A New Kind of Anti-Semitism?

by Daniel on January 23, 2004

Via Normblog, a piece in the nation on “The New Anti-Semitism, that being the kind practised by people like Paul Krugman when they criticise the Likud party, as opposed to the old kind of anti-Semitism – things like saying Mussolini wasn’t all that bad, which used to be unacceptable but apparently isn’t anymore.

The Nation piece argues that this new knd of Anti-Semitism doesn’t exist and isn’t anti-Semitism. Norm doesn’t like the article and he’s right; it’s a pretty weird and unsatisfying piece. But it contains one really odd standout line:

But the evidence suggests that the perpetrators of the anti-Jewish attacks in France were animated by political outrage, not bigotry.

Surely if this were true, it would mean that there was a new kind of anti-Semitism around, wouldn’t it? I know I’d certainly be a lot less vocal in criticising the Israeli government if I thought I was encouraging the “political outrage” of the kind of person who sets fire to synagogues. Wouldn’t you?

(and btw, this is the answer to Norm’s final question of “who cares?”. Liberal gentiles who oppose the actions of the current government of Israel care, because if there is a new kind of anti-Semitism, we’re potentially allying ourselves to a social trend which leads to racist attacks, and if there isn’t, we’re not. Personally I think there isn’t, but I begin to think I ought to make sure).

(by the way, I’ve not enabled comments because past experience suggests that links to Normblog have an almost pheromonal quality when it comes to bringing out the nasty side of otherwise lovely CT commenters. C’mon guys, you should be grateful. I’ve saved you from wasting Friday night on a pointless bulletin board flamewar).