The Spectacle Blog

The International Jew

By on 4.2.08 | 5:55PM

I agree with much of what Jim wrote below. I should emphasize that I don't have problems with an open and honest debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, what makes me uneasy is that whatever their motivations, many of today's critics of Israel invariably turn to arguments that are hauntingly similar to arguments made by yesterday's anti-Semites against Jews in general.

A good example of old style anti-Semitism is Henry Ford's The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem and other writings in his Dearborn Independent from the early 1920s.

Today, the argument is that wealthy Jewish donors from New York City influence politicians in both parties, and no politician is willing to challenge them on Israel. Back then it was, "the Jews have been strong in all parties, so that whichever way the election went, the Jews would win. In New York it is always the Jewish party that wins."

Today, we have complaints about the "Israel Lobby," but back then it was the "Jewish Lobby."

Today, critics of Israel lament that honest debate is being stifled in the media, and people are afraid to speak up out of fear of being labeled anti-Semitic. Those who wanted to discuss the "Jewish Question" in Ford's day had the same beef:

Anyone who essays to discuss the Jewish Question in the United States or anywhere else must be fully prepared to be regarded as an Anti-Semite, in high-brow language, or in low-brow language, a Jew-baiter. Nor need encouragement be looked for from people or from press. The people who are awake to the subject at all prefer to wait and see how it all turns out; while there is probably not a newspaper in America, and certainly none of the advertising mediums which are called magazines, which would have the temerity even to breathe seriously the fact that such a Question exists. The press in general is open at this time to fulsome editorials in favor of everything Jewish (specimens of the same being obtainable almost anywhere), while the Jewish press, which is fairly numerous in the United States, takes care of the vituperative end.

Of course, the only acceptable explanation of any public discussion at present of the Jewish Question is that some one-writer, or publisher, or a related interest-is a Jew-hater. That idea seems to be fixed; it is fixed in the Jew by inheritance; it is sought to be fixed in the Gentile by propaganda, that any writing which does not simply cloy and drip in syrupy sweetness toward things Jewish is born of prejudice and hatred. It is, therefore, full of lies, insult, insinuation, and constitutes an instigation to massacre.


I fear that the pushback by Israel's critics is slowly but surely creating an environment in which anti-Semitic views are becoming acceptable as long as they are framed within a discussion of Israel and are said to arise from sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians.
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