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Anti-Semitism Envy and the Myth of Islamophobia

Sept. 13 2017

The term “Islamophobia” conflates “the persecution of believers, which is a crime,” with “the critique of religion, which is a right,” argues the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner. As such, the word serves to “impose silence on Westerners” and as “a weapon of enforcement against liberal Muslims.” To make matters worse, Bruckner writes, leftists in Europe and America have subsumed “Islamophobia” into the broader rubric of racism, thus performing a “transubstantiation of religion into race.” And then there is the idea that Islamophobia has somehow supplanted anti-Semitism:

Already in 1994, in Grenoble, France, young Muslims, marching to protest the government ban of the Islamic headscarf, wore armbands featuring a yellow Islamic crescent—an allusion to the yellow star that French Jews were made to wear during the [German] occupation—against a black background and the line: “When will it be our turn?” . . . And it was the fundamentalist preacher Tarik Ramadan, for a time an adviser to the British prime minister Tony Blair, who explained that the situation of Muslims in Europe was like that of Jews in the 1930s. The implication is clear: to criticize Islam is to prepare nothing less than a new Holocaust.

Why this Islamic desire to be considered Jewish? The answer is clear: to achieve pariah status. But the analogy is doubly false. First, anti-Semitism was never about the Jewish religion as such but rather about the existence of Jews as a people. Even an unbelieving Jew was detested by anti-Semites, due to his family name and his group identity. And second, at the end of the 1940s, there were no groups of extremist Jews slitting the throats of priests in churches, as happened at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray in France in July 2016, the deed of two young jihadists; there were no Jews throwing bombs in train stations, shopping malls, or airports, or driving trucks into crowds.

There is thus a third anti-Semitism that, since 1945, must be added to [anti-Semitism’s] two classic forms, Christian and nationalist: the envy of the Jew as victim, the paragon of the disaster of the Shoah. This Jew thus becomes both model and obstacle for the Islamist; he is seen as usurping a position that by right belongs to Africans, Palestinians, and Muslims. To make oneself the object of a new Holocaust, however imaginary, is to grab hold of the maximal misfortune and to put oneself in the most desirable place—that of the victim who escapes all criticism.

Read more at City Journal

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, History & Ideas, Islamophobia

 

Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC