"There are some ideas so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them" (George Orwell)
Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad is blind to reality. His virulent anti-Zionist streak leads him to the most laughable constructs: In "The last of the Semites," Massad wants us to believe that the Zionist effort to remove the Jews from Europe in the 1930s and 1940s (to save them from imminent extermination) is undistinguishable from Nazi anti-Semitism! (Update: Al-Jazeera just pulled Massad's article from their website, as announced here on May 19, 2013).
Two parties can be ferociously opposed to each other's ideologies and yet unite temporarily to pursue a common strategic objective. If Massad is not aware of this reality, he should revisit WWII and extend his ludicrous parallels between the Zionists and the Nazis to the British-American Allies who pursued the same military objective as the Soviets, while they despised Stalin's ideology. Is this too hard for Massad to comprehend?
It is clear that the sole purpose of Massad's article is to delegitimize Israel. This tiresome propaganda – driven primarily by envy, and buttressed by bankrupt Marxist dogmas and their unholy alliance with radical Islam – has been peddled over and over again to little or no effect. Now, Massad tries a new thread, plucked out of ludicrous fantasies, without the slightest corroborating facts and with omissions galore not to disturb his narrative.
And so we read one enormity after another in Massad 4,000-word article:
- The ancestral connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel was concocted by the Protestant Reformation;
- Most Jews were opposed to Zionism, up to the 1940s;
- Lord Balfour was an anti-Semite;
- The Nazis and the Zionists showed "ideological similitude";
- The totalitarianism inherent in Nazism and Communism was mere U.S. propaganda;
- The (derisively called) "Judeo-Christian civilisation" was the product of European and American white supremacy, now turned against Arabs and Muslims;
- The current relations between Germany and Israel are a continuation of past Nazi policies;
- Israel and Zionism were not the victims of Nazis because "[the Nazis] killed the majority of Jewish enemies of Zionism";
- The Palestinians are the only remaining "Semites" and the last remaining bastion against anti-Semitism;
- The Jews "have nothing to do with Palestine";
- The Zionist project is aggressive, colonialist, imperialist and tainted by "racial discrimination";
- The Jews had their "nations" in Europe before they "forcibly settled the land of another people";
- Israel's claim of being the land of the Jewish people is "the most anti-Semitic claim of all."
And what is the main voice that Massad quotes to support his narrative? Yasser Arafat, in his speech at the UN in November 1974! In the wake of multiple plane hijackings, the massacre at the Munich Olympics and the murder of school children in Ma'alot – acts of terror committed by the PLO and its affiliates – Arafat delivered his infamous speech at the UN. This was the first time a terrorist leader was welcomed and applauded at the General Assembly. He rehashed all the Marxist buzzwords (aggression, imperialism, colonialism, racism, etc.) that he diligently learned from his KGB handlers to attack Israelis and Zionists, which he branded "terrorists [and] war criminals". This is the kind of inversion of reality that Massad embraces in his fantasy world of historical revisionism.
Furthermore, in his desperate attempt to deny the Jewish people their national aspirations in their ancestral land, Massad declares that "the Palestinians have always insisted that the homelands of European Jews were their European countries and not Palestine." Quite an authoritative source! This blatant theft of identity from the Jewish people, which is still condoned with impunity in many quarters, is specifically hailed as an undisputed truth in Article 20 of the PLO National Charter (1968).
It must be hard for anyone to be proven wrong after a lifetime spent in defending a losing cause. The burning envy generated by Israel's survival, progress and astonishing accomplishments against all odds in just a few decades must reduce its detractors to resort to claims of victimhood and self-righteousness, no matter how baseless. Massad does not hesitate to escalate the accusations directed against Zionism to ever more ridiculous levels: Now, the Zionists are the real Nazis and the Palestinians are the last remaining fighters against anti-Semitism! Considering the growing anti-Jewish indoctrination of Palestinian school children and the hateful admonitions contained in the Hamas Charter, Massad's ludicrous claims are nothing but a thinly veiled burst of Freudian projection.
The unusual insistence on race-related notions in Massad's article (no less than 18 instances) betrays an obsession dear to the anti-Israel crowd. Launched at the UN General Assembly in 1975 (Resolution 3379), the slanderous accusation equating Zionism – the legitimate national movement of the Jewish people – to racism is a reflection of the speech Arafat delivered at the UN a year earlier, and is now raised again by Massad ("European Jews … became the elements of settler colonialism intimately allied to racial discrimination"), even though this infamous resolution was rescinded in 1991. But anti-Jewish hatred never seems to go away. The "Zionism = racism" slander was revived at the Durban Conference in 2001, to give Massad and his fellow travelers a new lease on a life of hatred.
Massad cannot admit that the Jews have returned to their ancestral land and that the reconstitution of the Jewish State was enshrined in international law in 1920. This incontrovertible truth would blow his narrative to pieces and would deprive him of his raging outbursts against Israel, Zionism and the Jewish people.
I know it's next to impossible to have a diehard propagandist acknowledge factual evidence, but can one still hope that a professor of Intellectual History at Columbia University is not totally impervious to established historical and legal facts? In his latest article, Massad offers only a crude sophistry that may be welcomed as profound insight by many among the biased Middle East academics who are, often wilfully, disconnected from factual reality.
Salomon Benzimra is the co-founder of Canadians for Israel's Legal Rights.