In the early 1940s, genocidal anti-Semitism expressed itself in the Holocaust: 6 million Jews rounded up and exterminated.
In 1948, genocidal anti-Semitism took the form of five Arab armies attempting to drive Israeli Jews into the sea.
In 1967, a second conventional war was led by Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. The “Voice of the Arabs” radio station declared the goal: “extermination” of Israel. Ahmed Shuqayri, the first leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, added: “We shall destroy Israel and its inhabitants.”
Since the collapse of the Camp David talks in 2000 — when Yasser Arafat turned down an independent Palestinian state on 93 percent of the West Bank and Gaza — radical anti-Semitism has taken the form of suicide bombings in Israel’s streets, shops and restaurants.
Former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Abu Mazen said this month many of those responsible believed “after the killing of 1,000 Israelis in the Intifada, Israel would collapse.” Well, about 1,000 Israelis have been slaughtered, but Israel has not collapsed. Instead, the Israelis are demonstrating terrorism can be defeated.
So genocidal anti-Semitism is taking another form. This week, the New York Times gave Michael Tarazi, an American lawyer who advises the Palestine Liberation Organization, space on its Op-Ed Page to make this audacious argument: Having failed to eradicate Israel with tanks and terrorism, Palestinian leaders are now “being forced to consider a one-state solution.”
Yes, “forced” to consider demanding a “right” to flood Israel with people who hate Israelis, people loyal to such terrorist organization such as Hamas, and who want to replace Israel with a radical Islamist state.
And if Israelis refuse to willingly become a despised minority in their own country, ruled by people who have waged genocidal campaigns against them, that will demonstrate, Mr. Tarazi declares, “Christians and Muslims, the millions of Palestinians under occupation are not welcome in the Jewish state.” “Not welcome.” Imagine that. The nerve. The chutzpah.
As Mr. Tarazi well knows but neglects to mention, there is only one Jewish state on the planet. It’s about the size of New Jersey. By contrast, there are 22 Arab nations and more than 50 predominantly Muslim countries, covering an area larger than the United States and Europe combined.
In these lands, Jews are, to varying degrees, conspicuously unwelcome. In Jordan, a relatively liberal country that has diplomatic relations with Israel, Jews are denied citizenship. In Saudi Arabia, no synagogue or church may be built.
Mr. Tarazi forgets to note, too, that half of Israel’s Jews have their roots in such places as Egypt, Yemen, Iraq and Iran — but that after intense persecution they fled what had been their families’ homes for centuries. Similarly, Christians have fled Syrian-controlled Lebanon and from Bethlehem and Nazareth since those cities came under Yasser Arafat’s control.
Nor does Mr. Tarazi appear to recall that almost 15 percent of Israel’s citizens are Muslims. They enjoy more rights and freedoms than Muslims elsewhere in the Middle East — including the right to free speech, to vote and to worship as they choose. You do not see graffiti on mosques in Israel.
Israeli Arabs have been elected to Israel’s parliament and serve on its supreme court. The CNN cameraman recently taken hostage in Gaza is an Israeli citizen. That was not mentioned in much of the coverage because it was thought that those who took him captive might not know, and it would go better for him if they didn’t. Israeli Muslim Bedouins and Druze even serve in Israel’s armed forces — and many have given their lives to defend their country.
But Mr. Tarazi believes he can convince “the international community” that if Israelis are unwilling to open their doors to millions of people who have been indoctrinated to believe butchering Jews is a form of “martyrdom,” it is the Israelis who are the bigots and oppressors.
If I’m wrong about this, there’s a simple way for Mr. Tarazi to prove it. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has pledged to remove all Jewish settlements from Gaza. Mr. Tarazi should tell him not to bother. Mr. Tarazi should advise the Palestinian Authority to “welcome” the Jews living in the Gaza — and the West Bank, as well.
If and when a Palestinian state is created, those Jews would comprise only a small percentage of the population — much smaller than Muslims in Israel. This way, Mr. Tarazi could show he sincerely wants to see “all faiths and ethnicities live together as equals.”
But Mr. Tarazi is not sincere. He wants Gaza and the West Bank judenrein. And eventually he wants what is now Israel to become “jew-free” as well — by whatever means. He really isn’t choosy.
In 2004, this is the form genocidal anti-Semitism takes. In the long run, anti-Semites seek a world free of Jews. In the short run, a world free of a Jewish state will do.
If they can disguise such extremism as a fight against bigotry, a “struggle for equal citizenship” and against “apartheid,” and if they can push such boldly Orwellian propaganda on the pages of the New York Times, they would be crazy not to.
But people such as Mr. Tarazi are not crazy. They know exactly what they are doing. They just hope people like you won’t be able to figure it out until it’s too late.
Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, an institute focused on terrorism. This article was distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.