In 1942, George Orwell wrote, “Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help that of the other.” Before the Second World War, large parts of the peace camp – which is a much wider grouping than pacifists - and the appeasers in Western society, played a similar role helping Nazi Germany.
Many dubious roles are currently played by significant elements of the peace camp in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The recent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate mongering by prominent Norwegian peace research scholar, John Galtung, require of us greater attention to the misdemeanors of many pro-peace organizations and individuals.
Galtung, also called “the Father of Peace Studies,” tried to provide logical explanations for the Nazis’ anti-Semitism that led to Auschwitz. He promoted the canard that Jews control the American media and divert it for the sake of Israel.
Galtung hinted at a possible link between the Mossad and Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. He also held an open forum discussion concerning the contents of the major anti-Semitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Galtung said that it reminded him of investment bankers Goldmann Sachs.
To get a better insight into the present misconduct of many peace campers, one has to go back in history. There are two major examples that teach us how peace promoters voluntarily served totalitarians. In the Soviet Union from the late 1920s, all peace movements were repressed and many supporters were killed or imprisoned. However, the Soviet Union encouraged and supported international peace movements. Sometimes it even financed them to act against the policies of Western nations.
Before the rise of Hitler, pacifism had been strong in Germany. When Germany came under Nazi rule, it suppressed peace movements. Those pacifists who continued to resist – mainly Christian ones – were punished. At the same time, Germany promoted pacifism in other countries.
After the Munich agreement of 1938, the Peace Pledge Union in Great Britain, which had 100,000 supporters at its high point, published a pamphlet which considered Churchill a “war monger,” while it had little to say about Hitler. Simon Epstein has investigated in an award-winning book the attitudes of those who had come out against anti-Semitism in the Dreyfus trial and lived until the German occupation of France. He found that a number of pro-Dreyfus pacifists turned into Nazi supporters.
False humanitarian masks
With this background in mind, one can investigate a variety of elements in the contemporary peace camp. For those who condemn Israel, do they also condemn the Palestinians? If they do, one should check which actions they condemn on the Palestinian side. If this only concerns the shooting of rockets from Gaza, it is usually no more than a masking operation of where they stand.
Few are those who condemn the PLO’s glorification of terrorist murderers of Israeli civilians including women and children. The same is true concerning Hamas' calls to genocide – the greatest crime in the world - of the Jews in its charter.
The international Pax Christi movement is an example of peace campers who delegitimize Israel and are feeble in their condemnations of the Palestinians. This is even worse because it is a Catholic body. Catholicism has played a major role in laying the foundations of anti-Semitism in the Christian world for many centuries and in making it an integral part of European culture where it is insuppressible.
One among several examples of Protestant anti-Israeli hate monger bodies can be found among Mennonites, a pacifist denomination. As analyst Dexter van Zile wrote: “Mennonist peacemaking institutions have been at the forefront of the effort to discredit Israel to audiences in North America. These institutions portray Jewish sovereignty as the cause of conflict and suffering in the Middle East and downplay Muslim and Arab hostility toward Jews and Israel.”
They also portray Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a legitimate partner in dialogue and a victim of bad publicity. When he visited New York, the Mennonite Central Committee helped mainstream Ahmadinejad by organizing an interfaith dinner with prominent Christians.
Rarely do anti-Israeli peace campers pay a severe price for mixing with Palestinian hate-mongers. One of those who did was Italian pacifist Vittorio Arigoni who was killed by Arab murderers in the Gaza Strip in 2011. He had been a fanatic anti-Israeli agitator. On his blog, he posted anti-Semitic cartoons. He also compared Shimon Peres to Mafia mass murderer Giovanni Brusca.
Many peace campers claim that they have deep respect for human life. In the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, this is often only true on the surface. When one scratches a bit below that, one realizes that many of them look away from intended genocides and other crimes in the Muslim world. Galtung’s recent statements have helped to show part of the malice that hides behind the false humanitarian masks of many in the “peace camp.”
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has published 20 books. Several of these address anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism