As World Leaders Gather to Remember the Holocaust, They Should Ask How Anti-Semitism Differs from Ordinary Hatreds

Jan. 22 2020

Today, an international conference titled “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Anti-Semitism” opens in Jerusalem, attended by representatives from some 40 governments, including the presidents of France, Russia, and Italy and the vice-president of the United States. While ample attention will no doubt be paid to the anti-Semitism of the extreme right, Fiamma Nirenstein fears that less will be paid to that of the left, and still less to the Islamic variety. She also fears that those in attendance will give in to a related, and dangerous, temptation to subsume anti-Semitism into an amorphous “hatred”:

Strangely, some in the Jewish world, and their friends, renounce the obvious uniqueness of anti-Semitism, and the upcoming leaders’ conference . . . in Jerusalem must avoid this attempt to dilute anti-Semitism as just another hatred or bias. Some groups on the left dissolve anti-Semitism into an intersectional cauldron to fight “all the politics of hate,” demanding that whoever seeks to fight anti-Semitism must be part of the great “intersectional” alliance against white oppression and colonialism, while supporting open borders, feminism, transgender activism, etc. In the end, this political platform slips into an uncertain terrain where violence, terrorism, and the culture of political correctness blur the contours of evil and immorality and deny the uniqueness of the persecution of Jews—and perhaps even that of the Shoah.

Throughout my career as a journalist and a member of [Italy’s] parliament, I have always been a liberal proponent of many feminist, equal-rights, and gay-rights aims. But anti-Semitism has its own unique dimensions: the Jewish people have been persecuted for thousands of years, [and] accused of everything.

The British author Douglas Murray reports in his book, The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity, on a leaflet distributed at the University of Illinois: it says that on top of the 99 percent of the oppressed people in the world there is one percent that is white. The leaflet argues that ending white, male privilege starts with ending Jewish privilege.

Is this anti-Semitism? Certainly, it is. Should the world leaders in Jerusalem target this way of viewing the Jews? Certainly, they should. But I am afraid this will not happen.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Anti-Semitism, Holocaust, Intersectionality, Radical Islam

Why the Recent Uptick of Israeli Activity in Syria?

Sept. 23 2022

On September 16 and 17, the IDF carried out airstrikes in the vicinity of Damascus, reportedly aimed at Iranian logistical centers there. These follow on an increase in the frequency of such attacks in recent weeks, which have included strikes on the Aleppo airport on August 31 and September 6. Jonathan Spyer comments:

The specific targeting of the Aleppo airport is almost certainly related to recent indications that Iran is relying increasingly on its “air bridge” to Syria and Lebanon, because of Israel’s successful and systematic targeting of efforts to move weaponry and equipment by land [via Iraq]. But the increased tempo of activity is not solely related to the specific issue of greater use of air transport by Teheran. Rather, it is part of a broader picture of increasing regional tension. There are a number of factors that contribute to this emergent picture.

Firstly, Russia appears to be pulling back in Syria. . . . There are no prospects for a complete Russian withdrawal. The air base at Khmeimim and the naval facilities at Tartus and Latakia are hard strategic assets which will be maintained. The maintenance of Assad’s rule is also a clear objective for Moscow. But beyond this, the Russians are busy now with a flailing, faltering military campaign in Ukraine. Moscow lacks the capacity for two close strategic engagements at once.

Secondly, assuming that some last-minute twist does not occur, it now looks like a return to the [2015 nuclear deal] is not imminent. In the absence of any diplomatic process related to the Iranian nuclear program, and given Israeli determination to roll back Iran’s regional ambitions, confrontation becomes more likely.

Lastly, it is important to note that the uptick in Israeli activity is clearly not related to Syria alone. Rather, it is part of a more general broadening and deepening by Israel in recent months of its assertive posture toward the full gamut of Iranian activity in the region. . . . The increasing scope and boldness of Israeli air activity in Syria reflects this changing of the season.

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria, War in Ukraine