Friday, September 26, 2014

Hyperbole and a Half

Richard Silverstein, opening a post titled "The European Anti-Semitism Hoax.":
Despite hyperbolic claims like this, “these are the worst times since the Nazi era” ... there is not even a serious, widespread attack on the Jewish community in Europe.
Richard Silverstein, closing that very same post:
To be a Jew in the world has never been more dangerous since World War II.
Clearly, holding even a simple thesis over the course of a single blog post is beyond the capacity of some.

On the degree to which Israeli policies correlate with anti-Semitism abroad, I of course refer back to this post. But I also think this is a rather stark exemplar of my Innocent Until Proven Nazi theory. Silverstein declares it a "hoax" to characterize attacks on Jews worldwide because they do not appear to present an imminent threat of global elimination. Which, while probably true, sets the bar rather low in my view. And indeed, even when we're talking about people who do seem to desire such extermination ("Jews to the gas!"), it's still unfair to consider it a form of anti-Semitism because the motives are so, so different. Arab and Muslim attacks on Jews are simply a response to Jews allegedly being implicated in the oppression of Palestinians. This is distinct from classical anti-Semitism, which contended ... oh wait:
Anti-Semites weren't - aren't - just people who think they're better than Jews. They're people who think they're being oppressed by Jews.
Wasn't the Holocaust really just an overzealous response to Jews oppressing German businesses (Google this event if you want to vomit)? It is ever so important, as Silverstein reminds us, to be absolutely scrupulous in placing "these expressions in a historical and political context."

No comments: