ALAN HART | 1 SEPTEMBER, 2014
On Course for Holocaust II…?
An graphic picture of Gaza during the Israeli bombing. taken by the BBC
This is the most controversial article the gentile me has ever written or is ever likely to write, but I believe that what I am going to say needs to be said and should be widely debated if the rising, global tide of "anti-Israelism" (I prefer the term anti-Zionism) is not to be transformed into anti-Semitism on a scale that could lead, in a foreseeable future, to Holocaust II, my shorthand for another great turning against the Jews.
I am, of course, aware that anti-Semitism is more than prejudice against and loathing even hatred of Jews just because they are Jews. Arabs are Semites, too. So anti-Semitism is prejudice against Arabs as well as Jews. In other words, Islamophobia, a monster on the prowl across America and Europe and licking its lips, is also a manifestation of anti-Semitism. That said my use of the term anti-Semitism in this article relates only to prejudice against and loathing even hatred of Jews just because they are Jews.
A clear, early warning that anti-Israelism could be transformed into anti-Semitism was given by Yehoshafat Harkabi, a former Director of Israeli Military Intelligence, in his book ISRAEL'S FATEFUL HOUR, first published in Hebrew in 1986 and in English two years later. (He started out as a rabid right-winger and a supporter of Menachem Begin, arguably the most successful terrorist leader of modern times. But he, Harkabi, subsequently broke with Begin and launched a blistering attack on the ideological mindset of the proponents of Greater Israel and the expansionist policies of the Begin and Shamir governments. Instead of the policy of not yielding an inch and waiting for the Palestinians to surrender, he advocated negotiations with the PLO to establish an independent Palestinian state. "Israel must withdraw from the occupied territories with their growing Arab population" is the first sentence on the back cover of his book).
The following is the text of Harkabi's warning:
“Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.”
In my opinion the flaw in Harkabi's argument is that Israel is a Zionist not a Jewish state (how could it be a Jewish state when about a quarter of its citizens are Palestinian Arabs and mainly Muslims?); and that raises the question of how much, actually, Israel is an example of the Jewish character. But that doesn't detract from his main warning point that Israel's behaviour could be a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism.
More than a quarter of a century on from Harkabi's warning, the impression conveyed by mainstream Western media reporting and comment while the IDF was delivering death and destruction to the Gaza Strip was not that a transformation of anti-Israelism/anti-Zionism into historical anti-Semitism might be underway, but that the anti-Israel protests and demonstrations across the world, in Europe especially, were manifestations of naked anti-Semitism. In other words, what used to be called the "sleeping giant of anti-Semitism" is awake again.
The most dramatic headline that came to my notice was over an article in The Guardian by Jon Henley on 7 August. It read: Antisemitism on rise across Europe "in worst times since the Nazis". And underneath that there was a secondary headline, Experts say attacks go beyond Israel-Palestine conflict as hate crimes strike fear into Jewish communities.
One of the "experts" Henley quoted was Dieter Graumann, president of Germany's Central Council of Jews. He said: "These are the worst times since the Nazi era. On the streets you here things like 'Jews should be gassed, Jews should be burned'. We haven't had that in Germany for decades. Anyone saying those slogans isn't criticising Israeli policies, it's just pure hatred against Jews; nothing else. And it's not just a German phenomenon. It's an outbreak of hatred against Jews so intense that it's very clear."
Some demonstrators and protestors were using Israel's latest war on the Gaza Strip as a cover for expressing their inherent anti-Semitism, but most were not. Most were criticising and condemning Israel's actions, not expressing hatred of Jews just because they are Jews.
I agree with Christopher Dickey who made this comment. "Can you criticise Israel's military actions and a lot of its policies without being anti-Semitic? Yes. Can you do it without having some people accuse you of anti-Semitism? No, you can't."
In passing I want to add that in my opinion the global reaction against Israel was driven not only by visual evidence of the death and destruction the IDF delivered to the Gaza Strip but also the absurd statements of justification made by all who speak for Israel right or wrong from Netanyahu down. ("Hamas is engaging in child sacrifice" etcetera, etcetera). Their statements were in my view an insult to the intelligence of all sane people who could see for themselves what was happening as Israel unleashed its fire power. Avi Shlaim put it this way. "The terms in which Netanyahu and his right-wing colleagues frame the conflict with Hamas is a mixture of half-truths, outright lies, deliberate deception and mind-boggling double-standards."
The key to understanding is, I submit, in the following paragraph.
Yes, it's true that the giant of real anti-Semitism has been present throughout history, sometimes sleeping, sometimes awake and on the rampage. But after the Nazi holocaust, and because of it, the giant not only went back to sleep, IT ALMOST CERTAINLY WOULD HAVE DIED IN ITS SLEEP IF THERE HAD BEEN NO ZIONISM.
That last statement is, of course, speculation on my part but I believe it is fully supported by the completeness of the assimilation of the Jewish citizens of the Western nations as the second half of the 20th century unfolded. Also to be noted is that in the last decade or so about one million Israeli Jews said goodbye to the Zionist state to start new lives in the Western nations; and in the months before the European protests and demonstrations against Israel's latest war on the Gaza Strip, more of those who took their leave of Israel resettled themselves in Germany rather than America.
To the extent that the transformation of anti-Israelism/anti-Zionism into anti-Semitism is underway today, the factor, not "a" factor as in Harkabi's warning, is Israel's "misconduct", which I define criminal behaviour justified by sickening self-righteousness.
According to Harkabi self-righteousness is Israel's biggest enemy:
“There should be discussion of the dangers that religious extremism pose to the state, to the status of the Jewish people in the world and to Judaism. The dangers of Messianism must be presented candidly, with full exposure of the catastrophes produced by false messiahs in the past.
All these lessons can be summed up as the pressing need for self-criticism. Certainly Israel is not guilty of everything that has gone wrong in the occupied lands. But self-criticism is imperative in order to counter balance the tendencies to self-righteousness and self-pity that stem from basic Jewish attitudes, from the historical experience of persecution and from the ethos fostered by Menachem Begin. No factor endangers Israel's future more than self-righteousness, which blinds us to reality, prevents a complex understanding of the situation and legitimizes extreme behaviour.”
If Harkabi was alive today (he died in 1994) I would suggest to him that in 2014 there is no chance of Israel opening itself to self-criticism because the vast majority of its Jews have been brainwashed by Zionist propaganda to the point where they are beyond reason on the matter of justice for the Palestinians.
If the notion that there is a real danger of another great turning against the Jews provoked by Zionism in action was only my gentile view, I probably would not have written this article. But I have a number of very dear Jewish friends who fear that it could happen. One of them is Nazi holocaust survivor Dr. Hajo Meyer, the author of An Ethical Tradition Betrayed: The End of Judaism.
And then there is Tony Learman. I don't know him but I respect him enormously. (He is a British Jewish writer who specialises in the study of anti-Semitism, the Israel-Palestine conflict, multiculturalism and the place of religion in society. From 2006 to early 2009 he was Director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, a think tank on issues affecting Jewish communities in Europe). He recently wrote this:
“If Israel continues its attitude of defiance of international legal norms and of the wishes of the international community as regards settlements, then this is almost inviting a real resurgence of a form of historical anti-Semitism.”
In conversation with Tony I would say something like the following. Israel's leaders are not "almost inviting" a real resurgence of anti-Semitism. They are actually inviting it. They need it to justify their crimes in general and, in particular, their determination to keep for ever most if not all of the occupied West Bank, even if that requires a final ethnic cleansing of it.