When Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek in 1961 he viewed it as vehicle to challenge the social norms of the day focusing on the contemporary cultural realities of the ‘60s. Later spin-offs of the show followed suit by reflecting on the issues of their respective decades.
One of the more controversial issues addressed by Roddenberry was the rise of the Third Reich and Nazi ideology. In an episode entitled “Patterns of Force” the crew of the Enterprise lands on planet Ekon, which is at war with neighboring planet Zeon. This prompted comparisons with the word Zion, which stems from the same root of the word Zionism.
Focused on wiping out what they refer to as the “Zeonist pigs,” the Ekons have begun mimicking the Third Reich. Brown shirts patrol the streets, towns are cleansed of Zeons who are “poisoning the land” and the “Führer” is in charge. In Germany, the episode was only aired 43 years after it was first made.
Unfortunately, the genocidal evil rooted in Nazism is not always as visible when it comes to anti-Zionism, which has been perceived as “legitimate criticism” of the policies of the State of Israel. Historically, the Arab world has openly engaged in demonization and de-legitimization of the Jewish state since 1948 and we have yet to see any real sign of this practice being diminished in any of the Arab “reform” revolutions of 2011.
Today more than ever, we are seeing a slow but steady growth in anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Zionism. Since 1945 there has not been such level of concern, anxiety and even depression among Diaspora Jewry. It is the Jewish community’s most demanding challenge, especially in North America, as it created a growing splinter regarding Jewish identity and Israel, with many Jews embracing the pro-Palestinian narrative.
Vying for Western support
Meanwhile, in his recent address at the UN General Assembly, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas denied that the Jews have any profound historic connection to the land of Israel. His repudiation of Israel’s most basic rights and Jewish identity coincides with his audacious racist insistence that the new Palestinian State should be Judenrein. He has argued that the Zionist movement fabricated the “six million” figure to gain world sympathy, thus in turn establishing the Jewish exclusivity of the Holocaust.
At this time we are seeing an anti-Semitic evolution predominantly driven by how the Muslim world visualizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict throughout the Arab media. The comparison of Israeli actions with Nazi actions trivializes the significance of the Holocaust: If the Israelis are no better than the Nazis, then the Nazis’ actions were no worse than the Israelis’. Such is the perception that the Arab world is trying to disseminate in the West.
As such, Abbas and the Palestinian leadership use these tactics to elicit Arab and Western support and sympathy for the Palestinian cause.
In conclusion, while Star Trek dared to boldly go where no man had gone before to ensure that human history does not repeat itself, given the above even Spock’s logic would not be enough to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at this time.
Asaf Romirowsky is a Philadelphia-based Middle East analyst and an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Forum
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