Friday, September 29, 2006

Hating Jews For Being Jews (And The Indifference of Many In The West)

From Victor Davis Hanson (courtesy of RCP) comes his latest essay, The New Anti-Semitism. Usually, he makes an compelling argument, but with this one I must take some exception to the overall message that he indicates in the title and in his claim. His facts are valid enough. But, having read this piece, an old line from the song "We Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who, came to mind:

Meet the new boss,
Same as the old boss.

(If you have ever seen the Who in concert that's the last line in this song, just before the song and the concert ends, with Pete Townsend slamming his guitar into the stage.)

But why do I say this? I do not see this new form of anti-semitism as much different than the old forms. Let's look at his opening statement:

Hating Jews, on racial as well as religious grounds, is as old as the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Later in Europe, pogroms and the Holocaust were the natural devolution of that elemental venom.

Anti-Semitism, after World War II, often avoided the burning crosses and Nazi ranting. It often appeared as a more subtle animosity, fueled by envy of successful Jews in the West. "The good people, the nice people" often were the culprits, according to a character in the 1947 film "Gentleman's Agreement," which dealt with the American aristocracy's social shunning of Jews.

A recent third type of anti-Jewish odium is something different. It is a strange mixture of violent hatred by radical Islamists and the more or less indifference to it by Westerners.

This is where he and I disagree. This is nothing new or different, in my view. This is the same anti-semitism, the same hatred, only the reasons for that hatred are different. The only exception is how far this "so-called" new wave has progressed, so far.

In Nazi Germany, it started out subtle. But, it was allowed to progress to the ultimate form of hatred, which was genocide. Why? Mostly because the rest of the world was in either a state of denial or just did not care.

They saw the events that led up to the worst manifestations of deep-seeded hatred, and they flat out ignored them. Far too many people (flat out) overlooked Kristallnacht and all of the hateful propaganda and rhetoric that whipped that nation into a paranoid frenzy, so much so, that the bulk of that nation's population began to feed into the lies and the vitriolic demonization of a small but brilliant group of people that were only guilty of being, who they were.

Lies told bold enough and long enough, soon have a way of being accepted as truth. They were a successful bunch and many resented it. Look at all of the brilliant contributions Jewish scientists have made to the world and tell me just what they have done to deserve going to gas chambers in mass numbers.

Now, let's look at today's anti-semitism, which Mr Hanson is claiming to be so different:

Those who randomly shoot Jews for being Jews - whether at a Jewish center in Seattle or at synagogues in Istanbul - are for the large part Muslim zealots. Most in the West explain away the violence. They chalk it up to anger over the endless tit-for-tat in the Middle East. Yet privately they know that we do not see violent Jews shooting Muslims in the United States or Europe.

This is the same form of indifference as yesteryear, at least in my estimation it is. There are many right here in the U.S. that couldn't care any less.

From the hard leftists that blame the state of Israel for the world's ills to the neo-Nazi Aryan supremacist types that blame the world's ills on Jews in general. But, the result is the same. The motives for the hatred may be different, but there is no difference as far as outcome is concern. Hatred is hatred, whatever the excuse may be given to justify it.

The state-run, and thus government-authorized, newspapers of the Middle East, slander Jews in barbaric fashion. "Mein Kampf" (translated, of course, as "Jihadi") sells briskly in the region. Hamas and Hezbollah militias on parade emulate the style of brownshirts. In response, much of the Western public snoozes. They are far more worried over whether a Danish cartoonist has caricatured Islam, or if the pope has been rude to Muslims when quoting an obscure 600-year-old Byzantine dialogue.

If that's not enough, look at this snippet that precedes the previous one:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promises to wipe Israel "off the map." He seems eager for the requisite nuclear weapons to finish off what an Iranian mullah has called a "one -bomb state" - meaning Israel's destruction would only require one nuclear weapon. Iran's theocracy intends to turn the idea of a Jewish state on its head. Instead of Israel being a safe haven for Jews in their historical birthplace, the Iranians apparently find that concentration only too convenient for their own final nuclear solution.

As chilling and frightening as this may be, it is certainly not surprising. But that's not all of it, get a load of this next excerpt:

In response, here at home the Council on Foreign Relations rewards the Iranian president with an invitation to speak to its membership. At the podium of that hallowed chamber, Ahmadinejad, who questions whether the Holocaust ever took place, basically dismissed a firsthand witness of Dachau by asking whether he really could be that old.

Now let's compare this with the indifference of yesteryear. To do this, you have to read this. There you will find a list of nations that turned a blind eye, back then. And even today, many people in these same countries are more than willing to turn a blind eye to the escalating events seen in the present day.

So, to say that this brand of anti-semitism is new, ignores many aspects of history. To think that this cannot ever happen again, demonstrates a certain naivete that can only be overcome by people opening their eyes to the past events. The events that are occurring today are bone-chilling reminders of similar events that were allowed to escalate, to what later became an out of hand situation that could have prevented, had it been dealt with much earlier.

And despite Mr. Hanson's many truths that are included in this essay of his, he misses the bigger picture that needs to be considered in the trends that are forming, in both the Middle East and the West, today. Western nations may not be openly collaborating with Iran by sending Jews to Iran to be exterminated, as was done by many during the Holocaust. But, by turning a deaf ear to the early warning signs that the Iranian government's leadership are freely displaying, how much longer will it be before this becomes a scenario that results in even more dead Jews?

This is a much more important question to ask, because this next time it will not be by a gas chamber, but from a nuclear bomb sent through the air on a missile. It will not take months to round up Jews and exterminate them a few hundred at a time, This time it will only take a few minutes, because millions are rounded up in a small area already (an area that was set up for them to live in peace and prevent this kind of atrocity from ever happening again).

Maybe in one respect VDH is right, this is different in that the violence against Jews has escalated by technology and logistics; and in that respect it stands to get even worse. But make no mistake, the anti-semitism today is the same hatred felt back in days of the Holy Roman Empire, led by Christians that blamed the Jews of that day, for the ones that killed Christ in a previous period. It's just Muslims that are propagating this hatred, today. And it's the same indifference of others that emboldens them to spread it.


Mary Ellen said...

Hello LASunsett

I've been wanting to get to this all day but could't get much time. I'll give it my best shot before leaving the house again.

I agree with you wholeheartedly, that racism against Jews still occurs. I also agree that the forms of attacks on Jews are much more pronounced with the easy availability of those who are willing to give up their own lives in a means to killing the largest amount of Jews as possible in one quick swoop. A bomb attached to their bodies, the suicide bombers are able to enter a bus or restaurant without being noticed. This is far different than having a country's leader send in troops to round up Jews and cart them off to a concentration camp. I think this is what many Americans mean when they say, "never again". They aren't looking at the suidide bombers or the threats of a nuclear attack on Israel, they're thinking of concentration camps, gas chambers, piles of burnt bodies. They aren't, IMO, looking at the big picture.

To say, "never again" is unrealistic and naive. If you want to go beyond the racism and hatred for Jews, look at the genocide (this phrase was coined in 1944 because of what Hitler did to the Jews) that has taken place since then. We've had Bosnia, Rwanda, and are currently watching the genocide in Darfur. Everyone says, "never again". I hate to say it, but it's too's continuing and will continue until we finally wake up to the fact that we can't keep turning our backs on this, just because it isn't happening in the US or to us, personally.

LASunsett said...

Hi Mary Ellen,

// We've had Bosnia, Rwanda, and are currently watching the genocide in Darfur. Everyone says, "never again". I hate to say it, but it's too's continuing and will continue until we finally wake up to the fact that we can't keep turning our backs on this, just because it isn't happening in the US or to us, personally.//

I realize I am playing a game of semantics here with what I am about to say. But there is one difference that I would point out.

Rwanda was definitely genocide, Darfur is too. But Bosnia and Kosovo were a cases of ethnic cleansing. The Serbs were not trying to eliminate anyone in the same sense that Hitler did, they were trying to drive them out. If it meant killing them to do it, so be it. But, that is not to say that it was any less horrific, by any stretch of the imagination. It was a horrible crime and it was wrong. No two ways about it

The thing that I find interesting about the whole Kosovo situation is this: We were bombing the hell out of the Serbs (which as you know were Christian) to protect the ethnic Albanians (which were Muslims) from being killed and driven out of their rightful homeland. None of the radical(and some not so radical) Muslims today, give us any credit for that.

But make no mistake I think you are right when you say it's not going to get any better. I have heard someone (I forget who) say that the killing of Jews will stop, when the Muslims that do this, start loving their children MORE than they hate the Jews. Whether or not that happens in our lifetime, I cannot say. But we can always hope.

I have to say that the Darfur situation has provided some real cause for outrage, due to the hypocrisy of Louis Farrakhan. As you may know, he embraces the Muslim Arab government that is responsible for the atrocities against black Christians. This really pisses me off, because he makes this big production about how here in America, whites are still hurting blacks and yet he is silent on the killing there.

Mary Ellen said...


Ah, the difference between ethnic cleansing and genocide. I can see where you are going with this. With Bosnia, it was the process of forcing out the Albanians whether it be by killing or just driving them out. I think in most cases, however, the Serbs were happier just to kill as many as they could in order to achieve their goal of cleansing the area.Genocide was part of the "cleansing".

The important thing was that the United Nations was able to prosecute the war crimes in Bosnia under Resolution 827 for breaches in the Geneva Convention regarding the violation for genocide and crimes against humanity. I think that was the first time since Nuremburg that there was an actual tribunal for war crimes, was it not?

Don't even get me started on Louis Farrakhan! When he said that Hitler was a great man...that was enough for me. Did he forget how much Hitler hated blacks? If he were in Germany when Hitler was still in power, Farrakhan would have been in one of his concentration camps right along with all those Jews he says he hates. I have the feeling he wouldn't think Hitler was such a great guy after all. Farrakhan is a nut case, a very dangerous nut case.

LASunsett said...

Mary Ellen,

//Genocide was part of the "cleansing".//

Absolutely. That is why I said this was merely a case of semantics and why I said:

But, that is not to say that it was any less horrific, by any stretch of the imagination. It was a horrible crime and it was wrong. No two ways about it

I wasn't intending to assign a different value to it. I only meant to draw the distinction between the objectives of the two.

I am quite sure they were pleased to kill as many as they could in the process. But the difference I wanted to point out, lies in the motive. The question is, if the Albanians would have left, would the Serbs have gone after them and eliminated them? I doubt it.

But in the cases of Hitler and the Jews as well as Rwanda, the specific goal was to wipe out or completely, and they would have gone after them.

I know several people that I have worked with over the years that survived that conflict. And from what they have told me (when they were willing to talk about it) was, it was horrific. One guy that used to work in my building, watched his own father slaughtered.

One other distinction between Hitler's campaign and that of the other two was the Jews never did anything to instigate Hitler's genocide. The other two were different. The Albanians had terrorists that committed acts against the Serbs prior to the Serbs' blatant overreaction; and the Tutsis and Hutus have a longstanding feud that went back a ways.