Diana West

It only took PBS one hour to uncover the causes of anti-Semitism, now in an alarming heyday. In "Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence," narrated by Judy Woodruff, PBS offered the answer: The reason for Jew-hatred, now widely promulgated among Muslim populations, is, well ... Jews! Israel! Even Christianity!

Oh, brother. This wreck of a thesis emerged early in the documentary as fact and fiction collided, mangling cause and effect. According to the show, Jews basically caused Anti-Semitism in the Arab-Muslim region around them by first building the tiny modern state of Israel (500 times smaller than that Arab Muslim region), and then actually trying to defend it against a host of Muslim armies and terror groups. As PBS tells it, it isn't the genocidal proclivities of surrounding Muslim nations that have caused war unending on the Jewish state; it's the continued existence of the Jewish state that has caused the genocidal proclivities. The show practically begs a viewer to ask, Well, what else could you expect?

But there's more to this lefty apology for the luridly vicious Anti-Semitism expressed on a daily basis in the Islamic world in sermons, schoolbooks, television shows and newspapers, some of which is helpfully shown in the documentary. We are told that Anti-Semitism is something new to Islam. According to the practically oracular authority of Princeton's Bernard Lewis, never in 1,200 years did Muslims even think of Anti-Semitism, let alone act on it -- not until European Christian empire-builders introduced the pathology to the region in the 19th century, what with tales of Christ-killers and, later, the forged "Protocols of the Elders of Zion."

It wasn't that those first 1,200 years of Islam and sharia were exactly paradise for Jews, Lewis said, but Jews were "tolerated" so long as they accepted their "inferiority." This was a pretty breezy way to dismiss centuries of violence, oppression, fear and degradation inflicted, according to Islamic law, on "dhimmi" Jews (and on "dhimmi" Christians for that matter), as copiously documented by historian Bat Ye'or. But Lewis stuck to this story: "Anti-Semitism was introduced into the Middle East by Christians."


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).