Monday, August 17, 2015

Are Barack Obama and His Administration Anti-Semitic?

(Here's my latest for The Megaphone.)

Ben Carson, for one, thinks that recent comments questioning the loyalty of a rich and supposedly all-powerful pro-Israel lobby are reminiscent of age-old canards and therefore are evidence of the Obama regime's anti-Semitic tendencies. And certainly, Obama's many dubious associations, including his avowed fondness for Zion-abhorring academic Rashid Khalidi, attest to where and with whom this POTUS's heart and mind really lie.

I'm not prepared, however, to characterize him as an out-and-out "anti-Semite." Instead, I think I would situate him along an ever-evolving continuum of "anti-Judaism," the subject (and title) of historian David Nirenberg's must-read book. Which is to say that I don't think Obama "hates" Jews per se - everyone knows that that sort of hatred constitutes obvious racism, and is therefore unacceptable in polite circles.

The way he understands the world, though, is if one wants to be "virtuous," one must be on the side of the "weak" Palestinians - and one must therefore abjure the Jewish "colonialists/imperialists" who, according to the leftist/Muslim narrative, have stolen and "occupied" the Palestinian land. The fact that that happens to be a pack of lies is of no consequence to the virtuous. What matters to them is the narrative, the mythology of victimhood - and the truth (that Israel is in the cynosure of the global jihad) be damned.

So here's how I would tweak my assertion that Zionhass, a hatred that incorporates and is often fueled by the hatred of Israel, is the Jew-hate of our time. There are many egregious Jew-haters out there, including those over in Iran, for whom that statement holds true. However, there are many out there - and here I would include the likes of Obama - who don't "hate Jews," but who hate Israel because of what they believe it represents: Everything that they are not and from which they must distinguish themselves in order to make sense of their world and their own place in it. 

As such, they represent the latest manifestation of "anti-Judaism," a habit/predilection that has marked Western (also Islamic) thinking, and that Nirenberg explores in his magisterial survey of Western as well as Islamic thought. In fact, Nirenberg says as much when, in one of his book's closing paragraphs, he writes:
We live in an age in which millions of people are exposed daily to some variant of the argument the challenges of the world they live in are best explained in terms of "Israel."
It is clear to me that that's exactly how Barack Hussein Obama unpacks and explains things - to the detriment of Jewry in general, Israel in particular, and the civilized world as a whole.

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