"Anti-Semitism": The new McCarthyism

There has not been a more hateful and ludicrous article in defense of Israel than "The New Anti-Semitism; Selling Genocide as a "Struggle For Equality""[1] by Clifford May (syndicated by the Scripps-Howard News Service on October 7, 2004.

Mr. May reveals his vitriolic biases in blaming the violence in the Middle East on the victims, the Palestinians. Mr. May is President of a Washington group called the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), "a policy institute focusing on terrorism". What people need to also know is that this foundation was co-founded by the godfather of the neocons, Richard Perle, who is not only a diehard supporter of Ariel Sharon but also an author of the disastrous and devastating invasion of Iraq. A Vice-President of the FDD was Nir Boms; a former officer of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. Clifford May is Vice Chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition with the stated goal of "continuing foreign aid to Israel". Evangelical Christians who believe that there will be a Second Coming of Christ in an Israel ruled by Zionists are also supporters of this foundation. Extreme Republican Party ideologues like Steve Forbes, Newt Gingrich, James Woolsey, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, are board members or advisers to the Foundation. May also writes regularly for the extreme right-wing National Review Online.

May labels the historic and legitimate Palestinian opposition to European Jewish settlers occupying/colonizing their land and expelling thousands of them from their own homes in 1948, and the continuing Palestinian struggle against Israeli oppression in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank, as "anti-Semitic". The reality is that Israel has been cleansing all of Palestine of its indigenous population, which is the real genocide in this region. But for die-hard Zionists, Israel can never do any wrong and any criticism or negative characterization of its belligerence or oppression is immediately called "anti-Semitic". Thus forever banishing further discussion on its actions for shaming and scaring the critics of its illegal occupation of Palestine of being cast in the same category as the Nazis! This tactic is being used increasingly by desperate Zionist, pro-Israeli lobbies in the U.S because polls indicate that an increasing number of Americans are seeing through the Israeli smokescreen that turns reality upside down and claims all its state terrorism against beleaguered and impoverished Palestinians to be part of America’s war against "global terrorism". The pictures and stories, not in the U.S mainstream media but in plenty of sources in the rest of the world including, ironically, in a courageous and free Israeli press (such as Ha’aretz), tell a different story – of a Palestinian population targeted daily with "precision bombs", of destruction of essential utilities and services. Palestinians have been denied their fundamental human rights for half a century. May states that "about 1000 Israelis have been slaughtered" since the Palestinian intifada started four years ago, and that "Israelis are demonstrating that terrorism can be defeated." He forgets to mention that four times as many Palestinians have been massacred in illegally occupied Palestinian land. And his tactic, one and the same as the Sharon government’s and its Zionist American supporters, that of conflating opponents of occupation with "terrorists" will not fool sensible, thinking and honest people. Just as the Bush administration’s labeling of the critics of its war on Iraq as "unpatriotic" is wearing thin.

In the most recent Israeli attack in densely populated Northern Gaza, Israeli tanks, helicopter gunships and bulldozers left a trail of death and destruction that was exceptionally savage in its intensity and duration. At least 110 Palestinians were killed, over half of those were civilians including children and women. The injured Palestinians numbered in the several hundreds, and dozens of homes, farms, work places and schools, roads were severely damaged or uprooted. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia vowed that the bloodiest Israeli attack in years were "part of a series, planned to bring our people to their knees, but this will never happen." Increasingly, Israel’s brutal oppression of them draws comparisons to the repressive and odious apartheid of racist South Africa against the native Black people.

An in-depth survey of American public opinion on U.S foreign policy issued by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations in early October 2004 shows a huge gap between public opinion and current U.S policy in the Middle East. On the question, "Should the U.S not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?" seventy seven percent of the American public surveyed agreed that the U.S should be evenhanded in its approach to the issues relating to the conflict. Clearly, the Bush administration’s policy of total and unqualified support for Ariel Sharon’s relentless war in the illegally occupied territories of Palestine is not what the majority of Americans think is right. Even as worrisome to Israel and its diehard supporters is a secret report from the Israeli foreign ministry that warned "Israel’s world image could fall as low as South Africa’s during the apartheid era." The main finding was that Israel could end up being regarded as a pariah state. The report clearly shows Israel’s "sensitivity" to its international image and how it feels the world – aside from the U.S – has increasingly "turned against it." (BBC News, October 14, 2004). In August 2004, South African law professor John Dugard, the special rapporteur for the United Nations on human rights in Palestine, wrote to the U.N General Assembly that there is "an apartheid regime" in the territories "worse than that existed in South Africa" (Ha’aretz, August 24, 2004). Dugard called for a general arms embargo against Israel similar to the arms embargo imposed on South Africa in 1977 that helped in the dismantling of apartheid. There have been numerous calls by Palestinian support groups for a general boycott of Israel including Israeli goods and cultural/academic ties. Their justification is Israel’s brutal colonization of Palestinian land, expropriation of its resources for exclusive use by Jews, and the deliberate impoverishment, confiscation and destruction of Palestinian people, property and farms.

The report clearly demonstrates that the Sharon government is finding it even harder to justify its widespread acts of devastation and humiliation in occupied Palestine as part of its contribution to the U.S "war on terrorism". This also explains the indiscriminate charges of "anti-Semitism" (that, of course, is narrowly constructed to be just against Jews, because Arabs are also Semitic and routinely harassed, pilloried and caricatured in the American media and culture) leveled against Palestinians and their supporters by pro-Israeli groups in the West. It is meant to silence any attempt to even question Israel’s oppressive occupation of Palestinian land and its brutal treatment of the long suffering native people. Many Israeli rabbis, leaders, settlers and even academics have openly called for the removal of all Palestinians from their own homes and land (called ethnic cleansing when it pertains to other people, like the Albanians persecuted in Kosovo) and the killing of Palestinians not to be a crime. They state without any sense of irony, shame or guilt that the wanton killing of Palestinians- even innocent women and children- is an act of "self-defense" to protect Israeli and Jewish lives and interests which are, of course, paramount. Such acts are justified and morally sanctioned by the government and the rabbis notwithstanding their clear violation of the Geneva Conventions, international law and universally acknowledged human rights. There is little public and no official outrage in the U.S at such openly expressed racist opinions and relentless violence directed at Palestinians, certainly nothing comparably close to what one hears, sees and reads in the media when Israelis are killed in Palestinian attacks against Israeli occupation and oppression.

Palestinian lives are demonized and therefore do not matter. They are regarded as "sub-human" and thus "expendable". The U.S supplies Israel with billions of dollars in arms and aid annually and connives at and colludes with the latter’s daily assault against desperately poor Palestinians. The only self-proclaimed "democracy" in the region behaves like a bandit and a thug and President Bush describes its leader as "a man of peace". The most recent, deadliest yet, Israeli attack against the residents of Gaza was claimed to be against Palestinian "militants" firing makeshift rockets into Israel. It was called Operation "Days of Penitence", in grotesque reference to the Jewish holy days. The collective punishment and indiscriminate carnage inflicted on a crowded Palestinian refugee camp which had no organized defense was exceptional for its sheer ferocity and terror. Here are the mind numbing statistics of Israel’s reprisals against Palestinians fighting for freedom over the past four years. Nearly 4000 Palestinians killed, 50,000 injured, 30,000 arrested, 60,000 homes/buildings demolished, a million olive trees uprooted, not to mention thousands of acres of land and 90% of water resources taken away. In three weeks of Israel’s latest attack, its forces killed 32 Palestinian children, including one 13-year old school girl, Iman al-Hams, by an Israeli commander who fired twenty bullets into her dead body. Israel deliberately destroyed the lives of nearly 4000 Palestinian families in this short duration. Israeli helicopters routinely fire U.S supplied "Hellfire" missiles into Palestinian homes, cars and apartments. It’s valiant military drops U.S provided 1-ton bombs from F-16 fighters lurking in the safety of the skies into crowded Palestinian buildings and market places. These lethal gifts from American taxpayers are supposed to be under the condition that they are not used against civilians. This requirement has never troubled Israel, nor restrained it in its savage belligerence. Neither has it been enforced by the U.S government. The former Republican National Security Adviser to President Bush Sr., Brent Scowcroft, gave an interview to the London paper, Financial Times, on October 17, saying that the current President Bush was "mesmerized" by Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He continued, "Sharon just has him wrapped around his little finger" even though the Israeli Prime Minister (notorious for his war crimes against Palestinians over several decades) "has been nothing but trouble".

One could characterize the pusillanimous, collaborative attitude of the U.S Congress to Israel’s monstrous behavior similarly. Other than some members of the Black Congressional Caucus and Ron Paul (R) and Denis Kucinich (D), there is no criticism of Israel’s unending oppression of Palestinians in the illegally occupied territories. The media is equally silent at Israel’s atrocities committed daily against a helpless people that the world seems to have shamelessly and disgracefully abandoned at the altar of expediency. However, thanks to honest and brave American human rights activists and academics willing to face the litany of "anti-Semitism" charges leveled at them by the powerful Israeli lobby (AIPAC, Anti-Defamation League, Campus Watch, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and many more Zionist groups, disproportionate in number to the people they claim to represent), the tide is turning against Israel’s horrific, unjustifiable and unconscionable violence against the people of Palestine.


[1]. "The New Anti-Semitism; Selling Genocide as a "Struggle For Equality"
by Clifford D. May (Scripps Howard News Service, October 7, 2004)