April 2008

This comes from a letter to the editor that I wrote on “Jihad and Jew Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the roots of 9-11” by Matthias Kuntzel.  I could not find the original article.

I disagree with much that Rob Eshman writes in the Jewish Journal, but not today. Because of my email connections I received advance notices of Kuntzel’s book and also, like Eshman found his arguments compelling. I would disagree however, that Arab anti-Semitism began with the introduction of National Socialism during the 1930s. The roots of Christian anti-Semitism in the Middle East can be traced back to the 19th century European missions into the region. The Europeans infused their own brand of Christianity along with the roots of Jewish hatred into the fabric of everyday Arab life.

One of the reasons why such virulent forms of anti-Semitism exists in places like Syria and Lebanon today comes directly from French influence in that area for the last 170 years.  When the Nazis decided “to turn the Middle East [into] an extension of the European battleground”, they found a region primed for the task. And, according to Kunstzel’s assertions this unfortunate residue of Arab Jewish hatred, nurtured and honed by the Nazis,  after Israel’s war of Independence,  focused on the Jewish state and has consequently spread to many other parts of the world.

One of the ways Jews can combat this (other than forwarding emails,)  is to take a lesson from their Palestinian enemies.  We made a huge tactical error by thinking that the military battlefield was the only battlefield that mattered in our survival.  The Arabs, since 1948 have waged a propaganda campaign which by the 1970s had promoted itself into the graces of western thinking against the survival interests of the Jews.  Since truth was on our side, Jews, for their part, naively thought propaganda was not necessary and efforts were to be put into other more important areas, like weapons  procurement. When we woke up to Arab propaganda successes in the 1970s we were already 30 years behind their machine. We have done a reasonable job in keeping pace but they are way ahead of us in those arenas that might not affect national policy yet but have a huge affect on the culture at large, the universities, the media, and the entertainment world.  I would suggest that we increase our own propaganda efforts to take back those arenas. The fight is a tough one but to lose this particular battle could be devastating to the entire Jewish community.

The 1972 Democratic national platform included for the first time, a recognition of Palestinian rights. This, at a time when the PLO was running havoc over the international community with airline hijackings along with making worldwide news of murder and mayhem in Israel.  If the PLO could do that in 1972 then Israel and its supporters could do much better than that in 2008. Influential Jews, like the one Mr. Eshman is calling on to publish Kuntzel’s book in Arabic, need to marshal the necessary forces and present a Jewish picture to the world, like the picture we have of ourselves, a people besieged who want nothing more than to live in freedom, dignity and security and will defend their rights to do so from all comers.

 

Larry Hart

 

 

 

Jewish community examiner

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