02 June 2009

What I've been reading in links: Anti-Semitism and veiled Jew Hatred

Time to pull these off my desktop.

A discussion of arguments against the opponents of the Isareli academic boycott, and how choosing to dismiss the introduction of anti-Semitism as an argument is "non-productive and thereby should not be used.

This examines how ordinary it has become for those we consider our peers to dismiss their own and demonstrated anti-Semitism. Here's a long quote, because it so epitomizes how I feel myself.

Nothing so surely confirms the growth of anti-Semitism today than sentiments like these - not from neo-Nazi thugs, or Islamist hate-mongers, but from members of polite liberal society and the international left. Whether denying or minimizing the evidence of increased attacks on Jews and the spread, everywhere, of anti-Semitic tropes in public discourse, such voices themselves testify to a willingness to cushion those guilty of blatant anti-Semitism with an understanding tolerance and a willingness to look the other way. Instead of 'never again', their watchword is 'What on earth are you talking about?'

Jews of my generation grew up not only with a sense of the disaster that had so recently overtaken the Jewish people, but also in a climate of opinion in which anti-Semitism had been more or less marginalized, driven into the sewers of the political far-right and into coded and 'genteel' forms elsewhere. It was possible to believe that its National-Socialist manifestation had discredited anti-Semitism beyond recovery. No more. That turns out to have been an illusion. Anti-Semitism is back - not that it ever went away completely, but I mean back out of the sewers and from the shamefacedness and the self-restraining codes - in all its ugly colours. It still bears the stink of what it essentially is. (Via Z Word.)
Another tremendously well-reasoned discussion of why using the "Nazi-Israel" analogy is intrinsically anti-Semitic (as the EU has declared, and as is clear to  objective readers of the words where that analogy is used).
 ....these Nazi-analogy critics don't generally apply their favoured analogy elsewhere than in the Israeli case, they don't often use potentially apt comparisons between Israel and other cases that would be less hateful to Jews, and they use the analogy precisely to magnify the parallels and minimize the discrepancies between Israel and Nazism. I submit, therefore, that there are strong grounds for seeing a certain malice in use of the analogy, and as this malice is aimed specifically, aimed by the very particularity of its shape, at Jews, it is hard to know what else to call it but anti-Semitism.
 As I so frequently find (and mentioned recently in my review of Foer's book), many people here find it easy and comfortable to take cheap shots at America. Anti-Americanism is even popular with American ex-pats, as I found the day that I moved into my apartment, when an ex-pat I had never met before told me how the International school was better than the American one, beause he (an American) didn't much like Americans (said to an American he met 20 minutes before). I understand the desire of converts to be even harder than the "born into", and how, in a casually anti-American atmosphere it is seductive to say:" I'm a different type of American- everything is better here and I acknowledge that immediately." This is an interesting glance at that atmosphere in the European left. This is a quote from quite a famous American,
[I]n Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what's bad.
When the Times concludes that the disproportionate targeting of minorities in stop and search is so egregious as to prima facie prove racism, the question is raised as to whether the disproportionate focus in the UN on Israel's actions is proof of the same (my opinion is that it clearly is and has always clearly been so).
Must we not then conclude also that the UN Human Rights Council is institutionally racist because of its singleminded focus on the Jewish state? And that political campaigns - of boycott and such - which target Israel and only Israel are racist in effect? Well, people could argue that such narrowness of focus is not on account of Israel's being a Jewish state, but on account of its human rights offences. Couldn't they? Except that if human rights offences are the reason for this focus, then there's a disproportionality here easily as great as in the police stop-and-search statistics today reported, with human rights violators of an entirely non-Jewish complexion thick on the ground globally.

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