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Kill Arabs, Cry Anti-semitism: The Dream Philosophy of Paranoids

by NORMAN FINKELSTEIN Friday, Sep. 15, 2006 at 4:34 PM

A central thesis of my book Beyond Chutzpah is that whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle its apologists sound the alarm that a "new anti-Semitism" is upon us. So, predictably, just after Israel faced another image problem due to its murderous destruction of Lebanon, a British all-party parliamentary group led by notorious Israel-firster Denis MacShane MP (Labor) released yet another report alleging a resurgence of anti-Semitism (Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry Into Antisemitism, September 2006). To judge by the witnesses (David Cesarani, Lord Janner, Oona King, Emanuele Ottolenghi, Melanie Phillips) and sources (MEMRI, Holocaust Education Trust) cited in the body of the report, much time and money could have been saved had it just been contracted out to the Israel Foreign Ministry. (The report's statement that "we received no evidence of the accusation of anti-Semitism being misused by mainstream British Jewish community organizations and leaders" perhaps speaks more to the selection of the witnesses than the reality.)

The Dream Philosophy of Paranoids
Kill Arabs, Cry Anti-Semitism

By NORMAN FINKELSTEIN

A central thesis of my book Beyond Chutzpah is that whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle its apologists sound the alarm that a "new anti-Semitism" is upon us. So, predictably, just after Israel faced another image problem due to its murderous destruction of Lebanon, a British all-party parliamentary group led by notorious Israel-firster Denis MacShane MP (Labor) released yet another report alleging a resurgence of anti-Semitism (Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry Into Antisemitism, September 2006). To judge by the witnesses (David Cesarani, Lord Janner, Oona King, Emanuele Ottolenghi, Melanie Phillips) and sources (MEMRI, Holocaust Education Trust) cited in the body of the report, much time and money could have been saved had it just been contracted out to the Israel Foreign Ministry. (The report's statement that "we received no evidence of the accusation of anti-Semitism being misused by mainstream British Jewish community organizations and leaders" perhaps speaks more to the selection of the witnesses than the reality.)

The single novelty of the report, which mostly rehashes fatuous allegations already disposed of in Beyond Chutzpah, is the new thresholds in idiocy it breaks. Consider the methodology deployed for demonstrating a new anti-Semitism. The report defines an anti-Semitic incident as any occasion "perceived" to be anti-Semitic by the "Jewish community." This is the school of thought according to which it's raining even in the absence of any precipitation because I feel it's raining. It is the dream philosophy of paranoids, especially rational paranoids, for whom alleged victimhood is politically serviceable. The report includes under the rubric of anti-Semitic incidents not just violent acts and incendiary speech but "conversations, discussions, or pronouncements made in public or private, which cross the line of acceptability," as well as "the mood and tone when Jews are discussed." The wonder is that it didn't also tabulate repressed anti-Semitic libidinal fantasies. In the category of inherently anti-Semitic pronouncements the report includes "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis" (only comparisons of contemporary Arab policy to that of the Nazis are permissible) and "theories about Jewish or Zionist influence on American foreign policy" (even if Jewish and Zionist organizations boast about this influence).

Much of the evidence of pervasive British anti-Semitism requires real strains in credulity. * The lone item listed under the ominous subheading "The Blood Libel" is a Syrian television series "that would be possible for viewers in the UK to seeif they had suitable satellite receiving equipment." It also notes the unreferenced "case of a Jewish university lecturer who was subjected to an anti-Semitic tirade from a student in the middle of a lecture and subsequently asked to explain to the university authorities why he ha upset the student." Is it anti-Semitic to wonder whether this is a crock? And then the report cites the warning of the London Assembly Conservative Group that "there is a risk that in some political quarters 'views on international events can, almost subconsciously, lead to subtly different attitudes to, and levels of engagement with, different minority groups.'" The new anti-Semitism business must be going seriously awry when British conservatives start sounding like Lacan. Finally, it is anti-Semitic for student unions to advocate a boycott of Israeli goods because this "would restrict the availability of kosher food on campus." Maybe Israel can organize a "Berlin airlift" of gefilte fish.

Although claiming that, in the struggle against anti-Semitism, "none of those who gave evidence wished to see the right free speech eroded," and "only in extreme circumstances would we advocate legal intervention," the report recommends that university authorities "take an active interest in combating acts, speeches, literature and events that cause anxiety or alarm among their Jewish students," and it registers disquiet that "classic and modern anti-Semitic works are freely available for ordering on the Amazon.com website," and that "the United States in particular has been slow to take action" in closing down "anti-Semitic internet sites." It is at moments like this that even the least patriotic of souls can take pride in being an American.


* The police data on an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in itself proves little because, as the report concedes, the spike might be due to more incidents being reported and a coarsening of British life generally, as well as the "spillover" from the Israel-Palestine conflict. In addition, there is little evidence of "organized," "politically motivated" anti-Semitic attacks; there is no evidence that perpetrators of anti-Semitic attacks were disproportionately Muslim; and most of the suspects in the incidents were adolescents. For 2005 the report cites a couple incidents that were "potentially" life-threatening. It cites no comparative data for other minorities in Britain, although tacitly acknowledging that "the level of prejudice and discrimination by Jews in Britain remains lower," a considerable understatement . On a related note, it deplores that "less than one in ten [anti-Semitic] incidents reported to the police resulted in a suspect becoming an accused" , but cites no comparative data indicating whether this ratio is aberrant.

Norman Finkelstein's most recent book is Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history (University of California Press). His web site is www.NormanFinkelstein.com.
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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 72 posted about this article.
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
That is how they attempt to stifle criticism Proud Human Friday, Sep. 15, 2006 at 4:36 PM
How very sad indeed Israel=the New Nazis Saturday, Sep. 16, 2006 at 2:00 PM
Anti-semiticism in the USA Becky Johnson Sunday, Sep. 17, 2006 at 7:58 AM
"...especially after 9-11..." TW Sunday, Sep. 17, 2006 at 10:01 AM
Careful your prejudice is showing Sunday, Sep. 17, 2006 at 10:09 AM
Becky ALWAYS uses her name when posting your prejudic eis showing Sunday, Sep. 17, 2006 at 12:46 PM
Of course, Tia, silly me TW Sunday, Sep. 17, 2006 at 12:59 PM
TW said the same thing and Tom begged him to take him seriously Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 5:18 PM
don't do that, sweet cheeks that's revolting Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 5:23 PM
Faking hate crimes Becky Johnson Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 5:58 PM
people who are mentally unbalanced tell us all aout it Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 6:55 PM
TW is a closet Zionist??? Becky Johnson Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 7:13 PM
awww how cute Simple for BECKY Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 7:26 PM
Trying to keep up here. its getting weird Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 7:42 PM
oh, that. meds Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 7:48 PM
Project Mockingbecky dang Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 7:57 PM
ooo. Thinking about my panties, are you? That gets old, too Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 8:00 PM
don't care do me a favor Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 8:08 PM
I have an idea Take it up with TW Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 8:13 PM
I know you will so pay attention Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 8:18 PM
TW is many things but he is not a Zionist Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 10:25 PM
"And you are taking childish revenge on him..." TW Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 10:33 PM
Of course, another way to look at it is the more people tormenting TW, the better Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 10:44 PM
I thought it was obvious turning on a dime Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 4:57 AM
yeah, nuts funny thing, though Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 6:34 AM
Even a broken clock is right twice a day Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 6:45 AM
more funny things protest too much Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 6:57 AM
TW's Mossad Handler New instructions Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 7:06 AM
who is Toady? and you need very little help. Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 7:13 AM
On romping freely and playing nice Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 7:21 AM
paint wont stick even with sugar on it Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 7:27 AM
Who is Toady? Toady followed us here, too Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 7:31 AM
We all need toplay more Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 7:34 AM
You can find me in 5 minuts on the internet nothing to hide Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 7:45 AM
Are you afraid of me too? Awwww Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 7:56 AM
OOOoooo hidden, huh? TW out 'Hex' in. Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 1:02 PM
sorry sheepster hex Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 1:26 PM
you're going to argue with yourself? that'll be funny too Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 1:33 PM
more spam please at least, on topic Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 1:49 PM
well I did a little digging hex Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 2:27 PM
fucking liar sheepster & nessie on sf-imc trashing indybay Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 2:41 PM
so unless he isn't "pointer"... hex Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 3:13 PM
show us EVIDENCE w/o your 'interpretatioms' Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 3:23 PM
a few points hex Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 3:39 PM
aas usual, you're full O shit and a pathological liar Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2006 at 3:50 PM
hate crimes stats johnk Thursday, Sep. 28, 2006 at 11:32 AM
Who is who Becky Johnson Thursday, Sep. 28, 2006 at 1:18 PM
What a dumbass you are Wow! Becky's a real journalist-NOT Thursday, Sep. 28, 2006 at 1:26 PM
SchtarkerYid No, pure professional Thursday, Sep. 28, 2006 at 1:38 PM
"P.S., not Matt Fitt" just wondering Thursday, Sep. 28, 2006 at 2:24 PM
Here's a reason Let's see, skippy Thursday, Sep. 28, 2006 at 2:31 PM
And quit lying about your aliases, fuckwit I don't have to refute it at all, SJ Thursday, Sep. 28, 2006 at 2:59 PM
Quit lying about your name, fuckwit Calling me "SJ" proves your buffoon Thursday, Sep. 28, 2006 at 3:06 PM
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHH!!! Wow, SJ/autoblocked/etc., that's creative! Thursday, Sep. 28, 2006 at 3:14 PM
Or is it shitstain, or scapegoated, or autoblocked, etc. etc. More zionazi creativity from scapegoated nut Thursday, Sep. 28, 2006 at 5:12 PM
Still don't know Matt I like the name Matt Thursday, Sep. 28, 2006 at 5:34 PM

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