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Tags: antisemitism | arabs | muslims | europe

Anti-Semitism Is Everyone's Problem — Including Arabs'

Anti-Semitism Is Everyone's Problem — Including Arabs'

Ahmed Charai By Friday, 20 December 2019 04:44 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

The Jersey City shootings and Executive Order applying Title VI of the Civil Rights act to Jews in order to combat rising attacks on Jews on U.S. college campuses — whatever you may think of its wisdom — reminds us that anti-Semitism remains a part of the American scene. While obviously a predominantly domestic phenomenon, the Arab region, I am sorry to say, has contributed to it. How so?

Given the ubiquity of anti-Semitism in today’s Arab region, many outsiders misconstrue it as an anciently authentic facet of regional culture. It is true that religion-based anti-Jewish attitudes date back millennia in the region, but the virulent strand that prevails today draws some of its bile from the West.

Some Arab intellectuals in the early 20th century adopted arguments that twinned hated European imperialists with Jewish bankers. Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic rantings on “The International Jew” in the Dearborn Independent made their way into the region in the 1920s, along with the infamous Czarist forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Nazi anti-Semitic literature arrived in the 1930s with the help of local allies. A range of local ideologies, from Baathism to the Muslim Brotherhood, drew texts and inspiration from European fascist movements.

This toxic brew became fully weaponized in the context of Arab opposition to Zionism. During the Cold War, Soviet forms of anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism deepened the swamp even further.

Nearly a century of brainwashing later, this toxic cocktail has become a multigenerational legacy. It is so widespread and common, so streamlined, popularized, and pseudo-intellectualized that it has now been re-exported back to its sources. Those in the West who hate the State of Israel, whether from the left or the right, regularly imbibe the region’s anti-Semitic propaganda as if it were gospel truth.

The BDS movement provides a prime example. On the fringes of American political discourse, from David Duke’s visit to Assad-ruled Syria to Louis Farrakhan’s engagement of a range of Arab rulers, regular cross-pollination and mutual reinforcement of American and Middle Eastern bigotry proceeds apace. That is why it is not far-fetched to see Arab anti-Semitism as a contributing, if indirect, factor in inspiring attacks on Jews in Pittsburgh, Jersey City, and elsewhere.

The global interconnectedness of contemporary anti-Semitism means that the effort to confront and roll it back must also be global. Arabs who recognize the damage anti-Semitism has done to their own societies should also recognize that on the right-wing fringes of American racism, Arabs and Muslims fare little better than Jews in the pantheon of those most vigorously despised and demonized. Americans, for their part, should see that Arab anti-Semitism is also their problem and bear up to the responsibilities of fighting it.

But how? What is the American role in fighting anti-Semitism in Arab countries, and who are America’s natural allies in that struggle?

The most common answer one hears revolves around the need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — and with good reason. The conflict exacerbates the problem, and an eventual resolution, in my judgment by way of a two-state solution, will clear much of the swamp in which Arab anti-Semitism festers.

After generations of a U.S. diplomatic focus on high politics to resolve the conflict, Jared Kushner, Senior Adviser to President Trump, has placed new emphasis on the economic dimensions of the challenge. Creating new business partnerships based on “win-win” outcomes for Israelis and Palestinians alike could in due course augment traditional diplomacy and help build the range of viable Palestinian institutions necessary for sustainable governance.

But functional approaches by themselves are no panacea. We must not forget that among the September 11 hijackers were several well-educated and well-heeled young people. Their extremism flowed not from economic disadvantage but from a cultural pathology of brainwashing. To expunge that pathology, Arab autocrats — beginning with those allied with the U.S. — must at last expunge this vile content from the schools, mosques, and media they control.

A difficult truth about political life is that while it usually takes two or more parties working together in good faith to advance brotherhood and peace, it often takes only one to block or tear down that work. That is why our efforts to build a better world cannot rest. It is also why, as the God of Abraham is our witness, fighting anti-Semitism as well as anti-Islamic and anti-Arab bigotry is truly one ultimately seamless fight that must involve people of good will everywhere. Arabs and Jews simply must stop hating each other, so that together we can face the truly dangerous people who hate us both.

Ahmed Charai is a Moroccan Publisher. He sits on the Board of Directors of The Atlantic Council in Washington and International Councillors at The Center for Strategic and International Studies. He's also on the Board of Trustees of the The Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and member of The National Interest’s Advisory Council. Mr. Charai is a Mid-East policy advisor in Washington whose articles have appeared in the major U.S. media. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Given the ubiquity of anti-Semitism in today’s Arab region, many outsiders misconstrue it as an anciently authentic facet of regional culture.
antisemitism, arabs, muslims, europe
Friday, 20 December 2019 04:44 PM
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