All too easy to blame the Jews
By Victor Davis Hanson |
September 18, 2007
WHO recently said: "These Jews started 19 crusades. The 19th was World War I. Why? Only to build Israel." Some holdover Nazi? Hardly.
It was former prime minister Necmettin Erbakan of Turkey, a NATO ally. He went on to claim that the Jews - whom he refers to as "bacteria" - controlled China, India and Japan, and ran the US.
Who alleged: "The Arabs who were involved in 9/11 co-operated with the Zionists, actually. It was a co-operation. They gave them the perfect excuse to denounce all Arabs."
A conspiracy nut? Actually it was former US senator James Abourezk. He denounced Israel on a Hezbollah-owned television station, adding: "I marvelled at the Hezbollah resistance to Israel ... It was a marvel of organisation, of courage and bravery."
And finally, who claimed at a UN-sponsored conference that democratic Israel was "much worse" than the former apartheid South Africa and that it "undermines the international community's reaction to global warming"?
A radical environmentalist wacko? Again, no. It was Clare Short, a member of the British parliament. She was secretary for international development under prime minister Tony Blair.
A new virulent strain of the old anti-Semitism is spreading worldwide.
This hate - of a magnitude not seen in more than 70 years - is espoused not just by Iran's loony President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or radical jihadis. The latest anti-Semitism is also now mouthed by world leaders and sophisticated politicians and academics. Their loathing often masquerades as "anti-Zionism" or "legitimate" criticism of Israel.
But the venom exclusively reserved for the Jewish state betrays their existential hatred.
Israel is always lambasted for entering homes in the West Bank to look for Hamas terrorists and using too much force. But last week the world snoozed when the Lebanese army bombarded and then crushed the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, which harboured Islamic terrorists. The world has long objected to Jewish settlers buying up land in the West Bank. Yet Hezbollah, flush with Iranian money, is now purchasing large tracts in southern Lebanon for military purposes and purging them of non-Shiites.
In the US, "neo-conservative" has become synonymous with a supposed Jewish cabal of Washington insiders who hijacked US policy to take us to war in Israel's interest. Yet when the US bombed European and Christian Serbia to help Balkan Muslims, few critics alleged that American Muslims had unduly swayed Bill Clinton.
And such charges of improper ethnic influence are rarely levelled to explain the billions in American aid given to non-democratic Egypt, Jordan or the Palestinians, or the Saudi oil money that pours into American universities.
The world likewise displays such a double standard. It seems to care little about the principle of so-called occupied land - whether in Cyprus or Tibet - unless Israel is the accused.
Mass murder in Cambodia, the Congo, Rwanda and Darfur has earned far fewer UN resolutions of condemnation than supposed atrocities committed by Israel. A number of British academics are sponsoring a boycott of Israeli scholars but leave alone those from autocratic Iran, China and Cuba.
There are various explanations for the new anti-Semitism. For many abroad, attacking Jews and Israel is an indirect way of damning its main ally, the US: by implying that Americans are not entirely evil, just hoodwinked by those sneaky and far more evil Jews.
In the US, there are obvious pragmatic considerations. Some Americans may find it makes more sense to damn a few million Israelis without oil than it does to offend Israel's adversaries in the Middle East, who number in the hundreds of millions and control nearly half the world's petroleum reserves.
Cowardice explains a lot. Libelling Israel won't earn someone a fatwa or a death sentence in the manner comparable criticism of Islam might. There are no Jewish suicide bombers in London, Madrid or Bali.
This new face of anti-Semitism is so insidious because it is so well disguised, advanced by self-proclaimed diplomats and academics, and now embraced by the supposedly sophisticated Left on university campuses.
When national, collective or personal aspirations are not met, it is far easier to blame someone or something rather than to look within for the source of the failure and frustration. More recently, someone must be blamed for getting terrorists (with oil and its profits behind them) mad at us.
That someone is - no surprise - once again Jews.
Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution in San Francisco, is a regular contributor to the New York Post, in which this article originally appeared