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An Anti-Semitic Statement

Perhaps the most dramatic proof of the Sanders' anti-Jewish bias is their publication of an openly anti-Semitic article on their web site, which they have refused to remove. It is a piece entitled "The Handwriting on the Wall" by Israel Shamir. Here are excerpts:

When Bialik wrote "Devil did not invent a fit punishment for the murder of a child", he actually meant "a Jewish child". When he was horrified by the scenes of pogrom, he was horrified that the violence is directed against Jews. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with pogroms per se. The Jews of Upper Nazareth just committed a pogrom of Gentiles in Nazareth, but no pogromchik was tried. Police helped them by murdering a few of the pogrom victims. Still worse were the pogroms of Ramallah and Beth Jallah, committed with the helicopter gunships and tanks….

In no time at all we succeeded to undermine the long-term achievements of Jews in the struggle for democracy, human rights and equality. What is it that we did not like about the German Nazis? Their racism? Our racism is not less wide-spread and poisonous. The Russian language newspaper, Direct Speech, published in Jerusalem, asked hundreds of Russian Jews about their feelings towards the Palestinians. Typical answers were: "I would kill all Arabs", "All Arabs must be eliminated", "Arabs must be expelled", "An Arab is an Arab. They have to be eliminated". I am not sure you would get better results in Germany in 1938. Even Nazis did not intend to kill their Jewish enemies until 1941….

The Jewish state is the only place in the world possessing legitimate killer squads, embracing the policy of assassinations, practicing torture on the medieval scale. Do not worry, dear Jewish readers, we torture and assassinate Gentiles only.

We were against ghettos while we were being pushed into a ghetto. Now the most liberal Jewish plan calls for creation of a few Gentile ghettos fenced by barbed wire, surrounded by Jewish tanks and Jewish-owned factories at the fence, where the Arbeit will macht the Gentiles frei. We shall give the ghetto full independence but previously removing all sources of income and sustenance.

Israelis are brainwashed from kindergarten, they are taught they belong to the Chosen People, who are Uber Alles. They were indoctrinated in the belief that the Gentiles are not fully human, and therefore they can be killed and expropriated at will. After all, Israel fulfilled one UN resolution, the one that called Zionism a form of racism. What is upsetting is that the internationalist upbringing in the Soviet Union could not withstand the poison of the Zionist propaganda of Jewish superiority.(18)

These statements go way past the point of hyperbole and warrant some comment. This is not simply criticism of Israel, it is a defamation of the Jewish people.

Shamir directs his diatribe not just at Israelis but at "Jews" and "Jewish" people. He accuses Jews of being unconcerned about anyone's death but their own, of dehumanizing non-Jews and making "pogroms" and "ghettos" against them.

These words are an attempt to take major themes from the history of the persecution of the Jews and turn them against the Jews themselves. It is very common in Arab anti-Semitic propaganda: call the Jews "Nazis" and by so doing justify hatred of the Jews.

There is no parallel between the present Israeli struggle against terrorism and either the past Christian persecutions of Jews (which included real pogroms and ghettos) or the Nazi genocide. Israelis have no systematic campaign against Palestinian civilians and do not ship them to concentration camps, nor do they wall them inside tiny enclaves from which they cannot escape. Shamir gives no real specifics about Israeli "pogroms" - because there aren't any - but most likely he is referring to Israeli raids of terrorist strongholds. Whether or not one agrees with the measures Israel has taken, their intention is not to harm civilians. The targets are not civilians but those who commit terrorist acts and the infrastructure they have created. The result has been the sparing of many innocent lives.

Having been subjected for years to a campaign of murderous violence against noncombatants, the mainstream Israeli population has shown amazing restraint by not responding in kind. In the very rare instances of Jewish extremist plots against Palestinian civilians, Israel has vigorously pursued the plotters, prosecuted them and convicted them.(19)(20) In contrast, Palestinian attacks on Jewish civilians are highly organized, routine, and deadly. So who is really making pogroms?

The phrase "ghettos fenced by barbed wire" presumably refers to the security fence that Israel is building. The purpose of this fence is not to keep Palestinians enclosed within a small, confined space, as in the real ghettos of Europe, but to keep terrorists out of Israel and away from Israel's main population centers. Extra fences have been erected close to areas from which terrorists are known to have emerged, and in some areas these have restricted but not eliminated freedom of movement. In a real ghetto there is no freedom of movement. The present restrictions, though greatly limited and nothing like a true ghetto, are still unfortunate, but can all be eliminated as soon as terrorists stop staging attacks from those areas. In the meantime, Israel's fence has greatly diminished the number of successful suicide bombing attempts.(21)

One may or may not like Israel's building this fence, but calling it a "ghetto" is political cant intended to hide the realities that it is a fence around Israel, not a prison for Palestinians, and that the Jews imprisoned in the real ghettos of Europe were not terrorizing their neighbors.

Shamir accuses today's Jews of being as racist as the Nazis. What is his proof? A newspaper article (with no citation) that reports some Russian Jews making hostile comments about Arabs. Is it really surprising, when people have been attacked by terrorists for years, that some will express anger? Is that supposed to make Jews equal to Nazis? Even if a Russian Jew said that Arabs "have to be eliminated," that is speech. It cannot be compared to the numerous actual attempts by the Arabs to eliminate all Jews from Israel, both through war and through terrorism. Only the Arabs have made an organized effort to wipe out civilians on the other side and to destroy the entire country. If Israel Shamir, and the Sanders by publishing his article, wish to level charges of genocide and racism, hopefully it will open a discussion about who is really guilty of these charges.

It is disingenuous to bring up the topic of racism without mentioning the systematic program of indoctrination and incitement against Jews that permeates Palestinian society, and indeed the Arab world as a whole. Nothing remotely comparable exists in Israel. Palestinian Authority newspapers, textbooks, television programs, and Friday sermons are full of racial slurs against Jews. Palestinian children are taught that Jews are evil and have no business in "Palestine," which includes all of Israel. The Hamas Charter, which says that "Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims" (Article 28), is about as racist as one can imagine. Yet despite having suffered many bombings, snipings, and stabbings, the vast majority of Israelis do not favor massacres of Palestinians.

The charge that Israelis are "brainwashed" and "indoctrinated" in racism from kindergarten is a slanderous accusation that stands the truth on its head. A close look at the Jewish and Palestinian educational systems shatters this myth. The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace has conducted extensive examinations of both Israeli and Palestinian textbooks over several years. It has documented in detail the dehumanizing language that Palestinian texts have used about Jews. Jews have been called "thieving enemy," "wild animals," and much worse. Nothing comparable exists in the Jewish texts. But in the Palestinian educational system, indoctrination in racism is long-standing and systematic.

Shamir accuses Israel of being "the only place in the world possessing legitimate killer squads, embracing the policy of assassinations, practicing torture on the medieval scale." This slanderous hyperbole reveals a deep-seated prejudice. The "only" place? Apparently Shamir knows nothing of Iraq under Saddam, the Janjaweed in Sudan, or many other examples fitting this description far better than Israel does. And what about illegitimate Palestinian and Al Qaeda killer squads, embracing not only assassination but wholesale murder? Israel's policy of "targeted assassinations" of leaders of Arab terrorist groups is intended to slow terrorism down while minimizing Palestinian civilian casualties. The idea is to target selectively only those who plan and carry out terrorist acts. This policy shows respect for civilian life in a time of war, and has prevented the execution of some major terrorist attacks. In contrast, Palestinian terrorists murder not only Israeli soldiers but civilians, including the elderly, women, and children. They have attacked Jewish holiday celebrations, birthday parties, even invaded bedrooms and shot children in their mothers' arms. Israel's policy of going after only those who are directly responsible for violent acts is far more humane.

And now we come to Shamir's most odious statements. These apply the language of Nazism directly to the Jewish people: Israelis "are taught they belong to the Chosen People, who are Uber Alles," "The most liberal Jewish plan calls for creation of a few Gentile ghettos fenced by barbed wire, surrounded by Jewish tanks and Jewish-owned factories at the fence, where the Arbeit will macht the Gentiles frei." The slogan Arbeit macht frei ("Work Makes One Free"), outlined in huge letters, greeted Jews as they entered the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Shamir's words are an attack on Jews, by reviving memories of the worst episode of Jewish persecution to promote the lie that Jews are behaving like Nazis.

Does this lie really need to be refuted? Israel does not round up Palestinians and put them in death camps. Israel has no program of genocide against Palestinians. Israel does not systematically dehumanize Palestinians in its media and in its educational system. However, Palestinian terrorists have openly declared the entire Israeli population their target, and the Palestinian Authority itself sponsors newspapers, textbooks, and TV broadcasts that attempt to rob the Jewish people of their humanity so that killing Jews becomes not only socially acceptable but a noble and praiseworthy act.

And so we have come from criticism of Israel to overt anti-Semitism, based on the big lie that attributes to Jews the very behavior of which the Palestinians are guilty. How do the Sanders justify this?

They don't justify it. They only state it, with no qualifications whatsoever. However, I have been in contact with a church that has chosen to sponsor the Sanders' mission. One minister of that church justified it in an internal report by saying that Israel Shamir is "a Jew writing to Jews," which he called a "crucial detail."

So what if Israel Shamir really were Jewish? Is anti-Semitism any more acceptable if it comes from the mouth of a Jew?

Who Is Israel Shamir?

The really "crucial detail" is that Israel Shamir is not Jewish. He may have been born a Jew, but it seems very clear that he has renounced his Judaism, although he may exploit his Jewish birth to attempt to give his views a credibility they do not deserve. In any case, he is now publicly identified as a Christian.

Israel Shamir is a columnist for the radical leftist British Truthseeker. Here is his biography from their website:

Israel Shamir is a critically acclaimed and respected Russian Israeli writer. He has written extensively and translated Joyce and Homer into Russian. He lives in Jaffa, is a Christian, and an outspoken critic of Israel and Zionism.(22)

And here is what an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Christian web site has to say about Israel Shamir:

Once again we welcome our brave and honest friend, Israel Shamir as guest contributor. An Israeli journalist based in Jaffa, his articles can be found on He is a Christian, though definitely not a Judaeo-Christian and his essay, "The Elders of Zion and the Masters of Discourse" should be carefully read along with the links, and matched with history, with current affairs, and with the Talmud.(23)

The essay by Israel Shamir that appears further down on that page defends the infamous "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and contains the following paragraphs:

Indeed, if the Protocols would have no relation to reality, they probably wouldn't be as popular as they are. The Jews are sufficiently powerful to dream of domination, and some do. Apparently some Jewish ideas found their way into the text....

In ever-expanding America, the Jews did not have to kill or remove the native elites; they became its important part, controlling discourse and wielding considerable financial clout. They still do not identify with the goyish America: every year, they force the Congress and the Administration to send five billion dollars to their Israeli offshoot and now try to let America fight their war in Iraq. They do discriminate other Americans, otherwise 60% of the leading positions in the media would not be Jewish. (emphasis in original)(24)

This is classic anti-Semitism, and no one identifying himself as Jewish could have written those words. The essay even speaks of "they" and "the Jews," implying the author is not one. It contains the classic anti-Semitic lies about Jewish power and conspiracy. Israel Shamir does not write as a Jew and alludes to his Jewish origins only when trying to make himself sound believable.

Israel Shamir has written many articles expressing well-established anti-Semitic themes. These articles appear on his own web site, as well as on other sites that are viciously anti-Semitic by any reasonable definition. In fact, the Sanders site links to at least one other site that carries Shamir's articles. In various articles Shamir engages in Holocaust denial and accuses the Jews of killing Christ, attacking the Virgin Mary, and worse. It would be difficult to find a more anti-Semitic writer. Shamir's anti-Semitism is so blatant that even some pro-Palestinian activists find him embarrassing.(25)(26)

Presenting Shamir's writing as if it were by a Jew offering criticism to his fellow Jews is deceptive and encourages anti-Semitism. This is demonstrable. The following is a comment by one reader that the Sanders have posted on their Feedback page: "The weird thing is that Jews do not need a Jewish state and the whole concept of it is unseemly, undemocratic and an apartheid system, as some Jewish writers point out (people like Dr. Israel Shamir)."(27) It is ludicrous, to say the least, to call Israel "undemocratic" while saying nothing about the Arab dictatorships that surround it. And if "Jews do not need a Jewish state," what would this writer propose be done with Jewish refugees from Hitler, from Russia, from Ethiopia, from persecution in Arab countries, and very possibly again from Europe as anti-Semitic incidents there continue to rise dramatically? By what criterion does a people "need" a state? Do Palestinians "need" a Palestinian state, given the existence of 22 Arab countries (which have treated them much worse than Israel treats Jewish refugees from Arab lands)? This writer's twisted logic is very common, and unfortunately betrays a different standard of judgment when it comes to Jews.

The article by Israel Shamir, which the Sanders print in full on their web site, is clearly not Jewish self-criticism. It is old-fashioned Christian anti-Semitism, which belongs to the past and should be buried in the past. This article is not a Jew writing to Jews. It is an anti-Semitic diatribe published on a Christian web site for a general audience. And it is shameful.

Why would any fair-minded person - or any established church - want to be associated with it?

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