Like I have stated before on prior occasions, Islamic canonical Jew hatred has been around for over 1400 years, and in many areas, it dovetails with it’s European/Western variant derived from classic Christian understanding if its ancient texts. That said, Islamic texts make it brutally clear of its enmity with the Jews, which of course predates the rise of Nazi Germany.
What I fear is happening inside Europe, is the supercharging of these classic Christian Europe anti-Jew tropes by already antisemitic Muslim settlers who find a kindred spirit with some on the Left and Right of the socialist aisle. What we are witnessing in an identity politics/group rights /statist (divide & rule) driven Europe, is the choosing of Muslims over that of Jews (and over other discriminated minorities as well) which has led to a staring at the problem through visibly shaking fingers.
NOTE: This is a much extended version of Dr.Gerstenfled’s article on Israel and ISIS, that was first published in the Jerusalem Post and republished here with the author’s consent.
ISRAEL AND ISIS, THE GENESIS OF A NEW ANTI-SEMITIC MOTIF
Manfred Gerstenfeld and Leah Hagelberg
The libel that Jews are absolute evil is the core accusation of anti-Semitism for close to two thousand years. Since 2014, the Islamic State, the cruelest of the major Muslim terror groups, has started to replace Nazism as the symbol of absolute evil. The genocide by the Germans and their allies is many decades ago, while ISIS murders brutally today. In line with the tradition of anti-Semitism, a wave of accusations associating Israel with ISIS has rapidly sprung up.
This defamation has a number of variations including that Israel has helped to create ISIS, Israel is behind ISIS, Israel is comparable to ISIS, and Israel is the reason for ISIS. The short time during which the image of ISIS has developed in the public domain enables us to follow closely the genesis of a new version of the old core calumny that Israel is absolute evil. Most, but far from the only, promoters of this hate come from the Muslim world, the extreme left and the extreme right.
Some of the earliest propagators of the new hate motif were Iranian. Its Islamic Republic News Agency, published a story accusing America of mounting its offensive against ISIS as a means of destabilizing the region to protect Israel. This story cited a supposed interview with Edward Snowden that a U.S., British, and Israeli plot to destabilize the Middle East, code-named Hornet’s Nest, was the force behind the creation of ISIS.1 Another rumor attributed to Snowden, but which he has claimed is a hoax, is the one that IS leader Al Baghdadi is really a Jewish Mossad Agent named Elliot Shimon or Simon Elliot.2
In June of 2014, shortly before ISIS proclaimed itself a caliphate, Iranian Army Chief of Staff Gen Hassan Firouzabadi stated, “ISIS is Israel’s cover up for distancing the revolutionary forces from Israeli borders and creating a margin of security for the Zionists.”3 Iranian Deputy Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian claimed in November 2014 that Israel helped to create ISIS.4
Another Muslim group to jump on the bandwagon was The World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates, an umbrella organization for scholars connected to Al-Azhar University. It is the leading academic institution of Egypt, a country which is at peace with Israel. In June 2014 this association published a statement on its website claiming that ISIS and other extremist groups were “[a] Jewish product under various names that change every now and then.” The statement also quoted the head of the association’s Pakistani chapter Sheik Sahab Zadeh Aziz, who said, “the terrorist organization ISIS is a Zionist plot which aims to murder Muslims, shed their blood, and rape [their] women and girls.”5
Ayatollah Sayed Mortada Al-Qazwini, a popular Shia cleric in Iraq gave a sermon in summer 2014 declaring ISIS a “Jewish Israeli organization, established to tear apart the land of Muslims.”6 In February 2015 Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir – wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide – referred to ISIS and Boko Haram: “I said CIA and the Mossad stand behind these organizations. There is no Muslim who would carry out such acts.”7 Al Jazeera’s Arabic website, published in August 2015 an article claiming that Israel was behind ISIS.8
Not surprisingly, Palestinians have also been in the frontline in putting forward such claims. Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah leadership said that Israel and ISIS are “two sides of the same coin.”9 The official Facebook page of the Fatah movement posted a cartoon depicting the Paris attacks, showing Benjamin Netanyahu, wearing a Nazi-reminiscent Jewish star armband and helping an ISIS terrorist aim his machine gun.10 Another cartoon there showed two matches in a matchbox labelled “terrorism,” with the head of one match featuring an ultra-orthodox Jew and the other, an ISIS terrorist.11 A cartoon published on November 15 in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the official PA daily, displayed an Israeli “beheading” the Dome of the Rock and an ISIS terrorist beheading a prisoner together, using the same elongated sword.12
In Europe one of those who spread the hate message early was non-practicing Dutch Muslim Yasmina Haifi, an employee of the Dutch counterterrorism agency NCTV. Haifi had been a candidate of the Labor party in the 2012 parliamentary elections, although of very low rank. In August 2014, she tweeted, “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam…it is a plan of Zionists who want to blacken Islam.”13 Haifi thus attempted not only to whiten the Islamic character of the world’s most extreme Islamo-Nazi movement, but in addition, to spread a conspiracy theory about Jews. A Facebook site supporting her went up that has 11,000 likes and is active until today.
In the same month Mohammad Shabbir, aide to MP Naz Shah of the British Labour Party, tweeted the question, “Is ISIS serving a purpose to create a pretext for Israel to invade Syria and Iraq? Has quest for greater Israel started?”14 Salim Mulla, a Labour councilor and former mayor of Blackburn also claimed that Israel was behind ISIS. As so often among Muslim anti-Semites around the world, in addition to attacking Israel they also incite against Jews. Mulla wrote: “Zionist Jews are a disgrace to humanity.”15 Beinazir Lasharie, a Labour councillor in Kensington posted a Facebook message saying: “Many people know about who was behind 9/11 and also who is behind ISIS. I’ve nothing against Jews … just sharing it!”16
On the extreme right of the political spectrum, David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan whose anti-Semitic slurs frequently involve conspiracy theories, wrote an article titled “Horrors of ISIS created by Zionist Supremacy.” It lists a “series of planned deliberate actions, all initiated by Zio-Supremacist fanatics who seek to spread disunity infighting and turmoil among all non-Jews, and particularly those neighboring their international headquarters of Israel.” Among these is “support for the Syrian rebels – now revealed as ISIS…”17
Allegations are not only being spread across the political spectrum, but also across the world. According to former Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, the Mossad has a hand in creating ISIS, along with John McCain.18 Top Putin aide, Alexander Prokhanov, claimed in 2014 that the Mossad is training ISIS in order to undermine Russian interests in the Middle East.19 A Polish-Nationalist website called Justice4Poland posted a widely-circulated article by Makia Freeman that opens with the sentence “ISIS is a US-Israeli creation, a fact as clear as the sky is blue.”20 This same article has been posted on left-wing and free-press sites such as GlobalResearch21 and that of Paul Craig Roberts, former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and author of The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.22
Another totally unfounded charge originated in an article that was published by the Qatari based al-Araby al-Jadeed.23 It alleges that Israel is the main buyer of ISIS oil. This article has also been shared widely, from sites as disparate as the left wing GlobalResarch,24 and the white nationalist Daily Stormer.25 The Britsh parliamentarian Lady Tonge is a frequent producer of anti-Semitic slurs. She did not miss out on ISIS, saying has said that “The treatment of the Palestinians by Israel is a major cause of the rise of extreme Islamism and Daesh [ISIS].”26
Yet another major series of accusations claims that Israel and ISIS are comparable. We find Max Blumenthal, who calls Israelis Nazis, among those who say this, as he is credited with coining the term JSIL (Jewish State in the Levant)27. He is the son of Sidney Blumenthal, a close advisor to Hillary Clinton, of whom it is known that he passes on articles of his Holocaust-inverter son to the presidential candidate.28 The anti-Israel Jewish site Mondoweiss’ Dan Cohen also claims credit for launching the JSIL hashtag along with Rania Khalek.29
Chris Hedges, the former New York Times Middle East bureau chief, in an article for the independent media site Truthdig titled “ISIS-the New Israel,” has compared ISIS’s tactics in creating an “ethnically pure Sunni state” to those of the “Jewish guerillas who used violence, terrorism, foreign fighters, clandestine arms shipments and foreign money, along with horrific ethnic cleansing and the massacre of hundreds of Arab civilians, to create Israel.”30 This is an example of making a false-moral equivalency.
The extreme leftist leader of the British Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn presented the Israel-ISIS comparison indirectly when he said “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organizations.”31 The underlying assumption here is that Israel’s and ISIS’ actions are comparable sources of evil. Former Chief Rabbi of England Lord Jonathan Sacks called Corbyn’s comment “demonization of the highest order.”32
The above selection shows how in a short time a very diverse array of people across the political spectrum, who produce anti-Semitic slurs or smears on the periphery of anti-Semitism, create a vast gamut of accusations, lies, defamation, etc.
This is a preliminary selection of charges of those connecting Israel with ISIS It is not surprising that there are so many accusations – that is in line with the age-old nature of anti-Semitism. Social media accelerates the process. The same themes in articles, graphics, and conspiracy theories are being shared among people from very different origins. As we also see in this case, anti-Semitism brings together people at odds with each other, in their common cause of vilifying Israel.
9 חבר הנהגת פתח: “ישראל ודאעש – שני צדדים של אותו מטבע“, YNet, 22 November 2015. Hebrew.
10 “Fatah cartoon: Israel together with ISIS behind Paris terror attacks,” Palestinian Media Watch, 16 November 2015.
11 “Fatah cartoon compares Jews to ISIS,” Palestinian Media Watch, 16 November 2015.
12 “Cartoon that shows Israel beheading the Al-Aqsa Mosque compares Israel to ISIS,” Palestinian Media Watch, 15 November 2015.
13 “PvdA-ambtenaar: ISIS is complot van zionisten,” Telegraaf, 13 August 2014. [Dutch]