Jewish Anti- Semites:An Oximoron or is it / DR.Israel bar-nir

The excessive preoccupation of liberal intellectuals in and out of the academia, as well as the media, with Israel has been discussed in depth in a previous article (“Obsessive Critics”, The anti-Israeli campaign currently underway bears all the characteristics of an obsession that makes people afflicted with it lose all controls over their behavior and reactions.

A striking feature of the anti Israeli campaign is the large number of Jews among the obsessed. Jews are represented among the liberal intellectuals elites in a much larger proportion than their number in the general population. Nevertheless, this disproportion is overshadowed by their presence among the active Israeli “critics”. No other ethnic group has ever been so forthcoming against its country of origin. Other people did not refrain from criticizing or denouncing specific events or policies (e.g., Americans of Irish descent denounced the atrocities perpetrated by the IRA), but these criticisms do not bear even a semblance to the scope and viciousness of the attacks by Jewish liberal intellectuals against Israel. There were never any calls for “action” (e.g., Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions - BDS) by any Americans against their country of origin.

One might argue here that Israel is not exactly the country of origin of native born American Jews, but the same applies to any second, third, fourth or fifth generation descendants of immigrants from any other country. It is doubtful whether an American Jew whose great grand parents immigrated to the US from Poland at the turn of the nineteenth century would consider himself a “Pole”.

A French philosopher, La Rochefoucauld, who lived in the sixteenth century, said “the most noble deeds that we do, would often cause us to blush with shame if people knew the real motives that made us do them” (Nous aurions souvent honte de nos plus belles actions, si le monde voyait tous les motifs qui les produisent).

The anti Israeli campaigners depict themselves as “critics” of Israeli for its policies and actions. They, Jews and non Jews alike, claim to speak from the moral high ground, and profess to be concerned about “Israel oppressing the Palestinians and trampling on their human rights.” However, with the terminology used and the invective employed, that “criticism”, to borrow from George Orwell, goes much further than is absolutely necessary. If really criticism was the intention, at least the language employed would have been more civil (I am not going to discuss here the lack of factual basis for most of the “criticism”). In fact it gives a new meaning to the term “criticism”. There is little doubt that the term “human rights” is employed here to cover a far more invidious agenda. That cover, however, is made of thin paper. A paper so thin that with little effort one can see through it.
One needs only to look how people who could not care less about abuses of human rights in countries like Lybia, Cuba, China, Iran or Pakistan to name a few, people who showed little concern or raised their voice when the deposed Iraqi dictator butchered hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens, people who maintain that attitude towards the genocide currently underway in the Sudan, yet these people are so upset by Israel’s “mistreatment” of the Palestinians, that at the mere mention of the name of Israel they are galvanized into action.

BDS - Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions - the battle cry under which this crowd rallies, is aimed strictly at Israel. It borrows from the successful campaign conducted against the apartheid in South Africa. It ignores the “slight” difference between the two campaigns - while in the case of South Africa the target was the regime, the target in Israel’s case is its very right to exist. Discrimination vs extermination - not too convincing moral stand. In ancient Rome they used to say “the masses want to be lied to” (vulgus vult decipi) - I am not sure that “masses” is the appropriate translation for “vulgus” in this context. I think that “mob” is a better choice, but that’s a subject for a different discussion. People still want to be lied to, only the “masses” in the twenty first century are the liberal intellectual community.

In the past “Jews” were accused of perpetrating the most atrocious conceivable crimes or sins, now it is “Israel” (on occasions the terms “Zionism” or the “Zionist entity” are employed) who is chosen to bear the blame. Whether one likes it or not, nothing can be gained by refusing to admit that raw anti Semitism is back at the center of the stage.

Nowadays, however, while being dubbed an anti Semite is not yet a great honor, it is no longer a big shame either. Humanity made some progress in the sixty five years that passed from the end of World War II.

Which brings us to the title of the article. Given that an overwhelming proportion of the so called critics of Israel are Jews, the question arises as to whether Jews can be anti Semites. At a first glance this question sounds ludicrous. How can a Jew be an anti Semite? After all, anti Semitism is just a euphemism for Jew hatred. It was invented in Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century with the sole purpose of providing intellectuals of the enlightenment with a non religious related justification for their animosity towards Jews. Anti Semitism was never aimed at “Semites”. It always had only Jews as targets. The Nazis went out of their way to develop a pseudo science of race in order to define Jews, not Semites, as a separate race. Thus, it is Jew hatred rather than Semite hatred that we are talking about, which makes the term “Jew anti Semite” sound like a real oximoron.

But is it really an oximoron?

It should be noted here that it is a mistake to regard anti Semitism or, Jew hatred, as a form of racism. Racism entails discrimination, persecution, economic deprivation, lack of opportunities and so on and so forth. Nevertheless, even during the worst times of Apartheid in South Africa, or Jim Crow in the US, blacks were never under an existential threat. There were lynchings and there were many cases where blacks were murdered by whites with impunity. But at no time was there a coordinated attempt to annihilate the black race. That’s not the case with anti Semitism. Here the final goal was extermination. The Holocaust was not a “stand alone” event. It was the culmination of a long bloody history of pogroms and massacres.

Regarding anti Semitism as yet another form of racism misses the point therefore. In fact it belittles the meaning of anti Semitism. With this in mind, the question raised above, whether a Jew being an anti Semite is an oximoron becomes more controversial. Hatred is one thing, extermination is a different ball park. It is indeed far fetched, beyond the human imagination, to conceive Jews involved in activities aimed at achieving what, to all intents and purposes, would amount to a second Holocaust. Yet, against all logic and reason, Jews do have a leading role in the anti Israel campaign.

Anti Semitism, and the Holocaust in its wake, did not erupt out of the blue. Anti Semitism segued over the ages from a rather benign religious dispute into the monster we know today. It is a sad historical fact that Jews were actively involved in the process all along, taking the lead in the persecutions of their own people.

A French Jewish philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut, describes the evolution of anti Semitism in the following manner:

First, the Jews are told: You cannot live as Jews among us
At this stage - conversions, compelled and voluntary

Then the Jews are told: You cannot live among us
At this stage - expulsions

Then the Jews are told: You cannot live
At this stage - extermination

During the first two stages, Jews had the option of “buying out”. They could convert. A number of Jews were tempted into exercising this option. However, it did not end there. In order to show that their conversion was more than mere lip service, they had to turn against the rest of the Jewish community that had remained loyal to the Jewish faith. Some were coerced into doing it, but more did it of their free will. In the third, final, stage, “buying out” was no longer an option. Moreover, many Jews found out, to their chagrin, that the conversion option failed to protect them.

For a time it appeared as if the Finkielkraut cycle came to an end when, at the end of World War II, the enormity of the atrocities committed was revealed. Yet like the mythological Phoenix, it did not die. It rose out of the ashes of the Holocaust, and nowadays, right before our eyes, a new cycle is underway.

History never repeats itself in exactly the same manner. It may look similar, but there are always differences that, no matter how minor, make any effort to draw analogies an exercise in futility.

Despite many similarities, the question as to whether the present cycle will end like the previous one is purely speculative. Having said that, people should not delude themselves. So far, it is not lack of will that prevents it from happening. There are world leaders who openly call for it, and are just waiting for the occasion. Furthermore, these calls are not rejected outright by nations of the world and, even worse, many the among the community of the enlightened liberals support these calls under the banner of “human rights”. The difference is that now we know. Now we know that it can happen. Before the Holocaust, no one in his right mind believed that such a deed would be perpetrated by humans. Even people familiar with the evil aspects of the Nazi regime failed to grasp it. The lack of knowledge, the inability to perceive humans as capable of such deeds, made it possible for the Germans to accomplish their goal. Nowadays the knowledge which was missing then is there.

The question that should be asked is therefore whether the possession of that knowledge makes a difference, a difference big enough to lead to a different outcome. Obviously it is up to Israel and its leadership to deal with that question.

On the other hand, the existence of the knowledge has an opposite effect on potential future perpetrators. Their conclusion is that it [a Holocaust] can be perpetrated with impunity. It may sound like a cynical observation, but this is the real lesson that Humanity has learned from the Holocaust.

Expressions like “wiping Israel of the map” or “eradicating the mistake of Zionism” are flaunted glibly by liberal enlightened intellectuals competing for a leading role among Israeli “critics”. Generations of students, the leadership of the future, are indoctrinated in the classroom by teachers fixated with such ideas. It is of little concern to them that there are people, leaders of nations, out there waiting for the “right” moment to implement these ideas.

Jews participating in the anti Israel campaign play a role equivalent to that played in the past by the converts. Thus, and I say it with caution, the terms Jew and an anti Semite are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Your numbers are all wrong

Israel has not lost 22,000 soldiers and civilians. The number comprises casualties - dead and wounded.


more than 22,000 were killed in the pogroms, wars and suicide
terrorist attacks.
6,000 were killed in 1948/9 only.

more Israelis were killed by Arabs than Palestinians by Israelis

The people whocritize Israel, are always speaking in the name of human rights.Thus, Israel is accused of killing Palestinian civilians.
But, the facts show that more Israelis were killed in the wars between the Arabs Palestiniams and Israel.

Until now Israel lost more than 22,000 soldiers and civilians.
Examine the annual reports of the human rights organization "Betzelem" and you will realize that the number is less than 10,000 far less.

But, Anti- Israelis and Anti- Semites do not let the facts change their views. The agenda counts- not the facts.

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