Jewish advocates of the new anti-Semitism

Posted: Jan 29, 2005 12:00 AM

The commemorations of the Holocaust this week by world leaders left many of their Jewish observors in a state of cognitive dissonance. German Foreign Minister Joscha Fischer provided a notworthy contribution to this confusion last Monday at the UN General Assembly's special session marking the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz death camp when he said that Israel could "always rely" on German support "because the security of its citizens will forever remain a non-negotiable fixture of German foreign policy."

The problem with Fischer's statement is that it seems to bear no relations to the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of his countrymen. In a poll released in the days ahead of this week's Holocaust commemorations by the German University of Bielfeld, 62 percent of Germans said they were "sick of all the harping on about German crimes against the Jews." More than two thirds of Germans said they believe Israel is waging "a war of extermination" against the Palestinians.

Jewish organizations often focus their attention on Holocaust sentiment among non-Jews to gauge anti-Semitic feelings. But while feelings about the Holocaust serve as an indicator of general sentiment about Jews, there are other indicators no less important or revealing. Sensitivity about the Holocaust may tell us what a person feels about Jews, but it may also simply tell us what that person feels about dead Jews.

In the German case, the poll results are rather straightforward. The indicators line up. By crassly rejecting the need to recall the Holocaust while believing that Israel -- in waging a war against Palestinian terrorists whose declared aim is the physical destruction of the Jewish state -- is the modern day incarnation of Nazi Germany, Fischer's countrymen are clearly saying that they hate both dead and live Jews.

But let's say that the poll results had been different. What if most Germans had said that they believe the Holocaust was a terrible crime that must be taught and remembered forever by the German people at the same time that over two thirds still claimed that Israel is acting like the Nazis. Would such a distinction mean that the two thirds of Germans that view Israel as a Nazi state make them less anti-Semitic? No, it would not.

In Israel, politicians and media pundits reacted enthusiastically to the UN General Assembly special session last Monday in comemoration of the Holocaust. Israel's Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters "there is a change in the United Nations attitude towards Israel." But is this true? According to human rights attorney Anne Bayevsky, during last month month alone, the UN "adopted 22 resolutions condemning the State of Israel, and four country-specific resolutions criticizing the human-rights records of the other 190 U.N. member states."

The day after the General Assembly's session, the UN's Development Program announced that despite American objections, it was going ahead with its plan to publish a report in March that will claim that the social and economic backwardness of the Arab world is due not to authoritarianism, corruption and religious extremism in those countries, but to the policies of America and Israel. So, does the UN's decision to commemorate the liberation of the Nazi death camps and the Holocaust mean that the UN is no longer hostile to the Jewish people? No, it does not. It just means that the UN is not hostile to dead Jewish people.

Ever since the Holocaust, the rallying cry of Jews has been "Never Again!" But the enormity of the Holocaust must not blind us to its present-day mutation. Today the vast majority of anti-Semites are not calling for Jews to be deported to death camps. They are not calling for Jews to be shot before mass graves. They are calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. Sadly, and, as was the case in previous generations, they are seeking out and finding Jews who, like Karl Marx in his day, share their hatred for the Jewish people and willingly advance their evil agenda.

This agenda is to again reduce Jews to a state of powerlessness where we will be at the mercy of the same world that either participated in or did stood by and did nothing in the face of the extermination of European Jewry.

Today this is done by striking out at the main safeguard against such powerlessness ? the State of Israel ? criminalizing it as the modern-day incarnation of Nazi Germany. The role of Jewish anti-Semites in this campaign is to decouple the dead Jews murdered by the Nazis from the live Jews who live in, or support, the Jewish state.

Such a Jew was found by the British conservative magazine The Spectator in one Anthony Lippman. Lippman is actually an Anglican, not a Jew, but as the child of Jewish Holocaust survivors, he will do. In a recent article, Lippman wrote hypnotically about his mother's sufferings in Auschwitz only to explain that the job of Holocaust survivors and their children is to speak out against... Israel.

In his words, survivors have "a terrible responsibility ? to live well in the name of those who did not live and to discourage the building of walls and bulldozing of villages. Even more than this, they ? and all Jews ? need to be the voice of conscience that will prevent Israel from adopting the mantle of oppressor, and to reject the label 'anti-Semite' for those who speak out against Israel's policies in the occupied territories."

Another such Jew is Tony Judt. Since the start of the Palestinian terror war, Judt, a historian at New York University, has been outspoken in his rejection of Israel's right to exist.

In a series of articles in The New York Review of Books, The Nation and The New Republic, Judt has led the charge in claiming that "the depressing truth is that Israel today is bad for the Jews," and that for Jews to feel good about themselves again Israel must cease to be a Jewish state ? that is, Israel must cease to exist.

This perverse line of reasoning, whereby the only way for Jews to be happy is for us to again be powerless, has brought Judt under attack by prominent Jews who have exposed the anti-Semitism inherent in his argumentation.

In a new article in The Nation magazine, Judt takes a stab at responding to his many critics. The article is a ponderous yet incoherent attempt to argue that there is no relation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

On the one hand, he says that it is anti-Semitic to say that Jews control the US. But on the other hand, Judt gives voice to that same canard by claiming that "contemporary US foreign policy is in certain respects mortgaged to Israel," adding, "To say that Israel and its lobbyists have an excessive and disastrous influence on the policies of the world's superpower is a statement of fact."

Judt allows that there has been a rise in anti-Semitism in Europe in recent years, but he blames this not on the anti-Semites wo are burning synagogues, defacing Jewish cemetaries and beating up rabbis and Jewish schoolchildren, but on "the policies of Israeli government." Echoing Anglican Lippman, Judt writes that for anti-Semitism to be dealt with in Europe, "Jews and others must learn to shed inhibitions and criticize Israel's policies and actions."

In Judt's view, "once Germans, French and others can comfortably condemn Israel without an uneasy conscience, and can look their Muslim fellow citizens in the face, it will be possible to deal with the real problem [i.e., anti-Semitism]."

Another such Jew is the Israeli born conductor Daniel Barenboim. At a lecture at Columbia University last Monday, the same day that the UN held its special session on the Holocaust, Barenboim compared Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, to Adolf Hitler. Barenboim went on to echo both Judt and Lippman by blaming Israel for the current wave of violent anti-Semitic attacks against Jews worldwide as well as for Palestinian terrorism which has murdered more than a thousand Israelis, three quarters of whom were civilians, in the last four years. 

Since the September 11 attacks Muslims have been called upon to decry the preaching of hatred in their community. It is argued that until Muslims themselves delegitimize the voices of hatred in their communities, the poisonous message of jihad will continue to attract thousands to its genocidal cause.

The 60th anniversary of Auschwitz's liberation is a good time to call for a similar Jewish condemnation of hate-filled Jews and those that use them to advance their anti-Semitic agenda.

These are not legitimate voices. These are not legitimate views. They are the views of deranged Jew-haters which, if listened to, will do nothing other than pave the way to the next calamity.

Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post.