Introduction: The War of a Million Cuts-The Struggle Against the Delegitimization of Israel and the Jews, and the Growth of New Anti-Semitism

This book should have been written many years ago based on the wide knowledge already available at the time. For decades now, Israel has been the target of an all-out propaganda war by its multiple enemies. This major battle has greatly intensified in the twenty-first century. All experts have agreed by now that a new anti-Semitism has arisen, particularly in Europe, which expresses itself as anti-Israelism.

When did the current phase of incitement gain momentum? The 2001 UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa became both a turning point and a symbol of the massive incitement against Israel. It revealed internationally in a major way the global resurgence of classic anti-Semitism and its new mutation, anti-Israelism. A huge number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) met there in an adjacent forum that turned into an Israel-hate event.

The declaration of the NGO Forum said about the Palestinians and Israel:

Recognizing further that the Palestinian people are one such people currently enduring a colonialist, discriminatory military occupation that violates their fundamental human right of self-determination including the illegal transfer of Israeli citizens into the occupied territories and establishment of a permanent illegal Israeli infrastructure; and other racist methods amounting to Israel’s brand of apartheid and other racist crimes against humanity. Recognizing therefore that the Palestinian people have the clear right under international law to resist such occupation by any means provided under international law until they achieve their fundamental human right to self-determination and end the Israeli racist system including its own brand of apartheid.

Recognizing further that a basic “root cause” of Israel’s ongoing and system- atic human rights violations, including its grave breaches of the fourth Geneva convention 1949 (i.e. war crimes), acts of genocide and practices of ethnic cleansing is a racist system, which is Israel’s brand of apartheid. One aspect of this Israeli racist system has been a continued refusal to allow the Palestinian refugees to exercise their right as guaranteed by international law to return to their homes of origin. Related to the right of return, the Palestinian refugees also have a clear right under international law to receive restitution of their properties and full compensation. Furthermore, international law provides that those Palestinian refugees choosing not to return are entitled to receive full compensation for all their losses. Israel’s refusal to grant Palestinian refu- gees their right of return and other gross human rights and humanitarian law violations has destabilized the entire region and has impacted on world peace and security.1

This extreme anti-Israeli statement also illustrated another contemporary phenomenon: the massive racism and anti-Semitism in what is often called the “antiracism camp.” This hatred is supported by many political and “humanitarian” NGOs. The latter anti-Semites usually operate behind a seemingly benign mask.

Many others incite against Israel, often referring to dubious interpretations of a poorly consolidated discipline, international law. These are only some illustrations of the newest type of anti-Semitism, anti-Israelism.

I should not have felt compelled to write a book like this. It is the responsibility of Israel’s government to defend its citizens from all types of attacks. That should be true for the propaganda war—also called “political war”—as well. However, despite the great intensity of this major battle against Israel in the current century, no comprehensive and systematic approach has yet been undertaken by the Israeli government to fight it.

A System of Total Misinformation

The many ongoing global and local attacks on Israel often combine into a system of total misinformation, as if controlled by an invisible hand. Th s complex propaganda war against Israel frequently targets the Jewish people as well. The battle has many different characteristics. It also contains numerous hate elements that appeared commonly in the past concerning Jews, such as calls for genocide. This is the case mainly but not exclusively in parts of the Muslim world.

Many new aspects of this war are made possible by developments such as globalization. In recent decades, technological improvements in advanced communications have also accelerated the spread of anti-Semitism worldwide in all its permutations, including anti-Israelism. The internet has added a new, rapid means of transmitting prejudice, hate, and incitement.2

This new avenue of attack, called “cyberhate,” plays a major role in the global war against Israel and the Jews.3 Nazism used mass media effectively to demonize the Jews. The internet plays a similar role but is much faster. Modern media, such as television and the internet, disseminate anti-Semitic writings and cartoons with great speed, adding to the globalization of Jew-hatred. This gives the phenomenon an intensity and immediacy it did not have when the Nazis began spreading their propaganda.

In its September 2006 report, the British All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism recognized the impact of today’s communication technologies: “Anti-Semitism can now [be] disseminated faster and further than ever before. Egyptian and Syrian state television broadcast anti-Jewish propaganda to mil- lions of homes, including in the UK, and far right and radical Islamist organiza- tions are using the internet as a key component in their campaigns of hatred.”4

There are many others who incite against Israel. These include a number of Western institutions and politicians, many media, the United Nations and associated organizations, a variety of academics, some church leaders, manifold Muslim groupings and individuals in Western societies, many on the extreme left and the extreme right, numerous Social Democrats and Laborites, various trade unions as well as numerous high school teachers. A variety of racists in the antiracist camp such as certain political and pseudo-humanitarian NGOs have already been mentioned. These and many other factors together produce a new system of propaganda warfare.

The anti-Israeli propaganda war meshes with other types of combat against Israel, and these together create a global conflagration of a new kind. The most extreme players against Israel in the various types of propaganda combat are several Muslim and Arab states, organizations, and individuals, the Palestinians and their allies. This war is enduring, but not necessarily continuous in all of its components. It manifests itself in many fragmented ways.

Components of the War

The major component of the conflict between Israel and its enemies is military and violent in nature. It is manifested in wars, military incidents, suicide at- tacks and other terrorist assaults. Since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, rocket attacks and other terrorist activities emanating from there are frequent and important elements of this warfare. The fight against it is conducted by Israel’s army and intelligence services.

Another facet of this huge battle against Israel is the cyberwar. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in 2012 that many daily attempts are made to infiltrate Israel’s computerized systems, largely by Iranian cyberwarfare teams. To combat this, Israel established a National Cyber Directorate in 2011.5 Netanyahu also stated, “We are building a digital Iron Dome,” indicating that Israel intends to make its system against cyberattacks as effective as the one it employs against rocket strikes.6

The Total Propaganda War

The total propaganda war consists of direct attacks including lies, evil accusations, false arguments, calls for anti-Israeli action, and committing discriminatory acts against Israel. It also employs many other means to indirectly defame the Jews and Israel, or to distort their image. This includes the neglect or belittling of major criminal acts by their enemies. Gradually, after World War II, Holocaust denial became an example of this phenomenon.

In recent years, the accompanying effects of the propaganda war include ignoring frequently extreme anti-Semitic expressions against Israel in many Western quarters. The European Union is a source of major examples. These include the West’s disregard for explicit calls for genocide, even when they ap- pear in official Muslim and Arab media such as state-owned television channels or newspapers.

Another aspect of the propaganda war comprises false arguments such as double standards, false moral equivalence, sentimental appeals, scapegoating, and other fallacies. These are frequently used by European and other democratic governments, media, as well as racist human rights organizations.

The Main Inciters

The main sources of hatred of Israel and the Jews can be found in Arab and several Muslim countries. Comparisons between Israelis and Nazis are common- place in the Arab world. This “Holocaust inversion” is also frequently found in Arab cartoons.7 In Arab societies it often coexists with Holocaust denial.

Although Europe ranks second in anti-Israeli hate promotion, it is far behind the Muslim world. Many Europeans—in fact a very large minority of them—believe that Israel behaves toward the Palestinians as the Nazis behaved toward the Jews. Another version of this extreme defamation is that Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians.8 This book will devote much attention to Europe, though not only for this reason. It is also necessary because of some other disparate factors: Europe’s lengthy history of anti-Semitism, which has become part of its culture; the complexity of its societies; and biased political actions taken against Israel by the European Union and individual countries.

The massive nonselective Muslim immigration into Europe over the past decades has greatly increased anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism there. Individuals and segments from this community have fostered an intensification of anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli hate-mongering in many European countries.9 A 2013 study by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on discrimination and hate crimes against Jews in the European Union confirms this point. It found that 76 percent of Jews across ten European countries re- port that anti-Semitism has increased in their country over the past five years. Furthermore, 40 percent of survey respondents who experienced anti-Semitic violence were attacked by someone with a Muslim-extremist outlook. This is a high percentage in view of the number of Muslims in these countries. In numerous categories of physical and verbal anti-Semitic harassment, the highest number of perpetrators came from those with a Muslim background.10

The Hatred of Jews and Israel

Systematic hate-mongering against Jews goes back close to two millennia. Theological anti-Semitism originating from the Catholic Church and several other Christian currents permeated Europe and has far from disappeared totally. The core motif of anti-Semitism is that the Jews—and nowadays also Israel—are absolute evil. It manifests itself in writings, declarations, and in many other ways. Christian anti-Semitism created an infrastructure of Jew-hatred in Europe. On the thus established diabolical image of the Jews, the Nazis built further. This culminated in the Holocaust genocide in the previous century.

Since 2000, hatred of Jews and Israel has progressed increasingly in Western societies. It is partly based on the remaining infrastructure in place, albeit latently, for many decades after World War II.11 In a globalizing world, similar incidents appear in a variety of places, almost simultaneously. The Holocaust only temporarily suppressed anti-Semitism in Western societies. Today, it is still often not politically correct to publicly declare oneself an anti-Semite in those societies. Yet a substitute target has been found in Israel for the anti- Semites to direct their hatred at.

The major contemporary anti-Semitic hate themes have recurred in various forms over more than two thousand years. They mainly derive from the one core motif of the Jews—and nowadays also the state of Israel—as absolute evil. This central theme and its offshoots recur in several ways, some of which nowadays are not explicit.


After World War II, the new version of anti-Semitism targeting Israel gradu- ally evolved. It has intensified radically in this century. Hate-mongering and discrimination against Israel are its major components. This incitement is often called “the new anti-Semitism,” “anti-Zionism,” or “anti-Israelism.”

This has led to a major development that can best be described as demon- izing or delegitimizing Israel. At the same time, classic forms of anti-Semitism have become much stronger since 2000. These types of incitement often appear together. One also finds anti-Israelism among people who do not discriminate against Jews. The reverse form of anti-Semitism, which focuses on Jews while supporting Israel, also exists but is rarer.

Anti-Semitic propaganda reached a new postwar peak in September 2001 at the abovementioned UN World Conference against Racism in Durban. The main defamers of the Jews and Israel there were Arab governments, supported by many Muslim countries and a considerable number of NGOs, including Western ones. As noted, the NGO Forum in Durban was a major illustration of the widespread anti-Semitism in the so-called antiracist camp.

The anti-Semitic character of anti-Israelism can be proven through the analysis of opinion survey findings, cartoons, statistics about incidents, and se- mantics. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, much further proof emerged that anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism go hand in hand. This became even clearer during Israel’s subsequent military campaigns against Hamas in Gaza.

Studies and Anecdotes

The major presence of classic anti-Semitism and the eruption of anti-Israelism are supported by many studies. The extent of the demonization of Jews and Israel is so massive that it indeed amounts to nothing less than a total global propaganda war.

In many Arab and Muslim countries, anti-Semitism represents the feelings of society at large. In a 2010 Pew Research Center survey of attitudes toward other religious groups in the Muslim world, of the nine countries surveyed, only one, Nigeria, had less than 50 percent of respondents viewing Jews unfavorably. Israel’s neighbors Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt had “unfavorability” ratings of Jews of 95-97 percent.12

In 2011, a Pew Global Attitude Project survey again illustrated that respondents in many Muslim countries overwhelmingly viewed Jews unfavorably. In Pakistan, Jordan, and Egypt, only 2 percent of respondents viewed Jews favorably. In Lebanon, Jews received 3 percent favorability ratings, and in the Palestinian territories, 4 percent.13

Pew undertook a separate study in Turkey in 2014. The survey asked those polled about seven countries, the European Union, and NATO, and whether these were seen as “favorable” or “unfavorable.” It turned out that all were seen negatively. Saudi Arabia was viewed the most favorably, with 26 percent regarding it favorably and 53 percent unfavorably. Seventy-five percent saw Iran unfavorably, 14 percent favorably. Israel closed the list with 86 percent of respondents viewing it unfavorably and 2 percent viewing it favorably.14

Statistics show that the number of people in Europe who hold extremely evil beliefs about Israel is so major that such attitudes have significantly permeated mainstream society.15 They no longer come exclusively from Muslim, extreme- right, and extreme-left fringes.

The magnitude of current anti-Semitism can be further substantiated by a huge number of vignettes and anecdotes. Those mentioned in this book are mere samples of the widespread hate-mongering. Hatred coming out of large parts of the Muslim world is similar and sometimes even more severe than what was propagated by Nazi Germany.

Twentieth-century Europe was a continent in which a war criminal or a mass murderer had a better chance of survival than a Jewish child. The reason was twofold: the murderous character of the Holocaust, and the subsequent leniency of European democratic societies toward many criminals who had murdered Jews.16 One might add that nowadays, if all contemporary hard-core anti-Semites of various kinds in Western Europe were to die quickly, their number would far exceed that of the victims of World War II.

The massive anecdotal material about European anti-Semitism and, in particular, anti-Israeli incitement in recent years indicates that the borderlines of anti-Semitic malice in contemporary Europe are crumbling even further.

Postmodern Anti-Semitism

As circumstances changed over the centuries, the main anti-Semitic motifs were dressed up in different ways, often according to the local situation. As time passes, the main subthemes also fragment and mutate. Sometimes major new ones are added. Holocaust denial, inversion, and other distortions of the Shoah are examples of this from the previous century.

Understanding the nature and mechanisms of the contemporary demoni- zation processes requires familiarity with a number of key characteristics of contemporary Western society. The latter is often called “postmodern.” Nowa- days anti-Semitic mutations and fragmentations occur frequently. This is what makes contemporary anti-Semitism so difficult to analyze and such a many- sided, complicated challenge.

Prewar anti-Semitism was transparent. Anti-Semites did not hide their hateful feelings toward Jews and were often proud of them. This was also true for those Christians who infused European society with anti-Semitic thought —theological and other—and activity for many centuries. Anti-Semitism became even more transparent and explicit with the rise of Nazism in Germany, Austria, and other countries. Ultimately it also became exterminatory. Six million Jews were murdered in a crime-ridden Europe.

The War of a Million Cuts

Postmodern anti-Semitism is far from monolithic, however. It is often opaque because perpetrators frequently phrase their anti-Israelism indirectly. It is not only multi-sourced and fragmented but also, in large measure, diffuse and discontinuous. There is no one government, organization, or person that stands out as the prime propagator of anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish hate.

There is no one, large attack on Jews and particularly on Israel from a single identifiable source; instead there is an almost unlimited number of usually small ones. These are sometimes coordinated by groups of perpetrators, yet also often not. For Israel’s main Arab and Muslim enemies, these attacks should lead to Israel’s disappearance; many of them say so explicitly. There are also many non-Arab enemies of Israel who support them, for various reasons. This global propaganda war against Israel and the Jews might be called the “War of a Million Cuts.”

For a few years now, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) has published its annual ranking of the world’s top ten anti-Semitic/anti-Israeli slurs. For 2012, the variety in the names illustrates the global character of the hatred. The SWC put Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in first place, followed by the Iranian regime. Next in line were Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff, Europe’s anti-Semitic football fans, Ukraine’s Svoboda Party, Golden Dawn in Greece, and Jobbik in Hungary. These were followed by the Norwegian Muslim convert Trond Ali Linstad, German journalist Jakob Augstein, and U.S. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.17

In 2013, the SWC ranked Ayatollah Ali Khamenei first on its list of the ten people responsible for top anti-Semitic/anti-Israeli slurs. In second place was Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan; he was followed by UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk. In fourth place came the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement. In that context the SWC specifically mentioned the American Studies Association, musician Roger Waters, and the United Church of Canada.

Next came the Hungarian Jobbik Party. In sixth place came a number of people who believed Hitler was a hero. These included Lebanese singer Najwa Karam, and Dutch Muslim teens who made statements on Dutch TV including, “What Hitler did to the Jews is fine with me” and “Hitler should have killed all the Jews.” Also included were two students from Turkey who gave the Sieg Heil salute at the entrance of Auschwitz, Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Iraqi cleric Qays bin Khalil al-Kalbi, and Saudi cleric, lawyer, and poet Muhammad al-Farraj.

In the next place came several cartoonists, among them the Frenchman Zeon and the Norwegian Thomas Drefvelin. The Pine Bush School District in New York State came eighth. Next were authors Alice Walker and Max Blumen- thal. Qualifying for the tenth place were various sports events with anti-Semitic manifestations. The Croatian national soccer player Josip Simunic was listed for leading the chanting of pro-Nazi slogans.18

The top ten anti-Semitic slurs have now become an annual feature. The most recent one from 2014 includes events from Belgium, Jordan, France, Germany, Turkey, Sweden, Hungary, the United States, and the United Kingdom.19

In January 2014, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said, “There is no doubt that Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Ab- bas] is now worthy of the title of the Number One anti-Semitic leader in the world.” He added, “The incitement is present in Palestinian schoolbooks, on state-sponsored television and on websites, including Abbas’s official site.” In saying that Abbas was inciting “as it once occurred in the most dismal times in Europe,” Steinitz clearly alluded to Nazi Germany during World War II.20

When in 2014 the mass murders and beheadings in Iraq and Syria by the extremist Muslim organization Islamic State (ISIS) gained wide publicity, some observers started to label ISIS the embodiment of absolute evil. This was ac- companied by two phenomena. Some whitewashers of Islam claimed that ISIS was not Islamic. In a speech about the movement, President Barack Obama said it was “not ‘Islamic’” and added, “No religion condones the killing of inno- cents.”21 This sentiment was shared by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who stated, “They boast of their brutality. They claim to do this in the name of Islam. That is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace. They are not Muslims, they are monsters.”22 After the murders of seventeen people primarily in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo offices and a kosher supermarket in January 2015, French President François Hollande said, “Those who committed these terrorist acts, those terrorists, those fanatics, have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.”23 One might remark that, whereas Plato spoke about the philosopher-king, Obama, Cameron, and Hollande seem to introduce a new concept, that of the political leader-theologian. This is the more remarkable as they refer to the theology of a religion they do not belong to.

American terror expert Andrew C. McCarthy points out, however, that:

Nevertheless, the perception that the Islamic State is something new and differ- ent and aberrational compared with the Islamic-supremacist threat we’ve been living with for three decades is wrong, perhaps dangerously so. Decapitation is not a new jihadist terror method, and it is far from unique to the Islamic State. Indeed . . . it has recently been used by Islamic-supremacist elements of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army against the Islamic State.24

The other phenomenon is the comparing of Israel to ISIS. According to Mem- ber of Knesset Haneen Zoabi of the Arab Balad Party, “They [ISIS] kill one person at a time with a knife and the IDF at the press of a button [kills] dozens of Palestinians.” Zoabi added that an Israeli pilot “is no less a terrorist than a person who takes a knife and commits a beheading.” Zoabi did not mention the huge number of killings by the Islamic State other than by beheading.25

If ISIS, or for that matter Al-Qaeda’s Syrian offshoot were indeed aberrant Muslims radically opposed to a peaceful tradition, one would find almost total rejection of their aims in a relatively moderate Muslim country such as Jordan. A September 2014 study by the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, however, found that not more than 62 percent of Jordanians polled considered ISIS a terrorist organization, while only 31 percent considered the Syrian-based Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra a terrorist organization.26

Deceptive Pretensions

Contemporary anti-Semites often have deceptive pretensions about their beliefs. Many of those who commit anti-Semitic acts in the Western world deny that they are anti-Semites. They may even claim this in articles in which they make anti-Semitic remarks about Israel. Some anti-Israelis may even express their “love” for the Jewish people at length, while at the same time they exhibit anti-Semitic attitudes toward the Jewish state. Some Jews even come forward to defend these anti-Semites by declaring that they are “true friends of Israel.”

This author’s book, Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews, exposes many Scandinavians who promote false ethical claims about themselves.27 One example occurred in 1992 when then-Norwe- gian Labour Party Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland stated in her New Year’s speech, “It is typically Norwegian to be good.”28 The anti-Israeli hate- mongering of the Labour Party-dominated government of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg—defeated in the 2013 parliamentary elections—illustrated even more how absurd this statement really is.29

A 2013 book by journalist Eirik Veum has shown that in wartime prisoner camps in Norway, the cruelty of some local guards even shocked SS members.30 After some time, all Norwegians had to be replaced by Germans.31

The Key Elements of Delegitimization

The focus of this book is on the process of delegitimization of Israel. Its main topics are its mechanisms, originators, and modes of transmission. It is thus not a description or overview of contemporary anti-Semitism, though examples of anti-Semitism are often mentioned.

A number of steps have to be taken to clarify this delegitimization process. First one has to describe its main elements. That involves assessing how the characteristics of anti-Israelism are similar to those of the classic forms of anti-Semitism—the religious and nationalist-ethnic ones. It also requires a discussion of definitions of contemporary anti-Semitism.

In other words, the first step in understanding the methodology of the total propaganda war against the Jews and Israel is to identify the weapons and am- munition that are used. In the war’s extreme form, these can be reduced to the use of a single core motif: the Jews and Israel are the paradigm of all evil. Or, to phrase it differently: the Jews and Israel are not only evil in what they do, but in their very existence. This characterizes all three types of extreme anti-Semitism. This step requires analyzing the multitude of false statements, deceptive arguments, and acts of hate directed at Jews and Israel. In other words, an inventory must be taken of the main hate messages and deeds. Because many messages come in masked form, it is crucial to understand how ancient hate motifs have mutated over the centuries.32

For instance, the classic blood libel accused Jews of killing Christians to use their blood for religious purposes, such as baking matzo. Current versions include the claim that Israel entered the Gaza Strip in the Cast Lead campaign (December 2008-January 2009) with the aim of killing Palestinian women and children, or that Jews kill Palestinians to harvest their organs. It is also impera- tive to identify major incitement instruments including double standards, false moral equivalence, sentimental appeals, and scapegoating.

That must be followed by an analysis of the next key element of the demonization process: perpetrator groups. How can those who concoct and transmit the messages of hatred be categorized? That, in turn, leads to the next major element of the delegitimization process that needs to be assessed, namely, methods of conveying the hate messages to the public.

This has to be followed by an analysis of the impact, so far, of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism on Jews in the Diaspora—perhaps one should instead use again the term exile—particularly in Europe, and on Israelis worldwide. It is also necessary to note some organizations that fight back against the propaganda war. Finally, this book offers recommendations on how to improve the professional combat of Israel and its allies in the propaganda war.

Multifaceted Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism

The amount of data on recent manifestations of anti-Israelism and anti-Semi- tism is huge. One cannot even cover all of the polls, let alone a significant part of the massive anecdotal information. In the analysis that follows, such vignettes serve mainly as illustrations. This author’s 2013 book, Demonizing Israel and the Jews, contains fifty-seven interviews with experts on various aspects of the pro- paganda war.33 It shows how multifaceted anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism are. One can easily add many other important subjects to the ones discussed there. Since the book’s publication, this author has published another fifty interviews on additional aspects of hate-mongering against Israel and Jews.

Much has been written about the fact that many in the world hold an ex- tremely negative view of Israel, or hate it. Publications on this topic were often based mainly on anecdotal evidence, or data on a single country. The appalling findings from various polls of European attitudes toward Israel often received little attention in the media.

Israel’s Precarious History

Israel has developed remarkably in its short history. Most remarkable of all is the survival of its democratic character under siege. Its vulnerability, however, remains great. Israel is confronted with existential threats that few countries face. Its security systems are frequently challenged by its enemies in grave, unprecedented ways. In one major area, however, there is little breakdown of authority: the Israel Defense Forces have a hierarchical structure and a con- scription army, and this has been a unifying factor for the nation.

Israel’s future has always been precarious. Nahum Goldmann, who was a longstanding leader of the World Jewish Congress, told in his biography how Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, said to him shortly before his seventieth birthday in 1955:

When you, Nahum, ask me whether I will live in a Jewish state and be buried in it, I rather believe that. How long can I live? Ten or twelve years—until then, there will certainly be a Jewish state. If you ask me whether my son Amos . . . will have the opportunity to die in a Jewish state and be buried there, I would say, at best, 50%.34

The late Amos Ben-Gurion, who died in 2008, was indeed buried in Israel.

Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin told Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Avner, who was a close staff member, why he was in favor of the Oslo Agree- ments. He said that without some kind of peace, there was no way to guarantee Israel’s continued existence. Rabin also pointed out that Israel was the only country whose existence was still publicly debated.35

Current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed concern about the country’s survival, saying, “Iran is developing nuclear weapons and poses the greatest threat to our existence since the War of Independence. Iran’s terror wings surround us from the north and south.”36

Yet the propaganda war endangers Israel’s existence as well. Even though its effects are slower than a possible Iranian nuclear strike, they can be disastrous in the long run. The huge number of Israel’s enemies compared to its popula- tion highlights the need to fight the propaganda war far more efficiently. The problem is enhanced by the fact that demonizing people is far easier than fighting demonization.

It is impossible to cover all major aspects of such a multifaceted process as the delegitimization of Israel. In the coming pages, examples will be given from many countries and sources. These illustrate the global character of contemporary classic anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.37 The accumulation of these vignettes may suggest that the danger is acute. That is not necessarily so, but it indicates a possible future deterioration, gradual or rapid, of the reality of both Israel and Diaspora Jews.

2 Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Rabbi Abraham Cooper, “Antisemitism and Terrorism on the Internet: New Threats,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 20-A, May 16, 2004; Michael Whine, “Cyberhate, Antisemitism and Counterlegislation,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 47, August 1, 2006.
3 Manfred Gerstenfeld, “The Twenty-First-Century Total War against Israel and the Jews,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, Part 1, 38, November 1, 2005, Part 2, 39, December 1, 2005.
4 Report of the British All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism (London: Stationery Office Ltd, September 2006), para. 20.
5 Yoni Hirsch and Ilan Gattegno, “Netanyahu announces ‘digital Iron Dome’ to battle cyberattacks,” Israel Hayom, October 14, 2012.
6 “Netanyahu: We’re building a digital Iron Dome,” The Jerusalem Post, January 1, 2013.
7 Manfred Gerstenfeld, The Abuse of Holocaust Memory: Distortions and Responses (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2009), 101-115. Second edition available for free at:
9 Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Muslim Antisemitism in Europe,” Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism 4, 2 (2013): 195-229.
10 “Discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States: experiences and perceptions of anti-Semitism,” European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2013.
11 Manfred Gerstenfeld, Europe’s Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today’s Anti-Semitism (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Yad Vash- em, World Jewish Congress, 2003). Second edition available for free at: http://
12 “Chapter 3: Views of Religious Groups,” Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, Pew Research Center, February 4, 2010.
13 “Chapter 2: How Muslims and Westerners View Each Other,” Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, July 21, 2011.
14 Jacob Poushter, “The Turkish people don’t look favorably upon the U.S., or any other country, really,” Pew Research Center, October 31, 2014.
15 Manfred Gerstenfeld, Demonizing Israel and the Jews (New York: RVP Press, 2013).
16 For an overview, see Gerstenfeld, Europe’s Crumbling Myths.
17 “2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israeli Slurs,” Simon Wiesenthal Center.
18 “2013 Top Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs,” Simon Wiesenthal Center.
19 “2014—Top Ten Worst Global Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Incidents,” Simon Wi- esenthal Center, 2014.
20 Tovah Lazaroff, “Steinitz: Abbas is world’s number one anti-Semitic leader,” The Jerusalem Post, January 30, 2014.
21 “Statement by the President on ISIL,” The White House, September 10, 2014.
23 “Charlie Hebdo—Statements by President Hollande,” Embassy of France in Washington, January 9, 2015.
24 Andrew C. McCarthy, “The Islamic State is Nothing New,” National Review Online, September 3, 2014.
25 Haaretz and Jonathan Lis, “MK Zoabi: Israeli combat pilots are no better than Islamic State beheaders,” Haaretz, October 19, 2014.
26 David Schenker, “There’s a Worrisome Amount of Support in Jordan for the Islamic State,” New Republic, October 20, 2014.
27 Manfred Gerstenfeld, Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, 2008). Second edition available for free at:
28 Gro Harlem Brundtland, Nyttårstale, “Typisk norsk å være god,” NRK, January 1, 1992. (Norwegian)
29 Manfred Gerstenfeld, “NATO’s new secretary-general: Problematic not only for Israel,” The Jerusalem Post, April 6, 2014.
30 Richard Orange, “Norwegian camp guards shocked SS with brutality,” The Local
(Norway), November 6, 2013.
31 Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Eirik Veum, “Norwegian Collaborators Persecuted Jews in Holocaust,” Israel National News, January 21, 2014.
32 Manfred Gerstenfeld, “The Deep Roots of Anti-Semitism in European Society,”
Jewish Political Studies Review 17, 1-2 (Spring 2005): 3-46.
33 Gerstenfeld, Demonizing.
34 Nahum Goldman, Mein Leben, USA, Europa, Israel (Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1984),
213. (German)
35 Yehuda Yaetz, “Ish HaTzlalim,” Mishpacha, March 24, 2011. (Hebrew)
36 James Hider, “Binyamin Netanyahu warns of Iranian nuclear threat,” The Times, February 21, 2011.
37 Robert S. Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (New York: Random House, 2010.) For the global character, see Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Anti-Semitism (New York: Little, Brown, 2013).

Comments are closed.