Gabriel Schoenfeld’s The Weekly Standard article “Back to the Future: British Anti-Semitism Returns with a Vengeance” is the sort of thing that makes you want to bang your head against a wall. The idea is that those virulent anti-Semites John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt managed to “peddle” their vicious article on the Israel lobby to the London Review of Books when it was sensibly rejected by American publishers. It then metastasized into a book that was much admired in the US by the likes of David Duke and pretty much no one else. The “respectable middle” were on page with Leslie Gelb’s authoritative review in the august New York Times which accused them of “shoddy scholarship” that promoted anti-Semitism. As I noted in an earlier blog, “Some of Gelb’s charges might even seem reasonable—if you haven’t read the book.”
The fact that Mearsheimer and Walt managed to first publish their monstrosity in England is no accident. After all, the Brits are a bad lot and always have been. “Anti-Semitism has deep roots in England. In the 12th century, many of the country’s Jews were put to the sword in a wave of massacres. The 13th century began with the introduction of the yellow badge, the mandatory marking that Jews were compelled to wear, and ended with the mass expulsion of the Jews.”
There you have it. Nothing much has changed in England since the 12th century when it comes to the Jews. Anti-Semitism remained rampant in England throughout the 20thcentury, going underground when the Brits were fighting the Nazis (who were even more anti-Jewish), but re-emerging now into the open. In its latest incarnation, it manifests itself as hatred toward Israel.
According to Schoenfeld, this irrational anti-Jewish hate is more obvious than ever. You can tell that because Britain is now “a congenial home” where radical Muslims “preach their genocidal doctrines.” (Never mind the role of Jewish organizations in facilitating immigration into England and opposing nationalist parties like the BNP that want to keep England English. See Ch. 7 of Culture of Critique.)
In fact, right now Parliament is considering a law to force Jews to report to concentration camps.
No wait. Actually, it’s an inquest into how Tony Blair made the decision to join in the Iraq invasion. Not only that, but a newspaper columnist had the temerity to complain that two of the panelists were Jews. Another chimed in that this complaint was “helpful” because the war was “initiated . . . by a group of influential American neocons . . . nearly all of whom were ardent Zionists.” And the London Times didn’t even label all of this “anti-Semitic.”
And then there was Peter Oborne’s program (see Martin Webster’s TOO article) on the influence of the Israel Lobby: “With shades of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and shades of Mearsheimer-Walt, the program conveyed a picture of a nefarious conspiracy to plunge Britain into war in Iraq.”
The last straw is the court decision that an Orthodox school is guilty of discrimination for insisting on matrilineal descent as a criterion of admission. Schoenfeld puts ‘discrimination’ in quotes because, you see, it’s not discrimination if Jews do it. Surely it’s obvious that Jews (and no one else) ought to be able to discriminate on the basis of biological descent.
Obviously, Jews like Schoenfeld (and they’re the ones we keep hearing from in the media) are out of touch with reality. This is Abe Foxman on steroids. In Scheonfeld’s eyes, the inquest into the Blair government’s actions and the Oborne program are nothing more than updated examples of centuries-old anti-Jewish hatred. No need to look at what actually happened.
Indeed, the very thought that Jews might be biased against finding that Jews whose main allegiance is to Israel were the major force behind the decision of the British government to join the Iraq invasion is so obviously wrongheaded that even asking the question betrays vicious hatred of Jews. By their very nature Jews are impartial and completely uninfluenced by their ethnic identification. Schoenfeld doubtless sees himself as an exemplar of evenhandedness — completely above the fray and able to judge Israel’s actions and all things Jewish with brutal, impartial honesty.
Schoenfeld and the rest of these Jewish spokespeople are living in an alternate universe — a universe where mundane things like facts and truth are irrelevant. It’s an absolute article of faith that Jewish behavior is always — always —completely irrelevant to anti-Semitism. No matter how much money Jewish activists and organizations shower on politicians and no matter now much media they own and influence, Jews never actually influence anything. And if they do happen to have a slight influence, they only want the best for everyone. There could not possibly be legitimate conflicts of interest between Jews and non-Jews.
There is simply no way to communicate with people like Schoenfeld. And that’s a big part of the problem.