Friday, June 18, 2010

Political Physics 101: The Bond Between Anti-Semitism And Anti-Israel Hatred

The huge rise in anti-semitic violence in Canada provides an occasion to examine the phenomenon--and how it as changed and expanded:
Judging from what subsequently spewed over the transom, Statistics Canada's report that hate crimes directed at Jews were up 42 per cent in Canada was unsurprising.

Many, including Jews, who question Israeli policy, play down anti-Semitism as a factor. Yet anti-Israel rhetoric appears to grant permission to growing numbers to express anti-Semitic sentiments.

Classic anti-Semitism targeted Jewish religion or people. Former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, himself a victim, defines a new anti-Semitism that's more subtle. It lurks behind legitimate criticism of Israel. It's insidious. When challenged, the new anti-Semites cloak themselves in aggrieved counterclaims that supporters of Israel just seek to stifle legitimate debate about Israel.

Yet the expressions employed, which frequently crop up in e-mails, postings to media web-sites and letters to the editor, often include accusations that the newspaper is an agent of Israeli policy. The rhetoric includes terms like Jew-lover; the Jewish-run media; the international Jewish lobby.

Journalists are accused of writing what they're told by Izzy Asper; that their newspapers have an anti-Muslim bias; that columnists succumb to pressure from Jewish colleagues -- revealing an assumption that journalists who are Jews automatically have a pro-Israel agenda.
The implications of what today passes for correct and proper criticism is telling:
What is significant in this language is its tone and its equation of Israeli policy -- which has political detractors even within Israel -- with Jews.

More telling, the rhetoric insinuates conspiracy. Alleging Jewish control of the media is but a contemporary manifestation of older claims of an international Jewish economic conspiracy.

Claiming Jews control the media assumes Jews are more loyal to Israel or to the supposed secret priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own countries. This assumption is included in the formal definition of anti-Semitism by the European Union's human rights agency.

- Other anti-Semitic flags: Denying the right of Jewish people to self-determination by claiming the existence of Israel is a racist endeavour; holding Jews collectively responsible for Israel's actions; delegitimizing the Israeli state; applying double standards to human rights abuses -- so Turkish abuses of ethnic Kurds are an internal matter of state security but Israeli abuses of Palestinians require international intervention while Palestinian abuses of Israelis are excused by the asymmetrical nature of the conflict.

Statistics Canada's numbers suggest what's behind this nasty rhetoric. And other research confirms anti-Semitic incidents here spike during a crisis in the Middle East. [emphasis added]
And here is the kicker:
What should trouble Canadians is that, although Jews represent only about one per cent of Canada's population, they were victims of more than 66 per cent of religion-motivated hate crimes in 2008. Not an enviable record, and one that should cause everyone tempted to vent about the Middle East to carefully consider the tone of their remarks. [emphasis added]
And a little bit of accuracy wouldn't hurt either.

Technorati Tag: and and .
Post a Comment