The BBC and "The Jews"

(American Interest) Walter Russell Mead - On last week's BBC HARDtalk program, the host's opening line was: "American Presidents have long been criticized for being too in thrall to the Jewish lobby. The American Jews influence U.S. foreign policy and that explains Washington's unwavering support for Israel." This vicious garbage isn't "sort of" or "almost" anti-Semitic; it is the real thing: vivid, unapologetic, odious and wrong. To speak of "the Jews" in the aggregate, as though they form a monolithic super-entity with a single view and agenda, is exactly the kind of thinking that gutter anti-Semitism embraces in every age. To talk of an all-powerful "Jewish lobby" which controls American foreign policy is to embrace the paranoid fantasies of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Facts live in one place and narratives live in another; there is no need for them ever to meet when you are broadcasting for the BBC. When these dangerous assumptions about Jews are allowed to fester, they soon create an atmosphere which is dangerous for Jews and where violence against them becomes increasingly commonplace - as we are seeing today across Europe. If evils aren't fought, they will grow. Jew hatred isn't more stupid or more wicked than other forms of racial and religious hatred. But Jew hatred is more disempowering and self-defeating than most other kinds of hate because it involves not only negative emotions about a group of people but a deeply false set of ideas about how the world works. Anti-Semitism is not just a moral obscenity; it is the road to intellectual and political ruin.

2012-05-15 00:00:00

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