Saturday, August 22, 2015

If You Won't Listen To Me, Listen To You

Alison Chabloz, a Scottish artist has made some headlines by questioning the existence of Nazi gas chambers and performing the anti-Semitic "quenelle" gesture.
As blogs and local publications reported on the actions of Chabloz — a singer-songwriter who has lived in Egypt, among other countries — she published another blog post, explaining that her gesture was a “massive up yours” as a reaction to being “hounded online by a small group of hardline Zionists.”

Chabloz has been criticized in recent months for suggesting on Twitter that “it would appear that Anne Frank’s diary was mostly fabricated,” and that British organizations teaching about the Holocaust were “indoctrinating children.”

In her defense, Chabloz wrote that “nobody denies that the Jews and other groups suffered horrendous atrocities,” but added that, “if people dug a little deeper into the issue they may discover some interesting facts regards the presumed existence of homicidal Nazi gas chambers.”
Fascinating! And for the inevitable explanation about how none of this is anti-Semitic?
As for the quenelle, which French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in 2014 termed “an anti-Semitic gesture of hate,” Chabloz wrote that Roger Cukierman, president of France’s Jewish CRIF group, considers it “an anti-establishment gesture unless it is performed outside a place of worship or memorial to Holocaust victims.”
Or by someone who just said something like "Anne Frank was a liar and the gas chambers were fake"? Just guessing.

Anyway, Chaboz has now written that “All publicity is good, and it’s time more people started standing up to Zionist bullies,” (with the obligatory #FreePalestine hashtag). So consider this post my contribution to the movement.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Can't Win From Losing

Tablet has an interesting profile up on Delphine Horvilleur, a prominent French Rabbi (prominent both for her own sake as powerful voice for liberal Judaism, and because she is among a very small group of female Rabbis in France). One passage that struck me, though, was her anxieties about how Jews are perceived as a "community" in a France whose model of equality is marked by an extreme hostility to any sort of differentiation:
Still, despite herself, her Jewishness has lately come to the fore. After the January attack at a kosher market, she no longer brings her children grocery shopping; she has caught herself remarking to friends that men with peyos are “courageous” to ride the Métro in Paris. As much as she detests the “competition for victim-status” in which the French tend to engage, jockeying for recognition from the entitlement state—this is “the great French malady,” she said—she finds herself reassured by the soldiers who have been assigned since the killings to guard synagogues and other Jewish sites throughout the country. And yet she worries that protection will be viewed by some non-Jews as yet another symbol of Jewish privilege, reinforcing notions of a “Jewish community.” “It’s normal that the state protect us,” Horvilleur said, using the first-person-plural in what seemed an unconscious confirmation of her fears. “But at the same time, the more they protect us, the more they weaken us.”
This last part, wherein Rabbi Horvilleur frets that enhanced security for Jewish institutions will be seen as proof of "Jewish privilege", really resonates with some points I tried to make in my own Tablet piece (and the director's cut). There, I noted the strong belief amongst many that Jews are anti-discrimination "winners" -- that though we might have faced discrimination in the past, now we receive the full panoply of legal and social protections such that we've been fully integrated into society as equals. At best, this is inaccurate but presented as a model to aspire to. At worst, it is viewed as an injustice of its own -- lucky Jews, greedily hording private sympathies and public rights to themselves while the "real" victims continue to suffer. And it is opinions like this that cause Jews to have to worry that being in a situation where armed guards have to be posted outside their buildings will be taken as proof of how privileged Jews really are.