Across Western Europe, the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Beirut last week has brought a storm of criticism of Israel and heightened fears of an outbreak of anti-Semitism.
Jewish spokesmen have been prominent in denouncing the massacre and in calling for a full investigation and the prosecution of those responsible.
In France, Britain, West Germany and Italy, press criticism of Israel has been scathing, extending even to traditionally pro-Israeli publications. London's Daily Telegraph, the staunchest supporter of Israel among the leading British newspapers, asserted flatly that "the massacres took place as a result of Israel's policies." The conservative West German daily Die Welt said in an editorial Wednesday, "Unintentional as it may be, Israel's entanglement in this atrocious crime has cast a deep shadow on the reputation of the Jewish nation."
Official reactions holding Israel accountable for the actions of the Lebanese Christian militiamen it allowed to enter the Shatila and Sabra refugee camps south of Beirut included statements by two foreign ministers, Claude Cheysson of France and Emilio Colombo of Italy.
"When the Israeli government takes on the responsibility of guaranteeing security somewhere," Cheysson said Tuesday, ". . . it must assume full responsibility for what happens thereafter." Colombo said Thursday that Israel's responsibility was beyond discussion.
On Monday, when the European Community drafted a statement on the massacre, Britain and Italy reportedly wanted it to accuse Israel and to put the 10-member community on record as endorsing a Palestinian state. But West Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands were successful in moderating the statement's tone to a demand for Israel's withdrawal.
In Spain, the long-standing review of opening diplomatic relations with Israel has been shelved. "The issue is off for the time being," said Mauricio Toledano, spokesman for Spain's Jewish community.
In West Germany, where criticism of Israel has long been tempered by memories of Hitler's Holocaust, the government signaled its dismay over the massacre by having a high-level Foreign Ministry official meet for the first time with the Palestine Liberation Organization's representative in Bonn.
Public demonstrations over the massacre have been small and scattered so far. West German student groups have joined with several Palestinian and Lebanese organizations for a march in Bonn on Saturday. Italian Jewish communities have held demonstrations in Rome and Milan.
The issue of anti-Semitism has been most explicit in France, where the Jewish community of almost 750,000 is the largest in Western Europe and where the press immediately compared the massacre to Nazi genocide during World War II. The rhetoric was so strong that Israeli Ambassador Meir Rosenne accused the media of "inciting the killing of all Israelis and Jews."
Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy, speaking in the National Assembly on Tuesday, warned Frenchmen not to let "the abominable excesses committed in Lebanon . . . justify anti-Semitic campaigns," and the newspapers echoed his warning. But leftist newspapers charged that Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin's policies should be held responsible for any outbreak of anti-Semitism.
The debate has split France's Jews. At a rally this week, the head of a militant Jewish organization was booed and physically attacked when he read a statement that began, "It would seem that the Israeli Army did nothing to intervene in the Shatila and Sabra carnage." Other Jewish leaders have warned that Jews "must close ranks" against anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism is a major issue in France because the memory of collaboration with the Nazis in World War II still gnaws at French consciences. This summer's terrorist attacks in Paris, including the machine-gunning of a Jewish restaurant in August, have rekindled old fears.
In Italy, there is also concern about a rebirth of anti-Semitism. On Monday, the Union of Jewish Communities issued a strong statement expressing "abhorrence" at the massacre, demanding an investigation and virtually endorsing President Reagan's plan for negotiations to provide Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank. The statement was sent to Begin through the Israeli Embassy in Rome. In a television interview, Rome's senior rabbi, Elio Toaff, also called for the punishment of all those responsible.
There have been scattered anti-Israel incidents, but little anti-Semitism. Italy's baggage handlers' union announced a boycott of Israel's strike-grounded El Al airline, some international telephone operators have refused to place calls to Israel, and Jews leaving a Venice synagogue reported passers-by shouting, "Instead of praying, why don't you stop killing people."
In Spain, Toledano charged that pro-Palestinian bias in Spanish media reporting of the Mideast had been stepped up. "The press here is not giving the full story or the full information and it confuses the Christian militia with the IDF Israel Defense Forces ," he said.
Public shock and outrage in Britain was reflected in the major newspapers, which called for investigation of Israeli complicity. Britain's opposition Labor Party, in a formal statement, congratulated the Israeli Labor Party for its criticism of the Begin government's "role in the massacre." The statement also called for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The Jewish Chronicle, voice of Britain's Jewish community, said yesterday that Begin and Defense Minister Ariel Sharon should admit their "indirect responsibility" for the massacre and resign. To let loose the militia, the newspaper said, "was an act of incredible lunacy."
Britain's chief rabbi, Immanuel Jackobovits, expressed his "horror" at the massacre and added: "It is hard to believe that any Israeli authority bore responsibility for the crime, but Israel can only be completely exonerated if it is openly shown that its personnel took every possible step to prevent the carnage."
In Scandinavia, reaction was also highly critical of Israel. A Swedish government statement said: "Israel has a great responsibility for these atrocities. . . . These Israeli actions . . . have opened the door for the Phalangists and Israeli-supported Christian militia leader Saad Haddad's execution platoons."
This story is based on reports from Washington Post Foreign Service correspondents Bradley Graham in Bonn and Peter Osnos in London, and special correspondents Tom Burns in Madrid, Sari Gilbert in Rome and Sabine Maubouche in Paris.