Judaeophobia in the service of Israel

by Shraga Elam*
This speech was delivered at the Anti-imperialist Camp in Assisi, Italy, August 2004, in a abbriviated form.

There is an obvious growth of anti-Jewish sentiments worldwide. One cannot disregard anymore the rise in Judaeophobia and consider it always as just propaganda and manipulation. By the way, I prefer the use of the term Judaeophobia to the more common, and in itself racist term "anti Semitism"**.

Judaeophobia has to be confronted and rejected as every other form of racism, and for that purpose we have to understand its present reasons and causes and not just stop at the isolated "treatment" of superficial symptoms as propagated by many Zionist organizations and Israel.

In order not to exploit your patience unnecessarily I´ll tell you in advance that I´m deeply convinced that the main reasons for the increase in Judaeophobia are basically the Israeli criminal policy against the Palestinians and the wrongdoings of the pro-Israel lobbies. These two serious problems are then combined with the existing anti-Jewish prejudices that are rather harmless as such, at least in most cases. It is the mixture of these Jewish offenses with existing prejudices that Jews are something special that might create a very explosive cocktail.

If it was in the past wrong and racist to look for the reasons for aggressions against Jews by Jews themselves, it is now right and necessary to do so!

One of the best methods at the moment to fight Judaeophobia is to stop the Israeli crimes!

It is as simple as that.

I shall extrapolate now on this statement and try to make it clear what brings me to this conclusion.

It was no one less than a very renowned Israeli expert on Judaeophobia, Professor Dinah Porat who observed on the Israel state radio that there is a correlation between Israeli actions (we can say atrocities) and outbursts of Judaeophobia. This was for example the case in the early …‘80s following the Lebanon invasion or in the late 80´s during the first Palestinian uprising, the Intifada.

We can see that all Jews, notwithstanding their individual positions, were then held responsible for the Israeli atrocities. This follows not only because of anti-Jewish prejudices, but partly also because of Israel`s false claim that it represents all Jews, that it is the state of THE Jews. The widespread and ostensive public support for Israeli crimes led by many Jews all over the world strengthens the impression that all Jews stand behind Israel.

Another example of Jewish activity that caused a rise in Judaeophobia, according to my own observations, is the restitution campaign in the mid …‘90s that the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the Jewish Agency (JA) led against the Swiss banks on the issue of the so called heirless Jewish assets held in Switzerland since the Nazi era.

These two Jewish organizations, a leading factor of the Holocaust Industry, abused a just issue without showing too many considerations for the truth or for the interests of the victims of the Nazis and their successors. The obviously greedy Jewish organizations were perceived as confirming, through their behavior, the existing judaeophobic prejudices and thus triggered a rise in anti-Jewish feelings in Switzerland. Some of the leading Swiss Jews were not very happy about this development but the JA and WJC could not have cared less, as they were successful in using also this increase in Judaeophobia against the Swiss.

This win-win situation by swinging what can be called the "Anti-Semitism bludgeon or club" (in 1991 the German-Israeli historian Professor Michael Wolffsohn spoke of the "Auschwitz bludgeon" - "Auschwitz–Keule") can be observed in action in silencing Israel´s critics, that is, if they are not careful and mix legitimate and necessary condemnations of Israeli policies with anti-Jewish prejudices. But even if there are no real Judaeophobic manifestations, critique of Israel, even if true and correct, may be labelled simply because it is unbearable for Israel and its supporters.

An example of this mechanism can be found in the case of the German politician of Syrian origin, Jamal Karsli. Karsli, who was a Green Party legislator in the assembly of Germany`s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia protested in March 2002 against the Israeli war crimes. He dared to say something that is usually only accepted if expressed by Zionist hardliners and their supporters, namely he compared the Nazi atrocities with a present event.

After seeing on TV that Israeli soldiers had marked the arms of Palestinian captives with numbers, Karsli released a press declaration bearing the title: "Israel uses Nazi methods!"

This German-Syrian politician was actually not alone in having such associations. The former MK and now minister Joseph …‘Tommy´ Lapid, who survived the Judeocide in Hungary, protested against the unbearable similarity between the Nazi marking Jews with numbers in Auschwitz and the action of the Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli national singer, the so called "war singer", Yaffa Yarkoni asked then in an interview on Israel´s military Radio: "didn´t they (meaning the Germans) do similar things to us?" Yarkoni got murder threats from right wing radicals after she had asked this question along with her appeal to soldiers to refuse to serve. In the beginning Karsli was luckier than Yarkoni. He received only mild private critique from his Green colleagues.

Some weeks later, at the end of April 2002 he decided to leave the Green party in a protest against its pro-Israel politics (the head of the party, the German foreign minister Joschka Fischer had sabotaged proposed sanctions of the European Union against Israel). The next day Karsli joined the Free Democratic Party (FDP), whose deputy leader and a former minister, Juergen Moellemann, known for his critique against the Israeli policy, propagated a position on the Middle East conflict closer to Karsli´s.

In early May Karsli, in an interview, broke another taboo by criticizing the strong influence of the Zionist lobby. A ferocious attack was launched against him, as his statements were considered to be anti Jewish. Juergen Moellemann tried to help Karsli and declared that Israel and Jewish officials are responsible, through their politics, for the rise of Judeophobia (he used the word "anti-Semitism").

This was of course like pouring fuel on an open fire. The fierce attacks against Karsli, within the context of the ongoing German election campaign, were really aimed against the more important politician, Moellemann. Karsli, himself, was not interesting enough to have garnered such a huge scandal which engaged the German media for months.

Through the Karsli affair, Moellemann was ruined. He was accused of fishing for votes in brown dark waters, meaning votes from fascists. He apologized for his statements and refrained from contacts with Karsli, but it did not help much. On the contrary, he lost the support of many Germans, who had seen in him some hope for more honesty within the political system, but were anew disappointed through his inconsistency and opportunism. Far from being right wing radicals, they are fed up with the widespread hypocritical Judaeophilia, unacceptable and unjustified privileges for Jews in Germany and not least the lack of honest and significant critiques of Israeli war crimes.

In a desperate act, Moellemann distributed a flyer criticizing Sharon and an important Jewish German representative, Michel Friedman, but stated at the same time, his support for Israel´s right to exist. This rather moderate leaflet, which could have been formulated by Zionists like "Peace Now" or Uri Avnery, was first called "anti-Semitic" by the German media and then defined "anti Israeli". None of the journalists and other persons who expressed themselves publicly with negative commentary on Moellemann´s flyer seemed to have read it or to care about its real content. It seemed to be forbidden to express another opinion.

Moellemann´s career and life came to an end after it was claimed that he financed the flyer with dubious money. He parachuted to death and while the official version is that it was a suicide, there are some who still believe that Moellemann was murdered, which in a way he really was.

Following the Karsli and Moelleman affair, the frustration in Germany has been growing and many people have the feeling that once again, like in the Nazi era, one is not allowed to say in public, obvious and apparent facts. This censorship is dangerous in many ways. There is a growing tension between private and public opinion. As almost only the right wing radicals seem not to be very impressed by the taboos, they stand a better chance to profit from the situation and to be able to channel the growing frustration. Arabs or Muslims who also refuse to obey these taboos, are in danger of being marginalized like Jamal Karsli or even face the possibility of being persecuted.

In order to help us fight against these very dangerous taboos and develop courageous approaches based on emancipation, we should try to analyse Karsli´s two controversial statements:

The Israeli army deploys Nazi methods

The Zionist lobby possesses enormous influence.

Nazi methods

There is a strong prohibition on comparing the Nazi crimes to almost anything else besides another real or imaginary aggression against Jews. Any other comparison is considered as playing down the Nazi Judeocide and therefore racist.

This tabooization is a modern version of the old judaeocentric concept of "chosenness": Jewish suffering is special, and cannot ever be compared with other miseries.

This ban is racist and prevents normal historical analysis, as one of the common and important scientific method is the use of comparison. The comparison as such must not be automatically categorized as racist. It might be wrong or correct, but should not be forbidden.

It has to be realized that the Nazi crimes were not really unique for Germans as the eternal victimizers, or for Jews as the eternal victims. There is nothing in the "German" or "Jewish" genes that make these people victims or victimizers.

For example, more than 60 years ago militarism was very central in Germany, while today, in this society there is a very wide spread aversion to military conflicts. Conversely, over 100 years ago it was rather rare to find a Jewish militarist, but today Israel is a modern Sparta, with one of the world´s most militaristic society.

In present day Israel, actually more than in many other countries including Germany, we can find many influential people who would have fit perfectly into the Nazi system both in terms of ideology and practice. Unique to the Israeli Nazis, some of them are victims of the German-Nazis, is the desire that the world believe them to be THE real anti-Nazis, that they have the right, because of past sufferings to inflict similar or dissimilar suffering on other people, that they are, by virtue of the suffering of their ancestors, beyond reproach.

There is a common mistake of identifying the Nazi crimes only with the industrial extermination of Jews like in Auschwitz, disregarding the fact that the Nazis acted in many other criminal ways and that the plan to build Auschwitz was developed only in 1941, while the Nazis came to power in 1933 and were criminals from the beginning and of course acted not only against Jews.

We should not overlook and play down the escalatory character of the Nazi brutality. Till 1938, for example, they worked towards a so called voluntary "transfer" (mass deportation) of the Jews out of Germany and employed much less violence than Israel today does while pursuing similar goals against the Palestinians. The Israeli army and the right wing radical gangs escalate continuously their violent acts and have plans, like the Nazis after 1938 for forced expulsion.

Historically, despite all the differences between the two situations - Nazi Germany and present Israel - there are too many worrisome and obvious structural similarities. The fact that there are still some democratic traits in Israel today while in the 1930s Germany was a dictatorship makes no real difference to the victims, for whom the type of system which oppresses and abuses them is of no consequence. In fact, the Israeli Jewish citizens bear an even greater responsibility than did the people of Nazi Germany precisely because of these democratic traits. They don`t yet have to fear the same repercussions as the Germans did under the Nazi regime.

If we consider very strictly Jamal Karsli´s accusation that the Israeli soldiers used Nazi methods by putting numbers on the Palestinian captives, we have to admit that there are different circumstances involved in the two situations and for the Palestinians it was actually in comparison with other Israeli crimes a rather harmless action, which has mainly a symbolical value. The numbers were not tattooed in the hands of the Palestinians and the captive were not (yet) in an extermination camp like Auschwitz. On the other hand, many Palestinians currently live in Ghettos and concentration camps and the former Israeli education minister, Shulamit Aloni pointed out, that we don´t have to wait till there are gas chambers for the Palestinians in order to draw such comparisons. We experience already an escalating ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and there are no exact figures of causalities due to malnutrition, lack of adequate medical care etc. Nor are there exact figures on how many Palestinians have left their homeland "voluntarily".

I consider the comparison between the Nazi atrocities and the Israeli crimes, despite the many differences, not only historically justified, but mainly politically necessary. As this is one of the important tools to prevent Israel from misusing the Nazi Judeocide as a free licence to kill, to abuse, to dispossess and to expel the Palestinians. This is one of the means to show that Israel has no moral right and actually never had to induce guilt feelings for example in Europe. Guilt feelings among non-Jews, that are the result of the long history of persecutions suffered by the Jews and that Israel and its affiliates know perfectly how to play upon and manipulate them.

Zionist Lobby

There can be no doubt that the pro-Israel lobbies belong to the mightiest in the world. E.g one of them, AIPAC, is proud of the fact that according to Fortune magazine it is for years one of most influential power groups in the US. One can read it on AIPAC´s website and not just in some obscure publication of Jew haters.

In order to find ways to neutralize the pro-Zionist lobbies, we are not allowed to demonize them. We have to try to understand how they function and what are their weaknesses and soft points. The tendency to attribute some magical powers to them is not only racist, but is also self-defeating. It is an additional justification for the powerlessness of the people who propagate it. You cannot really be successful against such an omnipotent and supernatural phantom.

One of the greatest weaknesses of the pro-Israel lobbies is that they are usually just groups of officials with a very narrow base. There has not been a real effective opposition to them, because too many people, Jews and non-Jews as well, believe that Israel defends the Jewish interests and can serve as a refuge in case of a second Judeocide. This myth, this illusion has to be destroyed!

It can be proven how Israel endangers not only the Palestinians but also Jews and not only in the Middle East. It has to be made widely conscious that this illusion of a life insurance for Jews, is paid by the sufferings and blood of the Palestinians and is in itself a source for danger for Jews themselves.

Israel and its affiliated organizations have been pushing very strongly towards the present so called anti-terror campaign in general and especially towards the US aggression against Iraq; activities, which have created more dangers than neutralising or preventing them.

In the case of Iraq there is no serious evidence that Saddam Hussein´s regime was in recent years, dangerous to anybody besides the Iraqis themselves. Israel was for sure not endangered by Iraq and Saddam Hussein signalled several times his earnest intentions to achieve an agreement with the Zionist state. According to various reports in the early …‘90s he was even ready to absorb some of the Palestinian refugees in Iraq in order to help to pacify the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Just the same, many Iraq war supporters but also opponents were and some are still convinced that this aggression was made in order to avert dangers from Israel.

There were for sure Israeli interests in this war, and this expressed itself by the active role that the Israeli ruling classes and the affiliated Jewish US neocons played in pushing towards this military act.

The name of the game is not more security but more instability and thus higher military budgets and more income for the US and Israeli military industrial complexes (MIC), who are supposed to be once again locomotives for their respective economies. This unholy alliance might one day come to an end and there are even today instances of conflict of interest between these partners and the Israelis have had to live with some painful defeats. For example many jobs in the Israeli military industries are in danger, because it is cheaper for the Israeli army to get weapons from the US for free rather than to buy them locally. The US military aid to Israel is to a large part a subvention to the US military industries, as most of the money cannot be expended anywhere else. Some Israeli companies try to bypass these restrictions through joint-ventures with US firms, but this does not mean that the production will stay in Israel.

The strong alliance between the US and the Israeli MICs as of 1967 is the main reason for the strong influence of the pro-Israel lobbies. Once this alliance comes to an end or the US MIC loses substantial political and economical importance, this will be the end of the bubble called the strong Jewish lobbies and not only in the US.

* Shraga Elam is an Israeli journalist based in Zurich/Switzerland

** The term Judeophobia is to be preferred to "anti-Semitism". As anti-Semitism is on itself a racist designation which was created by one of the inventor the Nazi ideology, Wilhelm Marr in 1879. The Jews might be many things but for sure no race and in so far that there is something like a Semitic race, the Arab belong to it as well.