13 September 2008

Antony Lerman and the Jewish question

A fairly standard battle cry on the Israeli roads is: "The person that gave you a driver license has to be killed!". I don't need to describe the situation relevant to this cry, do I?

The first thought I had reading the Haaretz article Jews attacking Jews by Antony Lerman wasn't totally dissimilar to that battle cry: who the heck is the editor that published this one? He definitely needs some killing. On the other hand, it could have been a slow day in the office of Haaretz, and this thing just happened in the inbox - who knows, let's be charitable.

One cannot, of course, keep a straight face and blame the author - he is too daft, it looks like, to be held responsible for the drivel he spouts. For example:

When Jew-hatred is identified, it's mostly in the form of what many call the "new anti-Semitism" - essentially, anti-Zionism. Others (this writer included) fundamentally dispute that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are synonymous.
"Many" usually say that the new anti-Semitism is using anti-Zionism as a cover - not that all anti-Zionists are automatically anti-Semites. So "others" (Antony Lerman included) could go and screw themselves vigorously, instead of "fundamentally dispute" the false strawman these "others" created to publicly destroy to their own satisfaction.

Another good one:
Anything from strong criticism of Israel's policies, through sympathetic critiques of Zionism, to advocacy of a one-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict, is defined as anti-Zionism, when none of these positions are prima facie anti-Zionist.
So the advocates of a one-state solution are not anti-Zionist? Yeah. But in this passage Antony Lerman makes his dimness outstandingly clear:
The new EU-approved definition fundamentally subverts the term because to warrant the charge of anti-Semitism, it is sufficient to hold any view ranging from criticism of the policies of the current Israeli government, to denial of Israel's right to exist - without having to subscribe to any of the elements that historians have traditionally regarded as constituting an anti-Semitic view. And it puts out of bounds the perfectly legitimate discussion of whether increased anti-Semitism is a result of Israel's actions.
Notice the last sentence, which is a final giveaway: these pesky Israelis are making Lerman's life hard by their ill-considered behavior. Repeating many an anti-Zionist (and many an anti-Semitic) "thinker", starting with incomparable Seumas Milne who several years ago claimed that Jews in Europe would feel much better were Israel to behave...

More detailed debunking of this stupid article by Ben Cohen here.

Another definitive piece by David Hirsh on linking Israel's behavior and the anti-Semitism here.

>Cross-posted on Yourish.com.