By: Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D. Wednesday, June 27, 2007
The cultural war between Islamic barbarism and Judeo-Christian
civilization is raging even as Gaza and Sderot are under siege. The manipulation of propaganda is a key factor here. Britain - the
country that turned Nazi-era European Jews back from Palestine's
shores - is now trying to boycott and isolate Israeli doctors,
journalists, and university professors. The British Anglican Church, well-financed British-based NGOS (Christian Aid, World Vision,
Amnesty International, etc.) and British academics have joined their voices to the Islamist-led jackal-chorus against Israel.
In order to understand such British actions - or in order to see
how Jew-hatred is synchronized in Britain - let me refer to two
recent British cultural offerings.
First, a Welsh-British theatre troupe appeared in New York City and,
in a powerful and well acted play, "Memory," presented yet again the morally false equivalent of Nazi soldiers and Jewish civilians in Germany in the 1930's and 40's with Israeli soldiers and
Palestinian villagers today. Both sets of soldiers are only "following orders."
While our sympathies are with the persecuted and murdered Jews, they
are also meant to extend to the Palestinian villager in the play
who, appealingly, holds a basket of fresh oranges as he contemplates the demolition of his home. (There is absolutely no discussion of
why his home is being demolished, no mention of the non-stop
terrorist violence against Israeli civilians.)
Thus, our terror, pity, sorrow, and moral outrage on behalf of the
Jews murdered in the Holocaust and our considerable repugnance
toward the Nazis is masterfully manipulated so that we transfer
exactly such negative feelings toward (undeserving) Israelis and
positive feelings toward (undeserving) Palestinians.
Obviously, many Palestinian civilians are worthy of compassion. Like
the rest of the civilized world, they, too, are held hostage by
hate-filled terrorist maniacs. The barbarism of Hamas gunmen toward Fatah gunmen and leaders has revealed to the world that Israel never had a peace partner in Gaza and that neither the secular Fatah nor the Islamofascist Hamas is able or willing to protect the Palestinian civilian.
Most Palestinian civilians, however, along with their many Western
allies, still scapegoat Israel rather than their own leaders for
their considerable misery and danger. Like the so-called moderate
Muslims (whom we cannot easily find) who maintain a loud silence,
Palestinians do not denounce and resist their own corrupt and
murderous leaderships and are still filled with a pathological
hatred toward Jews and Israel.
The other recent British cultural offering that warrants discussion
is a "mockumentary" directed by Gabriel Range and titled "The
Death of a President." Drawing on our collective trauma over the
assassination of President John F. Kennedy, this film, which poses as a documentary, transposes 1963 emotions onto an event that has
not occurred, namely, the assassination of President George W. Bush. The British desire for the death of the American president is so
great that wish-fulfillment fantasy is presented through a
Surely, this is a new kind of propaganda. The man jailed as the
president's assassin, Jamal abu Al Zikri, is really an innocent
Muslim whose wife, Zahara, is presented on camera as a soft-voiced, eminently sympathetic figure in hijab. The true assassin is an
African-American father whose son was killed fighting the war
against jihad in Iraq.
Beyond culture - or rather as an extension of it - the siege
against the Jews also includes the rockets raining down on Sderot
and the bizarre international silence about it; the Western
intellectual glamorization of Tariq Ramadan (who, I might add,
teaches at Britain's distinguished Oxford University whose press
publishes his clever double-speaking books which essentially strive to present a Muslim Brotherhood message for the twenty-first
One might expect that Jewish advocates and Israeli intellectuals
would condemn all this and boycott or at least ostracize those who write books justifying the demonization of Israel. Some do just
that, but many others do not.
For example, the influential American Jewish Book Council just gave
a showcase to Stephen Walt, who together with John Mearsheimer
authored a paper about how the "Zionist Lobby" was causing unrest both on American campuses and in terms of American foreign policy. Walt was invited to speak at the council's annual Jewish book
network conference in New York. (Walt and Mearsheimer have expanded this dangerous libel into a book to be published this fall.)
Meanwhile, Brandeis, the "Jewish" university, gave Jimmy Carter a
stand-alone platform to spout his anti-Israel views. And then
there's the Forward - a Jewish newspaper that has previously
honored me and in whose pages my work has appeared - which covered the latest British attempt to boycott Israeli academics mainly by
focusing on the allegations of one Israeli-American academic, Dr.
Yigal Arens, a professor of computer science who insists that he has been "boycotted" - disinvited to a conference at Ben Gurion
University because of his anti-Israeli politics. This is passing
strange since so many Israeli academics are themselves left wing and specialize in criticizing Israel.
And now leaders of Americans for Peace Now, Israel Forum, and Brit
T'zedek v'Shalom are contemplating a merger in order to increase their clout and attract "more money to push for a two state
Nevertheless, there is some sanity on the horizon:
* Austin, Texas-based physicist Dr. Steven Weinberg, who is also a
Nobel laureate, cancelled a trip to the UK in protest of the boycott of Israeli products called for in April by British journalists.
* Dudu Himmelfarb, chairman of the worker's union of Maman, an
Israeli cargo company, has announced that "if the British union
decides to go ahead with the boycott, we will stop unloading cargo from the British Aircrafts and imports from Britain".
* Just this month some 100 Israeli reservists from Sderot refused
to serve, saying, "We, reserve soldiers and officers from Sderot, have been brought up on the values of Zionism, Judaism and the
sacrifice for the state and its citizens. We used to believe that
army service was a privilege and a duty for the State of Israel and its residents, and that this was the only way to ensure the
existence of a safe home for the Jewish people in Israel and the
Diaspora¡.Last summer we were called up for the war in the north
and responded to the call out of a sense of mutual commitment,
national duty and a shared destiny with the residents of the north. We feel that this commitment is being violated in Sderot and the
Gaza-area communities by the Israeli government... The government
does not offer a solution to the threat"
* Media watchdogs CAMERA, HonestReporting.com, MEMRI, and a host of
ex- and dissident Muslims together with Christians and mainly
Orthodox Jews from all over the world continue to fight Israel's
* Rank-and-file members of the various British bodies that have
called to boycott Israel are demanding second votes. Jewish groups are launching petition drives and calling for the British to
reconsider their obsessive delegitimazation of Israel. The noted law professor and author Alan Dershowitz has called on academics
worldwide to affiliate with Israeli universities. (I had already
done so long ago as part of a drive undertaken by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.) The Goldhirsh Foundation has announced that it will not fund any UK scientists.
It is not enough. Nothing is enough. It is not our fault; the forces
arrayed against us are overwhelming. Therefore, I implore the
grassroots members of the Jewish Book Council not to invite
Professors Walt and Mearsheimer to any more Jewish book fairs. (I do not have enough space to discuss why this seeming relaxation of our commitment to free speech may ultimately save the very civilization in which such an idea evolved).
So many non-Jewish universities are caving in to Islamist demands
for pro-Islamic programs; I hope administrators at Brandeis (where I once taught and where my beloved son went to school and loved it)
will consider it incumbent upon them not to join this lynch mob; may they "boycott" Walt-Mearsheimer and others of their ilk as
lecturers - unless they allow for face-to-face debate.
Finally, I hope that, like the Nazi-era Danes, other American and
European professors will proudly "wear the Jewish star" and join me in affiliating with Israeli universities.
Dr. Phyllis Chesler, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is
the author of many works including the bestseller "Women and
Madness" (1972), "The New Anti-Semitism" (2003) and "The Death of
Feminism: What's Next in the Struggle for Women's Freedom" (2005). Her forthcoming book is titled "The Islamification of
An Emerita professor of psychology and women's studies and the
co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology and the
National Women's Health Network, she may be contacted through her website, www.phyllis-chesler.com