Another letter from Faysal

  Former Shas Minister Shlomo Benizri, who was convicted for conspiracy to commit a crime, accepting bribes, breach of trust, and obstruction of justice, was released in March 2012 after having served two and a half years of a four-year sentence. He stated that Israel, was the most anti-Semitic country in the world due to what he referred to as its “incitement campaign against the Haredi community.” He explained that the ultra-Orthodox were being attacked on a daily basis in the media with "expressions that were used against Jews in the Holocaust.”

Julie Lévesque, a Boston-based journalist and researcher with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), wrote (November 2013,) an interesting article, “The War on Global Anti-Semitism in the Age of Islamophobia.” She quotes the following, “Forget the worldwide rampant Islamophobia and demonization of Arabs. Ha’aretz reports (October 2012) that the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, has ‘institutionalized the fight against global anti-Semitism,’ even though the US military and their allies have been destroying countries mostly populated by Muslims for over a decade. Or maybe is it precisely to support the war on Islam and the Arab World – a.k.a. ‘war on terrorism’ – that the ‘war on global anti-Semitism’ is being launched?

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, which portrays itself as the leader of ‘the US efforts to promote democracy, protect human rights and international religious freedom, and advance labor rights globally” now requires State Department officials to take a “90-minute course on anti-Semitism at the Foreign Service Institute, the training school for diplomats.” For convenience “a 341-word definition of anti-Semitism” was drafted, which “included not only traditional forms — blood libel, stereotypes — but newer forms like Holocaust denial and Holocaust relativism” explained Hannah Rosenthal, former anti-Semitism monitor at the State Department.

Rosenthal, who twice headed the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and is now president and CEO of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, also indicated that her team was “able to get included in [the definition] where legitimate criticism of Israel crosses into anti-Semitism.” Lévesque stressed, “This initiative is another demonstration of the Jewish ‘monopoly of victimization.’ In the post-9/11 world, where Muslims and Arabs are victims of religious and racial profiling in Western countries, such a decision is logically unjustifiable. The hunt for ‘radical Islamists,’ portrayed as the ultimate threat by the US State Department regardless of the party in office, has turned all Muslims and Arabs into suspects and potential enemies. The ‘war on global anti-Semitism’ is nothing but another deceptive tool of the US ‘war on terror‘, which undoubtedly benefits Israel.

This new anti-Semitism course for US officials is also a small fish in the ocean of the ‘Holocaust industry‘. Pro-Israeli/Jewish lobbies are resolute in their mission to eradicate any legitimate criticism of Israel. Rosenthal tried to be reassuring however, saying ‘criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.’ Even though this statement sounds fair and balanced, it is not, nor is it logical. Not only is it impossible to balance criticism between countries, but Israel and the US are the champions of unbalanced criticism. The best example is their criticism against Iran, which unlike the US and Israel, is not occupying any country at the moment, is not using its military force against any other nation and does not possess any proven nuclear weapon. Despite those facts, it is being portrayed as the most dangerous threat on earth.

Whether used on purpose or not, the expression ‘leveled against countries’ instead of ‘directed’ or ‘aimed at’ translates the desire to minimize the criticism against Israel. The ‘leveling of criticism’ serves a major purpose pertaining to its occupation of Palestine: justify the unjustifiable; give the impression that it is protecting itself from an enemy fighting with equal means and putting its survival in great peril. It serves to justify the decades-long occupation, the collective punishment of the Palestinians, a war crime under the Nuremberg Principles, elaborated in the wake of the Nazi trials. When it comes to Israel and Palestine, one cannot logically criticize the two countries equally: how can an occupied country without an army, being denied self-determination and basic human rights be criticized as much as its brutal, heavily armed occupier?

There is a shallow set phrase that so-called neutral commentators will too often use to ‘level criticism‘: ‘The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complicated.’ First and foremost, it is not a conflict, it is a war. A war fought with disproportionate means, where a whole population is being punished and the aggressor is victimized. Second, it’s not complicated, it is very simple. Israel occupies a territory and commits war crimes on a regular basis, while the ‘international community’ sits idly by either because Israel is an ally or simply because their interests are not at stake…….

The narrative according to which the ‘conflict’ between Palestine and Israel is complicated is part of the trivialization of Israel’s brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine. By an absurd and macabre distortion of reality we are led to believe the Israelis are the sole victims of racism and discrimination.

The injustice has been standardised and downplayed to such an extent that, according to a recent poll, a majority of Israelis accept and admit there is a form of apartheid in their own country, and around 50% of the population supports segregation and discrimination against Arabs“

The British Independent daily issue of October 23, 2012, published an article written by Catrina Stewart,

The new Israeli apartheid: Poll reveals widespread Jewish support for policy of discrimination against Arab minority.” She pointed out, “A new poll has revealed that a majority of Israeli Jews believe that the Jewish State practices ‘apartheid’ against Palestinians, with many openly supporting discriminatory policies against the country’s Arab citizens.

A third of respondents believe that Israel’s Arab citizens should be denied the vote, while almost half – 47 per cent – would like to see them stripped of their citizenship rights and placed under Palestinian Authority control [...] The poll, conducted by Israel’s Dialog polling group, found that 59 per cent out of the 503 people questioned would like to see Jews given preference for public-sector jobs, while half would like to see Jews better treated than Arabs. Just over 40 per cent would like to see separate housing and classrooms for Jews and Arabs. “

Noam Sheizaf, an Israeli journalist commented on the poll and wrote that the “findings reflect the widespread notion that Israel, as a Jewish State, should be a state that favours Jews. They are also the result of the occupation … After almost half a century of dominating another people, it’s no surprise that most Israelis don’t think Arabs deserve the same rights. This domination of Palestinians by Israelis has been fostered and is maintained by countries claiming to be defending freedom, liberty, human rights and democracy:……

Tens of millions of dollars poured in to the Palestinian Authority (PA) from ardent Israeli supporters such as the United States and the European Union and similar investment continued in smaller joint Israeli-Palestinian projectsthat again made no effort to change the political and socioeconomic status quo for Palestinian life on the ground.

The prominent discourse around newly formed groups such as One Voice and other collaborations was that the Israeli-Palestinian ‘conflict‘ was a problem of ignorance and prejudice as opposed to an issue of injustice and the ongoing dispossession and subjugation of one people by another.

The wave of collaborations that followed Oslo increased Israel’s global legitimacy such that bilateral agreements with the European Union and other countries multiplied, as did other agreements including closer ties with NATO and the OECD. Between 1994 and 2000 there was a six-fold increase in direct foreign investment to Israel, from $686 million to approximately $3.6 billion. …….

The Western world accepts the US and Israeli occupations of Arab and Muslim land to protect financial and geo-strategic interests and the ‘global war against anti-Semitism’ as well as the ‘global war terror’ are the chosen pretexts for military invasion wherever the “humanitarian intervention is unsuited. Those who resist US occupation in Afghanistan or Israeli occupation of Palestine are portrayed as terrorists. Those who kill civilians and elected government officials in Syria are presented as freedom fighters. You resist occupation, you get bombed, you fight for it, you get armed.”

Michael Fiorentino’s article, Israel: An outpost of empire,” published in April 16, 2010, noted, “Some argue that Israel is just an American imperial outpost: ‘The United States is fundamentally aligned with Israel because it uses Israel to project its imperial influence in the resource-rich region.’ With that in mind, the ‘war on global anti-Semitism’ can be viewed as an American imperial war propaganda tool.”

American Jewish scholar, Norman Finkelstein author of the book, The Holocaust Industry,” wrote, “Just as mainstream American Jewish organizations downplayed the Nazi holocaust in the years after World War II to conform to the US government’s Cold War priorities, so their attitude to Israel kept in step with US policy in the US. With the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the Holocaust became a fixture in American Jewish life.’ It is very telling that expanding ‘zones of democratic peace’ is the only goal in brackets, since they usually indicate sarcasm and irony. Apart from ‘democratic peace,’ the hegemonic objectives are quite clear and the new ‘war on global anti-Semitism’ can only help further America’s imperial design, which Israel is both being used for and profiting from.

Heavily armed by the US, Israel’s foreign policy is an extension of American foreign policy. Since the creation of Israel we’ve been used to the mistreatment of the Palestinians: it has been ‘normalized.’. The collective punishment inflicted to the Palestinians by Israel, a crime the Jews have undergone under the Nazis, is accepted and perpetuated by the US. Without the help and permission of America and the acceptance of the so-called international community, the Palestinians would not be persecuted.

Just like Israel uses the Holocaust to justify the collective punishment of the Palestinians and attacking its neighbours, the US uses 9/11 to justify the collective punishment of Muslims worldwide and various military invasions. Long before the Bush administration’s Torture Memos sanctioning torture, Israel did officially authorize torture with the Landau Report in 1987. Islamophobia is without a doubt the most accepted form of discrimination today and in this context the institutionalization of ‘the fight against global anti-Semitism’ is clearly another twisted expression of it.

In The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims, Nathan Lean ‘traces the arc of the Islamophobic sentiment that has exploded in the West’ and which is strongly connected to the ‘Holocaust Industry‘: ‘It exposes the multi-million dollar cottage industry of fear mongers and the network of funders and organizations that support and perpetuate bigotry, xenophobia, and racism, and produce a climate of fear that sustains a threatening social cancer” [...] It is a relationship of mutual benefit, where ideologies and political proclivities converge to advance the same agenda.’ [...] They come, principally, from right-wing Zionism and evangelical Christianity, uniting to form a Judeo-Christian front in their battle against Islam. Their funders, too, come from these worlds–though the right-wing Zionist world has fueled the majority of anti-Muslim activists [...] It is this Christian Zionism that closely binds right-wing evangelicals with strong supporters of the Jewish state. The Zionists who spread anti-Muslim bigotry can be placed in three camps, according to Lean: religious (Jewish) Zionism, Christian Zionism and political Zionism. ‘For Religious Zionists, prophecy is the main driver of their Islamophobic fervor. For them, Palestinians are not just unbidden inhabitants; they are not just Arabs in Jewish lands. They are not just Muslims, even. They are non-Jews–outsiders cut from a different cloth–and God’s commandments regarding them are quite clear,” he writes.

And there is the political Zionism that sheds religious language but is still hostile towards Muslims. As Max Blumenthal wrote, these figures, some of whom are neoconservatives, believe that “the Jewish state [is] a Middle Eastern Fort Apache on the front lines of the Global War on Terror.’ (Alex Kane, Islamophobia: How Anti-Muslim bigotry was brought into the American mainstream, Mondoweiss, October 29, 2012.)

The US is using Israel for its dirty wars and, in turn, Israelis are using the US to fight their neighbours. They are unswerving allies, each gaining power and expanding their control over foreign territories and their populations, and their allies are benefiting from it. Whatever pretext is being used, the reasons for waging wars remain the same: power and money. And that is always achieved by demonizing whoever is in the way.”

My own view is that such a catastrophe will most likely happen unless the citizens of the mainly Gentile Western world among whom most Jews live are assisted to understand why it is perfectly possible to be passionately anti-Zionist (opposed to Zionism’s still on-going colonial enterprise) without being in any way, shape or form anti-Semitic. If the day of understanding comes, it will mark the beginning of the end of Zionism’s freedom and ability to impose its will on the governments of the world that matter most (as well as on the Palestinians) and to remain above and beyond international law


In May 2013, Joseph Massad, Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York and author “The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians” tackled the anti-Israel and anti-Semitism issue in an article (May 2013) entitled, “The Last of the Semites.” He wrote an excellent historical narrative on how anti-Israel evolved into anti-Semitism against struggling Palestinians striving to free themselves from brutal Israeli occupation. He stated, “ Jewish opponents of Zionism understood the movement since its early age as one that shared the precepts of anti-Semitism in its diagnosis of what gentile Europeans called the ‘Jewish Question‘. What galled anti-Zionist Jews the most, however, was that Zionism also shared the ‘solution’ to the Jewish Question that anti-Semites had always advocated, namely the expulsion of Jews from Europe.

It was the Protestant Reformation with its revival of the Hebrew Bible that would link the modern Jews of Europe to the ancient Hebrews of Palestine, a link that the philologists of the 18th century would solidify through their discovery of the family of ‘Semitic’ languages, including Hebrew and Arabic. Whereas Millenarian Protestants insisted that contemporary Jews, as descendants of the ancient Hebrews, must leave Europe to Palestine to expedite the second coming of Christ, philological discoveries led to the labeling of contemporary Jews as ‘Semites‘. The leap that the biological sciences of race and heredity would make in the 19th century of considering contemporary European Jews racial descendants of the ancient Hebrews would, as a result, not be a giant one.

Basing themselves on the connections made by anti-Jewish Protestant Millenarians, secular European figures saw the political potential of ‘restoring’ Jews to Palestine abounded in the 19th century. Less interested in expediting the second coming of Christ as were the Millenarians, these secular politicians, from Napoleon Bonaparte to British foreign secretary Lord Palmerston (1785-1865) to Ernest Laharanne, the private secretary of Napoleon III in the 1860s, sought to expel the Jews of Europe to Palestine in order to set them up as agents of European imperialism in Asia. Their call would be espoused by many ‘anti-Semites‘, a new label chosen by European anti-Jewish racists after its invention in 1879 by a minor Viennese journalist by the name of Wilhelm Marr, who issued a political programme titled 'The Victory of Judaism over Germanism.' Marr was careful to decouple anti-Semitism from the history of Christian hatred of Jews on the basis of religion, emphasising, in line with Semitic philology and racial theories of the 19th century, that the distinction to be made between Jews and Aryans was strictly racial.

Scientific anti-Semitism insisted that the Jews were different from Christian Europeans. Indeed that the Jews were not European at all and that their very presence in Europe is what causes anti-Semitism. …. This is why if the Jews remained in Europe, the anti-Semites argued, they could only cause hostility among Christian Europeans. The only solution was for the Jews to exit from Europe and have their own country. Needless to say, religious and secular Jews opposed this horrific anti-Semitic line of thinking. ….. In his foundational pamphlet Der Judenstaat, (Theodore) Herzl explained that it was Jews, not their Christian enemies, who ‘cause’ anti-Semitism and that ‘where it does not exist, [anti-Semitism] is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations‘, indeed that ‘the unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America‘; that Jews were a ‘nation’ that should leave Europe to restore their ‘nationhood’ in Palestine or Argentina; that Jews must emulate European Christians culturally and abandon their living languages and traditions in favour of modern European languages or a restored ancient national language. …… The majority of Jews continued to resist Zionism and understood its precepts as those of anti-Semitism and as a continuation of the Haskalah quest to shed Jewish culture and assimilate Jews into European secular gentile culture, except that Zionism sought the latter not inside Europe but at a geographical remove following the expulsion of Jews from Europe.

The Bund, or the General Jewish Labor Union in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia, which was founded in Vilna in early October 1897, a few weeks after the convening of the first Zionist Congress in Baselin late August 1897, would become Zionism's fiercest enemy. The Bund joined the existing anti-Zionist Jewish coalition of Orthodox and Reform rabbis who had combined forces a few months earlier to prevent Herzl from convening the first Zionist Congress in Munich, which forced him to move it to Basel. Jewish anti-Zionism across Europe and in the United States had the support of the majority of Jews who continued to view Zionism as an anti-Jewish movement well into the 1940s.

Realising that its plan for the future of European Jews was in line with those of anti-Semites, Herzl strategised early on an alliance with the latter. He declared in Der Judenstaat that: ‘The Governments of all countries scourged by anti-Semitism will be keenly interested in assisting us to obtain [the] sovereignty we want.’

He added that ‘not only poor Jews’ would contribute to an immigration fund for European Jews, "but also Christians who wanted to get rid of them". Herzl unapologetically confided in his Diaries that: ‘The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.’

Thus when Herzl began to meet in 1903 with infamous anti-Semites like the Russian minister of the interior Vyacheslav von Plehve, who oversaw anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, it was an alliance that he sought by design. That it would be the anti-Semitic Lord (Arthur James) Balfour, (AS Foreign Secretary sent a letter to Baron Rothschild) who as Prime Minister of Britain in 1905 oversaw his government's Aliens Act, which prevented East European Jews fleeing Russian pogroms from entering Britain in order, as he put it, to save the country from the undoubted ‘evils’ of ‘an immigration which was largely Jewish‘, was hardy coincidental. Balfour's infamous Declaration of 1917to create in Palestine a ‘national home’ for the ‘Jewish people‘, was designed, among other things, to curb Jewish support for the Russian Revolution and to stem the tide of further unwanted Jewish immigrants into Britain…… While the majority of Jews continued to resist the anti-Semitic basis of Zionism and its alliances with anti-Semites, the Nazi genocide not only killed 90 percent of European Jews, but in the process also killed the majority of Jewish enemies of Zionism who died precisely because they refused to heed the Zionist call of abandoning their countries and homes.

After the War, the horror at the Jewish holocaust did not stop European countries from supporting the anti-Semitic programme of Zionism. On the contrary, these countries shared with the Nazis a predilection for Zionism. They only opposed Nazism's genocidal programme. European countries, along with the United States, refused to take in hundreds of thousands of Jewish survivors of the holocaust. In fact, these countries voted against a UN resolution introduced by the Arab states in 1947 calling on them to take in the Jewish survivors, yet these same countries would be the ones who would support the United Nations Partition Plan of November 1947to create a Jewish State in Palestine to which these unwanted Jewish refugees could be expelled... The rehabilitation of European Jews after WWII was a crucial part of US Cold War propaganda. As American social scientists and ideologues developed the theory of ‘totalitarianism‘, which posited Soviet Communism and Nazism as essentially the same type of regime, European Jews, as victims of one totalitarian regime, became part of the atrocity exhibition that American and West European propaganda claimed was like the atrocities that the Soviet regime was allegedly committing in the pre- and post-War periods. That Israel would jump on the bandwagon by accusing the Soviets of anti-Semitism for their refusal to allow Soviet Jewish citizens to self-expel and leave to Israel was part of the propaganda.

It was thus that the European and US commitment to white supremacy was preserved, except that it now included Jews as part of ‘white’ people, and what came to be called ‘Judeo-Christian’ civilisation. European and American policies after World War II, which continued to be inspired and dictated by racism against Native Americans, Africans, Asians, Arabs and Muslims, and continued to support Zionism's anti-Semitic programme of assimilating Jews into whiteness in a colonial settler state away from Europe, were a direct continuation of anti-Semitic policies prevalent before the War. It was just that much of the anti-Semitic racialist venom would now be directed at Arabs and Muslims (both, those who are immigrants and citizens in Europe and the United States and those who live in Asia and Africa) while the erstwhile anti-Semitic support for Zionism would continue unhindered…

The Jewish holocaust killed off the majority of Jews who fought and struggled against European anti-Semitism, including Zionism. With their death, the only remaining ‘Semites’ who are fighting against Zionism and its anti-Semitism today are the Palestinian people. Whereas Israel insists that European Jews do not belong in Europe and must come to Palestine, the Palestinians have always insisted that the homelands of European Jews were their European countries and not Palestine, and that Zionist colonialism springs from its very anti-Semitism. Whereas Zionism insists that Jews are a race separate from European Christians, the Palestinians insist that European Jews are nothing if not European and have nothing to do with Palestine, its people, or its culture.

What Israel and its American and European allies have sought to do in the last six and a half decades is to convince Palestinians that they too must become anti-Semites and believe as the Nazis, Israel, and its Western anti-Semitic allies do, that Jews are a race that is different from European races, that Palestine is their country, and that Israel speaks for all Jews. That the two largest American pro-Israel voting blocks today are Millenarian Protestants and secular imperialists continues the very same Euro-American anti-Jewish tradition that extends back to the Protestant Reformation and 19th century imperialism. But the Palestinians have remained unconvinced and steadfast in their resistance to anti-Semitism.

Israel and its anti-Semitic allies affirm that Israel is ‘the Jewish people‘, that its policies are ‘Jewish’ policies, that its achievements are ‘Jewish’ achievements, that its crimes are "Jewish" crimes, and that therefore anyone who dares to criticise Israel is criticising Jews and must be an anti-Semite. The Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against this anti-Semitic incitement. They continue to affirm instead that the Israeli government does not speak for all Jews, that it does not represent all Jews, and that its colonial crimes against the Palestinian people are its own crimes and not the crimes of "the Jewish people", and that therefore it must be criticised, condemned and prosecuted for its ongoing war crimes against the Palestinian people.

This is not a new Palestinian position, but one that was adopted since the turn of the 20th century and continued throughout the pre-WWII Palestinian struggle against Zionism. Yasser Arafat's speech at the United Nations in 1974 stressed all these points vehemently: Just as colonialism heedlessly used the wretched, the poor, the exploited as mere inert matter with which to build and to carry out settler colonialism, so too were destitute, oppressed European Jews employed on behalf of world imperialism and of the Zionist leadership. European Jews were transformed into the instruments of aggression; they became the elements of settler colonialism intimately allied to racial discrimination…Zionist theology was utilised against our Palestinian people: the purpose was not only the establishment of Western-style settler colonialism but also the severing of Jews from their various homelands and subsequently their estrangement from their nations. Zionism… is united with anti-Semitism in its retrograde tenets and is, when all is said and done, another side of the same base coin. For when what is proposed is that adherents of the Jewish faith, regardless of their national residence, should neither owe allegiance to their national residence nor live on equal footing with its other, non-Jewish citizens -when that is proposed we hear anti-Semitism being proposed.

When it is proposed that the only solution for the Jewish problem is that Jews must alienate themselves from communities or nations of which they have been a historical part, when it is proposed that Jews solve the Jewish problem by immigrating to and forcibly settling the land of another people - when this occurs, exactly the same position is being advocated as the one urged by anti-Semites against Jews. Israel's claim that its critics must be anti-Semites presupposes that its critics believe its claims that it represents ‘the Jewish people‘. But it is Israel's claims that it represents and speaks for all Jews that are the most anti-Semitic claims of all.

Today, Israel and the Western powers want to elevate anti-Semitism to an international principle around which they seek to establish full consensus. They insist that for there to be peace in the Middle East, Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims must become, like the West, anti-Semites by espousing Zionism and recognising Israel's anti-Semitic claims. Except for dictatorial Arab regimes and the Palestinian Authority and its cronies, on this 65th anniversary of the anti-Semitic conquest of Palestine by the Zionists, known to Palestinians as the Nakba, the Palestinian people and the few surviving anti-Zionist Jews continue to refuse to heed this international call and incitement to anti-Semitism. They affirm that they are, as the last of the Semites, the heirs of the pre-WWII Jewish and Palestinian struggles against anti-Semitism and its Zionist colonial manifestation. It is their resistance that stands in the way of a complete victory for European anti-Semitism in the Middle East and the world at large.”

God bless America and its people. (To be continued.)

Faysal Ruwayha is a retired UN staff officer who has studied the conflict for more than five decades. He has lived in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Qatar as well as repeatedly visited many Arab countries that have a role in the conflict. In addition, he has lived a total of 26 years in America and 13 years in Europe.

For a number of years he has written a series of letters addressed to the members of the US Senate. This is letter #98. An exercise in futility you might think? Like this website perhaps? What I tell myself is that lot of snowflakes, over time, can build up enough pressure to become an avalanche. Or like drops of water behind a dam that eventually bursts. If and when that happens, there will be a new catastrophe for Jews - whether Zionists or not - that will eclipse what they dramatically refer to as "the Holocaust" - and there will be no one but themselves to blame.