Anti-Semitism Does More Than Provide a Scapegoat

In his recent book Everyday Hate, Dave Rich seeks to explain the ubiquity and persistence of anti-Semitism in the West, focusing in particular on Britain. Kathleen Hayes sums up his argument in her review:

Anti-Semitism does more than provide a scapegoat. Uniquely among forms of racism, it provides adherents a seemingly all-encompassing explanation for why evil exists. From the time of the first blood libel, Jews have been cast as not only an enemy, but an inordinately powerful, sinister, scheming one. (As Theodor Adorno put it in a nutshell, “Anti-Semitism is the rumor about the Jews.”) COVID-19 has inspired a spike in conspiracy theories that blame the pandemic on Jews. Those who spread this lie unwittingly invoke the 14th century, when Jews in continental Europe were blamed for spreading the plague by poisoning wells.

The lodestar of present-day conspiracy theories, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,“built a bridge into modernity” for Europe’s traditional anti-Jewish mythology. The idea that all Europe’s problems were caused by Jews just seemed to make sense on a visceral level. The Protocols were tremendously popular in Britain, with respectable newspapers enthusiastically asking if it was genuine. The fact that it was soon proved a Russian fake did little to stem its appeal; it remains all too alive today.

Conspiracist theories around Brexit, with George Soros deployed as a demonic figure seeking to undermine democracy, invoke the same tropes. At the same time, conspiracy theories about Israel gain traction in the popular imagination because Israel is Jewish: “They latch onto pre-existing beliefs about how Jews behave, like a climber using footholds cut into the rock by those who have scaled the same mountain centuries before.”

Read more at Fathom

More about: Anglo-Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Coronavirus, Protocols of the Elders of Zion


Israel’s Retaliation against the Houthis Sends a Message to the U.S., and to Its Arab Allies

The drone that struck a Tel Aviv high-rise on Thursday night is believed to have traveled over 2,000 kilometers, flying from Yemen over Egypt and then above the Mediterranean before veering eastward toward the Israeli coast. Since October, the Houthis have launched over 200 drones at Israel. Nor is this the first attempt to strike Tel Aviv, only the first successful one. Noah Rothman observes that the Houthis’ persistent attacks on Israel and on international shipping are largely the result of the U.S.-led coalition’s anemic response:

Had the Biden administration taken a more proactive and vigorous approach to neutralizing the Houthis’ capabilities, Israel would not be obliged to expand to Yemen the theater of operations in the war Hamas inaugurated on October 7. The prospects of a regional war grow larger by the day, not because Israel cannot “take the win,” as President Biden reportedly told Benjamin Netanyahu following a full-scale direct Iranian attack on the Jewish state, but because hostile foreign actors are killing its citizens. Jerusalem is obliged to defend them and the sovereignty of Israel’s borders.

Biden’s hesitancy was fueled by his apprehension over the prospect of a “wider war” in the Middle East. But his hesitancy is what is going to give him the war he so cravenly sought to avoid.

In this context, the nature of the Israeli response is significant: rather than follow the American strategy of striking isolated weapons depots and the like, IDF jets struck the port city of Hodeida—the sort of major target the U.S. has shied away from. The mission was likely the furthest-ever carried out by the Israel Air Force, hitting a site 200 kilometers further from Israel than Tehran. Yoel Guzansky and Ilan Zalayat comment:

The message that Israel sent was intended to reach the moderate Arab countries, the West, and especially the United States. . . . The message to the coalition countries is that “the containment” had failed and the Houthis must be hit harder. The Hodeida port is the lifeline of the Houthi economy and continued damage to it will make it extremely difficult for this economy, which is also facing significant American sanctions.

Read more at National Review

More about: Houthis, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy