Expert: ‘Book Incites Global Anti-Semitism’
October 11, 2007 – Michelle Mostovy-Eisenberg, Staff Writer
Daniel S. Mariaschin

Author Salman Rushdie once wrote, “A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.” If only it were so easy to just ignore one particular new book, a book that B’nai B’rith International executive vice president Daniel S. Mariaschin said is contributing to the “biggest problem” facing Jews and Israel in the world today — global anti-Semitism.
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, caused controversy even before it was published in August. The authors, not from the fringes of society but scholars at the University of Chicago and at Harvard University, respectively, originally published their work as an article in the London Review of Books in 2006. Their expanded version sits front and center at your local bookstore.

To say that a group of Jews has been responsible for the war in Iraq — as The Israel Lobby asserts — “is absolutely unacceptable and extremely dangerous,” said Mariaschin, and gives people a reason for anti-Semitism. By isolating Israel and perpetuating myths, the authors “have made Israel a pariah.”

“They have crossed the line,” he added. “For guys who are supposed to be academics, where was the interview with the people they are castigating?”

Mariaschin has more than 30 years of experience working on behalf of Jewish organizations, and just recently returned from a trip to Israel and Europe.

This background grounded his address to about 50 members of the community at the Congregations of Shaare Shamayim on Sunday evening, as well as to members of Philadelphia-area Jewish organizations on Monday, a talk sponsored by B’nai B’rith, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Israeli Consulate on the “many challenges to the Jewish community and Israel.”

Mariaschin said that The Israel Lobby is just another addition to a list of books and media appearances by high-profile individuals in which Israel and Jews come in for a steady drubbing. The list of personalities includes former congressman and author Paul Findley, who’s written They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby, and former president Jimmy Carter, who has called Israel the biggest abuser in human rights today in his recently published book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.

Add into the mix last month’s well-publicized visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Columbia University and the United Nations, and his questioning of the reality of the Holocaust.

These “mischief-making” incidents are used to incite negative feelings for Jews, said Mariaschin.

So what can Jewish people do to try to combat this threat of global anti-Semitism?

“We need to be as responsive as we can,” he said. “If there’s a call-in show, call in. Respond to articles and letters to the editor.” He also suggested contacting local members of Congress to discuss these issues.

As for Holocaust-deniers, Mariaschin said that Jews have a responsibility to talk about the Shoah to the next generation, since the biological clock is running out for survivors.

Teaching the truth about the Holocaust “is the answer to people like Ahmadinejad,” he said.

Between sponsoring terror around the globe and working to create nuclear technology, the very real threat posed by the Iranians “needs to be confronted internationally,” he said, adding that European leaders must be be involved in any such action.

“This should not just be the problem,” he insisted, “of Israel and Jews around the world.”