Blaming Your Own Misfortunes on the Jews? That’s Anti-Semitism

Dec. 10 2018

Last week, the Forward published an article arguing that attacks on ḥasidic Jews in Brooklyn by young black men, which have become an all-too-common occurrence, are motivated by something other than anti-Semitism. The author suggests that these attacks—for instance the “sucker punching” of a Jewish teenager in November, or the beating of a Jewish man with a stick in October—are an expression of anger at gentrification; the author also quotes a source telling him that some see Jewishness as “a form of almost hyper-whiteness.” Abe Greenwald comments:

The Jew is hated as whatever the anti-Semite holds responsible for his own misfortune. If you’re a capitalist, the Jew is a Communist; if you’re a Communist, the Jew is a capitalist. If you’re a pacifist, the Jew is a warmonger. If you’re a warrior, the Jew is a coward. Depending on your circumstance, the Jew can be grimy or snobbish, rootless or nationalist, invader or separatist. And if, 100 years ago, American bigots saw Jews as Asiatic crossbreeds, today bigots see them as “hyper-white.” If you want to know what a culture considers most problematic, look at its brand of anti-Semitism. When you have headlines about “white privilege” and “evil white men,” Jews become the epitome of whiteness—except, of course, for neo-Nazis who see Jews as hyper-integrationists. . . .

Considering these claims [about gentrification] at face value is important. Not because they have merit, but because they show precisely how anti-Semitism works and what it is. [The Forward’s author] thinks the point is to explain that Jews are not hyper-white representatives of gentrification: “What some non-Jewish residents miss is that the issues the assailants may be responding to are things the Jewish community is struggling to deal with as well,” he writes. Later he paraphrases an interviewee: “It’s important to remember that gentrification also impacts poor Jews.”

No, that’s not what’s important. What’s important is to recognize that when Jews are targeted for being what they aren’t, that’s anti-Semitism.

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More about: American Jews, Anti-Semitism, Brooklyn, Politics & Current Affairs

 

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey