Israel As A Magickal Sigil

I think it’s fairly safe to say that antisemitism as we ‘knew’ it no longer exists. Nowadays, the children and grandchildren of the fascists who fed our families to the ovens are clamoring for our votes. They’re not out to kill us, rather they’re out to kiss our asses (hence, for example, Bush’s capitulation to Sharon’s policy, Germany arresting and prosecuting neo-Nazis, Musolinni’s daughter visiting Israel and apologizing for her father’s actions, etc.), and for the first time in, perhaps, eons, Jews are enjoying an exceptional level of comfort, safety and respect in a major Western society. Some have even gone so far to say, “We’ve never had it so good.”

Despite fringe elements on the right and left (who have no real numbers to pose any sort of threat), it would seem that the only substantial group remaining that is incurably bent on hating Jews today are Muslims ticked off about the Israeli occupation (and, as some consider, thinly-veiled ethnic cleansing) of Palestine. Antisemitism’s on the rise, Abe Foxman and Phyllis Chesler warn us. But look at the numbers: According to the EU’s report on antisemitism (which they tried to bury because they don’t want to incite a race war) young Muslim men committed the vast majority of antisemitic acts throughout Europe in the last decade. The same goes for Canada, apparently, where there’s an ever-growing Muslim population. An added glance at the Middle East and, perhaps, Asia, would suggest that, all world over, it’s radical Muslims who are the nearly-lone torchbearers of antisemitism—and not even as an outgrowth of bonafide Jew-hatred, but rather as an unenlightened response to political frustrations.

Thus, the question arises, how can we do away with this purported “last bastion” of antisemitism? Could it be, perhaps, by giving up our designs on Palestine? In a recent blog post, Douglas Rushkoff expands on the question—with an interesting and rather original twist.

20 thoughts on “Israel As A Magickal Sigil

  1. if antisemitism pivots off a central belief that Jews have too much control in all aspects of world affair, then antisemitism will be perpertually recreated – when the polar ice caps melt, it will be the Jews fault for the drowning of entire nations. Perhaps we should keep the dryest piece of land on earth to save us.

  2. im just happy israel has it 200 – 600 nuclear weapons. rather they all be used destroying the muslims nations than israel be destroyed!

  3. The irony of this post strikes me as we creep up on Yom Hazikaron and subsiquently Yom Haatzmaut. What mobius’s last post did was the same horrendous thing defence lawyers do to rape victims. Hmmm… the rapist MUST have been provoked by the victim, and so she deserves the rape. COME ON! One of the strongest points of Zionsim, and one of the points which I agree with most fervently, is the idea that Jews need to control their own destinies, not sit around placating and begging the rest of the world not to hurt us. We’ve tried that. It doesn’t work.
    Look at the history of antiSemitism. There are big gaps in history where there appears to be very little antisemitism, or if there is, then it is limited to one group or another. Then, suddenly, it erupts with a vengance like a simmering flame.
    TO BLAME THE JEWS FOR ANTISEMITISM IS IN AND OF ITSELF A FORM OF ANTISEMITISM. Criticize Israel, by all means. But don’t say that because the Jews had the audacity to live near Arabs in large quantities (because the antiSemitism in the Arab world started well before 1948) that the Jews deserve what they get.
    This is why I’m in favor of a strong Israel. Maybe not an Israel led by Sharon, or one that is in the west bank & gaza, but still, an Israel that shows, symbolizes, and encorages the fact that Jews will not leave themselves to whims of whether or not others like us.

  4. The leftist progressive version of antisemitism today emerges from Classic European antisemitism with its singular focus on Jewish identity as how-Jews-pray. “Chosen people” as racist ideology, “the Bible as a land deed,” etc. Right-wing antisemitism converges from across the spectrum at the point of the Protocols, or theories of Jewish global domination by control of financial institutions and communications media. All of it ignores the idea that there is a national component to Jewish identity that is legitimate and deserving the same fundamental human right of national self-determination as any other peoples.
    Leave lofty concepts like “tikkun olam” and messianic redemption aside for a moment, and contemplate what it is that Zionism really liberates. Jewish national self-determination in the homeland of the Jewish people remains unique in that, while there are other peoples in the Middle East region besides Arab peoples, there are simply no other manifestations of non-Arab national self-determination anywhere in the region. If we truly wish to see a broadly uncompromised respect for multi-cultural coexistence, then we may begin by affirming the legitimacy of the reintegration of the Jewish people with all the national integrity we deserve in the only homeland we have ever known. From there it is a short reach to the aspirations of other stateless peoples, such as the Kurds, Berbers, Animist peoples of Sudan, etc.
    The cause of human rights cannot be advanced if it remains selectively applied.

  5. Anti-Semitism has existed in various forms since at least the 4th century CE. Giving up our designs on Israel will not do away with any anti-Semitism, not even your purported “last bastion.”
    Another generation of Jews said things eerily similar to, “and for the first time in, perhaps, eons, Jews are enjoying an exceptional level of comfort, safety and respect in a major Western society.” …That belief was naive then, and is even more so now. To think that an enemy is simply a friend that we haven’t given enough, or done enough for is dangerous to us all.
    The Arabs, and the others who hate or fear Jews do so because of what we are, not where we live.

  6. According to a convincing study I saw done by Derek Pensler of the University of Toronto, what we are calling “anti-Semitism” in the Muslim world varies sharply with events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It stems from the beginning of Zionism and has been exacerbated by events since then. “Anti-semitism,” as a historical phenomenon in Europe, bears basically no resemblance to the current phenomenon. European antisemites hated Jews for a number of reasons, mostly having to do with feelings of guilt out of their own participation in an emerging commercial economy, and the easy projection of that onto Jews forced into commercial jobs, and justification by blood libel and Christ-killer motifs. Frankly I don’t think Muslim or Arab anti-Zionism can be compared to traditional anti-Semitism at all. Now, to the extent that, while searching for criticisms to hurl at Israel for its actions, these critics find and incorporate traditional anti-Semitic tropes (as in the recent enthusiasm in Kuwait over “The Passion”), we start to deal with something different. But I think that it can hardly be argued that if a peaceful solution were found to the conflict in the Middle East, the so-called “new anti-Semitism” would become a non-issue in world affairs.

  7. Who is Zionista? Seriously, if Zionista is reading this, please contact me.
    I was going to comment, but the comments have done their deed–the one thing they did not correct is the level of factual error in the post. Yes, the greatest increases in hate-crimes were caused by Arab youth, but that still does not mean that non-Muslim Europeans are not engaging in anti-Semitism. See the member of European parliament that said that Europe is targeting Israel through funding the PA, or the constant dehumanization of Israeli civilians by the European press.
    To think that anti-Semitism is a thing that exists solely in the Arab world is to downplay the Adbuster’s “Jew list,” the comments of congressman Moran, and, of course, the Passion and the waves of anti-Semitic letters received by those who dared criticize it in the press, such as Frank Rich.
    Those who think that anti-Semitism is no more than a reaction to Zionism are like those assimilated Jews who thought that the Final Solution did not apply to them. It did, and they are dead. How soon we forget.

  8. factually incorrect? you cite adbusters and jim moran like they represent a substantial populace. what part of “fringe elements on the right and left (who have no real numbers to pose any sort of threat)” was unclear?

  9. mo,
    Where and how exactly do we draw the line between fringe and mainstream? Maybe it works differently here in the Flyover, but ask a bunch of random folks man-in-the-street style what Zionism is and if you get an articulate answer at all it usually has something to do with apartheid and supremacy. At the very least, your “fringe elements” have managed to do quite a number on the mainstream language.

  10. What’s really interesting is the way all of this neglects the fact that one of Herzl’s main arguments, which persuaded many of the assimilated Europeans into political Zionism, was that the ingathering of the exiles would end antisemitism by removing Jews from other countries. Whoops.

  11. Consider the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism’s (WCAR) NGO Forum Declaration from Durban, South Africa. How does one reconcile its statement “Denouncing the pervasive nature of hate crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide and other crimes against humanity including wars committed against… those who advocate for social change and self-determination” (Paragraph 47), with its “call for the reinstitution of UN resolution 3379 determining the practices of Zionism as racist practices which propagate the racial domination of one group over another… and to maintain the exclusive nature of the State of Israel as a Jewish state to the exclusion of all other groups” (Paragraph 419)? If self-determination is to be a universal inalienable human right, it must be regarded as at least somewhat inconsistent to withhold the principle only from the Jewish people.

  12. Yet another thought and an oldschool quote, submitted for your consideration….
    While the Right-Left paradigm seems like an obsolete Cold War relic, conservative isolationists dismiss advocacy for Zionism as “neo-liberal” intervention, and leftist anti-globalists condemn Israel as a colonial “settler state,” Jews will remain altogether caught in the middle.
    “A truth hitherto unknown to the Jewish people, which it is only just beginning to learn, is that you can only defend yourself as that for which you are being attacked. A man attacked as a Jew cannot defend himself as an Englishman or a Frenchman. The world can only conclude from this that he is simply not defending himself at all” (Hannah Arendt, 1941).

  13. One of the understood root causes of anti-semitism was the notion that Jews, however one defines them, by identifying themselves as Jews, stood apart from their surrounding societies and were thus foreign and alien. This persisted despite the advent of emancipation – witness the Dreyfuss affair in France. Theodore Herzl was a Viennese journalist who, while covering the Dreyfuss affair, decided that the only solution for the Jews was their own Nation, and hence Zionism was born. Prior to this, Herzl was an assimilationist who believed that with emancipation, there was no longer a need for Jews to remain Jewish.
    Well, you feel that that Zionism thing really didn’t work out at all. So really, if the idea is to end anti-semitism, and given that things are so peachy keen for us now compared to at the time of Dreyfuss, what we should do is let Judaism go. I mean, why bother? Judeo-Christian values are well entrenched in society, people are all, for the most part, pretty decent regardless of their religious or non-religious orientation. Why bother with this outdated Jewish thing? What more can we get from it? I mean it will always be there in the history books and stuff. Most of us are marrying out of the religion and eating bacon and never going to shul etc. anyway. So never mind letting Israel go. Let’s get rid of the whole thing. When the world no longer has any Jews, we will finally be rid of anti-semitism once and for all! Yaaay!

  14. It’s certainly an interesting point for discussion and Rushkoff has once more provided decent food for thought. I reckon he must make a great Prof…
    However, DR argues that anti-Semitism (global? He does not specify) is in “decline” and that, “the only people committed to hating and killing Jews left today are Muslims angry at what they understand as Jewish occupation of Palestine.”
    That might be fine if you live in New York City, I suppose.
    However, as a European, I can assure you that on the Old Continent there are actually plenty of young Muslims (who are indeed angered by events in Israel-Palestine) who do commit anti-Semitic attacks on Jews. This is a fact, particularly in Northern Europe — in Britain, Belgium, France, The Netherlands and good old Germany.
    Forgive the mentioning of demography, which I realize is often most distasteful, but…
    If you take into account the fact that France has around 6m Muslims (and c. 600,000 Jews — although that’s not really important), and realize how few maniacs it takes, then Muslim anti-Semitism cannot be dismissed. It is a real and growing problem in Europe.
    It’s not as bad as, say, the Wiesenthal Center e-mails may claim, but there really is a lot of tension — and physical violence.
    Anecdotally, at least, most European Jews know a friend or family member who has been attacked or abused for being Jewish. This really was not the case before the Intifada and before the radicalisation of some of Europe’s growing Muslim communities, which is no doubt the result of many factors (such as racism, disproportionate levels of unemployment, awful housing and general social exclusion).
    Forgive once more the demographic (and the kvetchy tone) but you have to remember that not all the world’s Jews live in the States (alas?), nor do they live in Eretz Yisroel (thank God).
    There’s about a milion members of the tribe or whatever in England and France alone and we have to repair our relations with our Muslim brethren (who often receive Mid-East TV and all the lovely Jew-hatred that they show) soon, or shit really will happen here.
    And if you couldn’t care less about Jews outside of the US and Israel, let me tell you:
    The last thing the Jewish State needs is French (obnoxious) or English (ugly) Jews…I am, naturally, exceptional!

  15. Well, Arab mass migration to France is now, what, 40 years old? Dan from France feels we need to repair our relations with our Muslim bretheren and I’m all for that. But then how do we simultaneously undo 40 years of French intransigence towards its Arab populace? How do we repair the dreams of Arabs who moved to France looking for a better life only to have those dreams shattered by French racism and xenophobia?
    Look, you have a point. The Jewish world does not reside exclusively in the US. But repair what? I think some things are definitely beyond anyone’s power.

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