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Martin Sherman

INTO THE FRAY: Today’s surging antisemitism—A perverse inversion of victim & victimizer

World opinion must be made to understand that the plight of Gazans today is the result, not the reason, for the smoldering Judeophobic hate on their part.

The surge in antisemitism across the US and elsewhere has once again thrown into sharp relief the appalling pervasiveness and perverseness of loathing to which the Jewish people are subject.

It has exposed how shallow it lies, bubbling just below the surface, dormant but not dead, ready to erupt on the flimsiest pretext, even in allegedly the most liberal, cultured, and erudite societies.

“Geographically challenged louts”

Although, since WWII, the naked expression of hatred for Jews as individuals or a religion has been muted—even frowned on, in many parts of the world, it appears that much of this restraint has been released—perversely just after the Jews have been submitted to a brutal genocidal assault within the Jewish state itself. After all, by any rationale standard of decency, the horrific atrocities should have unleashed a massive wave of, if not of international sympathy for the Jews and the Jewish state—then at least of severe and unreserved condemnation of their vile adversaries. Indeed, every assault on an Israeli civilian, every murder, massacre, mutilation, every projectile fired indiscriminately at every non-military target—whether farm, village school, or kibbutz kindergarten —every one of these was an indisputable war-crime.

Yet, stunningly, just the opposite occurred!

Across campuses of prestigious universities, leafy boulevards, and central town squares, we witnessed the groundswell of vicious and visceral vitriol, directed not only against the Jewish state’s righteous retaliation to the tsunami of barbaric war crimes; but against Jews, as Jews, guilty not of any action but merely by association

However, instead of being excoriated for their subhuman savagery, the Gazans were lauded and lionized as bold fighters for freedom, with “geographically challenged” louts chanting “from the river to the sea”—a euphemistic slogan for the destruction of the Jewish state –without them having the slightest idea which river and/or which sea are involved.

Perverse inversion of victim/victimizer

Arguably, some of the most egregious manifestations of this perverse inversion of victim and victimizer have been promulgated by several Armenian sources. Indeed, an analysis  (August 2023) by The Institution For The Study Of  Global Antisemitism And Policy (ISGAP), entitled Antisemitic and Anti-Israeli Narratives in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora, warns that  in significant circles of Armenian society—under the influence of “antisemitic cliques…[a] popular construct has become the uncritical assimilation of the Arab-Islamic narrative of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict” According to ISGAP, this … leads [them]  to deny Israel’s right to exist and, accordingly, the right of Jews to their national self-determination –which falls under the internationally recognized definition of antisemitism

The ISGAP analysis cautions that “in recent months, the Armenian segment of the Internet (including the Russian and English language segments) has been [inundated] with expressions of unconditional solidarity with Palestinians on the 75th anniversary of the Nakba (“the catastrophe of the Palestinian people”, which, according to this narrative, is the creation of the State of Israel). It cites the Policy Director of the Washington-based Armenian National Committee of America as insinuating that the creation of Israel is a crime that never ended”.

Misplaced pique

Allegedly, Armenian rancor against Israel is due to the supply of weapons to Azerbaijan in its successful wars (2020, 2023) in Nagorno-Karabagh, which resulted in the Armenian enclave being overrun and absorbed into Azerbaijan. However, the real purpose of Israel’s supply of weapons to Baku was not conflict in Nagorno-Karabagh, which has no strategic significance for it. Rather it was to strengthen its strategic cooperation with a moderate pro-Israel Azerbaijan against its extreme anti-Israel Iran, an existential peril for the Jewish state. Significantly, polls by Pew and the ADL show that distinct antisemitic sentiments prevailed well before these military conflicts, now blamed for their manifestation,

Likewise, the Armenian inference, that the situation in Gaza and in Nagorno-Karabakh were in any way similar, is utterly baseless. After all, it should be recalled that since 1993—and particularly 2005–Israel tried repeatedly—albeit ill-advisedly—to extricate itself from Gaza, being thwarted only by unremitting aggression from Gazan terror groups, which made Israeli military action imperative. Indeed, the plight of the Gazans today is manifestly the result, not the reason of the smoldering Judeophobic hate on their part.

Incandescent incoherent vitriol

Recently, echoes reminiscent of the irrational Jew-hatred that has reduced Gaza to rubble, were spluttered (for want of a better word) by Vladimir Poghosyan former advisor to Armenia’s Armed Forces and purportedly an expert on his country’s national security in Armenia. Virtually apoplectic, he ranted: “I will scream to the whole world, about the just killing of JewsYou jackals must be exterminated completely…I never recognized the Holocaust Jews are a destructive people, who have no right to be on this earth…

Soaring off into a hate-filled tirade, he charged: “…you suckers have not left your mark in any country in the world, never. You have always been situational temporary workers killing different people.“—somehow unmindful of the fact that Jews (0.2% of the world’s population) comprise over 22% of all Nobel prize laureates.

While it is true that Poghosyan no longer holds any official position, his toxic diatribe is still worthy of mention because of his past standing. Indeed, the editor of the Jerusalem Post, himself on the very day it was made public.

Bearing the blame

Since the dissolution of the USSR Armenia, as a small landlocked country, subject to myriad constraints and pressures from larger and stronger neighbors, has found itself between a rock and a hard place. That truth, however, cannot obscure the fact that it has brought considerable animosity on itself by making some grossly injudicious choices and rash decisions of its own for which it alone must bear the blame.

About the Author
Dr. Martin Sherman is founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies a member of the research team of the Israel Defense & Security Forum (IDSF)-Habithonistim, and a participant in the Israel Victory Project. . He served for seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli Defense establishment, and was a ministerial adviser to Yitzhak Shamir's government. Sherman also lectured for 20 years at Tel Aviv University in Political Science, International Relations and Strategic Studies. He holds several university degrees: a B.Sc. (Physics and Geology), an MBA (Finance), and a PhD in political science and international relations. He was the first academic director of the internationally renowned Herzliya Conference and is the author of two books, as well as numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of political, diplomatic and security issues. Sherman was born in South Africa and has lived in Israel since 1971.