We have lost the first round in the Battle of Ideas, but at least with this admission, the lines are drawn.
Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, has just announced that “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.” May he live long and prosper.
In 2002, I wrote that “Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism,” as is the age-old Muslim view of Jews which, I pointed out, has joined forces with the western intelligentsia to create a “perfect storm” of slander against Judaism and the Jewish state.
My editor challenged me very hard on whether anti-Zionism was, indeed, anti-Semitic at all. I was adamant and the analysis remained in my book, “The New Anti-Semitism,” which was published half-way through 2003. But my editor disapproved and remained aloof, nervous. (Well, he lived in Berkeley and what I had written was very “politically incorrect.”)
When the book came out, most of the liberal media did not review it. The few venues that did, challenged my statistics and my analysis. I was attacked on CNN–but more than held my own. Afterwards, a cameraman came from behind his camera to shake my hand.
Nevertheless, in certain Jewish circles, I was scorned as “alarmist” and “hysterical” and as “the Jewish Cassandra.”
Said I: “Oh Sir, Cassandra was not heeded and her city was burned to the ground and she became Agamemnon’s sex slave. I do not wish to be Cassandra nor should you even think such a thing.”
The man who said this was a co-panelist at a poorly attended conference at Columbia University.
The conservative media, both Jewish and Christian, reviewed this work respectfully. I became persona non grata in all the familiar places, but I found new allies.
Later in 2003, another book about anti-Semitism, penned by Mr. Anti Anti-Semitism himself, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, said no such thing. Foxman was still looking over his shoulder afraid that Christian or pagan Nazis were stalking him. His book also entirely missed the history of 14 centuries of Islamic religious apartheid, an attitude and a practice which resulted in persecuting, forcibly converting, and exterminating Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Ba’hai, and Christians.
It took a full decade before the leaders of various American Jewish Organizations began to publicly say what I and a handful of others had said, written, and lectured about.
I must ask: Why are Jews in organizations so reluctant to see they are in danger? Is it because they do not want to alarm their flock? But what if alarm is called for?
Is it because they do not identify with Jewish destiny, in fact, wish to be free of it?
Why are so many good Jews willing to sacrifice their own survival and the survival of their people on the altar of the beliefs I once cherished (and still do, but with great care); the belief that all cultures and all religions are equal and equally worthy; that all people are, at heart, “the same.”
I do not believe that the Jewish mother and father who sacrifice themselves for their children are the same as the mother or father who sell their daughters into slavery; who indoctrinate their sons into becoming suicide bombers; who blow themselves up in order to blow up other people’s children. This happens among Muslims-only (think Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan); and it happens in countless incidents of Muslim-on-infidel violence.
I hope that organized American Jewry–and Israeli intelligence–fully understand that we have just lost this round of battles in the War of Ideas and that in order to win it, we will have to get the truth out there and, to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, keep it out there, long before the Big Lie has a chance to put on its pants.
I took my book out of print in order to write a new Introduction. Since 2003, there has been a flurry of very important books on this subject.
I wonder who is reading such books? Is it mainly the authors of other such books? Is it Jewish professionals or scholars? Are regular people, of all or of no religion, reading such tomes? I would really like to know.
Prof. Phyllis Chesler
The writer, a Fellow of the Middle East Forum and recipient of the 2013 National Jewish Book Award, is the author of fifteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has published three studies about honor killing and is at work on a fourth. Her new book, An American Bride in Kabul, (Palgrave Macmillan) has just been published to great acclaim. Professor Chesler may be reached at her website www.phyllis-chesler.com