From an ADL letter:

Israel’s defense of its people from the unending terrorism of Hamas’ rocket attacks is its right and its duty – a course of action that has received more support from world leaders and US editorial pages than we have come to expect.

Yet, at the same time, we are witnessing a backlash of anti-Semitism that is so shameless it’s hard to believe it’s happening in America.  We’ve seen such ugliness in Europe and expect it from the Arab countries, but not here in the US.

Massive anti-Israel demonstrations have been held in dozens of cities throughout the country at which protestors actually equate Israel’s self-defense to the behavior of the Nazis and compare the situation in Gaza to a “Holocaust”. So many lines have been crossed that one woman at a protest in Florida saw nothing wrong with calling for Jews to “go back to the oven”.

These blatantly anti-Semitic and deeply offensive expressions follow on the heels of the Internet-powered scapegoating of Jews as the evil force – “just another Jew money-changer thief” – behind the collapse of the global economy.

We were shocked to find high-profile, mainstream websites like YouTube and the finance-related chat sites at Yahoo, AOL, and Google (add the Foreign Policy Journal here – my addition) infected with the same vile anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that had previously been posted only at the extremist fringes of the Internet.

You folks just don’t get it.  Read the Koran, no, really read it, or better yet read Ibn Warraq’s “Why I am not a Muslim”, and maybe, just maybe, you’d realize that if the Jews are wiped out by Iran and cease to exist, you’ll be next.

— [Writer chooses to remain anonymous]

Editor’s Reply

I agree with the view of the Anti-Defamation League, shared by Mr. –, that anti-Semitism, such as “calling for Jews to ‘go back to the oven'”, is despicable. Why Mr. — chooses to equate Foreign Policy Journal with such hateful sentiment is beyond my comprehension, and he offers no evidence in his letter to justify this assertion that FPJ shares such anti-Semitic views.

Where I strongly disagree with the ADL is that Israel’s war on Gaza was “defense of its people from the unending terrorism of Hamas’ rocket attacks”. This is sheer nonsense. Equating overwhelming use of force against a civilian population with “self-defense” is moral and intellectual cowardice. To describe Israel’s use of force as “disproportionate” is a grievous understatement. Israel’s actions constitute serious war crimes.

If Israel was serious about stopping rocket attacks, it would have abided by the June 19 cease-fire, which dramatically reduced the number of rocket attacks, with Hamas actively working to prevent other militant groups from engaging in such actions, including with arrests. Instead, Israel violated the cease-fire repeatedly from the beginning, including by firing at unarmed Gazans attempting to reach their own land. Israel escalated provocative actions against Hamas and other groups in the West Bank, and refused to honor its agreement under the terms of the truce to lift the siege of Gaza. Finally, on November 4, Israel launched a ground incursion into and airstrike on Gaza, killing 6. This action effectively ended the cease-fire, and what followed until Israel launched “Operation Cast Lead” on December 27 was repeated Israeli attacks on Gaza resulting in retaliatory rocket fire from militant groups there, including limited strikes by Hamas, which had until November 4 strictly observed the cease-fire that Israel had perpetually violated.

One of Israel’s first actions in its war was to bomb police stations, including a police cadet graduation ceremony. Even since the end of major military operations on January 18, Israel has targeted police stations, effectively destroying Hamas’ ability to prevent other groups from firing rockets in response to the 22-day bombardment of Gaza that resulted in 1,300 deaths, mostly civilian, and continued Israeli attacks on Gaza since.

Israel’s actions, if we may assume that its leaders are rational actors, are designed precisely to bring about rocket fire into Israel so that it can continue to isolate Hamas, which has repeatedly announced since its 2005 electoral victory its willingness to accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel along the pre-1967 borders. The real threat Hamas poses to Israel is its increasing popularity amongst Palestinians, increasing political standing and moderate views, and willingness to negotiate a diplomatic settlement along the lines of the international consensus and U.N. resolution 242.

The ADL also describes criticism of Israel as “anti-Semitic”; again, a view apparently shared by Mr. –. This is pure nonsense, a morally and intellectually devoid argument warranting no further reply.

Mr. — writes “You folks”; I would like to emphasize that FPJ is wholly owned and operated by a single individual–me. The views and opinions expressed in my own writing are not necessarily those of other contributing writers, and vice-versa. Mr. — offers no hint that his criticism is intended to apply to any contributing writers to FPJ. And, as with my own writings, I can think of none to which his criticism would apply. I should hardly need to point out that the views of a woman at a protest in Florida do not reflect the views and opinions of FPJ. Mr. –‘s insinuation to the contrary is a cowardly and libelous effort to distract from the actual facts about Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.

Though I am not familiar with Mr. Warraq’s book, I have read the Koran, and would also, as Mr. — does, encourage others to read it. I think people who have misconceptions about Islam would be surprised at what they find in its pages. Mr. — doesn’t expound upon his reasons for encouraging the reading of the Koran, and we’re left to speculate, but the insinuation is obvious enough. I can only say that I think if FPJ readers followed up on his suggestion, they would recognize that his insinuation about its contents is wholly unfounded. My guess is odds are two to one Mr. — hasn’t read it himself.

Mr. — concludes his letter to the editor with a hypothetical statement about “the Jews” being “wiped out by Iran”, an imaginary scenario in which genocide occurs. This is a familiar enough talking point in anti-Iranian propaganda, despite being wholly unfounded. There is no evidence Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and Iran has not threatened Israel with any kind of military aggression. This scenario, presented not as hypothetical but as a real threat, is a pure fabrication on the part of Mr. — and whatever other propagandist sources he gets his information from in addition to the Orwellian-named “Anti-Defamation League”, which specializes in defamation of critics of Israel by dishonest means not unlike Mr. –‘s.

Jeremy R. Hammond

Editor of Foreign Policy Journal