If Jews are defined as a separate ‘race’ there is little to choose between antisemitists and zionists in their desire to get Jews out of Europe, argues Joseph Massad in a patchy survey of beliefs about race and Jews. (He ignores the distinctive zionist fanaticism for state-building). He mourns the defeat of the Jewish ‘Haskalah’ (enlightenment’) which sought to integrate Jews in European modernity and, in the cold war, as ‘white’ people – news to the Rosenbergs’ family. Mira Sucharov takes issue with the omission of Liberal Zionism which defines the Daily Beast for which she writes.
Ronnie Fraser’s legal action against his union has exposed many rifts within ‘the Jewish community’ in Britain. From those who backed him to bring the case through varieties of political and legal doubters to those who thought he had no case at all the episode has, at least, set a limit to those who, by seeing every defeat as evidence of antisemitism, make it harder to fight real antisemitism.
Anyone who sees Eli Valley’s cartoons and his brilliant creations such as Bucky Shvitz, Sociologist for Hire or Stuart, the Jewish Turtle is unlikely to forget them in a hurry. But Valley, like other bitingly satirical cartoonists you can name, does not have an easy ride. Here the anonymous blogger of the Philosophy and Law website defends Valley against the charge leveled against him in Commentary magazine of being – you guessed it – self-hating. And we link back to earlier postings about Eli Valley on this website.
For some years establishment Jews – and their peculiarly avid non-Jewish supporters – have been gearing up to counter the growing support for Palestinian independence amongst British students. They fear that the line between antisemitism and criticism of Israel has been crossed – which sometimes it has – that there is no such dividing line, that Palestinians have displaced Jews as the stateless people. Ronnie Fraser was a gift to them and they put their money where their mouths were.
Naomi Alderman, multi-talented writer, carries the heritage of Anne Frank and, of course the Holocaust and antisemitism. She reviews contemporary Jewish fictions – including one where a Palestinian boy demands of a settler that she renounces her ‘mythical claim’ – to find where that heritage has led. But it’s 2013, and life is as good as it has ever been for anyone in the history of the world. So without forgetting, we must stop looking in “the mesmerising mirror of victimhood”.
Britain’s Chief Rabbi addresses the AIPAC policy conference with a mix of ingratiation, odd bits of misinformation, and the cry that, yet again, the Jews are hated all over Europe. For this ‘spiritual leader’, being Jewish means seeing the US and Israel as guiding lights, exaggerating Muslim power and insisting on eternal victimhood.
You might wonder why a dispute at a college in another country should generate 2 posts here and headlines in many countries. The dispute is about discussing Israel and strategies to end the Occupation (BDS). Blimey. How scary. But as a NY Times editorial points out it is impossible to have a civil discourse about this in the US. More than that, we would say those who can’t stand criticism of Israel use a defence so wildly disproportionate (it leads to a 2nd holocaust, it is antisemitic, it ‘degitimises’ Israel, supporters are pro-terrorism) that it sounds hysterical.
In an article intended to demonstrate European wilful misunderstanding of the existential threat to Israel a JPost journalist discovers it has reached the western-most corner of Europe – a village in Kerry, Ireland. Richard Silverstein questions the accuracy of her account. Irish newspapers and letter writers respond.
The people and organisations which are quickest to cry ‘antisemitism’ – think Anti-Defamation League (ADL) or many of the so-called Jewish representative groups in the UK – seem to have no grasp of what actually constitutes antisemitism and its true horror. To help them master their hysteria, and provide a service to our sensible readers, we post the Daily Beast’s 17 point guide to antisemitism and the abuse of that term.
When Pres. Obama nominated Chuck Hagel as his next Defense Secretary, neo-cons led a charge against him waving the flag of ‘antisemitism’. Even right-wing Jews were embarrassed by this abuse of the term. The Senate Armed Services Committee hearing for Hagel’s appointment is set for January 31, but as AIPAC’s support is confined to Congress, observers think they will not lobby publicly to block the appointment.
When President Obama first mooted the name of Vietnam veteran Chuck Hagel as his next Secretary of Defense, it unleashed charges of antisemitism against the senator. It was notable how quickly these were scotched by many influential Americans (2). Perhaps learning how flimsy such accusations are, Obama has now gone ahead and nominated him. Might this spell the beginning of the end for using antisemitism as a cheap smear (1) to upset a gullible public and reveal the real political reasons for opposing Obama’s decisions (3 and 1)?
Football is the common ground for these three postings – but not for those fans who enjoy mindless antisemitic chants (1) in contrast with those who have followed Frédéric Kanouté’s lead in expressing solidarity with the people of Gaza (2).and opposing Israel hosting the next Under-21 championship (2 and 3).
This is a complex and disturbing story told by 4 people, about Greta Berlin, 71-year-old American and a founder of the Free Gaza movement, and her links with antisemitic propaganda and groups. It is also about connections, intended and accidental, and covert routes made possible by the internet. And it is about, as Ali Abuminah says, the tireless efforts to confuse anti-Zionism with antisemitism.
A bizarre story about the ‘UK and Zionists’ developing a virus as a weapon which would specifically target Arabs was picked up from an Iranian website and widely circulated by Mid-East, antisemitic and conspiracy websites. Either they didn’t care whether or not it was plausible or their hostility to all things UK/Zionist/big government has made them too credulous. Beliefs before good science.
A short definition of antisemitism is not that hard to arrive at – two are in the Notes in this posting. The controversy comes with the explanatory examples (especially if Israel is involved), and the status assigned to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency agency. Ben White looks at how some American bodies are misrepresenting the FRA’s working paper to silence pro-Palestinian voices as intrinsically antisemitic.
To many in the West, the saga of the video trailer for Innocence of Muslims has been an unnerving spectacle: watch the fanatical Islamophobes torment the fanatical Islamists with a crude prong of propaganda and sit back. In thoughtful pieces from Al Jazeera, Hamid Dabashi deplores this posturing of the extremes (and notes the line from antisemitism to Islamophobia); 2nd Tarak Barkawi explores the fear of the global reach of Islam from within the confines of the western nation state. + link to pastiche mock-ups of the West’s fears.
The EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has commissioned surveys in nine EU countries as part of its ongoing research into antisemitism today. The questionnaire is online and you can access it through this posting. It is for Jews (by any definition) aged 16 and over.
California State Assembly has passed an extremely long resolution (3rd) opposing intolerance and antisemitism, as exemplified by critics of Israeli policy on American public campuses. (Do they know that Israeli campuses have many critics of Israeli policies?) They seem not to know about UK policy (3), free speech or Palestinian rights (1st, Stephen Zunes and 2nd, Associated Press). Mindless opposition to ‘antisemitism’ seems to be an American apple-pie virtue.
A myth is a story people tell themselves. It has elements of truth and of untruth, reality and fantasy. Joel Beinin reviews three authors whose subject matter is the reality and the myths of antisemitism , of Israel as a progressive country, and how through history the left and the right have adopted or resisted these.
Antisemitism exists, in pockets in W. Europe and the US, more widely in E. Europe, the Middle East and N. Africa..However, the routine charge of antisemitism is often an attempt to intimidate by those who do not have facts on their side. NGO Monitor, a master of bullying, has had to find a new term for Jewish criticism of Israel — Jew-washing — a Jewish cover for Christian ‘antisemites’ who want to, e.g, divest from the occupation. As though such Jews are unable to make their own critical judgments about Israel. Offensive and laughable.