and polished up. Then, the “two genocides” are legally made to be “equal” and — shockingly, in Lithuania — prosecutors started to defame and “investigate the war crimes” of Holocaust survivors in their late 80s who are alive because they escaped the ghetto to join the anti-Nazi resistance. They are heroes of the free world. One, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 87, is librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. Another, Dr. Rachel Margolis, 88, cannot return to Lithuania for fear of prosecutors’ harassment. (She is loathed by the state-run “Genocide Industry” for having rediscovered and published a Christian Pole’s eyewitness diary of tens of thousands of murders.)

The most dangerous success the history-twisters have had to date is the so-called “Prague Declaration” issued at a conference there in June 2008. It proclaims “Communism and Nazism as a common legacy” and demands that Communism be assessed “in the same way Nazi crimes were assessed by the Nuremberg Tribunal”. Just ask any Holocaust Survivor on the planet if the perpetrators of Genocide are “the same” as those who offered refuge to the small number who could flee and indeed, those who liberated the few survivors in the eastern sector at war’s end.

But the distortion doesn’t stop at proclaiming one true Revisionist history for all Europe. The Prague Declaration calls for “the overhaul of European history textbooks so that children could learn and be warned about Communism and its crimes in the same way as they have been taught to assess the Nazi crimes”. There is demand for a Europe-wide mix-and-match commemoration day for Nazi and Soviet crimes that would in practice supplant Holocaust Memorial Day.  The intrepid human rights champion John Mann MP of the UK parliament has very rightly called the Declaration a “sinister document”.

One of the founding signatories of the Prague Declaration, Jana Hybaskova, is announced as a speaker at a Berlin conference about Iran, this weekend, entitled “Time to Act”. Why are good willed people featuring founders of the dangerous Holocaust Obfuscation movement? Why support an antisemitic movement, while – for very good reason – attacking anti-Zionist Iran? We cannot fight one form of antisemitism while supporting another form of antisemitism. It is not just a mistake of Ms. Hybaskova, which can easily be corrected (like all the other signatories, she is free to explain that she made a mistake…). In fact, it was MEP Hybaskova’s office, in collaboration with that of Czech Republic parliament senator Marin Mejstrik, that stage-managed the dissemination of the Prague Declaration, in a joint press release of 9 June 2008. Three days earlier, they had both “presented” the English and Czech versions of the Declaration to the Czech Republic’s Senate.

Antisemitism Prague Declaration style in Eastern Europe today ("Delfi", the major news portal in the Baltics, gloating over "successes" in convincing Europe that Soviet crimes were "worse" than the Nazi genocide of their Jewish populations; most recently published 14 November 2009)

There is an inherent problem in professing support for Israel while obfuscating the Holocaust by comparing that unprecedented genocide with the serious crimes of the Soviet Union (which certainly merit separate and serious ongoing scrutiny). In the actual current climate in Eastern Europe, where antisemitism is inextricably linked with Holocaust Obfuscation, and where Holocaust survivors are pursued and defamed, the red-equals-brown movement is today’s elitist antisemitism par excellence. Nobody knows that better than the small, embattled and often vanishing Jewish communities of Eastern Europe who bear the brunt of the local antisemitic campaigns that are the unspoken accompaniment of those fancy declarations in the European Union. The signatories of this sinister document have provided this antisemitism with high-class cover. High time to unmask the whole charade.

Dovid Katz is professor of Judaic Studies at Vilnius University and research director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. and

Clemens Heni, PhD, recently a Post-Doc at Yale and is now an independent scholar and author, is currently based in Berlin