What do those who can't see see?*

The students fall silent, look at the ground, the journalist expresses thanks for the interview and leaves. When he's gone, one of the students goes "talk to someone about him." "It was weird," he says, brushing the dirt off his jeans. "The organisers need to know about it."

What do those who can't see see?*

* Andrzej Koraszewski, 3 May 2024

Sometimes I ask young people if they have seen the movie "Cabaret". Among those born in this century, none had heard of the film. When it was released in 1972, it was extremely popular. The phenomenal performance of Liza Minnelli and Michael York was more often a topic of discussion than the fact that it was (and still is) the greatest presentation of Berlin's atmosphere at a time when Nazism was becoming the religion of the German people. The film is available for a small fee, and you can also buy it as a DVD. Watching it today makes an staggering impression. More than half a century ago, this film was about distant history, today it is about the world we live in.

The decadence and disintegration of the known world, the delight in barbarism, the opportunism of those who should have seen but preferred to look the other way, the hopelessness of protest against the rising tide, the presence of evil in a sea of fun. Minor and seemingly insignificant incidents begin to merge into a new, disgusting reality.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes about an incident that took place in London on April 13, 2024. The videotaped scene shows a man in central London, near a pro-Palestinian march. The man is in a suit, he has a small kippa on his head. A British policeman warns him:

You are quite openly Jewish, this is a pro-Palestinian march, I'm not accusing you of anything, but I'm worried about the reactions to your presence.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an ex-Muslim who fled Africa in search of freedom, is horrified. In the metropolis of London, a man is threatened because he does not hide the fact that he is a Jew. She writes about the genocidal slogans of crowds of thousands in a city that is the cradle of the European parliamentary system. We have already become accustomed to these slogans on the streets of Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin or Amsterdam.

The real shock of the April 13th video, though, is not the perceived threat of Islamists anti-Semitic violence. That we are used to. Instead, it is that a British police officer, an agent of the state, seems to suggest that being ‘quite openly Jewish’ is unacceptable on the streets of a major Western city.

The policeman was probably motivated by concern for the safety of the man, who was easily recognisable as a Jew, and probably also feared for his own safety if he had to intervene and protect a citizen from a wild mob. He is probably not an antisemite or a Hamas sympathizer.

The man in this video is Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism. Was his behaviour provocative, or did he want to show that his mere presence would reveal the unequivocally antisemitic attitudes and views of the demonstrating crowd? We may consider this behavior to be bold, reckless, or unnecessarily provocative. Ayaan Hirsi Ali reminds us that peaceful protests are legal, and sympathy for the bystanders and innocent victims of war is understandable. At the same time the British police undoubtedly know perfectly well that these demonstrators are ready for violence, that they express solidarity with genocidal actions; maybe even the police know what chant “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya yahud!" means.

In many European cities, there are entire districts that the police are afraid to enter. The loss of the ability to maintain law and order is moving step by step further and further. Gradually, the neutral public space is disappearing.

"We cannot pretend that there is no difference between peaceful protests and those which come with a threat of Islamic violence," writes the ex-Muslim, who knows better than most the message of Islam and its radical organisations.

Islamism is a world where the minaret towers over all. It’s the burka’s flowing tendrils blanketing women like an invasive vine in a once-flourishing garden. It’s the gathering in the square that proclaims ‘this is our square now’. It’s the adhan blasted loudly at the Christians or Jewish – or secular! – part of town. Until, one day, there are no non-Muslim parts of town left. The Christians in Istambul and the Jews in Bagdad found this out the hard way. I pray the monied agnostics of Mayfair and Chelsea never do.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali ponders the question of whether the British state will learn to distinguish between peaceful (whether justified or unjustified) protests and marches declaring conquest. She calls for a return to the agora, where respect for the rights and dignity of all human beings prevails. She reminds us that without it, our world will be increasingly vulnerable to hostile takeovers.

Reading this text, I had the impression that the author deliberately chose a tone of gentle persuasion in the hope that something would finally reach those who see and refuse to believe what they see, or even worse, consciously support this hostile takeover.

Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali went to the Netherlands as a young woman, studied there, became a member of the Dutch parliament, and had to flee from her former brothers and their Western allies. Today, she lives in the United States, universities cancel scheduled meetings with her, and the mainstream media shuns her like a plague. Her books speak of the horrors of militant Islam, praise Western freedom, and sin with support of Israel. Such people have no place on the stage or in public discourse, and polite society pretends that they do not exist.

In the United States, where she lives today, the best universities are a breeding ground for a peculiarly placed empathy that is slowly turning into open support for genocidal movements pursuing what Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls a hostile takeover.

Young people demonstrate in support of "Palestine". What do they know and what don't they know? They know that they don't like the "Zionists" and shout that the "Zionists" should go back to Poland. They attack anyone who has any symbols associated with Judaism or the Jewish state, refuse any discussion, and block any attempt to organize a discussion. They make sure that the public space they control is free of Jews.

In an attempt to watch and understand this, The Free Press reporter Olivia Reingold decided to mingle with the crowd of "protesting" youth. Classes ignored, students set up camp on the lawn in front of the Columbia University library. Some make friendship bracelets, others paint slogans on pieces of cardboard. Olivia stops in front of a sign that reads, "Paint Ur Nails 4 Palestine." The owner of the tent demonstrates her red toenails. A young man with a book by Frantz Fanon, who decades ago called for the murder of whites, is greeted joyfully by his beloved. An agitator with a megaphone arouses moderate interest. Keffiyehs with purple and carrot hair sticking out of them dominate. Fun to the fullest. "Everyone has a role to play in the revolution," says a student who shuns traditional personal pronouns.

Olivia snaps a photo of a larger tent with the caption:

The sprawling tent city has a first aid center, a counseling tent, a ‘People’s Library for Liberated Learning,’ an art corner, a media corner, and a ‘laundry area’ for drying clothes after a rainfall. Above, oils and tinctures are laid out on a tapestry.

Welcome to the "Gaza Solidarity camp". There's an advisory tent, a writing center, an art corner. There are stalls selling healthy food, organic tampons, board games and "Community of the Proud" badges.

On the second day of the protest, a student identifying himself as "W" explained to reporters that the university students were opposing the "brutal entity of Zionist settlers" in Israel.

Genocide is a word that gets thrown around incessantly among the college students. There is infinite anger toward Israel, and none toward Hamas, the terrorist group that murdered 1,200 people on October 7, 2023, and still holds 129 hostages. There is no mention of the 500,000 Syrians so far murdered by the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad. Not a single person expresses outrage over the Uyghurs of China, who are facing an actual genocide and forced labor simply because they are Muslim.

Earlier, the organisers from Yale and Columbia published a guidebook, approved by the organisation "Students for Justice in Palestine". It has an interesting title: First We Take Columbia. The guide refers to student protests during the Vietnam War and warns against agitators from the “occupation” infiltrating the movement.

It's all perfectly organised. Although it doesn't seem that the police are particularly interested in who is organising it and where the instructions and money are coming from. For the reporter observing these frolics, the behaviour of the participants is interesting.

Those who want to argue are the "Zionists who have entered the camp." The manager, who describes himself as a "spokesman," immediately instructs them to be "pushed out." Young people form a human chain, displacing intruders.

The reporter also notices equipment with the inscription "People's Forum" – the name of an organization funded by a multimillionaire with ties to the Chinese government.

Olivia Reingold watched the student protest for eight days. Her extensive reportage ends with a scene during which her conversation with a student, who has specially come for guest appearances from Great Britain, is interrupted by a journalist from Japan. The journalist asks why no one in the camp condemns Hamas. He says it should be said. One of the students standing next to him angrily exclaims, "It's been told." The Japanese journalist knows perfectly well that this is a lie and loudly denies it.

The students fall silent, look at the ground, the journalist expresses thanks for the interview and leaves. When he's gone, one of the students goes "talk to someone about him." "It was weird," he says, brushing the dirt off his jeans. "The organisers need to know about it."

My guess is that among the thousands of people taken over by the new religion, there will be individuals who will discover that they have been deceived. I wonder how we can increase the number of those who understand what they see, what they participate in, and what they support. The case is almost hopeless. In a country far removed from that turmoil, I sent a letter to an anti-racism organization that published the award-winning photo of a Palestinian woman with the corpse of a child wrapped in a shroud. The award-winning photographer from Gaza is employed by Reuters, but a look at his posts on X's account and Instagram leaves no room for doubt: he is documenting "Israel's crimes" under Hamas's instructions. The organization dedicated to documenting racism faithfully repeats the information of the Hamas Ministry of Health, and the readers commenting on it receive the message correctly. Underneath the post, an outpouring of hatred towards Jews. I'm not asking if they know the Hamas Charter, I'm not repeating the Japanese journalist's question. I send them a set of photos of Houthi fighters, Hezbollah fighters, children trained by Hezbollah, and this photo that the "anti-racist fighters" themselves have posted. I ask them if they are aware of what they are doing. The organisation that documents racism leaves my question unanswered.

The film "Cabaret" begins with a scene in which a young Englishman, who has decided to improve his German, arrives in Berlin and knocks on the door of the apartment where he has rented a room. A young woman opens the door and shows her black-painted nails through an open slit. She laughs, makes sure her guest is shocked.

The film ends with the song "Tomorrow Belongs to Me". The new religion is already a universal religion. Youth has gained the agora, the public space is now completely taken over.

Half a century ago, I wondered if the sequel should show the return of the protagonist of the film to Berlin in an army uniform. Watching this film today, I wonder if the sequel to this film should show Sally Bowles’s great-granddaughter participating in a student "protest" against Jewish crimes.

Translation from Polish: Małgorzata Koraszewska and Sarah Lawson.

Picture credits:

Still from the film Cabaret.

Screenshot from https://news.sky.com/story/sky-news-footage-reveals-new-details-of-exchange-between-police-and-antisemitism-campaigner-called-openly-jewish-13120104

Olivia Reingold

Arab News et alia.