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The left and anti-semitism

It is not an accident that the three key planks of the Left-wing outlook today – the anti-Israel anti-war sentiment, the shallow anti-capitalism of Occupy, and the worship of those who leak info from within the citadels of power – should all have had issues with anti-Semitism. It is because the left, feeling isolated from the public and bereft of any serious means for understanding modern political and economic affairs, has bought into a super-simplistic, black-and-white, borderline David Icke view of the world as a place overrun and ruled by cabals and cults and sinister lobby groups. And who has always, without fail, been the final cabal, the last cult, to find themselves shouldering the ultimate blame for the warped, hidden workings of politics, the economy and foreign turmoil? You got it – the Jews.

Brendan O’Neill.

That parts of the left has a penchant for anti-semitism, and other forms of mad conspiracy-mongering, is not a new observation. Take this link, for example, from Discoverthenetworks.org

59 comments to The left and anti-semitism

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I don’t know if I’m imagining things, but it seems to me that much of the media which was formerly broadly supportive of Israel has abandoned them during the latest conflict. I’m speaking of the Telegraph specifically here. It has been publishing articles that are little more than Hamas press releases without a hint of criticism.

    Of course, maybe they’ve always been anti-Israel and I just didn’t notice. They’ve laid off a number of columnists and bloggers over the last year or two which has seen them take a massive step to the left politically. Perhaps all I’m detecting is the absence of those people’s voices, while the main-page articles were always Jew-hating and now are unchallenged.

    I’m running out of places to get my news. Ostensibly “right wing” or “libertarian” newspapers all seem to be lurching to the left these days.

  • rfichoke

    At least here in America, where the influence of Murray Rothbard looms large (for both good and ill) libertarians are often as blindly anti-Israel as the hardcore Left is. I suppose they see Israel as a symbol of big government foreign aid and international meddling run amok. While it’s deplorable that we send tax dollars overseas, and that we get involved in many things we would be better of staying out of, the blind acceptance of Hamas propaganda saddens me. The KGB started all of this 3rd world anti-American agitprop and a lot of American libertarians seem to eat it up with a spoon simply because they think it bolsters their own case against the state.

  • where the influence of Murray Rothbard looms large (for both good and ill)

    Overwhelmingly for ill. I tend to see him as ‘our Chomsky’, given his propensity to simply straight out lie whenever facts did not coincide with theory… it really does not get more insulting than that given my contempt for Chomsky.

  • rfichoke
    July 27, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    If you go over to Reason Magazine the anti-Israel slant of commenters has shifted to a decidedly pro-Israel slant over the last few years. It has surprised me. It may have to do with the barbarism of Islam that has been more in the “news” over the last decade or so. But that is speculation.

  • Laird

    M. Simon, what you say seems true. Still, I think rfichoke has it about right (here in the US).

  • rfichoke,

    OK. I’m an EE – http://spacetimepro.blogspot.com/ – and just twigged to your handle. Nice.

    I got introduced to libertarian thought by EEs in ’86. Material left laying around at a large aerospace company.

  • Mr Ed

    Is it really anti-Semitism? Many on the Left were happy when they thought that Israel would be a land of kibbutzes and ‘progressives’, but the Arab States caught the Ba’athist bug.

    Is there not an element of the following in the Left’s hatred of Israel:

    Israel defends itself vigorously.

    Israel believes in itself.

    Israel does not cringe at its own culture.

    All things the Left hate, and that they would like to eliminate in their own countries. To have a living example of defiance successfully standing is too much to bear for the Left.

  • I’ve always thought the Left’s hatred of Israel was merely a stick with which to whack the Americans over the head with. For many on the left, and certainly in the Arab world, Israel and America are interchangeable. One thing is beyond question though: they don’t give a tuppenny-fuck about the Palestinians. When it is anybody other than Jews killing Palestinians and keeping them in refugee camps, the left (and the entire Muslim world) doesn’t raise a murmur.

  • Nick (Blame FrenchMEN) Gray

    If you could somehow portray the Israelis as VICTIMS, then they would become the world’s darlings. However, with Iron Dome doing such a good job of protecting them, any response they make seems like overkill.

  • Julie near Chicago

    To add to its demerits, Israel now has the strong and vocal (sshh! dear!! the children!!) support of rightwingnutextremistChristians. That already is enough to make it glow-in-the-dark country to the Left.

  • Nick (Blame FrenchMEN) Gray

    Also, there are more self-interested reasons at work. Australian Senator Bob Carr has tried to be more pro-Palestine. Not for reasons of conscience, but because his party’s electorates have a rising muslim base (He said just that in an interview, if my memory is accurate). It makes sense- new muslim immigrants are more likely to be working-class, and thus gather and live in working-class (i.e. Labor) areas. So I wonder if rising anti-semitism is a reflection of electoral realities?
    Alisa, could you maybe persuade your country-people to start breeding up, and exporting Jews to live in volatile electorates, so as to balance the numbers? Please?

  • rfichoke

    That’s good news about Reason, M. Simon. We need more discernment and thoughtfulness on our side.

    I started using rfichoke back in the 90s on IRC. I couldn’t think of a name so I just picked the first thing I saw on my desk.

  • I have not been actually reading the MSM for years, only clicking on links others post when they make this or that point. So with that in mind, my impression is that there has been a noticeable shift in Western Public Opinion – if not decidedly towards Israel, at least against anything that even remotely smells of Islam in particular, and the Middle East in general. It is still true that the old media is not nearly as excited about the Syrian and the Iraqi massacres of Christians and other non-Muslim minorities as it is excited about civilian casualties in Gaza. But, to me they seem less excited about the latter too. My overall impression is that greater numbers of Westerners are realizing that the old notion of ‘all people everywhere are the same, and they all just want the best life for themselves and for their families’ is far from being true, and that values and priorities are very much determined by one’s culture, general as well as political.

    Ed, everything you mentioned has always been at the base of antisemitism as well: rightly or wrongly, Jews have always been perceived as independent, successful, and in general, different – all things that are fundamentally anathema to the Left.

  • ragingnick

    The Leftist animosity towards Jews may seems strange given that most of the secular prophets of Leftism have been Jewish themselves (Marx, Freud, the Frankfurt school, Derrida , Chomsky). Their crime in the eyes of the left today seems to be that they also refuse to play the role of the downtrodden minority, you are of no use to the modern left if you refuse to be a victim.

  • Paul Marks

    A “women of color” poet who recently died (whose poem in praise of Hillary Clinton was recited by Charlie Rose of PBS in his recent “interview” of Mrs Clinton) was a believer in both the giant-lizards-rule-the-world theory and the evil-Jews-rule-the-world theory (perhaps Jews are really giant lizards – then both theories could be true……).

    However (being a leftist as well as a “woman of color” – which colour? blue? green?) the lady got a pass from the media (and academia).

    And do not forget our dear friends the “libertarian” leftists.

    They would like to stake every Israeli over an anthill (having first smeared them in honey).

    Just because a person (or a website) uses the word “libertarian” in self description does not mean they are any good – they may be utter scum.

  • Cyclefree

    What I thought interesting about this article is that O’Neill ignored the fact that a significant proportion of those protesting against Israel are, in fact, openly and unapologetically anti-Semitic (and that many of these people are Muslims) and express those opinions in a way which, if the speaker or demonstrator were a member of the BNP, say, would make the Left reel in horror. So that is how we see the spectacle of lots of people claiming to be against Israeli fascism marching next to people holding banners saying that “Hitler was right” – in London, in the 21st century.

    The virus of anti-Semitism has been given new force by the increase in the Muslim population in Europe and by the failure to confront the anti-Semitism of much of that population.

  • Alisa
    July 28, 2014 at 9:18 am

    I get my news from Yahoo. The number of comments on their Israeli articles is down (not a lot of white heat) and they run about 10 to 1 in Israel’s favor. I think you are correct about the change in attitude towards Islamic culture.

  • Snorri Godhi

    There is much to discuss here, but for now i just want to make Samizdata readers aware of Snorri’s Laws of Antisemitism:
    1. not all anti-capitalists are antisemites, but over 99% of antisemites are anti-capitalists.
    2. all anti-capitalist movements, if left to themselves, become increasingly antisemitic over time.

    I formulated these Laws years ago, just before starting to do some serious reading in political philosophy, so i am pleased to find that i still agree with the Snorri of 2010:

    Except that what i have learned about Rothbard (and Ron Paul) since then, has made me a bit uncertain about the First Law: maybe it’s slightly less than 99%, at least in the US.

  • Paul Marks

    Snorri – Rothbard would say anything (literally anything) to win over people to libertarianism.

    Which makes the late Murray Rothbard a bit of an arsehole – but not a real anti-Semite (if he thought defending Israel would have won over youngsters to libertarianism – he would have done that to).

    As for Ron Paul.

    His standard defence is to say that lots of things are written under his name (for example in the “Ron Paul Newsletter”) that he does not agree with – and has never even seen.

    To which the logical reply is.

    “My Dear Sir – why do you let people write stuff under your name? Indeed why do you officially authorise Rothbaridan Lew Rockwell [another bloke who will say and write anything that he thinks might when someone over to libertarianism] and co to do this?”

    I do not think there is a good reply to such questions.

  • Mr Ed

    This example of Israeli diplomacy towards Brazil seems not to be designed to smooth ruffled feathers.

    statements made by Israel’s Yigal Palmor, who called Brazil a “diplomatic dwarf” and a politically irrelevant country, and made fun of the national soccer team’s recent loss to Germany in the World Cup

  • Mr Ed
    July 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Israelis are noted for their arrogance. They make good engineers (mostly) but good diplomats are hard to find and get put in the most important posts.

  • Paul Marks

    “Israeli” and “diplomat” do not fit together well.

    However, that may not be a bad thing – “diplomatic language” is lying after all.

    “THIS IS SPARTA” (from the film “300”) is not diplomatic language, but it gets the message across.

    As for South America.

    That was lost to Israel long ago (Islamic oil money) – it became obvious when hundreds of Jews were murdered by the Iranians in Argentina, and Latin America just yawned (and that was the nice ones just yawning – the nasty ones thought it was good news).

    Still the President of Paraguay might be won over – he is the only conservative President in South America.

    There are three conservative Presidents in Latin America.

    Paraguay, Honduras and Guatemala.

    There we are – Paul the mine of useless information.

  • Paul Marks

    Also – it is pointless to be diplomatic when the other side has already withdrawn their envoy (in protest about Hamas commanders using civilians as human shields – accept that Brazil somehow thinks this is the fault of Israel).

    They have made up their minds – declared themselves an enemy, treating them as otherwise is not going to change their minds.

    Although Israel my be foolishly playing into the hands of the election tactics of the socialist party government of Brazil.

    It might have been wiser to be silent – till after the Brazilian elections.

    Although I do not understand why there is a “Jewish community” still in Brazil (or in Argentina).

    Surely they must understand they have no future there?

  • Mr Ed

    Well Israel got a lot back from Argentina after supplying them with arms during the Falklands War. In a way, they backed the military, now a losing side, in Argentina’s simmering civil war. The Montoneros won the ideological battle, but they have held back from killing as policy for now.

    Looking forward from 1960, who would have thought that Paraguay, Honduras and Guatemala would be the hopeful places in Latin America? All it would take is two decades of strong compounded economic growth and Paraguay might be the Switzerland of South America, unless the starving hordes from Argentina devour them.

    I worked with Israelis for several years, one of who stayed in a local Jewish hostel when he arrived in the UK and was looking for digs, and (being a secular socialist type) left in the fridge a little thank you to his hosts, a packet of bacon. The other two Israelis- Ha’aretz types- told us and thought it was (i) funny, and (ii) just a tiny bit embarrassing.

  • Israelis are noted for their arrogance.

    Indeed, M. Simon 🙂 (And thanks for confirming my other point).

  • lucklucky

    The Telegraph has been moving to the left since a couple years ago in all subjects.
    Like Jaded Voluntaryist says it now fully regurgitates Hamas propaganda, not even giving an hint of searching if its true or not.

    Telegraph is like the newspapers here in Portugal: the journalists are all left and they have some opinion makers from the right to say to themselves and others they are neutral.
    Worked for decades but not much.

    It is necessary to note that the engineering of victimhood from leftist jornalists is what makes possible Hamas.

    Journalists don’t care at all of deaths. They only care if they are made by Israel.

  • Buzz Lightyear

    A “women of color” poet who recently died

    I would be great if I know who you were talking about.

    I got introduced to libertarian thought by EEs

    Fuck. PLEASE EXPLAIN WHAT YOU MEAN. Energy Eaters? Elastic Elephants? Emphatic Eggplants?


  • rfichoke

    I can’t help you with the poet but EE stands for Electrical Engineer.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    As anti-semitism has become more mainstream on the left it has become less mainstream on the right (in so far as left and right differ – I don’t need telling that is often not very far). Even yer actual neo-Nazis, for whom hatred of Jews was once their animating principle, seem to be going through the motions these days. Perhaps, as mentioned above, because it isn’t Jews blowing up tube trains. Perhaps just because political groups evolve to fill any niche vacated and vacate any niche filled.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Buzz, I think the “woman of color poet” referred to was Alice Walker, but Paul is mistaken in thinking she has died. Only a little over a year ago she was hale enough to tell millions of Desert Island Discs listeners all about her support for David Icke’s theories. It’s true that she is given a pass, though. I recall that comments to this Guardian comment piece by her that mentioned her belief in the world-ruling lizards were deleted with remarkable speed.

  • The “female poet of color” was Maya Angelou (died in April 2014), author of some of the worst poetry ever penned, but lionized by fawning literary figures because she was a) Black and b) a woman, writing poetry at a time when the a)/b)combination was very rare. Ditto Alice Walker, whose prose is so opaque and verbose as to be barely literate.

    As for the Lefty anti-Semitism thing: as far as the Left is concerned, it’s all about The Struggle: if none exists, and if no “enemies” exist, then it becomes necessary to create them. The Israelis are a natural outlet for this, because Jews have always been a handy scapegoat, and because Israel largely rejected the ur-socialist kibbutz model of society for a Western democratic-capitalist one. (Apostates always get harsher treatment than infidels; ask any good fanatic.)

    So when your utopian vision of society is rejected, it’s a lot easier to blame the rejection on the machinations of cabals and secret conspiracies than it is to accept that your vision is both flawed and unworkable. Demonization is a lot easier than logical introspection, for the True Believer.

    As for the Ron Paul Effect: Paul may well be anti-Semitic (I can’t be bothered with reading his tripe to ascertain it), but the libertarian opposition to “foreign adventurism” has its roots sunk deep within traditional American isolationism, with its antipathy towards “foreign entanglements” (cautioned against by the ur-deities of the Founding Fathers, no less). Because the Jooos need occasional financial assistance for the U.S., the isolationism can also be supported by “fiscal responsibility”, which has become the modern cloak under which all can be concealed. (The otherwise excellent “Taki’s Magazine” is occasionally rendered completely unreadable when one or more of their writers get going on an anti-Israel/isolationist rant.)

    It’s pathetic, all of it. Isolationism doesn’t work in the modern era, any more than moats work around a castle; and Leftist anti-Semitism is just as inexcusable (perhaps even less so) than any other kind of racism.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Paul: whether Rothbard was an antisemite or just a hypocrite (not that the latter would be an improvement) depends on whether he believed his own propaganda. My guess, based on very limited reading of his rants, is that he did.

    As for Ron Paul: somebody who claims no responsibility for what is written under his name, and still thinks that he is fit to be POTUS, is good for comic relief and little else.

  • Kim du Toit
    July 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Haven’t seen you around anywhere I frequent for a while. As always a pleasure.

  • Mr Ed

    author of some of the worst poetry ever penned

    Ah, a Vogon. I suspect that I am actually right here.

  • Snorri Godhi

    About public opinion shifting in the favor of Israel: mine certainly did, and in spite of my arrogance i don’t think that i am exceptional in this.
    The fact is, people are increasingly distrustful of the MSM. I suspect that the majority of people in the West (and the vast majority in continental Europe) do not spend more than a few minutes a year thinking about the Middle East, and when asked in an opinion poll, will express whatever opinion they got from the headlines. (NB: not from reading the articles.) As people increasingly distrust the MSM, they increasingly distrust the headlines.
    But maybe that is just projection on my part, or wishful thinking.

    There might also be a generational shift: the young adults of today rebelling against the knee-jerk anti-Zionism of their parents.

  • Julie near Chicago

    I am irritated. (“Well! There’s a News Flash!”)

    Why is it now, apparently, PC to say “people of color” or “a woman of color” but not “colored people” or “a colored woman”?

    Yes, I know what the answer would be. I just find it a distinction without anything but a purely manipulative difference.

  • rosenquist

    That parts of the left has a penchant for anti-semitism, and other forms of mad conspiracy-mongering, is not a new observation. Take this link, for example, from Discoverthenetworks.org

    oh dear. If one wants to attack ‘conspiracy mongering’ it may be best not to follow it up with a link to a website called ‘Discoverthenetworks’.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Snorri, I like your last thought. I’ve never seen why the generational rebellion shouldn’t go at least sometimes in our favor!

    In general, I have to single out Messrs. Marks, Godhi, and du Toit for special agreement. Yes, Paul Sr. jolly well should know and accept responsibility for what’s going out under his name — although a single slip might actually be an anomaly — and if he doesn’t he’s unfit to be a publisher, let alone to have some position of governmental authority. That’s the sort of stunt the Sith pulls all the time. (Really, I think it’s more likely that he’s out to lunch on various matters than that he’s a racist in any serious way. Of course I’ve never actually dated….) Mr. Marks: Nothing wrong with your registering of disapproval of ol’ Lew. Mr. du Toit: Agree on all counts. At least, until we’ve run ourselves so far into the ground that nobody wants to bother with our remains. And even then … there are always ghouls.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Why is it now, apparently, PC to say “people of color” or “a woman of color” but not “colored people” or “a colored woman”?

    When I was at school and had to wear a school uniform from which little deviation was permitted, it was briefly important to wear a certain type of socks from Marks and Spencer. Girls who did this were cool. When too many of the semi-cool and even uncool girls got the same type of socks, they became a badge of shame.

  • lucklucky

    We already talked about The Telegraph but here is one more for the list. Today 4 Israelis were killed by mortar attack. For The Telegraph that isn’t news.

  • Julie near Chicago

    rosenquist, I have to say that Discover the Networks is in my experience generally reliable, and at its worst it’s usually a good source of leads to information you won’t get from sites like Sourcewatch (also, however, a good source of leads, especially for confirming what one reads in DTN!).

  • Julie near Chicago

    Natalie, that makes perfect sense. *rueful smile*

    Humans are a contrary lot.

    . . .

    You know — that brings to mind the lady who said, more-or-less, “You have given them all our precious things!”

    I know everybody here knows that quote. Somebody refresh me please?

  • rfichoke

    I do think there’s a prudent application of isolationism. Although I don’t think it should properly be called isolationism. There’s a true American isolationism found among blue-collar union Democrats that stands in opposition to all foreign trade, immigration (legal or otherwise), and military engagements overseas.

    Washington’s farewell address warned against entangling alliances and I take this to mean the kind of game-playing and intrigue that the European powers had been engaged in for centuries at that point. It leads to a waste of time, money, and lives in wars that really serve no purpose other than the self-congratulatory machinations of diplomats and special interests. I think the United Nations is the ultimate expression of this kind of trap. It binds our hands and those of our allies when we need to be free to act in our own best interests.

    We really tie Israel down by giving them funding because there are always strings attached. And when the excrement is about to impact the air circulation device, we always come in and yank the leash. That’s what Kerry and Obama are trying to do now, in fact.

    Unfortunately, very few public figures seem to take a prudent middle way on foreign policy. Rand Paul is trying but his father’s acolytes hate him for it. He’s “betraying them,” of course.

  • Rich Rostrom

    ISTM that the deep root of anti-Zionism is guilt over colonialism. Israel is, arguably, the last extant “settler colony”. (In practice it is a refugee state: Arabs displaced in 1948 were substantially outnumbered by post-1948 Jewish refugees from Arab countries to Israel.)

    Guilt over colonialism and white expansion is programmed deep into the Left consciousness. Even blatant lies are taken as gospel if they fit the narrative. Vide Ward Churchill, who built a lucrative academic career on scholarly and personal fraud about American Indians. On the other side, Keith Windschuttle was savagely excoriated for exposing the accepted “massacre” narrative of Tasmanian settlement as largely false.

    But there is not much for contemporary Leftists to do about the crimes of colonialism. Pizarro and Clive and Andrew Jackson and Rhodes are long dead. Nothing can be done now about the Sand Creek Massacre, the Atlantic slave trade, or the Opium Wars. All the colonies in Asia and Africa are independent. White South Africa surrendered; white America, Canada, and Australia (and Latin America, in another sense) are irrevocable demographic realities. (Though one sees fantasies to the contrary: the “Hawaiian independence movement”, a lawsuit asserting that Aboriginal claims override all Australian land titles.)

    Israel remains, and so it serves as the scapegoat for all the historic sins of the “white race”. There is just enough parallel between Israel and other colonies and settlements for Leftists to seize on. (Though as I noted above, the moral weight of that parallel is more than offset by Arab actions.)

    For Moslems, of course (and for the reactionary Right), anti-Zionism morphs seamlessly into pure anti-semitism. Well-meaning “progressive” Jews refuse to notice this, of course. And in fact Moslem anti-Zionism has nothing to do with anti-colonialism, except to borrow its rhetoric for cover with Westerners.

  • rfichoke

    I’ve never thought of it that way but it has the ring of truth.

    I’ve always wondered why the Left has so much guilt about things they didn’t do though. I mean, I can look back at the treatment of the Cherokee and say “wow, that was terrible.” But I don’t feel any personal connection to it (and I even have some Cherokee ancestry). I just look at it as the umpteenth example of how nasty people can be to each other and move on. Why are they so emotionally involved in such things? I have to think there’s some kind of deep seated psychological disorder going on there.

  • Paul Marks

    Ah – it appears that I have combined two poets (my apologies).

    Although the opinions of the two poets appear to have been similar in most respects – one of the ladies may not have supported the “giant lizards rule the world” theory.


    At least your Cherokee ancestry is real.

    Senator Elizabeth Warren based her life (in academia and outside it) on FAKE Cherokee ancestry.

  • Rfichoke, that is at the very basis of collectivist thought: one is less an individual than one is a member of this or that group (race, gender, ethnic group, clan, religion, class, etc.). This mindset applies both to oneself and to others, whether favorably or unfavorably. Consequently, feelings of guilt, pride, empathy, hatred, low or high expectations, disappointment, etc., are all automatically extended to groups, and they are applied to individuals inasmuch as those are seen as representatives of the groups to which they have been assigned, either by circumstance or by fiat.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite correct Alisa.

    For example, the modern leftist assumption that all Jews are white – and that race is at the base of the wars in the Middle East (and everywhere else).

    The fact that many Israelis are physically identical to the followers of Islam they are fighting, is unacceptable to the left.

    It must be matter of physical groups – not individual choice of ideas.

    For example, someone might be born into a Muslim family (and be “ethically” dark skinned and eyed) – and reject Islam.

    And someone might be blond and blue eyes – and decide to adopt the ideas (the beliefs) of Islam.

    Yet, to the collectivists (of both “left” and “right”) this is all impossible.

    As is the idea that someone might decide to become a Jew (to be converted to Judaism).

    Although “what is a Jew?” is a notoriously complex question.

  • Nick (Blame FrenchMEN) Gray

    Quite right, Paul, the Jewry is out on that question!

  • Paul,

    For Jews “what is a Jew is a simple question”. Jewish mother? Of course from the outside it looks more complicated. To some.

  • rosenquist

    Rfichoke, that is at the very basis of collectivist thought: one is less an individual than one is a member of this or that group (race, gender, ethnic group, clan, religion, class, etc.). This mindset applies both to oneself and to others, whether favorably or unfavorably. Consequently, feelings of guilt, pride, empathy, hatred, low or high expectations, disappointment, etc., are all automatically extended to groups, and they are applied to individuals inasmuch as those are seen as representatives of the groups to which they have been assigned, either by circumstance or by fiat.

    indeed, the notion of the ‘self hating Jew’ being a prime example of such thinking.
    When the individual does not conform to the essentialised identity of the group then they are pathologized as ‘self hating’.

  • When the individual does not conform to the essentialised identity of the group then they are pathologized as ‘self hating’.

    Not quite. Rather, it is when the individual himself readily participates in the assignment of that essentialised (and mostly fictional) identity to that group, going as far as expressing outright hatred towards that identity, is such an individual described as ‘self-hating’.

  • rosenquist

    The label of ‘self hating Jew’ is usually (though not always) applied to Jews who are perceived as critical towards the military policy of the Israeli state; thus it is informed by collectivist thinking in its most crude form, for the identity, indeed the very core of the individual subject, is perceived as continuous with and inseparable from the state.

    Note that I am not commenting on the rights or wrongs of Israeli military policy here (which in discussions on the matter are for some reason only ever completely right or completely wrong), but only on the ultra-nationalist, ultra-statist metacontext that usually informs the labeling of Jews as ‘self hating’.

  • The label of ‘self hating Jew’ is usually (though not always) applied to Jews who are perceived as critical towards the military policy of the Israeli state

    Not at all, not in my experience – in which it is usually (though not always) applied to Jews who are prone to the knee-jerking sort of such criticism – big difference, in my book.

    I was going to add that a response to knee-jerking can turn knee-jerking itself, and extend to legitimate and constructive criticism of Israel’s military policies, but unfortunately I find it difficult to think of any specific examples. In fact, and personally speaking, I would find such constructive and informed criticism very helpful. There may be some, but to my great dismay it must be lost in the great sea of, well, knee jerking.

  • Paul Marks

    M. Simon – you forget that people can be converted to Judaism (become Jews).

    For example, a lady I know in Country Antrim has no Jewish mother.

    As for me – clearly I am not Jewish as my mother was Nina Power (not Jewish).

    Although my father was asked (more than once) “are you Jewish – I know your wife is Jewish, but are you?”

    Someone who is small and dark (and has a long nose) “must” be Jewish you see.

    And my mother’s hair hid her oddly shaped ears.

    Alas my baldness makes the tops of my ears only too obvious.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    I saw a good movie about a self-hating Jew- based on a real case in modern New York. One Jewish teen joined a neo-Nazi group of bikies. I forget the name of the movie, but it was well-done.
    And I think that anti-semitism will rise in most countries, because Muslims are fleeing to the West, but not modernising their opinions, so when they voice their concerns to their local members, a conscientious representative might take up their pro-palestine complaints as representing the actual concerns of the people who voted for him/her, and who could vote him/her out of office. Power first, conscience second.

  • It is a very good film (Gosling is an extremely talented actor), but it is almost entirely fictional, although it was inspired by a real person.

    BTW, that W entry contains a link to a very accurate definition of a self-hating Jew.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    And it has taken me this long to realise that the Left hates Israel because the socialist lifestyle of the kibbutzim is no longer practiced in Israel! Israel started out with a strong egalitarian impulse, just as all new nations seem to do, but it is now regarded as a capitalist, free enterprize bastion in the Middle East.
    Just grow some Kibbutzim, and they’ll fall in love with the Jews again!