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John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Anti-Semitism rising across West as result of ‘populism and isolationism’, Jewish leader to warn Pope Francis”

I’d swear they were kidding, but I know better.

The Pope is being used as a photo-op or sound-bite opportunity to create publicity for unwarranted charges.

How in the hell does isolationism cause anti-Semitism?

You might, with equal implausibility, say that staying at home causes anti-Semitism.

And where does anyone see isolationism today? What I see are raging wars and destruction in many places, ceaseless interference in the affairs of others – all of it deliberately started and all serving no good purpose.

And populism causes anti-Semitism? How about democratic elections, do they cause anti-Semitism? Just utter nonsense.

And the assertion of rising anti-Semitism is question-begging. Various Jewish groups do keep statistics on anti-Semitic events, but are those statistics of any value when we see events and people regularly being characterized as anti-Semitic which plainly are not?

Just a few examples demonstrate this with frightening clarity. Jimmy Carter, the most decent man to serve as America’s President in a century as well as a man of exceptionally keen intelligence and powers of observation, was widely labelled as anti-Semitic for his words on the oppressive situation in Israel and on the true nature of Hamas.

Jeremy Corbyn, another genuinely decent man, just after being elected as leader of Britain’s Labour Party, faced a months-long firestorm of false accusations over anti-Semitism from Britain’s corporate press driven by a powerful insider group of Tony Blair loyalists in the party. Of course, it just happens that Blair earned that support by having joined America’s illegal and bloody invasion of Iraq, an invasion conducted almost exclusively for Israel’s benefit, one pleaded for by Ariel Sharon many times.

While various Israeli politicians freely express themselves in threatening or prejudiced or even violent terms almost without criticism, anyone of prominence who criticizes what they see in Israel and advocates peaceful measures, such as boycotts, to create pressure to change it is typically called anti-Semitic. Among many efforts by Israel to lobby for protective legislation in Western countries have been efforts for legislation literally equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, a totally self-serving, repressive, and anti-democratic idea.

So, when we hear that anti-Semitism is on the rise all over, we really do have to question the validity of the claim, insulting claims about anti-Semitism being so often used to cover Israel’s own dark acts and to attack the credibility of those who question them.

How is it that among all the cases of injustice in the world, we are effectively told that in the one case of Israel, observers are supposed to suspend their usual ethical standards and that not doing so makes them guilty of some nasty charge? Human nature is such that the basest human instincts are always and everywhere working their way towards power over others. No group with power over others can ever simply be blindly trusted to do the right thing and be exempt from criticism – not prison guards, not police, and not armies of occupation. There is no other way for an informed and ethical person to look at things.

So, what are we to say of charges that anti-Semitism is on the rise, especially, coming as they do, at a time when Israel feels free to simply march in and destroy the homes of others? To build new homes of its own on the property of others, violating time and time again that most basic Western concept of the sanctity of people’s ownership of homes and farms? A time when Israel’s Defense Minister is a former bar-room bouncer who makes outrageous statements which, coming from someone in any other country, we would immediately condemn as hate-filled and violent?

A time when Israel’s Prime Minister is a man who has raged and made threats for years in all directions, someone past presidents of both France and the United States are on record as having called a non-stop liar? A man who killed 2,200 people with complete impunity, people living in what is effectively a giant, open-air refugee camp surrounded by fences and machine-gun towers? And a man who has left the victims and survivors of his savagery just to rot in destroyed homes and public facilities by forbidding the import what they need to rebuild? This is also a man who dropped a million cluster-bomb bomblets in Southern Lebanon some years back, a violation of all international norms and standards for these horrible weapons? A man whose intense drive to start war with Iran was only blunted by Obama’s reportedly telling him that he would shoot down the planes if sent?

Any honest and dispassionate observer would say there is no anti-Semitism to speak of in Western society today. It has no significant influence anywhere in the West. It has no official status anywhere in the West. It is the position of no political party in the West. Its clear expression is even a crime in many places.

However, Israel’s ugly behavior naturally affects people and what they say in response. It cannot be otherwise, and Israel’s unacceptable behavior seems only to increase with time. Can anyone not understand how that would incite both hatreds and behaviors which can be deliberately misinterpreted as hatreds?

The question always remains unanswered, and indeed it is never even asked in our press or by our governments, just what is it that Israel sees itself as doing? In not making peace? In not returning to its own previously-accepted borders? In maintaining an abusive occupation for more than half a century? In marching out regularly and stealing homes?

The answer seems clear, even if all the details remain unclear because Israel’s government always maintains the same kind of ambiguity on this matter that it does on its illegal atomic weapons. Israel is creating what is called Greater Israel, a vague, supposedly Biblically-based and religiously-charged concept that simply should have no validity in today’s world of legal boundaries, treaties and protocols and international standards.

It is conducting ethnic-cleansing in slow motion across an extensive territory. By making the territory’s inhabitants miserable through countless unfair laws and abusive acts and by, bit-by-bit, taking their land.

The intended fate for these millions is completely unclear, whether they will be driven out entirely, as has been advocated by a number of prominent Israelis, whether they will simply be reduced to an existence in South African-style Bantustans under the perpetual authority of an Israel in which they can never enjoy citizenship and rights, or whether they will be made so miserable and hopeless that they will flee to other places?

What other places? Names like Jordan or the Sinai crop up, almost as though they were reasonable suggestions, but what thinking person believes any other state in the region would willing to take millions of refugees? They won’t and they can’t, but no one in authority in Israel appears to care in the least about this. We see in Europe the effects of vast numbers of refugees, and it is not pleasant and its shock waves are affecting many parts of the world, stirring anti-refugee sentiments.

And it is important to note that these terrible refugee problems, stretching as they do from Turkey to Britain, problems which have shaken the foundations of so staid an organization as the European Union, are in fact the result of deliberate and violent American activities in the Mideast.

And for whose benefit have those American activities been taken? Clearly, “the birth of a new Middle East,” as American officials sitting in armchairs casually term the destruction of whole countries, the killing of a couple of millions of people, and the creation of millions of desperate refugees, has a great deal to do with Israel. Its own leaders in the past – notably the monstrous Ariel Sharon – openly advocated for it. The reduction of these places leaves Israel, a land of alien European and American migrants, as the dominant and unquestioned power in the region.

Although there is one other, unintended result of America’s destructive work, as there so often is in dirty affairs, and that is the re-emergence of Iran as a regional power. And that is why we are already hearing new calls against this essentially peaceful country, new calls for sanctions, new calls for military action. It is all very bleak.

I think these men who talked with the Pope know all or much of that, but the charge of “anti-Semitism” is one of Israel’s main weapons for deflecting attention from Israel’s morally repulsive and violent behavior.

Dragging in anti-Semitism as a charge against those rightly upset with Israel’s behavior is rather like shouting out in a court room that the honest witness to a crime is just a prejudiced liar.

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