Anti-Semitism Does More Than Provide a Scapegoat

March 10 2023

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

In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan