Anti-Semitism and Double Standards

Criticizing Israel is considered bad form, writes Daniel Lazare, but keeping mum about Saudi crimes is fine as long as the donations continue to flow.

By Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News

In a week when the GOP flaunted its legislative attacks on anti-Semitism at the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and brought AIPAC loyalties into the 2020 campaign, let’s remember that plenty of people in the liberal establishment play the same two-faced game. While pretending to oppose bigotry, they are in bed with the most anti-Semitic governments on Earth.

Tony Blair, British prime minister from 1997 to 2007, is a prime example. Blair may be gone, but his Labour Party followers are leading the charge against such targets as the party’s current leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and Afro-Jewish socialist Jackie Walker.  Margaret Hodge, a Labour member of parliament who reportedly called Corbyn “a fucking anti-Semite and a racist” in a closed-door meeting, was an early Blair backer who supported his decision to invade Iraq in 2003.  Luciana Berger, who said last year that “anti-Semitism is very real and alive in the Labour Party,” is another Blairite with a hawkish foreign-policy record. Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who has defended Berger, also backed the Iraq invasion.  Ditto Ann Coffey, who has assailed the Corbyn culture of antisemitism and began her political ascent as Blair’s parliamentary private secretary, a kind of junior whip, in the late 1990s. 

Blair welcoming George W. Bush to England. Wikimedia)

Blair welcoming George W. Bush to England. (Wikimedia)

All want voters to think Labour is now riddled with anti-Semitism and that criticism of Israel should be circumspect at best lest it open the door to western society’s oldest hatred.  Evidently, they miss the Blair days, when Labor was high-minded and decent.

But these Blairites are silent on their hero’s partnership with PetroSaudi. This company, which described itself as a “vehicle of the Saudi royal family,” put Blair’s now-defunct firm, Tony Blair Associates, on a $65,000-a-month retainer to help it drum up business in China.  Although Tony Blair Associates closed amid controversy, the connections apparently lived onLast September, The Financial Times reported that Blair’s personal foundation, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, has benefited from Saudi largesse in the form of a £9 million donation – about $12 million – from the Saudi Research & Marketing Group, a company controlled by Prince Badr bin Abdullah, the kingdom’s minister of culture.

Beholden to Saudis 

Thus, Blair’s new “global change institute” — on a self-proclaimed mission to “make globalization work for the many, not the few” — is beholden to a kingdom that is a byword for torture, autocracy and extreme religious intolerance. Saudi Arabia bans all faiths other than Islam and persecutes Muslims who fail to adhere to the official brand of Sunni fundamentalism known as Wahhabism (after an 18th-century mullah named Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab).  Saudi police in 2011 arrested 35 Ethiopian Christians, mainly women, for the “crime” of participating in an underground prayer meeting. Shi‘ites in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province suffer “pervasive discrimination” according to Human Rights Watch.

Saudi textbooks distributed widely throughout the Dar al Islam teach that judgment day “will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims will kill them,” according to a U.S. government study. One 10th-grade text declares: “Feelings of arrogance and superiority inhabit the Jews.  They claim they are the chosen people even though God himself has denied that, humiliated them, misled them, and made them into swine and apes.”

ISIS used Saudi textbooks in schools it controlled in Syria and Iraq back when it still had a caliphate, while Saudi texts have cropped up in weekend school programs in the United Kingdom and Belgium.  Training manuals in Brussels’s Grand Mosque — until recently Saudi-funded and controlled — teach that Jews are “traitors, infidels, and impostors … obscene and vulgar … cruel and insensible … greedy, avid, and avaricious” and “use violence, power, and terror to control the world.”

This goes back centuries.  In 1810, a French explorer named Louis Alexandre Olivier de Corncez wrote that Wahhabists display “the cruelest intolerance towards Christians and Jews,” as Simon Ross Valentine recounts in his book, “Force and Fanaticism: Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia and Beyond.”

Robert Vitalis, in his “America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier,” gives the more recent example of an American Airline executive describing a meeting, in the late 1940s, with Deputy Foreign Minister Yusuf Yassin: “As for Jews, a Jew is a Jew in the eyes of the Saudis, regardless of what passport he may be carrying.  As Yusuf explained to us in no uncertain terms, Saudi Arabia is a holy Moslem country and no Jew is going to be allowed to pass through it and to contaminate it.  They realize such an attitude is tough on international carriers but they just don’t care – they don’t want any Jews setting foot on Saudi Arabian soil, ‘period!’”

This is the history and present-day culture with which Tony Blair aligns.

Longing for Clinton Days  

Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, in signing ceremony with Saudi interior minister, 2013. (State Department)

Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, in signing ceremony with Saudi interior minister, 2013. (State Department)

The same goes for Clintonites on the other side of the pond.  The three Democrats who led the charge last month against U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar for her alleged anti-Semitism were Representatives Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel and Jerrold Nadler, all from New York and all early backers of fellow New Yorker Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid.  The implicit assumption in their attack was that things were better when centrist Democrats held sway and rambunctious upstarts like Omar were still stuck in Minneapolis.

What goes unmentioned is that Hillary and her former-president husband have partnered with the Saudis in a way that Blair can only envy.  Since 1997, the Clinton Foundation has raked in between $10 million and $25 million from the Saudi government, according to the foundation’s website (which only gives ranges of contribution) while individual Saudi businessmen have donated between $8 million and $25 million.  Five other Persian Gulf petro-monarchies have donated between $9 million and $30 million. And the Saudi royal family has given $10 million to Bill Clinton’s presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas. All told, it’s a dazzling sum that, had Hillary become president, would undoubtedly have served to steer Mideast policy in an even more pro-Saudi direction.  When Saudi King Abdullah died in early 2015, Bill and Hillary praised his peacemaking activities and “personal friendship and kindness toward our family.”

Clinton with King Abullah, March 2012. (Wikimedia Commons)

But they didn’t mention less-savory aspects of his reign. These include not only bigoted textbooks but terrorism.  As Hillary confided a year earlier in a 2014 email, “the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia … are providing clandestine financial support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”  

Other atrocities, also unmentioned, include South Asian servants sentenced to death on flimsy, trumped-up charges (examples here and here), a gay man sentenced to 450 lashes in 2014 for using Twitter to arrange dates, a young woman sentenced to 200 lashes for the crime of being gang raped, and the persecution of liberal blogger Raif Badawi, who has been in a Saudi prison since 2012 for daring to challenge Wahhabist bigotry.

All took place under Abdullah’s reign. Just as we’re supposed to turn a blind eye to Israel’s sins, we’re expected to keep mum about Saudi crimes — as long as the donations continue to flow, that is.

Anti-Semitism, U.S.-Style

The Saudis are not alone in spreading anti-Semitism.  The U.S. has failed to criticize President Petro Poroshenko for permitting neo-Nazis militias to run riot in the Ukraine, attacking feminists, gays, and Roma and holding torchlight parades in honor of World War II collaborator Stepan Bandera in which they chant Jews out.”  Washington is silent about the Baltics, where demonstrations in honor of Hitler’s SS units are now an annual occurrence.  Last April, 57 lawmakers signed a letter by California Democrat Ro Khanna calling on the Ukraine to “unequivocally reject Holocaust distortion and the honoring of Nazi collaborators.”  Lowey and Engel were conspicuously absent among the signatories. Apparently, Omar’s  tweet about “the Benjamins baby” is more offensive than thousands of fascists marching through the streets of Kiev.

And then there’s Israel. It might be expected to be in the forefront of combatting anti-Semitism. The opposite is the case. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cultivating the support of hard-right nationalists in Central Europe while hailing Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban as a “true friend of Israel” even as Orban wages a classic anti-Semitic campaign against Jewish philanthropist George Soros.  Netanyahu’s government has sold weapons to Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov militia and has whitewashed the Polish government’s efforts to “disappear” the Polish role in the Holocaust, thereby earning an unprecedented rebuke from Israel’s own Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.  In America, his chief allies include evangelical Christians who believe that, come the apocalypse, Jesus will institute a divine kingdom which Jews must either submit to or be killed.

While allying with Jewish neo-Nazis at home, Netanyahu draws ever closer to rightwing nationalists abroad.  Even GeorgeOrwell would have been taken aback by the spectacle of Zionists embracing anti-Jewish bigots while smearing leftists, many of them Jews, as anti-Semites for standing up for Palestinian rights.  War is peace, freedom is slavery, and anti-racists are racist whenever bigots like Netanyahu say so.  While leveling phony charges of anti-Semitism, Blairites and Clintonites are helping to spread the real article farther and farther afield.

Daniel Lazare is the author of “The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy” (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics.  He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique and blogs about the Constitution and related matters at

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34 comments for “Anti-Semitism and Double Standards

  1. druid
    March 29, 2019 at 12:05

    Scared to mention that Nita Lowey, Elliott Engle an Nadler who attacked Ilhan Omar are all Jews! Talk about anti-Semitism!

  2. Jean
    March 27, 2019 at 13:32

    So, we’re keeping an eye on Lapdog Blair, but who is keeping an eye on Juba the Hut Clinton and her greedy little minions. Do you really think she and the Pantysniffer are going to walk away from all that Saudi Oil cash?

  3. March 27, 2019 at 10:34

    “….even as Orban wages a classic anti-Semitic campaign against Jewish philanthropist George Soros.”

    Let’s get one thing straight: there is absolutely nothing at all anti-Semitic or morally or ethically suspect about going after Soros. He’s a parasitic hedge fund oligarch who’s essentially an advocate of austerity for the working masses.

    • Silly Me
      March 28, 2019 at 05:56

      Moreover, he seems to be colluding with some Israelis who want to flee from Israel to Hungary when the time comes, because Hungary is a world power when it comes to potable water. For the same reason, refugees are not welcome in Hungary, and Orban and his cronies are robbing the people blind until then, in order to keep the profits. Welcome to another country whose politicians have always betrayed, and are betraying, its own people. Able-bodied and knowledgeable Hungarians have fled the country that is now relying on vassals, foreign slaves, and kickbacks from further betrayals.

      • druid
        March 29, 2019 at 12:06

        The Hungarians would be stupid to let them in.

  4. DH Fabian
    March 27, 2019 at 10:22

    We see the expected backlash against those who speak up on behalf of the right of the sole Jewish nation to survive, in spite of the odds.
    When Israel is attacked, much of the media simply ignore it. But when they hit back, media shout their outrage! We all support indigenous rights — except for those of Jews. When hypocrisy is pointed out, it’s common to accuse that person of hypocrisy.

    • druid
      March 29, 2019 at 12:07

      BS. Hasbara

  5. nietzsche1510
    March 27, 2019 at 08:04

    criticising Israel is very, very, bad for donations!

  6. mike k
    March 27, 2019 at 07:44

    My plain statement that Jewish money has bought many US politicians was censored again. Was my statement incorrect? No, apparently it was just too nakedly true to suit the PC moderator. So much for simple, polite, factual comments on CN. Sad.

    • DH Fabian
      March 27, 2019 at 10:25

      It shouldn’t have been censored, even though it’s a ludicrous claim. No country has greater influence on our government than Saudi Arabia, which has the most power concerning Mideast oil sales.

      • anonc5d2
        March 28, 2019 at 07:10

        That idea would need support. KSA has no popularity in the US, very little military power through most of its history, no ownership of US mass media, non population base here, and no connection with the fundamentalist tribes here. Apparently very small contributions to most elections until recently.

        Imagining a great KSA “influence” so as to defend zionists would be “ludicrous.”

      • Tom
        March 28, 2019 at 12:49

        And why are we still depending on the despicable Saudies?

        Wanna hint?

      • druid
        March 29, 2019 at 12:10

        more hasbara BS! Shameless!

  7. Silly Me
    March 27, 2019 at 07:26

    How long does it take for people to realize that cultures don’t mix well?

  8. geeyp
    March 27, 2019 at 01:44

    How do we think the corruption charges involving Netanyahu will pan out?

  9. Robert Price
    March 26, 2019 at 20:33

    It boggles the mind to imagine Israel, the land of the “chosen people”, to be engaged in the continuing genocide of the Palestinian
    people. The Israelites have no legitimate claim to the land that was previously occupied by the Palestinian people. In an ironic way, the Israelites have begun a genocide of the Palestinian people, not much different than the World War II genocide that the nazis perpetrated upon them. The fundamentalist jewish religion puts the jewish people in a very esteemed position. It seems that the “chosen people” are in the middle of a massive delusion about themselves. The events in Palestine show ample evidence of the fact that, if there was a god, he/she/it would not be pleased with their actions against the Palestinian people.

    • nietzsche1510
      March 27, 2019 at 08:16

      show me a crisis in the West where the Jewish presence is absent.

      • riff of raff
        March 29, 2019 at 15:35

        My 60th birthday?

    • Tim Slater
      March 31, 2019 at 07:12

      > there was no genocide by Germans in Europe.

      What disgusting hogwash!

      > The Germans and the Jews agreed that they should leave – destinations were discussed.

      The Nazi regime (and its many supporters) and certain Zionist groups (the precursors of Likud) initially agreed that the Jews of Europe should all leave for Palestine (of course the great majority had no wish to do so) — until the fascists decided that industrial extermination of Jews and Gypsies was the better “final solution”.

      Russians, Ukrainians (of course, they didn’t tell that to their Ukronazi collaborators), and other Slavic subhumans were to be driven out or starved to death later.

  10. Yahweh
    March 26, 2019 at 19:32

    Okay, lets talk about the greatest con ever….. anti-semitism …..

    The Jews are the chosen of god. God said, I will slay your enemies and prosper you IF you keep my commandments…
    Well, what happened ?

    The Jews did not keep the commandments, so god judged them to exile and took away their protection and blessing.

    So, anti-Semitism is a slap to the face of their creator. The creator has taken them to the woodshed yet they will not repent….but…. the Jews accuse the nations for their misfortunes.

    A hardhead requires a stiff rod.

    I challenge anyone to dispute what I say….

  11. March 26, 2019 at 18:22

    I wonder if one can explain the wider public that there exists anti-Semitism that we could cold “paleo-” or “original”, and “new anti-Semitism” which consists of critique of Israel and the supporters of Israel. There exists huge volume of explanations why criticism of Israel is vile, and the explanations would be funny if the matter were not so serious. E.g. when Israel is criticized in a way that “no other country” is, like for the Apartheid policies. Like when China demolishes houses of Tibetans, deprives Tibetans of water, uproots their trees, kills their livestock, kills Tibetans who try to return etc. etc. the China is not criticized. What, it hardly ever happens, and when it does, China is actually criticized and nobody is pillored for ignoring unspeakable slaughter of the Chinese during WWII plus assorted atrocities against the Chinese in various countries?

    Basically, neo-anti-Semitism is purely political and persecuting it out of the media and politics is rank censorship in the defense of privilege.

  12. Abe
    March 26, 2019 at 17:32

    “What in the world is a fascist Jew? Well, in this case, it is someone who uses violent methods to realize the logical consequences of Zionism—if Israel is a ‘Jewish state,’ then non-Jews must go. How they ultimately go has been left an open-ended question, though Israel is engaged in a continuous effort to destroy Palestinian infrastructure. Fascist Jews advocate expulsion of all Palestinians and sometimes engage in direct violence—akin to classic pogroms—in an effort to fulfill this goal.

    You might shake your head in wonderment at the notion of Jewish fascists, but they have always been an important element in Zionist history. You can trace their activity from Vladimir Jabotinsky and his notion of an ‘iron wall’ (1923) that would force the Palestinians to acquiesce in Zionist domination, right up to Meir Kahane, an advocate of expulsion, and his Kach Party (1971-1990). It is Kahane’s followers who now are political partners of Netanyahu. The ‘migration’ of Israeli Jews to the right has narrowed the gap between the majority of “ordinary” citizens and the fascists. […]

    “On the Palestinian issue—the one that now divides Israel from increasing numbers of citizens in the democratic world—there is little difference between the Israeli rightists and the centrists except that the latter do not publicly talk about the forceful expulsion.

    “That approximately 85 percent of Israeli Jews should end up unwilling to grant equal rights to the 20 percent of Palestinians who are their segregated neighbors; that they should support, or at best not act against the relentless, vicious process of illegal settlement in the Occupied Territories; and finally that they should react to Palestinian resistance to Zionist oppression by “migrating” to the right, is both tragic and predictable.

    It must be realized that any country that allows racism to rule its public sphere cannot pass itself off as a democracy. It is simply a contradiction. The Zionist experiment looking toward a democratic Jewish state might have gone differently if it had been tried somewhere devoid of a non-Jewish population (like the moon), but then, in the end, the Zionists became obsessed with Palestine, fell in with the colonial mentality still prevalent during the first half of the twentieth century, and have never progressed beyond it. […]

    “unless a majority of Israeli Jews are willing to go the route of South Africa and renounce their program of discriminatory dominion over millions of non-Jews, they have nowhere else to go but head-first into the hell that is the racist right. With 85 percent sharing, or at least acquiescing, in the views of Netanyahu, Gantz, and Lapid, the chances for redemption do not look good. In fact, it is probably the case that the ‘light unto the nations’ has long since gone out.”

    Israel’s Moves to the Right
    By Lawrence Davidson

  13. Abe
    March 26, 2019 at 17:02

    “the Israel lobby is essentially the foreign ministry of Israel in the capital of the most powerful country in the world and it exists, as it has stated itself, to make sure that there is no daylight between the US government and Israel. And if you think that has ever meant changing Israeli policy, I have a bridge to sell you.”

    Don’t accept the rules for how to criticize the Israel lobby
    By Philip Weiss

    • evelync
      March 27, 2019 at 12:01

      Human beings have a long way to go before we can face the truth about ourselves and others. We are easily distracted by superficial observations like the color of our skin, our heritage, race, religion, female or male, tall, short, etc etc.

      Of course there are Jewish fascists – Netanyahu is a prime example – or perhaps I should say he embraces fascist policies and seems all too comfortable doing so. Brothers or sisters of the same family may be entirely different from one another in thinking/temperament – one a fascist, the other a liberal democrat……with an entirely different set of values.

      We seem incapable of digging deeply enough to search out the truth about any one person or any policy position and prefer to default to a faux perceptions of ourself and others.

      It troubles me that some people who write comments here (not you Abe) seem unable to accept that within any “artificial” category of people – e.g. white, black, brown, etc. e.g. Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, etc. e.g. tall, short, e.g. “beautiful” “ugly”, within each category one can find persons who are “fascists”, “psychopaths”, or “liberal democrats”, “socialists”: “nasty”, “ vicious” or “thoughtful”, “sweet”, “kind”.
      Some of the comments above naively, I think, paint “all Jews” into a particularly ugly stereotype. All groups have at one time or another been demonized, stereotyped and attacked based on a category. Here in this country: American Indians, Catholics, Jews, Italians, Mexicans, blacks, browns – with a whole trail of ugly stereotypes used to make assumptions about everyone in that category. But there are people within each “category” who are vastly different from other people in that same category, as you may agree.

      And yet this primitive categorization goes on. And is used to manipulate people a la Donald Trump to his own advantage.

      The human race has a long way to go before becoming civilized and, IMO, is likely to destroy itself before it reaches that lofty “goal”.

      Thanks Abe for your research and links!

      Heaven help us all….and I’m not religious or a “believer”, lol.

    • Clearandhere
      March 30, 2019 at 01:54

      Israels move to the right and the push towards right wing ideology of the Israeli lobby absolutely needs to be critiqued and is deeply disturbing as a Person with Jewish heritage for several reasons. The problem is that anti semitism has deep unconscious roots and a long history and unfortunately it tends to hitch a ride on criticism. Which means their is a genuine difference in criticism that lacks these underpinnings and is clear and criticism with subtlety of unconscious forms of anti Semiticism that leaks through sometimes in choice of words or just leaks in other ways. You come away with a feeling is the best way to describe it. Sadly it pollutes a genuine dialogue.
      . There are many examples of ways to make the best possible discernment which I can go into but are complex and it would require the reader to accept the notion of the unconscious and how it shows up in us. Simply stated clear discernment and a clear heart is necessary to sort this out. I appreciate Abe’s comments as an attempt to bring some clarity.

      hitches a ride on criticism. Which means one can not paint all critics with the same brush

  14. March 26, 2019 at 17:00

    Stating that Zionists are genocidal in there relationship to Palestinians is almost universally prohibited in zionist controlled nations.

  15. Larry
    March 26, 2019 at 16:56

    The narrative of eternal jewish victimhood keeps falling apart. Also I notice that westerners are quite happy to massacre all sorts of arabas(i. e. semites) so I wonder what does “antisemitism” even mean? The term sounds like pure newspeak.

    • Tim Slater
      March 31, 2019 at 07:29

      > so I wonder what does “antisemitism” even mean? The term sounds like pure newspeak.

      This expression was invented by a German Jew-hater in the later 19th century. Religion-based hostility to Jews (“Christ killers”) was no longer fashionable or very effective, so he and various others switched to the modern racialist version, that the Jews (of Europe and North America) were a different inferior race with harmful characteristics (so this applied even to converts to Christianity and their descendants), and used the linguistic and ethnological term to give an academic and scientific veneer to their BS.

      That there are lots of Zionists with practically the same views in reverse is one of the many bitter ironies of history…

  16. Nathan Mulcahy
    March 26, 2019 at 16:10

    I encourage all people of conscience to Boycott Israel and to support BDS. Our country has become a colony of Israel and our so called representatives put the interests of Israel before those of ours.

    • Jean
      March 27, 2019 at 13:50

      Thank you Nathan. I wholeheartedly agree. I’m one of those raised on Anne Frank in the 50’s and I have loved the Jews, esp American Jews, for their moral courage in the 50’s and 60’s and for all the wonderful gifts they have brought to American culture. But I have loathed with a blinding rage the way ISRAEL and Zionists have betrayed these people of great conscience over the last many many years. Israel’s conservatives have sold the moral stature earned by millions of Holocaust victims for an A rating on their bonds. It’s grotesque the way Netenyahoo climbs the piled up bodies of Aushwitz (sp. ?) to get to the top. I don’t for one minute believe that all Jews support these zionists, any more than I believe all Americans support T-rump and his Gorgan Hillary, but enough people do, to show that people of Conscience everywhere have our work cut out for us. So…how do I join BDS.

      • druid
        March 29, 2019 at 12:16

        The American jews made Israel what it is. You are confused!

    • Josep
      March 28, 2019 at 03:52

      As much as I am not keen on boycotting whole countries, I’d be happy to join BDS if it weren’t for the fact that the computers we use have components made in Israel. Do you know if AMD manufactures chips there like Intel does?

      • Frank
        March 28, 2019 at 07:14

        Nonsense, there is no dependence of electronics upon Israel. Anyone can make the parts anywhere, and those factories are presently mostly in Pacific rim nations.

        • Josep
          March 31, 2019 at 04:44

          Well, of course any country with a manufacturing sector can make electronics, especially CPUs. I’m just concerned because none of us want to be accused of biting the hand that feeds us, particularly with the use of the Intel-brand CPUs that power our desktop PCs, and this includes Macs made since 2006.

Comments are closed.