Anti-semitism, and the 9/11, Israel-Mossad Connection Part I


By Rahnuma Ahmed

We Jews should never, ever become like our tormentors — not even to save our lives. Even at Auschwitz, I sensed that such a moral downfall would render my survival meaningless.
— Hajo Meyer, An Ethical Tradition Betrayed. Huffington Post, January 27, 2010.
If it had been Daniel Pipes, an Islamophobic American columnist, I wouldn’t have bothered. According to him, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels too, are anti-Semitic.
But these were close friends of Shahidul, both are Jewish, both are gentle, thoughtful and intelligent people who had read my columns posted on his blog, had written to say that they were deeply upset at my “anti-Semitism.” One of them, as she explained in her letter to me, had demonstrated with Palestinians against recent Israeli attacks on Gaza. Against earlier attacks too, the ones in Lebanon. She was no lover of Zionism, definitely not of Mossad, she wrote. The other, a much older friend of Shahidul’s, said that he wholeheartedly supported the existence of a Jewish state, and a Palestinian state in it’s own right. But what I write on Israel and Palestine is `nonsense,’ the sort of stuff that a fine scholar like myself shouldn’t be writing.
What does one do in such a situation? Besides feeling deeply upset, of course.
Read what one has written through their eyes. Turn one’s ideas this way and that. Look underneath. Reflect.
For today’s column I had thought of writing about what has led careful observers to not only think that 9/11 was an inside job but, that Israel and Mossad are connected to 9/11. Regular readers may remember that I have directly, or indirectly, written about 9/11, in many of my previous pieces. `Conspiracy theories.’ Learning from 9/11 (April 13, 2009). Al-Qaeda and Western intelligence operations (April 27, 2009). The Unfolding Crisis in Pakistan, parts 1 – 4 (May 11, 17, 18, 19 2009). The West’s immortal terrorist (December 21, 2009). 9/11 suicide hijackers. Risen from the dead (December 28, 2009). Pentagon’s prayers (January 4, 2010). Padded underwear (January 11, 2010). Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who provides the best security of them all? (January 25, 2010).
Regular readers also know that I analyse and critique not only western powers, but also, dominant institutions and ideologies, at home. That some of my recent pieces had discussed how Bengalis are prone to portray themselves as `victims’ rather than perpetrators of violence and injustice in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (April 5, 2010). How nationalist narratives of Bangladesh, whether celebrating the language movement of 1952 or the liberation struggle of 1971, have always been ethnically `singular’ (March 8, 2010). How Bengalis have begun mimicking their erstwhile Pakistani rulers when it comes to explaining what has gone wrong in the CHT: they have blamed it on others. How Bengali/national imagination needs to be de-colonised (March 26, 2010). Those who’ve read what I’ve written in Bangla know of my edited and translated collection of interviews and writings by contemporary Muslim intellectuals who engage with questions that are considered to be socially taboo in Bangladesh: do Muslims need to re-imagine Allah in a manner appropriate to the 21st century? Should the state intervene (and govern) the relationship between Allah, and His believer, since in Islam, Allah is sovereign? Are hadis and shariah patriarchal? Since homosexuality is real, and homosexuals are discriminated against by the Belgian government, shouldn’t Belgian Muslims who’ve also been victims of government discrimination, extend their support to homosexuals? (Islami Chintar Punorpothon: Shomokaleen Musolman Buddhijibder Shongram, 2006).
Nothing short of wild horses would have driven me to make this list but I do so to pre-empt attempts to deflect criticism of Israel and Zionism, usually conducted by raising counter-questions: But what about the oppressions and injustices in your own society? Why don’t you write about those?
I do.
And when I do, I don’t try to `balance’ my account of atrocities committed in the name of Bengalis in the CHT (can atrocities ever be balanced?). On the contrary, as a Bengali, I think it is obligatory that I write in the strongest possible terms, and what better day than our independence day to pen lines such as these:
Thirty-eight years on and I look at myself. I look at us women. I look at our normal, peacetime lives. And I wonder, if justice had been done, if the war criminals had been tried, if women had returned to their families, to their parents, husbands, lovers, brothers, if they did not have to go Pakistan, or to brothels, or to Mother Teresa’s in Kolkata, if those pregnant could have had their babies if they had wished, would my life, would our lives have been differently normal? If justice had been done, would the rape of hill women have been a necessary part of the military occupation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts? Would the offenders have enjoyed impunity? Would there not have been independent judicial investigations? Would those guilty have gone unpunished? Would the Chittagong Hill Tracts have been militarily occupied at all?” (Distances, Independence day supplement, New Age, March 26, 2008).
As the writers of When Victims Rule: A Critique of Jewish Pre-eminence in America argue, `Injustices perpetrated by the powerful, whoever they are, must always be challenged.’
Exactly. No balancing acts please. Like Yael Kahn, a courageous Jewish activist, who termed the recent JCall petition of 3,000 European Jews to the European Parliament as being “wholly inappropriate” to what the present demands. The petition had said that the systematic support of Israeli government policy is dangerous. That the Israeli occupation and settlements are morally and politically wrong. That Israel is going down the wrong path. That the current Israeli policies are a source of injustice for the Palestinians. Kahn welcomed the petititon but blasted JCall for failing to mention Israel’s barbaric seige of 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza. Neither do the petitioners speak out against Israeli restrictions on the amount of food Gaza’s Palestinians are allowed to have. Every person of conscience, she said, must take action to lift Israel’s seige of Gaza (al-Jazeera, May 4 2010).
And to this I’d like to add, why is it that these actions of the Israeli government are not considered to be anti-Semitic? As Curt Day points out, there are three dictionary definitions of Semite and one of these includes those living in Southwest Asia . In other words, Arabs. If Semites include Arabs, then is not this restricted use of the term anti-Semitism “racist”?
And maybe that is part of the problem. The assumption of an essential anti-Semitism. Fixed. Unchanging. Outside history. Regardless of what Jews do. Even if they become oppressors. Even when they become oppressors, so intent on oppressing that they become forgetful of which lessons to learn from history. For instance, this Israeli officer:
“In order to prepare properly for the next campaign, one of the Israeli officers in the (occupied) territories said not long ago, it’s justified and in fact essential to learn from every possible source. If the mission will be to seize a densely populated refugee camp, or take over the casbah in Nablus, and if the commander’s obligation is to try to execute the mission without casualties on either side, then we must first analyze and internalize the lessons of earlier battles?even, however shocking it may sound, even how the German army fought in the Warsaw ghetto.”
Amir Oren, military correspondent, Haaretz, had added: If this officer believes that the casbah of Nablus resembles the Warsaw ghetto, who, in his mind, resemble the officers of the Israeli army?
But then, as Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer tells us, Auschwitz and the Holocaust have been elevated into a new religion in Israel. “In the beginning is Auschwitz,” as Elie Wiesel had said. “Nothing should be compared to the Holocaust but everything must be related to it.” It is this that has allowed one of the worst genocides in history to be “exploited for political ends.” When Holocaust was turned into a religion it came to mean that Israel can do no wrong.
And I would like to add, Israel’s wrongs are not only confined to the occupied territories/ Palestine, but extends to Afghanistan and Iraq. To Pakistan. It reaches out to Iran, too.
Had the situation been the opposite, I would have been as vocal in defence of what would then have been the Israeli cause.
An earlier version published in New Age

Concluding instalment, next week

Earlier version published in New Age Monday May 10, 2010

Author: Shahidul Alam

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2018. A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. His seminal work “The Struggle for Democracy” contributed to the removal of General Ershad. Former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik agency, Chobi Mela festival and Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern, Alam has been guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, Winterthur Gallery and Musee de Quai Branly. His awards include Mother Jones, Shilpakala Award and Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dali International Festival of Photography. Speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam chaired the international jury of the prestigious World Press Photo contest. Honorary Fellow of Royal Photographic Society, Alam is visiting professor of Sunderland University in UK and advisory board member of National Geographic Society. John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine describes his book “My journey as a witness”, (listed in “Best Photo Books of 2011” by American Photo), as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.”

9 thoughts on “Anti-semitism, and the 9/11, Israel-Mossad Connection Part I”

  1. you’re not anti-semitic, you’re just writing some facts which some wouldnt like. i have jewish friends and studied under jewish profs as well but the ones who know whats really going on (like my friends and profs), they protest and feel shame for all the activities being done by israel. i had opportunities to meet naomi klein few times and shes a jewish but never stood to support those who oppressed.
    i really dont understand, if me being a muslim could feel shame towards whats some people doing as al qaeda in the name of my religion, why wouldnt sensible, intelligent jewish accept the facts and feel guilt creeping through them?
    keeping my name under wrap but shahidul would know who i am from my email address 🙂

  2. Those Jews who criticise Israel are Leftists first and last. They only use their blood to betray their own.
    Israel is here. She has fought Arab violence since 1948 and was assaulted in 1956,1967, and 1973,
    She will defend herself agaisnt Arab cutthroats.

  3. I am sorry about emmanuel appel’s inappropriate reaction to an extremely difficult topic – well thought out, well crafted article. It deserves a more serious response than the infantile and neanderthal “garbage”. Many Israel’s or its supporters cannot digest that they may be “anti-semitic” in their own behaviour and with the policies they persue. After-all – ‘anti-semitism’ and ‘facism’ is something “other people do” to God’s chosen. My dears, we are all God’s chosen!! I do not think that there is another country in the world which dares claim it can wrest a heap of land from another group who have wandered it since ancient times because “God said so”. Normal western society would put such people on prescription medication. There are many countries – eg Hungary, which only in the C20th lost 2/3rd its land and population at the stroke of a pen at Trianon. As soon as anyone mentions the injustice and even the mere idea of reclaiming – the ultra-right wing stop is pulled out by a very badly informed media /politicians or whoever happens to want to cause a stir. We are not even referring back to Biblical days!! Israel also forgets conveniently that it kept the oppressive apartheid system of South Africa in power for years by supplying them with the ordenance America was selling them – when the rest of the world was applying an embargo – why? no doubt because of the gold, diamond and mining interests being largely in Jewish hands. This is a fact, dear Appel, not a racist statement. Just politically embarassing – as is much that Israel does – and dare I add the emotive word – “evil” when perpetrating other people’s misery.

  4. I have attempted to see the balance you try to portait in your article, but I cannot find it. I am Romanian and I am not Jewish, I am also Transilvanian and I find your comment about Hungary poorly documented. I could carry on forver why the Jews are the chosen people and why that land belongs to them. But I will use the same comparison you used. Us, Transilvanians were under Hungarian ocupation for hundres us years. They have taken over our instituations, our way of life and our culture on our land. The fact that we were under their ocupation did not make Transilavia less Romanian. We were Romanians before they came and we remained Roamanians after they left. The fact that Israel was under Arab and Christian ocupation, does not make it less Jewish land, regardless of how much time has lapsed since the rest of the world drove them out. As far as I am concerned your type, are worse than the open Jihadis. At least with them you know what to expect. In your case your simply playing the good, balanced politically correct guy. Fortunately not everbody buys it. And I dare you to publish my comment.

  5. Dear Ms Ahmed,
    you and your ilk are obviously quite confused…. though I would be more inclined to forgive your clearly biased, ill-informed world view if it wasn’t for the rather unpleasant whiff of racism that accompanies it.
    I await your next missive with amused/bemused interest.
    Yours patiently
    Si Ego Certiorem Faciam…. Mihi Tu Delendus Eris!

  6. N.B. Forgive me for the language I am about to use, I really don’t mean to offend anyone.
    I do surely agree with SE Kereszy about the point that we are God’s children. For me being a Muslim seeing the world taken to new radical heights beyond anyones expectations, slowly breaking any taboo-related issues which was just waiting to be cracked open. It didn’t matter how soon this has happened or how long it took, how can we as ‘human beings’ solve and learn to understand the situation at hand. ‘History repeats itself’, unfortunately political leaders and rulers play with public’s mind and emotions and at the end we the public suffer. I know I don’t have concrete proof of this, but we all know what they are capable of. Sure we do depend on the government to be for us and be with us like we are there for them for running the economy or political support. You can see any religions have the same theme, pray, respect your elders, don’t drink alcohol and etc. But I surely don’t believe in any religion they say respect the people who believes in a religion other than yours, doesn’t matter how much the religion differs from you. Please I have no disrespect for these people; the politicians or the clerics target the unfortunate people with limited education in any fields, whether it is to life, chemistry, english, philosophy, etc, to hate the other group who has other beliefs from you, because they took land from you, killed your brother, called you a ‘son of a bitch’ or spat at your religion. Our parents taught us to respect our teachers, elders, relatives, so people with other religion beliefs, what makes them any different. We are all made of skin and blood, I don’t go to the other person and say you’re a Blood type B and I am a type A, you are not worthy of being a human, you must be from the gutter. What I am trying to get at here is we need to get ‘back to basics’ in order to prosper and end this fighting. Death is normal, I haven’t lost anyone between the clash of Muslim and Jews, so I wouldn’t know what that emotion is like, but I have lost people close to me. There angers are driven by their governments or clerics, damning the other religion, claiming they are responsible. Sometime there is solid proof as who has done it or there is a possibility of being it staged, if you have seen the film, ‘Wag the Dog’. Media are also no big help to us, they just bring whatever they get and do it for ratings to acquire financial gain. Governments and clerics are not ‘daft’ enough to open up to the truth or be willing to come forward and say we are sorry, lets make a truce and make this relationship fruitful. I know what I am suggesting is totally utopian. When all of us were born, we were not born bad, we were molded into something that is perceived to be ‘bad like’. Human spirit is an enormous force to be reckoned with. What if we learn to think independently? Main thing, why don’t all strive to be ‘educated’ and view other people’s point of view, taking our time before coming to a solid conclusion. Little honesty and respect towards our brothers wouldn’t hurt. If the other party will not accept the things like forgiveness for the past, friendship for the future lets make things work together, they are ignorant, not educated, not willing to move forward or not give brotherhood between any groups a chance or obssessed with power, it doesn’t matter who I roll over. Again I apologise for my comparison, but it is like high school, you got the popular kids, the nerds, the bullies, the shy ones, the beautiful ones, the not so beautiful ones. Already we got groups and some do fear the other that ‘they don’t know’ and don’t try to get to know the group, instead we attack or mock. We are taking our childhood experience to our adulthood. Claiming we are better than the other, like it is a ‘dick measuring contest’. I am not saying there shouldn’t be competition, but the good kind, not the one to play with ‘human lives’. We are God’s children, surely God (or Allah, whatever it is people believe) would not be happy that we are playing and eliminating other people’s lives. Yes there were ‘Holy wars’ in any sacred book, but we shouldn’t take it literally to start a war to end a feud. It may have worked at that time, but why don’t we understand that they fought, people lost lives, lets not do the same thing again, a little respect, ‘understanding’, ‘forgiveness’, getting control with anger, education and dignity can go a long way. Instead of mimicing the past, why don’t we dig deep to find a peaceful solution to work together, and dig deep to find real intent of the past and say, ‘Lots of lives has been lost and now lets not let these people suffer anymore.’ Sadly there is no light at the end of this tunnel. Who am I to talk? I haven’t suffered like they did, I must not be a true Muslim then. When you pray to your Holy One, my Grandfather said that it is the communication between you as an individual and to the Allmighty and no one else. We have to stand up for ourselves and stop depending on the government, use education to fight or solve by means of peace, because everyday a life is lost as we speak. The neutrals who are residing in the Gaza strip, is it there fault they are born over their or get caught up with firing bullets and missles. Then a life is lost, and the loved one’s relatives gets wrongly persuaded to join a side, without finding in their heart to eradicate this war for the sake of a material thing called ‘power’. Like material things don’t bring happiness, power is temporary, as in life nothing is permanent, including suffering, if you choose it to be. We are equiped with choice, we just need to use it right. Carrying the hate in our hearts, as it is a virus that will consume you and spread to your loved-ones to carry on to a neverlasting war. We as a human race, need patience and time, I can bet you a $100 that if I have any grandchildren or great-grandchildren, they will see the same thing that has been going almost to the dawn of time. I wish we could all fine-tune our personality and character a little bit. Achiving power for oneself the wrong way doesn’t bring happiness to the person itself and others.
    I apologise for the length of the comment, I believe for anything complicated or something that is on-going and wrong, we really need to get back to basics. (Yes not as easy as it sounds).

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