Anti-Semitism or Anti-Imperialism?

I was scanning the news yesterday and came across a story describing the Israeli demolition of 35 Palestinian homes in a refugee camp. The IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] of course claimed that the homes were uninhabited and being used as staging grounds for mortar attacks on nearby Israeli settlements.

Nobody’s denying that the said mortar attacks did indeed occur, however, one would think that the Israeli missile fired into the Palestinian camp would have been retribution enough if this were an eye-for-an-eye fight (both incidents are documented in that news story). But, of course, this is your-sister’s-virginity-and-your-life-for-an-eye, so 35 homes are destroyed in addition and dozens more Palestinians rendered homeless. International observers have called this sort of activity “collective punishment” – something illegal by the Geneva and Hague conventions regarding rules of warfare.

But then, this is a brave new world, the so-called “post-9-11” world. 3,000 people died when a couple of buildings collapsed, and suddenly the world is outraged. What about the 35,000+ children who died the same day of malnutrition or lack of proper health care? Oh, but they weren’t important, I suppose, in the grand scheme of things. They were not employees of multinational corporations or involved in international trade, except maybe as the possible begrudgingly-aided recipients of corporate donations designed to demonstrate the “corporate citizen” being a good citizen. I mean no disrespect to those who died or their families, but fuck…whatever happened to putting things into perspective?

With all this in mind, one of my friends threw me a link to a little flash slideshow called Pipeline of Hatred. This little gem declares that the old anti-Semitism was a “world free of Jews” and the new is “A world free of a Jewish state.” Pardon me, but these are two vastly different propositions. A world free of Jews can rightly be called an anti-Semitic proposal, but a world free of a Jewish state? Hardly. This is no more anti-Semitic than me saying that a world free of a Clown-filled state makes me anti-Circus. First of all, the world is too small for every little ethnic group to have a country of their own. Imagine, an American-Italian state. A Roma/Gypsy state. A Kurdish state (ha, the Turks would love that one). Ohh…I know a good one. Each native American tribe getting their own state again!

I know what you’re thinking. Israel is already a state, and those others aren’t. Well, it’s just artifacts of history. States are born and die. Israel was arbitrarily created by the UN, and that rendered the Palestinians stateless. What do you expect? Most estimates say somewhere around 750,000 Palestinians lost their land and homes in the creation of an Israeli state. That’s a lot of people to piss off.

The best part of this little presentation though, is when the claim is made that so-called “radical left-wing movements” are essentially allied with radical Islam. The site states, “Radical Islam and the anti-globalisation movements identify a common enemy – the Jews as a nation and as the driving force behind global capitalism – a threat to both their very different worlds.” Woah! Just a minute.

The site itself admits that the “radical left wing movements” dislike captalism because it causes problems for workers because “cheap labour endangers jobs.” Of course, the unmentioned part of this that is problematic is that the jobs are free to move around and the workers arent, so the jobs go somewhere cheap and the workers lose their jobs because even if they WERE willing to move somewhere to keep their job, they couldn’t. Anyway, somehow this makes left-wing movements sympathetic to radical Islam because radical Islam also hates globalisation (although because it threatens Islamic cultural hegemony?) Okay, my head is spinning now.

I think it breaks down to this. Israeli policies right now toward the Palestinians are frankly brutal. I also don’t belive they’d get away with it if the United States were not so determined a strong ally for them. Israel would not be so much a force without American weapons and money, and might actually have to resort to diplomacy to deal with their neighbours instead of military force.

Oh, did I mention that I think global capitalism threatens jobs for the average Joe? I guess this makes me anti-Semitic. Gee, I never knew that about myself. I’m gonna have to call up my Jewish friends and tell them that I can’t hang out with them anymore.

No, it isn’t anti-Semitism that this presentation is railing against. Ultimately, it’s anti-imperialism. That is, if you’re anti-imperalist and you don’t support American/Israeli imperialism, then you’re by extension anti-Semitic. The discussion of radical Islam is a parlor trick, a little sleight-of-hand to conflate two distinct issues. Who isn’t against radical [insert religion of choice here]? Radical Christianity, radical Islam – it’s all the same to me. Something the world could do without.

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