More on Gary Younge’s racism, by a Guardian reader

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. 

7 replies »

  1. Well said, Adam.

    Gary Younge’s article was toe-curling, particularly his passage about ‘brown-skinned people’, which showed how fundamentally he misunderstands Israel and its neighbours (as well as being inherently patronising). What a desperate piece of writing it was.

    The positive from this is that Younge was, quite rightly, torn to pieces in the discussion under the article on the CiF website itself. Jeez, Mr Younge – when even the Cif commenting hoards are calling you out on anti-semitic drivel you are in trouble.

  2. Adam, it’s more than mere obsession, it’s almost a mass sickness.

    That it can infect so many indicates something very wrong in society in general.

    A friend of mine thinks that it may have a lot to do with something in the water supply, but I think he was joking.

    And the obsessive focus on Israel alone IS akin racism, Adam; at the very least it’s discriminatory against Israel.

    I note that Younge has amended the particularly contentious part of his article but I am no more convinced than I was when I first read it that his was an original report.

  3. “That it can infect so many indicates something very wrong in society in general.”

    I do not believe for one moment that they have been infected. Like a latent virus it is always there, deeply embedded in the culture. Occasionally dormant, but always waiting to re-emerge in all its virulence and malevolence when opportunity knocks. It can never be eradicated. It is why Zionism exists.

    “We have sincerely tried everywhere to merge with the national communities in which we live, seeking only to preserve the faith of our fathers. It is not permitted us. In vain are we loyal patriots, sometimes superloyal; in vain do we make the same sacrifices of life and property as our fellow citizens; in vain do we strive to enhance the fame of our native lands in the arts and sciences, or her wealth by trade and commerce.” — Herzl

  4. That verbal crap merchant, G. Younge
    Needs a large rat-trap clipped to his tongue;
    And also for fear
    Of his anal diarrhoea,
    In his gob and his rear a large bung.

  5. OyVaGoy,

    “…about ‘brown-skinned people’, which showed how fundamentally he misunderstands Israel…”

    Unfortunately there is no misunderstanding involved here.

    I know because I’ve been on a lot of lefty forums trying to correct this idea, telling the crowd there that 1) Brown-skinned Jews have participated in the renewal of Zionism right from the start (already back in 1882, from Yemen as well as Russia), and 2) They are now the majority of Israeli Jews.

    The response I got was, “But they’re discriminated against by the Ashkenazim just like the Israeli Arabs are!” To which I reply that this hasn’t been true for at least three decades. A barrage of highly questionable sources hurled to “refute” me promptly follows.

    Go fight City Hall. The anti-Zionists don’t intend to let go of their “White European Colonial Settler Enterprise” narrative of Zionism any more than Louis Farrakhan was willing to let go of his “White Devils Keep Black Americans Downtrodden” narrative following the election of a black president. There is no misunderstanding involved; this is willful hatred, not born of, and therefore not curable by, reasoned arguments.

  6. And who was the Israeli leader who really began to balance things in respect of the Sephardim and other Mizrahim of Israel?

    The brilliant Menachem Begin.

    This is going to be too much for Israel-haters to process, isn’t it?