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Corbynization

THE CORBYNIZATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONTINUES APACE: New York Times international edition prints anti-Semitic cartoon of Trump, Netanyahu.

I found the term used in this Instapundit article as interesting as the short article itself. Corbynization: now in use outside the UK to describe the mainstreaming of institutional anti-Semitism.

56 comments to Corbynization

  • Umbriel

    Personally, the first thing I associate with the name “Corbyn” isn’t anti-semitism, but neo-Stalinism, but to each his own.

  • bobby b

    I’m confused. Is there something historically anti-semitic about pictures of dogs?

    The cartoon is definitely anti-Bibi, anti-Trump, and anti-Israel, but it clearly conveys its intended message, and so is effective. Many cultures have referred to their enemies as dogs. Asians – Chinese and Korean – call us running dogs. In Yiddish, a “dog with ears” is someone lacking morals. We insult a woman by calling her “bitch.” Vietnamese insult you by calling you a “cho” – a dog. Muslims seem to refer to everybody as dogs. I see no specific Jewish component to this insult qua insult.

    I dislike the NYT, but I don’t see the basis for this call-out.

    I also fail to see how we can look for labels for antisemitism or communism outside of our own liberals. Corbyn doesn’t appear to be any worse than many of our representatives and senators from the Democratic party on either score.

  • Julie near Chicago

    We Americans also use “dog” as a term of opprobrium. For instance, we might say “that play was a real dog.”

    .

    Personally, I am a pro-dog phreak, just so everyone knows.

    .

    It sounds to me (nobody saved & posted it to the Web?) as if the cartoon was more anti-Trump and anti-Bibi than anti-Semitic. This just might be a big nothingburger.

    ETA: I see bobby said the same thing, just ahead of me. Great minds, etc.

    .

    As a dog-lover, I’m actually offended by the platitude “lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.” T’ain’t necessarily so!

    Nor do I care for “pig” as an Opprobrius Epithet.

  • bobby b

    Julie, if you’re not seeing the cartoon, here’s a copy.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thanks ever so, bobby. Actually, it’s Trump holding Bibi’s-cum-Israel’s leash, so it’s a slam against Bibi-cum-Israel. I don’t really see the alleged anti-Semitism on the part of the present Sulzberger (!) and his merry band.

    Well, the NYT can publish what it likes, and I can remain unimpressed.

    ETA: Oh. I’ll have to see what Mr. Jacobson’s crew have to say.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh, I see. The sunglasses are supposed to mean the President is a blind man. So also a slam against Trump. Still a Nothingburger. Fuzzy Slippers can see it as she wants, of course.

    I speak as one who has been strongly anti-anti-Semitic almost since birth. Heck, maybe I got that way in the womb. It ran in the family.

  • Nico

    @Julie: tropes (e.g., the yarmulka, and the star of David dog collar).

    What’s funny though is that after all this time of complaining that Trump is a racist and antisemite, now they seem to be complaining that’s he’s a Jew. Whichever is it? Oh, right, it’s doublethink.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Didn’t some dumb philosopher* claim that “A thing cannot be and not-be in the same sense and at the same time”? Obviously our intellectual betters do not subscribe to this theory.

    Oh yeah, one a them hick Greek philosophers. Guy by the name of Aristotle, I think. Bunch a no-nuttinks, like all them dead white guys.

  • bobby b

    Is it possible to express anti-Zionism without being accused of anti-semitism?

  • I dislike the NYT, but I don’t see the basis for this call-out.

    Seriously? This is not a ‘dog whistle’ anti-Semitism, it’s a bullhorn anti-Semitism, complete with “Jews as animals” and “Jews as manipulators” visuals… it is like something from Der Sturmer.

  • Mr Ed

    I agree with Perry, I would have expected something like Der Sturmer to have run this cartoon had it been around today. Mr Trump’s daughter is a convert to Judaism, so the association is all the more pointed.

    I still believe that Mr Corbyn is not hostile to Jews per se, just those who are Zionists. i am sure he is perfectly happy with holding Zionism as the current ultimate evil, the zenith of Imperialism and therefore of Capitalism, so any opposition to it is, therefore, better and worthy of his support.

  • James Strong

    It’s a pointed cartoon, not necessarily funny but an attack on two individual politicians.
    It’s not an attack on Jews, nor an attack on tall American billionnaires – it’s an attack on Netanyahu and Trump.

    It’s no more anti-semitic than me saying that I don’t think much of Dianne Abbot’s arithmetic is racist.

    If one is opposed to the policies of a politician who happens to be Jewish that politician doesn’t deserve a free pass just because of his Jewishness.

  • Itellyounothing

    Hmm.

    Speaking as someone who likes Trump and Israel, most politicians are subject to unflattering cartoons, so what unflattering cartoons that cover Trump, Bibi and Israel aren’t antisemitic?

    The opinions above seem to leave a very tiny gap for critics to thread. That’s normally complained about as a freedom of speech issue.

    If I saw a cartoon of Theresa May wearing leather whipping a tied up white van driver with a Tshirt saying ordinary British while EU functionary passes her Euro notes I could say it’s xenophobic and sexist. That sort of thing will have been done.

    What takes this cartoon from a disrespectful foreign policy critique to an antisemitic one?

    Genuinely interested, not trying to justify it?

  • It’s no more anti-semitic than me saying that I don’t think much of Dianne Abbot’s arithmetic is racist.

    Nope. If you symbolically highlighted not Dianne Abbots poor arithmetic but also her skin tones, that is probably going to seem rather racist. This cartoon is highlighting Jewishness.

    If one is opposed to the policies of a politician who happens to be Jewish that politician doesn’t deserve a free pass just because of his Jewishness.

    That politician doesn’t deserve a free pass just because of his Jewishness, for sure…but if you choose to highlight that Jewishness as you highlight the fact you don’t agree with their policies, don’t be surprised if people draw the obvious inference that it might not just be the policies you dislike.

  • I don’t often dissent, let alone strongly, from bobby b or Julie, but I would certainly have said the anti-semitism of the cartoon was clear. My immediate thought on seeing it – and I don’t think this was because I, of course, became aware of it in the context of the controversy – was “Would do for Der Stuermer”.

    I’m thinking of pre-1933 Der Stuermer, when the revolting Streicher spent months in jail at a time because Germany back then, unlike Britain back then, had hate speech laws ‘protecting’ Jews (my quotes are because we know how well that turned out). By 1936, Germany’s anti-free speech laws having markedly changed in their orientation, Stephen Roberts (“The House that Hitler Built”) noted that Der Stuermer’s anti-semitic cartoons were so sexually lurid in their accusations that “One must search to find one that can be reproduced in an English publication”. (No hate speech laws on what you could print in Britain back then, but some on how sexually explicit it could be.)

    Obviously, much of the issue is the hypocrisy of the NYT. 0.1% of this would have them screaming ‘racist’ in a PC context. But take away that major issue and yes, I’d still say it was an obviously anti-semitic cartoon. Not one that I, a supporter of free speech, would ever want banned. But yes, one that I, no friend to wild language, would casually say means “They don’t like Jews much”. It is not just Trump and Bibi who are being attacked.

  • bobby b

    “I don’t often dissent, let alone strongly, from bobby b or Julie, but I would certainly have said the anti-semitism of the cartoon was clear.”

    First, let me virtue-signal: I have been accused of being overly fanatical in my support of Israel. I don’t raise the following argument for anti-Israel or anti-semitic reasons.

    But Israel is specifically, intentionally, and explicitly a Jewish state. Judaism is the soul of Israel. Israel’s own symbols consist primarily of those related to Judaism. You cannot speak of Israel without a Jewish context.

    I don’t read the symbols and characteristics used in this cartoon as referring to Judaism – I see them as representing Israel. To place the yarmulke on Trump’s head says, to me, that he has been taken in by Israel – not by Judaism – especially in the context of Bibi acting as his guide dog.

    How does this anti-semitism accusation that follows every referral to one of Israel’s chosen symbols any different than complaining when liberals put forth a 16-year-old autistic little girl to argue their AGW case and then complain that no one ought to argue against a little girl?

    Find me some way to use Israel’s own symbolism to popularly and quickly represent Israel in a cartoon that involves no Judaic reference. You’ll be hard-pressed to do so.

  • Dogleg

    That Trump is blind is legitimate cartoon-comment. That he has a Jewish guide dog leading him along is maybe a legitimate cartoon-comment, perhaps on his Jerusalem embassy decision.
    But why now? In April 2019?
    That he is wearing a yarmulke is just straightforward anti-Semitic.
    However, Trump should be consoled that, for the NYT, he is simultaneously a Jewish puppet and a Charlottesville Der Sturmer type white supremacist. What a guy!

  • Julie near Chicago

    You can easily view Trump, Bibi, and the state of Israel with strong disfavor while still viewing both Judaism and most Jews highly favorably. For instance, you might think that both Trump and Bibi are corrupt politicians of a particularly pernicious type who are partners in crime, and that Israel is an illegitimate state that ought not to exist at all and should certainly not be encouraged or supported, as in fact some observant Jews argue — while still believing that on the whole Jewish folk tend to be both intelligent and well-intentioned and not particularly a public menace for any reason.

    The point being, you can be anti-Trump, anti-Bibi, anti-Israel, and believe that Trump is like a man being led by Bibi-cum-Israel, while not particularly being anti-Jewish.

    The only thing that might tell against this interpretation is the yarmulke.

    I don’t claim to know what was the cartoonist’s motivation to draw this particular cartoon (if he’s a cynical type, it might have been merely filthy lucre and a lust for public notice), nor the NYT’s in publishing it, but I just don’t see it as self-evidently anti-Semitic, although on the other hand it may well have been so in the mind of the cartoonist or the publisher (or both).

    Verdict: Case unproven.

    .

    And it actually struck me as more of a dig at the Right Targets.

  • Mrs. Davis

    Would a cartoon of Obama being led around by a dog wearing an Iranian ayatollah turban be subject to being called racist and islamophobic? If so, all these terms lose their meaning and impact.

    In fact, call people a name often enough and they will begin to believe it. I am a racist. I’m not a bad guy. There sure are a lot of racists like me, but they just can’t talk about it in mixed company. Maybe being a racist isn’t such a bad thing if there are so many of us.

    Such terms of derision should not be used loosely or they lose their effect.

    For me, the question occurred when I saw the cartoon. To answer it, I inspected the cartoon closely. The dog has a normal nose. It’s intent is anti-Trump and anti-Bibi, not anti-Semitic or anti-Orange (Trump is a Presbyterian, after all.)

  • Patrick Crozier

    Had I looked at it before I’d heard others’ comments I would have thought, why is Trump wearing Jewish headgear? Oh, and it’s making a whiny lefty point. And anyway, if Trump is doing Netanyahu’s bidding then that is probably a Good Thing.

    “Is it possible to express anti-Zionism without being accused of anti-semitism?”

    If you can explain where you expect Jews to live. Eastern Europe doesn’t count.

  • Would a cartoon of Obama being led around by a dog wearing an Iranian ayatollah turban be subject to being called racist and islamophobic?

    Of course it would! Without any doubt whatsoever.

    For me, the question occurred when I saw the cartoon. To answer it, I inspected the cartoon closely. The dog has a normal nose. It’s intent is anti-Trump and anti-Bibi, not anti-Semitic or anti-Orange (Trump is a Presbyterian, after all.)

    Trump is wearing a yarmulke, not an ‘Israeli’ symbol but an explicitly Jewish one. It is very hard to finesse that away. My usual technique for spotting the anti-Semites who claim they are just anti-Zionists it to search for articles, comments or tweets they have made and see if what they object to is consistently described as ‘Israeli’ or ‘Zionist’ … or does the mask slip and they write ‘Jewish’ (however I give a nul-value to ‘Jewish state’ as that is technically indisputable).

    I have indeed found pukka anti-Zionists who are almost certainly not anti-Semites, but far more often than not, such people are one and the same.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Is it possible to express anti-Zionism without being accused of anti-semitism?”

    I would think it would depend on why one is anti-Zionist, and whether you apply the principle consistently.

    “I don’t claim to know what was the cartoonist’s motivation to draw this particular cartoon”

    I presume the idea is to suggest that Trump is blindly following Netanyahu into acting like a Jew, supporting the interests of Jews ahead of those of his own electorate. I expect the reason it’s seen as anti-semitic is that it’s widely thought that most of the people who would be more concerned about that than other foreign policy alliances are concerned for anti-semitic reasons. It’s a bit the same with the Labour party. Mostly, they’re just taking sides on the Israel/Palestine dispute, which many argue is not specific to the Jews as a race. But there are lots of controversial territorial disputes around the world – Tibet, Northern Ireland, Ukraine, Pakistan/India, Diego Garcia, Gibraltar, The Falklands, etc. – but of all of these Israel noticeably comes in for special and unique attention. The Palestinians themselves can argue they have good reason to care about this dispute more than others, but nobody else does. Thus, selective anti-Zionism is often identified as having an anti-semitic element.

  • Would a cartoon of Obama being led around by a dog wearing an Iranian ayatollah turban be subject to being called racist and islamophobic?

    Of course it would! Without any doubt whatsoever. (Perry de Havilland (London), April 28, 2019 at 12:02 pm)

    Note that Perry correctly answers the question asked: would it be called racist and islamophobic. Yes of course it would, very loudly, by all the usual MSM suspects. We complain, justly, that almost any criticism of the chosen one was and still is treated as proof of racism.

    That is a huge part of this. By the standards of the NYT and the PC generally, the NYT cartoon is incredibly racist. The double-standard is grotesque.

    A quite separate question is: would the hypothetical Obama-Iran cartoon actually indicate a racist attitude to Obama, as opposed to a cartoon-style statement that he had, in a mixture of folly and PC anti-American wilfulness, let the Ayatollahs play him; would such a cartoon actually indicate a phobic fear of islam rather than a rational fear of a terrorist-sponsoring state? One would have to see the cartoon but I might well answer ‘no’.

    I don’t see the NYT cartoon as any kind of obscenity that only fanatical free-speech devotion could make one endure. It is within the knockabout that a sensible free-speech culture should endure easily. However I do see Jewishification of Trump’s face and garb as making Jews the target, not just Trump and Bibi, so see it as, by the dictionary definition, anti-semitic.

    It is also an old anti-semitic trope to portray Jews as the secret controllers of governments. This one is more complicated. On the one hand, it is legitimate politics to ask whether one’s rulers are serving other interests than those they should. On the other, those who talk of dog whistles in other contexts should have avoided such a dog trumpet.

    Summary: the hypocrisy of the NYT was huge; the antisemitism of the cartoon is much the lesser issue, but IMNSHO it is present.

    Bobby b (and Julie), I completely respect your right (known to me from other comments) to ‘virtue-signal’ pro-Israel sentiment and understand you do not want us to acquire the insane hypersensitivity of the PC – so I see the value of this discussion.

  • bob sykes

    As further proof that anti-Semitism has been mainstreamed, there are the all-too-many comments above that profess to see no anti-Semitic theme in portraying a Jew as a dog, and a dog leading a blind President.

    One is reminded that the terrorist Breivik attacked a camp where teen and young adults were being indoctrinated in anti-Semitism. Apparently, the brief reign of Quisling and the Nazis left a permanent mark on the Norwegian psyche.

    And then there is the series Occupied, which celebrates radical environmentalism and collaboration with invaders.

  • Snorri Godhi

    The arguments for the antisemitism of the cartoon, made by Perry et al, are sound.

    And yet, if bobby and Julie did not see the antisemitism, or not much of it, then it can hardly be said that the cartoon is blatantly antisemitic.

    I submit that the cartoon should be seen in context. The NY Times has been objectively antisemitic for a long time, so anything on its pages that can be interpreted as antisemitic, should be.

    Perhaps “Corbynization” should be defined as turning an objectively antisemitic institution, into an explicitly antisemitic institution.

  • Snorri Godhi

    About the relationship of anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism: the first thing to note is that anti-Zionism, IF defined as the denial of Israel’s right to exist, is in itself a form of racism. Since this racism is aimed at a subset of Jews, it seems fair to say that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism.

    Some other definitions of anti-Zionism, including but not limited to:
    * the belief that the “Israel lobby” has too much power in US politics;
    * the denial that Israel has a right to defend itself when the defense puts Muslim lives at risk;
    are also racist and antisemitic, although to a slightly lesser extent.

    The 2nd paragraph of Nullius’ comment is also relevant to this issue. Indeed, i wrote a similar comment at The Economist, a long time ago.

  • Paul Marks

    The Democratic Party is the party of the education system – the schools and the universities, and it is very proud of this (assuming it means that their opponents are ignorant “Red Necks”).

    However, what the education system teaches about political matters is both wrong and EVIL – in short the Democrats do not need Jeremy Corbyn to teach them about evil capitalists (with, supposedly, long noses and names such as “Cohen”) “oppressing” and “exploiting” the “Palestinians” and other “Proletarians” – the schools and universities have long been sub Marxist indoctrination centres.

    One of the most depressing things is that much of “Big Business” pushes the Marxist “Democrat” line – the Corporate Executives who are so proud of being “educated” (and whose parents paid such vast amounts of money for their “education”) just trot Marxist Bovine Excrement without even knowing it is Marxism.

    Who is more likely to come out with total nonsense about a vital issue of political policy. A supposedly ignorant “Red Neck” making knives in the back woods, or Mark Z. (Facebook), Jack Dorsey (Twitter) and, indeed, MOST of “Big Business”?

    It is the rich and “educated” who are the ones most likely to come out with the Marxist crap – and to not even know it is Marxism (they call it “Social Justice” or “Diversity” – or whatever, but it is the same “exploitation” and “oppression” claptrap).

  • Paul Marks

    As far back as 2004 it was noted that most billionaires supported John Kerry – then the Senator with the most leftist voting record.

    In 2008 they supported Barack Obama – who not only had a the most leftist voting record in the U.S. Senate, he also had (as I never tire of pointing out) a MARXIST background.

    If the United States falls to Marxism – it will be thanks to most of Big Business, who support the far left.

    Even the Democrat lunatics who have ruined California are supported by most of the very rich in California. They would vote for their execution. “Rob us! Kill us! Rob us! Kill us!” is their political credo – the result of their incredibly expensive “education”.

    And many of the DEATH-TO-THE-JEWS types come from Jewish family backgrounds.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Is it possible to express anti-Zionism without being accused of anti-semitism?

    If you group anti-Zionism with other objections you have about how other countries behave along the same arguments, but that is not actually anti-Zionism per se.

    If you are only anti-Zionist and not opposed to any other similar expression of nationhood, then that is clearly a mask for latent anti-semitism, and even more so if you specifically support other more unsavory organizations pursuing the same goals for other ethnic groups.

  • bobby b

    Snorri Godhi
    April 28, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    “I submit that the cartoon should be seen in context. The NY Times has been objectively antisemitic for a long time, so anything on its pages that can be interpreted as antisemitic, should be.”

    This is probably the most convincing response I’ve seen.

    But then I start to wonder – how many of the instances of anti-semitism that make up the NYT’s history – the instances that provide the foundation of this context – were actually simple anti-Zionism, but the overlap between Israel’s essence and Judaism allowed those instances to be labeled as anti-semitism? How much of this context is derived from bootstrapping?

    I have no interest in defending the NYT (may they rot in Hell.) But we’ve demonstrably diminished the impact of a supportable accusation of anti-semitism by blurring this line.

    “About the relationship of anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism: the first thing to note is that anti-Zionism, IF defined as the denial of Israel’s right to exist, is in itself a form of racism.”

    So your answer to my earlier question – “Is it possible to express anti-Zionism without being accused of anti-semitism?” – is “no”?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Bobby:

    So your answer to my earlier question – “Is it possible to express anti-Zionism without being accused of anti-semitism?” – is “no”?

    My answer to your new question is no.
    That’s because your earlier question is ill-posed. If you express anti-Zionist opinions in a private gathering of fervent antisemites, obviously you won’t be accused of antisemitism. Not unless one of them reports on your remarks on Twitter or Facebook, and even then there is a chance that your remarks will be ignored.

    Obviously, i am taking your earlier question at face value. If what you meant to ask is whether anti-Zionism is always a form of antisemitism, then … the question is still ill-posed, unless you define anti-Zionism.

  • Julie near Chicago

    As somebody already remarked, this is a particularly interesting and enlightening discussion — indeed a standout. Recap of some of the best remarks (so far!) below — which is not to “deny or disparage” the value of those I don’t mention.

    . . .

    Niall, April 28, 2019 at 12:22 pm,

    I found your final para downright moving. (And I think you hit the nail on the head as to our motivation.) Many, many Thank you’s.*

    As regards disagreement, Backatcha!: I rarely disagree with you, either.

    *Knowing technical misuse of apostrophe. *g*

    . . .

    Everyone: I don’t see either bobby’s or my statements of personal pro-Jewish views as ‘virtue-signalling,’ which term is itself used* to diparage the signaller’s pretensions to virtue, and which is also a form of psychologizing. As Niall writes, it’s more a matter of keeping the record clear, and perhaps of a sort of pre-emptive self-defense.

    *As used thus far, although like “racism” and “fascist” it may lose its punch due to over- and overly-broad use. Also, in general I think the term smacks of psychologizing, of which there is far, far too much in cyberspace.

    .

    But, Niall and bobby, please don’t take me as finding fault with your use of the term, which seem to me simply humourous jabs at a fault of a good many who “signal” their “virtue” by a claim made to impress the crowd with their wonderfulness.

    . . .

    Snorri, at 12:57, said, in effect, “Context matters.” Good point, indeed it does. I’ve gone on about this myself, now and then.

    . . .

    Back to the “Is the cartoon anti-Semitic” issue:

    bobby, 8:22 am: Excellent comment. Agreed. :>))

    .

    Nullius, at 12:05 pm, quotes me (for the record, I was trying to indicate a lack of actual knowledge of the contents of the cartoonist’s head) and continues with his own interpretation:

    “I don’t claim to know what was the cartoonist’s motivation to draw this particular cartoon”

    I presume the idea is to suggest that Trump is blindly following Netanyahu into acting like a Jew, supporting the interests of Jews ahead of those of his own electorate.

    Probably so. Nullius finishes with this:

    I presume the idea is to suggest that Trump is blindly following Netanyahu into acting like a Jew, supporting the interests of Jews ahead of those of his own electorate. I expect the reason it’s seen as anti-semitic is that it’s widely thought that most of the people who would be more concerned about that than other foreign policy alliances are concerned for anti-semitic reasons.

    I concur, and it seems to me that the yarmulke is more easily taken as a symbol of the (assumed) Presidential “virtue-signalling” of his anti-anti-Jewish stance to his Israeli friends. For a PC-sympathetic person, a person who shows anti-anti-Semitism would certainly be open to a charge of ‘virtue-signalling.’ (Contrary to my earlier remark about the significance of the yarmulke, and I’m afraid also in opposition to Perry’s take on it.)

    Nullius’s reasoning leads him to this conclusion:

    [So] selective anti-Zionism is often identified as having an anti-semitic element.

    Yes, I think so.

    .
    bobby, April 28, 2019 at 7:57 pm: Another excellent comment.

    .

    Finally, Niall, again at 12:22 p.m:

    It is also an old anti-semitic trope to portray Jews as the secret controllers of governments. This one is more complicated. On the one hand, it is legitimate politics to ask whether one’s rulers are serving other interests than those they should.

    Quite.

    The whole comment is excellent, save for two little things:

    I would make a slight but important edit, as follows.

    …making Jews the target, not just Trump and Bibi [and Israel]….

    And, I just don’t see the cartoon as unmistakeably, even if only secondarily, anti-Semitic, even given the context of the dubious editorial positions of the NYT. (Still, even Niall and the Evil Hippo his own self are entitled to be wrong once in awhile. 😈 )

    .

    So, I still agree with James Strong at at 7:12 am.

    . . .

    The more I re-read the whole discussion, the more impressed I am. Good job, guys!

  • bobby b

    “That’s because your earlier question is ill-posed.”

    Good point. I can be accused of being antisemitic irrespective of . . . anything. I CAN be accused of being a hamster.

    “If what you meant to ask is whether anti-Zionism is always a form of antisemitism, then … the question is still ill-posed, unless you define anti-Zionism.”

    This point is less clear to me. I thought there was an accepted definition of this, but maybe not. Zionism, to me, is the effort, from Balfour onward, to establish and maintain Israel as an explicitly Jewish state, done with the purpose of providing a safe haven to a group of people who have – for reasons that confound and baffle me – been the victims of murderous persecution forever.

    Anti-Zionism would consider this to be an illegal/immoral effort, and would fight to end Israel’s status as an explicitly Jewish country.

    So, your version of my question – better-posed – as to whether anti-Zionism is always a form of antisemitism – in my mind is answered with a “no.” One can fight against the existence of Israel and have no bad feeling toward a Jewish neighbor who cares not for Israel.

    Which is how I read the NYT cartoon, btw.

  • bobby b

    Julie, I used “virtue-signaling” in a partially humorous way, but seriously also.

    If I wanted to say that Hitler had good taste in shoes, I’d likely open with my negative feelings about everything else about Hitler. My good-taste-in-shoes comments could stand on their own, but could also give rise to the wrong impression.

    Similarly, if I want to defend the NYT from anti-semitism charges when I think they’re just anti-Zionist, I need to perform the same sort of ablutions.

    😀

  • Julie near Chicago

    Yes, bobby, understood. I do that too (as I did here!), but I see it more as what I called pre-emptive self-defense (against ignorant or injudicious accusations of Sinfulness).

    My own personal dog in this fight, by the way, is most certainly not to defend the NYT or the cartoonist. Rather, it’s about the importance of the accuracy of stated facts and the validity of conclusions drawn from them (which requires that context be taken into account), in the ultimate quest for correct judgment.

    (Obviously, different people may find different interpretations of and different degrees of salience in a fact. But it’s important not to mistake claims of fact for proven or known fact, as far as humanly possible.)

    –There’s also my personal interest in expressing my POV. *wry grin*

    I’m perfectly willing to grant the possibility of anti-Semitism’s being a point of the cartoon. I’m just not willing to consider the case proven. And if the issue hadn’t come up and occasioned so much discussion, I’d have been happy to ignore the cartoon altogether.

    Anyhow, to a degree anti-Semitism is in the eye of the beholder. At one point perhaps 10 years ago, a Catholic, right-wing-Left-Coast reasonably intelligent libertarianish gent of my online acquaintance caught “a whiff of anti-Semitism” at Snopes, which is the baby of a Jewish couple. Now there are certainly Jewish anti-Semites, some of them quite famous (the name “Marx” comes to mind for some reason), but as a strong anti-anti-Semite myself, I can’t say I ever caught the odor there.

    See, if you offer a short comment, you’re likely to get a large tome in response.

    Feel free to be evenhanded whenever it suits you! 😀

    PS. If I seemed to be presumptuously speaking for you, I apologize. That certainly wasn’t my intent.

  • bobby b

    “If I seemed to be presumptuously speaking for you, I apologize.”

    Nope, not at all. I was just reinforcing my earlier virtue-signaling to make sure everyone knew I dislike the NYT and anti-semites. 😉

  • Julie near Chicago

    😀 😀 😀

    PS. “Sinfulness”: Because we anti-Lefties are certainly incapable of Wrongthink.

  • neonsnake

    I viewed it as being antisemitic on casual first glance. Obviously I was primed to look for that, as this thread was my first exposure, but my first thought was that it was playing on the tired old conspiracy theory trope of there being a shadowy Jewish cabal that secretly controls the world governments and banks.

    I think the approach of looking for consistency in individuals to tease out bigotries in general makes perfect sense (do they say “Israel” or do they say “Jews”, as referred above). I’m less convinced that one can perfectly use that when it comes to corporations and communities – NYT might be antisemitic, but the individual who drew the cartoon might not be – although it gives guidance, certainly. I’m in the “unprovable” camp.

    Re. virtue-signalling; yes the word is often used by the right to disparage the left, but it made perfect sense here, in that the people using it were laying their cards on the table to either ensure that people knew their prior feelings on the matter; or to let people know that they had skin in the game. Both seem perfectly reasonable to me.

    Libertarians are sometimes accused (and I’ve often bemoaned to myself) of defending the free speech of those we agree with. This has been a great example of (even if full agreement hasn’t been reached) of defending the free speech of those who we don’t agree with.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “So, your version of my question – better-posed – as to whether anti-Zionism is always a form of antisemitism – in my mind is answered with a “no.” One can fight against the existence of Israel and have no bad feeling toward a Jewish neighbor who cares not for Israel.”

    I’m not sure if that’s sufficient. You can be a racist in some of your beliefs, not believing blacks should be allowed to sit at the front of the bus, but have no hard feelings against your boot boy who knows his place. You can be a sexist, opposing women getting jobs and wearing trousers and so on, but have nothing but love and affection for your wife, cooking and cleaning and raising your kids. People are complex. They can be racist in some of their beliefs and not in others.

    I agree it’s possible for anti-Zionism to not be anti-semitic, but as I mentioned above, I’d say it depends on the reasons for being anti-Zionist; for thinking it was an illegal/immoral enterprise. For example, one might consider *all* the states formed in the break-up of the Ottoman empire by the victors of the first world war to be illegitimate, saying the League of Nations had no legal right to impose new borders. So long as you’re even-handed in your opposition to the legitimacy of all the Middle-Eastern states, being opposed to Israel’s legitimacy isn’t anti-semitic. But if you oppose only Israel, saying the LoN had no right, but not any of the other states, or not as vehemently, we need to ask why. It may be that one is opposed to nations being formed by immigrants taking over a land from the ‘natives’ – and thus you also oppose the United States for stealing the land from the Amerindians, Australia and New Zealand who took it off the aborigines, numerous African nations, the British Commonwealth, and many more. Again, if you’re even-handed in your condemnation, fine. But if you pick on only Israel for this reason, it starts to look like an excuse. And so on.

    You need to define some legal or moral principle unrelated to race/religion on which one is basing opposition to Israel, and then apply the same principle to judge every other nation and region, and show that you pursue all malefactors in proportion to their offences. If one can do so, then such anti-Zionism is not anti-semitic.

    The distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism is a real one, but because of this anti-semites can try to avoid charges of being anti-semites by confining their attacks on Jews to just the Israel issue. However, it immediately shows up when you look for the pattern in their choice of target. One can be anti-Sykes-Picot in principle and nominally oppose all the imposed nations, but if in practice you’re only anti-Zionist and you spend 90% of your time condemning just one of them, it’s a transparent excuse.

    If you’re applying a general legal/moral principle that happens to apply to Israel, then it makes more sense to label your position with that principle’s name. ‘Anti-colonialist’, or whatever. To use the term ‘anti-Zionist’ suggests an unfortunate specialisation.

    But this approach does mean that you can’t look at a single instance of anti-Zionism and identify whether it is inherently anti-semitic or not. It depends on context. A cartoon may be anti-semitic when published by one person, and exactly the same cartoon not at all anti-semitic when published by another.

  • Snorri Godhi

    What Nullius said:

    You need to define some legal or moral principle unrelated to race/religion on which one is basing opposition to Israel, and then apply the same principle to judge every other nation and region, and show that you pursue all malefactors in proportion to their offences. If one can do so, then such anti-Zionism is not anti-semitic.

    Except that i would put it more strongly than that: if one says he is anti-Zionist (by bobby’s quasi-definition: fighting, or being willing to fight, against the existence of Israel) that implies that Israel is the only nation state that he is willing to fight against. Why is that? the burden of the proof is on the anti-Zionist to show that there is no double standard, and i am not aware of any anti-Zionist who has been able to bear the burden of the proof, or even made any serious effort to bear it.

    Or to be less precise but more succint: I fail to see how one can fight to destroy a Jewish state for other than antisemitic reasons.

  • Snorri Godhi

    One thing should be made clear, though: it is wrong to say that antisemitism is the cause of anti-Zionism: people do not hate Israel because of a general hatred of Jews. Taken literally, what bobby says is correct:

    One can fight against the existence of Israel and have no bad feeling toward a Jewish neighbor who cares not for Israel.

    (I am almost the opposite: I’d fight, within reason, for the existence of Israel, but would regard a Jewish neighbor who cares not for Israel, as auto-genocidally insane.)

    In the same way, it is possible to hate only Orthodox Jews, or New York Jews, or Jews in the movie business. All such hatreds are antisemitic (i do not see how it is possible to deny that) but it is not a general hatred of Jews that causes such hatred of a particular subset of Jews.

    On the contrary: hatred of a particular subset of Jews tends to lead to a general hatred of Jews. That is why i regard my hypothetical Jewish neighbor as auto-genocidally insane.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    We could debate forever whether the cartoonist, the NYT editors, the NYT owners are anti-Jewish, or anti-Israel, or anti-Trump, or anti-American, or all of the above — and we could debate even longer whether it is OK for them to hold those views and express them publicly.

    But what really sticks in my craw is the blatant unfairness. This is the same NYT which would not print the Danish cartoons mocking Mohammed; the same NYT that has next-to-nothing to say about China’s invasion of Tibet shortly after the foundation of modern Israel, or China’s continuing occupation and aggressive settlement of Tibet; the same NYT that rarely mentions the dirty fact that Palestinian Christians have been almost totally driven out of their ancestral homeland by Palestinian Muslims.

    OK — we are all old enough to know that the world is not fair. But I can have no respect for any media types who do not at least try to make the playing field kinda sorta level.

  • neonsnake

    Does it give you any comfort knowing that their ass got called on it, dragged over the coals and they got basically eviscerated to the point that they pulled it?

  • We could debate forever whether the cartoonist, the NYT editors, the NYT owners are anti-Jewish, or anti-Israel, or anti-Trump, or anti-American, or all of the above. … what really sticks in my craw is the blatant unfairness (Gavin Longmuir, April 29, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    We could debate it, but probably to little further purpose since no-one by now will soon change their view. My take is “all of the above”, and I certainly stand by my view that the cartoon was anti-semitic (pedantically, was rational to guess as having some anti-semitic motivation rather than zero such motivation on the balance of such evidence as is available either way).

    However I also agree with Gavin’s point that the double-standard is the huge issue here. It is so huge that it is becomes hard to separate “the cartoon is anti-semitic” from “the cartoon is what the NYT should call grotesquely anti-semitic by their crazy inflated standards – and so is of course, therefore, a good deal less anti-semitic by sane standards (to the point where some commenters ask whether it is in fact for sure anti-semitic).”

    We are affected in two ways by the madness of PC. Some are very aware (too aware? – I don’t think I am) of how it would be judged by the PC if the PC did not have a massive double standard. Others, likewise aware of the double standard, apply the huge discount they sensibly apply to all PC exaggerations and end up applying such a large discount (too large? – I think a little too large) that they question whether there is any anti-semitism there at all.

    So, Gavin, I offer you a further reason to hate the double-standard: it is part of what makes it hard for us to reach agreement on this.

    Neonsnake (April 29, 2019 at 5:31 pm), I fear your language (‘eviscerated”, “hauled over the coals”) is too strong for what the NYT actually paid. Another part of the double-standard is very different costs for the same offence. The NYT and its MSM friends will soon move on from this momentary embarrassment.

    To a degree, they were indeed caught by the double-standard. None of the arguments that some above have made were available to them – and that I offer to Gavin as amusing, if not so very consoling. Indeed, I could say to bobby b, Julie and James, “The NYT itself does not deny it was anti-semitic !” – to which they could reply, “Niall, since when have you treated the NYT as a source of truth?” 🙂

  • neonsnake

    Neonsnake (April 29, 2019 at 5:31 pm), I fear your language (‘eviscerated”, “hauled over the coals”) is too strong for what the NYT actually paid. Another part of the double-standard is very different costs for the same offence. The NYT and its MSM friends will soon move on from this momentary embarrassment.

    Fair point, Niall.

    Let’s take the win, though.

    I joke about my sjw tendencies, but let’s take this – we called them on it and they buckled. Let’s celebrate that, at least in a small way.

  • bobby b

    “It is so huge that it is becomes hard to separate “the cartoon is anti-semitic” from “the cartoon is what the NYT should call grotesquely anti-semitic by their crazy inflated standards – and so is of course, therefore, a good deal less anti-semitic by sane standards (to the point where some commenters ask whether it is in fact for sure anti-semitic).”

    I’ll certainly buy into your second scenario, and I’ll take no small pleasure from watching the NYT squirm a bit (even if it’s only temporary and will be forgotten and excused by next week.) One should be careful when using petards . . .

    My argument has been based on examining the cartoon in a vacuum – but then, vacuums seldom exist in real life, I suppose. The Urban Dictionary assures me that judenfreude is a word – “pleasure derived from the misfortunes of Jews” – and so I’ll gladly take some small anti-judenfreude from the NYT’s pain.

    Similarly, I didn’t think that Al Franken’s misdeeds – in a vacuum – merited his resignation from the US Senate, but I was more than happy to cheer him on as he left in disgrace. It’s the hypocrisy that’s tripping them all up, not the actual evil of their acts.

  • Julie near Chicago

    “Let’s take the win, though.”

    What “win”? I thought this was a friendly exchange about differing viewpoints, not a contest with “winners” and “losers.” But perhaps that’s not what you meant.
    .

    bobby, re Under-the-Bus Al: Me too.

  • David Bishop

    This is the take of Alan Dershowitz via the Gatestone Institute:
    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14165/what-if-the-new-york-times-cartoon-had-depicted

  • neonsnake

    What “win”? I thought this was a friendly exchange about differing viewpoints, not a contest with “winners” and “losers.” But perhaps that’s not what you meant.

    Oh, I was talking of the “win” in terms of enough people on “our” side raising enough of a storm that the NYT pulled the cartoon and apologised. Gavin was bemoaning the unfairness and hypocrisy of it all, and I was hoping that might offer him some small measure of hope 🙂

    It certainly wasn’t my intention to imply that this thread was a contest that needed “winning”

  • bobby b

    In DB’s linked article, Dershowitz asks “What if the New York Times Cartoon had depicted a Muslim, a Lesbian, an African American or a Mexican as a Dog?”

    Quickly Binging, in two minutes I find that Trump has been depicted, in cartoons and videos, as baboon feces, a cat, a dog licking Putin’s face, dog poop, a dog being decapitated, a monkey throwing feces . . .

    Dersh makes it sound as if this depiction of Bibi as a dog is a new low, and clearly beyond the Pale.

    Not so much.

  • David Bishop

    As a quick addendum to my comment up thread, Alan Dershowitz’s point may be summarised as yes, the cartoon is anti-semitic, but more significantly, the position of the NYT is hypocritical. Which a good few of the commenters here have noted.

    I’d just like to echo Julie’s point that this is a first-rate example of a Samizdata discussion.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh, I get it. Good, I agree. Thanks. :>)

  • Via instapundit, I came across an interesting article that says sensible (I think) things about some themes we also discussed in this thread.

  • bobby b

    A late addition, but . . .

    The NYT, in an editorial, has finally explained what caused them to publish the offending cartoon.

    It was Trump!

    (By lowering the discourse and making anti-semitism mainstream, he lulled the NYT into misreading what was acceptable.)

  • President Trump has done too little to rouse the national conscience against it [Anti-Semitism] (NYT editorial – see link in bobby b, May 2, 2019 at 1:09 am)

    All president Trump has done is move the US embassy to Jerusalem, and a lot more besides, whereas the NYT editorial illustrates the meaning of that Jewish word ‘Chutzpah’.

    Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue. An apology that spins like a top is preferable to none at all. But boy (or should I say ‘goy’ 🙂 ) are they full of it!

  • Snorri Godhi

    If it’s not too late to resurrect this debate, i’d like to link to an article by Dennis Prager who makes pretty much the same point i was making:
    https://www.dailywire.com/news/46769/prager-why-most-jews-arent-bothered-times-anti-dennis-prager
    (Disclaimer: that point was not my original idea, and i might have learned it from Prager, directly or at 2nd hand.)

    The relevant paragraph, slightly edited for brevity:

    As I wrote in “Why the Jews? The Reason for Anti-Semitism” 40 years before Stephens wrote his column, there is no difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Of course, one can criticize Israel, just as one can criticize any country, but that is not anti-Zionism. Anti-Zionism is not criticism of Israel. It is a hatred of Israel […]. Imagine someone who argued that the establishment of the Italian state — Italy — was illegitimate and who hated Italy more than any other country in the world yet claimed that he was in no way anti-Italian, as he had Italian friends and loved Italian culture. No one would believe such an absurdity.

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