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Emet m'Tsiyon

Monday, February 15, 2010

The British, Judeophobia & Anti-Zionism -- Lewis Feuer

Anti-Zionism is the anti-imperialism of fools.

Writing about George Orwell's typically socialist or Marxist approach to Judeophobia as a problem, Lewis Feuer refers to the attitude of other British intellectuals and identifies the likely purposes and/or results of anti-Zionism.
In his quest for rationality, Orwell, like so many Englishmen --Shaw, Webb, Wells, Russell-- tended to belittle the importance of anti-semitism. As far as Orwell could see, "anti-semitism is only one manifestation of nationalism," that can be cured only when the larger disease of nationalism is cured. Long before nationalism, however, became a historic force, in mediaeval Europe, anti-semitism was endemic, and always its manifestations linked first to the relative defencelessness of the Jews, and second, to the sense, as Charles de Gaulle put it, that the Jews were an elite people, gifted inordinately with intellectual abilities. Anti-semitism has thus always been a concomitant of anti-intellectual and populist movements. And anti-Zionism, as the current form of anti-semitism, aims precisely to restore the Jews to such a state of defencelessness.
Lewis Feuer wrote this in 1984 in Survey, a Journal of East & West Studies [Summer 1984; p 163]. He wrote it long before Judeophobia in its "anti-Zionist" guise became a highly emotional fashion among a variegated set of publics: BBC TV editors, editors of ostensibly "liberal" British newspapers like the Guardian and the strongly pro-capitalist Financial Times, not to mention assorted Communist and Communist-Trotskyist sects, Arab and other Muslim jihadists, British opportunists and race haters like George Galloway, and so on.

Feuer rightly points out that for many of the respected "leftists" and "socialists" in Britain --and not only there-- the problems of the Jews were secondary and would be solved by the coming of a socialist messianic age, the renewed Golden Age of Man, as some viewed a socialist society. In other words, socialism would solve all the problems of the Jews, so they argued. Intelligent people would be much more skeptical about a socialist Golden Age today. Anyhow, before we get to True Socialism, we could all be dead. That was especially true for the Jews of Orwell's time. About a third or more of the Jews in the world were murdered in Orwell's own lifetime. True Socialism did not come soon enough to save their lives, let alone their honor and their rights.

Today, we see that many self-styled socialists could not care less about the rights of Jews, or are indeed hostile to them. Some, like Ken Livingstone, openly mock Jews and scorn their human rights and dignity. Lest we forget, Livingstone, the mayor of London for several years, was long a Trotskyist and became notorious after the 9-11 mass murder for inviting Yusuf Qaradhawi, a notorious Muslim hate preacher, to London. But is Feuer right in calling Judeophobia, whether or not in its anti-Zionist form, a populist movement? He gives part of the answer to that question himself, whether or not he recognized that. General De Gaulle, later President De Gaulle, was hardly a "populist" nor was he anti-intellectual, but he was Judeophobic. Of course De Gaulle's remark after the Six Day War that the Jews were an "elite and domineering people" could be said to play to the masses of non-Jews as an instrumental tactic or strategy for influencing French public opinion. Maybe De Gaulle wanted to play up to the Arabs with that remark. It was indeed followed by a ban on Israeli military purchases. For those who don't know it, France was Israel's major weapons supplier before the Six Day War. Israel won the war with French fighter aircraft, etc. Probably many people don't know it because they believe that the United States was always supporting Israel and furnishing it with weapons. Indeed, this has been one of the commonplace Big Lies about Israel told by the "leftists" of the last 43 years. France was much more supportive of Israel up to the Six Day War than was the United States.

So the fact that De Gaulle made his Judeophobic remark after the Six Day War was not only a signal of an approaching French switch to a pro-Arab policy but a use of Judeophobia, a stimulation, encouragement, incitement of Judeophobia made by an elitist politician backed by big money interests in his own country. On that Feuer was wrong.

Then Feuer refers to the Judeophobia of the Middle Ages. It was not simply "populist" nor "anti-intellectual." After all, very intellectual Christian theologians loathed or hated Jews on religious grounds. And when some of the non-Jewish poor attacked Jews for real or supposed Jewish wealth, was it solely a mood of resentment of those wealthier whereas the pogrom mobs seldom attacked the rich of their own religion or ethnic group? What may have happened is that poor folk, who often and commonly resent those wealthier or more prosperous than themselves [not always nor at all times and places], may have especially resented the fact that Jews who --they were taught-- were religiously evil, Christkillers or whatnot, were able to obtain wealth. After all, if those people religiously defined as evil [Jews], could obtain wealth or any respectable social standing, then that was an injustice. An injustice which sometimes required violence to redress. Possibly the devil's work, a conspiracy, etc. Of course, this is theoretical and I am open to discussion about it.

What is most sinister today, it seems, is that members of elites use psychological warfare techniques, propaganda tricks that really go beyond mere propaganda, in order to produce hatred of Jews among their masses, especially the lower-middle brow masses, not to mention among the mass of ill-educated academics, truly nutty professors, and so on. One way to keep the population in line and to get them to follow the will of the elite, what C Wright Mills called the Power Elite, is to use all sorts of tricks from the arsenal of psychological warfare. That goes on all the time and in many places.

But Feuer was right to say that anti-Zionism is "the current form of anti-semitism." And in a time when "anti-imperialism" is supposed to be taken for granted as the right way to think, the right position for all decent and right-thinking folk, anti-semitism [Judeophobia] has to take on the coloring of anti-imperialism. A principle of psywar is to seemingly accept the values and basic beliefs of those one wants to persuade or bring around to another way of thinking. The basic beliefs and values of the target audience are the platform for moving to new beliefs --perhaps added on to the old, not necessarily replacing them-- desired by the psywar practitioner.

Feuer's conclusion that anti-Zionism means to restore Jews to their state of defenselessness, as in the Middle Ages, is insightful. Certainly, weakening Israel would have that effect and would likely lead to renewed persecution of Jews in many parts of the world.

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