© 2016 by SAG - Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation

February 22, 2017 - Anti-Zionism as Total Propaganda War

“Delegitimization”, writes Manfred Gerstenfeld, in his 2015 work The War of a Million Cuts – now re-issued without charge as a download – is “total propaganda war against Jews and Israelis.” Yet this total war does not emanate from any single source, instead from “a huge number of relatively small ones…sometimes co-ordinated by perpetrators, yet also often not.”

 

For all its multifarious sources, the weapons used by Israel’s antagonists in “the war’s extreme form, can be reduced to the use of a single core motif: the Jews and Israel are the paradigm of all evil….not only evil in what they do, but in their very existence.”

 

In the course of the book’s more than 400 pages, the author systematically and thoroughly analyzes the strategy and tactics being used against Israel. Subtitled The Struggle Against the Delegitmization of Israel and the Jews, and the Growth of the New Anti-Semitism, the book also offers ways of fighting back.

 

Gerstenfeld, responsible – as author and as editor – of more than a score of books on themes relating to Jews, anti-Semitism, and Israel, describes what is in some ways a new kind of conflict, but in other ways an ancient one. He analyzes the various manifestations of the demonization of Jews over the centuries, noting changes in degree and nature of “classic anti-Semitism,” from ancient times until its culmination in the Holocaust.

After the Second World War, at least in the West, that traditional anti-Semitism was suppressed, although Gerstenfeld warns that it has re-emerged in the 21st century. But, in the interim, a new anti-Semitism was established on the remaining structure of the old one, but using new technologies to spread its message instantly and everywhere. This new iteration of an old hatred is directed not mainly at Jews as individuals, or as a race or religion, but at the Jewish state. It is also therefore known as “anti-Zionism” and “anti-Israelism.”

The propaganda war of the new anti-Semitism, Gerstenfeld writes, makes use of “lies, evil accusations, false arguments, calls for anti-Israeli action, and committing discriminatory acts. It also employs many other means to indirectly defame the Jews and Israel…This includes the neglect or belittling of major criminal acts by their enemies.” It is literally a war, being waged alongside the military and terrorist conflicts, and – more recently cyberattacks – from which Israel has had to defend itself.

For Gerstenfeld “the main sources of hatred of Israel and the Jews can be found in Arab and several Muslim countries,” where it is common to encounter “Holocaust inversion” (comparisons between Israel and the Nazis), along with Holocaust denial and other slanders. Europe, another hotspot, comes a distant second in his view, and he attributes a rise in European anti-Semitism to Muslim immigration.

Accordingly, there are separate chapters in the book on Muslim anti-Semitism in the Islamic world and in the West; chapters on Roman Catholics and on Protestants; and one that deals with Jews, including Israelis.  There is a chapter on schools -- where textbooks full of distortions and outright lies, harassment of students and teachers, and even incidents of violence are described -- and one on universities. There is a chapter on “lawfare,” a parallel system of hostile interpretations of laws developed specifically to attack one country alone. Another discusses the United Nations and its various agencies, with their constant stream of anti-Israel resolutions, reports, and activities.

Israel has prevailed over its enemies in a number of wars where its survival has been at stake. Yet, on the propaganda battlefield, where the threat is perhaps no less serious, it has never put up a real fight. The final chapter and conclusion provide a detailed plan for how Israel and Jews can fully engage in this “unprecedented” conflict. Resolving to defend Israel from this threat may come decades too late, but, as with all the country’s wars, there is no alternative.

The War of a Million Cuts can be downloaded from the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, at

http://jcpa.org/book/the-war-of-a-million-cuts-the-struggle-against-the-delegitimization-of-israel-and-the-jews-and-the-growth-of-new-anti-semitism/. The book is available at Amazon and other book sellers.

The War of a Million Cuts by Manfred Gerstenfeld: Anti-Zionism as Total Propaganda War

Reviewed by Julian Zuckerbrot