FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Fallacy of Anti-Semitism Rising

The benevolent writer Uri Averny has informed us of a crucial fallacy in his latest polemic for CounterPunch entitled “The Fallacy of Rising Anti-Semitism.”

In this article, Averny, whose credentials include founding Gush Shalom peace movement and authoring numerous well-regarded books, argues that the notion “Jews are in danger everywhere” is “nonsense.” Pointing to recent attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, Averny insists that anti-Semitism is neither a motivation nor a concern.

“All these outrages were conducted by young Muslims,” he offers, “mostly of Arab descent. They were part of the ongoing war between Israelis and Aras that has nothing to do with anti-Semitism.”
Why not anti-Semitism? Do some Arabs not hold anti-Semitic views? In Averny’s considered, “Arab anti-Semitism is an oxymoron, since Arabs are Semites.” Averny has certainly hit the nail on the head; the notions of Semitic and anti-Semitic, as he notes, came from Wilhelm Marr, and the label has always obstructed Arab integration into their own category. A poetic irony exists as Palestinians continue to be denied recognition on their own land.

Semantics aside, we can recognize a category of anti-Jewishness, perhaps specific to anti-Semitism (a kind of inter-anti-Semitic rivalry if we are to cling to perhaps atavistic terms), as a reason for which people carry out attacks. In my opinion we might as well keep anti-Semitism as a category; after all, are not the strictest Zionists in the US people like Glenn Beck who make both anti-Arab and anti-Jewish assertions? The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that has always been engineered by the (former) colonial powers.

Here is where Averny attacks the point: “Anti-semitism is an integral part of European culture.”

And it is, as he suggests, perhaps “a collective mental disease.” But the rationale he provides is tenuous; he claims it is religious. It is not. Anti-semitism stems from a colonial past and its implications in the present; it comes from the Catholic church’s lust for West Asian lands, the aristocracy of the ancien regime, and it’s desire to divorce itself from “dirty money”; and finally, the bourgeoisie’s drive to monopolize on the crumbling Ottoman Empire. For this reason, as Averny perspicuously notes, “The present conflict started as a clash between two national movements, Jewish Zionism and secular Arab nationalism, and had only slight religious overtones.” We bear witness today to the same type of crusader-state conflicts that manifested for hundreds of years, and the animosity engendered within has material reasons far beyond ideology and religion, although both play roles.

Does that mean that it has “Nothing to do with anti-Semitism”? Quite the contrary.

In fact, if we look where Averny does not—the United Kingdom—we will find that anti-Semitic incidents (anti-Jewish to be exact) have doubled in the last year, alone, according to the Community Security Trust. Last year, CST recorded 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents—well over the 535 recorded in 2013. Match to that the increasingly popular far-right throughout Europe, and there is something to discern about the direction of violence, which flows against both Jews and Arabs, alike.

That vertiginous rise took place before Copenhagen and Paris. Averny is absolutely correct to suggest that the rise has everything to do with the Israel-Palestine conflict—namely with the bombardment of Gaza, as CST points out. This so-called “2014 Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” also known as Operation Protective Edge, took place over seven weeks of bombardment, which claimed more than 2,000 Palestinian lives, a vast majority of whom were civilians. To top it off, as Nafeez Ahmed pointed out, it was about access to natural gas more than ancient hatred of an ethnic or religious manifestation sort.

It does enrage just to think of it, but there is no reason to suggest that this reality makes the increase of attacks a symptom of a conflict between Jews and Muslims. In actual fact, the rise of anti-Jewish attacks has taken place, due to a conflict between the North Atlantic, on one side, and Jews and Arabs on the other. As Averny returns to the historical animus between white-skinned European nationalists and Jews, we should also return to the historical position of Israel today as a land grabbing country that both benefits from full support of the North Atlantic and provides convenient investment opportunities for North Atlantic capital, along with military hegemony to boot.

For this reason, whites perpetrated 44 percent of the anti-Semitic incidents in England, the lion’s share, while Arab or North African belligerence comprised a mere 10 percent. Surprisingly, South Asian offenders made up 37 percent, and only 8 percent were described as Black. According to the numbers, the “Arab-Israeli conflict,” as it metastasizes into Europe, is driven principally by whites, not by Jews or Arabs. I would argue that the same is true in the Levant.

So while I agree with Averny that anti-Semitism is pure fallacy (after all, it is an oxymoron, as he claims), it seems to me that it is quantifiably on the rise in Europe. Of course, this rise is relative; 2009 and 2006 saw similarly high numbers of anti-Semitic attacks, and the reasons were the same—Israeli attacks in the Levant. At the same time, the connection between Arabs and Jews will always mean that oppression felt by the one will surely even out against the other. The conflagration of nationalism, which uses Islamophobia as its propellant, worsens the conflict between whites, Jews, and Arabs on all levels. Averny may actually be entirely correct, and last year’s increase in mostly-white attacks incidents of anti-Jewish attacks may dwindle once again, with one modest rejoinder: the fallacy of anti-Semitism and the conflicts it creates will continue to rise will continue to rise and fall with Israel’s genocidal wars.

Alexander Reid Ross is a contributing moderator of the Earth First! Newswire. He is the editor of Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab (AK Press 2014) and a contributor to Life During Wartime (AK Press 2013). His most recent book Against the Fascist Creep is forthcoming through AK Press.

 

More articles by:

Alexander Reid Ross is a contributing moderator of the Earth First! Newswire. He is the editor of Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab (AK Press 2014) and a contributor to Life During Wartime (AK Press 2013). His most recent book Against the Fascist Creep is forthcoming through AK Press.

August 06, 2020
H. Bruce Franklin
How the Fascists Won World War II
Robert Jacobs – Ran Zwigenberg
The American Narrative of Hiroshima is a Statue that Must be Toppled
Howie Hawkins - Madelyn Hoffman
Reverse the New Nuclear Arms Race
Brian Kelly
Ireland and Slavery: Debating the ‘Irish Slaves Myth’
George Wuerthner
Trouble in Paradise Valley
Talli Nauman
Native Americans Win Historic Victories in U.S. High Court Rulings
David Mattson
“Man Attacks Grizzly” and Other Leading Bleeding Stories
John Kendall Hawkins
Suffrage: The Myth of Sisterphus
George Ochenski
An Unbelievably Disastrous State of Affairs
Binoy Kampmark
State of Pandemic Disaster: Melbourne Moves to Stage Four
Howard Lisnoff
The ACLU Has Never Done a Damn Thing for Me
Priyanka Singh – Sujeet Singh
Time to Empower the Invisibles: India Awaits a Mental Health Revolution
August 05, 2020
Roy Eidelson
Black Lives Matter: Resisting the Propaganda of Status Quo Defenders
Melvin Goodman
The Department of Homeland Security: the Ideal Authoritarian Tool
Paul Street
Misleaders at a Funeral: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Eulogizing Racial Justice in the Name of John Lewis
Seiji Yamada
Hiroshima, Technique, and Bioweapons
Vijay Prashad
How Trump Managed to Lead the World with the Worst Response to the COVID Pandemic
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Alternative
Jonas Ecke
The Worst Hunger Season Yet to Come: Global Moral Failure in the Time of Covid-19
Rafiq Kathwari
The Battle for Kashmir
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Arch-Kleptocrat is Found Guilty
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Cold War China Policy Will Isolate the U.S, Not China
Lee Camp
Why Housing Is a Human Right
Sam Pizzigati
For Egalitarians, a Sudden Sense of Possibility
Jonathan Cook
Can Israelis Broaden Their Protests Beyond Netanyahu?
Thomas Knapp
Ten Years After Lieberman’s “Internet Kill Switch,” the War on Freedom Rages On
Binoy Kampmark
Staying on Message: Australia, the US and the AUSMIN Talks
Elliot Sperber
The View From Saturn 
August 04, 2020
John Pilger
Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now
Dave Lindorff
Unsung Heroes of Los Alamos: Rethinking Manhattan Project Spies and the Cold War
Kenneth Good
Escalating State Repression and Covid-19: Their Impact on the Poor in Kenya
Dean Baker
We Need an Economic Survival Package Not Another Stimulus
David Rosen
Globalization and the End of the American Dream
John Feffer
The Pandemic Reveals a Europe More United Than the United States
Patrick Cockburn
The Government’s Failed Track-and-Trace System is a Disaster for England
Ramzy Baroud
‘Optimism of the Will’: Palestinian Freedom is Possible Now
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Yale Faculty on Hydroxychloroquine and Its Use in COVID-19
Manuel García, Jr.
Ocean Heat: From the Tropics to the Poles
Sonali Kolhatkar
Why the Idea of Jobless Benefits Scares the Conservative Mind
Greta Anderson
Framing Wolves in New Mexico?
Binoy Kampmark
Pulling Out of Germany: Trump Adjusts the Military Furniture
Shawn Fremstad – Nicole Rodgers
COVID Stimulus Checks Shouldn’t Penalize One-Parent Households
Adam Shah
The 1 Percent’s Attack on Unemployment Benefits is a Sign of Our Broken Democracy
Evaggelos Vallianatos
On the Beauty of Life
B. R. Gowani
Mohammed Rafi: Singer and Human Par Excellence
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail