Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas stated last May that the Holocaust was driven not by anti-Semitism among Germans...

Opinion: Most Palestinian Peace Propaganda is Double Talk – Criticism of Israel May Conceal Anti-Antisemitism

Early in October Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad described Jews as “hook-nosed,” at the United Nations, and blamed them for creating the troubles in the Middle East.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Mahathir said the world “rewards Israel” for breaking international laws and committing acts of terrorism against Palestinians.

In addition, the prime minister of the Muslim-majority country; Malaysia, challenged historical accounts that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, arguing that the figure was four million.

Likewise, the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas stated last May that the Holocaust was driven not by anti-Semitism among Germans, but by frustration over the financial activities of European Jews

their social roles related to taxes and banks.”

Noteworthy, last May, the US Congress passed the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Bill.” The State Department defines anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Examples provided by the Department include, but are not limited to, “Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion,” and “Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing (…)”

The Department adds that “manifestations [of Anti- Semitism] might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity (…) [or] Anti-Semitism is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.” (

No doubt, the freedom of speech in the West protects the right to speak against Israel without the accusation of anti- Semitism.

But, there is a fine line between Israeli policy criticism and anti- Semitism. We should not readily believe all what Palestinian and Islamic leaders say about recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. Usually it is doubletalk. I have observed the Palestinian Question for forty years and saw how it started as a national Palestinian struggle, but became later both religious and existential with the foundation of Hamas in the 1980s. It may be true that since the inception of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), not only with Hamas, wiping Israel off the map was the goal of the Palestinian struggle. But now, the destruction of Israel is in Hamas’ Charter. Thus, with the rise of Hamas, the Palestinian struggle became anti- Jewish par excellence. The Islamist groups, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others, have been able to rekindle the hate towards Jews and have transformed the Palestinian cause into a religious Islamic struggle; an Armed Jihad.

This is why Hamas was ridiculed by Israeli authorities when it issued in 2017 a policy document that suggested that the Islamic movement would accept a Jewish State with the 1967 borders. Tel Aviv believes that Hamas stokes anti- Semitism, and the policy document is mere doubletalk.

It is sad that some Islamic centers in the Chicago area have followed the cue of Hamas in preaching hate against Israel. A Chicago Tribune report some years ago mentioned that among the leaders at the Mosque Foundation, Bridgeview, the largest mosque in Illinois, were men who “condemned Western culture, praised Palestinian suicide bombers, and encouraged members to view society in stark terms: Muslims against the world.” (

As an Arab who was active with the PLO in Lebanon, I know that most Palestinian voices that call for the recognition of Israel and peace with the Jewish State may believe that it is just a tactical step. They think that, with a two-state solution, Palestinians could gain a foothold in order to launch another war against Israel. The international community should be aware of their doubletalk.

Palestinians have their rights, but they need to foster civil societies, not Spartan ones. Likewise, Palestinians and Muslim leaders active in the Chicago area should encourage tolerance and dialogue with different cultures, as well as call for the assimilation of Islamic communities in the West.

During the negotiations held by the Clinton administration in Camp David in 2000, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that Palestinians should be given a state with full sovereignty and international recognition. But if they make a military move against Israel, they should be held fully accountable. I believe that it could be a plausible plan.

Hesham Shehab
Writer Specialized in Middle Eastern Affairs

Hesham Shehab
Hesham Shehab
Educator, Journalist, Columnist, Islamic Expert, Muslim Expert, Human Rights Activist, Pastor at Salam Christian Fellowship | Website

Adjunct Faculty at College of DuPage, Formerly Adjunct Faculty at American University of Beirut and Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church Lombard, IL Name pronounciation: HI-shahm SHI-hab  Hebrews 12: 4 & Philippians 1: 29

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