- Last week, with little or no public discussion, Congress
passed The Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. To dispel any doubt
as to why this was done, President Bush immediately signed it and took
his bragging rights on the campaign trail. This legislation requires the
United States Department of State to monitor and combat anti-Semitism everywhere
in the world (Anti-Semitism is not defined in the legislation). The legislation
requires creation of a special office in the State Department to oversee
such activities and to make an annual report to the Congress. State would
also be expected in any country where alleged anti-Semitic acts occurred
to "combat" those acts and to publish country "report cards"
in a report that is additional to the annual human rights report State
already is responsible for publishing.
- The legislation was passed over State Department objections
as contained in comments of the State Department Spokesman, and in reported
memos to the Congress and the White House.
- Why This Legislation Now?
- This legislation comes at a time when a growing number
of Jews take the position that anti-Semitism is not a global problem.
The problems, these Jews state, are Zionist extremism and the behavior
of the state of Israel. As stated in an article this week by Gilad Atzmon,
an Israeli: "there is no anti-Semitism any more. In the devastating
reality created by the Jewish state, anti-Semitism has been replaced by
- In a recent writing on the traditional Jewish view, Rabbi
Joseph Dershowitz says that the Zionists have "created a pseudo-Judaism
which views the essence of our (Jewish) identity to be a secular nationalism."
The thrust of these arguments is that Jews and Judaism are not the same
thing as the secular state of Israel, and the behavior of the secular state
is the source of Jewish trouble in the world. Unfortunately the many Jews
who disapprove of what Israel does take the heat along with others.
- Below the radar, however, Israeli leadership, supporters
of Israel, and pro Zionist lobbying groups in the United States have worked
for years to build a wall around Israeli actions in Palestine. Their principal
charge against people who object to Israeli actions is that the critics
are "anti-Semitic". The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) makes a
continuing effort through a nation-wide program that is reported on the
Middle East Forum website called Campus Watch. This site regularly comes
down hard on academics who take a critical view of Israel, Zionism or actions
against the Palestinians.
- The site makes it clear that one aim is to stifle faculty,
students, speakers, or groups on campuses who are likely to criticize Israel,
to favor the Palestinians, or to make disparaging remarks about Jews or
Judaism. A recent example occurred at Duke University in the past few days
where an attempt was made to cancel a conference on Palestine. All of those
approaches have been aimed at making Israeli treatment of the Palestinian
people absolutely disappear from American awareness.
- Those efforts have been accompanied by assurances obtained
by Ariel Sharon from George W. Bush, and by assurances obtained by US Jewish
community leadership from John Kerry that as President either will totally
- What Is The Immediate Problem?
- It is important to note that the current rise in attacks
on Jews, Jewish symbols and Israel coincides in time with the current Palestinian
uprising that began in 2000. That event was deliberately provoked by Ariel
Sharon,s visit to the temple mount. The Israelis could not allow a peace
process to go forward, and they needed more excuses for continuing to expel
Palestinians. The solution was to make Palestinians angry enough to fight
back, class those acts as terrorism, and pretend that they, the Israelis,
are innocent victims.
- Objections to Israeli behavior toward the Palestinians
have been a major cause of anti-Jewish actions for more than fifty years.
There are many countries where governments or private groups are sympathetic
to the Palestinians, or where people simply object to Israeli violations
of human rights. Objections to Israeli actions have increased in parallel
with growing repression of the Palestinians through targeted assassinations,
Israel Defense Force attacks on refugee camps and towns, wanton shootings
of unarmed teenagers, conflicts between settlers and displaced Palestinians,
destruction of Palestinian orchards and farms, construction of the so-called
security fence"in reality a 24 foot high concrete wall the main effect
of which is to destroy any territorial integrity that remained for a potential
Palestinian state--and continued repression of Palestinians in Israeli
- Why The Apparent Sense Of Urgency?
- In light of their anticipated increase in expulsions
and repression of the Palestinians, Israeli leadership and supporters have
every reason to expect that retaliatory attacks of the kinds that already
have occurred in various places around the world probably will increase
in the future. Thus the likely purposes of the current legislative and
intimidation drives are to head off future criticism by getting any and
all complaints about Israeli behavior bundled under the heading: anti-Semitism.
By this action the Israelis hope to retain a claim on the moral high ground
that now belongs significantly, albeit not entirely to Palestinians. Moreover,
they want to make every American diplomatic mission defend the high ground
for Israel, regardless of who the true victims of repression in the reporting
countries may be.
- The act tells State to rate governments. The presumption
is that any government that cannot account for an act of reported anti-Semitism,
or cannot control the actions of a dissident group is itself responsible
for such action. That is a severe yardstick, one that the Congress or
any other American institution would not willingly apply to events in the
- How Severe Is The Problem?
- How much comment on Middle East issues honestly can be
defined as anti-Semitism, meaning as actions or statements against Jews
or Judaism? The answer to this question is clouded. Blanket assertions
by Jewish groups and defenders that all attacks against Jews or symbolic
targets are anti-Semitic and unprovoked create an impossible analytical
environment. That may indeed be the goal. It would certainly help the Zionists
if no questions of Israeli culpability or provocation ever arise.
- The reported rationale for the legislation is an asserted
"alarming increase in anti-Semitism in several countries. The legislation
cited several examples: (a) a speech of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
of Malaysia; (b) car bombings outside synagogues in Instanbul, Turkey;
(c) anti-Semitic slogans (unspecified) burned into the lawn of Parliament
House in Tasmania; (d) desecration by vandals of gravestones in a Jewish
cemetery in Russia; (e) attack on a Jewish school by vandals in Toronto,
Canada; and (f) a fire of unknown origin at a synagogue in Toulon, France.
- Those incidents are deplorable, but the comments of the
Malaysian Prime Minister were on their face provoked by Israeli actions
in Palestine, while there is no handy way to know whether the motive for
the others were actually anti-Semitism, or political objections to Israeli
actions. Nor is it possible to determine whether, in a world approaching
6.5 billion people, the present number of incidents is out of proportion
with global incidents of vandalism and crimes against persons or property
for other minorities or populations (emphasis intentional).
- What Is Going On Here?
- This legislation is only one piece of a comprehensive
thought control process. Part one begins with the canard Zionist extremists
have created about Jews who object to what Israel is doing to Palestinians
or what extreme Zionism is actually doing to damage or destroy Judaism.
Jews who contemplate or make such objections are called "self-hating"
Jews. That is a perverse but no less artful way of killing the messenger:
The basic charge is "None of the things you, the self-hater, worry
about are true, and you only think them because you hate yourself, or maybe
you actually hate Judaism." That charge aims to fixate the victim
somewhere between terror and shame, and informed judgments are that it
has silenced numerous potential Jewish critics of Israeli behavior.
- The second thought control device concerns the Holocaust.
No other event in history is exempt from scrutiny. In this case. however,
there is only one version of the experience and to question any piece of
the official version evokes a charge of "Holocaust denial. Coming
out of the chaos of global war, many details of this experience are likely
to be hard to know, but rigorous efforts have been made to keep investigators
or interested historians from looking at it, even including laws against
revisiting it in such countries as Germany and France.
- In fact, in Canada one writer, Ernst Zundel, who was
not satisfied with the official version of the Holocaust and, after extensive
research said so, has been in prison for many months, and it is by no means
clear that he will ever get a fair hearing. A French critic of the official
version of the Holocaust appears on the verge of losing his position as
number two in a French political party as well as his job as a university
professor. That is pretty persuasive killing of the messenger.
- The third element is thought control on university campuses.
Through a combination of legislation - at least in process - and intimidation
via Campus Watch, a variously successful effort has been made throughout
the United States to prevent detached and scholarly examination or commentaries
on the Palestine issues or any other that include criticism of Israel.
The Santorum/Brownbeck amendment to Title IV of the Higher Education Act,
as some critics see it, seeks to impose thought control through grant administration
and other devices. The goal is to keep potential messengers nervous and
silent on campuses country wide.
- The fourth element is the charge of anti-Semitism. Here
the effort is to include under the label any statement or action related
to Israel, Judaism, Jewishness, or the Holocaust, and to make the entire
set of subjects taboo at all levels of discourse. That is the unstated
purpose of the legislation passed by Congress last week. The goal is to
silence all criticism by anyone, anywhere, particularly of Israeli policy
and actions toward Palestinians, through an elaborate construct of the
shame sanction, in this case enforced by the United States through the
State Department. That State already does a comprehensive global report
on matters affecting freedon of religion obviously does not satisfy the
Zionist extremist urge to kill the messenger. They want to enlist official
harrassment by US diplomats in the kill.
- What Is Wrong With Such A Law?
- This law is an outrage because it forces the Department
of State, perforce the US Government to bias its reporting of human rights
violations by concentrating on alleged anti-Semitism--as State objected
in its submission to the Congress--by forcing focus on a single set of
events. Americans in general did not seek this law or even know about
its consideration. Since the pressure from ADL and other Israel supporting
lobbyists who got this law introduced and passed will be to make any attack
on Jewish targets or symbols acts of anti-Semitism, there will be no honest
reporting on possible violations of religious freedom or human rights.
A blanket label of anti-Semitism will foreclose any examination of the
reasons for the attacks.
- The current Zionist effort is part of a long process
going back more than 50 years. The problems actually began with the League
of Nations Mandate that required the Jews to achieve a majority in Palestine
before the State of Israel could come into being. The only way that could
be achieved was to remove the Palestinians and bring in more Jews from
outside, because the indigenous Jews numbered only about 50,000 while there
were well over a million Palestinians. That process began in earnest with
Jewish terrorists of the Stern and Irgun groups massacring the people of
the village of Deir Yassin. Since that time over 400 Palestinian villages
have been emptied, razed or occupied by incoming Jews who became the new
Israelis, and the displaced Palestinians have ended up in Gaza or West
Bank refugee camps or abroad.
- The Zionist party line is that beginning in 1948, without
provocation, the Arabs took the position that the Israelis should be driven
into the sea, and all the Israelis have done since has been defend their
rights. However, the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes
and villages in the late 40s early 50s began the Palestinian problem.
- The Israelis now say that a two state solution is impossible,
and one proof of that is the unwillingness of Israeli settlers - a quarter
million strong - to give up their settlements in the West Bank. Settlers
appear to be a growing political force in Israeli politics, and their settlements"promoted
and subsidized by the Israeli government"are intended to scuttle the
two state solution.
- Many Palestinians, as well as many Jews, do not want
a two state solution anyway. They want one state that is open to both.
But that conflicts with the Zionist ambition to have an exclusively Jewish
state. It is perhaps unfortunate that the idea of a mono-racist, mono-religious
state is contrary to the needs of the case, out of step with the times
as well as with the leading philosophies of modern states.
- What Kind Of Reporting Now And In Future?
- According to media reports, State took the position in
its objections to the new law that the Department is already charged with
providing an annual report to the Congress on human rights and religious
freedom, and that report requires collecting data and reporting on such
actions, no matter who might be the victims. The new law, says State,
requires that the right of Jews who may be the subject of such violations
in some countries will be given priority in reporting. The position the
legislation presents is that Jews are the most important potential victims
of human rights violations in any country. As a matter of policy, not
only will the law require State to single out those incidents for special
reporting, State officials will be expected to take action to assure that
such incidents are not repeated and the perpetrators are punished.
- In short, the actual working of the law, unstated of
course, is that on behalf of the Zionists the United States will become
the legal defender of Jews who may be the subjects of violent or offensive
actions anywhere in the world for any reason. What the Zionists have done,
it appears, is buy themselves the equivalent of an attaché in the
US Embassy. By this action, the US Congress has given Zionists, Jews,
or Israel supporters in any country a right to petition the United States
for redress of grievances, and the State Department is legally required
- In objecting to this outrageous invasion of American
diplomacy, one is at risk of being accused of holocaust denial as well
as anti-Semitism. That risk is part of the problem, because it is one
of the accusations that supporters of this legislation will throw at objectors.
On the one hand, one cannot and should not deny the massive human rights
crimes that were committed by the Nazis against non-Aryan and non-supportive
peoples of Central Europe during latter phases of World War II. But it
is only a proper respect for humanity that we establish as accurately as
possible the numbers as well as the racial, ethnic, religious, and national
origins of the victims, as well as the perpetrators, and that we do an
honest job of reporting on what we find. At this time, people of the world
generally have neither an accurate nor a complete picture of Nazi crimes,
and in the pervasive atmosphere of refusal to look at the entire experience,
we are not likely to learn. The parallel of Palestine is more than metaphorical.
- What Kind Of Distortions Will Occur?
- In a world driven by the self-serving Zionist impulses
behind the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act, we are likely to experience
the same distortions of truth and perception that perturb history of the
holocaust. Ours is a time when, thanks to the mindset of the Bush administration,
our people are overly pre-occupied with terrorism and the people who commit
acts of terror, and we are designing for ourselves a repeat of the holocaust
distortions. Bush and the neo-cons, aided by supportive media, have singled
out Muslims and through careless use of language have brought our people
and our government to focus exclusively on Islamic terrorists.
- In the process the Bush administration and cooperative
media have committed a thought crime against the whole of Islam. They have
simply ignored the fact that most terrorist groups and their causes are
not Islamic. Most events are not in Islamic countries, and most of the
victims are not Americans. That is a mirror image of holocaust distortion,
and it is the kind of story telling that the law just signed by Bush wants
the State Department to indulge in worldwide.
- State rightly took the position that such a reporting
requirement will take diplomatic eyes off the ball in several ways. First,
the human rights problems of virtually all countries with dissident elements
are caused by governments and elites, or by extremists who are tolerated
by them, such as is now occurring in Darfur. Secondly, under this law,
American diplomats will be required to use their assets, their experience,
contacts and sources of influence to pursue charges of anti-Semitism that
largely will relate to political objections to Israeli behavior. US diplomatic
effectiveness worldwide will be impaired by this requirement, and countless
peoples and causes will be done an injustice by it. The quality of American
diplomacy, as well as the credibility and respect for American diplomats
will be impaired by it.
- State can and should add to its human rights reporting
any conclusions, findings or official comments in reporting countries about
how and why the climate for anti-Semitism has changed. That would include
observations such as in the 2003 report on France that officials attribute
much of the problem to the Israeli-Palestinian situation.
- What Is A Balanced View?
- It is important to make a distinction between sentiments
or actions that are directed on the one hand against Jews as a matter of
religion or ethnicity, and on the other hand against the visible manifestations,
representatives and symbols of Israeli policies and actions. An attack
on the Israeli Embassy should not be viewed as anti-Semitic any more than
an attack on the American Embassy should be viewed as anti-Christian. Israeli
policies and actions are a legitimate secular area of potential discussion
and disagreement, and they should not be sheltered from public view or
protected from the objections of people who are affected by them or who
- The actions of Palestinians, Iraqis or other peoples
who seek to repel and eject invading armies cannot legitimately be classed
as terrorism. At the same time though, kidnappings, beheadings, and suicide
bombings obviously cross a human rights line no matter how just the cause
of the perpetrators may be or who may be the victims.
- The United States should not allow itself to remain in
the position of defending the Israelis against the consequences of their
aggressive and self-centered actions, while coming down hard on the Palestinians
for defending themselves. While protective of Judaism, as we must be of
any other religion, we should not allow ourselves to be a foil for irresponsible
and repressive Israeli actions.
- Protecting the Jews as Jews is not a problem for us.
Protecting the Israelis as political actors whose treatment of the Palestinians
is reprehensible is entirely another matter. In this light, both the White
House and the Congress, as well as the Kerry campaign, are on the wrong
side of the Israeli political issues, and that posture is enormously costly
to the United States virtually everywhere in the world.
- How Can State Cope?
- As the State Department attempts to implement this law,
officials can do the principle things required by continuing to report
as they do on human rights in every country. Using France and Australia
as examples, since they have been singled out as particular areas of anti-Semitism,
the 2003 report is indicative of what properly can be done. Under the
heading of freedom of religion, the report includes an enumeration of incidents
as well as descriptions of the perpetrators where known and iindications
of any actions taken by government to deal with the incidents.
- US diplomatic approachs might be appropriate, on behalf
of American Jews, to protest a genuinely anti-Semitic incident. However,
our diplomats should not fall into the trap of protesting French or any
other private reactions to Israeli policies and actions. To protect the
integrity of US diplomacy, State therefore has to look behind the reasons
for any incident to determine whether the motive of the perpetrator relates
to Jewish religion or ethnicity or Israeli politics. If the root causes
are politics, the human rights report should make that clear.
- What Ultimately Is The Problem?
- The root problem here is an improper Israeli/Zionist
extremist drive to force the United States to provide political cover for
Israeli actions against the Palestinians. This, however, is only a specific
application of a much larger abuse of the American system. As stated by
Alfred M. Lilienthal more than two decades ago, Americans really need to
look at what is going on here. According to Lilienthal: QUOTE: Our system
of representative government has been profoundly affected by the growing
influence and affluence of minority pressure groups, whose strength invariably
increases as presidential elections approach. This makes it virtually impossible
to formulate foreign policy in the American national interest.
- This explains why the politicians have been mesmerized
by fear of the "Jewish vote" in a hotly contested state. The
inordinate Israelist influence over the White House, the Congress and other
elected officials, stems from this ability to pander bloc votes. Few Jews
appreciate the methodology employed by the powerful Zionist lobby in Washington
to keep the politicians in line. It's not exactly pretty, and even in the
declining morality of our day, I am certain that many would be revolted
by what is done in their name to help the Middle East's "bastion of
- That appraisal is excerpted from a much broader critical
statement made by Lilienthal in 1981. Zionist manipulation of our leadership
and our policies are far worse and even more open than they were two decades
ago. It is time that all Americans take to heart the words of this wise,
honest, and widely respected Jew, and seriously fight back.
- What Must Be Done?
- Congress and the President have made it clear to the
whole world that on any matters pertaining to the Middle East they are
catering to Israel. They are prepared to buy votes and other political
favors by protecting Israel from the consequences of continuing repression
of the Palestinian people. In this instance they have made a law that provides
American political cover for ongoing Israeli violations of human rights.
- The law is an outrageous Zionist interference in American
diplomacy and in the internal affairs of the United States. It should never
have been enacted. It should not be applied. To protect our diplomats
and our reputation abroad, The Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004
should be repealed at the earliest possible moment.
- For all reported cases, our diplomats should observe
and report as requred for the annual report on human rights. Americans
should be diligent about dealing with any actual cases of anti-Semitism
in the United States. However, the Israelis have their own Embassies.
Let them explain themselves and fight their own battles. Hopefully they
will listen, learn, and moderate their own behavior.
- The writer is a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer
of the US Department of State. He will welcome comments at firstname.lastname@example.org