General Antisemitism

Islamism and the antisemitism of the pseudo-left: Never smile at a crocodile

A guest post by Geary

Islamic antisemitism holds no mysteries and makes no apologies. It has its seeds in Islamic scripture and its roots in Islamic historiography.

There has without doubt been a tendency in all three monotheistic religions to what we might call “selective victimism”, the bewailing (often to God) of one’s own suffering, persecution and slaughter (Psalms uses the word ‘enemies’ 106 times), whilst regarding their own slaughtering as being ‘the will of God’ or even blessing, a kind of “Manifest Destiny” of the superiority of the Faith.

But Islam is particularly prone. After all, its very founder was a slaughterer of enemies to “protect” and then spread his message. For Muslim historians, Mohammed’s own massacre of hundreds of Jewish captives of the Banu Qurayza tribe was simply just desserts because they were “traitors”. The expulsion of all non-Muslims from Arabia was equally justified: how did they dare refuse the gracious offer of conversion? The Arab conquests from the seventh century onwards were the “glorious spread of the word of Allah”. The Christian counter-offensive known as the Crusades was infamy to be recalled and denounced for ever and a day.

Moreover, the particular intolerance which emanates from Islam today, including many within mainstream Islam, not just the plethora of extremists, is its literalism, its refusal to renounce the injunctions in its scriptures to kill the Jews and other infidels (“Strike off their heads, maim them in every limb”, Koran 8:12).

Pew 2009 Global Survey on anti-Semitism in the Muslim world. (See link to report in first sentence.)

The peoples not of “The Book” have it worst. Their lives are utterly worthless. All facts, of course, which if mentioned on an Islam-related Comment is Free thread, are liable to get the poster banned. But the best Muslims, and ex-Muslims, the many intelligent and humane likes of Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ed Husain and Ibn Warraq all recognise and denounce this literalism as the bloody and oppressive bane of the religion.

But there is a more recent font of Muslim antisemitism, namely, humiliation. Humiliation in the comparison with the Jewish state’s patent success as a prosperous free and open state, shame at the success of Islam’s erstwhile subject peoples (this too explains much of the Muslim world’s intense hatred of the West and westerners). But mainly humiliation in defeat in its genocidal wars against Israel. Dominic Waghorn of Sky recently recalled an interview he was graciously conceded by Asma al Assad, consort of the Syrian President, in which she told him:  ‘You don’t understand how difficult it was for us in this region to watch those pictures (of Cast Lead) every day on our televisions’.

But she and most of the rest of the Arab people can look upon her very own sweet husband’s Muslim-on-Muslim slaughter with equanimity. Precisely because there is no humiliation. Or if there is humiliation because it is happening at the hands of another sect, there is a simple solution. To wash the stain with revenge, with a tit-for-tat slaughter of the other. Iraq docet. What is unique about the humiliation felt in the face of the Jews is, well, most unfortunately, Israel is too strong. It protects its people vigorously. So all that can be done is to stew in the shame.

In contrast, what might seem mysterious indeed is the antisemitism of the modern left – or pseudo-left as Nick Cohen calls it, of which there are two main groups. The orphans of state socialism, à la Milne and the well-heeled chatterati for whom being leftist “is a lifestyle choice. It carries no costs and no obligations” (Waiting for the Etonians, p. 189). “Leftists” who denounce racism and sexism but who are careful to keep themselves and their children well clear of oiks (except of course for cleaners, workmen, traders and other necessary riff-raff). For whom the Guardian is de rigueur and whose bookshelves are well-stocked with Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein but who feel hard-done by of they have fewer than four foreign holidays a year. Unthinkable darling. Who, like Zoe Williams, one of the Guardian’s many privately-educated staff, violently disagree with private medicine, except when they need it themselves.

After the (unlamented) demise of state socialism, the modern pseudo-left, as Cohen explains, have no programme for a new ordering of society. They are merely against the one in which they live (so very well). They are, as a matter of pathological and empty-headed principle, against the West in general and America in particular. It is a kind of psychological sleight-of-hand, blame masquerading as shame. Ostensibly ashamed of everything the West does and stands for, but hey, it’s not me, it’s the Americans, it’s the government, it’s capitalism, it’s business, and me, I’m against it all.

And it is in this anti-Westernism, this anti-Americanism that modern pseudo leftist antisemitism has its genesis. There is the obligation to hate Israel because it is a US ally and Western in ideology (you know, all that stuff that the real liberals cherish like elections, female emancipation, rule of law, gay rights).

And, given it is Western it becomes metaphorically “White” to boot. Instead, the Arabs who would destroy Israel, are metaphorically “Brown”. And since in PC-world, in any conflict between them, “Brown” is always good and “White is always bad, the Arabs then simply must be powerless, persecuted and noble and all is therefore excused. Tout comprendre c’est tout pardoner. This explains perhaps the single most perverse accusation levelled at Israel, namely that after suffering three genocidal attacks by the massed armies of its Arab neighbours, she is the one carrying out genocide. Or that the only country in the Middle East where Arab citizens can cast a meaningful vote on a par with everyone else is an “apartheid state”. Jeez.

Now, given the obligation to hate Israel so completely, it becomes natural to hate everything about it. Thus they hate its success, its value system which puts the rest of the region to utter shame. The more successful and virtuous it is the more necessary it becomes to deny these things. This can be witnessed on a daily basis on the Zionophobic Comment is Free site and in the Guardian generally.

And what is the most obvious defining characteristic of Israel? That it is the one and only Jewish state. And so the need to hate everything about Israel leads to hatred of its Jewishness and then of course to Jews themselves, unless they specifically and explicitly denounce the Israeli devil and all its works. This is what Jonathan Freedland has termed the “affinity for Israel” test (it doesn’t matter which government is in power, despite the common protestations that it’s only the “current right-wing government we denounce”). There is only an affinity test for Jews. It would be considered unthinkably racist to have an affinity test for Pakistanis or Turks or other peoples with ties to politically reactionary countries.

Now, to this cauldron of hate we have to add an extra factor, the traditional trope – shared by left and right alike – of the occult controlling influence of “the Jews”, acting somehow as a single body. For the left the Jews control finance, they are the prototypical evil capitalists. And somehow, most mysteriously, “the Jews” pull the strings of US foreign policy (in some versions of the conspiracy theory the whole of US politics) on behalf of evil little Israel.

Not only, then, for the budding “leftist” antisemite, do the Jews run things in their own interest but they are the perfect embodiment of a “powerful” group, and modern PC pseudo-leftist thinking is obsessed with the dichotomy of the powerful (all-evil) and the powerless (all-good). Israel and the Jews are thus powerful and evil. The Arabs – ignore all that oil money, ignore those armies, ignore all their repression – are powerless and therefore automatically virtuous. But further, the pseudo-left prefers not to talk of the Arab nations as Israel’s enemy, but only the Palestinians who fit the role of weak and oppressed so much better. Conveniently ignoring the fact that the Palestinian plight is a direct result of the refusal of the Arab states to allow them to make peace.

And this then is how pseudo-leftists – the likes of Caryl “tell them we are better haters” Churchill and Baroness “Israelis harvest body organs” Tonge – can profess to be of the anti-racist left, can spout the vilest of antisemitic slurs and can still find perfect logic in their prejudices. The pseudo-left Zionophobe is also a bully. There is no bully more sadistic than the one who is convinced that their systematic acts of persecution are actually morally justified (look at the special fury of religious persecution) – in this case in the name of protecting the innocent Palestinians from oppression (but only from Israeli oppression mind, Syria, Lebanon, Hamas can treat them as they like).

And this is also how Muslim antisemitism and pseudo-left antisemitism come to meet in the perfect marriage of small but intensely vicious minds. Nostalgic socialists, PC group thinkers and other European Israel-haters march along arm-in-arm with openly antisemitic Islamist groups to their collective anthem of “Hamas, Hamas! Jews to the Gas”.

Maybe they deserve each other. But my question is this. Dear pseudo-left. Who else are you going to feed into the maw of the Islamist? First they came for the Jews, and I joined in because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the gays, then the journalists, then the atheists. And then they’ll come, just as surely as Khomeini did, for you.

16 replies »

  1. Excellent post.

    Question is, how do we overcome this Jew bashing Israel bashing hate fest?

    • Or… to what extent should we be concerned?

      The muslims: it’s in their culture

      The arabs: if they’re not muslims it’s their humiliation from defeat in war and israel’s progressive society.

      Rest of the world: my wife says it’s just jealousy. is she wrong?

      Nothing much can be done about any of this. We need to be vigilent. But why worry?

  2. Good stuff, Adam.

    It’s a well-documented psychological game: Take everything you don’t like about yourself and foist it off onto someone else. The game is played at local, national and international level. Playing in every league, the jews have more fixtures than anybody else.

    And the more you need to foist off, the more likely you are to pick on the jews – there are just so many ways to do it – and you will also find safety in numbers.

    If you grew up in in a family or society where jew-hatred was part of the culture but you are squeamish about being tarred with plain old-fashioned antisemitism, you can choose from a smorgasbord of “legitimacies” for channelling your self hatred onto jews in general and israelis in particular.

    And besides, there aren’t any anti-palestinian, anti-arab or anti-muslim movements for you to join or get comfortable from – it’s much better value being an anti-zionist!

    • It’s a very common game, zeitgoose, and the psychologically challenged (and sometimes those who aren’t) are very adept at it. It’s called paranoid splitting, employed by people who are psychologically stuck and by which they split off the components in their own psyches which trouble them or which they don’t want to admit and project them onto another group (in this case Jews) so that they can feel comfortable again and “all good”. The pervasiveness of it against Jews is worrying.

      You can see it day in day out in the bletherings by Palestinian leaders who accuse Israel/Jews of the very things they are guilty of, and at the good old Groan, below the line, in the ramblings of the parrots who hate Israel.

  3. A brilliant post Geary.

    After the (unlamented) demise of state socialism…

    Unlamented? Maybe you didn’t read the euologies published by the Guardian on CIF at the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall… According to these laments in the Soviet system apart from some minor problems everything was better than in any capitalist country, the KGB, the Stasi and the Securitate were not worse than the FBI etc.etc…

  4. Geary – outstanding post.

    It is underlined by the way the “Arab Spring”/”Arab Awakening” in Cairo has given way to anti-Semitic demonstrations (useful, of course, to the Moslem Brotherhood and the generals running the country).

    Yes – the first blossoms appearing in the Arab Spring are … anti-Semitism and a demand for war with Israel.

      • Only in a few places like the Guardian will you continue to read glowing reports about the “Arab Awakening”.

        If attacks on minorities are what this awakening has led to, they were better asleep.

        CAIRO — Hundreds of Christians and Muslims hurled stones at each other in downtown Cairo on Sunday, hours after Muslim mobs set fire to a church and a Christian-owned apartment building in a frenzy of violence that killed 12 people and injured more than 200.

        The deepening religious violence in military-ruled Egypt is exacerbating the lawlessness and disorder of the country’s bumpy transition to democracy after three decades of autocratic rule under former President Hosni Mubarak was brought to an end in February.

        Muslim youths attacked a large crowd of Coptic Christian protesters marching from the headquarters of Egypt’s general prosecutor to the state television building overlooking the Nile, said Christian activist Bishoy Tamri. TV images showed both sides furiously throwing stones, including one Christian who held a large wooden cross in one hand while flinging rocks with another.

        Scores were injured, but an army unit securing the TV building did nothing to stop the violence, Tamri said.

        Hours earlier, mobs of ultraconservative Muslims attacked the Virgin Mary Church in the slum of Imbaba on the opposite side of the Nile. The attack was fueled by rumors that a Christian woman married to a Muslim man had been abducted by the church. Residents said a separate mob of youths armed with knives and machetes attacked an apartment building several blocks away with firebombs.

  5. God those figures are depressing.

    A bit of extra (i.e. rudimentary) education needed there, methinks.

  6. Don’t forget that Jews mess up their conception of “minorities”. Their world view depends on the White Male oppressing everyone.

  7. Umm, I wouldn’t put Ed Hussain in the same company as Wafa Sulatan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. He’s an islamist apologist par exellance, not to mention two faced friend of the Guardian.

    Just put “Ed Husain and Me” in your search engine and see what comes up.

  8. pretzel

    I’m afraid those figures ARE the result of education: most of its state-sponsored antisemitic teaching.


    Quite right. Husain is not the same as say Hirsi Ali. She’d like to abolish Islam.
    He believes it is possible to reform Islam for it to outgrow its literalism and have its own Enlightenment. Let’s hope he’s right

    • The litmus test for all these ‘reform minded’ Muslims comes down to three questions. Equality for women.(Western equality), decriminalization of gay sex and Israel.

      If the interrogated person passes all three, he can be classed as ‘reform minded’.

      Otherwise, it’s just a sham to try to get the coveted adjectives ‘Moderate Muslim’.

      Hirsi Ali fits this.

      Husain and Bungle do not.

      A short cut is to look at how the wider Muslim community as a whole view the person in question. If they want to kill him/her, that is the sign of a true reformer.

      • JerusalemMite

        There are many other tests that even a so called moderate muslim would fail. Just ask any of them what they think of their daughters marrying a non-muslim and then converting to her husband’s non-islamic faith (in other words a reversal of the treatment meted out by muslims to others).