Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thought I'd Share

The following loooong paragraph is from the introduction to Anthony Julius's new book Trials of the Diaspora--A History of Anti-Semitism in England (which I just started reading). Julius is describing what he calls 'the new anti-Zionism' (what I call Zionhass) as it is currently manifested in England. I think, however, that what he's describing is really a 'Zionhass Without Borders,' so to speak, and most of what he says applies equally well to the Israel Apartheid Week crowd here in Canada. This latest variety of anti-Semitism, writes Julius

denies to Jews the rights that it upholds for other, comparable peoples. It adheres to the principle of national self-determination, except in the Jews' case. It affirms international law, except in Israel's case. It does not understand that supporting the cause of Palestinian nationhood is one thing, while denying the right of Jews to live in their own state is quite another. It is outraged by the Jewish nature of the State of Israel, but is untroubled (say) by the Islamic nature of Iran or of Saudi Arabia. It regards as racist the social inequities between Jew and Arab in Israel, while being indifferent to the legal inequities between Muslim and non-Muslims in Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim states. It regards Jewish nationalism (i.e., Zionism) as uniquely pernicious, rather than as merely another nationalism, just as earlier generations of anti-Semites regarded Jewish capitalists as uniquely pernicious, rather that as heterogenous members of a much larger capitalist class. It is indifferent to Jewish suffering, while being sensitive to the suffering of non-Jews. It writes out of the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the masscres of Jews in, say, Hebron (August 1929), Jerusalem (February 1948), and Kfar Etzion (May 1948), while treating the massacre of Arabs at Deir Yasin (April 1948 as proof of fundamental Zionist iniquity. It is reluctant to take a position on (say) the Chinese occupation of Tibet, while holding the Israeli occupation of the West Bank an idefensible evil of global consequence. It makes an exception of the Jewish State. It is hostile to the United States, which it believes is dominated by Jews and acts at their bidding. It plays variations on well-established anti-Semitic tropes and deploys some new ones of its own (principally, that Israel may suitably be compared with Nazi Germany and/or Apartheid South Africa). It treats UN and UN committee and council, resolutions on Israel as if passed by impartial, apolitical bodies. It denies the existence of Islamic anti-Semitism, save perhaps as a Western import and of no practical consequence; anti-Semitism in general is dismissed either as a phantasm exploted by Jews to pursue their own goals or as no more than a rational judgement on them. While excoriates racist sentiments found among Israelis, or in the complex history of Zionism, it refuses to acknowledge the racist themes towards Jews to be found in many current of Arab nationalism. It overstates, on every occasion, and beyond reason, any case that could be made against Israel's policies (e.g., 'No other country has such a record of lawlessness: not one of the world's tyrannies comes close'), and wildly overstates the significance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in worldly affairs--indeed, it puts Jews at the centre of world affairs. Many 'new anti-Zionists' are either anti-Semites or fellow travellers with anti-Semitism; long-standing anti-Semites now embrace 'anti-Zionism' as a cover for their Jew-hatred. This is because, in relation to Israel, the anti-Semite finds a protected voice. The desire to destroy Jews is now reconfigured as the desire to destroy or dismantle the Jewish State. It is no longer the 'Jewish peril' but the 'Israel peril' that constitutes the risk to global peace and security, and which therefore must be combated. The new anti-Zionism has become a cause for some English academics and political activists; it is most commonly found in the universities and in student and university teacher association. Anti-Zionism has renewed anti-Semitism, and given it a future.

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