How the Twisted Logic of “Anti-Racism” Breeds Anti-Semitism

Dec. 21 2020

“Anti-racism” has for years been a major tenet of Britain’s Labor party, and especially its left wing, notes Tomiwa Owolade; yet those who most proudly proclaimed themselves anti-racists were often most zealous in defending some of the party’s most prominent figures against charges anti-Semitism. To Owolade, this situation is not so contradictory as it may seem, for the very understanding of racism embraced by the British left—and much of the American—is blind to anti-Semitism, and may even encourage it. He cites the opinions of Ash Sarkar, an influential, young, left-wing British journalist who has proven herself eager to condemn Israel and to dismiss any accusations of anti-Semitism against Laborites:

Sarkar . . . argues that anti-racism is actually about dismantling the material inequalities in our society, and that “racism against Jewish people does not result in the harsher prison sentences, wage gaps, stop and search, or unequal healthcare outcomes that we see with other groups.”

[Hatred of] Jews, by this logic, does not qualify as racism, under this definition which emphasizes “structural inequalities”—that same definition to which Sarkar and many others are most attached. If structural inequalities are the basis for racism, then Jews in contemporary Britain cannot by definition be victims of racism. This concept of racism is not only insensitive to anti-Semitism; it also fails to account for prejudice against other minorities in Britain.

Structural inequalities might be a consequence of race, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are. If these outcomes were necessarily because of race, this wouldn’t just mean that minorities with worse outcomes were racially disadvantaged. It would also imply that some minorities, like Jewish people, are racially privileged. (And remember: if you are racially privileged, you can’t be a victim of racism.)

This isn’t simply wrongheaded. In the case of anti-Semitism, it is especially dangerous. As the German social democrat August Babel said, anti-Semitism is the “socialism of the fools.” Jews supposedly possess power and privilege; so to “call them out” thus makes one a foe of structural inequalities.

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Read more at UnHerd

More about: Anti-Semitism, Labor Party (UK), Racism

Europe-Israel Relations Have Been Transformed

On Monday, Israel and the EU held their first “association council” meeting since 2012, resuming what was once an annual event, equivalent to the meetings Brussels conducts with many other countries. Although the summit didn’t produce any major agreements or diplomatic breakthroughs, writes Shany Mor, it is a sign of a dramatic change that has occurred over the past decade. The very fact that the discussion focused on energy, counterterrorism, military technology, and the situation in Ukraine—rather than on the Israel-Palestinian conflict—is evidence of this change:

Israel is no longer the isolated and boycotted outpost in the Middle East that it was for most of its history. It has peace treaties with six Arab states now, four of which were signed since the last association council meeting. There are direct flights from Tel Aviv to major cities in the region and a burgeoning trade between Israel and Gulf monarchies, including those without official relations.

It is a player in the regional alliance systems of both the Gulf and the eastern Mediterranean, just as it has also become a net energy exporter due to the discovery of large gas deposits of its shoreline. None of this was the case at the last council meeting in 2012. [Moreover], Israel has cultivated deep ties with a number of new member states in the EU from Central and Eastern Europe, whose presence in Brussels bridges cultural ideological gaps that were once much wider.

Beyond the diplomatic shifts, however, is an even larger change that has happened in European-Israeli relations. The tiny Israel defined by its conflict with the Arabs that Europeans once knew is no more. When the first Cooperation Agreement [between Israel and the EU’s precursor] was signed in 1975, Israel, with its three million people, was smaller than all the European member states save Luxembourg. Sometime in the next two years, the Israeli population will cross the 10 million mark, making it significantly larger than Ireland, Denmark, Finland, and Austria (among others), and roughly equal in population to Greece, Portugal, and Sweden.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham Accords, Europe and Israel, European Union, Israeli gas