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Whither Léon Blum?—Paul Berman’s Misplaced Faith in Bernie Sanders

Just before the Second World War, the father of philosopher Emmanuel Levinas told him why it was necessary to make France their home: “A country capable of splitting itself in two over the honor of a little Jewish captain is a country where we have to go as soon as possible.” Levinas was a Lithuanian Jew who became a French citizen in 1939, after which he joined the military as a translator and ended up as a prisoner of war in Germany. Many of his family members died in the Holocaust, but he survived the war and returned to France where he lived the rest of his life.

The Dreyfus Affair divided France just a few decades before the Second World War, and Levinas’s father saw in the controversy the soul of a society that values truth and justice over the ancient hatreds and violent dogmas that were consuming so much of Europe. But the pardon and vindication of the “little Jewish captain” Alfred Dreyfus—who had been falsely accused of treason—was the result of a process that, as Levinas’s father observed, tore France in half. France was the country of Émile Zola, but it was also the country of Édouard Drumont and the howling mobs who read his antisemitic screeds and joined his campaigns against the country’s Jews.

Victor Klemperer, a philologist and diarist who remained in Germany for almost the entirety of the Second World War, once referred to the Jews as a “seismic people.” It’s an apt metaphor—the tremors of antisemitism are an unfailing sign that a society is in grave danger (which is why it’s so often present in totalitarian regimes and mass movements), but conspiratorial suspicion of Jews has a tendency to create sporadic rifts, cracks, and sometimes earthquakes in even the most tolerant and liberal societies. In a series of articles for Tablet late last year, the American author and critic Paul Berman provides a kind of Richter scale reading for three of these countries: France, Britain, and the United States, and asks if the recrudescent antisemitism on the European Left is a sign of what’s to come on the other side of the Atlantic.

Berman provides a brief history of the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis—from Jeremy Corbyn’s record of praising terrorist organizations and celebrating artwork that looks like it was commissioned by Joseph Goebbels to the long list of condemnations of Labour issued by Jewish organizations in the UK. This crisis has only deepened in recent months, with a spate of resignations by Labour members of parliament, ever-increasing opposition from the Jewish community, and surging distrust of Labour among British Jews.

Berman also discusses the influence of “Corbyn’s counterpart” in France, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whose Unsubmissive France Party has “ended up as anti-Zionism’s principal home on the French Left.” During the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, Jewish businesses and synagogues were attacked and, Berman writes, “…a street full of marchers broke into a cry of ‘Death to the Jews!’ And ‘Jew: Shut up, France is not yours!,’ together with ‘Allahu Akbar!,’ and ‘Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!’” Instead of condemning the protesters and their violence, Mélenchon complained about their targets, whom he described as “aggressive communities that lecture the rest of the country.”

Surveying these ugly episodes from across the Atlantic, Berman wonders: “Will the same miserable battle that has torn apart large portions of the European Left spread to America, not just on a miniature scale (which has already happened), but full blast, with national consequences?”

This question was worth asking even before a furious row erupted over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s inflammatory comments about Jews and Israel earlier this year. As Berman points out, there is no shortage of “American campaigners, student councils, minor and major politicians, immigrant activists, distinguished intellectuals and vigorous chants” that demonstrate a renewed anti-Zionist energy in the country, and outright antisemitism is often lurking in the background. Sometimes, it is shameless enough to appear in the foreground: the organizers of the Women’s March (the largest protest in American history) openly and defiantly align themselves with Louis Farrakhan and yet manage to maintain their privileged positions on the activist Left.

Berman’s 2003 book, Terror and Liberalism, was one of the earliest warnings about the emergence of an increasingly assertive illiberal Left in the twenty-first century. But unlike, say, Nick Cohen’s polemic What’s Left? (published four years later), Terror and Liberalism is about more than the Left’s excesses and disfigurations. It is also a sweeping intellectual history of the twentieth century’s totalitarian mass movements—communism, fascism, and Islamism.

Berman argued that all of these movements were animated by the conviction that it’s possible to build societies free from liberalism’s contradictions and compromises. They were all permanently organized for war and infatuated with death and martyrdom. And they were all paranoid and conspiratorial, convinced that they were encircled by enemies and infiltrated by spies. These “subversive dwellers in Babylon,” Berman wrote, “were the bourgeoisie and the kulaks (for the Bolsheviks and Stalinists); or the Freemasons and cosmopolitans (for the Fascists and Phalangists); and, sooner or later, they were always the Jews …”

Today, Jews aren’t just scapegoated and despised by Islamists who march through the streets of Paris—they’re also regarded with suspicious contempt by people who, as Berman put it, are supposed to be the enemies of “antique bigotries and of modernized bigotries.” Berman argued that there is “pressure on the Western Left to accommodate, in the name of anti-racism and Third World solidarity, as many Islamist principles as possible, in regard to blasphemy, gender roles, and the iniquity of the Jews—a pressure on the Left, that is, to temper or creatively adapt various of its own historic fundamentals.”

In Terror and Liberalism, Berman reminded us that the Left had faced such pressures to accommodate totalitarianism and prejudice many times, and its failures were often spectacular. He recalled the “curious case of the French Socialists of the 1930s,” who “boasted of old and impeccable democratic credentials, reaching back into the nineteenth century.” In Prime Minister Léon Blum, they had also “managed to produce a great leader … who knew how to fuse French patriotism with the cause of social justice and the loftiest of cultural values.” Blum was the first Jew to serve as the prime minister of France, and he was a committed Zionist whose experience witnessing and reporting on the Dreyfus Affair made it the formative event of his political life. As such, his revulsion to Hitler and Nazism was visceral, and his resistance to the idea of accommodating (much less collaborating with) Germany was implacable.

However, as Berman explained: “… the French Socialists had their factions, and Blum and his supporters did not represent the entire party.” Another “somewhat larger faction” was led by Paul Faure, and this faction—although it was opposed to Hitler—was so terrified by the prospect of another war in Europe that it was willing to rationalize Nazi aggression and “make every effort, strain every muscle, to avoid a new Verdun.” The Paul-Fauristes argued that Germany had suffered under the Treaty of Versailles, and that Germans were being mistreated in Slavic countries. Therefore, shouldn’t proper socialists be concerned about the warmongers, arms manufacturers, and leaders of great powers “who stood to benefit in material ways from a new war”? Many French socialists began to wonder if “…on the Jewish question, just as on several other questions, Hitler was wrong, but perhaps not entirely wrong.” After all, Jewish financiers did appear to hold a lot of power. Many of those demanding confrontation with Hitler were Jews. The French prime minister—among the noisiest of those the Paul-Fauristes called warmongers—was a Jew. Hitler’s antisemitism was ugly, vulgar, and atavistic, but didn’t it also explain the opposition of his Jewish enemies to appeasement?

After the invasion of France in June 1940, Léon Blum and his allies refused to cooperate with Philippe Pétain’s Vichy government, while the “majority of the Socialists in the National Assembly, the anti-war faction, voted with Pétain.” The country that had so inspired Emmanuel Levinas’s father had become a Nazi outpost. Blum was sent to Buchenwald, where he was held for two years before being transferred to Dachau. He later wrote: “I was in the hands of Nazis. For them I represented something more than a French politician. I also embodied what they hated most in the world, since I was a democratic socialist and a Jew.” Even as his allies on the French Left abandoned him to the Nazis, Blum’s political convictions didn’t waver. Nor did he creatively adapt his principles—on the contrary, he affirmed them, even in the face of Nazi occupation.

It’s not hard to imagine what Blum would say about the state of the contemporary European Left—from Corbyn’s obsequious praise for antisemites to Mélenchon’s refusal to confront them. A man who had the courage to defy the Nazis and embrace his Jewishness in the shadow of Buchenwald would not have much patience for a man who couldn’t summon the political courage to condemn rioters chanting “Death to the Jews!” in the streets of Paris. Nor would he be impressed by a Labour leader who compares antisemitic propaganda to the work of Diego Rivera.

But what about America? Yes, comments abut Jews and Israel by politicians like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the apologies for Islamist antisemitism and obsessive anti-Zionism in many quarters of the media and on American campuses, the influence of sulfurous antisemites like Farrakhan, and the elevation of demagogues like Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory to the status of cultural icons are all disturbing realities. But do they mean that the Corbynization of the American Left is inevitable? Or, as Berman asks, “Is America, in short, different?”

Berman’s answer is that America is indeed different. And the American political figure who he says demonstrates this difference is, confusingly, Bernie Sanders. Berman begins by criticizing Sanders for adopting the “foreign policy default position” of the American Left in 2016 (a mixture of apathy and reflexive castigation of the United States)—that is, when he wasn’t assiduously avoiding foreign policy altogether. But this was before Sanders started delivering foreign policy speeches that, to Berman’s ear, seem to capture the values that many leaders of the European Left have abandoned: democratic solidarity, internationalism, and anti-authoritarianism.

Berman was particularly impressed when, having condemned Trump for his failure to mention Russia’s 2016 election interference at the UN, Sanders called for solidarity with “supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia” (this was during his first major foreign policy speech in September 2017). In Sanders’s second foreign policy speech a year later, he built upon this theme of democratic solidarity, identifying a “new authoritarian axis” in the U.S. and Europe and arguing that “we need to counter oligarchic authoritarianism with a strong global progressive movement that speaks to the needs of working people…” Berman believes that, unlike Hillary Clinton, Sanders has an “ability to point to things that are larger than a laundry list, and grander than strength and safety. The worldwide struggle for democracy and justice is his cause, and solidarity is his principle.”

But the evidence that Sanders’s foreign policy would revive the best traditions of the social-democratic Left—those of internationalism and anti-totalitarianism—is thin. His comments about the “new authoritarian axis” could have been uttered by any Democratic candidate in the age of Trump, Fidesz, Law and Justice, and so on. What Berman describes as Sanders’s “salute to the internationalist and anti-totalitarian arguments of Winston Churchill” is practically obligatory for any American politician speaking in Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill delivered his “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946. Until Sanders gives us some idea of what he might actually do to win the “worldwide struggle for democracy,” we shouldn’t get too excited.

Berman understands all of this. When he wonders if any left-wing American politician will “revive a few of the instincts of the 1940s social-democratic Left, updated and corrected for our own entirely different era,” he quickly admits: “I have allowed my thoughts to wander out of the zone of the realistic.” Still, for some reason, he finds hope in Sanders’s vague appeals to the Left’s higher principles. And for some even more obscure reason, he believes Sanders to be the figure who demonstrates that “obsessive anti-Zionism” won’t take hold on the mainstream American Left.

Although Berman admits that Jews and Israel were largely missing from the foreign policy speeches in 2017 and 2018, he says Sanders has “instinctive sympathy” for the Zionist project. During a town hall meeting in Vermont in 2012, Sanders argued that Israel had a right to defend itself from indiscriminate rocket attacks and shouted “Shut up!” at constituents who loudly claimed otherwise, which “suggested that his sympathy for certain kinds of anti-Israel outrage has its limits.” Berman also points out that Sanders repeatedly has to admit that he’s “been a little hasty in expressing a sympathy for this or that Palestinian protest.” Among Sanders’s counterparts in Britain and France, Berman concludes, “there is a chilly spot for the Jews and the Jewish state—icy, in Corbyn’s case. But in the American enemy of oligarchical authoritarianism there is a warm spot.”

Is there? Berman spends most of his article about Sanders outlining all the ways in which the “American enemy of oligarchical authoritarianism” has aligned himself with the obsessive anti-Zionists, about whom Berman is most concerned. Perhaps it is true that Sanders “relishes the memory of his student socialist idyll in 1963, toiling for the brotherhood of man as a guest of Hashomer Hatzair at the kibbutz Sha’ar Ha’amakim, near Haifa.” But why did he ask Linda Sarsour—who thinks “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and who is an unapologetic ally and defender of the Nation of Islam—to introduce him at his rallies? Why did Sanders “help to define as admirably progressive” (in Berman’s own words) Rashida Tlaib, who “turns out to be a champion of Israel’s demise”? And why did Sanders tell the New York Daily News editorial board that his “recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza” during the 2014 war, a statement that betrayed his readiness to believe outlandish reports of Israeli brutality?

A few months after Berman wrote his series for Tablet, a 2012 tweet by Rep. Ilhan Omar resurfaced in which she had claimed that “Israel has hypnotized the world.” She later claimed that support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins,” and lamented the “political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

As the House debated a resolution to condemn antisemitism in response to these remarks, Sanders issued a statement in support of Omar: “What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate [over the Israeli government’s behavior]. That’s wrong.” Sanders’s statement attacked a straw man—almost nobody was arguing that legitimate criticism of Israel should be silenced. But Sanders knew he would face furious opposition from progressives if he condemned Omar, so he refused to do so. The most Sanders will say about Omar is that she “has got to do maybe a better job in speaking to the Jewish community”—this sounds like a polite request for greater tact rather than a principled stand against bigotry.

It doesn’t matter if Sanders still harbors nostalgia for the radical socialist Israeli experiment of yore—he is notably less enthusiastic about the liberal capitalist nation it has become. Nor does it matter if he does indeed retain a warm spot in his heart for Jews—he has repeatedly demonstrated that political expediency can cool it off. This is why, if Sanders is the best defense against the Corbynization on the American Left, we’re in trouble. While antisemitism hasn’t become institutionalized on the American Left as it has in the Labour Party, in a way, this makes Sanders’s vacillations and excuses all the more feeble. If he can’t summon the political courage to fight against the prejudices and pathologies that have infected Europe when it’s relatively easy to do so, what are the chances he’ll manage if and when it becomes difficult?

In his 2015 biography Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist, Pierre Birnbaum writes that Blum was “certain of his rights and his legitimacy and unafraid of reprisals, refrained from protesting his arrest or requesting special treatment. He courageously defended his actions as prime minister as well as his Jewish identity, which he never tried to hide.” To the extent that the Left’s historic fundamentals are in opposition to totalitarianism, racism, and violent paranoia, Blum—like the Dreyfusards, whose tradition he upheld—embodied them. Sanders’s craven appeasement of anti-Zionists, on the other hand, is precisely what Berman decries: a corruption of those fundamentals “in the name of anti-racism and Third World solidarity.”

It is true that Bernie Sanders is no Jeremy Corbyn. In our current climate, perhaps clearing that exceedingly low bar is something to celebrate. But watching Paul Berman scratch around for evidence of Zionist fellow-feeling in Sanders’s meagre record is dispiriting, nonetheless. Amid his own anxious caveats, Berman yearns to uncover what remains of Blum’s heroic legacy in contemporary democratic socialism. It is a sad commentary on the state of today’s Left that one of its most incisive chroniclers must now listen so carefully for the faintest echoes of principles once trumpeted with such clarity.


Matt Johnson has written for Stanford Social Innovation Review, the Bulwark, Editor & PublisherAreo MagazineArc DigitalSplice TodayForbes, and the Kansas City Star. He was formerly the opinion page editor at the Topeka Capital-Journal. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjj89


  1. Gringo says

    Berman spends most of his article about Sanders outlining all the ways in which the “American enemy of oligarchical authoritarianism”

    Bernie, the “American enemy of oligarchical authoritarianism?” When asked about Venezuela this year, he admitted that Venezuela’s regime repeatedly violated democratic norms, but Bernie refused to call Maduro a dictator. Sanders warns against outside intervention in Venezuela, stops short of calling Maduro a ‘dictator.’
    Good start, but not enough. Why can’t a dictator be called a dictator?
    BTW, both Bernie and Maduro had a similar opinion about the impeachment of President Dilma Rouseff in Brazil- both calling it a “coup” A “coup” that followed the Brazilian Constitution.

    Recall what Bernie said about Cuba and Castro.

    “The people he met had an almost religious affection for him [Fidel], he said.”The revolution there is far deeper and more profound than I understood it to be. It really is a revolution in human values”

    Bernie Sanders does not speak Spanish. As such, translators informed him of the “almost religious affection” that Cubans had for Fidel. Any Cuban faced with a translator for a foreigner is going to assume that the translator is working for the Cuban regime. No Cuban with an instinct for self-preservation would have given a candid opinion of Fidel or his regime to a translator, who would have undoubtedly reported the conversation to the appropriate authorities. If a Cuban disliked the regime, the odds of candidly expressing that opinion to a regime-supplied translator are close to 0.

    But Bernie tells us that those opinions are heartfelt.

    Bernie’s talk about a “revolution in human values” echoes Lenin’s New Soviet Man, or Che’s New Man.
    By such statements about Cuba, Bernie showed himself to be a full-fledged supporter of “oligarchical authoritarianism” as practiced in Cuba.

    (Burlington Free Press, March 28,1989, p 6)

    • Albert Perdue says

      I have little hope that the American left will fully embrace antisemitism, whereas the white nationalist right, of which I am a passionate adherent, is showing some signs of a truly vital antisemitism that might actually inspire American Jews to depart from this place where they are so conspicuously incongruous and so consecrated to anti-white racism.

  2. Ray Andrews says

    I suppose some people are unintelligent enough to believe that being anti-Zionist is the same as being antisemitic, but I suspect that most of the people who write articles like this one are muddying the water deliberately. The innuendos and guilt by associations above are fine examples of the art of political smearing, but Bernie is not antisemitic. Strange if he was, being himself a Jew. His son is named Levi. But like many people he is appalled by what the Zionists have done.

    As for me, I’m half Jewish, and vigorously pro-semitic, but the dispossession of the Palestinians — oh, BTW I’m also a card carrying ‘Islamophobe’ — is a crime even if the dispossessed are merely Arabs — sand nig*ers. Half of the vector behind jihad and the general hatred between the Muslim world and the West is due to Zionism, which is also IMHO a disgrace to the higher principals that the Jews claim (and often do) live by.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Ray Andrews

      If it had been up to me, Israel would never have come into existence. I might instead have dispossessed millions of German citizens to create a Jewish state in the best, most productive part of the Reich by way of punishment and restitution. Lost opportunity there.

      But Israel has now existed longer than I have been alive. Longer than most of the people commenting on Quillette. And by virtue of long-time actual possession, it’s right of possession is as strong and valid as the right of any nation on earth, each of which constitutes land taken by somebody from somebody else.

      As for the Palestinians, more than half of historic and pre-partition Palestine lies outside of Israel’s current borders. They should be content with that and stop annoying the rest of the world.

      • David of Kirkland says

        Like 40 acres and a mule, it’s easy to promise people other people’s land, and easier still to never deliver on that promise.

        • RD says

          It was not “other people’s land”–not politically, not after the Ottoman was made to abdicate it.

      • RD says

        @Morgan, you suggest that the Zionist enterprise happened in the heels of WWII. Not so. Tel Aviv, for instance, came into being in 1909. Ponder this for a moment.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Morgan Foster

        “by virtue of long-time actual possession”

        There’s merit to that. My own doctrine is basically ‘minimum harm’ and so irrespective of what happened to your ancestors, the harm of dismantling an existing and thriving society based on historical claims is greater than the ‘justice’ of repairing history.

        “more than half of historic and pre-partition Palestine lies outside of Israel’s current borders”

        Arguments about Israel/Palestine tend to end up as disputes about UN resolutions and the various borders of various states of various legitimacy. I tend to give only the smallest damn to such arguments. The dispossession that bothers me is not of one state by another but of individual people forced from their legally held property without compensation. That’s simply theft. Few Palestinians at the time were hugely worried about nation states. Jordan was an entirely contrived entity and before that it was the Brits then the Ottomans. But whoever runs the government, individual title should be respected and it wasn’t. We’re paying the price for it now and into the interminable future. There is something about Semites: Jews and Arabs both, they retain ties to land that seem to never go away. The Jews have been remembering for 2000 years, the Palestinians might remember for just as long. I think we should try justice, yes, it will be expensive, but so have all the wars.

        • Brian Henry says

          If we’re talking about financial restitution, far more is certainly owed to the Jews chased out of Arab lands. Anyway, there is no support among any Palestinian party for your idea of compensation. The only compensation sought is the replacement of Israel by an Arab state.

      • AJ says

        The problem for the palestinians is that they are niether allowed to be Israeli citizens or allowed to form their own state and the area within which the live is constantly being reduced.

        I don’t know what I would advocate palestinians should do: they can become refugees living in camps with limitte dopportunities for themselves and tehir children, they can seek to illegally enter a western country, they can fight a hopeless one sided battle morally indefensible battle, or they can just despair. Bringing their plight to the eattention of the world, at least in peaceful ways, is probably one of the better actions they can take although like all their choices it is a futile one.

    • bumble bee says

      So let’s put a little context into the existence of the State of Israel. The Jew have a long history of not only creating a civilization in the same geographic area, but calling their country Israel even back to antiquity. If not for the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and Israel causing the diaspora, the Jews would still be living in their own country.

      Then one must put into context, the never ending persecution in varying degrees throughout the time of Israels destruction in 70AD to the 1950’s. When the entire continent of Europe and the western portion of Asia still does not want you even after the genocide of the Holocaust, where do a people go? Can they even trust living amongst another culture that could potentially turn virulent and come after them again? Well, the powers that be at the close of WWII gave them their old territory, their previous land they created and occupied for hundreds/thousands of years. They needed a place where they were the government, they were the lawmakers, they were the army so that Never Again actually means Never Again.

      Now, the Palestinians as well as neighboring Arab countries could not tolerate having a Jewish state living in within their midst. The day Israel officially became its own country, they were attacked. Israel has been militarily attacked by a foreign nation not just once but on several occasions without provocation simply because they are Jews. So because Israel was successful in repelling their attackers, even to the point of capturing the Sinai, as well as Palestinian lands they are accused as being imperial colonialists. This same BS has continued up to and including today. Why?, because low information people have been listening and believing the same anti-Semitic claptrap. They have even gone so far as label Israel as being an apartheid state.

      So no none is going to discuss how Israel has kept their side of every political agreements with Palestine, while they have not kept their word? No one is going to talk about the years of suicide bombers blowing up public places in Israel, killing innocent citizens? Where do people think the checkpoints came from, why Israel has such high security measures. When will some world leader start telling the Palestinians the truth, that they have created by their own actions their current predicament as a country. Their own actions have kept them just as they are and until they want to end their own hatred of Jews/Israel and can learn to live together like other Arab countries they will continue as they are.

      The so called left/progressives are so desperate to be seen as on the cutting edge of everything equality driven, they think they can created groups like BDS to push their anti-Israel agenda. Even Obama was falling for this BS during his tenure, and now the UN has been duped and has tried to charge them with Crimes Against Humanity which is so outrageous I must be dreaming. Allowing any liberal/progressive to obtain any power/influence with regard to Israel, would be the biggest and most direct cause of another genocide that will last as quickly as a flash and destroy an entire culture bringing to fruition everything the Nazi’s desired but were denied.

      • Bumble Bee, very well put. It is my understanding that Jewish residence in the holy lands extends back thousands of years B.C. which is obvious to anyone who has ever read the old testament. They have endured attacks by many tribes; the Romans, the Muslims and now the ‘Christian’ left wingers are only among the more recent.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @bumble bee

        “Israel has been militarily attacked by a foreign nation not just once but on several occasions without provocation simply because they are Jews.”

        Not exactly. For 2000 years the Jewish population in Palestine was small but mostly unmolested. The Arabs/Muslims could very obviously have wiped them out had they wanted to but they didn’t. But the state of Israel was a Western imperialist colonial assault that was hard to ignore. Had the Jews lived in peace with the Palestinians instead of driving them out — the nakba — something could have been worked out.

        “the same anti-Semitic claptrap”

        I’m half Jewish and my views on this have nothing to do with Jews, but with Zionists, and there is a difference.

        “They have even gone so far as label Israel as being an apartheid state.”

        Which it is. If Gaza isn’t a bantustan what is? Bibi has announced that Israel is the Jewish state, and all other folks are 2nd class at best and may be expelled in the future. Ask Bibi.

        “that they have created by their own actions their current predicament as a country”

        There is much to deplore about the Palestinians. Nevertheless it started with the theft of their land. Before ’48 the Zionists were buying land legally, no problem. Then they decided to steal the rest, but we’ve all paid for that land many times over in blood. BTW, I’m a sort of Zionist myself, I don’t know that Israel has a ‘right’ to exist, but it does exist and isn’t going away. But it should pay for the land it stole.

        • RD says

          @Ray Andrews. You have a distorted picture of the geopolitical situation and the history of the the events in 1948. For one, Israel did not steal the land in 1948. It is a stupid, ignorant claim on multiple levels. And irritating at that.

          The short of it is that the UN decreed that the territory under its control will be divided to two confederated states: a majority Jewish state and a majority Arab state. The Arab foiled the resolution and strove to gain control over the entire UN territory. The Jewish forces pushed back and the rest is history.

          • Ray Andrews says


            “The Arab foiled the resolution and strove to gain control over the entire UN territory.”

            Right, OTOH the entire place was theirs until the British/UN decided to give most of it to the Jews. Further, Ben Gurion and other Zionists were quite clear about the fact that any partition was a temporary truce and that they intended to reclaim the entire ‘Promised Land’ eventually and to rid it of all non Jews. Bibi will see that task completed. If you don’t want to admit that Israel has been stealing land since ’48 there’s little point in discussing it since any discussion starts with honesty.

        • Stephanie says

          Ray, some Palestinians were forced out by Israeli armies, but most fled because their leaders fled, even when commanding officers begged them to stay (many did and Israel is 20% Muslim with full rights). Palestinians who fled feared a Jewish state would do to them what they would do to the Jews if they got control: slaughter them. The Arabs (they didn’t even call themselves Palestinian at the time) lived in dispersed tribal villages and had no greater political organisation than paying taxes to the Ottoman Empire. They didn’t always leave the Jews (who mostly lived in Jerusalem and were a majority there) alone. When persecution in Europe lead to migration of wealthy Jews to the region, tensions with the Arab population developed into outright hostility. Their landowners liked to take Jewish money, but it didn’t mean the population liked it. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem even met with Hitler hoping for his help exterminating the Jewish population of the Holy Land.

          If you are concerned about the justice of land grabs, consider that a similar number of Jews were similarly displaced from Arab lands at the same time. You don’t hear about them because they moved on and became productive citizens of whatever country would take them (mostly Israel, but also Europe where they are being displaced again by Muslims). Any discussion of restitution to Palestinians that does not include restitution to Sephardic and Mizradi Jews is one-sided and ahistorical. Interestingly, because Jews built lives for themselves elsewhere instead of being consumed by desire for revenge and violence, some of these countries apologized decades later and invited their Jews and their descendants to return (I’m sure it’s just an economic decision, but still a nice gesture). If Palestinians had done the same, Israel might have welcomed them back as well.

          Like the talk of slavery reparations, there is also the matter that only a tiny fraction of the generation alive during Israel’s formation remain alive. Holocaust reparations were only paid to the elderly people who actually experienced it, even though the assets stolen from Jews were orders of magnitude more valuable than the value of the land pre-Israeli independence. Recall that before “European colonialism” this was a barren, undeveloped desert that could support few people. Pouring billions of dollars into Palestine hasn’t solved the problem: they just spend it on rockets, while not paying their water or electricity bill, which you then blame Israel for cutting off.

          The Palestinians are clear on what they mean by justice: destruction of the State of Israel and liquidation of the Jewish population. You would have to live in a fantasy world to think this would not happen with great violence: it would amount to the killing of the 6 million Jews currently living in Israel. Another Holocaust. Anyone who supports the Palestinian concept of justice, like Jeremy Corbyn does, is advocating for another Holocaust. Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism aren’t the same thing, but they have a lot of overlap and the former is used as a rhetorical tool to cover up the latter. If you support a political organisation whose goal is the destruction of Israel, you are an anti-Semite. End of story.

          Also worth noting that many European Christian and Muslim countries define themselves officially as such, but no complaints about that. Only Jews aren’t allowed to exist as a self-determining political entity.

          • Ray Andrews says


            Pretty strong defense there. Lots of truth or at least half truth.

            “Israel is 20% Muslim with full rights”

            The expulsions were not centrally controlled and yes, some Arabs retained their homes. Not exactly full rights. Bibi has notified the Arab Israelis that Israel is a Jewish state, and that they may be expelled at any time.

            “fled feared a Jewish state would do to them what they would do to the Jews if they got control: slaughter them”

            Probably at least partly true. Mind, when the Muslims were in total control they did not exterminate the Jews, did they?

            ” had no greater political organisation than paying taxes to the Ottoman Empire”

            Correct, which is why I discount worries over political entities. I worry about the dispossession of individuals.

            “Their landowners liked to take Jewish money, but it didn’t mean the population liked it”

            They could see what was coming, and it did. Some Europeans have about the same issue now with Islamization — they can see what’s coming and they don’t like it. I think we’re both in that category. Me, I don’t think they should invade us, but I also don’t think we should have invaded them.

            “a similar number of Jews were similarly displaced from Arab lands at the same time”

            Right, there was retaliation. Frankly the Jews initiated it by what they did in Palestine. In any case, do two wrongs make a right?

            “only a tiny fraction of the generation alive during Israel’s formation remain alive”

            True. As time passes reparations become more and more problematical. Sharon was entirely honest about this: we’ll steal the land, and after 50 years it will be ours. There does come a point where he ‘wins’, but not yet.

            “Any discussion of restitution to Palestinians that does not include restitution to Sephardic and Mizradi Jews is one-sided and ahistorical.”

            True, OTOH being entirely practical, the fact is that the Mizradis are not making our lives miserable. I believe in justice, but the dirty little fact is that some folks can look after themselves anyway, and some can’t. I’d grease the squeaky wheel as much for our sakes as for theirs.

            “invited their Jews and their descendants to return”

            But the circle closes: The European Jews were/are … European. Palestinian Arab Muslims are not. Jews can always access money, but a dispossessed Arab has nothing. Jews can move and assimilate in all sorts of places, but Arabs can’t — as we see in Europe today.

            “Recall that before “European colonialism” this was a barren, undeveloped desert that could support few people.”

            That’s exaggerated but partly true. Restitution would be for the value of the land before the Jews improved it. Mind the coastal plain was always fertile.

            ” Pouring billions of dollars into Palestine hasn’t solved the problem”

            No, because they remain obsessed with the injustice done to them. And it’s hard to run an administration in a territory that looks like this:


            Do you honestly think that that absurd collection of fragmented villages can ever be made to work? Remembering of course that you can’t even move to the next village without going thru a checkpoint which might or might not be open. I’d be building rockets myself if I was one of those poor buggers. They have no chance.

            “destruction of the State of Israel and liquidation of the Jewish population”

            Nope. That’s Hamas. The PA has long renounced any plans to push the Jews into the sea. Does anyone really worry about the PA attacking the most powerful state in the region? They will never have anything more dangerous than an AK47. At the first hint of war the Israelis would smash them to dust.

            “If you support a political organisation whose goal is the destruction of Israel”

            I don’t. I support making the place legal by paying compensation to people robbed of their property. Notwithstanding any other injustices to anyone ever, each injustice should be solved if possible. If we wait for perfection we’ll never accomplish anything.

            “Also worth noting that many European Christian and Muslim countries define themselves officially as such”

            Which European Nation? I guess Hungary is up front about it.

            “Only Jews aren’t allowed to exist as a self-determining political entity.”

            I have no problem with that. Only that they stole the land. Pay for it. Make Israel legal.

          • Stephanie says

            Ray, I think if it were just a matter of throwing money at them, the Israeli government would have done that long ago. There have been decades of negotiations,and money is worth far less to Israel than security. Even if they gave each Arab who was displaced during the civil war $15 000, the amount actual survivors of the Holocaust received in reparations from Germany, do you believe that would solve anything? If it would, it would have been done in a heartbeat. People who have looked at this professionally and from the inside do not seem to think so, so we should accept that conclusion. I do encourage you to try to convince the Left to convince the Palestinians (since you’re so good at talking to people on both sides of the political divide), because if this were a feasible option they would accept in the place of return, Israel would jump on it.

            The PLO suspended recognition of Israel in 2018. They never stopped paying terrorists to kill Israeli civilians, so it was a farce from the start, but shifting political winds in the West and the Arab world meant they could be more open about their aspirations.

            Yes, life is hard for the Palestinians, but every security measure was introduced by necessity because of unacceptable risk of violence. Their own collective choices is what lead to the situation today. Reacting with more violence makes as much sense as smuggling a bomb in your underwear through airport security because they make you take off your shoes. It is foolish and counterproductive.

            It’s good timing Quillette came out with that piece on illegal immigration yesterday, because it’s a window into how leftist much of Israeli society is. Israel does not want this situation to continue and would jump at a feasible plan to fix things. There simply isn’t one available.

            I’ve always said the Palestinians are one MLK away from peace and self-determination. If a charismatic leader rose up and insisted on non-violent resistance and reconciliation with Israel, who exerted Israel’s right to exist and called on Palestinians to have their own nation-building project, and commanded impressive support, the Israeli government would take the opportunity to hammer out a deal. Even the most suspicious of right-wing governments would not be able to overcome the political pressure to do so, and if they did a left-wing government would be voted in in the next election.

            But for the same reason that Muslims don’t integrate well, they have trouble letting go of this grievance. Their religious texts are filled with stories of conquest and promises of global domination, so integrating into a new culture or ceding a tiny bit of land is pretty much blasphemy. That comes into conflict with the Jewish culture, which doesn’t integrate well either but already has values highly desired in the West (being the originator of much of those values), and desires control of only one tiny stretch of land to which they have continuous ties for 3000 years.

            I wasn’t accusing you of anti-Zionism or anti-Semitism, but I think because SJWs have so overused the bigotry accusation many of us have tired of it altogether. The practical implications of anti-Zionism are violent and anti-Semitic, and I think we need to be abundantly clear on that and call out leaders who lean that direction.

          • Stephanie says

            Ray, as ga gamba points out below, very little of the land was owned by Muslim individuals to begin with: it dominantly belonged to the Ottoman Empire, then the British, before belonging to Israel. If it were possible to prove ownership of land three generations later in a society that was more tribal than bureaucratic, that would still be only a tiny proportion of Palestinians who would be entitled to any compensation. (Would Turkey be entitled to compensation, even though this land was supposed to be compensation for the attempted Ottoman colonial expansion into Europe?)

            Because it wouldn’t affect most Palestinians and would not accomplish their stated perspective on justice, this plan will not convince the Palestinian leadership, or very many Palestinian individuals, and absolutely none of the leftists pushing this in the West and funding grievance-peddling in the region. We’ve seen time and time again how they react when they see blood in the water: it is entirely too generous to assume they will not take it as a sign of weakness and demand more. This resolution might satisfy centrists like yourself, but we’re not dealing with centrists.

            In short, like slavery/Jim Crow reparations, very few Palestinians would qualify, the money would not solve their problems or even address their stated grievances, and it would only open the door for more demands. Until there is a sane Palestinian parter for Israel to negotiate with, nothing can get done, anyway. The ball has been in the Palestinians’ court for a long time and there it will stay until they shift their focus from obsessing over Israel’s destruction to building a nation of their own. For a nationality that came into existence only recently in response to hatred of Israel, it will be a steep climb and may take a very long time, if it happens at all.

            There is little Israel can do in the meantime, so their best course of action is to continue growing their Jewish population and expanding into the territories they won in defensive wars. There is a chance the Palestinian state that already exists, Jordan, will one day value the well-being of their brothers more than they value proxy wars with Israel, and will receive and assimilate the Palestinians they currently turn away. This would be a neat solution because Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have failed spectacularly at nation-building so far, and should perhaps give up.

            Something you said to ga gamba is also interesting, that you hold Israel to a higher standard because you think Jews are superior. I felt the same way subconsciously when I was an anti-Zionist in my youth. I changed my mind about the situation when I listened to our fellow Canadian Tarek Fatah talk about the racism of lower standards people operate with when they consider issues related to Muslims. Jews may be culturally and intellectually superior, but that does not mean we should treat Muslims as if they are inferior. Treating people as individuals requires that we hold Palestinians to the same standard of conduct as Israelis: they are capable of forgoing violence, accepting reality, letting go of anti-Semitism, and behaving responsibly.

        • Heike says

          Israel as a ethno-state? That’s an alt-right idea.

          • Ray Andrews says


            Honest and articulate as always Steph. Just a few salient points:

            “Even if they gave each Arab who was displaced during the civil war $15 000, the amount actual survivors of the Holocaust received in reparations from Germany, do you believe that would solve anything?”

            Yes. It would remove the legitimate grievance that those folks were robbed. They were. And it’s the wrong comparison, the reparations should not be some blanket amount (tho there could be something like that as well), the thing is to pay people for their lost property. If I move into your house and throw you out, should it one day come to pass that I have to put that injustice right, I do not ‘throw money’ at you, I pay you for what I took. There is a difference, no?

            “Israel would jump on it.”

            They haven’t yet. Even if it wouldn’t work, how about making the try? An honest offer of compensation for lost property rather than endless explanations of why Israel simply had and has no choice but to steal people’s land? Honesty has yet to be tried — by either side.

            “The PLO suspended recognition of Israel in 2018.”

            This is the kind of shit that is only a distraction. I don’t care about the PLO or other political actors, I care about individual people. Were individual people offered justice we might find that the wind dropped out of the sails of the PLO and Hamas and god know who else. Before blowing up 9/11, Osama railed on about his grievances, and the sad thing is that some of them are legitimate — Palestine being one of them.

            “Reacting with more violence makes as much sense as smuggling a bomb in your underwear through airport security because they make you take off your shoes.”

            The alternative is unfortunately simply surrendering to the loss of everything, which is what the Zionists have planned from day one. Every Jew knows this perfectly well. There will be no Canaanites permitted in Zion. As with Joshua, they will be exterminated or expelled. Some are honest enough to admit this, others prefer to lie. There will always be a pretext for the next expropriation. It was the same in the Warsaw ghetto: the Jews could cooperate, or they could foolishly go down fighting. They went down fighting. The Palestinians are much the same.

            “Israeli government would take the opportunity to hammer out a deal.”

            Opportunities have been missed, no question. The old saw that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity is quite apt. I loathe their leaders over all, tho a few seem like decent people. But people like Sharon and Bibi are not interested in either peace or justice. They will steal the whole of Palestine, one way or another, and blame it on the dispossessed who will stupidly do exactly as they are choreographed to do by smarter people.

            “Their religious texts are filled with stories of conquest and promises of global domination”

            Yes, the soup is thick. But the Palestinian youth seem ready to throw off the ancient barbarism. Too bad they will be stateless. Given no chance, some will turn back to hatred and revenge.

            “desires control of only one tiny stretch of land to which they have continuous ties for 3000 years”

            Yes, and they should have it. But if they want it that much, then perhaps they should pay for it. Can stolen land ever be holy? If you know your Bible, you may recall that Abraham purchased the land that he desired and the sellers were well pleased with the deal.

          • Ray Andrews says


            “very little of the land was owned by Muslim individuals to begin with”

            Good, then reparations should not be expensive.

            “Would Turkey be entitled to compensation”

            Turkey is a nation-state, not an individual property owner. As above, the conquest of territory is another matter. Mind, even then the law says that after wars are over, everyone is supposed to go home.

            “this plan will not convince the Palestinian leadership, or very many Palestinian individuals”

            Then it would be strategic to make the offer, since it would look good and would be rejected anyway, making the Palestinians look very bad. Why not cash in on the PR?

            “only open the door for more demands”

            Article #1 must be that this settlement closes the matter of reparations for all eternity. If they won’t sign then at least the offer was made. You can offer a thirsty horse water, but if it refuses to drink then what can you do?

            “to building a nation of their own”

            So give them an unoccupied nation in which to do just that. And BTW should they even think about making war, then … well they wouldn’t even think about it. Nor would Jordan or even Egypt. Mad dog Syria might, and of course Hez, but what’s new?

            “Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have failed spectacularly at nation-building so far”

            Because their occupier won’t let them move without going through checkpoints. No one can enter or leave without Israeli permission. You can’t build a nation when your enemy has his foot on your throat. You have of course seen the documentary ‘checkpoint’?

            “but that does not mean we should treat Muslims as if they are inferior”

            My case exactly. They are entitled to be paid for their lost country. To this day they are returning stolen art to the descendants of the rightful owers. I say we return stolen property (or it’s market value) to the rightful owners too, or their descendants.

            You know, ironically the best case for Zionism is the honest one, not the lie. I think (used to know all these details, slowly forgetting) it was Ben Gurion or maybe Herzel who said that the Jews needed Palestine more than the Arabs needed it and consequently they (the Jews) were going to take it. The Jews were demonstrably unsafe in Europe, were persecuted almost everywhere, and had need of a homeland very badly. The Arabs in contrast had no particular ties to any specific territory and might easily (presuming they had the money) move anywhere from Casablanca to Kirkuk without much trouble. Same religion, same language, almost identical culture. Furthermore the Jews would improve the place beyond recognition.

            For once the Jews would kick the shit out of someone else rather than having their shit kicked out as usual. Not a bad case: the world would be on balance a better place for more people with Israel than without it. I follow the logic, but had it all be done legally things would have gone much better for everyone. There’s still time. Everyone who chooses to be honest knows what I’m saying is true. As with racial identicalness, the pretending just isn’t working tho. Let’s try the truth.

        • ga gamba says

          Had the Jews lived in peace with the Palestinians instead of driving them out — the nakba — something could have been worked out. […] But it should pay for the land it stole.

          You think so, eh? The UN sent representatives of the eleven member Special Commission on Palestine into Palestine in Feb 1947 to find this unicorn. The delegates of seven nations – Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, The Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, and Uruguay – recommended the establishment of two separate states, Jewish and Arab, to be joined by an economic union, with Jerusalem an internationalized enclave run by the UN. The UN members voted in favour of partition overwhelmingly.

          These delegates spoke to countless people. Only two things were clear: the Arabs’ unwillingness to accept a Jewish state in Palestine and the refusal of the Zionists to settle for anything less. That’s an irreconcilable difference.

          Jews were displeased by aspects of the partition plan. Jerusalem with its 100,000 Jewish residents would not be part of Israel. Almost 60% of the land partitioned to Israel was the Negev desert, mostly a barren wasteland. Still, they were willing to accept the compromise.

          Said the Czech member to the Arabs after being told of their resolute position: “I have listened to your demands and it seems to me that in your view the compromise is: We want our demands met completely, the rest can be divided among those left.”

          Arab League Secretary Azzam Pasha told representatives of the Jewish Agency, who had met with Pasha to find a solution to the impasse, on September 16, 1947: “The Arab world is not in a compromising mood. It’s likely, Mr. Horowitz, that your plan is rational and logical, but the fate of nations is not decided by rational logic. Nations never concede; they fight. You won’t get anything by peaceful means or compromise. You can, perhaps, get something, but only by the force of your arms. We shall try to defeat you. I am not sure we’ll succeed, but we’ll try. We were able to drive out the Crusaders, but on the other hand we lost Spain and Persia. It may be that we shall lose Palestine. But it’s too late to talk of peaceful solutions.” (Bold mine.)

          Looking at the Arabs’ order of battle as well as British military assistance to Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt, and let’s not ignore the UN-ordered arms embargo on Israel and the Arab League states beginning 29 May 1948, the Arabs reckoned they held the superior hand. They were already British armed and trained whilst the Jews were a mishmash of lightly armed settlers and refugees. It’s evident to me the Arabs calculated they would crush the Jews.

          Clearly the Arabs understood the risk of their gamble and knew what military capabilities they possessed. They chose to roll the dice.

          Seeing the history of the world, borders have shifted to and fro. Countless ethnicities have been under the rule of one, then another, and on to a third. Displacement happened everywhere. Imperial powers like Manchuria no longer are found on a map.

          I’m off the opinion than when you choose to go to war, you also accept the risk that you may lose many things including territory. Remove this risk by ensuring the “international community” demands everyone return to pre-war borders and you eliminate a disincentive to wage war. Moreover, if you’re the government that initiates war and you lose, it’s not the responsibility of the victors to compensate your people and your allies for their loses. It ought to fall on the aggressors.

          Map, 1947 UN Partition plan and 1949 Post-War borders.

          Of the approx 14,250 sq km (5,500 sq miles) partitioned to the Jewish State (see left side of map), the 1946 Survey of Palestine by the British found 8.6 per cent of the land was owned by Jews and 3.3 per cent by resident Arabs. Another 16.9 per cent was abandoned by Arabs (both those who recently left and absentee owners residing outside of the to-be-partitioned territory prior to the survey). About 70 per cent was in the hands of the British Mandatory power – state-owned land – and reverted to Israeli control after the departure of the British. Most of this land was the Negev. This state-owned land had been Ottoman Turk state- and sultan-owned land prior to the creation of the Mandate – in 1871 the Ottomans declared 80 per cent of Palestine as state property. Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II privately owned about 4 per cent of Palestine’s land. The Young Turks who dethroned the Sultan in 1909 nationalised all territories owned by him, and these were subsequently received by the British Mandate. (The Ottoman Empire had been in a dire financial state prior to the war, so the victors knew little financial compensation could be squeezed. In view of the magnitude of Turkish territorial losses, it was decided that Turkey’s WWI reparations would be sharply limited. In a nutshell, land instead of cash & commodities.)

          This article breaks down land ownership.

          “We shall drive the Jew into the sea, inshallah.” It’s long past the time to acknowledge Allah is not willing it in favour of the Palestinian Arabs and their allies. It’s been one debacle after another. Allah has spoken: He says no.

          Israel won about 6,200 sq km (2,400 sq miles) in the first Arab-Israeli War (see right side of map), a war that was launched by the Arab League’s members.

          What happened to Gaza and the West Bank, the remaining not-yet-lost territory that were to create the state for the Palestinian Arabs? The Palestinian state was founded, right? Jordan annexed the West Bank and Egypt occupied Gaza. Where did the Arabs’ desire and promise to create the Palestinian state disappear to?

          Gaza and the West Bank as well as the Golan Heights and Sinai were won after Egypt’s Nasser threatened to close the Straits of Tiran to Israel (in violation of an Egyptian guarantee to Israel to keep the Strait open) and began to mobilise for war. Israel struck Egypt preemptively, then Jordan and Syria attacked Israel. Goodbye to more Arab territory in ’67.

          Israel was incredibly generous after the Yom Kippur War – it won control of the Suez, had troops west of the canal, was about to capture the Egyptian city Suez, and was on the outskirts of Damascus shelling it. But it ceased and withdrew. What country other than Israel has been coerced to relinquish so many gains after being attacked and repulsing the invaders?

          Again and again and again the international community imposes conditions on Israel that have rarely, if ever, been imposed on victors. What country constantly faces demands to behave in restorative ways that aren’t demanded of other victors? Why is that? Anti-Semitism seems to me to be a very plausible reason.

          If Israel is to compensate Palestinians for their losses, seems it’s only fair the Arab countries that harassed, tormented, and even terrorised Jews to flee to Israel do likewise. An eighteen-month study by the Israeli government, released at the beginning of this year, calculates this at $250 billion.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @ga gamba

            Your appeal to fact is admirable and even spectacular. It deserves a detailed rebuttal on the same grounds, but I decline because in my view those grounds — the political — are not the issue. Resolutions were read from the wrong stationary, motions were not properly seconded. Lies, treachery, greed everywhere. Somewhere, once, even a Zionist might have told a white lie. There is mud on all faces. My claim is that the omelet cannot be uncooked politically, but it can be uncooked in terms of individual people.

            Displacement happened everywhere.

            Yes, and the repercussions can go on for a millennium or more. Israel will succeed in repossessing the entirety of Palestine, but what will the bill be? As said, sometimes it is more expensive to steal something than to purchase it clear title. America didn’t steal Alaska, they bought it fair and square.

            “you also accept the risk that you may lose many things including territory”

            Agreed. Not diverting into the fact that the Jews were careful to provoke the attacks against them (no war, no pretext), as I said above, when Alsace changes hands, we do not see the entire population expelled. I was French yesterday, today I’m German. Israel is more than a political actor, it is a population replacement project.

            “… Anti-Semitism seems to me to be a very plausible reason.”

            In my case the reason is exactly the opposite: I expect more of the Jews. I hold them to a higher standard because they are (hope I’m not arrested for this) a better people. I consider myself to be fantastically blessed to be half Jewish.

            “calculates this at $250 billion”

            It goes to show you that such calculations are possible. Some just settlement would have to take that figure into account. Justice for ALL should be the goal. But it is just stonewalling to say that there will be no justice at all until every last grievance in the world is settled. Let’s fix it one grievance at a time. History can’t be repaired; after some point it’s all over but for the terrorism, which will never stop as things go. But we still have time to make some sort of reparation. It won’t fix everything but it might help a wee bit. Every Arab and every Muslim on the planet hates the West a little bit more because of Zionism — they make no distinction between Israel and the rest of the West. Add it all together and it’s very dangerous. We all pay the price.

            BTW I’m normally strongly against Grievance. Reparations in the US for slavery is now hopeless, it’s over 150 years for God’s sake. Canada isn’t giving everything back to the Indians. The Australians are not going away. But there are Palestinians still alive who remember the flamethrowers. Who still have the keys to their houses and the yellowing titledeeds to their land. It won’t stop festering until justice is done or at least offered. As usual the Palestinian authorities might make the stupidest of all possible decisions, but at least it was offered.

    • RD says

      @what Palestinian dispossession are you referring to, exactly?

      • RD says

        No, it was not their–not then, not ever. Until around 1920 it was the Ottoman’s. And no, it is also untrue that the Zionist leadership back in the day planned to take over the territory apportioned to the Arabs.

        • Morgan Foster says

          @Ray Andrews

          “Right, OTOH the entire place was theirs until the British/UN decided to give most of it to the Jews.”

          No, “most of it” (Palestine) went to the Muslims.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Morgan Foster

            Either way, I myself fall into the usual trap of splitting political history hairs. I care about one thing, and that is the dispossession of individual property holders. The political entities of the day were all tenuous, I have no serious objection to the founding of Israel. Given the huge number of displaced Jews at the time, it was maybe the least worst solution. The Germans and the French show how it’s done every time Alsace changes hands: folks find their citizenship has changed and the official language has changed, but no one looses their property. Yesterday I was German, today I’m French and tomorrow I’m likely to be German again.

            Someone should compute what, even now, an honest settlement would cost. Maybe a few hundred billion? Chump change given the cost of endless wars not to mention jihad. Palestinians now flush with cash disburse throughout the Arab word and forget about the Right of Return. The whole of Palestine now Israel, but bought and paid for. Sometimes it costs more to steal something that it would to buy it honestly. So buy it. Wholesale of course.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Morgan Foster

            BTW I get my passion over this issue from my Dad, who was there at the time. He was a ‘participant’ in the Haifa refinery massacre. What my Dad saw with his own eyes informs my view of what really happened.

        • MainelyDoc says

          How did the “Ottomans” come to possess the land?

          • Morgan Foster says

            @Ray Andrews

            “Someone should compute what, even now, an honest settlement would cost.”

            Your dad, who was there (while I was not), may have a different view, but I do not believe the Palestinians would accept any amount of amount of money as a settlement. Not even hundreds of billions.

            The Palestinians will not tolerate, under any circumstances, the existence of a Jewish state in historic Palestine, and they will do everything in their power to destroy it.

          • Ray Andrews says


            Conquest, as usual.

            @Morgan Foster

            “The Palestinians will not tolerate, under any circumstances, the existence of a Jewish state in historic Palestine, and they will do everything in their power to destroy it.”

            It’s a defensible claim. There’s good historical reason to believe that, and on the part of the most radical probably true. But there are so many of them who really just want justice, and if were offered, they’d take it. As I said earlier, in the first days of Zionism the Palestinians were more than happy to sell to Jews and they didn’t have any political loyalties to speak of. There’s always religion of course, but the European invaders were almost as hostile to local Jews (who remain real Semites) as to the Arabs. And of course we have the radical Islamist types but absent the gross injustice to their people, I think most of the wind would drop from their sails. But justice is never even on the table. The Jews pretend that they’ve done nothing wrong, as do the Palestinians. The Jews pretend that they want to negotiate and the Palestinians pretend that they are getting the whole of their land back. The whole place will have been expropriated soon enough tho. But if the money was offered, it would be the Palestinians declining it and they’d loose support if they turned it down. Or, maybe the Jews could just give them a bit more water.

          • RD says

            @Mainely. the old fashion way–and a long, long time ago. You might as well inquire how did the Arabs came to possess Egypt, or anyone else.

      • ga gamba says

        @ Ray

        I consider myself to be fantastically blessed to be half Jewish. Your mum’s side, yeah? And do you have attestation from a rabbi for that? Orthodox one, of course. Notarised. For both. 😉

        Like Stephanie, I too attach no weight to the claim. I don’t hold Jews or anyone else to higher or lower standards. In fact, I think many of the world’s problems are do to such double standards. How about we all aspire to a high standard of conduct? And why not that standard be of my community? The cannibals, or as we prefer, the people of people eaters. Your assertion is the same gambit played by the identitarians.

        America didn’t steal Alaska, they bought it fair and square.

        Israel didn’t steal its land. Jews have lived there for at least three millennia, though as a minority due to invasions by others. Still, there was always some part of the Promised Land inhabited by them. Further, the international community decided the Jews’ claim for a homeland was valid and awarded it part of the disputed territory. This was an agreement that dissatisfied Jews yet one they agreed to abide. The Arabs declared this never acceptable and that war was preferable. True to their word, they launched it, and Israelis defeated five nations. Israelis paid for this land in blood and tears.

        Further, what is implied by “Had the Jews lived in peace with the Palestinians instead of driving them out” is that all the Arabs were tossed out. This is untrue; Israel is about 80 per cent Jewish. Many Arabs choose to leave because of threats coming from other Arabs. And we ought not overlook some decided it was simply too dangerous to stick around due to the acts by militants on both sides.

        Who started it is impossible to determine. Jews were run out of Hebron in 1929, nearly two decades before independence, by Arabs who objected to their presence and attacked their communities – the Hebron Massacre. It wan’t an isolated event. There was the Safed Massacre a few days later. These occurred during the Palestinian Riots of 1929, which started in Jerusalem with Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall being attacked. During this period of unrest about three dozen Jewish communities were attacked. Many more would have been had it not been for the British evacuating the residents.

        And these didn’t occur only during British Mandate. During the Peasants’ Revolt of 1834 the Arabs attacked Hebron’s Jews, plundering their property. The Ottomans dispatched a force from Egypt to quell the uprising. Jews were assured that they wouldn’t be targeted because they hadn’t participated. When the Ottoman force arrived, many Arabs fled. Thinking they were safe, many Jews remained. The Ottomans then began the assault on those still in Hebron. This included Jews; many were murdered. Then the plunder followed. Synagogues were desecrated, houses were ransacked, and valuable items were stolen leaving Hebron’s Jews destitute.

        Four years later the Druze attacked the Jews in Safed. They were joined by local Arabs. What could not be stolen was smashed and burned. No murders. Just mass torture and mass rape.

        Throughout the Ottoman realm we find many such incidents perpetrated against Jews.

        My claim is that the omelet cannot be uncooked politically, but it can be uncooked in terms of individual people.

        I agree it cannot be uncooked politically, and I think it cannot be uncooked individually as well. For a transaction to be valid, both the buyer and the seller must willingly consent. If a former owner of land is found, and s/he refuses to sell, what then? Compulsion? I read somewhere here in one of your comments that the former owner is due compensation equal the value of the land prior to Israel’s founding. So, not only are you compelling him to sell, you’re also compelling him to accept a value you’ve decided. Appears you’re running his life. Where is the higher standard you were claiming to be blessed by? Is it possible that those who think they act in accordance to some self-professed higher standard may be deluding themselves and are just as flawed as the rest of us?

        Every Arab and every Muslim on the planet hates the West a little bit more because of Zionism — they make no distinction between Israel and the rest of the West.

        Yeah, I’m not convinced that Dane Geld will buy off the Muslims. Many still see Spain as Muslim land to be re-taken, and they’re still nursing a grudge about the Crusades. At best they’ll accept meek and submissive Jews in Palestine.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @ga gamba

          “Your mum’s side, yeah? And do you have attestation from a rabbi for that?”

          Nope, dad’s. Had it be my mum, I’d be able to call myself a Jew entirely (as I understand the rules on that). She’s an ordinary WASP.

          “I don’t hold Jews or anyone else to higher or lower standards.”

          That has to be the official policy. I was merely confessing my sins on that matter.

          “Israel didn’t steal its land.”

          It most assuredly did. As above, I do not contest the conquest, I contest the expropriations of individual title-deeds. It is historical fact that much of the early Zionist project was legally established, but what’s been going on since is theft. One of the books I read on the subject pointed out that when the Haganah was divvying up the cleared land, they did it using exactly the existing titles. It wasn’t Oklahoma. They didn’t even pretend it was unowned land. Menachem got Mr. Aziz’s property, Issac got Mrs. Abdul’s olive grove. Existing boundaries respected. Tax framework already in place.

          “This was an agreement that dissatisfied Jews yet one they agreed to abide.”

          While making it known that it was only a temporary measure. As they said at the time, and as we’ve seen ever since, there was never any doubt that the whole place would be conquered one way or another. Every Jew knows this.

          “Israelis paid for this land in blood and tears.”

          Had they paid with dollars or pounds or gold, I dare say they’d have spent less blood and tears. There was certainly trouble during the legal purchase phase, but the sales did go ahead. Some Arabs were very glad to see prices go up as well as job opportunities. My Dad remembered that very well. At one point he was in business partnered with two Arab brothers. No problems.

          “some decided it was simply too dangerous to stick around due to the acts by militants on both sides”

          This appears to be the truth. But once hostilities were over, by all law, folks are permitted to return to their homes. (Pending legal sale. Or even expropriation at full market value.)

          “Many more would have been had it not been for the British evacuating the residents.”

          Thanks. It’s fashionable today to paint the Brits as enemies of Israel, but they actually started the Zionist project and were stuck in the middle in a hopeless situation where both sides were murdering them, and what they were trying to do was preserve something like order. My Dad was officially British, actually Jewish, and culturally French so he had trouble picking sides and was liable to be attacked by almost anyone.


          Yes. Expropriation happens all the time for one reason or another. There are mechanisms to keep it fair.

          “Is it possible that those who think they act in accordance to some self-professed higher standard may be deluding themselves and are just as flawed as the rest of us?”

          Not like you to use a cheapshot ga.

          “Many still see Spain as Muslim land to be re-taken, and they’re still nursing a grudge about the Crusades.”

          Yes. At least this current addition to the soup might yet be ameliorated. Not cured of course. But I like the idea of Israel actually holding the high ground not just pretending to.
          Honesty is a outrageous suggestion in the minds of almost all players tho. What they like is playing tennis with shit but if you ask me it’s not working for anyone really. The devil may know what the score is.

          • ga gamba says

            Not like you to use a cheapshot ga.

            Not a cheap shot, mate. You sat yourself in that high horse’s saddle. I’m merely noting that compelling people to sell and to do so at a price imposed on them is not as principled as you think. That this occurs elsewhere does not change many object to this with legitimate arguments. I invited you to dismount that horse and join the rest of us plebs.

            Moreover, thinking about your Alaska example, I reckon the Inuits may object, and justifiably so, that the Russians had no right to sell that territory. Whereas the Russians had no historical claim, the Jews certainly do.

            Had they paid with dollars or pounds or gold, I dare say they’d have spent less blood and tears.

            There are a few problems with this conclusion. As I already mentioned, Arab leaders were opposed to the arrival and settlement of Jews, the establishment of a Jewish state, and purchase of land by Jews. Remember that vow to go to war?

            During British Mandate, Arabs came to recognise that they could always stop the influx of Jews by staging a riot. During Ottoman Turk rule, Zionists approached the Sultan to sell land. Not only was this refused, it was made illegal. However, Turkish Jews were still allowed to buy land, so the Zionists coordinated land purchases through them. Finding this loophole, the Turks then began to curtail this. Of course, laws are only as good as their enforcement, and some land purchases were able to continue due to local officials looking the other way. An outcome was Arabs attacking other Arabs who sold land to Jews during the British Mandate as well as repeated attacks on Jewish communities, which I documented earlier.

            The exodus of Arabs was due in large part to the words and actions of other Arabs.

            Azzam Pasha, secretary-general of the Arab League. told Palestinians that the Arab troops were massing on the borders and that all the investment Jews made to develop the land would be war booty. He encouraged them to relocate to neighbouring friendly countries for a few weeks so that the Arabs armies wouldn’t mow them down as well.

            “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres,” he promised.

            The Secretary of the Arab League Office in London, Edward Atiyah, wrote in his book, The Arabs: “This wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the Arabs, encouraged by the boastings of an unrealistic Arabic press and the irresponsible utterances of some of the Arab leaders that it could be only a matter of weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies of the Arab States and the Palestinian Arabs enabled to re-enter and retake possession of their country.”

            Haled al Azm, the Syrian Prime Minister in 1948-49: “Since 1948 we have been demanding the return of the refugees to their homes. But we ourselves are the ones who encouraged them to leave. Only a few months separated our call to them to leave and our appeal to the United Nations to resolve on their return.”

            Many stayed in defiance of Arab leaders who intimated those who would remain in Israeli-won territory would be treated as renegades and dealt with accordingly. They are allowed to stay, buy property, establish businesses, and build their lives even whilst many of them express antipathy to Jews and a desire still to drive them out.

            Only after the Arabs made themselves into a threat by invading Israel did Israel begin to, rightly, dominate its enemies. Further, during a state of war you don’t allow the enemies back in to resume residence during a ceasefire. Yet, the Palestinians who remained in Israel have not been driven out. To do so is to jeopardise the rear’s security and sap strength from the front lines.

            Of the Palestinian territory still held by Arabs after the First Arab-Israeli War there was a concerted effort on the part of Arab governments to ethnically cleanse the entire area of Jews. Three thousand-year-old Jewish communities in East Jerusalem, Hebron, and other places were destroyed and their inhabitants expelled in 1948. The rallying cry of the Arab invaders was “Kill the Jews.”

            After the military debacle, the Arab states expelled their Jews, people who were not belligerents in the Arab-Israeli War, after impoverishing them. This influx of Jews to Israel required the land abandoned by Palestinians to be used.

            Nuri Said, Prime Minister of Iraq, and proclaimer of, “We will smash the country [Israel] with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter in,” demanded in 1950 Israel absorb 10,000 refugees per month (of Iraq’s 120,000 Jews), every month; this was to intensify the strain on Israel’s resources. Exacerbating the crisis, Nuri ruled that as of 31 May 1951, no more exit visas would be issued to Jews. If Israel would not accept these stateless enemies (Jews has been denationalised and purged from employment), then concentration camps would be readied. Indeed, the Iraqi parliament had already discussed establishing such camps.

            Not letting an opportunity to squeeze the Jews more slide, Iraq Airlines, who’s director general was Nuri Said’s son, collected a fee of 7.7%, and the son also collected personally a 5.5% “special fee” from Jews flying out of the country.

            In response, Israeli foreign minister Moshe Sharett declared: “[T]he government has decided to inform the appropriate UN institution and I proclaim this publicly, that the value of the Jewish property frozen in Iraq will be taken into account by us in calculating the sum of the compensation we have agreed to pay to Arabs who abandoned property in Israel.”

            Two-hundred sixty thousand Jews were coerced to leave or outright expelled from Arab states between 1949 and 1951. They would be later joined by another 600,000 from the Arab states and Iran.

            The migration of refugees between Israel and the Arab world essentially constitutes a population exchange. This was a well-establish precedent of the era, such as the exchange of about 1.7 million people between Greece and Turkey in 1923, 2.5 million people between Poland and the Soviet Union in 1946, twelve million ethnic Germans expelled from several countries and sent to Germany after WW2, as well as the 13 million Hindus and Muslims who crossed the India–Pakistan border in 1947. This shows international law neither requires nor expects the reversal of population exchanges nor the payment of compensation to the displaced. The precedent carried on in the Balkans during the ’90s.

            Yet, when Jews are involved, suddenly the rules are changed retroactively and are applied only to them.

            As for compensation (which I oppose) Israel has stated repeatedly that this is part of the peace process. Arabs reject this, stating that compensation is independent of a peace treaty. The’ve put the cart before the horse. In 1949 Israel was much more flexible to this issue, and even did compensate about 11,000 Palestinians as well as unfreezing refugees’ bank accounts, but as more blood and treasure has been spilt, Israelis’ attitudes changed in recognition of the reality. Most Palestinian Arabs rejected compensation offers then because it would have required recognition of Israel. Appears to me the pounds, dollars, and gold you think will buy peace will in fact not do so, if we take the Palestinian Arabs at their word and action.

    • Jonny Sclerotic says

      Exactly Ray – this is nothing more than crude smear tactics. Bernie is not antisemitic and neither is Jeremy Corbyn. If antisemitism has spread from the British body politic to America, it’s as a cudgel for silencing opponents of the Israeli government.

    • Kevin Herman says

      When you win win wars you are entitled to the land you fought over. As for Palestinians they are an imaginary people in search of an imaginary land. There leadership shows the lack of righteousness of there cause with there cowardly suicide bombers and rocket attacks. Never mind the slightly less lethal nonsense like throwing rocks off over-passes killing innocent people in cars. Maybe its there schools where they have there children sing little ditties about killing the Jews. You seem like a nice guy Ray but you seem like one of those people that get all your news from all the usual bad sources. Until they stop claiming to want to wipe Israel off the map and engaging in the types of depredations i meantioned (and more I haven’t) those people deserve nothing but sack cloth and ashes.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Kevin Herman

        “As for Palestinians they are an imaginary people in search of an imaginary land.”

        May as well say there is no such people as the Irish and Ireland doesn’t exist. In any case that’s not the point. Mr. Aziz is a real guy and he holds, to this day, the title to his property which was stolen from him.

        “but you seem like one of those people that get all your news from all the usual bad sources”

        I got my perspective from my dad, and as for my news, that can be a problem.

        “Until they stop claiming to want to wipe Israel off the map ”

        I saw a documentary a while back about the youth of Palestine. Look like modern kids. Not very religious. What they want is to be citizens of their own country. They seem to have no particular feelings about Jews, but they hate the army — the IDF. They seem ready to join the modern world, if only they had the chance. They hold the PA in absolute contempt. I myself would give them a chance, but they live under occupation and every day they loose a little more of their country. One kid in Gaza, nice, gentle young man, loved his piano, embarrassed by Islamist fanatics. Israeli shell hits his house, kills his family and wrecks his piano. He joined Hamas. I understand that. Probably dead by now.

  3. C Young says

    First of all, you can’t present Jeremy Corbyn as a new phenomenon. As is often said, he hasn’t had a new idea since 1983. He’s a member of the New Left. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Left (Note that it is no longer very new)

    One key commitment of the New Left is anti-imperialism. Corbyn sees Israel as a neo-colonial project. Hence, he sympathises with Israel displaced people. You can say he is wrong. You can say he is stupid. (I do both) but this doesn’t provide a reason to believe he is motivated by anti-semitism. It just isn’t true.

    In fact, this is just another one of those call out plays we so dislike here at Quillette. Its about putting you opponent beyond the pale, not just wrong, but a monster. This is noxious in the extreme.

    • Peter from Oz says

      C Young
      Well said. I think Corbyn is a complete tosser and a waste of space. But he isn’t anti-semitic, more pro-arab.
      I agree that we really have to stop trying to demonise people by calling them ”racist” because they don’t actively support a certain group. Also we have to stop seeing political oppostion as racism. In fact we need a moratorium on the use of the word ”racism” altogether. It has become as useless a term as ”fascism”.

      • Stephanie says

        Jeremy Corbyn supports Hamas and Hezbollah, whose explicit goal is the destruction of Israel, calling them friends, attended a ceremony and may even have laid a wreath in honour of the Palestinian terrorist responsible for the Munich Olympics murders, and a variety of other damning indications of anti-Semitism, which you can read a summary of below:


        Let’s not let the SJWs, themselves often anti-Semites, make it so that we can’t call out actual bigotry. Anti-Zionism is a convenient cover, but let’s reflect a moment on what the destruction of Israel would actually look like. Will Hamas and Hezbollah magically acquire all institutional control and issue deportation orders for the country’s 6 million Jews, who will then proceed peacefully to some other country they don’t have citizenship in? Or will it be in the context of war, likely with help from Iran and maybe other neighbouring countries, and the Jews will be forced to fight for their lives until they are exterminated?

        Support for the political goals of Hamas and Hezbollah amounts to support for a new genocide to get rid of Israel’s 6 million Jews. If it is anti-Semitic to deny the Holocaust, certainly it is anti-Semitic to call for another.

  4. TarsTarkas says

    If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a banana. That’s the logic too many people use defending Sanders’ cozing up to Sarsour et al. Sanders didn’t wax poetic about the kibbutzes because the inhabitants were Jewish, he praised them because they were collectivist socialists. The founders of Israel were hard-line socialists first, Jews second.

    Mr. Young: Leftists may now call Israel a neo-colonialist enterprise because it’s an outpost of Western civilization, but it certainly wasn’t thought of as that at the time. The great enemy of the West Joseph Stalin himself supported its creation, and it abounded with socialists. Socialist relics still persist, the state still owns 93% of the land.

    In my experience, Leftists don’t hate all Jews, just the rich and religious ones. Apostates have generally been more than welcome.

    Anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism. I don’t give a f**k who runs things, as long as they do it equitably and fairly and don’t try to boss me around for my own good. I would have voted for Leiberman had he been the presidential candidate instead of Gore, and still would. My big beef with Israel is the colonization of the West Bank and Gaza that Menachim Begin started. IMO they would completely reverse that and exile the immigrant fanatics who don’t accept it, Israel has plenty of empty land in the Negev and elsewhere, that was the whole point of Israel getting the Negev for growing room. Conversely, I would fully support Israel doing to Hamas, Hezbollah, and the PLO what the Sri Lankan government did to the Tamil Tigers. I think a lot of Arab governments wouldn’t mind that happening too.

    I think it was almost a miracle that Blum survived WW II considering how many of his fellows did not. A man of courage, principle, dedication, and loyalty to his country

    • RD says

      @tars you have a somewhat cartoon-like view of the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who live in the West Bank. Some reside there for fairly mundane reasons. Anyway, many of them have been there for over a generation and this is their home. What would you have them do, exactly?

  5. Morgan Foster says

    @ TarsTarkas

    “My big beef with Israel is the colonization of the West Bank and Gaza that Menachim Begin started.”

    Geography is history. Israel can’t survive while pinched at the waist. They take, and keep, the West Bank, or they die.

  6. AA says

    @C Young

    “One key commitment of the New Left is anti-imperialism.”

    That is like saying one key commitment of a mass shooter is, through murdering innocent people, to make the world a better place. “Anti-imperialism,” like all ideologies is better understood as a form of self-conscious or sub-conscious deception. “Anti-imperialism” is not a sincere objective of the New Left. It is a meaningless slogan thrown around to mindlessly label anything that the Left hates. The Left, like all atavistic collectives, hates any minority group that is dominant and doesn’t depend on government intervention to succeed — they hate Jews — ipso facto Jews are imperialist.

    And I predict, by virtue of this logic, they will also come to increasingly hate Asians — though it is as yet unclear what intersectionalist lexicon and conceptual inventory will be used to accomplish this. No doubt, they have already made progress in this direction by arguing that the Asian subjectivity has been the product of the encounter with the white patriarchy, a reproduction of a system of domination where the Asian is “permitted” the right to succeed so long as they play the role assigned to them. Whereas the Jews are hated by the left as being the puppet masters behind the scenes, Asians will become hated by the left for being the puppets.

    Interestingly, this is also why the left hates white males — another dominant minority.

    The Left craves, and depends for its existence, on “victims.” One of the reasons why they have become so raving mad lately is that the modern project to “relieve mans estate” (a project begun and carried out by white males) has been so wildly successful that America is running out of real victims. Instead, we are treated to a deluge of hate-crime hoaxes and “implicit bias” training. (note that the turn to “implicit” bias is an unwitting admission by leftists that “explicit” bias is no longer the plausible explanation for differential outcomes among racial groups)

    This is one of the primary reasons I gave up on leftism. It depends for its existence on victimhood, It is utterly incapable of comprehending, and outwardly hostile to, anything that challenges the victimhood paradigm. As a conservative, on the other hand, my world view, to be meaningful, is expansive enough to account for the true complexity of a reality that includes victimhood, heroism, and everything in between. All ideologies do violence to reality, conservatism much less so than leftism.

    • ga gamba says

      And I predict, by virtue of this logic, they will also come to increasingly hate Asians — though it is as yet unclear what intersectionalist lexicon and conceptual inventory will be used to accomplish this.

      I recall reading an acronym for what you predict a short while ago. Something like POCEA (people of colour except Asians).

      • Ray Andrews says

        @ga gamba

        ” POCEA (people of colour except Asians)”

        Much easier for Asians to simply be white. They tend to be successful, and success only comes from Privilege and only whitey is Privileged ergo Asians are white. Their victimhood is cancelled.

      • Photondancer says


        There’s also BIPOC which was explicitly coined to exclude asians and Indians due to their irritating habit of not being an underclass.

        Indeed I have long held the suspicion that this is what underlies the SJW antisemitism (which I believe exists). They’re always whining about how the drugs and crime endemic in Black and Indigenous communities are due to oppression and dispossession. So one points out that Jews have been more oppressed and dispossessed than anyone and yet are not drug-addled gangsters. SJWs loathe being shown up.

  7. Sydney says

    “While antisemitism hasn’t become institutionalized on the American Left as it has in the Labour Party…”

    Hasn’t it?

    Isn’t that exactly what we now see in events mentioned above (the Dems’ watery, feeble rebukes of Omar and Tlaib’s open hate of Jews and Israel in the U.S. Congress; the open Jew- and Israel hate of the Women’s March; AOC’s continuing minimization of the Holocaust; and more); and not mentioned (Obama’s warm bear hugs with vile anti-Semite Farrakhan; Obama’s sly nod in his Cairo Univ speech that Israel was just a port after a storm instead of the truth that Israel is the historic Jewish homeland of 5000 years)?

    Sanders isn’t the hardened anti-Semite that Corbyn is; but Sanders behaves as though he has either acquiesced to the American left’s anti-Semitism, or else has no notion of European history whatsoever.

    Great brief overview of the Western left’s continuing hatred of Jews and Israel; and of Berman’s book. Grateful for the heads-up on Mélenchon’s anti-Semitic comment; I hadn’t read that.

    Thanks to Matt Johnson for calling out issues that desperately need calling out.

    • Peter from Oz says

      I have thuis terrible fear that we on the right are going to get as silly as the left does if we keep seeing anti-semitism in every utterance made in connection with Israel. Why should be care if some wing nut Democrat islamic tosser makes a statement that could be read as anti-semitic? Most of us know that such people are not really of any importance. By making them out to be huge ogres we enlarge their reputations.
      This is not to say that when we see reall instances of anti-semitism we should do our best to stop them. For example, it is clear that in many cities in Europe jews are being physically attacked on a regular basis by muslim migrants. Yet politicians still insist on letting a host of anti-semitc muslims into Europe, whilst doing nthing to protect the Jews.

    • Jonny Sclerotic says

      @ Sydney

      You’re going to have to enlighten me on what makes Corbyn a ‘hardened anti-semite’ because hearing this canard repeated over and over again doesn’t make it any truer.

      • Stephanie says

        Jonny, a Google search would suffice if you aren’t up to date on that news. Perhaps do that before accusing someone else of untruths.

        I linked an article above if you can’t be bothered.

  8. mitchellporter says

    It seems to me that most discussion of western antisemitism today is gibberish, because it delicately avoids confronting the facts that antisemites actually focus upon, namely Jewish power in culture, finance, and politics, and the ends to which that power is used.

    A significant component in today’s western scene is the drive for group equality. We’re all familiar with the multitude of lines along which vigorous attempts are being made to reorder society in the name of some kind of collective justice. Now, by any number of measures, Jews would have to be the most privileged group in the west, and yet there is no serious drive that I’m aware of, to reduce “Jewish overrepresentation” among billionaires, or Harvard students, or anything.

    The history of the Jewish relationship to the quest for group justice, at least in America, seems to be as follows. First Jews fought for admission to various Anglo institutions, on the grounds of natural justice. Later, their experience led them to support other kinds of minority rights, notably black civil rights. And finally, as they became clearly a part of the establishment (today’s American billionaires seem to be one third non Jewish white, one third Jewish, one third everyone else), they retained a political tilt towards everything liberal and progressive, which is one reason why Jewish cultural power is so often leveraged in support of left liberalism.

    That’s far from the complete story. One also has to think about the evolving relation between Christians and Jews (in Europe as well as in America), the roots of Jewish power in media and finance (as a ‘people of the book’ who were also traders and lenders), as well as everything to do with the historical novelty that is a restored state of Israel. I’m still a complete amateur at understanding this stuff, my picture of the reality is something I’ve had to cobble together from multiple sources, but that alone tells me that this is one of those topics regarding which western society is in denial.

    Western societies are supposed to be republics of equality and liberty governed by democratic deliberations. They’re actually oligarchical surveillance states, in which pre-populist politics has been just public relations meant to pacify the masses, while a new caste society is formed by mingling all the different branches of humanity in one place. That would be my attempt to sketch the new social reality that lies beneath our inherited political rhetoric.

  9. Peter from Oz says

    ”Western societies are supposed to be republics of equality and liberty governed by democratic deliberations”
    Um, no. All the Commonwealth countries in the west are monarchies, as are the Netherrlands, Denmark, Sweden, Spain and Belgium. Yes they have democratic elections, but the fount of law is not the people, but the Monarch. This is an important distinction. Republics are tailor-made for government oppression because they have no human element at the top, just some vague reference to ”the people”. They are also dull and lack any glamour or style.

  10. Free speech says

    @Ray Andrews
    Interesting how you take your Dad’s emotional perspective on one event and then paint the one side all good and the other side all bad.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Free speech

      I take my dad’s personal witness as to what went down. Not one event, he was there for over a decade and there were ‘events’ daily. And no, one side is not all good and the other all bad. There is so much badness on both sides that it is the classical pot vs. kettle situation. I don’t like Arabs, but they are entitled to their property the same as you and me.

  11. Michael Meo says

    Matt Johnson writes: “Sanders’s statement attacked a straw man—almost nobody was arguing that legitimate criticism of Israel should be silenced.”

    Really? Haven’t there been repeated introductions, in state legislatures and in the U.S. Congress, bills which make it a crime — “anti-Semitism” — to criticize the State of Israel? Didn’t a school speech pathologist get fired because she refused to sign an oath saying she would not boycott Israel?

    I really wonder how Mr Johnson can dismiss the co-ordinated efforts, on both the state and national levels, of large Israel-affiliated organizations, as “almost nobody”.

  12. Richard barrett says

    We know that the NSDAP were partial to using the “big lie” and so, it seems, is this writer when he discusses Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn is a passionate anti-nazi who has opposed anti-semitism all his life. There is a hysterical witch-hunt in progress mounted not by conservatives but by “liberal” opponents of his democratic socialist project. Their aim is clearly the removal of Corbyn and the restoration of Blairism, support for the EU status quo and, if necessary, the genocidal policies of Israel. The left has come to realise that anti-zionism and anti-semitism are two very different things. Pity the American “left” cannot do this as well.

  13. Roger says

    Antizionism is not antisemitism. Anyone who says so, like this author, side with the authoritarian radical right which has made Israel into an apartheid state. Any Conservative or even Liberal who cares about anti-authoritarianism and freedom of speech should be disgusted by this veiled defense of Israeli apartheid.

  14. D.B. Cooper says

    Although not terribly informative with respect to the proliferation of anti-Semitism on the Left, I found the article interesting, nonetheless. What I found most interesting, to be specific, was the degree to which the article’s subject, Paul Berman, who by all accounts is an intelligent man, was almost entirely inoculated from the reality before him. In point of fact, Berman’s problem was two-fold. In the first case, Berman has what could only be described as a definitional problem, although one that is considerably more important than a mere theoretical distinction; while in the second case, his predicament is really just a function of the incoherence or apparent difference his sees btw the reality that is (his experience) and the reality that he wishes it to be (political biases).

    The latter problem is, to my mind, nothing more than Berman’s refusal to accept reality. Cognitive dissonance? Maybe. I’m not sure what cognitive leaps one must take upon realizing that one’s political in-group is now one’s social out-group; and not only that, to a significant degree, one’s political out-group is now, more or less, one’s social in-group. As an aside, it was tortuous to watch Berman & Johnson stumble through the realization that, YES, there is a sharp rise in anti-Semitism on the Left; while never mentioning a word about the Right’s strong affinity for all things Israel. Hell, after filling a few reams about his disappointment of the Left’s near universal anti-Zionist position, Berman then decides to be impressed when Bernie “No Love for Zionism” Sanders criticizes Trump for his failure to mention Russia’s election interference at the UN (despite Trump having previously done so on multiple occasions), in spite of the plain fact that Trump is arguably the most pro-Israel president in modern history, i.e. ever. Maybe I’m over reading it, but Berman in particular, had something not unlike a strong stench of desperation with an equally healthy dose of denial. I’ve seen battered wives at the Hubbard House reach for less excuses (or at least more legitimate ones), any glimmer of hope that might buffer the pain of reality. The reality that they don’t like you, b/c your Jewishness is now too white, too smart, and too rich. They don’t give a shit how many of your Jewish relatives were in the Holocaust… and spoiler alert… they didn’t care, when they did like you. You were just a victim for them. Someone to leverage. (don’t fret, they did the same thing to women, once the trans community came along in sufficient numbers.) Welcome to the Left!

    Returning to the first issue at hand, Berman’s definitional problem becomes plainly obvious (especially after reading his Tablemag.com article) once one notices Berman’s attempt to use a comparative rhetorical mechanism to make fine distinctions btw his preferred brand of Leftism the social-democratic Left and what he disparaging labels at one point as the increasingly assertive illiberal Left. The article goes on to describe this illiberal Left saying,

    …Berman reminded us that the Left had faced such pressures to accommodate totalitarianism and prejudice many times, and its failures were often spectacular.

    If by “spectacular” Berman means Leftist governments over the last 2.5 centuries are responsible for, what is in all likelihood, the highest death toll in recorded history among all anthropogenic disasters. Of course, it should be noted that such claims should be viewed in concert with the simple fact that accurate (death toll) figures, within any subset of anthropogenic disasters, is well-nigh impossible to come by. Whether Leftist gov’ts are 1st, 3rd, or 8th it matters not. The simple fact that Leftist gov’t are on the list, much less arguably number one, is sufficient grounds to prove the IT’S-NOT-A-BUG, IT’S-AN-UNDOCUMENTED-FEATURE point. (As an aside, we really need shelf this “working as designed” phrase).

    And this seems to be right about the place where Berman (and Johnson, the author) takes a detour from reality of Leftist politics. Namely, the universality of the ‘undocumented feature’ in question. It is the sine qua non running through every Leftist paradigm and philosophical treatise aborted on the socio-political landscape since Das Kapital first distinguished Marx as being the only Jew to make a worse decision than Judas Iscariot. Anyway, coercion is the principle that underlines all Leftist ideologies including Berman’s social-democracy; despite the fact that he would like to “pretend(s)” otherwise. It’s unclear, if not coercive measures, what tactics/strategies Berman would use to compel the citizens of the world towards his socio-political worldview. Surely, he believes in redistributive policies, healthcare & education as a fundamental human right, etc., etc. Of course, what’s curious about this is that if someone has a right to healthcare or education; then they are effectively demanding that someone else provide it to them. Claiming a positive right, is nothing more than an imposition on someone else to provide it to you. It is, in fact, an obligation, backed by force of law, that someone else produce this right (service/product) for you. But maybe social democracy force is of the non-coercive variety.

    Having said that, it does make one wonder what Johnson (author) meant when he said, “… the Left’s historic fundamentals are in opposition to totalitarianism, racism, and violent paranoia…

    While I wouldn’t claim to be fully conversant with the entirety of Leftist politics during the 19th & 20th century, as I mention earlier, I do have some appreciation for the consequences of their ideas as the apotheosis of human enterprise; so forgive me for asking, but when exactly did the Leftist intelligentsia begin counting among its historic fundamentals a principled opposition to ‘totalitarianism’ and ‘violent paranoia’? Putting aside the high mantle of anti-racists – which I’ll return to in a moment – I can appreciate the inclination to take certain liberties at the periphery of one’s political agenda, but there’s taking liberties with the undifferentiated haze and then there’s being insensitive to data, moral reasoning and rational argument. Johnson’s claim is sheer effrontery, full stop. Lastly, with respect to racism, I’m more than happy to concede the point to the Left as long as we can agree that antipathy towards members of one’s own race (on the basis of their race) is no less a manifestation of racism than is any other variety of racial antipathy, e.g., antipathy towards someone of a different race (on the basis of race).

    Just for fun, simply ask yourself the rhetorical question, if by some Hellish circumstance Julian Castro, Bill de Blasio, and/or Elizabeth Warren (to say nothing of Hillary Clinton macabre political sideshow) were to somehow take power – in an absolute sense, that is – along with AOC, Eric Swalwell, and/or Adam Schiff as First Deputies, how long do you think it would take for them to begin trading individual freedom for social equality; individual justice for group justice? How long before their failure to reconcile political and socioeconomic equality with the implications of biological inequality leads them to simply hard-code the solution (read “preferred outcome”) into government/society? How long before they weaponize these ideological sophistries as legitimate social grievances? How long before they begin assigning comparative negligence points, according to who’s contributed what harm to whom and to what degree? (chances are pretty good, I suspect – #reparations). And lastly, how long before these beliefs catalyze the type of anthropogenic disasters that have come to define Leftist governments of the 20th century?

    My guess? Six months, tops.

    Of course, I don’t mean to suggest that all Leftist political philosophies are unreliable, absurd, oppressive and at times, ultimately, tragic. A lot of the time these philosophies are just simply wrong. Occasionally, they can be tolerant, but usually in the repressive sense. To be fair, the Left can be many things depending on how you define it (see Berman). And to be honest, none of those things are an opposition to totalitarianism/violent paranoia – at least not if the death toll count for anything.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @D.B. Cooper

      Reading you in the morning is like starting the day with a dose of LSD: all neurons fire, cobwebs are blown away and all things seem fresh.

      “leads them to simply hard-code the solution (read “preferred outcome”) into government/society?”

      I’ll say it again: Equitron. Even the Warriors themselves will quickly understand that The Ministry of Equity can’t be run by black lesbians because they might not be fair to white transmen. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? To attain Equity we must have MinEq but how is MinEq itself to be made Equitable at it’s inception? There is only victimhood vs. power, so no Identity can permit any other Identity to gain control of MinEq, thus the Coalition of the Oppressed would be strained.

      Solution: Equitron. The neural-net AI which has one instruction: All Identity groups must have equal outcomes. In particular all Identity groups must be equally represented in all fields of human activity. Because Equitron is a neural-net, it is impossible for Equitron to answer the question how it makes the decisions it does even if one wanted to ask, thus Equitron’s decisions cannot be challenged even in principal. I, being a left finned dolphin, will be assigned to wherever there seems to be a under representation of left finned dolphins. I will probably be getting a Nobel Prize too, since so far no LFDs have gotten one and it’s time that was corrected.

      “To be fair, the Left can be many things depending on how you define it (see Berman). And to be honest, none of those things are an opposition to totalitarianism/violent paranoia”

      To be fair, the sane Left — now asleep — is absolutely opposed to totalitarianism. If we picture the political spectrum as a circle, with the totalitarian Left and totalitarian Right converging and becoming indistinguishable (this is a standard idea), then the moderate, sane Left is exactly opposite the point of the above merger and is the least totalitarian of all political philosophies. (With the possible exception of anarchism, but those people are out to lunch.)

      • D.B. Cooper says

        @Ray Andrews

        Clearly, you’ve been informed that I’m highly susceptible to flattery. Fortunately for me, however, I am more than wise to your closest Leftist, UBI advances. Living in the South, I’ve learned to keep the grass cut low, so I can see the sly duplicity coming all the way from Canada; although I’m willing to make certain concessions for a dose or two of that morning LSD.

        This is a bit of hard tangent, but I’ve actually never tried LSD. In point of fact, I’ve never even smoked a joint; although to be clear, I have no (zero) principle objection to anyone (including myself) ingesting copious amounts of illicit drugs. If you want to hit a line of cocaine on Columbian banana boat with Pablo jr. then I see no good reason why anyone should stop you. Admittedly, I’m probably going to defer on subsidizing your medical bills after that heart attack, but those are minor details, really. To my mind, alcohol is at least as bad (and possibly worse) than a good many (but certainly not all) of the illicit drugs outlawed at the federal level. On reflection, I did eat a mushroom one time, which I’ve been told is not too dissimilar from your morning dose of LSD. In any case, let us proceed to the matter at hand…

        Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

        Ah, yes! Who will guard the guards? An apt question, indeed, Mr. Andrews. You’re too clever by half, you are. While I’m not familiar with this particular rendering, I do recall having previously come across it; although I’m almost certain it was stated in a slightly different form. Nonetheless, thusly stated, the question turns on the view that while a state of perfect socio-political equilibrium is conceptually coherent in the abstract; as an applied practice the derivation and maintenance of an equity initiative necessarily requires an operational state, perpetually in violation of its own resolutions, since the functional prosecution (as opposed to the theoretical prosecution) of recursive socio-economic processes implicitly presupposes an imbalance of power by way of the man behind the curtain; the marionettist pulling the strings; the black lesbian captain at the helm of the leviathan; the nameless, faceless administrative agent who has a taste for power and who is all too willing (more than willing really) to drive that totalitarian state right down Equity Lane. In short, establishing a state of equity, necessarily requires abandoning the principles of equity; which effectively guarantees you’ll never establish a state of equity, i.e., a wretched self-sabotaging subterfuge.

        As for your prospects with Equitron… well, the only really solid piece of advice I would feel comfortable giving, would simply be to suggest that you might want to wait to take out any loans against your future Nobel earnings. It’s not that I think the Nobel committee will write you a bad check, it’s just that I don’t think they will write you a check at all. Never. Ever, ever, ever…

        To be fair, the sane Left — now asleep — is absolutely opposed to totalitarianism. If we picture the political spectrum as a circle, with the totalitarian Left and totalitarian Right converging and becoming indistinguishable (this is a standard idea), then the moderate, sane Left is exactly opposite the point of the above merger and is the least totalitarian of all political philosophies. (With the possible exception of anarchism, but those people are out to lunch.)

        Listen, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the cogent response. I thought your attempt to introduce a conceptual framework (circle) to help make fine distinctions between the various ideological boundaries that manifest on the Left was an exceptionally nice touch. It was a reasoned exposition, to be sure.

        As for my feelings on the “moderate, sane Left” being the “least totalitarian of all political philosophies; well, this fact is undisputed. The moderate, sane Left is by definition less totalitarian than the more radical, less sane Leftist philosophies on offer. This much is true by necessity. What is disputed, however, is that however accurate our semantic intuitions ultimately are, regarding the degree of radicalization and sanity that can or cannot be found throughout the various ideological strands on the Left, I’m always a little unsettle when I see the most charitable defense one can muster, involves a comparative descriptor such as “the least totalitarian.”

        So, in other words, all Leftist politics are totalitarian, but some Leftist politics are less totalitarian than others. Splendid! If you’re wondering this has done little to dampen my earlier reservations about Left. While I would like to think better explanations are available, the teachings of experience suggest otherwise. To be blunt, being the least totalitarian philosophy among a stable of totalitarian philosophies, is not unlike being the least pregnant expecting mother on a Labor and Delivery ward full of expecting mothers. To put it more succinctly, the Left has converted liberty to tyranny, and in doing so, they have ensured violence will result.

        • Ray Andrews says


          “I can see the sly duplicity coming all the way from Canada”

          Curses! Foiled again. ; – )

          “a wretched self-sabotaging subterfuge”

          Geez, that’s colorful. Yes, just so. And what is eternally broken will need the eternal services of the fixers, no? Eventually only the absolute control of Equitron can get the job done. Someone said that the reason this stuff comes from universities is that the folks who have tenure in universities are insulated from the feedback of mere, vulgar results — what they say doesn’t have to actually work, they just like the sound of it.

          “Never. Ever, ever, ever…”

          But Equitron will order it. And we’ve already had an affirmative action prize anyway last time for that lady who was peripherally involved in making ‘molecular tweezers’.

          “the least totalitarian.”

          Meaning as far away from totalitarian as it is possible to be. Not meaning totalitarian, but not excessively totalitarian (as totalitarians go). Charity please, sir.

          “So, in other words, all Leftist politics are totalitarian”

          That’s just wrong. Even Danish leftists — as far left as we get in the Western/European world — are not totalitarians. Or they didn’t used to be anyway. It would be most interesting to try to graph the slope of the slide into totalitarianism on the left vs. the right. Both side ‘get there’, but maybe not as quickly. Perhaps the left side is steeper because the essential paradigm is the state looking after us. But Franco got even nastier, the essential paradigm being that anyone in the way of the state will die.

          We’ve a lefty government here in BC right now. They’re doing quite well. Even the march of the SJWs has not been accelerated. Alas tho, Oregon is going to hell fast. I’m bipolar as you know, but I can assure you that the Leftie in me loathes SJ.

          “the Left has converted liberty to tyranny”

          Agreed, but it does not have to be that way. The Left can return to sanity. So, perhaps, can the Republicans.

  15. Amazing that concerning Israel, Zionism, Semitism (pro & anti) Palestine, etc… opinions seem
    to be like the parting of the red sea lost in an irrational Manichean irresolution. Meanwhile people die, are dispossessed of their natural rights and suffer for no reason because of ancient history.
    Are we capable to adhere to a rational analysis without brandishing the flags of our desires and
    manifest our “parti pris” like soccer fans?

  16. mila shennsey says

    There’s nothing more cynical than the calls to repudiate antisemitism ‘on the right and the left.’ There is simply no single unified phenomenon called ‘antisemitism.’ It doesn’t cut across political divisions, it doesn’t grow like a weed on both sides of a fence. The Pittsburgh and San Diego perpetrators hatred of Jews formed part of an ecology of political delusions – traditionalism, essentialism, paranoia. The reactionary conception of the world in terms of racial identity and religious battle against evil is what comes first; it’s a prerequisite for any figuration of Jews as a collective enemy. This is a total and hermetic ideology, and it bears no relation whatsoever to anything Jeremy Corbyn or Ilhan Omar or any other slandered leftist politician has ever said or done.

    Antisemitism does not say ‘Israel is killing innocent children in Gaza.’ Antisemitism says ‘every Jew is responsible for the meticulously planned genocide of the European race. They act as a unit, and every Jew plays his part to enslave the other races around him.’

    • Ray Andrews says

      @mila shennsey

      “They act as a unit, and every Jew plays his part to enslave the other races around him.”

      Yup. It was the same with witches. They were not merely evil old ladies, making the milk go sour, they were part of a vast Satanic conspiracy. Yet antisemite hunts are not very much different from witchhunts in that most of the people burned are not guilty of anything at all. Thus witches, the ‘eternal Jew’ and the ‘eternal antisemite’ are all examples of the creation of a sort of imaginary monster. We do find Jews disproportionately in positions of power and wealth, but that’s because they’re smart and they work hard. Do they ‘conspire’? Yes of course they do, but then again so does everyone else. It is fashionable at the moment to laugh at conspiracy theories and that’s queer, because the entire planet is one writhing ball of conspiracies. Some are just better at it than others.

    • Stephanie says

      Mila, when these public figures say that American Jews are loyal to Israel, or that support for Israel stems from Jewish control of capital, or that 6 million Jews ought to be liquidated from their homeland, is it really necessary for them to articulate the precise sentiment you express? If someone denies or warps the Holocaust, or calls for another, does that not count as anti-Semitism because they didn’t say the magic words?

      People won’t call you anti-Semitic if you say “Israel is killing children in Gaza.” They’ll point out there’s only so much you can do when Hamas hides their rocket launchers amongst civilian populations, or bring children to riots on the border. Hamas wants these children to die precisely so that you would have the reaction you do. If you weren’t so naive, maybe they would stop doing it. Is that anti-Semitism? No, it’s probably just stupidity.

      But if you go on about Israel disproportionately to all the real horror going on in the world, some people might come to think it’s not just a coincidence that the principal target of your ire happens to be the only country run by Jews.

  17. Morgan Foster says

    @mila shennsey

    I prefer the term “Jew-hatred” to “antisemitism.” Calling someone an antisemite is simply a polite way of saying that someone hates Jews. All of them.

    Like all race-hatreds, there is a spectrum. From a mere distaste, to a desire not to have Jews as neighbors or co-workers, to bizarre conspiracy theories concerning international banking and covenants with Satan, to actual mass murder to be rid of them for once and all.

    All of this is Jew-hatred, and we need not be so delicately polite as to call it antisemitism.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Morgan Foster

      But putting it in a special category from other hatreds only makes the problem worse. The more it becomes especially illegal to hate Jews, the more a certain set of people will want to hate them. Me, I hate the Serbs and the Hutus. The Serbs are white, so that’s fine, but maybe one day I’ll be in trouble for hating the Hutus. But frankly I’ll hate whoever I want to. And if anyone wants to hate me for whatever reason, they are welcome to. Perhaps I’ll get around to hating them back, or maybe I won’t bother. We worry about hate too much.

      • Morgan Foster says

        @Ray Andrews

        You should worry about it more.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Morgan Foster

          It’s a profound subject. Sometimes the best thing to do with historical grievances is to move on, no? The SJWs want to make a better world by becoming ever more sensitive to an ever longer list of slights, but does that really make the world better? I think it backfires. Hate is not normally something one wants to encourage (excepting white hetero males), but it seems to me that too much fretting over it does not make it go away, it makes it worse. Rather in the same way that picking at a scab does not aid healing, and can in fact lead to gangrene. I suspect that if folks are forbidden to hate me, they are only going to hate me all the more so I explicitly decline to have any special protections.

          Dunno, perhaps I shouldn’t say we worry about hate too much, what I should say is that the cure for hate, paradoxically, is to worry about it more quietly and resist the temptation to over react. Reasonable steps. But the above is a good example of anti-anti-semitism used as a political tool, with all the accusations being thrown around doing far more harm than good IMHO and few of them genuine.

  18. Fergus Hashimoto says

    One of Sanders’ great buddies is Cornel West, who belongs to the Democratic Socialists of America. If left-wing means opposition to authoritarianism, how come Cornel West wrote the preface to a book by a French politician who can only be descibed as a fascist?
    The authoress, Houari Bouteldja, wrote a book called “Whites, Jews, and Us”. Its chapters are called “Shoot Sartre!”, “You, White People”, “You, the Jews”, “We, Indigenous Women”, “We, Indigenous People”, and “Allahu akbar!” She leads a party that opposes European civilization whose central plank is wiping out Israel. She favors the patriarchy, male chauvinism and homophobia, opposes feminism and celebrates Islamic terrorism.
    Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir and his foreign policy adviser Matt Duss have both defended sharia law, which, in Brunei at least, involves stoning homosexuals and adulterers to death.
    This seems to be a case of full-blown fascism in the entourage of Sanders, who is generally regarded as a left-wing candidate.

  19. Stephanie says

    If this article were to be published in an outlet with a left-wing readership, or shared in any of the Facebook groups I’m in, the comments would be awash with the most vile, seething anti-Semitism, the kind you can feel the burning disgust emanating from even in writing. I’m happy that there is little of that here.

    There’s some of the reflexive defences used to justify or explain away anti-Semitism, most notably the “anti-Zionism isn’t anti-Semitism” trope. I won’t repeat myself too much, since I discuss this in some earlier comments, but holding the position that Israel should no longer exist is tantamount to supporting ethnic cleansing at best and genocide at worse of 6 million Jews, and thus to the most extreme and vile form of anti-Semitism imaginable. Second only to extending this sentiment to the rest of the world’s Jews, but you often see the people who call themselves “anti-Zionist” also claim that Jews in their own country have dual loyalties, too much power, or too much money, usually in the context of explaining why anti-Zionism isn’t more mainstream.

    Should these countries (US, UK, ect) fall under the grip of these anti-Semites, and they were free to pursue their genocidal aspirations, somehow I don’t think Israeli Jews would be the only Jews to suffer. The sideways way they look at the Jews in their own country suggests they won’t fare well, either. If you want to be cynical, you could say these leftists welcome mass immigration from Muslim countries because it helps them solve their Jewish problem, by encouraging emigration.

    Of course all this is exactly why Israel needs to exist.

  20. AJ says

    It is very difficult to decide if there is a genuine increase in anti-semitism becaus the boundaries ofwhat constitute it have been extended to the point where it is meaningless.

    I first noticed this phenomena twenty years ago when listening to a program about increase in anti-semitic articles in the european press. The man making this claim was asked to give an example of an article in a main stream puplication. He gave the case of a cartoon of a young palestinian boy depicted with a halo cowering and being shot by IDF troops. My issue was that I had seen the video whch inspired this of a you boy clearly terrified and cowering, with his desperate father trying to rescue him, who was indeed shot and killed. There was much discussion of ‘blood libel’ but at the end of the day to prevent a cartoonist from using a traditional symbol of innocence and calling attention to this tragedy was a terrible misuse of peoples rightful abhorrence of anti-semitism. My conclusion was that if this was the best example they could come up with then it was nonsense and simply propoganda designed to prevent criticism of Israel.

    I di d nto think of this anymor euntil recently when we have the criticsim of Jeremy COrbyn and the Labour party. I don’t like Jeremy Corbyn and I don’t know the labour party so for all I know anti-semitism could be rife but what has struck me is that the original demands and claims about anti-semitism were about Labours code of conduct. The issue that those claiming anti-semitism had was that it did not prevent criticism of Israel and they demanded that claiming Israel was a racist state, or comparing Israeli policies to those of the Nazis be included in a definition of anti-semitism. Labours policy has now been extended to include these defintiions but is it really anti-semitism rather than hyperbole to say that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians mirrors that of the Nazis? The goal again seems to be to use anti-semitism as a means of supressing poliical criticism or debate of Israel.

    The criticism of Corbyn became ridiculous with Corbyn criticised as anti-semitic for having a meal with a group of left wing Jews who oppose Israeli government policies. The most recent scandal is Chris Williamson criticised as anti-semitic for supporting (and promptly withdrawing support when criticised) a Jewish Musician who has some extreme views with respect to Israel and that it misuses the holocaust as a tool of government policy and propoganda. The main criticism is that he said that the labour party went to far in responding to criticism as being anti-semitic.

    I don’t know Chris Williamnson well enough to know but I would probably abhor his politics. He probably has glib superficial, utopian views with respect to palestine and how the conflict might be resolved but that is not antisemitism. The extension of the term to cover criticism of Israel and debate about the appropriate polciies to combat racism is an attack on legitimate free speech. I suspect it will be a long term catastrophe achieving the opposite of what is intended devaluaing the term so that it will eventually lose all force.

    • Stephanie says

      AN, like with all bigotry there has been some concept inflation, but violent attacks on Jews have become more common in Europe in recent years. No reason to dismiss the statistics when you can easily find the breakdown of how many of the attacks were violent.

    • Sam Hilt says

      Are you genuinely unaware that he Al-Dura incident was a hoax? This has been established beyond doubt, so why recycle a discredited antisemitic canard?

  21. Tom Edgar says

    Article claims Bernie isn’t sufficiently Zionist. Really, that’s a problem we’d have with him? Or more a thinly veiled attack on him for challenging party lines of both parties not to challenge Bibi & Israeli hardliners?

  22. Brian Henry says

    The only honest defence I’ve ever read of Corbyn is the observation that he supports Irish terrorists, too, not just the terrorists trying to kill Jews.

  23. J Seagull says

    @Ray Andrews

    He was a ‘participant’ in the Haifa refinery massacre.

    Don’t know what your Dad told you about those events, but the readily available historical accounts don’t make anybody look good.

    Jews (Irgun) started the killing by a terrorist attack on a crowd of Arabs. The Arabs retaliated by attacking Jewish fellow workers, killing dozens. The “official” Jewish paramilitary then retaliated for that by attacking Arab villages and killing even more.

    Final death toll, something in the vicinity of two Arabs for each Jew.

  24. Ray Andrews says

    @J Seagull

    That’s about the overview. My Dad added some up close and personal details about the internal slaughter.

  25. Sam Hilt says

    Excellent piece. Kudos, Matt Johnson. I’ve read most of Berman’s books, and I held him in high esteem until we arrived at the Trump era. I was genuinely surprised and dismayed to discover that TDS could unsettle a mind as robust as Berman’s. But his visceral antipathy toward Trump has kept him from seeing anything positive in Trump’s policies, and, in particular, from appreciating his commitment to Israel and his concern for the well-being of the Jews.

    Meanwhile Berman’s romance with the noble history of the Left continues to hold him spellbound, and he appears desperate to find something to hold onto. Sanders’ antisemitism is so obvious and his pandering to the anti-Zionist mob is so blatant, that Berman’s efforts to whitewash these sins is embarrassing, not to say, shameful.

    It’s been deeply disappointing for me to realize that someone with Berman’s cultural depth and critical intelligence can get so hopelessly lost.

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