MSNBC Guests Deny 'Deep' Anti-Semitism in Middle East; Claim Only 'White Conservatives' Back Israel

August 4, 2014 - 4:26 PM

[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]

Dean Obeidallah injected race into the debate inside the U.S. over the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict on the 2 August 2014 edition of MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry program: "You saw a poll last week, young people 18 to 29: only 25 percent think it's justified what Israel is doing; 50 percent said, no. People of color, same numbers...It's really the Obama coalition versus white conservatives. That's the only group saying – the majority saying what Israel is doing is justified."

During the same panel discussion, American University's Hillary Mann Leverett made a very peculiar assertion about anti-Jewish sentiment in the Middle East – that from a historical perspective, European anti-Semitism was supposedly much worse than Islamic anti-Semitism:

HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL SERVICE, AMERICAN U.: Well, you know, if you look at Jewish communities in other places around the Middle East, there certainly was, after the creation of the State of Israel – and especially after the '67 war – an emigration of Jews from many of these Arab countries to Israel. But there still are Jewish communities. So, for example, there's a thriving Jewish community in Iran. And when I've talked about that, people say, oh, that's so terrible. How can you say that? Of course, they're suffering. Well no, I've actually been there. I've been to the kosher restaurants. I've been to the Jewish hospital in Iran.

There is not this deep-seated Arab/Jewish or – you know, Muslim/Jewish animosity. There's not an anti-Semitism in the Middle East the way that there was in Europe, which is based on race; which is based on color; which is based on genes and biology. That doesn't exist in the Middle East. There's no history of that in the Middle East.