Skip to comments.ANDREW SULLIVAN: Anti-semitism sneaks into the anti-war camp
Posted on 10/20/2002 1:46:17 AM PDT by MadIvan
An article by a first-year student criticising what he regards as the anti-semitism tolerated at the United Nations appeared in last weeks Yale Daily News, the paper for the elite American university. If the article was typical fare the response to it was not. The author had touched a nerve and a torrent of anger was unleashed.
I recently attended a forum focusing on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, wrote one respondent. Both sides made valid points but there was a heated exchange when the pro-Israel side initiated the anti-semite slur. I am sick and tired of Jewish people always smearing those that merely disagree with their views as evil.
I never thought Id say this but a lot of what the so-called white supremacists are saying (is) proving more accurate than I feel comfortable admitting.
Then there was the recent Not In Our Name rally in Central Park, demonstrating against a potential war against Iraq. Around the edges of the rally copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the classic forged document of 19th-century anti-semitism, were being sold. According to the New York Sun, this peddling of anti-semitic tripe was not entirely accidental.
One protester said: There are interest groups that want Israel to dominate Palestine. If Bush goes with them and is too critical, he might lose their support . . . the international financiers have their hooks in everything. Ah, those international financiers. Remember them? Americas anti-war movement, still puny and struggling, is showing signs of being hijacked by one of the oldest and darkest prejudices there is. Perhaps it was inevitable. The conflict against Islamo-fascism obviously circles back to the question of Israel. Fanatical anti-semitism, as bad or even worse than Hitlers, is now a cultural norm across much of the Middle East. Its the acrid glue that unites Saddam, Arafat, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iran and the Saudis.
And if you campaign against a war against that axis, youre bound to attract people who share these prejudices. Thats not to say the large majority of anti-war campaigners are anti-semitic. But this strain of anti-semitism is worrying and dangerous.
Earlier this year there were calls for Americas universities to withdraw any investments in Israel. A petition at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard attracted hundreds of signatures, prompting Larry Summers, the president of Harvard, to say that serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-semitic in their effect if not their intent. He said views that were once the preserve of poorly educated right-wing populists were now supported in progressive intellectual communities.
Summerss argument was simple: why has Israel alone been singled out as worthy of divestment? Critics cite its continued occupation of the West Bank. Theres no question that Israels policies there are ripe for criticism and that to equate such criticism with anti-semitism is absurd. Similarly, its perfectly possible to argue against Israels domestic policies without any hint of anti-semitism. But to argue that Israel is more deserving of sanction than any other regime right now is surely bizarre.
Israel is a multiracial democracy. Arab citizens of Israel proper can vote and freely enter society; there is freedom of religion and a free press. An openly gay man just won election to the Knesset. Compared with China, a ruthless dictatorship brutally occupying Tibet, Israel is a model of democratic governance. And unlike Chinas occupation of Tibet, Israels annexation was a defensive action against an Arab military attack.
Compare Israel to any other Middle Eastern country Syrias satrapy in Lebanon, Mubaraks police state, Iraqs barbaric autocracy or Irans theocracy and its a beacon of light. To single it out for attack is so self-evidently bizarre that it prompts an obvious question: what are these anti-Israel fanatics really obsessed about?
The answer, I think, lies in the nature of part of todays left. It is fuelled above all by resentment of the success western countries, and their citizens, have achieved through freedom and hard work. Just look at Israels amazing achievements in comparison with its neighbours: a vibrant civil society, economic growth, technological skills, an agricultural miracle.
It is no surprise that the resentful left despises it. So, for obvious reasons, do Israels neighbours. The Arab states could have made peace decades ago and enriched themselves through trade and interaction. Instead, rather than emulate the Jewish state, they spent decades trying to destroy it. When they didnt succeed, Arab dictators resorted to the easy distractions of envy, hatred and obsession.
Al-Qaeda is the most dangerous manifestation of this response; Hezbollah comes a close second. But milder versions are everywhere. And what do people who want to avoid examining their own failures do? They look for scapegoats. Jews are the perennial scapegoat.
This attitude isnt restricted to the Middle East. In the West the left has seized on Israel as another emblem of what they hate. Theyre happy to see Saddam re-elected with 100% of a terrified vote, happy to see him develop nerve gas and nuclear weapons to use against his own population and others. But over Israels occasional crimes in self-defence? They march in the streets.
Ask the average leftist what he is for, and you will not get a particularly eloquent response. Ask what he is against and the floodgates open. Similarly, ask the average anti-war activist what she thinks we should do about Iraq and the stammering begins. Do we leave Saddam alone? Send Jimmy Carter to sign the kind of deal he made with North Korea eight years ago?
Will pressurising Israel remove the nerve gas and potential nukes Saddam has? Will ceding the West Bank to people who cheered on September 11 help defang Al-Qaeda? They dont say and dont know. But they do know what they are against: American power, Israeli human rights abuses, British neo-imperialism, the racist war on Afghanistan and so on. Get them started on their hatreds, and the words pour out. No wonder they are selling the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Central Park.
Such negativism matters. When a movement is based on resentment, when your political style is as bitter as it is angry and your rhetoric focuses not on those murdering party-goers in Bali or workers in Manhattan but on the democratic powers trying to protect them, your fate is cast. A politics of resentment is a poisonous creature that slowly embitters itself. You should not be surprised if the most poisonous form of resentment that the world has ever known springs up, unbidden, in your midst.
Anti-semitism sneaks into the anti-war camp
It was there from day one.
There was a time when the Left was reflexively pro-Israel. I know, it seems that could never have been the case, but I assure you, in the Fifties and early Sixties, it was. Back then, to oppose Israel in anything was labeled anti-Semitic by the Left. This state of affairs came to an end with the burgeoning of the military and intelligence relationships between Washington and Tel Aviv.
With the Gulf War of 1991, we reached the antipodes of the previous state: anyone who opposed Israel in anything was labeled anti-Semitic by the Right. A number of major conservative commentators, Pat Buchanan, Charley Reese, and Joseph Sobran prominent among them, found themselves ejected from magazines where they'd been ensconced for many years because they'd concluded that Israel's interests clashed with America's interests in that conflict.
Why can't we discuss certain matters with a proper regard for the intermediate possibilities? It is possible that a man might oppose an initiative that would favor Israel without being anti-Semitic, or for that matter, without being anti-Israel. There's no guarantee that the interests of Israel and America will always run in harmony -- that's why they're two separate nations, after all -- in which case, would you really want to be called anti-Semitic for preferring to promote America's interests?
Religion, ancestry, and public policy make a volatile mix. That's one reason why, when discussing public policy, it's best to avoid the other matters and to focus as narrowly as possible on objectively verifiable facts and general moral and Constitutional principles. Anyone who calls you anti-Semitic, or any other defamatory name, in the course of such a discussion is then quite clearly attempting to stop discussion. What else could he intend, by diverging from facts and principles to attack your motives and you as a person?
This applies with equal force to any other issue where religion, ethnicity, race, hair color, shoe size, or any other non-player in political decisionmaking is introduced.
Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit the Palace Of Reason: http://palaceofreason.com
That 35 year old incident is a favorite topic of anti-semites. They drag it out to try and stir up anti-Israeli sentiments. Even though the U.S. and Israel have come to terms with this (as the principals define) incident, the jew haters will continue to reguritate specious speculation that the Jews are our enemies, somehow. Their intent to smear Israel is obvious.
Truth is, most people are not concerned with 35 year old military accidents.
Seems to me a lot of people are still concerned about the Holocaust, which happened much more than 35 years ago.
I understand your point, but it almost seems you ignored the article above. Sullivan isn't just casting labels, he's citing specific examples of undeniable anti-Semitism. The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is hardly a rational treatise about foreign policy difference.
What Sullivan is saying, and I agree, is that real and true anti-Semitism of the proto-Nazi type is really and truly manifesting itself in the anti-war movement. It comes there by means of a thriving anti-Jewish press in the Arab world.
Cate blanche dismissal of an argument for containing the term "anti-Semitic" is just as much an attempt to stop debate as the misuse of the term you condemn.
There you go. If you're a conservative, your a poorly educated boob, if your a liberal you're an intellectual. Pretty much sums up the way the left handles all debate. Here's a fun exercise, lets list all the repbulican presidents in the last fifty years and see how the left characterized them:
And so it is with great irony I notice this leftist complaining about namecalling:
"I am sick and tired of Jewish people always smearing those that merely disagree with their views as evil."
Oct. 20, 2002
Arafat asked to authorize execution of 'collaborator'
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was asked last night to authorize the execution of a Palestinian who confessed that he had helped Israel assassinate a number of Hamas activists in the Gaza Strip.
On Friday a "state security court" in Gaza sentenced the man, Walid Hamdiyeh, 39, to death by firing squad after he reportedly confessed to all the charges against him.
PA prosecutor Khaled al Kidreh said he had sent the court's verdict to Arafat for approval. "Once the president signs it, the security forces would be able to carry out the death sentence in a short period of time," he explained, describing Hamdiyeh as one of the most dangerous collaborators ever to be caught by the PA. He predicted that Arafat would endorse the execution very soon.
Another Hamas activist, Amin Khalafallah, 31, was sentenced to death Saturday by the same security court. Khalafallah, a former student at the Islamic University in Gaza, was found guilty of collaboration with Israel. The court was told that Khalafallah, a resident of Khan Yunis, also worked for the PA's Preventive Security Service in the Gaza Strip. The defendant said he agreed to work for Israel because he wanted money to pay his accumulating debts. He told the judges that he now wanted the death sentence.
Palestinian sources said the PA is seeking to get rid of a large number of suspected collaborators ahead of an Israeli military invasion of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians fear that the IDF will try to release the suspects from prison, as they say it has done in the West Bank since the beginning of Operation Defensive Shield. Some 200 Palestinians accused of collaboration with Israel are being held in PA prisons in the Gaza Strip.
The PA's General Intelligence Service arrested Hamdiyeh in 1995 on suspicion of collaboration with Israel. A resident of the Shajaiyeh neighborhood in Gaza, Hamdiyeh was one of 400 Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists deported by Israel to southern Lebanon in 1992 following a wave of terror attacks.
The trial began on Thursday evening and ended just after midnight, when one of the judges, Abdel Aziz Wadi, read out the verdict. Hamdiyeh, a former top Hamas operative, was convicted of helping Israeli security forces kill five wanted men: Mohammed Qandil, Yasser Hasanat, Marwan al Zayegh, Yasser al Namruti, and Imad Aqel. The five all members of the armed wing of Hamas were killed by the IDF between 1987 and 1993. He was also convicted of following the movements of many Hamas leaders on behalf of Israel.
Prosecutor Wael Zakuot told the three judges, who are serving police officers, that Hamdiyeh had confessed to all the charges against him from the first day he was arrested. He said four of the Hamas activists were killed when their booby-trapped rifles exploded. Hamdiyeh supplied them with the weapons on the instructions of the Shin Bet, he claimed.
The fifth victim, Imad Aqel, a senior member of the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, was killed by an undercover IDF unit in Gaza on November 4, 1993. Hamdiyeh is reported to have informed the IDF through a tiny communications device that Aqel was staying at a friend's house in Shajaiyeh neighborhood. The prosecutor claimed that the wireless was hidden in a button on trousers given to Hamdiyeh by the Shin Bet.
The defendant told the court that though he was guilty of some of the charges against him, "I didn't do most of the things described in these documents." Muhammad Sabah of the General Intelligence told the judges that Hamdiyeh, who was also a senior preacher and Islamic scholar, was first arrested because of "immoral practices," explaining that he had confessed to being a homosexual.
Tel Aviv lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said, "The sudden tribunal and death sentence is a desperate bid by Yasser Arafat to calm tension between Hamas and the Palestinian police" following the assassination by Hamas gunmen of Colonel Rajeh Abu Lihyeh, a senior Palestinian police official in Gaza.
She said: "After seven years of allowing Hamdiya to languish in his cell without any legal proceeding, Arafat now finds it politically necessary to offer him up as a blood sacrifice to Sheik Yassin. The rising tensions between Hamas and Fatah are sealing the fate of all those Palestinians imprisoned in the PA on suspicions of having collaborated with Israel."