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September 25, 2011 11:37 pm

“Asleep at the Wheel:” Politically Correct Anti-Semitism Arises

avatar by Maxine Dovere

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Malcolm Hoenlein. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

The new anti-Semitism and the twisted results of a conference once promoted as a global effort to combat racism was the topic of a B’nai B’rith sponsored conference in New York September 21. A panel of international experts discussed the implications of the series of United Nations sponsored meetings, collectively known as “Durban.”

Hannah Rosenthal, appointed by the Obama administration as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism in 2009, has a “watchdog” position. She tracks international activities against the Jewish people and Israel for the government of the United States.  Anti-Semitism has been recognized as an international epidemic: Modern anti-Semitism, she said, has developed a new face: action against the collective Jew – the State of Israel. Cautioning that “dislike of the other” does not occur in isolation, Rosenthal noted that the continuing rise in Islamaphobia in several European countries should be carefully observed. She cautioned that “hatred of anyone is not good for the Jews,” and stressed the need for constant vigilance.

Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton addressed the continuing challenge of “Durban,” calling the conferences “a major focus in the continuing effort to de-legitimize Israel.” Durban I, promoted as a meeting to foster human rights, presented US Secretary of State Colin Powell with a difficult situation, said Bolton. “The United States collectively was not as aware of what was happening as it should have been. When the intent became clear – the promotion of the Zionism is racism equation – the United States had to walk out.”

Declaring Israel a racist country, commented Bolton, allows application of the same tactics used against the former South African regime. He noted that the passage of UN resolution 3379 (equating Zionism with racism) was an initial part of this effort. Saying he was “not usually one known as naive,” the Ambassador acknowledged that “believing that the 1991 repeal of that resolution would elicit a fundamental change was naive…Israel was still excluded.”

Bolton believes the threat to Israel’s legitimacy continues and is growing, a resolution submitted to the United Nations by the Palestinian Authority, whatever its content, will have the corresponding effect of undermining Israel. “We don’t treat the resolutions seriously at all,” he said “any declaration will cause political turmoil and helps foster efforts at de-legitimization…a prime concern that… we must prevent.”

Canadian Parliamentarian Irwin Cotler, introduced as “a man at the forefront of the struggle for human rights” by B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariachin, called Durban, “the tipping point for the new anti-Semitism.” He quoted the late United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who had said that “equating Zionism and racism gives the abominations of anti-Semitism the appearance of international sanction.”

Canadian lawmaker Irwin Cotler. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

The “laundering of anti-Semitism” said Cotler “must be avoided. Such attempts “place Israel as the enemy of that that is good, and the repository of all that is evil.” Calling “9/11″ the “Krystallnacht of Terror,” Cotler said “Durban” was terror’s “Mein Kampf…. a festival of hate – the incantation of hate.”

Racism in the 21st Century “defines Israel as a crime against humanity,” said Cotler. Positive anticipations had surrounded the first “Durban” conference, which was believed to be a method of putting “unrepresented causes on international agenda.” Instead, the program “resonated with calling for Israel to be seen as the Antichrist of our time…Durban became the tipping point of the new anti-Semitism.”

Cotler discussed the ongoing problem of 9/11 conspiracy theories, which have vehemently resurfaced on the tenth anniversary of the tragedy. “The myth has resurfaced using social media, and is far more widespread than ten years ago.”  The specter of BDS – boycott, divestment, sanction -including anti-Israel reactions taken by academic institutions, closely followed “Durban.”  “We were asleep at the wheel…In December, 2001, for the first time in the history of humanitarian law, one state, Israel, was placed in the docket, the only state to be called before the contracting parties of the Geneva Convention.”

Cotler recalled the words of Elie Wiesel who has said “this new anti-Semitism attacks primarily the collective Jew, the State of Israel, and starts as an attack on Jewish institutions.” Most are “those who wish to make the world free of a Jewish State… there are reasons for us to be concerned -even afraid. Now is the time to mobilize all of humanity.”

The remarks of Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, were sharply realistic. “They told us what and how they would do it: we were not able to see as clearly as the perpetrators.” His succinct statement that the “most serious issue we face is the delegitimization of Israel and the Jewish people” this is, he said “not just about Israel. Israel is the ‘collective Jew’ who is under the gun.” It is, said the astute analyst “not politically  correct to say ‘I hate Jews; I hate Zionists'” has become acceptable, resulting in a “campaign of global delegitimization that has been given expression in economic, cultural, philosophical and academic spheres.”

Turning to international politics, Hoenlein suggested that that what drives the (UN) resolution is Abbas’ design for his “legacy,” and is an integral part of the campaign to say that the Jewish State and the Jewish people are not judged by the same standard, not held to the same legal standards in the campaign of law fare. Concluding, Hoenlein said the “goal is to intimidate, to silence and isolate the friends of Israel.”

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