Monday, 30 August 2010

The New, New Antisemitism

People don't like being called antisemites - especially those people who work so hard to disguise their antisemitism as anti-Zionism (as though denying Israel it's right to self defence and existence is better than accusing Jews of taking over the world or whatever). People also don't like being accused of "new antisemitism", which is the term for the demonisation of, and disproportionate hatred directed towards Israel because of its Jewish nature.
So for those Israel-bashers who protest their innocence of antisemitism (old or new), in an excellent article on the CST blog, Dave Rich proposes another term:
"There is much in the anti-Israel discourse in this country that smacks of an emotional reaction to Israel, up to and including hatred, which goes beyond its government and encompasses the country and people as a whole. I would call it anti-Israel racism; if you don’t like that term, use bigotry or prejudice instead...
for those opponents of Israel who do not want to consider the possibility that their attitudes may be polluted with antisemitism, they could instead consider whether they are susceptible to racist ideas or feelings about Israel and Israelis."
So, Israelophobia, or anti-Israelism. A racism that is so obvious in so many leftists, even when they use that exhausted defence of "my best friend is... Neturei Karta".
Rich concludes the article with these unanswered questions:
"if it is possible to hold racist views about Israelis, then there is a follow-up question: what if these racist views about Israel and Israelis are similar, to a greater or lesser extent, to things that antisemites believe about Jews? Would this mean that, after all, anti-Israel racism is the same as antisemitism? or does anti-Israel racism exist separately from, but sometimes influenced by, antisemitism? And does it make a difference, morally or politically, which prejudice is in play?"
Well for what my opinion is worth, I believe anti-Israel and anti-Jewish racism are inherently linked in most cases, although obviously in some a person will be one and not the other. 
(Just to be clear, when I talk about anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism, I am talking about disproportionate hate and not legitimate criticism of Israeli government policies.)
More significantly though, I strongly believe that both are as bad as each other. And perhaps that's why some Jews and Israel-supporters are quick to call anti-Zionists antisemites: it's the only way to get their disgusting prejudices noticed. Because for some reason the denial of Israel's right to self-defence and existence is acceptable, as long as it's called anti-Zionism. The key is to talk about "Israelis" and not "Jews", then it's ok.
But then the question arises: when these leftists and anti-Zionists talk about Israel and Israeli citizens and the Israeli army and the Israeli government... where do all the Israeli Arabs come into this? You know, the Israeli Arabs who are MKs, who fight in the IDF, and who live among Jewish Israelis (whether in settlements or not).
Are the anti-Zionists talking about all Israelis, or just the Jewish Israelis? If it's just the Jewish Israelis who they deny self defence, then that's pure antisemitism, isn't it.
Another blogger takes the viewpoint that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are indeed the same thing, particularly the kind that calls Israel a Nazi state and Palestinians the victims of genocide.
This all brings to mind what happened at the beginning of this month, when the Telegraph accused Israeli president Shimon Peres of claiming that the English are antisemitic. In fact he was talking about Britain's relations with Israel and with Arabs. When prompted by the interviewer, he did concede that "yes, there is also antisemitism", something no one could deny. There's antisemitism everywhere.
Melanie Phillips observed that it is: "likely that the Daily Telegraph writers elided anti-Israel feeling with Jew-hatred because they themselves think that each flows into the other"
Which Phillips points out is extremely hypocritical:
"it is a favourite device of the Israel-bashers to fend off criticism by falsely accusing all those who defend Israel of claiming in turn that its accusers are all 'antisemites'...
the Israel-bashers tell us ad nauseam that to be anti-Israel is not the same as being anti-Jew. Yet when the Israeli president talks about anti-Israel hatred, he is said to be talking about anti-Jewish hatred pure and simple, with no other factors acknowledged."
JC editor Stephen Pollard, in a TImes column, reinforces this point: 
"Too often, those of us who criticise campaigners against Israel, or who argue that there is an anti-Israel bias in much of the media, are accused of calling our opponents antisemites... That is specious nonsense - with the poisonous aim of trying to delegitimise friends of Israel from the debate."
The vast majority of Israel supporters are fully aware of the point at which criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitic territory, and it very often does. Examples:
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation...

  • ...Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

We shouldn't have to be afraid of calling someone out as an antisemite if they are, only to have them feel "offended" and sigh that everything is overly Politically Correct now, and why can't they criticise Israel without being called antisemitic.
But until anti-Zionism is seen as the vile racism it truly is - or Israelophobia/anti-Israelism - then it is still imperative to keep exposing antisemites for what they are, even if it means just watching and waiting for them to let slip a "Jew" instead of "Israel".

No comments:

Post a Comment