The Spectacle Blog

Distinctions Without Difference on Anti-Semitism

By on 12.19.13 | 10:51PM

It seems that Matt Walther is more outraged that I would assert that Roger Waters’ words and deeds are anti-Semitic than with anti-Semitic behavior itself:

So, is Roger Waters the world's first anti-Semite who does not dislike Jews? There is a huge difference between saying that someone is guilty of making statements--even frequent statements--that suggest the influence of anti-Semitic propaganda and saying that someone is an anti-Semite: having and giving voice to idiotic ideas is not the same thing as hating millions of people. If Waters does not hate or dislike Jewish people as such, then he is quite simply not an anti-Semite, though he may be a great many other nasty things.

This is a distinction without difference. In the eyes of Matt Walther if you boycott Israel and no other nation, place a Star of David on a pig, merge the Star with David with a dollar sign, equate Israeli Rabbis with Nazis and claim the Jewish lobby is running the music industry then you are not an anti-Semite. In Matt’s eyes, if someone denies a charge of anti-Semitism then he will take your word at face value.

By that standard, Matt would give the Iranian regime a pass. Its former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad often claimed he was “not anti-Semitic, but anti-Zionist.” Last September, new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took that country’s lone Jewish MP to the UN General Assembly as his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif claimed, “Jews aren’t our enemies.” But no serious person can claim the Iranian regime isn’t anti-Semitic.

Now if Matt is appalled at my contention that Roger Waters is anti-Semitic then he’ll really be appalled at my mentioning Waters and the Iranian regime in the same sentence. But he shouldn’t be. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei likens Israel to Nazi Germany just as Water does. Or let me put it another way. What is the difference between the Iranian regime putting a Star of David on a rat and Roger Waters putting a Star of David on a pig?

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