A moment in time.


When I was seven years old I was a flower girl for one of my female cousins. Twenty-five years later I attended the couple’s silver wedding anniversary. In all that time I had not seen the bridesmaid whom I had been paired with. So when Jenny and I were brought together on that special day, palpable was her surprise that no longer did I resemble that dark haired young miss of seven dressed in a miniature version of her own beautiful ice blue gown, with my hair piled high and, like her, always smiling in that group photograph.

In fact, for Jenny, right up until our paths re-crossed that day, I had not and never would age. In her eyes, had we not met again, I would still be seven years old and would have gone on being so, despite the previous twenty-five years flowing under the bridge. What, however, was striking to me was that seemingly she could not reconcile that while her life had been well lived with marriage and children in those intervening years, I would not also have grown to adulthood and be living through my own personal milestones.

Such is the life of a photograph – especially one of those “big day” photographs – that causes the moment, and the subjects, to be forever stuck in time.

I was reminded of Jenny and of being stuck in time when I saw a photograph of a pro-Hamas demonstration in Poland after the October 7th atrocities in Israel. The main subject of this photograph1 is a young, white woman who is seen smiling widely while carrying a sign with the caption ‘keep the world clean’ with the flag of Israel shown cast into a rubbish bin. Since taken, the image has received much attention online.

When asked about her sign, this young woman, Marie Andersen, a Norwegian medical student who is studying in Poland, insisted that she was not demonstrating against the Jewish people, just the Israeli Government.

Whether Marie Andersen likes it or not, carrying her sign at this march is Antisemitism, as acts such as this always have been. Though she may insist that her sign has nuance and that it is the Israeli Government and not Jews that drew her ire, what she is actually supporting is the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of Hamas, both in Israel and everywhere else in the world. The rubbish bin and the word, clean, give the game away.

Maybe hers is not the worst of the anti-Jewish responses seen across the globe to the atrocities carried out by Hamas. But what it does say is that Antisemitism, especially the type that seems designed to divert with its almost casual, afternoon stroll appeal that comes through in the photo, is insidious. Like those who would tear down the signs of the missing Israeli civilians, with laughs and backslapping, what this photo is reminiscent of is Hannah Arendt’s phrase the Banality of Evil.

Many decades prior to Marie Andersen’s moment in time, another photograph with a remarkably similar context, was taken. Yet in this case what comes to be seen as the main subject of the photograph is shown responding in a completely differently way to the Antisemitism he sees. Taken in 1936, the photograph2 is of a massed rally, but with one man refusing to make the Nazi salute to Hitler, who is present at the occasion, despite everyone else in the photo doing so. Subsequently, it has become emblematic of moral strength in the face of evil.

In the years to come, how will Marie Andersen see herself when her image is shown over and over, as it surely will be? Will seeing her image with her disgusting sign, or being reminded of that day in Poland when people will ask, were you that girl in that photo, change her? Will she continue to see herself in that ordinary and commonplace, Adolph Eichmann way of the Banality of Evil, professing only to a political posture? Or will she think about her material support for the murder and torture of innocent Jews and the taking of civilian hostages in the worst Jewish catastrophe since the War?

I sincerely hope that Marie Andersen’s moment in time does not forever freeze her as the girl with the sign. But to do so will first require her to acknowledge that Antisemitism is insidious and that we must all be on alert.

  1. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/keep-the-world-clean-sign/ ↩︎
  2. https://allthatsinteresting.com/august-landmesser ↩︎
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mc
mc
November 13, 2023 10:33 am

A thought provoking piece BBS. Thank you.

It is wise to consider how our reactions will stand up to the test of time. I think it was Jordan Peterson who said that we need to be considerate of our future selves.

Having said that, the left often warn the conservatives that they will be on the wrong side of history. I often wonder if this is just to use their natural caution against themselves.

The left seem to write the history, so they can get away with it, at least until reality becomes too hard to ignore.

Real Deal
Real Deal
November 13, 2023 10:49 am

Thanks BBS. Thoughtfully and beautifully put.

bespoke
bespoke
November 13, 2023 10:50 am

We need more rationale commentary such as this a less of the emotionally driven rants.

My only gripe is the increasing calls to retreat from the institutions. The resistance wasn’t just those in direct line of fire but was also comprised of teachers to slave labourer’s sabotaging production lines.

tommbell
tommbell
November 13, 2023 10:58 am

Why is it that Miss Andersen is the archetypal booster for Hamas and its ilk in the West? The main indicia appear to be that she is privileged, allegedly “well” educated, almost certainly has never faced someone wanting to kill her (as is the same for most of us mercifully) and, yes, she’s female.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
November 13, 2023 11:25 am

This seems to apply:

The Hollow Men (12 Nov)

Someone at X said that the Cornell student arrested for making threats against Jewish students was probably just trying too hard to fit in and win approval of his peers and took it a step too far. My view is that there’s no just about it…the desire to fit in and win approval is very often the reason why people commit evil acts. I’m reminded of something CS Lewis said: “Of all the passions, the passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things.”

The progressive left has adopted antisemitism into their doctrine, thus anyone who wishes to “fit in” has to reflect the vibe, or they are cast out and cancelled. We’ve seen that young women have increasingly been drawn to leftism, although young men haven’t. And young women desperately want to “fit in” – you can see that in every school playground.

To some extent it is boiling frog syndrome – by the time they register that they’ve slowly turned into monsters it is too late to back out. So here we are, with young women holding up signs saying they want to “cleanse” Israel off the map. Hell is going to be crowded after this generation finally expires.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare
November 13, 2023 1:44 pm

What really surprises is this young woman’s total lack of historical understanding of the history of the Nazis with regard to the Jews, especially given that she is living and studying in Poland, scene of the murderous concentration death camps. She seems to take her design icon cues from a meme about litter, tidying up, which is bad enough, rather than any knowledge that the Nazis characterised the entire Jewish people as expendable ‘vermin’, ‘unclean’ people who were ‘commendably’ murdered. Nazi propaganda films actually showed pictures of a rat plague interspersed with pictures of Jews. Hence Marie’s use of an image of getting rid of something unwanted, especially with the addition of the word ‘clean’, is decidedly evil in its very banality.

I hope she becomes deeply ashamed of that photograph. I think it says everything about the way in which young people have been so misled by concepts of colonialism and oppression, applied without any historical knowledge about either of them. They become appalling adjuncts to tyranny led by Marxist activists and Islamofascists.

Thanks for your excellent reflection on this, BBS.

Speedbox
November 13, 2023 2:14 pm

Great post BBS.

The events of October 7 has brought out the anti-Semitic rats from their assorted hiding places. I have always known there were ‘a few’ but my God, I had no idea how many there really were.

As for the useful idiots who are blithely unaware of history but race to join the latest Leftist campaign, they should be deeply ashamed of their historical ignorance. The response by many, including our politicians and the MSM, has been a real eye-opener for me. I never imagined that the reality of the Holocaust would be so easily pushed into the background.

Only today, I received an email with a link attached from the recent London pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel rally. The link contains footage of a man saying “Hitler knew how to deal with these people”.

Sweet Lord.

Megan
Megan
November 13, 2023 2:28 pm

A well expressed and deeply thoughtful essay, BBS. An 80 year interregnum of normal conflict programming has resulted in a widespread and diverse cohort of people with no direct knowledge of war.

The steady hollowing out of history departments in universities and schools has ensured that generations of citizens have little or no context in which current events can be understood.

WW2 was a recent event, barely a few years in the past, when my siblings and I were born. It’s reality and the experience were still regularly spoken about, Anzac Day and all its stories were a part of our curriculum, huge numbers both marched and crowded the streets on that one day of the year.

My generation saw sons, brothers and friends wait to see if they would be conscripted. Then Vietnam splintered public opinion in scenes never before seen on the streets of our cities.

Gradually the reality of war drifted out of sight. Subsequent fights that our military were hidden away for the most part, only family and friends seeing and learning about what warfare actually means. Complacency grew, fattened up and descended into apathy or antipathy.

Our brave military are defamed, slandered and attacked on their return home. Our children and now grandchildren have been left in the dark, believing that giving peace a chance is a sufficient deterrent to savage, barbarous reality.

The intrusion of that reality, even on the individual reality of Jill Meagher and Eurydice Dixon, simply ups the ante of outrage, flowers, facebook memes, candles, vigils and slut walks. As if any of those matter a single skerrick to those who want to hurt or kill us.

I really hope Marie Anderson, captured in all her evil banality, smiling and happy to be seen to be ‘doing something to make a difference’ lives to regret her immature and deeply offensive antisemitic decision. Sadly, I think it will take something much uglier before attitudes begin the process of change that is required to save our previously free and (relatively) safe Western existence.

Cassie of Sydney
November 13, 2023 2:32 pm

I was reminded of Jenny and of being stuck in time when I saw a photograph of a pro-Hamas demonstration in Poland after the October 7th atrocities in Israel. The main subject of this photograph1 is a young, white woman who is seen smiling widely while carrying a sign with the caption ‘keep the world clean’ with the flag of Israel shown cast into a rubbish bin. Since taken, the image has received much attention online.

When asked about her sign, this young woman, Marie Andersen, a Norwegian medical student who is studying in Poland, insisted that she was not demonstrating against the Jewish people, just the Israeli Government.”

Yeah…nah….nah…..nah. Here’s the truth, Marie Anderson knew exactly what she was carrying. It was deliberately designed to hurt Jewish people and to deny them victimhood. Andersen’s husband is Jordanian.

I read that Andersen has been suspended from Warsaw University. She should be kicked out of the country.

Megan
Megan
November 13, 2023 2:48 pm

She should be kicked out of the country.

I was wondering why that had not already happened.

Kingsley
Kingsley
November 13, 2023 4:34 pm

Cassie is correct. She damn well knew what that phrase and sign meant.

My chief peeve is people that will say they are not anti-Semite, just against Israel or Israel on this issue. Then you start garnering their views on every issue involving Israel what do you know, they are against Israel on every single issue. But they’ll insist they are are not anti Semites.

Judge Dredd
Judge Dredd
November 13, 2023 4:43 pm

Can you criticize the Israeli government and not the people of Israel?

The problem (since WWII) is that people in the West cannot reasonably criticize a Jewish person without the old “anti-Semite” slander thrown in there as a way to shut down the conversation. You risk becoming persona-non-grata, and if that happens then you’re used as a lesson to never question anything about any Jewish person ever again.

Unfortunately, people see this and think what is going on – the more people that can’t talk about it the more people wonder why and start “doing their own research”.

Still, that was easily countered in that the vast majority of the population had WWII atrocities in their conscience. However, as the years go by the younger generation cares little or nothing about old war atrocities and so they start asking questions previous generations never dared. This turns into a very defensive reaction that is usually over-the-top as Jewish people are scared of another atrocity.

I am not sure what the answer is, but where things are currently heading towards is not good and I fear the Jewish people in Israel are likely to get kicked out again when I’m reality every people deserves a nation to peacefully live in.

Kingsley
Kingsley
November 13, 2023 4:44 pm

I do wish Israel would spend far more money and effort on fighting the propaganda. Take out full page adverts in every major newspaper in the west detailing how they phone/text the Gazan residents an hour before they bomb, pamphlet drops detailing the same, even “roof knocking”. Point out after all these precautions the ONLY two ways civilians casualties can be as high as HAMAS claims is either Hamas are bulldusting or they are stopping the civilians evacuate by shooting them as the NY Post a few days a go showed. Take the adverts out on YouTube tik tok etc . Lots of them. Spend hundreds of millions if necessary. Yes there will be some too far gone who will dismiss it as Zionist lies blah blah but its the people in the middle we must convince. Huge numbers of “normal ” people are simply unaware of how hard Israel tries to minimise casualties. Israel needs to engage in saturation advertising so its damned hard not to know

Damon
Damon
November 13, 2023 4:50 pm

A woman studying for a high status degree in a foreign land is regarded as ‘underprivileged’? I bet her husband’s not a manual worker.

vr
vr
November 13, 2023 5:09 pm

She should be kicked out of the country.

I was wondering why that had not already happened.

Poland just voted in a left-wing progressive government.

Christine
Christine
November 13, 2023 6:26 pm

It’s good to hold sincere hopes for this Marie Andersen.
But I can’t do that.
Protesting only against a government? No.
While she marched with a smile on her face, kidnapped children remained separated from their families; she turned her back on that ongoing suffering.
Callous.

Damon
Damon
November 13, 2023 7:02 pm

She won’t make much of a Doctor.

Carpe Jugulum
Carpe Jugulum
November 13, 2023 7:15 pm

I sincerely hope that Marie Andersen’s moment in time does not forever freeze her as the girl with the sign

I hope it does, i hope she is constantly reminded of her callous indifference.

I hope for the rest of her days she is reminded that she would happily see the extermination of a people, that she would dance on the graves of the innocent.

She needs to be reminded that she is the smiling face of evil.

WolfmanOz
WolfmanOz
November 13, 2023 8:16 pm

An excellent thought provoking post BBS . . . Thanks.

Pat Mac
Pat Mac
November 13, 2023 9:03 pm

I agree with carpe j, I wonder where our country has gone. I for one am against any type of BS virtue signalling, which is what our gummint is doing.
I so hope that we get back to conservatism.
This albo d/head has not made one sentence/comment of substance in his whole life.
And then there are Benny Wrong and Burke the thief, shortcock who should be in jail, beak nose bowen who should be flogged for stupidity, aah, and on and on.
FMD slowly.

The Beer Whisperer
The Beer Whisperer
November 13, 2023 9:59 pm

Hell is going to be crowded after this generation finally expires.

Rowan Atkinson Live – The Devil ‘Toby’ welcomes you to Hell

The Beer Whisperer
The Beer Whisperer
November 13, 2023 10:06 pm

But they’ll insist they are are not anti Semites.

Just like the Holocaust deniers, who always demonstrate their anti-semetism given enough rope.

Bruce
Bruce
November 14, 2023 7:53 am

“CS Lewis said: “Of all the passions, the passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things.””

Also, from Voltaire:

Those who can make you believe absurdities ban make you commit atrocities”.

another ian
another ian
November 14, 2023 8:29 am

FWIW

“No, We’re NOT All The Same”

“There’s a little chestnut — a fraud — that nobody wishes to talk about that comes down to two words: Magic Dirt.

It is the premise that one can take the thug out of the hood and he will become not a thug.

It underlies most of the wildly-false beliefs that many run on immigration, for example. Exceptions do not prove the rule; they are, in fact, exceptions.

Immigration from Western Europe mostly worked for America because Western Europeans and Americans share common values in large part. That’s largely because we were them before they came here, and while there are variation the basics are about the same when it comes to culture. I’m talking about very basic things, such as, for example, the value of human life.”

More at

https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=250087

another ian
another ian
November 14, 2023 8:32 am

“A grim record of savagery and terrorism”

“Amid all the protests against Israel for its punitive action in Gaza, it’s worth remembering why that action is taking place. The Judean is publishing a series of articles with videos of what happened in Israel on October 7, showing in graphic detail what Hamas terrorists perpetrated on that day.”

Warnings before links at

https://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2023/11/a-grim-record-of-savagery-and-terrorism.html

jupes
jupes
November 14, 2023 10:49 am

Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.

No ifs, no buts.

2dogs
2dogs
November 14, 2023 12:02 pm

The dividing line between antisemitism and legitimate criticism of Israel is essentially consistency.

It is legitimate to condemn Israel for something which one consistently condemns every other country that does the same in similar circumstances.

But if you are singling Israel out, that is antisemitic.

Yes, Palestinian civilians have died. So have Yemeni, Eritrean, and many other civilians worldwide.

Bruce
Bruce
November 15, 2023 9:01 am

Their ABCess does not need to be putt out of ITS misery.

It needs to be put out of OUR MISERY. An enormous taxpayer-funded, enemy propaganda machine is what it has become.

Boambee John
Boambee John
November 15, 2023 3:57 pm

Dredd

The Jewish people will not be kicked out again. If they go down in a new Masada, this time they will take their enemies with them. Several hundred nuclear weapons are both a powerful deterrent and an ultimate defence.

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