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.

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Read more at Evelyn Gordon

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

 

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship