Jacob Cohen’s Insights on Hezbollah, Palestinian Resistance, Jews and Islamophobia
By Zeinab Daher
Beirut - Moroccan-born French Jew author Jacob Cohen reflected his impressions to al-Ahed News website, on different regional and western issues, which included resistance against ‘Israel’, Islamophobia in the west, the situation for Jews in Morocco and Iran as well as claims of anti-Semitism and the ‘Israeli’ lobbies job in the Middle East.
Cohen, an ex-Freemason and ex-Zionist, has voiced in his writings strong criticism of the Zionist strategy that aims to influence people around the world to justify the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Difference between Zionism and Judaism?
In an exclusive interview with al-Ahed, Cohen spoke deeply about the history of Judaism and its dissimilarity with Zionism, and explained his views on how Zionism hated religion, part of which is Judaism, and made clear how Zionism became more a sort of an ideology that attempts to dominate Jews in which it leaves them without an identity by all kinds of pressure, whether logical, educational or in any other field of their living.
“If a Jew was not Zionist, for instance I am against Zionism, he is pushed out of the community, and he is looked at like a “black sheep”, so it has become a kind of ideology more than a religion. Jews are now supposed to be Zionists in which Zionism became the common link between all Jews. It is no more a religion, it is no more a history, and it is now Zionism,” Cohen told al-Ahed.
Anti-Zionism vs. anti-Semitism
Stressing that the Zionists pushed for making anti-Zionism equal to anti-Semitism, Cohen explained that the term is seen in the west as a very dramatic situation.
“The Zionist lobby developed at least in 20-30 years, and let’s say that anti-Semitism has become the center of European thinking and Jews in Europe. All the criticism of ‘Israel’ became a kind of anti-Semitism because, for instance, when the Palestinians want to make a protest, the Zionist lobby says “Look, they want to spread anti-Semitism”… This is why criticizing ‘Israel’ now has become more and more criminal and prohibited because it pushed for anti-Semitism. It is a very comfortable position for the Zionists because anti-Zionism now, by law in certain countries, is a kind of anti-Semitism,” Cohen stated.
“Even not only anti-Zionism, but still any criticism of ‘Israel’ could be claimed as anti-Semitism.”
France Mother of Islamophobia
When asked about Islamophobia in the West, Cohen explained that the issue depends on every country alone, but stopped to say that the global phenomenon is the worst seen in France.
“Islamophobia is very widespread in France. It is historical! There is an example that I just read this morning. We know that France has prohibited the veil for girls going to school. It is a law. But in France, when children are taken out for a museum or some other place ‘sortie scolaire’ they need people to take care of the children, because we don’t always have enough teachers, so there are Muslim mothers who would like to come wearing their veils. It is not prohibited by law, but the minister of education said this morning that: ‘Ok, it is not prohibited, we need them but we have to explain to them… you know, this veil is something which pushed for extremism…’ though he couldn’t force them to take it off because they have the right by law. They can wear their veil, but he said ‘we should explain to them to put it away, it is not good, it brings extremism…’, Cohen narrated.
“They are terrified from this piece of clothes. Islamophobia in France is historical.”
While Cohen noted that in Germany, England and the United States, people are more liberal and Muslims are more tolerated, he stressed that in France, the situation is ridiculous. “You need a new French revolution to make Muslims tolerated in France,” he said.
According to the ex-Zionist author, Islamophobia in France dates back to its historical colonialist thinking against Muslims and Arabs. It comes from colonialism in North Africa. They have always hated Arabs and they hate Muslims.
“For instance, France is the only country where people are controlled on the streets just because they look Arabs. They ask for their documents. A person can be an engineer, a doctor, but just looks like an Arab. I lived in Canada, and in Germany and I’ve never seen this. But in France, it happens every single day. It is a fact that the Zionist lobby in France is pushing for Islamophobia.”
He further stressed that the main Islamophobes in France are the Jews. Why? “Because the Jewish lobby fears that if we give a right place to the Muslims, if they get into politics, media, movies, those Muslims will gain importance and could influence the political system in France towards Palestine and the Arab world, so they fear for this and try by all means to crack down on Muslims and make them feel that they are just uninvited in France and that they are not full citizens.”
‘Israeli’ Lobbies Influencing Middle Eastern Policies
There is the Zionist lobby, but above this, ‘Israel’ has become one of the key players in the international game. In 1967, ‘Israel’ destroyed the dream of the Arabs to be independent, united, and progressive, Cohen said.
After that year, he added, ‘Israel’ became a watchdog for the west and you can see the results of this. ‘Israel’ destroyed the nuclear civil plant in Iraq in 1981. What was the message? No Arab country can possess nuclear power even for civilian purposes. ‘Israel’ said this and the world obeyed. However, ‘Israel’ has 5 to 6 submarines with 200 missiles ready to be launched, he went on to say. “I think that some countries would think a hundred times before opposing something.”
Jews in Morocco
Elaborating on the conditions for Jews in Morocco, Cohen, a Moroccan Jew himself, said that he feels sorry for the tragedy which occurred in Morocco “because we had almost half a million community… it was a very important community. We were integrated in all the aspects of life in Morocco.”
For example, Cohen said, I came from Meknes, and there were 40 people who work as jewelry makers, the 40 of them were Jews. I am just giving you an example on the importance of the Jewish community, but Zionism destroyed all that community. They came after 1948 and used all the tricks to take the many Jews out of the country, and to destroy the links between those Jews and Muslims. So now there are only 2000 Jews left in Morocco. This happened in all Arab countries, and it is a terrible tragedy.
“Zionism couldn’t tolerate that the Jews live in harmony with the Arabs. The Zionists wanted to show that it is impossible.”
Jews in Iran
Jews in Iran probably live the way we were living in Morocco. They are tolerated and they have their synagogues and prayer places. This is the situation in Iran.
Annexing more Lands, Demolishing Al-Aqsa
According to Cohen, Judaism has nothing to do with annexing more Palestinian lands or demolishing the holy al-Aqsa Mosque. It is pure Zionism. However, Judaism has never thought of trying to dominate people or to convert them. All what Jews wanted was to live in peace. The ideology of Zionism, why it didn’t like this kind of Jews is because Zionism considered them weak, they cannot defend themselves, they are not soldiers… and Zionism wanted to change them.
But Zionism uses Judaism. For instance, the “Third Temple”; the “Second Temple” was destroyed in the 70s, and now they are preparing to build a new temple. Zionism has nothing to do with that, but it agrees with it because it knows that people are preparing themselves for the “Third Temple”. They already have the plans for the temple, they have the material, and now they need the place. The place is the mosque! They want to demolish the mosque to build the temple. Zionists are the “mastermind of evil”.
In the West Bank, first of all, they separated Gaza from the West Bank… for me it is almost too late. Why don’t Palestinians unite again? ‘Israel’ would prevent this. In the West Bank, ‘Israel’ has no reason to annex this territory because there are 1.5 or 2 million people there. If ‘Israel’ annexes it legally, people of this area will be citizens, they will be able to vote.
Hezbollah, Palestinian Resistance
To me, Cohen explained, Hezbollah has shown that Arabs could have resisted ‘Israel’ and Zionism, not very easily, but it was possible. Because until the 1980s and 1990s all the Arabs were defeated in their minds. They thought that they can’t do anything.
Turning to Palestine, Cohen said that it is true that there was an uprising in Palestine, the First Intifada. “It was very courageous, and young people used just stones against the ‘Israeli’ military. But to me, Hezbollah was the first organization that not only gave a lesson when it pushed the ‘Israelis’ out of south Lebanon, it was the first time in the history of this region that the ‘Israeli’ army was forced militarily, not by a treaty or something, to get out. It was a very big defeat even in the minds of the ‘Israelis’, because they were afraid to return to south Lebanon.”
The ‘Israeli’ army’s favorite motto since the 50s, was to turn something to the Stone Age. But in the matter of balance, Hezbollah is a very strong force. And the ‘Israelis’ know that in case of a war, they will be hit very seriously by Hezbollah.
Cohen didn’t rule out any possibility of war as he said that a war can break out at any time, stressing that “Hezbollah is strong enough, but the Arab world is really down.”
It is terrible to think about the Arab world, he said.
“They treat Hezbollah like a terrorist organization, while it is the only organization that saved the honor of the Arab world.”
I believe that the Palestinians made a big mistake to sign the Oslo Agreement, Cohen told al-Ahed. It is terrible to think that they have signed such an agreement. What’s the point with the Oslo Agreement? They gave ‘Israel’ an international legitimacy. ‘Israel’ is no more considered by the world as an occupying force.
When asked a last question about the top figure he sees in the Arab world, Cohen told al-Ahed that without thinking, I have to say it is Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.