In a thought-provoking new book, Demonizing Israel and the Jews, Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a board member of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, posits that today, well over 150 million Europeans believe that Israel is exterminating the Palestinians. This current widespread demonic view of Israel is a new mutation of the diabolical beliefs about Jews which many held in the Middle Ages, and those promoted more recently by the Nazis and their allies.
This collection of 57 interviews with scholars, politicians, and the like, including HonestReporting’s Managing Editor Simon Plosker, depicts how extensive and intense the hate-mongering is.
In an exclusive two-part interview to coincide with the publication of his book (available for purchase on Amazon), we asked Manfred Gerstenfeld about the important issues raised and why its conclusions appear to have been swept under the carpet by the mainstream media.
HR: In your new book Demonizing Israel and the Jews, you state that more than 150 million adult citizens of the European Union hold a demonic view of Israel and that this resembles the diabolical view many people in the Middle Ages had of Jews. What do you mean by that?
MG: The core element of anti-Semitism for almost two millennia has been that Jews represent “absolute evil.” The notion what absolute evil is, has changed over the centuries. Many Christians falsely claimed that the Jews had killed God’s alleged son – the worst thing imaginable in their minds. For the Nazis, absolute evil was if people were sub-human, vermin, bacteria and so on in their eyes. After the Holocaust, the worst thing possible now is to commit genocide, or to behave like the Nazis did.
HR: What is your book’s statement that more than 150 million EU citizens have a demonic view of Israel based upon?
MG: Various studies asked respondents whether they agree with statements such as, “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians,” or “Israel behaves toward the Palestinians like the Nazis did toward the Jews.” Studies in seven E.U. countries confirm that about 40% or more people there hold such demonic views. Similar studies confirm this for the non-E.U. countries Norway and Switzerland. Several other studies also show strongly negative views of E.U. citizens about Israel.
HR: Most of these studies are not new. Why weren’t they given prominence much earlier?
MG: One can only guess. Results of these studies should make European leaders and opinion-makers extremely uncomfortable. For instance, the Norwegian Government paid for a 2012 study by the Oslo Holocaust Center. The authors of the study avoided writing that the 38% of Norwegians who believe that Israel behaves like Nazis toward the Palestinians, are extreme anti-Semites. Yet they must have known that having such attitudes is an anti-Semitic act as defined by the European working definition of anti-Semitism.
HR: If these studies are already known, what is new about your book on this issue?
MG: For the first time, these studies which point to the same conclusions are listed together. They back up my estimate that at least 150 million adult citizens of the EU have such a demonic view of Israel. This a clear strong message to convey widely.
HR: Have journalists been in contact with you about this?
MG: I have been interviewed at length by several European journalists about my book. Some work for newspapers with huge circulations. They have shown great interest in this story and told me that the figures were convincing I have not seen anything in their papers yet, however.
HR: Why do you think that is?