A collection of the week's news from Israel
A service of the Bet El Twinning Committee of Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto
A collection of the week's news from Israel
December 14, 2001
Issue number 357
Saturday December 15, 8:00pm
The Honourable David Levy, Member of Knesset and Former Foreign Minister and Deputy P.M. will be speaking at a Solidarity Rally “Israel: Peace and the War on Terrorism” at the Sephardic Kehilla Centre.
From the Arab Media...
Ramadan TV Special: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
During the second half of Ramadan, a number of television stations, including Egyptian stations, will be screening the thirty-part series "Horseman Without a Horse," starring the well-known Egyptian actor Muhammad Subhi and a cast of 400 others from Egypt, Syria, and France. The series, whose budget ran six to eight million Egyptian pounds, was produced by Arab Radio and Television (ART), established in 1993, which broadcasts to the Middle East, North America, Latin America, Australia, and Africa.(1)
In a report on the series, the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Youssuf(2) described it as the "first of its kind" - both artistically, as it is the first time a single actor plays 14 different characters, and in the way in which it deals with the issues it raises. The following are excerpts from a report on the series:
"For the first time, the series' writer courageously tackles the 24 Protocols of the Elders of Zion, revealing them and clarifying that they are the central line that still, to this very day, dominates Israel's policy, political aspirations, and racism... The series' first scene is set in 1948, after the retreat of the four Arab armies and the Zionist invasion of the land of Palestine.From this point, there is a flashback to the mid-19th century."
The newspaper states that the idea of exposing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in a drama series took shape in Subhi's mind as the result of two events. The first of these was the "London Convention" [sic], which he considered the greatest single calamity ever to affect the Arab region. This agreement, Subhi claimed, was the work of three Zionist rabbis, promoters of the Zionist idea, who concocted an elaborate plot according to which Palestine would be annexed to Egypt, and Britain would subsequently conquer Egypt and hand Palestine over to the Zionists.
Subhi stated that this is what sparked his desire to investigate the Zionist idea, which existed years before the "London Convention," but emerged only at the first Zionist conference in Basle Switzerland, at which the Jews began to appear as a Zionist organization; previously, they had been active only in associations and large institutions throughout the world.
Also motivating him, he said, was a book by the Egyptian author Abbas Mahmoud Al-'Aqqad on the Zionist movement. Al-'Aqqad said that, "[In order to examine] whether the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are an invention - as [the Jews] claim - all we have to do is to trace the [implementation of the] 24 protocols; if we find that some of them have come to pass, we must expect that the rest also will." Subhi followed Al-'Aqqad's advice, and found that 19 of the 24 protocols had [already] been put into practice. "By means of the series," Subhi adds, "I am exposing all the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that have been implemented to date, in a dramatic, comic, historic, national, tragic, and romantic manner."
The weekly also offered quotes from the Protocols that the series addresses:
"We will act to establish a state to be a superpower that will rule the world"; "[When we rule the world], we will damage its morality with pornography, prostitution, and drugs, and we will corrupt the world of the Gentiles"; "We must choose someone corrupt [for the presidency of the superpower] and when he resists us - we will expose him." In this context, Subhi noted, "We all remember what happened to President Clinton and to other presidents throughout history."
The series will also reveal "advice" reportedly taken from the Protocols, such as: "Feed a dog, [but] not a Muslim or a Christian" and "Kill a Muslim or a Christian and take his house as your house and his lands as your lands." He also raises such questions as, "How can a country like America collaborate with the Jews when it is familiar with the Protocols' directives against it [America]?"
Endnotes: (1) Al-Alam Al- Youm (Egypt), October 4, 2001. (2) Roz Al-Youssuf (Egypt), November 17, 2001. (MEMRI Dec 6)
One Man's TerroristWall Street JournalEditorial
Hamas's latest terror means the end of the "peace process."
September 11 changed U.S. attitudes forever toward terrorism, with a single exception: suicide bombings in Israel. The Bush Administration said they were terrible but the blame for "violence" was still said to lay with both sides. Now even that moral equivalence may be vanishing in the White House, with potentially helpful long-term consequences.
After Hamas suicide bombers killed 25 Israelis and injured some 200 over the weekend, the White House responded to Israeli reprisals by saying, "Israel has a right to defend itself." A day later President Bush went further, freezing the assets of a U.S.-based charity called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which he accused of funding Hamas.
The about-face is an encouraging sign that the Bush Administration understands that one man's terrorist is . . . another man's terrorist. We also hope it's a sign the White House is breaking with a decade-long U.S.-led "peace" process that has now produced the most Arab-Israeli violence in a generation. A further sign of progress would be if Mr. Bush changed the current Mideast mission of U.S. envoy and retired Gen. Anthony Zinni; instead of hoping he can resurrect a forlorn process, he might first try to get the Arabs to recognize Israel's right to exist.
Until even that basic standard is met, how can there be something called "peace"? Yet only two Arab states, Jordan and Egypt, have done so. Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority employs textbooks with maps that do not depict Israel at all, even as a disputed territory. And the PLO Charter still declares: "The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of Israel is fundamentally null and void, whatever time has elapsed."
This Charter has never been amended, despite Arafat's promises in signing the Oslo Accords in 1993. Bill Clinton's 1998 visit to the PLO meeting in Gaza, where the Charter was supposedly changed, was in fact a sham; it isn't legal by the PLO's own rules and most members don't recognize it.
In this context, Arafat's routine pledge to round up the usual Hamas suspects can hardly be trusted. These are the same people he promised to control as part of Oslo. Instead he released most of them from jail last year when he began the Second Intifada. Arafat still speaks, and has since 1974, of a plan of "phases" to destroy Israel entirely from any base he can establish in Palestine. Amid the current terrorism, and after Arafat rejected Ehud Barak's historic offer for a Palestinian state, Oslo looks merely like one more part of this long-term strategy.
Which is why it's understandable if Israel now takes more forceful security moves. Disarming the Palestinian police force that was created under Oslo would seem to be a logical step. The U.S. would never tolerate an armed camp of suicide bombers on its own doorstep. Expelling Arafat the way Jordan did in 1970 would also make sense.
The question is whether such moves would prompt the Bush Administration to return to its earlier blame-both-sides rhetoric. We've always suspected that this posture was partly tactical, designed to appease the coalition Mr. Bush wants to maintain in the war against terrorism. But Hamas's continued terror has exposed that stand's moral and strategic inconsistency. As New York Senator Chuck Schumer has put it, "The PLO is the same as the Taliban, which aids, abets and provides safe haven for terrorists."
A peace in Palestine may still be possible one day, and the U.S. efforts on their behalf since Oslo have been legion. But after eight years and hundreds of deaths, Israelis have understandably concluded that that process is over. We hope the Bush Administration now finally agrees. (Wall Street Journal Dec 6)
Israel and the War on TerrorismBy Elena Bonner
The most recent barbaric acts of terror in Jerusalem and Haifa require the United States and other Western nations to rethink the whole idea of the so-called "peace process" for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They must state without equivocation to the Palestinian Authority that for many years it has been harboring the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hizbullah and that Israel, just as America after September 11, has the right to use any means available, including armed force, in order to protect its civilian population.
Western peacemakers must recall that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat used to be terrorist No. 1 before Osama bin Laden took over that title. Arafat was transformed into a legitimate political figure aided by the Soviet Union's prominent role in the United Nations' anti-capitalist activists in the West, and by petrodollars.
The money poured into the Palestinian cause over the years could have created a prosperous society and made every family living in Palestine well off. Instead, it was used to reinforce terrorist bases and to spread violence. Thousands of young people were trained for two intifadas and indoctrinated with the ideology of Hamas and Hizbullah, which insists that Israel has no right to exist and that the only good Jew is a dead Jew. Their mentality, especially of the suicide bombers, is the same as that of the terrorists who destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center and crashed into the Pentagon.
The long-drawn-out and shameful game which Western politicians have been playing with the fate of Israel in the so-called "peace process" has already cost more lives than September 11. The endless meetings at Camp David, the shuttle diplomacy of secretaries of state and other officials, the negotiations in Oslo, the Nobel Prize and the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize (with political correctness observed, the prizes were shared by an Israeli and a Palestinian) have not brought peace any closer, but produced concessions to the Palestinian side in return for unkept promises.
It has just been announced that Arafat and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres have been invited to the Nobel ceremony. Even now, after all the blood spilled in Jerusalem! After Kissinger's diplomacy brokered a settlement of the 1973 Middle East war, Andrei Sakharov wrote: "In my judgment, the US and its European allies have now taken responsibility for the fate of Israel, and that responsibility must be met." Much earlier, in 1947, when the United Nations adopted the resolution creating the State of Israel, it assumed the responsibility for safeguarding Israel's security, but it then substituted diplomatic demagogy for effective action. In 1975 it even passed the infamous resolution (now repealed) equating Zionism and racism.
US President George W. Bush's statement after the recent tragedies in Jerusalem and Haifa shows his growing awareness that peace negotiations cannot be conducted to the accompaniment of terrorist acts. But this is only a first step toward a full and realistic understanding of the situation. The creation of an independent Palestinian state that will pose a threat neither to Israel nor to other democracies is only possible if preceded by many years of truly peaceful coexistence of Jews and Arabs without a single act of terrorism.
There exist two possible solutions. One is for the US and its allies in the anti-terrorist coalition to direct equal efforts to the elimination of both terrorist centers - bin Laden's al-Qaida and the Palestinian terrorist organizations. Some countries which now are counted as nominal members of the anti-terrorist coalition may jump ship, but this should not cause undue concern.
The second possibility is simple: abandoning the defense of Israel and removing every single Jew to a safe haven somewhere in the US, Canada, or Europe and spending on their resettlement the billions of dollars now spent every year in Asia and Africa on education and the fight against hunger, AIDS, tuberculosis, and other social ills. Keep in mind, however, that in place of Israel - the only democracy in the Middle East, despite all the polemics on this subject - there will be created a breeding ground of terrorism that will make repetitions of September 11 a commonplace occurrence all over our small planet.
There is, of course, a third possibility. To continue the humbug of the peace process, arming Egypt and Israel's other neighbors on the sly, and waiting for new ovens of Auschwitz to darken the land of Israel with their smoke. Or might "progress" produce something even more terrible?
The 21st century began not with the New Year fireworks in Times Square, but with the flames of the Twin Towers. A quarter of a century ago Sakharov warned us: "The reality of the contemporary world is complex. It is a fantastic mix of tragedy, irreparable misfortune, apathy, prejudices, and ignorance, plus dynamism, selflessness, hope, and intelligence. The future may be even more tragic. Or it may be more worthy of human beings - better and more intelligent. Or it may not be at all. It depends on all of us - people in every country in the world. It depends on our wisdom, our freedom from illusion and prejudice, our readiness to work, to practice intelligent austerity, and on our kindness and breadth as human beings."(Jerusalem Post Dec 9)
The writer is a human rights activist and widow of Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov.
An Old Story: Anti-Semitism, Past and PresentBy Jack Schwartz
Every age begets the anti-Semitism best suited to it. And while the key emotion driving it may be a visceral hatred of Jews, the critical intellectual aim is to delegitimize them. In a spiritual age, the Jews are delegitimized spiritually. In early church polemics, they are deemed no longer worthy of their own Scriptures because they have failed to accept Christ as the Messiah — a message that justified almost 2,000 years of persecution, and was only halted through the courage of an enlightened papacy and like-minded Protestant churchmen.
Islam has shown two faces to the Jews, one benevolent, one less so. Mohammed welcomed both Jews and Christians to the new faith and saw them as teachers. His early dealings with them left a heritage by which they were treated as dhimmis, people who were at once protected and subservient. But the second chapter of the Koran, Al Baqarah, "the Cow,'' is suffused with injunctions against the Jews for rejecting Mohammed's mission. Chastisement, in this case, is not only justified but divinely sanctioned, and it comes through the instruments of the Prophet's armies, who drive the Jewish tribes first from Medina and then altogether from the Hijaz — a campaign punctuated by assassination, broken pledges, massacre, and despoliation. Though not unusual by the standards of the time, the legacy seems to have persisted in alternating periods of persecution and tolerance through the following 1,400 years. More recently, as faith gave way to materialism, anti-Semitism assumed a correspondingly secular mode, harnessing itself to the dominant ideologies of both the Left and the Right. The wave of nationalism that swept over Europe from the late-19th to the mid-20th centuries held as a tenet that the Jew was a priori an outsider, exploitive and subversive — a belief that ultimately led to their systematic exclusion and destruction.
The Left practiced its own brand of anti-Semitism. By simply turning xenophobia on its head — Socialist Nationalism — the Communists were able to attack their Jewish subjects as rootless cosmopolitans and class enemies. The terms of opprobrium were based on Marxism rather than fascism, but the intent was the same: to eradicate the Jews.
Now, in the era of post-colonialism, anti-Semitism has been cast in correspondingly post-colonial terms. A bracing example is the recent World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, which was commandeered by the Arab states and their allies as an occasion to both vilify Israel and dust off the old canard equating Zionism with racism — the sanitized, politically acceptable version of the ancient blood libel. Putatively a forum to encourage tolerance, the meeting devolved into little more than a latter-day Nuremberg rally, with scurrilous attacks replacing torch-lit parades. Egyptian delegates, for instance, distributed booklets with swastikas, and pictures of Jews with hooked noses and fangs dripping blood — items that would not have been out of place in Julius Streicher's Nazi party organ Der Sturmer.
One would think that with all the ongoing oppression and injustice in the world, there would have been enough to keep the delegates at Durban busy. Muslim delegates concerned about rights in Palestine could have brought their enthusiasm closer to home by addressing the fate of black Christians being slaughtered and enslaved in the Sudan — where there have been a million deaths in the last 20 years — or the attempt to impose Islamic law on all subjects in northern Nigeria, or the oppression of the Berbers in Algeria, or the massacre of thousands of Kurds by Iraq's Saddam Hussein. One could also add, for good measure, the recurrent persecution of the Copts in Egypt, the theocratic excesses and treatment of women by the mullahs in Iran, the persecution of gays throughout the Arab world — and, of course, the fanatic intolerance of the Taliban in Afghanistan. And certainly, under the Durban conference's rubric of "Related Intolerance,'' it would be hard to ignore the absence of democracy in any Arab nation, which makes one wonder whether their delegates should not have been more concerned about the rights of their own people before those of any other.
But given all these ripe opportunities to right human wrongs, what was the single situation that most obsessed the delegates at Durban? Palestine. How can this be? The answer, of course, is that the Arab representatives and their followers at Durban were not interested in the persecuted millions throughout the world (particularly in their own backyards); rather, they were fixed on a political agenda that distracted the world from their own serious shortcomings in the human-rights department, and focused on what they consider the West's last bastion in the third world: Israel. And the assault on Israel — whatever the disclaimers of its apologists — has become indistinguishable, by the reckoning of its own zealots, with an attack on Jews everywhere.
The critical tactic in carrying out an anti-Semitic agenda is to attack the Jewish people at its strong point — where, ironically, it is both most exposed and most vulnerable. In the Middle Ages and beyond, the target was the Court Jew who had the ear of the ruler; during the Inquisition it was the Cristianos Nuevos — the Spanish Jews who had thrived after their conversion to Christianity. Under Hitler it was the entrepreneurial and professional classes who were the first victims of Nazi boycotts and exclusion. And today it is Israel, the most powerful symbol of Jewish national resurgence in two millennia.
The most striking analogy between the current Arab onslaught and its fascist precedents is the use of propaganda. Like Goebbels, its practitioners have learned the efficacy of 1) the Big Lie (the more outrageous the better), brazenly repeated so that people will ultimately accept it as at least part of the truth; 2) hijacking the language and symbols of the enemy so that you tar them with your vices; 3) trivializing and muddling the very meaning of words, so that your transgressions can be blurred and your opponent's responses magnified. Two key tactics in advancing this agenda are moral equivalence — for instance, equating the prevention of terror with terror itself, so that interdiction is seen as reprisal — and a distorted-numbers game, in which the only deaths that count in a violent conflict are one side's "martyrdoms" — since the other side's deaths are deserved.
The most flagrant example of the Big Lie is the Arab assertion that there was never a Jewish presence in Palestine until modern times. The evidence of a Jewish civilization going back more than two millennia is overwhelmingly borne out in the archaeology of the region. The heritage of the Jews in Palestine is documented in the records of the peoples who prevailed against them, and not least in the annals of Muslim chroniclers. It is engraved in Rome's Arch of Titus depicting the captive Hebrews being brought to Rome after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. What brought Helen, mother of the Emperor Constantine, to the Holy Land in the fourth century A.D., was the search for relics of Christ, who preached as a Jew in the very Hebrew Temple whose existence the Arabs deny and whose Wall they appropriate as their own.
Turning the history of the Jews against them is another commonplace of anti-Semitism. If the Jews were victims in an actual genocide, what better way to transfer sympathy from them to their rivals than by painting them as modern Nazis, and their policies as a new holocaust? Genocide is an attempt to exterminate a people, not to alter their behavior. The Israelis — who employed a third of the Palestinian population, armed the Palestinian Authority and offered Yasser Arafat a state consisting of 95 percent of the West Bank — were hardly practicing genocide. Israel, however, is now sustaining a war for its own existence. A nation defending its citizens against terrorist bombings, mortar assaults, sniper attacks, and a military and diplomatic onslaught by an array of Arab foes is practicing survival, not genocide.
Equally damning is the collateral charge of "apartheid," which tars Israel with the brush of the truly racist former regime in South Africa, and further equates Palestinians with the blacks suffering white colonial domination. Since apartheid — keeping people apart — can only be practiced within a sovereign state, the only analogy would have to be made not with the Palestinians, but with the Israeli Arabs. And what is their condition? Yes, there is still some degree of discrimination, but Israeli Arabs have more political rights than any other Arabs in the Middle East — including their compatriots in the Palestinian Authority. And, whatever their grievances, they are still economically better off than the majority of their fellows in virtually every other Arab country. If they still face inequality it is because of the mutual hostility and mistrust between both communities, not because of race. Beyond Israel's borders, the situation in the West Bank and Gaza involves a military occupation amid urban guerrilla warfare, analogous to the British security measures in Northern Island, that hopefully will end with a cease-fire and a Palestinian state. This is unfortunate, it is tragic, but it is not apartheid — and to call it so is to deliberately distort language for political advantage.
Which brings us to a corollary tactic: Avoid context and specifics; whenever possible, generalize and keep repeating the generalization. Blowing up houses and tearing down olive groves and keeping people locked in their communities is horrendous — in peacetime, but not in the context of an urban guerrilla war. When many of these towns have sent out suicide bombers, when the houses have served as hilltop redoubts to fire incessantly and indiscriminately into Jewish communities, and when the orchards have served as cover for snipers — they become legitimate targets. When Arab apologists wring their hands over an Israeli military incursion, they never mention what the Israelis are reacting to, or else diminish and distort it. A fair observer only has to ask: "If there is violence, who profits?"
Two other word distortions often used together are "colonial" and "settler," conjuring up images of whites exploiting indigenous populations in Africa. But the truth is that Jews are not part of a European ruling class imposed on helpless natives, but are caught up in a tragedy in which two peoples are struggling for the same piece of land. Jewish and Palestinian nationalism are virtually contemporaneous, and grew out of the disruptions that created new national movements from the ruins of the old empires — including the Ottoman Empire. As for settlements, the matter of borders for the new Palestinian state was one of the issues to be determined by negotiations over the final status of the West Bank territory to which Jordan renounced its claim. For the Palestinians to assume that all of this is their sovereign territory — before there is even a sovereign Palestine, and before a final status agreement — is a unilateral end run around serious negotiations. Nor should it go unremarked that in the heated rhetoric of Arab polemics, all Israelis are indiscriminately lumped together as settlers. The developing agenda of the Palestinians — which Hamas makes no secret of trumpeting — is that Israel is a foreign implant in the heart of the Islamic world, and all of its citizens are settlers — usurpers who must be disgorged, however long it takes. The only potential genocide in play here is not that of the Palestinians, but that of the Jews. The West should understand that the intifada is being driven ever more by the religious fanatics of Hamas — with whom Arafat has increasingly made common cause — whose goals are not only destructive to Israel, but inimical to the West, as the recent terror attacks on New York and Washington have made clear. The radicalization of the Palestinian cause is fueled not by the secular Left, but by Muslim zealots whose aim is not to achieve a democratic Palestine, but to impose an Islamic theocracy akin to that of their Iranian sponsors. While Muslims may insist that the zealotry of Hezbollah and the Taliban are not representative of Islam, it has now been made chillingly clear that this intolerant strain of the faith is on the ascendancy, claiming the allegiance of up to 15 percent of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims. For many, the religious movement has become a political ideology which is totalitarian, anti-democratic, violent, and terroristic. Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is one of its primary targets. It is not the last outpost of colonialism, but the first bulwark of democracy.
One of the most effective acts of Arab topsy-turvy has been harnessing Israel's concept of "the right of return" to the Palestinian agenda. A response to centuries of persecution, this right was fostered by Israel to offer a haven to Jews in the Diaspora who had heretofore lacked a refuge. It was granted by a sovereign state and obtained exclusively within its borders. The Palestinian mockery of this process is to "invite" half a million compatriots, not back to their own burgeoning state, but to another country — Israel. Imagine if India were to "invite" millions of Hindus back to their pre-partition homes in Pakistan. The idea would be absurd. It would destabilize the Muslim nation (which is exactly what the Palestinians have in mind for the state of Israel by insisting on this "right"). The world has yet to insist on returning the three million Sudetan Germans to the Czech Republic, or on the mass repatriation of any civilian population unmoored in the global turmoil that followed World War II — with only one exception: Israel. (It might be noted that the 1948 General Assembly Resolution 194 so often cited by Arabs, according the Palestinians the right of return, stipulates that the refugees must be willing "to live at peace with their neighbors." Given the climate of hatred, violence, and revanchism ubiquitous in the refugee camps, the likelihood of meeting this requirement is nil.) Why does Israel have to pay a price higher than any other nation in this context? One of the tenets of anti-Semitism over the centuries has been a reverse exceptionalism in which Jews are judged more harshly for acting like everyone else.
Naturally, a criminal nation must be led by a war criminal, and so it is not surprising that the Arabs — with help from their European friends — have decried Israel's premier as such. It is now a given in these circles that Ariel Sharon has blood on his hands, and that he was responsible for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982. People may have forgotten by now that the killings were actually done by Maronite Christians known as the Lebanese Forces. Many of them came from the Christian town of Damour, where hundreds of people had been massacred by Palestinians who attacked and destroyed the town six years earlier. This was part of a bloody civil war in Lebanon — in which the PLO played a brutal, and perhaps seminal, role — with massacres and counter-reprisals that had gone on for years before the Israelis ever arrived. At the time, the Palestinians had set up a quasi-state-within-a-state in Lebanon, informed by terror, intimidation, and corruption, and led by none other than Yasser Arafat. Yet there appears to be no great enthusiasm in Belgium to try him as a war criminal. The world may also have forgotten that what triggered the Sabra massacre was the Syrian-sponsored terrorist explosion that killed Lebanese president-elect Bashir Gemayel, head of the Phalangist party and a Palestinian foe, along with 21 other party and militia officials. To be sure, Sharon's forces should have intervened earlier, and accordingly he was forced by Israel's own Kahan Commission to resign as defense minister. But failing to prevent a massacre is a far cry from perpetrating one. Why then is Sharon being held up to standards to which no others are held accountable? If the U.N. is interested in examining ethnic cleansing, it should begin with the PLO atrocities in Damour — whose survivors cannot remind us of what happened, since Lebanon itself is under the occupation of Syria (itself no timid nation when it comes to mass murder, as it demonstrated in the massacre of 20,000 Muslim fundamentalists in Hama). And, indeed, if the world wants to accuse someone of a crime for the massacres at Sabra and Shatila, it can prosecute Elie Hobeika, the leader of the Phalangist forces who perpetrated the massacre after his own people were slaughtered by the Palestinians. He currently resides in Lebanon under the protection of the Syrians. No one seems interested in putting him in the dock.
Palestinian ideology has become a lethal cocktail of radical nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism. In its Islamist mode it is remorseless in its exhortations to drive the Jews into the sea, and revert all of Palestine to a Muslim trust; in its secular form it has adopted Frantz Fanon's maxims that "truth is that which hurries on the breakup of the colonial regime," and that "the good is quite simply that which is evil for them." Consequently, Palestinian propagandists can say and do anything they please without concern for the truth, in the belief that if they repeat it often enough it will simply become the truth. Thus, Arab propagandists ask: "In the current political climate, what is the worst thing of which we can accuse the Jews?" The answer: Racism, Apartheid. Genocide. Colonialism. Is it true? It doesn't matter. Let the Jews worry about whether it's true. The paradox of anti-Semitism is that it is invariably up to the Jews to explain away the charges. The anti-Semite simply has to make them. It is not surprising that some pro-Taliban Pakistanis are now complaining because the U.S. failed to put Israel on its target list of terrorism. The goal is to vitiate the meanings of words so that, in the subsequent confusion, the onus is taken off the perpetrators and equivalence placed on the victims. We have entered an Orwellian realm in which the Palestinian Authority has created its own Ministry of Truth, with a vociferous global bully pulpit. It's a world where a conference on racial tolerance is turned into a hate rally, where mass murder is called martyrdom, where people who indulge in lynching complain about persecution, in which accusations of Israeli disrespect are made by Palestinians whose airwaves and newspapers and pulpits are rife with obscene, anti-Semitic venom, in which condemnations of Zionism are conflated with attacks on the Jewish people so that there is no longer a distinction between the Palestinian movement's professed anti-Zionism and its rampant anti-Semitism. What is at the heart of the Islamist assault on the Zionist project is not the issue of national rights, but the humiliation engendered by a formerly subject people ruling where Muslims once held sway. This can only be eradicated by subjugating the offenders and restoring them to their humble status. It explains why the Islamists no longer bother to distinguish between attacking Zionists and Jews. In their worldview, the Israelis, by their nation's very existence, are committing blasphemy.
We have seen in the last century that it is possible for virtually an entire society to be seized with a fury that causes unfathomable harm until it abates. For the Palestinians — awash in self-righteousness, disdainful of compromise, and convinced of their ultimate victory — to indulge in this marriage of delusion and triumphalism, is one thing. For their Arab sponsors to abet them is, regrettably, also understandable. But what of the West? How do we explain the daily diet of distorted coverage, vilification of Israel, and conflation of its sins with anti-Semitic imagery in mainstream European newspapers such as the Guardian in England (which has editorialized on its front page that "the international community cannot indefinitely support the very high cost in human rights and human lives" of the establishment of Israel), Le Monde in France (which suggested that the Jews themselves were responsible for the Tel Aviv disco bombing), and the Spanish press (where it is now open season on anti-Semitic caricatures of hook-nosed Jews wearing yarmulkes, imagery of swastikas inside Stars of David, and editorials equating Israelis with Nazis)?
The answer may reside in a new strain of politically correct anti-Semitism. Forty years of indoctrinating an elite on a diet of post-colonialism, racism, and class, have paid bizarre dividends. Worse still, a historically challenged generation more impressed by images than analysis, impelled by a herd instinct, and easily manipulated by a simplistic David-and-Goliath show, is now reporting from the Middle East. Add to this a growing cluster of Europeans who feel that enough reparations have been paid to the Jews and their lawyers — the sectors who traditionally have never cared too much for Jews anyway — and the Left in whose gun sights the Jews were re-targeted from class enemy to colonial enemy. And add to them the old-fashioned patrician elites, who still considered Jews unwashed and pushy (and, oh yes, arrogant) and were never comfortable with them running their own state. To this combustible fuel, add the match of the growing Islamist rancor in the West, and we have the makings of a new conflagration of anti-Semitism. Aside from rabid Islamists, no one who wishes to be taken seriously can publicly say anything bad about the old Jews of Europe — most of whom are gone — without sounding like reactionary troglodytes. But many can transcend the problem by embracing the cause of Palestinian rights. By identifying with a post-colonial liberation movement, they can be ideologically fashionable, in favor of the downtrodden, against oppression, supportive of an even-handed approach in diplomacy, applauded by the Third World, and insulated from the charge of anti-Semitism — because how can anyone who is against racism (in its Zionist form) be an anti-Semite?
As noted at the outset, every age begets the anti-Semitism that most suits it; and in this era of anti-racist enthusiasm, it is anti-Zionism. In all ages, the goal of the anti-Semitic project is to delegitimize Jews. In this one, it's to undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish state, as a prelude to its ultimate destruction. The "fairness" that Palestinian supporters advocate has the ultimate goal of sufficiently weakening Israel that it will be unable to defend itself. And without a Jewish state, the iron truth of history is that the Jewish people sooner or later become even more vulnerable to the next wave of anti-Semitism. The metaphor of Exodus is one that has dogged the Jews from the outset. Their very success attracts resentment — as they learned in Egypt where, according to Scripture, a new king arose "who did not know Joseph." The issue is no longer, Will there be a Palestinian state — that is inevitable — but rather, Will there be a Jewish one? The disappearance of the Jewish state will not mean the disappearance of anti-Semitism — quite the opposite.
In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr., addressed his listeners with the following words: "You declare that you do not hate Jews, you are merely anti-Zionist. And I say, let the truth ring forth from high on the mountaintops... When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews... What is anti-Zionism? It is the denial of the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the globe.'' Dr. King, who recognized bias when he saw it, knew what he was talking about. (National Review Dec 4)
The writer is a long-time New York newspaper editor.