"Anti-semitism" and "Fundamentalism"

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 By Yamin Zakaria

The two terms “Anti-Semitism” and “Fundamentalism” may not carry opposite meaning to each other in the linguistic sense, but their usage indicates that they are in opposite motion. The latter is constantly being used to malign one community (Muslim), whilst the former is used to protect another community (Jewish) from any criticism.

Why is it that the West feels at liberty to routinely label the most passive Muslim for merely adhering to the personal rituals of his/her faith as a “Militant” or a “Fundamentalist”? Such terms are clearly used with scorn and vilification. These terms are selectively applied to sustain the ongoing intellectual terrorism along with the real physical terror that is being dispensed by their efficient and lethal war machines against the defenceless Islamic world.

In sharp contrast, the West has difficulty even uttering the word “Jews” in public in fear of the stick of Anti-Semitism, let alone voice any form of criticism. Even the casual mentioning of the word has almost become a taboo. The swift condemnation of Dr Mahathir Mohammed’s recent comment about the Jews having disproportionate power with respect to their numbers is an example of this phenomenon. As expected, the Western Intelligentsia became hysterical with accusations of “anti-Semitism,” whilst remaining oblivious to Israel as it conducted its raid in Gaza, killing many innocent civilians. It is strange how words can move nations into action but yet they remain oblivious to the shedding of blood.

The Malaysian Premier’s statement was nothing more than an observation of reality. At worst, one can say his interpretation of reality was inaccurate, but certainly there was no deliberate scorning of the Jewish people. If anything, the comments should have been taken as a form of compliment, since the statement acknowledges the achievement of the Jews in gaining power and influence in society despite their persecution in recent history and their relatively small numbers.

Similar frenzied responses emanated when the British MP Tam Dalyell made remarks, which indicated a “Jewish Cabal” was having undue influence upon Tony Blair’s regime. The very same argument(s) can also be attributed to the US regime, where the role of the shady Neo-Cons along with organisations such as the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) wield an enormous amount of power and influence and have even rattled the ordinary conservative Christian population of the US! Many of them feel the US military forces are being used as a vehicle to promote the interests of Israel and the large corporate firms like Halliburton and Bechtel. However, they choose to remain silent out of the fear of being branded and scorned as "anti-Semitic" and "unpatriotic."

The use of the term “anti-Semitism” is also extremely perplexing at times. For example, many Arabs are more Semitic in race than many of the Jews of Eastern Europe, yet they are often categorized as “anti-Semitic” for expressing their anger about Israel’s continuous Judaisation of the remainder of Palestine. Similarly, it is equally perplexing to see Europe’s desire to extinguish the guilt it has accumulated due to centuries of anti-Jewish pogroms in European cities, which culminated with the Nazi Holocaust (Shoah), as they have sought to remove the burden of their (European) crime by handing over land belonging to another people to the Jews. On the contrary, history has proven the hospitality and the magnanimity of the Muslim and Arab people towards minorities including the Jews. Instead of pogroms, ethnic cleansing and holocausts, the Jews experienced the golden age in Andalusia (Spain) under Muslim rule, an era unparalleled in their 5000+ years of history. Even the noted Orientalist scholar Bernard Lewis, who’s writings are not known to be complimentary toward Muslims and Islam, has noted in many of his books and articles that Jews prospered and were safe in Muslim lands, at a time when “Jew-Baiting” was Christian-Europe’s favourite past time! When the unparalleled, genocidal Catholic-Spanish Inquisition took place, Jews found sanctuary in the Islamic cities of Istanbul and Fez.

So, for how long must the Palestinians pay for the Jewish Holocaust, which was a Christian-European crime? For how long will the stick of "anti-Semitism" be used to silence any criticism of Israel’s daily violation of human rights? For how long will the media remain complicit in shielding the Zionist-Imperialist fascist apartheid state known as “Israel” by the selective usage of terminologies, “reporting” and “commentaries”?

Consider the swift response in defence of the Jewish community in sharp contrast to the recent comments made by an obscure US General based in the Pentagon, who was clearly maligning Islam and the Muslims. He is another example of an increasing number of fanatic Christians who are encompassing the US administration. Referring to Muslims as idol worshipers - what irony! Not a Mosque in the world has a statue or icon. Compare that to churches. It is also amusing to note that he claimed George Bush was appointed by God. The world knows Bush won the election fraudulently -- or was that also part of the divine scheme of God?

The daily maligning of Muslims using terminologies like “fundamentalism,” “extremism,” “militant,” etc., has become the norm. A brief example may help to demonstrate this point. An article was recently written in a newspaper that is considered to be a quality national newspaper in the UK, The Daily Telegraph (20th October, Tim Walker) about the expected protests in response to Bush’s visit to the UK. The protestors were described as Anti-War activists, which included “Militant” Muslims! Having personally attended most of the previous anti-war demonstrations, I can confirm there were Muslims and non-Muslims of different persuasions. However, according to the article, all the Muslims who are likely to participate in the demonstrations are "Militants," (whatever that definition may be).

Does the writer hypocritically not undermine the much lectured principals of “freedom of speech” by maligning the Muslims as "militants" for expressing their opinion, rather then acknowledging them as law abiding citizen exercising their legitimate right to protest? Would it not be unreasonable to expect such an author to “promote” those Muslims who do attend the protest from "Militant" to “terrorist”? This is from a quality newspaper; hence one may let the reader’s imagination dwell on the abuse emanating from the filthy tabloids.

Now consider this, if a Christian were to raise his/her voice against the maligning of Jesus by some of the secular "fanatics," would he be labelled a "Militant Christian"? When the Jews raise their voices in defence of Israel do they get promptly branded "Militant Jews"? Even the use of their lethal military equipment upon civilians or the cold blooded massacre the likes of Baruch Goldstein or the massacres of Sabra-Shatila, Qana and Jenin etc. did not qualify them to be labelled as "militants." Therefore, who would ever take exception from their verbal utterance, no matter how offensive it may be?

Take Daniel Pipes, for example - a Jew who is known to be a strong sympathiser of Israel who has been uttering insults that would be deemed by most people as the language of racist white supremacists. Pipes has been elevated to "expert" status recently by George Bush, which reflects the current mindset and intentions of the US government.

Hence, unless an extreme situation arises, these terminologies are applied only selectively and exclusively toward a certain community with a clear underlying political agenda. Whilst any criticism of Israel is deemed to be anti-Semitic then it logically follows de-facto that Israel has Carte blanche to do what ever it pleases, even to the detriment of others, as is the case.

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Yamin Zakaria, frequent contributor to The March Media Resources is Technical Director and Graduate in Chemistry from London University, resides in the United Kingdom.