Saturday, November 07, 2009

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:

(due to some technical problems with my usual servor, I am moving my postings to operate from this new address - bear with me!)
1.  Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:


     I wanted to write to you about that ship full of Iranian arms that the Israeli navy apprehended on its way to delivering them to the Hezb'Allah terrorists last week.   The FRANCOP ship was carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian weapons of various types.  Israel seized the arms and let the ship proceed to Beirut.


    Mister Prime Minister, I really feel that Israel behaved improperly in this matter.  After all, these weapons and bombs are Iranian and belong to Iran.  They are properly the property of Tehran.  Israel seized things that do not belong to it!


    This is why I hereby appeal to you in the name of all decent and honest Israelis.  The stolen property must be returned at once to its proper and legal owners.  Israel must restore the bombs to Tehran, it must return all the explosives immediately to the Ayatollahs of Iran.


   At once, I insist.


   From a B-2 stealth bomber above the skies of Tehran!


Thank you for listening!


Prof. Steven Plaut

University of Haifa,7340,L-3801479,00.html


Malicious leftist charges

Yaakov Teitel case prompts baseless leftist generalizations, accusations
Hagai Segal

Certain camps in Israel were sorry to hear that Yaakov Teitel acted alone, or almost alone. They were disappointed to see that he looks a little crazy. They were dreaming of something bigger and more intelligent, so along with him it would be possible to convict an entire camp and a certain ideology.


In the face of this disappointment, they pulled out the old and tired myths about the conspiracy of silence and quiet understanding between the law enforcement establishment and the settlers.


All sorts of experts were wondering aloud why the Shin Bet needed 12 years to resolve two murders involving Arabs victims. These lamentations gave the impression that all murder cases in Israel are resolved quickly, while only investigations into right-wing crimes are conducted lazily.


This impression was meant to paint the entire settlement enterprise in mafia-like colors.


Therefore, it would be good to note that the community of Shvut Rachel, where Teitel resided, was named after a settler whose murderers were never captured.


Rachela Druck, a mother of seven children, was murdered 18 years ago en route to a demonstration in Tel Aviv. Isaac Rofe from Jerusalem was shot to death along with her. Their relatives have not yet seen the murderers sitting at court.


Long list of unresolved cases

The case of Rachela Druck and Isaac Rofe also disproves the claim that the Shin Bet and police redoubled their efforts to nab Teitle only after he hurt Jews. Druck and Rofe were Jewish, yet nonetheless their case remains unresolved. The files can probably be found in the Shin Bet archive next to the unresolved murder cases of teenager Rami Haba from Elon Moreh (1987), Yair Mendelson from Dolev (1991), Ofra Felix from Alon Moreh (1995,) and several other such cases.


To this day, we also don't know who murdered soldier Hadas Kadmi in the Carmel forest (1984) or who butchered Nava Elimelech, a child from Bat Yam, in 1982.


At some point, investigators gave up, because this is the way of the world. Yet rightists never accused them of deliberate negligence. The Yesha Council also refrained from hinting that in the Shin Bet's view Jewish blood is cheaper than Arab blood.


Such malicious accusations, if we're dealing with generalizations already, always come from the Left.




Hussein Ibish on the Fantasy World of One-Staters

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, which is the leading American group advocating for an independent Palestine alongside Israel, has a new book out, "What's Wrong With the One-State Agenda?" which does a comprehensive job of demolishing the arguments made by those who think that Israel should be eliminated and replaced by a single state of Jews and Palestinians. He has performed an important service with this book by noting one overwhelming truth about this debate: Virtually no one in Israel wants a single-state between the river and the sea. It's useful to remember this salient fact when listening to the ostensibly reality-based arguments of the one-staters.

I spoke to Ibish about his arguments last week, shortly after he spoke at the J Street conference. Here is an edited version of our conversation:

Jeffrey Goldberg: What were your impressions of the conference?

Hussein Ibish: It was impressive as a first step. My impression is that there's still quite a bit of message-cohesion and message-formulation to be done. It seemed to me to be an insufficiently coherent group of people. The range of people was so large.

JG: You mean on the Zionist spectrum?

HI:  I mean people ranging from the sort of centrist-center left, all the way to post-Zionists, anti-Zionists, who were there, too. It's not ultimately a group that's going to form, I think, a functional coalition. Right now, they're finding their feet. This is normal, it's inevitable -- but at a certain point, I think they have to clarify what they are, who their constituency is, what they stand for, who they are, who they're not. They've been more successful in creating a space for themselves as a new voice that is compelling, but at other moments it's looked like where they were simply positioning themselves as the alternative to AIPAC. And my sense of things is that, initially, that they would look too much to their rivals. But sooner rather than later, they're going to have to just move on and start to define themselves in a much more coherent and pro-active way, not just in contrast to the traditional Jewish organizations but also to distinguish themselves from people in the Jewish community whose criticism of
Israel makes them anathema to the mainstream of the community. They can't go there and I think they've tried not to go there.

JG: You can't be Zionist and non-Zionist at the same time, in other words.

HI: Exactly. I think it's essential for them. For us, it's not important.

JG: Well, isn't it important to have a pro-Israel, pro-two-state organization in
Washington that's credibly Jewish?

HI: It is. But I believe that all of the mainstream organizations are moving in that direction. I think begrudgingly, without enthusiasm, I think they're all getting there, because I think ultimately the only organization that I can think of that is absolutely opposed to a two-state agreement are on the far right, the Zionist Organization of America, which is in favor of the occupation without reservations and, on the left, Jewish Voices for Peace, which is a one-state group all the way and without reservation. It seems to me everybody else occupies some space in the middle without being one-staters and without being flag-waving pro-settlers.

Now, the question is, from our point of view, what's really important is that the Jewish community have a range of dynamic organizations that are effective in advocating for peace based on two states, number one. And number two, that we can work with everybody who is in favor of a two-state solution without any other preconditions. I mean, we don't want to get involved in intra-Jewish rivalries. We want to work with everyone who wants peace based on two states. It's as simple as that. We don't have a huge stake in where
J Street ultimately positions itself, but I will say this: The more mainstream it can become, the more powerful and important it will be. I think they should be as mainstream as possible, they should avoid the impression they sometimes give that they're perhaps not being sensitive to fears about Israel's security. There's a real appetite for a more robust, more aggressively pro-peace organization in the Jewish community. But from our perspective, the only people we don't want to talk to are the one-staters and the pro-occupation groups.
JG: But the one-staters are a very marginal group. I think one of the interesting things you do in your book is show very coolly, calmly, the essential ridiculousness of one-state advocacy based on the simple fact that in order to have a successful one-state plan, you need Israeli Jews to want it, and today, not even one percent of Israeli Jews want it.

HI: You could put all of them in a small auditorium.

JG: I don't think you need an auditorium. Talk about these guys, the Tony Judts --

HI: I don't want to be too hard on Judt. Judt put out this argument and then he immediately admitted that it was utopian, that it wasn't serious and he was just doing a thought experiment. And since then, he basically has more or less withdrawn from the conversation Judt has not been a person who suggests that this is a realistic plan and a serious proposal for the future.

There are two fundamental flaws with pro-Palestinian strategic thinking that focuses on the idea of abandoning two states and going for a single state. The first is the question of feasibility, and it's hard to argue with that. Obviously anyone who is familiar with this sees the difficulty, and I would be the first to say that success is not assured by any means. Even a two-state agreement looks, at the moment, like something of a long shot. The difference between the two-state solution and everything else is that yes, it's a long shot, but it would work. And if we could conceivably get it, if we did get it, it would solve the conflict.

The fundamental argument that the one-staters seem to be making, which is that we can't possibly get
Israel to end the occupation and relinquish their control of the 22 percent of Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza) but we will inevitably succeed in getting them to relinquish one hundred percent of the territory under their control. This is a problem of logic. The second thing is that once you've realized this, obviously what you've done is set yourself the task of convincing Jewish Israelis to voluntarily do this.  The idea of coercing the Israelis into this through military force is absurd, and it could only really be done through voluntary persuasion. What the one-staters argue, actually, is that they don't have to do that. What they're going to do, they say, is bring the Israelis to their knees.

South Africa style?
HI: Well,
South Africa style, except we don't have a South Africa equation here.

JG: But they believe they do.

HI: They believe that through the application of what they call BDS - Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions - globally that they can crush the will of the Israelis and break the Zionist movement. To me, even if you believe that boycotts were plausible, which I don't, certainly I don't think the American government and institutions and corporations would participate.

JG: You have to move from the American consensus that supports supplying
Israel with the best weaponry to not just a military cutoff but a complete cutoff and boycott. It's very hard to picture.

HI: Anyone who thinks that is plausible in the foreseeable future doesn't understand the nature of the American relationship with
Israel. The commitment of the U.S., not just the government but American society, is to the survival and security of the Israeli state. And then there's another aspect, which is the extent to which Israeli institutions, organizations and corporations are interwoven at a very fundamental level with many of those in the U.S.

JG: Right, Intel and Google --

HI: I'm talking about corporate, governmental, intelligence, military, industrial, scientific ties. The point is that you can only take talk of boycott and sanctions seriously if you really don't understand any of this. And if you don't understand any of this, then you're living in a fantasy world. So here's the thing: Obviously the only real task for one-staters is to convince Jewish Israelis to agree to their solution. But instead of trying to do that, they engage in the most hyperbolic discourse about the badness of Zionism, the badness of Jewish Israelis, the rightness and primacy of not just a Palestinian narrative, but the most strident traditional Palestinian narrative, and the most tendentious Palestinian narrative, the one that places lame for the conflict entirely on the side of the Israelis, that casts Israel as the usurper and what they call in one-state circles now the "temporary racist usurping entity."  These are the ones, by the way, who won't talk about my book. There's a refusal to acknowledge or read my book. I've nicknamed my book "the temporary racist usurping book."

These people are trapped in the language of the Fifties and Sixties. You're talking about a worldview is anachronistic in the most fundamental sense. It doesn't recognize any of the changes that have taken place since then. For example, the strategic situation that's emerged in the Middle East, where the Arab states and the Arabs generally have a lot of other things to worry about other than Israel. This is a world in which a lot of Gulf states are extremely concerned about Iraq, and where there are Arab states -- Jordan and Egypt -- that have treaties with Israel, where Syria has a motive to be civil with Israel that is unpleasant but completely stable, and where it's a very different environment than simply the Arabs and Israelis are enemies. The other thing that they've missed completely, and this is sort of the amazing thing, is the total transformation in American official policy toward the Palestinians over the past 20 years. Twenty-one years ago, there was no contact ever between the
U.S. and the PLO. No contact, zero, and no Palestinian statehood is the consensus American foreign policy and it is a national security priority under Obama. People in the House, key positions like the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman, chair of the Subcommittee on the Middle East, Gary Ackerman, Nita Lowey on Appropriations - all of them Jewish American members of Congress, stalwart supporters of Israel, and all of them committed to peace based on two states. And all of them, by the way, who were on the host committee of the American Task Force on Palestine gala last week.

JG: You've reached the Promised Land.

HI: Except that we haven't achieved the results.

JG: Yes, there's that. But you're on the road.

HI: Exactly. The transformation in American attitudes is almost mind-boggling, an official American attitude on ending the occupation, which has been the traditional goal of the Palestinians. And at this very moment, a group of Palestinians turns around and says, 'Sorry, not good enough, we want it all. Not only is a single Palestinian state not achievable, it's not desirable, it's not acceptable, it's not enough, we want it all.'

JG: Who are the leaders of the movement?

HI: People like Ali Abunimah, Joseph Massad, Ghada Karmi, Omar Barghouti.

JG: And you think they're succumbing to fantastic dreams. This is the traditional criticism of Palestinian politics over the past sixty years, that it's very hard to separate out the dreams from--

It goes back further than sixty years. It's an article of Palestinian nationalist faith that is almost one hundred years old, which is that demography is destiny, demography is power. This notion that if we just sit here, on the land, have children, are steadfast and don't agree to anything, then political power ultimately will flow to us. In the twenties, they believed if we do that, then, just by virtue of our presence in the land, our numbers, our demography,
Israel will never be established. After Israel was established, it was just, "Well if we're steadfast and we don't agree, then Israel will be reversed." Then it was, "Well if we just do this, then independence will come in the occupied territories." Now the latest version is if we're just steadfast, we can create a South Africa-like model and we will reverse the war of 1948 at the ballot.

JG: But I have to tell you that for people like me, this is a real worry. This goes with the argument that the settlements are the vanguard of one-statism.

HI: Now there is some truth to this. I think it's useful for people like (Ehud) Olmert or people like yourself to point out that with the occupation going the way it is, there won't be a Palestinian state, and then
Israel will be in a situation where it is neither meaningfully Jewish nor meaningfully democratic. I think you could claim that already, if you talk about the de facto Israeli state rather than Israel in its normally perceived borders, that is already the case and it will be increasingly so. Now here's the thing: The alternative, though, is not going to be a single state in the foreseeable future. It's possible we could get there, but it won't be a solution, it will be an outcome. There's a big difference. An outcome of a horrible, brutal, bloody civil conflict that drags on for generations, because even though this demographic issue and the legitimacy issues are crises for Israel, I don't think they result in the dissolution of the Israeli state

JG: In other words, most Israeli Jews would rather have a Jewish state than a democratic state.

HI: Yes, it's obvious. And I think that what you would get is a protracted civil war that is essentially an intensification of the civil war we've had. So I do say the single state is a potential eventuality, but it would be the outcome of a horrible scenario. Look, the idea that if the current round of talks breaks down and Obama gives up and the U.S. gives up and we all give up, then the alternative is a Gandhian non-violent struggle of sanctions and boycotts that will somehow bring Israel to its knees, that is not the way it's going to go. We know the way it's going to go.

JG: Each intifada is more violent than the last.

HI: And more religious. You'll end up with two sets of bearded fanatics on both sides fighting over holy places and God. It will be a complete disaster. And I think the Israelis will end up ultimately dealing with forces not only beyond its borders, but beyond its comprehension in the long run. This has the possibility of turning into not an ethno-national war but a religious war between the Muslims and the Jews over the holy places with the whole concept of
Palestine gone and the Jewish population of Israel in a very unenviable situation, protected in the end only by its nuclear weapons. It's a nightmare.

JG: So you have three scenarios. One, the one-state solution: Somehow the Jews and the Arabs decide, even though their narratives completely contradict each other, that we'll be like
Belgium, where we don't have to really like each other but we'll be fine. The second alternative is the one you described of basically endless war. The third is the two-state solution. But, sorry to say it, we don't seem that close right now. You have an Israeli government who seems extremely hesitant to pull down any settlements, you have a Hamas government in Gaza, just for starters.

HI: What you do with Hamas, in my view, is you make the situation such that Hamas has to choose, and you do this by creating progress and by creating momentum - and there are two ways of creating momentum. One is diplomatically, which right now, seems difficult. The other is through the Fayyad plan, which is state building in the occupied territories. That would have a very powerful effect. It is extremely important that we use that idea as a means of gaining momentum, that the Israelis do not block it, that the U.S. protect it politically, and that the Arabs, Europeans and the Israelis support it technically and financially. This is a way of really moving forward in a manner that is complimentary and not contradictory to the diplomatic process, and I think people who suggest that this is some kind of capitulation or some kind of collaboration are dead wrong. This is a very powerful way of effectively resisting the occupation without doing anything violent. Israelis may fool themselves into thinking that this is just economic peace, but it's not; it's Palestinians preparing for independence.

Now with regard to Hamas, I definitely don't think it would be wise for the West to open up dialogue with Hamas under the present circumstances. I think that would simply reward them and it would benefit them in their competition with the PLO and there's a stark choice that Palestinians are facing between two strategies: an Islamist violent strategy and a secular nationalist negotiation strategy. I think it's very important to bolster the second and to make the first appear what it actually is: Non-functional.



03/November /2009

Comparing Islamic anti-Semitism to Nazi Germany at its worst

By Robert S. Wistrich  

HA'ARETZ - On November 9, 1938, a massive nation-wide anti-Jewish pogrom took place during peacetime across the entire territory of the Third Reich.

The pretext for this orgy of violence against German Jews was the shooting in Paris two days earlier of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old Polish-Jewish refugee.

The state-organized pogrom, instigated by Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, resulted in the burning or damaging of more than a thousand synagogues; the ransacking of about 7,500 businesses, the murder of at least 91 Jews, and the deportation of another 30,000 Jewish males to concentration camps in Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen.




This murderous onslaught against German Jewry, cynically described by the Nazis as the "Night of Broken Glass" (Kristallnacht), was a major turning point on the road to the Final Solution of the so-called Jewish Question.

It signified that the Nazi regime had crossed a Rubicon and would no longer be deterred by Western public opinion in its "war against the Jews."

The economic expropriation of German Jewry, its complete social ostracism and public humiliation swiftly followed. Jews were banned from public transport, from frequenting concerts, theaters, cinemas, commercial centers, beaches, or using public benches.

Only a fortnight after "Crystal Night," the SS journal, Das Schwarze Korps, chillingly prophesied the final end of German Jewry through "fire and sword" and its imminent complete annihilation.

Today, shocking to relate, the specter of such apocalyptic anti-Semitism has returned to haunt Europe and other continents, while often assuming radically new forms.

In the Middle East, it has taken on a particularly dangerous, toxic and potentially genocidal aura of hatred, closely linked to the "mission" of holy war or jihad against the West and the Jews.

Islamist anti-Semitism is thoroughly soaked in many of the most inflammatory themes that initially made possible the atrocities of Crystal Night and its horrific aftermath during the Holocaust.

For example, the pervasive use of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion with its perennial theme of the "Jewish conspiracy for world domination;" or the medieval blood-libel imported to the Muslim world from Christian Europe; or the vile stereotypical image of the Jews as a treacherous, rapacious, and bloodthirsty people engaged in a ceaseless plotting to undermine the world of Islam.

To these grotesque inventions one must add such more up-to-date libels like Holocaust denial which has become a state-sponsored project in Ahmadinejad's Iran and is increasingly pervasive in the Arab world.

Equally fashionable (and increasingly popular in Europe) is the slanderous identification of Israel with Nazism or the "ethnic cleansing" of the Palestinians. This modernized version of inverted anti-Semitism which sails under the mask of "anti-Zionism" and anti-Americanism, is today a global phenomenon, but it has special resonance in the Middle East as a result of the unresolved "Palestinian question."

The scale and extremism of the literature and commentary available in Arab or Muslim newspapers, journals, magazines, caricatures, on Islamist websites, on the Middle Eastern radio and TV news, in documentaries, films, and educational materials, is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany at its worst.

Yet the Western world largely turns a blind eye to the likely genocidal consequences of such a culture of hatred, much as it did 70 years ago. My own extensive research into this phenomenon has, unfortunately, convinced me that the Holocaust did not truly succeed in neutralizing the scourge of anti-Semitism.

In a sinister and sometimes devious manner, the widespread defamation and demonization of Israel has in effect revived fantasies of completing the murderous work of the Third Reich. This is especially palpable in the case of Iran. Hence, the anniversary of Crystal Night raises two fundamental moral questions for the future of human civilization. Are we at all capable of learning from history, and will the Jewish people once again have to stand alone in the face of concrete threats to annihilate it? On the answer to these questions much may depend.

Prof. Robert S. Wistrich is the director of The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( and the author of A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (Random House, January 2010).



Jew-Hatred and Jihad

The Nazi roots of the 9/11 attack.

by Matthias Küntzel


The idea of using suicide pilots to obliterate the skyscrapers of Manhattan originated in 1940s Berlin. "In the latter stages of the war, I never saw Hitler so beside himself as when, as if in a delirium, he was picturing to himself and to us the downfall of New York in towers of flame," wrote Albert Speer in his diary. "He described the skyscrapers turning into huge burning torches and falling hither and thither, and the reflection of the disintegrating city in the dark sky."

Not only Hitler's fantasy but also his plan of action foreshadowed September 11: He envisioned having kamikaze pilots fly light aircraft packed with explosives and with no landing gear into Manhattan skyscrapers. The drawings for the Daimler-Benz Amerikabomber from the spring of 1944 show giant four-engine planes with raised undercarriages for transporting small bombers. The bombers would be released shortly before the planes reached the East Coast, after which the mother plane would return to Europe.

Hitler's rapture at the thought of Manhattan in flames indicates his underlying motive: not merely to fight a military adversary, but to kill all Jews everywhere. Possessed of the notion that the whole of the Second World War was a struggle against an imaginary Jewish enemy, he deemed "the USA a Jewish state" and New York the center of world Jewry. "Wall Street," as a popular book published in Munich in 1919 put it, "is, so to speak, the Military Headquarters of Judas. From there his threads radiate out across the entire world." From 1941 on, Hitler pushed to get the bombers into production, in order to "be able to teach the Jews a lesson in the form of terror attacks on American metropolises." Towards the end of the war this idea became an obsession.

Sixty years later, it so happens, the assault on the World Trade Center was coordinated from Germany. Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian who piloted the plane that struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center; Marwan al--Shehhi, from the United Arab Emirates, who steered the plane into the South Tower; Ziad Jarrah, from Lebanon, who crashed United Airlines Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and their friends Ramzi Binalshibh, a Yemeni, and the Moroccan student Mounir al-Motassedeq had formed an al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, where they held regular "Koran circle" meetings with sympathizers.

What ideas propelled Atta and the others to act? Witnesses provided part of the answer at the world's first 9/11-related trial, the prosecution of al-Motassedeq, which took place in Hamburg between October 2002 and February 2003. One participant in the Koran circle meetings, Shahid Nickels, said Atta's Weltanschauung was based on a "National Socialist way of thinking." Atta was convinced that the Jews were striving for world domination and considered New York City the center of world Jewry, which was, in his opinion, Enemy No. 1. Fellow students who lived in Motassedeq's dormitory testified that he shared these views and waxed enthusiastic about a forthcoming "big action." One student quoted Motassedeq as saying, "The Jews will burn and in the end we will dance on their graves."

Amazingly, neither the American media nor the international press took much notice of this testimony, largely refusing to report on Atta's and Motassedeq's explicit Jew-hatred. The above quotations come from the weekly Der Spiegel and from the detailed notes of the trial taken by journalist Michael Eggers, who attended every session and wrote about it for Reuters. If this had been the trial of a Ku Klux Klan member or someone from the far right such as Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, reports of Nazi-like dreams of exterminating the Jews would probably have made the headlines. But in this case, involving attackers of Arab background, journalists apparently found the issue irrelevant. Moreover, this Jew-hatred was no quirk of the Hamburg cell. Osama bin Laden himself declared in 1998, "The enmity between us and the Jews goes back far in time and is deep rooted. There is no question that war between us is inevitable. . . . The Hour of Resurrection shall not come before Muslims fight Jews."

Even the 9/11 Commission Report, the summation produced by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States in July 2004, falls short in this regard. Its chapter on "Bin Laden's worldview" makes no mention of his hatred of Jews. This silence is all the more surprising in that the commission quotes documents in which bin Laden unambiguously expresses his hatred of Jews. For example, in the "Letter to the American People" of November 2002, which the report repeatedly cites, bin Laden warns: "The Jews have taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense." Osama goes on: "Your law is the law of rich and wealthy people. . . . Behind them stand the Jews who control your policies, media and economy." Yet the report's authors inexplicably fail to see the significance of these words and the ideology behind them. The report also ignores the history of Islamism. It accords the entire pre-1945 period just five lines. Yet it is precisely this period that fostered the personal contacts and ideological affinities between early Islamism and late Nazism--the linkage between Jew-hatred and jihad.

Despite common misconceptions, Islamism was born not during the 1960s but during the 1930s. Its rise was inspired not by the failure of Nasserism but by the rise of Nazism, and prior to 1951 all its campaigns were directed not against colonialism but against the Jews. It was the Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, that established Islamism as a mass movement. The significance of the Brotherhood to Islamism is comparable to that of the Bolshevik party to communism: It was and remains to this day the ideological reference point and organizational core for all later Islamist groups, including al Qaeda and Hamas.

It is true that British colonial policy produced Islamism, insofar as Islamism viewed itself as a resistance movement against "cultural modernity." The Islamists' solution was the call for a new order based on sharia. But the Brotherhood's jihad was not directed primarily against the British. Rather, it focused almost exclusively on Zionism and the Jews. Membership in the Brotherhood shot up from 800 to 200,000 between 1936 and 1938, according to the research of Abd Al-Fattah Muhammad El-Awaisi for his book The Muslim Brothers and the Palestine Question 1928-1947. In those two years the Brotherhood conducted only one major campaign in Egypt, and it was against Zionism and the Jews.

This campaign, which established the Brotherhood as a mass movement, was set off by a rebellion in Palestine directed against Jewish immigration and initiated by the notorious grand mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al--Husseini. The Brotherhood organized mass demonstrations in Egyptian cities under the slogans "Down With the Jews!" and "Jews Get Out of Egypt and Palestine!" Leaflets called for a boycott of Jewish goods and Jewish shops, and the Brotherhood's newspaper, al-Nadhir, carried a regular column on "The Danger of the Jews of Egypt," which published the names and addresses of Jewish businessmen and allegedly Jewish newspaper publishers all over the world, attributing every evil, from communism to brothels, to the "Jewish danger."

The Brotherhood's campaign against the Jews used not only Nazi-like tactics but also German funding. As the historian Brynjar Lia recounted in his monograph on the Brotherhood, "Documents seized in the flat of Wilhelm Stellbogen, the Director of the German News Agency affiliated to the German Legation in Cairo, show that prior to October 1939 the Muslim Brothers received subsidies from this organization. Stellbogen was instrumental in transferring these funds to the Brothers, which were considerably larger than the subsidies offered to other anti-British activists."

At the same time, the Muslim Brotherhood was the first modern organization to propagate the archaic idea of a belligerent jihad and the longing for death. In 1938, Hassan al-Banna, the Brotherhood's charismatic founder, published his concept of jihad in an article entitled "The Industry of Death." He wrote: "To a nation that perfects the industry of death and which knows how to die nobly, God gives proud life in this world and eternal grace in the life to come." This slogan was enthusiastically taken up by the "Troops of God," as the Brothers called themselves. As their battalions marched down Cairo's boulevards in semi-fascist formation they would burst into song: "We are not afraid of death, we desire it. . . . Let us die to redeem the Muslims!"

The death cult that became a hallmark of modern jihadism was laced with Jew-hatred from the very beginning. Moreover, this attitude sprang not only from European influences; it also drew directly on Islamic sources. First, Islamists considered, and still consider, Palestine an Islamic territory, Dar al-Islam, where Jews must not run a single village, let alone a state. At best, in their view, this land should be judenrein; at the very least, Jews there should be relegated to subservient status. Second, Islamists justify their aspiration to eliminate the Jews of Palestine by invoking the example of Muhammad, who in the 7th century not only expelled two Jewish tribes from Medina, but also beheaded the entire male population of a third Jewish tribe, before proceeding to sell all the women and children into slavery. Third, they find support and encouragement for their actions and plans in the anti-Jewish passages of the Koran.

After World War II it became apparent that the center of global Jew-hatred was shifting from Nazi Germany to the Arab world. In November 1945, just half a year after the end of the Third Reich, the Muslim Brothers carried out the worst anti-Jewish pogroms in Egypt's history, when demonstrators penetrated the Jewish quarters of Cairo on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. They ransacked houses and shops, attacked non-Muslims, and torched the synagogues. Six people were killed, and some hundred more injured. A few weeks later the Islamists' newspapers "turned to a frontal attack against the Egyptian Jews, slandering them as Zionists, Communists, capitalists and bloodsuckers, as pimps and merchants of war, or in general, as subversive elements within all states and societies," as Gudrun Krämer wrote in her study The Jews in Egypt 1914-1952.

In 1946, the Brotherhood made sure that Heinrich Himmler's friend Amin al-Husseini, the former grand mufti who was being sought as a war criminal by Britain and the United States, was granted asylum and a new lease on political life in Egypt. As leader of the Palestine National Movement, al-Husseini had been a close ally of both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Nazis. Based in Berlin from 1941 to 1945, he had directed the Muslim SS divisions in the Balkans and had been personally responsible for blocking negotiations late in the war that might have saved thousands of Jewish children from the gas chambers. All this was known in 1946. Nonetheless, Britain and the United States chose to forgo criminal prosecution of al-Husseini in order to avoid spoiling their relations with the Arab world. France, which was holding al-Husseini, deliberately let him get away.

For many in the Arab world, what amounted to amnesty for this prominent Islamic authority who had spent the war years broadcasting Nazi propaganda from Berlin was a vindication of his actions. They started to view his Nazi past with pride, not shame, and Nazi criminals on the wanted list in Europe now flooded into the Arab world. Large print-runs of the most infamous libel of the Jews, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were published in the following decades at the behest of two well-known former members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat. Both the Muslim Brothers' unconditional solidarity with al-Husseini and their anti-Jewish riots mere months after Auschwitz show that the Brotherhood did not object, to say the least, to Hitler's attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe.

The consequences of this attitude, this blindness to the international impact of the Holocaust, continue to affect the course of the Arab-Jewish conflict today. How do Islamists explain international support for Israel in 1947? Ignoring the actual fate of the Jews during World War II, they revert to conspiracy theories, viewing the creation of the Jewish state as a Jewish-inspired attack by the United States and the Soviet Union on the Arab world. Accordingly, El-Awaisi writes, the Brotherhood "considered the whole United Nations intervention to be an international plot carried out by the Americans, the Russians and the British, under the influence of Zionism." The mad notion of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, suppressed in Germany since May 8, 1945, survived and flourished in the political culture of the Arab world.

In particular, Nazi-like conspiracy thinking persisted and grew. An especially striking example of its continuing influence is the charter adopted in 1988 by the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, better known as Hamas. In this charter--which "sounds as if it were copied from the pages of Der Stürmer," as Sari Nusseibeh, former PLO representative in Jerusalem, has written--Hamas defines itself as "the spearhead and the avant-garde" of the struggle against "world Zionism." The Jews, the charter explains, "were behind the French Revolution [and] the Communist Revolution. . . . They were behind World War I . . . they were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. . . . There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it. . . . Their plan," states Article 32, "is embodied in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."

As in the 1930s and 1940s, the sheer absurdity of the claims makes it difficult for educated people to believe that anyone could take them seriously. Nonetheless, this notion of Jews as the root of all evil continues to inspire the mass murder of civilians in Israel and to motivate the joy with which Islamists greet those murders. "Hitler's Islamic heirs," as the historian Jehuda Bauer has called the Islamists, have replaced an anticolonialism aspiring to emancipation with a Jew-hatred aspiring to salvation through the annihilation of everyone "Jewish." It should not be surprising to find Osama bin Laden accusing "the Jews" of "taking hostage America and the West"--or to find Mohamed Atta's acquaintances attributing to him a Nazi worldview. What is truly surprising is that this Islamist hatred of Jews is often overlooked by Western analysts, political actors, and media.

As noted above, the 9/11 Commission Report is a case in point. Instead of discussing the fact that Jew-hatred had reached epidemic proportions in the Islamic world well before September 11, the report gives the impression that Islamism originally arose in response to recent American and Western policies. This is first conveyed in a remark on the early days of Islamism, when, we are told, "Fundamentalists helped articulate anticolonial grievances," an idea that ignores crucial dimensions of the outlook of the Muslim Brotherhood of the 1930s. The stereotypical message that the West is responsible is repeated in the report's analysis of bin Laden's motives: "Bin Laden's grievance with the United States may have started in reaction to specific U.S. policies but it quickly became far deeper." The report gets the history wrong. The al Qaeda leader was first politicized not by "specific U.S. policies," but by the writings of Sayyid Qutb and the jihadist lectures of Abdullah Azzam. As a result, the commission's explanation of al Qaeda's appeal is one-sided: "As political, social, and economic problems created flammable societies, Bin Laden used Islam's most extreme fundamentalist traditions as his match."

It is, of course, true that Islamists seek to exploit social problems for their own ends. But Islamism is not an ideology that ignites protest as it rubs up against social injustice. On the contrary, what provokes Islamist violence is any sign of modern development in the Muslim world: scientific inquiry, political or personal self-determination, economic progress, women's equality, freedom of expression in cinema and theater. The radicalization of Islam is less the consequence of poverty and lack of opportunity than their cause.

The refusal to see this and to recognize the substance of Islamist ideology--the death cult, the hatred of Jews, and the profound hatred of freedom--leads back again and again to the mistaken "discovery" that the "root cause" of terrorism is U.S. policies. Ultimately, the refusal to recognize al Qaeda's true motives results in a reversal of responsibility: The more deadly the terrorism, the greater the American guilt. The appeal of this approach is related to the specious hope it holds out: If suicide terrorism has its roots in U.S. policy, then a change in U.S. policy can assuage terrorism and the fear it induces. Al Qaeda, meanwhile, benefits, since the bloodier its attacks, the greater the anger against .  .  . the United States.

The same pattern explains the bizarre reaction to the Middle East conflict that is widespread in the West: The average observer, ignorant of the anti-Jewish content of the Hamas Charter, has to find some other explanation for terrorism against Jews, which must be--Israel. It is not the terrorists who are guilty, but their victims. Finding suicide terrorism incomprehensible, Westerners rationalize it as an act of despair that invites sympathy. Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner. Here, too, following the principle of "the more barbaric the anti-Jewish terror, the greater the Israeli guilt," the bombers' victims become the scapegoat for global terrorism. The old stereotype of Jewish guilt is thus amplified in contemporary form--and only encourages the terrorists.

A struggle against Islamism waged in ignorance of Islamist ideology weakens the West. The attribution of guilt to Israel and the United States adds fuel to the flames of Islamist propaganda and drives the wedge deeper into the Western camp rather than where it belongs--in the Muslim world.

Such blindness is especially hazardous in the case of the Iranian nuclear program, whose danger arises from the unique ideological stew surrounding it: the mish-mash of Jew-hatred, Holocaust denial, and Shiite death-cult messianism that is the context for Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and advanced missiles. Here the worst-case scenario is not an increase in suicide bombing attacks against individuals, but a perhaps suicidal nuclear attack on the Israeli state. Back in Munich in 1938, many believed they could resolve the Sudeten German problem with Hitler without considering how it fit into the Nazis' overall -strategy. In the same way today, in U.N. Security Council decisions and the positions of the Permanent Five, the technical aspects of Iran's nuclear program are often divorced from their ideological context.

The problem is not that the Islamists hide their goals. The problem is that the West does not listen. Osama bin Laden's chief reproach of the Americans in his "Letter to the American People" is that they act as free citizens who make their own laws instead of accepting sharia. The same hatred of freedom can be found in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to the American president: "Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems."

Not to confront the ideological roots of Islamism--notably its well-documented connection to Nazi Jew-hatred--stymies any Western push for political, economic, and cultural modernization in the Muslim world. Yet only such modernization can split the majority of Muslims, who would benefit from social progress, from the Islamists, who are willing to die to prevent it. Without challenging the ideological roots of Islamism, it is impossible to confront the Muslim world with the real choices before it: Will it choose life and hope, or does it prefer the cult of death? Will it stand up for individual and social self-determination, or will it finally submit to the mullahs' program of Jew-hatred and jihad?

Matthias Küntzel is a Hamburg-based political scientist and a research associate at the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This essay includes material from his forthcoming book Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 (Telos Press, November 2007). This article was translated from German by Colin Meade.


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