Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

"Israel Has Been Made an Alibi for a New Climate of anti-Semitism on the Left"


Time to re-read the late lamented Professor Norman Geras's post here on "Alibi Antisemitism".

Here's the merest taster:
"In Marx's essay On the Jewish Question, written in 1844, there are two contrasting sets of themes vis-à-vis the Jews. In Part II of the essay Marx deploys some well-known negative stereotypes, according to which: the mundane basis of Judaism is self-interest, egoism, or, as Marx also calls it, 'an anti-social element'; the worldly religion of the Jew is huckstering; and the Jew's jealous god – 'in face of which no other god may exist' – is money.
The emancipation of the Jews is said by him to be equivalent to the emancipation of mankind from Judaism. Part I, on the other hand, presents a version of secular democracy in which the Jews, like any religious or other particularistic grouping, may retain their religion and their separate identity consistently with the state itself rising above such particularisms, and rendering these politically irrelevant.
Though Marx himself regards this – political emancipation – as an incomplete form of emancipation, he nonetheless articulates a genuine type of moral universalism: different faiths, ethnicities, peoples, have a right to assert their specific identities and shared beliefs within the free secular order of the democratic state. The distinctions between such groups just cease to have a political bearing. Marx does not extend this argument beyond the single state to the global arena (that not being part of the discursive context), but the correlate at international level of what he argues in Part I of On the Jewish Question is today embodied in the notion of a right of nations to self-determination, as affirmed in Article 1.2 of the United Nations Charter.
The contrasting themes of Marx's essay may be taken as emblematic of the state of affairs obtaining today between Jews and the left. It is not difficult to understand the long affinity there has been between them. Common traditions of opposition to injustice, the commitment within liberal and socialist thought to ideals of equality (whether this is equality under the law or equality in substantive economic terms), opposition to racist and other similar types of prejudice – these things have long served to attract Jews to organizations and movements of the left, and they still do.

[Continues Prof Geras:]
At the same time, that affinity has now been compromised by the existence of a new climate of anti-Semitic opinion within the left. This climate of opinion affects a section of the left only, and not the whole of it. But it is a substantial section. Its convenient alibi is the state of Israel – by which I mean that Israel is standardly invoked to deflect the charge that there is anything of anti-Semitism at work. Israel, so the story goes, is a delinquent state and, for many of those who regard it so, a non-legitimate one – colonialist, imperialist, vehicle of oppression and what have you.
 Similarly, diaspora Jews who defend Israel within their home countries are not seen as the conduit of Jewish interests and/or opinion in the normal way of any other democratic articulation; they are treated, rather, as a dubious force – the notorious 'Jewish lobby' – as if their organized existence were somehow improper.
These themes pitch those who sponsor them out of a genuine, and into a spurious, type of universalism: one where the Jews are special amongst other groups in being obliged to settle for forms of political freedom in which their identity may not be asserted collectively; Jews must be satisfied, instead, merely with the rights available to them as individuals. I call this a spurious universalism because people's rights to live as they will (subject to the usual constraint of not harming others) is an incomplete right – a truncated and impaired right – if it does not include the freedom to associate with others of their own kind.
To repeat: Israel has been made an alibi for a new climate of anti-Semitism on the left." [Emphasis added]



 (All tweets pictured above are current ones.)  For Corbyn's eyeroll see here

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