What Jonathan Freedland doesn’t get

Cross posted by SnoopyTheGoon at Simply Jews

I’ve stumbled on a (new to me) appearance of Jonathan Freedland under the auspices of Open Zion section of the Daily beast, edited by Peter Beinart. It was surprising, since I thought that being a columnist for the Guardian and the Jewish Chronicle makes him busy enough, without resorting to another venue. But the article, titled What U.S. Jews Don’t Get About European Anti-Semitism was interesting enough by itself.

The general purpose of the article (and the venue used), if I get it right, is to prove to American Jews that the fears displayed by some of them about the allegedly precarious situation of the European Jewry are just undue histrionics. 

The article is full of arguments in favor of this attitude: from the mistaken outcry by prof Rubin (6 years ago, what a memory!) through the finely nuanced analysis of different anti-Jewish sentiments in different European countries and the right wing extremists supporting Israel (proving what, exactly? – but let’s leave it alone) to the rosy perspective for the British Jews…

There even is an illustration of the idyllic life led by the British Jews in that article:

BritishJewsWith a capture: “Jewish men walk along the street in the Stamford Hill area of north London, Jan, 19, 2011.” Wow, man, you don’t say…  unfettered Jews working around Stamford. How cool. 

All this sounds like a serious and overwhelming tranquilizer attack, but more about it later. What really made me mad is the following: 

“Beneath these two headline cases are a hundred other lesser points of friction, often on campus, situations where Jews and Muslims have clashed, frequently over the politics of the Middle East. A consistent trend, noticed by those who monitor anti-Semitism, is a surge in anti-Jewish hatred whenever the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians escalates.”

One does his best, trying to ignore that “situations where Jews and Muslims have clashed”, as if European Jews are equally guilty in the “clashes”. Of course, one should be careful not to favor any side, especially when that “Islamophobia” label is circling the air, looking for another warm body to stick to – but imagine the folks like the ones in the picture above attacking innocent London Muslims…

But Freedland’s matter of fact acceptance of the inevitable “clashes” (read “European Muslims attacking European Jews”), whenever the Zionists perform their usual dastardly deed – this is what really gets my goat. Ten years ago that point of view was aired by one of the biggest stains on British journalism, one Seumas Milne, in his slimy Guardian piece ‘This slur of anti-Semitism is used to defend repression. Its lead sets the tone:

“Ending Israel’s occupation will benefit Jews and Muslims in Europe”

While it’s unclear how European Muslims will benefit, the benefit for the Jews, according to Milne, is obvious: stop the occupation and the attacks by Muslims stop.

Which, in effect, makes the European Jews into hostages for the Muslim rage, whenever and for whatever reason they become unhappy with Israel (or anything else, for that matter – after all blaming the Jooz is customary). And it’s quite painful to see how a “progressive” Jewish journalist repeats this deranged viewpoint as accepted and acceptable by using it as a side remark, without any comment.

Speaking of comments, it would be interesting to understand Freedland’s personal view of the other passage in that text:

“Others have long been alarmed by the case of Malmö, Sweden, a city whose 45,000 Muslims make up 15 percent of the population and where Jews have been on the receiving end of persistent anti-Semitic attacks—a fact denied by the town’s Social Democratic mayor, who instead criticized Malmo’s Jews for their failure to condemn Israel. As he put it, “We accept neither anti-Semitism nor Zionism in Malmö.””

Why didn’t Jonathan comment on this is unclear, and I would love to be certain he thinks what I do about that dreck of a mayor. But how could one be sure?

Very sad. And now about the general thrust of the article, the tranquilizer attack. It is hard to argue the fact that some responses, coming from US Jews to the shenanigans of the various antisemitic elements in Europe, could be over the top. But the sad tradition of European Jewry to stick its collective head into the sand and to ignore the signs of danger couldn’t be overlooked. And no matter how much Valium does Jonathan shove down our craw, a brief detour to a moment of European history could put it into perspective:

  • From hereBy the end of 1920, the Nazi Party had about 3,000 members.
  • From here: In the 1928 German elections, less than 3% of the people voted for the Nazi Party.

The humble results brought up above are easily dwarfed by current popularity of Front National in France, Jobbik in Hungary etc. One would say that there are very good reasons for the Jews (and other minorities) in Europe to feel somewhat shaky, especially as the economic crisis takes it toll. But no, Jonathan has an easy answer for that one too: 

“Episodes that Americans see as evidence of growing European hostility to Jews are often understood by European Jews to be criticism of Israel—in fact, not even criticism of Israel itself, but rather of a specific strain of Israeli policy: what we might call the Greater Israel project of continuing and expanding settlement of the West Bank.”

Clumsy. Very clumsy, Jonathan.

But probably heartily approved by Peter Beinart. So be it.

82 replies »

  1. ”situations where Jews and Muslims have clashed”’

    Yes, I suppose JF, the mayor of Malmo and all same-minded people think that it was horrible the way Merah’s victims ‘clashed’ with him, to give but one example

  2. Do you think you’ll have much success getting JF around to your way of thinking?
    I’m betting you won’t & I’ll follow his career with interest.
    Thanks for bringing him to my attention.

  3. Trouble is the Antisemites use this of proof even Jews agree with them. and he obviously dosn`t get it and they,like the Nazis still call him Jew


    • But you see Sylhar, this is the big hole in the Antisemites “proof”.
      If Jews (all Jews since they do not state otherwise) are all manipulative greedy and controlling, how can a single Jew be of any valuable, let alone reliable source?

      Surely he’s up to something…

      But by using the wide range of Jewish examples they actualy show, albeit unwillingly, that their cause is nothing but a pack of hate infested lies.

      They actualy show that Jews like many people have many opinion on most things and agree to disagree on almost anything, mostly in a polite or respectful way.

      So rather than the one collective Antisemites try to portray Jews as, they in fact display a massive spectrum internally.
      A simple glance at any European Jewish literature from the 18-19 century will show just that where many debated the National identity and assimilation into the host states as well as the various opinion of the causes of the hatred of the Jews and how to combat that hatred.

  4. Adam: “…as if European Jews are equally guilty in the “clashes”…”.

    We are alive, proud of who we are and in their face.

    Anti semites, whether Muslims or not, cannot tolerate that.

  5. Dear Mr Levick, as an American citizen currently residing in Israel who’s neither a journalist, nor a researcher, could you please clarify why you feel you’re qualified to comment on antisemitism on Great Britain or in Europe?

  6. Snoopy asking Jonathan Freedmann what he doesn’t get is a superfluous question. He can’t be so dumb or blind not to see all of the components and the size of the problem of the new-old antisemitism in Europe (he himself wrote about Ken Livingstone’s rantings),
    Freedland’s problem is not his intellectual ability but his irresistible desire to be loved by his comrades at the Guardian, his strong conviction about his intellectual and moral superiority, and his desperate attempts to match the reality to his failed ideology.

  7. It must be awful to have both the left & the right hating you zionists.
    Then there’s the moslems & ……

    • You left out the word anti-Semite Steve.
      Your sentence in its correct form would be like this:
      t must be awful to have both the left & the right anti-Semites hating you zionists.
      Then there’s the moslem anti-Semites too & ……

      But I have to tell you that it is not awful at all only laughable…

      • No that’s not what I said.
        Anyway what happens if you have moslem anti-Semites who happen to be Semites?
        They’d be self loathing moslems?

        • Steve I suggest you before posting again about Jews, Moslems, semites or anti-Semitism look up in a vocabulary what these words mean. Maybe then you would make a bit less idiot of yourself next time. Not sure but maybe.

          • Zionists use the word anti Semitism as cover, you know perfectly well that not all Jews are Semites, Semites can have different religions or possibly none.
            A lot of Jews are not zionists, there are famous people who are zionists but are not Jewish & so on.
            The phrase anti Semitism has been altered so as to be used against those who might criticise Israel’s foreign policies or treatment of Palestinians.

            • Now you caught me Steve. Where did you learn about our secret weapon? Reading the Stormfront? Maybe the Aryan Nation? Don’t be shy tell your source and the story of your heroic discovery of our most guarded secret…

            • You love those word-games, eh, stevo? If you don´t like ‘anti-Semitism’ you can use Jew-hater or judeophobe. They all apply to you, though you are pathetic coward that need the anti-zionist masquerade to hide your hatred.

              • No I won’t use those words because it’s zionism I don’t like & to borrow the word you used, the masquerade that they practice.

                • No, stevo, you said you HATE Zionism, which is pretty different from dislike. It’s a visceral hatred that can only mask your hatred of Jews having their own country. In sum, it’s a coward way of hiding your anti-Semitism.

                • Nah, stevo, weak retort. What’s next? Will you go back to your deep word games? More one liners? Cheap shots at other people’s typos?

            • Hey, stevo, since when you give a damn about “palestinians”? You really don´t, do you? That’s yet another piece of the anti-Zionist masquerade, so you can freely shout you HATE Zionists, while in fact you hate Jews. What a repulsive little coward.

          • Stevo likes this moronic word-games, a pretty standard BS from anti-Semites that are ashamed of openly disclosing their hatred. So the need of the now classic ‘anti-zionist’ masquerade. In sum, a pathetic Judeophobic coward (and psychotic to boot).

              • Really? Do Zionists want to change the meaning of words as used in dictionary’s? No, only your ilk of coward Jew-haters do this. And project, project, project. You don’t even have the balls to assume your paranoid hatred. Well, at least you confessed you hate Zionists, which is a pretty lame excuse.

                • Zionism is not a project, it’s a reality, one that you hate because you hate Jews able to defend themselves in their own country. Mull over it, stevo. Sulk in your hatred.

                • Don’t project, stevo. You seem very angry, making typos galore while accusing others of all kinds of crazy stuff. Must be the result of your privileged access to “reality”.

    • Steve, are you saying Muslims can’t hold a political opinion (aka left, right or central) or are you saying all Muslims hate Zionists?

      • To be honest I can only speak for myself not moslems but my guess is that most are probably not keen on zionists, from what I see & hear.
        They hold political opinions which are usually related to their religious beliefs & affiliations.
        Other factors like location, sect & circumstances come into it but whether those views are left, right or centre in the western sense is another matter.
        I’ve seen moslems make Holocaust references & say things like “Hitler was right” but I think that was just being provocative, they wanted a violent reaction.
        I think nothing much came of it as they were surrounded by the police & went home.

    • The extreme Left and extreme Right, troll. Nice try conflating two enormous schools of political thought into your own version of a lunatic fringe. If you were talking to stupider people, you’d have gotten a pass on it. Not going to happen here, though, where unfortunately for you the pro-Israel commenters are more intelligent than you and your ilk.

      • I’m not seeing much sign of intelligence & I’m not putting 2 schools of thought together either.
        It’s perfectly possible for 2 seperate groupings to hate a particular thing without agreeing on anything else.

        • Hey, stevo, what the heck is “seperate”? So I see English is not your first language, eh? Or are you nervous or having one of your seizures? Yeah, not much sign of intelligence from your ilk of coward Jew-hater.

          • Calm down SerJew, you caught me out, well done, I should have spell checked it!
            But you’re a hypocrite if you want to only criticise my spelling.
            Anyway was it fist or first?
            I just wanted to make sure I understood you.

            • Hey, hypocrite. Are you upset that I caught your diversion about English when you make plenty of mistakes yourself? Will you apologize? No, you project and project. Typical narcissistic way-out. Very disappointing, stevo. You should bond with your soul-mate sanitary, as you are both Jew-hating coward paranoid hypocrites.

    • Please don’t conflate your own insane views on the lunatic fringe with the overwhelming majority of both the Left and the Right (particularly the latter; the Left has more people who sadly are in tune with a braindead like yourself, but it’s still not the larger part of that movement).

        • Run out of original thought?
          You were doing so well.
          is “fist” a Freudian slip?
          You want to punch me?

          • No, stevo, you were the one accusing others, remember? Again, your go straight to your projection mode, when cornered. No worry, it’s yet another symptom of your paranoia.

            • I see you & your colleagues doing plenty of “projecting” as soon as anyone dares enter your world & contradict it.

              • Hey, stevo, are you upset? Calm down, dude! My “colleagues” and I are not going to punch you. That’s all part of you paranoid delusion, ya know, that privileged “reality” of yours. Go read the Jewish-press to relax.

                • No I’m perfectly happy & calm, I don’t want to punch you either.
                  I will go & read some Jewish press as you suggest.
                  I wish I did have some privileged reality.
                  I will leave you in peace now & the last word too, until tomorrow if I can be bothered.
                  So get “project” & “paranoia” & “piss off” into a comment, you seem to like words beginning with P.
                  Did I make any more spelling mistakes?

  8. As Steve already faked evidence for antisemitic reasons at this website and appeared when the right extremist at the Guardian was exposed, he is certainly one of those nazilike antisemites of right.
    Interestingly he uses the same cover for his Antisemitism like the new antisemites of the left extreme by calling Zionist not Jews. In this sense alll of them, right or left extreme, are disciples of the Nazis trying to define Jews.

  9. I like that, here they are, right and left extreme united in faking, in their hate and undereducation.