I responded yesterday to Gary Younge’s hateful diatribe against the Jewish state, but wanted to also note a comment beneath the line which makes a very good point, not only about Younge’s particular essay, but about the obsession with Israel more broadly.
The reader’s analogy is, I think, an apt one, as I also recall acquaintances in the US who never seemed to get quite as outraged by violent crimes committed by whites as they did by such crimes committed by African-Americans, and while they would often be careful not to make any overtly racist comments, it was clear, by their obsessive focus on the sins of individuals within that particular minority community, their criticism revealed a thinly veiled racial animosity.
Looking over Younge’s choice of topics for his column – beyond his focus on American domestic issues – it’s quite revealing that his forays into the politics of the Middle East somehow all but ignored the Arab uprisings against despotic regimes, and the subsequent brutality used to quell the unrest, yet found time for several attacks on the region’s lone progressive democracy.
The one major difference of course between Americans who engage in racism against blacks, and those who engage in such bigotry against the Jewish state, is that the former bias has been, thankfully, largely delegitimized in American society and considered contrary to the nation’s democratic values, whereas the latter bias not only often fails to elicit public opprobrium but is sometimes considered to be a natural component of progressive political identity – by many, though by no means all, who identify with that political orientation.
While, of course, measured criticism of Israeli policy is not indicative of bigotry, the obsessive and palpable animosity towards Israel should properly be seen as a racism no less insidious than prejudices against any other racial, ethnic, or religious minority.
It’s incumbent upon progressives – and anyone who claims the mantle of tolerance and diversity – to speak out loudly, and without inhibition, against this modern form of anti-Semitism.