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This article appeared in Al-Ahram Weekly in December of 2004.. We are printing it here under fair use principles . It provides vital historical analysis of the term antisemite and antisemitism.

Today the real victims of Western anti-Semitism are Arabs and Muslims, argues Joseph Massad*

There is much misunderstanding about the term “anti-Semitism” among Jews, Arabs, and European Christians. The term is bandied about as a description of attitudes deemed anti-Jewish, and on occasion anti-Arab, but much of its use is anachronistic and ahistorical. While Zionists and their supporters have been using the charge of anti-Semitism against any and all who oppose Israel and its policies, especially, although not exclusively, in the Arab World, Arabs have taken offense countering that they are “Semites” and therefore by definition cannot be “anti-Semitic”. What are the merits of such arguments?

Perhaps some history will help: The term “Semite” was invented by European philologists in the 18th century to distinguish languages from one another by grouping them into “families” descended from one “mother” tongue to which they are all related. In this context, languages came to be organised into “Indo-European” and “Semitic”, etc. The philologists claimed that Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Amharic, etc., were “Semitic” languages, even though philologists could never find a parent Semitic language from which they all derived.

In the 19th century and with the rise of European biological racism, those who hated Jews could no longer rely on religious difference to mark out post- Enlightenment Jews as objects of their hatred. As religion was no longer part of the argumentation that could be used in a “rational and scientific” Europe, a new basis for the hatred of Jews had to be found. This did not mean however that certain religious ideas could not be rationalised. They often were. In keeping with the Protestant Reformation’s abduction of the Hebrew bible into its new religion and its positing of modern European Jews as direct descendants of the ancient Hebrews, post- Enlightenment haters of Jews began to identify Jews as “Semites” on account of their alleged ancestors having spoken Hebrew. In fact the ancient Hebrews spoke Aramaic, the language in which the Talmud was written, as well as parts of the bible. Based on this new philological taxonomy and its correlate racial classifications in the biological sciences, Jews were endowed with this linguistic category that was soon transformed into a racial category. Accordingly, haters of Jews began to identify themselves as “anti-Semites”. Thus the object of hatred of European anti-Semitism has always been European Jews.

The claims made by many nowadays that any manifestation of hatred against Jews in any geographic location on Earth and in any historical period is “anti-Semitism” smacks of a gross misunderstanding of the European history of anti- Semitism. While oppression of, discrimination against, and hatred of communities of Jews qua Jews are found in many periods of European history, the basis for this hatred is different from modern anti-Semitism, as its inspirational sources are not rational science and biology or Enlightenment philology, but religious and other political and economic considerations that scapegoated Jews. This may not be important for those who want only to produce a lachrymose history of European Jews, but it is crucial to the understanding of how the identities produced since the European Enlightenment are different from preceding periods, and that they function as new bases for nationalism, racism, oppression, discrimination, and liberation, and for the modern mechanisms put in place to institutionalise such identities and categories of humans.

The defensive claim made by some that Arabs cannot be “anti-Semitic” because they are “Semites” is equally erroneous and facile. First, I should state that I do not believe that anyone is a “Semite” any more than I believe anyone is an “Aryan”, and I do not believe that Arabs or Jews should proudly declare that they are “Semites” because European racists classified them as such. But if the history of European Christian anti-Semitism is mostly a history targeting Jews as objects of discrimination and exclusion, the history of European Orientalism and colonialism is the one that targeted Arabs and Muslims, among many others. This does not mean that Arabs are not considered Semites by European racialist and philological classifications; they indeed are. Nor does this mean that much of the hatred of Arabs today is not derived from a prior anti- Semitism that targeted Jews. Indeed it is. The history of European Orientalism is one that is fully complicit with anti-Semitism from which it derives many of its representations of ancient and modern Arabs and of ancient Hebrews and modern Jews. As Edward Said demonstrated a quarter of a century ago in his classic Orientalism, “what has not been sufficiently stressed in histories of modern anti-Semitism has been the legitimation of such atavistic designations by Orientalism, and… the way this academic and intellectual legitimation has persisted right through the modern age in discussions of Islam, the Arabs, or the Near Orient.” Said added: “The transference of popular anti-Semitic animus from a Jewish to an Arab target was made smoothly, since the figure was essentially the same.” In the context of the 1973 War, Said commented that Arabs came to be represented in the West as having “clearly ‘Semitic’ features: sharply hooked noses, the evil moustachioed leer on their faces, were obvious reminders (to a largely non- Semitic population) that ‘Semites’ were at the bottom of all ‘our’ troubles.”

This is important, as many people in the Arab world and outside it think that European Jews are the ones who called themselves “Semites”, rather than European Christian racists who invented the term. Of course this misunderstanding is understandable given the fact that Zionism, which adopted wholesale anti-Semitic ideologies, would also call Jews “Semites” and would begin to consider Jews as Semites racially from the late 19th century to the present. In this sense not only do many Arabs think that “Semites” is a Jewish-invented category but so do many European Jews who were (and in some contexts remain) victims of this anti-Jewish designation.

But this is different from the spurious claim that “Arabs cannot be anti-Semitic because they are Semites.” There are Arabs today who are anti- Jewish, and they borrow their anti-Jewish rhetoric not from the Palestine experience but from European rhetorics of anti-Semitism. The point is that Arab Christians and Muslims can be anti-Jewish just as Jews can be, and American and Israeli Jews often are, anti-Arab racists, even though many among these Jews and Arabs use the category “Semite” for self-classification. Indeed a large and disproportionate number of the purveyors of anti- Arab racism in today’s United States and Israel as well as in Western Europe are Jews. But there is also a disproportionate number of Jews among those who defend Arabs and Muslims against Euro- American and Israeli racism and anti-Semitism. The majority, however, of those who hate Arabs and Muslims in the West remain European and American Christians.

It is often pointed out by Zionists and their supporters that holocaust denial in the Arab world is the major evidence for “Arab anti-Semitism”. I have written elsewhere how any Arab or Palestinian who denies the Jewish holocaust falls into the Zionist logic.

While holocaust denial in the West is indeed one of the strongest manifestations of anti-Semitism, most Arabs who deny the holocaust deny it for political not racist reasons. This point is even conceded by the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim Orientalist Bernard Lewis. Their denial is based on the false Zionist claim that the holocaust justifies Zionist colonialism. The Zionist claim is as follows: Since Jews were the victims of the holocaust, then they have the right to colonise Palestine and establish a Jewish colonial-settler state there. Those Arabs who deny the holocaust accept the Zionist logic as correct. Since these deniers reject the right of Zionists to colonise Palestine, the only argument left to them is to deny that the holocaust ever took place, which, to their thinking, robs Zionism of its allegedly “moral” argument. But the fact that Jews were massacred does not give Zionists the right to steal someone else’s homeland and to massacre the Palestinian people. The oppression of a people does not endow it with rights to oppress others. If those Arab deniers refuse to accept the criminal Zionist logic that justifies the murder and oppression of the Palestinians by appealing to the holocaust, then these deniers would no longer need to make such spurious arguments. All those in the Arab world who deny the Jewish holocaust are in my opinion Zionists.

Anyone who believes in social justice and opposes racist oppression must be in solidarity with all holocaust victims, especially European Jews, 90 per cent of whom were exterminated by a criminal and genocidal regime. Such a person must equally be against the Zionist abduction of the holocaust to justify Israel’s colonial and racist policies. The attempt by holocaust deniers to play down the number of holocaust victims is obscene, as whether one million or 10 million Jews were killed, the result is still genocide and this would never justify Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. Such obscene number games on the part of holocaust deniers are hardly different from Zionist Jewish denial of the Palestinian nakba and are also similar to the continued Zionist attempts to play down the number of Palestinian refugees. While the nakba and the holocaust are not equivalent in any sense, the logic of denying them is indeed the same. I should stress here that the Palestine Liberation Organisation and most Palestinian intellectuals have spoken and written since the 1960s of their solidarity with Jewish holocaust victims and have attacked those who deny it took place. Unlike the official and unofficial Israeli denial of the expulsion of the Palestinians and the numbers of the refugees, those who deny the holocaust among Palestinians have no position whatsoever inside the PLO nor any legitimacy among the Palestinian intelligentsia.

Today we live in a world where anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatred, derived from anti-Semitism, is everywhere in evidence. It is not Jews who are being murdered by the thousands by Arab anti- Semitism, but rather Arabs and Muslims who are being murdered by the tens of thousands by Euro- American Christian anti-Semitism and by Israeli Jewish anti-Semitism. If anti-Semites posited Jews as the purveyors of corruption, as financier bankers who control the world, as violent communist subversives, and as poisoners of Christian wells, the Arab and the Muslim today are seen as in control of the oil market and therefore of the global financial market, the purveyors of hatred and corruption of civilised Christian and Jewish societies, as violent terrorists, and as possible mass murderers, not with some Semitic Jewish poison but with Semitic Arab nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons (which are nowhere to be found). Thus Michael Moore feels vindicated in telling us in his recent film, Fahrenheit 9/11, about the portion of the American economy controlled by Saudi money while neglecting to mention the much, much larger American share of the Saudi economy. Anti- Semitism is alive and well today worldwide and its major victims are Arabs and Muslims and no longer Jews. The fight should indeed be against all anti-Semitism no matter who the object of its oppression is, Arab or Jew.

* Joseph Massad teaches modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University in New York.

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By Emma Rosenthal

none of us
without
us all
everyone’s story
under the boot
on the edge of town
at the end of the line
behind closed doors
in cattle cars
hidden in alleyways
cast into the wilderness
and shallow graves
underground passages
black site gulags
penal colonies
olvidadxs
desaparacidxs
perdidxs
erasing us
erases you
we are not
the ones who
cannot count

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The Blacklist Continues:

Emma Rosenthal & Andy Griggs are once again under attack by those who don’t support their work in Palestine solidarity.

As owners of DragonflyHill Urban Farm, they recently experienced a barrage of 1 star reviews from over 1700 people who had never been to DragonflyHill Urban Farm but were upset with a review left by DragonflyHill Urban Farm on an Amazon page.

People who had never been to their urban farm pretended they had, making outrageousImage of two hands holding each other. Text: If you're truly intersectional in your activism and advocacy you're going to make a lot of enemies. claims about filth and vermin, others claimed that the hosts discriminated against Jews and Iraelis. Others wrote hate speech and threats, while others simply posted in their 1 star review Am Yisroel Chai  in both Hebrew letters and in transliteration (Long Live Israel.).  (How the hosts could have had so many Israeli & Jewish guests and were simultaneously discriminating against them, is a mystery best solved in the conclusion that it just isn’t possible for this small business to have even had 1700 clients in the course of 2 days, especially considering that their Aibnb profile provides 275 reviews collected over a 2 year period. (Airbnb reviews can only be left by people who have stayed with the host through Airbnb. Facebook reviews have no similar burden of proof. Anyone can post a false review. )

The full account of those events can be seen here on the DragonflyHill Urban Farm blog, and here on the facebook page of Emma Rosenthal.

Partial image of a tweet, excluding the name on the account and the photo of the account owner, Text says: text: JUN 25TH, 2:36PM Michelle Mendelovitz Kappo getting what you deserve!!!!!!! AM ISRAEL CHAI!!!!🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱 Cant wait until your out of business😂😂😂😂😂

Image of a direct message sent to Cafe Intifada’s Emma Rosenthal via twitter. We initially posted the image of the entire message, including the name and photo associated with the account. We have since removed the photo associated with the account as well as the name on the account because we have been notified by the person who owns the account, that the account had been hacked and that the person did not actually send the message, it was sent by the hacker.

After about 2 days of this attack, people supportive of Palestinian human rights started to strike back and responded with messages and reviews of support. Some of the people supporting this tenuous and tiny business were people who have known the activists associated with this space, and others were people who simply were outraged that the establishment had been targeted in such an unscrupulous manner.

Enter White Supremacist Opportunists

Emma Rosenthal, one of the owners of both Cafe Intifada and DragonflyHill Urban Farm has long been targeted by both zionists and  white supremacists (with the popular racist argument “Your name is Rosenthal” as if that explains her point of view, simply because she has an Ashkenazi Jewish name).

After a handful of reviewers used the DragonflyHill facebook page to launch their own racist agenda, and DragonflyHill Urban Farm responded by stating that support for white supremacist anti-Jewish opportunism within Palestine solidarity was not welcome any more than supporters of Israeli brutality and zionist racist assertions that Palestinians do not exist, they then started to turn their attention against DragonflyHill Urban Farm, blasting them with comments to other supporters, that DragonflyHill Urban Farm is zionist. The definition of zionism IS NOT anyone who disagrees with white supremacist opportunists.

The delineation between white supremacist opportunists in Palestine Solidarity and true Palestine solidarity activism, in support of actual Palestinian liberation and human rights, is best summarized in Rosenthal’s essay:  Guilt by Disassociation: The Landscape of American Exceptionalism in the Guise of Palestine Solidarity

In response to these attacks by Christian identity white power advocates, DragonflyHill issued the following statement, with a link to Rosenthal’s powerful essay.

“We are now coming under attack by some of the people who used our platform to attack Jews and conflate zionism with Jews and Judaism. They initially gave us 5 stars and are now using our review platform to tell people we are zionists simply because we won’t go along with their white supremacist, U.S. settler colonialist platform.

We are not zionists, but we are clearly NOT white supremacists, a truly ugly appropriation of Palestinian solidarity. Jesse Higuera who initially gave us 5 stars is upset that we don’t embrace his racist attitude toward Jews. supporting Palestine has nothing to do with Jews and Judaism. Zionism is not Judaism. Most zionists are not Jews, they’ re christian fundamentalists and many many Jews are not zionists. It is racist to conflate the two.

We do not need or want the support of white supremacist opportunists who support Palestine, simply because they hate Jews more than they hate Arabs and Palestinians. We support universal human rights and we are against racism including antisemitism.

“There are two basic tendencies within what is broadly known as Palestine solidarity with implications in regard to U.S. global policy and social activism as well. One tendency, and the one that I identify with, comes from a tradition of anti-racist, anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist work, which often includes a critique of capitalism at its root. In no context does it see the U.S. as a neutral party, an agent of benevolence or the Great White Hope. It views Western support for Israel as an extension of and consistent with western imperialism, colonization and conquest. This tendency doesn’t deny the power of the zionist lobby (The Lobby), but sees that power not as an exception but rather as functioning well within the lobby system itself and the entire infrastructure of U.S. empire and capitalism. Many of the members of this tendency, myself included, have been attacked, surveilled and blacklisted by the The Lobby and the zionist establishment. The problem isn’t with The Lobby in particular, but rather with the political structures that allows for powerful corporate lobbies to exist at all and with how The Lobby exists to support those systems. This perspective asserts that The Lobby doesn’t just consist of Israel, its Jewish U.S. supporters or the self proclaimed “Jewish” organizations (the ADL, Stand with Us, AIPAC). It also includes the vast number of Christian zionists and the Christian fundamentalist churches, the oil industry, the construction industry, the security industry and by no short measure, the arms industry, all of which profit quite favorably from escalating Israeli militarism. (In the U.S., While there are less than 6 million Jews, zionist and anti-zionist, there are over 40 million Christian zionists.) Israeli brutality and militarism is consistent and in dialogue with, and developing alongside the growing militarization of police forces within U.S. cities, the prison industrial complex, and urban warfare as well as the militarization of the border with Mexico and U.S. empire.”

https://emmarosenthal.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/guilt-by-disassociation-the-landscape-of-amerikan-exceptionalism-in-the-guise-of-palestine-solidarity/  “

One Jesse Higuerra initially posted support for DragonflyHill Urban Farm, giving the small business a 5 star review, but including with his review his own racist agenda. When DragonflyHill responded with a statement distancing itself from that agenda and requesting the Higuerra remove his review, that his particpation was not appreciated, Higuerra started to spam other reviews with attacks on DragonflyHill.  While DragonflyHill can monitor comments and posts to its page, the review process on facebook allows all sorts of abuses to go unchecked, both in the initial review and in the comments, leaving DragonflyHill no recourse but to denounce the reviews that would pretend to support DragonflyHill with values totally in contradiction with their positions on social justice and anti-racism.

We have been notified that one (already edited) image was from a hacked account. We cannot verify if the names associated with these hateful messages are the people actually responsible for this harassment.

 

DragonflyHill made quite clear that Fry’s claim to have attended a shabbat service at their home was indeed false.  “Jimmy Fry has never been here”

Higuerra whose facebook profile can be found here:
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014187885637&fref=ufi 
Continued to post similar attacks on many of the supportive reviews. Strangely though, part way through his sabotage he liked a 1 star review that stated “Israel Forever”. Though he did seem to qualify it with an assertion that Israel killed 6 million people in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

screenshot of a facebook review Text: ‎מלך השטיחים‎ reviewed DragonflyHill Urban Farm Community — 1 star 9 hrs · Israel is forever! DragonflyHill Urban Farm Community 2 Comments 1 Jesse Higuera LikeCommentShare Comments Jesse Higuera Jesse Higuera Well, f israel, but these people are really stupid, and deserve less than one star. Like · Reply · 7 hrs Jesse Higuera Jesse Higuera Image may contain: text

In Response:

In response to these attacks, DragonflyHill Urban Farm is asking people to support them in the following ways:

  1. Support their business and avail oneself of the many services they provide their community.
  2. Like their facebook page. It is their goal to raise the number of “likes” to 1700, one for each of the bad reviews. (Facebook has already begun to delete some of the reviews.)
  3. Donate to their nonprofit: The WE Empowerment Center which supports grassroots organizing and creative efforts in their community and beyond.For disclosure purposes, Cafe Intifada is a project of the We Empowerment Center, combining art with activism.

 

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Open Hillel is promoting the film “70 Years Across the Sea: American Jews and 21st Century Zionism”, about the divide in the Jewish community over models of zionism and the current State of Israel.
 
But the film thesis is very problematic, ignoring the deeper issues of power, class and imperialism, and centering the discussion on Jews and not Palestinians.
 
Gratefully the film (trailer) didn’t repeat the tired old argument that this is a generational divide, which further obscures the power basis of Israeli hegemony. The thesis of this film, though, at least according to the trailer, is very dangerous, repeats stereotypes of Jewish power, obscures the power of U.S. empire and its appropriation of Jewish suffering and the Jewish narrative.
 
It repeats the false assertion and stereotype of diaspora Jews as weak and passive, and Israelis as strong and active. The resistance to the Nazis, to the pogroms, to injustice in general is a disapora narrative that is obscured by the zionist narrative. We cannot fight for a free Palestine, and justice for Jews in the diaspora if we perpetuate these harmful stereotypes that locates Jewish strength in occupation , assimilation and as agents (or worse, as the controlling operatives ) of U.S. empire and locates Jewish weakness in ethnic identity and resistance/passivity in the diaspora.
 
The Israeli occupation isn’t a liability, it’s genocide, and it didn’t start in 67, it started in 48. Calling it a liability assumes that there is a just zionist solution, and centers the occupation of Palestine, around a zionist and imperialist narrative and seeks a compromise with a fair and just society that grants equal civil and human rights to all and not within a neoliberal or neoconservative debt dependency structure of the U.S.
 
The “power” of UhMurikan Jews is a narrative of upper middle class and wealthy Jews, and white supremacist ideology, and doesn’t apply to all Jews in the U.S.. That power to the extent that it exists, is predicated on support for Israel, and support for U.S. empire in general. It’s also a delusion, a fragile membership of court Jews and house Jews.
 
The real power of U.S. support for Israel comes from the Christian zionists, who number in the tens of millions, which explains why organizations like the ADL and the Simon Weisenthal Center, and Stand With Us can ignore the Jewish community and support a zionism to the right of most Jews, including most zionist Jews.
 

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From my other blog, because once my DISability was established as an acceptable target and my (and yes, and yet she persisted) persistence held against me, the abuse didn’t stop. Once a target, you’ll be blamed for the abuse: the classic “She asked for it.”

Resurrecting Assassinated Characters
https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/resurrecting-assassinated-characters/

And this important article by a young Palestinian activist, because the attacks on me are not personal. It’s part of an over all pattern, because if they can target you personally, they don’t have to actually address the issues you’re raising.

Character Assassination as a Tool to Silence a Palestinian Woman
https://medium.com/@MalakaMohammed/character-assassination-as-a-tool-to-silence-a-palestinian-woman-8a8da38740b6#.2cavbkh3x

And a reminder that women are often the targets of cyber abuse:

Dangerous Neighborhoods: Cyber abuse, harassment and threats: Women online.
https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/dangerous-neighborhoods-cyber-abuse-harassment-and-threats-women-online/

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Facebook claims it is taking hate speech more seriously. There’s a mechanism for reporting it. Those of us who repeatedly report it, know all too well that the most vile racism, sexism, ableism, white supremacy, personal attacks and bigotry seem to be just fine for Facebook. And the most innocuous comments in opposition seem to be the object of warnings and time outs.

I’m in Facebook jail right now—a 12 hour hold on posting or liking anything, including to my own wall.

What happened?  One of my FB friends posted a link to a page that was racist and homophobic  with the following statement:

“Here’s another hate page: https://www.facebook.com/kastrup.jessica?fref=ts
Unfortunately, it’s in German. It contains such gems as a reference to the “faggot [Schwuchtel]” Arafat who “died of AIDS”. I’ve reported it, as have several others, but like them I expect a reply from FB saying “this is not hate speech”. You can bet that similar sites defaming Jews and Judaism would (rightly) be removed immediately.”

and I commented

“not sure they would be taken down. look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, including attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen McRae, Elise Hendricks and myself.”

YUP that’s it. For all the rape jokes, dwarf tossing, racist crap that FB thinks is free speech,  for all of you who have reported some of the most vile personal attacks, who make a habit of calling out hate speech and get that insipid message that FB doesn’t find that the reported comment violates community standards, here it is—this is what it finds offensive:

“not sure they would be taken down. look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, including attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen McRae, Elise Hendricks and myself.”

I did take advantage of FBs option to appeal of their decision. I have not yet heard back from them.

In the online form to challenge their decision (see screenshot 3)

I replied to their question,  “what was deleted” I wrote: “i don’t have the text, as you have deleted it. I can send you a screenshot of what you told me was objectionable, but i fail to see how it violates your policies. ”

Where they ask, if I think this is an error, I wrote: “I can’t understand what was in error in that post. i posted that i and others had been targeted for posting against hate speech, and that those hate pages and those targeted were allowed to remain up, while other pages were taken down. seems a bit ironic. the only people named in that thread, were people who had been targeted with me and i am sure none of them reported me. it’s very outrageous that you would silence women who call out harassment. ”

My FB friend reports that FB later responded that it did not find the page he was calling out, to be in violation to FB standards.

So what happened? Well first of all, one of my friend’s FB friends had to have reported me, since that particular post was only visible to his friends. That is, someone found my comment or me objectionable and reported me, and it worked. FB jail for 12 hours.

This brings up a very important issue—one that Sylvia Posadas is painstaking about—calling out infiltrators, particularly populist white supremacists that attempt to infuse Palestine solidarity and social  justice with their racist ideology.  It also brings up the importance of having some idea of who the people are on your list. Some FB actvists just accept anyone onto their friends list, and this is the result—they troll your lists and report and harass your friends.

These are not people with whom we can dialogue. They are provocateurs and infiltrators.  Having friends reported like this has a chilling impact on dialogue. Too many activists have tolerated white supremacy and bigotry in the name of free speech, dialogue, diversity, tolerance, or your own need to have a long ass friends list.

If that’s you, pay attention. This isn’t summer camp. There are big forces opposed to the work we do, especially the work of Palestine solidarity, but social justice in general.  Know your friends, pay attention to what is happening on your wall. Stop allowing bullying and trolling where activists either have to accept abuse or spend inordinate amounts of time responding. Certainly don’t allow personal attacks on activists for raising pertinent issues, and again!!! know your friends

Screen shot A

We Removed Something You Posted We removed this from Facebook because it violates our Community Standards: not sure they would be taken down. Look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, incuding attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen MacRae, Elise Hendrick and myself.

Text: We Removed Something You Posted
We removed this from Facebook because it violates our Community Standards:
not sure they would be taken down. Look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, incuding attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen MacRae, Elise Hendrick and myself.

Screen shot B

This feature is Temporarily Blocked. You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies, so you’re temporarily blocked from using this feature. Learn more (link) To keep from getting blocked again, please make sure you’ve read and understand Facebook’s Community Standards (link) The block will be active for 12 hours more. If you think you’re seeing this by mistake please let us know. (link)

Text: This feature is Temporarily Blocked.
You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies, so you’re temporarily blocked from using this feature. Learn more (link)
To keep from getting blocked again, please make sure you’ve read and understand Facebook’s Community Standards (link)
The block will be active for 12 hours more.
If you think you’re seeing this by mistake please let us know. (link)

Screen shot C

Blocked from Adding Content You are trying to post content on Facebook that was marked as abusive. Please fill out this form if you think this content was blocked in erro. What did you try to post? If you were blocked while trying to share a link, copy and paste the entire URL here. Please explain why you think this as an error. Thanks for taking the time to submit a report. While we don’t reply to every report, we may contact you for more details as we investigate.

Text: Blocked from Adding Content
You are trying to post content on Facebook that was marked as abusive. Please fill out this form if you think this content was blocked in erro.
What did you try to post?
If you were blocked while trying to share a link, copy and paste the entire URL here.
Please explain why you think this as an error.
Thanks for taking the time to submit a report. While we don’t reply to every report, we may contact you for more details as we investigate.

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This article was previously published by Al Jazeera, and was pulled. For that reason, and under fair use purview, we are reposting the article here. For more information on the censorship of this article by Al Jazeera, go to:  http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/al-jazeera-management-orders-joseph-massad-article-pulled-act-pro-israel

The article has been published on other sites as well. At Cafe Intifada we consider this article to be a significant contribution in understanding the relationship between ideological white supremacy and zionism.

By Joseph Massad

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.

It was the Protestant Reformation with its revival of the Hebrew Bible 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.

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 to British foreign secretary Lord Palmerston (1785-1865) to Ernest Laharanne, the private secretary of Napoleon III in the 1860s, 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 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.

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. It was the Haskalah that sought to break the hegemony of Orthodox Jewish rabbis on the “Ostjuden” 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. 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; 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. Zionists after Herzl even agreed and affirmed that Jews were separate racially from Aryans. As for Yiddish, the living language of most European Jews, all Zionists agreed that it should be abandoned.

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, except that Zionism sought the latter not inside Europe but at a geographical remove following the expulsion of Jews from Europe. 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. 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.”

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.”

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. 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.

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. It was in 1933 that the infamous Transfer (Ha’avara) Agreement 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, 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, 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. 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, 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.

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 to create a Jewish State in Palestine to which these unwanted Jewish refugees could be expelled.

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 in1990) has continued the pro-Zionist Nazi policies unabated. 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.

After World War II, a new consensus emerged in the United States and Europe that Jews had to be integrated posthumously into white Europeanness, 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. 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.

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.

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, Europe and its American accomplice 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.

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 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.

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 and Muslims, and continued to support Zionism’s anti-Semitic programme of assimilating Jews into whiteness in a colonial 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 (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. 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. 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 SPIEGEL in 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”.

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 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. 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 Haaretz, 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, 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 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, 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 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.

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. 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 were their European countries and not Palestine, and that Zionist colonialism springs from its very anti-Semitism. 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 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 and secular imperialists 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.

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. The Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against this anti-Semitic incitement. They continue to affirm instead that the Israeli government does not speak for all Jews, 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 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 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.

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.

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. Except for dictatorial Arab regimes 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 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 at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians.

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