How did we get here? Part 2

This is part two of the insidious nature of antisemitism. Part one was published on July 4, 2024 examining the role of the Muslim Brotherhood, universities, traditional and social media in fomenting Jew hatred. The numbering reflects that. Libels are started, then laundered and finally picked up by mainstream media to become the accepted narrative.

5. United Nations

The United Nations is probably one of the worst perpetrators when it comes to disseminating antisemitic lies. People see it as a tremendously respected, transnational organization without realizing that any organization is only as good as its constituent countries. There are 57 Muslim nations and 22 Arab bloc countries that vote uniformly to condemn and persecute Israel. Most are autocracies. I have written extensively about the unmitigated disaster that is UNRWA, promoting hateful lies, and maintaining an entire people as victims, dreaming of the destruction of the only democracy in the Middle East.

Antonio Guterres decries Nazi antisemitism but happily repeats blood libels spread by Hamas. He defends UNRWA, the main instrument of perpetuating Jew hatred in the Palestinian territories and surrounding Arab nations. He supports the UN Human Rights Council, now chaired by Iran, who routinely admonish Israel more than all other countries combined. Its illustrious members include those defenders of human rights, Russia, China and Cuba.

UN special rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese has a long history, even before her appointment, of antisemitic comments about the “Jewish lobby” and their “control of the media” as well as “Israeli apartheid.” Her hatred has reached an apex with her recently published libelous report accusing Israel of genocide and sexual assault while questioning the rapes of October 7. She failed to mention the thousands of Hamas and Islamic jihad rockets and brutal massacre that started this war and instead spoke of resistance to oppression.

Once the UN repeats Hamas propaganda, it becomes laundered and beyond question, repeated by media, NGOs, humanitarian organizations and respected but ignorant jurists. Hillel Neuer has dedicated his career to countering their lies through UN Watch, based in Geneva.

6. Humanitarian Aid Organizations

Many NGOs fall into this category and like the UN are used to launder disinformation. For twenty years Gerald Steinberg, a professor at Bar Ilan University, has called out their dishonesty at NGO Watch.

Human Rights Watch, under the leadership of Ken Roth, for thirty years, is uniquely focused on Israel’s crimes and blames Netanyahu for the rise in global antisemitism. Roth has repeatedly knowingly spread disinformation about Hamas and the war in Gaza. Although Roth has since retired as executive director, he is actively involved as a volunteer. HRW continues to demonize Israel and call for boycotts and lawfare in an effort to destroy Israel.

Amnesty International is one of the leaders in delegitimizing Israel by singling it out for condemnation and promoting disinformation, particularly about apartheid.

Medecins Sans Frontieres has been antisemitic for years refusing to work with Israeli doctors during the Ebola crisis in Africa, a decade ago. Some of their members have been particularly active spreading lies about the number of civilians dead, the state of the hospitals, blaming the bombing of Al Ahli hospital by Islamic Jihad on Israel and ignoring the field hospitals set up by Israel or flooding of humanitarian aid into the Gaza strip in the last three months. MSF accused Israel of a war crime in June 2024, shooting a doctor on his bicycle on the way to treat Palestinian children, while the Times of Israel published pictures of him at the clinic by day and by night, dressed in an Islamic Jihad uniform. He was a terrorist, active in their bomb making unit, for more than a decade.

Norwegian Refugee Council has a similar history. They have openly stated, as a goal, that they intend to flood the Israeli courts with hundreds of cases per year to subvert the judicial process in Israel, rendering it unworkable. NRC accepts “unbiased” reports from local agricultural workers who have turned out to be Hamas operatives. Since Oct. 7 they have issued numerous statements condemning and demonizing Israel but never mention Hamas.

The World Health Organization, an agency of the UN, publishes health data released by the Hamas media office, which is their propaganda arm. Even the Hamas run Health Ministry quietly walked away from these numbers, realizing the fraudulence of this data. The WHO continues to publish these numbers which are widely used in medical literature to create a body of work on social determinants of health in Gaza.

7. Leftist Governments

This is particularly dangerous to diaspora Jews. Justin Trudeau and Melanie Joly support the ICJ accusation of genocide while at the same time claiming there is no place for antisemitism in Canada.

Jeremy Corbyn did much to vilify Jews in England. Although he was pushed out of the Labour party, many of Corbyn’s supporters are still active within Labour’s ranks.

Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and the Squad are doing the same in the United States. Omar recently said that Jewish students at Columbia should be respected whether they are pro or anti-genocide. In a panel on antisemitism organized by Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez recently, she was most interested in “false” accusations of antisemitism being used against racialized women in politics.

Hillel Neuer spoke at a subcommittee of the Dutch parliament about funding for UNRWA, where he was treated with utter contempt by both Socialist and Green party members of parliament who insisted that every bit of evidence he presented was a lie and that he was funded by the Israeli government. There was no way to refute their attacks when they were convinced that Neuer was evil and UNRWA was a group of selfless humanitarians.

8. Russia

Russia may be the prototype of government sponsored antisemitism. Jew hatred survived the transition from Imperial Russia to Communist rule, outliving the Soviet Union. Russia had long been antisemitic but in 1903 published The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the forgery that has enjoyed more than 120 years of popularity. It has been used to rationalize the murder of Jews for more than a century. Although revealed to be a forgery in the western world since the 1920s and entirely repudiated after the Holocaust, it enjoys wide support and legitimization throughout much of the Arab world. It is widely distributed in Iran, Syria and Egypt. The Palestinian Authority teaches it, as fact, in its tenth grade curriculum.

Antisemitism continued through the 1930s to the 1960s, including the Doctor’s plot, antisemitic purges, using Neo-Nazi groups to paint the west as antisemitic and blaming the JDL for bombs planted by the KGB. None of that plays a huge role in the antisemitism that endangers us today, but it is clear that Jew hatred has always been the government policy of Russia from Tsarist days to the present, using disinformation and scapegoating to control its population.

Antisemitism reached a peak under Yuri Andropov, who ran the KGB from 1967 to 1982 and then the Soviet Union for the next two years. He was virulently antisemitic and launched Operation SIG in 1972 with the goal of turning Muslim majority countries into frenzied anti-Zionists, recognizing their long standing enmity toward Jews. He believed this would be the best route to destabilizing the west. In all their documents, the word Jews and Zionists are used interchangeably. Over 500 KGB agents were dispatched to Libya, Iran, Lebanon and Syria over the next 6 years. These were highly educated professionals; doctors, engineers and professors who would influence the local population and spread lies about America being controlled by Jewish financiers, whose  goal was to subvert the Islamic world. By 1978, 4000 such operatives were dispatched from the Eastern Bloc throughout the Arab world. They printed and distributed thousands of copies of The Protocols in Arabic. They purported to “find” other documentary evidence of the USA being a Zionist country that aimed to control the Muslim world. They also launched Operation Simon to discredit Jewish organizations and pit one against the other.

In 1975 the USSR and KGB worked tirelessly to lay the groundwork to have the developing nations at the UN declare that Zionism = Racism. An enormous state sponsored propaganda machine turned all of its efforts toward demonizing Zionism.

In the 1980s the Central Committee Department of Propaganda and the KGB urged the communist party to establish the Soviet Anti-Zionist Committee. It reached fruition on March 29, 1983, with Andropov at the helm of the USSR. Finding anti-Zionist Jews to head the committee, it could serve as a credible mouthpiece of the Soviet state while deflecting accusations of antisemitism. Sound familiar? Many of the placards we see at the encampments today, trace their origins back to this era. The truth was subverted and Israel then accused of the truly evil injustices that Jews themselves had suffered, such as genocide, Nazism and colonial oppression.

These antisemitic tropes were carried to the Arab world and found new life in western universities, meshing with the postcolonial theories promulgated by Said.

Today, Russian disinformation is focused on Ukraine and accusing its Jewish leader of Nazism. The Kremlin justifies its war of aggression against Ukraine as a vital project to “denazify” the country. Russia continues to operate antisemitic websites and spread Jew hating conspiracy theories.

9. Iran

Like Russia, Iran cynically uses antisemitism to meet its own ends, in this case making Persian Shia (10% of the Middle Eastern Muslim population) hegemony palatable to an Arab Sunni (90%) Middle East. This is not an easy task after Iran’s Islamist regime has murdered tens of thousands of Sunnis and still allows no Sunni mosques in Tehran. Although antisemitism is baked into Islamist extremism, the IRGC amplifies this message to create a greater common enemy. It broadcasts its message of annihilating Israel to the Arab world, but that doesn’t mean that it is just performative. Iran has demonstrated its true colours funding Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad and sending its own missiles. It also funds vast propaganda networks (PressTV) and bots to spread the message of Holocaust denial and Israel’s perfidy. It successfully exported the horrifically antisemitic Al Quds Day to most of the West.


10. Imprinting One’s own History onto the Palestinian/ Israeli Conflict

Many countries have fallen prey to this distortion but the four most obvious are Ireland, South Africa, Canada and the United States. What could be more colonial than imposing your own history on a foreign conflict? This isn’t France and Algeria or any other European colony.

Ireland imposed its own sectarian conflict, painting Israel as the colonial power, i.e. Britain and the Palestinians as poor Irish Catholics. This is evidenced in the distribution of support in Northern Ireland today and the utter vilification of Israel.

South Africa’s ANC was heavily influenced by Marxist theory and post colonialism. Yasser Arafat courted Nelson Mandela and was the first guest of Mandela’s new government. Hamas continued to successfully pursue a warm relationship with South Africa. S.A. has used its own prism to accuse Israel of apartheid despite Israeli Arabs and Jews having equal rights. There have been visits by Hamas to South Africa, even after Oct 7, which preceded South Africa’s accusation of genocide at the ICJ.

Many but definitely not all Native Canadians have accused Israel of being a white settler nation and are ignorant of Jewish indigeneity to Israel. Some Native leaders, like Harry La Forme are well aware of the history and the unheard of success of returning a land and language to the Indigenous population. Yet, a professor from TMU gave an address in June at University of Toronto’s Arts and Science graduation, wearing a Palestinian flag and calling for the liberation of all native lands in Palestine.

Lastly, many human rights activist in the US see this conflict as a white vs oppressed Brown population. This is utterly ignorant given that more than half the Jews in Israel hail from millennia old Middle Eastern Jewish settlements and look no different from their hostile neighbors. Have any of them ever watched Fauda? The Palestinian/ Israeli war bears no resemblance to the shameful history of slavery and Black oppression in the US.


These are some of the main sources of hatred directed at Jews, at first in an effort to impose repressive autocracies on the general population while blaming a common enemy for the inevitable hardship. Later it gains strength through laundering information in our authoritative institutions; universities, media and the UN. Once it becomes so entrenched, not only does it become difficult to find contrary narratives but the general population believes this view. They feel righteous in their promulgation of these lies, which they don’t recognize and they ignorantly distinguish antisemitism from anti-Zionism to make it more palatable. “Good Jews” are used as fig leaves to make this claim believable. Justifiable accusations of antisemitism are deflected as “silencing” of Arab and Palestinian voices and called Islamophobia against racialized minorities, despite the fact that many of these protesters are white and there are 15 million Jews in the world versus 1.8 billion Muslims.

All of the placard mottos at “pro-Palestinian” protests condemning and vilifying Israel have a history that precedes October 7 by decades. The weave of this antisemitic net is getting stronger and tightening by the day and we have to fight it by exposing and publicizing the hatred and disinformation that lies behind.

Encampment at University of Toronto -June 2024, Cynthia Lazar
About the Author
Dr. Cynthia Lazar graduated from University of Toronto medical school in 1985 pursuing internal medicine and an HIV primary care practice. She later pursued psychiatry and had a 30 year career in her second field. She is the founder of Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School. The daughter of a Holocaust survivor, she is interested in fighting antisemitism in North America.
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