The distinction between criticism of Israel and antisemitism, much discussed in the West, is a distinction without a difference to many in the Arab world.
Nationalism, in the sense of Syrian, Egyptian, or lately, Iraqi, has never been a powerful force. Even broader Arab nationalism never caught on among peoples who were far more closely identified with ethnic and religious groupings. So it shouldn’t surprise us that Arabs don’t make a big distinction between Israel and the Jews.
“The Syrian regime makes no distinction between anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement,” Col. Reuven Erlich (res.) told The Jerusalem Post.
“The Syrians have been campaigning extensively against the excavations at the Mughrabi ramp to serve a greater purpose of promoting an anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist agenda before the world’s eyes.
“Over the weeks that the Mughrabi dig has been going on, the Syrians have been publishing anti-Semitic cartoons in their daily newspapers, which subsequently appeared on the Hamas Web site. The Syrian media, as well as the religious leadership in Damascus, have been broadcasting vehemently odious propaganda against Jews and the State of Israel.
In a broadcast from Abdallah Rabih, the imam of the al-Uthmam Mosque in Damascus, he called for a “campaign for the liberation of the al-Aksa mosque” and for Syrians to “unite together and fight against Israel and the Jews,” whom he described as a people who “break agreements and betray Allah and his prophet,” Erlich said.
“That is their religion, and their ancestors’ religion, and that is their history. They take away our blood, our money and our dignity. Jews are Jews, wherever and whenever they are. Their hatred of peace is deeply rooted in their soul and their history – a history replete with abuse, aggression, bloodshed, slaughter, occupation and falsification,” Erlich quoted Rabih as saying. — Jerusalem Post