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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No, you don't have to be a hypocrite to be an anti-Semite ...

{link » Let’s see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is}
Caryl Churchill will argue that her play is about Israelis not Jews, but once you venture on to “chosen people” territory – feeding all the ancient prejudice against that miscomprehended phrase – once you repeat in another form the medieval blood-libel of Jews rejoicing in the murder of little children, you have crossed over. This is the old stuff. Jew-hating pure and simple – Jew-hating which the haters don’t even recognise in themselves, so acculturated is it – the Jew-hating which many of us have always suspected was the only explanation for the disgust that contorts and disfigures faces when the mere word Israel crops up in conversation. So for that we are grateful. At last that mystery is solved and that lie finally nailed. No, you don’t have to be an anti-Semite to criticise Israel. It just so happens that you are.

If one could simply leave them to it one would. It’s a hell of its own making, hating Jews for a living. Only think of the company you must keep. But these things are catching. Take Michael Billington’s somnolent review of the play in the Guardian. I would imagine that any accusation of anti-Semitism would horrify Michael Billington. And I certainly don’t make it. But if you wanted an example of how language itself can sleepwalk the most innocent towards racism, then here it is. “Churchill shows us,” he writes, “how Jewish children are bred to believe in the ‘otherness’ of Palestinians ...”

It is not just the adopted elision of Israeli children into Jewish children that is alarming, or the unquestioning acceptance of Caryl Churchill’s offered insider knowledge of Israeli child-rearing, what’s most chilling is that lazy use of the word “bred”, so rich in eugenic and bestial connotations, but inadvertently slipped back into the conversation now, as truth. Fact: Jews breed children in order to deny Palestinians their humanity. Watching another play in the same week, Billington complains about its manipulation of racial stereotypes. He doesn’t, you see, even notice the inconsistency. [emphasis added]
 — Howard Jacobson
 h/t Norm
British anti-Semites accuse Jews of "breeding"
children to hate Palestinians.
Do you think either female, pictured (above) supporting British Muslims, understands the meaning of "Holocaust"? Perhaps the child does, but I doubt it. In any case, it's a moot point.

I think that the hypocrisy on display is a tactic. It is designed to inflame the outrage of its targets by flaunting this complete disregard for civility and logic. In so doing, it confounds any attempt by the targeted demographic (Jews, and the dwindling number of non-Jews who haven't yet lost their minds) to counter the anti-Semitic attacks with civil discourse.

It isn't possible to reason with those who hate Jews for a living. But, as a friend of mine has recently reminded me, one mustn't give up reasoning with those who make their living according to accepted norms of Western civilization.

2 comments:

  1. Secular Apostate2/19/2009 6:46 AM

    Sadly, I happen to agree with the observation that "You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into." The capitalized version of Western Civilization, as it is generally understood, is tottering on its last legs and has been in decline for some time.

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