Corrupting Ideology

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Sabby Sagall's article on anti-Semitism (July/August SR) takes a very superficial attitude towards anti-Jewish sentiments in the Middle East.

While there has often been a tendency for protests in the Middle East against Zionist colonisation and discrimination to degenerate into a pogrom against Jews as a whole, the rise of extreme Islamic sentiments has been accompanied by the popularisation of prominent features of European anti-Semitism. The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion do a roaring trade in the Middle East, and only recently a Saudi Arabian newspaper retailed the very European myth of the Jewish blood sacrifice.

When one looks at the utterances of Osama Bin Laden about how 'the Jews' control the US, and considers the indiscriminate targeting of Jews by Palestinian suicide bombers, it is clear that, whatever its roots in an opposition to Zionism, anti-Semitism in the Middle East has developed a dynamic more or less identical to the most violent examples of European anti-Semitism. All Jews, be they fascistic Zionist settlers or socialists dedicated to a just solution to the Palestine-Israel crisis, are a target.

Perhaps the worst aspect of Sagall's article is that he implies that anti-Semitism in the Middle East is less harmful than its European counterpart, and is of little consequence. Although its root cause is different, anti-Semitism in the Middle East is as dangerous to its targets and as corrupting to its perpetrators as it is in Europe or anywhere else.

Paul Flewers

A mistake appeared in Sabby Sagall's article. Page 21, first paragraph in the second column, second sentence should read: 'In Jewish municipal elections in Warsaw in 1936 Zionists polled 22 percent of the vote compared to 30 percent for the socialist anti-Zionist Bund.'