The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism has issued a press release, announcing the total breakdown of intellectual standards within Israeli intellectual life. According to the prize’s announcement, 2009 bore witness to

a disproportionate and pre-planned onslaught of radical activists from the left and from among Muslim immigrant communities against Jews and against Israel as a Jewish state, using antisemitism and the Holocaust as political tools.

The report’s press release speaks of the

hostile atmosphere generated worldwide by the mass demonstrations and verbal and visual expressions against Israel and the Jews… resulting in a well-coordinated onslaught which employed a range of antisemitic tools, including the equation between Jews and Israelis.
This equivalence…has infiltrated the mainstream discourse…[including] far left groups, many of which are active on university campuses and which spew an anti-Zionism imbued with antisemitic overtones and identify strongly with the Palestinian cause.
It should be noted, too, that Jewish students and Israeli students abroad also number among the leadership of those radical left groups.

I will not insult anyone by laying out the differences between Jews, and Israel, Zionism and Judaism, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. It’s bad enough that I can’t get the 15 minutes of my life back that I spent skimming the report looking desperately for an adequate definition of an “anti-Semitic incident.” Then check out page two of the report:
“The growth in numbers reflects better monitoring on the part of both the police and Jewish communities in countries with a western democratic tradition, where Jewish citizens and organizations work hand-in hand with the authorities.” So the report stipulates that any increase may be an artifact of better measuring tools. Hence, no increase.

Yet the most conspicuous leitmotif of antisemitic expressions is the abuse of the Holocaust as a political tool: the equation of Israelis/Zionists/Jewish supporters of Israel with Nazis…The equation of the Star of David with the swastika symbolizes the ultimate evil – extreme brutality and a disregard for human values −and implies that those that allegedly behave like Nazis, the monster of the modern era, have no
right to exist.

Of course, the organized Jewish community never abused the memory of the Holocaust, right? Not that the report doesn’t in the most transparent way possible practice the conflation it presents as a ghastly specter? Not that that conflation didn’t lead the otherwise-pretty-solid German Die Linke leftist party to refuse to criticize the Cast Lead massacre, prompting the Israeli left to write it an open letter asking for its solidarity and support, and asking it to braid principled anti-occupation policies into its political platform?
And not that calling Nazis “the ultimate evil” (what does that mean?) doesn’t abuse the memory of the Holocaust, by morally immuring Nazi evil from the wide spectrum of other atrocities that occurred throughout the colonial period, devaluing non-Holocaust related suffering, and morally isolating Jewish suffering, in the process setting Jewish lives apart from other lives, Jewish suffering as superior or more exquisitely painful than other suffering. This is non-sense. So what is its basis? I think we know the answer to that one. The report bemoans the

The Prague Declaration, which instituted August 23 as a day of commemoration of all victims of fascist and totalitarian regimes. The declaration, which was motivated by the
exigencies of the post-Communist states, undermines the uniqueness of the Holocaust and Nazi ideology because it equalizes Nazi crimes with Soviet ones, and reflects jadedness with the eternal Jewish self-image of the ultimate victim.
Hard to imagine how that could be becoming passe when a bellicose colonial power threatens ships loaded with humanitarian aid and peacemakers, shoots bullets at non-violent mobilizations, and allows for mass deportation of Palestinians from their own land, right?

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