Cameron Criticizes ‘Multiculturalism’ in Britain

LONDON — Faced with growing alarm about Islamic militants who have made Britain one of Europe’s most active bases for terrorist plots, Prime Minister David Cameron has mounted an attack on the country’s decades-old policy of “multiculturalism,” saying it has encouraged “segregated communities” where Islamic extremism can thrive.

Speaking at a security conference in Munich on Saturday, Mr. Cameron condemned what he called the “hands-off tolerance” in Britain and other European nations that had encouraged Muslims and other immigrant groups “to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.”

He said that the policy had allowed Islamic militants leeway to radicalize young Muslims, some of whom went on to “the next level” by becoming terrorists, and that Europe could not defeat terrorism “simply by the actions we take outside our borders,” with military actions like the war in Afghanistan.

“Europe needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries,” he said. “We have to get to the root of the problem.”

In what aides described as one of the most important speeches in the nine months since he became prime minister, Mr. Cameron said the multiculturalism policy — one espoused by British governments since the 1960s, based on the principle of the right of all groups in Britain to live by their traditional values — had failed to promote a sense of common identity centered on values of human rights, democracy, social integration and equality before the law.

Similar warnings about multiculturalism have been sounded by Chancellor Angela Merkelof Germany and by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. But, if anything, Mr. Cameron went further. He called on European governments to practice “a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism,” and said Britain would no longer give official patronage to Muslim groups that had been “showered with public money despite doing little to combat terrorism.”

Perhaps most controversially, he called for an end to a double standard that he said had tolerated the propagation of radical views among nonwhite groups that would be suppressed if they involved radical groups among whites.

Muslim groups in Britain were quick to condemn the speech, among them the Muslim Council of Great Britain, a major recipient of government money for projects intended to combat extremism. Its assistant secretary general, Faisal Hanjra, said Mr. Cameron had treated Muslims “as part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution.”

A Muslim youth group, the Ramadhan Foundation, accused the prime minister of feeding “hysteria and paranoia.” Mohammed Shafiq, the group’s chief executive, said Mr. Cameron’s approach would harden the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims, “and we cannot allow that to happen.”

British leaders, particularly from the Conservative Party, which Mr. Cameron leads, have mostly been careful to avoid arguments that might expose them to charges of holding racially tinged views since a notorious speech in 1968 in which Enoch Powell, a leading Conservative, warned of “rivers of blood” if nothing was done to curb Caribbeanimmigration to Britain.

“We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong,” Mr. Cameron said, speaking of immigrant groups, dominated by Muslims, whose numbers have been estimated in some recent surveys at 2.5 million in Britain’s population of 60 million. Britain’s domestic intelligence service, MI5, has said that as many as 2,000 Muslims in Britain are involved in terrorist cells, and that it tracks dozens of potential terrorist plots at any one time.

Mr. Cameron continued: “We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values. So when a white person holds objectionable views — racism, for example — we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices have come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious, frankly even fearful, to stand up to them.”

The prime minister pointed to several steps the government planned that would tackle the rise of extremism. Among these, he said, would be barring “preachers of hate” from visiting Britain to speak in mosques and community centers; stopping Muslim groups that propagate views hostile to values of gender equality, democracy and human rights “from reaching people in publicly funded institutions like universities and prisons”; and cutting off government support for such groups.

The prime minister’s speech came at the end of a week in which Britain’s role as a base for Islamic terrorists as well as the behind-the-scenes pressure applied by the United States for actions that would deal more effectively with the threat have drawn fresh attention.

On Thursday, the government’s official watchdog on antiterrorist issues, Lord Alexander Carlile, issued a final report before retiring in which he said that Britain had become a “safe haven” for terrorists, primarily because of rulings by the European Court of Human Rights, that made it difficult to deport people considered terrorist risks, and other decisions that curbed the application of British antiterrorist laws.

For years, and particularly since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, American officials have been frustrated by what they see as an insufficiently robust crackdown on terrorist groups in Britain, which have been identified in Congressional testimony and elsewhere as a leading threat to American security.

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Manfred Gerstenfeld is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the JerusalemCenter for Public Affairs. Collaborate with the correct information.

He has published 20 books, including two concerning the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitism in Norway.

To read his articles on Norway (and others, all in Italian) get in his column, on the Home Page, left column.

Read More……… 


Manfred Gerstenfeld

Summary

In the past decades many pioneering efforts to demonize Israel have come from elites of the Nordic countries. The motifs of this anti-Israelism are similar to those of classic anti-Semitism, of which it is a new mutation. Such highly discriminatory prejudices are in particular expressed in Norway and Sweden by leading socialist and extreme-leftist politicians as well as journalists, clergy and so-called humanitarians.

Behind the Nordic countries’ appearance and oft-proclaimed concern for human rights lurk darker attitudes. This book deals mainly with lifting the humanitarian mask as far as Israel and Jews are concerned. This disguise hides many ugly characteristics such as false morality, a pretense of superiority, as well as profound humanitarian racism.

The best-known Swedish statesman of the postwar period, Olof Palme was one of Europe’s first prominent Holocaust inverters. He was at the origin of the permeation of anti-Israelism in segments of the Social Democrats, Sweden’s classic government party.

In recent years major anti-Semitic incidents have taken place in Norway even though there are very few Jews there. The country is a European leader of anti-Semitic cartoons, sometimes similar to Nazi ones. Norway is one of the very few countries that forbids Jewish ritual slaughter. At the same time, it is one of only three countries in the world that permit the cruel killing of whales.

In this book, thirteen essays and interviews discuss various aspects of the attitudes of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland toward Israel and the Jews.

From the Foreword by Professor Gert Weisskirchen

The fight against anti-Semitism is still necessary. That is the conclusion I have had to draw as the Personal Representative of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Chairman-in-Office on Combating Antisemitism. One of the central problems is the psychological and rhetorical entanglement of criticism of the State of Israel with anti-Semitism. Analyses show that the projection of anti-Israeli sentiments onto Jewish communities is a widespread pattern throughout Europe.

This book deals specifically with anti-Israeli, and sometimes anti-Semitic occurrences within the political and societal discourse in the so-called Nordic countries in Europe. The case studies presented here take a closer look at such phenomena as officials evaluating Israeli policies from a standpoint of moral superiority, strongly biased news reporting on the Middle East conflict, the failure to adequately protect Israeli institutions, the reluctance to put war criminals on trial, and so on. The incidents and patterns discussed here should be regarded as serious. It is the merit of this volume to put the spotlight on underreported phenomena that occur too close to what we see as our consensual political discourse for them to be ignored or trivialized.

Recommendations

“This book is an impressive and serious survey of different forms of anti-Semitism in the Nordic countries. The author also shows how anti-Semitism has become synonymous with anti-Israelism. The book is therefore a valuable tool in the public debate for all those who want Israel to remain as a nation and for the Jewish community to live in a safe environment in our countries.”

Annelie Enochson, Member of the Swedish Parliament

“In the early days of the State of Israel, there were very strong ties with Norway. Today, relations are still strong, although far from being uniform. The media’s unbalanced reporting of the situation in the Middle East is responsible for this. Therefore, as friends of Israel, we welcome honest information from other points of view. This book is a good example of such information.”

Ingebrigt S. Sørfonn, Member of the Norwegian Parliament

“Almost no scholarly works existed on the Nordic Countries and Israel until this recent contribution by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld. His research offers a pioneering and thought-provoking analysis based on existing source material and interviews. Since his work is multi-focused on economic, political and moral issues, it will certainly give new impetus to a wider societal discussion. This book is of interest to anyone concerned with modern history and its implications evident in current relations between the Nordic countries and Israel.”

Hannu Takkula, Member of European Parliament (Finland), Vice Chair, Committee on Culture and Education

“The media in the Nordic countries are often accused of being biased and anti-Israeli in their coverage of the Middle East conflict. This book demonstrates that the accusations are justified. Manfred Gerstenfeld’s thorough analysis shows that many media, despite their reputation for humanitarianism, seriousness and fairness, come surprisingly close to the ‘new anti-Semitism’ when it comes to their coverage of Israel. The results of this analysis will be difficult to dismiss – for the media in question as well.”

Jacques Blum, cultural sociologist and chief editor of Goldberg Magazine. (Denmark)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments…………………………………………………………………………………………9

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………….11

Gert Weisskirchen: Foreword ………………………………………………………………………15

Manfred Gerstenfeld: Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic

Countries, Israel, and the Jews ………………………………………………. …………………….18

ESSAYS AND INTERVIEWS ON INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES

Manfred Gerstenfeld: Anti-Israelism and Anti-Semitism in Sweden: An

Interview with Zvi Mazel ………………………………………………………………………………78

Mikael Tossavainen: Arab and Muslim Anti-Semitism in Sweden ……………………….86

Gerald Steinberg: The Swedish International Development Agency’s

Support for NGO Campaigns against Israel ……………………………………………………..98

Efraim Zuroff: Sweden’s Refusal to Prosecute Nazi War Criminals,

1986-2007 ………………………………………………………………………………………………103

Manfred Gerstenfeld: Norway: Extreme Expressions of Anti-Israeli and

Anti-Semitic Attitudes ………………………………………………………………………………..127

Erez Uriely: Jew-Hatred in Contemporary Norwegian Caricatures ……………………139

Odd Sverre Hove: The Cut-and-Omit TV News: Norway ………………………………156

Manfred Gerstenfeld: Norway: The Courage of a Small Jewish

Community; Holocaust Restitution and Anti-Semitism:

An Interview with Bjarte Bruland …………………………………………………………………162

Arthur Arnheim: Anti-Semitism after the Holocaust: Also in Demnark ……………….168

Vilhljámur Őrn Vilhjálmsson and Bent Blüdnikow: Rescue, Expulsion,

and Collaboration: Denmark’s Difficulties with Its World War II Past …………………176

Gerald Steinberg: Finnish State Funds Support Palestinian NGO

Campaigns against Israel ……………………………………………………………………………201

Manfred Gerstenfeld: Finland’s Tarnished Holocaust Record: An

Interview with Serah Beizer ………………………………………………………………………..206

Vilhjálmur Őrn Vilhjálmsson: Iceland, the Jews, and Anti-Semitism,

1625-2004 ……………………………………………………………………………………………..216

Contributors and Interviewees …………………………………………………………………….237

Index ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..241

Read More

Posted on July 5, 2011, in Truth to Power. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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