Anti-Semitism may not yet be a litmus test for social acceptability in the US,
but it has certainly become acceptable.
Proof of this dismal state of
affairs came this week with the publication of a supportive profile of
University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer in The Atlantic monthly written
by the magazine’s in-house foreign policy guru Robert Kaplan.
is the author, together with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government’s
Stephen Walt, of the infamous 2007 book The Israel Lobby and US
Foreign Policy. Since the book’s publication, Mearsheimer has become one of the
most high-profile anti-Semites in America.
Kaplan’s article was a clear
bid to rehabilitate Mearsheimer in order to advance his pre-Israel Lobby theory
of realism in international affairs.
Mearsheimer’s realist theory argues
that the international arena exists in a state of perpetual anarchy. As a
consequence, the factor motivating states’ actions in international affairs is
their national interests. Morality, he claims, has no place in international
This theory’s considerable intellectual underpinning rendered
Mearsheimer one of the most prominent political scientists in America during the
1990s. As a realist himself, particularly in relation to the rise of China as a
superpower, Kaplan perhaps believed that by rehabilitating Mearsheimer, he would
advance his goal of convincing US policy-makers to adopt a realist approach to
But whatever his motivations for writing the profile, and whatever
its eventual impact on US policy towards China, Kaplan’s profile of Mearsheimer
served to mainstream a Jew-hater and in so doing, to give credibility to his
It has become necessary to rehabilitate Mearsheimer because in
the years since he and Walt published their conspiracy theory against Israel and
its American supporters, Mearsheimer has actively embraced fringe elements in
the US and the world in order to advance his campaign to discredit Israel and
its supporters. As Alan Dershowitz highlighted in November, Mearsheimer wrote an
enthusiastic endorsement of a psychotically anti-Semitic book written by British
jazz musician and prolific anti-Semite Gilad Atzmon.
The book, titled The
Wandering Who? is replete with Holocaust denial, claims that Jews control the
world and America, characterizations of the Jewish God as evil and corrupt, and
claims that Israel is worse than Nazi Germany.
In his endorsement,
Mearsheimer called the book “fascinating,” and said it “should be read widely by
Jews and non-Jews alike.”
As far as Kaplan was concerned, Mearsheimer’s
embrace of Atzmon was a simple mistake. But it wasn’t. It was part of an
apparent decision on Mearsheimer’s part to use his own celebrity to legitimize
his anti-Semitic views.
In a speech to the Palestine Center in April
2010, for example, Mearsheimer distinguished between “righteous” Jews and “New
Afrikaner” Jews. The former are Jews who oppose and attack Israel and the latter
are Jews who support and defend Israel.
By sanitizing Mearsheimer’s
bigotry in his sympathetic profile, Kaplan mainstreamed his hatred.
Kaplan is not alone.
KAPLAN’S PROFILE of Mearsheimer is part of a larger
trend in US letters, politics and culture in which anti-Semitism is becoming
more and more acceptable. As Adam Kirsch noted in an article in the Tablet
online magazine this week, The Israel Lobby’s central contention, that a cabal
of disloyal Jews and sympathizers has forced the US to adopt a pro-Israel policy
against its national interests, has found recent expression in the writings of
mainstream journalists including New York Times’ columnist Tom Friedman and
Time’s Joe Klein.
Last week, The Washington Post-owned online magazine
Foreign Policy – which publishes a regular blog by Stephen Walt, published an
article by Mark Perry claiming that in 2007 and 2008 Mossad agents posed as CIA
agents in a false-flag operation whose aim was to build a cooperative
relationship with the Pakistani/Iranian Baluchi anti-regime Jundallah terror
Perry’s report was based solely on anonymous sources. Its obvious
purpose was to discredit the very notion of Israeli-US intelligence cooperation
Following the publication of Perry’s article, Israel abandoned
its general policy of never commenting on intelligence issues. The Foreign
Ministry denounced his report as “utter nonsense.”
What Foreign Policy
failed to tell its readers is that Perry is not an objective reporter. He is a
former adviser to Yassir Arafat and an advocate of US engagement with Hamas and
Hezbollah. By failing to mention his biases, Foreign Policy became an accessory
to the mainstreaming of anti-Semitism. Like The Israel Lobby, Perry’s report in
Foreign Policy adds to the legitimacy of the attitude that there is something
fundamentally wrong with having close relationship with the Jewish
Perhaps if Mearsheimer and Walt had published their updated
version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in 1997 instead of 2007 they
would have been received in the same manner.
That is, they would have sat
in the mainstream doghouse for a few years but then gradually acceptance and
support for their bigotry would have moved from the margins to the
And within five years they would have been rehabilitated by
the establishment. But in all likelihood, that wouldn’t have been the
It is a fact that since the turn of the century, and particularly
in the wake of the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in 2000 – a
collapse precipitated by Arafat’s rejection of Palestinian statehood; and in the
aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the US, anti-Semitism has become far
more acceptable in the US and throughout the world. The volume of attacks
against Jews has skyrocketed and the intellectual war against Israel and its
Jewish supporters has grown ever more virulent.
The rise of anti-Semitism
in the US has many causes, but three parallel developments stand out. First, the
development of Arab satellite stations like Al Jazeera has brought the open
Jew-hatred of the Arab world into the Western discourse.
Westerners reject the Arab annihilationist form of anti-Semitic propaganda as
crude and wrong. But the Jew-hatred propounded by these broadcasts has had a
corrosive impact on the Western discourse. It has deadened observers to the lies
at the heart of the propaganda.
That is, whereas they may reject the
daily calls to destroy the Jews, Westerners have increasingly internalized the
basic claim that Jews deserve to be hated. Take for instance a Washington Post
story last week on Egypt’s decision to bar Jewish worshipers from making their
annual visit to the grave of Torah sage Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira.
story claimed that the Egyptians oppose Israel because of its treatment of
Palestinians and because the Egyptian cross-border terror attack on Israel last
August “led to the killing of at least five Egyptian border guards as Israeli
troops pursued alleged militants.”
That is, according to the Washington
Post, just as the pan-Arab media claims, Israel is entirely responsible for Arab
hatred of Jews.
THEN OF course there is the European media.
week, the Dutch Christian newspaper Trouw published an article about prenatal
care in Israel written by Ilse van Heusden. Van Heusden wrote of the superior
medical care she received in Israel where she lived temporarily and where she
gave birth to a healthy son.
Rather than extol the dedicated care she
received, van Heusden attacked it. She claimed that Israel’s world class
prenatal medicine is a product of its embrace of eugenics and its similarity to
Nazi Germany. As she put it, “To be pregnant in Israel is comparable to a
military operation. Countless ultrasounds and blood tests should produce the
perfect baby, nothing can be left to the luck of the draw. The state demands
healthy babies and a lot of them too.”
Trouw’s decision to publish van
Heusden’s anti-Semitic assault is of a piece with countless articles published
in the European media portraying Israelis as evil Jews intent on using science
and every other means at their disposal to advance the Jews’ malign goals of
global domination, genocide, apartheid, and general evil. When Israel dares to
complain about these attacks, European politicians and media celebrities are
quick to stand up and defend their right to freedom of expression.
was that Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt – who barred all the Muhammad
cartoons from being published in the Swedish media – stood by Sweden’s leading
when in 2009 it published an article accusing IDF soldiers
of killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. In the mind of the
anti-Semites, by trying to object to the blood libel, Israel was proving that it
seeks to control the media.
The European media’s lies about Israel have
been translated into official government policies of lying about Israel. So it
is that the French National Assembly published a report last month about the
geopolitics of water that included a 20-page diatribe claiming that Israel uses
water as a weapon of apartheid against the Palestinians.
To write the
report, the French legislators had to ignore not only the content of the
Israeli-Palestinian agreement on water in the 1995 Interim Agreement. They had
to ignore the basic fact that Israel gives the PA far more water than the
agreement requires it to give, and to associate malign intent to the Israeli
government. That is, they had to embrace the irrationality of anti-Semitism.
Parallel to the penetration of Arab anti-Semitism into the
Western discourse through the pan- Arabic media, and the embrace of overt anti-
Semitism by the European media and political class, over the past decade, we
have witnessed the development of an alliance between the West’s political Left
and Islamist movements.
The international Left’s embrace of the likes of
Hamas, the Taliban, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood has increased leftist and
isolationist American policy-makers’ comfort level in adopting hostile postures
towards Israel. So it is that at the same time that the Obama administration is
assiduously courting the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime,
according to Channel 2, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has refused to
meet with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during his upcoming trip to
Washington. Channel 2 reported that senior US officials said that “Lieberman is
an obstacle to peace. We don’t want our pictures taken with him and with what he
Anti-Semitism is prejudice that is based on a rejection of
reason. To fight it, it is not sufficient to disprove the contentions of the
likes of Mearsheimer. He and his colleagues must be discredited and their
enablers must be shamed.
But before this can happen, world Jewry and
Israelis alike need to recognize what is happening.
Anti-Semitism is back
in style. Its new justification is not race or religion. It is nationalism.
Today’s anti-Semitism is predicated on preferring Palestinian and pan-Arab
nationalism to Jewish nationalism.
And like its racist and religious
predecessors, its aim is to deny the right of Jews to be free.
face of this onslaught the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora have two
choices. We can either succumb to our enemies, or we can fight