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The Living Room General A worrying wave of a new kind of antisemitic bigotry
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A worrying wave of a new kind of antisemitic bigotry
A friend of mine was sitting in NY in Aroma, a cafe who some know is owned by Israelis. All of a sudden a demonstration appeared in front of it about Israel. The people sitting with him were appalled, one of them German, as protesting in front of a café because it is owned by Israelis is so reminiscent of Nazi Germany and many former actions against blacks. 

In case people didn’t hear Helen Thomas’ recent interview:




Yes, the Jews/Israelis should return to Germany and Poland where they came from she says. What Helen Thomas exposed was the true thoughts and bigotry behind the purported “political” opinions of many who constantly talk against Israel. If she was younger she would have been more careful, as many of her associates are, but she wasn’t. People are upset at her as she exposed a secret, the secret of their real opinions.

In France a cinema chain (hilariously named Utopia) canceled all screenings of a film for being made by an Israeli, only lifting the ban after another filmmaker sent a letter withdrawing his films from the cinema chain and they were afraid of the repercussions.  

Many such actions existed before, such as Ken Loach call for censorship , British academia constant attempts to boycott Israel, and growing voices in American academia.

After any action taken by Israel immediately all the bigots jump out. I say bigots and not antisemites because while in Europe this bigotry is a continuation of a historic antisemitism in America its origins are more of pure bigotry mixed with old-fashion anti-Semitism. The latest case=excuse was Israel taking over of ships trying to break a blockade on Gaza. This happens everywhere where ships try to break blockades. This time the “peace activists” armed with weapons attacked the stupidly unprepared soldiers kidnapping a soldier. The soldiers then quickly killed the kidnappers and freed the soldier. The operation of taking over the boat was mishandled, like so many military operations all over the world. There are constant military screw-ups – the military is not the smartest part of any country. In this case they thought they were coming to stop peace activists and weren’t prepared for the militants on board (which are now a usual part of many groups of “peace activists”.)

Result: world condemnation and a continuing of the deteriorating relation with Turkey which is quickly becoming a second Iran. (As a side note I’ll mention that Europe’s demands of a lessening of the power of the army in Turkey, the only power that kept Turkey a democratic and secular country instead of an Islamic dictatorship is one of the many ways the world is increasingly becoming a war zone between the religions.)

Every time something happens all the world jumps, and all the bigots come out. For some reasons attacks by the Hamas don’t bring about calls to boycott Palestinian films or people.

The special kind of bigotry against jews/israeils that is spreading in the US is very different from anti-Semitism, and one can call it that only for ease of use. It is based on wanting to be part of a community and is usually bound together with other political opinions. I can’t well describe which kind of community at the moment as though I find it very worrying I spend very little time thinking about it.  Like my friend who sat in Aroma, like the people in Nazi Germany, I too find these people too silly to think or worry about. But they are growing.


There is actually a point to this post besides expressing my worries, and that is a point repeated in many other posts. What is there to do? The case in France was resolved by a dualism of censorship. Is that really the only way? Is an economic boycott of bigots really the only way to stop them?
What you are saying is very interesting and enlightening, Jonathan. I couldn't help following this scandal as it is front page everywhere in the medias, and it is the first time (reading you) that I find out that the "peace activists" tried to kidnap a soldier. The French press is completely anti-Israeli, so I'm not really surprised, but I still find it shocking that it is nowhere stated. I think people should defend what they believe in, and hopefully there will always be enough people to defend acts of injustice, such as the example you state of the French cinema. In France there was a big and noisy demonstration as well that paralyzed the traffic in Paris last Saturday.

The other thing you say, is that people are upset because Thomas revealed their secret opinion. I thought they were upset because this is such a heartless comment to say in consideration of Jewish history, and all the more when the person who says those things was twenty when it happened. So how do you know the difference?
Did you know that the video was taken during a celebration for Jewish American Heritage Month?

Re Julie's question: yes, Helen Thomas resigned due to the backlash against her remarks. But, I read that the rabbi who had this exchange with Thomas and posted the video on his site has received over 25,000 pieces of hate mail against Jews, Judaism and Israel, which he is posting on his site (rabbilive.com).

I don't really get why someone would react to that video by sending hate mail to the person who took it. If 25000 people all had that idea, the world is a screwier place than I thought.
Jonathan-excellent post but unlike Julie it didn't tell me anything at all which I wasn't already aware of.
For further back than most of us can go the vast majority of people are anti-Jewish.Whether this is due to ignorance or simply because we use the Jews as a convenient scapegoat to vent our spleen upon probably doesn't matter.
The real point is that it wont change anytime soon.Unfortunaately the state of Israel simply gives them a focal point and as we well know when there was no state of Israel they just found other reasons.
The political left is most responsible for the anti semitism of the last 30 odd years and has mistakenly(in my opinion)allied itself to the notion that the defence of all things Palestinian should be their raison d'etre.
All other attrocities and injustices are ignored by comparison-anybody who is not rabidly anti-Israeli knows full well that if the state of Israel ceases to exist tomorrow,anti semitism wont decrase by one iota.
But the belief that Israel symbolises evil is so deeply rooted-especially in the minds of intellectuals and academics that no amount of fact checking and reasoned explanations  will remotely alter this.
A typical recent example of this double standard is the deaths of hundreds of innocent Pakistanis in bomb blasts-all Muslim people killed by Muslim extremism and no outrage in any Western media.
Juxtaposing this with the immense hullaballoo over the killings on the flotilla one could easily be naive enough to ask the question ' were these Pakistan muslim deaths not important ? ' - the answer is that of course they weren't because they weren't killed by Jews or a Jewish state. In a sense to search for reason and logic in the argument only leads us into the cul de sac of twisted logic.We blame Jews for killing Jesus.for usury,for capitalism,for communism,for religion,for atheism,etc,etc - the mantra has only ever been ' dirty Jew'.
Sadaam Hussein in his ilegal war with Iran was responsible for over 2 million Iranian muslim deaths but Iran didn't mind too much nor did the wider Arab world(yes I know Iranians aren't Arabic)simply because it wasn't Jews who did it...so the mantra is that all injustices, whether real or perceived, are more or less okay PROVIDED the children of Moses had no hand,act or part in it.
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