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Ralph Nader Says Anti-Semitism Includes Arabs?

Ralph Nader, the consumer crusader, five time presidential candidate and pro-Arab defender has a new cause; expropriating anti-Semitism to include Arabs.  Manfred Gerstenfeld in our review and interview about his latest book, The War of a Million Cuts, noted such examples of flagrant abuse of semantics. Examples, like accusing the Israelis of being the new Nazis and Palestinians as the oppressed Jews. Raphael Medoff, of the David S Wyman Center for Holocaust Studies in Washington, DC, wrote about Nader’s latest twist- anti-Semitism applies to Arabs- because it is about common Semitic linguistics. This is the subject of Medoff’s Algemeiner op-ed  Ralph Nader Targets ‘The Jews’ and Linguistically Hijacks Anti-Semitism.

Here is what Nader said at the American –Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) convention  in Washington:

You never avoid using the word anti-Semitism when Arabs and Arab-Americans are discriminated against, are arrested without charges, are exposed to all kinds of swears and bars against employment and all kinds of discrimination that goes on, and that is anti-Semitism. The Semitic race is Arabs and Jews and the Jews do not own the phrase anti-Semitism.

Medoff asks the relevant question:

Is the Semitic race “Arabs and Jews,” as Nader asserted? Actually, it’s not. “Semitic” refers to a group of Middle Eastern languages. There’s no such thing as a “Semitic race.”

In his critically acclaimed 1986 book, Semites and Anti-Semites, Bernard Lewis (professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University) wrote, “‘Semitic’ is a linguistic and cultural classification… It has nothing whatever to do with race in the anthropological sense that is now common usage.”

Medoff goes on to provide the origin of the term anti-Semitism in 19th Century  Europe:

The German anti-Jewish agitator Wilhelm Marr in 1879 coined the term “Antisemitism” (“antisemitismus” in German). His target was still Jews; he simply believed the new phrase would make his brand of hatred sound more legitimate and even scientific. The organization he founded to further these aims was called the Antisemiten-Liga, or League of Antisemites.

He then delves into the purpose of Nader’s  abusive  semantics:

Ralph Nader’s real aim, however, is not linguistic accuracy. As he explained to the ADC convention, he wants to use language as a tool to advance the Arab campaign against Israel.

“Once you use that word, you have equivalence with the other use of that word. It’s anti-Semitism against Arabs, anti-Semitism against Jews—why ignore one to the other?” Nader said.

According to this formula, Arabs would gain victim status just like Jews.

Nader seems to be particularly sensitive to the fact that some hatred of Israel is perceived as anti-Semitic—and he wants to prevent that perception from taking hold.

[Supporters of Israel] know how to accuse people of anti-Semitism if any issue on Israel is criticized, even though the worst anti-Semitism in the world today is against Arabs and Arab-Americans and they know how to use the language, he complained. I suspect AIPAC spends more money on hotels for their national meeting in five hours than ADC’s entire budget, so it’s important to ask the question: “What does it take in terms of human hours and resources to get things turned around?”

I got to know Nader  up close and personal in the late 60’s to early 1970’s before my association came to a screeching halt.

Having collaborated and  co-authored pieces with Nader  and testified  on Capitol Hill on worker safety issues  back in 1968 to 1970, I  came to know what he was like. Fortunately,  I was never a so-called “Nader’s Raider” nor employed in any of his various ‘Centers’. My involvement preceded those developments.  I was an independent researcher and later a systems consultant for a decade in DC.

I left Nader ’s circle  because of two things: his monumental jihadist ego and his maltreatment of subordinates. Some of my comments about this are contained in a chapter on Nader  in Playing for Keeps in Washington, 1977 by Laurence Leamer.

Nader  in his earlier days as the mysterious “white knight of consumerism” lived a monk like existence in a rooming house not far from DuPont Circle in DC. At the time he had a colleague, the indefatigable  Ted Jacobs. Nader was paranoid and a control freak. One day he walked in to Ted’s office and basically told him that he was fired, locked him out of his office and secured all his files!!

Nader  developed a messiah like complex that went well beyond the consumer issues. He  subsequently became an icon in the anti-war movement allied with anti-Israel leftists  like Noam Chomsky. The fact is that he may have mistakenly identified his  Lebanese Maronite Christian immigrant parents as Arabs because they spoke Arabic.  He bought into the Arab vision with all of its attendant problems, including being a dhimmi fellow traveler and an anti-Semite of the 20th  Century variety. Not surprising as Nader  had a Princeton undergraduate  major in Arabic studies. One wonders if he had Professor Bernard Lewis for any of his undergraduate professors at Princeton.

He subsequently earned a law degree from Harvard, became a plaintiff’s  attorney opening offices in Hartford , Connecticut .  His real climb to fame began when the late Senator Pat Moynihan, former aide to New York  Governor Averill Harriman, moved to Washington as a Kennedy  appointee. Moynihan brought with him the treasure trove of his auto crash data files. Nader sought access to that, wrote Moynihan when the later was Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy Evaluation and Research  in 1961-62. Nader  was invited down to  plough through  Moynihan’s files  virtually camping out in Moynihan’s office mining the auto crash data files.   From that research emerged  the Chevy Corvair controversy, the breathless J’accuse against GM in Nader’s best seller Unsafe at Any Speed. Because GM didn’t know who he was they hired a private detective to check him out which led to a suit by Nader that resulted in  a $400,000 legal settlement with GM  in 1964 for violating his privacy.  The settlement, initial and subsequent  book royalties created Nader’s  personnel wealth. Nader was wise enough to  hire a real pro investing the settlement funds for several decades .  Nader  also had a reputation for not spending  much on himself or for that matter on anyone else. Funds for the Center for Auto Safety and Public Citizens were raised from donations.

Nader always reminded  me of  Girolamo Savonarola, the famous mad monk who ruled  Florence and drove Florentines to burn books, art and other alleged fripperies in the famous Bonfire of the Vanities. He sought to found a New Jerusalem in Florence as a world center of Christianity following the invasion of Italy by French King Charles VII. After the ousting of the Medicis,  Savonarola  ruled  Florence  as the head of a virtual populist republic from 1494 to 1498. After refusing  fealty to Pope Vincent VI’s  Holy League against the French, Savonarola was invited to Rome,  tried and excommunicated. He and two Dominican Friars were ultimately condemned, tried by both church and civil authorities, hung and burned in May 1498.  There is a famous statue  in Ferrara, Italy where gaunt like Savonarola  looks as if he’s uttering that famous Italian expression: “ecco uomo.” Nader  resembles a leftist  American version of  Savonarola.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

UNESCO: Muslims Own the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem

During  a panel discussion at Pensacola’s Brit Ahm Messianic Synagogue on June 27th following a showing of the APT documentary The J Street Challenge an audience member raised a question about the ancient Jewish claims to Jerusalem in the context of a recent Vatican declaration recognizing a Palestinian State. The panel spoke about the long term Vatican quest for internationalization of Israel’s eternal undivided capital of the Jewish nation that had protected the precincts if the world major faiths. Something that had not occurred during the 19 year occupation of Jordan until the liberation of the holy city by  the IDF on June 7, 1967. Panelist Mike Bates 1330amWEBY Talk Show Host and station  general manager discussed  the fictional Islamic doctrinal claims, based on the legend of Mohammed’s fabled night ride, to the Temple Mount including the  Western Wall –a revered Jewish site over two millennia. In our Iconoclast  post on the Pensacola event, we wrote:

That led to an exposition by Mike Bates about the realities concerning Muslims claims of control over Jerusalem. He noted the legend of the Prophet Mohammed’s dream of a night ride on the human headed horse to “the farthest Mosque” where he meets Jesus and rises to heaven to meet Abraham and other Jewish prophets all deemed Muslim. Bates pointed out that nowhere in the Qur’an is Jerusalem mentioned. Moreover, Muslims did not occupy Jerusalem until The Rash dun Caliphate conquest and submission to Caliph Umar bin –Khattab  in 637 C.E. Caliph  bin Khattab initiated the construction of what ultimately become  the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and established a Dhimma or pct for governance of subjugated peoples of the book, Christians, Jews and others. Muslims claim any conquered land as a possession in perpetuity under a trust from their god Allah. Jews have lived in Jerusalem for more than 3,000 years.

We raise this because this week, a committee of UNESCO approved a resolution condoning these Muslim claims to the Western Wall based on Mohammed’s night legend, virtually excluding from consideration ancient Jewish historical claims and even Christian ones preceding the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem.  Patrick Goodenough  revealed the absurdity of the UN panel proposal in a CNS report, “UNESCO Backs Muslim Narrative on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount”:

A key committee of the United Nations cultural agency adopted a resolution this week whose language implicitly endorses the legend underpinning Islam’s claim to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount — the assertion that Mohammed tied his winged steed there while en route from Mecca to heaven.

Famed as a place of Jewish pilgrimage and prayer, the Western or “Wailing” Wall is the remnant of a retaining wall on the western flank of the platform that once housed the biblical Temples. As such it is the closest point observant Jews are usually able to get to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

But for Muslim leaders wanting to deny Jewish historical and religious claims to the site, it is dubbed the al-Buraq wall, and the area in front of it the al-Buraq plaza. This is based on the belief that the founder of Islam stopped there during his “night journey” from Mecca to heaven, and tethered his legendary steed, al-Buraq, there while he led prayers with a congregation of “Islamic prophets” including Adam, Noah and Joseph.

Now the World Heritage Committee of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has adopted a resolution which refers to the area below and to the west of the Temple Mount as the “Buraq plaza.”

The resolution, proposed by three Arab countries, Qatar, Algeria and Lebanon, refers to the Temple Mount itself as a “Muslim holy site,” with no reference to its importance to Jews.

It slams Israel for various actions in Jerusalem’s Old City, including construction and excavation work. A light railway system whose route passes near – but does not enter – the Old City is said to be damaging the “visual integrity and the authentic character of the site.”

The resolution’s introduction at the World Heritage Committee’s session in Bonn, Germany, brought criticism from Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold, who said it was “full of distortions and is totally disconnected from reality on the ground.”

Gold said in a statement the measure “deliberately ignores the historical connection between the Jewish people and their ancient capital,” and also does not acknowledge Christianity’s links to Jerusalem.

He accused the UNESCO committee of hypocrisy, at a time when jihadists were destroying ancient heritage sites across the region.

“As the historical heritage sites of this area are being systematically destroyed by jihadist forces, such as the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, UNESCO’s adoption of utterly false allegations about Israeli archeological practices is misplaced and hypocritical, at best,” Gold said.

UNESCO in 2011 became the first U.N. agency to admit “Palestine,” a decision that triggered a U.S. funding cutoff mandated by a 1990 law barring financial support for “the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.”

Goodenough noted the motivation for the UNESCO resolution:

The Palestinians want parts of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, as capital of a future independent state, and Palestinian and Islamic figures have long challenged Jewish historical and religious claims to the mount.

For instance, fatwas attributed to former grand mufti of Jerusalem Ikrama Sabri and former mufti of Egypt Nasr Farid Wasil, dispute Jewish claims to the Western Wall.

“Al-Buraq Wall is part of al-Aqsa Mosque and it is an Islamic endowment,” Wasil said. “Hence, it is not permissible in shari’a for any non-Islamic quarter to claim or possess it. The wall would remain part and parcel of Islamic heritage and endowment forever.”

“Al-Buraq Wall is part of al-Aqsa’s western wall and the whole walls of al-Aqsa are Islamic endowments,” said Sabri. “Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, had honored and blessed the place by tying al-Buraq to the wall, during his Night Journey and Ascension to the Heaven.”

“Hence al-Buraq Wall belongs to Muslims alone in the four corners of the earth and will remain so till Judgment Day. We neither admit nor acknowledge that Jews possess it (al-Buraq Wall) and, also we stress that there is no stone there dating back to Hebrew history.”

This UNESCO  al-Buraq (Western Wall) resolution  based on the fiction of Mohammed’s night ride to “the farthest Mosque” preceded Al Quds or Jerusalem  Day, July 10, 2015  observed during  the last Friday during Ramadan.   The Founder of the Islamic Republic in Iran, Ayatollah Khomenei  declared it as a religious duty for all Muslims to further the “liberation” of Jerusalem . Al Quds Day promotes the Palestinian assertion that Jerusalem should be its state capital reflecting the Muslim claims based on the Mohammed night ride legend.  Qur’anic doctrine and Shariah law considers all conquered territory, whether Jerusalem or Andalusia in Southern Spain, as a Waqf, or trust conveyed by Allah in perpetuity.  The Times of Israel  reported  Jerusalem  Day was celebrated in Tehran with millions marching shouting “Death to  America and Israel”, burning  US and Israeli flags, an effigies of Netanyahu and the Saudi King.  We note that the events in Tehran occurred in the midst of the P5+1 negotiation for a nuclear deal with Iran.

In our July 2015 NER interview with Manfred Gerstenfeld, we asked him about UN engaging in such delegitimization of Israel. He replied:

The UN is a major demonizer and hatemonger of Israel. That includes UN-associated bodies such as the United Nations Human Rights Commission, UNESCO, UNWRA and many others agencies. The UN is supposed to be a moral body. When it comes to Israel its views reflect the extreme moral degradation of this largest supranational body. Hate expressions and double standards against Israel symbolize that.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Israel’s Contribution towards Defeating the Islamic State

Manfred Gerstenfeld, author of The War of a Million Cuts reviewed in the June 2015 New English Review, published a prescient essay mid-June in the Jerusalem Post. Gerstenfeld is the former Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs that sponsored a symposium on his new book on June 22, 2015. It was on the difficulty of “defeating”, let alone “degrading” the resilient Islamic State-the self declared Caliphate, “Will defeating Islamic State take more than a generation? “ While addressing the myriad of threats in the Middle East and potentially in the West from Islamic State Jihadis, Gerstenfeld draws attention to the contributions from Israel’s experience fighting asymmetrical wars against Islamic extremists seeking its destruction.

Tunisian Jihadi gunman Seifddine Rezgui

Tunisian Jihadi gunman Seifddine Rezgui. Photo by Rami Al Lolah

There was a trio of bloody spectacles inspired by the Islamic State on the first Friday in Ramadan. In France there was the beheading of an American owned chemical company executive by a Muslim employee. In Tunisia there was a massacre at a beach resort killing and injuring among others dozens of British, Belgian, Irish and German tourists by a Kalishnikov-toting attacker. In Kuwait there was  the bombing of a Shia Mosque where several dozen  at prayers were killed or injured .

In January there were the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Casher Market attacks by Al Qaeda and ISIS inspired émigré Muslims that killed seventeen, including four French  Jews and a Tunisian Jew.  Last fall, we saw attacks in Sydney, Ottawa and Quebec. There were an ax attack injuring  New York police officers and a beheading of food service employee at a company in Oklahoma City both perpetrated by converts to Islam. Last month we had the attack by two Jihadis from Phoenix  who were killed  in an attempted attack a Mohammed Cartoon event in Garland, Texas. One of the speakers at the event  was Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) who is under 24/7 protection of the Royal Dutch Protective service because of threats against his life for his anti-Islam  views in the Netherlands and the EU.

Reuters reported Islamic State spokesman Muhammad al-Adnani urging brothers in the Muslim ummah in honor of the observances of Ramadan to undertake attacks on kaffirs, unbelievers,   whether Christians, Shiites or Sunnis opposing the self-declared Islamic State. He declared in an audio message, Jihadists should turn the holy month of Ramadan, which began last week, into a time of “calamity for the infidels … Shi’ites and apostate Muslims.”  Not lost on many is that June 29th marks the first anniversary  of the Islamic State  self declaration of a Caliphate by  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Gerstenfield’s op-ed was triggered by comments from US General James Allen, commander of the US-led coalition combating the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, suggesting that it might take a generation to defeat IS.  Gerstenfeld wrote:

General Allen’s remarks, whether realistic or not, can serve for more detailed reflection on what it would mean if IS -controlled territory of a substantial size in say 20 years from now. This would indeed have a major impact on the world order, or better said world disorder. It would also have particular consequences for the Muslim world, the West, Russia and many other countries. Israel and the Jews, though minor players, would be affected by the global impact and by possible targeted attacks by IS.

As far as the Muslim world is concerned, the Arab Spring has already added Libya, Yemen and Syria to the roster of failed countries. The continued existence of IS may cause Iraq and possibly other countries to be added to that list. As the Islamic State is an extremist Sunni movement, it is directly opposed to Shi’ite Muslims, with no inclination to compromise. The longer the Islamic State lasts, the greater the threat to the Shi’ites.

That would mean that eventually the Islamic State would likely confront Iran, the leading Shi’ite country. Iran has been an international troublemaker and hardly any external forces have reacted to it militarily in the current century. The more powerful the Islamic State becomes, the more it will have to challenge Iran.  As the Islamic State also opposes the Sunni countries presently ruled by various royal families, the instability in these countries would increase substantially as well. The same is true concerning Egypt.

[…]

The Islamic State calls for murder may bring with it a shift back toward terrorist attacks perpetrated by foreign jihadists. There have been threats and rumors of having them brought into Europe amongst the boat refugees arriving from Libya, or smuggled through the Balkans. … Yet if we speak about decades of sizable continued Islamic State activity, it is likely that there will be attacks from terrorists disguised as refugees.

[…]

Substantial Jihadi-caused terrorism in the West will lead to further stereotyping of all Muslims.

The previous massive influx of Muslims and its ensuing social problems, including the lack of successful integration, has already led to the rise and/or growth of anti-Islam nationalistic parties in various countries.

These include Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands, the Swedish Democrats, and above all, France’s Front National. Substantial Muslim terrorism is not only likely to increase the popularity of these parties but will influence the positions of other parties, who will have to compete for the votes of those with harder positions regarding Islam.

What would all this mean for Jews living abroad? Not much good. Attacks on others are often followed by attacks on Jews.

Gerstenfeld notes the ability of Israel to contend with extremist Salafist jihadi Islamic groups. Groups equipped with advanced weaponry supplied by Iran or Russian and U.S. weapons stocks abandoned by Assad forces in Syria or Iraqi National Forces:

No other country has accumulated as much experience in effectively fighting Muslim terrorists of various kinds as Israel. Israeli know-how in this field is already in demand and that is only likely to increase.

This fact is not well-publicized, but in future it should be, to improve Israel’s image with the Western mainstream populations.

A second opportunity may lie in Israel using the anti- Islamic State (IS)  sentiment in the West to highlight that the majority Palestinian faction, Hamas, is not very different from IS. Israel hasn’t done much about this until now, but at the same time, the grounds for response from the West have been far less fertile than they may become in the future.

A third opportunity for Israel could be the possible change in political alliances in the Middle East. Some Arab states might consider that whatever hatred they promote of Israel to be less beneficial than allying them with Israel against IS, which has become a real threat to many Arab states. A recent poll showed that Saudis consider Iran to be their largest threat, followed by IS, and that Israel ranks third.

There has already been alleged secret meeting between Saudi military and Israeli security counterparts. Doubtless drawn together by the threat of a Shiite Mahdist Iran on the verge of becoming a nuclear threshold state destabilizing the Middle East. That is reflected in the Saudi undeclared war against the Houthi insurgency in the failed State of Yemen. An insurgency equipped and backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image of Islamic State fighters is courtesy of PamelaGeller.com.

Dissected: President Obama’s Anti-Israelism

This past Memorial Day Weekend Jews observed  the Festival of  Shavuot (spring harvest festival) celebrating the giving of the law by Moses (Moshe rabbenu “Moses our teacher”) to the assembly of ancient Hebrews and others in the exodus multitude gathered under the mountain. Just prior to Shavuot President Obama gave his ‘drash’ (commentary) on relationships with Israel its existential enemies and the Jewish people in two pre-holiday events. The first was his interview with Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg on Israel, ISIS and Iran while the second was his appearance last Friday morning at Washington Conservative synagogue, Adas Israel  Congregation ,where  he spoke to a  gathering 1,200 progressive Jews, including Goldberg. He suggested in his synagogue remarks that some in the progressive American Jewish community consider him perhaps the first “Jewish President”. That would likely support the opinion of Obama by redoubtable NER colleague, Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein, noted theologian, scholar and author of Jihad and Genocide and other  noted  post Holocaust works. Rubenstein took the measure of Obama early on in our June 2010 NER interview posted on YouTube calling Obama, “the most radical President ever”. Watch it here.

Both Vic Rosenthal’s Abu Yehuda  blog post, “For Obama it’s a Moral Crusade” and Brett Stephens’ Tuesday Wall Street Journal column, “The Rational Ayatollah Hypothesis” suggest that the President’s comments sinuously convey anti-Israelism.

Rosenthal gives the following evidence:

Some of the reasons I and others find Obama anti-Israel are these:

  1. His stubborn attempts to force Israel into a suicidal agreement with the Palestinians.
  2. His acceptance (regardless of his words) of a nuclear-armed Iran, and his efforts to stop Israel from acting against it.
  3. His open contempt for our Prime Minister.
  4. His taking the Turkish president’s side in the Mavi Marmara affair, and forcing PM Netanyahu to apologize to the Turks.
  5. His acceptance of Hamas claims that the IDF acted ‘disproportionally’ in Gaza (as shown by his demand for an immediate cease-fire and imposition of an arms embargo during the recent war).
  6. The aforementioned leaks about Israeli actions in Syria and elsewhere.
  7. His acceptance of the anti-Israel narrative that Israel’s right to exist rests on the Holocaust and that it must be balanced against the rights of the ‘deserving’ Palestinians (as expressed in his 2009 Cairo speech).
  8. His attempts to interfere in Israeli politics, including trying to defeat Netanyahu at the polls. It’s ironic that American money was used to help get out the presumably anti-Netanyahu Arab vote — and then Obama bitterly criticized Netanyahu for telling his supporters that they should get out and vote because the Arabs were!
  9. The double standard he displays: compare his condemnation of the PM for his election-day remark with his lack of response to the daily barrage of Israel-hatred and veneration of terrorists coming from the official Palestinian media. Or look at his expressed concern for Palestinians suffering the indignities of checkpoints against his failure to mention the almost daily Jewish victims of Palestinian terrorism.

I could go on, but this should be enough to show that the belief that Obama is anti-Israel is substantive, not simply a political reflex as he suggests.

Stephens provides additional evidence:

Can there be a rational, negotiable, relatively reasonable bigot? Barack Obama thinks so.

So we learn from the president’s interview last week with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg—the same interview in which Mr. Obama called Islamic State’s capture of Ramadi a “tactical setback.” Mr. Goldberg asked the president to reconcile his view of an Iranian regime steeped in “venomous anti-Semitism” with his claims that the same regime “is practical, and is responsive to incentive, and shows signs of rationality.”

The president didn’t miss a beat. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s strategic objectives, he said, were not dictated by prejudice alone. Sure, the Iranians could make irrational decisions “with respect to trying to use anti-Semitic rhetoric as an organizing tool.” They might also pursue hate-based policies “where the costs are low.” But the regime has larger goals: “maintaining power, having some semblance of legitimacy inside their country,” and getting “out of the deep economic rut that we’ve put them in.”

Also, Mr. Obama reminded Mr. Goldberg, “there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country,” to say nothing of Europe. If the president can forgive us our trespasses, he can forgive the aAatollah’s, too.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that a man with an undergraduate’s enthusiasm for moral equivalency (Islamic State now, the Crusades and Inquisition then) would have sophomoric ideas about the nature and history of anti-Semitism. So let’s recall some basic facts.

Iran has no border, and no territorial dispute, with Israel. The two countries have a common enemy in Islamic State and other radical Sunni groups. Historically and religiously, Jews have always felt a special debt to Persia. Tehran and Jerusalem were de facto allies until 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power and 100,000 Jews still lived in Iran. Today, no more than 10,000 Jews are left.

So on the basis of what self-interest does Iran arm and subsidize Hamas, probably devoting more than $1 billion of (scarce) dollars to the effort? What’s the economic rationale for hosting conferences of Holocaust deniers in Tehran, thereby gratuitously damaging ties to otherwise eager economic partners such as Germany and France? What was the political logic to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s calls to wipe Israel off the map, which made it so much easier for the U.S. and Europe to impose sanctions? How does the regime shore up its domestic legitimacy by preaching a state ideology that makes the country a global pariah?

Rosenthal concluded his column:

Obama does not actually love Israel. Possibly he loves some kind of idealized version of Israel, in which Israelis behave like good Christians, turning the other cheek at terrorism and “taking risks” to the point of sainthood. Of course, such an Israel wouldn’t last two weeks in this Middle East.

What he does seem to believe is that the Palestinian Arabs, like American blacks, are denied civil rights. He believes that this is due to the racism of the Israeli government and Prime Minister; that this is a special case of Western colonialism a la Edward Said; and that Barack Obama ought to use his power to right this ‘wrong’.

For Obama, like Said, the Palestinian Cause is a moral crusade.

Stephens ended his column:

Whether the Ayatollah Khamenei gets to act on his wishes, as Eichmann did, is another question. Mr. Obama thinks he won’t, because the ayatollah only pursues his Jew-hating hobby “at the margins,” as he told Mr. Goldberg, where it isn’t at the expense of his “self-interest.” Does it occur to Mr. Obama that Mr. Khamenei might operate according to a different set of principles than political or economic self-interest? What if Mr. Khamenei believes that some things in life are, in fact, worth fighting for, the elimination of Zionism above all?

In November 2013 the president said at a fundraising event that he was “not a particularly ideological person.” Maybe Mr. Obama doesn’t understand the compelling power of ideology. Or maybe he doesn’t know himself. Either way, the tissue of assumptions on which his Iran diplomacy rests looks thinner all the time.

We will more to say about this in a forthcoming review in the NER of Manfred Gerstenfeld’s latest book on the subject of anti-Israelism as political warfare, A War of a Million Cuts.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of President Barack Obama and Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in Oval Office.

Kristallnacht 76th Commemoration Marred by Antisemitism in Europe

Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” that erupted across Nazi Germany and Austria on November 9, 1938 was commemorated across the West and in Israel. There with ecumenical prayer gatherings, concerts of liturgical Jewish music, testimonials by Holocaust survivors, and candles lit in memoriam.  In a commemoration on the 72nd anniversary of Kristallnacht we chronicled the horrors that befell Jews that night:

Kristallnacht -“the night of broken glass” that occurred throughout Germany and Austria. Kristallnacht was Nazi retribution for the assassination an anti-Nazi German diplomat Ernest Vom Rath in the Paris by a young Polish Jew, Herschel Grynzspan on November 7th, 1938. That event was seized upon by Herr Hitler and his Nazi SA and SS thugs to unleash a torrent of ‘spontaneous’ violence. That violence was graphically set against the lurid flames of more than 1,000 synagogues torched, several hundred of them destroyed, thousands of Jewish businesses and homes broken into, destroyed and vandalized.  91 Jewish men were killed, thousands beaten and more than 30,000 dragged off to concentration camps. Many of the later would never to return to their frightened families, many of whom were to disappear in the Holocaust. Kristallnacht was the prelude to the Final Solution that murdered six million European Jewish men, women and children.

Kristallnacht NYT 11-10-38

New York Times November 10, 1938.

This year Kristallnacht coincided with the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a triumph of freedom over totalitarianism. Tens of thousands gathered  before Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.  Eight thousand balloons were released. German Chancellor Andrea Merkel speaking to the multitude at the celebration noted the ‘twinning” of these historic event:

That was the opening note for the murder of millions; I feel not just joy, but the responsibility that German history burdens us with.

Over at the Alexanderplatz, German Police were separating violent rival protests by left wing groups opposing the commemoration of the fall of  the Berlin Wall, while  so-called nationalist groups who  were commemorating the Nazi attacks on Jews during Kristallnacht. On the West Bank, Palestinians celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall by symbolically breaking through Israel’s security barrier. In Norway, “Nye SOS Rasisme” , a so-called anti-racist group, demanded  that a Bergen community event bar Jews from attending a Kristallnacht commemoration.  The group held their own procession featuring banners that said “Zionism is Racism”.

The successor to the Communist party in Germany’s Bundestag, Die Linke, was caught in a moral quandary.  That  was the inclusion of the self-hating anti-Israel American Jew, Max Blumenthal, son of Hillary Clinton adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, in a Middle East panel at an avant garde theater in the former East Berlin. The Algemeiner noted:

In a letter to Frank Castorf and Thomas Walter – the directors of the famed Volksbühne Theater, the leading German center for avant-garde and experimental performances – Volker Beck of the Green Party and Petra Pau of Die Linke (“The Left”) pointed to Blumenthal’s frequent “anti-Semitic” comparisons between Nazi Germany and Israel.

The letter, also signed by Reinhold Robbe, a prominent pro-Israel advocate in Germany, explicitly linked the commemoration of the Holocaust with contemporary anti-Semitism, observing that the date of the meeting scheduled for this Sunday, November 9, will mark the 76th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom in Nazi Germany. The letter asserted that the meeting would allow Blumenthal and his cohort David Sheen, an anti-Zionist activist, “to promote anti-Semitic prejudice by comparing the terror of the Nazis with Israeli policies.” They would do so on the anniversary of an episode “that is recognized as the beginning of the persecution, the deportation, and the killing of over six million European Jews.” The letter introduced itself with a quotation from famed Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw: “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”

Gregor Gysi, the leader of Die Linke canceled a discussion with Blumenthal at the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, scheduled for Monday. Gysi reached his decision after Benjamin Weinthal, a Berlin-based journalist and political analyst, presented him with evidence of Blumenthal’s anti-Semitic activities and writings.

Blumenthal visited with some of those Norwegian ‘anti-racists’ in September 2014. Perhaps they were among those who sought to bar Jews attending the Bergen Kristallnacht commemoration. He and his anti-Semite hate colleagues equate Israel with ISIS.

 Our colleague, Nidra Poller chronicled  in a graphic series  of  “Gaza –Israel Dateline Paris Dispatches” posted on the Iconoclast this summer  the ‘lethal narratives’ of “death to the Jews” .   Protests reached the center of Paris  erupting in  fire-bombing attacks  on synagogues, and attacks on  Jews and Jewish owned businesses  in Parisian  suburbs.  All perpetrated  by  rampaging Palestinian supporters, French  Muslim citizens  and  allied leftist groups. They were   demonstrating against ‘genocide’ committed against civilians in Gaza under the draconian control of Muslim Brotherhood affiliate in Palestine, the terrorist group Hamas.

There were the  killings at the Brussels Municipal Jewish Museum of an Israeli couple, and non Jewish workers by a returning French citizen and veteran of ISIS jihad in Syria.   Retired  Professor Raphael Israeil of Hebrew University would call the perpetrator, Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old French national of Algerian origin an Islamikaze, because he was motivated by Salafist doctrine to kill Jews.

Manfred Gerstenfeld, former Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,  in our interview with him  spotlighted what is driving European  Antisemitism, “Anti-Israelism is Anti-Semitism.”  We noted:

Gerstenfled  developed an estimate based on several studies and polls that approximately “150 million Europeans have extreme negative views about Jews and the State of Israel.” In an email exchange, Bat Ye’or suggests that Palestianism is the root of “humanitarian racism.” Note how Bat Ye’or defined Palestinism in our interview with her:

Palestinism is a world policy initiated and imposed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and its Western allies that aims to transfer to Palestinian Muslims the history, the cultural and religious heritage of the Jewish people. . . . Palestinism encompasses all Western-Muslim relationships.

What occurred in Europe today, the triumph of the fall of the Berlin Wall was marred by extremist riots reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930’s. There were bizarre attempts in Norway to exclude Jews from participating in commemorations because they were “racists”.  The conceit of these anti-Semites, whether nativist or Islamic is moral inversion. Call it anti-Israelism or Palestinism, it depicts  IDF soldiers defending the sovereignty the Jewish nation  as the equivalent of  Nazi storm troopers.

The Nazis  murdered  of Six Million European Jewish , Men , Women and Children in  the Shoah, Hitler’s Final Solution. A final solution whose prelude was Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany 76 years ago today.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.