Incitement against the Jewish people is not new. The Book of Exodus clearly
describes Pharaoh’s contempt for the Hebrews and his successful attempts to
Through Greco-Roman times and on to the medieval period,
Jews were vilified, persecuted and often put to death not for anything they had
or hadn’t done, but for whom they were.
Some years ago, a Commentary
article by Gabriel Schoenfeld explained how universalist anti-Semitism has been
evident, “From the Enlightenment’s Voltaire…through socialism’s Karl Marx…
through seven decades of Soviet communism with its pro- Arab foreign policy and
its harshly oppressive attitude toward Soviet Jewish citizens, through the New
Left, through the German and Italian terrorism of recent decades and the
post-60s alignment of the Left with the cause of Palestinian ‘liberation.’” And
in another Commentary essay “The Anti-Semitic Disease,” Paul Johnson writes, “To
the anti-Semitism of antiquity was added the Christian layer and then, from the
time of the Enlightenment on, the secularist layer, which culminated in Soviet
anti-Semitism and the Nazi atrocities of the first half of the 20th century. Now
we have the Arab- Muslim layer, dating roughly from the 1920s but becoming more
intense with each decade since.”
Setting aside, for now, numerous
examples of widely prevalent anti-Semitism in the West, today Palestinian
incitement against the Jewish people is on the rise.
concerning Palestinian incitement against Jews demonstrate a deliberate and
thought-out tactic to delegitimize the Jewish people and their connection to the
Land of Israel.
The NGO Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) highlighted on its
website that this week, official PA TV reported from a Fatah celebration in a
refugee camp in Lebanon. One part of Fatah’s message was that children are
created so that their blood will be “fertilizer” to saturate the
Apparently, dying for the sake of “Palestine” as an ideal, even for
Palestinian children and youth, remains part of Palestinian discourse.
much for the Palestinian Authority being “moderate.”
And PA Mufti
Muhammad Hussein gave a speech at a Fatah celebration that was broadcast on PA
TV in January.
He said, “The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until
you fight the Jews. The Jew will hide behind stones or trees. Then the stones or
trees will call: ‘Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come
and kill him.’” But when confronted about this during an interview on Israel
Radio’s Reshet Bet on January 22, the mufti explained, “We are not calling to
kill Jews and we did not call to kill Jews, we never said ‘kill Jews.’ The
Hadith says [it]. I am not responsible for the Hadith. The Hadith is in the
The Hadith is a noble Hadith, it is not my Hadith.”
paper reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded to a Palestinian
Media Watch report on the mufti at the January 22 Sunday cabinet meeting which
was largely devoted to discussing anti- Semitism. Netanyahu said this was
“grave” rhetoric that the international community needed to condemn.
on January 24, Netanyahu, in a speech at the Knesset, said, “Today, most
governments around the world are silent in the face of calls by the Palestinian
mufti to kill Jews simply because they are Jews. What is most chilling is the
fact that there is here a legacy of hatred and annihilation because this mufti
is following in the footsteps of that previous mufti. [Mufti] Haj Amin al-
Husseini was one of the architects of the Final Solution.”
In an essay in
Antisemitism Through the Ages, Yehoshua Porath writes how the day after Hitler
came to power, the mufti approached the German consul in Jerusalem and proposed
that they “join in a treaty against the Jews.”
Interestingly, in July
2011, the Israel Lands Authority removed fake tombstones from the Mamilla
cemetery in Jerusalem, prompting furious condemnation from Muslim
How ironic then, as Tom Segev describes in his book One Palestine
Complete, that it was Husseini himself who, in efforts to build a luxury hotel
across from the cemetery (where the Waldorf-Astoria is now under construction),
ran into trouble when the builders discovered graves under the hotel lot. The
mufti ordered that the discovery remain secret and had the skeletons carted
When the mayor of Jerusalem refused to link the building to the
city’s sewage system, the mufti agreed on a plan that called for directing
sewage into the cemetery, but again, on condition of total
Muslim groups accused Israel of desecrating the graves of
Muslims, but it was the mufti himself who had no compunction in doing
MUSLIM ANTI-SEMITISM has existed for centuries.
In an essay
titled “Anti-Judaism and Antisemitism in the Arab and Islamic World Prior to
1948,” Norman A. Stillman writes, “There has been… no lack of negative attitudes
to Jews among Muslims, going back to the earliest period of Islam… Modern
anti-Semitic ideas of European origin made their first appearance in the Middle
East among the Arabic speaking Christians of Syria.”
And ever since the
blood libel of 1840 in Damascus, when local Jews were accused of murdering two
gentiles, similar preposterous allegations and canards of European anti-
Semitism have continued to surface in the Middle East.
In Antisemitism: A
History, Meir Litvak and Esther Webman explain how anti-Semitism “has not been
the root cause of the Arab- Israeli conflict but has certainly been exacerbated
by it, aggravating its representations and serving as an additional tool for the
delegitimization and dehumanization of the Other – Zionism and
And Palestinian incitement against Jews is chillingly
The Hamas Charter paints a picture of the Jews and Judaism
that is clearly based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an infamous early
20th-century anti-Semitic text which draws upon popular anti-Semitic
The text continues to be disseminated and referenced throughout
the Middle East and if it is passed on to the next generation of Muslims, it can
pose a great obstacle to preventing the spread of anti-Semitism and
Recently, on the weekly TV program For You, dedicated to
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, Shama Awad, the mother of Hakim Awad,
the young terrorist who led the attack on the Fogel family, killing parents Ehud
and Ruth and three of their children, aged 11, four, and three months, praised
the terrorists as “heroes.”
(Shame on Raya Yaron, the spokeswoman of
Machsom Watch, who was famously photographed hugging and consoling Shama Awad.)
Last week, the PMW released a video in which MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-
Ta’al) is seen saying at a PA event that “the martyr is the ultimate source of
pride... the symbol of the homeland.”
Politicians slammed Tibi for saying
that there is “nothing more praiseworthy than martyrdom,” raising questions
about the limits of freedom of speech and parliamentary immunity.
official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, and official PA TV, have long
reprinted and aired, respectively, Hadiths calling for Jewish annihilation and
referring to Jews as pigs and wild animals.
In 2010, former PA prime
minister Ahmed Qurei declared during an interview with leading Arabic newspaper
Asharq al-Awsat, that resistance is “still an option.”
The PA has
consistently backed efforts to delegitimize Israel, which included support for
the misguided UN Goldstone mission as well as several initiatives in the UN
General Assembly essentially denying Israel’s right to security.
has repeatedly glorified terrorists.
Numerous kindergartens, schools and
summer camps are named after various “martyrs.”
At least two dozen events
and locations under Palestinian Authority control have been named after Dalal
Mughrabi, the terrorist who hijacked a bus in 1978 and murdered 37 people
including children in what became known as the Coastal Road Massacre.
March 2010, when US Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel, the world was up in
arms over Israel’s approval of the tentative building of housing units in
Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood which caused tension with the US.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for the Palestinian government complained about
Israel’s “provocation” and “peacedestroying behavior” the PA was busy making
plans to name a Ramallah square after Mughrabi.
Textbooks published by
the PA show maps that completely erase the State of Israel, replacing the area
instead with “Palestine.”
PA-sponsored TV broadcasts programs about
“occupied” cities such as Haifa, Lod and Ramle. This type of incitement
completely erases the Jewish historical connection to the Land of Israel and
revises the true history and context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
past, Israeli officials have been reluctant to make a big deal over the
incitement issue, instead preferring to discuss it behind closed
Today, however, the issue has received much public attention and
Israeli officials have finally decided to confront it head-on.
Netanyahu told visiting Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore that PA incitement
is poisoning the atmosphere.
During the meeting with Gilmore, Netanyahu
said that while many ask Israel to take confidence building measures toward the
Palestinians, the type of incitement being aired in the PA was destroying
A similar message was relayed in a meeting later
with visiting Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.
In last week’s
meeting with PA representatives in Amman, Israel’s negotiator Yitzhak Molcho
presented PA negotiator Saeb Erekat with a booklet dealing with Palestinian
incitement against Jews.
Erekat appeared livid and stormed out of the
room as if insulted.
But it was Erekat who, in August 2010, furiously
objected to Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s wish for “a plague on
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian
Without doubt, Yosef’s callous remarks are
Erekat’s claim however, that it was “an absolute insult to
our efforts to progress the peace process,” and even described it as a call for
“Palestinian genocide,” is hypocritical in light of what we see on PA
Interesting then, that Erekat chooses to ignore Palestinian
incitement against Jews, especially since he is guilty of incitement
After the IDF entered Jenin in an incursion dubbed “Operation
Defensive Shield” to root out terrorists between March 29 and April 21, 2002,
false rumors were spread of a massacre committed by Israeli soldiers. It was
Erekat who was quoted as saying to CNN’s Jim Clancy, “You know, the Jenin
refugee camp is no longer in existence…”.”
And Erekat repeated this false
allegation in another interview, this time with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, when he
said: “There is no longer a refugee camp there. And maybe the [Israeli] defense
minister and the prime minister of Israel want to deny what CNN is showing, that
the camp was totally destroyed.”
Israel need not budge an inch until it
sees significant progress on the Palestinian side, especially concerning
There needs to be a zero-tolerance policy that would demand
In Antisemitism Through the Ages, Shmuel Ettinger
explains that “in order to understand antisemitism in all its aspects one must
take three factors into account: (1) its historical roots and character as it
developed over the course of time; (2) the rationalization and justification of
the existing negative image; (3) its deliberate exploitation for political and
In his essay “On Arab antisemitism once more”
Yehoshafat Harkabi explains that Arab anti-Semitism is “primarily ideological
and political, a political weapon in the struggle against Israel; it comes from
above, from the ruling circles and from the literary and political elite in a
number of the Arab countries; it is not social, emerging from
According to Harkabi, since the mid-19th century, anti-Semitic
books in Arabic had been published in the Middle East by Christian Arabs who had
drawn their teachings from Western, mostly French, works.
Back then, Arab
anti-Semitism had Christian sources, but in recent years there is a clear effort
to Islamize Arab antisemitism by giving it a Muslim overtone.
done a good job in lobbying foreign governments to fight anti-Semitism with
resolve, and should continue doing so relentlessly.
It should be
self-evident that there can be no room for compromise on this
Incitement against Jews in Israel cannot be excused as
anti-Zionism. Rather, it is a weak attempt to veil anti-Semitism.
essay “The Return of Anti-Semitism,” Hillel Halkin writes, “One cannot be
against Israel or Zionism… without being anti- Semitic. Israel is the state of
the Jews. Zionism is the belief that the Jews should have a state. To defame
Israel is to defame the Jews.
To wish it never existed, or would cease to
exist, is to wish to destroy the Jews… The new anti-Israelism is nothing but the
old anti-Semitism in disguise.”
Much more needs to be done to prevent the
escalation of incitement, especially in the Arab world.
Barack Obama made the mistake of insisting on the 1967 lines as a starting point
for negotiations, the least he can do to rectify the situation is to demand a
complete cease-and-desist with regard to incitement.
This is one way he
can prove that he holds the Palestinians accountable for their
Harkabi writes “The complexity of the situation is that peace is
likely to bring about a change of images, but if this change is made a requisite
for peace, then peace will be long delayed. Once the Arab-Israeli conflict is
settled, there is room to hope that many of the antisemitic manifestations
aroused by the conflict would disappear... It is not the change of images, then,
which will lead to peace but peace which will lead to the change of
But this is the wrong approach.
Peace and security are
the most important elements. While the establishment of a Palestinian state
appears to be the end goal of many in the EU or US, this is not the case for
The “end” for Israel is peace and security with its neighbors,
and if the means involves the establishment of a Palestinian state then it is
fitting and logical to pursue its realization.
However, the end should
never be confused with the means.