The end of the mantra:
Today Criticism of Israel IS resisting antisemitism
On May 15th Al Jazeera republished a controversial Op-Ed on antisemitism† by Prof. Joseph Massad. Not controversial because it is full of errors, critical omissions, faulty logic and fantasy but because for a brief period they pulled publication, leading to accusations from the usual suspects that they had bowed to pressure.
Israel Haters frequently claim that Criticism of Israel is not antisemitism. They apparently believe (and probably will continue saying) that no matter how they recycle medieval antisemitic memes, if they substitute the word ‘Israel’ for ‘Jews’, they are covered from the accusation of antisemitism.
A variation of this claim is to say Israel accuses critics of antisemitism to hide its crimes. A good rule of thumb is to ask would the statement in question be classic antisemitism if the author had not substituted the word ‘Israel’ for ‘Jews’. More and more frequently the Israel Haters don’t bother using the protective mantra of ‘criticising Israel’ and go straight to attacking the Jews. To our great regret it is, after a respite of about fifty years, socially acceptable to attack the Jews as Jews.
Massad has turned the protective mantra against accusations of antisemitism 180°.
I have developed the habit of asking those who use it, if they are not antisemitic to give me an example of something that is antisemitic. Few, critics of Israel will read the piece to the end but Massad’s thesis that killing Jews in Israel is combating antisemitism is bound to become the new battle cry of the Israel Haters.
Five Minutes for Israel contemplated writing a rebuttal (and will probably do so. Perhaps Al Jazeera will actually run it) but decided as a public service to give a line-by-line fisking.
We hope the reader will be spared some of the nausea from having to read the Professor’s rant in an ‘almost’ academic paper without footnotes by the therapy of some cold air from immediate criticism.
Please bear with me. The original Op-Ed was almost 4,300 words long and I added more than sixty separate comments! Throughout Massad adds different ‘arguments’. Did you know that it’s all the Protestant’s fault or that Jews have been promoted to honourary ‘whites? Stick the end. His last paragraph is a doozy.
The Last of the Semites
It is Israel’s claims that it represents and speaks for all Jews that are the most anti-Semitic† claims of all [It was however accepted by both the winning and losing states of World War II that Israel was the representative of the Jews and negotiations for reparations went through her. If not Israel, who?]
By Joseph Massad
May 15, 2013 -“Al Jazeera”
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. [I want to see evidence that even one major Zionist leader or thinker proposed expulsion. A recognition (in hindsight completely accurate) that the writing was on the wall for Jews of Europe is not the same thing as proposing that the enemies of the Jews expel them.]
It was the Protestant Reformation with its revival of the Hebrew Bible [Jews had never abandoned it] 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 labelling 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. [What nonsense. All Jews, in every corner of the world, have considered themselves to be the racial descendants of the ancient Hebrews for thousands of years. To give an example. The wicked son of the Pessach (Passover tradition) is criticized precisely because he doesn’t include himself among those who left Egypt with Moses. Modern DNA research has substantiated this unbroken tradition far predating the Protestant Reformation.]
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 [Where does Massad get the idea that Bonaparte wanted to expel the Jews? Quite the contrary Napoleon’s plan was for their assimilation into wider society.] to British foreign secretary Lord Palmerston [Palmerston wanted to set up consulates in the Ottoman Empire to expand British interests but there is no record in his speeches or writing that he ever wanted the Jews as his agents.] (1785-1865) to Ernest Laharanne , the private secretary of Napoleon III in the 1860s, [I don’t think Laharanne was Napoleon III’s private secretary but worked in his secretariat. Not the same thing, at all. That said, so what if he was? Can it be said he influenced Napoleon III in any way to favour Zionism? He was an early precursor of Zionism, and probably Catholic which rather is more evidence that the belief that European Jews thought themselves to be the descendants of ancient Israel has little to do with Protestantism.]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.
Assimilating Jews into European culture
Scientific anti-Semitism insisted that the Jews were different from Christian Europeans. Indeed that the Jews were not European [The scientific anti-Semites insisted the Jews were not European and therefore should go back to Israel. The Arab anti-Semites insist they are European and therefore have no place in Palestine and should be expelled. Mirror images.] at all and that their very presence in Europe is what causes anti-Semitism. The reason why Jews caused so many problems for European Christians had to do with their alleged rootlessness, that they lacked a country, and hence country-based loyalty. In the Romantic age of European nationalisms, anti-Semites argued that Jews did not fit in the new national configurations, and disrupted national and racial purity essential to most European nationalisms. 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. Orthodox and Reform Jews, Socialist and Communist Jews, cosmopolitan and Yiddishkeit cultural Jews, all agreed that this was a dangerous ideology of hostility that sought the expulsion of Jews from their European homelands [Massad contradicts himself. His thesis is that the Zionists supported expulsion and then claims that no Jew supported it. Zionists were and still are members of the groups he highlighted.]
The Jewish Haskalah, or Enlightenment, which emerged also in the 19th century, sought to assimilate Jews into European secular gentile culture and have them shed their Jewish culture. [Another highly dubious claim. The supporters of Haskalah thought Jewish Culture was completely compatible with the outside world. This is why they didn’t convert. Calling European culture of the time secular is also highly anachronistic.] It was the Haskalah that sought to break the hegemony of Orthodox Jewish rabbis on the “Ostjuden” [Ostjuden is a disparaging label originating from Germany. The Haskalah originated in Germany to deal with German conditions and quickly spread to the East.] of the East European shtetl and to shed what it perceived as a “medieval” Jewish culture in favour of the modern secular culture of European Christians. Reform Judaism, as a Christian- and Protestant-like variant of Judaism, would emerge from the bosom of the Haskalah. This assimilationist programme, however, sought to integrate Jews in European modernity, not to expel them outside Europe’s geography.
When Zionism started a decade and a half after Marr’s anti-Semitic programme was published, it would espouse all these anti-Jewish ideas, including scientific anti-Semitism as valid. For Zionism, Jews were “Semites”, who were descendants of the ancient Hebrews. [All Jews and for that matter gentiles considered Jews to be descendants of the ancient Hebrews, not simply political Zionists. DNA evidence from the Human Genome Project confirmed it. While not in huge numbers (enough to be a majority of the population of Jerusalem by 1860) Jews had returned to live in the Holyland for hundreds of years before Herzl. The Jews of Jerusalem were expelled by the Hashemite Army in 1948] In his foundational pamphlet Der Judenstaat, 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 [One must wonder how Herzl would rewrite those lines if he had witnessed the anti-Semitism that exists in countries with essentially no Jewish population either through the results of the Shoah (Holocaust) e.g. Poland; ethnic cleansing as in most of North Africa and the Middle East or because they never lived there in large numbers, as in Pakistan and Malaysia?] ; 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. Herzl preferred that all Jews adopt German, while the East European Zionists wanted Hebrew. [Herzl was outvoted in a debate as much about the practicality of running a viable Jewish state as ideology. Damn those Zionists throwing democracy in the faces of their critics!] Zionists after Herzl even agreed and affirmed that Jews were separate racially from Aryans. [The idea that Aryans even existed is Nazi theology. I find it remarkable if any Zionists at all, adopted the term. Needless to say Massad doesn’t produce an example of even one Zionist saying this.] As for Yiddish, the living language of most European Jews, all Zionists agreed that it should be abandoned. [Hebrew was used by Yiddish speakers and other Jews as the language of prayer, litigation and religious debate. One must wonder if Massad’s concern is precisely because the continued use of Hebrew for thousands of years after most of the Jews were forced out of their ancient homeland or forcibly converted by the Arab invaders is a good indication of their connection to Israel. Of the estimated 9,500,000 Jews in Europe in 1933 those in Southern, North, West and Central Europe, more than a quarter did not speak Yiddish. Massad ignores evidence that challenges his statements.]
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 [The assumption that all Zionists were secular (whatever that meant at the time) just because Herzl arguably was, is not correct. Proto-Zionists include the (Lithuanian) Vilna Gaon, (Russian) Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, (Bosnian) Rabbi Judah Alkalai (German) Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer, and (British) Sir Moses Montefiore.] , except that Zionism sought the latter not inside Europe but at a geographical remove following the expulsion of Jews from Europe. [All new ideas are resisted. Being mugged by the reality of war, not just the Nazis, but the Polish, Ukrainian, Croat, French, Dutch and Hungarian antisemites changed almost all their minds.] 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 Basel in late August 1897, would become Zionism’s fiercest enemy [Interesting choice for an example. The Bund thought that Socialism was the answer to Jewish problems. Far from abandoning Jewish culture it focused on culture, rather than a state or a place, as the glue of Jewish “nationalism.” They chose the wrong side in the dispute between the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks – and that was the effective end to the Bund. Zionism still goes strong.] . 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.
Anti-Semitic chain of pro-Zionist enthusiasts
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.” [Herzl was a 19th century politician whose ideas on nationalism were very much of his time. He believed in persuading power. Massad contradicts himself, yet again. Whatever Herzl thought, he could be and was outvoted on occasion. Herzl’s writings were one of the inspirations of early political Zionism but they were never its bible or DYI manual.]
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.” [Got that wrong didn’t he?]
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. [One must wonder who Massad thinks Herzl could deal with, if not the anti-Semites? He seems to hold it against him that he was a man of his time and not a 21st century postcolonialist. Jews were segregated by law in what was called the Pale of Settlement until the fall of the Tzar. Most suffered from extreme poverty and their concentration made them easy targets for pogroms. It’s hardly surprising that Herzl saw them as 5 million potential supporters nor that far from being universally hostile the bulk of Zionists came from that region.] That it would be the anti-Semitic Lord Balfour, 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 1917 to 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. [An enormous oversimplification. Britain, was quite capable of making contradictory commitments, some in secret, as with the French (Sykes-Picot) and some open as with the Hussein-McMahon agreements with Sharif Hussein bin Ali which somehow escape the label ‘infamous’, to divide up the Middle East after victory.
Britain was at war and the Zionists were playing a major role. Rewarding Zionist leader Chaim Weizman who also, by his development of synthetic acetone, played a huge role in the victory and avoiding turning the Jewish Yishuv in Palestine into supporters of the Ottoman cause were at least as strong reasons as any antisemitism for the Balfour Declaration. – among other things!]
The Nazis would not be an exception in this anti-Semitic chain of pro-Zionist enthusiasts. Indeed, the Zionists would strike a deal with the Nazis very early in their history. [I would take the accusation of collaboration with the Nazis far more seriously if it didn’t come from someone who ignores the Arab collaboration. Jews did not recruit an Army for Hitler as did Muhammad Amin al-Husayni, the spiritual leader of Palestine’s Muslims nor stage a pro-Nazi coup d’état as did Rashid Ali Al-Gaylani.] It was in 1933 that the infamous Transfer (Ha’avara) Agreement [Aside from misrepresenting the agreement (Jews had to leave their property behind and buy them back) Massad ignores the conditions of 1933. The Nazi’s policies for solving their ‘Jewish Problem’ were already clear. As much as the Zionist movement wanted to bring them to Palestine the major push was saving their lives. It was not as if any other country opened their doors, as an alternative destination.] was signed between the Zionists and the Nazi government to facilitate the transfer of German Jews and their property to Palestine and which broke the international Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany started by American Jews. It was in this spirit that Zionist envoys were dispatched to Palestine to report on the successes of Jewish colonization of the country. Adolf Eichmann returned from his 1937 trip to Palestine full of fantastic stories about the achievements of the racially-separatist Ashkenazi Kibbutz, [Separatist against whom? The Middle Eastern/North African Jews whose existence Massad has consistently ignored? It should be noted that the influx of non European Jews who might have wanted to join a kibbutz came in the 1950s, long after Eichmann. I wonder if the label he chooses is accurate or his anachronistically transferring 1960s criticism of the Kibbutz movement to a period 30 years earlier because it suited his agenda] the one of which he visited on Mount Carmel as a guest of the Zionists.
Despite the overwhelming opposition of most German Jews, it was the Zionist Federation of Germany that was the only Jewish group that supported the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, [Massad descends to fantasy here. The Nuremberg Laws were designed to return Jews to the position they held before emancipation in the 19th century, although without the escape of baptism. They gave legal form to the existing boycott and excluded Jews from any civil position. At no time did the Zionist Federation support them.] as they agreed with the Nazis that Jews and Aryans were separate and separable races. This was not a tactical support but one based on ideological similitude. The Nazis’ Final Solution initially meant the expulsion of Germany’s Jews to Madagascar. [We will never know if the Madagascar Plan was serious or whether it was a smokescreen to hide the real aim of the Final Solution. Either way, the Allied fightback, made it impossible to operate. In 1940, as plans were drawn up for Madagascar, the Warsaw Ghetto was completed and expulsions of Jews into occupied territories continued. It is a real jump of logic to state that because the Nazis contemplated expulsion of the Jews to an island off Africa that they worked hand-in-glove to send them to Palestine.] It is this shared goal of expelling Jews from Europe as a separate unassimilable race that created the affinity between Nazis and Zionists all along.
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,
[The assumption that the murdered Jews of Europe were overwhelmingly anti Zionist is constantly stated but no evidence is given. Many of the early Zionists came exactly from the milieu he describes as anti Zionist including David Ben Gurion, Chaim Weizman and Golda Meir. Hovevei Zion now considered the forerunners and foundation-builders of modern Zionism was established in Eastern European countries in the early 1880s. Among other settlements they founded Rishon LeZion, the first Zionist settlement in the Land of Israel and Rehovot and Hadera.] 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. [At least he is not denying the Holocaust but did he really mean to justify one of Zionism’s main claims that the position of Jews in Europe was untenable for all, regardless of their religiosity, politics or behaviour and their only real alternative to catastrophe was emigration?]
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 1947 [Jewish claims to statehood predate the 1947 Partition Plan, of course, and other plans, all rejected by the Arabs. The bottom line is if the Arabs had accepted partition there would have been no war in 1948 and an Arab Palestinian state for the last 65 years. Partition may have been the least bad option.] to create a Jewish State in Palestine to which these unwanted Jewish refugees could be expelled. [So what is it? Zionism is a response to antisemitism or its cause? If a Jewish State in Palestine was not the answer and no one wanted to take the refugees what is Massad’s solution? It seems that unwilling to accept Nazi ‘Zionism’ Massad is willing to accept ‘Nazi’ extermination as the better option.]
The pro-Zionist policies of the Nazis
The United States and European countries, including Germany, would continue the pro-Zionist policies of the Nazis. Post-War West German governments that presented themselves as opening a new page in their relationship with Jews in reality did no such thing. Since the establishment of the country after WWII, every West German government (and every German government since unification in 1990) has continued the pro-Zionist Nazi policies unabated. [A claim that all German governments would strenuously deny.] There was never a break with Nazi pro-Zionism. The only break was with the genocidal and racial hatred of Jews that Nazism consecrated, but not with the desire to see Jews set up in a country in Asia, away from Europe. Indeed, the Germans would explain that much of the money they were sending to Israel was to help offset the costs of resettling European Jewish refugees in the country. [Oh, those crafty Germans! All the time they were banning Nazism and all its symbols and proclaiming that the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany was to pay Israel for the slave labor and persecution of Jews during the Holocaust, and to compensate for Jewish property that was stolen by the Nazis, they were really resettling Jews.]
After World War II, a new consensus emerged in the United States and Europe that Jews had to be integrated posthumously into white Europeanness, [Another fantasy with no evidence. The Jews of Europe did look very much like their neighbours. Why else did the Nazis and others before them feel the need to insist on them wearing yellow stars identifying them as Jews? There may indeed be a connection between American horror of the Holocaust and their identification with them as people just like us but these are Hollywood movies designed to make money which they won’t do if the people don’t feel enough empathy to come to the cinema and buy tickets. Was there any movie of the time, on any subject, that was any different?] and that the horror of the Jewish holocaust was essentially a horror at the murder of white Europeans. Since the 1960s, Hollywood films about the holocaust began to depict Jewish victims of Nazism as white Christian-looking, middle class, educated and talented people not unlike contemporary European and American Christians who should and would identify with them. Presumably if the films were to depict the poor religious Jews of Eastern Europe (and most East European Jews who were killed by the Nazis were poor and many were religious), contemporary white Christians would not find commonality with them. Hence, the post-holocaust European Christian horror at the genocide of European Jews was not based on the horror of slaughtering people in the millions who were different from European Christians, but rather a horror at the murder of millions of people who were the same as European Christians. [Isn’t this an 180° turn in Massad’s argument from the world supports Zionism because they hate Jews to the world supports Zionism because they see the Jews as just like us?] This explains why in a country like the United States, which had nothing to do with the slaughter of European Jews, there exists upwards of 40 holocaust memorials and a major museum for the murdered Jews of Europe, but not one for the holocaust of Native Americans or African Americans for which the US is responsible. [I can’t answer that question definitively but I suspect it has more to do with relative voting clout of the Jews but if the US was responsible for the holocaust of Native Americans and African Americans how is that Zionism or Jews responsibility?]
Aimé Césaire understood this process very well. In his famous speech on colonialism, he affirmed that the retrospective view of European Christians about Nazism is that
it is barbarism, but the supreme barbarism, the crowning barbarism that sums up all the daily barbarisms; that it is Nazism, yes, but that before [Europeans] were its victims, they were its accomplices; and they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimised it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples; that they have cultivated that Nazism, that they are responsible for it, and that before engulfing the whole of Western, Christian civilisation in its reddened waters, it oozes, seeps, and trickles from every crack. [It is worthwhile to consider Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous poem (1892–1984) about the sloth of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group and compare it with Césaire. Roughly paraphrased as first they came for the (white and local) Communists. Then (white and local) Socialists, (white and local) trade unionists, (local if not by Massad’s thesis white) Jews and (white and local) Catholics. Then they came for me, I was alone. Hitler’s targets were as often his domestic opposition as the racially inferior, non European. ** Internal colonialism not so much!]
That for Césaire the Nazi wars and holocaust were European colonialism turned inwards is true enough. But since the rehabilitation of Nazism’s victims as white people, [But Nazism’s victims were essentially White people – Caucasian, if you want to be pedantic. Homosexuals, Communists, dissidents, Poles, Russians, Greeks, Yugoslavs, French. Is Massad suggesting they were not white? Even the Jews, not Aryan (if there were ever such a thing as Aryan) but definitely white.] Europe and its American accomplice [Europe and its American accomplices? Interesting word order. Isn’t it America that is supposed to be dragging the reluctant Europeans?] would continue their Nazi policy of visiting horrors on non-white people around the world, on Korea, on Vietnam and Indochina, on Algeria, on Indonesia, on Central and South America, on Central and Southern Africa, on Palestine, on Iran, and on Iraq and Afghanistan. [Each example is highly debatable as to the individual motives of the Europeans in these conflicts. It would take a great deal of persuasion that, for example, the Korean War was based on racism (South Koreans are ethnically exactly the same as North Koreans) and not a wider conflict between Communism and the West. Financial considerations and strategic considerations all played their part. Algeria was a colony of France but Iran never was a colony of anywhere and come to think of it what ‘horrors’ is Massad suggesting in Iran? Surely nothing compared to the horrors of the wars between Iraq and Iran. Where does religion fit into this? That’s a huge amount of unevidenced assertion in just one small paragraph.]
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 [Allegedly?! Is he kidding? At this point in history, after Khrushev’s speech; the implosion of the Soviet Union; the archives have been opened and the witnesses said their piece? Why is Massad an apologist for the Soviet Union ?] 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. [We are really in the fairy tale region here. It is really not possible to deconstruct this nonsense in a fisking exercise. The accusation of Soviet antisemitism is based on the treatment of its Jewish citizens and exhaustively documented. What is this word ‘self-expel’ anyway? What’s wrong with leave? The movement to allow those who wanted to leave the Soviet Union. not just Jews, was an American rather than an Israeli initiative anyway.]
Commitment to white supremacy
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 [BTW Arabs are traditionally considered to be Caucasian i.e. White. I don’t think I have ever heard any Jew refer to Whiteness as a criteria for Judaism. The successful attempt to bring the entire Ethiopian Jewish community (who are indisputably Black) would argue strongly against it.
As with Massad’s omission of Arab ties with Nazism his failure to even acknowledge (even if to deny it) Arab racism, particularly on the basis of skin colour opens a huge gap in his theory.] and Muslims, and continued to support Zionism’s anti-Semitic programme of assimilating Jews into whiteness in a colonial [In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. Of which state is Israel a colony?] 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 [It seems to me that Europe and America bend over backwards so this doesn’t happen. While antisemitism was an official part of Nazi ideology and media so called Islamophobia is neither official policy nor tolerated in mainstream media in Europe or America. Nor is there any tradition of physical attacks, boycott of business or exclusion from professions or educational institutions. Isolated instances aside, Nazi treatment of the Jews and American treatment of Arabs/Muslims is not even remotely identical.] (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.
West Germany’s alliance with Zionism and Israel after WWII, of supplying Israel with huge economic aid in the 1950s and of economic and military aid since the early 1960s, including tanks, which it used to kill Palestinians and other Arabs, is a continuation of the alliance that the Nazi government concluded with the Zionists in the 1930s. [At no point did Nazi Germany provide any military assistance to the Yishuv although had it not been for the intrinsic Jew Hatred of the Nazis it would have made strategic sense in the war against mutual enemy Great Britain.] In the 1960s, West Germany even provided military training to Israeli soldiers and since the 1970s has provided Israel with nuclear-ready German-made submarines with which Israel hopes to kill more Arabs and Muslims. [Arabs have declared themselves to be Israel’s enemies and fought wars against her so it is hardly surprising that they and not Chinese or Hotentot are the likely casualties. Israel has trade and other relationships with a number of non-Arab Muslim countries and treaties with Egypt and Jordan. If Israel has intentions to attack non Arab Muslims it has killed remarkably few of them] Israel has in recent years armed the most recent German-supplied submarines with nuclear tipped cruise missiles, a fact that is well known to the current German government. Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Der SPIEGELin 2012 that Germans should be “proud” that they have secured the existence of the state of Israel “for many years”. Berlin financed one-third of the cost of the submarines, around 135 million euros ($168 million) per submarine, and has allowed Israel to defer its payment until 2015. That this makes Germany an accomplice in the dispossession of the Palestinians is of no more concern to current German governments than it was in the 1960s to West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer who affirmed that “the Federal Republic has neither the right nor the responsibility to take a position on the Palestinian refugees “. [The morality of the arms market is rather out of the scope of this fisking. As a general rule we can accept that weapons are designed to kill and be used. I don’t suspect Massad is too upset at arms from many countries including, France, Great Britain, America, Russia, North Korea, Iran and China are sold/given to states who are in a declared state of hostility with Israel (and indeed other Arab/Muslim states).]
This is to be added to the massive billions that Germany has paid to the Israeli government as compensation for the holocaust, as if Israel and Zionism were the victims of Nazism, when in reality it was anti-Zionist Jews [Almost unbelievable nonsense. Nazism didn’t distinguish. Political stance was irrelevant at the extermination camps.] who were killed by the Nazis. The current German government does not care about the fact that even those German Jews who fled the Nazis and ended up in Palestine hated Zionism and its project and were hated in turn by Zionist colonists in Palestine. [I’m always amazed when a Hater of Israel suddenly becomes the protector of Jews – when it suits his agenda.] As German refugees in 1930s and 1940s Palestine refused to learn Hebrew and published half a dozen German newspapers in the country, they were attacked by the Hebrew press, including by Haartez [Haaretz, did not have the same political position in the 1940s as it does today. Today it is much like the Guardian in the UK. Then again, the Guardian was once the strongly pro Israel Manchester Guardian.] which called for the closure of their newspapers in 1939 and again in 1941. Zionist colonists attacked a German-owned café in Tel Aviv because its Jewish owners refused to speak Hebrew, and the Tel Aviv municipality threatened in June 1944 some of its German Jewish residents for holding in their home on 21 Allenby street “parties and balls entirely in the German language, including programmes that are foreign to the spirit of our city” and that this would “not be tolerated in Tel Aviv”. German Jews, or Yekkes as they were known in the Yishuv, would even organise a celebration of the Kaiser’s birthday in 1941 (for these and more details about German Jewish refugees in Palestine, [So is the new accusation that Zionists make life miserable for German Jews? The events described took place when the world was at war and Jews and Germans were on opposite sides. Hostility to the Germany was temporary and completely understandable. It also was hardly confined to Israel. My father told me that in the 1950s in Australia someone speaking German risked a beating.
Sixty-five years after the establishment of Israel those who refused to learn Hebrew, always a tiny minority, have either passed away or learnt. Their children and grandchildren speak Hebrew and not German. There is currently one German language daily Israel Nachrichten that I am aware of. In 2007 it had a circulation of 1,500 a day.] read Tom Segev’s book The Seventh Million).
Add to that Germany’s support for Israeli policies against Palestinians at the United Nations, and the picture becomes complete. Even the new holocaust memorial built in Berlin that opened in 2005 maintains Nazi racial apartheid, as this “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” is only for Jewish victims of the Nazis [It is inconceivable that Massad is unaware of separate war memorials in Germany for Gypsy (Roma) victims of the Nazis and homosexual victims. A further memorial is planned to victims of the Nazi program of euthanasia of the mentally ill and others deemed “unworthy of life.” Massad is simply wrong.] who must still today be set apart, as Hitler mandated, from the other millions of non-Jews who also fell victim to Nazism. That a subsidiary of the German company Degussa, which collaborated with the Nazis and which produced the Zyklon B gas that was used to kill people in the gas chambers, [Few, if any German companies were not implicated for collaboration with the Nazis. These include most major players in German industry such as Mercedes Benz, Siemens, Volkswagen and A.G. Farben. Where do you draw the line?]was contracted to build the memorial was anything but surprising, as it simply confirms that those who killed Jews in Germany in the late 1930s and in the 1940s now regret what they had done because they now understand Jews to be white Europeans who must be commemorated and who should not have been killed in the first place [The victims of Nazism should not have been killed. Not because they, for the most part, were white but not killed because they all were human beings. I doubt too many Germans would disagree.
The whole ‘whiteness’ claim was not part of Nazi language. They were the “Aryan race” in a racial hierarchy that placed the Herrenvolk (or “master race”) of the Volksgemeinschaft (or “national community”) at the top and labeled the equally ‘white’ Poles, Serbs, Russians,as “inferior” and “subhuman” although above Gypsies, persons of colour and Jews. It seems Massad has adopted the wrong ‘racial’ discourse. It should be noted, relative to the thesis, that the Nazis ‘promoted’ their Japanese, Italian, Arab and Slavic allies to honorary Aryan when it became necessary for manpower or strategic purposes.] on account of their whiteness. The German policy of abetting the killing of Arabs by Israel, however, is hardly unrelated to this commitment to anti-Semitism, which continues through the predominant contemporary anti-Muslim German racism that targets Muslim immigrants. [From what I have seen hostility of Germans to Muslims is more than reciprocated by Muslims towards Germans. It appears Massad now saying that antisemitism includes Arabs. This is after he admitted the word was coined by Willhelm Marr to refer to Jews.
For the record, the bulk of Muslims in Germany are non-Arabic Turks and are not Semitic but Turkic. followed by smaller non Semitic groups from Pakistan, countries of the former Yugoslavia, (the Semitic exception?) Arab countries, Iran and Afghanistan]
Euro-American anti-Jewish tradition
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. [It’s interesting that Massad discounts the hostility towards Israel of most of the Arab League – or has he decided that other Arabs are not as Semitic as the Palestinians?] 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 [Another major Massad omission. About half of Jewish Israelis are not European by any definition. They are Mizrahi Jews descended from Jews from primarily Muslim countries in North Africa, the Middle East and the Caucuses. After the establishment of the State of Israel and subsequent 1948 Arab-Israeli War, most Mizrahi Jews were either expelled by their Arab rulers or chose to leave and emigrated to Israel.] were their European countries and not Palestine, and that Zionist colonialism springs from its very anti-Semitism [On the other hand, threats to Kill-the-Jews are a staple of Muslim/Arab rhetoric. Massad is really the pot calling the kettle black.
Palestinians needed no encouragement to become Jew Haters. Massad ignores Islamic theology that any land that was once governed by Sharia (some say captured by Islam) must remain Muslim for eternity and that Jews and Christians permitted to remain must take the subservient position of Dhimmis as a major factor in opposition to Israel.]
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 [Massad ignores evidence of large scale emigration to Palestine at the close of the 19th century and in the first half of the twentieth century, reflecting the encouragement of the Ottomans and improving economic conditions particularly under the British, at least in part as a result of Jewish emigration. He also ignores the 7th century invasions and occupation of the region by Arabs under Omar.] 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 [While I’m hardly an expert on Christian theology I doubt this is an accurate label. I expect the largest group of Christian supporters of Israel would identify themselves as Evangelical Christians. Opinion polls show support for Israel across voting blocs. While the various church bodies may be neutral or hostile, their congregants are not.] and secular imperialists [Who are these secular imperialists? I don’t think America has added to the empire since the annexation of the Philippines (since independent) in 1898.] 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. [What an incredible piece of semantic gymnastics. No longer the mantra, ‘Criticism of Israel is not antisemitic’. It is now Criticism of Israel and, it follows, killing Jews is resistance to antisemitism!]
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. [While it is a truism that all criticism of Israel is not necessarily antisemitism an equally good case can be made that all antisemites are critics of Israel. Israel’s rambunctious press, the freest press in the Middle East, proves the first claim. Israel, unlike her neighbours doesn’t arrest, torture or kill critics. Try criticising the rulers of the Palestinian Authority, Egypt or, for that matter, Qatar.
Medieval and later antisemitic memes and icons predating the State of Israel and any alleged crimes as a major part of Palestinian propaganda effort, including perhaps the oldest, that Jews are Christ-Killers, proves the corallory.] The Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against this anti-Semitic incitement. [This statement is absolutely laughable. Even if you accept Massad’s thesis that attempting to destroy Israel is somehow struggling against antisemitic incitement Palestinian propaganda is full of attacks on the Jews as Jews coming from an Islamic perspective. A good example is Hamas which quotes a hadith calling on even the trees and rocks to assist Muslims to kill Jews. As much as the Palestinian Authority opposes Hamas similar incitement dominates West Bank media as well.
One of the favourite cries at demonstrations is “Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad sa ya’ud,” means “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Mohammed is returning.” referring to the massacre and expulsion of Jews from the town in the 7th century. Death to the Jews is heard as often as Death to Israel.] They continue to affirm instead that the Israeli government does not speak for all Jews, [So the enemies of the Jews will decide who speaks for the Jews and who doesn’t?] 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 [I look forward to the day that Israel can take Palestinian war crimes to court.] 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 [Yassar Arafat, was the first and hopefully the last leader to bring a gun to the UN General Assembly.] 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. [The Arabs invaded and occupied the Middle East and North Africa in the 7th century and there are many Palestinians who proudly trace their descent to soldiers in those armies. Many countries, not least the United States, were created by population movements. At what point does the origin of a people cease to matter? At what point does the impossibility of returning matter? How many generations do people live in a country before they are accepted to belong to that country and vice versa. How many generations does a people not live in a country before they lose their claims.]
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. [Clearly, Israel doesn’t speak for all Jews on all issues. Israel, however, is the only state that declares itself to be Jewish as opposed to 21 Muslim states have adopted Islam as the ideological foundation of state and constitution or endorsed Islam as their State religion. It is the only Jewish majority state and the state with the largest number of Jews. If not Israel, who?
BTW The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation promotes itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world”. Does Massad object? Surely the arguments against that claim are much the same as the arguments against Israel?]
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. [Massad puts words into their mouths. Neither Israel nor any of the Western Powers would agree.] Except for dictatorial Arab regimes [This is confusing. Would Massad be willing to name those countries?
Is Massad saying the Palestinian Authority doesn’t represent Palestinians? HAMAS has a strong counter claim. A case could be made. Palestine’s President Mahmud Abbas is in his ninth year of a four year term. Doesn’t that make him a dictator? On the other hand, what about the PLO, recognized as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations. Abbas’s Fatah is the largest and strongest part and of which he is Arafat’s successor as leader? Who represents the Palestinians?] 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 [How few? Hitler did manage to wipe out about ⅓ of all Jews but he didn’t reach the Americas and largely not the Middle East and North Africa. Many more avoided the fate of their coreligionists in the Soviet Union and other places. If there are so few anti-Zionist Jews today and opinion polls seem to substantiate this it is because as a group the Jews don’t agree with a word of what he says. I don’t think the reasoning he displays will convince them. There is good evidence that most non Zionist and anti Zionist Jews converted to supporters of Israel when the horror of WWII made it clear that millions might have been saved had Israel been established in time. Opposing Zionism, is in any case not a synonym, for supporting Arab genocide against the Jews nor supporting the claim that those same Arabs has rights over the 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.
Joseph Massad teaches Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History [Despite Massad’s apparent hostility to America and its (sic) support of Israel, it doesn’t stop him living and working there.] at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians.
† Antisemitism is prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. A person who holds such positions is called an “antisemite”. There is some argument about whether it should be spelled antisemitism, anti-semitism or anti-Semitism (as Massad does). Normally I prefer to call it Jew Hatred to avoid the argument that Arabs are Semites and therefore can not be antisemitic but in this case as Massad uses the term, so will I and accept that his preferred spelling is not mine. Do not read significance into it.
‡ Wiener Collection – Virtual Exhibitions, Tel Aviv University
* German Federal Archives Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1980-036-05 / CC-BY-SA
†† It is not always possible to identify the exact provenance of antisemitic imagery such as this which owes more to Nazi and Soviet antisemitism than the Arabic version. A quick Google search found 75 examples of this graphic on the Internet.
‡‡ Five Minutes for Israel accepts that most anything you want can be found in a scriptural quote. However, the Mufti chose this one from all others. The full quote, also found in the Hamas Charter goes:
“The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews.
The Jew will hide behind stones or trees.
Then the stones or trees will call:
‘Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’
Except the Gharqad tree [which will keep silent].”
Found in ‘reliable’ Hadith (tradition attributed to Muhammad), in the two ‘reliable’ collections, Bukhari and Muslim. It is worthwhile to watch this video in full, if only to see how it give lie to Massads contention that the Palestinians resist antisemitism.
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
††† Age of the Caliphs