Transcript: Anti-Semitism Conference: Todd M. Endelman | May 04, 2003

Todd Endelman stands on a wooden podium in a conference room, next to a projection screen that reads "Munk Centre for International Studies."
Todd is in his late fifties, with short white hair and a full beard. He's wearing glasses, a black suit, pink shirt, and checkered blue tie.

He says IN 1916, HENRY
FORD TOLD AN INTERVIEWER FROM THE
CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
HISTORY IS MORE OR LESS BUNK.
GEORGE SANTAYANA RESPONDED,
FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING, A DECADE
EARLIER WITH THE EQUALLY WELL-
KNOWN AND REPEATEDLY CITED
DICTUM, THOSE WHO CANNOT
REMEMBER THE PAST ARE CONDEMNED
TO REPEAT IT.
WHILE I HAVE NO INTENTION OF
REHABILITATING FORD'S REPUTATION
AS A SAGE, I DON'T WANT TO
SUGGEST THAT SANTAYANA EITHER
HAD THE LAST WORD.
DESPITE ITS POPULARITY,
PARTICULARLY WITH SPEAKERS AT
GRADUATION EXERCISES AND THE
LIKE, THIS APHORISM IS NOT THE
SUM OF ALL WISDOM ON THE VALUE
OF USING KNOWLEDGE OF THE PAST
AS A GUIDE TO THE PRESENT.
IT DISPENSES A KIND OF FOLK
WISDOM THAT, ON CLOSE
INSPECTION, UNDERMINES THE VERY
AIM IT SEEKS TO ATTAIN.
THE ADVICE IT PROFFERS, KNOW THE
ERRORS OF YOUR ANCESTORS SO YOU
DO NOT REPEAT THEM, IS
POTENTIALLY MISLEADING AND EVEN
RISKY, BECAUSE IT FOSTERS THE
ILLUSION THAT HISTORICAL
PHENOMENON REPEAT THEMSELVES IN
AN EASILY COMPREHENSIBLE WAY AND
THAT IF ONE IS ALERT TO THIS,
ONE WILL BE PREPARED TO DEAL WITH THEM.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Todd Endelman. University of Michigan. Antisemitism: The politicization of prejudice in the contemporary world. Munk Centre for international studies. February 10-11, 2003."

Todd continues ITS ERROR IS THE ASSUMPTION THAT
HISTORICAL PHENOMENA REPEAT
THEMSELVES IN THE SAME WAY TIME
AND AGAIN, AN ERROR EASILY
COMMITTED WHEN THE PHENOMENON
ARE LABELLED THE SAME WAY IN
EVERY EPIC.
THE RISK IS THAT ONE WILL REACT
TO THEM AS IF THEY WERE
IDENTICAL WHEN IN FACT, THEY
MIGHT BE BOTH SIMILAR AND
DISSIMILAR AT ONE AND THE SAME TIME.
WEST EUROPEAN STATESMEN LEARNED
THIS THE HARD WAY IN THE 1930s.
SHATTERED BY THE TOLL IN HUMAN
LIFE THAT WORLD WAR I TOOK, THEY
STRUGGLED IN THE DECADE BEFORE
WORLD WAR II TO AVOID ANOTHER
LARGE-SCALE CONFLAGRATION.
IN PURSUIT OF PEACE AT ANY COST,
THEY EMBRACED APPEASEMENT AS A
TACTIC, ONLY TO FIND THEMSELVES
ENGULFED IN AN EVEN MORE
HORRIFIC, APOCALYPTIC CONFLICT
WITHIN A MATTER OF YEARS.
THE JEWS OF GERMANY ALSO THOUGHT
THAT THEY KNEW THE LESSONS OF
HISTORY AND THAT WITH THEIR
MONEY AND THEIR WITS, THEY WOULD
BE ABLE TO OUTLAST A REGIME THAT
WOULD EITHER MODERATE ITS RACIAL
VIEWS OR PASS FROM THE SCENE, AS
HAD EARLIER PERSECUTORS OF THE
JEWS.
ONLY AFTER
KRISTALLNACHT
DESTROYED THE ILLUSION THAT A
JEWISH COMMUNITY COULD SURVIVE
IN GERMANY DID THE MAJORITY OF
GERMAN JEWS RECOGNIZE THAT NAZI
ANTI-SEMITISM WAS QUALITATIVELY
DIFFERENT FROM WILHELMINIAN
ANTI-SEMITISM.
ONLY THEN DID THE MAJORITY
SCRAMBLE TO FIND REFUGE ABROAD,
AT WHICH POINT, OF COURSE,
ESCAPE WAS DIFFICULT AND OFTEN
IMPOSSIBLE.
IN NORTH AMERICA, AS WELL, JEWS
FILTERED NEWS OF THE HOLOCAUST
THROUGH THE LENS OF HISTORY.
WHEN REPORTS OF MASS SHOOTINGS
ON THE EASTERN FRONT REACHED
THEM, MANY INITIALLY BELIEVED
THAT THE MASSACRES WERE A REPEAT
OF THE POGROMS THAT RAGED IN
UKRAINE IN THE CIVIL WAR
FOLLOWING THE BOLSHEVIK
REVOLUTION, BUT AS WE NOW KNOW,
THE POGROMS FOLLOWING WORLD WAR
I WERE CHILD'S PLAY IN
COMPARISON TO LATER EVENTS.
JUST AS UNDERSTANDINGS OF PAST
TRAGEDIES SHAPED HOW JEWS AND
GENTILES RESPONDED TO THE RISE
OF NAZISM AND THE HOLOCAUST, SO,
TOO, CURRENT UNDERSTANDINGS OF
THE HOLOCAUST, IN TURN,
INFLUENCE RESPONSES TO OUTBREAKS
OF ANTI-JEWISH HOSTILITY AT THE
START OF THE 21st CENTURY.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE BULK OF
EUROPEAN JEWRY DURING THE WAR
AND THE INABILITY OF WESTERN
JEWS TO DO MUCH TO PREVENT IT
HAS HEIGHTENED AND SHARPENED
CONTEMPORARY JEWISH
ATTENTIVENESS TO ANTI-SEMITISM.
LEVELS OF HOSTILITY AND
STIGMATIZATION TO WHICH JEWS IN
THE FIRST HALF OF THE 20th
CENTURY WERE RESIGNED NOW
APPEAR, IN THE EYES OF THEIR
CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN, AS
INTOLERABLE AND DANGEROUS.
IT IS DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO
REGARD ANTI-SEMITISM AS MERELY A
SOCIAL INCONVENIENCE OR AN
EMOTIONAL ANNOYANCE.
IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE
HOLOCAUST, THEY ARE NERVOUS AND
THEY ARE ON EDGE, THEY ARE
SENSITIVE TO THE POTENTIAL
CONSEQUENCES OF WIDESPREAD JEW-
BAITING, TO THE LINKAGE BETWEEN
WORDS AND DEEDS.
HOWEVER, IF MEMORIES OF THE
HOLOCAUST HAVE MADE THEM
VIGILANT AND STRENGTHENED THEIR
RESOLVE, THEY MAY HAVE ALSO
IMPOSED A FRAMEWORK ON THE WAY
IN WHICH THEY INTERPRET CURRENT
EVENTS THAT DISTORTS THE MEANING
OF THOSE EVENTS.
IF WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND
CONTEMPORARY CURRENTS OF JEW-
BAITING, THEN WE MUST CLEARLY
GRASP HOW THEY ARE SIMILAR TO
WHAT CAME BEFORE AND HOW THEY
ARE DISSIMILAR.
BUT JUST AS THE STUDY OF THE
PAST CAN ALERT US TO THE
REPETITIVE ELEMENTS IN HISTORY,
SO TOO CAN IT ALERT US TO THE
NOVEL ELEMENTS AND WHAT IS NOVEL
IS SOMETIMES MUCH MORE DANGEROUS
THAN WHAT IS SIMILAR.
THAT THERE IS MORE HOSTILITY TO
JEWS IN WESTERN EUROPE NOW THAN
THERE WAS A DECADE OR TWO AGO IS
WIDELY ACCEPTED.
WHILE I CANNOT UNDERTAKE A FULL
REVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE, I DO
WANT TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THE
WAY IN WHICH THIS HOSTILITY
MANIFESTS ITSELF.
THE MOST VISIBLY SHOCKING WAY IS
AN OUTBREAK OF VIOLENCE AGAINST
JEWISH PROPERTY AND PERSONS.
IN BELGIUM, FRANCE AND BRITAIN,
A SCORE OF SYNAGOGUES HAVE BEEN
ATTACKED OR RANSACKED SINCE THE
BEGINNING OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.
THE MOST DRAMATIC INCIDENTS HAVE
OCCURRED IN FRANCE.
ON 3 OCTOBER, 2000, ARSONISTS
ALL BUT DESTROYED A SYNAGOGUE IN
NORTH-EASTERN SUBURBAN PARIS.
WITHIN THE NEXT 10 DAYS, FOUR
MORE SYNAGOGUES, ALL IN GREATER
PARIS, WERE ALSO TORCHED.
THAT MONTH, IN FRANCE AS A
WHOLE, ANOTHER TWO DOZEN
INCIDENTS OF ATTEMPTED ARSON
WERE REPORTED.
IN SPRING 2002, ANTI-SEMITES IN
LYON SMASHED THE DOORS OF A
SYNAGOGUE AND COMMUNITY CENTRE
USING A CAR EQUIPPED WITH A
BATTERING RAM.
IN MARSEILLES, THEY BURNED A
SYNAGOGUE TO THE GROUND AND IN
TOULOUSE, OPENED FIRE ON A
KOSHER BUTCHER SHOP.
JEWISH STUDENTS IN FRANCE HAVE
BEEN HARASSED IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS,
JEWISH WORSHIPPERS ON THEIR WAY
TO SYNAGOGUE HAVE BEEN
ASSAULTED, SCHOOL BUSES WITH
JEWISH CHILDREN HAVE BEEN
STONED.
CRIF, THE UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION
OF FRENCH JEWRY, RECORDED 500
ANTI-JEWISH INCIDENTS FROM EARLY
SEPTEMBER 2000 THROUGH EARLY
APRIL, 2002.
ELSEWHERE IN WESTERN EUROPE, THE
RISE IN VIOLENT INCIDENTS HAS
ESCALATED ALONG SIMILAR LINES,
BUT NOT IN THE DRAMATIC,
FORCEFUL WAY IT HAS IN FRANCE.
THROUGHOUT WESTERN EUROPE,
VERBAL VIOLENCE HAS ESCALATED AS
WELL.
ALONGSIDE THE TAUNTS OF
HOOLIGANS AND THE RAVINGS OF
SKINHEADS, WHICH HAVE BEEN WITH
US NOW FOR SEVERAL DECADES,
EXPRESSIONS OF OVERT HOSTILITY
HAVE SPROUTED IN THE LIBERAL
MEDIA.
THE COVER OF THE
LONDON
WEEKLY NEWS STATESMAN,
LONG THE FLAGSHIP JOURNAL OF THE
BRITISH LEFT, ON JANUARY 14th,
2002, CARRIED THE HEADLINE, A
KOSHER CONSPIRACY, WITH A
QUESTION MARK AND FEATURED A
GOLDEN
MAGEN DAVID
PIERCING A UNION JACK.
THE STORY CLAIMED TO DESCRIBE
THE INFLUENCE OF A RICH, POTENT
ZIONIST LOBBY THAT HARASSED,
THREATENED AND SMEARED
JOURNALISTS WHO DID NOT TOE THE
LINE, UH, DID NOT TOE THE JEWISH
LINE ON ISRAEL.
AND FOR THOSE OF YOU, OF COURSE,
WHO WATCH THE BBC AND ARE
FAMILIAR WITH ITS COVERAGE OF
ISRAEL, IT WOULD SEEM THAT IF
THERE IS SUCH A JEWISH LOBBY,
IT'S NOT VERY SUCCESSFUL IN
HAVING AN INFLUENCE ON BBC'S
COVERAGE OF EVENTS IN THE MIDDLE
EAST.
EVEN LEFT-WING JEWISH JOURNALISTS
WHO HAD BEEN SCEPTICAL OF ANGLO-
JEWISH COMPLAINTS ABOUT ANTI-
SEMITISM WERE UNABLE TO REMAIN
QUIET.
THE GUARDIAN
COLUMNIST
JONATHAN FREEDLAND WROTE, THE
MESSAGE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN
PLAINER.
WEALTHY JEWS WERE PLOTTING TO
SUBORDINATE A DEFENCELESS,
OVERWHELMED BRITAIN.
THE COVER WOULD NOT HAVE LOOKED
OUT OF PLACE IN
DER
STURMER.
IT WAS AN IMAGE REPLETE WITH
ALMOST CLASSIC ANTI-SEMITISM,
RICH JEWS DOMINATING THEIR
BESIEGED HOST COUNTRY.
THE INDEPENDENT
COLUMNIST
STEPHEN POLLARD WROTE, IN
EQUALLY IMPASSIONED TERMS, THAT
HE WAS CONVINCED THAT ANTI-
SEMITISM IS NOW AGAIN -- NOW
ACCEPTABLE AGAIN IN POLITE
SOCIETY.
HE CAME TO THIS SOBERING
REALIZATION AFTER A DINNER
PARTY, AT WHICH ONE GUEST TOLD
HIM SHE WAS BOYCOTTING JEWISH
BUSINESSES, NOT ISRAELI
BUSINESSES, JEWISH BUSINESSES,
BECAUSE OF ISRAEL'S TREATMENT OF
THE PALESTINIANS.
WHEN HE CHALLENGED HER, ANOTHER
GUEST INTERJECTED, DON'T GET AT
HER, SHE'S ONLY SAYING OUT LOUD
WHAT WE ALL THINK.
THE JEWS NEED TO BE TAUGHT THAT
TERRIBLE AS THE HOLOCAUST WAS,
YOU CAN'T RELY ON THAT EXCUSE
FOREVER AND CERTAINLY NOT TO
JUSTIFY WHAT YOU'RE DOING TO THE
PALESTINIANS.
THE LIBERAL DAILY,
LA
STAMPA,
EVEN REVIVED THE
HOARY CHARGE OF DEICIDE.
A CARTOON SHOWING THE BABY JESUS
IN THE MANGER LOOKING AT AN
ISRAELI TANK CARRIED THE
CAPTION, DON'T TELL ME THAT THEY
WANT TO KILL ME AGAIN.
IN THE SAME VEIN, A BISHOP IN
COPENHAGEN, IN A SUNDAY SERMON,
LIKENED ARIEL SHARON TO KING
HEROD, WHO ORDERED THE MURDER OF
ALL MALE CHILDREN IN BETHLEHEM
UNDER THE AGE OF TWO, IT SOUNDS
LIKE THE BLOOD LIBEL OVER AGAIN.
IN SHORT, THE... CHATTERING
CLASSES EXPERIENCE NO
COMPUNCTION, AS THEY ONCE MIGHT
HAVE, ABOUT DEPLOYING CLASSIC
ANTI-JEWISH TROPES.
WHEN WE TURN FROM ELITE OPINION
TO PUBLIC OPINION, THE TASK OF
ASSESSMENT BECOMES MORE
DIFFICULT.
SURVEY RESEARCH IS A FLAWED ART
AT BEST AND I HOPE I'M NOT
STEPPING ON THE TOES OF TOO MANY
POLITICAL SCIENTISTS AND
SOCIOLOGISTS HERE WHEN I SAY
THAT.
THE WILLINGNESS OF INTERVIEWEES
TO REVEAL TO POLLSTERS THEIR
OPINIONS IS DIFFERENT FROM THEIR
WILLINGNESS AND ABILITY TO ACT
IN SUPPORT OF THESE OPINIONS.
IN OTHER WORDS, OPINIONS ARE ONE
MATTER, DEEDS ANOTHER.
MOREOVER, THE MANNER IN WHICH
THE RESEARCHER POSES A QUESTION,
THE WORDS AND PHRASES HE OR SHE
USES, INFLUENCES THE RESPONSES
HE OR SHE RECEIVES.
NONETHELESS, FOR WANT OF ANY
OTHER ALTERNATIVE, PUBLIC
OPINION RESEARCH WILL HAVE TO
SUFFICE.
THE PICTURE THAT EMERGES FROM
VARIOUS POLLS IS NOT PRETTY.
FROM 1988 TO 1991, 20 percent OF FRENCH
CITIZENS THOUGHT THAT, QUOTE,
JEWS HAVE TOO MUCH POWER.
IN 1999, THE PROPORTION ROSE TO
31 percent, IN 2000, TO 34 percent.
AN ADL -- ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE...
SPONSORED SURVEY OF ATTITUDES
REGARDING JEWS IN FIVE EUROPEAN
STATES, SPAIN, ITALY, THE
NETHERLANDS, AUSTRIA AND
SWITZERLAND, AND THE RESULTS OF
WHICH WERE ANNOUNCED IN FALL
2002, DISCOVERED THAT 27 percent OF THE
POPULATION BELIEVED THAT, QUOTE,
JEWS ARE MORE LIKELY THAN OTHERS
TO USE SHADY PRACTISES TO GET
WHAT THEY WANT, END QUOTE, AND
THAT 60 percent BELIEVE THAT, QUOTE,
JEWS ARE MORE LOYAL TO ISRAEL
THAN THIS COUNTRY.
THAT IS, WHATEVER COUNTRY THEY
WERE LIVING IN WHEN THEY WERE
ASKED THE QUESTION.
THE RESURGENCE OF ANTI-JEWISH
VIOLENCE AND VIEWS IN WESTERN
EUROPE IN RECENT YEARS IS
DISTURBING, BUT WHETHER IT
PRESENTS THE SAME KIND OF THREAT
TO JEWS THAT PREWAR ANTI-
SEMITISM DID REQUIRES FURTHER
COMMENT.

He clears his throat and continues
IF WE COMPARE RECENT HOSTILITY
TO THE ANTI-SEMITISM THAT
FLOURISHED BETWEEN 1870 AND
1939, CRITICAL DIFFERENCES
EMERGE.
NOW I DON'T WANT TO SUGGEST, LET
ME SAY PARENTHETICALLY, THAT
RECENT MANIFESTATIONS ARE NOT
THREATENING, BUT RATHER THE
THREAT MAY BE OF A DIFFERENT
ORDER AND OF A DIFFERENT
MAGNITUDE.
HERE, THEN, ARE SOME MAJOR
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TODAY'S
HOSTILITY TO JEWS IN WESTERN
EUROPE AND THE ANTI-SEMITISM OF
PREVIOUS DECADES FROM WHAT
HISTORIANS SOMETIMES CALL THE
AGE OF ILLIBERALISM.
FIRST, NO WEST EUROPEAN PARTY
WITH PARLIAMENTARY
REPRESENTATION SEEKS TO REVERSE
THE PROCESS OF JEWISH
EMANCIPATION.
THAT IS, TO STRIP JEWS OF THEIR
CITIZENSHIP AND RESTORE THEIR
STATUS AS ALIENS OR TO RESTRICT
THEIR PARTICIPATION IN STATE,
SOCIETY AND CULTURE AND TO
RETURN THEM TO THE MARGINS OF
NATIONAL LIFE.
THIS WAS THE CENTRAL OBJECTIVE
OF POLITICAL ANTI-SEMITISM
BEFORE WORLD WAR II.
THE ILLIBERAL, HIERARCHICAL,
ANTI-MERITOCRATIC POLITICS OF
MOST CONSERVATIVE PARTIES LED
THEM TO OPPOSE THE UNFETTERED
PARTICIPATION OF JEWS IN
ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL LIGHT.
THIS KIND OF POLITICAL ANTI-
SEMITISM NO LONGER STALKS THE
PARLIAMENTARY CHAMBERS OF
WESTERN EUROPE OR THE BACK ROOMS
OF THEIR RIGHT-WING PARTIES.
ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING THIS IS
THAT THE JEWISH QUESTION IS NO
LONGER A CENTRAL OR EVEN A
PERIPHERAL ISSUE IN WESTERN
POLITICS, CERTAINLY NOT THE
JEWISH QUESTION AS IT WAS
CLASSICALLY CONCEIVED.
AMERICA-BASHING, AS IT TURNS
OUT, IS A MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE
ELECTIONEERING STRATEGY THAN
JEW-BASHING, AS WE FOUND OUT
RECENTLY IN GERMANY.
SECOND, IN WESTERN EUROPE, ANTI-
SEMITISM NO LONGER BELONGS TO A
PACKAGE OF PASSIONATELY HELD
ANTI-LIBERAL ATTITUDES.
BEFORE WORLD WAR II, ANTI-
SEMITISM WAS MORE THAN SIMPLY
HATRED OF JEWS.
IT WAS A CULTURAL CODE, IT WAS A
SHORTHAND FOR AND PART AND
PARCEL OF OPPOSITION TO VARIOUS
MANIFESTATIONS OF THE MODERN
WORLD WITH WHICH JEWS WERE
IDENTIFIED.
LAISSEZ FAIRE CAPITALISM,
URBANIZATION, INDUSTRIALIZATION,
SECULARIZATION, DEMOCRACY,
PARLIAMENTARY POLITICS, SOCIAL
MOBILITY, MERITOCRACY, CULTURAL
MODERNISM AND FEMINISM.
IN THE LAST HALF CENTURY, ANTI-
SEMITISM BECAME MORE OR LESS
DETACHED FROM THIS BUNDLE OF
OPPOSITIONIST DISCONTENT, THIS
ANTI-MODERN... AND HENCE IT LOST
MUCH OF ITS IMAGINATIVE AND
POLITICAL POWER, AT LEAST IN THE
WEST.
IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD, THE STORY,
OF COURSE, IS VERY DIFFERENT.
THIRD, ANTI-SEMITISM NO LONGER
CREATES OBSTACLES TO JEWISH
SOCIAL OR ECONOMIC MOBILITY.
IN THE 19th AND THE FIRST HALF O
THE 20th CENTURY, SOCIAL
PREJUDICE AND OCCUPATIONAL
DISCRIMINATION, WHICH WAS
INFORMAL, RATHER THAN SANCTIONED
BY LAW, EMBITTERED THE LIVES OF
SEVERAL GENERATIONS OF TALENTED,
AMBITIOUS JEWS.
TENS OF THOUSANDS CONVERTED TO
CHRISTIANITY, OR, IN THE CASE OF
GERMAN AUSTRIA, ALSO LEGALLY
WITHDREW FROM THEIR COMMUNITIES.
EVEN MORE OF THEM, THEIR
AMBITION AND HOPE THWARTED,
LIVED WITH THEIR ANGER AND
RESENTMENT, SOME OF WHICH THEY
MISTAKENLY MISDIRECTED TOWARD
THEIR OWN ETHNIC BACKGROUND,
WHICH THEY SAW AS THE PRINCIPAL
CAUSE OF THEIR MISFORTUNE.
BARRIERS TO JEWISH INTEGRATION,
WHICH WERE STRONG IN THE FIRST
HALF OF THE 20th CENTURY,
WEAKENED IN THE SECOND HALF, I
DIDN'T SAY THEY DISAPPEARED, BUT
WEAKENED.
IN CONTEMPORARY BRITAIN AND
FRANCE, EDUCATED, MIDDLE-CLASS
JEWS, THOSE JEWS WHO FELT THE
WEIGHT OF DISCRIMINATION MOST
CRUELLY EARLIER ARE TODAY
PROFESSIONALLY SUCCESSFUL,
SOCIALLY INTEGRATED, AND WELL
REPRESENTED IN POLITICAL LIFE.
TO TAKE ONLY THE CASE OF BRITAIN
IN THE DAYS OF MARGARET THATCHER
AND JOHN MAJOR, JEWS HELD HIGH
POLITICAL OFFICE, INCLUDING SUCH
TOP JOBS AS CHANCELLOR OF THE
EXCHEQUER AND SECRETARY FOR
DEFENCE, SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN
AFFAIRS AND SECRETARY FOR HOME
AFFAIRS.
IN OTHER WORDS, BEING JEWISH IS
NO LONGER AN OBSTACLE TO
MOBILITY IN THE WEST, MOBILITY
OF ALL SORTS, IN THE WAY THAT IT
ONCE WAS.
FOURTH, ANTI-SEMITISM IN WESTERN
EUROPE NO LONGER BENEFITS FROM
THE POLITICAL INSTABILITY, CHAOS
AND EXTREMISM THAT PLAGUED
EUROPE IN THE INTERWAR PERIOD.
LEFT AND RIGHT, IN WESTERN
EUROPE, NO LONGER THREATEN THE
EXISTING ORDER WITH REVOLUTIONS
AND COUPS.
THERE IS WIDESPREAD POPULAR
SUPPORT FOR THE UNIVERSAL
FRANCHISE, THE PARLIAMENTARY
SYSTEM, THE MIXED ECONOMY AND
THE SOCIAL WELFARE NET.
THERE IS ALSO LESS DISDAIN FOR
PRAGMATIC DEAL-MAKING.
THOSE WHO WANT TO CHANGE THE
FUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURE OF STATE,
SOCIETY AND ECONOMY ARE VERY
MUCH ON THE EXTREME MARGINS OF
POLITICS, OR YOU COULD SAY,
SOMEWHAT CYNICALLY, ARE ALSO IN
THE UNIVERSITIES, BUT HAVE
LITTLE IMPACT FOR THAT REASON.
I KNOW OF NO POLITICAL SCIENTIST
WHO SEES CIVIL WAR, REVOLUTION
AND AUTHORITARIANISM, EITHER OF
THE LEFT, OR OF THE RIGHT, IN
WESTERN EUROPE'S IMMEDIATE
FUTURE.
FIFTH, BEFORE THE WAR, THE
RIGHT, RATHER THAN THE LEFT, WAS
THE PARAMOUNT SOURCE OF HATRED
AND CONTEMPT FOR EUROPEAN JEWS.
HISTORICALLY, LIBERALISM
PROMOTED LEGAL EMANCIPATION AND
SOCIAL INTEGRATION, WHILE
CONSERVATISM STOOD FOR THE
RESTORATION OF OLD REGIME
RESTRICTIONS.
IT WAS THE LEFT, NOT THE RIGHT,
THAT EVENTUALLY, THAT EVENTUALLY
ADOPTED DREYFUS' CAUSE IN FRANCE
AND IT WAS THE LEFT, NOT THE
RIGHT, THAT OPPOSED IMMIGRATION
RESTRICTION IN BRITAIN.
IN GERMANY AND AUSTRIA, THE
FEROCITY AND OMNIPRESENCE OF
ANTI-SEMITISM ON THE RIGHT
GUARANTEED THAT JEWS WOULD FIND
A POLITICAL HOME ON THE LEFT,
WHETHER AMONG LIBERALS, SOCIAL
DEMOCRATS OR COMMUNISTS.
THIS IS NO LONGER TRUE.
ON THE RIGHT, ANTI-SEMITISM NO
LONGER FUNCTIONS AS A CULTURAL
CODE OR A RALLYING CRY, WHILE ON
THE LEFT, IT HAS BECOME
ENTANGLED WITH, AND DRAWS ENERGY
FROM, POLITICAL CURRENTS THAT
WERE NONEXISTENT OR UNIMPORTANT
BEFORE WORLD WAR II.
SPECIFICALLY ANTI-AMERICANISM,
THIRD WORLDISM AND THE ANTI-
GLOBALIZATION CAMPAIGN.
SIXTH, ALONGSIDE LEFT-WING
PARTIES AND MOVEMENTS, THERE IS
ANOTHER NEW, TOTALLY NOVEL FOUNT
OF HOSTILITY TO JEWS IN WESTERN
EUROPE.
RADICAL ISLAM.
THIS WAS ALTOGETHER ABSENT IN
EARLIER PERIODS.
FRANCE, BRITAIN, GERMANY AND
THERE NETHERLANDS, ALL NOW HAVE
LARGE MUSLIM POPULATIONS.
IN FRANCE, MUSLIMS NUMBER ABOUT
SIX MILLION, ABOUT 10 percent OF THE
POPULATION.
THESE COMMUNITIES STEM FROM
EUROPE'S FORMER OVERSEAS
EMPIRES, OR, IN THE CASE OF
GERMANY, FROM TURKEY.
AND THEY ARE GROWING AND THEY'RE
GROWING THROUGH A HIGH BIRTH
RATE AND THROUGH A LARGELY
ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.
ON THE WHOLE, THEY ARE MORE
SEPARATIST THAN INTEGRATIONIST
AND IN THEIR STANCE TOWARD THE
SOCIETIES IN WHICH THEY HAVE
SETTLED, THEY ARE LESS THAN
EMBRACING.
THIS MAY CHANGE IN THE FUTURE
AND I WOULD LEAVE IT TO OTHERS
TO DECIDE WHETHER THAT WILL
CHANGE.
AND IN SOCIO-ECONOMIC TERMS,
THESE MUSLIM GROUPS CONSTITUTE A
DISTINCT UNDERCLASS, WITH ALL
THAT IMPLIES IN TERMS OF
POVERTY, CRIME, UNEMPLOYMENT,
ALIENATION AND POOR SCHOOLING.
GIVEN THE CRUSE, UNRECONSTRUCTED
ANTI-SEMITISM OF THE SOCIETIES
FROM WHICH THEY COME, WHERE JEW-
BAITING IS A DAILY STAPLE, IT IS
NOT SURPRISING THAT MUSLIMS IN
THE WEST HAVE REACTIVATED FORMS
OF ANTI-JEWISH BEHAVIOUR THAT
WERE ONCE THE PRESERVE OF
FASCISTS AND POGROMISTS.
THE SPREAD OF A HIGHLY
POLITICIZED, RADICAL ISLAM HAS
ONLY AGGRAVATED HATRED OF JEWS.
IN FRANCE, WHERE ANTI-JEWISH
VIOLENCE IS MOST MARKED,
MUSLIMS, ESPECIALLY MUSLIM
YOUTH, HAVE PERPETRATED MOST OF
THE ATTACKS ON JEWISH BUILDINGS
AND PERSONS.
IN OTHER WORDS, IT'S NOT CLASSIC
RIGHT-WING CATHOLIC ANTI-SEMITISM
IN FRANCE, WHICH IS THE SOURCE
OF VIOLENCE ATTACKS ON JEWS, BUT
A TOTALLY NEW KIND OF
PHENOMENON.
BUT THE PROGRAM EXTENDS BEYOND
THE SMALL NUMBER OF DISAFFECTED
YOUTH WHO RESORT TO VIOLENCE.
AS A FRENCH POLITICAL SCIENTIST
REMARKED, WHAT IS AN AVERAGE
FRENCH TEACHER TO DO WHEN 70 percent OF
THE CLASS OBJECT TO A COURSE IN
RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE, GIVING
JUDAISM ITS PROPER DUE?
OR SIMPLY REFUSE TO ATTEND A
DISCUSSION ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST
ON THE GROUNDS THAT IT IS A
ZIONIST LIE.
MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, HE OR SHE,
WHATEVER HIS OR HER VIEWS, DROPS
THE MATTER ALTOGETHER, IT'S
SIMPLY MUCH EASIER.
IN MANY FRENCH SCHOOLS, IN FACT,
ADMINISTRATORS HAVE CANCELLED
HOLOCAUST AWARENESS PROGRAMS DUE
TO OPPOSITION FROM MUSLIM
STUDENTS.
SEVENTH AND LAST, THE MOST
COMMON AND ANIMATED EXPRESSIONS
OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN WESTERN
EUROPE AND PROFESSOR ZIPPERSTEIN
ALLUDED TO THIS BEFORE, ARE
LINKED TO ANTI-ZIONISM.
THIS, TOO, IS NOVEL, FIRST
BECAUSE THE STATE OF ISRAEL DID
NOT EXIST BEFORE THE WAR AND
SECOND, BECAUSE PREWAR ANTI-
SEMITES, TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY
TOOK AN INTEREST IN INTERNAL
JEWISH POLITICS, WERE OFTEN
ENTHUSIASTIC ZIONIST, SINCE A
JEWISH EXODUS FROM EUROPE WAS
SOMETHING THEY DEVOUTLY DESIRED.
THE REAL NOVELTY, HOWEVER, IS
THE LIVELY INTERTWINING OF
TRADITIONAL ANTI-JEWISH TROPES
AND MOTIFS WITH EUROPEAN
ANXIETIES ABOUT THE RISE OF
AMERICAN POWER AND THE EMERGENCE
OF JEWISH SOVEREIGNTY.
THE MENTION OF ANTI-ZIONISM
RAISES THE VEXED QUESTION OF
WHETHER CURRENT EXPRESSIONS OF
ANTI-ZIONISM ARE, AT HEART,
EXPRESSIONS OF ANTI-SEMITISM.
THAT IS, WHETHER FORCEFUL
CRITICISM OF ISRAELI POLICY HAS
BECOME THE ACCEPTABLE FACE OF
ANTI-SEMITISM, A RESPECTABLE
VEHICLE FOR VENTING HOSTILITY TO
JEWS.
ONE'S RESPONSE TO THIS QUESTION
DEPENDS LARGELY ON ONE'S
DEFINITION OF ANTI-ZIONISM.
CLASSIFYING ALL PUBLIC CRITICISM
OF THE POLICIES OF ARIEL SHARON
AS ANTI-ZIONIST AND THUS
POTENTIALLY ANTI-SEMITIC IS, IN
MY VIEW, SLOPPY THINKING, FOR IT
EQUATES DESCENT FROM... POLICIES
WITH INTOLERANCE AND FEAR OF
JEWS AND A DOUBLE STANDARD
TOWARD JEWS.
MORE SENSIBLY, IT SEEMS TO ME,
IS TO TALK ABOUT THOSE
CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH ANTI-
ZIONISM CAN SHADE INTO ANTI-
SEMITISM.
FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE, I WOULD
ARGUE THAT ANTI-ZIONISM IS
HOSTILITY TO JEWS WHEN IT
QUESTIONS THE LEGITIMACY OF THE
JEWISH STATE, BUT NO OTHER STATE
AND LEGITIMACY OF JEWISH
NATIONALISM, BUT NO OTHER
NATIONALISM.
WHEN IT DENIES TO THE JEWISH
STATE, BUT NO OTHER STATE, THE
RIGHT TO EXPRESS THE CHARACTER
OF THE MAJORITY OF ITS CITIZENS,
THAT IS TO BE AS JEWISH AS
FRANCE IS FRENCH, WHEN IT
DEMONIZES THE JEWISH STATE,
TURNING THE ARAB-ISRAELI
CONFLICT INTO A PROBLEM THAT
JEWS AND JEWS ALONE CREATED AND
FOR WHICH JEWS AND JEWS ALONE
ARE RESPONSIBLE AND WHEN IT
EXPRESSES AN EXCESSIVE,
OBSESSIVE, EXCLUSIVE AND
DISPROPORTIONATE CONCERN WITH
THE SINS OF THE ISRAELIS AND THE
PLIGHT OF THE PALESTINIANS, TO
THE POINT THAT A CONFLICT
BETWEEN TWO SMALL PEOPLES IN A
VERY SMALL PART OF THE WORLD IS
TRANSFORMED INTO A COSMIC,
MANICHEAN STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE
FORCES OF GOOD AND EVIL.
WHEN THESE LINES ARE CROSSED,
ONE HAS LEFT THE WORLD OF
RATIONAL FOREIGN POLICY DEBATE
AND PLUNGED INTO A CESSPOOL OF
FANTASY, OBSESSION, FEAR AND
IRRATIONALITY.
WITH THESE CRITERIA IN MIND, IT
IS STRIKING HOW MUCH WHAT PASSES
FOR OPPOSITION TO ISRAEL AND ITS
POLICIES IS MORE THAN WHAT IT
CLAIMS TO BE.
IN WESTERN EUROPE, CRITICS OF
ISRAEL REPEATEDLY INVOKE THE
OLD, ANTI-JEWISH, SOVIET-CREATED
CANARD THAT WAS LAUNCHED FIRST
IN THE WAKE OF ISRAEL'S
EXTRAORDINARY VICTORY OVER THE
SOVIET UNION'S HAPLESS ARAB, UH,
HAPLESS ARAB CLIENTS IN 1967,
THAT IS, THE CANARD THAT ISRAEL
IS NAZI GERMANY REINCARNATE,
THAT ZIONISM IS FASCIST AND
RACIST, THAT ISRAEL'S OCCUPATION
OF THE WEST BANK IS GENOCIDAL IN
PRACTICE AND INTENT AND THAT ITS
CITIZENS' SHOULDERS -- CITIZENS'
SOLDIERS BEHAVE LIKE S.S. MEN.
THIS KIND OF INFLAMMATORY
LANGUAGE WITH ITS EQUATION OF
JEWS WITH THE 20th CENTURY'S MOS
VILE REGIME IS A DEAD GIVEAWAY
THAT THESE ATTACKS ARE ENERGIZED
BY MORE THAN A HUMANITARIAN
CONCERN WITH THE SUFFERING OF
THE PALESTINIANS.
AFTER ALL, THERE IS FAR MORE
HUMAN SUFFERING IN SUB-SAHARAN
AFRICA, WHERE MILLIONS OF LIVES
ARE AT RISK, FROM CIVIL WAR,
AIDS, CORRUPTION AND
MISGOVERNMENT THAN THERE IS IN
THE WEST BANK AND GAZA.
MOREOVER, IT IS NOT DIFFICULT TO
IDENTIFY OTHER STATES, IN THE
MIDDLE EAST AND BEYOND, THAT
OCCUPY TERRITORY THAT OTHERS
CLAIM AS THEIR NATIONAL
PATRIMONY, INCLUDING SYRIA,
CHINA, SPAIN, TURKEY, SUDAN,
INDIA AND RUSSIA.
WHY, ONE WONDERS, ARE EUROPEAN
STATESMEN, INTELLECTUALS, MEDIA
PERSONALITIES AND THE LIKE
OBSESSED AND I'M VERY
CONSCIOUSLY USING THE TERM
"OBSESSED," WITH ISRAEL'S
OCCUPATION OF THE WEST BANK, BUT
BY COMPARISON ARE RELATIVELY
INDIFFERENT TO SYRIA'S
OCCUPATION OF LEBANON, CHINA'S
OCCUPATION OF TIBET, SPAIN'S
OCCUPATION OF BASQUE TERRITORY,
TURKEY'S OCCUPATION OF KURDISH
TERRITORY, INDIA'S OCCUPATION OF
MUSLIM KASHMIR AND RUSSIA'S
OCCUPATION OF MUSLIM LANDS IN
CENTRAL ASIA.
WHY DOES THE BELGIAN JUDICIAL
SYSTEM SEEK TO PROSECUTE ARIEL
SHARON, WHO FAILED TO INTERVENE
WHEN CHRISTIANS MURDERED MUSLIMS
AT SABRA AND SHATILA IN
SEPTEMBER, 1982, BUT TAKES NO
STEPS TO PROSECUTE THE COMMANDER
OF THE DUTCH NATO CONTINGENT
THAT PULLED OUT OF THE BOSNIAN
TOWN OF SREBRENICA IN DECEMBER,
1995, LEAVING THE TOWN'S
MUSLIMS, WHOM THE DUTCH WERE
SUPPOSED TO PROTECT, TO THE
MERCY OF THE BOSNIANS, WHO THEN
MASSACRED THOUSANDS OF THE
MUSLIMS?
INDEED, WHY IS THERE NO WEST
EUROPEAN JUDICIAL COMMAND, ER,
CAMPAIGN, TO PROSECUTE THE
CHRISTIAN-MU -- CHRISTIAN-ARAB
COMMANDERS WHO ORDERED AND
DIRECTED THE MASSACRES AT SABRA
AND SHATILA?
WHEN EUROPEANS ACT ARBITRARILY
AND JUDGE UNEQUALLY, WITH ONE
STANDARD FOR JEWS AND ONE
STANDARD FOR THE REST OF THE
WORLD, THERE'S MORE THAN A WHIFF
OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE AIR.
THOSE WHO ARGUE IN THE VEIN I'VE
BEEN ARGUING IN ARE OFTEN
ACCUSED EITHER OF BEING UNDULY
NERVOUS OR SEEING AN ANTI-SEMITE
UNDER EVERY BED OR OF DE-
LEGITIMATING ALL CRITICISM
ISRAELI POLICY.
RIGHT-WING SUPPORTERS OF ISRAEL
WHO IN GENERAL REFUSE TO
ACKNOWLEDGE THE HARSH REALITY OF
ISRAEL'S OCCUPATION OF THE WEST
BANK AND THE LEGITIMACY OF
PALESTINIAN NATIONAL... INVITE
THIS ACCUSATION BY THEIR
REFUSAL.
MOREOVER, THE FREE AND EASY WAY
IN WHICH THEY THROW AROUND THE
CHARGE OF ANTI-SEMITISM MAKES
THE TASK OF CAREFUL EXAMINATION
OF WHEN OPPOSITION TO ISRAEL
SHADES INTO JEW-BAITING, THOSE
WHO CRY WOLF ALL THE TIME IMPEDE
AND DISCREDIT THE WORK OF THOSE
WHO CRY WOLF ONLY WHEN THE WOLF
ACTUALLY THREATENS.
AT THE SAME TIME, THOSE WHO FIND
THEMSELVES ACCUSED OF ANTI-
SEMITISM VIGOROUSLY DENY IT,
ESPECIALLY THOSE ON THE LEFT.
TOLERANT, FAIR-MINDED,
PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE IN THEIR
VIEW, THEY HOTLY DENY THAT THEY
COULD BE PREJUDICED, POINTING
OUT THAT SOME JEWS HOLD SIMILAR
VIEWS, THAT SOME OF THEIR BEST
FRIENDS ARE JEWS AND THAT THEY
HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CHAMPIONS OF
JUSTICE, EQUALITY, AND OTHER
PROGRESSIVE CAUSES.
NOW ALL OF THIS MAY BE TRUE, BUT
ONE CAN HOLD TO A DOUBLE
STANDARD WITHOUT BEING CONSCIOUS
OF IT.
IN FACT, IT IS THE NATURE OF A
DOUBLE STANDARD THAT IT REMAINS
UNACKNOWLEDGED.
THE FACT THAT OVERT ANTI-
SEMITISM IS TABOO IN RESPECTABLE
SOCIETY IN POST-HOLOCAUST EUROPE
MEANS THAT HOSTILITY TO JEWS
WILL, OF NECESSITY, BE EXPRESSED
IN WAYS THAT DO NOT DIRECTLY
TRANSGRESS THIS TABOO.
IF ONE ACCEPTS THE CONCLUSION
THAT HOSTILITY TO JEWS HAS
BECOME INTERTWINED WITH
HOSTILITY TO THE STATE OF ISRAEL
AND THAT HOSTILITY TO THE STATE
OF ISRAEL HAS BECOME A
RESPECTABLE OBSESSION IN WESTERN
EUROPE, THE NEXT QUESTION AND
THE QUESTION WITH WHICH I'M
GOING TO FINISH, IS WHY?
MORE THAN A HALF CENTURY AFTER
THE MURDER OF TWO-THIRDS OF
EUROPE'S JEWS, WHY HAVE THE
FEELINGS, ONCE TABOO, RE-EMERGED
INTO CONSCIOUSNESS, OF SEMI-
CONSCIOUSNESS, WHEN THEY REMAIN
MASKED?
AS WITH PREWAR ANTI-SEMITISM,
THERE IS NO SINGLE EXPLANATION,
BUT RATHER A COMPLEX OF CAUSES
WHICH WORK IN TANDEM TO PRODUCE
THE HEIGHTENED HOSTILITY THAT IS
OFTEN CALLED THE NEW ANTI-
SEMITISM.
THE STARTING POINT FOR ANY
ANALYSIS OF THE NEWEST WAVE OF
ANTI-JEWISH HOSTILITY IS THE
LEGACY OF PREWAR ANTI-SEMITISM,
BOTH SECULAR AND RELIGIOUS.
ALTHOUGH CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE
HOLOCAUST IMPOSED A TABOO ON
OVERT EXPRESSIONS OF ANTI-
SEMITISM IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE,
IT DID NOT SWEEP AWAY OF THE
POWER OF CENTURY-OLD WAYS OF
THINKING AND FEELING ABOUT JEWS.
THESE HOSTILE FEELINGS
SENTIMENTS, IMAGES AND TROPES
FADED AFTER THE WAR, AND THEY
LOST THE CURRENCY THEY ONCE
ENJOYED, BUT THEY DID NOT
DISAPPEAR ALTOGETHER.
THEY REMAIN EMBEDDED, WHETHER
STRONGLY OR WEAKLY IS A MATTER
OF DEBATE, IN THE HIGH AND LOW
CULTURE OF EUROPE, IN ITS
PATTERNS OF THINKING, SPEAKING
AND FEELING.
THERE THEY RESIDE.
WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES CONSPIRE TO
AWAKEN THEM, THEY SPRING TO LIFE
AND THEY BECOME ONCE AGAIN
ACTIVE ELEMENTS IN POPULAR AND
ELITE DISCOURSE.
IN A GENERAL WAY, THIS ANALYSIS
RESEMBLES THE CLASSIC, LATE 19th
CENTURY ZIONIST POSITION THAT
ANTI-SEMITISM WAS UBIQUITOUS AND
ETERNAL AND THAT NO AMOUNT OF
JEWISH BEHAVIOUR, CORRECT JEWISH
BEHAVIOUR, WOULD CAUSE IT TO
DISAPPEAR.
NOW WHETHER OR NOT THE FOUNDING
FATHERS OF ZIONISM WERE CORRECT,
THEY CLEARLY FAILED TO EXPLAIN
WHY THIS SHOULD BE SO.
THEY WERE UNABLE TO OFFER A
SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION OF THE
PERSISTENCE OF ANTI-SEMITISM.
SOME INVOKED METAPHORS OF
ILLNESS AND DISEASE, UH, BUT
THIS WAS LESS AN EXPLANATION
THAN A RHETORICAL DEVICE AND AN
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE FAILURE
OF JEWISH EFFORTS AT SELF-
TRANSFORMATION TO MAKE JEWS
ACCEPTABLE TO NON-JEWS.
AT THE SAME TIME, DESPITE THEIR
INABILITY TO EXPLAIN ANTI-
SEMITISM'S STAYING POWER, THEY
BELIEVED, NONETHELESS, THAT THE
EVENTUAL ESTABLISHMENT OF A
JEWISH STATE WOULD ELIMINATE
ANTI-SEMITISM, BOTH BECAUSE THE
JEWS WOULD SHED THEIR
ABNORMALITY AND BECOME A PEOPLE
LIKE OTHER PEOPLES, KOHOLA GOYIM
AND BECAUSE THE DIASPORA WOULD
CEASE TO EXIST AS JEWS EXITED
EUROPE AND RETURNED TO THEIR
HOMELAND.
WITHOUT JEWS IN THEIR MIDST, THE
PEOPLES OF EUROPE WOULD CEASE TO
FEAR AND HATE THEM, OR SO THEY
REASONED AT THE TIME.
IT'S NOW CLEAR THAT THESE
ASSUMPTIONS WERE WRONG.
THE REASON, I WOULD ARGUE, IS
THAT ZIONIST IDEOLOGIST
UNDERESTIMATED THE EMOTIONAL AND
CULTURAL LEGACY OF CENTURIES OF
EUROPEAN STIGMATIZATION OF JEWS
AND JUDAISM, INDEED, AS HAD THE
IDEOLOGISTS OF JEWISH
ENLIGHTENMENT BEFORE THEM, WHO
HAD EXPECTED THE POWERFUL LIGHT
OF HUMAN REASON TO BANISH THE
DARKNESS OF PREJUDICE.
MASKILIM,
THAT IS, THE
ADVOCATES OF THE JEWISH
ENLIGHTENMENT, LIBERAL
INTEGRATIONISTS, ZIONISTS,
BUNDAS, JEWISH COMMUNISTS, NONE
REALIZED HOW DEEPLY EMBEDDED THE
STIGMATIZATION OF JEWS AND
JUDAISM WAS AND IS IN WESTERN
CULTURE, IN ITS PATTERNS OF
THOUGHT, SENTIMENT AND
EXPRESSION.
JUS AS THE AS THE LEGISLATIVE
AND JUDICIAL ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE
CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN THE
UNITED STAGES FAILED TO BANISH
CONTEMPT FOR AND FEAR OF AFRO-
AMERICANS, SO, TOO,
CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE HOLOCAUST,
AND THE ANTI-SEMITISM THAT MADE
IT POSSIBLE, FAILED TO DESTROY
THE LEGACY OF CENTURIES OF
CHRISTIAN CONTEMPT.
NOW LET ME -- I DON'T WANNA BE
MISUNDERSTOOD, SO LET ME BE
PERFECTLY CLEAR.
I AM NOT SAYING THAT NON-JEWS
ARE HARDWIRED OR GENETICALLY
PROGRAMMED TO DISLIKE JEWS.
IN FACT, I'M SAYING NOTHING
ABOUT WHEN AND WHERE AND UNDER
WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES ANTI-SEMITISM
MIGHT DISAPPEAR ALTOGETHER.
ALL I AM SAYING IS THAT THE
TROPES AND MYTHS ABOUT JEWS ARE
DEEPLY EMBEDDED IN WESTERN
CULTURE AND THAT, ALTHOUGH THERE
IS LESS RECOURSE TO THEM TODAY
THAN THERE WAS IN THE DECADES
BEFORE WORLD WAR II, NONETHELESS
THEY ARE STILL ALIVE AND THEY
CAN BE MOBILIZED AT MOMENTS,
WHEN JEWS BECOME VISIBLE IN
PUBLIC ISSUES.
WHAT THEN...

He clears his throat and continues
WHEN THEN CAUSES EUROPEANS TO
EMPLOY IDEAS FROM THE ARSENAL OF
ANTI-SEMITISM?
PART OF THE ANSWER, VERY SADLY,
IS THEIR VERY CONSCIOUSNESS OF
THE ENORMITY OF THE HOLOCAUST.
IT IS NOT COINCIDENTAL, I
BELIEVE, THAT REFERENCES TO
NAZISM ABOUND IN RECENT ATTACKS
ON JEWS AND ISRAEL IN EUROPE.
RATHER, IT IS ALL TOO
ENLIGHTENING.
MUCH OF THE IMPULSE TO DENOUNCE
ISRAEL AND ITS SUPPORTERS FLOWS
FROM A DESIRE TO TURN THE TABLES
ON JEWS AND DISPLACE FEELINGS OF
HOLOCAUST-RELATED GUILT.
FOR HALF A CENTURY, JEWS AND
NON-JEWS ALIKE HAVE BEEN TELLING
EUROPEANS, GERMAN AND AUSTRIAN
PERPETRATORS, SLAVIC
COLLABORATOR AND INDIFFERENT
BYSTANDERS EVERYWHERE THAT THEY
BEAR THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE
MURDER OF SIX MILLION JEWS,
WHICH INDEED, THEY, OR RATHER,
MORE CAREFULLY SPEAKING, THEIR
ANCESTORS DO.
THE INVOCATION OF TERMS LIKE
"WAR CRIMES," "CRIMES AGAINST
HUMANITY" AND "GENOCIDE" AND THE
EXPLICIT COMPARISON OF ISRAEL TO
NAZI GERMANY REPRESENT AN EFFORT
TO DISPLACE FEELINGS OF GUILT
AND RESPONSIBILITY.
IN THE MENTAL ECONOMY OF WHO...
OF THOSE WHO USE THIS KIND OF
LANGUAGE, EUROPEANS NO LONGER
NEED TO FEEL BAD ABOUT WHAT THEY
DID OR WHAT THEY DID NOT DO
DURING THE WAR, BECAUSE, IN THE
END, JEWS ARE NO BETTER THAN
NAZIS.
AND ACCORDING TO THIS WAY OF
THINKING, EVERYONE IS A KILLER.
THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN POINTING
THEIR FINGER AT US, THEY REASON,
ARE THEMSELVES MURDERERS.
WHAT RIGHT DO THEY HAVE TO
ACCUSE US?
AS MY COLLEAGUE, ANDY MARKOWITZ
HAS NOTED, THERE IS A LIBERATING
DIMENSION TO THIS CRITICISM OF
JEWS BY -- NOW QUOTING ANDY...
BY CONSTANTLY BRINGING UP THE
TRULY SHAMEFUL AND DISGUSTING
ANALOGY OF THE ISRAELIS WITH THE
NAZIS, EUROPEANS ABSOLVE
THEMSELVES FROM ANY REMORSE AND
SHAME.
IT IS AS IF THEY ARE SHOUTING,
FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST, WE
ARE FINALLY FREE OF THIS DAMN
HOLOCAUST AT LAST.
THE LID IS OFF, THE ALLEGEDLY
JEWISH-IMPOSED TABOO IS LIFTED,
NOW THEY CAN SPEAK THEIR MINDS
FREELY ONCE AGAIN.
AS A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF
LORDS WITH STRONG LIBERAL
CREDENTIALS TOLD PETRA WYATT, A
COLUMNIST FOR THE LONDON
EVENING STANDARD,
THE
JEWS HAVE BEEN ASKING FOR IT AND
NOW, THANK GOD, WE CAN SAY WHAT
WE THINK AT LAST.
OR AS THE SPANISH FEMINIST PILAR
RAHOLA TOLD AN INTERVIEWER IN
OCTOBER, 2002, EUROPE HAS A BAD
CONSCIENCE, IT KNOWS IT IS
GUILTY AND HAS LOOKED FOR
EXPIATION FOR ITS GUILT AND IT
HAS FOUND IT IN THE PALESTINIAN
CAUSE.
THE MORE THE JEWS ARE PRESENTED
THIS IS A QUOTE FROM HER...
AS BEING THE EVIL PARTY, THE BAD
ONES, THE LESS DIFFICULT IT IS
TO CARRY THE RESPONSIBILITY AND
THE GUILT.
NOW THERE'S A VERY TERRIBLE
IRONY LURKING BEHIND THIS
PSYCHOLOGICAL TRANSACTION.
IN BLAMING JEWS FOR THE
SUFFERING OF PALESTINIANS AND
CASTING THEM AS NAZIS, WEST
EUROPEANS FORGET THAT IT WERE
NOT -- THAT WERE IT NOT FOR
THEIR OWN INTOLERANCE, THERE
WOULD HAVE BEEN LITTLE NEED TO
CREATE A JEWISH STATE IN THE
FIRST PLACE.
THE IMPETUS FOR ZIONISM WAS THE
FAILURE OF JEWISH EMANCIPATION
OR IN THE CASE OF EASTERN
EUROPE, THE FAILURE OF JEWISH
EMANCIPATION EVEN TO MAKE IT
ONTO THE SEROUS POLITICAL
AGENDA.
HAD EUROPEAN JEWRY ENJOYED LEGAL
EQUALITY AND SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE,
THEY WOULD NOT HAVE LOOKED
OUTSIDE EUROPE FOR REFUGE AND
SALVATION.
IN OTHER WORDS, THERE IS A
DOUBLE DISPLACEMENT OF
RESPONSIBILITY AT WORK IN THE
MENTAL ECONOMY OF WEST
EUROPEANS.
THEIR UNWILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT
JEWISH -- JEWS AS FELLOW
CITIZENS, SOCIAL EQUALS, BETWEEN
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND WORLD
WAR II -- I, EXCUSE ME, WORLD
WAR I -- CREATED THE FOUNDATION
FOR THE GROWTH OF ZIONISM IN THE
FIRST PLACE.
THEN THEIR ACTIVE PERSECUTION OF
JEWS DURING WORLD WAR II, OR
THEIR INDIFFERENCE TO THE
PERSECUTION OF JEWS, CONVINCED
JEWS EVEN MORE OF THE ABSOLUTE
NECESSITY OF CREATING A
SOVEREIGN STATE IN THE LAND OF
ISRAEL.
HAVING DONE THEIR BEST IN THE
19th AND 20th CENTURIES TO MAKE
JEWISH INTEGRATION AND
ACCEPTANCE DIFFICULT OR EVEN
IMPOSSIBLE, WEST EUROPEANS NOW
DAMN THEM FOR LEAVING EUROPE AND
SETTLING SOMEWHERE ELSE.
IT'S A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF DAMNED
IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON'T.
IN ACCOUNTING FOR THE PROMINENCE
OF THE LEFT, LIBERALS AND
RADICALS ALIKE, IN THE
ARTICULATION OF THE NEW ANTI-
SEMITISM, THERE ARE ADDITIONAL
CAUSES AT WORK.
FIRST, IN THE LAST HALF CENTURY,
THE LEFT HAS REGULARLY
CHAMPIONED THE CAUSE OF THIRD
WORLD, POSTCOLONIAL, NON-WESTERN
PEOPLES.
IT HAS VIEWED THEM AS VICTIMS OF
WESTERN OPPRESSION, NEO-
COLONIALISM, GLOBAL CAPITALISM,
RACISM, ET CETERA AND THEIR USE
OF VIOLENCE IN REACTING TO IT AS
SOMETHING PROGRESSIVE AND MORAL.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, THE LEFT HAS
ROMANTICIZED THESE PEOPLES AND
THEIR STRUGGLES, TRANSFORMING
THESE PEOPLES INTO THE BEARERS
OF PROGRESSIVE VALUES,
REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THERE IS
ANY FACTUAL BASIS FOR THIS.
NOW THIS IS AN OLD MOVE ON THE
PART OF EUROPEAN INTELLECTUALS,
DATING BACK AT LEAST TO THE
ENLIGHTENMENT, WHEN THE
ENLIGHTENMENT USED PERSIAN,
HINDU AND CHINESE SAGES TO
CRITICIZE EUROPEAN SOCIETY.
IT IS, IN A PECULIAR KIND OF
WAY, A SPECIES OF ORIENTALISM,
ALTHOUGH I'M SURE EDWARD SAYEED
WOULD DENY IT, THAT IS, OF THE
WESTERN WORLD'S TENDENCY TO TURN
NON-WESTERN PEOPLES INTO USABLE
SYMBOLS FOR THEIR OWN NEEDS.
WITH THIS IN MIND, IT SHOULD BE
NO SURPRISE THAT THE WEST
EUROPEAN LEFT HAS ADOPTED THE
PALESTINIAN CAUSE.
FOR THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE CAN BE
DEFINED AS PROGRESSIVE SIMPLY BY
VIRTUE OF THE FACT THAT ITS
OPPONENT, ISRAEL, IS A CLOSE
ALLY OF THE ARCH-SATAN, THE
UNITED STATES.
IN MY OWN LIFETIME, THE ROLE OF
THE PALESTINIANS IN THE
IMAGINATION OF THE EUROPEAN LEFT
TODAY WAS PLAYED PREVIOUSLY BY
OTHER PROGRESSIVE, FREEDOM-
LOVING PEOPLES, INCLUDING THE
CUBANS, THE VIETNAMESE, THE
NICARAGUANS AND THE CHINESE.
JUST AS RADICAL-MINDED COLLEGE
STUDENTS ONCE TRAVELLED TO
CASTRO'S CUBA TO HELP HARVEST
SUGARCANE, SO, TOO, STUDENTS
TODAY RUSH TO JOIN YASSER ARAFAT
IN HIS COMPOUND IN RAM ALLAH.
MOREOVER, EVEN IF MY ANALYSIS OF
WHY THE WEST EUROPEAN LEFT HAS
EMBRACED THE PALESTINIANS IS
WRONG AND MANY OF YOU MAY
DISAGREE WITH ME, THE FACT
REMAINS THAT IT HAS EMBRACED
THEM AND HAS INCORPORATED THEIR
STRUGGLE INTO ITS OWN POLITICAL
AGENDA, INTO THEIR OWN POLITICAL
CANON.
ANTI-ZIONISM IS A KEY PLANK OF
THE LEFT'S PLATFORM IN WESTERN
EUROPE.
TO BE A MAN OR A WOMAN OF THE
LEFT IS TO BE ANTI-ZIONIST, EVEN
IF ONE HAS NO PARTICULAR
INTEREST IN OR KNOWLEDGE OF THE
ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT.
IT SIMPLY COMES WITH THE
TERRITORY.
FOR THE WEST EUROPEAN LEFT,
ANTI-ZIONISM FUNCTIONS LIKE
OPPOSITION TO ABORTION FOR THE
AMERICAN RIGHT AND SUPPORT FOR
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR THE
AMERICAN LEFT.
THE INSEPARABILITY OF ANTI-
ZIONISM FROM LEFT POLITICAL
CULTURE ALSO EXPLAINS WHY SO
MANY JEWISH WRITERS, ARTISTS AND
ACADEMICS IN EUROPE RUSH TO
ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH LEFT-WING
CRITICISM OF ISRAEL.
BY VIRTUE OF THEIR JEWISHNESS,
THEIR CREDENTIALS AS MEN AND
WOMEN OF THE LEFT ARE OPEN TO
SUSPICION.
BY ACTING MORE CATHOLIC THAN THE
POPE ON THIS ISSUES, THEIR
CONFIRM THEIR BONA FIDES AS
OPPONENTS AND CRITICS OF THE
CONVENTIONAL AND THE HEGEMONIC.
IN THIS, THEY RESEMBLE THOSE
JEWISH CONVERTS TO CHRISTIANITY
IN MEDIEVAL AND EARLY MODERN
TIMES WHO BECAME MISSIONARIES
AND POLEMICISTS FOR THEIR NEW
FAITH AND THEREBY SILENCED THEIR
OWN DOUBTS AND THE DOUBTS OF OLD
CHRISTIANS, AS WELL, ABOUT THE
DEPTH AND SINCERITY OF THEIR
CONVERSION.
HEIGHTENED ANTI-AMERICANISM IN
THE AFTERMATH OF THE WORLD TRADE
CENTER ATTACK HAS ALSO
STRENGTHENED ANTI-JEWISH
SENTIMENT IN WESTERN EUROPE.
TO EXPLAIN THE SHARP RISE IN
HOSTILITY TO THE FOREIGN POLICY
OF THE UNITED STATES WOULD TAKE
US TOO FAR AFIELD.
SUFFICE IT TO SAY THAT BOTH JEWS
AND ISRAEL HAVE SUFFERED FOR
THEIR IDENTIFICATION WITH THE
UNITED STATES.
I NOW SAY, WHEN I, WHEN I'M IN
EUROPE, THAT I CAN NOW BE DOUBLY
PROSECUTED, BOTH AS A JEW AND AS
AN AMERICAN, CITIZEN OF THE
UNITED STATES.
UM, THAT'S MY MOSEL, WHICH HAS
BEEN -- ANYWAY, SUFFICE IT TO
SAY THAT BOTH JEWS AND ISRAEL
HAVE SUFFERED FOR THEIR
IDENTIFICATION WITH THE UNITED
STATES, WHICH HAS BEEN ISRAEL'S
STAUNCHEST DEFENDER IN THE LAST
THREE DECADES.
FOR THE RIGHT, JEWS AND THE
UNITED STATES REPRESENT
UNFETTERED, SOULLESS MODERNITY
AND THE SUBVERSION OF TRADITION.
FOR THE LEFT, THEY REPRESENT
UNBRIDLED CAPITALISM, RAMPANT
INDIVIDUALISM, CONSUMERISM AND
MATERIALISM.
IF THE UNITED STATES IS EVIL
BECAUSE IT SEEKS TO DOMINATE THE
WORLD IN THE INTERESTS OF GLOBAL
CAPITALISM, AND SIMULTANEOUSLY
IS ALSO THE MOST VOCAL AND
VISIBLE SUPPORT OF ISRAEL, THEN,
BY EXTENSION, ISRAEL MUST BE
EVIL AND ITS OPPONENTS,
VIRTUOUS.
THIS EXPLAINS, FOR EXAMPLE, WHY
THE ANTI-GLOBALIZATION MOVEMENT
HAS THROWN ITS SUPPORT TO THE
PALESTINIANS AND WHY JOSE BOVE,
THE FRENCH FARMER WHO GOES
AROUND BURNING McDONALD'S FAST
FOOD OUTLETS IN FRANCE, POPPED
UP IN RAMALLAH TO EMBRACE YASSER
ARAFAT.
IT HAS BEEN MY INTENT TO SKETCH
A SOBER, BUT NOT AN ALARMIST
VIEW OF THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM.
LIKE THE OLD ANTI-SEMITISM, IT
DRAWS STRENGTH AND SUPPORT FROM
POLITICAL CURRENTS THAT, ON THE
FACE OF IT, SHOULD BE
INDIFFERENT TO JEWISH MATTERS.
AND LIKE THE OLD ANTI-SEMITISM,
IT INCORPORATES AND EXPLOITS
POWERFUL MYTHS AND IMAGES DRAWN
FROM CLASSICAL, PRE-MODERN,
CHRISTIAN ANTI-JUDAISM.
BUT THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM IS
NOT, IN ANY WAY, A REPLAY OF THE
OLD.
AT THE MOMENT, IT DOES NOT
THREATEN THE PROSPERITY AND
SAFETY OF WEST EUROPEAN JEWS.
TO BE SURE, MUSLIM YOUTH, DRUNK
ON THE HEADY RHETORIC OF RADICAL
ISLAM, DO THREATEN JEWS, BUT
EUROPE'S POLICE AND GOVERNMENTS
SEEM WILLING AND ABLE TO CONTAIN
THIS THREAT.
AS INDIVIDUALS, JEWS CONTINUE TO
PROSPER AND PLAY HIGHLY VISIBLE
ROLES IN POLITICAL AND CULTURAL
LIFE, FAR MORE SO THAN THEY DID
IN THE INTERWAR YEARS.
BUT AT THE COMMUNAL OR
COLLECTIVE LEVEL, JEWISH
INTERESTS, IN PARTICULAR JEWISH
CONCERN WITH THE HEALTH AND
SECURITY OF THE JEWISH STATE ARE
MORE VULNERABLE.
THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE
THREAT POSED BY RIGHT-WING,
ULTRACONSERVATIVE, ULTRA-
NATIONALIST, ANTI-SEMITIC GROUPS
BEFORE WORLD WAR II, WHOSE GOAL
WAS BANISHING JEWS TO THE
MARGINS OF SOCIETY OR, IN THE
CASE OF NAZISM, DESTROYING THEM
ALTOGETHER.
IN TODAY'S EUROPE, JEWS HAVE
ENEMIES ON BOTH THE HARD LEFT
AND THE FAR RIGHT AND THUS THEY
CAN NO LONGER LOOK TO THE LEFT
TO DEFEND THEIR INTERESTS.
FAMILIARITY WITH THE PAST WOULD
NOT HAVE PREPARED ONE FOR THIS
TURN OF EVENTS.
FEW COULD HAVE PREDICTED IT A
DECADE OR TWO AGO.
BUT FAMILIARITY WITH THE PAST
DOES ALLOW ONE TO REALIZE WHAT
IS GENUINELY NOVEL IN THE
SITUATION.

Watch: Anti-Semitism Conference: Todd M. Endelman