Racially and ethnically based hatred is universally excoriated today. Even the worst Israel-haters often try their best to distance themselves from antisemitism. For example, here’s a statement from Ben White, a British author and journalist (h/t, Jonny Paul):
I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are. There are, in fact, a number of reasons. One is the state of Israel, its ideology of racial supremacy and its subsequent crimes committed against the Palestinians. It is because Zionists have always sought to equate their colonial project with Judaism that some misguidedly respond to what they see on their televisions with attacks on Jews or Jewish property.
One of his other reasons is “the widespread bias and subservience to the Israeli cause in the Western media”. Funny, I hadn’t noticed that — particularly in the British media. Have you?
White has written a book with the clever title “Israel Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide“. Although I haven’t read it, I presume its purpose is to help newbies get started in the hating game. I’d prefer “Israel hatred for the complete idiot” which has the advantage of spelling out the true nature of its audience in the title.
The book is published by Pluto Press, which also publishes political works by Noam Chomsky, Joel Kovel, Mazin Qumsiyeh, Israel Shahak, Jeff Halper, Edward Said, and other anti-Israel superstars. Pluto Press was recently under fire from Jewish groups for publishing a particularly offensive book by Kovel.
White himself is a professional hater. His blog is a primer on anti-Israel talking points. For example, an article he wrote during the Gaza war is called “Israel wanted a humanitarian crisis” and repeats every lie, exaggeration and context-free fact he could find in support of his hateful contention that the whole aim of the war was to “deliberately target… Palestinian civilians and the very infrastructure of normal life, in order to – in the best colonial style – teach the natives a lesson.”
Nice. A perfect example of how to use what I call the Four Tools of Delegitimization. But why I mention this undistinguished example in a sea of similar examples is that it’s clear that for him and many others Israel-hating meets a need for which there are few acceptable outlets. If he were writing before WWII, or even today if he were living in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc. he could simply come out as a Jew-hater. But in today’s Western society — as yet, anyway — that’s not an option for a ‘respectable’ intellectual (or even an auto racing official).
The degree of passion exhibited by the Ben Whites of the world, the way they zero in on this particular cause when there are so many worthy ones, and the sheer negativity of their energy — read a few of White’s posts and note how they are so much more about hating Israel than about caring for Palestinians — show us that there is something very special about this issue and its devotees.
Although I could argue that extreme Israel-hatred is either identical with or grounded in antisemitism, I would prefer to suggest that hating a nation is no better than hating a race or an ethnic group, and should be condemned with equal vehemence.
As for White, he’s a young man (BA, Cambridge, 2005). He should ask himself if a career in hate is really what he wants in the long run.