Friday, April 01, 2016

Here We Go Again

In today's Telegraph I read that the Labour party is accused of harboring anti-semites. Corbyn is being blamed for tolerating the recent slew of racist comments from party members, but that's beside the point. Journalists report that anti-semitism is on the rise in Europe. The fact is, it never went away. Yes, the past 60 years has seen a decrease in the occurrence of anti-Jewish slurs, but I would put this down to political correctness, or politeness if you prefer.

Nowadays, though, everyone is tiring of political correctness (see Trump et al). And then there's Israel. Still, it seems to me that blaming all Jews for Israel is the same as blaming all Jews for the Crucifixion.

16 comments:

  1. Political correctness does not deserve to be followed by Trump et al in parenthesis. It is a problem that effects all of us from the left to the right. Like it or not it has gradually eroded our society and created weak, ineffectual politicians and is a cause of many of the problems we face in the UK and Europe. It is, I fear, too late to turn the tables now though.

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  2. Scapegoats are always found in troubled times, and this is just a symptom of the way fascists rise during them. There is a big difference between expressing disapproval of the Israeli's historical treatment of Palestinians and anti-Semitism, though. I try to treat people according to their behaviour, not their race. People are quite capable of condemning Palestinian war-lords and terrorists without being anti-Islam - so long as the newspapers don't throw fuel on the fire.

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  3. I think I heard Daniel Barenboim say one time: Criticism of Israel is not anti-semitism.

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    1. True, but I'm talking about using criticism of Israel to justify anti-semitism.

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  4. But why is the Jew so often the scapegoat? Why do ad hominem attacks so often refer to Jewish ethnicity even when the topic of Israel is not on the table? I am talking about the sort of historical anti-semitism that is evident, throughout English literature, like a joke the author assumes everyone will get. Virginia Woolf's anti-Jewish snipes, for example, are well catalogued. She married Leonard Woolf despite his being Jewish and remained squeamish around his family.

    I disapprove of Israel's politics and much of its culture. I feel the need to be explicit about this in order to clarify that I am not conflating anti-Israel sentiment with anti-semitism. I do understand that for some the two are inextricably bound. My point is that one must be anti-semitic in the first place to find them so, and I am interested in why anti-semitism persists.

    Whew, no fun explaining.

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  5. What is wrong with "much of our culture"?

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  6. Yael, I'm sorry if I have given offense. Perhaps I have no right to comment, being Jewish but not Israeli, but I bristle at the heavy influence of ultra-orthodox Judaism on Israeli society. I refer to matters such as exemption from military service, and even employment, for Orthodox men who devote themselves to study. Another example is state sanctioned misogyny, as in the injunction against women reading Torah at the Western Wall. I realize these are controversial issues, and I apologize if I have upset you.

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    1. You do not know much about Israel,Shawn, if that is your answer.Being Jewish seems sometimes a good exuse to say wrong and realy bad things about Israel, like it was not long ago here in blogland when we had the "semi Jewish" trolls.

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    2. You are right, Yael, that I have limited knowledge of Israel. I can only go by what I read, and we know that all media have their own biases.

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  7. Anti-semitism will always exist. Don't ask naive questions about it Shawn. You answer your own questions. Read everything you have written, slowly.

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    1. I am not naive, Rachel, and your comment is condescending. To say it will always exist is not an explanation. To not be willing to entertain the question shows a lack of curiosity about one of Western history's most persistent issues. Obviously we are not all interested in the same things.

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    2. I apologise Shawn. It was certainly not meant to be condescending at all. There has been at least 2000 years of persecution of Jews and history isnt going to change by words and wishful thinking. I was giving a simple angle to your questions but i do believe that your words could be misconstrude. To finish by saying that we are not interested in the same things was amazingly sweeping. I read on this topic almost daily.

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    3. I am always striving to write more clearly. Unfortunately, my innate tendency to sarcasm often gets in the way. We are still friends, Rachel.

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    4. I won't say anymore about it except that, as Yael will know, I have written about Netanyahu several times and although some of my posts may at times appear frivolous on the surface they are always based on facts and I follow world news closely. I did not want to fall out over this.

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  8. Well said Rachel:)

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  9. I have always seen Israel as a hard-working, productive, and peace loving state, who just happen to be surrounded by warmongering and lazy 'terrorists'. I am saddened by the amount of people I meet (usually female socialists) who sympathise with Hamas et al. They wring their hands when they hear of attacks in Paris or Brussels, but when Hamas send daily rockets into Israel, they applaud.

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