Global leader in Jew-hate

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS -

com­pa­tri­ots’ of­ten zeal­ous co­op­er­a­tion with Nazi oc­cu­piers.

Racism never con­sists of iso­lated acts. It is a glass wall that cracks only when it is pub­licly named. The so­called “in­ter­na­tion­al­ist” Soviet “an­tiracism” strat­egy, how­ever, was to pro­claim dis­crim­i­na­tion a West­ern phe­nom­e­non. One “couldn’t find it” un­der so­cial­ism — not least, of course, be­cause of the manda­tory si­lences sur­round­ing it.

Sev­eral states lib­er­ated from Soviet rule con­tinue to wit­ness fright­en­ing an­tisemitism. Poland or Hungary cer­tainly main­tain com­mem­o­ra­tive sites un­think­able un­der Soviet rule. Be­yond those tourist out­posts, how­ever, the ghost of en­forced ig­no­rance looms large.

Even tip­toe­ing around the theme risks the la­bel of na­tional traitor: “Why are you smear­ing us? Why talk only about Jews? We’ve suf­fered too!” That “we” en­trenches the age-old sus­pi­cion that Pol­ish Jews were never “real” Poles, Hun­gar­ian Jews never “real” Hun­gar­i­ans, Rus­sian Jews never “real” Rus­sians.

The for­mer Ro­ma­nian Se­cu­ri­tate of­fi­cial Ion Pa­cepa doc­u­ments how the KGB spot­ted Mus­lims’ anti-Is­rael an­i­mus as a golden op­por­tu­nity. The Krem­lin viewed Mus­lims as ig­no­rant and mal­leable — a spec­tac­u­lar Ori­en­tal­is­ing, which the most ar­dent of our self-ap­pointed anti-Ori­en­tal­ists to­day stu­diously ig­nore.

The Se­cret Po­lice chief and later Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Yuri An­dropov un­der­took a pro­gramme of spread­ing an­tisemitic pro­pa­ganda through­out Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions. Sud­denly the Pro­to­cols were newly minted in Ara­bic (its terms trans­lated ver­ba­tim into the 1988 Ha­mas Char­ter), and later dis­played for sale as far away as the main air­port in Malaysia.

In An­dropov’s view: We needed to in­stil a Nazi-style ha­tred for the Jews through­out the Is­lamic world, and to turn this weapon of the emo­tions into a ter­ror­ist blood­bath against Is­rael.

The Pro­to­cols still widely cir­cu­late in Mus­lim coun­tries with no con­certed ob­jec­tions from sup­posed anti-racists who as­sure us they care about an­tisemitism. (Crit­ics who shout about Zion­ist “im­pe­ri­al­ism” and “cul­tural geno­cide” rarely speak of the far more mas­sive de­struc­tion, through­out cen­turies, of prior cul­tures wrought by the spread of Rus­sian power and of Is­lam. In­deed they of­ten praise those.)

Of course, some Nazi con­tri­bu­tions kick in there as well. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem had ea­gerly sought anti-Jewish co­op­er­a­tion with Nazis. Once again, how­ever, it was Sovi­ets who sub­se­quently moved in to fuel that ha­tred within the wider Mus­lim world.

With pub­lic dis­course about an­tisemitism all but ex­tin­guished un­der the Soviet ma­chine, which then tried its hand at Mus­lim an­tisemitism, a third, eas­ily re­cep­tive tar­get was West­ern left­ist and post-colo­nial cir­cles in West­ern Europe, North and Latin Amer­ica, and parts of Africa, with ea­ger ex­po­nents in academia.

Af­ter decades, one can still scour schol­ar­ship crit­i­cal of Is­rael, steeped in thou­sands of pages of self-pro­claimed “crit­i­cal” con­scious­ness of im­pe­ri­al­ism, with scarcely a word of it ex­am­in­ing the ob­sta­cles cre­ated by a Rus­sian coun­ter­weight that had pumped such venom into the Mus­lim world.

Not as a mat­ter of schol­arly fact but as a mat­ter of po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy, the only aca­dem­i­cally dis­cuss­able im­pe­ri­al­ism to­day is West­ern im­pe­ri­al­ism.

All oth­ers ei­ther re­main con­signed to clois­tered cir­cles of spe­cial­ists, or must carry “the West is just as bad” caveats so weighty as to end up wholly sidelin­ing Russia’s role in ag­gra­vat­ing the Is­rael-Pales­tine con­flict.

To this day, there re­mains a de­sire to view an­tisemitism on the left as, at best, purely in­ci­den­tal or, at worst, a lie en­gi­neered by Zion­ists.

Sys­temic an­tisemitism overtly pro­moted by the gov­ern­ments of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Ni­colás Maduro, for ex­am­ple, has never met with se­ri­ous left­ist con­dem­na­tion.

To­day, Vladimir Putin’s hot-and­cold ap­proach serves more to carry for­ward Russia’s old im­pe­rial strate­gis­ing than to al­ter it.

Plug terms like “racism”, “dis­crim­i­na­tion”, or “an­tisemitism” into Russia To­day or Sput­nik In­ter­na­tional search en­gines. As in Soviet times, you will find avid re­port­ing on the West, with­out a sin­gle men­tion of Russia’s own par­lous his­tory.

A global age has bol­stered global an­tisemitism. Russia is by no means its sole bro­ker — its agents are mul­ti­ple. If we have to rank them, how­ever, the Rus­sian state took a clear lead a long time ago. Un­til the Rus­sian me­dia and pub­lic self-crit­i­cally ex­am­ine the state’s role in sow­ing an­tisemitism, its ef­fects will carry on.

Eric Heize is Pro­fes­sor of Law at Queen Mary Univer­sity of Lon­don. His most re­cent book is ‘Hate Speech and Demo­cratic Ci­ti­zen­ship’ (Ox­ford Univer­sity Press, 2016)

Russia has pumped venom into the Mus­lim world

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

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