Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Antisemites Understand Trump Exactly As One Might Predict

As you may recall, I wrote a Ha'aretz article recently about President Trump's infamous statement that at least some bomb threats against Jewish centers were not incidents of antisemites targeting Jews, but rather "the reverse." This, I said, was at best grotesquely negligent, as regardless of what his personal views are (and he's rarely articulate enough to state them clearly), statements like this certainly sound like, and will help elevate and reinforce, conspiracy theories about Jews being responsible for setting up attacks on themselves. Some people thought that this was outlandish of me.

Enter famed microbiologist and University of Oregon emeritus professor Franklin Stahl to help us out:
The recent wave of threats against Jewish institutions appears to reflect a rise in anti-Semitism in America. But is that appearance misleading? I hope so.

Like President Trump, I wonder whether most of these events are, in fact, false-flag operations. Trump was unclear as to whom he had in mind as perpetrators when he suggested that their motive was to make the “other side” look bad, and reporters have speculated as to his meaning.

We may ask why none of these reporters has identified the obvious suspect, Israel. Why Israel? The threat of anti-Semitism, which was used in the 1940s to justify the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, continues to be used to justify Israeli expansion into the Palestinian West Bank territory.

In this view, the recent wave of apparently anti-Semitic threats can be understood as a false-flag Zionist response to the increasing level of American popular disapproval of the policies of the current Israeli government.
Unsurprisingly, the antisemite thinks it quite clear what Donald Trump meant -- and couldn't agree more (indeed, he doesn't just suspect but hopes -- hopes! -- that the real culprits are other Jews)! Hence why it's negligent to talk this way. It has real consequences -- all of the sudden, these sorts of views are getting printed in the local paper (happily, several other Eugene-area citizens, including an interfaith group of pastors, wrote reply letters of editor to condemn Stahl's repulsive remarks).

And, just so nobody feels like gloating: Stahl is definitely a lefty (of the Jill Stein variety -- he donated to her presidential campaign). It does not remotely surprise me that he would happily follow along with President Trump along this road, though -- conspiratorial rhetoric towards Jews is the milkshake that brings all the antisemites, left and right, to the yard (remember when David Duke endorsed Charles Barron?).

I don't care much about drawing distinctions between antisemites who inhabit the left versus those who lie in the right. Conspiratorial rhetoric that suggests Jews are behind our own marginalization is a staple of antisemitic discourse across the board. When one starts to play with that sort of language, the results are all too predictable and all too dangerous.


PG said...

These people must be having their best day since November 9.
Jewish Center Bomb Threat Suspect Is Arrested in Israel

Unknown said...

The threats made against A,erican JCCs were correctly traced to Ashkelon. However, the caller was not an irresponsible youth, it was a Mossad agent. If you care, you can see the evdence summarized in a pair of articles at