The modern Jew, especially one living outside of Israel, often faces a dilemma when hearing political narrative that involves “Zionists”, “Jews”, Israel”, or any combination of the three. If such a person hears anti-semitism in that narrative, is it really anti-semitism? Or is it sensitivity – maybe oversensitivity? How does one objectively judge? And when is it right to speak up, and when to stay quiet?
For example, many of Israel’s political opponents claim that accusations of anti-semitism are used to shut down legitimate criticism of Israel. Given the unfettered stream (or should that be “sewer”) of criticism Israel receives, objectively that allegation is nonsense. But it does make some people think twice before making claims of anti-semitism, even when such claims would be well founded. And so, the scene is set in at least one way for anti-semitic discourse to be given more space, more room, and more legitimacy. And then we’re back again at the challenge of whether or not to point out the hate speech.
Subjectively, it seems to me there is more anti-semitism in the world today than there was ten or fifteen years ago, and much more of it in the so-called liberal left media. The BBC and the Guardian are the worst examples, but you may have your own favorites. When I lived in Glasgow, the Herald newspaper was the main anti-semitic vehicle, with a letters page straight out of the 1930’s. Recent evidence suggests it still has room to improve: in September 2011 the Herald published an anti-semitic article, though then withdrew it and apologized. (It should shock people that this is the mainstream media we are talking about, but it doesn’t.) Recent media events, regrettably, confirm the position is similar elsewhere.
The Commentator nails another Israel bashing piece by the BBC here.
And then there’s the Guardian, which in a piece about the loss by Ken Livingstone in the London Mayoral election, included this cracker:
How much damage did he [Ken] inflict by failing to make peace with the Jewish political establishment..
Is that anti-semitic? Jewish political establishment? Control by a Jewish cabal? Pervasive Jewish influence? It’s straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. And if there were any doubt, the later correction of the text to
“How much damage did he [Ken] inflict by failing to make peace with the Jewish communal leadership..
removed that doubt. I’m not sure it removed the anti-semitism. Something is rotten in the state of the Guardian. The Commentator also nails this nasty piece in its coverage.
This is a foul state of affairs. Politics is in a dark, dark place now, and I’m struggling to see how that is going to change for the better.