Anti-Semitism Is Not Like Other Forms of Prejudice

Reviewing an exhibit on anti-Semitism between the world wars at the New-York Historical Society, and another at the Center for Jewish History on the Nazis’ despoliation of Jewish property in Berlin, Edward Rothstein considers what makes hatred of Jews different from other hatreds:

Nazi analogies are too regularly invoked to simplify argument; and anti-Semitism is too often generalized, treated as another variety of racism. [But] I am struck by how singular anti-Semitism is, how cunning the Nazi use of it was, and how different it is from racism, with which it is often confused.

Of course, the Nazis calculatedly turned Judaism into a racial matter. . . . But if race can be an element of anti-Semitism, it is not the main point. For the Nazis it was an indicator of connection and collusion. Is there any other form of group hatred so preoccupied with conspiracy? The Jew, in this view, has hidden powers. The Jew is capable of imposing the Versailles treaty, devaluing currency, and manipulating commerce. . . .

These beliefs might seem beyond contemporary imagining. Yet today similar assertions have attached themselves to Israel—a Jew among nations. Arab media regularly invoke Nazi caricatures and references. Recently, the former mayor of London Ken Livingstone also suggested that Zionism and Nazism shared support from Hitler—adding to a string of comments by Labor leaders caricaturing Israel as uniquely satanic.

But there is no need to look so far afield. At Oberlin College, . . . [a] professor . . . accused “Rothschild-led banksters” of “implementing the World War III option” by shooting down a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine; and she attacked Jews and the Mossad for funding Islamic State. Such accusations are taken from Der Stürmer’s play book. . . . The Oberlin professor, unrepentant, has treated accusations of anti-Semitism as attempts to silence her by the very conspiracy she was drawing attention to.

Clearly, the virus thrives. No exaggerated Nazi analogies are needed to reveal the similarities.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Museums, Nazism

The Dangers of Diplomacy with Iran

Aug. 21 2018

Although President Trump’s offer to meet with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic was rejected, the possibility of direct negotiations remains. Ray Takeyh and Mark Dubowitz warn that Tehran could use talks to stall and gain leverage over Washington:

The mullahs understand that just by staying at the table, Americans usually offer up concessions. [They] are betting that the Trump administration may become weaker over time, preoccupied with domestic politics. Best to entangle America in protracted diplomacy while awaiting what the regime expects will be midterm Republican losses in Congress and the return of a more flexible Democratic president to power in 2021. This is what [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei probably meant when he stressed that negotiations have to wait until America is softened up.

Diplomacy would surely blunt the impact of U.S. pressure. The mullahs believe they can undermine the escalation of [U.S.] sanctions by being diplomatically flirtatious and know well that America seldom disrupts negotiations with military action. Indeed, as a prelude to the talks, Iran may even resume its nuclear activities to frighten the Europeans and gain leverage by putting even more pressure on Washington to adjust its red lines.

Should negotiations begin, the Trump team should take sensible precautions to avoid the predicament of the Obama negotiators. The administration will need to maintain its maximum-pressure campaign and its negotiating demands. . . . Any negotiations with the Islamic Republic should be time-limited, and Washington must be prepared to leave the table when it confronts the usual pattern of regime bombast and mendacity.

Donald Trump should insist on direct talks with the supreme leader, as he did with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un: Rouhani is a lame duck without any real influence. The administration also should demand that Europeans join its sanctions policy targeting Iran’s ballistic-missile program, support for terrorism, and human-rights abuses as a price for their participation in the talks.

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More about: Ali Khamenei, Donald Trump, Hassan Rouhani, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy