Normalizing Anti-Semitism in the US: Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, BESA, Oct. 12, 2018— In his 1940 film The Ghost Breakers, Bob Hope finds himself in Cuba facing a strange menace – zombies.
The Progressive Movement and Antisemitism: Joshua S. Block, Algemeiner, Oct. 10, 2018— For most of us, there is a reflexive tendency to think of antisemitism as something that is propagated by the alt-right — white supremacists, the KKK, or neo-Nazi groups.
Bavarian Anti-Semitism Rears its Ugly Head: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Oct. 4, 2018— A member of a Jewish community in Bavaria was told by his Muslim neighbor that he had taken his children out of a Koran school because it called for killing Jews.
Universalism, Particularism, and Anti-Semitism: Rafael Castro, BESA, Oct. 21, 2018— Anti-Semitism is the world’s oldest hatred.
On Topic Links
Noted UK Historian: British Jews Questioning Future in Country Due to Corbyn Antisemitism Scandals: Algemeiner, Oct. 10, 2018
Canada Regrets Turning Away Jewish Refugees on St Louis Ship in 1939: Jeremy Sharon, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 24, 2018
The West’s New Antisemitism Crisis: Why Right Now?: Alexander H. Joffe, BESA, Sept. 23, 2018
Once Again, the Media Whitewashes Antisemitism Around the World: Sean Durns, Algemeiner, Oct. 3, 2018
NORMALIZING ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE US Dr. Asaf Romirowsky
BESA, Oct. 12, 2018
In his 1940 film The Ghost Breakers, Bob Hope finds himself in Cuba facing a strange menace – zombies. An acquaintance explains, “A zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes walking around blindly with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring,” to which Hope famously replies, “You mean like Democrats?” Twenty-five years after the Oslo peace accords, the progressive Left, which now loudly dominates the Democratic Party, is walking around “with dead eyes, following orders” when it comes to the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Upstart Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decried the “occupation of Palestine” during a television interview but was at a loss when pressed to explain what she actually meant.
Even a moderate Democrat like Cory Booker, previously close to the Jewish community, saw fit to pose with BDS representatives as a means of flaunting his progressive credentials. In general, the progressive view sees Jews not only as “white” but as racists and victimizers because of their presumed power. All this exemplifies the slow erosion of Israel’s status in American culture.
But the disconnect runs even deeper. Like Cortez, the children of the Oslo era don’t remember the negotiations in the 1990s, or then-PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat for that matter, and have grown up on slogans with buzzwords like “occupation” and “intifada.” On the other hand, this generation, both in the Middle East and outside it, is extremely active online. In fact, 63% of Palestinian kids have access to the internet on a computer and 51% report they own a smartphone. The internet is already playing a significant role in their lives and what they are seeing is the Palestinian “resistance” against Israel, not Palestinian society suffering under Hamas or Palestinian Authority oppression.
The most ostentatious confrontations take place on Twitter and Facebook, where Palestinians sow allegations of destroyed villages and war crimes, going as far as claiming that Tel Aviv was founded on the ruins of invented villages. Instant gratification, yes. Honesty, not so much. The same trends are evident in higher education, where there has been a notable increase in online classes. In such a setting, there is less opportunity for debate and discussion. Our growing collective dependence on technology and social media is undeniable, but these trends – and the general tone of politics – reduce complex issues into sound bites and thereby drive polarization.
One of the major themes of Oslo was to generate trust through confidence-building measures. New mechanisms were put in place to ensure equal rights in employment and policing, and militia weapons were decommissioned under international supervision. The hope was to build a high level of trust through face-to-face interaction. Today’s social media-driven politics achieves the exact opposite of those confidence-building steps. We are left only with the option of parsing online discussions and debates in order to understand the general attitudes. The hard work of building trust is gone and in its place we are left with zombies blindly following slogans.
When Arafat rejected the Camp David II accord back in 2000, it devastated the liberal left-wing camp. They couldn’t understand how Arafat could reject the prospect of a real Palestinian state. Today’s progressive Left, led by Bernie Sanders and others like him, is further removed from the facts than the Democratic Party was under Clinton. They don’t understand that Palestinian nationalism never saw the conflict as one between two national groups with legitimate claims and aspirations. They fail to recognize that Arafat and his successors professed support for a two-state solution as a means of appeasing the West.
All of this has led to a steady normalization of anti-Semitism in American society, particularly in progressive circles. One of the most pernicious effects of this normalization relates to the discourse on Israel. A relentless misrepresentation of human rights violations, slanderous talk of Israeli “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” and bitter attacks on Israelis, their international supporters, and the peace process itself have taken a massive toll on American civil discourse.
THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT AND ANTISEMITISM Joshua S. Block Algemeiner, Oct. 10, 2018
For most of us, there is a reflexive tendency to think of antisemitism as something that is propagated by the alt-right — white supremacists, the KKK, or neo-Nazi groups. That version of antisemitism was on full display during the violent protests that rocked Charlottesville last year. For us, Charlottesville was like muscle memory. We’ve seen it before, and we know exactly what it means.
But what happens when the hate comes from somewhere unexpected, somewhere much closer to home? What happens when it comes from your friends and allies, and is disguised as something else? This new form of antisemitism, which is being propagated by elements of the far-left, has a name: I’m talking about the pseudo-academic concept of “intersectionality.” It’s one of the most significant challenges facing our community.
Intersectionality is the radical academic theory that holds that all forms of social oppression are inexorably linked. It has become a code word for anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israel, and antisemitic bigotry. Nowhere has adoption of this radical paradigm been more pronounced than on college campuses where, in the name of “identity politics” and “solidarity,” intersectionality has forced artificial coalitions between causes that have nothing to do with each other — except a hatred for their fellow students who are “privileged” because they are white, heterosexual, and especially Jewish. And that’s exactly what makes this form of far-left antisemitism so dangerous and so insidious — it is cloaked in the language of progressive idealism, and is far more nuanced than traditional alt-right antisemitism.
Let me provide you with some examples. Linda Sarsour is an intersectional feminist and one of the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington. She openly supports anti-Israel Muslim groups that tolerate, if not accept, “honor killings” and genital mutilation of women. Because of her association with the Women’s March and other causes, however, Sarsour is viewed by many as a legitimate representative of the oppressed and disenfranchised.
Here’s the truth: Sarsour is an antisemite and BDS supporter, who once posed for a photo with a former Hamas operative. She often uses the hashtags #BDS and #FreePalestine on her tweets, and once tweeted that “Nothing is creepier than Zionism.” Sarsour has encouraged Muslims not to “humanize” Israelis, and charged that there is no room in the feminist movement for those who support Israel’s right to exist. Imagine if Sarsour had made those comments about any other minority. The left would be up in arms. But Jews are the wrong sort of victim.
Similarly, Jewish Voice for Peace — an organization that calls for “an end to violence against civilians, and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East” — invited Rasmieh Odeh, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a convicted terrorist, to appear as a speaker at its national conference. The idea of Odeh, a terrorist who quite literally has blood on her hands, speaking for a Jewish organization that claims to propagate peace, flies in the face of logic.
And if that doesn’t scare you, then all you need to do is take a close look across the Atlantic to see where all this can lead. In UK, the “Corbyn-Effect” has sent extreme anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiments from the obscure fringes of the political spectrum into the mainstream. That virus has already reached the shores of the United States, and is metastasizing rapidly.
If you think that I’m exaggerating the problem, then just think about Ilhan Omar, a Democratic representative in Minnesota’s House of Representatives who tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” which she described as “Satanic.” Ms. Omar is all but certain to win a US Congressional seat in November.
As our community searches for an answer, we should ask ourselves an important question: how many of us were more disturbed by President Trump’s silence in the wake of Charlottesville then we were at finding out that two leaders of the Women’s March — Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory — are hardcore antisemites who despise Israel? Yes, that’s an uncomfortable question, but it needs to be asked because our enemies on both the left and the right would like nothing more than to see us fight among ourselves. It’s called divide and conquer, and it’s happening right before our very eyes.
The US-Israel relationship works because of shared values, shared interests, and a bipartisan consensus that Israel is an important friend and ally. People may have strong feelings about Prime Minister Netanyahu or President Trump, but that should be irrelevant to their support for Israel. There is only one Israel, and we don’t have the luxury of being supportive one year and not the next. Half or more of the Israeli public voted against Netanyahu, and yet Israel still needs foreign aid, still needs Iron Dome to protect its population against rocket and missile attacks, and still needs our support at the UN to counter the world body’s relentless attacks against the Jewish state.
Judging Israel over the Israel-Palestinian conflict, or because politicians in Israel from left to right agree with the decisions Trump is making, is more about our own self-centered issues. And while the rest of the world is busy telling the worst version of the truth blended with lies, the left in this country is making Jewish kids uncomfortable in their own skin — not because of the reality in Israel — but because people here won’t call out the lies from our own politically-driven community. This trend can’t be allowed to continue. Make no mistake, this is a war for the soul of the progressive movement.
BAVARIAN ANTI-SEMITISM REARS ITS UGLY HEAD Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
Arutz Sheva, Oct. 4, 2018
A member of a Jewish community in Bavaria was told by his Muslim neighbor that he had taken his children out of a Koran school because it called for killing Jews. A Jewish parent in the same German federal state was invited by the director of a school who told her not to let her son go to the toilet alone, this because there was a child in the school who was a neo-Nazi. One Jewish person mentioned that a pharmacist had asked his father why he needed a tax advisor as “Jews do not pay tax.”
These are three examples from a recent study titled “Description of a Problem: anti-Semitism and Bavaria” published by the Research and Information Center Berlin (RIAS). Bavaria has 12.9 million inhabitants. As it is a federal state and not an independent nation, one hears internationally much less about what happens there than about a variety of European countries with substantially smaller populations including Austria, Belgium, Sweden, and Switzerland.
About 17,500 Jews are members of the 13 existing Jewish communities. Approximately half of live in or around Bavaria’s capital, Munich. This study can be considered a model for similar analysis to be undertaken elsewhere in Germany and other European countries. It is based on interviews with experts. The incidents at demonstrations during the 2014 Israeli campaign Protective Edge against Hamas are mentioned as key events in the development of anti-Semitism. The reactions of mainstream society at the time were also worrying.
Other negative key developments mentioned included the debate on prohibiting circumcision in 2012 and the influx of refugees into Germany in 2015. The study defines perpetrators of anti-Semitism as of two kinds: 1. The extreme right and 2. Groups which justify anti-Semitism on the basis of Islam.
In smaller towns and rural areas right wing extremism is dominant. Israel-related anti-Semitism was also specifically mentioned as an important phenomenon next to classic anti-Semitism. An important finding of the study is that relations between the Jewish communities and politicians as well as the police are good. Yet the dominant opinion is that complaints about anti-Semitic incidents will hardly result in successful follow up from the authorities. Interviewees mentioned that in some cases the police advised the Jewish communities not to complain because the perpetrators would not be caught.
Between 2014 and 2016, the police registered 482 criminal anti-Semitic acts. 300 of these took place in small towns and rural areas. Yet the incidents which involved violence or verbal and written targeting of individual Jews mainly occurred in the metropolitan areas of Munich and Nûremberg/Erlangen/Fürth. A 2016 study by Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians University which focused on racism found that eighteen percent of the interviewees in Munich had significant or strong anti-Semitic attitudes. In the remainder of Bavaria it was twenty four percent. That study dealt exclusively with religious and ethnic anti-Semitism and not with anti-Israelism.
In 2017, the Technical University of Regensburg investigated attitudes of asylum seekers from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Iraq who had arrived to Bavaria in 2015 and 2016. More than half of those from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – which are predominantly Muslims — agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much influence in the world.” Among the Eritreans, the percentage was low.
Many other interesting observations can be found in the RIAS study. Only a few can be mentioned here. Jews perceive actual anti-Semitism very differently from the non-Jewish majority which is unfamiliar with many of the hatred’s aspects.
The interviewees were asked where they encounter anti-Semitism. From the answers one can conclude that such reactions can occur anywhere, be it sport, contacts with the authorities, in conversations with acquaintances, listening in on conversations at the next table, in the public domain, at the work place, when shopping, etc. anti-Semitic experiences in schools were mentioned numerous times.
Earlier this year Bavaria appointed an anti-Semitism commissioner, Ludwig Spaenle, the former Minister of Education. He reacted to the RIAS study by saying that it proved that state and civil society have to give clear signs. A culture of close watching of anti-Semitism is needed.
In August 2018, when Spaenle was in office one hundred days, he gave an interview about his preliminary conclusions. He said that hatred of Jews was increasing. He remarked that perpetrators came not only from the right. Those from the left and Muslims often focus on Israel. Spaenle considered it urgent to establish a hot line in Bavaria where complaints about anti-Semitism can be reported.
Spaenle specifically mentioned anti-Semitism at schools as a problem. He wants to offer teachers courses on how to deal with anti-Semitic stereotypes, in particular among Muslims. He said that since 2015, many young refugees have entered Germany who grew up with prejudices towards Jews. In view of this Spaenle also wants to include techniques on combating anti-Semitism in integration courses. He remarked that when he accepted the anti-Semitism commissioner’s position he was not aware of the multitude of tasks facing him.
UNIVERSALISM, PARTICULARISM, AND ANTI-SEMITISM
BESA, Oct. 21, 2018
Anti-Semitism is the world’s oldest hatred. This hatred has been justified on religious, economic, political and social grounds. A cogent philosophical theory of anti-Semitism is nevertheless overdue. This theory should explain the persistence and ubiquity of anti-Semitism throughout the ages.
Why have doctrines and religions as diverse as Hellenism, Christianity, Islam, Nationalism, Communism, and Intersectionality attacked Jews? A prima facie explanation is that Judaism, as a distinct ideology, invites hostility from alternative worldviews. This thesis does not explain why Judaism, which shies away from expansionism and does not seek proselytes, is viewed as a threatening doctrine. The thesis also does not account for the scarcity of anti-Semitism in belief systems as diverse as Hinduism, the Druze religion, Zoroastrianism, contemporary Conservatism, and Liberal Democracy.
In order to philosophically understand hostility towards Judaism, it is helpful to place ideologies in a spectrum ranging from absolutely universalistic to entirely particularistic. Universalistic ideologies such as Hellenism, Christianity, Islam, and Communism have historically attacked Jews and Judaism. The survival of a particularistic Jewish identity makes a mockery of their claims to ideological superiority and universal truth. On the other end of the spectrum, nationalism and nativism are particularistic ideologies that resent the cosmopolitanism that Jews embody.
Intersectionality illustrates how conventional labels like left-wing and right-wing obfuscate the ideological nature of anti-Semitism. In theory, intersectionality advocates universalistic values dear to Jews, such as social justice and equality. In practice, its exclusive focus on the interests of “oppressed minorities” makes it a particularistic movement. Advocates of intersectionality view Jewish socioeconomic achievements and Zionism as hostile to the particularistic interests they claim to represent, though Jews have invariably been an oppressed minority throughout most of their history.
On the other hand, Liberal Democracy, contemporary Conservatism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and the Druze religion are doctrines that accommodate Judaism. Liberal Democracy, like Judaism, blends elements of particularism and universalism: It integrates particularistic interests into a pluralistic political system that serves universal values. Contemporary Conservatism is also philo-Semitic because it balances universalism and particularism. Conservatives treasure the industriousness of Jewish communities and respect Jewish religious distinctiveness. Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and the Druze religion accept Judaism because they are themselves particularistic faiths.
It is important to note that particularistic faiths such as Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and the Druze religion are amicable towards Judaism while particularistic political doctrines are not. Particularistic faiths are not bothered by different religious beliefs as they do not seek proselytes. Particularistic political doctrines, on other hand, demand collective submission to their norms and values. Because Jews subscribe to separate religious laws and beliefs, they have been viewed as a threat to social harmony since the time of the Pharaohs…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
On Topic Links
Noted UK Historian: British Jews Questioning Future in Country Due to Corbyn Antisemitism Scandals: Algemeiner, Oct. 10, 2018—The antisemitism scandals that have rocked Britain’s Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015 have led many UK Jews to question their futures in the country, a noted London-based historian and author said in an interview published on Wednesday.
Canada Regrets Turning Away Jewish Refugees on St Louis Ship in 1939: Jeremy Sharon, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 24, 2018—Canadian ambassador to Israel Deborah Lyons announced on Wednesday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will formally apologize next month for the decision in 1939 by then Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King refusing to grant asylum to the more than 900 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany.
The West’s New Antisemitism Crisis: Why Right Now?: Alexander H. Joffe, BESA, Sept. 23, 2018—Western political parties are undergoing astonishing antisemitism crises. The British Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn have been exposed as deeply and irrevocably antisemitic. The US Democratic Party has now nominated nearly a half dozen candidates for Congress who are implacably opposed to Israel, and stands on the verge of a millennial-driven transformation into Labour. Accusations of Jewish disloyalty and Israeli conspiracies are common, as are threats to banish Israel from the community of nations.
Once Again, the Media Whitewashes Antisemitism Around the World: Sean Durns, Algemeiner, Oct. 3, 2018—The Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor has previously warned about a “a rising tide of anti-Semitism.” Yet when the journalist sat down to interview one of the world’s leading antisemites, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, such concerns seemed to dissipate. The Post’s September 28, 2018 interview of Mahathir failed to inform readers — much less confront the Malaysian politician — about his blatant antisemitism.