President Biden should take off his blinders and see the most virulent antisemites in the world. These genocidal Jew haters are the PLO/Hamas who proudly announce their murderous intentions in their visual emblems and charters.
The White House unveiled the “US National Strategy to counter Antisemitism” that ignores the PLO “pay for slay” policy that pays millions of dollars to those who murder both Israeli and American Jews and Hamas that launches thousands of rockets aimed at incinerating Jews in Israel.
The watered down US definition of antisemitism rejected the “International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)” accepted by forty nations worldwide. This definition states that denying Jews the right to self-determination and self-defense while claiming that Israel is a racist endeavor are antisemitic.
In his column about Biden’s’ flawed antisemitism plan, editor-in-chief of Jewish News Syndicate Jonathan S. Tobin writes about the Biden administration’s unwillingness to confront left-wing antisemitism, such as that of congressional “Squad” members Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who were honored guests at the White House, where they were singled out for compliments by the president.
These proud antisemites lamented the Nakba, the catastrophe that Israel was not destroyed at it birth in 1948 when the armies of five Arab countries failed in their genocidal attempt to wipe the fledgling state off the map.
As I was writing this article I heard that hundreds attended the funeral of Meir Tamari, who was killed in a terror shooting. Tamari, who leaves behind a wife and two children, was being buried on his 32nd birthday. His widow Tal said, “Today we were supposed to have a fun day with the children to celebrate your birthday. Instead of congratulating you on your birthday, we are here eulogizing you.” The Fatah-linked al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade proudly took credit for the attack. For Biden, this is not antisemitism.
The Power of Visual Images
As professor of art and education Columbia University and research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, I am an expert on the power of visual images. You can get the whole picture by seeing the PLO/Hamas emblem in contrast with the emblem of the State of Israel.
The PLO/HAMAS EMBLEM above is the PLO/Fatah emblem shared by Hamas. It shows rifles and hand grenades representing death and destruction and the genocidal aims to wipe Israel off the map and slaughter all its Jews. Its background shows a map of Israel replaced by an Islamic state.
The PLO/Hamas emblem illustrates the PLO “pay for slay” policy that encourages Arabs to murder Jews and rewards them to the tune of millions of dollars paid from my income tax as an American. It also graphically represents Hamas’ murderous and genocidal intent as expressed in its charter.
HAMAS CHARTER: “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims. Muslims will fight the Jews until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him. I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill.’”
Historian of Islamic art, Elisabeth Siddiqui, writes in the Arabic journal Al-Madrashah Al-Ula that art and design is the mirror of a culture and its worldview. She emphasizes that there is no case to which this statement more directly applies than to the art of the Islamic world. “Not only does its art reflect its cultural values, but even more importantly, the way in which its adherents, the Muslims, view the spiritual realm, the universe, life, and the relationships of the parts to the whole.”
ISRAEL’S EMBLEM shows a menorah and olive branches representing light and peace. It illustrates its Declaration of Independence that extends its hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in peace and good neighborliness.
ISRAEL DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: “The State of Israel will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture. We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people in its own land.”
The emblems of the six Arab countries at peace with Israel display peaceful images of eagles with national colors of Egypt, United Arab Emirates, and Sudan, jeweled crowns of the kingdoms of Jordan and Morocco, and a decorative abstract image of Bahrain.
Although I am an expert on the impact of visual images, anyone can see the radical difference between the values and aims of Israel and PLO/Hamas expressed through their emblems. There can be no peace until PLO and Hamas change their emblem.
The writer is author of The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age and Educating Artists for the Future: Learning at the Intersections of Art, Science, Technology and Culture (both published by Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press) and Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media (HarperCollins).