From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

They Hate Israel, Too. Or, “F*cking Jews”: Genuine anti-Semitic feelings or just normal street talk? Anti-Semitism, er, anti-Zionism in the Netherlands has gotten to the point where Remembrance Day observations have been disrupted by violence and by thugs chanting “Hamas, Hamas, pump the Jews full of gas.” Needless to say, Dutch authorities have been, uh, falling over themselves to address such issues.

Dutch politicians and social policy experts are gradually coming round to the view that this problem needs to be taken seriously. So far, however, their efforts at tackling it have been disappointing, to say the least. Perhaps their intransigence has something to do with the fact that it isn't their old b te noir, the extreme Right, that is behind this latest outburst of anti-Semitic violence. For as the Amsterdam-based Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) has pointed out, the new anti-Semitism is overwhelmingly an Arab immigrant phenomenon. And even in post-Pim Fortuyn Dutch society, where anti-Islamism is now a mainstream political sentiment, accusing Arabs of anti-Jewish racist crimes is still a major taboo.

INSTEAD OF naming, shaming, and punishing the perpetrators of these crimes, the Dutch political class prefers to "gain a deeper understanding of the motives of the criminals." The Amsterdam Social Services Commissioner Ahmed Aboutaleb thinks he has found this root cause of Arab anger: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Basing his argument on the old maxim that if a Jew gets harassed it must be because he's done something wrong, Aboutaleb claims that Arab immigrant youths "sometimes develop anti-Semitic feelings because they (or their parents) strongly sympathize with the Palestinian cause." He also urges people to make the distinction between "normal street talk" and real anti-Semitism which, according to him, is a much rarer phenomenon.

No wonder, then, that the Dutch police don't know what to do with the case of the Turkish immigrant rapper zg r Korkmaz and his group NAG (Nieuwe Allochtone Generatie - New Immigrant Generation). In his song "F***ing Jews," Korkmaz warns the "f***ing Jews" that immigrants are "comin' to kill" them. After CIDI's director Ronnie Naftaniel filed a complaint against him, Korkmaz reported to his local police station. But the police, who probably couldn't decide whether these lyrics were an expression of genuine anti-Semitic feelings or just normal street talk, sent him away without even charging him. "I don't understand," Korkmaz said. "I was here to make a statement because I feel CIDI is right. My lyrics were completely over the top." Instead of singing "kill all Jews," he would have preferred to have sung "kill the Jews that are in Israel's government and are responsible for the slaughter of Palestinian babies."

Korkmaz's song is a hit among Arab immigrant schoolchildren. He is obviously an idiot, but he was on to something when, in the course of complaining about being "unfairly singled out" by CIDI, he observed that "Holland is full of Jew-haters, and the Internet is full of songs like mine."

Something is indeed rotten in the land of Anne Frank. I Hate Israel, Kill the F*cking Jews. Somebody should start a talent show called Antisemitic Idol.

In other news, Robert Fisk informs us that the picture of a hooded Iraqi with wires attached to his hands is “ an iconic portrait, every bit as memorable as the picture of the second aircraft flying into the World Trade Centre.” Iconic is likely the right word, as one can’t help but notice that certain parties are practically worshipping it. One always hates to question Fisk’s, ahem, understated brilliance, but might I suggest that for a lot of folks—especially those whose loved ones were killed or maimed when the second aircraft was flown into the WTC—Fisk’s putative “iconic portrait” is less memorable? Just a wee bit, perhaps?

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