The word has a great power.
| When I first thought about tackling a point that is in a way related to the topic of anti-Semitism in American fiction and talked to some people about it, I was faced with different reactions, some of which actually astonished me. One of my friends looked at me with almost crossed eyebrows, folded arms and simply said, "Anti-Semitism?!" I thought you wanted to finish your MA. Another one seriously questioned whether such a topic could be accepted by the jury if it is accepted by my supervisor in the first place. When I tried the one who always has something to say, surprisingly, she just pouted. My dear husband who believes in me as much as my father does and even more than I do in myself cautiously liked the idea and so did my father. No matter what I choose, I’m all the time listening to the echoes of my mother’s prayers.
Although it is still a "thought" since I, so far, have not decided on a specific topic, some attitudes towards anti-Semitism and similar topics leave me no choice but to try to go behind the words and find some answers. I wonder how we perceive the term "anti-Semitism"; how such a crucial topic has turned into a red-flagged area and weathers some others' attempts and plans have succeeded in making us end the conversation even before we start it as if the result is a foregone conclusion. I believe one of the main reasons for such a withdrawal to be the hazy background we have about history; our history. Most of us do not read history if they ever read anything at all. They, consequently, do not develop favorable reading habits in their children and the situation, at least from a pessimistic point of view, is that a generation after generation is being brought up with no thirst for knowledge whatsoever. It is according to history that we, Arabs, are Semites. It’s a crystal clear fact that "Sam, Noah’s son, is a forefather of Abram and thus the father of all the divine Books. Hence, the followers of the Books are Semites either by blood or by belief."
Because knowledge is power, especially the sort of knowledge that deeply settles and shapes identity, I dare say that we have a serious problem of powerlessness. Most of us seem content with being “receivers”, shamefully credulous; willing to believe what we are told by the media. And when we put into consideration that the international media are controlled by those who set schemes to attain malicious goals and that the national ones are dominated by a state of vagueness, it is not surprising or shocking to feel like we are loosing identity. The word is one of the most effective weapons particularly when it is said by those who defend what is already theirs. I would like to quote Eugene Fisher, director of Catholic-Jewish at the national Conference of Catholic Bishops, “If there is a Jewish power, it is the power of the word, the power of Jewish columnists, and Jewish opinion makers. The Jewish community is a very literate community and it has a lot to say. And if you can shape opinion, you can shape events.”
Amidst an absence of an effectual Arab voice, the Jews have, actively, promoted the term “anti-Semitism” in their favor and made it an accusation constantly thrown on those suspected of scorning Jews or denying their legends. They even associate it with terms like “Nazi-ism” and “Holocaust” so that politicians who seek their support and privileges would be kept in line, fearing the loss of such an effectual power. I believe that we are in a bad need for clear cut, authentic definitions for such a mess of terms. We also need to know the difference between Judaism as a religion we are divinely ordered to believe in and between Jewish movements : political, social or economic aiming to achieve destructive dreams. In short we have to have an initiative, well-informed and highly-educated voice to refute lies, waken up consciousness and defend what is ours.