Haitian anthropologist Antenor Firmin pioneered in 1885 the rebuttal of racist theories; since then there has been a constant endeavor to defeat racism through education and legislation. These efforts are undermined by those who deliberately exaggerate the problem of racism in present times in order to avoid criticisms of the many other evils in their societies.

In a world in which Barack Obama was elected president of America, and that put a full stop to apartheid; in our Western societies which pride themselves on anti-discriminatory laws, racism is conspicuously not the world’s worst social problem.

Old as civilization, racial prejudices were prevalent in Europe from time immemorial. Plato and Aristotle who believed the Greeks were born to be free and to enslave barbarians. Comte de Buffon considered white people to be the “norm,” and Voltaire claimed that some human beings (i.e. black people) form some sort of “intermediate stage” between white men and apes.

On the other hand, the anti-racist tradition was a Jewish contribution adopted and spread by Christianity. Its first written example appears in the Talmud, which explains that the biblical Adam is everyone’s ancestor so no one could ever claim inherited superiority.

For more than 100 years, the struggle for human brotherhood has overtaken unfounded theories, advanced by individuals like the 19th-century French philosopher Joseph de Gobineau and American physician Joshiah Nott, that physical differences indicate intellectual and moral hierarchies. Their polygenetic hypotheses about the supposed diverse origins of a variety of human races were put to rest by Charles Darwin’s theory of mankind’s genetic homogeneity.

The Torah’s view was upheld. We stem from one source.

The repudiation of racism must be unremitting, but in today’s world there are other social evils that cause greater human suffering. These include violence against women, state-enforced corporal punishment, lack of basic freedoms, slavery and tyranny. The fact that these ills are particularly widespread under Arab and Muslim regimes often hinders human rights activists from denouncing them – precisely to avoid accusations of racism.

But totalitarianism is not a question of either genetics or anthropology, but rather of society and culture. Condemning the Arab world for these shortcomings is not an indication of racism or “Islamophobia,” but rather it is an indication that these phenomena are wrong.

But the worst violators of human rights in the 21st century have discovered that the best way to escape condemnation is to put human rights activists on the defensive by tarring their criticism as “racist.”

For example, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has argued that opponents of Sudan’s genocidal leader Omar Bashir were not actually concerned about the people massacred in Darfur, but rather by the fact that Bashir is black. The fact that Bashir’s victims were also black exposed the stupidity of the claim.

Even worse, Chavez’s comment was blatantly racist since it exonerates nonwhites of almost any criticism, as if they were moral idiots. Manfred Gerstenfeld calls this syndrome “humanitarian racism.”

Similarly, the media has accused our foreign minister of being a racist without quoting a single expression by Avigdor Lieberman that could justify such an assault. The true racist is usually the slanderer.

IRONICALLY, MANY of the people who call their political enemies “racists” have themselves fallen prey to the very social disease they condemn. For instance, if a law penalized the support of terror groups, to consider this law “racist” would itself betray a racist attitude since this claim assumes that only one particular ethnic group would break that law.

Similarly, in 2008 the Knesset considered a bill that would have required a special two-thirds Knesset majority to approve concessions on the Golan Heights. When opponents of this proposal called it “racist,” they showed transparent racism themselves. To them, only Arab citizens would sympathize with the enemy. But “racism” they claimed.

This linguistic abuse takes place time and again on the international stage, at international political forums, women’s rights conferences and other arenas. At women’s rights conferences, instead of maligning honor killings, infant girls’ marriages, imposed polygamy, child prostitution, clitoridectomy (female genital mutilation), and the fact that in Arab countries wife-beating usually goes unpunished, ayatollahs and sheikhs manage to sidestep the defense of women by ranting about “Zionist atrocities against Palestinian women.”

In the same vein, conferences about protecting children fail to enact initiatives to penalize those who use child slaves as camel racers or those who sell infants into marriage. They fail to deal with these issues by twisting their moral agendas and declaring the “real problem” for children around the world is the way in which Israel mistreats Palestinian youth.

Against these distortions, people tend to steer clear of confrontation. The fear is palpable that an assertive stand could be interpreted as racist.

ULTIMATELY, THE racism charge is consistently misrepresented. Not even Nazism was related to its alleged “racism” nor with an “ideology.” Rather, these terms provided a disguise for fanaticism and Judeophobia. The aforementioned racists (Plato, Gobineau, Nott, Voltaire) were wrong but they were not sadists, as the Nazis were.

To brand Nazis “racists” is another way to de-Judaize the Holocaust. Only against the Jews were the Nazis consistently “racists,” although the Jews are not a race. The supposedly “Semitic” Arabs were allies of the Third Reich.

Nazi hatred focused almost exclusively on the Jews and excluded other “races” which, even when massacred during the war, were marginal in the German “racist” worldview. Dark-haired Hitler, obese Goering, petite Goebbels and their peers were not racial models for the supposedly “superior” Aryan man. Few Nazi ringleaders would have been featured in a manual for German Racism. Theirs was no racism, it was wanton desire to torture and kill with impunity, plain and simple.

Although the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 excluded Jews from society, they were unable to offer any racial definition of the Jew – because such a definition is impossible. It was not because of racism that Nazis hated the Jews, but the opposite is true: in order to implement their madness and Judeophobia they used racial arguments.

Today their heirs try to divert the struggle against social evils, and they are quite successful in vilifying Western democracies as “fascist” and “racist.”

Iran’s Ahmadinejad, who in 2006 invited the Ku Klux Klan to his infamous conference for Holocaust Denial in Tehran, was three years later the central speaker at the UN congress against racism in Geneva.

The writer is author of Judeophobia and is trying to re-introduce that term as an alternative to the ambiguous phrase "anti-Semitism."

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