In a submission last month to the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, JfJfP’s executive committee carefully distinguishes between antisemitism – which has deep roots in Europe and is rising – and criticism of Israeli policies. which is necessary and commonplace in Israel itself.
Nationalism can begin as a left- or right-wing movement, or neither; it is almost invariably populist-defined by finding an ‘other’ to be against. So whatever their potential for advancing democracy, nationalist movements carry the danger of harnessing racism. Anshel Pfeffer thinks nationalist movements are more of a threat to Europe than crazed jihadis.
JfJfP’s executive committee has issued a statement on antisemitism to clarify the distinction between antisemitism, which exists and is always abhorrent, between the state of Israel and Jewish people round the world, and criticisms of the Israeli state. Jewish leaders who equate Jews with Israel do not help.
The lure of IS to some young men and the repugnance at Israel’s war on Gaza have both fuelled an increase in antisemitism says Larry Derfner, who argues that we should pay full attention to antisemitism and the threat of jihadism. Plus CST’s latest report on antisemitic incidents this summer and a note on antisemitism or Anti-Semitism.
This account of how news reporting about Israelis/Palestinians ignores the latter but attributes all agency, and fault, to the former is by former AP correspondent Matti Friedman, a Canadian domiciled in Jerusalem. Its mix of perceptive points and increasingly contentious argument provides an insight into the beleaguered feeling of Israeli Jews.
There seems to be an expectation that when Israel is on the warpath, hostility to all Jews will burst out. Of course it doesn’t help that the Jewish establishments in Europe and the USA identify with Israel – but in the Anglophone world at least there are scores of Jewish groups which shout loudly Not in My Name. This is heard by fellow demonstrators and the two writers here who insist opposing Israeli policy is not antisemitic.
There is historic antisemitism based on punitive Christian fantasies; there is modern antisemitism which is more often a response to actuality – punitive measures against Arab muslims carried out in the name of the state of all Jews, viz Israel. One Israeli think-tank has been warning of the effects of Israeli policies on Jews outside Israel since 2002 but it has yet to be grasped by the Israeli government.
The distinguished French Moroccan writer Tahar ben Jelloun deplores a rise in antisemitism in France, deplores the failure amongst the young to distinguish between Jews and Israel, Jewish and Zionist. Israeli colonialism, arrogance and impunity makes it worse. Only a Palestinian state will bring security he says.
There has been some hysteria in recent weeks about “a tide of antisemitism” engulfing Europe in the wake of the war on Gaza.
Here Tony Lerman republishes a piece by Stephen Belier which reflects on what is happening: “Let us call these protests ‘anti-Israeli’, ‘anti-Zionist’, or even, at a stretch, ‘anti-Jewish’, but I do not think they have the same causation as historic antisemitism, and it is misleading to continue dragging this term in here.”
An anonymous blog, written in 2011 or 2012, titled This is not Jewish has been trending – often retweeted – on Twitter this week reports a BBC department. It is not known whether that indicates anxiety or confidence about criticising Israeli policies. One of Germany’s best-known experts on antisemitism says panic about antisemitism should not be confused with any actual increase in its incidence.
Before the raid on the Mavi Marmara by the IDF (nine people killed) Turkey and Israel had cordial relations, with Turkey being a favourite tourist destination for Israelis. Since then, PM Erdogan has been establishing himself as a defender of moderate Islam in the Middle East. Anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian feeling is still strong in Turkey, which tips over into antisemitism in some quarters. Can Erdogan keep the lid on it, or is he – or the Israeli press – stoking it?
Victories for the far-right in the EU elections, despite their antisemitic record, have caused little concern in Israel writes Ben Caspit. It might boost immigration to Israel – and the far-right shares Israeli hostility to all things Muslim, including/despite the Islamic antisemitic strain.
Those of us who are concerned about actual cultures or incidences of antisemitism should be comforted by the findings of the ADL’s survey, trumpeted as a shocking finding of global antisemitism. With the help of the Wall Street Journal and Amira Hass we can find out what was skilfully omitted from the report.
The Anti-Defamation League’s new survey ‘proving’ antisemitism is thriving across the world makes ADL very happy; as Anshel Pfeffer said, many Jewish institutions exist only because they have the money to perpetuate the past. Antisemitism exists – but Jews are subjected to a different form of racism than eg, Native Americans, Mexicans, gypsies. ADL’s means of revealing global antisemitism are questioned. And which group does not have a stereotype?
The vote by the RIBA council to call for the suspension of the Israeli architects’ association from the international body has rightly created much discussion. Only the Jewish Chronicle has interpreted the vote as evidence of antisemitism. As Richard Kuper points out for JfJfP, to misuse this grave charge is to undermine serious work against antisemitism. Letters, editorials, news. And are there no non-Jewish architects in Israel? If so, why not?
In report after report legal, medical and welfare bodies have picked out the terrorising treatment of Palestinian children by the Israeli military. The Four Corners programme of the Australian Broadcasting Commission went to find out and came back with a report, broadcast in February , which provoked a furore. Here its truth is attested to by Breaking the Silence and the reporter, who is attacked by Conservatives & Jewish establishment.
The crisis between Russia and Ukraine has provoked much talk of antisemitism. But whether or not antisemitism is thought to be a factor splits along left/right lines. Thus Jewish agencies who are usually quick to cry ‘antisemitism’ dismiss the charge, while leftists, who remember the eager collaboration of Ukraine with the Nazis see antisemitism as a key to the conflict. Is this just a Jew-centric view of history or is antisemitism a live force in Ukraine?
‘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’. Jewish Israeli Roy Isacowitz discovers, to his surprise, that he’s an antisemite – according to his Leader (PM Netanyahu) that is. According to aforesaid PM, support for BDS is antisemitic. ‘The only democracy in the Middle East’ + proper home for all Jews, classifies all critics as antisemites.
Seriously alarmed by the growing strength of the European BDS movement, Israeli politicians and their American supporters are pulling out every argument to ‘delegitimise’ the movement. Here Yosef Kuperwasser is on a tour to insist the movement is not only antisemitic and trying to delegitimise Israel but, by depending on popular ignorance about Israel’s occupation, is deliberately misleading the public.
The idea that global events can be explained by prejudice against Jews or Muslims is alarming. Antisemitism is an accepted term, Islamophobia isn’t (that too can seem ‘common sense’). But how far these prejudices are alive in Britain is disputed. Participants in a conference on anti-Muslim/ anti-Jewish racisms raise the issues. One is the extent to which ‘western values’ of democracy, individual choice and rights can be used authentically to defend Muslim customs.