Cancel Culture, Anti-Semitism, and the Great Awokening

March 9 2021

For those who follow the endless cycle of media and social-media outrage, last week’s outburst was over the anathematization—in today’s lingo, “cancelling”—of certain works by the children’s author Dr. Seuss, which are no longer sold on Amazon and which are being dutifully removed from public libraries. This is but one example of the workings of a new breed of radicalism, which, to Peter Savodnik, is built on three pillars: “antiracism” (not to be confused with mere objections to racism), and an “opposition to any debate” about its own principles:

The anti-Semitism is the apotheosis of the antiracism. It cloaks itself, as it must these days, in anti-Zionism, and it was remarkable because, at first blush, it struck one as so off-topic. What did Israel have to do with [the killing of] George Floyd or equity or “white supremacy”? But it wasn’t off-topic. It was the logical outgrowth of a long and inextinguishable hate.

For a couple of years [after the Holocaust], the non-Jewish world (sort of) admired the Jews—when they were wandering and emaciated. But then [came] Israel, which was founded in 1949 and has morphed into the rationalization for the new anti-Semitism. Today, a good progressive doesn’t hate Jews qua Jews, or as racial inferiors, but as “colonizers” of “black people.” Exponents of a latter-day apartheid.

This [vision of the] Jew is just a version of the white-nationalist vision of the Jew: instead of imposing his will clandestinely, in the fashion of the Elders of Zion, he oppresses openly, in an IDF uniform, with his automatic rifle pointed at the head of a Palestinian. He is all-powerful, but instead of his power standing in opposition to “whiteness,” as the white nationalist understands things, it embodies whiteness. Viewed through the lens of the new radicalism, anti-Semitism is really anti-colonialism, and anti-colonialism is really antiracism in its most distilled form. Which means [that woke anti-Semitism] cannot be anti-Semitic, and if you say it is, you’re anti-antiracist. Which is the worst thing anyone can be.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Progressivism, Racism

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