These news clips, as usual, make us feel very lonely. We are constantly being told by “leftists” that anti-Semitism doesn’t really exist or is (at best) grossly exaggerated as a Zionist propaganda ploy—a demoralizing abdication of the supposed leftist value of opposing ethnic scapegoating as a distraction from class analysis. Exposing and denouncing anti-Semitism falls more and more to the pro-Zionist right (which does indeed seek to exploit it for propaganda purposes) and to the centrists, who increasingly seek to censor and even imprison those who espouse it—a demoralizing abdication of the supposed centrist value of “free speech.” Here, alas, is the latest litany…
First, from J-Wire, Jan. 31:
O’Connell: a wake-up call to anti-Israel “social-justice activists”
Last week Brendon Lee O’Connell was convicted on 6 counts of anti-Jewish harassment and vilification in the Western Australian District Court by a 12-person jury, after a 2-week trial in which the accused prominently exhibited his guilt by repeating his crime ad nauseum in the courtroom. On Monday he was sentenced to a total of 3 years imprisonment.
O’Connell was at a Friends of Palestine protest in May 2009, against the sale of Israeli oranges, when he harassed and taunted a Jewish student, shouting that Judaism is a “religion and race of hate” and the student is a “racist homicidal maniac”.
During the trial he compared Judaism to an organised crime syndicate, said he was proud to be associated with holocaust denier Fredrick Toben, and asserted that “Jews control the entire world”. He also referred repeatedly to a massive, well-worn volume entitled “Judaism Discovered” full of multicoloured stickers apparently marking his favourite “juicy bits”. This 1102-page antisemite’s textbook, which is banned from sale by Amazon, asserts that Judaism is a “Religion of Racism, Self-Worship, Superstition and Deceit…” His supporters claim that “Judaism is a horribly repugnant cult based on hatred of Christ, occultic doctrines, racial divisiveness, sexual barbarism, and voodoo rituals” and describe “Orthodox Judaism as the ideological survival of the most ossified traditions of Babylonian paganism, concealed beneath a complex system of dissimulation and misdirection”.
Throughout his trial O’Connell repeatedly referred to “occupied Palestine”. When the jury retired, he shouted from the dock that it would be “an honour” to be imprisoned “for Palestine and Iraq”. After the verdict was pronounced he shouted “Soon Benjamin Netanyahu will be in the dock… Free Palestine… Free Iraq!”
Now, how many different ways is this maddening and depressing? Let’s go with three. 1.) As we have pointed out in the case of the vile David Irving, locking up those who spew anti-Semitism is counter-productive stupidity that just makes them look like martyrs and paradoxically vindicates them. So shame on the Western Australian District Court. 2.) As we pointed out in a similar case concerning Barnes & Noble in New York, even idiots have the right to make their case to the public, and denying them that right again paradoxically vindicates them. So shame on Amazon. And, 3.) as we pointed out in a similar case concerning Al-Awda in San Francisco, Palestine activists have got to take responsibility for the real Jew-haters that will inevitably be attracted to their ranks. So has Australia Friends of Palestine forthrightly repudiated this thug O’Connell? If not, shame on them too.
Moving right along. From the Jerusalem Post, also Jan. 31:
Student leader suffers anti-Semitism over fee hikes
LONDON – A student leader was rescued by police at a protest in Manchester on Saturday after he was surrounded and subjected to anti-Semitic abuse by angry protesters.
Protesters screamed “Tory Jew” and “Tory Jew scum” at the president of the National Union of Students Aaron Porter during a protest against the rise in tuition fees, a decision made by the Conservative- Liberal Democrat coalition government that has led to a number of riots in central London in recent months.
What’s particularly bizarre is that the student in question, Aaron Porter, was (contrary to the implication of the headline) there to address the rally, as a supporter. Do those who accosted him think all Jews are fiscal conservative “Tories”? The account describes the accosters as a “minority” among the protesters. We sure hope so. But we concur with Aaron’s closing words: “Racism is something that student activists have been fighting to eliminate for decades and this was a sobering reminder that there was still work to do.”
Next. From the Hudson Institute’s Hudson New York blog:
Conspiracy Theories, Anti-Semitism and the Parable of the Shark
After a series of attacks in Egypt, one of which killed a German tourist, the Egyptian Governor of South Sinai, Muhammad Abdel Fadil Shousha, suggested, “What is being said about the Mossad throwing the deadly shark [in the sea] to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question, but it needs time to be confirmed.” Other explanations, such as overfishing forcing sharks into new waters, and dumping animal carcasses from freighters, have also been proposed; but Israeli sharks were the most extensively discussed…
Most observers dismissed the shark accusation as merely the latest in a seemingly endless stream of conspiracy theories that flow from, and appear to animate, the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Far deadlier than the shark attacks was the New Year’s bombing of a Coptic Church in Alexandria—resulting in a stream of accusations from Islamists that Israel, the United States and others were responsible. As Lebanon’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani put it: “This assault…is not an individual internal Egyptian act, but a criminal act with Zionist… finger prints that want to sow hatred among Muslims and Coptic Christians.”
Is is really beside the point to remind us that the Hudson Institute is an organ of neocons who have much invested in discrediting the Egyptian regime. If Egyptian figures were not spewing this ugliness, the neocons would not be able to flaunt their comments.
Then there’s one particularly egregious case that we missed when it happened. From AFP, Aug. 25, 2010:
Lithuanian Prime Minister condemns synagogue pig’s head attack
VILNIUS — Lithuania’s Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius on Wednesday condemned an apparent neo-Nazi attack in which a pig’s head was left at the entrance of a synagogue…
The pig’s head was found on Saturday—the Jewish holy day [Rosh Hashanah]—outside a synagogue in Lithuania’s second city of Kaunas…
Lithuanian-Jewish leaders had on Monday dubbed the act a “Nazi provocation”.
Must be more “legitimate criticism of Israel,” eh?