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Vol. 79/No. 7      March 2, 2015

(front page)
Islamist attack in Denmark
targets Jews, political rights

In the latest Islamist terror attack in Europe, two people were killed and at least five wounded in Copenhagen, Denmark, Feb. 14-15. Like last month’s shootings in France, the targets were Jews, journalists and others speaking out in defense of political rights. The attacker was Danish native Omar el-Hussein, 22, whose parents were born in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon.

Like Amedy Coulibaly, who took Jewish shoppers captive in a Paris kosher grocery in January, killing four, el-Hussein became a partisan of Islamic State in prison. After he said he wanted to go to Syria to fight, the Danish prison service put him under surveillance. After the two attacks, he was killed by Danish police.

El-Hussein first attacked an afternoon seminar Feb. 14 titled “Art, Profanity and Freedom of Expression,” attended by about 50 people at the Krudttonden café. The panel featured Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist who received death threats after depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a dog in 2007; French Ambassador François Zimeray; and Inna Shevchenko, a feminist supporter of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine attacked by Islamists.

Shevchenko was speaking about how some commentators claim to be for free-speech rights, but say they shouldn’t be exercised if they can be seen as insulting Islam. El-Hussein opened fire outside, killing film director Finn Norgaard and injuring three cops.

Around 1 a.m. the following morning el-Hussein attacked Copenhagen’s central synagogue where a bat mitzvah party was taking place. He shot and killed Dan Uzan, a Jewish volunteer guard and wounded two cops.

The first report by the liberal New York Times did not mention Jews were targets. Instead, it reported the attacks took place “outside a synagogue.” The article said, “Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment is rising in Europe, and although there was no indication who was responsible for the shootings in Copenhagen, Twitter was ablaze with anti-Muslim indictments.”

“Anger of Suspect in Danish Killings Is Seen As Only Loosely Tied to Islam,” the Times was still claiming in a headline two days after the attack. But the same article reported how el-Hussein had spoken often about joining Islamic State and fighting in Syria.

And the article reported how a dozen men, their faces covered by scarves, visited the spot where el-Hussein was killed. They shouted “God is great” in Arabic and left a leaflet denouncing Danish police for covering the body of the Jewish security guard with a sheet while leaving el-Hussein’s body uncovered.

Jew-hatred has special place under capitalism
While most acts of Jew-hatred in Europe over the last several years have been carried out by Islamist supporters, along with some by ultra-rightist and white supremacist groups, anti-Semitism continues to raise its ugly head in ruling-class circles as well.

Jew-hatred has a special place under capitalism, escalated by the employers along with promotion of fascist gangs in times of economic crisis. Their goal is to scapegoat Jews in an effort to divert workers and middle class layers from the fight for a popular revolution to overthrow capitalism. Anti-Semitism continuously percolates in capitalist society.

On Feb. 16 Roland Dumas, who was the French foreign minister from 1988 to 1993 under the country’s ruling Socialist Party, was asked if he thought current Foreign Minister Manuel Valls — who has been promoting French imperialism and prettifying the French government’s record against anti-Semitism — is “under Jewish influence.” Valls’ wife, Anne Gravoin, is Jewish. “Everyone is under some influence,” Dumas said. “I can think so, so why not say it?”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is running for reelection, called on European Jews to move to Israel. “Of course, Jews deserve protection in every country, but we say to Jews, to our brothers and sisters: Israel is your home,” he said Feb. 15.

Netanyahu projects himself as the only candidate strong enough to defend Jews around the world.

The pace of Jewish emigration to Israel from France and other European countries has grown, but many choose to remain. “We are Danish and we are staying in Denmark,” Jeppe Juhl, a spokesperson for Jewish organizations there, told Agence France-Presse.

Missing from the debate has been any working-class voice that puts forward the importance of combating Jew-hatred, while supporting the right of Jews to return to Israel and opposing discrimination against Muslims. Rejecting anti-Semitic violence is a life-and-death question for the working-class. No revolutionary movement capable of uniting workers and their allies to fight boss attacks and build a broad social struggle for workers power can be built if the fight against Jew-hatred is not emblazoned on its banner.  
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