General Antisemitism

CiF commenter anti-Semitic tropes of the day (Jewish power and dual loyalty)

Sometimes even a single comment by a CiF reader needs to be analyzed to better understand and contextualize the frequent manifestations of ant-Semitic tropes employed by the largely progressive readership who post on the CiF comment thread.

From Simon Tisdall’s Obama faces humiliation over Middle East Talks“, Oct. 4, there was this comment, which has not been deleted.

Translation: Obama is no match for the power of Jewish Americans to subvert efforts at bringing peace to the Middle East.

It is important to understand the history of this idea: that Jews (representing less than 2% of the American population) can single-handedly thwart the desires of the President of the strongest nation on earth; and, that such American Jews are in the pockets of Israel – meaning, more loyal to a foreign power than to the country where they are citizens.

Here are passages from my post at the blog, Z Word, on a similar subject – written about such dual loyalty charges by blogger, Glenn Greenwald.

Even before the birth of the modern state of Israel, Jews have stood accused of not possessing sufficient loyalty to the nations where they reside.  Its contemporary manifestation however almost always centers around the notion of dual loyalty – a charge that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own nation.  Often, such charges of dual loyalty are infused with a narrative imputing enormous power to Jewish communities which typically represent a tiny fraction of the overall population.  Such a synthesis of disloyalty on one hand and exaggerated power on the other allows the accuser to charge the Jewish community of working to undermine their nation – often alleging that such Jews are dangerous aliens who represent nothing short of a Fifth Column.

One of the earliest examples of this fusion of “Excessive” Jewish Power with Dual Loyalty was the suspicion in parts of medieval Christian Europe that Jews were in league with some Muslim powers.  The charge of dual loyalty could be seen in the Dreyfus Affair through the Nazi’s rise to power – and, indeed, this notion in large measure underlay the failure of European emancipation.  Closer to home, in the 1920s Henry Ford published The International JewThe World’s Problem where it was asserted, along with other calumnies, that Jews were pushing the United States towards war for financial reasons and to achieve world domination.

While, after WWII, manifestations of this charge often remained on the fringes of American society, Paul Findley, a former Republican U.S. Congressman whose 1985 They Dare to Speak Out, an attack on the “Israel lobby,” became a best-seller. In it, Findley maintained that many American Jews utilized “tactics which stifle dissent in their own communities and throughout America” to benefit Israel.

More recently, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, wrote of the “stranglehold” which the Israel “Lobby” exercises over Congress; of the “manipulation of the media”; and of a “Lobby” working hard to “squelch debate”.   They argued that the 2003 Iraq war wouldn’t have been possible without the influence of the Israel lobby.

While Paleoconservative commentators, not surprisingly, have championed this narrative – Pat Buchanan wrote in 2008 that “Israel and its Fifth Column in [Washington , DC] seek to stampede us into war with Iran” – some Liberal columnists have engaged in similar rhetoric.  For instance, Joe Klein assertedon Time Magazine’s ”Swampland” blog that Jewish neoconservatives “plumped” for the war in Iraq and is now doing the same for “an even more foolish assault on Iran” with the goal of making the world “safe for Israel.”  In the ensuing controversy, many progressive bloggers jumped to Klein’s defense.

The anti-Semitic nature of such charges have been codified by both the U.S. State Department and the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia – the former defining as anti-Semitic: “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”

It is clear that such narratives are increasingly advanced by those who take cover behind a progressive veneer.”

People often ask where mere criticism of Israel ends and anti-Semitism begins.  I think this is a valid question in the context of CiF Watch’s ongoing efforts to expose anti-Semitism at the Guardian – one which this post, I hope, will help to clarify.


Cartoon by notorious anti-Israel activist, Carlos Latuff


You can read my whole essay, here.

11 replies »

  1. Time and time again the Groan and its parasitic offshoots push this lie, apparently oblivious to the growing and far more pernicious influence (given the religious imperative of those who push for it) of the Muslim lobby in every country where there is a sizeable Muslim population. Witness the infamy proposed within sight and sound of Ground Zero.

    If I were to be kind to the Groan and the rest of the cult I would compare them to rabbits in the headlights, as are many in the west, but I think they are also driven by their own Jew-hating obsession.

    What will it take for them break free of their enchantment with Islam?

  2. The post has been deleted. Did you report it?

    the largely progressive readership who post on the CiF comment thread

    You being far too generous there, Adam.

    Although: what does “progressive” mean there?

  3. Why is it that nobody ever talks about the Arab/muslim lobby?
    Oh I know, they are the progressives.
    Guardian is a fully paid up member of the arab/muslim lobby.

  4. BTW, there’s also a “Fampaaj”

    Feminist, arab, muslim and progressive alliance against Jews.

    These feminists usually belong to “SFI” an august body of fiercely independent minded women journalists who make up the “Sisters For Islam” foundation whose headquarter is situated at 90 York Way, London N1.

  5. Hey Pretz,

    Yes, I did report that post, and am glad the CiF Moderators saw fit to delete it. And, yes, I agree that the word “progressive” can be a very broad and imprecise political category – but I guess that, broadly, I’m referring to those who see themselves as identifying with the political left rather than the right. They typically see opposition to racism, and promotion of ‘social justice’, as their defining identity – thus the hypocrisy, in my mind, that, of all people, they are more prone to advancing such dangerous bigotry against the Jewish community.

  6. @ Adam

    You know I’m left-wing. You also know I’m a critic of Israel – and that there are countless others that fit that bill. Maybe even you yourself.
    And you also know there are many of “us” who are mightily pissed off about those who call themselves “progressive” while seeming to (at best) not give a damn about everyday Israeli civilians.

    So please do put quotes around “progressive” in future.

  7. Thanks for the comments, Pretz. I grew up as a “progressive”, and still consider myself “progressive” in the broad sense of the word. But, broadly, I see the threats to Israel as coming primarily from the “far left” as opposed to the “right”, and it’s challenging sometimes to come up with the correct terminology to express this in a clear and coherent fashion which takes into account all of the nuances of such a dynamic.

  8. @ Adam

    For an example of how the “far left” can go wrong, there’s the RAF in Germany. I’m sure you’re aware of the hijacking in the 70s where people who may have genuinely began as left-wingers ended up “selecting” Jews.

    Then there’s the odious case of the RAF’s Horst Mahler, who emerged from jail an outrageous anti-Semite.
    (and “outrageous” is an understatement)

    But the people you mean on CiF are in no way representative of genuine left-wingers in the UK.

    Please make that clear on this site.

  9. i stumbled across your web pages. it seems strange to me, that you all do what you do. as if i, stumbling into a 1920’s munich beer cellar you would engage those therein in debate (for want of a better term). hardly.
    the analogy between the gaurdian and such a cellar should be governed by the fact that i have neither read any part of a gaurdian for years, nor bought one, nor even seen one. i have heard though that the editor is very rich by journalistic standards. so i wonder if you all are not just feeding trolls?
    i have not had reason to come close to a gaurdian because i am not of that class, so many seemingly righteously indignant professionals, who have the time etc..
    i am a common person, without a barrister’s lot, notwithstanding a self-taught articulation (not as good a eric hoffer). and i know the argument of the common person, their ultimate argument is the same as for kings.