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‘Anti-Semitism’ vs. ‘Islamophobia’: How language creates hierarchies of discrimination and whitewashes bigotry

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From the ivory towers of academic knowledge production to the lowlands of cracker-barrel Stammtisch-culture, tactical language is omnipresent in everyday political discourse, employing certain symbols and ciphers designed to obscure bitter realities under the smoke-screen of sweet euphemization. The controlled natural language of Newspeak from George Orwell’s spot-on dystopia 1984 for instance is an  – albeit extreme – example of how language manipulation is a key modus operandi for the powers that be in stifling critical thought and thus consolidating their grip on potentially subversive populaces.

Let’s talk semantics

One such example of strategic linguistic flexibility, taken straight from our fiction-turned-fact and prophesy-fulfilled Orwellian times: someone who hates Jews is known as an “anti-Semite”, but someone who hates Muslims is merely an “Islamophobe”, a person afraid of Islam?

With a suffix borrowed from medical jargon and pinned to the name of a religious denomination, the latter term seems lackadaisically artificial and somehow comes off as rather less harmful than any compound word with the threatening prefix anti preceding its root (as a kid I always thought antipasti was Italian for “someone who hates pasta”, regardless of the fact that the language of a country in which the staple food is pasta would most probably not have a word for hating it in its vocabulary).

So my question is: why is an anti-Semite not called a “Semitophobe?” And an Islamophobe not an “anti-Muslim?” And what is that even supposed to mean, “afraid of Islam?” As if the organized heterogeneous beliefs of 1.8 billion people were a Freddy Krueger-like serial killer coming to murder you in your sleep.

From a linguistic standpoint, the semantic insinuation made here by these different linguistic ways of describing different kinds of anti-religious bigotry is that there are normative hierarchies of racism, arbitrarily determined by white people of the European ancestral persuasion, the inventors of the concept of race, the sole shaky foundation upon which they have  -  with mind-boggling success  -  built their whole enterprise of divinely-ordained racism and profit-based subjugation of darker-skinned peoples better known as Colonialism.

As a result, this would suggest that within Western discourse it is regarded more serious to hate Jews than to hate Muslims. What at first glance might seem like a linguistic mishap is in fact a bellwether of the dominant discursive mood in society and therefore fiercely political, ultimately pitting two faiths that share the same core tenets against each other by attributing hierarchical value to them through different qualitative terms for one and the same thing: namely racism against a minority group.

This method of value-added double-standardizing also has implications for the question of culpability: by calling one bigot an anti-Semite and the other merely an Islamophobe, the latter is over-proportionately humanized, his hate of Islam thereby rendered psychologically diagnosable, treatable and therefore exculpable, whereas the anti-Semite is regarded as the human version of a failed rogue state, a lost cause, afforded not with the patience of inspection, but with the haughtiest of indignations, worthy only of the reflex of socially consensual pre-judgement and enmity.

Where the anti-Semite is by definition dangerous, a term like Islamophobe makes the Muslim-hater seem rather timid, implying that he is not a source of danger, but a victim, merely reacting to an exogenous bogeyman, and understandably with the most human of emotions which all of us have experienced at some point in our lives: fear.

This brand of hierarchical discrimination, selective downplaying and semantic antics also characterizes discourses of gender, sexuality and race: the man who hates women is not a women-hater, but is allowed to dwell in the luxury of a lofty term such as “misogynist”; the gay-hater is sanitized as a “homophobe”, and the racist whitewashed as a “xenophobe”, both monikers implying that there is some characteristic within homosexuals and foreigners that triggers legitimate fear in mainstream society, thus making the two somehow complicit in the crime of other people despising them.

The proactive faculties of the passive “xenophobe”

The term “xenophobia” is a case in point of yet another euphemism deployed in discourses on race and immigration, obscuring the severity of the scourge it is meant to describe. Broken down to its key components, the adjoining of the lexeme “xeno” with the suffix “phobia” translates roughly into “fear of the strange, the foreign, the alien” which in my view is a pretty oxymoronic statement.

Yes, if something is unknown or alien to you, your involuntary response might be fear. That is a “natural” reaction (even though “natural” fears are socially conditioned as well). But it is when the naturalized psychological reflex of fear is causally entwined with the real-life active quality of hate as documented by ICE raids and send-her-back-chants and oh so many other Naziesque actions that one falls off the rickety suspension bridge of objectivity and logic and into the raging waters of politicized language.

For how is it even possible to equate fear with hate? Shouldn’t fear immobilize, induce passiveness? When you’re scared, shouldn’t your first reaction be to run away, to hide, to move away from the object of your fear?

Just like the Islamophobes, xenophobes don’t move away from the people they fear, but do the exact opposite by moving towards them: demonstrating in front of mosques-to-be-built, burning down houses of worship or community centers, verbally abusing members of ethnic or religious minorities, even attacking them physically and in many cases murdering them in countless hate crimes and exponentially rising white terrorist attacks.

And when all that violence doesn’t work, the oh so frightened xenophobe pulls up his sleeves and starts building walls, first around his own property, then lobbying politicians to do the same around national borders.

So for someone so allegedly chicken, the “xenophobe” exhibits an astounding degree of courage, zeal and pro-activeness of work-ethic, thus implying that either the level of fear cannot be that high when one is willing to put in so much dedication and effort in actively causing harm to other people, or that people suffering from the pseudo-medical condition of the “fear of the foreign/alien” are the most resilient, stoic, disciplined and daring SOBs to walk this earth.

To me it seems that the xenophobe’s alleged fear of the foreign is just a comfortable excuse to loathe it, outsourcing responsibility to the psychology of human “nature”, thus framing oneself innocent and allowing one to knowingly, willingly and responsibly hate with impunity.

The sociologist Alana Lentin wrote in her Beginners Guide to Racism that she “opposes the idea that racism, both today and in the past, is the result of a natural inclination of human beings to fear or hate others they consider different to them”, going on to characterize racism as “inherently political”, making racism not an involuntary reaction, but a deliberate, premeditated action, something that is simultaneously mindset and organizational tool, language being one of the many ways to put that tool to work.

Analyzing this, but not that

One of the most striking features in the theatrics of downplaying racism is the rhetorical tool of routinely euphemizing white mass-murders as “lone wolves” while dysphemizing Arab/Muslim mass-murderers as terrorists.

This has the net result of the former’s heinous crimes being partially (and in the case of white police officers in the US killing black people) fully reprieved on compassionate grounds (the white lone wolf as a troubled individual, or the unprovoked killing of an unarmed black person by a white police officer justified by the latter’s fear that person might have been armed), while the exact same crimes committed by Arabs/Muslims are spin-doctored to seem so outrageously inhuman that “crime” is no longer sufficient a word to describe something so disproportionately insulting as an inferior brown person having the audacity to kill a superior white one.

Non-whites are designated as inherently evil, therefore not deserving of the white privilege of alleged psychological problems and deep inquiry.

Academics, journalists, political commentators, etc., referred to by Noam Chomsky as the social class of the “intelligentsia”, spend countless hours bending over backwards in order to find the smallest, most elusive sliver of reason within the stone-cold hate of the hate-crime committing white “lone wolf”, as if engaged in a philosophical scavenger hunt with the theme “Why racists are not bad people.”

This luxury-brand of blanket protective custody is NEVER afforded to non-Western/non-white miscreants whose misdeeds don’t need to be examined psychologically, simply because they are perceived as genetic to the otherized ethnicity/culture/faith in question: Whether it was Soviet Russia or George W.’s “Axis of Evil”, whether it is the “Muslim” terrorist, the African-American “gang-banger” the “money-grabbing Jew”, Trump’s “Mexican rapist”: their “evil” is not only ethnically and culturally proscribed by white supremacist discourse, but also explained that way.

Furthermore, white European hegemony reserves for itself the exclusive right to define who is “evil” and who is not, resulting in such hair-raising satires like the US, to this day the only nation to ever have dropped atomic bombs on a foreign civilian population, having the audacity to forbid other nations from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Shaming, instead of sugar-coating

So how to dismantle this normative hierarchy of discrimination in Western discourses of racism? For starters, we should stop using a rather abstract term like “Islamophobia” and replace it with the concrete and relatable “anti-Muslim” in order to drive home the severity of “Islamophobe” bigotry affecting a rapidly growing demographic within Western societies.

And in a broader context: Instead of going on fault-finding missions into the deep nether-regions and undercurrents of the oh so innocent white hegemonic subconscious, it would be more conducive to discourse and civilizational development to stay above ground and start calling racism – including the ones against Jews and Muslims, a truly heinous ideology. Not a pseudo-medical condition, implied by a term like xenophobia, which can be socio-economically and psychologically explained away, but a disgraceful and despicable mentality one should blow the whistle on in order to blow its cover.

This paradigm shift from sugar-coating to self-realization and maybe even outright shaming would render the culture of divorcing will from deed annulled and bring responsibility for racist malfeasances back to the doorstep of the miscreant, instead of shoveling it off to every other blameable entity under the sun like is the tradition of Western discourses on race and religion.

There is a saying in German among left-leaning liberals and anti-fascists in my country: “Rassisten sind Arschlöcher. Überall.” Meaning: Racists are assholes, everywhere. Not xenophobes. Not anti-Semites. Not Islamophobes. Just your run-of-the-mill racist assholes.

Timo Al-Farooq

Timo Al-Farooq is a German freelance journalist from Berlin, currently based in London.

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34 Responses

  1. Eva Smagacz on August 22, 2019, 11:02 am

    Brilliant post.

    I often took on board that we appear to have Anti-Semites (always in capital letters, no less) and then common and garden variety racists (small letters), as if the odiousness of racism could be graded by some value distinction within ranks of it’s victims.

    I am therefore going forward with using words “Semitophobe” and “Anti- Muslim” to even up the relentless years of orvellian conditioning that makes former evil and latter almost understandable.

    • OakEH on August 24, 2019, 7:49 pm

      I prefer the phrases Jew-hatred and Muslim-hatred for a host of reasons, but it helps to remember that anti-semitism was a word coined by actual Jew-haters with the idea that it made their hatred sound more sophisticated, more consistent with the emerging race “science” of the time. The implication here is that the phrase arose out of greater concern about anti-Jewish bigotries than other bigotries, when this was most definitely not the case.

      • DaBakr on August 25, 2019, 2:01 am


        Totally agree. A semite does not, in fact, exist except as a people whose language was descended from semetic languages. Jew -hate and muslim-hate is much more appropriate for the current time. However, I do not think Muslim hatred became an issue until militant radical islamists started to vent their anger through violence committed against the west. I can not think of any time before either the ’93 or ’11 WTC and the USS Cole bombing when there was any general sentiment of anti Muslim attitudes especially in the US or EU. While hatred of jews stemmed from long running conspiracies and hoax the fear and subsequent hatred for muslims grew out of violence committed by the very few and then directed at the massive and non violent whole. In other words, the entomology of each is unique

      • Talkback on August 26, 2019, 6:30 am

        DaBakr: “However, I do not think Muslim hatred became an issue until militant radical islamists started to vent their anger through violence committed against the west.”

        Ok. Since you think that hatred towards Muslims is the result of the behaviour or attitudes of some Muslims towards non Muslims let’s think this through when it comes to Jewish behaviour tand attitudes towards Nonjews. But no, what follows is:

        DaBakr: “While hatred of jews stemmed from long running conspiracies and hoax …”

        Really? What about Jewish religious attitudes towards Nonjews in general and Christians in particular? What about Jews who exploited Nonjews to serve a Nonjewish elite through tax collection or money lending? What about Jewish slave trade or the Jewish mafia? What about the USS Liberty? What about the fact that between 1980 and 2005 there were more Jewish terrorist attacks on US soil than Muslim terrorist attacks according to the FBI? What about the five dancing Israelis and Netanyahu’s statement that 911 was good for Israel (which in his view is good for the Jews)? What about Jews bragging what’s under their control in the US? What about their overrepresentation in American politics and other fields? What about Zionism and its attitude, behaviour and policies towards Palestinians in the last 100 years?

        Do you think that non of this could lead to hatred towards Jews whether justified or not? Do you think that only Nonjews are able to act immoral towards others? Do you think that somehow hatred towards Muslims can be explained, but hatred towards Jews is only a Nonjewish mental disorder based on “conspiracies and hoax” as if Israeli atrocites and its genocidal polices against the Nonjews of Palestine don’t exist or can be justified? Do you actually think that Jews are more saint than Nonjews?

        I think that your comment is based on hatred of Nonjews in general and Palestinians in particular.

    • Misterioso on August 27, 2019, 12:19 pm

      Not precisely on topic, but an “on the money” must read:

      “Can Israel Really Serve as a Refuge?—An Analysis” (27 August 2019) by Professor Lawrence Davidson

      “Part I—Faulty Reasoning”

      “The other day my wife and I had a meal with the person who represents our local district in the House of Representatives. My wife had previously told the representative that we thought she was insufficiently progressive and that we disagreed with her recent vote to suppress the boycott Israel movement (BDS) here in the United States. Instead of never hearing from her again, she invited us out for lunch.

      “It turns out she is a quite pleasant, intelligent, liberal-minded person on almost all subjects. She is particularly worried about the security of the voting system—and that is certainly warranted. However, in the July 2019 vote to suppress the BDS, she tossed liberality to the winds, turned her back on freedom of speech, and went ‘PEP’— ‘progressive except for Palestine.’ We pointed out that repressing the right to advocate boycotts, a non-violent form of protest was the equivalent of suppressing part of the Constitution.

      “So, we asked, why did you do it? Her answer, at least in part, was because the Western world is full of anti-Semites—we could not determine how full is ‘full.’ Regardless, we pointed out that the BDS movement here in the U.S. is led by Jews, and thus hardly an anti-Semitic effort. She agreed but mistakenly worried that it was anti-Semitic in Europe. In any case, how would the suppression the boycott bill here help there? It wasn’t making sense to us.

      “However, that turned out to be beside the point. The world needed a place of Jewish refuge come the next attempted Holocaust. This assumed next Holocaust seems to be taken for granted. And so, Israel, such as it is, needs to be protected from the good intentions of those concerned with such things as international law and human rights. Our otherwise delightful representative is not alone in this outlook. I have certainly heard the argument before—a lot. I have heard it from Jewish, as well as gentile, friends, family, intellectuals, professionals—intelligent folks who, nonetheless, are here indulging in faulty circular reasoning. Here is how it goes:

      “—Fear of resurgent anti-Semitism causes these folks to insist on the preservation of Israel as a ‘Jewish state’ to serve as a refuge for Jews worldwide.

      “—Yet Israel, in its ideologically driven (Zionist) effort to create such a refuge, has made itself into an apartheid state. As such it treats non-Jews as subject people. Discrimination is rampant, the Gaza Strip is the world’s largest open air prison, Palestinian land is stolen and property destroyed on a daily basis on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

      “—This behavior on the part of Israel, the assumed refuge from anti-Semitism, has caused an increase in anti-Jewish sentiment throughout the Muslim world, and provided a context for indigenous Western ultra-nationalists who also harbor an anti-Semitic outlook, to go public with their anti-Jewish bigotry.

      “—The resulting increase in anti-Semitism makes more urgent the fear that demands the need for Israel as a safe haven.

      “This is flawed reasoning. In truth Israel is not a refuge from anti-Semitism, it is rather a generator of anti-Semitism. It is not really that place that Jews fantasize about in their worship, ‘next year in Jerusalem.’ It is rather a place that threatens the ethical and moral well-being of the Jewish people as a whole.

      “Part II—Eyewitness Testimony”

      “There is plenty of evidence that Israel is just such a negative place. But perhaps, like my congressional representative, you find that difficult to believe. Well, consider the recent observations of a couple of Israeli Jews who discuss the situation as insiders, and do so with eyes wide open.

      “On 12 June 2019 Amira Hass, who has served for 30 years as the Occupied Territories correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, gave an interview to Mari Cohen of Jewish Currents. Hass made the following points:

      “—’There will not be a two-state solution. ‘The current reality is … one state, which is an apartheid state. This means there are two separate laws: one for Palestinians and one for Israeli Jews. The Palestinian population is subdivided into groups and subgroups. … They’re disconnected from each other. … [This apartheid status has proved] sustainable because the world has accepted it. For Israel, this is the desired reality. …There is no desire on the part of Israel to reach a different reality.’

      “—In the diaspora, mainstream Jewish leaders ‘refuse to define these Israeli policies as a problem. It reminds me of Communists who refused to hear any criticism about the Soviet Union. … So anybody who dares criticize Israel is an antisemite, like Communists used to say, anybody who criticizes the Soviet Union is anti-Communist.’

      “—’Israel uses the Holocaust to justify everything it is doing to Palestinians. This is really the cheapening of the Holocaust. The cheapening of the memory of our grandparents who were murdered, when it [Israel] uses them to [justify] its own acts of oppression.’

      “It should be noted that Hass’s observation that ‘the world has accepted’ Israeli apartheid has multiple widespread repercussions. It means that ‘the world’ opens the door for all those others who are ultra-nationalists, racists, segregations, and the like to come out of the closet and start to agitate for similar political and social arrangements in their own countries. We have seen this in the U.S., in Miramar, in various Eastern European locales, and in India. No doubt the list will grow.

      “On 24 July 2019 Gershon Baskin, an Israeli political and social commentator who has ‘dedicated his life to the State of Israel and to peace between Israel and her neighbors,’ published a commentary in the Jerusalem Post. His subject was the broadcast video of the destruction by the Israeli army and police of ”thirteen [Palestinian] residential buildings … in the Wadi al-Hummus neighborhood of Sur Bahir in east Jerusalem.’

      “He states that ‘as I watched the video … I wanted to bury myself in shame. When the building imploded and the soldiers laughed as we heard the screams and cries from the Palestinians who became homeless, my shame turned to pure outrage and the urge to be violent. … What we did, what the State of Israel did, what we do in the name of the Jewish state is becoming pure evil.’

      “He states that the settlers and the government ‘continue to falsely claim and use [the] Oslo [Accords] as justification for the criminal policies of Israel of removing Palestinians from their homes, demolishing others, strangling their economy, closing roads to them, stealing Palestinian land, burning Palestinian crops, cutting down Palestinian olive trees, chasing shepherds from their land, bulldozing water wells and working toward erasing entire villages.’

      “He states, ‘WE HAVE [capitals are in the commentary] no shame. But wait, Palestinians can go to court – there is a system of justice, right? A system of justice run by a military government with military courts under military law is not a system of justice. A Palestinian has little chance of getting justice in an Israeli military court. But wait – what about Israel’s Supreme Court? The High Court of Justice? This is the same court that, back in 1967, decided that international law does not guide its judgments. This is the court that ‘legalized’ illegal settlement building. This is the court that legalized house demolitions. This is one of the examples that former chief justice Aharon Barak said that he struggles with – the decision to ‘legally’ remove families from their home and demolish it. This is called a war crime in international law.’

      “He concludes, ‘You can’t keep a military occupation of millions of people going on for years without becoming the essence of evil. That is what we have become and now we don’t even have shame in what we do.’

      “Part III—More Evidence”

      “The statements above are not mere opinions. They are accurate descriptions of reality. If one can get past Israel’s propaganda and a media in fear of the Zionists, and pay attention to the following sources, one can affirm the accuracy of the above descriptions:

      “For the historical background and lead-in to this on-going situation, see the many works of Ilan Pappe and Benny Morris.
      For the context of law and justice see Noura Erakat’s recent book, Justice for Some—Law and the Question of Palestine (Stanford University Press)
      On Gaza, see Norman Finkelstein’s meticulously documented Gaza—An Inquiry into Its Martyrdom (University of California Press)
      For the workings of the American Zionist lobby, see John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
      For learning about the day-to-day aspects of Palestinian life within an apartheid environment see the following on-line sources:

      —Palestine Updates,
      —If Americans knew,
      —U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights,
      —Electronic Intifada,
      —Americans for Middle East Understanding,
      —Palestine News from Al-Jazeera, https://

      “Part IV—Conclusion”

      “Within the modern context, Israel is an anachronism desperately, and with some seeming success, seeking to turn the clock back to a time when racism, segregation, discrimination, and indeed, imperialism and colonialism, were the Western legal, political, and social norms. To do so is the only way Israel can claim to be a ‘normal Western society.’ In this effort to make a more barbaric and immoral old world into today’s real world, Israel cannot possibly, rationally, qualify as a safe haven for anyone. Only fear can drive otherwise rational people to accept it as such. That is, fear of the same anti-Semitism which Israel itself has done so much to generate.”

      Lawrence Davidson
      [email protected]

      • Keith on August 27, 2019, 7:30 pm

        MISTERIOSO- (Quoting Prof Davidson)- “This assumed next Holocaust seems to be taken for granted.”

        Interesting how this works, isn’t it? First, World War II is completely ignored as if the Holocaust was somehow a big pogrom separate from a World War. And then US/Israel support for Ukrainian neo-Nazis and Al Qaeda terrorists doesn’t contribute to that which they fear. Zionism has evolved into a sort of fundamentalist religion where group-think is taken on faith.

  2. Peter in SF on August 23, 2019, 3:04 am

    This post reminds me of a MW post by Alice Rothchild last year
    where she writes about Mufti Amin al-Husseini:

    It is unclear how much of his political activities were grounded in Arab nationalism and anti-colonialism, and how much in anti-Semitism. The Arab nationalism and anti-colonialism are understandable responses to the British Empire and Jewish settlement in Palestine; the anti-Semitism is unforgivable.

    I called her out for that — if Jews literally take over your country while proclaiming that they’re doing so in order to benefit other Jews, isn’t it understandable that you’re going to hate Jews? — but it would sound kind of strange if instead of talking about an “anti”, she were talking about a “phobia” as being “unforgivable”.

    • Misterioso on August 23, 2019, 10:09 am

      @Peter in SF

      Well said!

      For the record:

      Alice Rothchild’s accusation that Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, was unforgivably anti-Semitic is rehashed Zionist disinformation.

      The Mufti was the spiritual leader of Palestinian Muslims during the 1920s and 30s. He was forced to take a stand against the massive British sanctioned immigration of Ashkenazi Jews (mainly from Poland and Russia at the time) whose intentions to drive out the native Palestinians and create an exclusivist Jewish state were well known. (Witness the fascistic ravings of the Polish Jew Vladimir Zeev Jabotinsky, a devotee of Moussilini.) At the same
      time the Zionist Brown Shirts (the Betar), egged on by the hateful and anti-Muslim/Arab rantings of Rabbi Kook were running around the country threatening to destroy the Dome of the Rock and demanding that Muslims surrender sovereignty over the Wailing Wall, which a British Board of Enquiry ruled they had administered fairly, (i.e. no restriction whatsoever on Jews to worship at) and had legal domain over. (One of the first things the Zionist Jewish interlopers did after the Mandate was instituted was to get rid of the native Arab/Palestinian community’s Chief Rabbi and replace him with a foreigner and dedicated Zionist. Native Palestinian Jews made up about 3% of Palestine’s population and were adamantly anti-Zionist and as officials with the Mandate soon learned, were perfectly happy to live side by side with their fellow Muslim, Christian and Druze Palestinians.

      The Grand Mufti was a key figure in organizing the Palestinian Great Rebellion (1936-39), primarily directed against British troops as officials with the Mandatory authority were permitting ever increasing numbers of foreign Jews to pour into the country while Zionist organizations abroad were pressuring governments in other countries to deny them access,

      Well aware of what the Yishuv (the immigrant Jewish community in Palestine) was discussing within its ranks, Palestinians no longer had any doubt that their ancient homeland (going back to the Canaanites) was under threat of being usurped by aliens with Britain’s connivance.

      The Great Rebellion was mercilessly crushed by the overwhelming force of the British army – Palestinians were virtually defenceless. About 200 British troops were killed and at least 15,000 Palestinians were killed. Relatively few Jews died.

      As a consequence, the Grand Mufti was put on Britain’s wanted list. He escaped to Egypt, but was soon tracked down and fled elsewhere in the Arab world, only to be further hounded. With no other place to go, he wound up in Berlin and following pressure by Hitler, in exchange for sanctuary, he encouraged Bosnian Muslims to join up with the Germans. In the end, however, his efforts on behalf of the Third Reich were so inconsequential that he was not even considered for indictment at Nuremburg. He passed away of old age in the early 1960s in Beirut.

      BTW: After WWII, a memorandum dated January 11, 1941, was discovered in Ankara. Prepared by the German Naval Attaché in Turkey, it revealed that Naftali Lubentschik, a representative of the Stern Gang (one of the Yishuv’s terrorist organizations) led by Avraham Stern, had met with German Nazis, Otto Von Hentig and Rudolph Rosen in Vichy controlled Beirut and proposed that in exchange for military aid and freedom to recruit European Jews for Palestine, the Sternists were prepared “…to take an active part in the war on Germany’s side…and [this cooperation] would also be in line with one [of Hitler’s recent speeches which] stressed that any alliance would be entered into in order to isolate England and defeat it.”

      The proposition presented to the Nazis pointed out that “the establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis and bound by a treaty with the German Reich would be in the interest of maintaining and strengthening the future German position of power in the Near East.” (Quoted by Klaus Polkehn, “The Secret Contacts: Zionist-Nazi Relations, 1933-1941” as well as Lenny Brenner, Zionism in the Age of Dictators, Westport, Conn., Lawrence Hill & Co., 1983, p. 267 and Yediot Aharnot, February 4/1983). The Nazis rejected the Stern Gang’s proposal.

      Following Stern’s death at the hands of the British in 1942, three of his lieutenants (one of whom was Yitzhak Shamir) took over leadership of the Gang. It is revealing to note that despite Avraham Stern’s ignominious record and his flirtation with the Nazis, Ben-Gurion later referred to him as “one of the finest and most outstanding figures of the era.”

      Also, Adolf Hitler, who took his racism seriously, applied it to all Semites. He could not stand Arabs either. Contrary to legend, he disliked the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who had fled to Germany. After meeting him once for a photo-opportunity arranged by the Nazi propaganda machine, he never agreed to meet him again.” (The late Uri Avnery)

      • Peter in SF on August 24, 2019, 1:43 am

        After WWII, a memorandum dated January 11, 1941, was discovered in Ankara.

        This description of the provenance of a document sounds conspiracy theorist. Who discovered the memo? And where? It would be one thing if it was recorded by officials who were collecting documents at the embassy after Germany’s defeat. Quite another if the memo was a forgery. But the same description “was discovered in Ankara” would apply in either case.

      • Misterioso on August 27, 2019, 10:36 am

        @Peter in SF

        As I indicated, the memorandum found in Ankara, dated January 11/41, has withstood the test of time:

        Klaus Polkehn, “The Secret Contacts: Zionist-Nazi Relations, 1933-1941,” Lenny Brenner, Zionism in the Age of Dictators, Westport, Conn., Lawrence Hill & Co., 1983, p. 267 and Yediot Aharnot, February 4/1983.

    • FightTribalism on August 23, 2019, 2:52 pm

      Not just that, but anyone who criticize Israel must spend 50% of his time proving that he/she is not anti-semite.

    • OakEH on August 24, 2019, 8:24 pm

      Some fair points here, but 2 things to remember: (1) It was entirely possible to oppose the admission of Jewish refugees while opposing the Nazi and Czarist era Jew-hating ideologies. Instead, the Mufti really embraced them, and worked to promote them throughout the Arab world. He was not at all uncomfortable with hatred of Jews and took on the task of promoting anti-Jewish bigotry. He was likewise comfortable with the killing of large numbers of Jewish civilians if necessary to keep Jewish refugees from reaching Palestine. (2) His hatred of Jews extended even to the non -Zionist Jewish civilians of Mesopotamia who considered themselves Iraqis and had no desire to move to Palestine.

      • Eva Smagacz on September 2, 2019, 2:30 am


        you said (1):

        “It was entirely possible to oppose the admission of Jewish refugees while opposing the Nazi and Czarist era Jew-hating ideologies.”

        Mufti certainly shared his viewpoint with large swatches of our western civilisation. The passing of Immigration Act of 1924, or Johnson–Reed Act has been prompted by sharply increased immigration of Jews from Russia, and the immigrants did very little to endear themselves to citizens of their new country (and that includes zionists). Similarly, the increased immigration of Jews to England was instrumental in Balfour Declaration. The sharp increase of anti-Jewish sentiment in Germany after the 1st World War was linked to both (a) creation of myth of undefeated German Army stabbed in the back by civilians, who quickly, in media, became jewish, rather than protestant German civilians and (b) significant workers’ unrest, (with jewish figures in leadership) that petrified German middle and upper classes into believing that Soviet Revolution will spread to Germany.

        I would hardly blame Mufti of being any more or less prejudiced than Europeans and Americans, and it was these regions that were likely to be his only source of knowledge about Ashkenazi Jews (who, lets not forget, were openly trying to colonise his country, with open British encouragement)

        you also pointed out that :

        “He was likewise comfortable with the killing of large numbers of Jewish civilians if necessary to keep Jewish refugees from reaching Palestine

        His sentiment was, of course, shared by well known Israeli politician, who was “comfortable” with the killing of large numbers of Jewish civilians if necessary to keep Jewish refugees continue reaching Palestine.

        On the “comfortable” note, we need to acknowledge that politicians of all persuasions are “comfortable” with the killing of civilians. I do not think Jewishness or Goyishness is an overwhelming factor, and the tragedy and trauma of the victims , unless you are a racist/supremacist, is equal regardless of race and religion.

    • Citizen on August 26, 2019, 4:47 am


  3. CigarGod on August 23, 2019, 10:35 am

    NPR is loaded with helpful examples in this regard.
    Just one, is their labeling of governments in their reporting.
    Israel is always referred to as a government, and anyone speaking on their behalf is referred to a government spokesman.
    However, the Syrian, Palestinian, Venezuelan, (or any others being demonized) governments are almost always referred to as regime’s.

    You mention Chomsky, who speaks on this topic often. It is no accident that he (among others) is not allowed on npr. He would tell the listeners how the magic tricks are done. NPR likes dumb listeners.

    (Most media does the same as npr, but I like keeping it simple to think about.)

  4. FightTribalism on August 23, 2019, 2:56 pm

    Problem is much bigger than this article would indicate. Consider that there is a law in place that is known as a ‘Muslim Ban”, while at the same time elected Muslim representatives in the house Must continual keep proving that they are not anti-Semitic.

    • CigarGod on August 23, 2019, 3:10 pm

      Even bigger…
      There is no law in place that says politicians running for President have to declare on national tv that they are Christians. But they do it anyway, or else!

      • FightTribalism on August 23, 2019, 3:27 pm

        “There is no law in place that says politicians running for President have to declare on national tv that they are Christians. But they do it anyway, or else!”

        Politicians appealing to christian voters is not even in the same universe as laws discriminating against individuals because of their ethnicity.

      • CigarGod on August 23, 2019, 6:24 pm

        You missed the point.
        In my example politicians are put on the spot to specifically declare their allegiance to a christian god rather than a muslim god.
        We all know God is Good, and Allah is Evil.
        So, our leaders are manipulated into the straight and narrow definition. Hierarchical value.

      • echinococcus on August 23, 2019, 9:30 pm

        Cigar God,

        Your belief is widespread but hasn’t been put to the test, or rather I believe is has and the opposite was shown to be true.
        Way before Obama broke the color ceiling for the presidency of worldwide imperialism, Kennedy had broken the religion barrier. I don’t believe that Papism is seen as just another variety of Christianism among the usual Puritans, Baptists, other Puritans, even more Puritans, etc. In fact, the realization that Judaism is way, way closer to their brand of religion (correct!) is widespread.

        Of course you are absolutely right that a rationalist candidate who even dares state that religion is strictly private would be immediately ineligible.

      • RoHa on August 24, 2019, 12:18 am

        This tendency to God-talk is one of the many things that we find disturbing about American politicians.

        Those of us who live in the rest of the world know that there are three types of people who regularly talk about God.
        First, traditional Muslims. They do it unthinkingly. It’s built into their language.
        Second, professional clergymen. It is a requirement of their job. They try to avoid it whenever possible, and look suitably embarrassed when they do have to mention God.
        Third, total, and usually homicidal, lunatics.

        And we know that most American politicians are neither traditional Muslims nor professional clergymen.

  5. JaapBo on August 23, 2019, 5:26 pm

    Imho it ‘s just chance that anti-Jewish racism is named with anti (antisemitism is already an old word) and others with phobia

    Another point is the Holocaust, which gives the accusation of antisemitism an extra vengance, regardless of its name.

    A third point is that maybe it is better to call these phobia’s and antisemitism all racism, e.g. anti-Jewish racism, anti-Muslim racism, anti-Palestinian racism, etc.. And there also should be one general definition for racism, instead of a separate one for antisemitism. I’m thinking of “racism is hostility towards an ethnic (or racialised) group in an inherently innocent capacity”. E.g. anti-Jewish racism is hostility towards Jews as Jews, or hostility towards Palestinians just because they live in (or have a right to live in) Israel or Palestine is racism

    Finally (if you look at Western media) it always strikes me that as easy as accusations of antisemitism are made and taken serious, so reticent are media to point out Israels anti-Palestinian racism, which is often much worse. There is a huge double standard here!

    BDS is accused of being antisemitic because its supposed aim is to destroy Israel. This is double distortion, because BDS is not aimed at “Jews as Jews” but at Zionism, and because it does not aim to end Israel, but to end Zionist racism. We can’t repeat that enough: “BDS wants to end Israeli racism!”

    • Peter in SF on August 24, 2019, 1:28 am

      Finally (if you look at Western media) it always strikes me that as easy as accusations of antisemitism are made and taken serious, so reticent are media to point out Israels anti-Palestinian racism, which is often much worse. There is a huge double standard here!

      The word “Antisemitismus” was coined in the 19th century by anti-Jewish Germans who wanted to emphasize that their animus against Jews had a racial basis, rather than a religious one. Their view was that Jews, being Semites, are not indigenous to Europe (a point of agreement with Zionist ideology), and therefore Jews shouldn’t have the same rights as Europeans. Ever since then, antisemitism has meant the view that Jews don’t deserve the same rights as white people. That is how I hear accusations of antisemitism when they are made. I would even go so far as to say that people who make accusations of “antisemitism” are assuming white superiority, and what really concerns them is the suggestion that Jews shouldn’t be treated as white people.

      For instance, the dominant American culture has a double standard on the use of violence in defending collective rights: when white people do it, it is lauded or if not, then seen as naively mistaken; when non-white people do it, it is seen as a serious threat to order. Unquestionably the state of Israel has always used violence to oppress Palestinians, but that’s OK because Jews are perceived as “white”. Palestinians are not perceived as “white”, and therefore, in the dominant American view, any Palestinian resistance to Israel must take non-violent forms.

  6. Rashers2 on August 24, 2019, 1:45 pm

    Timo Al-Farooq’s essay focuses on an aspect of linguistic manipulation which receives too little attention: Sayeeda Warsi, a British parliamentarian, former minister and ex-Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, said of Islamophobia that it had become, “acceptable in dinner party conversations.” This has occurred with the encouragement and complicity of the MSM in Britain. One may only ponder the extent to which this would be the case if, from the outset, it had been termed “Muslim-hatred” and not gentrified into “Islamophobia”.
    „Rassisten sind Arschlöcher. Überall.“ Thanks for that dictum – Amen!

    • echinococcus on August 24, 2019, 6:52 pm

      That’s not at all where the criminal language manipulation occurs.
      Racist attacks and propaganda targeting people from selected Middle- eastern areas, with a few exceptions, are directed indifferently against atheists, Christians of different denominations, Bahaists, Zoroastrians, Yezidis, etc. (even Sikhs, fercryingoutloud) as well as followers of Islam, no matter how you prefer to call them.

      Repeating the murderous, official, racist propaganda in its own religious terms is participating in it. Nobody gives a damn if you try to “Islamophobia” into “Muslim-hatred” or “Napoleon Bonaparte”, you still are contributing to generalize the official criminal oppression.

      And of course, Rassisten sind Arschlöcher, that is why one must pay a little better attention to the propaganda language surrounding us. Again, this has zilch to do with religion. So much for pseudo-linguistics.

      • Rashers2 on August 26, 2019, 2:05 am

        I take the point and you are right that confusing faith-based prejudice and prejudice on grounds of ethnicity or heritage is more than unhelpful. “Anti-Semitism” is the best-known example of this because it has come to mean an irrational hatred of Jews qua Jews; and my understanding is that Jews define themselves not by an ethnicity or genotype but either by their own faith or the historic faith of their matrilineal heritage. “Islamophobia”, from the composition of the word, was presumably coined to describe animus towards the followers of Islam and likely has its origin in the fact that, because some extreme acts of violence have been perpetrated by that minority which espouses “radical Islam” (itself a large tent reduced to a two-word catch-all), Islam as a whole has been tarred with that same brush in large parts of the West.
        “Islamophobia” rather than racism has been cited, however, as a cloak for what is patently racism against people with brown skins who appear to some vaguely as if they might be of Middle Eastern origin, irrespective of their faiths. Fairly recently, I read of a Sikh attacked in the USA because, according to the attacker, “he looked like a Muslim,” or some similar formula aimed at self-justification, which I guess is the example to which you refer.

      • echinococcus on August 26, 2019, 2:28 pm


        Well said, thank you. “Islamophobia” was probably coined, as you say, against opponents of specifically Islamic teaching (and of atheists, who don’t differentiate among religions.) But it was soon deviated by the official PC journalese, to create a propaganda term that conveniently veils the Zionist-instigated official racism against middle-eastern people. Words are the plaything of whoever is in power.

        One thing to observe re your message, here: “that Jews define themselves not by an ethnicity or genotype but either by their own faith or the historic faith of their matrilineal heritage” does not change the fact that “an irrational hatred of Jews qua Jews” is also racism. While “racism” in US usage sometimes only refers to actual, biologic race, because of our particular B/W history, the language of civilized countries uses it for any discrimination based on characteristics at birth — racism is in the perception of the racist and doesn’t need the presence of races.

  7. Elisabeth on August 26, 2019, 8:46 am

    It is partly coincidental, English-exclusive thing as in the Netherlands, just as much a society with a colonial past, words like vrouwenhater, Jodenhater, Moslimhater are all accepted forms, as the abstract nouns vrouwenhaat (misogyny) Moslimhaat (Islamophobia), Jodenhaat (anti-Semitism).

  8. Mayhem on August 26, 2019, 10:03 am

    Failing to understand the origin of the terms makes this article a load of piffle, an intellectual game of semantics.

    “At the end of the 1970s, Iranian fundamentalists invented the term “Islamophobia” formed in analogy to “xenophobia”. The aim of this word was to declare Islam inviolate. Whoever crosses this border is deemed a racist. This term, which is worthy of totalitarian propaganda, is deliberately unspecific about whether it refers to a religion, a belief system or its faithful adherents around the world.”

    Refer The Invention Of Islamophobia

    • eljay on August 26, 2019, 2:55 pm

      || Mayhem: … “At the end of the 1970s, Iranian fundamentalists invented the term “Islamophobia” formed in analogy to “xenophobia”. The aim of this word was to declare Islam inviolate. Whoever crosses this border is deemed a racist. This term, which is worthy of totalitarian propaganda, is deliberately unspecific about whether it refers to a religion, a belief system or its faithful adherents around the world.” ||

      Don’t worry, Mayhem, it’s not too late for Iranian fundamentalists to take a page from the Zionist book of totalitarian propaganda, be as broadly-specific as Zionists are now and simply state that any criticism of Islam or Muslims or “Islamic States” or anything they do or don’t do in pursuit of ideological goals is Islamophobia.

    • Talkback on August 27, 2019, 4:37 am

      “Antisemitism”. Another aim of this word was to declare Zionism inviolate. Whoever crosses this border is deemed a racist. This use of this term, which is worthy of totalitarian propaganda, is deliberately unspecific about whether it refers to a religion, a belief system or its faithful adherents around the world.”

      Refer: The reinvention of Antisemitism

      Keep scoring own goals, Mayhem.

  9. Ossinev on August 26, 2019, 2:25 pm

    “One early use cited as the term’s first use is by the painter Alphonse Étienne Dinet and Algerian intellectual Sliman ben Ibrahim in their 1918 biography of Islam’s prophet Muhammad.[71][72] Writing in French, they used the term islamophobie. Robin Richardson writes that in the English version of the book the word was not translated as “Islamophobia” but rather as “feelings inimical to Islam”. Dahou Ezzerhouni has cited several other uses in French as early as 1910, and from 1912 to 1918.[73] These early uses of the term did not, according to Christopher Allen, have the same meaning as in contemporary usage, as they described a fear of Islam by liberal Muslims and Muslim feminists, rather than a fear or dislike/hatred of Muslims by non-Muslims.[72][74] On the other hand, Fernando Bravo López argues that Dinet and ibn Sliman’s use of the term was as a criticism of overly hostile attitudes to Islam by a Belgian orientalist, Henri Lammens, whose project they saw as a “‘pseudo-scientific crusade in the hope of bringing Islam down once and for all.'” He also notes that an early definition of Islamophobia appears in the Ph.D. thesis of Alain Quellien, a French colonial bureaucrat:

    For some, the Muslim is the natural and irreconcilable enemy of the Christian and the European; Islam is the negation of civilization, and barbarism, bad faith and cruelty are the best one can expect from the Mohammedans.

    Furthermore, he notes that Quellien’s work draws heavily on the work of the French colonial department’s 1902–06 administrator, who published a work in 1906, which to a great extent mirrors John Esposito’s The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?.[75]

    The first recorded use of the term in English, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was in 1923 in an article in The Journal of Theological Studies.[28] The term entered into common usage with the publication of the Runnymede Trust’s report in 1997.[76] “Kofi Annan asserted at a 2004 conference entitled “Confronting Islamophobia” that the word Islamophobia had to be coined in order to “take account of increasingly widespread bigotry”.[77]

    Refer Wikipedia:

    Decisions decisions ! ?. Okay I`ll go for the Wikipedia history rather than the fruitcake Islamaphobe Peretz history. In fact really no contest.

  10. Nathan on August 26, 2019, 8:18 pm

    If the two terms (antisemitism and Islamophobia) had been coined at the same time and under similar circumstances, then obviously there would be reason to wonder why there is a use of “anti” in the one case and “phobia” in the other case. But, alas, the issue of the origin of the two terms is not analyzed in article.

    “Antisemitism” was coined in the 19th century. The “logic” behind the term is that the Jews are the descendants of Shem (the son of Noah) whereas the Europeans are the descendants of Japhet (another son of Noah); hence, the Jews are “foreigners” in Europe. An antisemite, therefore, was one who objected to giving the Jews equal status in European society, based on the perception that the Jews are not Europeans. The term is racist by definition in that there is an objection to Jews because of their perceived descent (not because of their religion). Moreover, the term was invented by an antisemite (Wilhelm Marr).

    “Islamophobia” is a term from the 20th century. The concept is meant to condemn those who object to believers in Islam; i.e. the term was not coined by an Islamophobe, and obviously it’s not about one’s perceived descent (“race”).

    So, there’s no justification for drawing the conclusion that there is a “hierarchy of racism” in the two terms. That’s real nonsense. “Antisemitism” was a term that the antisemites themselves used with pride, whereas “Islamophobia” is not a term that the Islamophobes use in order to present their own agenda to the world. They are not parallel terms.

    • Talkback on August 27, 2019, 4:01 am

      The term was not invented by Marr, but by Steinschneider who countered Renan’s racist claims that Semites were “races” and as such inferior to Aryan “races”. Steinschneider uses this term to condemn Renan’s “anti-semitic” racism.

      19 years later Marr used the word “Semitism” to refer to Jews and than the word “antisemitism” refered to opposition against the Jewish “spirit” which was seen as a threat to German “spirit” and culture. Which means that the term was not longer used to condemn racism or prejudices against Semites, but to openly declare opposition to Jews and advocating their forced removal.

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