Jewish World Review May 8, 2002 / 26 Iyar, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | TWENTY-FIRST century, assimilated, liberal middle-class Jews, who have dismissed anti-Semitism as an historic term, had better start updating their perceptions. Bigotry against Jews is animating global public opinion in a way it has not since the 1930s.
Complacent and only barely conscious of our roots, secular American Jews find it hard and almost embarrassing to be the objects of religious animus. Jews had better face the global reality: From France's Jean-Marie Le Pen to the Palestinian sympathizers on the left, the footprints of hatred of the Jewish race are painfully clear to see. And left to its own devices, the U.S. State Department won't do a thing about it.
Jews generally vote Democratic and reject the Republican right. But perhaps it's time for a revision in that basic calculation. While the Bush center has wavered and the Democratic Left is keeping largely silent, the Right has been Israel's steadfast backer. It's time for Jewish voters to realize who their true friends are.
The roots of the global boom of anti-Semitism start, of course, in the Arab nations. Bernard Lewis explains it well in his current book "What Went Wrong?"
He attributes the spread of anti-Jewish feeling among Arabs to "the blame game" in which the Turks, the Mongols, the Western Europeans, the Jews and, now, the Americans are, in turn, the object of "neurotic conspiracy theories" designed to "explain the poverty that [the Arabs] have failed to alleviate and to justify the tyranny that they have intensified."
Anti-Semitic embers always lay at the bottom of the pit of Western Europeans' baser instincts. Now, fanned by Arab immigrants and dependence on Arab oil, anti-Semitism seems to be flourishing on the Continent.
The State Department? To Foggy Bottom, it makes no sense to put the interests of 3 million Israeli Jews with no oil over those of 200 million Arabs whose lands are blessed with abundant reserves of petroleum. The striped-pants set feel they are upholding our true national interest by appeasing Arab dictators; they hold in contempt the politicians they see as chasing Jewish votes and contributions.
The anti-Israel bias in the State Department comes from the bowels of its Eastern, WASP, Brahman bureaucracy. Former Truman aide Clark Clifford recounts how the "Wise Men" who ran American foreign policy in the '40s, '50s and '60s - Gen. George C. Marshall, Dean Acheson, Robert Lovett and Dean Rusk - did "everything in their power to prevent, thwart or delay the president's Palestine policy [recognition of Israel] in 1947 and 1948."
This mindset has remained ever since - it's proven impervious to reform even under a Jewish Secretary of State. Obviously, Colin Powell is not anti-Semitic but, equally obviously, he can do little to alter the pro-Arab bias of his institution.
The rabid hatred of Jews in the Middle East; the populist anti-Semitism in Europe; the polite awkwardness around Jews one senses among the State Department elite: Beneath all this lies lie the same matrix of prejudice that allowed the 1930s and early 40s to happen.
Some things are very different now: Israel exists, and it has fought back, trying to stop terrorism from killing its citizens.
Does anybody believe she would occupy the West Bank if Arabs were not blowing up her cafes and temples? There is no moral equivalence between those who commit terror - the Arabs - and those who rank among its victims - the Israelis. The soldiers who occupy the West Bank have the same moral justification as the desperate rebels of the Warsaw Ghetto. Just because the Jews have the tanks now makes no moral difference.
The surest evidence of anti-Semitism in London, Paris,
Rome, Berlin and even Washington is their tendency to see
retaliation against a suicide bomber in a café as
"overreaction" while they see the invasion of Afghanistan as
a proportionate response to a suicide pilot who attacks the
05/03/02: Give Bush back his focus