is Israel's last refuge
By Abdeljabbar Adwan
The Daily Star (Lebanon)
15 July 2002
Many American newspapers are feeling the pinch because of a boycott
by Jewish businesses and individuals. France (which helped Israel
develop its nuclear capability) today stands accused of anti-Semitism,
thus joining a long list of countries, businesses and individuals
targeted by fundamentalist persecution in recent years.
After the end of World War II (mainly since the 1960s), a series
of campaigns targeting the remnants of the phenomenon of anti-Semitism
have been launched around the world.
Anti-Semitism, rampant in Europe for centuries, is defined (by
Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary) as: Hatred of
Semites especially Jews and the influence they wield.
The main point that has to be noted here is that Semites are not
exclusively Jews. Jews form part of the Semite peoples, who also
include Arabs and naturally Palestinians. (For an excellent
account on the origins of the Semite peoples, see Sabatino Moscatis
Ancient Semitic Civilizations, Elek Books.) The Germans, with the
Jews in mind, invented the term, as Arabs were rather thin on the
ground in Europe at the time. Consequently, European hatred (sanctioned
by the church) was directed mainly at the Jews. Subsequently, Jew-haters
came to be known as anti-Semites.
The main reason Jewish communities came to be found in Europe in
the first place was the fall of the Muslim empire in Andalusian
Spain at the hands of the Catholic Spaniards. The unimaginable persecution
visited by the victorious Christians against Andalusias Muslim
and Jewish inhabitants drove the former as well as some of the latter
to the Arab lands. Many Jews, however, chose to flee to other European
lands where persecution at the hands of Christians was less
than it was in Spain. At any rate, the treatment meted out to the
Jews by the Europeans could not compare with the eight centuries
of tolerance they enjoyed under Muslim rule.
It is important to point out the origins of the term, since it
has gained in importance recently, thanks to its use by ignorant
demagogues against all Semites, whether Arabs or Jews. The term
anti-Semite in a political context has been
increasingly brought into play in recent years, especially by right-wing
extremists, against anyone not submitting to their blackmail.
Before World War II ended, the term anti-Semitism was never drawn
on accusingly. Hatred of Jews in Europe was so intense and so widespread
that it would have meant nothing. Even the United States refused
to take in European Jewish immigrants in those days. Those Europeans
less averse to Jews decided to dispatch them to Palestine.
In the Nuremberg trials, those Nazis who took part in the Holocaust
got off relatively lightly, so long as they had something to offer
the West and the Soviet Union (such as rocket scientists, for example).
However, with relations between Jews and the United States increasing
in strength and, thanks to the formers excellent organizational
skills as well as their shrewd exploitation of the American political
system, it gradually became possible to go after anyone who even
hinted at hostility to Jews.
A good source of information about how the Jews came to control
political life in the United States is Paul Findleys They
Dare To Speak Out. Despite the fact that this book was written more
than 17 years ago, it still faithfully portrays the situation prevailing
today. Findley was a member of the US Congress for more than 20
years, before the Jewish lobby booted him out for speaking his mind.
A critic said of his book: It exposes the degree to which
pro-Israel groups are able to suppress free debate, compromise national
secrets and shape American foreign policy. Findley focuses on individuals
who have stood up to the pro-Israel forces and brings out their
statements and observations on the Middle East and US foreign policy
Another informative study of Jewish organizations and the Jewish
lobby in the United States is American Jewish Organizations and
Israel, by Lee OBrien. In order to find out what effects these
organizations have had over the last four decades, one could do
worse than to read Stephen Greens Americas Secret Relations
With A Militant Israel.
The foreign and domestic policies of the worlds only remaining
superpower have become inextricably linked to the interests of pressure
groups to a degree that threatens democracy itself. The United States
is in danger of being taken back to a pre-democratic age, when rich
industrialists and entrepreneurs dominated political life.
The Holocaust has been used to blackmail European countries and
businesses despite the vast sums they paid to survivors and to Israel
since the end of the World War II. Using American influence, anyone
who refused to pay was instantly branded an anti-Semite.
Another point worth mentioning is that opportunists have been trying
to confuse criticism of Israels policies with anti-Semitism
to further their own political ends.
One of the best accounts of how the Holocaust was turned into an
industry was written by Norman Finkelstein. His book, based on the
experiences of his own mother in Nazi concentration camps, nevertheless
drew criticism from right-wing fundamentalists. Finkelstein, himself
a Jew, was accused of anti-Semitism! Why? Let us read this review
of the book (on Amazon.com):
He portrays the lawsuits against Swiss banks as the doings
of the Jewish liquor tycoon Edgar Bronfman (eager to augment his
$3 billion net worth) and New York Senator Al DAmato (courting
Jewish money and votes). In Finkelsteins account, Bronfmans
World Jewish Congress working with
the gamut of Holocaust
institutions mobilized the entire US political establishment. From
President Bill Clinton, who buried the hatchet with DAmato
through 11 agencies of the federal government as well as
the House and Senate, down to state and local governments across
the country, bipartisan pressures were brought to bear as one public
official after another lined up to denounce the perfidious Swiss.
And so it goes, page after page. What this adds up to is
pseudo-scholarship, extreme anti-Israel ideology and there
is no way around it anti-Semitism. And it stinks.
Norman Finkelstein replied to his critics in the second edition
of his book, which won the following acclaim:
In an iconoclastic and controversial new study, Norman G.
Finkelstein moves from an interrogation of the place the Holocaust
has come to occupy in American culture to a disturbing examination
of recent Holocaust compensation agreements. It was not until the
Arab-Israeli war of 1967, when Israels evident strength brought
it into line with US foreign policy, that memory of the Holocaust
began to acquire the exceptional prominence it enjoys today. Leaders
of Americas Jewish community were delighted that Israel was
now deemed a major strategic asset and, Finkelstein contends, exploited
the Holocaust to enhance this newfound status. Their subsequent
interpretations of the tragedy are often at variance with actual
historical events and are employed to deflect any criticism of Israel
and its supporters.
The Jews of America have grown so reckless as to call for boycotting
France, a friendly country, and The New York Times, which was established
by a Jew a century ago, and which led the calls for compensation
for Holocaust survivors.
The reason The New York Times was targeted was because it printed
pictures of Jews demonstrating against the Israeli occupation. The
logic was that anyone who appreciates the Palestinians position
threatens Israels security.
This, by the way, was after the recent Israeli invasion and the
crimes committed in Jenin.