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Phyllis Chesler


by Phyllis Chesler, posted November 15, 2011

Phyllis Chesler is an American writer, psychotherapist, and professor emerita of psychology and women's studies at the College of Staten Island (CUNY). To read more about here, click:

[Editor's note: This article below by Phyllis Chesler refers to a movie that will be screened that the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism will be premiering in Winnipeg on January 5, 2012 .The film is about the contemporary deployment of Antisemitism against the State of Israel, entitled Unmasked: Judeophobia and the Threat to Civilization. The director, Gloria Greenfield, will be in Winnipeg for the screening. This article below first appeared  in Pajamas Media]

Dear Good Liberal People Who Are Unconcerned With Occupy Wall Street’s Naked Anti-Semitism,

I am writing to you about a “contagious” and dangerous plague of “hatred” that threatens the survival of the Jews, the Jewish state, and of all civilization.

Even if you are not Jewish, even if you do not support Israel, you should see Gloria Greenfield’s Unmasked: Judeophobia. This film directly concerns you. It is the visual antidote to this false hatred, which visually through the internet, in films, in the media, emblazoned on t-shirts and signs at every rally (no matter the topic) scapegoats Jews for the world’s every sorrow. The Big Lies against the Jewish people — really, blood libels — are perpetrated and paid for by the very people who are committing the most horrifying crimes against their own people and humanity as a whole.

I’m with Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, whose words open this compelling and important film: afraid. For example, I have been told that very few Jews went uptown to confront the three day hate-fest against Israel which went on at Columbia in preparation for Israel Apartheid week. However, many New York City Jews and human rights activists of all ages are visiting or helping the Occupy Wall Street activists in Zucotti Park, perhaps an idealistic group which has unfortunately and increasingly been inundated with the hardcore Marxists who often display anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish slogans.

Wiesel never expected to see the return of anti-Semitism in his lifetime — and with such a vengeance. Both Israel and America represent civilization at its imperfect but democratic best; both are universally “hated.” As such “hatred” escalates and “globalizes,” it invariably leads to pogroms, massacres, embassy and airplane hijackings, which in turn, are viewed as justified acts of “self-defense” against capitalist and colonial bloodsuckers, child killers, mass rapists, and racists.

Greenfield’s film carefully, patiently, artfully exposes and stands against this surreal increase in Jew-hatred (“Judeophobia”), and explains why it is a threat to Western civilization.

Unmasked presents 50 of the most sober, principled thinkers of our time – I am honored and humbled to be among them – all of whom understand that it is crucial to tell the truth about the massive misinformation campaign against the Jews and the West, and that we must do so with courage and boldness. We — and the filmmaker who is also the producer of The Case for Israel – believe that it is late, but never too late to do so. True, the demonization of Jews, Israel, and America has gone viral. Human mobs are “surging” across Israel’s borders and are “occupying” public spaces around the world in jihadic-like fashion.

Greenfield’s experts also understand that Jews are being blamed for the exact crimes committed by the Arabs and “Palestinians” against their own people and against the Jewish state.

At this moment in history, Greenfield’s on-camera talking heads are the witnesses for the defense. They explain that everything you have been told about the matter is demonstrably false, diabolically Orwellian, and dangerous to civilization.

One cannot stop watching the film. The music engages us, the manuscripts, lithographs, film footage, and stills are shocking, tragic, illuminating, beautiful, important, haunting. We have not seen many of these images before. Taken all together, they are entered into evidence. The amount of information packed into this fast-paced documentary is astounding.

For example, the film shows us medieval images of the Crucifixion, which visually remind us that until the Vatican “pardoned” the Jews in 1965, we were hated as Christ killers. And then there are the countless covers of that long-exposed forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (which was copied from a tract against Napoleon Bonaparte) — pamphlet after pamphlet, in German, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Hindi — alleged proof that Judaism or Zionism is a powerful world conspiracy.


We see Yasser Arafat’s venerable ancestor, the mufti of Jerusalem, shaking hands with Herr Hitler. We see brave pioneers in Israel who, only three years after “standing eyeball to eyeball with death in Auschwitz” (Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ words in this film), actually won the 1948 war of independence against seven Arab armies. We see Chaim Herzog, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1975-1978, as he addresses the UN, describing it, presciently, as the “world center of anti-Semitism.” We see the iconic photo of a Jewish child and woman holding their hands up in surrender as the Nazis force them out of the Warsaw ghetto — and, we see how modern-day “Palestinian” cartoonists have turned the Jewish child into an Arab child wearing a keffiyeh; the formerly Nazi soldiers now sport Stars of David on their helmets.

We also see countless Nazi-era and contemporary Muslim cartoons in which Jews are portrayed as vulture-like child killers, big nosed greedy bankers, disgusting octopuses, and disease-spreading vermin. This anti-Semitism is not learned from the West. It is indigenous to Islam. In fact, Muslims forced Jews to wear distinctive dress and insignia many centuries before the Nazi era. If this startles you awake, wait for what’s coming next.

Unmasked then shows us the Parisian mobs (leftists and Islamists) crying “Death to the Jews” in 2001. We see and hear angry, hate-choked speeches delivered on American campuses which characterize Israel as a “Nazi, Apartheid” state. We see Israeli soldiers confiscating 50 tons of ship-borne weapons in 2010 — weapons which included rockets with the capacity to attack the Israeli Navy and even more sites in civilian Israel. We see what really happened when armed Turkish mercenaries violated international law and attacked Israeli soldiers on the Mavi Marmara. We are reminded that Israel was condemned for exercising its legal right to self-defense, and that Israel brings all goods and supplies into Gaza after first checking for weapons. The “blockade” of Gaza exists to keep weapons out that are being expressly brought in to exterminate Israelis.

When I ran into anti-Semitism in the early 1970s, I at first believed it could be contained, even resolved, if Israel only Did Something Else.

I was wrong. No matter what else or what more Israel did or could do, it would ever have been enough. Israel’s crime is an essential and existential one. It exists. This is unforgivable. It remains a permanent offense to Arabs and Muslims. In 2000, when Arafat launched his Second Intifada, I knew that Wiesel’s bloody beast was back. In 2003, I published a book about it: The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It.

What I first began writing and talking about nearly a decade ago has here been brought to life, expanded, and dramatically enacted in this film.

Many people still say: If Israel had only made peace with the “Palestinians” — but this is a solution which was never meant to work because the “Palestinians” are a fantasy.

For the record: Israel has indeed tried to make peace with her Arab neighbors, including the “Palestinians.” As this film makes clear, an increasingly Islamist Arab and Muslim world is not only anti-Israel. It is also anti-American and anti-infidel. Just this week, Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh described the prisoner exchange (1 kidnapped Israel soldier for 1,027 legally tried and convicted mass terrorist killers) as due to “Allah”; God rescued these heroes and God will lead us to victory against the Jews. Hamas believes they are engaged in a religious war, not a war merely for territory.

Nevertheless, our daily reality world-wide has become thoroughly Palestinianized.“Palestinians” are now the world’s symbol for all wrongly oppressed innocents. Thus, barbaric terrorists are viewed as justified freedom-fighters, “insurgents,” “militants,” “heroes,” not only by other Islamists but by many of the allegedly “good people” in the West. Europeans who resent having to feel guilty about their murder of six million Jews were quick to view Israelis as the “new Nazis.” They also hoped that this good faith effort would spare them from the hostile Islamists who now populate Europe, many of whom live in hostile, parallel communities. World activists who miss having South African apartheid as an organizing issue have somehow decided that Israel is the new “apartheid” regime.

Such activists do not want to understand that Islam, not Israel, is the largest practitioner of both gender and religious apartheid in the world. In addition, no one (and here I include the world’s professors, scholars, writers, and journalists), wants to acknowledge that Muslim and other non-western countries have a long and horrifying history of racism, imperialism, colonialism, slavery, and genocide. Unlike the West, Muslim leaders have not allowed any abolitionist movements to flourish and they are in no way apologetic for their past. Telling such truths has not only become “politically incorrect,” but in many countries in Europe it is tried as a crime. In Muslim countries such truth telling is a capital offense.

In 1979, when Muslim Wahhabi Salafists led by the Bedouin Juhayman took over the Grand Mosque in Mecca, they held it for more than a month. Even though the Saudi princes kept the matter under wraps, wild rumors spread. The Pakistani and Iranian (Khomeini’s) media blamed “the Americans and the Zionist Jews” for taking over the Grand Mosque. This led to the torching of the American embassy in Islamabad and the American Cultural Center in Lahore and to the murder of two American Marines. The Saudi princes insisted that there was no foreign involvement and blamed local Islamic deviants. It made no difference.

Khomeini’s spin on things was repeated in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Unlike the Pakistani police, the Indian and Turkish police protected the American consulate in Calcutta. Interestingly, Pope John Paul II was about to speak at a Christian Orthodox conference in Turkey. At the time, one Turkish radical, Mehmet Ali Agca, escaped from prison. Agca and other Turkish Islamists insisted that the pope was part of the “infidel plot against Mecca and all of Islam.” They demanded that the pope call off his visit. A year and a half later, it was none other than Agca who tried to assassinate the pope at the Vatican in Rome. These connections were made clear to me in John Behling’s important and unpublished manuscript about Islam and terrorism.

Thus, on the wings of false rumor, embassies and consulates were torched. Rumor runs riot among largely illiterate, impoverished people, but also among highly indoctrinated peoples who are trapped within closed, totalitarian societies. Imagine the effect of a film or even a cartoon, which visually shows them Israeli soldiers (falsely) murdering Arab babies for their blood. Jews as rodents and monkeys. An entire movie that fictionalized an Israeli massacre, which never took place, in Jenin. Round-the-world imaginary footage of the Israeli murder of a young boy, Mohamed al-Dura — a murder that never took place. But, one has seen it. It is so “real” it must be true. Imagine the effect of such films on westerners who are affluent and educated, but whose professors have insisted that such lies are pure truth.

This is precisely why Greenfield’s film is so important. Both the East and the West have been inundated with images and films which portray Israeli massacres and child murders which never took place. Greenfield fights such visual lies on their own turf, and in a medium that is treasured more than books currently are. Although I have dealt with anti-Semitism since the early 1970s when it manifested mainly amongst leftists and feminists in the West, in terms of expertise, I am the new kid on the block. In addition to the invaluable footage and images, Unmasked also has a truly all-star cast of speakers who have devoted their lives and careers to Israel advocacy and/or to the study of anti-Semitism: Irwin Cotler, Alan Dershowitz, Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jeffrey Herf, Matthias Kunzel, Alvin Rosenfeld, Barry Rubin, Jonathan Sacks, Shimon Samuels, Natan Sharansky, Charles Small, Gerald Steinberg, and Robert Wistrich, among many others.

In addition, the Intifada of 2000 called into service intellectuals, politicians, lawyers, professors, human rights activists, and journalists who felt compelled to use their analytic skills against a possible catastrophe. Included here (and also on camera) are Caroline Glick, Richard Landes, Andrea Levin, Itamar Marcus, Fiamma Nirenstein, Melanie Phillips, Bret Stephens, Ruth Wisse — and myself.

All these people (and many more beloved bloggers who are not on camera) are, in reality, part of an Internet Defense Force in formation. If Israeli politicians really understood that the hottest war is the battle of ideas they would long ago have opened a Ministry of Propaganda — and by propaganda, I mean a Ministry of Truth Telling amidst the Big Lies.

Why are the philanthropists not funding the first-ever Jewish al-Jazeera global network? We would not be covering Jewish subjects only nor would only Jews be allowed to work with us. The monied “princes” of Qatar are funding a very glossy Al-Jazeera in English (channel 92 in my Manhattan apartment), which runs 24/7 with very few commercials. We need to be able to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God, something that we can no longer do on the airwaves and campuses, or at the United Nations or at human rights organizations. Any further delay in this matter will prove tragic.

I have been monitoring Al-Jazeera in English. It is good — very good. And now it has just “covered” the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. It did so utterly and entirely from the “Palestinian” and Hamas point of view. All those Americans who are watching this station for its rather amazing coverage of human trafficking, sex slavery, sports in Australia, New Zealand, and England, African anti-poverty projects, and breaking news all over South America, Asia,and the Arab Middle East, etc. will gradually, over time, be persuaded that Israel is evil and that the “Palestinians” are justified.

Gloria Greenfield, her production company, Doc Emet, and her supporters are to be commended for bringing such eloquent voices together.

Allow me to end with the closing words of Rabbi Sacks, who views the Jewish people as a “symbol of hope for every small country, for every persecuted people….Jews, having been through as close as you get to ‘hell on earth,’ have come through, have not looked back, have looked forward, have not nurtured feelings of resentment and revenge, have gone out and built the future. And if that is not a testament to the power of faith, I don’t know what is…”


Phyllis Chesler

P.S. Next month, Unmasked may be ordered as a DVD. The film had its premiere at the Paris Theatre in Manhattan on October 24, 2011, at 7:30pm. Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal will lead a post-screening discussion.

P.S.S. Also see: Spew Anti-Semitism at Occupy Rally — Get Fired

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