2008: The Year in Anti-Semitism
The Disloyalty Charge
Posted: May 14, 2009
2008 saw a remarkable resurgence of the long-running anti-Semitic canard that Jews should not be trusted as citizens of the countries in which they live. In the U.S., this charge usually takes the form of allegations that American Jews are more loyal to the State of Israel than to their own country, and that they willingly sacrifice the best interests of the United State in favor of their own interests or in the service of Israel.
A showcase for this allegation in its most extreme formulation in 2008 was a small conference organized by Jamaat al-Muslimeen (JAM), a small Muslim organization, which took place in Baltimore, Maryland, in August.
Present at the conference were anti-Semites of various ideological stripes. JAM leader Kaukab Siddique, an associate professor of English at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, told the audience that the U.S. is "under the grip of a Jewish Zionist power structure," which includes a "Zionist-controlled media."
Holocaust denier Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review, said in a speech that the U.S. was pressured into the Iraq war by a "Jewish cabal," which is now seeking to embroil the U.S. in a similar war with Iran. Other participants in the conference were former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, anti-Semitic ideologues Mark Glenn, Hesham Tillawi, Charles E. Carlson, and Maulana Ehsanullah.
More troubling than this gathering of extremists is the fact that allegations of Jewish disloyalty, which have long been a staple of professional anti-Semites, have gained increasing mainstream prominence in recent years, due in large part to the "Israel lobby" writings of University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer and Harvard University professor Stephen Walt. Most anti-Israel activists now actively promote these academics' belief that Zionists and Jews have influenced the U.S., especially in its Middle East policy, in deleterious ways. Such ideas also crop up with increasing frequency in op-ed pages and in mainstream magazines.
A noteworthy variant of the disloyalty charge which appeared in 2008 is the allegation that American Jews are attempting to embroil the United States in a war with Iran, ostensibly in order to strengthen Israel's regional power. This allegation was expressed by a diverse range of individuals, including former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, former UN Iraqi weapons inspector Scott Ritter, journalist Alexander Cockburn, pro-Palestinian activist Mazin Qumsiyeh, and retired sociology professor James Petras.
Some promoters of this theory accuse American Jews and friends of Israel of "sedition and treason," of "espionage and interference in domestic policies," and of "controlling the communications media," another classic anti-Semitic stereotype.