by Jerry Gordon and Rod Bryant (November 2018)
Did Churchill Say that Jews were the Best Demons?
The answer to that question and more is revealed by Eric Rozenstein in a compelling NER Press book Jews Make the Best Demons: ‘Palestine’ and The Jewish Question. This Israel News Radio—Beyond the Matrix interview with Rozenstein explains the meaning behind the title—the transformation of the old Antisemitism into the New Antisemitism of Anti-Zionism with Israel as the World Jew. The interview delves into a number of disturbing issues Rozenstein raises in Jews are the Best Demons.
Why, following the Nazi Holocaust, did the demand of “Never Again!” never take hold in many places? Why does the connection between World War I German and World War II Nazi anti-Zionism and Antisemitism—with calls for jihad against Israel—remain so important today in Arab and Islamic countries? This connection became an issue after the 2011 Arab Spring. These themes remain especially prominent in Palestinian Arab and Iranian demonization of Jews and Israel.
Why did the Soviets continue Bolshevik and Nazi anti-Zionist propaganda, following the Israeli 1967, June Six Days Of War and October 1973, Yom Kippur War victories? This Soviet sustainment of Middle Eastern Jew-hatred enabled it to filter back into the West. How did the 1991 repeal of the U.N.’s 1975 “Zionism-is-racism” resolution, orchestrated by John Bolton, now Trump National Security Adviser, after the fall of Soviet Russia, fail to destroy the Jew hatred meme at the core of the Palestinian, Iranian, Islamist and leftist anti-Zionism political warfare against Israel?
Rozenman addresses the question of how the rise of deconstructionism in leftist circles post WWII—that objective truth is not possible—was reflected in themes of “Colonialism, Imperialism and Racism” in the works of Edward Said and Franz Fanon. These developments created the myths of Palestinian victimhood and Western and Israeli oppression of the “third world”. This led to the moral inversion in anti-Semitic and Anti-Zionist propaganda portraying the Palestinians as the “new Jews” and the “occupying” Israelis as the “new Nazis.”
Rozenman’s book portrays how persistent the medieval demonic blood libel false accusations against Jews have been over the millenia. It ranges from first case of William of Norwich in England in 1132 to 1840 in Damascus and the Mohammed Al-Dura affair in Gaza in 2000 and more recent episodes. That the anti-Semitic Czarist-era Protocols of the Elders of Zion forgery, plagiarized in part, from the 19th Century French political satire, Dialogues in Hell by Jolly, was widely circulated by Henry Ford and used by Adolph Hitler for the Nazi perpetration of the murder of six million European Jews during the holocaust in WWII. The Protocols simply moved to Middle East Arab and Iranian media demonizing Israel and world Jewry despite being revealed as fraudulent in 1921 and a 1934 Swiss legal case that ruled it was a forgery.
Rozenman is concerned that the rise of moral relativism in some academic venues in the West often conveyed by social media in the digital era of free expression. He contends that it has made it difficult for the State of Israel and Jewish NGOs to combat the spread of anti-Zionist Anti-Semitic lies globally, but that a robust effort should be made to counter it.
Eric Rozenman is a long-term journalist whose career has included being a reporter for the Ohio Scripps-Howard newspapers and Congressional staffer. He currently is a Communications Consultant at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington DC. He previously served as Washington Director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East reporting. Prior to that he worked as the Executive Editor of B’nai B’rith’s International Jewish Monthly. He was the Editor of the Washington Jewish Week. His analysis has appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Times, the Journal for Study of International Security Affairs and the Journal for the Study for anti-Semitism.
What follows is our Israel News Talk Radio—Beyond the Matrix interview with author Eric Rozenman.
Rod: We have a very special guest. Eric Rozenman is joining us here on Beyond the Matrix on Israel News Talk Radio.
Jerry: Eric Rozenman is currently a Communications Consultant at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington DC. He previously served as a Washington Director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East reporting. Prior to that he worked as the Executive Editor of B’nai B’rith’s International Jewish Monthly. He was the Editor of the Washington Jewish Week. His analysis has appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Times, the Journal for Study of International Security Affairs and the Journal for the Study for anti-Semitism. Eric, why did you write Jews Make the Best Demons: ‘Palestine’ and the Jewish Question and what is the significance of the title of your book?
Eric: Jerry, I’ll answer that in reverse order. As to the first part of the title, Jews Make the Best Demons, it is a paraphrase of an observation by Sir Martin Gilbert, Winston Churchill’s official biographer. It was about Churchill’s reaction to Arab rejectionism in the 1920’s when Churchill was Colonial Secretary trying to get the Palestinian Arabs and the Zionists to work together in Palestine. He was so repulsed by Arab rejectionism that he concluded in Gilbert’s words, Jews make the best demons. Gilbert, before he died, noted that this is exactly the same attitude of people in Hamas, Hezbollah, in other such groups today. It is something that never died. It is a constant. The second part of the title, Palestine:The Jewish Question, comes from my analysis of the ongoing attempt to delegitimize Israeli and Jewish claims to part of what had been mandatory Palestine. That has opened the door to review anti-Zionism and the re-emergence on a broad scale of anti-Semitism. The Jewish Question is what anti-Semites have been trying to answer since the Enlightenment. I have been increasingly frustrated by the inability of many in the Jewish community, many Israelis and many of our non-Jewish friends to recognize what has happened. We look at each incident of some anti-Zionist outrage on a college campus or some anti-Semitic eruption in Europe or even here in the United States and we tend to take them as individual episodes rather than recognizing that they fit into an expanding pattern with a unifying theme. That is why I wrote the book. I tried to burst that bubble.
Rod: We really appreciate this book. Information is an important tool to break through this expanding anti-Semitism going on in the world today. You would think that we would get beyond that. Just today I was in the barber shop and the barber was asking about the show and who we were going to have on today and he had many questions. He has no paradigm or perspective about the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. I was answering his questions and his mind was blown. He kept saying I don’t understand why there is such hatred toward the Jewish people. I was trying to explain it, but it’s almost beyond explanation. What do you consider the book’s major themes and the most important part of this book?
Eric: One theme, which is a subtext in almost every chapter, is we’re not in Kansas anymore. In other words. when it comes to the post World War II era that your barber and you and your listeners actually grew up in or came of age in, was the abnormal period. In other words, until the Holocaust and until the Nazi effort to destroy and annihilate the Jews of Europe and their largely successful effort, anti-Semitism was tolerated and accepted—in many parts of polite society in the West, in North America, as well as in Europe. The Nazi excess discredited anti-Semitism, but only for about a generation. However, the generation that followed World War II and their children—the older baby boomers—even if they didn’t much care for Jews, people who went around talking like Nazi anti-Semites sounded like the enemy from World War II. Anti-Semitism was suppressed. As the World War II generation passed from the scene, we have gone back to the default position wherein anti-Semitism is not something that a lot of people would openly embrace or tolerate. Then you add to that an active effort from out of the Middle East and academia, one that blended together to make Israel take the place of the Nazi character of the Jew as anti-German, anti-Aryan, anti-white race which played on the older anti-Christ imagery from Medieval times. During the post World War II period, the left has made out Israel as the classic racist, apartheid, colonial suppressor of the Palestinians. Those two trends combined and opened the door to the re-emergence of anti-Semitism. It is not that we hate Jews, we hate Israel and we don’t hate Israel for any reason. It is because they are committing genocide against the Palestinians and that has become an argument that is hard to argue with.
Jerry: Eric, why did the post 1945 demand never again—about the Nazi murder of six million European Jews—never take hold in many places and has been misused?
Eric: I spend a fair amount of time on that in the book because I think it is key. What happened is that Nazi Germany was successful in propagandizing a large part of the Arab Islamic world using Arab or Muslim leaders. One example was the leader of the Palestinians, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who spent the war in Berlin broadcasting on shortwave Middle East German Nazi stereotypes and charges against the Jews. These were simply repackaged. They substituted Arabs and Muslims for Germans an Aryans. Now the Jews were the enemies in an active way. Not just in a traditional religious way but in an active political national way of the Arab Middle East. The Arabs did not see themselves as part of the defeated axis. Even though in many respects they were collaborators actively working with the Nazis in Iraq and Egypt. When the war was over you had the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials but that was only for Europeans. People like Haj Amin al-Husseini and Hassan al-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood, held the same anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist principles and had promoted them during the war on behalf of the Nazis and were heroes in the Middle East. Thus, it did take hold there and then it filtered back into Europe via leftists.
Rod: The whole connection with World War II and the jihad that was actually taking place at the same time is a very interesting perspective. But, why didn’t the whole idea of ‘never again‘ take hold in many places?
Eric: It is really important to think about this in the category of the history of ideas—that is a discreet area like military history or American political history. It is no wonder your barber couldn’t get his mind wrapped around the idea of the depth of this hatred and where it comes from. One key place that it comes from today is from World War I and World War II German anti-Zionism and today’s anti-Zionism/ anti-Semitism. It worked like this: In the decade or so before World War I and during the war, the German Foreign Ministry was under the Kaiser. The Kaiser himself became convinced that promoting jihad by Muslims would enlist the Ottoman Empire, the Turks, whom the Germans wanted to have as their allies in the war. They wanted the Turks to declare a jihad against the British and the French who were the colonial powers in the Middle East and against the Zionists.
The Jews who were returning to Palestine were seen by the Germans as agents of the British. Therefore, by obtaining a fatwa—an Islamic religious ruling from the Ottoman Caliphate against their enemies—the Germans thought they’d get a big boost in the war. Further, it would generate recruitment from Arabs in the French and British colonies and destabilize the Central Powers’ enemies in the Mediterranean, North Africa and Near East. They had some success with this. There was recruitment, propaganda influence, and educational outreach efforts resulting in a network being formed. The Germans may have lost World War I. However, in World War II, especially in 1940-41, there was an effort launched by the same people from the WWI period or their disciples in the Foreign Ministry. People they had taught in the Foreign Ministry then resumed this effort to propagandize against the British and French, especially the British, and now the Jews in the Middle East were seen as part of the allied war effort. They were very successful in this regard. They may have lost World War II, but they won the propaganda battle in the Middle East.
People like Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Palestinian Grand Mufti of Jerusalem—the alleged Palestinian George Washington, a Nazi sympathizing Prime Minister from Iraq, and others ended up in Berlin during the war making these broadcasts, issuing these propaganda leaflets, devising curriculum for training centers. Jerry Gordon mentioned recruiting captured, North African and Russian Muslim soldiers from the Caucasus together with Bosnian Muslims to indoctrinate them and form Wafer SS units. After the Germans lost the war and Nazism was discredited among the Europeans and the West, these ideas, including obsession with the Jews was discredited. But, to people like Haj Amin al-Husseini and Hassan al-Banna and others who either spent the war in Germany or helped convey in the Middle East, these ideas were heroes. These ideas took hold and we are dealing with them today.
The Armenian genocide that you mentioned—the Armenian genocide from 1915 until the end of WWI—was perpetrated by the young Turks who had taken over from the Ottoman Sultan in Turkey strengthening their grip. While the Ottoman Empire was gone they wanted a greater Turkey. The Christian Armenians, an ancient people in the region, were in the way and thus they perpetrated the Armenian genocide. Turkey, even today, objects to the term genocide. This is despite upwards of a million and a half to two million Armenians during WWI who were killed or died as a result of the deportation policies of the young Turks! The lasting affect was signified by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish Lawyer, who took note of the Armenian genocide. He tried to enlist the League of Nations to adopt a convention to outlaw it. He coined the word genocide—the deliberate effort to destroy a people or a part of a particular people. Eventually following WWII, he led the effort at the UN to outlaw genocide under International Law. The Armenian genocide also served the anti-Semitic agenda of Hitler. Adolf Hitler looked at what happened to the Armenians, how the Turks never really paid a price. He concluded the same thing could be done to the Jews. Thus, there is the connection both in ideology and policy. It explains why Islamic anti-Semitism remains so strong.
There was an article in the New Republic and another in National Interest after the Arab Spring how one of the only things that united all these different groups that were protesting against or overthrowing the old secular authoritarian regimes in the Middle East was anti-Semitism. One casebook example was, not long after Mubarek was overthrown in Egypt, there was a huge rally in Tahrir Square, perhaps upwards of a million people. The key speaker was Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi. Al-Qaradawi had spent many years of the Mubarek reign in exile in Qatar where he broadcast on Al Jazeera’s most popular programs. Although he was considered by some in the West as an Islamic modernizer, he still held the same anti-Semitic, anti-Israel attitudes. He also advocated the conversion of Europe to Islam only by peaceful means not by conquest. I guess that made him a moderate in the eyes of the West. When the head of Egyptian Facebook, who had been one of the organizers on social media of the uprising against Mubarek, tried to speak at the rally he was barred, because he was a liberal and a truly secular fellow. The point being that the Western media and analysts who had been talking about the Arab Spring as if it a liberalizing movement missed the continuing deep and widespread hostility to the West on several grounds. One of which remains anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism which are barely distinguishable in this context.
Rod: You know, when I heard you address these last two questions, one of the things that came to mind is it seems that the only thing different between the anti-Semitism now and back in the 1930s and 1940s is the Fascism and Nazism then is now wearing Arab clothes. It is the same level of hatred, same desire to wipe out the Jewish people. I find this theme in your book very important to help educate the public.
Eric: That it is even more insidious in a way because the people who attack Israel, the Jewish state and its supporters, both Jews and non-Jews, open the door to anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism. It goes Israel, anti-Israel, the Jewish state, anti-Zionism, and brings you back to the starting point.
Eric: It is important to keep in mind that the people who have adopted the Nazi rhetoric and the Nazi tactics insist that they are not the new Nazis. The Israelis, the Zionists are the new Nazis. Israel’s enemies in the Middle East and extremely hostile critics in the West were able to flip who is behaving like the Nazi and who isn’t behaving like the Nazi in today’s terms. It comes down to this: They were able to pull off what is otherwise an obvious falsification. After World War II, among French intellectuals the whole theory of literary and historical deconstructionism arose. This is where we got the idea that one man’s truth is another man’s falsehood. That one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. Moral relativism infiltrated the academic world. Nobody would ever go to a doctor who says one man’s tumor is another man’s wart—that would be the end of his medical practice. But in the liberal arts and in the humanities, on so many university campuses, this relativistic idea persists that everyone has their own truth. You know the Israelis have their narrative and the Palestinians have their narrative. This comes from the French deconstructionists and their American acolytes who wanted to make the idea of objective truth outside of the hard sciences an impossibility. Therefore, no one would be to blame for anything they did—if they were among the proper victim groups. The leader of this school in America was Edward Said, Columbia University Professor of Comparative Literature who wrote the very influential book, Orientalism. What he basically did was flip the ability of his followers to talk about colonialism, imperialism, and racism, in any way other than the one in which all the blame would adhere to the West and especially the Zionists. None of the blame for anything would go onto oppressed peoples of the third world. The Palestinians became the poster children of this mentality. The Israelis became the opposite of the Palestinian ‘victims’, their oppressors. The Palestinians were the new Jews. That was the genius of how this ideological shell game of deconstructionism worked. That is how we really got to where we are.
Jerry: Eric there was a signature event in 1975. It was the UN “Zionism is Racism” Resolution with a pistol-packing Yassir Arafat standing at the podium promoting this victimhood. It wasn’t repealed until 1991. That didn’t prevent Israel from becoming the object of what a lot of people now call the New Antisemitism—Israel as the world Jew—that you have been talking about. What happened?
Eric:You are right. To ask the question is almost to answer it. All your listeners really need to know is this: The 1975 UN General Assembly Resolution equating Zionism with racism was actually concocted and promoted by the Soviets. The Arab League then bought into it. After the 1967 and the 1973 wars in which Israel defeated Egypt and Syria, Moscow’s main Middle East client states, the Russians realized they would have to find non-military as well as military means to continue the war against Israel. They recognized Israel was a U.S. ally and outpost in the region. Thus, in propaganda terms they went back to the old Bolshevik and as far back as Marx and Engels who hated small national minorities in Europe. Of course, they hated religion and religious nationalists of which the Zionists were the worst representatives. The Bolsheviks were anti-Zionists from the beginning. The Soviets, for a brief time right after World War II, thought they would be able to co-op the Zionists and Socialists. When they saw that failed, they resumed the old Bolshevik positions.
By 1975, the UN had this huge General Assembly majority of Soviet satellites, Arab League countries or members of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement which were really tilting toward the Russians. So they passed the UN resolution “Zionism is Racism”. That gave legitimacy to anti-Zionism which tacitly gave legitimacy to renewed anti-Semitism. In 1991, the Soviet Union collapses; there was a brief opening to push through a repeal of the 1975 “Zionism is Racism” resolution. The man who led the U.S. effort was John Bolton, now President Trump’s National Security Advisor. However, it didn’t change things because by then “Zionism is Racism” had become an article of faith among what I call the secular fundamentalists of the left.
Jerry: Eric, why have some universities become the center of anti-Israelism and why have Israeli and Jewish NGO’s failed to effectively combat it?
Eric: This is an excellent question and it goes to the crux of the problem of the relegitimization, renormalization of anti-Semitism through the vehicle of anti-Zionism. There is a prevalent attitude in some universities supporting anti-Zionism regardless of its empirical falsehoods, regardless of its objective failures. Objectively it is a touchstone to the academic left because of the problem of identity politics which plagues us in so many areas—not only regarding Israel and the Middle East or Zionism and anti-Zionism and the return of Jew hatred and anti-Semitism. But, it is hostility to the West in general at the very institutions that should be promoting the legacy of the West. It has to do with this elevation of victimization and the identity politics. At the top of the identity politics’ totem pole, the people with the most status are supposedly those who are most oppressed. Depending on the campus and depending on the issue, it could have something to do with Hispanic or black students or women, but always with the Palestinians. That is why you have groups on campus like Students for Justice in Palestine which are basically just an anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic front group. You have students on American colleges today who believe the Israelis have massacred hundreds of thousands or millions of Palestinians. Nothing like that has ever happened. But they believe it and that is the problem at some of our universities. The Middle East Studies Association has become so corrupt—funded under Title VI of the US Higher Education Act—that scholars like the late Bernard Lewis, Martin Kramer and others like Daniel Pipes have had to have found an alternate association for the study of the Middle East. Therein is the source of the problem.
Rod: Before we go where can we purchase the book, where would it be available?
Rod: Excellent! Jerry you had something?
Jerry: One last question to you Eric, how do we get fake anti-Semitic, anti-Israelism out of social media which seems to be a hotbed.
Eric: Short answer, I don’t think we can. Social media is in one respect the modern equivalent of graffiti or writing on bathroom walls or village gossip. I think you can only defeat something like that with something better that moves in the same circles to leverage social media on behalf of our arguments. That is what we have to figure out.
Rod: The best way is to elevate truth on our end and make it as prevalent as possible in social media. Thank you, Eric, for joining us. Eric Rozenman, the book is going to be fantastic. Can’t wait to order it myself. Jews Make the Best Demons. You have been listening to Beyond the Matrix here on Israel News Talk Radio. Shalom until next time.
Jerome B Gordon is a Senior Vice President of the New English Review and author of The West Speaks, NER Press 2012. Mr. Gordon is a former US Army intelligence officer who served during the Viet Nam era. He was the co-host and co-producer of weekly The Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired out of KKNT960 in Phoenix Arizona from 2013 to 2016. He is co-host and co-producer of the Middle East Round Table periodic series on 1330amWEBY, Northwest Florida Talk Radio, Pensacola, Florida.
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