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“Judeophobia Explains the Pro-Palestinian Hysteria of the European Left”
Proche-Orient ^ | October 2, 2002 | Marc Tobiass

Posted on 12/02/2002 9:06:39 PM PST by Ooh-Ah

According to Pilar Rahola, Former Member of Parliament of the Spanish Republican Left


Interview with Marc Tobiass, contact@proche-orient.info, October 2, 2002
[Unofficial translation from French into English
by David A. Harris,
Executive Director, American Jewish Committee]


A Catalan from Barcelona, Pilar Rahola is a highly colorful figure on the Spanish scene. She is known for her feminism, as well as for her frank and direct manner. A former parliamentarian, Pilar Rahola sat in the national legislature in Madrid for eight years, first as part of the republican left, then as the founder of the Independence Party. However, she decided to leave political life just over a year ago to devote more time to her other passions. She has just published “The History of Ada,” a metaphor for abandoned children, those child-slaves or children-soldiers whom one meets all over the world, that is, when they are not transformed into human bombs.

She has also decided to step forward to denounce the flagrant imbalance in the handling of information from the Middle East. Her most recent piece, “In Favor of Israel,” is to be published in a book in which fifteen Spanish intellectuals, including Jon Juaristi, president of the Cervantes Institute, and Gabriel Alviac, a well-known journalist with El Mundo [translator’s note: a Spanish daily newspaper], seek to reestablish the facts.

Marc Tobiass (of proche-orient.com) talks with Pilar Rahola.

Marc Tobiass: Why did you feel the need to write “In Favor of Israel,” to participate in the publication of this book?

Pilar Rahola: Since the start of the second intifada, the Spanish press, on the right as well as the left, has taken a particularly aggressive approach toward Israel, an approach that leaves out the reasons for Israel’s actions and tends to ignore the Israeli victims in this conflict. In this situation, a small minority of intellectuals, public personalities—sensitive to the Jewish question in general and to Israel in particular—felt deeply touched by this problem. Outraged by the return of Judeophobia in Spain, we, each in our own way, began to write some articles, to use the media to condemn this situation. And then Oracia Vasquez Real, an important writer in Spain, suggested that we coordinate our activity, that we collect in one work the vision of the Middle East conflict held by fifteen well-known intellectuals.

Marc Tobiass: For whom did you write this book, and with what objective?

Pilar Rahola: Fundamentally, this book is addressed to the anti-Jewish school of thought in Spain. The goal of our book is to launch a debate about Judeophobia in Spain. We are convinced that the current view of the conflict, so Manichaean—with the good, always the Palestinians, and the evil, always the Israelis—has deep roots. It comes from an ancient anti-Jewish feeling that exists in Spain and that also explains the history of Spain. This feeling softened slightly after the Franco era [translator’s note: post-1975], but today there is a virulent resurgence of this savage feeling to the point where one can find genuinely anti-Semitic expressions in the Spanish press. In essence, this is a provocative book in the face of totally pro-Arab thinking in Spain, that is completely uncritical of the mistakes of the Arab world in general and of the Palestinians in particular. We want to counter this flagrant imbalance.…

Marc Tobiass: This imbalance is not specifically Spanish, nor, for that matter, is the Judeophobia. You rightly recall in your piece the troubling remark of Hermann Broch [translator’s note: Austrian anti-Nazi novelist, 1886-1951] denouncing the indifference of Europe as the worst of the crimes in the bloody madness of the Hitler era….

Pilar Rahola: Yes, I think that Europe was indifferent on the surface because it felt guilty within. I believe that this indifference unquestionably comes from Judeophobia. And in the ultimate paradox, the Jewish soul is part and parcel of Europe. Europe cannot be explained without its Jewish soul, but it is also explained by its hatred of the Jews. Thus, all the repeated attempts of Europe to get rid of its Jewish soul are, in fact, a kind of suicide.

After the Holocaust, after Auschwitz, that is, after the ultimate stage in the destruction of the Jewish soul—a process which lasted for centuries in Europe—Europe is shattered, many of its elements are dead, but it also has a bad conscience; it knows it is guilty. Since then, Europe has looked for and found in the Palestinian cause the expiation for its guilt. It is from this that the uncritical and Manichean attitude toward the Palestinian cause emerges—it is, primarily, the last heroic (European) adventure. Further, the more the Jews are presented as being the evil party, the bad ones, the less difficult it is to carry the responsibility and the guilt. This is a process of collective psychology. From such a perspective, there essentially is no difference between France, for example, and Spain… It is unbelievable how Europe continues to hate its Jewish soul, even after it has expelled it!

Marc Tobiasss: According to you, it is this Judeophobia that explains the “pro-Palestinian hysteria” that exists in Europe.

Pilar Rahola: I am sure of it….There is undeniably of late a very serious effort at disinformation about everything to do with the Middle East. There is a kind of madness that excuses all the crimes, abuses, and errors of the Palestinian side, and, at the same time, there is an historical predisposition that condemns any single error of the Israeli side—and this to the point where the Palestinian victims are given maximum attention and the Israeli (victims) are ignored. It is as if the Jewish victims didn’t exist, on the pretext that they were responsible for their own death!

The worst thing is that there is also a problem of terrorism in Spain, but when the crimes of ETA [translator’s note: the Basque terrorist group] are mentioned, one speaks of terrorism, while when the crimes of Hamas are mentioned, one speaks of militants, activists, resistance, struggle…. When one mentions the Palestinian victims, one speaks of children, civilians, innocents, but when one mentions the Israeli victims, one speaks of people without a name, as if to suggest that they are only soldiers, members of the army. There is a distortion in the presentation of the conflict, a dangerous manipulation that feeds the hatred and the anti-Semitism.

Marc Tobiass: Your remarks add up to an indictment of the European media.

Pilar Rahola: What I want is to launch an appeal to the collective European way of thinking, and especially to the intellectuals and journalists, because, from my point of view, they are in the process of creating a collective reality that is Judeophobic. Today one must prove oneself to be on the left; it is necessary to be anti-Semitic to have credibility. Things have reached the point where, for instance, Sharon is always guilty of being guilty, while Arafat is seen as an honest figure, innocent, a tireless old resistance fighter, a heroic figure, a kind of Gandhi—in brief, a person gussied up in romantic finery, when in reality he is head of an oligarchy that has so much blood on its hands.

Israel is not (just) a country that is trying, for better or worse, to survive for fifty years, but it is reduced to one sole image: a country that occupies the territories and whose vocation is to make life miserable for the poor Palestinians. The history of the Holy Land is being reinvented. Everything takes place as if there were instructions: Never recall the faults and errors of the Palestinians, never recall their alliances with dangerous countries such as Iraq, in order to heap more shame on the United States and Israel. The profound reasons for this war are never made clear, never discussed.

Marc Tobiass: There is a comment in your text that sent shivers down my spine. You say that Judeophobia is, in the final analysis, the common denominator between Europe and the Palestinians.

Pilar Rahola: It’s true that there are in Europe non-Jews who are sensitive and respect the Jewish soul, which is also part of the foundation of Europe, but they constitute a minority. The majority, the unconscious European collective, does not understand, does not absorb, nor accept, the Jewish phenomenon. And it is there that the essential meeting point between the European and the Palestinian takes place. Palestinian identity is not just a recent phenomenon, but it is, above all, built on hatred of Israel, hatred of the Jews.

If Europe can be explained by its Jewish component and by its hatred of the Jews, as if they were two sides of the same coin, Palestinian identity can essentially be explained only by its anti-Jewish component. It is for this reason that the Palestinians have such difficulty putting an end to their violence.

If the Palestinians renounced their hatred of the Jews, they would at the same time lose a significant part of their identity. To get beyond this violence, they would have to get beyond the hatred and thus change their identity. In other words, they would have to reinvent themselves. It is on the basis of this hatred that the Palestinian meets and agrees with the European. Often, this takes place with people of the left, which is a veritable calamity for people like myself, as we are of the left. We are Europeans, but we do not accept Judeophobia, just as we do not accept the anti-Zionism that justifies and nourishes the anti-Semitism of the Spanish left today.

Marc Tobiass: Isn’t this legitimization of hate the true obstacle to peace?

Pilar Rahola: Without doubt. I believe that Europe is directly responsible, and not only for the conflict. In the final analysis, who, if not Europe, created the Jewish problem in the world? In a certain sense, one can even say that Europe is the actual founder of the State of Israel. Europe expelled its Jews—its Spanish Jews, its Russian Jews, its French Jews, and its German (Jews). It expelled them from its body, even though these Jews felt themselves European to the core….

Marc Tobiass: You describe yourself as being of the left and, for you, being a leftist is above all an existential position toward life, toward society. Yet, you yourself say that when this position turns into ideology, at times it becomes an excuse for channeling uncritical dogma, a simplistic Manichaeanism, indeed a racism. You, who were a parliamentarian of the left, how can you handle this contradiction?

Pilar Rahola: Those on the left in Spain have a real problem. In some respects we are the heirs of the French Revolution; we have been influenced by the great ideologues like [Jean-Paul] Sartre and [Albert] Camus, and also by May 1968. That is to say, the overall thinking of the Spanish left comes from France. Now, France is fundamentally anti-American…from which (comes) our anti-Americanism, that at times borders on the pathological, an anti-Americanism which is also anti-Semitic. This explains why to a certain extent the Spanish left is anti-Semitic. Obviously, people like myself have great difficulty with this state of affairs.

I believe that if the left has failed as a great world ideology, it is because the left did not succeed in breaking with the worst of its dogmatic thinking. The left can be very progressive, but it can also be very dogmatic. Unfortunately, the left became infatuated with such infamous dictators as Pol Pot, Mao, and Stalin, and now it is in love with Arafat. The left should be critical, and in the first place, self-critical.

Marc Tobiass: And what is the dogma that worries you the most today?

Pilar Rahola: The most absurd thing is to watch leaders of the left today greet and celebrate Arab leaders, even when they are fundamentalists. For example, in the debates that followed the attacks of September 11, we heard an anti-American discourse here, pooh-poohing the victims, something which is in and of itself terrible! And there were those who tried to downgrade—with that tawdry third-worldism which characterizes some circles of the left—the danger embodied in individuals like Bin Laden, who is, in fact, an authentic fascist. I believe that for the moment the world remains blind to the biggest totalitarianism of the twenty-first century, which is Islamic fundamentalism. Now we must prepare ourselves seriously to face this danger: For me, this totalitarianism is without any shadow of a doubt comparable to Stalinism and Nazism, the biggest scourges of the twentieth century.

Marc Tobiass: To finish this interview, Pilar Rahola, I would like to cite a sentence from your text: You say that to be “in favor of Israel” is the most intelligent, rational, prudent, and honest way to be in favor of Palestine.

Pilar Rahola: First of all, I do not accept the use of defense of the Palestinian cause as a pretext for a new epidemic of anti-Semitism. If Europe had had a critical discussion that did not hesitate to condemn the grave and permanent mistakes of the Palestinian side, if Europe had been more critical of the Palestinians, we would be closer to a solution today. But Arafat enjoys support and legitimacy in Europe which allows him to never miss an opportunity for missing the opportunity of peace. I believe that if Europe had been more critical toward Arafat, toward the different aspects of Palestinian violence, if Europe had been tougher in its statements, the Palestinians would have been compelled to step back from the violence and the suicide attacks.

A sense of justice calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state next to the State of Israel, but not in its place. Yet, at its core, Europe is ill at ease with the existence of Israel, and one can even say that the existence of this state provokes resentment and anger on the European left. Even if this is not acknowledged, many Europeans contend that a Palestinian state must replace the State of Israel.

But for those of us who support Israel, who are in favor of good neighborly relations—for coexistence between the State of Israel and a Palestinian state—our way of saying YES to a Palestinian state is also a way of saying YES to the existence of the State of Israel.


November 26, 2002



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; Israel
KEYWORDS: antisemitism; europe; israel; palestinian; spain

1 posted on 12/02/2002 9:06:39 PM PST by Ooh-Ah
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To: Ooh-Ah
The far left and the far right are but two sides to the same thin evil coin.
2 posted on 12/02/2002 9:08:25 PM PST by BenLurkin
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To: Ooh-Ah
After the Holocaust, after Auschwitz, that is, after the ultimate stage in the destruction of the Jewish soul—a process which lasted for centuries in Europe—Europe is shattered, many of its elements are dead, but it also has a bad conscience; it knows it is guilty. Since then, Europe has looked for and found in the Palestinian cause the expiation for its guilt. It is from this that the uncritical and Manichean attitude toward the Palestinian cause emerges—it is, primarily, the last heroic (European) adventure. Further, the more the Jews are presented as being the evil party, the bad ones, the less difficult it is to carry the responsibility and the guilt. This is a process of collective psychology. From such a perspective, there essentially is no difference between France, for example, and Spain… It is unbelievable how Europe continues to hate its Jewish soul, even after it has expelled it!

This is so profound, I had to read it several times. I have thought much the same for years but never been able to articulate it. I hope this book has some serious impact.

3 posted on 12/02/2002 9:21:22 PM PST by Dems_R_Losers
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To: Dems_R_Losers
The general idea here - that some Europeans ego-trip on the Palestinian cause and demonize Israel because it frees them from guilt about the Jews - has been expressed by some noted French intellectuals, including I believe Jean-Francois Revel and Alain Finkielkraut, neither of whom I would describe as leftist. The phenomenon of Europeans continuing to hate Jews and blame their problems on Jews even after Jews no longer live there has been called "phantom limb" anti-Semitism, using the analogy of an amputee who still feels pain from an amputated part of his body.
4 posted on 12/02/2002 10:22:14 PM PST by TheMole
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To: Ooh-Ah
There's a flip side to this. There is a certain point where individual Jews come to accept this hatred as a fact of life -- as something constant, unchangeable in the short-run, and quite possibly permanent. They stop apologizing for being Jewish and for doing what is necessary to survive as Jews. It combines the best aspect of Ayn Rand -- I will live my life for myself -- and throws a religious aspect -- And for God -- on top of it.

I think the majority of Israeli Jews have come to feel it. I think it is a growing attitude among American and other diaspora Jews. I like to think I have it -- I am certainly developing it. And it scares the excrement out of the Anti-Semites.
5 posted on 12/02/2002 10:38:28 PM PST by Celtjew Libertarian
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To: dennisw
BTTT some good posts here already, FYI & for your flag list.
6 posted on 12/02/2002 11:07:09 PM PST by monkeyshine
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To: monkeyshine
THANKS!
7 posted on 12/03/2002 3:07:22 AM PST by dennisw
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To: monkeyshine; ipaq2000; Lent; veronica; Sabramerican; beowolf; Nachum; BenF; angelo; ...
Here's some Spanish Eurocrats meeting with Yassir about a year ago. They came to the West Bank to console their besieged hero.

.


Spain's Foreign Minister Josep Pique, right, pauses as in the background an unidentified member of the Spanish delegation kisses Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, left, following their meeting in Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Thursday Jan. 17, 2002. Pique is on a week-long tour of the Middle East in an European diplomatic effort to search for new ways to revive the Mideast peace process. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

 


8 posted on 12/03/2002 3:18:17 AM PST by dennisw
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To: Ooh-Ah; Yehuda; RaceBannon; rmlew; Kaafi; Clemenza; PARodrig; firebrand
good piece
9 posted on 12/03/2002 4:23:34 AM PST by Cacique
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To: BenLurkin
Exactly. The left has always been anti-semitic, from the Bolsheviks on down to all of their ideological progeny. I'm not sure one has to look all that far for an explanation. Being leftist or liberal means that man has all the answers and there is no need for God. Jews are an embodiment of the opposite point of view and Israel in particular, by its very existence, points to the existence of a God. I'm not saying that all anti-semitism stems from leftist ideology, as there are economic and other reasons, but I am saying that if you show me a leftist ideology or organization, I'll find you anti-semitism. And there should be no big mystery as to why this is so. Fundamentalist Christians are equally despised. And Europe, is largely leftists, although there has been some trend in the opposite direction. And yes, the Nazi's were more left than right.
10 posted on 12/03/2002 5:55:32 AM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: Ooh-Ah
Whatever idiot invented the term "Judeophobia" should be incarcerated for life and forced to recite the dictionary daily. I'm so sick of phony phobias I could puke. We don't need another.
11 posted on 12/03/2002 6:30:35 AM PST by jimt
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To: jimt
Whatever idiot invented the term "Judeophobia" should be incarcerated for life and forced to recite the dictionary daily.

His heart is in the right pace but the word "Judeophobia" is stupid and actually makes Jews look bad

12 posted on 12/03/2002 6:34:58 AM PST by dennisw
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To: Ooh-Ah
Anti-facist bttt.
13 posted on 12/03/2002 6:57:00 AM PST by machman
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To: dennisw
Anti Semitic/Judeophobia.... The facts are: the great majority of the Jewish people live safely and prosper greatly in the West. The venomous anti Jewish propaganda is mostly coming from the Moslem Arabs. That is simply a political response to their continued defeats every time they mess with Israel.

Radical Islamic teachings became the norm in all these Arab countries, and their population carried that hate to the West. Saudis petrodollars, and the Ayatollah's monies helped propagate that hate throughout the world.

I would not sour our relation with the Europeans over their siding with the Palestinians. This situation is about to be resolved soon, especially if the Israelis managed to put a bullet between Arafat's eyes. The West, including Israel must take on the challenge of making HATE RELIGIOUS PREACHING AGAINST OTHERS a crime against humanity. That concept MUST be addressed. The US should face that fact heads on with the Moslem nations, even if we must sponsor a UN forum to shed lights on the root cause of the terrorists’ movement around the world. Remember, the UN forum on Zionism as a racist movement in South Africa? We should not dance around the contemporary Islamic preaching of hate.

14 posted on 12/03/2002 7:23:39 AM PST by philosofy123
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To: jimt
You seem phobiaphobic!!
15 posted on 12/03/2002 7:50:36 AM PST by kapn kuek
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To: philosofy123
The West, including Israel must take on the challenge of making HATE RELIGIOUS PREACHING AGAINST OTHERS a crime against humanity

Who decides what is hateful speech and what is factual speech? The speech police?

16 posted on 12/03/2002 7:55:39 AM PST by kapn kuek
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To: kapn kuek
"Who decides what is hateful speech and what is factual speech? The speech police?"

Now that is a stupid question!If your priest, Imam, or Rabbi stand in a house of worship and askes the believers to kill the non- believers, or to hate and force convert the non-believers. Mr. PC, does that that look like a fair definition of a hateful preaching?

17 posted on 12/03/2002 8:29:39 AM PST by philosofy123
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To: philosofy123
If your priest, Imam, or Rabbi stand in a house of worship and askes the believers ... to hate and force convert the non-believers. Mr. PC, does that that look like a fair definition of a hateful preaching?

I'm not sure; I'm not the speech police. If you pray for conversion of muslims, is that hate speech? If you express feelings that demoncrats should be jailed for spitting on boy scouts carrying the American flag, is that hate speech? If your priest leads the congregation in prayer to end abortion, is that hate speech? If your religion teaches that homosexuality is a sin, is that hate speech? Would you say that James Carville spews hate speech with every breath he takes?

Are you willing to draw up a list of hate speech crimes? I still say that one mans hate is another mans truth.

I am guilty of a lot of hate speech according to our left-wing friends. How long before they have the power to arrest me for expressing my feelings? Where do you draw the line?

18 posted on 12/03/2002 8:51:30 AM PST by kapn kuek
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To: Ooh-Ah
Bump to read later
19 posted on 12/03/2002 9:45:55 AM PST by A_perfect_lady
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
Exactly. The left has always been anti-semitic, from the Bolsheviks on down to all of their ideological progeny. I'm not sure one has to look all that far for an explanation. Being leftist or liberal means that man has all the answers and there is no need for God. Jews are an embodiment of the opposite point of view and Israel in particular, by its very existence, points to the existence of a God. I'm not saying that all anti-semitism stems from leftist ideology, as there are economic and other reasons, but I am saying that if you show me a leftist ideology or organization, I'll find you anti-semitism. And there should be no big mystery as to why this is so. Fundamentalist Christians are equally despised. And Europe, is largely leftists, although there has been some trend in the opposite direction. And yes, the Nazi's were more left than right.

The Left also hates Jews and Protestants for their successful capitalism. Judaism allows for earning interest, Protestantism in America has shaped itself into an equally prudent force. Catholicism, Islam, and Socialism do not allow for these things.

20 posted on 12/04/2002 8:58:19 AM PST by A_perfect_lady
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To: A_perfect_lady
Agreed.
21 posted on 12/04/2002 6:16:37 PM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: Ooh-Ah
I agree with the interviewer. I don't think this is a Spanish problem, it's a problem of the European intellectuals. Sure, Spain expelled the Jews in 1492, but it did so mainly because it saw them as Fifth Columnists for the Muslims who were still threatening their coasts--forerunners of the Barbary Pirates. So the greater antipathy historically was toward Islam.

If you look at actual history, some Jews bear some responsibility for modern antisemitism. It didn't all simply come down from older Christian antisemitism. For whatever reason, Jews in Russia, Poland, and Europe gravitated to the visionary left, to anarchism, syndicalism, Communism, and all sorts of revolutionary movements. A Jew assassinated Tsar Nicholas II, and Jews were in the vanguard of many of the violent Communist revolutionary groups that multiplied over Europe and Russia. Trotsky and Linvinov were two prominent Jews involved in the Leninist revolution. In the 1930s a good deal of violence was committed on innocent people by Communists as well as Nazis. The atrocities of the Jewish revolutionary dictator Bela Kun in Hungary are one instance.

As these things usually work out, people everywhere got angry at being terrorized and assassinated by revolutionary Jews, but unfortunately they took vengeance on the much more visible religious Jews with their distinctive clothing, although these Jews had nothing whatever to do with the atrocities of "progressive" Jews.

Please note that I am not saying that modern antisemitism was justified, or that for the most part the Jews who were the targets of antisemitism were guilty of anything, but that to a degree antisemitism was provoked by the activities some very prominent Jewish revolutionaries.

By contrast, absolutely nothing explains the antisemitism of the left today, beyond sheer ideology and idiocy. It just seems as if the left always has to hate and blame somebody, and the Jews have simply drifted into their gunsights.
22 posted on 12/06/2002 3:09:44 PM PST by Cicero
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Rahola’s explanation is very psichoanalytical, confused and confusing. For Jews, everything is explained by judeophobia, what is also an empty explanation. I could explain in the same way as Hispanophobia or Francephobia the support for Basque terrorism by certain press of other European countries, and I could also explain communism as phobia about capitalism, and any other thing explained by phobia about something or somebody. This is part of the same phenomenon, not referred specifically to Jews, but to everyone who suffers what other people (not all the left) consider as a romantic fight against capitalism or imperial oppression.
23 posted on 12/10/2002 9:17:39 AM PST by Julia Olsen
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