A Palestinian man scuffles with Israeli troops during a protest against Israeli land seizures for Jewish settlements, in the village of Ras Karkar, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY Image Credit: Reuters

The ruling United States clique selectively ignores certain vital aspects when it comes to protecting and preserving human rights. They view even human rights from a religious or racist angle. That American lawmakers exhibit blatant hypocrisy in this matter is too obvious, but rarely reported.

Take the case of the US State Department that recently released a report to the US Congress, identifying any vocal criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism, warning that anti-Jewish attitudes and incidents were on the rise worldwide.

This was based on a study conducted by Tel Aviv University’s Stephen Roth Institute. The study found an increase in serious anti-Semitic incidents across the globe, encompassing physical attacks and vandalism, steadily increasing in numbers from 2005 up until 2016. The report went further and spoke at great length about the intensification of anti-Semitic rhetoric among governments and international elites. Assessing the report, the US State Department did not think twice before declaring that attacks on Israel tantamount to anti-Semitism — a bold statement indeed from an organ of the government that generally refrains from making extravagant statements.

“Anti-Semitism has proven to be an adaptive phenomenon,” the report said. “New forms of anti-Semitism have evolved. They often incorporate elements of traditional anti-Semitism. However, the distinguishing feature of the new anti-Semitism is criticism of Zionism or Israeli policy that — whether intentionally or unintentionally — has the effect of promoting prejudice against all Jews by demonising Israel and Israelis and attributing Israel’s perceived faults to its Jewish character.”

In its introductory overview, the report singles out governments with whom the US administration has no relations (Iran for example), or Syria and Venezuela with whom Washington’s relations are in a parlous state. The report, however, cites pronounced examples of anti-Semitism among the nations that the US has cultivated as allies, including Russia, Ukraine and Iraq.

This report followed four years of research launched in 2004 after US lawmakers passed a bill commissioning it. The process was accelerated in 2006 when the then US president, George W. Bush, named Gregg Rickman as the first US special envoy on anti-Semitism. The 94-page report suggests at length that Holocaust denial is a vehicle for anti-Semitism. It also targets the United Nations, suggesting that some of its constituents, criticising Israel, promote a hostile environment for Jews. “Regardless of the intent, disproportionate criticism of Israel as barbaric and unprincipled, and corresponding discriminatory measures adopted in the UN against Israel, have the effect of causing audiences to associate negative attributes with Jews in general, thus fuelling anti-Semitism,” it says.

Naturally, Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, welcomed the report, as did some members of the US Congress. “All too often, legitimate criticism of Israel can veer into naked anti-Semitism characterised by vile hate speech,” said Representative Howard Berman, the chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. “When hate speech arises, we should call it what it is — and do what can be done to stop it.”

Considering how the Israeli-fuelled Zionist lobby has throttled US legislative bodies, no US politician would dare say otherwise.

Now let me get this straight. Isn’t it Israel’s policy of land grabbing and ethnic cleansing that generates criticism of that country? Isn’t the targeted murder of peaceful protesters a reason to criticise what the Israeli government stands for? Is it not the perpetuating theft of Palestinian land that there is reason to condemn the policies of an apartheid country? Hasn’t the Holocaust perpetuated against Palestinians during the last 60 years a cause for unflattering rhetoric against a country whose raison d’etre seems to be the illegal thievery of others’ land and oppression of its rightful owners?

Those calling for justice for Palestinians cannot be cowed down in the face of dim-witted conclusions or wielding the fig-leaf of an excuse of anti-Semitism.

Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena.