Anti-Zionism is not Anti-Semitism
By Faisal Kutty – A few years ago, I got a call from the Israeli consulate in Toronto. I don’t recall the name of the gentleman, but he identified himself as the head of media relations with the consulate. We spoke for some time about media coverage of Israel and, of course, agreed to disagree. Detecting that I was surprised by his call, he mentioned that the consulate liked to keep up with all those who wrote on the Middle East. Their objective, he noted, was to ensure that journalists writing on Israel had “accurate” information. He even suggested that I should visit Israel to get a first hand take of the situation – rather than the pro-Palestinian propaganda that most of us are exposed to. He ended the call by inviting me to lunch or dinner. I told him I would get back to him. My wife was totally against the idea and so I never followed up.
A couple of months later the same gentleman invited me to dinner again. By now he had learned I was a lawyer and informed me that he was called to the bar as well. When he learned that I had special interest in international law, he told me that he served as an editor of an international law journal and that he could consider my work for publication. I told him I would think about and, citing my tight schedule, again declined his invitation to dinner.
I mention this incident to highlight how sophisticated and thorough the Zionist media monitoring operation is. If someone like myself is worthy of so much attention, I can only imagine the scrutiny that established journalists, columnists, editors, politicians, etc. must attract from the Zionist camp. And to think that I had not even written that many articles at the time. In fact, I had just started writing for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and my only other publications were in university newspapers. I probably only had about half-a-dozen Middle East related articles to my name at the time. Yet, he found it worthwhile to try to “educate” me about the “real” facts.
No doubt, the pro-Israeli camp goes to great lengths to ensure that they get their way. Their arsenal of strategies range from friendly and subtle attempts to “educate” to threats of being labeled an anti-Semite or worse to be deemed a Nazi sympathizer or a holocaust denier. And of course once you get one of these special mentions, you have pretty much sealed your fate.
Unfortunately, if this means exploiting the memory of the millions that died in the holocaust or claiming a monopoly on suffering and genocide, so be it. This was plainly evident to any who cared to look closely at the reaction in most of the North American press to the Joerg Haider controversy in Austria.
Last week Haider showed up in Canada. He was allegedly invited to attend an ultra-orthodox Jewish wedding in Quebec. He stayed in Montreal but had to cancel his trip to Toronto because of the growing protests, which seemed to be egged on by the media. Everyone had to show their anti-Nazi credentials by opposing Haider. If you remained quiet you ran the risk of being labeled a holocaust denier or an anti-Semite. You must speak out when the anti-Semitism police deem it necessary and remain quiet when it deems it necessary.
Mind you, Haider is no hero; but to equate him to Hitler is clearly an overreaction. Zionist propagandists had a field day with him. Articles in the Toronto Star and the National Post took it one step further and raised alarm bells about how holocaust denial is growing in the Middle East. Gwynne Dyer (Feb. 10, 1999) in a piece titled “Syrians haul out `the Holocaust myth’” in the Star writes “Their (the Syrians) fear and hatred of Israel has grown so intense that they will readily believe anything bad that anyone says about the place. They genuinely do not realize how offensive and crazy their fulminations sound to the rest of the world.” Dyer fails to examine in his article why such ideas would attract followers now.
He himself notes that initially Palestinians acknowledged that unspeakable atrocities were committed against the Jews. Does Israel realize how offensive and crazy the Israeli and American claims of being the only democracy in the Middle East sounds to the rest of the world? How about the fact that Israel is the only country that has a legalized apartheid-like system in place? What about the fact that it is the only democracy in which the Judiciary approved of torture until recently? Or what about the fact that it continues to bombard Lebanese civilians without even eliciting a whimper — okay maybe a whimper after much prodding — from the United States and much of the West?
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote a piece titled “If you want evil, look beyond Austria” that was published in the National Post on Feb 19, 2000. Krauthammer, who seems to defend Israel even when Israelis won’t try, writes, “There are people diligently working to finish Hitler’s work. They are not Austrian.” You guessed it. He means the Middle East. He asks, “Who is manufacturing – today – poison gas for the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Jewish innocents? Who is building missiles to deliver these agents of extermination and aiming at the largest Jewish cities on the Planet?” Oh, poor Israel, which all this while remains armed to the teeth with non-other than nuclear weaponry.
Our friend Krauthammer does not stop there. He continues: “Anti-Semitism in the official Palestinian press is so ingrained that you find it in the newspaper crossword puzzle.” It seems like both Krauthammer and his publishers have conveniently forgotten that Arabs and Palestinians cannot be anti-Semitic. Arabs are Semitic peoples. What may be growing in the Middle East and perhaps even in other parts of the world is not anti-Semitism but anti-Zionism.
The arguments advanced by pro-Zionist forces make one wonder what exactly they expect from Arabs and Palestinians. Do they really expect the Palestinian and Arab press to ooze with praise and love for Zionists who have taken their land, killed and/or maimed their youth and denied them their basic right to self-determination? Nobody in their right mind would question the Jewish holocaust or defend anyone who denies it. But speaking out against the Zionist State or questioning the monopoly to suffering and genocide claimed by the Jews is not the same thing.
Spin doctoring, monitoring, buying friendships, black listing, labeling and threatening will not produce the required long-term response. You can’t buy sympathy through threats or favors — at least not in the long run. Sure the United Nations repealed the 1975 resolution that equated Zionism with racism back in 1991. But wiping out this equation from the hearts of its victims will take a lot more than a symbolic resolution accepted by most nations due to political pressure. If Zionists really want to clear their names they will have to think hard about what South African Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu said during his trip to Israel in the late 1980s. He wondered out loud to the press about how a people, who have suffered as much as the Jews, could inflict the kind of suffering he saw imposed on Palestinians. But then again how could they give any thought to anything said by an anti-Semite?
Faisal Kutty is a Toronto lawyer and writer and is also a columnist for the Washington Report On Middle East Affairs
Note: First Published 2/23/2000 – Political – Article Ref: IV0002-838
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