Anti-Semitism and the Propaganda War (Extract)

Extract of an article in Issue 26, April 14, 2008 of The Jerusalem Report. To subscribe to The Jerusalem Report click here. The scenario has been repeated and refined over many years: Palestinians or Hizballah launch attacks against Israeli civilians using rockets or suicide bombers, causing deaths and injuries. Israel then responds, triggering a wave of condemnations blaming Israel for "war crimes," "massacres," and "indiscriminate attacks." The fighting in Gaza provides the latest example, and the script, as well as the actors, Palestinian officials on the BBC, NGOs purporting to promote human rights, U.N. officials and diplomats, are all too familiar. The same techniques were used to promote the myth of the "Jenin massacre" in 2002, the campaign against the "apartheid wall" in 2004, the boycott and sanctions movement, and to lambast Israel's response to Hizballah's cross-border kidnapping and massive rocket fire on civilians in northern Israel in the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Ironically, the current wave of accusations against Israel coincided with the late February Global Forum on anti-Semitism in Jerusalem. Many of the forum's presentations focused on the new anti-Semitism, which singles out Israel as a nation, rather than the Jews, and uses the rhetoric of international law and human rights, while denying Israelis the protection these very principles accord to other peoples and nations. As Irwin Cotler, professor of international law and former Canadian justice minister, observed, human rights is "the civil religion of the modern world," and "Israel is the anti-Christ." The participation of many non-Jewish officials and academics, who recognize that this trend constitutes a different but no less invidious form of anti-Semitism, marked an important development. The voices of John Mann, MP, who led the British Parliamentary Inquiry on anti-Semitism, and his colleagues from other countries are important in turning back the type of propaganda attacks we are now witnessing over Gaza. No one argues that Israel is above criticism or that all the protests stem from anti-Semitism; but when these are obsessive or absurd, the evidence is clear that they do. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni announced that Israel will not participate in the 2009 United Nations meeting called to review the implementation of the resolutions adopted at the infamous Israel-bashing 2001 Durban conference on "racism and other forms of discrimination." A few weeks earlier, the government of Canada, as well as the two main opposition parties, made a similar decision, referring to the anti-Semitism which demonized Israel through allegations of "apartheid" and a "holocaust" perpetrated against the Palestinians. Canada also barred funding for the participation of NGOs that use human rights to promote anti-democratic and anti-Semitic agendas. There is reason to hope that France and other European countries will join this movement. The Durban strategy of demonization goes far beyond legitimate criticism of Israel, and the opposition to the 2009 review conference is a response to gratuitous attacks that automatically label all Israeli self-defense measures as "war crimes." The U.N. Human Rights Council is more anti-Israel than its discredited predecessor, and its "expert" on Palestinian rights, John Dugard, consistently exploits this platform to vent his own deep prejudices. Extract of an article in Issue 26, April 14, 2008 of The Jerusalem Report. To subscribe to The Jerusalem Report click here.