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How Israel relies on Islamophobia

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In the latest edition of “Axis of Evil” politics Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued to the United Nations on September 29th that “Hamas is ISIS, ISIS is Hamas,” and that they are following the path blazed by Iran 35 years ago.

The Prime Minister in the process exposed the mutual relationship between Zionism and its crutch: Islamophobia.

What could a national resistance party in Gaza, an international jihadist organization in the northern Levant, and the state of Iran have in common? The Prime Minister would have you believe they all adhere to the same doctrine of militant Islam that is forever at war with the rational, liberal, ever-philanthropic West. Yet, with an accusation as inaccurate as George W. arguing that Iran and Iraq had anything in common other than a border, Netanyahu could only hope that the West heard “Muslim, Muslim, Muslim,” and jumped on its Crusading bandwagon.

Let’s be clear about the effects of Islamophobia: it dehumanizes. It ensures the lives of Muslims will not be valued equally to those of non-Muslims, especially the white ones. It allows President Obama to state to the New York Times that Israel was “scratched out of rock,” rather than colonized on the ruins of ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages.

We can thank Bill Maher for showing the world how this is not only a “conservative” problem. If a self-identifying liberal, an ideological beacon of tolerance, such as Maher can proclaim, “(Islamophobia) is not a real thing when we do it” and “it’s the only religion that acts like the mafia”; we officially have a cultural epidemic in the United States.

Islamophobia has permeated far beyond TV personalities spewing liberal exceptionalism when it comes to racism. In the eloquent words of Laura Durkay, the hit TV show “Homeland” is currently pitching its fourth season using “a blonde, white Red Riding Hood lost in a forest of faceless Muslim wolves.”

Excusing racist advertising as insignificant because it’s “just a TV show” protects the party not subjected to the discrimination from accusations of racism and bigotry. It promotes a subconscious level of consent that “this is indeed the world we live in,” ensuring the casual nod of approval when the same bigotry finds it’s way onto Boston subways:


Islamophobia homogenizes the Muslim world into a singular thinking-and-acting body with a nucleus of irrational militant Islam. Any peaceful, “liberalized” outliers remain on the cultural periphery, rather than the core. As a result, we are excused from distinguishing Hamas, ISIS, or Iran from one another because we’ve already predetermined their place in a homogenous body of Islamic-politick. Forget about context; don’t bother with history.

Israel relies on Western Islamophobic pretenses to further its foreign policy agenda in delegitimizing Palestinian grievance, leaving the occupied state’s colonization unquestioned. It dismisses responsibility for historical crimes committed against Palestinians such as ethnic cleansing, collective punishment, and apartheid because the victims of the crimes are either part of a homogenous group of radicalism or subhuman. If the Palestinians were a Euro-Christian people, we can rest assured the West wouldn’t have stood idly by as Israel dropped chemical weapons on Gaza in 2008 and bulldozed over 28,000 Palestinian homes since 1967.

Zionism needs the Western sympathizing countries to remain Islamophobic. Despite Netanyahu’s plea that “it’s not Islam. Its militant Islam,” his country continues to benefit from the proliferation of the doctrine. As long as Israel floats in its “sea of red-Arab Muslim terror” (see above), it will remain in perpetual victimhood while simultaneously being a colonial-occupying power in Palestine.

Paul Racco

Paul Racco is a freelance writer and co-founder of the UMass Students for Justice in Palestine. You can find his writings at

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34 Responses

  1. just on October 15, 2014, 12:37 pm

    Well done!

    The Islamophobic rantings of so many and the ‘GWOT’ were crafted by the real ‘evildoers’. Bereft of facts and history, it was put forward and nourished– by PNACians and MICians and fed to a largely ignorant and bigoted public that was hell- bent on revenge.

  2. oldgeezer on October 15, 2014, 1:23 pm

    I don’t think Israel alone has responsibility for Islamophia although it certainly constantly stokes the fires. I think as the final paragraph suggests there were, and are, other culprits in this crime (that’s what it is).

    The degree to which this is pushed and promoted is part of what worries me the most about the I/P conflict. It’s not the singular issue but one of the main ones.

    We have a first world state, with a first world military, where government and religious leaders open call for ethnic cleansing or genocide.

    Anyone who thinks that they won’t do that haven’t been paying attention. We are permitting the same conditions to arise that existed during WW II.

    It is evil in the true sense of the word. There is no moral difference between Israel and Hamas. Israel has the capacity and Hamas does not.

    • annie on October 15, 2014, 1:55 pm

      old geezer, is it arguable whether israel qualifies as a ” first world state”?

      • just on October 15, 2014, 2:04 pm

        good point Annie.

      • oldgeezer on October 15, 2014, 2:10 pm

        Oh man that’s a mine field, Annie. In terms of it’s economy, education, military I would say it’s first world state. Certainly when we look at third world states as a comparison.

        I don’t think it’s either a western state or a democracy. It has more in common with tribal culture. A mix between ethnocracy and theocracy with some democratic features for the privileged few.

        So bottom line, sure it’s arguable as it would depend on your goal posts. Calling it a third world state seems far from apprpropriate though basket case might suit.

      • Mooser on October 15, 2014, 4:29 pm

        “In terms of it’s economy, education, military I would say it’s first world state.”

        A first-world state that can’t support its own military, and can’t define its borders? That ian’t ‘fust-cless’ where I come from.

      • oldgeezer on October 15, 2014, 5:50 pm

        As I look around at western nations and their budget deficits I come to the realization that there are no first class states!

        On a more serious question… Does anyone have a detailed knowledge of the Israeli budget? I wonder if they could afford their military if they weren’t always so actively using it to invade other states and if they weren’t putting so much time and effort in the illegal settlements. And the latter part includes the idf, not only to undertake the theft but to protect the criminals and stolen goods.

    • on October 15, 2014, 2:18 pm

      How can Hamas be considered evil? They have the absolute right to resist occupation and oppression by any means.

      As far as Islamaphobia , I agree, it’s not all due to Israel. Well not directly. It has primarily been created by Americans loyal to Israel

      • oldgeezer on October 15, 2014, 2:52 pm

        I agree that they have the absolute right to resist by (just about) any means. I can think of a number of means I wouldn’t support but generally speaking.

        There are a number of things that Hamas does that puts them into the evil category for me. And some of things have nothing to do with Israel but how they deal with those they see as opponents amongst the Palestinian people. I’m not referring to collaborators either. Summary execution during a battle is not that unusual in the history of warfare.

        You may feel differently but I don’t see them as the good guys. They do hold higher moral ground than Israel. But they aren’t good guys. There are not enough good guys on either side unfortunately. At least not with power.

      • catporn on October 15, 2014, 8:05 pm

        Turns out resistance doesn’t qualify as resistance when they’re resisting an ally of your countries government, instead they get demoted to terrorists.
        One of the better things about Reuters is they recognize this and never use the word terrorist.
        Whereas, according to Maher, you only have to be a Muslim to qualify as a terrorist, allies don’t even come into it.
        Living in a world where whole swathes of people can be neatly assigned extreme traits based on religion or ethnicity must be nice, ordered, I can see the appeal, but I suppose you’ve gotta be able to ignore the facts to get the full on delusion.

      • catporn on October 15, 2014, 8:21 pm

        Btw, OT, the second part of Tell Me a Story with a Happy Ending, Part II is out, Sayed Kashua and Etgar Keret are both writers and Israelis, Arab and Jew respectively, emailing each other after Sayed and family fled to the America this summer it’s nice despite the grim nature of the situation.

      • just on October 15, 2014, 11:24 pm

        catporn– thanks for that.

        it’s important, imho.

      • RoHa on October 15, 2014, 11:40 pm

        “you only have to be a Muslim to qualify as a terrorist”

        In Britain you only have to doubt what Cameron tells you.

      • on October 16, 2014, 8:26 am

        “There are a number of things that Hamas does that puts them into the evil category for me ”

        Such as?

        I can see all the horrific things Israel does every day due to their occupation of the Palestinians. But I am unaware of what Hamas is doing. All I get from the mainstream media is constant references to how evil they are — but never any detail.

      • just on October 16, 2014, 11:57 am


        Thanks Giles.

        (add to that they are much more than an armed entity of resistance, but one never gets to hear about that……)

  3. Kay24 on October 15, 2014, 1:32 pm

    Paul Racco is absolutely right. Israel does not only benefit BIG TIME by Islamaphobia, but plays a big part spreading it. I have seen so many comments by hasbara gnats on website, attacking Islam, lying about what the Koran says, insulting the Prophet, and then spewing the zionist message at the same time. Islamaphobes like Geller and Geert Wilders (Wilders lived in Israel for two years during his youth and has visited the country 40 times in the last 25 years.[108] wiki) have strong pro Israeli feelings, and millions of dollars have been poured in for anti Islamic campaigns, so it would be interesting to know just who their puppet masters are.

    Israel must turn world (especially US) opinion against Muslims, Islam and even Arabs, so that they can justify their violence, occupation, and illegal settlements. There must be the impression that Israel lives under an existential danger, and that danger from Muslims around them, to keep the aid and weapons coming.

    That ad is yet another example of how deceptive they can be, it is the usual “we are victims of those around us (yet fails to mention last time they slaughter over 2000 of those Muslims) that is why we keep doing what we are doing”. Bill Maher and other mindless Hollywood types know that they have to keep the charade going, or else they will not get their contracts. It is all connected here. The US and Israel keeps stirring hornet nests, prodding it, arming it, and then when hell breaks loose turns around and says it is because of Islam. The extremist Muslims helped their cause by behaving violently, and stupidly doing Israel, and it’s apologists, the biggest favor, and giving the Islamaphobes more ammo to spread their propaganda.

    There are anti Muslim attacks in Southeast Asia, in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, resulting in hundreds of Muslims being killed, and their businesses attacked, especially in Myanmar, started by lies and anti Islamic propaganda, setting majority Buddhists against minority Muslims and there are accusations that Western nations are behind it, Israel being one of the culprits.
    Who knows what the master plan may be if this is indeed true.

  4. Maximus Decimus Meridius on October 15, 2014, 1:50 pm

    As the wonderful David Hirst has pointed out, Israel, while touting the propaganda line of the Arab and Muslim world as one indistinguishable seething mass of humanity (assuming they think of Arabs as human at all) acts in precisely the opposite fashion in reality. Israel has always seen it as a priority to exploit the rivalries between different Arab and Muslim groups, and has supported every single secessionist movement in the greater Middle East, from the post-US invasion breakdown of Iraq, to the George Clooney Republic of South Sudan. As so often, Israel clearly does not believe its own propaganda.

    • oldgeezer on October 15, 2014, 3:06 pm

      If you listen to the words of Israeli cabinet members then there’s no doubt that they consider Arabs to be nonhuman. Leiberman and others make no attempt to hide that in their remarks.

  5. oldgeezer on October 15, 2014, 2:26 pm

    I do believe there can, and will, be unintended consequences for those zionists pushing Islamophobia. There is anecdotal evidence of that in UK message boards. Over the past couple of years there have been stories dealing with circumcision as well as the halal method of butchering animals.

    The usual zionist suspects were all over these stories railing against ‘the other’ when much to their horror the focus of the site’s readers became not just Islam and halal but Jewish circumcision and kosher butchering requirements.

    Watching them trying to justify that there’s a difference was amusing.

    The demonizing of others may well result in a lot of intentional blowback against themselves. Of course if that causes Jewish people to flee to Israel I guess that also furthers other ends.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on October 15, 2014, 5:57 pm

      I honestly think that male genital mutilation – aka infant circumcision – would have been outlawed in most Western countries years ago, just like FGM is, if it were only practiced by Muslims. The fact that it’s also done by Jews means that nobody wants to be perceived as ‘anti-semitic’ and so will not raise their voices against it.

      • just on October 16, 2014, 2:47 pm

        I do believe that you have a point, MDM.

        (no pun intended)

  6. just on October 15, 2014, 2:35 pm

    (the picture up top is so obnoxious!)

    If they wanted a picture of a ‘blonde’, they could /should have used this one:

    • a blah chick on October 15, 2014, 4:13 pm

      Can you believe it!? I just saw a promo for yet ANOTHER network series starring a pretty blonde female who is a CIA dudette. From what I saw she was trying to save another innocent American male from the clutches of a bunch of turban wearing miscreants.

      So, we’ve got this show, the one with Tea Leone and Homeland. Do I detect a pattern?

      • just on October 15, 2014, 4:49 pm

        It’s been a pattern for far too long.

        (she wasn’t blonde, but sally field and the movie ‘not without my dtr’ was one of the first, iirc)

      • jimby on October 15, 2014, 10:35 pm

        you can take the Islamaphobia all the way back to at least Rudolph Valentino in the Sheik of Araby.

    • tear-stained uzi on October 16, 2014, 5:49 am

      Much better, just. A truly beautiful person!

  7. ivri on October 15, 2014, 3:57 pm

    For a long time Israel had nothing to do with anti-Islam attitudes – if anything it opposed it. So did also Jews abroad, given inherent liberal traditions and a special sensitivity for bigotry. However, at some point the Palestinian issue went global (in a general globalized environment) and Arab (or Muslim) groups, sometimes whole communities, in countries where they are of meaningful presence, have adopted fierce anti-Israel attitudes, including active and violent BDS-related acts. With time this has led also to anti-Jewish acts, even violence, due to a perception that Jewish communities are supportive of Israel, and like in the Middle-East (the origins of it all) this has had its consequences.

    • annie on October 16, 2014, 11:41 am

      However, at some point the Palestinian issue went global (in a general globalized environment) and Arab (or Muslim) groups, sometimes whole communities, in countries where they are of meaningful presence, have adopted fierce anti-Israel attitudes, including active and violent BDS-related acts.

      violent BDS-related acts are very rare so i am ignoring that. addressing the rest of your comment. the Palestinian issue has gone global “(in a general globalized environment) and …. groups, sometimes whole communities, in countries where they are of meaningful presence, have adopted fierce anti-Israel attitudes”

      so why are you singling out “Arab (or Muslim) groups” as a justification or rationale for islamophobia? clearly there’s ample evidence from the recent church divestment of strong resistance to occupation. and there is also ample evidence of non religious communities who are fed up w/israel.

      it seems to me as tho you are missing the point of the argument being made, or willfully evading it.

      • ivri on October 16, 2014, 1:23 pm

        Annie: Why are you singling out “Arabs (or Muslim) groups”
        I know Muslims are not the only group in it but they seem to be a very big part of the anti-Israel action in West Europe – e.g. in vandalizing shops that sell Kosher Israeli products, disrupting Israeli lecturers or pro-Israel lectures or cultural activities. Moreover, the extension of that to anti-Jewish acts is exclusively Muslim/Arab originated because since the Holocaust the indigenous European population don`t want to be involved anymore with that for clear reasons.

      • annie on October 16, 2014, 3:04 pm

        anti-Israel action in West Europe – e.g. in vandalizing shops that sell Kosher Israeli products, disrupting Israeli lecturers or pro-Israel lectures or cultural activities.

        ivri, the vast majority or what you reference as “anti israel action” which i presume would include BDS actions in europe which include everything from lobbying unilever to pull out of the settlements and labeling settlement food products etc etc are not carried out by ‘arab or muslim groups’. the amount of ‘vandalizing’ going on in europe is relatively minuscule when compared to the amount of people protesting israeli apartheid and the amount of arabs or muslims carrying out violent actions against israel in relation to the amount of arabs or muslims who resist or abhor israelis apartheid/occupation is also minuscule.

        there’s simply no evidence arabs or muslims in europe make up the vast majority of those who protest israel. not in the US, the UK, germany, sweden or anywhere in europe.

        islamophobia is promoted by israel supporters to counter the negative opinion towards zionism. they are the low hanging fruit/targets in societies all across europe who roundly reject israel’s actions. it’s unfair and racist to single out arabs and muslims when european sentiment towards israel is tanking everywhere.

        since the Holocaust the indigenous European population don`t want to be involved anymore with that for clear reasons.

        what planet are you on? did you open that link i provided in my last comment? look at sweden and the UK (dublin!) and amsterdam. there are plenty “indigenous European population” protesting israel. they show no reluctance. you can’t blame that participation of arabs and muslims.

        and look what the jdl types in paris did to tar that huge protest. you can’t blame that on ‘arabs and muslims’.

        this is brussels. watch it enlarged on youtube and look at the faces. this is not a result of ‘arabs and muslims’ although they are definitely in attendance. lots of “indigenous European”:

  8. fayez chergui on October 16, 2014, 8:18 am

    Hamas is ISIS, ISIS is Hamas, and Zionisme is both

  9. Faisal on October 16, 2014, 9:06 am

    Few of the reasons I abominate the Jewish State of Israel in the Levant (JSIL)

    I) This “Massachusetts” with all its sectarian cleansing, apartheid and settler-colonialism could become larger; doing away with it is the ultimate priority of the utmost urgency

    II) The map omitted Comoros as usual

    III) South Sudan “gained” statehood largely due to JSIL help throught the Sudanese civil wars (which gives you an idea about how concerned JSIL is about Arab unity and well-being)

    IV) Jordan – the beloved British construct – and Lebanon are included despite being chummy with the lousy entity (being lousy entities themselves) from the start; many of the Lebanese suffer from genetic superiority disorders and contempt for Arabness; consider themselves “Phoenician” as a result of belief in mythologized history and adherence to one of the most revulsive of nationalisms; which largely explains the infamous Lebanese affinity and collaboration with JSIL (Lebanese sectarianism was fomented by the Ottomans then codified into law by colonial France i.e Maronite socioeconomic and political supremacy)

    V) Arab countries simply can’t prosper with the Sahyoni – Zionist in Arabic – entity among us; co-opting with the Western clientele and colonial implants that we languish under. So put up all the subway ads you want; still I won’t abominate JSIL one jot less.

  10. Tinakang on September 2, 2016, 9:29 am

    ……………… The Israeli must build the wall to hide their shameful atrocious face.. ..They don’t want to be embarrassed so they point their blood stained fingers accusing whomever they can. ..and brutally stop journalists and all who would document and expose them. They Don’t Want to be Seen. …Soon the illegal European colony #Israel will join it’s ideological cohort apartheid south Africa in the trash bin of history.

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