The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) first published its “Brief History on Antisemitism” in 2013, but it is newly relevant amid the dramatic recent upswing in antisemitic attacks all over Europe and North America. The ongoing united efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state and support a Palestinian “resistance” that has sought to annihilate Israel from the day of its founding have been relentless, and have gained new impetus in recent weeks. Unfortunately, the ADL plays it safe in its history, ignoring Iran’s hatred of Jews, Arab nationalism and the alliance of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem with Hitler during the Holocaust.
This is unfortunate on many levels. The ADL has been foundational in advocating for American Jewry, and its influence extends beyond American borders. According to its website, “the ADL was born at a time when American Jews—both new immigrants and generations-long members of our society—were experiencing deep-seated bigotry.”
Founded in 1913 by the Independent Order of B’nai Brith, the ADL split from B’nai Brith to become an independent organization committed to combating antisemitism. In 2018, it rebranded itself more broadly as an “anti-hate” organization, often taking up the cause of controversial groups and entering into what has become known as the culture war, eliciting criticism in the war of ideas, often from both sides of the right-left divide and anything in between.
Robert Spencer recently noted that ADL called accurate reporting of Muslim responses to coronavirus “anti-Muslim bigotry.” “Anti-hate” today is synonymous with opposition to racism. Opposition to “hate” is based on a notion of whites oppressing non-whites. Those who subscribe to this way of thinking also classify Islam as a “race,” so that when Islamic doctrines and practices are scrutinized and criticized, the offender is deemed to be “Islamophobic.” Similar brandings include “racist,” “white supremacist,” “xenophobic,” “bigoted,” “intolerant,” and the like. The two “safe” groups to criticize are Christians and Jews, who are both largely viewed by Westerners as “white.” Jews are now facing global abuse at levels reminiscent of the Nazi era, but it’s not generated by Christians; rather, it emanates from the Palestinian jihad against the Jewish state of Israel, backed by powerful Islamic powerbrokers — an “unsafe” longstanding issue that the ADL avoids – failure of nerve that many share.
The predominantly “unsafe” groups to criticize are black and Islamic. Certainly not all Muslims are antisemitic, but Islamic antisemitism is a powerful, united global influencer leading to an increasingly violent new outbreak of antisemitism, as the Palestinian “resistance” is used and recycled as a social justice cause embraced by the anti-racism industry.
The Palestinians are backed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the mainstream media, and even “progressive” Christian and Jewish organizations. A frenzy of anti-Jewish antagonism recently exploded along with the barrage of rocket attacks, launched by Hamas against civilians in Israel. Yet Israel emerged in the international media after implementing Operation Guardian of the Walls as the aggressor for defending itself. The ADL would do itself and its followers a valuable service by amending its omission of the jihad against Israel from its history of antisemitism, and educating without bias.
Right from the start, the ADF document devotes less than three lines to the time before the Common Era (BCE). The Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses record that Jews suffered the affliction of slavery for 450 years (Genesis 12:40) in Egypt. Then came the destruction of the First Temple by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar around 586 BC, when he conquered Jerusalem. The Roman period in 70 CE marks the beginning of the commonly referenced 2000-year history of antisemitism, with the destruction of the Second Temple along with the Holy City of Jerusalem by the Roman emperor Titus. That Temple was on the site on which was centuries later built the Dome of the Rock.
Ignoring the Palestinian jihad factor
The ADL’s history of antisemitism document accurately describes “anti-Judaism after the advent of Christianity,” which after the conversion of the Roman emperors to Christianity became the established religion of the Roman Empire. During this period, the early Church fathers “sought to establish Christianity as the successor to Judaism,” thus planting the seeds of Replacement Theology. This flawed dogma is a complete repudiation of the New Testament, but nonetheless mutated into the delegimization of Jews, resulting in support among some Christians today for stripping Jews of rights to their historic homeland, and branding the Jewish state, a “racist,” “apartheid” entity.
Prominent Christian propagandists are plentiful today, and they have managed to rebrand Liberation Theology, which started out as a noble endeavor in South America in defense of the poor, then spread to South Africa to stand up in righteousness for blacks under white apartheid. The model of Liberation Theology became twisted into a damaging message that Israel is the image of the white South African oppressor, while the Palestinians are the new “blacks” suffering under an “apartheid” regime.
This idea culminated in an influential document in 2009 called Kairos Palestine, which was intended as a call to the world to recognize “Palestinian suffering” and “help fight Israeli occupation.”
Bethlehem Anglican Canon Rev. Naim Ateek , president of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, based in Jerusalem, was one of the first Church leaders to connect Liberation Theology with the Palestinian cause. As an aggressive anti-Israel campaigner, Ateek once stated in an Easter message: “In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.”
The Palestinian outreach to Christians has been calculated; Jesus is claimed by Palestinians as a Palestinian. The Israeli monitoring agency Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) exposed a Palestinian Authority TV interview in which author Samih Ghanadreh from Nazareth was asked about his new book Christianity and its Connection to Islam. Ghanadeh states that he personally heard Yasser Arafat several times affirm that Jesus was the first Palestinian martyr, to which the TV host replies: “Jesus was a Palestinian, no one denies that.” PMW cited the frequency of this declaration by prominent Palestinians, including the Governor of Ramallah Leila Ghannam (“We all have the right to be proud that Jesus is a Palestinian”), Senior PA leader Jibril Rajoub (“The greatest Palestinian in history since Jesus is Yasser Arafat“), and an editorial in the PA official daily — Al-Hayat Al-Jadida — referred to the “holy Trinity” as being Arafat, Abbas and Jesus.
Thus the Palestinian “Holy Trinity” consists of a man who did his Ph.D. in Holocaust denial (Abbas), along with Rahman Abdul Rauf al-Qudwa al-Husseini (a.k.a. Yasser Arafat), who learned under the tutelage of his revered uncle, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who worked with Hitler and Adolf Eichmann to slaughter six million Jews.
This sacrilegious message has been tailored for evangelicals, who are sometimes divided. Most are unwaveringly committed to loving Israel and the Jewish people. Many maintain this friendship because the Bible instructs it, and because Jesus is Jewish — from the House of David. Many evangelicals are limited in their understanding of the history of Palestinian antagonism against the Jewish state, making some prone to the circulating Palestinian victimhood propaganda, which for some drowns out the religious call to “bless” Israel.
Political correctness perpetuates the gang-up against Israel and Jews
The ADL report does a thorough job in surveying the Christian roots of antisemitism, but it avoids discussion of the roots of Palestinian hatred, the biggest issue driving antisemitism globally in our time. The West’s cultural tunnel vision is behind such avoidance. The anti-racism (aka “anti-hate”) industry’s us-versus-them victimhood narrative (i.e., whites versus non-whites) is rife with politically correct lines that one must not cross. It is a marketing scheme that fools people into thinking they are on the side of social justice. People can then feel good about themselves, having advocated for those who are deemed to be oppressed, notwithstanding the pervasive propaganda and revisionist history. Such propaganda creates a fertile ground for supporting revolutionaries such as those who are engaged in the Palestinian “resistance” and Black Lives Matter, which pledged unwavering support for the Palestinians during the latest conflict that was provoked by Hamas and resulting in Operation Guardian of the Walls. Reports are endless about the Palestinian suffering that is caused by Hamas and yet successfully blamed on Israel.
This is not to deny that sincere anti-racism advocates work within the anti-racism industry. The pervasive tolerance of violence and incitement, however, that has sprung from the revolutionary quarters of the Palestinian and Black Lives Matter groups, which have escaped adequate scrutiny, has led to a heightening of antisemitism, anti-white sentiment and violation of the rule of law. All this is due to the weaponization of the anti-racism industry.
Few question the reality of Western tolerance of violent Islamic antisemitism, black-on-black crime, intra-minority group racism, global Islamic supremacism, the lack of religious freedom in Muslim countries, Christian persecution by jihadists, and the influx of illegal immigrants. Inherent in the white-versus-non-white model is a soft bigotry of low expectations which conveys the message that anything a “non-white” does can be excused because he or she is a victim of white colonialism, white “occupation,” white racism, white Jewish “occupation,” and the like. The “non-white” person is never expected to move beyond victimhood. In this view, whites are indebted to non-whites, and since oppression provokes rage and retaliation, revolutionary Palestinian and Black Lives Matter groups are broadly deemed to be justified in their incitement to violence and actual violence. Disciples of these revolutionaries have been indoctrinated to believe that “apartheid Israel” is murdering and displacing innocent Palestinians, while Hamas is quietly justified as a defender of the oppressed, even among some who have a basic knowledge of what Hamas actually represents.
The past sins of non-whites, in contrast, are quickly dismissed, including 1400 years of Islamic jihad — long before the dawning of European colonialism; the Japanese oppression of the Chinese at the end of the Qing Dynasty; Iranian systemic racism against Afghans; the persistence of colorism in India, the Caribbean and elsewhere; black-on-black crime, and the recent surge of blacks attacking Asian people in America. In fact, an article in The Conversation claimed that “white supremacy is the root of all race-related violence in the U.S.” Cases that contradict this claim are swept under the carpet, even as a genocide is today being waged against Christians in Africa by mainly black jihadist groups that are seeking to expand an Islamic caliphate.
Does anyone wonder why the abuse of Uighurs in China is tolerated while the world is obsessed about “Islamophobia” in Western countries, and about Israel being an “apartheid” state?
Obsessions with white people oppressing non-whites have become commonplace in the West as it is manipulated by revolutionary groups, while no one cares what non-white groups do to each other or to white people. Feeding this soft bigotry of low expectations is the idea that no one outside of the “white race” can be expected to overcome the discrimination and disadvantage inflicted by whites. The historic damage inflicted by whites is judged to be eternal and fixed. This results in a catastrophic reordering of societies: anything done to whites in supposed retaliation to white oppression is pre-determined and understandable, even acceptable. Although Jews have suffered antisemitism for over 3,000 years, and survived a Holocaust in the memory of many who are still alive, they are unjustly blamed and labelled “occupiers” and “racists.” The problem is that Israel is pervasively viewed as a country of white Jews oppressing brown Palestinians.
Christianity in today’s climate is also deemed to be a white religion, despite its establishment in the Middle East. So is Judaism, even though there are black African, Chinese and Indian Jews. Because they’re perceived as white, Christians and Jews are scapegoated, and cannot escape the label of “oppressor,” even in the face of Christian persecution and jihadist endeavors against the Jewish state of Israel. Within these groups, blame is also levied among one another and at each other for oppressing non-whites. All of the world’s woes are the fault of the white Jew or the white Christian. This is the new woke ethic, easily manipulated by special interest groups, and central to escalating antisemitism.
Yes, it does have to do with religion
This brings us back to the ADL, which limits its history of antisemitism to mainly white Christians, the “safe” group, while letting the worst enemies of Israel off the hook: largely non-white Islamic supremacists.
Whenever the Palestinian culture of jihad and/or the role of the Islamic religion is pointed out, many argue that the conflict is a land issue, and that the latest round of violence was perpetrated by the “extremist” Muslim Brotherhood offshoot group Hamas. But the problem isn’t only Hamas, which is funded by Iran, and whose latest actions were supported and rewarded by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which influences the UN.
As noted by the Jewish Center for Public Affairs:
If we turn to the writings of key Islamists of the 20th century, we find repeated over and over again the claim that there is a global Jewish conspiracy to destroy Muslims, the Islamic faith, and Islamic culture. We also find a clear link between this belief and calls for genocide against Jews and Israelis.
In my book, “The Challenge of Modernizing Islam”, Muslim reformist Dr. Tawfik Hamid blames a Muslim “impulse to violence” on the “mainstream sources of Islamic law.” He goes on:
“I am a typical Arab Egyptian with a Muslim background. As any Arab, I was brought up on hating Israel and the Jews. When I was four years old, the de-humanization of the Jews everywhere around me led me to imagine them as green ugly people, full of evil.”
“Throughout history, the religion was based on supremacy. In the case of Israel, it hits Islamists at the core when a small country like Israel defeats them. Even with all the money they have, with all the oil they have and with some 200 million Muslims, they still can’t get rid of Israel. For them, it’s an issue of challenging their supremacy, and their feeling of supremacy is vital to their religion.”
“If I go to Israel and say I am from Egypt, I am still welcomed, but try going to a Muslim country and saying that you are from Israel, and see how they will treat you. This can tell you that the real problem is in the Arab world.”
Israeli historian Ephraim Karsh notes:
“if anything, it is the region’s tortuous relationship with modernity, most notably the stubborn adherence to its millenarian religiously based imperialist legacy, which has left physical force as the main instrument of political discourse to date. But to acknowledge this would mean abandoning the self-righteous victimization paradigm that has informed Western scholarship for so long, and treating Middle Easterners as equal free agents accountable for their actions, rather than giving them a condescending free pass for political and moral modes of behavior that are not remotely acceptable in Western societies.”
Religion is the cloak around the Middle East; religious wars have led to lands changing hands and experiencing occupation. But the Jews have an ancient historic claim to the land which includes Judea and Samaria (now known as the “West Bank”) and East Jerusalem. There is no occupation. Islamic conquests established the vastness of the Middle East as Islamic lands as Muslims occupied Middle Eastern countries, including the land of Israel after the Arab conquest. Global Islamic leaders still view Judea, Samaria and Gaza as land rightly belonging to Palestinians, who historically are really Ottoman South Syrians. Israel was attacked by the neighboring Muslim countries from the day of its birth; in the recent battle which was stirred by Hamas, the OIC and Islamic scholars of the upper ranks worldwide stood in unity with their Palestinian brothers.
Historically, Jerusalem was never holy to Muslims. It is not mentioned in the Qur’an; Muslims turn to Mecca to pray. As Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America, indicates:
In the seventh century, the Damascus-based Umayyad rulers built up Jerusalem as a counter-weight and hajj pilgrimage alternative to Mecca, where their political rivals were. This is when the important Muslim shrines, the Dome of the Rock (691 CE) and, later, the Al-Aqsa Mosque (705 CE), were intentionally built on the site of the destroyed biblical Jewish temples –– a time-honored practice to physically signal the predominance of Islam.
To this day, the Palestinian claim to Jerusalem remains, along with Hamas’ commitment to defend al-Quds for the Ummah, and the Palestinian National Charter to obliterate Israel “from the River to the Sea.”
The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, states:
‘Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.’ Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which carries the mandate: “- “Allah is our goal, the Prophet is our leader, the Quran is our constitution, Jihad is our way, and death for Allah is our most exalted wish.”
The Muslim Brotherhood regards armed jihad as the mandatory religious duty of all Muslims. Many would argue that Muslims do not adhere to this; however, a disturbing number of Muslims and Islamic leaders subtly support it in defense of the Ummah, the global Islamic community. Despite the Muslim Brotherhood being outlawed in many Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), nevertheless, the leaders of the OIC again demonstrated their allegiance to their Palestinian brothers when Operation Guardian of the Walls was engaged in defense of Israel’s citizens against the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, Hamas, which rules Gaza.
In the face of Hamas’ bombardment of Israeli civilians, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan. The two condemned actions “undermining legitimate Palestinian rights,” and emphasized Israel’s responsibility to protect those rights. Only it wasn’t Israel that began this battle.
Jordan and Saudi Arabia then called for international efforts to protect Palestinians against Israeli attacks and violations, thus perpetrating the lie that Israel was the aggressor. The OIC went so far as to call for an immediate halt to Israel’s “barbaric attacks” on Gaza, and blamed “systematic crimes” against the Palestinians for the hostilities. The OIC emergency meeting at the high level of the foreign ministers was convened at the request of Saudi Arabia.
There has been no end to the Islamic antisemitism which led to the war against Israel upon its establishment and persists to this day, amid incessant declarations of Israel’s “apartheid occupation.” Meanwhile, exonerations of the role of normative Islam, the Hadiths and Quranic texts persist, despite the fact that all these fuel the Palestinian culture of martyrdom.
Dennis Prager writes:
The Middle East dispute has never been about land. Israel is the size of New Jersey. It is slightly larger than El Salvador. If it were the size of Manhattan, the Palestinians and many Muslim states would still seek its destruction. There are 22 Arab states in the Middle East, but there is no room for one Jewish state. There is even a state with a Palestinian majority: Jordan. The issue is not land. The issue is religion.
Al-Azhar in Cairo is the most prestigious institution of Islamic learning in the world; its Grand Sheikh, Ahmad Al-Tayeb, has justified antisemitism on Quranic grounds. He stated in an interview:
“This is an historical perspective, which has not changed to this day. See how we suffer today from global Zionism and Judaism, whereas our peaceful coexistence with the Christians has withstood the test of history. Since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago, we have been suffering from Jewish and Zionist interference in Muslim affairs. This is a cause of great distress for the Muslims.
The Koran said it and history has proven it: ‘You shall find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers to be the Jews and the polytheists.’”
The ADL’s Brief History on Antisemitism is partly right: Christians certainly bear plenty of guilt historically for antisemitism, as any reasonable person would agree. But why downplay the history of the jihad against Jews and Israel? Regrettably, given the unceasing Palestinian propaganda of victimhood (supported by the OIC), many Christian organizations have today bought into this idea. Now the ADL has essentially joined them by steering clear of the “unsafe” Islamic supremacist influence, despite its tangible presence.
Leaving out the Christian role in Jewish Statehood
It is unfortunate that the paramount role played by Christian Zionists in their support of Jews and in the founding of the Jewish state of Israel is often overlooked. The Israeli government, however, does not forget. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated:
“And you, the supporters of Israel, the many thousands who are in that hall, and the millions, the many millions in the United States and elsewhere, Christian friends of Israel, you are always there for us…..We have no better friends on earth than you.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin noted:
“These are difficult and painful times for Christians in the Middle East…I am proud that Israel is the only country in our region where the Christian community is not shrinking, but in fact is growing.”
The Jabotinsky Centennial Medal for friendship to Israel, was presented to Christian preacher Jerry Falwell by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1980; and the Friends of Zion Museum, founded by Mike Evans, an American Christian evangelist, is visited by dignitaries around the world.
This friendship is nothing recent. It is instructed in the Jewish and Chrisrtian scriptures (Numbers 24:9, Genesis 12:3) and taken seriously by Christian Zionists. Reverend William Hechler was a friend and associate to the pioneering Zionist Theodor Herzl, and other Christian figures were central the story of Israel’s founding. Ten Christians were among Herzl’s Christian guests at the First Zionist Congress. It was at this Basel Congress that the Basel Program was established, which advanced the goals of the Zionist movement and adopted the “Hatikva” as its anthem. To this day, multitudes of Christian tourists travel to the Holy Land and support Israel internationally. Israel honors this timeless loyalty by holding a Christian Media Summit in recognition of the enduring friendship.
Jews have Muslim partnerships, as well, as seen in the Abraham Accords, but that is tangential to the issue of the increasing support for the Palestinian jihad globally, as it is backed by powerful Islamic influencers and justified by the UN and the mainstream media. Palestinian propaganda is winning; Jewish demonization flourishes. The ADL is not alone in singling out historic Christian antisemitism, while avoiding the growing Islamic jihad against Jews globally and Israel. But this avoidance does nothing to aid in the advance of truth, justice and sound policy in combating antisemitism. Instead, it fails to identify the most dangerous enemies of the Jewish people and Israel, leaving the threat invisible and poorly understood. In so doing, the ADL unwittingly ameliorates the virulent surge of antisemitism globally, by covering up the roots of the demonization of Israel that continues in the name of “helping” the Palestinians.