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diumenge, 31 de juliol de 2016

Donde el anticapitalismo y el antisemitismo se cruzan

THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT.- there a connection between anti-capitalist anti-Semitism and zealous anti-Zionism? Battini deals with this in the last chapter of his book, I think plausibly. First of all, there is the matter of Holocaust denial, which is not something the Labour hard Left can be accused of, but which is expressed by some of the Middle Eastern activists whose causes they support. Battini sees this type of denial as an extension of Jewish conspiracy theories. In this view Jews lie about Auschwitz as a way to control public opinion and promote the interests of Israel. The credibility of this type of nonsense gets some help from Israeli politicians, alas. At the very least since the premiership of Menachem Begin in the late 1970s, the Shoah has been used to legitimize the Jewish state. Those who seek to delegitimize it, therefore, must seek to discredit the history of Jewish near-annihilation.

There is a vital difference between criticizing the policies of a particular Israeli government and denying the state of Israel’s right to exist. The former is not necessarily anti-Semitic; the latter almost always is. Just as Jews, in the anti-Semitic imagination of counter-Enlightenment zealots, were linked to Protestants, Freemasons and liberals, as well as to Britain, Holland and the US, Israel is now inextricably linked to New York and Washington (not to mention Hollywood), where the Jewish diaspora is supposed to be pulling the strings. Many Arabs and European Muslims see Israel as an illegitimate colonial outpost of American capitalism in the Middle East. Another word for the domination of American capital is globalization. In the words of Battini: “In the ‘antiglobal’ attitude, which has taken the place of the old anti-capitalism, there are often ideological residues of European anti-Jewish anti-capitalism, unearthed above all in Central and Eastern Europe or reemerging in the language of Islamist extremist groups”. I believe that he is right. And what goes for extremist Islamist groups very often goes for their most ardent non-Muslim supporters in the West. Israel is no doubt guilty of many sins, and there may be perfectly sensible reasons to disagree with Zionism as an ideal, but to suggest, even in jest, that Israeli citizens should be deported to the US – as the Labour MP Naz Shah did via Twitter shortly before she was elected – is to question, once again, the right of Jews to be free citizens of the state in which they were born and raised. If that isn’t anti-Semitism, I don’t know what is. | Ian Buruma
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