Who recently said: “These Jews started 19 Crusades. The 19th was World War I. Why? Only to build Israel.” Some holdover Nazi?
Hardly. It was former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan of Turkey, a NATO ally. He went on to claim that the Jews — whom he refers to as “bacteria” — controlled China, India and Japan, and ran the United States.
Who alleged: “The Arabs who were involved in September 11  cooperated with the Zionists, actually. It was a cooperation. They gave them the perfect excuse to denounce all Arabs.” A conspiracy nut? Actually, it was former Democratic U.S. Sen. James Abourezk of South Dakota. He denounced Israel on a Hezbollah-owned television station, adding: “I marveled at the Hezbollah resistance to Israel…. It was a marvel of organization, of courage and bravery.”
And finally, who claimed at a U.N.-sponsored conference that democratic Israel was “much worse” than the former apartheid South Africa and that it “undermines the international community’s reaction to global warming”? A radical environmentalist wacko? Again, no. It was Clare Short, a member of the British Parliament and Tony Blair’s international development secretary.
A new virulent strain of the old anti-Semitism is spreading worldwide. This hate — of a magnitude not seen in more than 70 years — is not just espoused by Iran’s loony president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or radical jihadists. The latest anti-Semitism is also now mouthed by world leaders and sophisticated politicians and academics. Their loathing often masquerades as “anti-Zionism” or “legitimate” criticism of Israel. But the venom exclusively reserved for the Jewish state betrays existential hatred.
Israel is always lambasted for entering homes in the West Bank to look for Hamas terrorists and using too much force. But last week the world snoozed when the Lebanese army bombarded and then crushed the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, which harbored Islamic terrorists.
The world has long objected to Jewish settlers buying up land in the West Bank. Yet Hezbollah, flush with Iranian money, is now purchasing large tracts in southern Lebanon for military purposes and purging them of non-Shi’ites.
Here at home, “neoconservative” has become synonymous with a supposed Jewish cabal of Washington insiders who hijacked U.S. policy to take us to war for Israel’s interest. That our State Department is at the mercy of a Jewish lobby is the theme of a recent high-profile book by professors at Harvard University and the University of Chicago.
Yet when the United States bombed European and Christian Serbia to help Balkan Muslims, few critics claimed American Muslims had unduly swayed President Clinton. And charges of improper ethnic influence are rarely used to explain the billions in American aid given to nondemocratic Egypt, Jordan or the Palestinians — or the Saudi oil money that pours into U.S. universities.
The world likewise displays such a double standard. It seems to care little about the principle of so-called occupied land — whether in Cyprus or Tibet — unless Israel is the accused. Mass murdering in Cambodia, the Congo, Rwanda and Darfur has earned far fewer United Nations’ resolutions of condemnation than supposed atrocities committed by Israel. A number of British academics are sponsoring a boycott of Israeli scholars but leave alone those from autocratic Iran, China and Cuba.
There are various explanations for the new anti-Semitism. For many abroad, attacking Jews and Israel is an indirect way of damning its main ally, the United States — by implying Americans are not entirely evil, just hoodwinked by those sneaky and far more evil Jews.
At home, there are obvious pragmatic considerations. Some Americans may find it makes more sense to damn a few million Israelis without oil than it does to offend Israel’s adversaries in the Middle East, who number in the hundreds of millions and control nearly half the world’s petroleum reserves.
Cowardice explains a lot. Libeling Israel won’t earn someone a fatwa or a death sentence in the manner comparable criticism of Islam might. There are no Jewish suicide bombers in London, Madrid or Bali. This new face of anti-Semitism is so insidious because it is so well disguised, advanced by self-proclaimed diplomats and academics — and now embraced by the supposedly sophisticated left on university campuses.
When national, collective or personal aspirations are not met, it is far easier to blame someone or something rather than to look within for the source of the failure and frustration. More recently, someone must be blamed for getting terrorists (with oil and its profits behind them) mad at us.
That someone is — no surprise — once again Jews.
Victor Davis Hanson is a nationally syndicated columnist and a classicist and historian at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and author of “A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.”