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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Chicago Tribune on the resurgence of anti-Semitism

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/09/chicago-tribune-on-resurgence-of-anti.html

This otherwise excellent article by Russell Working about ant-Semitism in the Chicago Tribune, on THE RESURGENCE OF ANTI-SEMITISMm leaves one issue undecided:


Some people, including many Jews, who decry anti-Semitism as very real and extremely ugly trace its worsening to Israel's occupation of Palestinian land. It can be a tricky topic, holding Israel accountable for its actions toward Palestinians without condoning anti-Semitism.


"You don't want to say it's Jews' fault that there are anti-Semites," said Jesse Bacon of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago. "But it's more a question of what could we concretely do in keeping with our own values to lessen this problem. And I would suggest that would be reaching a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
 
Mr. Working raises the issue but doesn't really settle it. Perhaps there is something not quite right about Bacon's reasoning.  It seems to me that there was anti-Semitism before there was an occupation, and I remember reading something about a Holocaust even before there was a state of Israel. Mr. Bacon doesn't seem to have taken that into account. I even remember that there was a blood libel in Damascus over 150 years ago, before the rise of Zionism.  Not only that, but the leader of the Arab Palestinians opposed to the creation of Israel, the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini was not exactly known for his love of the Jews. In fact, he organized SS Einsatzgruppen in Yugoslavia and ensured the deaths of thousands of Jews.  Isn't it at least equally true that if we want to bring about peace in the Middle East, then we need to reduce the level of anti-Semitism in Arab countries, which preceded both the occupation and the creation of the State of Israel?
 
Mr. Working started well, but he seems to have abandoned his original idea as he progressed in the article. Initially he wrote:
 
 
Imagine you're walking down Michigan Avenue when a madman in soiled pajamas and a tinfoil Viking hat strides up. He hands you a photocopied cartoon of an ogre with a Star of David on his chest. The creature is devouring a baby. You speed up. So does your new friend. He mutters: Hey buster, listen up. See, it's all their fault. These wars? They're to blame. The Holocaust? They bought it on. They bake the blood of children into matzos. They use "Tom and Jerry" cartoons, Lions Clubs and AIDS to dominate the world. You know who I mean: The Jews.

So how to deal with this fellow?
 
I ask you, Mr. Working. If Israel withdraws from the West Bank and Gaza strip, do you think that the man with the tinfoil hat is going to change his mind about the Jews? It is a good question to put to Mr. Bacon as well.
 
And Mr. Working continued:
 
The Hamas charter blames Jews for evils dating to the French Revolution. The document also may be history's first revolutionary manifesto that lists, as a cause for war, an imaginary plot by Jews to control the world through Lions and Rotary clubs.
 
 
Indeed, and did you remind Mr. Bacon of the above fact? And did you consider together the implications of the fact that the abovementioned sweet and reasonable Hamas movement are in charge of the Gaza strip? The man with the tinfoil hat is the one who is controlling the peace process unfortunately, and his rockets and suicide bombers are not made of tinfoil. Perhaps getting the man in the tinfoil hat some help or putting him where he can't do any harm is a necessary condition for progress in peace in the Middle East.
 
 
Ami Isseroff  
 


No hatred so common
By Russell Working
September 30, 2007

Imagine you're walking down Michigan Avenue when a madman in soiled pajamas and a tinfoil Viking hat strides up. He hands you a photocopied cartoon of an ogre with a Star of David on his chest. The creature is devouring a baby. You speed up. So does your new friend. He mutters: Hey buster, listen up. See, it's all their fault. These wars? They're to blame. The Holocaust? They bought it on. They bake the blood of children into matzos. They use "Tom and Jerry" cartoons, Lions Clubs and AIDS to dominate the world. You know who I mean: The Jews.

So how to deal with this fellow? A) Secure him a professorship at a leading university. B) Hire him to produce a television series. C) Appoint him to a position of power and allow him to deliver policy speeches to UN agencies. D) All of the above.

If you answered "D," you are on to something. Or so one is tempted to conclude when considering the resurgence of the ancient madness known as anti-Semitism.

In its scope, anti-Semitism is rare among Earth's infinite hatreds. Hutus exterminated Tutsis in Rwanda, Christians are targeted in China and Iraq, and Muslims see persecution in many lands, from India to France to the U.S. Discrimination is a daily fact of American life, not just for blacks but for Asians, Latinos and Native Americans.

But few hatreds unite such a vast range of establishment voices worldwide. The perfidy of the Jews is espoused by Syrian authors, Lebanese TV anchors, Italian cartoonists, Egyptian newsmen and heads of state from Malaysia to the Mediterranean. And it is coming home to roost once again in Europe.

Matthias Kuentzel, a German scholar who has traced the influence of Adolf Hitler in the Muslim world, says Judeophobia is at its worst level since the Nazi era. The Middle East conflicts fuel anger at Israel, but this is more than just frustrated people blowing off steam.

It is a demonology that encompasses all Jews, wherever they live or whatever their stand on Israel. It is an "infrastructure of the soul" for those who embrace it, Kuentzel says.

Consider: The madman's tirade above was based on real sources:

Editorial cartoons across the Middle East and Europe portray Israelis as ogres who devour babies, drawing on medieval and Nazi imagery.

The Irish News--following the lead of many other media--published a cartoon last year depicting an Orthodox Jew controlling Pentagon policy.

A store on Devon Avenue in Chicago sells books by a Turkish author who argues that Zionist leaders cooperated with the Nazis in organizing the Holocaust against their own people.

In 2003, a Lebanese television series dramatized Jews kidnapping and murdering Christian children and draining their blood to make matzos. In a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a rabbi munches the unleavened bread and observes, "This one is tastier and holier because it was kneaded with pure blood, the blood of Joseph." Similar claims routinely circulate in the Islamic world.

The Hamas charter blames Jews for evils dating to the French Revolution. The document also may be history's first revolutionary manifesto that lists, as a cause for war, an imaginary plot by Jews to control the world through Lions and Rotary clubs.

Egyptian and Jordanian newspapers have reported that Jews were selling drug-laced gum. Other accounts blame the spread of AIDS on Jewish doctors purposely infecting children with HIV.

A cultural adviser to the Iranian Education Ministry went on state television last year to explain that "Tom and Jerry" was part of a Jewish plot to improve the image of rodents, because Jews are, after all, regarded as "dirty mice."

It's not just the Islamic world in which bigotry threatens. The Community Security Trust, a British group that helps Jewish organizations set up security, tracked 412 attacks on Jewish targets outside Israel in the 25 years following 1968.

Stores were bombed in Paris; Lima, Peru; and Melbourne, Australia. In 2003, bombs at two synagogues in Istanbul killed 25 and wounded more than 300. A bomb outside a kindergarten in Vienna in 1982 failed to go off. It takes a certain level of indoctrination to conclude that 5-year-olds pose a danger so grave they must be eradicated with TNT.

The United States tends to be a safe part of the world for Jews, but it takes only one nut to endanger others. Last year a gunman offered his contribution toward the liberation of Palestine by forcing his way inside a Seattle Jewish center with a gun in the back of a 14-year-old girl. He then wounded five women and shot another dead, police said.

The man has pleaded insanity. How that distinguishes him from other anti-Semites is another issue.

(A word here on terminology: Arabs often say that because they are Semitic peoples, it is absurd to call an Arab "anti-Semitic." But the term traditionally has been defined as an animus toward the Jewish people, and that is how it is used here.)

Some people, including many Jews, who decry anti-Semitism as very real and extremely ugly trace its worsening to Israel's occupation of Palestinian land. It can be a tricky topic, holding Israel accountable for its actions toward Palestinians without condoning anti-Semitism.

"You don't want to say it's Jews' fault that there are anti-Semites," said Jesse Bacon of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago. "But it's more a question of what could we concretely do in keeping with our own values to lessen this problem. And I would suggest that would be reaching a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

In Britain last year, attacks on Jews and other anti-Semitic incidents reached their worst level on record, according to the Community Security Trust. A parliamentary report last fall concluded that anti-Semitism is going mainstream in the United Kingdom, and that "has contributed to an atmosphere where Jews have become more anxious and more vulnerable to abuse and attack than at any other time for a generation or longer."

Studies in the European Union and Russia have drawn similar conclusions.

Among the British victims was Jasmine Kranat, a north London Jewish girl who went with a friend to buy fruit and yogurt to make smoothies for a sleepover last summer. On the bus home, a group of Asian and black teenage girls boarded the bus.

"One girl asked me, 'Are you English or Jewish?' " said Jasmine, who was 12 at the time, in a phone interview.

She answered, "I'm English," but the girls attacked her. Ignoring her friend, who was wearing a crucifix, the teens beat and stomped Jasmine, fracturing her eye socket and knocking her out. Jasmine's friend dragged her off the bus, and Jasmine was hospitalized.

The turning point in the resurgence of anti-Semitism was a UN-sponsored anti-racism conference in South Africa in 2001, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based group that battles bigotry worldwide.

That week, Iranians stormed a Wiesenthal news conference and turned over tables. Thousands of Muslim trade unionists demonstrated against Israel, some waving signs that read "Hitler was right." Police said they couldn't guarantee Cooper's safety if he left his hotel. And delegates voted to strike a condemnation of anti-Semitism from the conference's final statement.

As Cooper and about 30 other Jewish delegates walked out, some 3,000 people purportedly committed to battling racism worldwide hooted and jeered.

"The script for what it is we are struggling against was consecrated at that conference," Cooper says.

Last month, planning began on a follow-up gathering to the 2001 anti-racism conference in Durban. Jewish groups are already bracing for Durban II in 2009, fearing it will bring more anti-Semitic bashing of Israel.

An inventory of recent oral and written attacks on Jews by people of power and stature is as long as it is appalling.

Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, imam and preacher at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, beseeched Allah to annihilate the Jews, reported the Middle East Media Research Institute. After all, he said, they are "the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs." Imagine the riots if Pope Benedict XVI spoke this way about Muslims.

In April, the acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council prayed this about Jews and Americans: "Allah, count them and kill them to the last one and don't leave even one."

Surveying the intra-Palestinian fighting in Gaza, Egyptian liberal author Kamal Gabriel recently wrote that the battle with Israel had transformed from hatred of Zionism to a loathing of all Jews. And that "culture and psychology of violence," once unleashed, threatens Palestinians too.

"It starts with the Zionist enemy who is occupying the Holy Land, and then the violence and the hatred spread dangerously, like fire, in the psyche of the one over which [the violence and hatred] have gained mastery," Gabriel wrote. These destructive tendencies "consume everything around them?and the first thing they consume is the light of reason."

Try telling that to the guy in the tinfoil hat.

rworking@tribune.com


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/09/chicago-tribune-on-resurgence-of-anti.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

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