Demonization of Israel is an ‘international catastrophe’

Prominent antisemitism researcher says a war is being waged against the Jewish state, not only physically but also intellectually and philosophically.

By Amelie Botbol | | Topics: Antisemitism, Gaza
About 10,000 demonstrators march in front of the White House in Washington, DC, to protest against the Israeli government. Photo: Shutterstock
About 10,000 demonstrators march in front of the White House in Washington, DC, to protest against the Israeli government. Photo: Shutterstock

According to Charles Asher Small, the demonization of the State of Israel is a dangerous form of Jew-hatred that affects Jews worldwide.

In a wide-ranging interview with JNS, Small, the founding executive director of the New York-based Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) and a former chairperson of the African National Congress solidarity committee, shared his thoughts on South Africa’s decision to bring Israel to the International Court of Justice on allegations of genocide. He also revealed his recent research findings exposing unregulated Qatari funding of Texas A&M University.

 

Q: Could you tell us a little bit about ISGAP? 

A: ISGAP is an international organization that works on mapping, decoding and combatting contemporary antisemitism.

 

Q: How do you define antisemitism?

A: What distinguishes antisemitism from other hatreds is that, in the words of Robert Wistrich, considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on antisemitism, it is inherently genocidal.

The old Christian and religious form of bigotry still exists. The racist form of antisemitism exists in some places as well. However, the current dominant form of antisemitism is an attack on who Jews are as a people—an attack on how we define ourselves and our connection to the land of Israel.

In this age of Neoliberalism, radical Islam is diametrically opposed to the Jewish notion of self-determination on “Islamic land.” The Jews are the only non-Muslim group to be self-determined in the region. As such, the State of Israel must be destroyed by the Caliphate.

In addition, the Red-Green alliance, an alliance of post-modern progressive intellectuals who want to replace Western hegemony and Western power, has emerged. This extreme leftist view of Jews is that Jews are the tip of the spear of Western hegemony and colonialism. From a left-wing radical perspective, Israel has to be dismantled.

In this moment of economic crisis, the radical left, the radical right and political Islam are attacking the center even though they all have very different ideologies. In some sense, they all use genocidal antisemitism as a core element of their ideologies and their practice.

 

Q: Do you believe that anti-Zionism is antisemitism?

A: The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism is clear. Denying the Jewish people self-determination and blaming them worldwide for being responsible for state policies in Israel is a form of antisemitism.

In a study I ran with [Yale scholar] Edward Kaplan, we interviewed 10,000 people from 10 European countries and defined classical antisemitism as well as what we called Israel bashers. Those who were antisemitic in the classical sense were 13 times more likely to be anti-Israel. We scientifically proved what everybody already knows.

 

Q: You’ve talked about a few forms of antisemitism, is the most virulent form of antisemitism today coming from Islam?

A: States are weakening. Political Islam is replacing state institutions in many countries with this perversion of Islam. It connects to Western antisemitism and post-modern “progressive” antisemitism in intellectual spaces in the West.

Sadly, in the last few months with the pogroms against Israel, political Islam advertises its final solution. The Nazis to some extent hid theirs, while these barbarians are filming it to attract more support.

In universities, professors and student organizations support this. This is the result of the red-green alliance which blossomed in the last few months.

The Jewish people know the connection between radical Islamists and those who define themselves as progressive. The demonization of the State of Israel is a dangerous form of antisemitism that affects Jews in France, Quebec, the United States, and Belgium. We see it in the streets of London. It’s an international catastrophe and we must wake up, understand why it is happening, and start taking a stand to fight it.

 

Q: To what do you attribute the rapid growth of campus antisemitism?

A: If Western intellectuals at universities claim that Israel is an apartheid, racist, fascist, Nazi, occupying state, then Jewish faculty and students in these liberal spaces at these universities become an enemy of what is good and decent. Universities are at the front line of this war against the Jewish people and this explosion of antisemitism in the West.

The war against the Jewish people is being waged in these spaces where young Western Europeans and North Americans learn to become citizens of the world. This is where the political intellectual war is being waged and where the soft power from the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar is being used.

They are investing in universities significantly and it is having an impact on the worldview in the West.

 

Q: Who are the main groups spearheading this? Students for Justice in Palestine (SPJ) and the Muslim Student Association?

A: They all are active. SJP comes out of the American Muslim Association. These are all offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In the aftermath of Oct. 7, SJP said that they are not supporting the struggle, they are part of the struggle. American students from SJP claim that they are part of a terror organization. They are very clear about what they are doing. They are the shock troops that are making life very difficult for Jewish students and faculty on campus, like little Nazis I would say.

The most pernicious and dangerous form of support from Qataris and the Muslim Brotherhood is their funding of research centers and professorships shifting the discourse on Jewish people in Israel and on Jewish notions of democracy.

 

Q: Could you tell me about your research which revealed unregulated Qatari funding sent to Texas A&M?

A: In our research, we found tens of millions of dollars [in] undocumented money coming from Qatar to Western universities in the United States, Canada and Europe.

We know that the Qatari regime has taken a spiritual oath to the Muslim Brotherhood. They follow the religious fatwas and rulings of the Brotherhood, whose core ideology fuses European antisemitism with a perversion of Islam.

The Qatari regime, which represents this ideology, a country of less than 300,000 citizens, is giving more money to American universities than all the countries in the world.

Why would a country that is supporting the dismantling of the state of Israel, the killing of Jews and the destruction of democracy be giving so much money to very important institutions and universities in higher education?

Qatar is using soft power to promote this ideology to distance Israel from the West and uses antisemitism to fragment the United States and other democracies. They are succeeding.

 

Q: Do you think the decision of Texas A&M to close its branch in Qatar represents a first step into fighting it? 

A: I hope so. ISGAP is calling for transparency from American, French and Canadian universities in Qatar. They need to disclose their contractual agreements with the Qatari regime.

They have been trying to suppress the publication of these agreements. We have to understand, with full transparency, the nature of funded research projects, because we uncovered at Texas A&M over 500 research projects for which Qatar owns the intellectual property rights, and approximately 10% of these projects our experts believe could have dual use.

Our experts believe that they could have military and even nuclear implications. We are calling on the American government to hold hearings and we are calling for the end of American and Western universities in Qatar.

 

Q: What can be done to combat it or has a tipping point been reached?

A: We have no choice but to fight it.

On Oct. 7, massacres were committed by a reactionary social movement that is diametrically opposed to democracy. Aside from the Jewish or Israeli issue, it’s a sexist, homophobic, anti-others, reactionary social movement that wants to destroy democracy. They committed this massacre and advertised it.

On Oct. 9, when we went back to our universities, there were professors who supported the barbarism of a genocidal, reactionary movement with a death cult.

I went to teach at Columbia University a month ago. There were professors and doctoral students at one of the best universities in the world who were arguing that the occupation had to end by any means necessary and that the Zionists had invited the violence upon themselves because of their existence on the land.

This is while, on the kinetic battlefield of the Middle East where Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and others are attacking Israel physically, it is also intellectual and philosophical.

The war is being waged on the Jewish people and against democracy. We have to understand the mind of our enemy. We have been underestimating them for too long and we have to understand this assault on the Jewish people, Israel, the West and human decency and fight it.

Eli Wiesel said that antisemitism begins with the Jewish people but never ends with the Jewish people. This is not just a problem for the Jews and Israel. This is an assault on human decency and democracy.

In the process of trying to destroy the Jews and Judaism, antisemitism also tries to destroy civilization. Six million people were murdered in the Shoah and 80 million Europeans died, while the entire infrastructure of many countries was destroyed.

This is a threat to all of us. Our enemies understand our culture, speak our languages and understand our system of education and governance while we have no fluency—we don’t understand their language, their culture and we are not even really familiar with their ideology.

We impose our view of reality upon other people. The West has had this problem for a long time. We need to understand and respect our enemies to fight them.

 

Q: Do you agree with Israeli President Isaac Herzog that South Africa’s accusations of genocide against Israel at the International Court of Justice is a modern-day “blood libel” and an example of antisemitism?

A: Absolutely. I used to be proud to say that I was the chairperson of the African National Congress solidarity committee. I worked with the leadership of the ANC as a young Jewish progressive student.

I saw the anti-apartheid movement and the ANC as pushing for a social democratic democracy in which all people regardless of race, gender, religion, economic income would be equal under the law and the democracy.

Thirty years later, we have a government that is literally in bed with the Iranian revolutionary regime, Qatar and Hamas, which is antithetical to the freedom charter of South Africa and to Nelson Mandela’s vision of democracy.

South Africa is leading a blood libel and Israeli President Herzog is tragically 100% correct.

For the ANC and the South African government of 2024, which inherited the work of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu among others who sacrificed their lives for social democracy, to be in bed with Hamas, the Iranian revolutionary regime and the Qatari Muslim Brotherhood regime, is an affront to the South African people.

For the South African ruling party, the corrupt party of 2024, to be in bed with the disciples of true apartheid, true Nazism and true racism, to invite Hamas after they committed a racist massacre based on the ideology of Nazism and Fascism of Europe, is an affront to what the ANC is supposed to represent.

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One response to “Demonization of Israel is an ‘international catastrophe’”

  1. Disciple 1978 says:

    Beware of UK opposition leader Keir Starmer. He is reportedly a red-green ideologist, supporting a Marxist and green agenda. It wouldn’t surprise me if his red-green credentials extended to accepting the soft power of political Islam. Today’s news reports a 9yr old white boy reciting the Shahada to become a Muslim. As the UK political and even religious establishment abandon Christianity in favour of liberal humanism, they are following the error of America in being open to nefarious sponsorship.

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