At the same time, that affinity has now been compromised by the existence of a new climate of antisemitic opinion within the left. This climate of opinion affects a section of the left only, and not the whole of it. But it is a substantial section. Its convenient alibi is the state of Israel – by which I mean that Israel is standardly invoked to deflect the charge that there is anything of antisemitism at work. Israel, so the story goes, is a delinquent state and, for many of those who regard it so, a non-legitimate one – colonialist, imperialist, vehicle of oppression and what have you. Similarly, diaspora Jews who defend Israel within their home countries are not seen as the conduit of Jewish interests and/or opinion in the normal way of any other democratic articulation; they are treated, rather, as a dubious force – the notorious ‘Jewish lobby’ – as if their organised existence were somehow improper.
To repeat: Israel has been made an alibi for a new climate of antisemitism on the left.
Later on, he says this:
And you do not have to go far to find either journalists or activists of the left similarly playing down anti-Semitic elements within the programmatic objectives of Hamas and Hezbollah: not just their commitment to getting rid of Israel; also openly Jew-hating statements, as for example in the Hamas Charter. This latter document cites ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ as authoritative and as establishing a Zionist ambition to dominate the world. It has Jews hiding behind rocks and trees against the threat (which it celebrates) that Jews will in due course be killed.
Leftists and liberals of a would-be pragmatist turn of mind can appear remarkably untroubled by this sort of thing. Either the offending contents of the Hamas Charter are consigned by them to a receding past, or they are said not to represent the thinking of a moderate section of Hamas willing to contemplate a long-term (though not unlimited) truce with Israel. It is never explained by such pragmatists why, if the anti-Jewish components of the document are a thing of the past, no longer relevant, of merely rhetorical status, they have not been, or cannot now be, amended away.
Read it all, here.
[First seen at Harry’s Place.]