The Return of Antisemitism
Mr. Hochstadt is professor of history at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, and author of Sources of the Holocaust (Palgrave, 2004) and Shanghai-Geschichten: Die jüdische Flucht nach China (Berlin: Hentrich und Hentrich, 2007).
Antisemitism is back. Of course, antisemitism never completely disappeared in America. Everywhere I have lived, signs of prejudice against Jews popped up: complaints about being “Jewed” out of money, acceptance of Jewish stereotypes, complaints about supposed Jewish control of newspapers, films, or whatever else the complainant didn’t like. But since the heyday of Father Coughlin in the 1930s, public pronouncements of antisemitism have gradually declined in the US. It was almost unthinkable that a famous personality could express open antisemitism in the public media without creating a firestorm of protest.
Until just a few weeks ago. On October 8, Ann Coulter responded “Yes,” when cable TV host Donny Deutsch asked her if “it would be better if we were all Christian?” Undaunted, when he asked her if “we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians,” she said, “Yeah . . . we just want Jews to be perfected.”
The lack of reaction to Coulter’s open expression of antisemitism has been remarkable. Her political allies have seen nothing wrong with her statements. NBC executives have been silent. Media watchdogs have let her statements pass. Even the ever-vigilant Anti-Defamation League made only a brief public comment, and then dropped the issue. So Coulter stands by her characterization of Jews as imperfect Christians, thus imperfect humans. The only voice of criticism that I have heard is the columnist Leonard Pitts, who wrote a week later that silence about her words appears to be assent.
Coulter’s remarks are no surprise: she makes no bones about her Christian supremacism. The silence, though, needs to be explained. In an age of heightened sensitivity to racist statements by celebrities, such as Don Imus and Mel Gibson, why would Coulter be allowed to say that Jews are inferior? I believe there are three explanations.
The first is rooted in Middle East politics. Recently Christian fundamentalists have come strongly to the defense of Israel in its battle against Palestinians. Those who believe in the approaching “end time” want the Holy Land to be in the hands of Jews when Jesus returns, in order to fulfill their interpretation of Biblical prophecies. Fundamentalists in America are now some of the Israeli government’s most vociferous and financially generous supporters, just as many American Jews have gradually become more critical of Israeli settlement policy and treatment of Palestinians.
Those American Jewish organizations and spokespersons who have been the most vigilant in combating the antisemitism of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and ordinary bigots are also the most vocal defenders of Israeli policy. They have gladly accepted Christian fundamentalist support for Israel, despite knowing that fundamentalists believe the return of Jesus will be the end of Judaism and Jews. Perhaps they made the calculation that support for Israel today is what’s important, since they don’t believe in the Second Coming anyway. Ann Coulter and Daniel Pipes, one antisemitic and the other accusing everyone who does not support the most aggressive Israeli policies of being antisemitic, mention each other approvingly in their writings.
A second reason is the increasing fuzziness of the concept of antisemitism. Antisemitism is increasingly used in political controversies to taint the ideas of opponents. The recent cases of Norman Finkelstein’s tenure denial and the proposed boycott of Israeli universities by British academics show how political arguments against Israeli policy are greeted with charges of antisemitism. Conservative Jews accuse liberal Jews of antisemitism. The essential quality of antisemitism, the hatred of Jews as Jews, whatever their ideas, is being lost, as the concept increasingly becomes a tool for partisan politics.
I propose a third reason: the growing importance of the right religion. Acceptance of Jews in United States since World War II has occurred less out of sympathy for our losses during the Holocaust than as part of a wider American acceptance of a whole spectrum of religious beliefs and non-beliefs. The election of John F. Kennedy showed that religion was becoming less relevant in public life. That acceptance is crumbling in the face of spreading Christian supremacism. Political candidates avow the centrality of religion in their lives to appease the increasingly intolerant demands of Christian fundamentalists that our political system become more explicitly Christian according to their definitions. Fundamentalists’ liberal use of quotations and ideas from the Old Testament should not lull American Jews into illusory beliefs about a common heritage. Jews reject Christ and so real Christians, in Coulter’s words, will eventually demand that Jews become “perfected.”
Coulter presents the dilemma of antisemitism starkly. Criticize the implicit, or in her case explicit, antisemitism of Christian supremacists, and possibly lose their support for Israel? Or ignore her ravings and hope nobody will notice?
But people will notice. Coulter’s right-wing allies will see that it is okay to proclaim the inferiority of Jews in the public media. Soon others will follow. Media executives, never a bold group, will be less and less likely to take action. The hard-won acceptance of Jews in the United States, which allowed me to grow up in one of the very few places in history where it did not matter that I was Jewish, will be lost. It won’t be long before the modern Father Coughlins of the Christian Right demand, as Coulter did, that Jews “have to obey.”
To the Editor:
Steve Hochstadt, professor of history at Illinois College, wrote in an article on December 10 at HNN, “The Return of Antisemitism”:
Ann Coulter and Daniel Pipes, one antisemitic and the other accusing everyone who does not support the most aggressive Israeli policies of being antisemitic, mention each other approvingly in their writings.
I wrote you that same day with two questions about this sentence.
1. I do not remember calling anyone antisemitic for not supporting what Mr. Hochstadt calls “the most aggressive Israeli policies.” Could he document this statement?
2. Nor do I remember mentioning Ann Coulter approvingly. A search of my website finds I have mentioned her in passing twice, without comment, once in a quote and once in a list. Could Mr. Hochstadt also document this statement?
To which Mr. Hochstadt replied on December 11:
I will point out that the following quotation appears on his website in an article about Lee Harvey Oswald: “And whence comes the liberal rage that conservatives like Ann Coulter, Jeff Jacoby, Michelle Malkin, and the Media Research Center have extensively documented?” I don’t think that Ann Coulter has done anything like document liberal rage, whatever that might be, but Pipes does, and that counts as mentioning her and her work approvingly. When you call up that article, or many other articles on Pipes’ website, a large ad for Ann Coulter’s articles appears on the left: “sign up to get Ann Coulter’s articles delivered free.”
Two points in reply: (1) Mr. Hochstadt may not think Coulter “has done anything like document liberal rage,” but if he goes to the source of this quote on my website at “Lee Harvey Oswald's Malign Legacy,” he will find a link from Ann Coulter’s name that goes to chapter one, “Liberals Unhinged,” of her book Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right.
What Mr. Hochstadt “thinks” is less important, it seems to me, than that what Ms Coulter has actually published. And I also wonder how including her name in a list constitutes mentioning her favorably.
(2) If an ad for Ms Coulter’s articles has appeared on my website, it results from one of those automatic processes that keys words on my website. I do not control such ads – and indeed, some are not to my liking.
Then, when I asked for Mr. Hochstadt’s reply to the “antisemitic” challenge, you informed that he does not “have a specific answer about that other question.”
Research is supposed to be a hallmark of the scholar. I fail to understand how a professional historian can make such rudimentary mistakes as these – winging it with wild statements without so much as checking the facts.
Daniel Pipes demonstrates something of his method of discussion here. He denies mentioning Coulter approvingly, then does it again. He ends by some nasty comments about what he claims to be my methods of research and writing. This is why I declined to reply to his other claim. What’s the use, when he just says that black is white?
It might be more interesting if Pipes addressed the issues brought up in my essay, instead of engaging in petty quibbles, which make him look silly, and ad hominem remarks. Why, for example, does he persist in saying that Coulter’s work is worth looking at, while denying that he mentions her approvingly?
I would be happy to discuss substantive issues with him, or anyone else, but otherwise I won’t try HNN readers’ patience.
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Arnold Shcherban - 12/24/2007
Arnold Shcherban - 12/24/2007
It's far from accidental that fascist ideologues and warmongers like Coulter on the Christian far right, and Pipes on the Zionist far right has finally gotten into perfect collusion against
peace, stability, and democracy in the world.
The former is the ideological terrorist of Pan-Amerikana type (though I often enjoy her wit and sarcasm), the latter is the ideological terrorist of Pan-Israeli type.
But both know too well that their respective goals cannot be achieved
without the US agressive, imperialist foreign policy in Middle East (and elsewhere). On the other token, the US, as the single imperial might in the world, needs Israel in the role of a
cop on-the-beat there.
And that's the main basis of Coulter's and Pipes' collusion, not the similarity of the Christian and Judaist religious tales.
The other aspect of the Also, historically the greatest enemies of Jewish people were Christian and Muslim "faith" and Nazis; in modern times various far-right-wing groups and the same modern Nazis, not the Leftists/Communists, who have always
and principally opposed anti-semitism
(not to be confused with anti-Zionism) and racism of any type and kind.
On the contrary, Jews comprised huge (relative) percentage among the prominent figures of the latter political/ideological movements, especially in Europe and in the US.
Historical record clearly shows that practically all (with rare exceptions) non-Jewish fierce anti-liberal and anti-Leftist religious political figures in this country and elsewhere were open or hidden anti-semites, which occasionally would come up with one or more directly or indirectly antisemitic statements.
In other times Coulter's degrading, though timid remark towards religious Jews (the Jewish non-beilevers, as well as other atheists, are her greatest enemies and adressing them she does not choose words so carefully) would have been fiercely protested and she, being smart PR character, forced to apologize, but as Hochstadt accurately notes ours are the times of extreme closeness of American and Israeli Rightists...
Fahrettin Tahir - 12/16/2007
We accept a hostile colony in Saloniki(Thessaloniki for the Greeks)
omar ibrahim baker - 12/15/2007
Well Fahre Edddin that was your, the Turks', choice ours is different!
However I note that you failed to say wether you, plural, would accept a hostile colony in Izmir !
Fahrettin Tahir - 12/14/2007
In 1800 what is now the capital city of Bulgaria, Sofia had a 90% Moslem population. Crimea was a Turkish country as the Crimean Tatars were Turks. There are today 5,5 Million surviving Crimean Tatars, whose ancestors had populated Crimea for 1500 years, onle 250 000 of that is allowed to live in Crimea. The area between the Black Sea and the Caspian sea was the land of the Moslem Cherkess, 80% of the population of Crete were Moslems. Millions were killed, millions forced out of their homelands, where there were christian minorities, they became majorities by killing the moslems, where there were no christians as in Crimea or between the Black Sea and the Caspian, millions of foreigners, mostly Russians moved in. We accepted that because to continue fighting would have risked the future of what remained. That is what the Arabs are doing today. I could continue about the nature of Russia or Greece as you do about Israel but the bottom line is politics is not only about what is right or wrong but basically of what is possible and at which price. It is interesting that you mention Izmir, because Izmir had a large Greek population in 1900, who also lost their homes, they too chose to make peace. Turks and Greeks do not like each other more that you like the Jews, they both understand that you can not fight on forever.
N. Friedman - 12/14/2007
Well, Arafat did that as well to the tune, evidently, of a billion dollars. So, was he a colonialist?
More seriously, individual actions are not what I had in mind. I had in mind Israelis as a collective unit of people, not individual Israelis. That, after all, is what colonialists do collectively.
My apology for the lack of clarity in my comment.
omar ibrahim baker - 12/14/2007
"how is it that the Israelis do not ship the money and resources obtained from the country to somewhere else"
N. Friedman - 12/14/2007
Many do what? And, what did Rabin do?
omar ibrahim baker - 12/14/2007
Not for me to discuss what Turkey saw fit to adopt .That is up to you and the Turks in general.
However in a way you seem not to realize and appreciate what Israel truly is.
Besides being the nation/state /colony that dislocated, dispossessed, difranchised and subjugated the Palestinians in their own homeland then supplanted them with Aliens BROUGHT in from all over the world after being selected and screened according to RACIST criteria;
besides all that, which is, per se, unacceptable by nationalist and humanitarian standards Israel is the forward base of western, mainly US, imperialism and Judeo/ (Christian-Fundamentalist)neocon racism in the heartland of the Arab nation, Palestine .
That is the equivalent of having a colony out to dominate Turkey in ,say,IZMIR populated by anti Turkish alien elements, after ethnically cleansing it from Turks.
I do not believe that you , or the Turkish people, will ever accept that!
omar ibrahim baker - 12/14/2007
Many do, including Rabin if you recall!
N. Friedman - 12/13/2007
As always, interesting points by you.
I do not think the issue with the captured territories is to make way for more Jews to immigrate to Israel. I think there are a number of issues at play. One is to create a more readily defensible border so that the country cannot be cut in half someday by an Arab army.
Another is religious groups who see the captured land - West Bank in Palestinian and contemporary Western usage, Judea and Samaria in Jewish and historic usage. Note the name "Judea" as in the ancient Jewish Kingdom of Judea and the name commonly used for part of what many now call the West Bank. So, there is a religious attachment at play as well, although the group to which the religious attraction is important is greatly exaggerated by people hostile to Israel.
Still another is the unwillingness to cede land under fire or terror. The assumption the Israelis make - and, if you read enough of the comments by our our Omar, you will see that such is not an unreasonable concern - is that such a policy would not end the dispute. Rather, the dispute will only end when the Arab side admits to the legitimacy of a nation ruled by Jews and as a culturally - not religiously - Jewish state.
Your comment about Israel seizing the initiative back in 1967 is, I think, a good one. Whether such would have succeeded, we shall never know. But, your view is not at all unreasonable.
The one point I note that suggests a bad outcome to such an approach is that, after 1967, the wound that formed in the Arab polity was great, as the defeat in the 1967 war was viewed as a humiliation, not just as a loss. So, revenge and hatred became an even greater force on the Arab side. And, that made settlement even more difficult, especially between populations - not nations.
As for why the Israelis did not do such things, I think there are a number of possibilities. One. the Israeli government thought that the Arab side would sue for peace. That did not occur but, instead, the talk in the air was of more war - and, a fighting did break out not long thereafter (i.e. the war of attrition with Egypt). Two. the view was to make peace with nations, not with the Palestinian Arab population. Three. the Israelis did not know what to do with the land that was conquered. So, they allowed the matter to fester.
I might note, however, that notwithstanding what the papers may say, the fact is that there were substantial economic, educational and health improvements that occurred for Arabs. They obviously did not want Israeli rule but somehow the substantial improvement in living standards ought, you would think, to have been desired.
Elliott Aron Green - 12/13/2007
As I said in a previous comment here, Ann Coulter's remark about Jews was offensive to me. But I appreciate it as a sincere statement. I know where she stands and know what to expect of her. Further, as N Friedman pointed out --if I understood rightly-- the world is full of different and conflicting religions, and we can't get upset that one believes itself superior to the others, as all of them do or have done in the past. Are we going to deny people the right to have different religious -- or ideological beliefs for that matter? For example, I am offended by fascists, Nazis, Communists, Trots, james baker, condi Rice, and many others.
My view regarding Coulter and Dr Hochstadt could be expressed by this Talmudic anecdote:
An ancient Jewish king [of the Hasmonean dynasty]lay on his deathbed. As he lay there, he gave his wife some advice on statecraft: Don't fear the Pharisees, and don't fear those who are not Pharisees. The ones to fear are the hypocrites.
N. Friedman - 12/13/2007
You did not set forth your remarks as clearly as you might have. I am not sure which portions are directed toward me, which portions are directed toward my opinions and which, for that matter, to understanding Ms. Gee's views. If you might state yourself more clearly, I could then reply.
Fahrettin Tahir - 12/13/2007
as I wrote elsewhere here, the christian nations of Europe murdered 5 Million European Moslems to make Islam disappear from Europe. Large parts of what is now Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia were moslem majority areas in 1800. We have suffered much more than the Palestinians. A lot of Greek Orthodox people believe they will go to heaven if they european Moslems. You must have seen what they did in Bosnia!!! Millions more who were not killed were forced to move to Turkey. There might be 5 Million Palestinian refugees, there are around 30 Million Turks in Turkey who are descended from these refugees. The governments of Turkey treated them as their own people, even when the refugees were not ethnic Turks. There are people who speak or spoke Greek, Bulgarian, Yugoslav, Albanian, Tatar, Chechen, Cherkess, even Hungarian, you name it. They have been integrated into a new life as citizens, equal to others. The christians criticize us for not looking at the Armenians, but Turkish policy has been the future, and not the past, so Turkey has a future worth looking at.
You lost the war in Palestine. Actually my grandmother was there in 1948. She had been forced out of Crete in 1912 ( as a moslem she had no right to live in Europe), later her second husband was a palestinian, so they moved to Palestine and she was displaced again in 1948. As a citizen of Turkey, she went to live there. That is what you people could not do. The Arab politicians are keeping the Palestinians suffering, hating, to continue a war they have been losing everday for 60 years. The Arab masses are occupied hating Israel instead of asking what is happening with the oil money and why their governments never ask them how they want to be governed. So you all have a past, discuss history books, never get the idea of telling your politicians to give you a future.
Fahrettin Tahir - 12/13/2007
In Europe, Israeli policies are used by Nazis as arguments against Jews. And yes, there is increasing anti-semitism. I am surprized that an Israeli has symmetrical arguments. Israel is a state run by politicians, who might or might nor be wise people. This is not to be confused with the people they represent, or their religious brothers in far away countries.
Israel is never going to get so much land that all Jews could live there in comfort and safety. Most will keep on living elsewhere. Being seen as trying to grab more land is not increasing the Jews' popularity. I do not understand why Israel did not make a greater effort in economically and socially integrating the Arabs in the West Bank into whatever you might call the region effectively under Israeli control since 1967. Middle Eastern co-prosperity zone? I am sure a lot of Arabs would rather live in prosperity than die as a nationalist myth.
N. Friedman - 12/13/2007
If it is not Antisemitic, why is it that you keep posting to the Shahak article, which does create the very connection you claim here does not exist?
Also, if it were colonialist, as you claim, how is it that the Israelis do not ship the money and resources obtained from the country to somewhere else? That, after all, is what colonial ventures always do.
N. Friedman - 12/13/2007
The Blum interview article you referenced is a very good article. I agree that the issue is structural, not incidental. And that is why the Anti-Israel obsession is, at least now, the more significant issue. I would commend anyone to read your article.
Incidentally, it did not open from your post, so here is a, I hope, better attempt at linking to it.
Joseph Mutik - 12/13/2007
I don't like the term anti-Semitism but this is the term used in the article.
If the link doesn't work the article is from "The Jerusalem Post"
"One on One: Debunking dastardly debate"
By RUTHIE BLUM Dec 13, 2007
omar ibrahim baker - 12/13/2007
Jewish and non Jewish Christian Zionists, i.e. the supporters of the colonialist project that Israel essentially is, have reached a stage of self righteousness that is leading them to a remarkable state of pathetic blindness and closed mindedness.
Despite the fact that for the Western Christian it involves an understandable element of guilt and self incrimination while for the Jewish it reflects their ever present and inborn feeling of being something "special" and, Godly or otherwise, “privileged” this state of collective blindness is note worthy .
Wallowing in this, their substantially self induced, blindness makes them imagine, formulate and allege all sorts of reasons for the Return of Anti Semitism EXCEPT the glaringly obvious and inescapable ones that impose themselves on any objective observer.
Their search, which falsely equates Anti Semitism with anti Zionism and/or lack of support for the Zionist colonialist project of Israel, has led them , according to Mr. Friedman to :
"In particular, there is the interest of Europe to appease Arab states, believing that such behavior will secure oil and, perhaps more importantly, lucrative contracts for Europeans. There is also the quid pro quo demanded by Arab states to grant such preferences, namely, taking the Arab League line on the Arab Israeli dispute. Then there are the millions of Muslim migrants who harbor all sorts of prejudices against Jews and Israel and who, for politicians, are potential votes. Then there are business interests which want to advance their economic interests which, as they perceive it, requires Europeans to be pro-Arab which, in turn, means not being pro-Israel. Then there are left wingers - or at least some of them - who have deluded themselves into believing that there is common cause to be made against imperialism and, for such people, Israel is an appendage of the US and, accordingly, evil. Lastly, there are those, most especially in the EU bureaucracy who advocate for the joint civilization notion (e.g. the Mediterranean Partnership) with the idea of controlling Arabs by bringing them into the European fold - again, the quid pro quo being the taking of the Arab League position on the Arab Israeli dispute.
Ms. Gee's particular vice, given the type of sources she cites, appears to come out of the far left wing school of thought and the Mediterranean Partnership school of thought."
Which long list has every thing and anything imaginable; false, half true and true (...there is common cause to be made against imperialism and, for such people, Israel is an appendage of the US and, accordingly, evil.) notes all possibilities EXCEPT the OBVIOUS.
The OBVIOUS being :
****For the guilt ridden Christian Westerner, in principle; the growing realization that you DO NOT ATONE for a crime, the Holocaust, by supporting another heinous crime; the establishment of a Zionist colony in Palestine .
Nor, in practice, is every Christian Westerner a partner to that crime, committed by some of his fellow Christians, unless, of course, every Jew partook in the crucifixion of Christ ( both absolute absurdities!).
****For every body else, including the Jew, that:
-Zionism is an aggressive, retrogressive and racist doctrine
-Its output, Israel, is a colony in the worst possible sense of the word having added some intensely destructive new elements to the practices of defunct classical colonialism (dislocation, ethnic cleansing and dispossession of the colonized.)
-Its mode of birth and continued existence as a Zionist colony is a blatant negation and violation of the fundamental basic human rights of the indigenous Palestinian people
The Zionist movement search for reasons behind the Return of Anti-Semitism will only lead to more and more intensive Anti Semitism as long as the glaringly OBVIOUS reasons behind its resurgence are avoided and ignored.
E. Simon - 12/12/2007
You do tend toward a strong emphasis on immediate and no less speculative political needs in informing personal opinions over the strong historical currents that seem to play a much stronger role in shaping overall attitudes - even if they do come at the "expense" of having to discern qualities of one's psychology, etc. People who are that interested in discrete political motivations are likely involved in more effective propogandizing than can be achieved by debating scholars and other interested parties on, let's face it, a somewhat obscure history web site. People who come here are attracted to, if not such academic details, debating others for either its own sake, or more likely for the sake it plays in reinforcing and projecting one's sense of self - especially when it comes to such individuals who are so lost on the finer details of debate or admitting error as are Gee. And when one's personality and that of the many others who such people attack, ad hominem, becomes the focus, then the Nietzschean exception to the ad hominem is not so inappropriate. "What sort of a person thinks, says, does... etc.?" Well, it is not so hard to go into psychology and is no less error-prone than other forms of historical analysis or other forms of academic speculation at attaining the possibility of achieving at least a part a picture if at the expense of the whole, and for that there is no problem in looking at tone, form, spelling and other linguistic attributes in asking the rather serious question: Is it possible that a certain person, or anyone for that matter, might not be projecting historically ingrained attitudes that often inform someone's sense of self at least to the degree that abstract debate might? For one who goes on quite a bit, albeit in a tiptoe fashion, about the attributes of "cultures" of the Middle East, etc., I don't see it as such a leap to engage the kinds of attitudes that permeate every culture on some level simply because it leaves you open to the charge of doing it on an individualized, "psychological" level between you and the person you thought was capable of debate.
Gee, in any event, is in all likelihood a Celtic surname. And the attitudes hardly sound American. If she is, she has certainly appropriated an attitude much more common in Europe. Those attitudes are important for historical and cultural reasons at least as much as they are political reasons.
N. Friedman - 12/12/2007
I would not venture much of a guess at Ms. Gee's psychology or sociological needs. I would, instead, note the circumstances that impact on European thinking that does attract hate mongers.
In particular, there is the interest of Europe to appease Arab states, believing that such behavior will secure oil and, perhaps more importantly, lucrative contracts for Europeans. There is also the quid pro quo demanded by Arab states to grant such preferences, namely, taking the Arab League line on the Arab Israeli dispute. Then there are the millions of Muslim migrants who harbor all sorts of prejudices against Jews and Israel and who, for politicians, are potential votes. Then there are business interests which want to advance their economic interests which, as they perceive it, requires Europeans to be pro-Arab which, in turn, means not being pro-Israel. Then there are left wingers - or at least some of them - who have deluded themselves into believing that there is common cause to be made against imperialism and, for such people, Israel is an appendage of the US and, accordingly, evil. Lastly, there are those, most especially in the EU bureaucracy who advocate for the joint civilization notion (e.g. the Mediterranean Partnership) with the idea of controlling Arabs by bringing them into the European fold - again, the quid pro quo being the taking of the Arab League position on the Arab Israeli dispute.
Ms. Gee's particular vice, given the type of sources she cites, appears to come out of the far left wing school of thought and the Mediterranean Partnership school of thought. Note how she understands Hannah Arendt and her concern about Israeli nationalism - as if such concern meant Ms. Arendt were not a Zionist.
It seems to me that all of the above provide sufficient cover for Antisemites to live well. Perhaps Ms. Gee is a lapsed Christian. Perhaps she is Muslim. I do not know. My theory is that Antisemitism becomes important - and not just a personal affliction, so to speak - when there is political basis for it to operate. So, by all of the above noted "interests" for Europeans, Israel and its alleged behavior are important. And, that makes the issue appear a whole lot like the Dreyfus Affair. Which is, I think, why the eliminationist sentiment appears in connection with Israel, not from the likes of Ms. Coulter.
The part that is missing from Ms. Coulter is the connection with an interest that collides with Jewish interests. Absent that, it is just one of those remarks which may have been said with no animus or not. There is no way to know and, as I noted, a Christian is not automatically a Jew hater for asserting the view that Christianity is the one true faith such that others will rot in the afterlife. But, of course, such statements do bear watching as they could lead somewhere.
E. Simon - 12/12/2007
This is minor, but the ideas above might be a bit complicated and I do think one word might help it flow. Namely, that Europeans might "_still_ want to scapegoat Jews...." etc. I think it helps them to identify with the more positive, stated historical missions of the Church if they don't have to contend with reconciling that with its anti-semitic failings. By embracing an anti-semitism that they have turned into a different form - an ideological form - they psychologically prevent anti-semitism, as it is traditionally understood (i.e., religious anti-semitism), to be a failing and this transformation prevents the traditional "enemies" of the church from being morally triumphant. The victims of anti-semitism are still responsible for the "greater" evils of today and the church gets a relative ethical whitewashing upon which to prepare for its return to the stage as a more easily embraced institution for representing the moral heritage of Europe.
Some of these ideas have been discussed or touched on recently in various arenas, but it's important to put it into the context of a Europe that sees itself as needing to come together in the pursuit of a common purpose. It becomes more dangerous when you put that into the context of the universalist notions that Europe wants to project upon larger, even more international institutions, and in its historical interest in placating the political power of an Islamic anti-semitism which has religious roots that are all the more recent and unrepentant. And global in scale.
E. Simon - 12/12/2007
I agree, and yet I can't resist again redirecting emphasis. The link at the bottom of this post I have provided as it contains my ideas on the roots of Gee's issues, how they are tangibly and inevitably Christian and perhaps even moreso in someone who comes across as European in her attitudes as she does. You see, modern Europe is perhaps so conspicuously atheist as it might be all the more aware of the shortcomings of Christianity/Christendom as a political and ideological institution - of which anti-Semitism might be seen by many Europeans today as just a minor one. But the Nazism that so obsessively incorporated eliminationist anti-Semitism was not. Hence, in trying to forge a common identity with organic roots upon which to draw, the historical memory of the more humane and socially successful roots of Christendom might well be at odds with its utter catastrophes and failures, at least in the minds of most Europeans - causing a crisis of identity that wants to scapegoat Jews (or failing that, the "connected" entities of Israel or Zionism for that matter) for its institution's shortcomings while not doing it in the same way that typifies the intellectual and moral failings of the Church in centuries past. In this way, Europeans can embrace the common moral voice of their pasts while psychologically absolving it of its sins.
I'm not sure what any of this has to do with Coulter other than for the fact that, as an American she is culturally (and ethnically) descended from Europe, and that she is a Christian - and one who, further, sees a prominent moral voice in Christianity as a cultural institution. But I still think these ideas help connect the dots and paint a broader picture of the problem in its larger scope.
N. Friedman - 12/12/2007
That is my point exactly. Whatever Ms. Coulter is up to, her views lacks the intensity of Ms. Gee, who has displayed the real deal of the type described by Mr. Lévy (i.e. BHL, as he is commonly known). So, Ms. Coulter bears watching. Those who have latched onto the Arab Israeli dispute have adopted an eliminationist sentiment that involves real passion.
E. Simon - 12/12/2007
BTW, I've posted some responses on that wack-job that you might want to check out. Reading through the whole thing really does show how committed ideological anti-semites are to their cause and how powerful they find the veil of intelligence that they believe can mask their trajectory - and it can if it weren't for guys like you and Art giving back as good or better than you get for it. This really does need to be pointed out as a contrast to the much lower scale and intensity of sentiment expressed on the part of your average, intellectually lazy, casual religious anti-semite that Coulter exemplifies with all her relative verbal blubbering.
E. Simon - 12/12/2007
I just went back to that thread you linked. By the first response I can already detect a serious deficiency of any capacity for understanding logic or detecting humor - even if it was just light sarcasm. How pathetic.
The internet allows us to more easily pick apart deficits in these areas, so attacking ideological anti-semitism is a much more easily engaged task nowadays. Perhaps attitudes, on the other hand, such as the religious, anti-semitic attitudes in question - less easily defined, detected and found noteworthy than they were on televised media - can more easily slip beneath the radar screen because of this. But so does the importance of religion in the first place, I would gather. Resurgent theocratic movements in modern Western societies seem more reactionary than they do tenable in the long-term.
N. Friedman - 12/12/2007
Acceptance of reality - even a reality that requires the waiver of a right - is part and parcel of life. Which is to say, where Israelis get to live is and will be dictated to a considerable extent by the realities of international politics and the relative strengths of the parties involved.
Note that your neighboring countries include some which have a large role in the oil supply for the world. That, unfortunate as it is, is a fact of life. Such oil gives the Arab side a clout it would not otherwise have and it forces, at least to some extent, the hand of the US, which has multiple interests in your part of the world - not just the interest of your country -, including creating a more or less united front against Iran (as desired by the Saudi regime). So, in that environment, you can expect that not every pronouncement made by the US government - a government that is rather friendly to your country - will sound so lovely.
Now, assuming that your history is entirely correct - and it is more correct than not, in my view -, it is sort of an irrelevancy. Again, your country, if it wants to survive in the world's current harsh circumstances, needs to get in front of the forces being thrown at it, rather than bellyaching about whether Israelis should live in this spot or that. In the end, there is not going to be any agreements anyway because even were Abbas sincere in ending the dispute, his head would be found on a platter were he really to reach an agreement that ends the dispute.
That means, as I see it, that your country needs to convince the world of your country's bona fides. That means making a public statement of what your country will do and then do it. That, no doubt, will mean that your country cedes some amount of land. But, the other alternative is to watch your country's position decline even further to the eventual point that US support erodes.
For what it is worth, I agree entirely that public opinion was prepared over the course of a long time for the demise of European Jewry. And, no doubt that is occurring today as well. But, having perhaps learned something from what occurred when Jews were without diplomatic and military and political power, Jews today have the ability to re-direct public opinion rather than merely acquiesce in the demonization going on.
And, again, that means getting out in front of events in order to gain the upper hand in the only negotiations that matter: namely, with your country's relationship with the rest of the world so that your country does not become completely isolated. And that means looking at your country's situation as it is, not solely based on what your country has a right to do.
I suggest you read Barbara Tuchman's book The March of Folly.
E. Simon - 12/12/2007
Wow - thanks for the link. Having been out of town from the 2nd I hadn't checked back and it must have never occurred to me that the thread(s) would have got that long.
Well, back to Hochstadt, since I think both he and Simonelli can provide valuable and different perspectives. They focus on, to quote Mr. Hochstadt, "the ability of right-wing Christians to express openly their idea that Jews are inferior." If this is indeed the case, we should compare it to why such would or would not have been the case before. My own feeling is that while many if not most nominal Christian sects would have been taught to at least pay lip service to this, such a sentiment wouldn't have been all that important to the majority of them - although perhaps it would have been to a large minority. As for whether well-known Christian speakers would have openly spouted comments of the type that Coulter has, and further, what the ramifications or lack thereof would have been, I simply do not know. I get the impression that Simonelli and Hochstadt are indicating that things like this might have happened before the Holocaust, but not afterward, in polite American society. If that is the case, then the discussion moves - at least insofar as a historical analysis is concerned - from how religious anti-semitism led to the Holocaust to how the Holocaust impacted religious anti-semitism in America, and if so, how religious anti-semitism in America never led to the Holocaust whereas it did in Europe.
Not that I don't find religious anti-semitism in America entirely small-minded and retrograde or deny that its historical links to the other forms of anti-semitism, including to those which are most relevant today, obviate the possibility of other kinds of insidious and more current relationships.
Elliott Aron Green - 12/12/2007
E & N, I find Ann Coulter's comment offensive. However, I find Hochstadt's attitude more threatening --although he writes in an evasive, ostensibly non-commital way, using rhetorical tricks familiar to me from the Stalinists, the American Friends Service Committee, and the like.
Hochstadt and his ilk seem to deny certain Jewish rights, practical rights, whether defined as human rights or Jewish national rights. Their arguments, fashionable nowadays, seem intended to help drive Israel out of the Judea-Samaria region, not only the heart of the ancient Land of Israel [which the Romans called Judea] but a strategically vital area.
You understand of course that if a "peace accord" were made with the palestinian authority or PLO, there is no guarantee that it would be honored. Indeed, our experience with this gang since the 1993 Oslo accords is that they do not honor any security accord with Israel and the West and the UN don't care at all. They continue to defend and finance them. A peace accord is not peace. That's a truism in fact that does not only apply to Arabs. But all the more so to the PLO/PA. Further, the "peace process" is aimed at providing a state for a spurious people. Indeed, the whole invented notion of a "palestinian people" was aimed at undermining the Jewish people in various ways, including erasing Jewish rights in the Land of Israel and causing people to forget the history of the Jews even in ancient times, replacing it with a spurious "palestinian people's history." It seems that Hochstadt may be using his Holocaust expertise in order to promote another one, whether he is aware of it or not. Is that unfair to say?
The Holocaust was long prepared in European public opinion by a variety of charges, including the claim that Jews did not have the right to live in various European countries since they were aliens, Orientals in fact, too swarthy skinned to be real Europeans [cf. the novel Trilby by George DuMaurier]. Now, Jews are said to not have a right to live in Judea-Samaria or, for some, anywhere in the Land of Israel, since they are "europeans." Hence, the issue of residence rights is a central one.
Moreover, sec'y of state Rice's treatment of the Israeli delegation at the Annapolis conclave demonstrated fundamental US hostility to Israel and favor towards Arabs [particularly Saudi Arabia].
N. Friedman - 12/12/2007
Ms. Gee has Zionism, not Nazism, coming out of what she calls at least one repugnant strand of Judaism.
N. Friedman - 12/12/2007
As always, we mostly agree on things. At least usually.
My take on this is what I said before. I do not think that religious Antisemitism is precisely the same as religious expression to the effect that Christians believe their religion is the one true faith. That is what most Christians believe. It is a fact of life that such is what Christians believe.
At the same time, Ms. Coulter's language bears - and I repeat this so that I am not misunderstood - very close watching. But, the mere expression by her of her faith's superiority is not the same thing, at least taken by itself, as Antisemitism although it could, without doubt, lead in that way if it helps to create a a hostile environment.
So far as my view of all of this, I take, more or less, the view of Bernard Henri-Lévy as expressed in his book Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, as that seems to be where eliminationist Antisemites (i.e. the type most dangerous to mankind) hang out. Lévy writes, at pages 393-394:
Daniel Pearl is dead, victim of neo-anti-Judaism that is blossoming before our eyes. I've been talking about this neo-anti-Judaism for the past twenty-five years. There are a few of us who have sensed the processes of legitimization of this ancient hatred are being profoundly reworked, and who have written about this fact for the past quarter century. For a long time, the rabble said the Jews are hateful because they killed Christ (Christian anti-Semitism). For a long time because, on the contrary, they invented him (modern, anticlerical, pagan anti-Semitism). For a long time it was because they are supposed to be a race who will always be foreigners in any land and this race must be erased from the face of the earth (birth of modern biology, racism, Hitlerism). Well, my sense is that that's all over. I have a feeling we will hear less and less that the Jews are hateful in the name of Christ, the anti-Christ, or racial purity. And what we see is a reformulation, a new means of justification for the worst which, as in France during the Dreyfus Affair, but on a more global scale this time, will associate hatred of Jews with the defense of the oppressed-a terrifying stratagem. That, against the backdrop of the religion of victimization, using this transformation of the Jew into executioner and the Jew-hater into the new Jew (that's right, the rabble is intimidated by nothing, slander is nothing new to them, they can well lift towards real Jews the pure image of a victimized "Jew" now embodied by others) will legitimize the murder of a Jew as the henchman of Bush and Sharon: "Busharon" as they would say. Again, Daniel Pearl died, of this.
I think that there is a great deal to this theory.
I might also recommend a very good book on the topic by famed historian Walter Laqueur, The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day. His take on it is, as the title suggests, a phenomena that has, in fact, found its home around a host of different causes and forms, at different times in history. Today, he thinks that the main issues involve Muslims and certain people on the far left of the political spectrum and revolves around the Arab Israeli conflict.
I do, however, take very seriously your concern that Antisemitism could hide out in the rising theocratic movements. That is certainly a serious concern that bear close scrutiny.
However, I reiterate my view that such people have not, at least so far, set out on a demonization campaign in the manner of those who have made the Israelis into the bogey man. As evidence for the defense, read this entire posting sequence with one Sally Gee, of which you contributed one post. In the context of the Arab Israeli dispute, it turns out, according to Ms. Gee's foul notions, Israel is a Nazi country and that Nazism comes from what she calls at least one repugnant strand of Judaism. That, to me, is the real thing - expressed in a manner more unabashed than any I have ever read on this website. Professor Eckstein and I have been flabbergasted by her vehemence and insistence.
I do not see such to such a wide extent in Ms. Coulter or her minions. What she does bears close scrutiny. What those who do what Ms. Gee is doing, however, are really,really dangerous.
E. Simon - 12/11/2007
Oh, and I, too, agree. Professor Simonelli's comment is indeed well-said.
E. Simon - 12/11/2007
Friedman - I think we would all do well to read Lewis - (as a disclaimer I don't remember the full extent of what he's written on this but I think his gist is quite clear. Namely, that anti-Semitism has fallen into three stages: Religious anti-Semitism [the first stage and one now openly expressed by Coulter and re-asserted by who knows whom else], racial anti-Semitism [of the type the Nazis exemplified], and ideological anti-Semitism).
You and most of the world now focus on the dialectic around the current stage - of ideological anti-Semitism. But Coulter's religious anti-Semitism is instructive because it represents the first phase of a historical continuum of supremacist attitudes. Her anti-Semitism might not be as dangerous today - which if I read you correct, is the view to which you ascribe, but Steve Hochstadt is right to point out that it is important to take note of regardless. Whether it is part of a broader problem or not might depend - at least according to Lewis' construction - on whether or not our society actually continues to revert to being essentially more theocratic in nature. Whereas racial anti-Semitism is more relevant or dangerous in a technocratic society and ideological anti-Semitism more relevant or dangerous in any society that values the debate between strongly held ideas or values over everything else. But supremacism is still supremacism, regardless, and like a balloon, it will fill out according to whatever form that society allows it to - no matter how cutesy and innocently Coulter believes she can protest on the grounds of its lack of applicability to this specific society. Because at some point, the lines might just blur. And her historical ignorance on this point doesn't absolve her of responsibility to the record of how anti-semitism came about - at least as long as anti-semitism is still with us, if even in a generally different form.
N. Friedman - 12/11/2007
People can read whatever sources they want. I have no objection.
Do you object if people also examine this article, which is universally viewed as authoritative? I trust not. The article I have cited was written before 1906, so it has nothing at all to do with the Arab Israeli dispute about which Mr. Shahak is so very obsessed.
I would stack up my article to yours anytime, anyplace. And, you would do well to read it instead of spending your time peddling smut on a topic about which you know exactly NOTHING.
omar ibrahim baker - 12/11/2007
You chose to ignore my contention:
"The important thing is for people to KNOW about SHAHAK, read him and then make up their minds.
I trust (?) you have no objection to that!"
Where do you stand re people reading SHAHAK??
omar ibrahim baker - 12/11/2007
"I do not consider Shahak to be a serious scholar"
Well that, of course, is totally up to you ; however it is perfectly understandable that you do not see things his way...for obvious reasons!
As to your:
"Moreover, as I have already demonstrated to you in different pages of this website, Shahak's interpretation of Jewish law is simply incorrect."
You have demonstrated nothing of the sort, none of what you claim to have demonstrated.
The best that you did was to provide, PR friendly and PR custom tailored, newly improvised , but much less well documented, interpretations of some texts and principles he addressed.
With due respect I do NOT think any of you can stand up to Shahak's scholarship nor,particularly, match nor come close to match Shahak's scientific objectivity , honesty and courage.
Israel Shahak surely was/is/will always be a light among men and among Jews!
N. Friedman - 12/11/2007
I believe I addressed your article rather precisely. I just did not agree with you. And, I also explained my views about Christian supremacist beliefs in more detail, for example, here.
I do agree that some of the discussion has gone off on a tangent but I was rather clear about my view regarding your article, viz., those who really hate Jews focus on Jews, as a group, allegedly do - i.e. such people obsessively focus on Israel - are of far greater concern, at least for the moment, than Christians who state publicly that their religion is the only true religion. As I see it, Israel haters people play a role akin to the Anti-Dreyfus faction in France.
N. Friedman - 12/11/2007
I do not consider Shahak to be a serious scholar. That is my objection to him.
Recall, he asserts, in fact makes a central point, that Jews would have no dealings with Christians, writing:
THE FIRST DIFFICULTY in writing about this subject is that the term 'Jew' has been used during the last 150 years with two rather different meanings. To understand this, let us imagine ourselves in the year 1780. Then the universally accepted meaning of the term 'Jew' basically coincided with what the Jews themselves understood as constituting their own identity. This identity was primarily religious, but the precepts of religion governed the details of daily behavior in all aspects of life, both social and private, among the Jews themselves as well as in their relation to non-Jews. It was then literally true that a Jew could not even drink a glass of water in the home of a non-Jew. And the same basic laws of behavior towards non-Jews were equally valid from Yemen to New York. Whatever the term by which the Jews of 1780 may be described - and I do not wish to enter into a metaphysical dispute about terms like, 'nation' and 'people'1 - it is clear that all Jewish communities at that time were separate from the non-Jewish societies in the midst of which they were living.
This claim, frankly, so distorts the facts as to be a complete lie. And that lie builds around one fact, namely, that many Jews would not eat from a non-Kosher kitchen unless necessary to survive. That, according to Shahak, defines Jewish Christian relations. And that, according to Shahak, creates a divide.
But, in fact, Jews served - and ate - with Christians in the Revolutionary Army and in colonial life in America (i.e. before 1780) and religious Jews served as (and ate with) viziers to Caliphs - and on numerous occasions. And, the great Maimonides, that Shahak's writings find offensive, was the medical doctor to a Caliph. He did not treat him less well than he might have a Jew. So, again, Shahak's is misinformed.
In short, the separation theory of Shahak is simply not so. It was not so during the classical period or during Medieval period and it was certainly not so in America during the 18th Century. Which is to say, what he writes is nonsense. [Note: I am not saying that Jews did not keep mostly to themselves or that there were religious reasons for doing so. I am also not saying that the religious leaders did not take steps to impeded Jews adopting a Westernized view of life. I am saying that his described separation theory is contrary to facts and is contradicted by the record to the extent that it suggests he does not know what he is talking about. ]
Moreover, as I have already demonstrated to you in different pages of this website, Shahak's interpretation of Jewish law is simply incorrect. He does not account at all for the fact that Jewish law substantially changed over time. Hence, while sacred, its manifestation is not treated, as in Islam, as being inerrant. So, at one time, Jews believed in polygamy, as shown by the Hebrew Scriptures (i.e. Old Testament). But, the law changed on that subject beyond all doubt. Shahak's theory does not account for such change. And, to add, his understand of how Jews have actually behaved in history is contradicted by historical fact - something that Shahak does not appear to show much concern.
It is nice, Omar, that you have found an author who writes about Judaism and Jewish history. That is a start. Now find a more serious scholar who deals with some historical and/or theological nuance.
Steve Hochstadt - 12/11/2007
I believe the comments to my essay demonstrate my point. The discussion of antisemitism has virtually disappeared under a barrage of attacks on and defenses of Israeli policy. The first comment by N. Friedman shows the link I sketched between ideas about antisemitism, Jewish defense of Ann Coulter and other proponents of Christian supremacism, and support of Israeli policy: Friedman ends his first comment by claiming that political antisemitism, which he equates with anti-Zionism, is the real danger.
Elliott Aron Green can’t read without his political emotions getting in the way. I noted a fact in my essay: that “many American Jews have gradually become more critical of Israeli settlement policy and treatment of the Palestinians.” Green quotes this sentence and then assumes I am denying Jewish rights and am ignorant of Arab support of Nazi policy toward Jews. Even my use of the word Palestinians shows how much I hate Jews.
I appreciate Professor Simonelli’s comment, which tries to bring the discussion back to the issue of Christian supremacists and antisemitism. The issue I brought up is not Israeli but American: the ability of right-wing Christians to express openly their idea that Jews are inferior. But I doubt that reason will be able to triumph over the need for haters and defenders of Israeli policy to list their hundreds of reasons why the other side is wrong and stupid.
N. Friedman - 12/11/2007
You must be kidding.
Your country is despised by Arabs and, most especially, Muslim Arabs, including in particular those your country has conquered but even including those with whom your country has made "peace" - hudna to them. Read carefully the words coming from our very own Omar as being exemplary of the love and acceptance such people have for you. Remember the love shown toward Sadat, whom they perceive to be a traitor.
Is hatred by Palestinian Arabs toward your country something that outside parties have encouraged? Certainly. But, is the hatred real? Yes. Would it exist without outsiders abetting it? Certainly. Are there circumstances where your country's rule is preferred over, for example, Egyptian rule? Certainly. Has your country made life better, excluding events since the current uprisings, for local Arabs? Certainly. Does that mean they want you around? Certainly not. Does that mean you will have peace with such people? Not anytime soon.
Hatred for what Arab Muslims perceive to be foreigners was noted even back in the 19th Century, as chronicled in Michael Oren's excellent book Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present. He noted in particular the hatred shown toward many of the Christian groups which moved to the region. And such was not only because such people were often interested in proselytizing.
Read your own writings - or, since he is the leading authority on that part of the world, read even the more apologetic (compared to you) Bernard Lewis about how Arab Muslims have historically perceived their role in the world and, more particularly, in relationship to other peoples. The clear thrust of his research or any other serious research on the topic reveals, over the course of history, a religiously driven imperialism that does not accept the idea of non-Muslim rule as legitimate anywhere. And, it reveals only a modicum of acceptance of non-Muslims under Muslim rule and only so long as such non-Muslims serve Muslim interests.
Such attitudes do not have to be permanent, as witness Israel's relationship with Turkey. But, the Arab regions are centuries behind Turkey in every imaginable way. The printing press only came to the Arab regions in the 19th Century and that has had disastrous results, allowing attitudes akin to Medieval Europe to persist, as they did in Europe for centuries after the widespread introduction of printing.
Further, there has thus far been no person of great standing - no Attaturk (among my great heroes) - with a grand vision and political capability who might help bring the Arab regions into modernity. Instead, there are the likes of Arafat - a self-proclaimed Saladin -, the man who helped revive Jihad as an institution, which further continues to set Arabs back.
As for Europe, I think you are misreading the tea-leaves. Those who think that Europe gains by advocating the Arab League line have been dealt severe setbacks with all the violence in France and elsewhere in Europe, the failure to ratify the EU constitution and the tension such policy has brought to relations with the US. With such policy in retreat, your country ceases to be quite as problematic. And, that leaves a space for more rational politics, so far as your country's agenda is concerned.
Which is to say, I think you are fooling yourself, creating a rationalization for a folly.
omar ibrahim baker - 12/11/2007
For one thing I DO NOT live in the USA.
(I leave it to US citizens to reply to an ungrateful Zionist for the bounties versed on his beloved colony in Palestine: Israel!)
I live in a brotherly Arab country because I am denied, by yours, my right to live in my homeland: Palestine and virtual birth place: Jerusalem!
Re your comments about the treatment of Jews in Moslem dominated lands.
What you fail,consciously and deliberately,
to note, IS:
A- The status of all minorities in all nations at that period of history you refer to!
Minorities were invariably treated unfairly, discriminately, all over the world.
That is no excuse but a sad, unfortunate fact of the human condition.
B-That "Israel" in MODERN TIMES , coinciding with the first access of "Jews" to temporal power, have not only debased all meaning of rights of others through a blindness inducing racist doctrine, Zionism, but inaugurated , commissioned and applied a new “genre” of colonialism.
With this genre, the contribution of the "Light among Nations" to modern history, the establishment of Israel involved and included the :
-dislocation and ethnic cleansing,
an indigenous people in his homeland
by colonialists selected according to pure unmitigated
Another landmark contribution of the "Light among nations" to modern history is its denial of:
-The Palestinians Right of Return to Palestine
-The Palestinians right to recover, to repossess their legitimate properties
C-That, according to all major objective historians, the JEWS were better treated, or less ill treated, (at the times you refer to ) in Moslem and/or Arab countries than in or by ANY OTHER major dominant culture !
Arab and Moslem culture has consistently been guided, consciously and subconsciously by two major guiding principles :
1 -(LA karamata li Arabi ala ajaumi ila bill takua = No Arab has any advantage over a non Arab except by his piety ),
Which was, still IS an honest reflection of the innate nonracist , antiracial nature of the Arabs .
2-The Islam ordained principles of :
- The respect instilled and demanded of Moslems ordered by Islam due to "Ahla kitab= the people of the BOOK" ; i.e. Jews and Christians.
For the times you invoke no similar parallel, or any thing approaching these humane, anti discriminatory and egalitarian principles, ever existed in either the Jewish nor Christian cultures nor in Christian dominated lands !
Your constant reference to Moslem practices during times past, which though far from perfect were much more humane than and far superior to any of the others
for the then prevalent norms,
seems to spring from a subconscious feeling of guilt and shame from present day. MODERN TIMES, Zionist practices, most unlikely, and, much more probably, from an inane attempt to delude the reader about the innate nature of Zionism and its evil offspring Israel and draw away his attention from a most heinous crime committed in the 20th century: the establishment of a Zionist colony in Palestine, Israel, and the enduring efforts of that colony to expand while hiding its criminal origins and mode of birth.
N. Friedman - 12/11/2007
You have me mostly correct. Please note, however, that I certainly think that statements such as Ms. Coulter's bear close watching. Which is to say, were such ideas to become mainstream discussion in the US, they would create a very hostile environment for non-Christians. So, I did not mean to suggest that there is no issue.
My main point is that her statement did not appear, of itself, to be intended as such and it has not been followed by a rush of people attempting to create a hostile environment.
Elliott Aron Green - 12/11/2007
Actually, N, the more that Israel has conceded and retreated, the worse Israel's diplomatic standing and standing in the American media have become. So the outcome of retreat is in fact the opposite of what you believe.
Further, the reality is very complex. I don't see the Arabs as Israel's main enemy, as I may have said before. Rather, the empires that were hostile to Jews before, that were hostile to the very emergence of a Jewish state in 1948, that pretended not to know about the Holocaust, are still hostile. Britain, first of all, and not only Britain.
In fact, many Arabs in Judea-Samaria accepted Israeli rule, if only as a lesser evil to Egyptian and Jordanian rule in Gaza and Judea-Samaria. Further, Israel brought them unprecedented prosperity, jobs, business opportunities, and --according to one pro-settlement activist, the attorney Elyaqim Ha`Etsni-- Israel brought the rule of law, which replaced the whom-do-you-know, how-much-do-I-pay, what-clan-do-you-belong-to system prevailing before 1967 in those places [I don't say that Israel was or is perfect in this regard].
Perhaps you are unaware that Israeli society has become much more corrupt and violent internally since the Oslo Accords in 1993 --not to mention more dangerous.
Now, I hold that many Arabs did in fact appreciate the benefits that Israel brought. Remember that the local Arabs did NOT bring in arafat and his gang. Israel allowed him in to international applause, with great power encouragement. He was clearly the world's choice but not necessarily that of all the local Arabs. I suppose that these people would have preferred Arab rule to Israeli/Jewish rule. But that does not mean that they wanted arafat. In fact, I believe that the cruelest thing that any Israeli govt ever did to the Arabs was to let arafat come in and take over Arab towns. Bear in mind that this is what the UK, US, EU, etc. wanted. Bill Clinton came to Rabin's funeral in 1995 and asked acting PM Peres when he was going to let arafat take over the Arab towns in Judea-Samaria. Peres heeded his master's voice and let yasser take over Bethlehem in December 1995, and then all the other Arab towns in Judea-Samaria in early 1996, except for Jericho which he had held since 1994 & Hebron, which Israel held onto, since Peres said that several clans there did not trust other clans and/or arafat and wanted Israel to stay, at least temporarily.
What have been the consequences, besides massively increased terrorism??? Since 12/1995, thousands of Christians have emigrated --or fled-- from the Bethlehem area, and the town now has a clear Muslim majority which often harasses the Christians. This is one of the wages of Oslo. Indeed, I know a rabbi who lives in Efrat, a Jewish town south of Bethlehem. He told me that not long after 12/1995, he was driving home from Jerusalem and, at that time, the best route went through Bethlehem. On the way out of Jerusalem, he gave a woman waiting at a hitch-hiking stop a hitch [a ride] because he thought that she lived in Efrat. It turned out that she was a Bethlehem Christian. She complained to him bitterly, in English: How could you have allowed arafat to rule over us???
Now, by your principles, do you think that arafat should have been allowed to take over Bethlehem and the nearby Christian villages, Beyt Jallah & Beyt Sahur?? Should he and his gang have been allowed to rule over those Christians?? Bear in mind that that's what bill clinton wanted. As a matter of fact, in the eary 1970s, certain Bethlehem Christians [including Mayor Elias Freij] wanted to be annexed to Israel in one way or another and were negotiating with Israel on this. The US State Dept shot down that project [on this see the Jerusalem Post for that period].
Now you'll tell me that Israel has to look out for its own interests and not worry about Bethlehem Christians. Maybe. But I also note that you seem not to know the country as I do. The large majority of the Arabs in Judea-Samaria live in a handful of towns, Ramallah, Hebron, Jenin, Nablus [Sh'khem], etc. These towns are mainly on the north-south mountain ridge or to the west of it. East of the ridge is mainly desert going down toward the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. Hence, holding on to those areas vital for defense does not mean ruling over many Arabs. Now, if you are against ruling over others, why don't you give full independence to the Indian reservations and to Puerto Rico?? You know that Puerto Ricans do NOT have full US citizenship rights while they live on the island. Neither do Guamanians, Samoans, etc.
On the other hand, many Arabs who had Jerusalem residency rights but who had moved over the years to bigger, newer homes in Arab towns and villages outside the city --for the same reasons that Americans moved to suburbs-- moved back into the city when Israel started building that wall, because they didn't want to be part of the palestinian authority. They preferred Israel. After Oslo, the number of Jerusalem Arabs asking for Israeli citizenship shot up substantially. Bear in mind that Israel allowed Judea-Samaria Arabs to apply for citizenship starting in 1967. Most did not apply. However, after Oslo, they seem to have decided that Israel was preferable to the PA and many more began to apply.
So your arguments are not convincing, certainly not the one about increased diplomatic acceptance. We have found that since Sadat was foolishly invited to Jerusalem by Begin in 1977, pressure on Israel has intensified manifold and media hostility has too.
omar ibrahim baker - 12/11/2007
Nothing of the sort!
I already have two pertinent posts:
-the blindness induced by Zionism
-that the just fight is against Zionism, and that the correct appellation of this resurgent phenomena should be anti Zionism not anti Semitism by which, unfortunately, decent non Zionist Jews are affected.
There will , time allowing, be more.
However I do understand your wariness, nay, your terror from the word, the name, Israel Shahak....
He is always pertinent being truly scholarly, objective, extremely knowledgeable, and hence enlightening.
As far as I am concerned, Eckstein will probably have a silly remark here, Shahak told me more about the roots of Zionism than I would have garnered from any other source.
The important thing is for people to KNOW about SHAHAK, read him and then make up their minds.
I trust (?) you have no objection to that!
Or do you re this "chemist"!
(It is really ridiculous that "chemist" should be held against him as you imply; simply ridiculous!)
omar ibrahim baker - 12/11/2007
Mr Hochstadt noted three causes he perceives as laying behind the Return of Anti-Semitism.
First among which, and rightly so, are Israeli, Zionist inspired, policies and practices.
The importance of this primary cause is NOT only the practices enumerated by Mr. Hochstadt, settlements and the treatment of Palestinians, but the growing universal comprehension cum perception of What Israel truly IS.
The whole world increasingly perceives Israel for what it is: the application of a bare faced RACIST doctrine that led to the dislocation, dispossession, disfranchisement and subjugation of an indigenous people in his homeland and his sup plantation by ALIENS selected and imported according to stark, undeniable RACIAL/RACIST criteria to establish a colony in Palestine.
The world is equally increasingly becoming aware that this colony of Israel in Palestine has surpassed the vile colonialist practices of defunct classical colonialism in its total negation and suppression of the most basic, fundamental rights of the indigenous “colonized” population under its authority.
Foremost among these is the negation and denial of their most basic inalienable human rights: their Right of Return to their homeland and the repossession of their legitimate properties.
Another aspect of this same cause, not touched by Mr Hochstad, is that with the establishment of Israel the ” Jew” as, unfortunately, incarnated by the Zionist has had, for the first time in modern and pre modern history, enough temporal power to uncover his real face, disclose his mettle and unveil his intrinsic nature!
What the world saw, and is increasingly seeing, was/IS truly ugly and repulsive!
Gone is the long nurtured image of the peace loving, security seeking , morality advocating /upholding "Jew" to be replaced by the racist, rapacious, land grabbing ,marauding colonist with his Israeli settler, on other's land, element in the forefront.
In this aspect Zionism / Israeli practices, Israel per se, did more harm to the non Zionist or anti Zionist "Jew" as much as to anybody else.
In that , and many other aspects, the phenomena that returned should neither be designated as anti-Semitism nor, as proposed by Mr Green, Judeophobia but by its true depiction: anti Zionism.
The use of “anti Zionism" is, fortunately, gaining increasing currency world wide while perusers of Arab media, and observers of the ME scene, would readily recognize it as the term predominantly and consistently used through out by Arab media and in Arab political discussions.
N. Friedman - 12/10/2007
I note Burke's motto that a right without an interest is folly.
The right in question here is the right to live anywhere on Earth including the territories your country captured in 1967. The folly is to bite off more than your country can chew. The folly finds a happy ending of ignoring the costs (e.g. military expense and diplomatic cost and dissension in your country's polity, etc.) of placing people in harm's way. The folly finds a happy ending in losing outside diplomatic support and believing your country can survive wholly on its own.
So, I see a bunch of principles you have set forth in favor of ruling people who do not want your rule in order to that your principles can succeed. At the same time, I see those on the other side who have the luxury to wait your side out essentially indefinitely. So, that makes me think pragmatic considerations, not rights, must remain front and center.
As for the US, I am well aware of what can happen in the US. I am also aware that life in the US is quite good and shows few signs of reverting to a less hospitable times. And, even when life here were less hospitable for minority religions and peoples, it was still the best place in the world to live. So, let me worry about my country's problems. Your country's problem is to survive and that means not biting away at your country's international support and not taking on more problems than your country can afford to chew.
Frederick J. Simonelli - 12/10/2007
While many of the side journeys taken by posters to this discussion thread address important issues, they are peripheral to the main point of the article which is that Coulter's comment, and the tepid response to it from the media and academia, suggests an ominous shift in public attitudes toward Jews in America. The Holocaust forever changed the way we should evaluate pronouncements about Jews by public figures. The Holocaust made antisemitism unique among the prejudices that permeate mankind. Unless we are oblivious to the lesson of history, any pronouncement that identifies Jews as "flawed" or "inferior" to their Christian neighbors, especially when such pronouncements are tacitly condoned by the silence of the larger community, should be a warning sign that the infection of antisemitism is raging anew. For the sake of clarity let me emphasize that I'm not talking about criticism of individual Jews (unless such criticism is based solely on the fact that the individual is a Jew) or upon the policies of the state of Israel (because any government's policies are fair game for open evaluation and criticism). I'm talking about comments, like Coulter's, that are directed at an entire people, characterizing all members of the group as "imperfect" solely because of their being born a member of the group. As a practicing Catholic and as a history professor at a Catholic college I am painfully aware of my own church's struggle with Christianity's complicity in the persecution of the Jews from the Inquisition to the Holocaust. Any Christian who did not learn from the past the horrible consequences of identifying Jews as God's enemy or as a flawed people in need of Christian "perfecting" is inviting us to revisit beliefs that have been discredited by all people of good faith. To excuse Coulter's ravings as simply an expression of her religious beliefs is to fall into the same trap that led Christian Europe down the road to Auschwitz.
E. Simon - 12/10/2007
It took me a while to understand exactly where your position is on this, N., but if I read you right, you're saying that Coulter's comments should probably not be considered anti-semitic.
I suppose where I stand is that I acknowledge that are all different kinds and levels of self-supremacy. Before Christianity there were nationalistic squabbles between the Jews and whomever else was trying to assert dominion over them or any other nation in their sphere, and insofar as any religiously motivated attitudes went, they probably took a backseat to political initiatives. After the rise of Christianity through the declining Roman Empire, and later, through Christian Europe, the supremacy/inferiority dialectic of religious ideals became the dominant one. And not without disastrous consequences insofar as the politically weaker, less numerous and just as religiously "inferior" group was concerned.
This was the genesis of anti-semitism, as Bernard Lewis points out. The next phase, of racial anti-semitism, is the one with which you are most familiar, due to our proximity to it historically, but it is not the only kind and would have likely not come about absent centuries of demeaning attitudes borne of religiously motivated contempt first. "Race" simply then became the subsequent motivator in a less religiously inclined age. It replaced the motivation for the attitude, not the attitude itself. And Lewis now talks of the our embarking on a new, third era - one of ideological anti-semitism, - which is where much of Europe and the Muslim world find common cause. But none of these would have made much sense absent the first forms, or "waves" of these attitudes centuries or millenia earlier.
So, while the religious supremacy/religious anti-semitism adorned by Coulter might be less relevant in an arguably less religious era which the Western world now inhabits, I don't see any point in condoning the attitudes it represents - if only they were relevant insofar as representing the first major face of an evolving process of sorts, which has brought us to the kind of jew-hatred which is now all the rage today.
Elliott Aron Green - 12/10/2007
Ostensibly secular ideologies like Marxism, or Marxism-Leninism also believe that they possess total truth. And when the Bolsheviks/Communists had power in the old USSR, they enforced belief in their ideology as much as Jesuits in 17th century Spain.
Elliott Aron Green - 12/10/2007
ya `Umar, anta la habibna.
As to Israel Shahak, he was a Communist, a party member. So what he said should be taken in that light. Communism, Marxism-Leninism, are congenitally Judeophobic, as the views of the Jews of those ideologies derive from the Judeophobic views of Jews of Kant-Hegel and other German philosophers. On this see my article in Nativ, January 2007. Also see Robert Misrahi's book, Marx et la Question juive.
Now, Omar, I gather from your writings that you live in the United States. But you are not an American Indian, or a descendant of one, are you? If not, don't you feel guilty about living in a country that European settlers took from the Indians?? Therefore, you too are a settler, even if your ancestors may not be Europeans. But who knows.
On another issue, I did not notice any response from you to my what I said about Jews being oppressed in Arab-Muslim-ruled lands, including Israel. Do you deny that Jews in Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, etc. were oppressed, humiliated and exploited as dhimmis for centuries???? What about Arab collaboration in the Holocaust? What about Haj Amin el-Husseini?
For Jews especially, it is dangerous not to exercise a right. For it can then be taken away or denied altogether. Even American Jews have an interest in defending Jews' rights to settle in Judea-Samaria, for there are persons and institutions and organizations in the USA that deny --or would deny in the future if the moment were opportune-- the right of Jews to live in the USA, or in Chicago or Grosse Pointe or Westchester County, etc. Do you know about the point system that used to exist for various ethnic groups wanting to move into Grosse Pointe?? Further, as I said above, the legal right of Jews to live in all of the Land of Israel was recognized at San Remo in 1920. This legal right has remained intact. Now, is it politic for Jews to live in those places?? Indeed, it is vital for several reasons:
1) the need to defend the Jewish right of residence anywhere, since concession of that right by Israel would endanger Jewish rights of residence anywhere and everywhere, since certain enemies are lying low, just waiting for more displays of Jewish weakness.
2) Israel has a growing population that should not be confined in the small territory inside the 1949 armistice lines [not borders!].
3) Arabs drove Jews out of their homes in various parts of Judea-Samaria & Gaza even before 11-29-1947, as well as parts of Jerusalem and various places like Jaffa --during the period of British rule and with surreptitious British official encouragement.
4) holding the north-south Judea-Samaria mountain ridge is vital to the security and defense of the Jews in the coastal strip.
5) much real estate in Judea-Samaria and Gaza was owned by Jews up to 1948. Jews were driven out of some it and other parts were undeveloped and --in some cases-- Arab squatters had settled on Jewish-owned land.
6) Jews cannot rely on any agreement made with or by or sponsored by Western powers, let alone with Arabs. Consider the League of Nations mandate to the UK to set up the Jewish National Home [1920, 1922]. Britain violated its mandate, its obligation, in 1939 on the eve of the Holocaust. Few Jews --few Jewish refugees-- were allowed to enter the internationally designated Jewish National Home during the Holocaust. The League's Permanent Mandates Commission found Britain in violation on account of this policy. Hence, in the last analysis, Israel cannot trust any Western power, let alone the Arabs who have broken all their agreements with Israel, including the 1949 armistice accords. This does not mean that Israel needs to rule all of Judea-Samaria & Gaza. But any Arab entity in those areas must be kept relatively weak militarily.
7) The Arabs --the Arabs of the palestinian authority in particular-- are very far from wanting to live in peace with Israel, alongside Israel or in one state with the Jews. They are fed a constant diet of Nazi-like hate propaganda in their broadcast media, press, schools, mosques, etc. This system of Judeophobic indoctrination is financed by the European Union which is thus guilty of collaboration in war and genocide mongering. Also, read Article 7 of the Hamas charter for medieval Judeophobia still alive and kicking and instilled in the Arab youth. [This open hate indoctrination by Fatah, Hamas, etc. was made possible by political accords, by the Oslo accords. Remember that]
Lastly, look how the Arabs treat their Christian fellow palestinian Arabs. How would they treat Jews if they had the chance??
N. Friedman - 12/10/2007
The point, from your analysis, justifies the separation between Christian "Greeks" and Muslim "Turks." Otherwise, people will kill each other.
Fahrettin Tahir - 12/10/2007
Yes actually the members of the Greek Orthodox Church, knowing that the Moslems of what was once the East Roman Empire and is now called Turkey are descended from people who were the first Christians classify us as traitors to Jesus Christ. This gives them the right to kill as many of us as they can. The sum for the 19th century is 5 Millions. This right, more properly duty was last excercised in Bosnia (250000 dead Moslems), where Christian chaplins would tell the soldiers that they had to slaughter the Bosnian Moslems to go to heaven after they had all seen that the slaughter Cypriot Archbishop Makarios organised was approved by the whole world of Christianity.
Turks being no semites, this is not anti semitism. In fact the European Union and the US now demand that Turkey pull her troops out of Cyprus so the Greeks can continue where they had to stop. Turkey is being forced to pay money to the Greeks who lost their homes when the two groups were separated to stop the Greeks from killing the Turks. Of course Greeks do not have to pay money to people who had to leave their homes to save their lives.
You see, they all have to go to heaven when they die.
N. Friedman - 12/10/2007
That is exactly the case. I have no illusion that followers of Islam or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism or any other religion are exempt from believing that they hold the truth. Just the opposite, in fact.
However, religions really do differ on what to do with that truth. Buddhists and classically believing Jews, for example, take the view that their truths are not the property of mankind. That implies something akin to the sort of acceptance of other faiths that, for example, Muslims holds with respect to the peoples of the book. The difference being that neither Judaism nor Buddhism see the need to proselytize at all (although, oddly enough, Reform Judaism has experimented with the idea - but such is certainly not classical Judaism).
Returning to the issue of Ms. Coulter, I do not see how it is hateful for her to express that her religion alone holds the truth and that her religion posits itself as superseding, for example, Judaism. Jews are certainly free to say in reply that Christianity is a deviant form of Judaism and Christians have, accordingly, sinned.
As I see it, the problem occurs when a religion's followers start making demands of people with other religious beliefs or begin ridiculing such people. At that point, we have bigotry.
That, of course, is something to worry about, most especially given the long history of such occurring in Christian majority nations. But, it is a bit premature to read into Ms. Coulter's comment a campaign of bigotry - or even the beginning of one -, although such could always occur. One need only listen to the issues that have hijacked debate among Republican presidential aspirants to understand that much.
Fahrettin Tahir - 12/10/2007
Actually Moslems also believe they have the real faith. But then does not any religion worth its salt? What is the point of a religious faith if you don't think yours is better than the next guys'? If you don't you might - oh horrors! - as well become an agnostic!!
Surely, they will fry all eternity in hell!
N. Friedman - 12/10/2007
That is exactly correct. Anyone ought have the right to live anywhere as a matter of principle.
However - as I noted in my post before -, political needs preclude the complete implementation of such right. Why? For one thing, so that people with different views do not kill each other. That has been a common reason (e.g. between Turks and Greeks, Jews and Arabs, etc., etc.
N. Friedman - 12/10/2007
To what end are you attempting to hijack this discussion to a discussion about a non-historian chemist who confuses the world of 3,000 years ago with today?
As for the actual discussion at hand, absent political considerations, any human being ought be allowed to live anywhere on Earth. It is only due to politics that such is not the case.
omar ibrahim baker - 12/10/2007
"any human being ought to be able to live anywhere on Earth. " including, surely, one's homeland ....I presume !
Or will it be "on second thought....."
omar ibrahim baker - 12/10/2007
A most interesting book to be read by all for a better understandig of Zionism
The Weight of Three Thousand Years
by Professor Israel Shahak
N. Friedman - 12/10/2007
Common sense dictates that, absent some political consideration, any human being ought to be able to live anywhere on Earth. So, if the only issue were basic human rights, Elliott is certainly correct. But, there are political considerations involved and, to that extent, he is wrong.
omar ibrahim baker - 12/10/2007
HOW BLIND, SELFCENTERED and CONTEMPTUOUS of others can one be?
It is only to be expected for a settlement dweller, if not in body then in spirit, to talk the way Mr Green does about "rights".
A term debased almost beyond recognition by Zionists colonialists/settlers, the pieds noirs, the colons and the Afrikaners of the late 20th century and early 21st century; the last surviving relic of defunct classical colonialism .
The way Mr. Green puts it:
"Does "critical of Israeli settlement policy" mean that Jews have no right to go to live in Judea-Samaria, or in Gaza for that matter? "
is suggestive of and implies innocent , peace loving US citizens whose "right" to go to live in ,say, Chicago or San Francisco is disputed!
This total blindness to and negation of others' rights, no matter how amazing it is, IS , however typical of the Zionist approach to others' rights.
The late Professor Israel Shahak had very interesting things to say about traditional Jewish/Zionist total blindness and its implications re the Arab-Palestinian/Zionist-Israeli conflict and Zionism in general!
(It would totally out of the question, utterly unthinkable, for Arabs to be Judeophob knowing that Professor Shahak was/is a Jew brought up in a traditional Jewish household! He is on the web and makes fascinating and enlightening reading.)
Equally amazing is the hyper insulting contempt of others implied in and the built-in generic hypocrisy when the question of Israeli colonialist settlements in the occupied territories is presented, by Mr. Green, as "the right to go to live etc ...."!
The point here is that this typically Zionist attitude , the total blindness to the rights of others ,the hyper selfishness and the flagrant contempt to others' intelligence that pervades, explicitly as with Mr. Green or implicitly as with most of his fellow travelers, that this mode of address is another major contributing factor to "resurgent "
Ultimately, I guess, Zionist blindness and hyper self-centeredness together with its total disregard of the most basic human rights will be a major factor in the collapse of the Zionist colonialist project of Palestine for the sheer repulsion it will universally incite!
N. Friedman - 12/10/2007
It would seem to me that I could, without hating anyone, make a declaration that "what I believe is the truth and that others believe in is falsehood." One can even say that such other people have condemned themselves to eternity for believing the wrong thing - and without hating such other people. In fact, one can say that sort of thing out of love and missionhood, as in wanting to help those who believe the wrong thing avoid an eternal fate of damnation. So, I cannot agree with you.
I think that such belief (i.e. in the truth of one's own faith and in the eternal damnation of those who believe different things) can and often does lead to hatred. But, that is a different thing. And, it is certainly the case that Christians who have believed such tenets have been prone to hate Jews.
But, consider: all people of faith believe that they possess the truth. Some faiths, like Christianity, believe that such truth should - or for some Christians, needs to - be shared with all humanity. It is out of this compulsion that, in my view, trouble brews as it implies a right to impact on those who hold to other truths.
I do not hear Ms. Coulter saying that Jews must convert. I do not hear her saying that punishment on this Earth is due to Jews. Rather, what I hear her saying is that she believes in her faith. Now, as the non-religious person I am, I can conclude that she has wrongheaded ideas - as in, she does not possess the truth and will, perhaps, suffer in this world (surely not in the "next" world that, if I were an orthodox atheist [which I am not], I would say does not exist) by having a confused mind - without hating her at all.
Do you see my point?
So, I think people are reading too much into what Ms. Coulter said. Such people do not like her politics. I do not like them either but, nonetheless, I do not take her statement as a sign of Antisemitism - at least taken by themselves.
Jeffery Ewener - 12/10/2007
As I practising Catholic, I would say that to declare Christianity to be the one true faith in the exclusivist sense you describe is inherently anti-semitic. Also anti-Islamic, anti-Hindu and pretty much anti-everybody else -- regardless of how valuable those who make such delcarations may be to the politics of the Israeli, American or any other state.
N. Friedman - 12/10/2007
You write: "is not opposition to that right [i.e. to live in the captured territories] racism, anti-Jewish racism??"
It would, I think, depend on what the person means. If the person means it is morally offensive for a Jews to live in the territories, I agree with you. If the person saying such means that it is not something the Israeli government ought support because Israel plans to cede the territory in issue, that is another story. I can imagine a whole host of things that may be bigoted or may not be bigoted. It all depends.
Elliott Aron Green - 12/10/2007
Indeed, "antisemitism" is used today to mean many different things, as Hochstadt writes. In my view, Judeophobia is a superior term since it avoids allowing the Arabs, also Semites, to hide their hatred of Jews, deeply embedded in Muslim-Arab tradition, behind the claim: "But we can't be antisemites. We're Semites too." Be that as it may, some of those who speak out against Judeophobia [callng it "antisemitism" or whatever] in fact hold Judeophobic doctrines themselves. Professor Hochstadt insinuates his own denial of Jewish rights as well as his ignorance of Jewish history under Islam, and even the Arab role in the Holocaust [in fact, the Palestinian Arab role].
many American Jews have gradually become more critical of Israeli settlement policy and treatment of Palestinians.
Does "critical of Israeli settlement policy" mean that Jews have no right to go to live in Judea-Samaria, or in Gaza for that matter? Those are two different things. But is this word "critical" just a slick, evasive way for Hochstadt to say that Jews don't have a right to live in Judea-Samaria, etc?? And if they do have a right --whether a national right as Jews, or simply a human right-- is not opposition to that right racism, anti-Jewish racism?? Here I should point out that these territories mentioned were part of the Jewish National Home juridically erected by the international community at San Remo , endorsed by the League of Nations , confirmed in the UN charter [Article 80], and left intact by the UN General Assembly Partition Resolution of 1947, which was merely a recommendation, as are all General Assembly political resolutions [UN charter, Arts. 10-12]. Hence, these territories are not "occupied" in a legal sense, since the Jewish National Home principle remains in effect.
Nor does Geneva Convention IV forbid voluntary migration even to "occupied" areas, if Judea-Samaria & Gaza were "occupied."
The next argument might be that Israel's reesablishment in 1948 was unfair to the Arabs, whom Hochstadt fashionably calls "Palestinians." Of course in 1900 the Muslim Arabs in the country did not consider themselves "Palestinians" but Muslims first. Nor did they perceive a separate, distinct country which they called "Palestine," since for them the whole Levant was Bilad ash-Sham, usually translated as Syria or Greater Syria. Hence, for them, there was no "Palestine" and no "Palestinian people." The latter notion is a psychological warfare invention made post-1948 by Western --most likely British-- psy war experts for the purpose of continuing the war against the Jews by the instrumentality of the Arabs.
As to Jews in the Land before 1920, Jews had been the majority in Jerusalem since 1853, according to the contemporary French historian Cesar Famin, whose figures were used by Karl Marx in an 1854 article in the New York Daily Tribune [4-15-1854].
In traditional Muslim-Arab society, Jews were not only oppressed, exploited and humiliated as dhimmis, as were the Christians too and other groups, but they were on the bottom rung of that society, as attested by many historical documents, including Famin's observations in 1853, referring to Jerusalem in particular, that were paraphrased by Marx in his 1854 article. Such a state of affairs was also observed by Edward Lane for Egypt, by Bowring for Syria in general, and by others. The hostile Muslim-Arab scorn for Jews traditionally surpassed even their hatred for Christians, according to Francesco Gabrieli, the Italian historian of Islam and the Arabs.
So Hochstadt's facile arguments do not hold water historically. He might look in the mirror.
N. Friedman - 12/9/2007
It is certainly the case that Christian supremacism could become dangerous for American Jews. On the other hand, Ms. Coulter's statements are not, in the sense you state, Antisemitic. They, instead, state basic Christian theological notions which Christians typically believe to the extent that they believe Christianity to be the one true faith -which is certainly what Christians generally believe. Notwithstanding such belief, not all Christians are Antisemitic. So far as I could discern, Ms. Coulter expressed the views of her religion, not hatred toward Jews. Of course, she may hate Jews but that does not become obvious from her noted comment.
Moreover, for those of us who are not religious or who do not believe in Christianity, Christians who believe that in some unknown future or in the afterlife, Jews will rot for not believing the correct religious precepts but who are not prepared to harm Jews or to discriminate against Jews who exist in the world are harmless. So long as that is the case, they are entitled to believe what they will. It is when they want to make life miserable for Jews that I would be concerned.
And, certain Christians who think Jews will eventually rot are friendly to the Israelis. So, one makes a bet on the outcome of life. If the Christians are right, Jews will rot for eternity. If they are wrong, they will not. Either way, it does not affect this world. It remains a speculative matter.
So far as those who attack Israel's legitimacy, on the other hand, the vast majority of them hate Jews. Some disguise their hatred. Some are pretty open about it. Some of these haters are, in fact, Jews. As with any bout of Antisemitism that matters, it is political Antisemitism that counts. And, the modern manifestation of political Antisemitism is Anti-Zionism. Such Antisemites are the real danger.
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