Robert Wistrich: Defender of the Jewish People
Many scholars look away from the widespread anti-Semitism emanating from Muslim states and from parts of the Muslim population in Western countries. Despite the backlash, Robert remained outspoken when his post-9/11 essay on Muslim anti-Semitism, originally published in English, was updated and republished in German in 2011. Therein, Robert claimed that the hardcore anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany. Expressing such an opinion was far more than an academic judgment. It was an act of courage. Much more gentle criticism about extreme ugly phenomena in Muslim societies was already being labeled as Islamophobia. Such criticism is constantly stifled not only by Muslims but also by many “politically correct” Westerners. Robert explicitly stated that Muslim hatred for Israel and Jews is “an eliminatory anti-Semitism with a genocidal dimension”.Col. Richard Kemp: The Amoral Revolution in Western Values, and its Impact on Israel
From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel came out in 2012. The book includes the chapter, “Great Britain: A Suitable Case for Treatment?” Robert had studied in the UK, where the British literary classics on the school’s curriculum were almost all anti-Semitic in nature. Robert’s analysis started with Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales from the late 14th century and Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta from the end of the 16th Century. He came out unequivocally against the whitewashing of the anti-Semitism of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
Probably more so than anyone else, Robert has proven that anti-Semitism is not only inherent in European history but that it is an integral part of European culture. I once persuaded him to lecture at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs about the long tradition of intellectual anti-Semitism. He illustrated how each change in the social environment brings about a mutation of anti-Semitism. In Europe, Catholic anti-Semitism laid down the ideological infrastructure from which much of the demonizing of the Jews, Judaism and the Jewish people developed. From Martin Luther and Protestantism to the Enlightenment, including Voltaire, from the great German idealist philosophers, the early French socialists, to Karl Marx – many intellectuals and innovative movements gave their own “contribution” to anti-Semitism.
Robert was a passionate and tireless fighter for his ideas. A comrade-in-arms against the many ugly enemies of the Jewish people, and a man of principle, I had the privilege of last speaking with him –a lengthy, and as always, stimulating and pleasant conversation – during the recent Global Forum for Combatting Anti-Semitism, a few days before his passing. His sense of purpose remained unabated until the very end. Like all great intellectuals, he will live on through the legacy of his profound work and original thought.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: To fight for Israel on the international stage is also to fight for the values of democracy, freedom of speech and expression, and civilized social values everywhere. Unfortunately, the morality and values of the West have been transformed and undermined over the past thirty years almost beyond recognition. Judeo-Christian principles of honesty, honor, loyalty, family values, patriotism, religious faith and respect for the state have all been eroded; whereas negative values, such as the acceptance of betrayal, duplicity and deceit, have flourished. The Western media is chiefly culpable in advancing this deleterious values transformation. And this transformation is the basis for the growth of anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist perspectives, and anti-Israel narratives.Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies: Col. Kemp’s 40 minute address
What follows is the text of an address delivered by Col. Kemp CBE at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies on May 19, 2015. Kemp was Commander of the British Forces in Afghanistan. He subsequently worked for the Joint Intelligence Committee and the British cabinet national crisis management group. He testified in defense of Israel before the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, and the United Nations Human Rights Council in response to the Goldstone report. This week, he received an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University in recognition of his stalwart defense of Israel.
British commander provides hope to turn back the tide against Israel
Flatly contradicting the nasty Goldstone Report, Kemp confidently asserted that “based on my knowledge and experience as a military commander, the IDF did more during Operation Cast Lead to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare.”
Kemp has been vilified ever since. “In social media, I have been the subject of sustained assaults by particularly virulent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic networks. In universities, I have been the subject of demonstrations that have sought to silence me. I have been accused of corruption and being in the pay of the Zionist entity. I have been deliberately denied business opportunities.
I have been placed on a terrorist death list,” Kemp told his BESA Center audience.
“This is not because I speak out against the moral bankruptcy, corruption, incitement to terrorism or oppression of the Palestinian Authority; or the murder, brutality and terrorist violence of Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. I have spoken out at least as much against al-Qaida, the Taliban, the Iranian regime, the IRGC and many other sponsors of terror and terrorist groups without anything like this level of attempted intimidation.
“Rather it is for one reason, and that is because I fail to falsely condemn Israel in circumstances where to even be neutral on the subject is itself a crime in the eyes of so many. It is because I have gone further, and used my military experience and my objective view to explain and defend Israel’s legitimate military actions.”