Why call Israel an Apartheid State? – Guest Post by Sharmini Brookes

Sharmini Brookes

 ‘Is Israel the New Apartheid?’ was the topic of debate at the 21st Wednesday Seminar of the Departments of Sociology, Anthropology and Development at the University Of Johannesburg (UJ).  In March of this year the UJ senate of 72 members voted 60-40% to allow their formal institutional arrangement with Israel’s Ben Gurion University to lapse after a debate that referred to Israel as an Apartheid State and justified boycotts on the same grounds as those imposed by anti-Apartheid activists on South Africa.  The vice-chancellor, Professor Ihron Rensburg denies this is a boycott (as individual academics are allowed to continue relationships) but it is a very public censure of an institution and will inhibit full and free dialogue amongst individual academics as those who wish to do so will court the opprobrium of their peers for voluntarily maintaining links with what is now viewed as a pariah state.

‘It is wrong to refer to Israel as an Apartheid State’ said the speaker against the motion, Benjamin Pogrund, author, journalist and campaigner with the Israeli Centre for Dialogue.  He accepted that there were problems of discrimination in housing, education, land ownership and citizenship but that these were the consequence of the 1948 war for the survival of the Jewish State and not of any consciously articulated government policy of racial discrimination and separate development as instituted by Hendrik Verwoerd and his predecessors in South Africa.  Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the creation of the State of Israel, then supported by the UN, did violate the right of self-determination for Palestine and has been the source of continuing conflict ever since.

The speaker for the motion, Naeem Jeenah, Executive Director of the Afro-Middle East Centre and formerly lecturer at Wits University, insisted that it was legitimate to call Israel an Apartheid State based on article 2 of the UN Convention on Apartheid.  However, as Benjamin Pogrund noted, this is an expanded description of situations some of which resemble those experienced under Apartheid and which could equally apply to a number of existing countries where human rights are regularly breached.  What it fails to recognize is the conscious and deliberate policy that made South Africa unique.

In addition, the assumption that the Apartheid regime was brought down by the success of the international boycott campaign is false.  Governments and companies continued their relations with South Africa while paying lip service to anti-apartheid rhetoric and the Sullivan principles until the mass uprisings in the 1980’s by the indigenous black population made continued investment unprofitable.  The final death blow to Apartheid was delivered with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of a communist threat to capitalism.  It was the convergence of black unrest with the death of communism that brought De Klerk to the negotiating table and not the self-regarding boycott campaign.

The attempt of so-called liberals and pro-Palestinian groups to label Israel as Apartheid is a lazy attempt to win support by piggy-backing on this popular international revulsion against Apartheid in the 80’s rather than to consider the more complicated reality of the situation in the Middle East.

It is a tragic and revealing irony that Zionism, presented as the salvation of persecuted Jews throughout the world, but in reality a desperate resort resulting from the failure to progressively transform the societies in which the Jews resided, has not led to security for Jewish Israelis nor has it challenged anti-Semitism.  Nevertheless, whatever the rights and wrongs of the original creation of the Zionist state, Israel and Israelis exist and cannot be wiped off the earth.  That Arabs and Israelis do live and work together in Israel is a fact and it is not inconceivable that a negotiated settlement can be achieved where both can live in peace if only external forces kept their noses out and allowed the locals to work towards their own solution.   Unfortunately, the use of the loaded term ‘Apartheid’ with the Israeli state is not only wrong but tragically serves to isolate progressive Israelis from all contact with enlightened individuals in the rest of the world and hinders any chance of reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis.

Sharmini Brookes  15/09/11      

Battle of Ideas Committee member and convenor

70 Responses to “Why call Israel an Apartheid State? – Guest Post by Sharmini Brookes”

  1. Dvar Dea Says:

    Apartheid, colonialism, racism, and Nazism, are all evils to be abolish. That is how present day global society sees them. Those that compare Israel to anyone of these evils whish to abolish the state of Israel; to deny Jews their right for sovereignty and self-determination; a right every nation has. Why then isn’t this anti Semitism?

  2. Noga Says:

    “Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the creation of the State of Israel, then supported by the UN, did violate the right of self-determination for Palestine and has been the source of continuing conflict ever since.”

    The UN resolution prescribed the partition of the territory of Mandate Palestine into two states: One Jewish and one Arab. The Jewish community accepted this resolution and declared its self-determination as a Jewish state. How could that step be interpreted as a violation of the self determination of the Arab residents of mandate Palestine, I cannot understand. In fact the reverse was attempted. The Yishuv was threatened by annihilation by the Arab part of the population, which rejected the very idea of Jewish self-determination, and continues to do so to this very day.

  3. jacobarnon Says:

    “It is a tragic and revealing irony that Zionism, presented as the salvation of persecuted Jews throughout the world, but in reality a desperate resort resulting from the failure to progressively transform the societies in which the Jews resided, has not led to security for Jewish Israelis nor has it challenged anti-Semitism.”

    I can’t agree with this. The creation of the State of Israel did reduce antisemitism. All the studies I have seen showed that after WW2 antisemitism was still a presence in the Western world. In Canada for example in 1946 after revelations of the gas chambers when asked Canadians believed that Jews were an undesirable immigrant group while Germans were more desirable as immigrants:

    “Since World War II, there has been a large decline of antisemitism, with new ideas and leaders and the creation of Israel.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_Canada#1930s-1940s

    It was the creation of an independent Jewish State that began the reversal of antisemitic attitudes in the West.

    This changed with the immigration into Western countries of large Muslim populations that brought their antisemitism with them and then it again began to spread throughout society though this time the blame was not put on “Jewish bankers or communist Jews,” but on the State of Israel.

    The attempt to brand Israel as an “apartheid State” is part of the process of reintroducing antisemitism into the post Holocaust world.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      “This changed with the immigration into Western countries of large Muslim populations that brought their antisemitism with them” etc.

      Yeah right. How do you explain, then, the fact that pretty much all of the anti-Semitic incidents that so many of the Jews (and non-Jews who’ve been mistaken for Jews, including myself) have been subjected to have come from people who are fashionable, white, middle-class people, often University students, otherwise generally members of the Guardian/Independent-reading self-proclaimed “intelligentsia”.

      From what I’ve hear personally, anti-Semitism coming from Muslims tends to either come from extremists or to be an overblown, emotional reaction to events in the Middle East, which subsides once whatever’s going on over there has blown over. The real hard-core “Hitler should have finished the job” stuff comes almost exclusively from the aforementioned white middle-class self-declared “intellectual elite”.

      • Ben Tzur Says:

        For a good answer to precisely your question, Thomas Venner, see Bernard Harrison, The Resurgence of Antisemitism: Jews, Israel, and Liberal Opinion (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). Harrison writes specifically in this book of the pathologies of the British “intelligentsia” you mention, with chapters devoted for example to The Guardian, etc. He subjects the common anti-Zionist arguments presented by the British left liberal “intelligentsia” to close logical analysis, and finds that they refute themselves and deconstruct very quickly. It is also closely related to the collapse and historical refutation of “historical materialism,” i.e., of leftist ideology generally, since 1990. He is a British linguistic philosopher, not Jewish, who considers this subject a crucial symptomatic issue revealing the current state and self-understanding both of British and of Western culture more generally, constituting nothing less than a civilizational breakdown. Similarly focussing on the left liberal mainstream in Britain, another book, by a specialist in international relations, also non-Jewish, goes more deeply into the social and political ramifications of leftist British and European anti-Zionism, that of Robin Shepherd, A State Beyond the Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2010). As these studies demonstrate in detail, the problems go very deep, have philosophical and political ramifications of the most basic sort, and reveal fundamental left-liberal attitudes in Western society which bode very ill for the future health of these societies. Israel, as the canary in the coal-mine, is the paradigm liberal democracy front-line state; its vilification is the vilification of the West as such as it faces warring totalitarian ideologies and alien non-liberal, non-democratic cultures and societies.

        Also of direct relevance, in my opinion, are the studies related to the UN by Daniel Patrick Moynihan (US Ambassador to the UN in 1975-76), A Dangerous Place (1978) and by Jeane J. Kirkpatrick (same position, 1981-85), “How the PLO was legitimized,” Commentary, July 1989, pp. 21-28, describing the campaigns in the UN by the Soviet Union and its satellites, together with the Muslim block and the Non-Aligned Movement, to delegitimize Western allies in the non-Western world as “colonialist puppets” and legitimize “popular resistance movements” against them, however terroristic: self-defense by “colonial puppets” was criminalized in many UN fora and resolutions. We still are living with the consequences. Israel was the chief symbolic victim, but the impact extended to the entire confrontation between the liberal democracies and the totalitarian and authoritarian states during the Cold War. So again we are dealing with something structural and deep-rooted.

        As for the allegedly merely episodic and transient nature of Muslim antisemitism throughout the Middle East and beyond that you posit, Thomas, I am afraid that those were very ill-informed comments indeed. I refer you to the annual Pew Global Surveys of Muslim opinion. They show that over 90% of Muslims in most Arab countries (and often beyond) demonstrate abiding strongly antisemitic ideas and attitudes, reflecting the year-in, year-out constant drum-beat of Islamic preaching, government scapegoating, media defamation and academic falsifications that are everywhere in these societies. Those high percentages have been pretty steady down through the years, as the various Pew Global Surveys show. For the most recent assessments, put in a search for “Pew Global Attitudes Project Muslim-Western Tensions Persist” Beyond that, have a look at Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1986), and for briefer essays, those in Robert S. Wistrich, ed., Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism in the Contemporary World (New York UP, 1990), or, simpler yet, just have a look at the MERIA website. Authoritarian societies famously express themselves in antisemitism. There is nothing episodic about it except the constantly changed topical excuses for it.

        • Thomas Venner Says:

          Ben Tzur – I was talking about Muslims in the UK, but I realise I wasn’t quite clear enough on that. I’m fully away of the deeply-ingrained anti-Semitism in many parts of the Middle East and the authoritarian regimes that push it. Otherwise, thanks for pointing me in the direction of the books and studies you referred to (I’ve already read “A State Beyond the Pale”).

          I often get quite touchy about the subject of Muslim anti-Semitism in the UK, because it’s used as such a common excuse to avoid confronting the reality of deeply-ingrained anti-Semitism in parts of our own culture (specifically the white middle class “intelligentsia”). It would be very difficult to “import” anti-Semitism into a culture in which the very first image of “the Jew” most of its members are exposed to is that of Fagin. Islamic extremists who have moved to the UK have not so much “brought anti-Semitism in” to our culture, rather having carried their beliefs with them and found a willing community of kindred spirits already as enthusiastic as they are.

      • modernity Says:

        Ben Tzur,

        I think Thomas Venner’s point is valid. It is far too easy and intellectually lazy to blame Muslim for the resurgence of antisemitism in the West, as jacobarnon does:

        “This changed with the immigration into Western countries of large Muslim populations that brought their antisemitism with them and then it again began to spread throughout society though this time …”

        The sleight of hand which you employed foisting an argument onto Thomas Venner won’t work. He does not argue:

        “As for the allegedly merely episodic and transient nature of Muslim antisemitism throughout the Middle East and beyond that you posit, Thomas, I am afraid that those were very ill-informed comments indeed.”

        Rather he’s (as far as I can see) arguing about views *in* the West, so throwing a Pew survey about the *Middle East* at him won’t do.

        As you have pointed out, so much antagonism in the West towards Israel and Jews comes from non-Muslims, such as the leadership of the Guardian and the British intelligentsia, etc etc

        Therefore, to try and indict Muslims in the West (as your last paragraph implies) merely because of opinions in the Middle East is intellectually specious.

        If you wanted to grasp these issues with any validity you would ask, when in the West did attitudes change? And what were the driving forces?

        I would suspect we would find the late 1960s as critical (Soviet anti-Zionism and how it percolated through European CPs, and the wider Left), the rise of faux anti-imperialism from the 1990s and the decline of political participation, etc

        If, however, you would like to argue as jacobarnon does:

        “Muslim populations that brought their antisemitism with them and then it again began to spread throughout society though this time…”

        Then you will have to put better arguments and use some facts which relate to specifics, trying to blame Muslims for the rise of antisemitism in the West is both factually inaccurate, in my view, and intellectually repugnant, and I am sure on reflection you will see why.

        • Ben Tzur Says:

          In Britain, according to the Community Security Trust, a charity established to ensure the safety and security of the Jewish community, Muslims are a significant percentage of the perpetrators of antisemitic incidents down through the years. The CST publishes an annual Antisemitic Incidents Report giving statistics and breakdown of figures. In the most recent one, for the first six months of 2011, “Islamist” motivation was evident in 20 of the 118 incidents reported, with another 32 showing “anti-Zionist” motivation (which could also have been in part from Muslims along with others coming out of far-right or far-left agendas).

          In Holland, the Muslim source of a major portion of all reported antisemitic incidents is so obvious that religious Jews (whose appearance announces their Jewishness) fear to walk in Muslim areas of cities. In fact, it is so generally recognized, and so inadequately dealt with by police, that a leading Dutch politician sympathetic to the Jewish community has warned that Jews would be best advised to leave Holland. One in five history teachers say that they cannot teach the Holocaust in their classes because the Muslim students they chiefly teach create trouble when they do. (Similar reports have been made from British, French, and Scandinavian schools serving Muslim students.)

          Many Jews have similarly been forced to move from Malmo, in Sweden, because of the hostility of the significant Muslim population there. In France, the Muslim perpetrators of aggressive incidents, including attacks on synagogues (e.g., in Lyons) and kidnap and torture of Jews (as in the case of Ilan Halimi) are generally acknowledged.

          The EU-sponsored European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Zenophobia prepared a report on the incidence of antisemitic attacks and harassment in EU countries in 2003 that for the first time specified the categories of perpetrators of these attacks. It found that Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind much of the antisemitic violence of the previous year in Europe. The EU tried to suppress the report because it feared offending Muslims, but extracts from its conclusions were circulated. In general, government and many other surveys of antisemitic incidents refuse to present data on perpetrators, because of the same sensitivities.

          For a good overview commentary, see Gregg J. Rickman, “Fomenting Anti-Semitism in Europe,” available online at the http://www.americanthinker.com website.

          None of this is to ignore that there are other groups contributing to antisemitic violence and harassment, ranging from the far-left to the far-right, in European countries, nor that no one is claiming that all Muslims are perpetrators or are even antisemitic. According to the Pew Global Survey data, Muslims in France, at least, are much less antisemitic than in Muslim countries. But the militancy of even a significant minority is sufficient to distinguish this community from the rest of the population and worsens things considerably for the Jewish community.

  4. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    As a matter of fact, a Christian, Jew or any Non-Muslim is not allowed to marry a Muslima : “Islam considers the husband head-of-the-family and therefore requires that a Muslima cannot marry a non-Muslim because she will be under the authority of a non-Muslim husband. He may prevent her from carrying out her religious obligations by either pressuring her or physically abusing her.”
    This is a typical Apartheid rule enforced by Islamic society. In Egypt where about 10% of the population is Christian Muslim women and Christian men were murdered because of this rule.
    Thousands of Jewish women live in Israel with Muslim men, but not one Muslima with a Jewish man. The reason is, any Muslima who would do so, would endanger her life.
    Therefore the accusation against Israel to be an apartheid state as Pogrund has proven is drivel.

  5. Bill Says:

    We just had this discussion with a apartheid-for-everyone-else “apologist” here a few weeks ago. When we asked specifically about other countries, he bent over backwards to dismiss (not really explain of course) how our other candidates for apartheid states, especially those who were explicitly hostile to Israel, weren’t really apartheid. To my knowledge there is only a couple states out there, e.g., Sri Lanka, and China, that have niche groups of human rights advocates using the A-word against them and they are pretty much blown off. Otherwise, it is exclusively used against Israel, as I said before for our visiting apartheid denier, the only black guy in town who drives a Lexus over 35 mph to which the carefully and fairly drafted statue applies (while every redneck can drive at speeds that would make Chuck Yaeger reach for the parking break for the passenger side).

  6. Absolute Observer Says:

    Most, if not all of ‘jacobarnon’s” comment is utter rot.
    There are many, many reasons why antisemitism in some Western Europe countries declined and many, many reasons why it is incresing in prevalence today. Unfortunately, the reasons for both phenomena are sociologically and politically complex and so cannot be explained through a link to wikipedia, evidently the limit of his research capabilities.

    However, “jacobarnon’s” poverty of thought is most clearly expressed in his utilisation of racist ways of thinking as a critique of racist ways of thinking,
    “This changed with the immigration into Western countries of large Muslim populations that brought their antisemitism with them and then it again began to spread throughout society though this time the blame was not put on “Jewish bankers or communist Jews,” but on the State of Israel.”
    Just like the antisemites, this commentator claims that an indigenous evil – in this case, antisemitism – is nothing more than the product of alien and unwelcome outsiders.
    As I have noted before, a recourse of racism to counter racism is not only logically incoherent, it is also a political disgrace.
    Indeed, considering Engage has a strict moderating policy, I am surprised that rubbish has found its way onto its pages.

    • Ben Tzur Says:

      Actually, Jacob Arnon’s comments are quite accurate. Muslim immigration has increased antisemitism in Western societies. But this would not have been such an easy thing to do if the left liberal mainstream were not already so hospitable to it. On that easily confirmed matter (just read The Guardian, Le Monde, Aftensbladet, etc. — whatever are the chief left liberal media outlets in each European country), see the studies by Bernard Harrison and Robin Shepherd referred to by me in another post on this page. The increase in antisemitic incidents over the past two decades (ever since the fall of the Soviet Union: the connection is made by Harrison and Shepherd too), and the disproportionate number of Muslim perpetrators, has been documented both by government surveys and annual reports from the leading Jewish organizations in most Western European countries.

      • Ben Tzur Says:

        By the way, Muslims are not a race. They include many races, indeed, all the major races of humanity. The problem is not a racial one. It is a cultural and religious one. As a generalization with all necessary exceptions and caveats, secular left types find real differences in general very difficult to deal with (all differences are equal and are the same as none, according to cultural relativism), and specifically cannot handle religious difference as such. That is why they dispose of all criticisms of Islam as being “racist.” This is a red herring and a cop-out, a way of avoiding discussion.

        • Absolute Observer Says:

          “By the way, Muslims are not a race. They include many races, indeed, all the major races of humanity.”

          Whilst racism is an all too present phenomenon; “race” (in the sense that the concept captures something that actually exists in the real world or in actual people) is nonsense and is premised on the fevered imagination of a pseudo-science that came into being to justify, rationalise and “prove” a pre-existent discriminatory, heirarchical and politically and exploitative view of the world. (See, for example, the work of Paul Gilroy; see also the chapters on “race” in Arendt’s discussion of imperialism; see also Herman’s account of the “JFS” case in her recent book, “English Law, Jews and Jewishness for how Jews have been and continue to be “racialised”).

          But, I guess, the real questions are why and how at the beginning of the 21st century, first, the idea of “race” is creeping back into mainstream political discourse and, second, it becomes an argument that is used negatively to defend those who attack vulnerable minority groups in society, i.e. Jews and Muslims. (As in “all I said was that the Qu’ran was a vile book of hatred; all I said was that Jews control the press and since, Muslims are not a race, and Jews are not a race, so how can you accuse me of being “racist”).

          Fortunately, one thing anti-racism has taught us is not to take at face-value the racists’s definition of the terms of “debate”.

      • modernity Says:

        Ben Tzur,

        “Muslim immigration has increased antisemitism in Western societies.”

        You are playing fast and loose with language here when you said was: “Actually, Jacob Arnon’s comments are quite accurate.

        He wrote:

        “This changed with the immigration into Western countries of large Muslim populations that brought their antisemitism with them and then it again began to spread throughout society though this time …”

        He’s arguing that Muslims instigate the spread of modern antisemitim, which is wrong.

        Neither of you have present any cogent evidence to back up your sweeping and ill informed generalisations (and please provide *evidence*, not general references to some books that you might or might not have read).

        Please, talk to specifics.

        • Ben Tzur Says:

          Modernity, there is no “playing fast and loose with language” unless, of course, we point to your own post. There is no contradiction in logic or fact, or “language,” between saying that large Muslim populations brought their antisemitism with them and that this immigration has increased antisemitism in the wider Western society. Neither does this statement from Arnon suggest that Muslim immigration “instigated” (your word) or created the spread of modern antisemitism. Antisemitism of the most demonizing sort goes back to the beginning of Christianity and became deeply rooted in Western culture. Secular ideologies in the West merely changed its formulation and in some ways notably worsened it even further, producing the Holocaust and the systematic cultural annihilation of Judaism and Jewish traditions and culture in the Soviet Union, where it was already called “anti-Zionism” as a way of justifying its antisemitism. In the post-WWII period this antisemitism was utterly discredited. However marginal it became in Western society, it still awaited its excuse to arise again, which the Soviet Union and the Arab world propagandizing on the world scene gave it. We may be sure that as more time passed from WWII, Western antisemitism would have found some excuse to appear again in any case, especially in light of continued Jewish outstanding success in all fields, regardless of whether Israel existed or not. Fortunately now there is a Jewish state that can be a refuge and protector of persecuted Jews, something that had not existed at the time of WWII.

          Of course now we see a seemingly most incongruous alliance between the left and the jihadis against Israel, one that outwardly violates all the supposed basic principles sharply distinguishing both groups from each other but actually shows what unites even the “moderates” among them: one joint longing for simplistic and at least quasi-totalitarian leveling solutions, and one joint hatred, expressed most freely in hatred of the sole Western liberal democracy and Jewish state in the Middle East, Israel. With the loss of credibility of socialist ideology per se, following the collapse of Communist systems around the world, all that is left to the left is its foundational irrational messianic longing to fuse everyone together, abolishing difference as such, starting with abolishing the Jewish difference, antisemitism, “the socialism of fools” and demagogues. The common leftist tendency to label all who point to difference as “racists” even when the differences being exposed are far from being racial, shows leftist bad conscience, especially seeing that its chief symbolic expression is precisely mob-minded racism against the Jews and their autonomous existence (again), just as in the Durban conferences.

      • Absolute Observer Says:

        So all are guilty – all “the” Muslims, all “the” secular left, all “the” liberals, The Guardian, the BBC – for contemporary antisemitism.

        I know let’s just cannonise Christian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and right-wing people in general. After all, they have no bad track record when it comes to the Jews and the sudden conversion of some from years of antisemitism to a new found philo-semitism should give all Jews a sense of enduring security.

        • Jacob.Arnon Says:

          Is there no end to the Absolutist Observer’s non sense?

          Doesn’t this self righteous poster know the difference between a societies beliefs and customs which are plural and those of individuals?

          If someone says that Swiss enjoy skiing, does that mean that each and every Swiss person enjoys skiing, or that in that culture skiing is highly valued. The same with social beliefs. For example if someone says that Russians in the 19c were antisemitic or that Russian culture under the Czar was antisemitic does that mean that each and every Russian was antisemitic?

          AO seems to believe that common social observations don’t apply to Muslims. He thinks that only Christian culture can be antisemitic. The to say the same of Muslims is some kind of slur. Never mind the anti-Jewish sentiments expressed in Muslim countries.

          Here is a sample:

          “Protocols of the Elders of Crazy”
          On anti-Semitism in the Arab world

          By ERIC T. JUSTIN, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

          Monday, October 03, 2011

          “When someone is acting heartlessly, we say, ‘Your blood is blue.’ And then we normally add, ‘Like the Jews.’” The other students chuckled and some glanced in my direction, waiting for my response or perhaps my permission. I laughed. After all, this language lesson’s bigotry was very tame compared to other conversations I had had in Jordan. One of my parents is Jewish, and my Jewish identity has always been light, but for those Americans and Arabs I discussed my heritage with, I might as well have been wearing payots, tzitzis, and a star of David skullcap.

          After all, I was a demon, of sorts. Belief of my damning existence was everywhere, Belief of my damning existence was everywhere, but I was definitely not supposed to actually be there. In Jordan, every day and nearly every facet of society was a reminder that I was dirty—the very embodiment of an “Other.” A whole genre of anti-Semitic “history” and literature mocked me in every bookshop, a whole field of anti-Semitic media from historical documentaries to music videos followed me on every television, and an interpretation of Islam that demonizes Judaism frequently bewildered me in conversations.

          I heard and overheard countless anti-Semitic remarks in the summers I have spent in Egypt and Jordan. In my experience, arguments about politics almost inevitably turned to “those Jews,” and conspiracy theories wafted comfortably through a room like cigarette smoke. It was suffocating.

          I anticipated encountering anti-Semitism, but I expected it to be avoidable. I could not anticipate, nor could I have truly imagined, its systemic nature.”

          Read it all:

          http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/10/3/arab-world-antisemitism-jews/

          AO, stop making a fool of yourself.

        • Ben Tzur Says:

          Is it indeed true, Ab-Obs, that all the Muslims, all the secular left, all the liberals, etc., are guilty? If you say so; I would not have thought to write that. It seems a bit too much of a sweeping generalization to me. I would have thought instead that we can take for granted that there is diversity in every group, and even in every individual human being, whose opinions yesterday might not be his or her opinion today. Nevertheless, individuals do demonstrate predictable characteristics and consistencies, don’t you think? As do groups. Naturally, there is diversity in all groups, but there remain characteristic differences between groups, and if we forbid all generalizations, then thought itself is impossible and certainly any social, political, cultural or other commentary. Even “thought” is a generalization, as is “humanity,” “sky,” “gravity,” and so on. You perhaps wish to ban thought?

  7. Absolute Observer Says:

    Why is it that whenever the “apartheid” myth is raised, people say, “aha, but look at the Muslims”!
    Apart from the easy response of “two wrongs don’t make a right” (assuming for a moment that the apartheid libel is true) and apart from the fact that the apartheid argument can be shown empirically to be false, it also serves to reduce the Israel/Palestine conflict into the concepts of “Jews” and “Muslims”, a view that is only propagated by the most reactionary (and “religious”) elements of both sides………..the Torah say this about Israel, the Koran says this about Jews………….
    Secondly, such blinkered ways of thinking serve the myth that Jews and Muslims are “nothing more than “Jews” and “Muslims”. The result is that in presenting both as in endless conflict one with the other, their status of British, French, German, etc. citizens as well as an integral part of British, etc. society is overlooked or even denied in the name of both group’s essential “Otherness”. The result of this reduction is to play into the hands of British, etc. racists and nationalists who would like nothing more to redefine what it means to be be British, etc. other than in “white”, Christian (or, as in the case in Holland, secular) terms.

    • Bill Says:

      To some degree I agree but it’s more than just a petty tu quoque response, if a “standard,” e.g., the apartheid convention, is written in a manner that claims to be applicable to all but great and heroic effort is made to only apply its judgement/enforcement to a specific group while scofflaws abound, then BS must be called. The apartheid meme is clearly a tool of antisemitism, not battling modern flavors of apartheid, otherwise other modern “apartheid” states would be shaking in their boots. They don’t because they know the standard is made with one and only one country in mind, and it ain’t South Africa, and those who try to apply it elsewhere find themselves punching sand. It’s no different than applying “literacy standards” (sometimes in a foreign language) to blacks in the Jim Crow south while any piece of white trash in a sheet can just make an x and vote as often as he pleases.

      • Ben Tzur Says:

        Interestingly, an attempt in the Wikipedia universe to create separate articles detailing apartheid behaviours and institutions in Arab states, such as Syria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, the smaller Gulf states, etc., was adamantly blocked by the numerous leftist and Arabist/Muslim Wikipedia “editors,” despite plenty of explicitly apartheid-like analogies far more blatant than anything in Israel and also despite numerous articles from Palestinians themselves for example complaining about the apartheid practiced in Lebanon or Jordan or even in the PA itself against “Palestinian refugees,” or from other Arab critics about that practiced in the Gulf states against “guest workers,” etc. So those proposed articles have been wiped out and do not exist, but the article on alleged apartheid in Israel is huge, and defenses of Israel have been sharply cut down even there by editors that hover over these articles.

      • Ben Tzur Says:

        Natan Sharansky’s definition of “antisemitism” may help to clarify Absolute Observer’s thinking. Antisemitism differs from legitimate criticism of this or that Jewish matter, whether regarding Zionism and Israel or any other, in that antisemitic criticism depends on the “three Ds” of Double standards, Demonization, and Delegitimization. Crucial to this logical progression is the first D of Double standards, without which the second and third Ds could not exist. If a standard of judgment is applied to the Jewish topic that is not allowed to operate in, or is not applied to noticeably relevant others including antisemitic enemies of Jews, then we may properly accuse the critic of double standards and at least possible tacit antisemitism. This suspicion becomes a certainty when the other two Ds emerge in that critic’s discourse.

        In fact, I would add a fourth diagnostic trait to the definition, which marks out the rabid antisemite, and that is Obsessiveness. The rabid antisemite cannot let go of this topic. It is close to the heart of his/her thinking and actions; for example, as we all know this sort of person haunts online websites on Jewish-related topics, including Jewish or Israeli newspapers, and constantly posts malicious and abusive items, on topic or off, intended to defame and hurt Jewish readers.

        The “apartheid” accusation demonstrates all the characteristic traits of antisemitism. The double standards are shown, 1, in the targeted redefinition of “negative” terms so as to include Israel in them, but no others, even though this redefinition must empty the negative terms of their primary and specific meaning and generalize them to the point of mere invective (e.g., “apartheid” is merely considered to be shown in any alleged “racism” as such in any social form or institutions, or the word is stretched — as in “gender apartheid” and “religious apartheid” — to apply beyond race to all manner of discrimination or differential treatment whether justified or not); 2, in the adamant refusal to consider contextual matters when it comes to Israel’s alleged crimes, and Israel’s alone; and 3, in the refusal to apply the term even to Israel’s relevant enemies and neighbours, so as to single her out alone for condemnation.

        Each can be examined further. As for item 1, the matter of definition of “apartheid” so as to include Israel in it, it is evident that right at the start the demonization and delegitimization motivation is tacitly present even at this first step of explicit double standards, for the very choice of the extreme term “apartheid” is intended precisely to delegitimize Israel’s liberal democracy and even to deny it a priori. To attain this, however, as mentioned, the term must first be evacuated of its actual South African meaning, forms and characteristics, and turned into a mere vague portmanteau term of abuse, able to cover every sort of social and other practice of difference, such as are found in all societies but are applied in the “apartheid” sense solely to Israel.

        Item 2, the double standards are shown in the refusal to apply relevant context to the Israeli situation: the accusers consistently refuse to take into account or even to mention the security and social context of Israel’s being at war since its founding with states and localities (including the West Bank and Gaza territories) with whom its own Arab minority is very closely tied by kinship and outlook, and with whom some Israeli Arab political and religious leaders frankly declare their solidarity against Israel.

        And then there is item 3, the matter of non-universality and discriminatory use of the racist term: the accusers turn a blind eye to far worse discrimination against Palestinian refugees and other groups by the Palestinian Authority itself and by Israel’s other neighbours. In this connection, one must also highlight the refusal of the accusers to deal honestly and emphatically with the antisemitism of those neighbouring groups, which has literally driven almost all Jews out of their boundaries and which is displayed on a daily basis in their media, their political announcements and policies, their religious leaders’s declarations, and their educational institutions. This institutionalized and violent antisemitism is close to the root of the Arab-Israel conflict, so it is all the more discriminatory and blameworthy for Israel’s critics to ignore or play down this matter.

  8. zkharya Says:

    “Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the creation of the State of Israel, then supported by the UN, did violate the right of self-determination for Palestine and has been the source of continuing conflict ever since.”

    That is an incredibly simplistic thing to say. Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian leaders, from even before 1947, had thought it more important to deny Jews a state than acquire one for their own people. And they, their follows and/or allies sought forcibly, from the late 1920s, in fact, to put that philosophy into practice.

    Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians had Resisted Jews existing in the land in above the tiny numbers imperial (Palestinian) Christian and Islamic apartheid decreed, since at least the late 19th century, to wit the total ban on Jewish immigration imposed by the Ottoman authorities in answer to local Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian lobbying.

    The cry of the Arab rebels of 1936-1939 was ‘The English to the sea, the Jews to the grave’.

    The only way Jews could exist in the land in above tiny numbers was to enforce their presence.

  9. zkharya Says:

    ‘Nevertheless, whatever the rights and wrongs of the original creation of the Zionist state, Israel and Israelis exist and cannot be wiped off the earth.’

    Er, given the ‘right’ circumstances, yes it jolly well can.

  10. zkharya Says:

    If Israel is an apartheid state, it replaced a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian society that was apartheid against Jews, and had been for centuries, if not the better part of two millennia. It still remains a society apartheid against Jews, as do most of the neighbouring Arab, Islamic states and societies.

  11. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    We had here in Austria a scientific research into attitudes of young Austrians and the antisemitism level of those of turkish and arab background is much higher than those of the other young people. Are those scientists who found out these facts racists?
    And of course if a Muslima is not allowed to mary a non-Muslim that is a typical indicator of apartheid.
    Am I wrong?

    • Yehuda Erdman Says:

      It is more to do with cultural and educational mores. Apartheid is a much higher level of discrimination by one group against others

  12. Jonathan Says:

    “Nevertheless, whatever the rights and wrongs of the original creation of the Zionist state, Israel and Israelis exist and cannot be wiped off the earth. That Arabs and Israelis do live and work together in Israel is a fact and it is not inconceivable that a negotiated settlement can be achieved where both can live in peace if only external forces kept their noses out and allowed the locals to work towards their own solution. ”

    This article is full of discredited propaganda. Nobody is denying Israel’s right to exist– that phrase comes from Israel. No one is denying that Israel exists, whether or not its actions can be seem as those of a nation with any degree of humanity or not (witness Operation Cast Lead).

    Arabs are treated as inferiors in law by the Israelis in law– that is the hammark if a racist sate. They do not live together in a democratic state. In a democracy, all are equal (in theory at least).

    I wholeheartedly agree with one point. “External forces” should keep their noses out– especially America– on BOTH sides. No more aid for either side. No more arms for either side– including Israel. Let Israel make peace with its neighbors.

    • zkharya Says:

      ‘Arabs are treated as inferiors in law by the Israelis in law– that is the hammark if a racist sate.’

      Then pretty much every Arab, Islamic state or society in existence qualifies as being racist, at the very least with regard to Jews.

    • Ben Tzur Says:

      A really good and detailed refutation of Jonathan’s assertions is available on http://www.weeklyblitz.net, in the article “Is Israel the new Apartheid?” by Benjamin Pogrund, which appeared just a few weeks ago. Of course we really did not need to wait for this article; Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel, or David Matas, Aftershock: Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism, or even Robbie Sabel’s “The Campaign to Delegitimize Israel with the False Charge of Apartheid” online at http://www.globallawforum.org would be sufficient for any fair-minded reader, if they had never visited Israel nor were familiar with its society, which also would be sufficient for any fair-minded person. Yes, despite generally equal treatment in accordance with law and general social mores, there is some discrimination against Arabs in Israel, just as there remains some discrimination against Hispanics and African-Americans and others in the US, against Polish and Irish people in the UK, against English people in France and French people in Germany and German people in Poland. Israeli discrimination is no worse than those other sorts of discrimination, and is often a lot better. It really is a liberal democracy, and genuinely works to extend equal rights to all. (On this, see the evaluations of the State Department annual evaluations of states, and also of Freedom House, both of which acknowledge only one genuine democracy in the Middle East, Israel.)

      However, in none of the other societies named is the ethnic group occasionally discriminated against in such close kinship and sympathies with the state’s inveterate enemies just across the borders, enemies which have almost every decade in the past two generations launched wars of annihilation against it, and which regularly sponsor gruesome terrorist attacks against its civilian population. To evaluate Israel’s equal rights legislation and inclusive practice, and its amazingly generous and tolerant treatment, of Arabs (see Pogrund and Sabel, or any of the other titles cited above) in a true perspective, one must compare it to the treatment given by other Western liberal democracies AT WAR to internal ethnic groups closely tied to the enemy being fought. Israel comes out far better than almost all other such democracies, in this comparison. The refusal to take this context into consideration, by the way, is the tell-tale stigma that marks out the rabid anti-Zionist clique as such. They live by their prejudices, and do not let reality intrude. They ignore all contexts that just by themselves refute their slogans. That is after all how they can pretend to such self-righteous indignation about the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, while remaining utterly silent about the rest of the Arab world’s racist and authoritarian if not utterly cruel and despotic states. Jonathan’s attempt to equate democratic Israel with its despotic neighbours shows precisely this bad faith.

  13. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Jonathan is less than a purveyor of the whole truth in his comment. He starts by asserting that the article is “full of discredited propaganda”, but then proceeds to make comments (often assertions, that is without evidence) which show up this partiality. For instance, he says that “Nobody is denying Israel’s right to exist– that phrase comes from Israel,” when, if he is any sort of student of this part of the world, he will know that Hamas and Hezbollah have Charters which demand that Israel disappear, that it has no right to exist (for Hamas, see http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm, and scroll down to halfway through the site to find Hamas’s Charter in English). Iran has urged Israel’s destruction and and denied its right to exist (see President Ahmadienjad and http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=59). Further, both organizations go beyond that to demand the destruction (that is, death) of _all_ Jews, wherever they are in the world.

    Fatah (the force behind the Palestinian Administration on the West Bank) _still_ has an eliminationist article in _its_ Charter (see, for example, Benny Morris “One State, Two States” or, at least, my review of the book here: https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/on-benny-morris-book-one-state-two-states-resolving-the-israelpalestine-conflict/#comments), and President Abbas has been noted as saying that the end desired by the PA & Fatah is one state between the river and the sea.

    Jonathan goes on to say “No one is denying that Israel exists, whether or not its actions can be seem as those of a nation with any degree of humanity or not (witness Operation Cast Lead)” when he must know (or he chooses to ignore all sorts of inconvenient truths) that there are many who would dispute the latter part of that sentence. He even ignores the inconvenient fact that Judge Richard Goldstone has acknowledged that he was wrong about his Report’s views and conclusions on the IDF’s behaviour in Gaza during Cast Lead, and, also, that he failed to fully hold Hamas to account for _its_ actions during the same operation.

    Then he says that “Arabs are treated as inferiors in law by the Israelis in law– that is the hammark if a racist sate. They do not live together in a democratic state. In a democracy, all are equal (in theory at least)” which, if he were actually the student of the area he tries to convey that he is, he would know was untrue as stated. He would know that Israeli law treats _all_ Israeli citizens equally, even the 20% who are Arab, up to and including the fact that 20% of all Israeli university students are Arabs, and that there are Arab MKs, Arab Judges (up and including the Supreme Court), Arab University Professors, etc, etc. It has to be admitted that de facto, as opposed to de jure, there is, indeed, discrimination in Israeli society against Arabs (but, then this is true of Mizrachi Jews also). However, the same could be said, truthfully, of the UK, where those of certain ethnic origins are treated differently and worse, despite laws which, on paper, demand equal treatment for all. Does this make the UK a non-democracy? Does similar such behaviour in the USA make _it_ a non-democracy?

    His very last sentence completely gives the game away. He writes ” Let Israel make peace with its neighbors” with a straight face, without any reference to its neighbours making peace with Israel: not the PA, not Lebanon, not Syria, not Hamas, not Hezbollah, not the last two’s paymaster and arms merchant, Iran. Jonathan clearly believes that Israel itself is the only obstacle to peace in the region, with no reference to the numerous offers, up to and including what all fair-minded outsiders agree is the best possible two-state solution, having been turned down by the Palestinians. Or, as Abba Eban said so many years ago, “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”.

    Finally, if one follows Jonathan’s link, one comes to an anonymising web site to whit: http://en.gravatar.com/himog. If he is the honest seeker of truth that he claims, why does he hide his identity behind such a site? This is the behaviour of a mischief-maker, hiding his identity while pretending to be open.

    Some openness.

    • Lynne T Says:

      Brian: funny thing about the “one-staters”. They never seem concerned about the large portion of Jordan that was intended as a homeland for Arab refugees from Israel’s territory nor the fact that the largely Palestinian population of the Kingdom of Jordan exist there as second class citizens when it comes to education and employment.

  14. jacobarnon Says:

    Absolute Observer Says:
    “Most, if not all of ‘jacobarnon’s” comment is utter rot.
    There are many, many reasons why antisemitism in some Western Europe countries declined and many, many reasons why it is incresing in prevalence today. Unfortunately, the reasons for both phenomena are sociologically and politically complex and so cannot be explained through a link to wikipedia, evidently the limit of his research capabilities.”
    I won’t respond to “Absolute Observer” in kind with an absolute condemnation of what he wrote.
    Yes, the reasons why antisemitism declined in Western Europe and North America are “complex.” But the founding of a Jewish State is one of the major ones. One can also speculate that the disappearance of large numbers of Jews from Europe is also a factor, though this doesn’t apply to North America.
    The linked article has number of references which also argue the point that the immigration of population from countries with anti-Semitic traditions has played a major factor in spreading antisemitism in countries like Canada.

    The first reference is to a study by Manuel Prutschi

    “In general, Israelis and Jews have been given the label of dispossessors and murderers. Israel and the Diaspora community have been equated with the Third Reich, the Star of David with the swastika. The State of Israel and Zionism have been characterized as racist and illegitimate. Such language is common in anti-Israeli demonstrations and has found its way into declarations, telephone calls, letters, emails, websites, and articles. The Arabic intonation of “Death to the Jews” has been heard on the streets of Canadian cities. Indeed, Arab or Muslim individuals have perpetrated many of the above-mentioned crimes.5”
    “Anti-Semitism in Canada”

    http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-prutschi-f04.htm

    I could have offered many more links to articles about the same phenomenon in Western Europe. I didn’t think, though, that readers wanted a whole dissertation on this issue.

    Yes there is a strain of antisemitism which is native to Europe and can be linked to the spreading of Christianity in Europe. However, The Catholic church has been since the mid 60’s fighting against this prejudice. By contrast the Communist in the Soviet Union had been using this same antisemitism to attack Zionism. (They also helped spread it to the Mid-East) This too is an important factor in the reintroduction of contemporary Jew hatred. Still, however, it came to be, (indigenous Muslim antisemitism or importation from Europe through Nazi and Communist propaganda) there is no gainsaying that the disease of Jew hatred is a strong presence in the Middle East and that this version is being imported into Europe.

    I am sorry that Absolute Observer finds the idea that Muslims have been spreading anti-Semitic ideas in many countries offensive, but it is nevertheless a fact and bringing up “complexities” isn’t going to help us understand that fact or work against it.

    • Karl Pfeifer Says:

      well it is a real problem that it is not politically correct to speak about certain facts. When I mention antisemitism of
      young people of turkish/arab migrant background and quote from a scientific research the usual answer is, your facts are right, but one should not say it.
      I mean if one doesn’t get the facts one should be quiet. But if one is right then one must have the right to say so. By not speaking about problems they do not disappear..

      • jacobarnon Says:

        Thanks Karl, I agree.

        If you are the target of antisemitic hatred and you are not allowed to defend yourself by self appointed guardians of social morality, then these guardians become implicated in that same hatred.

        • Absolute Observer Says:

          Karl,
          Yes there are studies in most of Europe regarding the presence of antisemitism within sections of the Muslim communities.
          Unfortunately, that is not what jacob is saying.
          He is saying that immigration of “large Muslim populations” is the cause for a contemporary antisemitism that would not have existed after 1948 had there not been that migration from former Dutch, UK, French colonies and of Turks to Germany.
          This is really no different from members of the left saying that all contemporary antisemitism is the product of the far-right. It is simply not true.
          It is the undifferentiated way that jacob tars an entire people new to Europe that I object to (a view as we know pushed by groups like the edl in the UK) as I am sure you do.
          As we all know, understanding and confronting antisemitism is a difficult and complex task. Crude racism as that produced by jacob is not only stupid, but makes a real understanding harder to grasp.
          If one wants to talk about racism amongst certain groups, then fine. But, as a rule, it must be done in a way that recognises the nuances of the situation and in a way that does not ignore other important elements of the same phenomenon.
          We expect this from those who attack Israel. It is no more and no less correct when applied to anti-anti-Zionists.
          AO

  15. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    Thank you Brian for your excellent analysis, I like to add, in Israel an Arab judge condemned the former Jewish president Katzav. As a matter of fact, most Arab residents of East Jerusalem want to stay in Israel and would not like to take up Palestinian citizenship.
    Those who like Jonathan make sweeping judgements about Israel should bear in mind, that there is a long history of conflict between the Arab neighbours and Israel, and such armed conflict does not exist in the U.K. and there were and are plenty of ethnic and inter-ethnic conflicts in the U.K.

    • Yehuda Erdman Says:

      Karl
      The Arab residents of East Jerusalem may not wish to give up Israeli citizenship which makes obvious sense. However, it may come to pass in the near future after the creation of a Palestinian State that they may be able to hold both passports, and enjoy a special residency right in East Jerusalem. After all this has happened in other parts of the world where seemingly intransigent problems involving ethnic and or national groups living in close proximity, were able eventually to find a practical solution given outside help.

  16. Absolute Observer Says:

    “Arab or Muslim individuals”…….
    which then shifts in jacobarn’s comments from “individuals” to whole peoples; a classic racist manoeuvre. As Thomas notes above, much antisemitism comes from (and I would add, linked to) specifically European traditions of antisemitism. Since some of this racism is expressed by English, Dutch, German, Austrian, etc. people do we conclude that all Brits, Dutch, Herman, Austrian people are antisemites? I think not.
    Indeed, the shift jacob makes is exactly the same as when some racist right-wing Israeli makes a statement about Arabs and Muslims that the anti-zionists then attrtibute to Israelis and the nature of Israel as a whole.
    Perhaps if jacob actually thought before he commented?

  17. Absolute Observer Says:

    Apologies, what I should have said is “non-Muslim Dutch”, etc. since implicit in jacob’s comments is the idea that if one is a “Muslim” then one cannot be anything else, i.e. a national of a given country as if such nationality is iirrelevant for the question at hand.

  18. Mark2 Says:

    I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that there are two main reasons for the “OTT’ness” of anti Israeli criticism:

    a) because more reasoned crticism would show Israel to be far from perfect but as in the good example above of differing levels of de facto rather than de jure disdcrimination, little different from other Western coutnries (and certainly much better than many others), and
    b) as a kind of mark of alegiance to the Islamists with whom the mainly far left anti Zionists seek to ally.

  19. jacobarnon Says:

    Absolute Observer Says:
    ““Arab or Muslim individuals”…….which then shifts in jacobarn’s comments from “individuals” to whole peoples; a classic racist manoeuvre.”

    Absolute Observer id determined to find “racism” in my comments. That his problem not mine.

    I wonder how he would describe groups of protesters lie the ones documented by the ADL:

    “The demonstrations were organized by a coalition of far left, Muslim and Arab organizations that often unite in protest against Israel, including Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, and the Muslim American Society (MAS). The groups touted the events as a response to Israel’s “Massacre of Palestinians.””

    http://www.adl.org/main_Anti_Israel/anti_israel_demonstrations_hamas.htm?Multi_page_sections=sHeading_4

    Shouts like “Itbah al Yahud!” or “Khaybar ya Yahood!”? are a sign of indigenous European antisemitism?

    By seeing any description of antisemitism among Muslims is a sign of racism, Absolute Observer is signaling that he doesn’t care about Jew hatred. He uses classic antisemitic formulas to dismiss antisemitism altogether.

  20. Absolute Observer Says:

    You wrote above,
    “This changed with the immigration into Western countries of large Muslim populations that brought their antisemitism with them and then it again began to spread throughout society ”

    You then quote,
    “The demonstrations were organized by a coalition of far left, Muslim and Arab organizations that often unite in protest against Israel”
    Note the word “organizations” and compare it to “large Muslim populations”.
    Note the words “far left” (which in the context is distinguished from Muslim and Arab orgainzations”.
    By implying that far-left antisemitism is a product of immigration of “large Muslim populations” you have left so-caled indigenous left wing antisemitism off the hook and instead implies that if it wasn’t for “large Muslim populations” there would be no far-left antisemtism. This would erase from history the presence of left antisemitism going back at least to the end of the 19th century.

    Now, of course, there is antisemitism within certain political elements within Muslim and Arab communities. There is a racist element within Israel and within diaspora Jews.
    What you do jacob is exactly what antisemites and racists do. You take that one element and conflate it with the whole and libel a whole people with it as if those racist and antisemitic elements constitute the authentic truth of the group in toto. As you should know, antisemitism and Islamophobia works by taking a slither of truth about Jews and Muslims and distorting it in such a way that it becomes a libel (that there is an organised series of pro-Israel lobbies in the US becomes distorted into Jews run the US, that Palestinian children have been killed by the IDF becomes Jews/”Zionists” are deliberate child killers; that Islamicists were behind 9/11 becomes the Koran preaches nothing but violence and that all practitioners of Islam are de facto terrorists; that some people who identify with Islam are antisemites becomes all Muslims are antisemitic).

    This first move is reinforced by your further point that antisemitism would have disappeared in West Europe if not for Muslim immigration. In other words, everything would be alright with the world if not for the coming to England of people form the former commonwealth
    You do not need me to tell you the racist, xenophobic narrtative such a view replicated and reinforces.

    Contemporary antisemitism is an important and complex phenomenon. Cheap, easy and populist responses will add nothing to a serious analysis and confrontation of this problem.

    • Karl Pfeifer Says:

      “Now, of course, there is antisemitism within certain political elements within Muslim and Arab communities. There is a racist element within Israel and within diaspora Jews.” Absolute Observer

      Absolute Observer [AO] is clearly playing down Antisemitism within Muslim and Arab communities.
      There is anti-Semitic incitement on TV in most Arab countries and Turkey and no such incitement is permitted on Israel TV or TV of Diaspora Jews. Muslims demonstrated last year in Vienna holding up posters and chanting “Israel child killer”. Jews in Vienna would never hold up posters or chant “Palestinian child killer”.
      During the second Intifada, when Palestinians killed Jewish children nobody in Israel or in the Diaspora hold up such posters.
      I remember being at the place where a Palestinian suicide bomber in Jerusalem killed dozens of people in a bus. A few Kahane boys came as far as the police let them and started to shout “Death to the Arabs”, there were Dozens staying there and not one joined in.
      “The racist element” within Diaspora Jews is a very weak one. Whenever some rabbi or politician is making a racist statement, there is a sharp reply of public opinion in Israel and within the Jewish world.
      But Antisemitism is today rampant and part and parcel of Mainstream in Arab world. Look at the translations of Memri to see that.

  21. jacobarnon Says:

    This is my last reply to Absolute Observer who is just repeating the baseless charge of racism.

    I had asked how you would describe the kinds of antisemitism shown in the linked articles I posted above. In response you just said that there is Jewish anti-Muslim feelings too. Equating Muslim antisemitism with Jewish anti-Muslim hatred won’t get us very far in understanding either phenomenon.

    I ask you gains, what in your opinion is the cause of the kind of Jew-hatred on the part of Muslims that is driving out Jews from Melmo-Sweden?

    Recenlty the Sweedish government allocated funds for the Jewish community to be used for self defense purposes. Fir years the government there refused to acknowledge that attacks on Jews by Muslims was a reality Jews had to live with.

    “Swedish Jews Get Help To Fight Anti-Semitism”

    http://www.forward.com/articles/142810/

    And why are these attacks occurring after the immigration of tens of thousands of Muslims to Sweden?
    Why are Jewish students being abuses by their fellow Muslim students in Europe and Canada?

    I know that you are not ignorant of these facts, “Absolute” Observer. How would you explain them, then?

    Again, you are using the classic “academic” dodges “of complexity” of “Jews are not innocent either,” and of “there are many causes” not to answer. Sartre had already noticed this (in another context) in his book on antisemitism though he ascribed it to the bourgeois.

  22. Absolute Observer Says:

    Actually Raymond Aron said of Sartre’s account of the “anti-semite” that it mirrored the antisemite’s account of the Jew; that Sartre reduced the complexity and mustifacted nature of social existence to one single essential ingredient, “the” Jew or “the” antisemite. Pretty much what you’re doing with “the” Muslim.

    You will also note that the mator of Malmo is a non-Muslim Swede with a very unsavoury record. He is responsible for his decisions, no-one else. He is not a recent immigrant to Sweden now is he?

    And Karl, no I am not downplaying Muslim antisemitism. Far from it. I am merely refusing the stupidity of jacob’s view that Muslims are antisemitic period as well as the absurd idea that if it weren’t for Muslims in the UK there would be no antisemitism.

  23. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    “You will also note that the mator of Malmo is a non-Muslim Swede with a very unsavoury record. He is responsible for his decisions, no-one else. He is not a recent immigrant to Sweden now is he?” Absolute Observer

    The mayor of Malmoe is a social democrat and of course he is responsible for his actions, as are those in Malmoe of Muslim background who perpetrate aggressions against Jews. Again Fact is, that a lot of Muslims perpertate such aggressions. So lets not play down this problem in Europe. Of course sweeping judgments are wrong, but one should not play down the problem of young muslim perpetrators.
    Swedish TV on Antisemitism in Malmoe.

    • Absolute Observer Says:

      “Of course sweeping judgments are wrong, but one should not play down the problem of young muslim perpetrators.”

      Agreed; although I think the comment is best addressed to jacob rather than myself.
      AO

  24. jacobarnon Says:

    “Actually Raymond Aron said of Sartre’s account of the “anti-semite” that it mirrored the antisemite’s account of the Jew; that Sartre reduced the complexity and mustifacted nature of social existence to one single essential ingredient, “the” Jew or “the” antisemite. Pretty much what you’re doing with “the” Muslim.

    You will also note that the mator of Malmo is a non-Muslim Swede with a very unsavoury record. He is responsible for his decisions, no-one else. He is not a recent immigrant to Sweden now is he?”

    Raymond Aron also said that the Nazi jurist Karl Schmitt was the only intellectual worth talking to; so much for Aron as an omniscient source.

    As for the the Mayuor of Melmo he is one of those leftist politicians who has made common cause with the Muslim community like the famous former Mayor of London Livingstone. They too like “Absolute” Observer deny that there is antisemitism in the Muslim community.

    “And Karl, no I am not downplaying Muslim antisemitism. Far from it. I am merely refusing the stupidity of jacob’s view that Muslims are antisemitic period as well as the absurd idea that if it weren’t for Muslims in the UK there would be no antisemitism.”

    I never said claimed that every Muslim is anti-Semitic nor did I say that there if not for Muslims there wouldn’t be antisemitism in England. The fact that you need to lie about my views shows how little you understand what is going on here.

    I wasn’t going to answer you any more “Absolutist” but I do need to respond to personal attacks.

  25. sharmini brookes Says:

    In the current period the biggest obstacle to peace in the region is the continuing intervention from external forces. Boycott campaigns, appeals to the UN or to various pieces of international legislation invite more external intervention into the area and increases division between the two sides. Appeals to external arbiters or bodies for recognition is a sign of weakness and not of self determination as it casts the appellants in the role of victims rather than self-determining individuals. Seeking solutions from the point of view of a victim is bad as victims usually seek revenge. Palestinians were the hapless victims of the desire of Jews to create a homeland who were themselves the hapless victims of the Holocaust but both sides have to move beyond a sense of past victim-hood and look to where they want to be if peace is to be negotiated. I have recently come across two useful articles which discuss these aspects in greater depth and with more knowledge of the area than I have. See links below.
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/11109/
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/10108/

    • Karl Pfeifer Says:

      @sharmini brookes@ “Palestinians were the hapless victims of the desire of Jews to create a homeland”
      To suggest that Palestinians were just victims in 1947-49 is an unhistorical statement. For the Palestinian leadership could have accepted in 1947 the partition solution.
      Would you say that the Pakistanis were the hapless victims of the desire of Indians to be independent?
      There was a bloody conflict between Pakistan and India. Fact is more than 100 mio Muslims live in India but Pakistan is almost Hindufree. Fact is about 150.000 Muslims could stay in Israel but not one single Jew in those parts of the Holy Land in Arab hands. So you have on one side tolerant democracy and on the other fanatic Islamism.
      The basic problem is the Muslims belief and ideology, that once a land was muslim it must be always muslim.

      • Absolute Observer Says:

        “The basic problem is the Muslims belief and ideology, that once a land was muslim it must be always muslim.”

        Oh dear

        • Mira Vogel Says:

          I’m hoping that meant:
          “The basic problem is [where there is a] belief and ideology, that once a land was muslim it must be always muslim.”
          I don’t accept that idea is one most Muslims hold. To say it is seems to be playing into the hands of those who do want all Muslims to hold it.

        • Karl Pfeifer Says:

          Absolute Observer
          O.K. you cought me, English is not my native tongue and it is not politically correct to say so.
          Thank you Noga for putting it right.
          But it is an undeniable fact, that Abbas has spoken about the 63 years of occupation at UN a few days ago. And look what Fatah Central Committee Member Abbas Zaki
          Says: “The Greater Goal Cannot Be Accomplished in One Go”
          http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3130.htm
          That was also the opinion of Arafat.
          I have just seen a German interview with Abdelhalim Qandil spokesman of the egyptian left movement Kifaya
          who says “the existence of Israel is endangering the existence of Egypt”.
          Not so many Muslims want to live in peace with a Jewish and democratic state and I am not sharing the self-delusion of those who believe the contrary.

      • Jacob.Arnon Says:

        “The basic problem is the Muslims belief and ideology, that once a land was muslim it must be always muslim.”

        Muslim extremist organization Like Hamas and Al Kaida clearly do believe what Karl wrote. You can find references that parts of Spain is Muslim in their covenants and pronouncements. However, no Muslim government, like Pakistan, Iran, and now Turkey, have openly endorsed such a view. As for individual Muslims it’s hard to know the percentage of them support this view.

        I think that this is what Karl was referring to in his above comment. I don’t believe he was talking about individual Muslims but of a belief that some endorse and most ignore.

        Every religion holds obnoxious views that are not actively enforced and most and most of the religious adherents are content to ignore them.

      • sharmini brookes Says:

        The partition of India was wrong and was done in a way that was most expedient for the British rulers who were leaving rather than in the interests of the people of India. Here again one sees how external powers act in their own interests rather than in those of the local populations and sow further divisions. In 1948 Britain made promises to both sides and left a mess. I don’t see why Palestinians should have meekly accepted their dispossession from the land. Their refusal to accept partition was ignored by the UN who then designated them as stateless refugees. These external powers are the very people who today deign to put themselves in the position of arbiters of peace. In
        November, here in South Africa, a ‘celebrity come judging’ trial is being
        set up in District Six to pronounce on the Israeli/Palestinian situation.
        http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/1487/press-statement-russell-tribunal-on-palestine-to-convene-in-cape-town%e2%80%99s-iconic-district-six
        The judgement has been made. Israel has been found guilty before the trial. The trial is to provide the evidence. This travelling circus can only serve to further embitter relations between Palestinians and Israelis.

        • Karl Pfeifer Says:

          @sharmini brookes@ While the secession of Pakistan was only based on religion, the decision of UN had to take into consideration the right of both peoples, of Jews and Arabs to self-determination. So The situation was different from the situation of India and Pakistan.
          The Arabs claimed before the British-American and the UN-Commission that the Jews are only a religion and as such have no right of self-determination.
          “* Jews are a nation, with cultural and ethnic characteristics, and not only a religion; this was true before Israel was established and it is true today. This is consistent with the claim that Jews are also members of the nations within which they live.
          * Being a nation, Jews are entitled to national rights, not only to religious and cultural rights. The strongest national right is the right to state-level self-determination.
          * Being dispersed among other nations, and living always as a minority, has throughout history proven itself harmful to Jews and has made them and continues to render them vulnerable both to persecution and to assimilation, threatening their ability to maintain their cultural identity.
          * It is thus justified for Jews to have sought revival of political independence in their ancient homeland – Zion. Thus Zionism is not a colonial or an imperialist operation in the sense analyzed and condemned by modern political philosophy. This is true despite the fact that at the beginning of the twentieth century Jews were not a critical mass in that country. The presence of Arab population in Israel was not a conclusive reason against this move because that community never had enjoyed political independence, and Jews were at liberty to seek political revival in the only place in the world that had been their homeland.
          * Israel was established to respond to the Jews’ need for effective self-determination. The 1947 UN partition resolution protected the rights of Arab population of Palestine by the decision to establish an Arab state in a part of historic Palestine, and requiring both states to protect the rights – personal and cultural – of members of the other nation residing in them.”
          Ruth Gavison http://rslissak.com/content/national-rights-jews-profruth-gavison
          Five hundred thousand Hindus and Muslims died in the process of partitioning the Indian subcontinent. No one today recommends that the peoples of India and Pakistan should be reintegrated into a binational state so as to resolve the Kahsmir dispute. Likewise, Israelis and Palestinians are already, for the most part, geographically distinct. Israel is the state in the Middle East that affords its Muslim citizens more expansive civil liberties and political prerogatives than any other. Israeli Arabs are better off – as measured by longevity, health care, legal rights, even religious liberty – than other Arabs in the Middle East.
          In a world with numerous Arab states, there is surely room for one Jewish state.

  26. Absolute Observer Says:

    “nor did I say that there if not for Muslims there wouldn’t be antisemitism in England. The fact that you need to lie about my views shows how little you understand what is going on here.”

    Really?

    “It was the creation of an independent Jewish State that began the reversal of antisemitic attitudes in the West.

    This changed with the immigration into Western countries of large Muslim populations that brought their antisemitism with them and then it again began to spread throughout society”. (“again” – I assume you understand the meaning of “again”?)

    And since you have taken my comments so personally, I feel no compunction in not raising the point that when talking of “Karl” Schmitt, you mean Carl Schmitt. Just another example of your inability to get the details right.

  27. Jacob.Arnon Says:

    Absolute Observer, you can draw whatever conclusions you like from what I say even if they are wrong.

    You like Gilbert Achcar is more interested in denying that there is antisemitism in the Muslim communities than in fighting it..

    In the US there are Muslims clerics who are fighting against it which shows that there are brave Muslim individuals fighting against Jew hatred and that is true even in Muslim countries, though they are so far a small minority.

    http://forward.com/articles/143338/

    But to do so one has to acknowledge it first. Unfortunately AO’s absolutist ideology tells him to call anyone who speaks of Muslim antisemitism is a “racist.” Would someone who described Russian society under the Czars, or Polish or German society in the 30’s, as antisemitic, also be a racist? I don’t think so.

    Hence, as I said above this is your problem not mine.

    Finally the fact that you have to criticize lapses in name spelling speaks volumes about your self righteous pursuit of the trivial over substance.

  28. Absolute Observer Says:

    jacob,
    Rather than resort to calling you a liar and god knows what else, I will content myself by noting that you appeared not to have not read a word I’ve written.
    I am content.
    AO

  29. Jacob.Arnon Says:

    Absolutist Observer, you seem to have problems admitting that you either didn’t understand what i wrote or else purposefully misrepresented it.

  30. arnon Says:

    In an article on Iran the author Abbas Milani says:

    http://www.tnr.com/print/article/world/magazine/94952/khomeini-iran-islam

    “The rudiments of a new kind of apartheid are put in place, wherein the clergy and their cohorts battle for shares of power but the majority of the society is denied any real role in determining the future of the country.”

    Obviously the term apartheid is taking on new meanings.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      “Apartheid” is just joining “Fascism” as a part of the group of hyperbolic slurs used by certain political groupings to describe anything that disagrees with their worldview.

  31. arnon Says:

    “In 1948 Britain made promises to both sides and left a mess. I don’t see why Palestinians should have meekly accepted their dispossession from the land. Their refusal to accept partition was ignored by the UN who then designated them as stateless refugees. These external powers are the very people who today deign to put themselves in the position of arbiters of peace.” sharmini brookes

    And had the UN accepted the Palestinian Arab refusal it would have Jews to statelessness all over again. Jews see themselves as indigenous to the area.

    In any case, whether “the external powers” accepted or rejected the Palestinian refusal it would still have acted as “external powers…in the position of arbiters of peace.”

  32. arnon Says:

    The above sentence:

    And had the UN accepted the Palestinian Arab refusal it would have Jews to statelessness all over again. Jews see themselves as indigenous to the area.

    Should have read: And had the UN accepted the Palestinian Arab refusal it would have left Jews to statelessness all over again. Jews see themselves as indigenous to the area.

  33. Absolute Observer Says:

    Jacob,
    Thank you for your comments. In keeping with the tone of your later comments to me, the only appropriate response is to say that my dad is bigger than your dad.
    AO

  34. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Sharmini Brookes says, above: “The partition of India was wrong and was done in a way that was most expedient for the British rulers who were leaving rather than in the interests of the people of India.”

    So is she saying that the communal violence that had broken out and persisted despite Gandhi’s various “fasts unto death”, the demands for a separate state (forced on the putative Moslem leader, Jinnah, against his personal view of a single, bi-religious, state) by the Moslems, concentrated in what became East and West Pakistan, were irrelevant to the outcome? That it was a _British_ desire for a two-state solution that led to that outcome?

    In fact, the written history of the period (such as contemporary British state papers) shows that the British Labour Government, committed to independence for India, actually assumed that the result would be a single state. It would, hopefully, under a Congress government, led by Nehru, be a secular democracy, with left-leanings, and thus, given the times, providing equality to all, irrespective of religion or other ethnic and cultural divisions. In practice, the events outlined above conspired against the possibility of a peaceful end to empire.

    Given this, we should not be drawing comparisons between the two situations, beyond noting the coincidence of date. Indeed, in the case of the Palestine Mandate, the British couldn’t wait to leave, and washed their hands of the whole business, merely handing the problem over to the UN. What the outcome would be became a matter of indifference to the British, even given the overriding Arabism of the Foreign Office officials.

    Her further point concerning that ‘celebrity come judging’ needs no further comment. It just joins the long list of predetermined anti-Israel outcomes.

    “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

    • sharmini Says:

      In response to Brian Goldfarb above:-
      It was Karl who first drew the link with Pakistan and I was responding to his question. The only connection for me in both situations was the way in which external intervention made things worse as outside forces act in their own interests and not necessarily in the interests of the people in the area. There is no denying the existence of communal violence with the onset of independence. There is a question about whether the way in which India was partitioned may have made this far worse.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        There is also the question as to whether those doing the partitioning (presumably the British) had, in the end, any choice in the matter. The local communities may have forced their hand on this and (leaving the obviously unfinished business of Kashmir to one side) the “religious”/cultural geography of the sub-continent amy well have had a great deal to do with the actual partition borders.

        Just because they were the imperialists in place doesn’t make the British automatically guilty.


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