quarta-feira, janeiro 7

A Comissão Europeia e o Antisemitismo
Caricatura de Romano Prodi da autoria de Riber Hansson
O comissário europeu Romano Prodi suspendeu a realização de uma importante conferência sobre antisemitismo na Europa na sequência da publicação, no Financial Times, de um contundente artigo de opinião assinado conjuntamente por Edgar Bronfman, presidente do Congresso Mundial Judaico, e Cobi Benatoff, presidente do Congresso Judaico Europeu (ver texto na integra em baixo). “Antisemitismo pode ser expresso de duas formas: por acção e por inacção. Espantosamente, a Comissão Europeia é culpada de ambas”, era assim que começava o texto dos dois líderes judaicos. Prodi não gostou e respondeu da maneira mais imatura, cancelando uma conferência fundamental.
Há poucas semanas tudo parecia bem encaminhado, com a Comissão Europeia a admitir que o antisemitismo era um problema real que a Europa teria de encarar urgentemente.
Agora, nas palavras de Prodi, a conferência foi suspensa porque “pouco progresso seria alcançado por entre esta má atmosfera”. A metáfora usada por R.J. Oliveira no Super Flumina não podia ser mais acertada: nas tardes da minha infância, passadas a jogar à bola na Rua da Judiaria, havia também um Romano Prodi: chamava-se Gabriel, um birrento que à mínima contrariedade pegava na bola e rumava a casa, amuado e de beiçola.

Como o original do artigo de Bronfman e Benatoff não se encontra já na Internet, remetido que foi para os arquivos do FT, aqui vai a transcrição integral:

Europe's moral treachery over antisemitism
by Edgar M. Bronfman and Cobi Benatoff
Financial Times (London, England) January 4, 2004

Antisemitism can be expressed in two ways: by action and inaction. Remarkably, the European Commission is guilty of both.
First, the Commission released a flawed and dangerously inflammatory poll, which purported to name Israel as the greatest threat to world peace. Then, it censored a study commissioned by its own Monitoring Centre that reported on the involvement of Muslim minorities in incidents of mounting European antisemitism .
Let us not mince words: both of these actions were politically motivated, demonstrating a failure of will and decency. Facts indeed are stubborn things and they are ignored at great peril. In this instance, those placed in greatest danger are not the obstructionists who withheld the study for nearly a year, but the Jews of Europe: witnesses and victims of the most barbaric act of slaughter and inhumanity to occur within the living memory of those who reside there.
Inaction must be countered by action, and transparency must be the hallmark of democratic institutions, which is why we made public the Monitoring Centre report. The Talmud teaches that silence implies agreement and that is why we will not rest until every European parliamentarian, member state and inter-governmental body has a copy of this report in their hands.
The significance of this study is clear to anyone who reads it. Just consider its most fundamental finding, that "one cannot deny that there exists a close link between the increase of antisemitism and the escalation of the Middle East conflict". The report explains that Israel's policies toward the Palestinians provide an excuse to "denounce Jews generally" throughout Europe.
The report correctly assesses that "factors which usually determine the frequency of anti-Semitic incidents ... such as the strength and the degree of mobilisation extremist far right parties and groups can generate, have not played the decisive role" in the spread of antisemitic incidents since the beginning of the second intifada. The study found that antisemitic incidents in the monitoring period were committed above all by rightwing extremists, radical Islamists, young Muslims and the pro-Palestinian left. It points out that "the dominating assumption of contemporary antisemitism is still that of a Jewish world conspiracy".
These findings are not theoretical. In 2002, the World Jewish Congress's annual study of antisemitism worldwide found that prior to the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000, physical violence had been directed mainly at institutions, principally cemeteries and synagogues.
Throughout 2002, however, the pattern changed dramatically and the number of physical assaults on Jewish individuals, or people who resembled Jews, almost doubled. In France, as the debate continues over the display of religious clothing and accessories in schools, France's chief rabbi has had to suggest that Jewish men wear baseball caps instead of traditional yarmulkes for reasons of personal security.
Outside Israel, the majority of the world's violent antisemitic attacks took place in western Europe. For the EU to hide these facts reeks of intellectual dishonesty and moral treachery.
The war on antisemitism , the world's oldest form of racism, suffered a tremendous defeat at the hands of European censors. Europe perfected antisemitism last century and those who wish to see the continent free from that evil cannot allow a few thugs, be they on the street or in parliament, to sully a people that needs no lesson in the history of appeasement and inaction.
Democracies are not judged by how they treat current or future majorities, but by how they treat their minorities. A major test of European attitudes will occur next month at a seminar to be jointly convened by Romano Prodi, Commission president, and the European Jewish Congress, which will confront the challenge of the continent's antisemitism . We await its results.
European nations were once the world's exporter of democratic values, patrons of human rights and founders of man's freedom. In our lifetime, Europe also bred and exported humanity's greatest evil. These are undeniable truths. At a time when Europe is debating whether its constitution should make reference to its Christian history, it may not be inappropriate to quote the New Testament: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Europe should heed these words.

Edgar M. Bronfman and Cobi Benatoff are presidents respectively of the World Jewish Congress and the European Jewish Congress

A Judiaria Recomenda
Para duas interessantes leituras sobre o antisemitismo, aconselho uma passagem pelo Mar Salgado (que abre com uma referência a este editorial do Financial Times sobre o tema) e pelo Contra a Corrente.