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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.”
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.
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.
distortions, people tend to steer clear of confrontation. The fear is palpable
that an assertive stand could be interpreted as racist.
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
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
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
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders