GayandRight

My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (www.freethinkingfilms.com)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Silence from the left on anti-semitism...

Jonathan Freedland writes for the Guardian...in this piece he criticizes the left for not condemning anti-semitism. Please note that Freedland is highly critical of Israel's conduct in the latest war....
At the London events, there were multiple placards deploying what has now become a commonplace image: the Jewish Star of David equated with the swastika. From the podium George Galloway declared: "Today, the Palestinian people in Gaza are the new Warsaw ghetto, and those who are murdering them are the equivalent of those who murdered the Jews in Warsaw in 1943."

Now what, do you imagine, is the effect of repeating, again and again, that Israel is a Nazi state? Even those with the scantest historical knowledge know that the Nazis are the embodiment of evil to which the only appropriate response is hate. How surprising is it if a young man, already appalled by events in Gaza, walks home from a demo and glimpses the Star of David - which he now sees as a latter-day swastika - outside a synagogue and decides to torch the building, or at least desecrate it? Yet Galloway, along with Livingstone, who was so careful in July 2005, did not hesitate to make the comparison (joined by a clutch of Jewish anti-Israel activists who should know better).

The counter-arguments here are predictable. Some will say they take pains to distinguish between Zionists and Jews. Intellectually, that's fine; in the seminar room, it holds water. The trouble is, it doesn't mean much on the street - at least not to the man who saw a group of Manchester Jews leaving synagogue on January 17 and shouted "Free Palestine, you motherfuckers," before giving them the Nazi salute.

The liberal left should know this already. After all, when Jack Straw wrote his notorious piece about the hijab, full of qualifications, progressives understood that none of that would matter: it would be read as an attack on all Muslims. And so it was. For all Straw's careful phrasing, Muslim women whose heads were covered were attacked. Liberals warned Straw that he was playing with fire. Today's anti-Israel activists need to realise they are doing the same.

Besides, this business of distinguishing between good and bad Jews has a long history. Anthony Julius, author of a definitive study of English antisemitism, says that, with the exception of the Nazis, Jew-haters have always made distinctions. Christian antisemites accepted Jews who were ready to convert and rejected those who refused. A century ago, Winston Churchill drew a line between homegrown British Jews and those spreading Bolshevism. Now the dividing line is affinity for Israel.

But the logical corollary of this is that, if Jews refuse to dissociate themselves from Israel, then they are fair game for abuse and attack until they publicly recant. Liberals rightly recoil from the constant pressure on Muslims to explain themselves and denounce jihadism or even islamism. Yet they make the same implicit demand when they suggest Jews are OK, unless they are Zionists. The effect is to make Jews' place in British society contingent on their distance from their fellow Jews, in this case, Israelis.

Nor is it good enough to say that most Jews support Israel. Yes, most have a strong affinity and family ties to the Jewish state. But that doesn't mean they support every policy, including the one that led to such mayhem in Gaza. And do we think that those who kicked the man in Golders Green first stopped to ask his opinion of the merits of Cast Lead?

I know that some will say that even raising this is an attempt to divert attention from the real and larger issue, Israel's brutality in Gaza and the colossal number of civilian deaths that entailed. I won't accept that. Regular readers know that I denounced Cast Lead from the beginning. But I shouldn't have to say that. These two matters are separate. It is perfectly possible to condemn Israel's current conduct and to stand firmly against anti-Jewish prejudice. And it's about time liberals and the left said so.

7 Comments:

Blogger faceless said...

I've a few friends who are Jewish, and most of them insist on blindly defending Israel. It's probably in this area that the lines can become blurred. If they are blindly to support Israel simply because they are Jewish, does that mean it's wrong for others to attack Israel because it's Jewish?

Israel depends on that kind of support throughout the western world, yet is bothered when the coin is flipped?

tsk tsk. They must think the whole of the world came down in the last shower.

1:39 PM  
Blogger GayandRight said...

I bet your friends don't 'blindly' defend Israel. They have good reasons to defend Israel. You defame your friends, by insisting that they defend blindly.

fred

2:14 PM  
Blogger faceless said...

So, you know what my Jewish friends are thinking? Does that mean all Jewish people are the same? Of course not, that's idiotic...

Actually, they defend it in the same way as normal everyday Catholics defend the Vatican. Not because they actually agree with it on everything, but because they've been brought up to believe they should. Being a defiantly lapsed Catholic myself I can see why they continue, but hopefully they'll grow out of it as I did.

2:36 PM  
Blogger GayandRight said...

Given your hostility, i am sure your friends don't want to talk about israel....

And, no I don't know what your friends think...just that I don't believe they blindly defend Israel.

Israel does not depend on blind support, as you claim. Israel depends on its own citizens and people around the world who realize it is morally important to defend it...

fred

7:45 PM  
Blogger faceless said...

My hostility? But you're defending an undemocratic regime which is committing war crimes!

Anything I say, or which you infer, is meaningless in comparison to the mass murder committed in what is, technically, your name.

If you don't believe that Israel, as a state rather than a religion, commands blind obedience from many Jews across the world then you don't ahave much self-awareness.

9:13 PM  
Blogger GayandRight said...

I think i will let your comment stand! It shows your hatred towards Israel and your lack of knowledge.

10:05 AM  
Blogger faceless said...

You're so gracious, whilst supporting the murder of civilians - brilliant.

You're right that I do hate Israel. I hate all states which wreak death on civilian populations.

As far as me having a lack of knowledge is concerned - what do you base that on? Is it the fact I believe that there is no justification for Israel's existence beyond the manipulation of ancient beliefs by modern day corporate fascists?

If you believe that Israel must exist on religious grounds then you must also accept that the Native Americans have a natural right to own the USA and Canada?

The difference being, of course, that they were actually from that land - while the vast majority of all Israelis have no blood connection to Palestine whatsoever.

If Israel wasn't responsible for so much division I'd find it laughable - as it is, it is in contravention of more UN resolutions than every other country on the planet added together.

It should be treated with contempt by all. The fact that its only supporters outside of Judaism are the neocons and the Creationist Christians should say it all.

What about Neturei Karta? They defend the real position that Israel should not be created until after the arrival of 'The Messiah'... proving that the biblical claim, held so dear by Israel and its supporters, to the land is false.

10:59 AM  

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