Alberta Arab News
April 1, 2004
For Palestinians, the fight for justice has been an uphill battle that predates the creation of Israel. Not only have they had to fight against illegal occupation, they’ve had to fight overwhelming Jewish sympathy and media prejudice.
Until the first intifada forced the world to take notice, Palestinians suffered in obscurity. They were almost universally accepted as “terrorists,” and whatever was done to them was justifiable in the name of Israel’s security and “right to exist.”**
Now that the world’s blinders are off, especially in Europe, and the libel of “anti-Semitism” has lost its sting, Israel’s apologists are in full panic mode. Propaganda and intimidation are the only weapons they have, since they can’t engage in rational arguments for fear of exposing inconvenient historical details, such as the 1947-48 nakba (catastrophe).
In desperation, they’ve launched a new rhetorical offensive—“new anti-Semitism.” Whereas the old, or “classic,” anti-Semitism concerned religious prejudice, this mutated strain is strictly political. Nevertheless, journalists who ought to know better are trying to force-feed us the following ridiculous syllogism:
anti-Israel = anti-zionism;
anti-zionism = anti-Semitism; therefore
anti-Israel = anti-Semitism.
Those who condemn Israeli atrocities and stand behind international law can now be charged with expressing hatred toward Jews! This makes as much sense as charging a person with promoting hatred towards Republicans because he calls for the impeachment of George W. Bush. Nevertheless, zionism’s media dissemblers are more than willing to embrace the new dogma.
On March 15, the usually reliable Michael Valpy wrote an obsequious apologia for the “new anti-Semitism” in the Globe and Mail. The ineptitude of his argument should suffice to debunk this new propaganda offensive.
First, he dismisses the criticism and then uncritically regurgitates the zionist point of view:
“To critics, the new anti-Semitism is a semantic ploy to stifle criticism of Israeli government policies toward the Palestinians. In the perception of many in the world's Jewish communities, however, the new anti-Semitism is the conflation, or merger, of old anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, the merger of old-fashioned Jew-hatred with hatred of Israel, a hatred that goes beyond Israeli government policies to decry the right of the state of Israel to exist.”
Valpy embraces this position throughout the article never once mentioning that this “conflation” is a self-serving unsubstantiated assertion. Significantly, the only person he interviewed was a mouthpiece from the Canadian Jewish Congress.
“Where is the semantic dividing line between political criticism of Israel's government and the two-millennia-old Christian demonization of Jews as Christ-killers?”
There isn’t one. The two issues are unrelated. Besides, the Romans put Christ to death, not the Jews.
“What are Jews to make of the campaign creeping across North American and European campuses to get university administrations—shades of the anti-apartheid South African campaigns of the 1980s—to disinvest in companies doing business with Israel and to block visits from Israeli scholars?”
Nothing. The campaign is justified because Israel is an apartheid state. A person’s rights depend on one’s religion. Israel has no common rule of law, citizenship or constitution. The only people who matter are Jews. Institutions have every right to disinvest, especially since Israel’s conduct in the Occupied Territories meets the definition of genocide.
“What are [Jews] to infer from news media commentary that the American ‘Jewish lobby’ wields an insidious influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East? Does it look to them more than a little like Hitler's international Jewish conspiracy theories dressed up in modern clothes?”
To deny the fact of the Jewish lobby’s influence—quote marks unnecessary—is the height of cognitive dissonance. From March 29, 1955, until Dec. 15, 2002, the U.S. used its Security Council veto 63 times to prevent Israel from having to obey international law, especially concerning its promise to allow Palestinians the right to return to their homes and receive compensation. Without the Jewish Lobby’s intimidation and influence, Israel wouldn’t exist.
“The World Jewish Congress declared the EU guilty of an anti-Semitic act in releasing a poll just prior to the Brussels conference reporting that a majority of Europeans consider Israel the No. 1 threat to world peace.”
Telling the truth is now an act of anti-Semitism—great. Like B’nai Brith, Valpy has no use for freedom of conscience or expression. Besides, who says the World Jewish Congress speaks for all Jews?
Valpy doesn’t know squat about “anti-Semitism.” He appears not to care that Muslim Arabs are also Semites or that a Jew could commit an act of anti-Semitism against Muslims or Jews. In Israel, for example, a group of Jewish Russians called White Israeli Union is setting up neo-Nazi Internet sites. The head of a Jewish victims’ rights centre complained to the Anti-Defamation League, the president of Israel and the official site of the State of Israel and the Jewish Agency, but to no avail. They all said: “It’s not our mandate. Our mandate is anti-Semitism around the world, not in Israel.”†
Translation: “New anti-Semitism” has nothing to do with the rights of Jews, because zionist groups care only about masking Israel’s criminality. Former Jewish Knesset member Uri Avnery said it best:
“Sharon’s propaganda agents are pouring oil on the flames by accusing all critics of his policy of being anti-Semites. Many good people, who feel no hatred at all towards the Jews but who detest the persecution of Palestinians, are now called anti-Semites…. The practical upshot: not only is the State of Israel not protecting Jews from anti-Semitism, but—on the contrary—its government is manufacturing and exporting the anti-Semitism that threatens Jews around the world.”††
Just as ignorance of the law is no excuse in a court of law, ignorance of basic facts and honest argument is no excuse in the court of public opinion.
* Ilan Pappé, “Post-Zionist Critique on Israel and the Palestinians, Part I: The Academic Debate,” The Journal of Palestine Studies (Winter, 1997), pp. 33–34.
** For a critique of Israel’s legitimacy, see my essay Hamas a principled defender of Palestine
† Lily Galili, “Anti-Semitism, right here at home,” Ha’aretz, March 28, 2004.
†† Uri Avnery, “Manufacturing Anti-Semites,” Media Monitors Network (MMN), Sept. 30, 2002.