Quote of the Week: Today’s antisemitism

Hosni Mubarak as a Jew. In the Muslim Middle East there's no difference between hating Israel and hating Jews.

Hosni Mubarak as a Jew. In the Muslim Middle East there's no difference between hating Israel and hating Jews (the picture is from an Iranian site).

The Quote of the Week is back:

This … is what sets post-World War Two anti-Semitism apart from its historic roots. Today’s anti-Semitism is all about denial: denial of the legitimacy of Zionism as a Jewish movement to reclaim the land of Israel; denial of a Jewish history in connection to the holy land and, in particular, the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish people; denial of the Holocaust (while at the same time accusing Jews of Nazism); and denial of Jews to live free of anti-Semitism, hate and intolerance. — Avi Benlolo, “Canada Gets Tough on Anti-Semitism

In the Muslim Middle East, they don’t make fine distinctions. Antisemitism is indistinguishable from anti-Zionism. Most of the countries in the region have already gotten rid of their Jews, so of course they hate Israel — it’s the Jewish state, the last remaining pocket of Jews. They hate Jews and Israel alike, the people and the state that so humiliated them. And they have the tools to do so, traditional Quranic antisemitism and the imported, modern European variety.

In Egypt, where there are at most a hundred Jews today, practically nobody has met a Jew. Yet “Jew” was used as an epithet to shout at foreign journalists during protests, and it’s probably a rare Egyptian that hasn’t heard of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (which was made into a TV series) or Hitler’s Mein Kampf, a runaway best-seller.

Here in North America, we speak more carefully. Our obsession with any form of racism — a reaction, I think, to both the very real anti-black racism that was institutionalized in the US until recently, and to the Holocaust — gives rise to a cultural taboo against saying anything even borderline antisemitic in public. The anti-Jewish animosity that people, including no small number of Jews, feel in their hearts expresses itself as ‘criticism’ of Israel, and political ‘criticism’ is allowed. What gives it away is the viciousness.

Everyone will admit that the situation of Israel is special. More media attention, way more UN resources devoted to attacking it, every mildly left-wing group calling for a boycott of it — sometimes I want to ask, “hey guys, aren’t there any other issues?”

There are other things that are explained by the relation between antisemitism and anti-Israel policies. For example, can anyone understand why the Palestinian Arabs, of all the ‘oppressed’ groups in the world (I was going to say ‘peoples’, but they are less a people than the Kurds or Tibetans) have become the overwhelming cause célèbre among progressives and other do-gooders?

For example, how about the Kurds? Jeffrey Goldberg reminds us:

Other stateless peoples deserve independence as well, even those who don’t have Jewish adversaries, without whom the Palestinians would be just another unhappy group of Muslims in search of a token measure of political satisfaction. In other words, they would be Kurds, except less numerous and less subjugated. Oh, if the Kurds only had Israel as an enemy, the UN might acknowledge their existence!

But of course they don’t, and it’s unlikely that the Security Council will be voting on independence for Kurdistan in the near future.

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One Response to “Quote of the Week: Today’s antisemitism”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    You point to another criminal side of all this so- called ‘humanitarian action’ in regard to the Palestinians. The obsessive focusing on this group is done while ignoring violation of human rights in almost every country in the world, and most especially throughout the Middle East. The ‘humanitarians’ are truly ‘narrow- minded’ and ‘very focused ‘ folks.
    A word on the Kurds a group of thirty million people who to their misfortune are minorities in Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Their struggle for independence receives no sympathy from the professional ‘defenders of the oppressed’. Oh the hypocrisy, the cynicism, the moral ugliness of these supposedly ‘humane and caring’ souls.