Does Israel “cause” antisemitism?

On holiday last week a fellow guest in our inn for the night mentioned that the behaviour of certain Eastern European immigrants to Lancashire “caused racism”. Our host sympathised and the conversation became somewhat tense. If racism, rather than a form of outrage appropriate to the transgression, is so easily “caused”,  then surely the objects of the racism are due our concern? Wrong – it seems we are to take racism for granted and, if we are Eastern European, abandon any claim to unracist censure.

Along these lines, Modernity draws attention to a typically dense New Statesman piece titled ‘Does Israel “cause” antisemitism?’ The author’s bad error is that he takes for granted that antisemitism would be easily provoked by Israel’s engagement in unjust conflict, and so suggests a very short chain of causation for antisemitism which ends – because he has decided it should – at Israel.

The enduring tendency of quite a lot of people to mistake antisemitism for righteous anger is the reason that Israel exists as a Jewish state.

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