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Responding to ‘New’ Antisemitism

It’s no secret that antisemitism around the world is on an upswing. While the entrenched antisemitism in the Muslim world is disturbing, it is no surprise, and appears to be going nowhere. Over the past few decades, however, it was believed by many that antisemitism in the West was on its way out. From the unbridled antisemism of the torturers and murderers of Ilan Halimi, in the country of “liberté, égalité, fraternité,” in 2006, on the one hand, to poorly masked antisemitism at anti-Israel demonstrations, on the other, it is clear the Jews are very far from being “accord[ed] everything… as individuals.”

Even though organizations in the UK have been reporting an upswing even in things like mistreatment of Jewish schoolchildren by their classmates, overt acts of antisemitism seem, for the time being, to be out of the mainstream. Nevertheless, as Howard Jacobson writes in The New Republic, “in the spirit of the national conversation about Israel, in the slow seepage of familiar anti-Semitic calumnies into the conversation–there, it seems to me, one can find growing reason for English Jews to be concerned.” The British media has been adding to this concern, serving as a mouthpiece for what columnists who refer to Israeli “bloodlust” and compare Gazans to Jews in Auschwitz.

Yet it is not only on that side of the pond that the media is inching in a worrying direction. Roger Cohen of the overly esteemed New York Times, in a series of columns inexplicably intended to exculpate Iran and ward off an attack against the nascent nuclear theocracy, claims that the very presence of Jews of in Iran undermines the vision of Iran as “an apocalyptic regime.” This sounds like a grander version of the “some of my best friends are Jews” argument, offered in defense of Iran.

Jacobson rightly mentions Caryl Churchill as “accusing Jews of the same addiction to blood-spilling” in her libelous play, Seven Jewish Children. Her surprise at the invocation of blood libels in reference to her play “only demonstrates how unquestioningly integral to English leftist thinking the bloodlust of the Israeli has become.”

With regards to the future, Israel will continue to defend itself. That cannot, and should not, stop. Jews, the world over, will continue to bear some of the brunt of the anger against the Jewish state. And the latest increase in simple Jew-hatred will probably not dissipate anytime soon, ebbing and flowing in a seemingly eternal rhythm.

Modern Zionism came about as a response to the modern dangers, and the everpresent threat to the Jewish people. Over the past few decades, Jewish organizations, at least in the US, have chosen to focus on the danger of assimilation, “killing the Jews with love,” as some have quipped. The age-old dangers, however, are back.

Zionism, however, is more than simply a reaction – it is the independent expression of Jewish independence, by the Jewish people, subject to no one else. The legend, of the father of modern Zionism sparked to action by the French antisemitism exhibited in the Dreyfus trial, may or may not be accurate. In any case, antisemitism did play a big part in bringing about modern Jewish sovereignty.

No one enjoys being unwanted, persecuted, and worse. The popularity of Jews AS JEWS is not going to go up overnight. The obvious first answer, therefore, is Israel. But Jewish flight is not a positive image, and do we really want Jews to simply pick up and flee their current homes? On its face, maybe not. However, if antisemitism did finally help restore national independence last century, then perhaps that is the answer, the appropriate next step. Mass emigration from the Arab world, and the Soviet Union have happened. Is Western Aliyah next? However the question to be asked is not whence, but whither? Will en masse immigration to Israel, in effect, create a large ghetto in the Middle East – or will it be the next step, in what a friend of mine calls Jewish Renaissance?

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  1. ivarfjeld says:

    Being a Christian Zionist, I stand up for the Jewish right to have the state of Israel as their homeland. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and all true Christians should support Israel and go against all kinds of antisemitism. Fake and falsehood should be exposed. http://ivarfjeld.wordpress.com

  2. [...] secret that antisemitism around the world is on an upswing,” writes Occidental Israeli, who suggests possibilities for its mitigation. Cancel this [...]

  3. Gert says:

    “While the entrenched antisemitism in the Muslim world is disturbing, it is no surprise, and appears to be going nowhere.”

    Not sure what you mean by this. Anti-Semitism has no social roots in the Muslim/Arab world and while it certainly exists today, most of it can be compared to Britain’s “anti-Germanism” during WW II: as a reaction to a troublesome neighbour and its hegemony seeking patron, Holy Land II. You’re reaping what you’ve sown and yet you continue to sow. Simple, really…

    You didn’t seriously believe the creation of Israel in Palestine was going to be met with flowers and invitations for coffee klatches, did you? Would it, considering the extremely aggressive nature of the Zionist Project, been received more warmly in, say, Massachusetts? The answer is a firm: NO!

  4. LB says:

    Gert – You have two mistakes.

    1. While of a much greater scale today, it is incorrect that antisemitism has no roots in the Arab/Muslim world, and that modern Zionism brought about this new phenomenon. Just one example – the Damascus blood libel happened 40 years before the establishment of the first modern Zionist settlement (1840).

    Furthermore, when Khaybar is referenced today, in chants by Muslims, then it is clear it is not a “you stole our land” claim – but “we beat you 1,400 years ago and we’ll do it again.”

    2. The comparison of the establishment of Israel in the Holy Land to a Jewish entity in America has no validity whatsoever. To deny Jewish ties to the land is plainly wrong, and is one step away from denying the Jewish people their national identity (one of the oldest in existence).

  5. Gert says:

    1. The fact that the Damascus Affair happened in the 19th Century rather illustrates my point: this is European anti-Semitism that came wafting over. In the 1930s there was also considerable AS in the US, same phenomenon.
    2. but “we beat you 1,400 years ago and we’ll do it again.”. The fact that they allude to old and practically unverifiable myths doesn’t take anything away from what I say. European racists use the long-time debunked existence of a ‘Nordic race’ as justification for their supremacist fantasies, that doesn’t make them true. Jews invoke mythology too.
    3. “[...] and is one step away from denying the Jewish people their national identity [...]” Many Jews don’t see themselves part of a national identity. You’re one step away from equating Israel and Jewry.

  6. LB says:

    1. Jews definitely suffered under Muslim rule – far before the 19th century. The situation was worse in Christian Europe, yes, but in any case – if antisemitism was a European invention brought over to the Middle East, that was before the advent of modern Zionism – and so a “troublesome neighbour and its hegemony seeking patron” has nothing to do with it.

    3. So? People are free to believe anything they want – it does not mean I agree. Jews are members of a nation – the Jewish nation (or nation of Israel), ergo national and not simply religious or cultural identity.

  7. ivarfjeld says:

    LB. A Christian who have robbed, mocked or killed a Jew, have never been a born again Christian. He might have been a religious person, claimed to be a Christian, but he has never surrendered to the Jewish Messiah. The Messiah told us to love one another. Love can never express it self in antisemitism, which is hate towards the Jewish people. Let me also remind you that Rome for hundreds of years was the so-called «Christian» headquater for hate towards the Jewish people in Europe. True followers of the Jewish Messiah have never and will never recognized the authority of the pope in Rome.

  8. jacob says:

    I thought you might be interested in learning about OUR Jewish traditions which embrace the real Christ. We are the Frankist Association of America. One of our members has a new book out:


    These are our teachings passed on through generations. If you can’t afford the book you can see the website of one of our teachers – http://www.stephanhuller.blogspot.com.


    Beth El Jacob Frank

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