It certainly is depressing, but it underlines exactly why anti-racist activism is still necessary.
Recording and reporting antisemitic incidents like this to the widest possible audience is the best line of defence, because it doesn’t leave any wriggle-room for the complacents to say “oh well, there isn’t any antisemitism any more, the Jews are alright Jack”.
We do have the law on our side, and the world must know that prejudice and hate – against anyone – is unacceptable.
The ‘anti-Zionist’ justification just doesn’t wash – it’s like saying “I oppose Sarah Palin, therefore I will boycott all American women with a family history of baseball playing.”
What’s really depressing is when you bring these incidents up, a predictable response comes up like, “don’t use that to promote arguments that antisemitism exists, for example, in the UCU or academia,” even when the incidents occur on campus in plain sight.
Worse still, there are those who will use these events to say “that’s antisemitism, not what you guys are talking about” and in-so-doing, put antisemitism up high on a pedestal — where it conveniently keeps turning up just at people’s fingertips.
Today’s news, from the “land of the free and the home of the brave…”
Fla. Cops: Man Threatening Jews Taken Off Flight
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 7, 2010
Filed at 8:58 a.m. ET
MIAMI (AP) — An airline passenger in Miami proclaimed ”I want to kill all the Jews” before police forced him off a Detroit-bound plane, authorities said Thursday.
Mansor Mohammad Asad, 43, of Toledo, Ohio, was arrested Wednesday night, according to a Miami-Dade Police Department statement. Asad was charged with threats against a public servant, disorderly conduct and resisting an officer without violence.
FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said there were no indications the disturbance was related to terrorism. The bureau was initially brought in to look into the incident but is no longer involved in the investigation. She said the FBI is treating the disruption as a matter for local authorities.
The disturbance forced a taxiing Northwest Airlines flight to turn around at Miami International Airport, according to a news release. Witnesses told investigators who boarded the plane that Asad was loud, disruptive and claimed to be Palestinian.
Officers didn’t find any weapons or explosives on Asad, who was reportedly agitated and aggressive at times, according to an arrest affidavit. Authorities used a stun gun to subdue Asad on the jet bridge after he charged at an officer with fists clenched. He also chanted in a foreign language and threatened officers during a search.
”I’m not afraid of you cops, I’ve gotten in fights with cops in Ohio and broke their arms in three places,” he said, according to the affidavit. ”I’ve broken skulls too!”
The affidavit noted that alcohol didn’t appear to be a factor during the incident.
The Transportation Security Administration says three of Asad’s companions were also taken off the plane and questioned. The plane departed after a search.
Asad was transported to a Miami-Dade County jail after his arrest, according to the affidavit. A telephone number for county corrections rang unanswered early Thursday morning and his records could not immediately be located online.
A phone number for Asad rang unanswered. Police didn’t return a message.
Max, you’re right, of course, but that doesn’t seem to have any effect on the crazies. And the crazies are the easy ones to deal with. It’s Nick Cohen’s “progressives” who are the real problem. As I’ve said before, how on earth 0.025% of the world’s population can be such a cause of concern to the other 99.975% of the world’s population is beyond me. I know what antisemitism _is_; it’s the “why” of it that defeats me. However, that doesn’t mean I’m going let the bastards get me down.
As I commented (twice) to the unlovely owlminerva in these threads, people like her have no idea how I long to be (collectively) ignorable by the likes of her and her friends.
Nevertheless, as I’ve also said in the columns, like my comrades here, I shall, in the words of Winston Churchill during WW2, keep buggering on. No pasaran!
Brian, I agree. It’s very puzzling. It’s often said that anti-semitism is different to other forms of prejudice and I’m beginning to see the sense in that – it’s like a disease, infecting many intelligent and seemingly reasonable people (including some Jews).
By way of a possible example, there’s a documentary on tonight – “Defamation” on More4 10pm on the subject.
Looks from reviews like the usual ‘antisemitism doesn’t exist/Jews are paranoid Zionist whingers/anyway they deserve it ‘cos of Gaza’ British leftie stuff, but I’ll give it a chance.
According to the Sunday Times it’s presented by an Israeli Jew who has “no experience of antisemitism” (good start eh?) and attacks the ADL (suh-prize suh-prize), also claiming that his country is “living in the past” for sending schoolchildren to Holocaust sites.
Sunday Times Culture reviewer (either John Dugdale, Helen Stewart or Sarah Dempster) headlines it as “The voice of reason?”
Funny, I thought the Times was in the hands of popular bogeyman and ‘evil Zionist’ Murdoch? 😉
Defamation seems nothing more than more post-Zionist bs.
Ha Ha, look at that silly Holocaust survivor who sees antisemitism everywhere. He still thinks he’s in Berlin in 1938 ha ha.
Look at those silly rich Americans ha ha ha.
Bubbie was called a bad name ha ha.
Look at the silly ADL, chasing chimeras. Ha Ha – we sure tricked Foxman ha ha.
Look at Finkletein, mad as a hatter ha ha.
Look at those stupid Black New Yorkers and their crude “street” antisemitism ha ha.
Seriously though folks, and now the science bit, there is no antisemitism in the USA or in Europe. We should know, we’re young, we’re smart and we’re Israeli.
Ha fucking ha
The Inverted Image of Antisemitism on the Israeli Left.
December 25, 2009 — Richard Gold
The writings of the Israeli left have finally come of age; and is to be welcomed as a sign of Israel’s maturity. Yet, at the same time, they express a continuation of Israel’s well-known parochialism and of a failure to adequately grasp the world outside its borders.
In this category we have a range of interesting and scholarly works that sets out to debunk many of Israel’s founding national myths. One of those founding myths that is currently under critique is that Israel is a bastion against what is presented as an all-pervasive global antisemitism. This was the theme of an award-winning documentary, Defamation, shown at the recent Jewish Film Week. The antisemitism it presented was anachronistic and, to a large extent, now spent. It focused mainly, but not exclusively, on a few comments by one or two aging Central European antisemites and one or two aging Jews (including the director’s aging grandmother and an equally aged Holocaust survivor), the aftermath of the “Crown Heights” conflict of over 15 years ago and one or two incidents in the US that, at worse, could only be evaluated as causing minor offence. Apart from a brief interview with one of the authors of ”The Israel Lobby” the sites and narratives of contemporary antisemitism did not figure at all, not even in passing.
In Israel itself, the question of antisemitism has now become part of the battleground of the progressive left and the reactionary right and so has become part of the politics of how to move forward on the question of the Settlements and the Occupation of Palestinian lands. It is in this context that it is the right that is leading the charge against what it sees as antisemitism.
Much as the Israeli right’s understanding of what is and what is not “antisemitism” is seriously flawed. Reading the literature on the “new” antisemitism, one is immediately confronted with the paradoxical finding that what is “new” about this antisemitism is precisely just how “old” it is.
Yet, as much as the Israeli right’s reading of antisemitism is crude and unhelpful, the Israeli left falls into the same trap. This left mirroring of the right is evidenced in the belief to the effect that there is little (or in the opinion of Uri Averny in the film Defamation that there is no) antisemitism outside of Israel.
If, for the Israeli right, antisemitism is everywhere, then for the Israeli left, it is virtually non-existent. Both left and right are, of course, empirically wrong.
In the increasingly bitter fight between the left and right in Israel, the issue of antisemitism has become a central signifier of where one belongs in this political divide. In Israel, this is fully understandable and, indeed, in the context of Israel’s maturity, is to be welcomed.
However, whilst this conflict is a sign of Israel’s political maturity, it also signifies its parochialism.
Neither the left nor the right appear to consider for a moment just how their viewpoints play out in the world beyond Israel. They appear not to think for a moment how the arguments that make sense in the context of Israeli internal politics are exploited elsewhere.
One need only think of Walt and Mearsheimer’s exploitation and distortion of Haaretz’s story about right-wing pro-Israel lobbying groups that a poster discussed on Engage recently. One need only think of the idea that is common in the UK and elsewhere that “Zionists” and “Jews” “cry wolf/antisemitism” every time someone “dare criticize” Israel, even where, or rather especially where, such “criticism” takes the form of the myth that Jews/Zionists “control the world’s media” or the BBC or the Liberal Democratic party, to name but a few.
As between the Israeli left and Israeli right, I stand with the left. I welcome the debunking of the founding national myths in Israel as I would and do for any other country. I remain critical, though, with the left’s corresponding lack of understanding and lack of awareness, not of the “new” antisemitism, but of contemporary antisemitism, of the blurring between antizionism and antisemitism, of what some people believe is “mere” “criticism of Israel” and antisemitism.
Eye to eye with their right-wing domestic opponents and unable to see beyond them, the Israeli left’s vision on the question of antisemitism, cannot but be severely limited. Parochialism has always appeared as an Israeli trait, it is pity that, for all its maturity, this is one trait the Israeli left has yet to grow out of.
I may have missed the interviews with Alexander Cockburn and the Counterpunch coterie.
I may have missed the interview with Sara Roy and the “how can Jews be so beastly after all they have suffered” brigade.
I may have missed the interview with Muzelwatch who had to close the comments section because of antisemites hooking on to it.
I may have missed the bit of the shooting of a Jewish day centre in Miami.
I may have missed the bit about the 9/11 truthers.
I may have missed the bit about “Apartheid Israel weeks” at US campuses (shurely some mistake – that’s about Israel – ed)
I may have missed where there was a discussion about the changed nature of the political climate following the events of 9/11 and what impact that may or may not have had on the US political landscape and its potential impact on the perception of Jews.
I may have missed the bit where he seriously discusses the putative assimilation of “neocons” with “Zionists”.
I may have missed the bit where he discusses the comments that greeted Rahm’s appointment as Chief of Staff.
I may have missed the bit about the kidnap of the torture of a Jew in France because the kidnappers thought all Jews were rich.
I may have missed the bit about Radio Maria in Poland and the previous election of the antisemitic twins.
I may have missed the bit about the duffing up of the Chief Rabbi in Poland.
I may have missed the bit about the previous election victory of the Freedom Party in Austria.
In fact, I many have missed the bit where he discussed anything about antisemitism that might have been meaningful after say, 1989 in Europe or 2000 in the US.
But, apart from that, a no doubt deep and insightful look at antisemitism today.
Whilst on the subject of “Defamation”, here is an article from Tony Lerman.
Scroll down to see David Hirsh’s comment – which I thought particularly on the button.
See here also for how Lerman deals with those with whom he disagrees . Note his use of the words “ignorant” and “odious”…………
David Hirsh had this piece published in the Jewish Chronicle which criticized Antony Lerman, Jacqueline Rose and Caryl Churchill’s parallel projects to portray Jews as being psychologically incapable of forging good relations with their neighbours in the Middle East. Their approach explains the war in Gaza by reference to the allegation that Jews bring up their children in a neurotic way, and in a way which teaches them to be unconcerned by Palestinian suffering.
Some of these issues are explored in greater depth in these exchanges.
Antony Lerman and Jacqueline Rose had a letter published in last week’s Jewish Chronicle and David Hirsh responded this week:
Antony Lerman and Jacqueline Rose:
David Hirsh (“Do not confine Israel to the couch”, April 10th) performs the double feat of misrepresenting our views and showing his ignorance.
Jacqueline Rose neither inspired Caryl Churchill to write the play “Seven Jewish Children” – Churchill has not read her work – nor did she brief the actors. She was invited to talk to them about the history of the conflict.
Antony Lerman did not offer his own view of Professor Bar Tal’s research in his “Independent” article but quoted from the “Haaretz” summary of it; nor does he say or believe that it is a scientific discovery to assert that “the Jewish public does not want to be concerned with the facts”. Nowhere do we imply that Jews indoctrinate their children to be indifferent to non-Jewish suffering or that the Holocaust explains the attack on Gaza.
We do not transform political questions into psychological diagnoses. Nor are we practising therapy on anyone. Jacqueline Rose’s writing is rather based on the premise that there is a psychological dimension to all political conflicts that merits the most serious attention. The idea that there is a disjunction between psychology and politics (or between psychological and political explanations of human behaviour) is so ludicrous that no one who thinks this can be taken seriously as a social scientist. Is Professor Bar Tal wrong to be deeply concerned about the political implications of his research into the psychology and “collective memory” of Israeli Jews? Perhaps Hirsh thinks that the International Society of Political Psychology is based on a false premise.
Sadly, Hirsh is so incapable of engaging with our ideas that he invents some which he then ascribes to us. He then resorts to the odious ploy of implying that these fictitious views bear resemblance to those of David Irving and President Ahmadinejad. Surely your readers deserve better than this shoddy tactic from someone who purports to be an academic.
Antony Lerman, Jacqueline Rose
David Hirsh’s response:
It is hurtful but no longer surprising that Jacqueline Rose, a professor at my own university, and Antony Lerman, have responded to my arguments only with ad hominem attacks. They accuse me of misrepresentation, of ignorance, of holding a view “so ludicrous that no one who thinks this can be taken seriously as a social scientist”; of being incapable of engaging with their ideas; of only purporting to be an academic.
JC readers who have heard that discussion of antisemitism on campus is not always rational, have now seen for themselves an example of how those of us who take the issue seriously are often dealt with by colleagues who cannot bear to see their own words reported back to them.
If people read Lerman’s piece in The Independent, Rose’s books and Churchill’s play, they will see for themselves that I have misrepresented nothing.
The issue which Rose and Lerman seek to avoid is antisemitism. The campaign to exclude Israelis from the academic, cultural, sporting and economic life of humanity flows from the way of thinking which Rose and Lerman fight for. Rose works for the exclusion of Israeli colleagues, but no others, from UK universities. Lerman legitimizes the antisemitic demonization of Israel by blurring the distinction between this and political criticism of the policies of Israeli governments.
Rose and Lerman do not answer my points concerning the way they single out Jews as having a pathological inability to live at peace with their neighbours. They leave untouched my criticism of their psychological explanation, which essentializes the conflict as a Jewish neurosis. Rather, we should treat it as a political problem for which we can strive to find political solutions.
Rose and Lerman are fond of speaking “as Jews”. The effect of their project is to reassure the British intelligentsia that antisemitism is not currently an issue about which we need to be seriously concerned. This reassurance, doggedly and consistently offered, is dangerous because it educates anti-racists to recognize claims of antisemitism only as manifestations of dishonest pro-Israel propaganda. We should support the Israeli and Palestinian peace movements but we must never think that working for reconciliation is incompatible with vigilance about antisemitism.
Given that all too often people come up with homespun and offensive psychology to explain why some Jews side with antisemites against Jews, Howard Cooper’s response, which was to psychologize David Hirsh, was rather daring:
David Hirsh doesn’t agree with bringing psychological insights to bear on”political questions”. So he ends up aligning Professor Jacqueline Rose’s nuanced, psychoanalytically informed critiques of Israeli intransigence, and Antony Lerman’s remarks on the phenomenon of Jewish belligerency and sense of victimhood, with David Irving’s “antisemitic” stereotyping. Perhaps Hirsh’s ugly distortion of their positions demands its own analysis.
He suggests that “we expect our therapist to be on our side”, but the problem for any therapist is: what if the patient is in denial? If the patient cannot see his or her own aggressiveness, he or see will often experience the therapist’s comments as persecutory.
Further, the patient may twist the therapist’s words into a perverse parody of what has been said: thus Hirsh’s egregious allegation that Rose and Lerman “imply that Jews indoctrinate their children to be indifferent to non-Jewish suffering”.
These distortions occur when patients fear looking honestly at their own
failures and come up with thoughts like “It is not ‘the Jews’ but the occupation which is oppressive” – a remark indicating a typical wish to shift responsibility away from the personal to the impersonal “context”.
Of course Hirsh is right that the issues of post-Holocaust Jewish attitudes involve political questions. But to divorce politics from an examination of the deep subjectivities that inform any political position is both naive andintellectually flawed.
(Rabbi) Howard Cooper
For more on Jacqueline Rose’s work, people should re-read the exchange in Democratiya between Rose and Shalom Lappin. Lappin reviewed The Question of Zion. Rose responded. Lappin answered.
And, of course, if it isn’t those such as Lerman replying for themselves, there are plenty of others to play the attack dog – by impugning the motives, abilities and qualifications of those offering a critique of Lerman. Such a “defender of the faith” also quite often waits for several exchanges before revealing their reason for imugning the motives, etc, of those offering such critiques. It would be far to easy to offer an explanation as to why there is such a delay.
Might have something to do with the tendency to “psychologize” Israel or to the desire to blame the victims for antisemitism, I suppose.
The relation between therapist and patient is usually voluntary (else it is the relation of state prosecutor/rehabilitator to patient-prisoner). In which case the therapist needs be an authority on the patient’s history, for there to be mutual trust and respect.
What authority had or has Rose on the history on any kinds of Jews?
I’ve been reading Rose’s book, and the relation between Sabbateanism and Zionism, her alleged type and antitype, she gets almost exactly wrong: they DON’T historically share a belief in the messiah, at least as precursor to their movements; they DO share a belief or hope in the restoration of the people of Israel to the land of the Israel.
The latter aspect of Shabtai Tzvi’s mission appears explicitly not once in Rose’s book, merely once, on p. 4, as a (very) indirect allusion which someone ignorant of the pertinent history would miss.
And this book was not written for a specialist anymore than it was written by one.