Anti-Semitism: what it is and is not
By Alan Hart
“An anti-Semite used to be a person who disliked Jews. Now it is a person who Jews dislike “
Those are the words of my dear Jewish friend, Nazi (Auschwitz) holocaust survivor Dr Hajo Myer. They are taken from page 179 of his magnificent book, An Ethical Tradition Betrayed: The End of Judaism (published in 2007).
Hajo was making a point in passing which had been provoked in his mind by an incident that happened in the Netherlands where he lives. Gretta Duisenberg, the wife of the former European Central Bank president, Wim Duisenberg, hoisted a Palestinian flag at her home as a protest against Israel’s actions in the occupied territories. Her Jewish neighbours saw to it that their accusation that she was anti-Semitic went viral, and a Jewish lawyer not only sought to press a charge against her, but he approached the Jewish World Congress in New York with the suggestion that Wim Duisenberg should be declared persona non grata in the United States. That affair, Hajo wrote, “reflects a caustic, contemporary definition of the term anti-Semite”. Then came his own redefinition as quoted above.
In the light of the false charges of anti-Semitism that were levelled against British Liberal Democratic MP David Ward for telling the truth, and then against Gerald Scarfe for his anti-Netanyahu cartoon in the Sunday Times which reflected (yes, in a grotesque way) the truth, I would expand Hajo’s definition as follows. An anti-Semite today is a truth-telling person Jews who support the Zionist state of Israel right or wrong not only dislike but want to silence.
…some of the anti-Semitic excrement in comments on websites is the work of Zionist assets for the purpose of discrediting by association those of us who seek to tell the truth.
That last statement of mine should not be taken to imply that I am a denier of the existence of anti-Semitism. It is on the rise due mainly to the Zionist (not Jewish) state’s brutal oppression of the Palestinians and ongoing colonization of their West Bank land and water in open defiance of, and contempt for, international law and UN Security Council resolutions.
Also true is that a number of websites which reflect mainly American and European views are alive and crawling with the most vile expressions of anti-Semitism. That said, I think it’s more than possible that some of the anti-Semitic excrement in comments on websites is the work of Zionist assets for the purpose of discrediting by association those of us who seek to tell the truth…
The main point I want to convey in this article is that it really, really, really is time for peoples of all faiths and none everywhere to understand that it is perfectly possible to be passionately anti-Zionist (anti-Zionism’s colonial enterprise), and fiercely condemnatory of the policies of Zionism’s in-Israel leaders, without being in any way, shape or form anti-Semitic. The assertion of those Jews (a minority of the whole?) who support Israel right or wrong that criticism of Israel’s leaders and their policies is a manifestation of hatred for all Jews everywhere is c-r-a-z-y. It can only come from traumatized minds which have been brainwashed by Zionist propaganda.
True vs false definition
In my view real understanding requires knowledge of the following.
There are two definitions of anti-Semitism in its Jewish context. One was born in real history and represents a truth. The other is part and parcel of Zionist mythology and was invented for the purpose of blackmailing non-Jewish Europeans and North Americans into refraining from criticizing Israel or, to be more precise, staying silent when its leaders demonstrate their absolute contempt for international law and resort to state terrorism.
…anti-Semitism as defined by supporters of Israel right or wrong is anything written or said by anybody who challenges and contradicts Zionism’s version of events.
Anti-Semitism properly and honestly defined in its Jewish context is prejudice against and loathing, even hatred, of Jews, all Jews everywhere, just because they are Jews. (I say “anti-Semitism in its Jewish context” because there is another context. Arabs are also Semitic peoples. A real and true anti-Semite is therefore one who is prejudiced against and loathes, even hates, both Jews and Arabs).
Anti-Semitism as defined by Zionism, the colonial, ethnic cleansing enterprise of some Jews, has come to mean almost all criticism of Israel’s policies and actions. Put another way, anti-Semitism as defined by supporters of Israel right or wrong is anything written or said by anybody who challenges and contradicts Zionism’s version of events. In effect, Jewish supporters of Israel right or wrong say: “If you disagree with us, you’re anti-Semitic.”
As a blackmail card to silence criticism of Israel and prevent informed and honest debate about who must do what and why for justice and peace in the Middle East, Zionism’s false charge of anti-Semitism has worked wonderfully well to date. Why? In the long (and still present) shadow of the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust, a European crime for which, effectively, the Arabs were punished, there are few things Westerners in public life, politicians and media people especially, fear more than being accused of anti-Semitism. The charge – even when false as it most often is – can destroy careers.
Unable to refute the substance of documented and objective messages of challenge and criticism, Zionism’s policy always was, and is, to shoot the messengers, usually with smears for bullets.
For complete understanding of what anti-Semitism is and is not, it’s necessary to know what Zionism is and is not.
Zionism claims to be the nationalist movement of “the Jews”, all Jews everywhere. But this claim, like almost all of its claims, does not bear examination.
As I document in detail in my book, the truth is that from Zionism’s foundation and first dishonest mission statement in 1897 until the Nazi holocaust, its colonial enterprise was endorsed and supported by only a tiny minority of the world’s Jews and was opposed by many eminent Jewish leaders.
Also true is that from Israel’s unilateral declaration of independence in 1948 until the countdown to the 1967 war, many Jews of the world had no great affinity with Israel. They were in their chosen places as integrated citizens of many nations and Israeli Jews were in their chosen place, gained, mainly, by Zionist terrorism and ethnic cleansing. (During his time as prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding father, expressed dismay that not enough European and North American Jews wanted to move to Israel and become citizens of it.)
For very many Jews of the world the 1967 war was a dramatic turning point in their relationship with Israel because they believed – were conditioned by Zionism and the mainstream Western media to believe – that poor little Israel was in danger of annihilation. Thus, Israel’s survival (not to mention its conquest of more Arab land) against impossible odds was a source of great pride for most Jews of the world.
Though most Jews didn’t and still don’t want to know it, the truth was different. The Arabs did not attack first and were not intending to attack. The 1967 war was one of Israeli aggression. For Israel’s military and political hawks the grabbing of the West Bank, including Arab East Jerusalem, was the unfinished business of 1948. Taking the Syrian Golan Heights was a bonus.
Today much (meaning not quite all) of what supporters of Israel right or wrong claim to be anti-Semitism is actually anti-Israelism, which in my view is best described as anti-Zionism. And contrary to the assertions of Zionism’s spin doctors, anti-Zionism is not by definition anti-Semitism.
Short or long, any discussion of anti-Semitism should include the fact that Zionism needs it.
Short or long, any discussion of anti-Semitism should include the fact that Zionism needs it. The first to acknowledge this was none other than Theodore Herzl, Zionism’s founding father. In one of his diaries, not published until 1962, Herzl wrote (and probably said to some of his close associates) the following: “Anti-Semitism is a propelling force which, like the wave of the future, will bring Jews into the promised land. Anti-Semitism has grown and continues to grow – and so do I.”
He was right. Without the anti-Semitism unleashed by Adolf Hitler, Zionism’s colonial enterprise would almost certainly have been doomed to failure for lack of enough Jewish support.
Today Zionism needs anti-Semitism, or what it can present as anti-Semitism, to go on justifying its policies and actions.
Any discussion of anti-Semitism should also take note of the words of Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving director of Military Intelligence. In his book Israel’s Fateful Hour, he wrote:
I believe it was a damaging error on Menachem Begin’s part to insinuate that criticism of Israel is a manifestation of anti-Semitism. There is a recklessness in the grandiose assertion that “the whole world is against us.” If indeed the whole world is against Israel, its future is very bleak. Only those intoxicated with their own greatness can believe that they can succeed in overcoming the entire world.
In the same book Harkabi gave this warning:
Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.
From the mid 1980s when those words were written, Israel’s “misconduct” has been the prime cause in the rise of what Zionism presents as anti-Semitism but which is actually anti-Israelism/anti Zionism.
Today the biggest danger to the Jews of the world is, as Harkabi warned, that anti-Israelism/anti-Zionism will be transformed into anti-Semitism, with the consequence at some point of another great turning against Jews.
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 ongoing 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.
A few of those who put comments under my articles on various websites, most notably that of Veterans Today, assert that I am an apologist for Zionism. If they really believe that, they are certifiably m-a-d. But perhaps there is another explanation. Perhaps they are acting for Zionism and it’s their way of seeking to destroy my credibility with those who know that I truly believe Zionism is the cancer at the heart of international affairs.