Wednesday, December 03, 2003

In the course of a discussion about an assertion by Norwegian Television that Israel's security fence is creating "apartheid", Bjorn Staerk enunciates the real issue regarding "antisemitism" among European media and intelligentsia:
We don't have to call it anti-semitism or Jew-hatred. Those words are so intertwined with modern history that their defining qualities have been pushed aside. But "irrational fear of and attribution of malicious intent to the only country in the world that is dominantly Jewish, and Jewish influences in other countries" covers it. It highlights the sinister part without strawman-friendly diversions like whether this is hate, or whether Hitler would have approved.

I've been thinking along similar lines for a while. We just need a good name for this phenomenon - eg. where Tony Judt will wave away physical and verbal attacks on Jews by Europeans as "misguided", while castigating (with comparisons to Pontius Pilate) Israeli leftists who have become (understandably) disillusioned.

Standard liberal gestures - ie. trying to "understand", suspending judgement, trying to "build bridges" - just seem to be absent. Although the Guardian seems to have started changing in the past week or two.

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