Saturday, December 04, 2010

European antisemitism, anti-Zionism and the Left


But looking (for another purpose) through the volumes on my shelves by Jean Améry, I happened upon an essay of his from 1976, entitled 'Antisemitism on the Left'. Améry wrote one of the most powerful and distressing works known to me on the experience of the Nazi camps - At the Mind's Limits. It stands alongside the writing of Primo Levi, both as a document of witness and in its philosophical acuity and depth. His essay on 'Antisemitism on the Left' can be found in the collection Radical Humanism. You start reading it and you see at once that virtually none of the themes and arguments now so familiar in the post-9/11 world is absent or unanticipated there.

We are already witnessing how political groups that regard themselves as "leftist" don't waste a word when a despot and paranoid in Uganda commits abominable murders; how they do not protest when the absolute ruler of Libya enacts laws under which adulterous women are stoned... Yet Israel - certainly no model state, but surely a polity that permits opposition... - is in leftist mythology a "reactionary" land.

Further on:

[A]ntisemitism, even if it calls itself anti-Zionism, is not respectable. On the contrary, it is the indelible stain that mars the honor of civilized humanity.


BBC programme examines the phenomenon of antisemitism as anti-Zionist

Anthony Julius:

“Given that the principle of the Jewish state would be defended to the death by most if not all Jewish Israelis, to call for the dismantling of the Jewish state is to encompass the possibility of the wholesale death of its Jewish population. And if one can contemplate that with equanimity, one’s cold-heartedness puts one in the company of antisemites even if it doesn’t qualify one as an antisemite.”

(Via: HP)


At 8:52 AM EST, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Anthony Julius, I suggest, is a bit too careful in this specific quote. Willingness to consider the wholesale death of 6 M Israelis makes one a one hundred proof anti-Semite.

At 8:52 AM EST, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Oops. Forgot. Thanks for all the links.

At 6:47 PM EST, Anonymous WillJames said...

Not directly related to this post, but too good to miss, is Benny Morris' latest on "peace negotiations" with the Palestinians:

At 1:24 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks WillJames. The truth needs to be written and read, no matter how bleak.

One wonders why Obama thought he could succeed despite the obvious.


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