Sunday, November 27, 2016

Anti-Semitism: Harbinger of Political and Social Decline

 I recently completed a research paper entitled Anti-Semitism: Harbinger of Political and Social Decline. I uploaded the complete paper to www.academia.edu with this abstract:

This article is an analysis of Jew hatred (anti-Semitism) and its debilitating impact on society and governance. It first looks at religious Jew hatred, showing how Muslim Jew hatred is the underlying cause of the Arab-Israel conflict, and how it is also a measure of the dysfunctionality of Arab governments. The paper then turns to ideological-leftist Jew hatred, and the psychological processes that allow bigotry to get embedded into politics. The paper concludes with a brief review of political parties in Europe that are promoting Jew hatred and the fragility of those countries where Jew hatred is most prevalent.

Here are the opening paragraphs:
I. Introduction

For those who are paying even modest attention, it is clear that anti-Semitism, conspiracy theories about Jews, and anti-Zionist hatred of Israel, the "Jew of nations," has been on the rise for two decades.

However, such a general statement provides an unfocused starting place for analysis. In this essay I will look at the problem more closely, teasing apart its three primary strands:
1. religious anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism
2. political/ideological anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism
3. nationalistic anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism
I will begin this analysis with religion, the most historically prevalent form of Jew hatred, and for the sake of brevity and honesty, from here on out I will dispense with euphemisms, and refer to anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism as Jew hatred.


II. Religious Jew Hatred

Religious Jew hatred must be differentiated into its Muslim and Christian forms. Muslim Jew hatred appears to be no worse today than it has been for many decades, certainly since 1948, and probably since 1900 in conjunction with the rise of Zionism. However, saying it is no worse today than it has been for a century is really saying that Islamic Jew hatred is 1. state-promoted; 2. inculcated in the home, school systems, and news and social media; 3. virtually unrestrained; and 4. greatly influenced by Nazi ideology. The ADL’s 2014 study of world anti-Semitism (1), and current events documented on MEMRI’s website(2) verifies the extent and viciousness of this hatred, its profound disconnect from historical evidence, and the comprehensive lack of honesty that dominates opinions across the Muslim world.

(1.) Executive Summary: http://global100.adl.org/public/ADL-Global-100-Executive-Summary.pdf;
    Full report: http://global100.adl.org/
(2.) MEMRI’S home page: http://www.memri.org/middle-east-media-research-institute.html;
MEMRITV: http://www.memritv.org/; MEMRI media archives: http://www.memri.org/media-archives.html

The consequences are far reaching and highly disturbing. This is surely the underlying cause behind the Arab (and Muslim) refusal to make peace with Israel. Ironically, many people get this backwards. Many people think Arab and Muslim Jew hatred is an effect of conflict with Israel. In fact, it pre-existed and generated those conflicts. The Arabs 1. refused to accept Jewish immigration to Palestine before 1948; 2. refused to accept Israel’s right to exist in 1948; and 3. refused to negotiate with Israel after the ‘48, ‘56, ‘67, and ‘73 wars, and with the exception of Egypt and Jordan (who have made a frigid peace with Israel) at no other time have Arabs come forward and simply accepted Israel’s right to exist. The Palestinian conflict with Israel is a direct result of this refusal to tolerate the existence of a Jewish nation in the Middle East.

Yet Israel’s existence emerged at the same time and as a result of the same historic events that created every other Middle Eastern nation. Every Middle Eastern country was created in the aftermath of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, an empire that had colonized this region for over 500 years. And not a single nation created by European powers in the aftermath of the Ottoman collapse had ever existed at any time in history, with the exception of Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, and Yemen. Therefore if Arabs question Israel’s right to exist, they need first question their own nation’s right to exist! Of course, that kind of logic is never applied because Jew hatred is emotional, not logical in its foundations.

The depth and breadth of the problem mitigates against the possibility of any meaningful and enduring Israeli-Arab peace any time in the foreseeable future. So long as the vast majority of Arabs hate Jews and Israel, any government that makes peace with Israel will be implementing a policy that will undermine its stability. Sisi’s government in Egypt is particularly vulnerable at this time, as it warms to Israel while struggling economically.

But this widespread, overt, and unashamed Jew hatred in the Muslim world does not only affect Arab-Israeli peace efforts. Indeed, that is only the tip of the iceberg. The existence of widespread Jew hatred in society reflects a society that is socially, politically, economically, and morally fractured and dysfunctional. Where Jew hatred is overt and widespread, general hatred, discrimination, and social fracturing are equally overt and widespread. And a society torn by these fractures will surely be dysfunctional.

Look at any Arab nation and you will see the result of long-term, unaddressed, and unmitigated Jew hatred. Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Somalia, Mali, Sudan, Eritrea, Lebanon, the Palestinians, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, and Yemen are all in social and political free-fall. Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, though mostly non-Arab, are all 90%+ majority Muslim, and are all either torn to pieces in social and political conflict, or dominated by aggressive dictatorships that hold the pieces together with a ruthless police state (as did Syria, Iraq, and Libya for many decades).

3 comments:

god-free morals said...

Surely anti-semitism and anti-zionism aren't the same thing?

I know some British Jews who could be described as anti-zionist, are they anti-semites also? (I've got to a section in the say where you do indeed say something like, i.e. Woody Allen)

You say, "There is a direct, causal relationship between Jew hatred and social/political dysfunction." So, therefore, any sort of 'hatred' would also count towards social collapse? Or is "Jew Hatred" a special case?

Also, without references you are 'spinning a hyperbolic theory'. Newspaper articles aren't academic references. There is some work in this area, not that I'm familiar with it, but a brief search gives me a list of academic authors 50+ (apologies, there is one academic reference, although there is not the direct connection you make with your 'therefore')

I buy into the idea that a hateful bigoted society is one that will self-destruct and collapse, but it seems you'll have to add 'eventually' to that claim, because a number of large powerful nations/empires have existed historically for quite a long time based on hatred and dehumanisation of the other. One could also say that any society will eventually break-down and collapse anyway, due to factors of ongoing change in power structures etc. Perhaps we could say that they collapse faster as they become obsessed by their hatred(s). This seems valid.

I would also agree that merely thinking we are a 'liberal' and therefore 'good' society doesn't make it so. This requires us to build and develop relationships from our cultural group with the others that share our society, the definition of being a multicultural society. A cynic would think this impossible, due to humanity's fundamental nature of hatred (i.e. your view) and historically you'd be hard pressed to find many positive examples. Indeed, recent election/referendum results across the world show that our 'liberal' world isn't so equal and friendly after all (as if this were ever in doubt). But, as you say, shaming doesn't make it go away, we'd have to change our own behaviours and effectively 're-wire' our own brain.

Possible? Yes. Likely? ...

Do you consider yourself to possess any bigoted views?

Stephen Berer said...

Thanks Chris for your insightful comments. Let me respond to the questions you ask of me.

You say/ask:
Surely anti-semitism and anti-zionism aren't the same thing?
I know some British Jews who could be described as anti-zionist, are they anti-semites also?

Yes, I believe they are one and the same. Of course, many people think this is a highly contentious statement, especially those people who are guilty of being anti-Zionists, and who don't want to look their own bigotry straight in the face!! But I'm not alone in my accusation. Martin Luther King and the current Pope (both of whom I admire greatly) have made this exact same equation. Hatred of Israel is a modern form of Jew hatred, which is why Alan Dershowitz often calls Israel “the Jew of nations”. Eg, Israel’s vilification in the halls of the UN is no different than the vilification of Jews that was common in Czarist Russia, or that is common in any modern Arab nation.

Jews are as susceptible of being anti-Semites as non-Jews, just as Blacks are of being racist (as I note in the essay, re the Tutu example) . This is well documented in psychological literature. And I know it well, personally. I used to hate myself for being a Jew, and thought there was something wrong with me because I was Jewish. Indeed, like alcoholism, one is never cured. One may or may not learn to manage the disease. And indeed, I know *very few* Jews who don’t have a large dollop of self-hatred. Same for Blacks. Same for all vilified minorities. Same for all people. We are highly social beings, deeply influenced by our surroundings, and full of self-hating voices. Some of us listen carefully to ourselves and hear them; many don’t

But let me amplify very briefly the equation of anti-Semitism = anti-Zionism. Look at images of BDS rallies or other anti-Zionist rallies. There's *lots* of these images floating around. And you will often see (especially if the camera-person is not trying to be selective in what they show) banners like "death to Israel" and a wide range of other bigoted slogans and images. If an anti-Zionist (who claims not to be a bigot) attends such a rally or supports such a rally in the social media or thru giving of time or money, they cannot disassociate themselves from the hate they are supporting. Yet, those very same people will loudly and persistently claim that Trump is a bigot when he empowers other bigots to act hatefully and violently, even tho Trump himself shrugs it off, "not me, not me". And yet every anti-Zionist I know shrugs it off the same. Trump's a bigot, but not them. You see the hypocrisy? Really, it's quite obvious. I offer this example as just one more detail in a wide body of hypocrisies, lies, and exaggerations that define the anti-Zionist agenda. I am NOT saying Israel is above criticism. But when the criticism is riddled with hypocrisy, lies, and exaggerations, there is bigotry driving it, not just moral outrage.

(continued in 2nd comment...)

Stephen Berer said...

Chris, you go on to ask:
You say, "There is a direct, causal relationship between Jew hatred and social/political dysfunction." So, therefore, any sort of 'hatred' would also count towards social collapse? Or is "Jew Hatred" a special case?

First: "Direct causal relationship." You wisely imply (and give sound examples elsewhere) that the relationship does not fit any causal model that can easily be tested. Thanks for guiding me towards that clarification. I am not trying to build a predictive model here, but rather I'm trying to raise warning flags to people and nations willing to pay attention to themselves.
I would posit that Jew hatred is special for a couple of reasons (which I’ll mention in a moment), but that rampant hatred of any sort in a society is debilitating and dysfunctional. Imagine the cultural and economic leap that would occur in the US if racism disappeared suddenly. I don’t just refer to acts of racism towards African Americans, but a disappearance of the psychological impairments and damage that are endemic in a subjugated and oppressed people, and equally endemic (tho different) in the oppressor.
Now, in regards to believing Jews are a “special case...” Perhaps part of the situation is that Jews have been dispersed so widely around Europe and the Middle East for such a long time, in a way that no other distinct minority has been. So we have much more evidence, soft tho it may be. And we have the subconscious elevation that Jews are given via the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, and the Koran, as a special and chosen people. Now, in the Christian Bible and the Koran it cuts both ways, and more commonly towards vilification, but still Jewishness is amplified as no other modern ethnicity is. And these religious teachings have shaped culture (and psychology) more directly and with greater impact than any other literature.

Let me briefly address your comment that “Newspaper articles aren't academic references.” I use the news as data, exposing events, opinions, and current trends. Thus, when I accuse the Left in England and elsewhere of being riddled with Jew hatred, I provide specific examples. My argument would be “hyperbolic” only if I *didn’t* provide examples. Now, if that data is disallowed in the academic world, then academic thinking is the emptier and more cutoff from reality for it.

And finally, let me address your question, “Do you consider yourself to possess any bigoted views?
You're baiting me here. Have you ever openly discussed your own bigotry? But I'm not afraid to speak openly.
Yes, I’m full of bigoted thoughts and feelings. I consider it part of the human condition, and those who claim NOT to have bigoted thoughts/feelings live in a world of self-repression and self-dysunderstanding. HOWEVER, I am definitely not happy about my bigotry, and I try to address and manage and compensate for it whenever I feel it. And when I fail in that, I fail to my own shame and my own diminishment. For example, I work hard to strip out any bigotry I might feel towards Muslims when I criticize Arabs and Islam. To the extent that I fail in this, I deserve to be called out and corrected.