Post Media Columnist on Jerusalem: Anti-Semitic Accusations and Mythology

Post Media Columnist on Jerusalem: Anti-Semitic Accusations and Mythology

As it appears in Unpublished: March 13, 2018

During a recent Ottawa radio interview with Cape Breton émigré’ Rob Snow; Post Media columnist and history lecturer John Robson flung broad accusations of anti-Semitism against anyone who dares critique the notion of establishing Israel’s capital at Jerusalem. Such a reflexive slur seems aimed more at creating a chill among reasonable and well-intentioned critics of Israeli state policy than eliminating genuine anti-Semitism. Speaking generally of “Israel’s many enemies” and that nation’s assumed moral superiority; Robson’s remarks suggest that he was defending a weak and vulnerable nation rather than a country with military forces superior to any European NATO member and any Middle East state. He offers not a word about Israel's status as a U.S. protectorate, nuclear power, proxy military/security agent and beneficiary of American taxpayer largesse used mainly to buy U.S. advanced weapons systems. That's quite an omission for a national political columnist and educator.

As the brutality of Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights increases international pressure for change; those who approve of the current arrangements conjured up a novel way to shame and silence even Jews who critique Israeli policy. The "New Anti-Semitism" presents an Orwellian tactic for detering Palestinian human rights advocates. Robson’s comments are typical of those who wish to portray any criticism of Israel’s official behaviour as the “New Anti-Semitism”. Canadian parliamentarians like Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney and Irwin Cotler were strong advocates of this shaky concept based upon syllogism or circular argument: since most Zionists are Jews; to oppose Zionism is to be anti-Semitic, even if you are Jewish yourself.

Perhaps he is unaware that the Israeli parliament passed a law that would require a supermajority vote on Jerusalem issues. While that law can be overturned; it symbolizes the Netanyahu government’s stubborn intention to expand the Jewish population of the city and place Palestinian areas outside the city limits. In fact, Israel intends to add 150,000 West Bank settlers to Jerusalem’s population and further marginalize over 100,000 Palestinians whose homes will be outside the illegal Separation Wall that surrounds the city; thus revoking their residency and denying them civic rights in Jerusalem.

Much like medieval witchcraft charges; the anti-Semitic accusation is impossible to refute because the notion of anti-Semitism is subject to infinitely flexible definitions. Even the most reasoned defense against this slur can somehow be twisted into a fresh offense and thus, many well-intentioned people been falsely branded for even daring to examine the concept. The concept is especially attractive to those who have internalized monotheistic dogma.

As a university lecturer in history, Robson may be aware that the Palestine-Israel issue is generally devoid of comprehensive historical context on Zionism’s brutal anti-Semitism. During the years between the World Wars, European Zionist leaders like Ben Gurion and Sharett were so obsessed with their Palestine colonial project that they actively sabotaged U.S. and British efforts to re-settle Jewish refugees from Nazism in Britain and North America. After the Second World War ended, they were content to allow thousands of displaced Jews to remain in European camps even though these refugees had little interest in moving to the new State of Israel. Many languished in poverty and despair in camps that were dominated by Zionist thugs employed by the Zionist authorities. These people applied extreme pressure to any Jews who merely wished to restart their shattered lives somewhere other than Israel.

For these fanatics, the Zionist project mattered more than the lives of their fellow Jews; many of whom were murdered in Palestine and elsewhere for daring to refuse financial and material support to terror organizations like the Irgun, Stern Gang and the infamous Lehi, who even recruited children as killers. Former terrorist leaders like Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir later assumed senior political roles after careers of brutality.

Jewish terrorism has gradually evolved from its genesis in Israel’s formative years. Zionist guerilla attacks against Arabs and the British were minor compared to today’s lethal combination of state violence against Palestinians and militant settler violence targeting Arabs, Christians and Israelis. While Jewish terrorism has previously enjoyed quiet government approval; international pressure may cause the Israel state to acknowledgement its role sponsoring and perpetrating terrorism. As Chomsky once said, the best protection against terrorism is not to practice it yourself.

Corporate media figures like John Robson are not given to publicizing the unvarnished history of Israel and Western connivance in its creation at the expense of Palestine’s Arabs. New Anti-Semitism advocates use their influence to marginalize writers on these topics and encourage those willing to present a more palatable account of history that excludes Zionist terrorism or falsely valorizes it as a response to Nazi oppression. Daring to promote Palestinian autonomy is a certain career-killer in a media world where self-censored journalists can feel good about writing what the masters wish to see in print. Canadians are offered an odd blend of mythology and the reflexive accusations of anti-Semitism. The Israel press generally avoids such self-deception and provides a more realistic accounting of past and present.

Responding perhaps to the revealing work of historians like Benny Morris and Illan Pappé, Israeli bureaucrats continue to reseal declassified records that threaten to expose the darker aspects of Zionism and Western efforts to help Israel expand territorially. These censors may have been inspired by Mr. Orwell, who said of history, “those who control the past control the future.”