Introduction

As Bernard Lewis and other historians of Islam have pointed out, Muslim states have historically tended to be far more tolerant of Jews, their fellow people of the Book, than have, for example, most Christian polities, if one accepts “inferior status” in the mediaeval Muslim world as “acceptable.”

Traditionally, Islam believed in co-existence with the Jews whose religion, unlike Christianity, was not considered a competitor threatening Islam. Because Judaism was a monotheistic religion, the prophet Mohammed attributed an inferior status to it.

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But the seeds of shame and resentment that were planted in the conquered Muslim realms during the colonial period have now produced something hideous. After the failure of Nasser’s “secular Arab nationalism” became apparent in the wake of the Six-Day War, hopes for a revival of Arab civilization focused increasingly on a strongly political and fundamentalist version of Islam. And this new approach to Islam, be it Sunni or Shiite, included not just an ideological demonization of the West, but also of Jews and Israel.

Since the Islamic agenda of creating theocratic states was, above all, a threat to the existing secular Middle East regimes – whether single-party dictatorships, pseudo-parliamentary democracies, or monarchies – these regimes responded with a mixture of repression and adaptation.

“Hatred of Israel is a part of a revolutionary ideology designed to deflect the failings of the Arab governments,” says Charles Hill, a Fellow in the International Securities Studies program at Yale. “In order to protect themselves and to survive, the governments had to take on this part of the Islamic program and even to fan its flames.”

Jews are no longer seen as an inferior people that should be kept in an inferior status and their lives protected; they are now seen as the enemies of Islam and must be obliterated.

Thus, “Zionism”, “Israel” and “Jews” are words used interchangeably by the Arabs, not for tactical propaganda purposes, but for ideological reasons. Encouraging their populations to vent their frustrations and hatreds at Israel, the Saudi and Egyptian official newspapers routinely publish hateful anti-Semitic diatribes reminiscent of the worst Nazi tracts.

These regimes have also directly and indirectly supported the most violent Palestinian militant groups – Hamas, Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad – whom Yasser Arafat had in mind when he backed down from the peace proposal that President Clinton placed before him and Ehud Barak during the summer of 2000.

In short, these anti-Semitic diatribes that now appear regularly on the front pages of the Arab press are part of the current Arab strategy to divert the attention of the masses (and the radical Islamic fundamentalists in their midst) away from the inadequacies of their own governments, by projecting the mass misery and hatred onto Israel and the West.

How they do this, and what the implications are for peace in the Middle East are the subject of this two-part article.

Part I

The Nature of Modern Arab/Muslim Anti-Semitism

Israelis are beginning to wonder whether they will ever find their place in a region where Holocaust denials appear on a regular basis on the front pages of government-owned Arab newspapers, where Arab children are taught to believe that Jews have no historical claim to their ancient homeland, where Arab suicide bombers are revered as “holy men,” where government-sponsored newspapers accuse Jews of murdering Muslim children to use their blood in Jewish religious rites; and where “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” are published by government-authorized presses.

There is a virulent strain of anti-Semitism that has taken root in the body politic of Islam to an unprecedented degree. Clothed in Islamic garb, the symbols of European anti-Semitism have resurfaced with many characteristics of fascism of the 1930s and 40s:

Jews are the descendants of pigs and apes
Conspiracy theories about Jewish plans for world domination
Blood libels and fantasies of Jewish poisonings of wells and water supplies
Diabolical, Nazi-like images of Jews
Genocidal rhetoric and incitement to violence
Holocaust denial speeches at the highest levels of Arab governments
The aim is not merely the political de-legitimization of Israel, but the dehumanization of Jews and Judaism as well. As Jews view the demonic images of themselves that are circulating in the Middle East today, they have a sickening sense of deja vu.

The strain of anti-Semitism that has taken hold in the Arab world, particularly since September 11th, is especially hateful. The Muslim world?s relentless caricatures of the Jew as dirty, hook-nosed, money-grubbing, vindictive and scheming parasites are now a fundamental part of Arab-Muslim culture. “Jews are barbarians who deliberately spread vice, drugs and prostitution, and poison water.” Among the fabrications……Israeli authorities infected by injection 300 Palestinian children with HIV during the intifada; Israel poisoned Palestinians with uranium and nerve gas; Israel is giving out drug-laced chewing gum and chocolate intended to make women sexually corrupt; and Jews use the blood of gentiles to make matzos for Passover (Al-Ahram, Cairo).

Anti-Semitism in the Arab world has become part of the decadence that now plagues Arab civilization.

Jews are the descendants of “pigs and apes”

Defining the Jews as “the descendants of apes and pigs” is widespread today in religious, educational and public discourse in the Arab world. According to Islam, the ancient Jews were turned into animals for transgressing the word of God. In his weekly sermon (April, 2002) the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Muhammad Sayyid Al-Tantawi, the most senior authority in the Sunni Muslim world, described the Jews as “the enemies of Allah, sons of pigs and apes.”

Associating Jews with apes and pigs, as well as other animals, is firmly grounded in the Koran. The idea that God punishes sinners by transforming them into animals can also be found in various pre-Islamic sources as well. The concept of transforming the Jews into apes and pigs has spread among Muslim societies, and contemporary writers still discuss the idea and offer explanations to theological problems that the ancient Koranic commentators addressed.

According to Al-Tantawi, in North Africa, under the Muslim Aghlabid dynasty (9th through 11th centuries), Jews were forced to wear a shoulder patch with a picture of a monkey and Christians had to wear a patch with a picture of a pig. These images had to be affixed to the doors of their respective homes.

This belief has worked its way into Arab mythology. In a recently published series of articles in the Hamas monthly Falastin Al-Muslima, author Ibrahim Al-‘Ali takes the approach of physical change literally: “Allah did not mete out the punishment of transformation on any nation except the Jews. It is an actual change in the appearance of the Jew from human to bestial condition… from human appearance to the form of genuine apes, pigs, mice, and lizards.”

It is profoundly disturbing to realize that millions of illiterate Arabs accept this drivel without question.

The Resurrection of the Blood Libel

The charge of ritual murder has also increasingly appeared in the Arab press. This slander holds that Judaism requires its adherents to torture and murder non-Jewish children in order to use their blood for Jewish rites.

In 1983, long time Syrian Defense Minister and Ba?athist leader Field Marshall Mustafa Tlass, wrote a book entitled “The Matzah of Zion,” which describes how Syrian Jews in Damascus in 1840 supposedly murdered an Arab boy before Passover in order to use his blood.

In it he noted:

“The Jew kills you and takes your blood in order to make his Zionist bread. Here opens before us a page more ugly than the crime itself – the religious beliefs of the Jews and the perversions they contain, which draw their orientation from a dark hate towards all humankind and all religions.”

Coincidently or not, the hottest item at the October 2002 International Book Fair in Damascus was Tlass?s book which is now in its eighth edition!

Last year, an Egyptian producer was reportedly making a movie from the book.

In November 1999, Al-Usbu?Al-Adabi, a weekly of the Syrian Arab Writers Association, published an article supporting the blood libel, which was then followed by another article published in Al-Akhbar (Egypt) on October 20, 2000, except that this article was published in the form of a play sculpted from the worst anti-Semitic texts of the past.

Now the floodgates were opened, and into the breach stepped the Qatari-based Arabic cable news channel Al-Jazeera TV (whose later claim to fame would include their promotion of Islamic fundamentalism and Osama bin Laden). On October 24, 2000, Al-Jazeera interviewed the Palestinian Liberation Army Mufti, Sheikh Colonel Nader Al-Tamimi who claimed that “there can be no peace with the Jews because they use and suck the blood of Arabs on the holidays of Passover and Purim.”

Four days after the interview, on October 28th, the government-sponsored daily Al-Ahram – the leading newspaper in Egypt – published a full-page article by columnist ?Adel Hamooda entitled, “A Jewish Matzah made from Arab Blood.” In it, ?Adel Hamooda relates a story told to him and the neighborhood children by his grandfather about “the Jews who slaughtered a boy and made Passover matzah from his blood. Then, drunk with lust and barbarity, they devoured it.”

But this did not end the travesty.

On March 1, 2001 on the eve of the Arab summit in Amman, Jordan, the blood libel reemerged again, this time in the government daily Al-Ahkbar. Dr. Mahmoud Al-Said Al-Kurdi wrote an article titled “The Last Scene in the Life of Father Toma – a teledrama for the Arab summit in Amman.” The canard of the 1840 Damascus Blood Libel was trotted out again – this time for the leaders of the Arab world!

“The Talmud,” he said, “the second holiest book for the Jews, determines that the ?matzahs? of Atonement Day (sic) must be kneaded ?with blood? from a non-Jew. The preference is for the blood of youths after raping them?Since that day, I have worked on rewriting this affair in the language of cinema, an international language whose message reaches people?and whose influence is much greater than that of the written language. I will publish the last lines of this historical event so Arab Foreign Ministers can review it when they devise the final picture of the unified Arab strategy (against Israel).”

At the same time, the Egyptian government-controlled newspaper Al-Ahram published a full-page article reporting the discovery of Palestinian children?s corpses drained of blood. “The bestial drive to knead Passover matzahs with the blood of non-Jews is (confirmed) in the records of the Palestinian police where there are many recorded cases (!!) of the bodies of Arab children who had disappeared being found, torn to pieces without a single drop of blood,” the newspaper reported. “The most reasonable explanation is that the blood was taken to be kneaded into dough.”

Al-Ahram has the largest circulation of any newspaper in Egypt. The President of Egypt appoints its editor.

Which brings us to March 10th & 12th, 2002, three weeks after news was leaked of the Saudi peace proposal that would provide Israel with “normal relations” in exchange for its withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza.

In a two-part article published by the Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh, columnist Dr. Umayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma of King Faisal University in Al-Dammam, an academic no less, wrote on “The Jewish Holiday of Purim.”

Without delving into the sordid (“outrageous” is a better word) details, the writer “explains” to his readers that the “special ingredient” used in Jewish Purim “pastries” is “human blood?which is a well-established fact, historically and legally, all throughout history. The victim must be a mature adolescent who is, of course, a non-Jew – that is, a Christian or a Muslim. His blood is taken and dried into granules. The cleric blends these granules into the pastry dough; they can be saved for the next holiday. In contrast, for the Passover slaughtering?the blood of Christian and Muslim children under the age of 10 must be used. This is one of the main reasons for the persecution and exile that was (the Jews) lot in Europe and Asia at various times.” After describing the holiday of Purim as a day when Jews “wear carnival-style masks and costumes and overindulge in alcohol, prostitution and adultery?,” Umayma “explains” how “Jews drain blood from their victims” and “how the actions of Jewish vampires cause them pleasure.” In the second part of this “treatise,” he tells the story of the Book of Esther and concludes, “Since then, the Old Testament, the Jewish holy book, requires the Jews to glorify their holiday and show their joy. This joy can only be complete with the consumption of pastries mixed with human blood.”

The Saudi Embassy in the US did not deny the appearance of these articles in Al-Riyadh, nor did it denounce their content. Rather, the Embassy stated that Al-Riyadh “is not a Saudi government newspaper anymore than The National Enquirer is a US government newspaper,” and that “Al-Riyadh is a small private newspaper.”

Perhaps the Saudis should speak with the BBC, who are very clear that the paper is “government-controlled.” The editor-in-chief of Al-Riyadh, Turki Al-Sudairi is a member of the Al-Sudairi clan of the Saudi royal family, and Al-Riyadh is a leading newspaper in Saudi Arabia, not a tabloid like The National Enquirer not to mention the fact that the Saudi Arabian website includes a section on the “Ministry of Information” which leads to selected Saudi newspapers including (you guessed it) Al-Riyadh.

Last November, Abu Dhabi Television (government-controlled, of course) depicted Sharon as a caped vampire drinking Arab blood.

It is true that this imagery has its roots in medieval Europe. Yet those in the Arab world who have used it need not go back to medieval European sources. European Jews were accused of ritual murder – with lethal consequences – well into the 20th century. The Nazis themselves championed the blood libel, with Der Sturmer devoting article after article, complete with grisly illustrations, to the theme.

Today radical Islamic Web sites offer the full texts of Nazi articles on the subject. These Nazi publications themselves cite Christian teachings – some quite recent – for support.

Welcome to the Arab enlightenment of the 21st century!

Next Issue: Part II

World-wide Jewish conspiracies from the Protocols to the World Trade Center; demonization and vitriolic imagery; and Holocaust Denial (Islamic-style)

Part II

World-Wide Jewish Conspiracies:

“From the Protocols to the World Trade Center”

Along with ritual murder, another European anti-Semitic favorite of the 20th century, the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” has become increasingly popular in the Arab world.

This forgery produced by the czar?s secret police in Russia at the end of the 19th century (and based on an earlier French play) purports to be the text of a meeting of Jewish leaders plotting world conquest and is featured in the founding covenant of Hamas.

Article 32 of that document, in warning Palestinians never to make peace with Israel, speaks of the Zionist secret plot to seize all Arab lands:

“For Zionist scheming has no end, and after Palestine, they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates. Only when they have completely digested the area on which they will have laid their hand, will they look forward to more expansion, etc. Their scheme has been laid out in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present (conduct) is the best proof of what is said there.”

The Jews are openly accused by Hamas of controlling the world?s wealth, its mass media, the American government ? especially under the current President – and of instigating the French and Russian revolutions and two world wars to cynically promote Zionist objectives.

Equally, they are charged with establishing clandestine organizations (Rotary and Lions Clubs, Freemasonry, etc.) for the purposes of espionage and subversion. The Jews, it is asserted, deliberately wiped out the Islamic caliphates and then established the League of Nations in the 1920s, “in order to rule the world by their intermediaries.”

Muslim anti-Semitism has combined the ideology of anti-Western globalization movements and Jew hatred. “Many Arab and Muslim writers see globalization as a threat to Arab culture and identity and fear that it will increase Western control of their economies and political systems.” Associating globalization with “Jewish intrigues” makes it easier for Arabs to explain why they lag behind in economics, technology and science.

In many respects, the new Muslim anti-Semitism is more dangerous than its predecessors are because it expresses an ideological force. According to a recent study conducted by the International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University: “It stems from a deeper popular belief and is less subject to political changes such as peace agreements.”

While Hitler himself championed the “Protocols,” the Nazis had no monopoly here. Henry Ford was an enthusiastic supporter, publishing the document himself and doing all he could to warn Christian America of the Jewish threat. It should be no surprise then that radical Islamic Web sites, like the site of Radio Islam, try to bolster their credibility by reproducing Ford?s writings on this subject. The Nazi Party published the “Protocols,” which became the bible of European anti-Semitism in the 1920?s, in Germany, but its popularity in Europe was not simply due to the Nazis.

In France and Italy, its main champions and publishers were Catholic priests.

This has now entered into the mainstream of Arab thought. Its appeal becomes all the greater because for many Muslims and Arabs, the notion of Jews as embodying an omnipotent, occult force has become more palpable and enshrined through viewing the “Protocols” as a “Zionist manifesto for world conquest.”

At the same time, the specter of such a powerful, satanic conspiracy also helps to alleviate the psychological trauma and humiliation of successive Arab defeats at the hands of Israel and the West.

During Ramadan this year (2002), the “Protocols” were be “dramatized” in a multi-million-dollar forty-one part series called “A Rider without a Horse” and is produced by and for Egyptian Television, featuring a cast of 400. According to a prominent Egyptian weekly, “Arab viewers will finally be exposed to the central strategy that to this very day, dominates Israel?s policy, political aspirations, and racism.”

When State Department spokesman Richard Boucher complained recently about the series, Egyptian authorities reacted angrily. An editorial in the government’s daily newspaper, Al-Akhbar, said Egypt was the victim of “intellectual terrorism” perpetrated by Israel and its supporters. It accused the U.S. of infringing on Egypt’s freedom of expression, which, it pointed out, is one of the pillars of democracy.

Washington was left to ponder the civics lesson from a country not exactly positioned at the forefront of democracy.

After this year’s Ramadan, the truth will become even more difficult to find.

The willingness to believe outlandish explanations, particularly those ascribing sinister omnipotence to Americans and Jews, closely matches the gaping holes in freedom of the press around the world. According to the latest press survey by Freedom House, of 46 countries where the majority of the population is Muslim, only one, Mali, has a free press.

The Jews and 9/11

No matter how many times Osama bin Laden boasts of Al Qaeda’s spectacular Sept. 11 success, millions of his supporters around the world hold fast to their belief that the “CIA and the Jews” did it. Wherever a government leans on the press, the lack of objective sources leaves the public unable to glean the truth out of the swirling dust of neighborhood gossip. It is no accident that even some of the most educated people in the Muslim world still believe that Jews stayed away from their World Trade Center offices on Sept. 11.

A writer named Ahmed Nadim raised the possibility that Jews were behind the attacks. In the October 2001 edition of the Minaret ? a publication of the Islamic Center of Southern California. “The suspicions there might be a hidden hand behind these attacks is strengthened by several facts,” he wrote. Among them, that President Bush was scheduled to meet several Arab-American leaders on the day of the attacks — meetings that would have smoothed over recent frictions but were promptly canceled. Did someone want to “turn the Americans and Europeans against the Muslims?” he asked.

It seems that everyone in the Muslim world “knows” that September 11 was a Jewish plot to pave the way for a joint Israeli-US military operation against not just Osama bin Laden and the Taliban but also Islamic militants in Palestine.”

Why, you ask? Because the Arab press has concluded that, on the day of the bombing, 4,000 Jews were absent from the World Trade Center; they had been tipped off!

Why 4,000?

Why not?

This canard was being retold, with all sincerity, by a Pakistani taxi driver last August in New York of all places – which proves nothing except that he is an accurate representation of a now unshakeable Muslim conviction. Millions believe this rubbish, as a Gallup Poll has found after questioning people in nine predominantly Islamic countries – Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Lebanon, Morocco, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia – representing about half the world?s Muslim population.

Some 67 per cent found the attacks morally unjustified, which is important. But why not 100 per cent? They were also asked if they believed reports that groups of Arabs carried out the bombings.

Only in West-aligned Turkey was the answer Yes, but it was close; 46 per cent to 43 per cent. In all the other eight Islamic countries, the populations rejected the idea that Arabs or al-Qaeda were responsible.

Repeat, that is a poll just a couple of months ago, after millions of words from reporters and exultant videos from the Osama bin Laden show. The majorities are overwhelming in Pakistan, Kuwait, Iran and Indonesia – in Pakistan only 4 per cent accept that the killers were Arabs. Thomas Friedman, of The New York Times, reported from Indonesia, the world?s largest Muslim state, that nobody has any doubt about the Mossad conspiracy!

Who could be naive/crazy/maligned/misguided enough to disseminate such fabrications? The effluent is from official sources; newspapers and television in Arab states, from schools and government-funded mosques, from Arab columnists and editorial writers, cartoonists, clerics and intellectuals, from websites that trail into an infinity of iniquity.

The appearance of modernity in the Arab media is illusory.

Demonization & Vitriolic Imagery

Part of the reason why the new anti-Semitism that is growing in the Arab world seems so depressingly familiar is that demonization itself is a singularly unoriginal human impulse. The “hated other” has been cast as the opposite of all that is good and normal for millennia. In the 14th century, the ancestors of the Jews who are now accused in Arab newspapers of planning the attacks of September 11th were massacred on charges of poisoning wells and spreading the plague.

From Morocco to Iran, Jews are portrayed in cartoons as demons and murderers, as a hateful loathsome people to be feared and avoided. They are invariably portrayed as the essence of all evil and corruption, authors of a dark, unrelenting conspiracy to infiltrate and destroy Muslim society in order to take over the world. Jews are invariably portrayed as stooped, dark, bearded men, with long, crooked noses and a devilish appearance – the kind of stereotype familiar from the classic Nazi propaganda rag, Der Sturmer.

Simultaneously, Judaism is presented as a sinister, immoral religion, based on cabals and blood rituals, while Zionists are systematically equated with or identified as criminals, racists or Nazis.

The aim is not simply do morally de-legitimize Israel as a Jewish state and a national entity in the Middle East, but to dehumanize Jews and Judaism as such.

It is all profoundly anti-Semitic. It justifies the core Arab premise that Israel must vanish from the map.

For Israeli Jews, who recall all too well the role that these images played in paving the road to the Holocaust, the reappearance of these same images in the Arab population around them is obviously frightening. This conspiratorial view of Jews popularly held in Arab countries is, alas, relatively modern.

In fact, in the medieval period, Islamic societies were more hospitable to Jews and viewed them more positively than did Christian Europe. Now, at a time of great conflict in the Middle East, the dark store of anti-Semitism nurtured and promoted in the West has proven irresistible to extremists in the Arab world.

Holocaust Denial, Islamic-Style

Arab and Muslim anti-Semites have, in recent decades, annexed other symbols and expressions of European anti-Semitism even as they “Islamicized” its language. A particularly significant example is the issue of Holocaust denial.

One of the attractions of Holocaust denial to the Arabs lies in its radical undermining of the moral foundations of the Israeli State. The first flickerings of Middle East “Holocaust revisionism” surfaced in the 1980s. In 1983, Mahmoud Abbas (better known today as Abu Mazen) who subsequently emerged as the chief PLO architect of the Oslo Accords and Secretary General of the PLO?s Executive Committee, wrote his doctoral dissertation on Holocaust denial. His 1984 book was entitled: “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and the Zionist Movement.” In it, he raised doubts that gas chambers were used for the extermination of Jews, and suggested that the number of Jewish victims of the Shoah was “even less than a million.”

The Egyptian press is especially virulent. On April 29, 2002 a column appeared in Al-Akhbar, the Egyptian Government daily noting: “The entire matter (the Holocaust), as many French and British scientists have proven, is nothing more than a huge Israeli plot aimed at extorting the German Government in particular, and the European countries. I personally (and in the light of this imaginary tale) complain to Hitler, even saying to him, ?If only you had done it, brother, if only it had really happened, so that the world could sigh in relief without their (the Jews) evil and sin?.”

Seif al-Jarawn in the Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda proclaimed: “They (the Jews) concocted horrible stories of gas chambers that Hitler, they claimed, used to burn them alive. The press overflowed with pictures of Jews being gunned down . . . or being pushed into gas chambers. The truth is that such malicious persecution was a malicious fabrication by the Jews.”

Hiri Manzour in the official Palestinian newspaper followed with: “The figure of six million Jews cremated in the Nazi Auschwitz camp is a lie,” a hoax promoted by Jews as part of their international “marketing operation”.

In Iran too, beginning in the early 1980s, anti-Semitism became a significant part of Ayatollah Khomeini?s ideology. Against this historic background, it is no great surprise to find that the present-day leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khameini recently proclaimed:

“There is evidence which shows that Zionists had close relations with German Nazis and exaggerated statistics on Jewish killings. There is even evidence on hand that a large number of non-Jewish hooligans and thugs of Eastern Europe were forced to emigrate to Palestine as Jews..to instill in the heart of the Islamic world an anti-Islamic state under the guise of supporting the victims of racism.”

The mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, not to be outdone, told the New York Times in March 2000:

“We believe the number of six million is exaggerated. The Jews are using this issue in many ways, and also to blackmail the Germans financially??The Holocaust is protecting Israel.”

Conclusion

When Bernard Lewis observed 16 years ago that anti-Semitism was becoming part of Arab intellectual life “almost as much as happened in Nazi Germany”, he added the comforting thought that it lacked the visceral quality of Central and East European anti-Semitism, being “still largely political and ideological, intellectual and literary”, lacking any deep personal animosity or popular resonance, something cynically exploited by Arab rulers and elites, a polemical weapon to be discarded when no longer required.”

But that was before the current electronic efflorescence of hate.

Five million Jews in Israel are a vulnerable minority surrounded by 300 million Muslims governed for the most part by authoritarian regimes, quasi-police states that in more than 50 years have never ceased trying to wipe it out by war and terrorism. They muzzle dissent and critical reporting, they run vengeful penal systems and toxic schools, they have failed in almost every measure of social and political justice, they deflect the frustrations of their streets to the scapegoat of Zionism, and they breed and finance international terrorism.

Yet it is Israel that is regarded with skepticism and hostility.

It is anti-Semitic to vilify the State of Israel as a diabolical abstraction, reserving tolerance for the individual Jew, but not the collective Jew.

It is anti-Semitic to invent malignant outrages.

It is anti-Semitic to condemn in Israel what the world ignores or condones elsewhere.

It is, above all, anti-Semitic to de-humanize Judaism and the Jewish people such as to incite and justify their extermination.

That is what we have seen thousands and thousands of times over on a preposterous scale.

If the Arab world feels no shame in perpetuating anti-Semitic canards in its largest newspapers, can it be trusted to “normalize relations” with a Jewish state? It is difficult to contemplate peace with nations that have no shame in perpetrating ancient libels for political gain, or promoting them on the front pages of their newspapers and in their classrooms as historical truths.

If the Arab Press has no problem portraying Jews as something less than human, and are prepared to believe a virulently anti-Semitic blood libel to cultivate an endemic hatred of Jews and Israel for political purposes, then is Israel not justified in asking whether the Arabs are simply posturing to hide their real intention – the destruction of the Jewish State.

One thing is certain. The psychological damage that has been done to the minds of millions of Arab children will take generations to overcome, even if the miracle of democratization suddenly swept the Arab wold tomorrow.