World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder strongly condemned remarks by Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung who on repeated occasions had revived anti-Semitic canards such as Jewish control of the media and suggested that Israel’s Mossad could have been behind last year’s massacres in Norway committed by Anders Breivik in which 77 people died.
Lauder said the "despicable" remarks by the 82-year-old Galtung – a world-renowned peace scholar - were "yet another sign that anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiment is on the increase in certain intellectual and academic circles in Europe and that many scholars and artists are clearly obsessed with Israel and the Jews."
"There is a growing tendency to blame the Jews for all evil that happens under the sun. It is a scandal that a leading academics such as Galtung does not shy away from citing notorious forgeries such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to support his bigoted arguments," Lauder said.
"He and other intellectuals accuse Jews of stifling public debate and controlling the mass media. He and others hallucinate about a world in which nasty Jews control world finance. These people are obsessed about Israel and its alleged might. And, worst of all, they get their facts wrong almost all the time," he added.
Earlier this year, German writer and Nobel Prize laureate Günter Grass alleged that it was Israel that posed the biggest threat to world peace.
Ronald S. Lauder also recalled a recent court ruling in Italy in which the leftist cartoonist and anti-Israel activist Vauro Senesi was cleared of anti-Semitism despite portraying Jewish MP Fiamma Nirenstein with a Star of David and fascist symbols in one of his cartoons.
The judge ruled that he could not be accused of anti-Semitism "because of his profound commitment to humanitarian causes in Third World countries."
"While the cartoonist is given the license to publicly insult Jews, the court finds others guilty of defamation for calling him an anti-Semite – what a travesty!," the WJC President stressed.
He lamented the widespread silence of fellow academics and intellectuals. "Shouldn’t it be a lesson from European history that whenever anti-Semitic statements are made all decent people must condemn them, and not just the Jews? It is time that Europe’s intellectuals engage in some soul-searching because unfortunately, we are talking about more than just a few isolated cases of ‘angry old men’ ranting against Israel and the Jews."
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.