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Anti-Semitism Has Not Evolved

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Submitted by Daniel Weil (United States), Feb 15, 2005 at 20:30

There is a need, which this article addresses, to relook at anti-semitism in its classical mode but Dr. Pipes is correct that the term has become nonsensical, or at least, not useful- any more than the term anti-Zionist. Essentially, it has evolved out of existence so it is a puzzlement why it is the headline of the analysis.

The problem is that Jews as individuals and as a people are being merged or melded conceptually with Israel, whose supporters demand that Jews be loyal. Israel has undeniably had an enormous impact on Jews but it is not the core or the defining element of being Jewish. Five thousand years of history is what Jews are about
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What is important is to see how Jews have evolved over the past century and the role Israel has played in this drama - with the analysis geared toward providing a framework to understand the issues going forward.

Accordingly, it may be worthwhile for someone (DP) to rewrite the article with the distinction Jews are by choice a distinct entity (whether seen as ethnic, racial, religious matters not) - Jews are defined by being separatists.

The formation of Israel was not fully supported by American Jews and many prominent people argued vehemently that it would create a new and more virulent kind of anti-semitism. They also contended that by being responsible for creating, defending and sustaining a new nation, especially in the heart of Muslim/Arab lands, would cause Jews to lose their specialness and pose unsolvable problems. Those people had to quietly fade into oblivion, haveing engendered a firestorm of antagonism making any discussion impossible.

As for the discussion of drift from left to right, definition is necessary. Totalitarianism is not left or right - nor are Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot or other dominant inherently evil dictatorships, regardless of their so-called ideology. Socialism, born of concern for the underclass, was deeply linked to American and Jewish intellectuals and activists, who tried to avoid the clash between liberalism (individual rights) and social democracy (emphasizing group-good) whereas the mainstream - Christians - held for the status quo.

The recent phenomenon of strong support for Israel from American conservatives ( neo-conservatives, with a large Jewish base, are a different issue) may not be all that it appears on the surface since there is a melding of conservative with Christian and reborn Christian ideology. All conservatives are not alike, even if they pretend they are. We may not be witnessing a new appreciation or support for Jews but rather that American/Christian/Western civilization is confronting Islam and Israel is the gate holding the barbarians at bay.

Israel, located in the heart of the Middle East (Arabia some might say), was founded and populated by Europeans its early decades. Support for Israel ought not be confused with neo-attitudes toward Jews. Most of America still thinks Jews control the media, investment banking and Hollywood - and don't like it. It may be the threat posed by Muslim fundamentalists has overshadowed people's attitudes toward the "elder breatheren". But this ain't evolution, just mirrors.

Except for fundamentalists, which distort the position of every religion, it seems Muslim anti-Jewish or Semitic attitudes are the product of anti-Israeli as opposed to religious sensibilities. But we cannot escape that,in most cases, the phenomenon is merged - by both sides.

In that regard, the statement that Christians have come to terms with Jews - appearing, ironically, a few paragraphs before explicating a 2003 poll showing Europeans overwhelmingly think Israel a threat to world peace - does not bear much weight.

At risk of being declared an enemy combatant, it is unclear how the current Administration compares, in its Texas heart, with Lindburgh's America First. Or it maybe that, like Muslims, words like "crusade" are taken by us too serioudly.

Unlike most others, I am convinced that the core of the Bush Administration's goals are domestic, and involve essentially redefining the Constitution. By the end of his second term (preceding Bush III) he will, I predict, be the most influential and powerful religious leader in America. That's troublesome but I do accept that his support for Israel will not waver.

The final comments are incendiary and reek of fear-mongering, something Bush II has raised to a fine art. The hail of nuclear bombs cannot occur without massacring millions of Muslims and making much of the Middle East uninhabitable. And discounts that Israel has its own little stockpile that can do even worse damage. Whatever else one's attitude toward Israel may be, no one questions that it has brought intelligence to new levels.

Eventually, when dependence on fund-raising and grants is no longer dependable, Israel can solve its ecnomic problems by simply privatizing its intelligence operations. They have proven time and again they can do it better and cheaper.

Lastly, it is doubtful, though I defer to Dr. Pipes as scholar, that the Muslim nations, including those who are Arab, conclude that the destruction of Israel - in fact as oppposed to popular propaganda - is in their interests. History in so many ways tells us differently. Israel's neighbors (except for the extremists, but Israel has them too) hate each other more in most circumstances than Israel. If anything, Israel has brought relative peace to the Middle East, a statement I am sure will be roundly condemned by all.

Conclusion: Dr. Pipes has opened a very important door in forcing dialogue about the evolution over the past decades of attitudes toward Jews. It now needs a vigorous debate, begining with the premises that Jews, Israel, anti-Jewish sentiments are here to stay. Jews are still in a Golden Age over the last decades, compared to the past thousand years, and safer and more secure as a result of the Holocaust. In other ways, however, they are more threatened, especially considering that so many, as Dr. Pipes points out - as did the anti-Zionists, live in awesome vulnerability.

The Jews survived the Holocaust - and would have survived had America not entered the war. It is hoped that their survival into the next millennium will not be dependent on America.
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