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September 10, 1982 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-09-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

24 Friday, September 10, 1982

M.E. War Pushed Anti-Semitism in Switzerland

LARRY FREEDMAN

Orchestra and Entertainment

647-2367

By TAMAR LEVY

specter of anti-Semitism.
Its current expression
GENEVA (JTA) — A
specter is beginning to takes the form of blistering
haunt Switzerland, the attacks against Israel's

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government and its policies
in the Middle East, particu-
larly its "Peace for Galilee"
operation.
These attacks, couched in
political terms, invariably
spill over into attacks
against Jews. For many
Swiss, Israel and Jews are
one entity, two sides of the
same coin, and an attack
against one is simultane-
ously an attack on the other;
a criticism of Israel is also
used as an excuse to criticize
Jews in this country for any
domestic problem.
Ironically, the Swiss were
never known to be particu-
larly anti-Jewish. One of
the reasons is that the Swiss
Jewish community is small
and Swiss Jews maintain a
very low profile. There are
some 20,000 Jews in Swit-
zerland of a total population
of some 6.3 million. The
largest Jewish communities
are in Geneva and in
Zurich.
But the war in Lebanon
brought whatever un-
conscious anti-Semitism
there was to the fore and
made implicit anti-
Semitism explicit. This
development is across
the board, from left to
right, from politicians to
the average citizen.
The Socialist Party in
Geneva joined forces with
the Communist Party to col-
lect signatures for a petition
requesting that the Swis's
government reconsider its
deal to buy arms from Israel
and to break diplomatic re-
lations with the Jewish
state.
In addition, the Com-
munist Party published an
article attacking the
president of the State of Is-
rael Bonds and the United
Jewish Appeal, saying that
he was collecting money for
Premier Menahem Begin
and his government and
therefore was acting
against the best interests of
Switzerland.
The war in Lebanon has
also taken its toll among
those who supported Israel.
A woman phoned the Israeli
delegation to the United
Nations in Geneva and
asked to speak to an Israeli
official. She reportedly told
the official: "I have always
been a fervent supporter of
Israel and have visited your
country several times. But
now I am totally opposed to
Israel's conduct in Lebanon
and my feelings have
turned against Israel. I am

Music Festival

not the only one who feels°
that way. Many of my
friends feel exactly as I do.
We no longer support Israel
and will not again visit Is-
rael."
The harshest critics of
Israel are Swiss youth be-
tween the ages of 15 and
20. Their criticism of Is-
rael spills over into at-
tacks against Jews. Not

Swiss
infrequently,
youth can be overheard
saying: "Maybe Hitler
was right after all to want
to exterminate the Jews
when we see what they
are doing in Lebanon."
This mood and these sen-
timents are becoming more
pervasive and open. A spec-
ter is indeed haunting Swit-
zerland.

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After a two-year lapse, the
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Some 200 performances of
35 different programs will
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country, including
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