What the Eurocognescenti think about Israel

Isaac Kohn has written an excellent article through the eyes of the international cognescenti who happen to be anti-Israel.  Although it applies to one particularly vocal group, the article is a useful exercise in imagining what the other is thinking – and it’s not pretty.

Even less pretty but very worthwhile is an article by Richard Landes on “antisemitism and moral schadenfreude” here

Landes makes the following initial distinction between anti-Judaism and anti-semitism:

Anti-Judaism: zero-sum – I’m up because you’re down, I’m right cause you’re wrong, I’m good cause you’re bad. We make ourselves look bigger by making other look smaller.

Produces phenomena like the Dhimma, Easter ceremonies where Jews have to kiss a pigs ass, Augustine’s doctrine of the Jews’ dispossession from the Land of Israel as testament to/proof of Christian truth. Theologically speaking, these are all forms of supersessionism, the zero-sum theology par excellence in which “we” the new chosen people erase, displace “you” the old and now discarded chosen people. Culturally/psyschologically speaking, these are honor-shame versions of monotheism: what appears on the surface of things is what’s true. If we dominate, we’re right.

Anti-semitism: negative-sum – exterminate or be exterminated; your very existence threatens my existence; delirious paranoia.

Apocalyptic dualism: Nazis, Protocols, current Jihadi apocalyptic Judeophobia. The link between the two derives from the fact that the (fragile) ego that depends on the subjection of the other, feels threatened with annihilation when it loses that dominion. Thus, the fear of loss of honor when faced with independence of the despised other becomes literally a fear of the extinction of the self.

This is the challenge to Europe after the Holocaust: Christians and post-Christians have to live with non-dhimmi Jews, independent, judged by the same standards. This has been extremely valuable for Europe, and for the first time in its millennial-long existence, Europeans repentant from their anti-Semitism have managed the EU and the Euro, two forms of cooperation literally unthinkable before mid-20th century. As Michel Gurfienkel said in response to the question, on what day should we celebrate the European Union? Holocaust Day.

Denied anti-Semitism, however, Europeans have engaged in a proxy form in their support for Arab anti-Zionism: let the Arabs harry Israel since we can’t. As a result the vicious policy of Arabs keeping Palestinian refugees in miserable conditions so that they could blame Israel has found widespread support among Europeans – both in intellectual and political/diplomatic circles.

In significant part, this has been because the new, proxy anti-Semitism has appeared on the left; it is a progressive, “human rights” based anti-Semitism – pluralism, multi-culturalism. And it’s an anti-Semitism in denial: the vast majority of the people who empower Muslim anti-Semitism don’t think that they’re in any way anti-Semitic.

Retrospectively this susceptibility to pro-Palestinian Jew hatred has been catastrophic for the world.

If we think of Jew-hatred as an addiction to an alcoholic substance, then anti-Judaism is like wine and beer while anti-Semitism is like high grain alcohol. Then the following statement can be made: since 2000, the Europeans have been hitting their wine and beer, while keeping an open bar for their Muslim resident aliens.

Moral Schadenfreude and the European Cholesterol Count

My experience is that the post-Holocaust mutations of anti-Semitism are particularly hardy breeds, which can resist the appeals to sympathy for the Holocaust since these new forms now clothes itself in a progressive “human rights” garb and invoke Nurnberg and Geneva to attack Israel.

As someone who’s worked for over a decade on these problems, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re not going to succeed by appealing to the sympathy of people so armed with this new, resistant, “progressive” brand of anti-Semitism by arguing that it’s bad for Jews. My sense is that only by alerting people to the dangers to them of embracing anti-Semitism, consciously or unconsciously do we stand a chance of reaching most people. After all, the consistent pattern of Anti-Semitism, pre-Holocaust and post-Holocaust has been that the Jews are only the first target of the anti-Semites. Six million Jews were murdered in WW II, but over 40 million gentiles also died.

In post-modern, proxy anti-Semitism, this aspect of the problem is even greater than it has been in the past, where it would take an historian looking retrospectively to realize that there was a cost of Jew-bating, that not long after the attacks on the Jews, the Inquisition came to town, that the fires that burned the Jews soon after burned Christian dissidents. But today, when one selects as one’s proxy for anti-Semitism, a group like the Jihadis, who hate Christian and post-Christian infidels almost as much as they hate the Jews, it’s safe to say that the indulgence and encouragement of anti-Semitism among Muslims is nothing short of suicidal. In terms of the cognitive warfare that the Islamists are waging against the West, Israel is the soft underbelly.”

.. and excellent article, although it’s not the hardy, post-modern proxy anti-semites who are going to turn around, but rather the slowly awakening populace who are starting to realise that every generation has to be prepared to fight for the values they believe in.

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