How to become an antisemite – one easy move
With apologies – we reproduce one of the least gruesome images of ‘classical antisemitism’ – of which PM Netanyahu has accused BDS supporters. The cartoon is of Baron Alphonse James de Rothschild (1827–1905)
Now that Israel’s prime minister has defined boycott supporters as ‘classical anti-Semites in modern garb,’ I’m trying to get used to my new identity.
By Roy Isacowitz
February 19, 2014
I’ve spent the last couple of days battling to come to terms with the fact that I’m an anti-Semite.
It’s not an easy thing to accept for someone who has been Jewish since birth, has lived in Israel for over 40 years and who likes to believe that he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. In fact, it’s a real blow.
But it must be true because Prime Minister Netanyahu said it was – and we all know that Bibi would never play fast and loose with the truth on matters as sacred as anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.
To be specific, Netanyahu described supporters of a boycott against Israel, of which I am one, as “classical anti-Semites in modern garb.” In the past, the prime minister said earlier this week, “anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses – and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state.”
Case closed. Everyone who supports a boycott against Israel as a means of pressuring it to drop its insane and suicidal dominion over the Palestinian people is a classical anti-Semite. Not an ordinary, run-of-the-mill kind of anti-Semite, note, but a classical one – the type who flips through the Protocols of Zion before turning out the light at night and believes that Jews use Christian blood in baking their matzot.
It’s also worth noting that the government’s boycott law specifically includes any “area under Israel’s control,” which means that even refraining from drinking Golan wine is a sure sign of anti-Semitism. So, the next time you want to check the place of origin of a packet of parsley in the supermarket, think again. Next thing you know, you’ll be spray-painting swastikas on walls.
It’s like drugs, this anti-Semitism stuff. You start with something small, like avoiding herbs from Gush Etzion, and before you know it you’re foaming at the mouth and mainlining Mein Kampf. Or arguing that disinvestment might prompt Israeli businessmen to pay a little more attention to what’s going on in their back yard.
Same thing, really; anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism. Only a proto-anti-Semite would look for nuances in the filth and the muck. Luckily, we have our sharp and unerring prime minister to fend off the danger and keep us on the straight and narrow. Only he knows how fiendishly devious the anti-Semites really are.
It’s going to take me time to get used to being a classical anti-Semite. It’s like discovering in my sixties that my biological father was actually Himmler or that I was mistakenly swapped with another baby at birth. (I wonder if he also turned out to be an anti-Semite.) An entire lifetime of self-discovery needs to be scrapped and the process begun again from scratch.
U.S. Jewish groups are consulting with one another on what next steps to take to counter Israel’s new anti-boycott law, a measure these activists are protesting in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, July 13, 2011. Photo by Uri Lenz/ Flash 90
Not that it was entirely unexpected, to be honest. I understood relatively early on that the progressive, non-racial Judaism I imbibed with my mother’s milk (what was in that damn milk, for Christ sake?) was very far from the Judaism that drives Israel. So, pretty much from the start, I’ve been a bit of a Jewish sore thumb in Israel; an anachronism among my exclusivist and revanchist fellow Jews.
But I never thought of myself as an anti-Semite. A non-mainstream Israeli, certainly; a non-Zionist, probably – even, perhaps, a quasi-self-hating Jew. But never an anti-Semite.
Now, thanks to the prime minister, I have seen the light. I’m too old and too set in my ways to change my politics, so I’m just going to have to get used to being an anti-Semite and make the best of it. Learn to love my anti-Semitic self, as contemporary pop-psychology would have it.
And I’m pleased to say that there do seem to be some glimmers of illumination, if not exactly hope. For one thing, we anti-Semitic boycotters seem to be souring the mood of the prime minister and his cohorts. There’s no doubt that they’re concerned by all this boycott stuff – very concerned, even – and concerned Jews should make an anti-Semite happy, I guess. I’m still a novice anti-Semite, so I don’t really know. But the signs are good.
Then there’s the odd, niggling doubt I’ve had on occasion about my political positions – like on Iran, for example. To me, Netanyahu has always seemed to have a Strangelovian obsession with nuking Iran, but I’ll admit to moments during which I’ve questioned whether perhaps he knows more about what’s going on than I do; he is the prime minister, after all.
Now, I no longer have to worry. As an anti-Semite, I can trash the Jewish prime minister without qualm or conscience. After all, if being pro-Israel means being as intellectually dishonest as the prime minister is, then being an anti-Semite is probably a step up.