Friday, March 06, 2009

Rick Salutin On Israel Apartheid Week

What of the “new anti-Semitism” that Jason Kenney says is “based on the notion that the Jews alone have no right to a homeland”? Well, who are these new anti-Semites? I never see names or quotations.

[...]

Most of the specifics come down to shouts at protests. As in: “Cries of ‘Die, Jew' and ‘Get the hell off campus' were heard.” The Canadian Jewish Congress's Bernie Farber says he's “never” seen it this bad “on the streets of Toronto and university campuses.” Well, I spend lots of time on streets in Toronto and it doesn't look like Kristallnacht to me. But wait, that's glib. It's these images that scare my friends: They evoke Nazi Germany. I know that.

But Nazi Germany wasn't about name-calling and group hate. Those will persist, perhaps always. The Holocaust occurred largely because anti-Semitism was historically rooted and respectable there: religiously, socially, intellectually, politically. Writers and politicians were proudly anti-Semitic. Here, anti-Semitism is unacceptable in all those ways. This whole debate proves it. We should be glad for that, and keep it in perspective.

A nice bit of writing.

10 comments:

Mitka said...

Not really. Salutin conflates today's expressions of anti-Semitism with Nazi Germany. No such analogies need be made. Nor do I believe they have been suggested by jewish leadership.Surely the cries of "Death to the Jews" on our streets is serious enough without invoking the dreaded swastika?

Unknown said...

Actually, Pre-Nazi Germany was remarkable in its acceptance of Jews, and the lack of antisemitism limited Jewish rights elsewhere in Europe. Perhaps this is one of the most disturbing aspects of the holocaust; that Jews were slaughtered en masse by the very society that had accepted and integrated them most.

Lakish said...

BCL, on this I could not disagree with you more. Farber of all people would never compare what's going on today with the Nazi era. Wasn't he the one who crapped all over Ryan for misusing Nazi analogies?

Salutin is just playing a dirty game by misrepresenting what was really said

bigcitylib said...

Farber spanked the JDL for whipping out the Nazi analogies, I believe.

The Mound of Sound said...

"Jews alone have no right to a homeland?" That's a tad self-serving. Ask a Kurd or any of a dozen other ethnic groups sliced and diced by two centuries of Euro colonialism.

Anonymous said...

Farber indeed spanked someone who compared Ryan to a Nazi at a JDL protest. And BTW I believe the Kurds deserve a homeland as well.

Jason Cherniak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Cherniak said...

Salutin makes some valid points, but, like many people who feel this way, he goes too far. "Even Hamas has a (nuanced) position on living with Israel"? Give me a frigging break. The notion that Israel just needs to withdraw from the west bank, as if it wasn't tried right up until 2000, is a joke. Everything that happened since then has to be viewed in the context of the fact that Israel tried to find peace and got an intifada in return. The end result was the election of Sharon and the consequences thereof.

I think it is wrong to suggest that because our society frowns on anti-Semitism, we don't need to worry about it when it appears. Quite the contrary, it is a huge deal when there are massive protests on university campuses targeting Jews because they support Israel. There is also a big problem when well meaning people who oppose Israel protest with real, live anti-Semites, then refuse to condemn them afterwards without simultaneously condemning Israel, as if that is some sort of justification.

As a community, it is important for Jews to argue this point strenuously. We cannot accept anti-Semitism. Period. The fact that it is not as bad as it used to be does not make it any better.

Ti-Guy said...

The notion that Israel just needs to withdraw from the west bank, as if it wasn't tried right up until 2000, is a joke.

Yeah, right. All those comfortable, suburban-looking, southern California-style settlements spreading east of Jerusalem like ground cover really look like a valiant attempt to leave.

Too bad Israel's become so dangerous that not too many "normal Canadians" are interested in visiting it to discover how apt the term apartheid is. It's bad enough in Israel proper.

C-Nuck said...

The Nazi Holocaust began with words. You are wrong. Check your histroy.