History shows that anti-Semitism and pro-Zionism have never been mutually exclusive

Middle East
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Is it possible to be anti-Semitic and pro-Israel at the same time? Your answer depends on how you define the terms. As Toni Morrison wrote, “definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.” If you define anti-Semitism solely as criticism of Israel, the answer is dangerously simple. It establishes a logic that can excuse the racism of a white nationalist and encourage him to quote Theodore Herzl. The controversial appointment of Stephen K. Bannon as Donald Trump’s chief strategist shows how difficult it is to disentangle definitions of anti-Semitism from attitudes toward Israel and makes it all the more urgent to do so

Only one major Jewish organization, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), has condemned the appointment of a man who “presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.” Along with smaller liberal Jewish groups, the ADL defines anti-Semitism as a form of prejudice, hatred and exclusion that intersects with other kinds of racism and bigotry.

In contrast, Bannon’s defenders maintain an exclusive definition of anti-Semitism. The Zionist Organization of America lauds Bannon as “the opposite of an anti-Semite.” “Every article [on Breitbart News, the website Bannon ran] about Israel and the Palestinian Arabs he has published are all supportive of Israel.” These included “fighting anti-Semitic rallies at CUNY,” “courageously… reporting that the Palestinian authority defames Israel”; “bravely” publicizing “Iran’s violations of the Iran deal–which pose an existential threat to Israel”; and “sympathetically” reporting on the “scourge of anti-Semitic anti-Israel boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS)”. The evidence that Breitbart News is not anti-Semitic, is simply that it hurls that label at those who oppose the Israeli occupation and support Palestinian rights.

Hardline defense of Israel immunizes Bannon from any accusation of anti-Semitism. Praising him as a best friend of Israel, his supporters reprise a long-derided defense against racism: “Why, some of my best friends are …” They discount Bannon’s negative statements about Jews as the exaggerated rant of an ex-wife, or perhaps the off-the-cuff equivalent of Trump’s “locker room talk.”

The ADL bears some historical responsibility for the powerful conflation of anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel.

In 1974, the ADL published The New Anti-Semitism, a book that radically redirected the concept: away from prejudice against Jews and toward animus against the State of Israel, and simultaneously, away from the political right toward the left. “Classic anti-Semitism” was on the wane, the book claimed. Once espoused by right-wing groups such as the John Birch society and the KKK, the old stereotypes seemed an anachronistic throwback in an America where Jews had made it.

The new dangers of anti-Semitism instead came from the New Left and Black Power movements, which refused to understand Jews as the sole victims of persecution. In the context of the Vietnam War and the 1967 Six Day War, some leftists condemned Israel’s imperialist conquests and championed Palestinian resistance as an anti-colonial liberation movement. The ADL read these responses as warning signals of a virulent new strain of anti-Semitism on the rise.

Since the 1970s, the ADL has wielded this new definition of anti-Semitism as criticism of Israel to monitor groups supporting Palestinian rights, especially Arab-American and Muslim organizations.

Ironically, the “new anti-Semitism” seems to be discovered again and again, decade after decade. It has come to a hysterical crescendo in the 21st century. To name a few titles, there’s The Real Anti-Semitism in America (1982), The New Anti-Semitism(2003); The Return of Anti-Semitism (2004); Resurgent Anti-Semitism (2013).

The argument is always the same: Israel is the victim of international persecution as the “Jew among nations.” The circle of persecutors has been expanded beyond 60s radicals to include the UN and Third World nations, which condemned Zionism as racism in the 70s, and to the mainstream media in the 80s, for broadcasts of Israeli brutality in Lebanon and during the First Intifada. New accusations of new anti-Semitism started targeting human rights groups and the Nobel Peace Prize in the 90s. The term became capacious enough to include Jewish critics of Israel, who had once been considered merely “self-hating.” Since 2001, definers of the new anti-Semitism have circulated anti-Muslim stereotypes of “Islamofascists” who purportedly fuse anti-Semitism with Anti-Americanism.

This “new anti-Semitism,” according to its definers, is immutable. They no longer understand it as a prejudice that can be educated away, a stereotype that can be challenged, or discrimination that can be remedied by law— the ADL approach to anti-Semitism in the 40s and 50s. Consequently, they have no hope that criticisms of Israel might abate if its policies change, and they believe that murderous hatred of Jews is the only obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

History shows that anti-Semitism and pro-Zionism have never been mutually exclusive. Advocates for a Jewish state enlisted stereotypes of Jews –wittingly or not–to further their cause. Theodor Herzl himself appealed to European leaders that Zionism would resolve the “Jewish Question” by sending Jews elsewhere. Some British supporters of the Balfour Declaration recycled an inflated image of Jewish financial power to sway the US government to enter World War I. After World War II, some American Congressmen called loudly for the British to open the gates to Palestine so that Jewish refugees—feared to be communists—would not contaminate the U.S.A.

Today, those who identify anti-Semitism with any critique of Israel from the left (broadly construed), have too often been willing to overlook anti-Semitic sentiments from partisans for Israel on the right.

Consider the case of the right-wing Christians who formed the Moral Majority in the 80s and then the Christian Zionist movement in the 90s. They are among the strongest supporters of Israel in America today. They meld strident endorsement of Israel’s most right-wing policies with anti-Semitic attitudes toward Jews. Theologically, they love Jews to death. As a precondition for the final coming of the messiah, they believe, all Jews will gather in Jerusalem. A fraction will convert, but most will be killed with all the other unbelievers.

Here on earth, Christian enthusiasts for Israel have cast secular Jews both as subversive amoral influences from below, responsible for the depredations of the counterculture, but also as powerful bankers in the shadowy upper reaches manipulating the New World Order for their own financial gain. There are good Jews and bad Jews. The good ones are marked by their nationalist identification with the State of Israel, the bad by their liberal cosmopolitanism. A striking example can be found in the enormously popular Left Behind series of novels. A small militia group fighting the Antichrist consists of rugged born-again white Americans and brainy Israelis converted to Christianity, but not one American Jew appears in the 16 volumes.

This pattern of loving Israel and feeling lukewarm, at best, about Jews resonates with the Alt-Right white nationalists on Breitbart News. At a trivial level, there’s no contradiction between a Bannon who opens a bureau in Jerusalem to “get out Israel’s true story,” and a Bannon who recoils at the prospect sending his daughter to school with “whiney” Jews.

While the white nationalists believe that Jews do not belong in the white nation, they do admire Israel as a model for an ethnically homogeneous nation gutsy enough to dominate or expel Muslims. As the Southern Poverty Law Center reports, one of the major spokesmen of the Alt-right, Richard B. Spencer “has termed his mission a “sort of white Zionism,” that would inspire whites with the dream of such a homeland just as Zionism helped spur the establishment of Israel. A white ethno-state would be an Altneuland—an old, new country—he said, attributing the term to Theodor Herzl, a founding father of Zionism.”

The president of the Zionist Organization of America would probably be flattered by the comparison, because he too sees Israel and America engaged in a common struggle to defend the homeland against Islam: “In an era in which the vast majority of terrorism is committed by Muslims, in order to protect American citizens, we should adopt the same profiling policies as Israel and be more thorough in vetting Muslims.”

But how will the ADL and more progressive Jews respond to this unholy alliance of white nationalism, Zionism and Islamophobia?

The history of the ADL response to Christian Zionism is instructive and worrisome. In 1982, ADL director Nathan Perlmutter wrote that he wasn’t worried about the Evangelical theology because of the more pressing needs to fund Israel’s military. In his words: “We need all the friends we have to support Israel…If the Messiah comes, on that day we’ll consider our options. Meanwhile, let’s praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.”

In 1994 Abe Foxman, the next director, showed more concern about Pat Robertson’s popular New World Order, which had condemned “cosmopolitan liberal Jews for their “assault on Christianity.” Foxman responded with The Religious Right: The Assault on Tolerance and Pluralism in America, warning of the imposition of a ‘Christian nation’ on America’s democracy.

By 2002, when America imagined itself to be fighting the same War on Terror as Israel’s assault on the Palestinians during the Second Intifada, Foxman reconsidered and wrote “Why Evangelical Support for Israel is a Good Thing.” Unsurprisingly he authored a “new” book: Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism (2003).

Let’s hope the current director of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, stands firm this time and does not backtrack in his condemnation of Bannon. But much more is at stake than the question of Steve Bannon’s anti-Semitism. His legitimation of a white nationalism that hates Jews but admires Israel has forced a reckoning with the single-minded meaning of the “new anti-Semitism” as criticism of Israel.

It is time to dismantle this exclusive definition and undo the damage it has done to “the defined.”

Even now, the right is pushing back on criticism of Bannon by tarring as anti-Semitic progressive leaders and movements so essential to the current struggle against Trump. We cannot allow the charge of anti-Semitism to muzzle critics of Israel, nor blind allegiance to Israel to excuse bigotry. Americans must stop the new administration from justifying racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia on the grounds that it supports Israel.

A much shorter version of this article appeared at Al Jazeera’s website last year, focused on Steve Bannon. We are running the longer version because recent pieces by Suzanne SchneiderYoav Litvin and Brant Rosen have made it more relevant than ever. 

About Amy Kaplan

Amy Kaplan is a professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of US Culture. She is currently working on a book on the history of the changing ways that Americans have viewed Israel.

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30 Responses

  1. Mooser
    February 24, 2017, 3:36 pm

    “Here on earth, Christian enthusiasts for Israel have cast secular Jews both as subversive amoral influences from below, responsible for the depredations of the counterculture, but also as powerful bankers in the shadowy upper reaches manipulating the New World Order for their own financial gain.There are good Jews and bad Jews. The good ones are marked by their nationalist identification with the State of Israel, the bad by their liberal cosmopolitanism”

    Yes, some commenters have been warning us about those cosmopolites.

  2. Keith
    February 24, 2017, 5:35 pm

    “Even now, the right is pushing back on criticism of Bannon by tarring as anti-Semitic progressive leaders and movements so essential to the current struggle against Trump.”

    My gracious, this is a muddled article. The only coherence seems to be Amy Kaplan jumping on the anti-Trump bandwagon. And by focusing on Trump the man, she can ignore the rather significant policy continuity of the Trump administration with the Obama administration with the Bush administration with the Clinton administration, etc. And with the ouster of Flynn and the appointment of McMaster as National Security Adviser, even the hoped for lull in imperial warmongering seems to have come to an end. Russophobia and Putin bashing are in style everywhere. The big difference appears to me to be how the personal fortunes of professional Jewish Democrats work out. The fate of the working poor who voted for Trump seems to be of little concern to Kaplan as we endure the never ending focus on anti-Semitism. Old anti-Semitism and new anti-Semitism. And since the new anti-Semitism encompasses just about everything which may be considered “corrosive of Jewish interests” (former ADL head Nathan Perlmutter), there is a lot for Amy Kaplan to be concerned about as she competes for power and privilege.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      February 24, 2017, 7:20 pm

      This is unfair criticism. Amy Kaplan focuses here on anti-Semitism and its relationship with Zionism because that is what this particular article is about. The focus of one specific article does not prove that she cares little or nothing for the plight of the working poor. Nor does it prove that she regards this issue as an especially important reason for opposing Trump. The interpretation of her “real” motive is arbitrary. She is not a professional politician. She just teaches English at the University of Pennsylvania.

      • Keith
        February 25, 2017, 12:55 am

        STEPHEN SHENFIELD- “This is unfair criticism.”

        No it’s not. Your contention that Amy Kaplan focuses on anti-Semtism because that what the article was about is more than a little disingenuous. The rather obvious rejoinder is why the article emphasizes anti-Semitism at this point in time. Is the plight of the working poor of so little concern? Is anti-Semitism such a pressing problem? Or is it normal that Jews defend Jewish power and privilege under any and all circumstances? Israel Shahak maintains that Zionism represents a return (albeit secular) to Classical Judaism. He also noted that throughout the period of Classical Judaism, Jews had a special hatred for the (Gentile) peasants. Is that not at least part of what we are seeing now? Why the ongoing, never ending emphasis on anti-Semitism from such a privileged group?

  3. MHughes976
    February 24, 2017, 6:26 pm

    It is clearly possible – how could anyone doubt it? – that someone may be prejudiced against Jews and to think negatively of their behaviour in the West while thinking that they are a force for good in Palestine.

  4. echinococcus
    February 24, 2017, 8:29 pm

    We cannot allow the charge of anti-Semitism to muzzle critics of Israel

    but ‘we’ happily use it in the same article to muzzle critics of the US War Party or any political opponent of “Democrat”-cum-McCainian Zionists. Just beautiful!

    The liberaloids seem to have discovered that the use of the Undefined Antisemitism Boogaboo packs a punch against their own cultural opponents; much better than the kitchen sink. One wonders about the difference from the use of the same by the Zionists.

    Interestingly, they still don’t seem to come off their ridiculous habit of calling their opponents “right wing”, as if themselves were not part of the managing War Party of US imperialism, currently warriors of an ongoing “color revolution” led by the CIA. The author isn’t even disturbed by the fact that she must accuse Bannon of “antisemitism” with no evidence (and no definition) because hitting him for his warmongering would backfire on her own crowd.

    Discriminating against members of a group defined by the sole fact of their circumstances of birth is racism, period. It sure must be opposed by all means. No need for your nonsense words like “antisemitism.” And if your “antisemitism” is not something directed at an accident of birth, beyond remedy by the individual, well then it is perfectly kosher.

  5. yonah fredman
    February 24, 2017, 10:14 pm

    The genocidal antisemitism of the nazis was ideological rather than logical creating a super jew so as to counterpoint a super aryan. Natural logical nationalistic (defining nationalism as the essence of the right wing) movements viewed the jews as the other, but the globe is large. Go elsewhere.

    The left’s antisemitic bias is anti particularism. Religion is bad was the left’s initial attitude. That was adjusted to reject nonuniversalist religions. ( thus judaism is rejected as a particularly bad religion.) The left accepts nationalism reluctantly and sporadically. In recent times the left is far more tolerant of people of color nationalism and far less tolerant of white people nationalism. (I’m thinking Ukraine not kkk.)

    I sense bannon’s essential racialist evil that will manifest regarding immigrants muslim and illegal Latinos. I don’t see the necessity to disavow israel more now than I would under an Obama presidency. There is a type of “let’s muslims and jews join together against trump despite our knowledge that we are avoiding a sore topic” that is embodied by sarsour’s charity. Meanwhile purists wish to make a point regarding zionism irrelevant to the struggle against trump. (Inconsistency is part of human nature. You make allies where you can and where you must.)

    • Mooser
      February 25, 2017, 11:17 am

      Poor “Yonah”, in the throes of a pilpul overdose. Not one sentence means anything, and not one connects to another.

      Next a witch will bicycle past his window.

  6. Stogumber
    February 25, 2017, 2:54 am

    In fact Jewish Zionism has always had its charming side.
    For me unforgettable: a German Jewish Zionist who quoted “Your foot be light on foreign soil” (source unknown) which meant that Jews should not intrude too massively into non-Jewish affairs.
    You bet that this could endear Zionists to the non-Jewish population.

    (This advice should, of course, be followed more often by everyone, not exclusively Jews.)

    • jon s
      February 25, 2017, 3:28 pm

      stogumber,
      “Unforgettable,” but from an “unknown source”.
      Please, let us know when you locate the source.

      • Stogumber
        February 27, 2017, 1:55 am

        jon s,
        do I smell a whiff of scepticism here?
        I affirm that I’ve really read this and it was really a memoir of a Zionist about a talk he had with his uncle (a German assimilationist), probably between the world wars.
        And from the way the sentence was introduced it sounded like a quotation – a sentence the author had heard before and applicated to the situation. Rhetorically it was somewhat above the level of the surrounding text, and the regular alternation between stressed and “nonictic” syllables made it sound like a line of a poem. But I haven’t found the source yet.

      • jon s
        March 1, 2017, 3:47 pm

        stogumber,
        Thanks for your reply.
        If you do find the source, I would be interested.

  7. Talkback
    February 25, 2017, 5:07 am

    “Is it possible to be anti-Semitic and pro-Israel at the same time?”

    Sure. You just have to rephrase your attitude to “every ‘people’ should have their own country” and imply that Jews are a people of their own.

  8. Citizen
    February 25, 2017, 5:41 am

    In her divorce papers, Bannon’s wife claimed her husband didn’t want his kids to go to a school with what he considered a disproportionate portion of “whiney” Jewish-American kids. This alleged factoid should be the lever moving US foreign policy? We are in Alice’s Wonderland.

    • echinococcus
      February 25, 2017, 3:23 pm

      Bah, they’ve already unleashed potentially mass-murdering hysteria with even less evidence and linking: see The Яuccianc Я Koming because some American blew the whistle on the bastards’ own, perfectly documented and very American corruption.

      History teaches that there are no witches in witchhunts.

  9. btbLondon
    February 25, 2017, 10:59 am

    This is a useful and important article. What we are seeing in the UK is the use of allegations of antisemitism to lead a concerted assault by Israel, mainstream Jewish and Zionist organisations and the UK Government on the right of anyone to denounce Israel’s crimes and support Palestinian rights.

    The central weapon in this assault is the IHRA (mis)definition of antisemitism which largely sees it as manifested in attitudes to Israel. This whole campaign is largely silent on right-wing assaults on Jews and Jewish buildings while whipping up hysteria against all those, Jewish or otherwise, who criticises Israel and denounces its crimes against humanity and International Law. It gives a free pass to those who cloak their dislike of Jews with their support for Israel.

    Free Speech on Israel has published a leaflet on the IHRA definition ‘What antisemitism is, and what it is not’ on it’s website wwwDOTfreespeechonisrael.org.uk .

    Antisemitic support for Israel has always been rational, even before the antisemites saw Israel as an ally in their hatred of Muslims (hating Jews and Muslims simultaneously is not a problem for them) .If Jews go to Israel it pleases Zionists, one more recruit for occupation, and antisemites, one less Jew in our town. The commonality of interest is deep rooted and not capricious.

  10. Maghlawatan
    February 26, 2017, 1:46 am

    Of course it’s possible to be antisemitic and Zionist. Rudolf Kastner. The ADL has been moaning about Palestinian “antisemitism ” for so long that there is a strong whiff of “the boy who cried wolf” now that Bannon is de facto président. Trump’s base is NRA plus Evangelicals. They need to be whipped into a frenzy every so often with hate material. Ann Coulter tested the water with a comment about “fu##ing Jews” recently. Bannon attacks the media as GLOBALIST and corporatist. What does Globalist mean ? Not looking good. I wouldn’t rely on the donor caste to protect the little guys either.

  11. Ossinev
    February 26, 2017, 8:40 am

    @btbLondon
    From a reader`s comments on the Free Speech on Israel site:
    “The term Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta.’
    Therefore, it can be seen that for someone to be labelled an antisemite it must mean they have an irrational fear or hatred of anyone who speaks one of a number of around 20 languages, including – but not restricted to – Hebrew and Arabic. I don’t think there is one person on Earth like this.
    On this basis, it is clear that what has been mislabelled antisemitism since around the 1870s makes no literal sense and that the only way to describe someone who irrationally fears or hates Jews is to label them as Judeophobic or – in a religious sense – Anti-Judaic.
    The term antisemitism is therefore incorrect and should be replaced by anti-judaism if the critique is of a religious nature or judeophobia if referring to irrational individual responses to Jews”

    Important to remember the facts that the reader pointed to. The term Anti – Semitism has literally been hi – jacked by Jews to reinforce their belief that they were the only people of relevance or standing between the Mediterranean and Babylon in pre -Roman times. All the other peoples were effectively the biblical equivalent of UnterMenschen.

    Jews,Israeli,Zionists have no legal title to the term “Semitism” or “Anti -Semitism” and I agree with the commentator that at every opportunity and in particular when subjected to Zioorchestrated accusations of “Anti – Semitism” individuals or organisations should make the public aware that the term is being misused. It certainly should be seen as a basic defence tool in any Zioorchetrated “Anti-Semitism” prosecution. There haven`t been any of these in the UK in recent decades for obvious reasons – Zios throw shedloads of unsubstantiated mud but don`t routinely follow the accusations up in court as they are terrified of the facts which come winging their way back to them.

    I do hope that my comments are not interpreted as being anti – Judaic or Judophobic – perish the thought.

    • Mooser
      February 26, 2017, 12:53 pm

      “The term Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta.’

      The name is used, the “family of languages” is a spurious thing produced to try and make linguistic history comport with the Bible. Since languages must date from after the Flood, of course. (Semites are the ‘son’s of Shem’, a son of Noah who was chasing skirts before the hems were dry)

      • Philemon
        February 26, 2017, 9:39 pm

        Dammit, Mooser, I told you, the guys recognizing the cognates between languages had to call the proto-languages something!

        I distinctly remember telling you:

        “Moose, the philologists who came up with the names weren’t Bible-Literalists. In particular, they didn’t believe that the people who spoke Semitic languages were descended from Shem; for that matter, they didn’t believe that the people who spoke Romance Languages were descended from Romulus. They knew that the languages in question were related because they recognized cognate roots. The terms they came up with to classify languages weren’t meant to be literal.”

        Now, I know you like the Shem joke. But honestly, the Romulus joke is probably even better.

      • gamal
        February 26, 2017, 9:46 pm

        “Now, I know you like the Shem joke. But honestly, the Romulus joke is probably even better”

        the inevitable anti-shemite

      • Philemon
        February 26, 2017, 10:41 pm

        Oh, gamal!

        Don’t you know an anti-Shemite these days isn’t someone who simply doesn’t like Shem; per Mooser, it’s someone who won’t wear a skirt.

  12. amigo
    February 26, 2017, 12:34 pm

    MW must be training in new moderators.

    The level of rejected posts is notably higher over the last few days.

  13. John D
    February 26, 2017, 3:25 pm

    Does this mean that anti-Trumpism is the new antisemitism?

    Well, that’s a lot clearer – I think!

  14. Stogumber
    February 27, 2017, 1:30 am

    Rightwing Jews (Zionists or Orthodox etc.) are often seen as more tolerant/acceptant/libertarian than leftwing Jews. And there are examples which confirm that view.

    Take Chabad. At a time when leftwing Jewish lawyers minutiously tried to remove all Christian symbols from public spaces, Chabad openly declared: We have no problem with Christian symbols as long as we can erect our Jewish symbols beneath them.

    Or take Leo Strauss. At a time when Jewish communities tended to strife for laws forbidding “antisemitism” (as were installed in the URSS), it was Strauss who courageously told them: Don’t follow the Communist model – free speech for all is by far the better policy.

  15. Stogumber
    February 27, 2017, 2:22 am

    ““Is it possible to be anti-Semitic and pro-Israel at the same time?”

    Yes and no. Moderates tended to be pro-Zionist, and that included moderate philo-Semites as well as moderate anti-Semites (“the Jews will be less of a nuisance if they have their own nation-state”).

    On the other hand radical anti-Semites were dead against Zionism, on the ground that they distrusted the Jews too much: Jews would abuse their power against the Arabs (as argued Friedrich Delitzsch already in the 1920s) or against the European nations.

    Another point was that Zionists had, for to promote migration to Palestine, to emphasize anti-Semitic maltreatment of Jews in Europe. This as a rule made collaboration of anti-Semites and Zionists impossible.

  16. Ossinev
    February 27, 2017, 7:10 am

    @Mooser
    “Since languages must date from after the Flood, of course. (Semites are the ‘son’s of Shem’, a son of Noah who was chasing skirts before the hems were dry)”

    Noah shit Sherlock!

    Sorry couldn`t resist the opportunity.

  17. Mooser
    February 27, 2017, 3:39 pm

    “As a Jew and a Zionist, I would like to think that this aversion to reactionary politics is rooted in the Jewish cultural tradition or religion. I do believe this to a degree. But the presence of Jewish rightist, nationalist movements in Israel points to a different conclusion: that it is not something intrinsic to Jewish culture but rather that it is part of their defining status as outsiders,…” Josh Marshall TPM

    Sure, Josh, what we do in Israel is not our responsibility. It’s our “status as outsiders” (in Israel?) . And that is his only mention of Zionism in the article. Ziocaine Syndrome in action!

    • Stogumber
      February 28, 2017, 11:16 pm

      Mooser,
      this is probably a misunderstanding. What he wanted to say is: The “aversion to reactionary politics” is “not something intrinsic to Jewish culture but rather that it is part of their defining status as outsiders” – and that’s why the aversion to reactionary politics disappears in a country where Jews are no outsiders.

      • Mooser
        March 1, 2017, 12:42 pm

        Remind me never to rely on you for reading comprehension advice.

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