Worthy Christian News » Israel-Palestinian Conflict » Anti-Semites On The March Ahead Of Durban Conference
ICEJ NEWS - 08/22/2001
The prolonged Palestinian intifada continues to fuel a growing wave of anti-Semitism worldwide, as Jew haters are becoming ever more brazen in the build-up to the United Nations World Conference on Racism in Durban next week. The UN conference was originally designed as a forum to address the lingering ills of racial hatred, but has now become a rallying point for those who seek to vilify the Jewish people.
The Durban conference, slated to begin next week, is shaping up as a real magnate for anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist forces. In recent days, pro-Palestinian Muslims in South Africa have held demonstrations in Durban and Cape Town, demanding that Zionism be equated with "racism" and Israel be punished for its "apartheid practices."
Some 10,000 Muslims joined an angry protest march in Cape Town on Tuesday, clogging the city center and carrying signs comparing Israeli leader Ariel Sharon to Adolf Hitler. Demonstrators carried banners reading, "Sharon is Hitler the Killer," and chanted, "Sharon is a murderer."
The Muslim throng took its anti-Israel message to two leading national newspapers in Cape Town and then delivered an ultimatum to parliament to break off diplomatic and trade ties with Israel. One man waving a Palestinian flag was quoted as saying: "I am very, very angry. I would like to put my faith in Allah and become a suicide bomber."
Diana Loping, a Palestinian lawyer, told the crowd she was privileged to be among people who understood the struggle for freedom. "I come to you as a witness that villages are being flattened, hospitals are ill-equipped, Red Cross trucks are turned away daily. The identities of the people are being obliterated just as they were during the apartheid years in South Africa."
Preparatory sessions for the UN conference on racism have been beset by the determined efforts of Arab/Islamic states to pass resolutions labeling Zionism a "movement which is based on racial superiority," and denouncing Israel for "ethnic cleansing" and "crimes against humanity." The draft resolutions also seek to dilute the uniqueness of the Holocaust [spelled with a lower-case "h"] and the meaning anti-Semitism. The draft also equates the suffering of Palestinians to that of Jews under the Nazis, and calls on nations to refrain from recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
A diplomatic official with the host nation South African claimed last week that a compromise had already been reached assuring "Zionism equals racism" was off the agenda. But Jewish activists rejected the notion, saying cosmetic alterations had been made that merely substituted the term "occupying power" for "Zionism," leaving no doubt this was a direct and exclusive reference to Israel.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has yet to decide if he will attend the Durban conference, which would lend it more credibility. The Israeli delegation will be headed by deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior, who met with his Belgian counterpart Louis Michel on Tuesday to discuss the European Union position going into Durban. Rabbi Melchior later announced the EU had pledged to work together with Israel to ensure that Arab and Muslim nations do not succeed in passing an anti-Semitic resolution.
Meantime, various Jewish organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Anti-Defamation League are banding together to prevent another blot against the Jewish people, and will send delegates and observers to Durban for the pre-conference NGO symposiums and the official gathering itself. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is also engaged in consultations with Jewish community leaders about joint Jewish/Christian efforts in Durban to defend Zionism and the Jewish people from attack.
Meanwhile, in different parts of the world, other anti-Semites have been on the march of late. More than half a million Syrians marched on Sunday in support of Palestinians as Vice President Mohammed Zuhair Masharqah slammed Israel for surpassing "Nazi and fascist" practices.
About 800 neo-Nazis gathered Saturday for a march in memory of Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess in a southern German town where he is buried. The far-right gathering went ahead after a state court overturned a ban imposed by local authorities - making it the first time in a decade that the march has been permitted. The court said it could be held as long as the extremists did not enter the cemetery where Hess is buried.
In the Australian capital of Canberra, several Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Jewish Center late Saturday night, marking the fourth such attack in less than a year. Close to 100 members of the small Jewish community were inside the synagogue, including several children, when 5 or 6 of the home-made bombs were thrown at the building. One smashed through the window only meters from where the synagogue's Torah scrolls are kept.
The Australian Jewish community in Canberra, as well as in the larger communities of Sydney and Melbourne, are on heightened alert for potential attacks on Jewish synagogues and institutions as the high Jewish holidays approach.
Elsewhere, a fire set by arsons last week destroyed a synagogue in a western Russian city, a Jewish group said Friday. And members of another Jewish organization complained that officials in the Tatarstan region are blocking their efforts to rebuild a fire-gutted school for 550 children - believed to be the largest such Jewish school in Eastern Europe. The local fire service said the July 13 blaze was caused by arson in a barracks adjoining the school building. But local authorities have refused to provide funds for the school's repairs and have banned the local Jewish community from restoring the building on their own.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.