Thursday, February 14, 2008

Recent expressions of antisemitism

Not too long ago, I came across yet another claim that antisemitism is pretty much over with. That would make it the only prejudice to ever disappear as a result of getting bad. Perhaps, then the answer to all sorts of other prejudices would be to have an Inquisition? Or an outbreak of pogroms? Or, a Holocaust? Well, no.

Slavery and lynchings didn't lead to the end of racism and the Holocaust didn't lead to the end of antisemitism. It is not relegated to the fringes where it's safely contained. While overt expressions were hushed, the same ideas that underlie it are still prevalent in society. And that means it's still around.

The CST in Britain just released a report on antisemitic incidents in Britain from 2007. It's a .pdf, so I'll also link to the post at Harry's Place which picks out a few statistics. The numbers were slightly down from 2006, which Mark Gardner of the CST attributes to a decline in hate mail while the number of violent assaults were actually up. That the numbers were down was attributed to a lack of a "Lebanon War-type trigger" in the Middle East, but that's likely to mean bad things for 2008 starting with the attention on Gaza. And future trigger events, whether they relate to the Middle East or expand to domestic politics in Western countries, are inevitable. Jews, of course, have been blamed for more than just wars in the past - and that might be starting.

While hate crime statistics are rarely very solid, recall that a 2006 study found Jews in Britain far more likely than Muslims to be victims. And while American statistics on hate crimes are harder to interpret, they suggest the same thing, with Jews victims of over 65% of religiously motivated hate crimes while Muslims were victims of almost 12%. In part because Jews are not recognized as a distinct ethnic group in statistics and many Islamophobic attacks may have been listed as racially-motivated, in part because there's likely to be different willingness to report crimes among the two demographic groups - mostly because there's no need or use in trying to say who's got it worse - I'd caution against arguing that one group faces worse oppression. But two groups can face oppression at the same time. Duh! Yet time and again, I've been told that Jews aren't oppressed or that Muslims have it worse and so we shouldn't worry about antisemitism.

So here are some more links I've collected over just the past few days:

The Guardian jumped to conclusions about who killed a member of Hezbollah. Irrational anti-Zionism/anti-Israelism/antisemitism? Whichever, I'm not particularly happy about it. Yaacov Lozowick has a dissection of the headline well worth reading.

It's not so hushed anymore in Poland (even though there aren't many Jews there):
WARSAW - This was not a pogrom, but it was close. Sunday's incident in Krakow at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was rife with overtones of hatred. "The Jews are attacking us! We need to defend ourselves," shouted Prof. Bogoslav Wolniewicz, to stormy applause.

Ben Cohen writes about the links being formed joining part of the left to the far-right, discussing specifically events in Italy. The same is happening in the US, with Mearsheimer and Walt providing a high profile (and cover, as everyone is too intimidated to denounce their work in strong terms).

Unsurprisingly, the Iranians make the list.

A minor tv celebrity "sent her former Israeli-born employer, Ami James, an autographed photo some months ago bearing a swastika and the invective 'burn in hell Jewbag.'"

Although it was a discussion about immigration, not antisemitism, Lou Dobbs dissed the ADL. (Of course, if you're of the opinion that the Final Solution provided an ironic final solution to antisemitism, that wouldn't bother you, but then you might be the sort of person who thinks Jews abuse the memory of the Holocaust for political gain.)

And a blatantly antisemitic hoax about AIPAC trying to bribe Kucinich -taken as proof of Jewish power- is circulating the internet, including DailyKos and Portland Indymedia. According to the DailyKos posting, "Kucinich now faces several well-financed primary challengers for his seat in Congress," and this is implied to be the quick work of an organization with power quite beyond that of any other I've ever heard of.

Of course, I'm probably blissfully unaware of a few more cemetary desecrations and other incidents. And, of course while the guy recently arrested in Brooklyn might have been a fringe figure, that doesn't mean he couldn't have killed people. So, yeah, the ADL is relevant. And people are right to worry about the effects of Mearsheimer and Walt's thesis of Jewish power.

Updates: Vancouver public library to showcase blatant antisemite (who often simply substitutes the word Khazar for "Jew" like some people use Canadian for "black"). And, yes, the antisemitism of groups like Hamas (an interesting video), does count as antisemitism in the world. Another sampling, of a different character can be found here. And, you know, I missed the significance of part of the Dennis Kucinich rumor: supposedly, Pelosi was with AIPAC as they tried to get Kucinich to drop his efforts to impeach Cheney. Because, of course, Jews are running both branches of government in an orchestrated fashion.

No comments: