Seeing Illusory Anti-Semitism While Ignoring the Real Thing

July 14 2017

The campaign to reelect Viktor Orban, the current prime minister of Hungary, has put up posters across the country depicting the Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros with the words “Don’t let Soros have the last laugh.” Orban has repeatedly attacked Soros’s support for efforts to liberalize Hungary’s immigration laws. As Soros is Jewish, the Israeli ambassador to Hungary, the country’s Jewish Federation, and even an EU official have condemned Orban’s rhetorical attacks on Soros as anti-Semitic. Yet, writes Evelyn Gordon, there is no clear evidence of anti-Semitism here: Orban has made no mention of Soros’s Jewishness, and hundreds of millions of dollars have in fact been directed by Soros’s foundation to political causes in Hungary that Orban opposes. Gordon contrasts the reaction to the posters with reaction to actual clear-cut cases of anti-Semitism:

Some attacks on Soros are anti-Semitic, like when someone at an anti-refugee rally in Poland in 2015 set fire to an effigy of an Orthodox Jew which he said represented Soros. That’s classic anti-Semitism; it implies both that the real problem is Soros’s Jewishness rather than anything he did, and that all Jews are responsible for Soros’s actions.

The Hungarian campaign, however, targets Soros not for his Jewishness, which it never even mentions, but for his actions: specifically, the fact that he is one of the main financial backers of pro-immigration organizations in Hungary. . . . Yet both Jews and non-Jews have risen up to declare such criticism “anti-Semitic” solely because he happens to be Jewish. . . .

Now contrast this with, say, what happened at last month’s “Chicago Dyke March,” when three people carrying rainbow flags with Stars of David on them were kicked out of the march because the flag was “pro-Israel,” and therefore unacceptable at a progressive demonstration. The Star of David is the most recognizable Jewish symbol in existence; . . . that’s precisely why Israel put it on its national flag. That’s also why the so-called “Jewish pride” flag has a Star of David on its rainbow background—not to represent Israel, but to represent the marchers’ Judaism. . . .

In other words, these marchers were expelled solely for carrying an obviously Jewish symbol at a progressive event. This is classic anti-Semitism: Jews are welcome only if they divest themselves of anything that could identify them as Jews. Yet in the progressive world, such anti-Semitism is deemed perfectly acceptable so long as you claim, as the march organizers did, that the victims were expelled for being “Zionists.”. . . .

[Thus, for] the progressive left . . . targeting people for being Jewish is no longer anti-Semitic, but targeting people for being progressive activists is. . . . [I]nstead of being a shield to protect Jews, charges of anti-Semitism have become a shield to protect leftists. And thereby the left has completed the process of redefining anti-Semitism to its own benefit, to the detriment of the Jews.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Hungary, Jewish World, Progressivism

 

The U.S. Should Recognize Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan Heights

July 19 2018

Since the 1970s, American governments have sporadically pressured Jerusalem to negotiate the return of the Golan to Syria in exchange for peace. Had Israel given up this territory, Iranian forces would now be preparing to establish themselves on its strategically advantageous high ground. Michael Doran, testifying before the House of Representatives, argues that for this and other reasons, Congress should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. (Video is available at the link below.)

Between 1949 and 1967, [the period during which Syria held the Golan], thousands of clashes erupted [there]. By contrast, ever since Israel took control of the Golan Heights in June 1967, they have served as a natural buffer between the two belligerents. The last 70 years serve as a laboratory of real life, and the results [of the experiment conducted therein] are incontrovertible: when in the hands of Syria, the Golan Heights promoted conflict. When in the hands of Israel, they have promoted stability. . . .

From the outbreak of the [Syrian] civil war, Iran and Russia have worked aggressively to shape the conflict so as to serve their interests. The influence of Iran is particularly worrisome because, in the division of labor between Moscow and Tehran, Russia provides the air power while Iran provides much of the ground forces. . . . Thanks to Iran’s newfound ground presence [in Syria], it is well on the way to completing a so-called “land bridge” stretching from Tehran to Beirut. There can be no doubt that a major aim of the land bridge is to increase the military pressure on Israel (and Jordan, too). . . .

Would Americans ever consciously choose to place Iranian soldiers on the Golan Heights, so that they could peer down their riflescopes at Jewish civilians below? Is there any American interest that would be served by allowing Iran to have direct access to the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s primary water reservoir? Would it ever be wise to place Iranian troops [where they could] serve as a wedge between Jordan and Israel? The answer to all of these questions, obviously, is no. And the clearest way to send that message to the world is to pass a law recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

As for the claim that the Jewish state’s seizure of the Golan in 1967 violates international law, Doran notes that Washington undermined this claim with its attempts in the 1990s to broker a deal between Jerusalem and Damascus:

The ready American (and Israeli) acceptance of the June 4, 1967 cease-fire line [as the basis for such a deal] is nothing short of startling. That line . . . leaves Syria in possession of territory along the shores of the Sea of Galilee and elsewhere that it acquired by force in 1948. In other words, to win over its enemy, [Syria], the Clinton administration dispensed with the principle of the impermissibility of the acquisition of territory by force—the very principle that the United States has remained ever-vigilant in applying to its ally, Israel.

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More about: Congress, Golan Heights, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy