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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.

Read more at Evelyn Gordon

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

 

The Palestinian Authority Should Be Held Responsible for Palestinian Refugees

April 25 2018

For aid and assistance with resettlement, most of the world’s displaced persons look to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Only Palestinian refugees and their descendants are consigned to the bloated, corrupt, and terrorist-infiltrated UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which aims to keep its wards in a permanent state of refugeehood. Alex Joffe argues that UNRWA should be abolished, and its responsibilities handed over to the Palestinian Authority (PA):

The PA [should] be responsible for the Palestinians within its own territories as well as those who reside in other Arab states. It would [thus] be forced to act like a state and defend the rights and interests of its own citizens. Externally, foreign aid to a state can also—in theory—be subject to more rigorous donor oversight. Unlike UNRWA’s internal assessments, which rarely find problems except in the allegedly inadequate scale of aid and programs, external review by donor countries would examine metrics and efficiencies, spot corruption, determine the success or failure of programs, and assess the overall level of need. External review is designed to encourage self-sufficiency, not dependency. . . .

UNRWA is an iconic and sacrosanct entity. Without it, aid to the Palestinians would no longer be a sacralized demonstration of support for their narratives of displacement and return, or of support for the international system itself and for the UN. The Palestinian issue would be put into proportion while other needs and issues, like the genuine refugee crises in Syria and Yemen, would receive proper attention and resources.

Finally, by transferring responsibility, two cultural-political requirements would be addressed. First, a final-status issue would be at least partially taken off the table [of Israel-Palestinian negotiations]: that of who bears responsibilities for Palestinian “refugees.” It is the PA. Even without formally repudiating the “right of return,” which UNRWA supports and the PA cannot at this point conceivably abandon, the issue would be incrementally quashed in theoretical and practical terms.

The PA’s taking responsibility, and the end of UNRWA, would also go a long way toward forcing Palestinians to give up the centrality of refugee-ness in their own culture. They are not refugees, much less internationally supported ones. They are a people with their own nascent state.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian refugees, UNRWA