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There are many in the Arab world - and outside it - scratching their heads over the term "anti-Semitism" and wondering why it only applies to racism directed at their fellow Semitic cousins the Jews. When an Arab is accused of being anti-Semitic, he will invariably answer: How can I be anti-Semitic when I, myself, am a Semite?

The term "anti-Semitic" should, perhaps, be erased from the lexicon since etymologically it doesn't mean much. There is, in fact, no Semitic race as such, since Semites include different racial groups, whose mother tongue is one of a family of Semitic languages. These include Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic and Tigraniya - the latter two languages widely spoken in Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea. So literally speaking, anyone who is anti-Semitic is against the languages spoken by those various racial groupings. In other words, the term is nonsensical.

But let's put aside the dictionary for a moment and take, instead, the common usage of "anti-Semitism". The origin of the expression is down to a German journalist Wilhelm Marr, who wrote a book entitled: The Victory of Judaism over Germanism. In 1881, Marr founded an Anti-Semitic League and by the following year there was a fully-fledged "Anti-Semitic Party" which managed to win seats in the German Parliament. "Anti-Semitism" soon came to replace the former, etymologically correct, "Jew-hatred".

Whether the hatred of Jews, due simply to religious or ethnic reasons, is termed as "Jew-hatred" or "anti-Semitism" it is a rose (albeit a thorny one) by any other name and just as vile. Racism in any form is always vile. The burgeoning anti-Semitism in Germany finally climaxed in the Holocaust and the inhumane slaughter of six million men, women, children and babies. It is, therefore, no wonder that today the term "anti-Semitism" is a loaded one, weighed heavy with emotion, insinuation and innuendo. The ghastly consequences resulting from Jew-hatred or anti-Semitism in Europe is there for all to note. It is hardly surprising therefore, that Jews said "Never Again" and are ready to pull around themselves a defensive mantel whenever they come across anti-Semitic trends in the modern world.

The problems that Arabs have with "anti-Semitism", though, are several-fold. Firstly, they object to the term's misuse and overuse by those who seek to deflect genuine criticism of Israel by calling its detractors "anti-Semitic".

Secondly, they are concerned that while Jew-haters are reviled, those who hate Arabs and/or Moslems are tolerated, even accepted.

Thirdly, when factual information is given concerning, let's say, the prevalence of Jewish media-owners and managers; how Hollywood is the province of Jews; or the fact that the Federal Reserve is partly owned by Jewish banking families, whoever says it like it is, risks being conveniently labelled "anti-Semitic".

When uttering the truth becomes "anti-Semitic" surely it is time to review and overhaul the term or even replace it with the more correct "Jew-hatred", which doesn't have the same connotations. Why for example, would it be a deep, dark secret, too heinous to even contemplate, if, say, minority groups, such as Japanese-born Americans or Mormons were controlling the media or the Fed? In that unlikely event, wouldn't it be natural for people to say: "Hey, has anyone noticed that most of the network and newspapers owners belong to the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons)?" But in the case of Jews they can't say that, at least in public, because of the old anti-Semitic European canard Jews want to take over the world.

When a Jew is confronted with those facts, he is likely to say: Why are you categorising people in terms of religion? This is bigoted. This is anti-Semitic. Yet, at the same time, most Jews think of Judaism not simply as a religion but also as an ethnic group sharing the same gene pool. They think of all Jews as one people, the Biblical "Children of Israel". Some deny that Jews, like Arabs, are made up of different racial groups and one wonders how they come to terms with fair red-haired Jews from Eastern Europe, olive-skinned Mizrahim or Middle-Eastern Jews and dark Ethiopian Jews all making up one race. The problem is they want it both ways. When it suits them Judaism is a religion while at other times they maintain Jews share the same ethnicity. When Arthur Koestler, a Hungarian-British novelist and philosopher, dared to suggest that many European Jews descend from Aryan-Turkish Khazars, whom he termed the 13th Tribe, he became in Zionist eyes an anti-Semitic public enemy number one.

It is this highly debatable contention that Jews are one race - brother and sisters whose forefathers left the Holy Land en masse and were scattered around the four corners of the Earth - which is the basis of Zionism. For decades, the Zionist's cry was "Next year in Jerusalem" and this at a time when most German Jews were secular with Jerusalem as far from their minds as Outer Mongolia.

It is the ethnic component to Judaism, and not the religious, which lends the State of Israel its raison d'etre for the perpetuation of a Jewish state on land, which once belonged to Palestinian Moslem and Christian Arabs. Jews, who have made aliyah or return to Israel, believe they have made their way home to the land of their fathers. But here lies another strange anomaly. Where do Jewish converts fit into this picture? Even if we accept that the ancestors of some Jews once tended their herds in Palestine, what right do Jewish converts have to take precedence over the true sons of the soil, the Palestinians?

In fact, their right derives from might. From the point of view of the Israeli government, the more Jews in Israel the better. Israel can only be a Jewish State when its Jewish population outnumbers its non-Jewish. This is why Ariel Sharon is constantly calling for new immigrants, anyone with even one Jewish grandparent will do. Rabbis have even travelled to Peru to conduct quickie conversions of Peruvian Indians before they are relocated to West Bank settlements. As things stand, with Israeli Arabs having an average of six children to every two Jewish children, by the year 2020, there will be more Moslems and Christians in Israel than Jews.

Hence the total rejection of a one-state solution to the Palestinian conflict by Israel with the divisive wall currently being constructed as a symbol of separation, not to mention yet more Zionist land grab.

Turning once more to the subject at hand anti-Semitism, while Jews were being subjected to vicious pogroms in Eastern Europe and discriminated against in the Diaspora, then terming their oppressors as 'anti-Semitic' was valid. Nowadays, there is very little discrimination against Jews outside the Jewish state; on the contrary many enjoy elitist lifestyles. If anything, there is a strong bias towards Jews in the U.S. where the Israelis are thought of as enjoying "shared values" with Americans. Israel itself can no longer be perceived as a poor little country surrounded by over 100 million hostile Arabs as it was during the 1967 War. Israel is the most militarily powerful country in the Middle East with up to 200 nuclear missiles turned against its neighbours while its nuclear-armed submarines patrol the surrounding seas.

The victim became the aggressor while nobody was looking but the aggressor still plays victim and uses the leitmotifs of victim-hood, such as anti-Semitism, to its own advantage.

Anti-Arabism and Islam-phobia

If we insist on keeping "anti-Semitism" in our dictionaries, then its meaning should be changed. The new anti-Semitism equals anti-Arabism and Islam-phobia. The Jews and the Israelis are no longer vulnerable; Arabs and Moslems are.

The shift began on the 11th September 2001 when 19 Moslem Arabs flew passenger planes into symbols of American power. The actions of those 19 criminals, said to have been minions of Osama bin Laden, have curiously caused a paradigm shift in the way that the U.S. and British governments perceive and treat the Arab world.

Although, subsequent to 9-11, Arab governments and peoples fell over backwards trying to disassociate themselves from the crimes of the 19, the door has been left ajar for Western leaders with long-ago scripted agendas to step forward in the name of fighting "Terror".

Suddenly 1.5 billion Moslems came under the spotlight. Leaders of Moslem countries had their arms twisted to sign-up to the War on Terror, which often meant opening their doors to U.S. and British bases. Afghanistan was invaded and its branch of Wahhabi Islam vilified. Iraq was next on the list for U.S. occupation, while the so-called leaders of the Free World rattled their sabres against Syria and Iran.

Thousands of Arabs and Moslems were scooped up and incarcerated in the U.S. post 9-11 for minor visa infringements, while others were flown from Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay, gagged, chained, shackled and hooded. Yet others are languishing in British prisons without access to lawyers or due process.

Evangelical television preachers, such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell felt free to pour their venom onto both Islam and the Prophet (pbuh). Moslem charities were closed down, while Islamic bankers came under the spotlight and were in some cases jailed without charge.

Citizens of Arab countries, which previously had little trouble getting visas to study or receive medical treatment in the U.S. were now subjected to fingerprinting and interrogation if they were "lucky" enough to get visas at all.

Cherie Blair felt no compunction in recently criticising Saudi Arabia for its treatment of women in front of the Saudi ambassador. This would have been inconceivable prior to 9-11 and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Now Moslems in France are battling for the right to send their daughters to school wearing the hijab or headscarf. So much for democracy and the right to choose there!

Worse, in this New World Order, the Superpower has decided to forcibly democratise the Middle East, whatever that means. The region will be de-fanged without a nuclear weapon in sight, except for Israel's, of course, which officially don't exist and are, therefore, not subject to international monitoring.

Many of the Arabs I've spoken with are disorientated. For decades they admired the West for its superior technology, faire attitudes and individual freedoms. For years they respected the U.S. and Britain for their human rights and civil liberties records. Then one day they woke up to a new reality. Many are asking: Why the double standards? What is the cause of this hostility from the West directed at us?
Why is Israel being favoured not only by the Bush administration but also by the American people?

The process didn't happen over night. It was subtle. It began with the negative portrayal of Arabs in Hollywood movies over generations and ended with the power of Jewish lobby groups, without whose backing an aspiring U.S. President could not gain office. Arabs neglected their own Public Relations for more than half-a-century and by the time they realised what this meant in terms of consequences, it was too late. Furthermore, they placed their trust in the U.S., a trust, which we now know to have been misplaced.

Due to the overwhelming power of the U.S. propaganda machine, often manipulated by Zionists, many Americans still believe that Jews are victims and Arabs aggressors. Few get to see the bodies of Palestinian children, murdered by the Israeli Defence Forces or the faces of the elderly waiting all day to cross an Israeli checkpoint under the searing summer sun. Yet all are bombarded with hours of footage showing Israelis injured by suicide bombers.

Did I say it was too late? It is never too late. Arabs must get their act together. Where is the English-language Arab satellite channel promised by the Arab League? Why are Arabs not producing movies and buying up distribution companies and film theatres? Why aren't Arabs using their undeniable wealth, much of it invested in the West, to dictate terms? Why doesn't the Arab League threaten to switch from Petrodollars to Euros if it doesn't appreciate the status quo? Why, in heaven's name, can't Arabs get together and walk down the same path, just for once? The time for lethargy and fatalism is over. If Arabs and Moslems don't speak with one voice... and mean it... then the legendary Arab 'karama' (pride) will be buried in the annals of history along with the region's rich culture and traditions - a tragedy of epic proportions and one that can never be mended.

The gap is closing and Israel has one foot firmly in the door. Candles for the Jewish Chanukah holiday have already been flown to Baghdad. It's now or never. That door must be slammed shut but who will stick his neck out far enough to do it?



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