It’s Not anti-Semitism When You’re Lying Down With Lepers

Unqualified supporters of Israel would do better to question some Jews’ identification with Europe’s most nationalist, xenophobic and Islamophobic groups.

Avraham Burg
Avraham Burg
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Far-right nationalist anti-Muslim protest in UK.
Far-right nationalist anti-Muslim protest in UK.
Avraham Burg
Avraham Burg

“This war has advantages; Europe is emptying out,” an important yet superficial public figure told me, expressing her brand of Zionist satisfaction. “Once again it has been proved that Israel is the only solution,” she said, patting Israelis on the back and hurting me in the process.

My colleague Anshel Pfeffer confirmed what I’m talking about in a wise and accurate piece. He quoted Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky, who prophesied in Zionist fashion: “We are seeing the beginning of the end of Jewish history in Europe.” Save for the typical hysteria, accepted demagogy and Zionist opportunism, I can’t understand how some people can’t understand that this equation has very few variables, and all are known.

Let’s start with the definition. The use of the old term “anti-Semitism in Europe” is tendentious, deceptive and deceiving. In the bad old days of anti-Semitism in Europe, from the end of the 19th century to 1945, the issue was exclusively a European one. Part stemmed from church traditions and part from the powerful rise of nationalist ideas that could not include tribal members such as the Jews and the Roma.

From this were born two conspiracy theories; the “Bolshevik Jews” on the one hand and the “Capitalist Jews” as the Elders of Zion on the other. But the West, especially Europe, has come a long way in uprooting systematic and institutional anti-Semitism. Fundamental democratic and humanistic values have been deeply inculcated.

The very different hatred and slander in contemporary Europe shows that the definitions above have not been met. The source is not Christianity; most of the rioters in Europe are Muslims whose motives stem from external issues — colonialism, tension between the first and third worlds, church versus state, and the Middle East conflict.

Thus, to use the term anti-Semitism to describe something that occurs between two Semitic tribes is to surrender to convenience and habit. It isn’t anti-Semitism.

Use of this term is emotional manipulation, it’s use of the Holocaust and the infinite credit Israel derives from it to silence all justified criticism. It paints in shades of Nazism everyone who objects to Israel’s improper actions. Moreover, Israel has ignored this phenomenon for many years, so it can’t complain much when people in the West ignore what is sacred to Israel.

Meanwhile, we must focus on Israel’s part in this riot of hatred. Let’s be accurate: The rioters, inciters, persecutors and attackers are merely criminals. They’re often the representatives of terrorist organizations and nations, loud fringes or street thugs whom the national authorities must address decisively (and do).

But that they are evil does not make us righteous. A direct relationship has repeatedly been proved between the flames between the Jordan and the Mediterranean and the hate crimes against Jews in Europe.

Israel’s contribution does not end there. Israel proudly claims that it’s the nation of the Jewish people; all other Jews around the world are imaginary citizens of this distant Mideast country that so many Jews have never visited. An expansion of the circle of violence to the virtual citizens that Israel has annexed is natural.

Add to this Jewish organizations’ full identification with every position — right or foolish — of every Israeli government, and we have a full convergence between the Israeli front and the Jewish space. Anyone who demands full identification with Israel condemns every alternative voice.

Meanwhile, many Jewish voices have been heard in recent years favoring cooperation with Europe’s most nationalist, xenophobic and Islamophobic groups. Some of these groups are true Nazis and neo-Nazis.

All this is happening with the encouragement of people in Israel’s parliament and government out of narrow considerations that the enemy of my enemy is my potential friend. So those who lie down with lepers shouldn’t be surprised if they wake up itching.

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