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October 20, 2008

Pilar Rahola Speaks Out on European Anti-Israel Bias

pilar Rahola.jpg

Pilar Rahola

Threats, slander and lost friends have not deterred Spanish-Catalan journalist Pilar Rahola from forcefully expressing her views about the anti-Israel media and academe in Spain and Europe, the link between anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, the European left (of which she is a part), and more.

Her candor continues in a recent interview with Ha'aretz. An excerpt:

"I don't see myself as a defender of Israel," she points out, "but as a defender of the truth. I have a great deal of criticism of various decisions of the Israeli government. I don't like what Israel has done over the years. But there's a very big difference between rational criticism of the government, of various activities of the government, and unbridled and criminal attacks against Israel's very essence." ...

In the conflict in the Middle East ... most European intellectuals stop thinking and only repeat empty cliches. This anti-Israel bias of both the left and the media is a disguise for anti-Semitism. No other country is the target of such hatred and of such belligerent criticism. No other country receives repeated threats to its existence from other members of the United Nations, while the world remains silent. The reasons for that can be found in both distant and recent history. ...

... our deviant way of dealing with [guilt about the Spanish inquisition and the Holocaust] is to attack Israel, of all countries. Because the worse Israel is, the less guilty we are. The attacks against Israel are our way of clearing our conscience, and that's something I definitely can't accept. ...

Meanwhile, unfortunately, anyone who is not anti-Israel immediately becomes suspect.

You can read the entire fascinating interview here.

Posted by GI at October 20, 2008 03:32 PM


Pilar Rahola says, above, " I don't like what Israel has done over the years." Many people would agree with her. Its potentially helpful for an ultimate solution to the sad situation thereabouts that she is, here and now, courageous enough to acknowledge this unhappy reality. It is precisely "what Israel has done over the years," that earns the country its current Pariah status on Planet Earth: the BEHAVIOUR of Israel is the problem for Israel and her neighbours, not the existence of Israel. Behaviours CAN be changed however: not easily but change is possible for all of us. Individuals, groups, and nations also, can and do change their BEHAVIOURS. Let us all support Israel in thought, word and deed to change the behaviours witnessed, by all of us, these many decades past. Then she and we, all of us, will have a chance for peace in our lifetimes.

Posted by: david hicks at October 28, 2008 03:43 AM

Dear Pilar,
As a leftist Israeli, who lives near Sderot, I would like to thank you for your sane words. For 8 years we have been bombed everyday, even during the so called truce and the world never said a word!!!! The moment the truce was over, we were bombarded with some 90 rockets in one day and the world still was quiet. Which country in this world would stand still and let its citizens be bombarded???
I hate war, hate to see innocent people suffering , hate to see civilians dieing, but hate even more to live under constant fear of being hit by a rocket and even more, hate to have seen people I love die from these rockets!!
Our war is nor against the Palestinian people, it is against those who don’t accept us as a people, the Hamas, who will only accept our utter destruction. The problem is that these terrorists are such cowards that they hide behind their own family, their own people. They keep their arsenal under schools, hospitals and mosques. And what are we to do? Stay quiet and let them hunt us??? No more! Enough is enough.
And if I have to choose between giving much importance about what the "world" has to say and my people's safety, the choice is obvious!
Sincerely yours
Esther Rosenhek

Posted by: Esther Rosenhek at January 3, 2009 03:09 PM

Estimada Pilar,soy judio espanol nacido en Melilla
resido y trabajo en los Estados Unidos por muchos anos y como Sefardi que soy llevo a mi querida Espana en mi sangre.Es una gran pena ver a un Zapatero,y a parte de su gobierno implicitamente defender a un grupo terrorista como Hamas,verdaderos responsables hasta la fecha con sus ataques a israel,en demorar un pleno entendimiento entre Israel y los Palestinos y por extension la tan deseada paz entre ambos.Hamas por cuenta propia,se rehusa a hacer la paz con Israel por lo que se ha convertido en la antitesis de la buena esperanza en El Medo Oriente
Queda algien mas en Espana ademas de usted en hacer conciencia en el actual gobierno de la presente realidad en el O.M.?
la tve se vuelca en ser un medio propagandistico arabe.Esto es vergonzoso.Que pasa con el periodismo?Ha vendido su alma al diablo?QUE PASO CON LA HONESTIDAD PERIDISTICA Y SOBRE TODO CON EL HONOR DE LOS PERIODISTAS?
Cria cuervos y te sacaran los ojos.
D. la bendiga por su honestidad profesinal y sobre todo por su valor en el ambito hostil que la rodea.
Un admirador suyo y servidor
Rabino Salomon.

Posted by: salomon truzman at January 13, 2009 06:10 PM

Dear Pilar,

Thank you for you fairness. I invite anyone who did not do this before to read the Hamas' program. No one could say that this is an Israeli or Jewish loby's propaganda document. Just to read what Hamas wants publicly. After reading it, if someone could still speak about "freedom fighters", it means that he or she supports this chart and, at the same time, decides not to belong anymore to the civilised word.

Posted by: Radu Stern at January 19, 2009 02:35 PM

Well the distant history, lets say WW II
The Muslim gangs aligned themselves with the Nazis.

or just Google Muslim Nazi and you will find all you want about that fact.
For me it was a learning experience and so was this article.

Posted by: John at January 20, 2009 03:41 AM

Querida Pilar,

Muchas Gracias for su honestidad. Despues de escuchar a Obama esta manana y leer su discurso referente al odio contra Estados Unidos y los judios tengo de nuevo esperanza en el futuro de la humanidad. Ojala que el sentido comun y la paz prevalezcan por sobre el odio y las armas para que podamos darles a nuestros nietos una sociedad concebida en el amor y el respeto al projimo.

Benjamin Paz

Posted by: Benjamin Paz at January 20, 2009 03:09 PM

Querida Pilar, Muchas Gracias por la manera de explicar y de resonar esa tema, me recordado una lejenda de Hans Christian Andersen la NUEVA ROPA DEL REY.

Posted by: Armand Deloya at February 7, 2009 09:41 AM

Thank you, RAULA.

Posted by: Cornel Gewurtz at February 14, 2009 08:05 AM

Estimada Ms.Pilar: Gracias a Ms. Yvonne Calderon quien me reenvio su pieza. Es Ud. una personalidad impresionante que evalua a los judios e Israel con logica e imparcialidad completa. Soy un askenazi de nacimiento,pero sefaradi de corazon y educacion. Aprecio a usted y su trabajo intelectual y profesional. Bravo y felicidades. Feliz Ano Nuevo. I.B-L catedratico jubilado

Posted by: Dr.Itzhak Bar-Leww at January 3, 2010 09:29 AM

Dear Pilar,
I agree with your comments on Israel.

But is anti-semitism really the main reason most on the hard Left oppose Israel's existence? Speculation about the Spanish inquisition won't do.

This is what you need to think about.

Ian Mordant

Posted by: Ian Mordant at February 14, 2010 06:23 PM

Dear Pilar, thank you for the stating so clearly your position on Israel and anti-semitism. I completely agree with you. The blog posted by david hicks in response to your article is a testimony to some people's extreme and hateful opinions of Israel - "the Pariah on the planet."

Posted by: Anneta Greenlee at March 13, 2010 09:12 PM

Thanks to Ms.Rahola for a most refreshing approach to this subject. Her point is certainly not that one shouldn't criticize Israel. Any government and its policies should and must be subject to criticism. The problem she addresses is the lack of criticism by(often)the most vocal of Israel's critics when it comes to other governments throughout the world which are at least as deserving of criticism. "Why Israel?" she asks. "Why just Israel?"

Posted by: Robert Koorse at April 1, 2010 09:28 PM

It is refreshing to hear a European voice come out and criticize Israel but still have the decency to recognize that Israel has the right to exist and defend herself. The conflict between Israel and Palestinians has nothing to do with metastasized state of affairs that has taken place across the Muslim world. The horrific bombings that take place in Iraq between the Shiites and the Sunis, or those occurring in Pakistan, Chechna, Mumbai, Afghanistan as well as other Muslim hot spots have nothing to do with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict but hardly anyone in Europe has raised their voices to condemn such acts. Where is the BBC and other European news organizations in providing the truth about these conflicts. If you read these newspaper and have some fundamental knowledge on the causes afflicting these spots, one recognizes immediately that these news media are providing a distorted picture of what is afflicting the Muslim world. Just to give an example, sixty years ago, India and Pakistan gained their independence from the yolk of British rule. Sixty years later India is forging ahead on the economic world scene while Pakistan is sinking into a state of chaos and civil war. Who is educating and paying for the fanatic teachings that take place every day in Pakistani, Afghan, Gaza, etc. Most journalists know where the money is coming from but they are afraid or have been blinded by their own propaganda. How the world is digesting the threats posed by fanatic Islam is tantamount to the passivity exhibited by Europe towards Fascism in the 1930s.

Hopefully your courage will be contagious and more people will begin to open their eyes on addressing the true problems affecting the Middle East and South East Asia.

Jed Nightingale

Posted by: Jed Nightingale at April 25, 2010 12:56 AM

"But there's a very big difference between rational criticism of the government, of various activities of the government, and unbridled and criminal attacks against Israel's very essence."

I am truly puzzled by the idea of attacking the "essence" of a country. I am even more puzzled by the idea that such an attack could be "criminal".

Is it of the essence of Israel that it defines itself by the ethnicity of its majority group? I imagine that many would say "yes". So is it being claimed that to question whether modern liberal democracy is compatible with such national ethnic self-definition is a criminal assualt on a nation's essence?

That sounds very illiberal to me.

As for the Middle East "... most European intellectuals stop thinking and only repeat empty cliches."

Well, that's the critics dealt with then. Easy wasn't it?

It is suggested that criticising Israel is a way of working off guilt for the holocaust. That seems to be another reason for not listening.

"Meanwhile, unfortunately, anyone who is not anti-Israel immediately becomes suspect." It is no doubt comforting for people who do not want to hear criticisms to believe that the critics are all motivated by malice. It also helps to group all these malicious people into categories such as "intellectuals", "European" and the like. On the other hand this view will not bear even a small effort of research into the Western media. (second posting)

Posted by: David Pavett at May 4, 2010 12:23 PM

It is so uniquely unusual to hear a non-Jew passionately and eloquently speaking out against anti-semitism and hatred towards Israel that reading Ms. Rahola's words actually brought tears to my eyes.
The irrational and irresponsible attacks against Israel and anything/everything she does to defend herself are difficult to bear and break your heart if you even have a modicum of decency.
What kind of world are we creating??

Posted by: anna at June 7, 2010 01:46 PM

Every country in Europe identifies itself with it's dominant group - Denmark is a Danish country, no?

Posted by: susan at June 16, 2010 09:09 PM

Thank you for your sane observation and commentary. As a Puerto Rican woman I agree with you. What you left out is that although Isreal is not perfect which country is, their behaviour is usurally in response to the cowardley terrorist that use their womena and children as human sheilds. How would you like to live day in and day out twith rockets raining on you? Decade after decade. They give up land for peace and get more bombs. The true history of how Ireal got their land is ignored, rewritten and fabricated. The Palastinian people belong in Jordan. This whole ugly situation has been created by the cowardly Arabs that keep these people in the condition they are in. They are all hate filled ugly people. They are the ones that should be gotten rid of. Jordan should take them in. I am sure that the USA would give them tons of money. What has happened to truth?

Posted by: Carmen Oliveras at July 8, 2010 08:00 PM

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