The War on “Anti-Semitism”

This is a cross post by Zach of the Brothers of Judea sharing his war stories from the HuffPo that are reminiscent of what we experience over at “Comment is Free”

In the short time that I have been watching the Huffington Post and it’s readership, the topic of anti-Semitism has been brought up many times. Sometimes people accuse other people of being anti-Semites. Sometimes they shouldn’t have done so. Sometimes there are articles about anti-Semitism or a famous Holocaust denier. Sometimes Huffington Posters rail against unspecified “Jews” about overusing the “anti-Semitism card,” such as it is. I have come to the conclusion that among the more extreme members of the Huffington Post (and the other communities from which they hail) there is a war against anti-Semitism.

And I don’t mean that in a good way: They are not fighting to end anti-Semitism in the way the War on Drugs was supposed to end illegal drug use or the War on Poverty was supposed to end poverty. What the anti-Zionists want to do is simply to destroy the term “anti-Semitism” so that it is never used again, or at least is rendered utterly meaningless. This effort takes many different forms, and at this point I have seen them all.

1. Claiming that Jews are the one watering down the term by conflating criticism of Israel with hatred of Jews. This might happen sometimes, but not often, at least not compared to the amount of times that this accusation has been made. Here is an example.
2. Claiming that there is no anti-Semitism, there are only paranoid, thin-skinned Jews who play the race card, usually for their own nefarious purposes or to silence criticism of their actions. Here is an example.
3. Claiming that anti-Jewish thoughts or actions is not based on bigotry toward Jews, it is only a “reaction” to bad things that Jews do, most notably Israel. In other words, there is no such thing as bigotry toward Jews, or more simply, “anti-Semitism.” In other words, if there is negative sentiment toward Jews, it is only because the Jews deserve it. Here is an example.
4. Claiming that the Jews are the ones who “create” anti-Semitism (or see it where it doesn’t exist) because otherwise they wouldn’t be able to play the victim card, among other selfish gains. Here is an example.
5. And probably the weakest argument of all, the etymology argument: That “Semites” means Semitic peoples, therefore “anti-Semitism” doesn’t mean hatred of Jews, in contrast with the fact that it has always meant that and always will. It is ultimately meaningless and pointless, but on every anti-Semitism thread and many Israel-related threads people will pull it out. Here is an example.

If none of the above strike you as particularly problematic, consider taking the Jews out of it: If someone told you that racism doesn’t exist, it is only black people who play the race card, would you take him seriously? At best, he is hopeless naive. What if he told you that black people just keep fabricating instances of racism (or seeing it where it doesn’t exist) to keep white people feeling guilty about slavery and segregation? Or that they accuse everyone who criticizes President Obama of racism and isn’t that awful? Funny how when Jews are removed from the equation, things become a lot simpler, eh?

One quick note before I go any further: As much as the above comments are often made, there is one accusation that overshadows them all. The accusation that is in fact Jews who are overusing the term “anti-Semitism” to the point where it is going to become meaningless. How are they doing this, you might ask? Oh, of course, by accusing anyone and everyone who doesn’t toe the party line on Israel of anti-Semitism. This is utter crap, of course. Accusations of anti-Semitism are made, sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly. It is only in the minds of the anti-Zionists that everyone who criticizes Israel is slandered that way, and if they were at all honest, they would admit it. Meanwhile, their efforts to annihilate anti-Semitism continues.

Now at this point we must ask, “why?” What do the anti-Zionists have to gain from removing the term “anti-Semitism” from public discourse, whether by shaming anyone who brings it up, by claiming it isn’t real, or by trying to prove the term itself is meaningless? Assuming, of course, that they aren’t all in fact anti-Semites and don’t want to be called on it, which I personally don’t think is the case.

One possibility is that they simply don’t want to deal with accusations of anti-Semitism, whether real or false. I know that there are some users who play the card unfairly, though they don’t do it constantly, and I am sure that can get annoying. This would seem to be the most likely possibility, though many anti-Zionists take it too far and get into “the strawman” aka argument #1 above.

Another possibility is that anti-Zionists want the freedom to slander Israel in any form they choose, including those that cross the line into anti-Semitism. As discussed in this video, just because someone says something anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that they are an anti-Semite…but just because they aren’t an anti-Semite doesn’t mean that they can’t say something anti-Semitic. Anyway, the best example of this is comparing Israel and Nazi Germany, which under the EU’s definition is anti-Semitism. The anti-Zionists complain about this whenever it is brought up, saying that “the Jews” are trying to manipulate the definition of A-S to censor critics of Israel. Of course, they then go on to compare Israel with Nazi Germany, so I guess that censorship isn’t very effective.

The question must then be asked, though, if the anti-Zionists really just want to criticize Israel honestly and fairly, why do they feel the need to compare it with Nazi Germany? Surely they can criticize Israel just as strongly without resorting to what any reasonable person would agree is nothing more than slander? Is it because Nazi Germany is an emotional weak point for Jews, as I have discussed before?

The only thing that the definition of anti-Semitism prohibits is extreme or unfair attacks on Israel, including double standards and attacks on Israel’s existence. Maybe that is exactly what the anti-Zionists want to do, but they can’t as long as the term anti-Semitism, putting a clearly anti-Jewish agenda into black and white, exists. Therefore, it must be destroyed.

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