Needed: A law against Judeophobia
By GUSTAVO D. PEREDNIK
The time is ripe to declare acts against Jews illegal and to defend ourselves from Judeophobia.
Last week a neo-Nazi was convicted in Israel. This is good and inadequate.
This month a Tel Aviv court condemned Dmitri Bogotich, 24, to almost six years in prison. He was the ringleader of a gang calling itself "Patrol 36," which assaulted several people in Petah Tikva under Nazi slogans.
Bogotich was flown back to Israel after fleeing to Kyrgistan, while the other youths involved were jailed after their arrest in 2007. The prosecution considered their bigotry, their violence and their "racist" motivation, but was unable to indict the group under the terms of a formal law against Judeophobia because such a law still doesn't exist.
In some countries Judeophobia is lumped together with racism and xenophobia as an aggravating circumstance for hate crime. But Judeophobia is a different type of hatred that deserves a more precise legal definition. Judeophobia stands out because Jews are neither foreigners nor a separate race, and mainly because, rather than a breed of discrimination, Judeophobia's essence is the demonization of an entire group.
Judeophobia is a unique hatred for several reasons. Firstly, Jews don't need to be present for Judeophobia to exist. Even in countries where there have been no Jews for generations, Jews are still accused of being the lords of the world, Christ-killers or a virus.
So wild and vast is the Judeophobic mythology that it can always nourish excuses for cruelty. It is indeed the longest-lasting, most relentless, obsessive and universal of all hatreds. The fact that it is very convenient to resort to it lures demagogues to use it at any time and keeps it alive almost everywhere.
In its current incarnation, Judeophobia focuses less on the religion of the Jew or on his individual rights, but rather on Israel, making the Jewish state the Jew of nations.
While the National Socialists certainly used racist terminology to provide their brutality with an aura of rationality, in truth the Nazis weren't real racists.
Despite their rhetoric about Aryan superiority, they also joined forces with supposedly inferior races like Italians and Japanese for their fight against the Scandinavians and British. Nazi "ideology" considered both of these latter groups "superior."
Furthermore, "wer Jude ist, bestimme ich" ruled Goering when his aid Erhard Milch happened to disclose Jewish ancestors.
"I decide who is a Jew."
To label Nazism as "racist" is to misunderstand the object of their frantic cruelty.
Since it is the most convenient channel for hatred, Judeophobia can utilize both racism and religious fanaticism, but that isn't where the roots of the phenomenon are.
TO COMBAT this singular and lethal malady, we must promote specific legislation to chastise Judeophobia in all its forms, from Christian and Islamist vilification to neo-Nazism and the Nakba narrative.
No other body is better suited than the state of the Jews to pass such legislation.
A global law against Judeophobia (LAJ) would enable the State of Israel to penalize the enemies of the Jews with disinvestment, fines and the denial of citizenship.
The law would put into legal terms the self-defense of the Jewish state, and it might eventually become one more of its Jewish traits, like the observance of the Hebrew calendar, the Law of Return, the Hebrew language, the Maccabi Games, the network of yeshivot, the menorah and other symbols of the state.
The LAJ has an advantage over the March 2011 law that would withhold subsidies from organizations that brand the formation of the State of Israel a tragedy, the so-called "Nakba law."
The LAJ would be broader in scope, encompassing the Nakba together with Holocaust denial, blood libels and other types of vilification. Once Israel enacts such a law, other countries might well follow to provide their legal systems with adequate tools to counter Judeophobia.
Opponents of the "Nakba Law" questioned it because they said it limits freedom of expression. The LAJ's aim will be to prevent the phenomenon of Jew-hatred, with the Nakba narrative included as only one of its clauses.
The only Nakba that befell the Arabs in 1948 was their leaders' refusal to live in peace with the Jewish state. This Nakba persists today together with several other Nakbas that Arab peoples suffer: tyranny, tendency to violence, misogyny and a proclivity to destroy their neighbor instead of building themselves.
The Nakba narrative is oblivious of all the real Nakbas, disasters that have kept the Arabs in stagnation and violence, and its obsessive claim that the source of Palestinian suffering is the Jewish state echoes classical prejudices against the Jews.
The Jewish state is the only country whose birthday is mourned every year, by Palestinian groups as well as by several UN Agencies which mark the date with hypocritical and hateful ceremonies. "Die Juden sind unser Unglück," the Jews are our misfortune, became "The Jewish state is our Nakba."
Judeophobic mythology is preserved almost intact: yesterday we drank the blood of Christian children, today we spill the blood of Palestinian children; yesterday the Jewish religion was vengeful, thus is the Jewish state today. The slanders never fade: Zionism is imperialism without an empire, Israel is an apartheid state without races, the IDF is too aggressive every time it defends its citizens.
The Nakba narrative and its ceremonies started around 20 years ago and succeeded in spreading the false anti-Zionist account of the Middle East, according to which we are evil and the Palestinian people existed before the 20th century.
This distortion serves to justify every condemnation of our country, such as the recent Russell Tribunal in South Africa in which racists from different countries come togetherto condemn Israeli "racism."
The time is ripe to declare them illegal and to defend ourselves from Judeophobia.
A law is needed that will delegitimize haters and Nakbas in their various disguises.
The writer is author of Judeophobia and is trying to re-introduce that term as an alternative to the ambiguous phrase "anti- Semitism."