Foreword: On Iran, Israel, and Antisemitism

Iran's fanatical and radical Islamic leadership has chosen to act as an international platform to attract and foment both Holocaust Denial and anti-Israel propaganda, alongside with its escalated pitch of overt threats to implement Israel's physical destruction. This verbally abusive and menacing rhetoric springs from long-standing government policies favouring publicistic Antisemitism; scratch the surface and Iran's anti-Israel polemics can be easily identified as products of classic antisemitic propaganda, despite their camouflage as "Review" and anti-Zionist positions, respectively.

Iran is a totalitarian regime: there is a progressive opposition that has spoken out against the platform at great risk, as well as a peaceful silent majority among the population, who are intimidated by the regime and have no major voice. Against this setting, Iran has provided a wide-open domestic market for Nazi and antisemitic propaganda for most of the past 75 years, since welcoming Nazi Germany's leadership in the early 1930s - a strategic and political allegiance, together with a cultural impact, that have been grossly underestimated. [Please see: #10]

  •  Iran's open publicity for its heinous position should be understood as part of its strategic international campaign –  synchronised with its two major policy directions:
  • Iran's financial and armaments' support for powerful terrorist organizations that have been attacking Israel, Jewish communities, and the western world.
  • Iran's race to achieve nuclear capabilities, that will threaten not only Israel and the region, but Western Europe, North Africa, and the Indian sub-continent. N. Korea and Russia are presently showing signs of reluctance to support Iran's nuclear arms race, but most of the infrastructure is already in place.

For almost three decades, Iran has also sought to implement its hatred for America and western democratic values through international institutions, while - for at least two of these decades - it has been developing its "leadership" role in the realm of terror. It is now pushing hard to divide the USA from its democratic western allies through multiple channels – particularly diplomatic, commercial, and strategic alliances. Although declining to address a direct analogy between Hitler and Germany in 1938 and Iran today, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice believes in early and joint international response to "aggressive behavior" as preventive action; in a firm, but restrained manner, she stated: "It is important to address Iranian behavior now, not later." [Condoleeza Rice, February 19th, 2007]

Concerted efforts on the part of the silent majority are required to vocalize the real issues and their significant implications: without these, the odds are that the international community will not come out decisively and effectively against Iranian behaviour.

Introduction

Antisemitism, long considered an anathema dating from totalitarianism - and therefore a disappearing evil in a liberal, most-modern age – re-appeared on a significant scale in political forums and the electronic media towards the end of the 1990s. Since that time its growth has been exponential, in no small way linked to a shift in paradigms in the mass media, concurrent with the rise of terror and the changing image of Israel against the background of conflicts in the Middle East. This growth has expressed itself not only in terms of what is said, written and transmitted, but also in a major escalation of acts against Jewish institutions, and violence against Jews themselves. And it doesn't matter how you spell it – anti-Semitism, Anti-semitism, or Antisemitism – it's the same scourge on humanity.

Today, it is no longer possible to address Antisemitism simplistically, as the 'barometer' of free society and democracy: in many liberal democracies this heinous phenomenon thrives alongside the entire gamut of tolerance, multi-culturalism, pluralistic approaches, and the like; in others, it is deliberately disseminated in a society without a significant Jewish population, or with no Jewish population whatsoever.

The reason for this is that contemporary Antisemitism is no longer socially peripheral and that it is often politically and socially acceptable: this is also due to its multiple origins and transmitters, and its fomentation on fertile soil among immigrant minorities in the West, and even large sectors of the population - including the establishment. It consequently demands our special attention, and a pragmatic, multi-faceted approach – one that is pro-active rather than responsive, but which takes in the grave implications of the map in front of our eyes.

The Jewish Agency for Israel has therefore resolved to address and grapple with Antisemitism, wherever it occurs in the world, and in whatever guise. We view this as a major responsibility and our endeavors will be channelled alongside and in coordination with Israel's diplomatic efforts: through Jewish education and the mobilization of the Jewish and general public, in partnership with Jewish communities, students, organizations, and youth movements.

One of the major challenges is the complex process of identifying Antisemitism in its masked forms, coupled with the need to acquire the knowledge and skills to substantiate claims that a speech, article, or act, is by its nature racist and antisemitic, and to learn how to combat it. There is therefore also a need to identify educational and campaign resources that will enhance this empowerment and motivate people to go beyond acknowledgement into commitment to a common cause.

There exists an abundance of online specialist literature, as well handy guides for Jewish educators, community and student leadership, so there is no need to re-invent the wheel. We have endeavoured to compile a comprehensive FAQ, so that you can choose the relevant issues and topics according to your preference and needs, and especially those related to the "New Face" of Antisemitism and the acquisition of advocacy skills.

If you have further queries or issues, you are welcome to write in, labelling your mail: Countering Antisemitism. Please submit incident reports to this website, not the Jewish Agency website.

 

 
 

 

 

 

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21 Feb 2007 / 3 Adar II 5767 0