The differences between then and now are legion. When there is an outbreak of anti-Semitism today, officials condemn it. This is light-years away from the 1930s and 1940s, when governments were not only silent but complicit. Memory also distinguishes the present from previous events. Now, in contrast to the 1930s, we know matters can escalate. Jews today are resolute in their determination: “Never again.”
And despite all this I wonder if I am too sanguine. Last month, pro-Gaza protesters on Kurfürstendamm, the legendary avenue in Berlin, chanted, “Jews, Jews, cowardly swine.” Demonstrators in Dortmund and Frankfurt chanted, “Hamas, Hamas; Jews to the gas!” And a pro-Hamas marcher in Berlin broke away from the crowd and assaulted an older man who was quietly standing on a corner holding an Israeli flag.
On the eve of Bastille Day, a group of Parisian Jews were trapped in a synagogue by pro-Palestinian rioters and had to be rescued by the police. A few weeks ago signs were posted in Rome urging a boycott of 50 Jewish-owned businesses. In central London last week, anti-Israel protesters targeted a Sainsbury’s grocery, and the manager reflexively pulled kosher products off the shelves. (The supermarket chain later apologized.)
It would be simple to link all this outrage to events in Gaza. But this trend has been evident for a while. In March 2012, four people were killed at a Jewish day school in Toulouse, France. (Last month, a Jewish community center there was firebombed.) In December 2012, Israeli officials warned Jewish men who wanted to visit synagogues in Denmark not to don their skullcaps until they were inside the building. It is increasingly common for Jewish tourists in Western Europe to avoid carrying anything that might distinguish them as such. A shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May, a month before the latest Gaza conflict began, killed four people.
In other words, Zionhass. That's only half of it, though. The other half: hating Israel because it is Jewish (as the Muslim supremacists do). Unfortunately, even Lipstadt, who should know better, has a hard time pinning the blame for such Jew-hate where it belongs--on what is written in core Islamic texts:I am unpersuaded by those who try to dismiss what is happening as “just rhetoric.” It is language, after all, that’s at the heart of the ubiquitous slippage from anger at Israeli military action to hatred of Jews.
It’s true that this is not the anti-Semitism of the 1930s, which came from the right and was rooted in longstanding Christian views that demonized the Jews. Traditionally, Islam did not treat Jews this way. But in the past century a distinct strain of Muslim anti-Semitism has emerged. Built on a foundation of antipathy toward non-Muslims, it mixes Christian anti-Semitism — imported to the Middle East by European missionaries — and a more leftist, secular form of anti-Semitism. It is evident in political cartoons, editorials, television shows and newspaper articles.
The Hamas charter is an example. It contains references to “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notorious forgery created by Russian czarist police officers in 1903 and later used as Nazi propaganda. The charter accuses Jews of relying on secret societies to foment global economic and political disasters. It calls on adherents to prepare for “the next round with the Jews, the merchants of war.”Maybe so, but the Hamas Charter is pure, unadulterated, by-the-book supremacist Islam. Here, for example, is Bat Ye'or on the subject (from her book, Islam and Dhimmitude):
In the PLO's charter, an Arab state will replace the State of Israel; for Hamas, this state will be Islamic, yet both versions are idyllically described (PLO Charter; art. 6; Hamas Constitution, art. 6 and 31). Hamas expanded those ideas in classic terms:
[It] strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine. Only under the shadow of Islam could the members of all religions coexist in safety and security for their lives, properties and rights. In the absence of Islam, conflict arises, oppression reigns, corruption is rampant ands struggles and wars prevail. (art. 6)
[Hamas] is committed to the tolerance inherent in Islam as regards attitudes toward other religions [...] Under the shadow of Islam it is possible fo rthe members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism, to coexist in safety and security. Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam, and recent and ancient history is the bet witness to that effect. The members of other religions must desist from struggling against Islam over sovereignty in this region. For if they were to gain the upper hand, fighting, torture and uprooting would follow; they would be fed up with each other; to say nothing of members of other religions. The past and the present are full of evidence to that effect [...]
Islam accords his rights to everyone who has rights and averts aggression against the rights of others. (art. 31)
This, therefore, is a call for the idyllic state of dhimmitude for the Jews--and for anti-Zionist Christians. This future of peace and prosperity in the Islamic state which would supplant Israel was favorably described by Ismail R al-Faruqi, a Palestinian professor of Islamic Studies at Temple University, Philadelphia.
According to the author, in this new state--where Jews would no longer be Israelis--the Muslim leader will be able to repeat the message which the Turkish conqueror of Constantinople in 1453 sent to the Greek patriarch who, for his collaboration, was rewarded with Islam's protection. This is hardly a convincing conclusion in view of the almost total disappearance of the Greek population of Anatolia in the twentieth century...
But the denial of national characteristics is not limited to Israel alone; it is rooted in the conception of mankind, which should be compulsorily subjected to the shari'a. Nationalism has no legitimacy whatsoever and, as Hamas says, "When Islam appears, all the forces of unbelief unite to confront it, because the community of unbelief is one" (art. 22)--that is, the dar al-harb, the region of war.The obvious conclusion: Hamas may have embraced certain tropes of infidel Jew-hate, including the Protocols, but if such material did not exist Hamas's own brand of Islamic supremacism would be more than enough to inspire it to fits and feats of Zionhass.
Lipstadt, an exceptionally smart cookie, must know that. Which makes her line of reasoning here very odd indeed.