Evolution of Dispossession

Evolution of Dispossession
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Monday, October 08, 2007

The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism

Jewish leaders are meeting with the Pope to discuss the resurgence of anti-semitism.

One of the important results from Norman Finkelstein's collective works is the analysis of the cyclical nature of the charge of anti-semitism.

Finkelstein argues that every time Israel faces a public relations problem, usually from its reprehensible policies with respect to the illegal occupation of lands it does not own, there is a concerted effort on the part of pro-Israel groups (not necessarily Jewish groups) to claim that anti-semitism is on the rise, and must be combatted.

One must wonder if such charges would me made were Israel to abide by international laws, UN resolutions, Geneva conventions, NPT standards, and would stop attacking its neighbors and occupying pieces of their neighbors' lands.

As it is now, it seems that the repetitive nature with which the charge is leveled against anyone who validly criticizes Israeli behavior is effective at warding off further criticism. In this way, Israel immunizes itself from criticism by manufacturing the charge even when it does not apply.

The misapplication of the term should be discouraged, not encouraged, by Jewish leaders. If the term is used frequently when it does not apply, the misuse tends to de-sensitize people to the charge.

But I don't think this consideration even matters to the hard-core Zionists. Herzl, Zionist pioneer, once said that anti-semitism should be welcomed by the Jewish community and Zionist leadership, for it would hasten the realization of the Zionist dream, or nightmare if you are a Palestinian.

7 comments:

Rothell said...

Scottie, where were you on this one?

Rothell said...

There have been so many countless examples of crying anti-Semitic wolf. Consider Jimmy Carter’s protestors last year (they picketed his book-signing here in Pasadena, yelling “if you are anti-Israel, you are anti-Semitic!”). Pat Robertson was accused of anti-Semitism for writing a book touching on conspiratorial European bankers (his accusers claim that by bankers he really means Jews!). A Florida restauranteur’s business was slammed by a Jewish man’s claims of anti-Semitism that the business collapsed into (this libel was later proven in court to be total fabrication). Claims of anti-Semitism in the CIA, etc. Examples abound. This is the result of victim mentality. Considering the history of Jewish persecution, I understand why such a mentality exists and I am sorry for that. But compound this neuroses with current political/diplomatic conflicts between Israel and other nations and you get precisely what you're talking about in this article.

Take for example these comments made by the Anti-Defamation League's chairman: "The harsh but undeniable truth is this: what some like to call anti-Zionism is, in reality, anti-Semitism--always, everywhere, and for all time." He adds for good measure: "Therefore, anti-Zionism is not a politically legitimate point of view but rather an expression of bigotry and hatred." Foxman insists that he is not opposed to criticism of Israel. "In every public forum," he says, "I'm always careful to say that criticism of the state of Israel is not necessarily anti-Semitic." As Brian Klug writes in his article for The Nation, "is not necessarily" implies "is possibly," and what this really means is "it's usually so."

This is simply irrational. If we are to subscribe to Foxman's logic, then we should make no bones about (hypothetically speaking) the Cherokee nation rolling tanks into Nashville and reclaiming Tennessee as their own since their ancestors said it was and always should be. And if we disagree with this, then we are racists? I think not. I am not Israeli or Jewish and I should not be expected to agree with or even sympathize with Zionism.

I find this to be rather counter-productive and dangerous to not to Israeli proponents but to people in the Jewish community as well. Worldwide sympathy for Israel has been and continues to dwindle, partly as a result of these repeated, often false or misleading claims. In an essay by Phillip Greenspan, he states that, “The ADL survey…elicited the opinions of respondents on Jews and Israel as well. Results: Jews were viewed favorably; the state of Israel, unfavorably. Compared to a 2002 survey, anti-Semitism decreased while negative opinion of Israel increased.”

samadams said...

I think the Pope should tell those cry babies that sticks and stones may break ones bones but words will never hurt them. Therefore until and unless Israel as a policy, stops killing its neighbors for land, (the sticks and stones) then he will not tell anyone including Rydzyk to watch his language. (the harmless aforementioned words)

On another note, I think anyone who thinks of themselves as a member of any group should thrash all detractors with the anti-semite label. That way people will laugh at it for what it really is.

Of course, the real question is, "How can one be an anti-semite by criticizing Israel if not all Israelis or even Jews are ethnic semites?"

But I digress in my preaching to the choir.

scottie said...

hey rothell

i actually added a comment to your post, after seeing how your arguments were attacked.

it was number 7

i dont visit logipundit too much any more

i have been blogging on the iran issue lately, and so i wanted to see if my old posts were being heeded. i saw your post, read it, and offered the last comment.

welcome back.

ive linked this site to a few other blogsites, and if you could pass this site along to friends, i want more people to comment.

i have enough up here now to get some traffic.

best

scottie said...

welcome sam adams

glad to have your comments

i hope you keep posting on my site


as far as your comments and rothell's comments, i have a few to make:

foxman waffles all the time on the criticism of israel is anti-semitic in nature, anti-zionism is anti-semitism, etc. the best book out there right now on this topic is norman finkelstein's "beyond chutzpah; on the misuse of anti-semitism and the abuse of history"

it is superbly researched and the conclusions are sound and virtually inescapable.

the charge of anti-semitism is a political tool which is wielded by zionists to achieve their political ends. the charge also immunizes israel, when used ad nauseam, from its atrocious behavior, but only if people let it.

the carter incident, my post on tutu, etc and countless other examples demonstrate the frequency with which the misapplication of the charge occurs.

who suffers? when there is a bona fide case of anti-semitism, those victims do because the public is becoming de-sensitized.

sam adams, you make a good point; palestinians are semites. most modern israelis are descendants of the khazars, a turko-finnic slav group which converted to judaism by decree of their pagan ruler. (interesting read) when israel was founded the majority of the colonists spoke yiddish, which is a germanic language. hebrew was almost dead as a language. hebrew experienced a renaissance but this was a conscious decision made by the zionist leadership. so most israelis today are not ethnically jewish (there was a recent story about a jewish community in india which could trace its roots via DNA back to canaan) and israel is becoming increasingly a secular state.

the term anti-semitism has been hijacked, it has lost any meaning it once had because of its repeated misapplication, and after finishing carter's book, i have to say that if this man is called an anti-semite, then we all are, because jimmy carter is a good human being, perhaps not the best president, but he is well-intentioned and very ethical.

it is a malicious slander which serves as a scare tactic, and the people like Foxman know this, and use it deliberately.

MOM said...

Hi, All,

When I broached the subject of which you all have made comments here with someone who lives in Jerusalem, she said that there are more inhabitants of Israel who are critical of their government's policies than it seems there are in the U.S. She said that their points of view aren't broadcast (of course) in the U.S.

scottie said...

Haaretz has more dissenting points of view about Israeli policies with respect to occupation and treatment of the Palestinians than does the NYT or Washington Post, or any mainstream media outlet here.

I saw John Hagee interviewed by someone yesterday. He is a hcardcore Christian Zionist, and quite scary. This loon believes that the political formation of the state of Israel in 1948 is the manifestation of biblical prophecy. Hagee urges actions from the US which will provide the seed from which Armageddon and judgement day will grow.

I remember a few years ago I saw that a small majority, like 51% of Israelis, wanted to end the occupation and exchange land for peace. But the government does not listen. When Rabin tried to establish a lasting solution, at Clinton's prodding mind you, he was killed by Yigal Amir.

There was an interesting article yesterday saying that Israel was willing to split Jerusalem, like this was some magnanimous offer from the Israelis. The partition on 1948 was conditioned on Jerusalem being an international city, and since 1967 Israel has been violating the spirit of the terms it agreed too. The occupation of East Jerusalem with some 200,000 Israel is a true obstacle to the eventual Palestinian state. But there is this article which portrays Israel as the rational country which is willing to make "concessions". Bollocks. Compliance with the rule of law (international law, UN resolutions) should not be spun as making concessions, but it was and is.