Hat Tip to Ari
Excerpt from Nations United
Alex Grobman – Jun 17, 2007
Nations United traces the transformation of the United Nations (UN) from an organization that voted to partition the former British Mandate of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states — making Israel a nation state — and then passed a Zionism=Racism (Z=R) resolution to delegitimize and dehumanize that nation.
Anti-Zionism Becomes International In Scope
For more than 20 years after the establishment of the State of Israel, anti-Zionism was a regional phenomenon — a clash between Arab and Jewish national movements in the Middle East. In the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe, the Soviets exploited antisemitism for political purposes, but it was rarely part of international debate until after the Six-Day War in 1967. By the end of the 1960s, and since 1975, anti-Zionism became international in scope. It first appeared in the universities in the West where the New Left, in cooperation with Arab student associations, attacked Israeli policy. 19
When the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 3379 on November 10, 1975, and declared “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination,” it significantly expanded anti-Zionism into the sphere of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and therefore into Third World countries. This was accomplished in a collaboration between the Arabs and the Soviet Union that endowed anti-Zionism with legitimacy and official recognition. 20
After the First World War, the Arabs expected Greater Syria — which included Palestine and Lebanon — to become a vast, united, and sovereign Arab empire. Instead, the French and the British divided the area into what the Arabs considered “irrationally carved out” entities that became the present-day states of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Trans-Jordan (later Jordan), Iraq, and Israel. The Arabs were outraged that a “non-Arab embryo state in Palestine” had been inserted into an area where it would never be accepted. They claimed that this shattered their dreams of unification and impeded their search for a common identity. 21
The fight against a Jewish homeland became an integral part of their struggle “for dignity and independence.” Israel’s existence, they claimed, “implied that not only a part of the Arab patrimony, but also parts of Islam, had been stolen. For a Moslem, there was no greater shame than for that to happen.” The only way to eliminate this deeply felt affront — this “symbol of everything that had dominated them in the past” — was to rid the area of “imperialist domination.” 22
Zionism has been branded as the official enemy of the Arab national movement, but Arab governments have long been accused of using the Arab-Israeli confrontation to divert attention from their own critical domestic social and economic problems. When confronted, they respond that if this were not a real concern, it would not resonate so strongly among the Arab masses. 23
Bernard Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton University, the dean of Middle Eastern scholars in the West, says Arab fixation with Israel “is the licensed grievance. In countries where people are becoming increasingly angry and frustrated at all the difficulties under which they live — the poverty, unemployment, oppression — having a grievance which they can express freely is an enormous psychological advantage.” 24
The Israeli-Arab conflict is the only local political grievance that can be openly discussed. If the population were permitted freedom of speech, Lewis believes that the obsession with Israel would become far less important. Like most people, Arabs are concerned about their own priorities. For the Palestinian Arabs, who view themselves as the permanent victims, the main issue is their struggle with Israel. If Arabs in other countries were permitted to focus on their own problems, they would do so. 25
For Arabs, the attempt to blame Western imperialism is nothing more than an excuse to attack Israel, as another historian asserted: “For decades the Arabs have been obsessed by memories of past glories and prophecies of future greatness, mocked by the injury and shame of having an alien and despised race injected into the nerve center of their promised pan-Arab empire, between its Asian and African halves, just at a time when the colonial powers had started their great retreat from their colonial possessions in Asia and Africa.” 26
To lessen their feelings of shame for losing every war against Israel, the Arabs attributed the success of Jewish settlement in Palestine and the Israeli military triumphs of 1948 and 1956 to Western imperialism. As the representative of the Great Powers, Israel became the Arabs’ scapegoat whenever they became frustrated in their attempt to transcend “centuries of social, economic, and cultural development, and catch up” with the West. This anti-Israel fixation precipitated a methodical “Manichean metaphysic, the focus of an entire philosophy of history, with the Jew as the devil incarnate from the days of patriarch Abraham himself till his assumption of the role of the linchpin of an American-Imperialist-Zionist world-plot against the Arab world, the Socialist Commonwealth and all colonial peoples.” 27
Anti-Zionism entered the international scene when Israel and Egypt reached political rapprochement after the Yom Kippur War by signing an interim agreement on September 1, 1975. That agreement emphasized, “The conflict between them and in the Middle East shall not be resolved by military force but by peaceful means.” 33
Concerned that this might lead to peace, the Soviets, Syria, and the PLO tried to exclude Israel from international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), like UNESCO, “for having transgressed the United Nations Charter, and having failed to adopt its resolutions.” When this strategy failed, they began to question Israel’s legitimacy and discredit and condemn Zionism in the UN, and to internationalize their propaganda against her. 34
Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, wrote:
Traditional anti-Semitism was the denial of the right of individual Jews to live as equal members in a society. The new anti-Jewishness is the denial of the right of Jewish people to live as equal members in the family of nations. . . . All that has happened is that we’ve moved from discrimination against the Jews as individuals to the discrimination against the Jews as a people. 35
Demonizing Israel has turned it into a physical target for terrorist organizations, and into a political target for left wing and reactionary forces. Whether there are fatwas (legal rulings by Muslim clerics that routinely legitimize suicide terrorism) or there are organizations demanding divestment from Israeli corporations, destruction of Israel — physical, spiritual, or economic — is one of the mantras of the day. This is what Cotler calls political antisemitism. 36
For the majority of the member states in the UN, Israel is a locus of evil, deserving international condemnation — unlike many countries in the UN that practice ethnic cleansing, offer no rights to women or the poor, starve their own people for political reasons, and commit genocide.
These same nations, in the halls of an institution that was designed to prevent exactly this from happening, deny Israel her rights even in the courts of international law. Israel is the target of the majority of UN sanctions, is vilified by the International Court of Justice at the Hague for defending herself, and is singled out by the Geneva Convention as the utmost violator of human rights. 37
It has been suggested that this deliberate delegitimization leads to gradual erosion of Israel’s stature and ultimately her right to exist. Those targeted are the last to recognize the transformation until the consequences of ostracism become evident. This occurs when remarks by the country’s spokesman are seen as irrelevant, and when the leadership is no longer regarded as worthy of engaging in legitimate discourse with other countries. 38
Branding Israel as racist portrays her as a country that harms civilian populations, oppresses minorities, and establishes restrictive immigration laws and religious statutes as part of its ideological raison d’etre. Thus, Israel’s wars — its military response to terror and laws passed by the Knesset — are racist. A significant danger to Israel is that if this charge becomes a new stereotype through popular culture, the media, literature, and daily speech, it will taint the Jewish state and become a part of the legacy of the West. 39
How does one respond to such charges? No logical argument ever succeeded in disputing the blood libels or any other spurious allegation leveled against the Jews. Yet, limited response to Z=R ensured that anti-Zionist resolutions continued to be passed. To counter the process of delegitimization, the charges have to be seen as a “corruption of language and thought,” a threat to freedom, and a campaign of disinformation orchestrated by the Arab states and the Soviet Union. 40
Nations United examines the initial reactions to the Z=R resolution by the United States, Israel, and others, the political and cultural environment at the UN, and the provocative roles played by Arab states, the Former Soviet Union (FSU), African nations, and NGOs in the new war against the Jews.
19. Yohanan Manor, “Anti-Zionism,” (Jerusalem: World Zionist Organization, 1984), p. 8.
21. Saul Friedlander and Mahmoud Hussein, Arabs and Israelis: A Dialogue (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1975), p. 6, 18, 21.
22. Ibid., p. 9, 34.
24. “Islam’s Interpreter,” The Atlantic Online (April 4, 2004), Online.
25. Ibid; Friedlander and Hussein, Arabs and Israelis: A Dialogue, p. 32–33, 36.
26. Talmon, Israel Among the Nations, p. 169–170.
27. Ibid., p. 170.
33. Manor, “Anti-Zionism,” p. 9–10.
34. Ibid., p. 10.
35. Irwin Cotler, “Why Is Israel Singled Out?” The Jerusalem Post (January 16, 2002), Online.
36. Ibid; see also Irwin Cotler, “Human Rights and the New Anti-Jewishness,” The Jerusalem Post (February 5, 2004), Online; Irwin Cotler, “Durban’s Troubling Legacy One Year Later: Twisting the Cause of International Human Rights Against the Jewish People,” Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs, Volume 2, Number 5 (August 20, 2002), Online.
38. Ehud Sprinzak, “Anti-Zionism: From Delegitimation to Dehumanization,” Forum-53 (Fall 1984), p. 3–5.
39. Ibid., p. 7–8.
40. Ibid., p. 9–10.