Thursday, September 8, 2016

An Unseemly Spectacle: Michael Coren Twists and Shouts in the Canadian Jewish News

In this week's CJN, Michael Coren twists himself into a veritable pretzel as he strives to explain the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon and anti-Semitism (or the absence thereof) in the U.K.:
It’s obviously partly tied to policies and attitudes involving Israel, and on that issue, there are two errors we can make. One is to assume that every critic of Israel is an anti-Semite, while the other is to believe that anti-Zionism and Jew-hatred have no commonality. The truth is that the blanket accusation of anti-Semitism was thrown around far too readily in the past at anybody who criticized Israel. The allegation – and it’s a filthy one – was often used to silence valid geopolitical comment. Today, however, the border has been broken n in so many places that it’s genuinely difficult to know who is the informed critic and who is the gutter hater. 
In the case of the British left, and for that matter the left in much of Europe and North America, there are opponents of Israeli policy who would be appalled at being regarded as anti-Semitic, and indeed some of them are themselves Jewish. I’ve always found the “self-loathing” label to be at best unhelpful and usually just downright dumb. But there are others who either don’t care, do have authentic prejudices, or, in the case of some in the Muslim community, have taken on a greater dislike of Jews and Judaism.
Coren is engaged in a fruitless search to divine the precise point at which legitimate "criticism" of Israel veers into outright Jew-hate. It's fruitless because the Jew-hate of our time is non-traditional in that, instead of targeting "iniquitious" Jewry, as do Jew-hatreds past, it fixates on "perfidious" Zion, i.e. the Jewish state that didn't exist when "traditional" hatreds were all the rage.

Call it Zionhass; call it anti-Zionism; call it Israel-hate. Whatever you want to call it, one thing is certain: this is not your great-grandpa's (or even your great-great-great-great grandpa's) Jew-hate.

Unfortunately, Coren has yet to twig to that reality, hence his feckless pretzel action.

Also, is it just me, or does he seem to be a tad hysterical on the subject of Jews who supposedly try to silence Israel's "critics" by calling them anti-Semites, characterizing it as a "filthy" thing to do (rather a strange way to phrase it, no?)? I must lead a sheltered life because I don't know a single Jew who's engaged in this "filthy" activity. However, I do know plenty of "critics" of Israel who don't want to improve the situation on the ground in the Jewish state as much as they want to see it disappear from the face of the Earth, forever.

Let's call it non-"traditional" criticism, shall we?

Coren conludes his piece on this semi-positive note:

Canada is not Europe, and those bloody toxins that still flow through a few arteries of the body politic 3,000 miles away dried up long ago here. So be neither complacent nor hysterical. But be aware.
Actually, Michael, those bloody toxins (admittedly, ones that still flow through the arteries of another civilization, the one whose founder was a "perfect" warrior prophet and whose Jew-hate was there from the get-go) are right here, right now. 

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