Resolved: Antisemitism is the main obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace


Harriet Sherwood’s July 18th Guardian storyon efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, reports on a meeting convened last night by Mahmoud Abbas with other Palestinian political leaders to decide whether to return to the negotiating table.  

Whilst a story by the Guardian/Reuters published this morning reported that Abbas and his colleagues ultimately decided to simply defer making any decision at all on whether to enter talks, both Sherwood’s report and the Reuters story characteristically avoided any mention of the the single largest issue preventing peace between Israel and its neighbors: An Arab culture which consistently promotes the demonization and dehumanization of Jews – antisemitic incitement promoted by Arab governments which permeates their educational system, religious life, media, and popular culture.

You simply can’t have an honest discussion about the Arab-Israeli conflict without acknowledging the toxicity of the Arab world’s blind hatred towards Jews – racism which continues to render any hope for genuine peace and coexistence (and the Palestinian acceptance of a Jewish state within any borders) merely an illusion.

Whilst the Guardian all but completely ignores the role Palestinian Jew-hatred plays in perpetuating the conflict, the Guardian (as my colleague Gilead Ini notes in his superb analysis of the broader problem) is by no means alone.  With few exceptions, mainstream media outlets reporting on the political process of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict routinely fail to inform their readers of the broader moral and cultural factors which represent the main impediments to peace in the Middle East.  

Ini writes the following:

Assume, for a moment, that the Jews are demons.

Imagine having been taught that they purposefully infect your countrymen with AIDS, and that such evil deeds have been a consistent part of Jewish history for thousands of years, ever since they killed their own prophets and tried to kill yours. Believe that their ultimate goal is to corrupt the world and hoard its money and power. Feel certain that they are so diabolical that even rocks and trees — the earth itself — wants them dead.

Could you possibly see them as good neighbors — good people like your own family and friends? Would you support negotiations with them, let alone substantive concessions?

A resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict will require trust. But you can’t trust the devil. It will require compromise. But you don’t compromise with evil. It will require an understanding by each side of the other’s legitimate interests and concerns. But if Jews — not just Israelis, not just one or another political party, but the Jews — are irremediably concerned with spreading disease, sowing corruption and accumulating money, it would be reasonable to conclude that they should be met with outright rejection, not concessions.

And what if, despite enormous headwinds driven by public revulsion for these demonized Jews, your leaders nonetheless signed a peace deal with them? Could it take root in such unfertile soil?

Can a society that accepts the most outlandish conspiracy theories about Jews, and that has long used Jews as the scapegoat for setbacks and failures, thrive? Can such a society successfully grapple with difficulties that, in reality, have nothing to do with Jews?

Walter Russell Mead argues that “widespread popular anti-Semitism is almost always a leading indicator of economic failure and autocratic rule.” Although anti-Semites might think this is because Jews “use their hidden superpowers to block and frustrate the economic development of peoples brave enough to tell the truth about Jewish machinations,” in fact, Mead says,

“anti-Semitism is usually associated with attitudes of bigotry, dogmatism and hostility to new ideas and different perspectives. Tolerance, openness to different ideas and a willingness to work with people from different religions and backgrounds are essential qualities for long-term successful and democratic development in a capitalist world, and people who hate and fear Jews usually lack them.”

In other words, for the two sides to coexist peacefully, sustainable and successfully, their worst passions must be subdued. As Martin Luther King Jr. says toward the end of the attached video (link below), hate makes you do irrational things. “You can’t see straight when you hate,” he explains.

But the video also reveals that, in all too many mosques, schools and television programs across the Arab and Muslim world, the public is indoctrinated with the most vile anti-Jewish bigotry. Hatred is idealized to a degree that the average American, and the average Israeli, cannot comprehend or imagine.

Journalists have a particular responsibility to inform global audiences about this scourge — about the presence and prominence of anti-Semitism and its role as “leading indicator” of societal dysfunction and spoiler of peace hopes. But with few exceptions there has been little coverage in the mainstream media of the phenomenon and its importance. Instead, an ossified storyline focuses on other supposed obstacles to peace in the Middle East that omits this central force.

CAMERA has produced an excellent short video to illustrate Ini’s post, which you can view here.

24 comments on “Resolved: Antisemitism is the main obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace

  1. Good article.
    This should be directed at the Arab liberal journalists out there as well as any Western news paper with an ME coverage of some sort..

  2. I’m waiting for Mr. Burns to translate this for us because “obviously”, as per his comments, PMW are not to be trusted.

    • So what was the reason Arab states wouldn’t recognize Israel, and in fact tried to destroy the state, PRIOR to 1967?

    • The obstacle to peace are the settlements. And the EU agrees
      Maybe you should mention somebody who gives a shit whether the EU agrees with something or not. Just the opposite – reasonable people seeing that the EU agrees with anything they considered correct start to have serious doubts. The EU is an excellent moral compass just you have to know that the points of their compass have been reversed.

        • And when did you started to take into account the opinion of Netanyahu? But anyway he is the most happy person in Israel with the EU directives, he got the most precious gift he needed to avoid further negotiations.

          • Peter: “But anyway he (Bibi) is the most happy person in Israel…”

            I bet he is.
            Long gone the days when politicians had any moral compass re funding and the abuse of power.
            But I have to say that that’s not exclusive to Israel or Bibi.

    • Of course “THE obstacle to peace are the settlements”. Besides the grammatical problem with that sentence, it is indicative of the simplistic view of most of the Israel-bashers out there – especially those educated via the Guardian.

      You see, the situation is complex. There are MANY obstacles to peace. I agree that the settlements are ONE obstacle, however the idea that they are THE obstacle for peace is plainly absurd, and a sober impartial view of the region would suggest that they are clearly not the MAJOR obstacle, nor anywhere near it.

      For one – they are, as has been pointed out above, built subject to the terms of the Oslo accords. For another, they take up a tiny percentage of the land area in dispute. For yet another they are clearly subject to negotiation, as Israel proved when it withdrew from the Sinai and Gaza, at which times, they dismantled settlements and forcibly removed thousands of Israelis in order to achieve their aims. Finally, and most crucially, they are merely a smokescreen – a minor irritation that has been chosen as an easily photographed, easily identifiable stick with which to demonise Israel.

      There are many other obstacles to peace which are far more fundamental than a few towns and villages. Adam has identified probably the most basic – the prevalent and pervasive antisemitism in the Arab education system, media and public discourse.

      Therefore “alex”, the EU, “human rights activists” and their like are merely spouting nonsense when they say that “settlements are THE obstacle to peace”.

    • If you knew anything about the Oslo Accords– agreed upon for roughly 20 years– then you would know that 1. Israel is not constructing where she isn’t allowed to construct; and, 2. the Palestinians have never kept up their end of the bargain, i.e. to stop raising incitement amongst the population, and to start teaching their kids co-existence.

      See, alex, when you don’t have a partner for peace, there is no peace to be had. It’s pretty simple.

      Of course, to someone like you, that simplicity is just too complex. I get it. You’re not in this to find everlasting agreement. You’re here to bash and complain until all the Jews go away.

      Super.

    • So Arabs had tried to annihilate Israel before there was a single settlement extant, and they’re still trying to, to this day; You don’t see a pattern here? Not exactly the smartest bulb in the Chandelier, are you?
      Oh, and when the Palestinians themselves say that this whole “settlement”, “1967 borders” issue is a ruse to deflect from their intentions to destroy Israel — in plain Arabic, to boot — you prefer to plead, as always, your ignorance. Right?

    • Alex is not that stupid to enter a direct exchange of arguments which he knows he will loose. Therefore he chooses to deflect.

    • alex says:
      “what’s that got to do with settlements? You don’t know how to address a point do you?”
      But alex, you never answer Adam’s question. I’ll repeat it below:
      So what was the reason Arab states wouldn’t recognize Israel, and in fact tried to destroy the state, PRIOR to 1967?

  3. You know how macho the Arab Nations are. Still duking it out over a fist fight between cousins from 400+ years ago. Their absolute inability to grasp that they need to actually show up at the negotiating table prepared to make compromises in order to accept an offer made multiple times over the past 12 years– an offer that would actually result in a Palestinian (Arab) state, the ultimate panacea for World Peace, or so we’ve all been told– is the main (in)action behind the continued strife….

    I can learn a lot from the Arabs. Like how to keep fighting until I die. And how to pass along my fighting to future generations so that they can keep fighting until they die. And, of course, blame the Joos for all the fighting. That’s some good stuff right there.

  4. alex, the fraud doesn’t respond to Adam.

    In 1941, the EU was also upset about Jewish settlements in Warsaw, Kiev, Lodz, Minsk, Paris, and Salonika. They sought a Final Solution for the problem of settlements. Today, the EU also looks for a Final Solution (endlosung) for the Jewish problem. The EU are obsessed with making sure Israeli East Jerusalem is Jew free and that the Wailing Wall is under Arab control.

    One thing has changed. Jews are now protected by an army and the Europeans cant slaughter Jews like they and the Arabs want to.

  5. alex, how many EU countries recognize a Kurdish state in Iraqi Kurdistan? Zero.
    How come in Iraqi Kurdistan the only area where people aren’t being murdered every day is in Kurdistan.
    Yet the EU expects the Kurds to live under these Arab and Shite Barbarians.

  6. Camera exposes Harriet Sherwood.

    http://blog.camera.org/archives/2013/06/post_117.html
    Hopes for a two-state solution fade as Palestinian official says ‘If we had nukes we’d use them on Israel tomorrow.
    Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem Monday June 17, 2013.

    The story reflected in the fake headline above is based on a very real report by Palestinian Media Watch, and covered elsewhere in the media:

    A official, Jibril Rajoub…praised the use of violence against Israel. During an interview on a Lebanese TV channel [on May 2], the host referred to “the negotiations game” with Israel, and Rajoub expressed the view that negotiations are held because the Palestinians lack military strength: ”I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning.”

    The Los Angeles Times, like the Guardian, completely ignored Rajoub’s statement saying he’d use nukes against Israel if he had them. Nevertheless, it found space for a 800-plus word story yesterday about the statements by Bennett, Danon, and Ya’alon. Batsheva Sobelman and Maher Abukhater report that Bennett’s:
    comments are the latest in a series of remarks by members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government against the two-state solution, raising doubts about the prospects of peace talks the United States is trying to renew. . . .
    But Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, accused the Israeli government of intentionally undermining U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s efforts to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

    “These are not isolated statements but a reaffirmation of political platforms and radical beliefs,” Erekat said of the spate of downbeat remarks. “Israel has officially declared the death of the two-state solution.” . . .
    Nabil abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, described the statements, particularly Bennett’s, as “dangerous.”

    “These statements are not only a message to President Obama’s administration, which is exerting nonstop efforts to revive the peace process, but also a clear rejection of efforts to save what could be saved,” Abu Rudaineh said.
    But Rajoub’s incitement is not dangerous? The Palestinian Authority’s honoring of three terrorists serving 166 life sentences do not raise doubts about the prospects of peace? And none of these incidents, what most Israelis consider “a clear rejection of efforts to save what could be saved” are worthy of Los Angeles Times coverage?
    Whether you say “double standard” with a British or American accent, it means the same thing.

Comments are closed.