Sunday, August 05, 2007

Double Standards

I loved my Dad dearly, but I grew up thinking that anti-semitism was much more widespread than it turned out to be. He was deeply suspicious, to put it mildly, of Jewish influence, which he saw in every corner of the business, media, and political worlds. Quite where he got this prejudice from, and what fuelled it, I don't know, but other members of his family that I've since spoken to are as puzzled by this as I am. Seemingly he didn't get it from them.

Although one of my first girlfriends at primary school was Jewish, as was my best (boy)friend at grammar school, and in spite of the known semitic background of JC himself, I've always thought that there must be something kind of 'wrong' about Jews and Israel. This and my staunchly Labour politics, and the generally soft left liberal position I've taken on most things, have led to my fairly half-baked view that Israel is mainly to blame for the suffering of the largely innocent and passive Palestinians.

Lately I have come to a very different conclusion, and everywhere I look I am beset by double standards.

Judeosphere offers us a list.

(1) Christian fundamentalists who support Israel are religious fanatics; Jewish fundamentalists who oppose Zionism are individuals of deep religious and moral conviction.

(2) Comparing Israelis to Nazis is a poignant political statement; comparing Saddam Hussein and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler is a gross distortion of history with the intent of demonizing foreign leaders and justifying imperialist military campaigns.

(3) Palestinian nationalism reflects the inherent right of all people to self-determination; Jewish nationalism is an archaic form of tribalism and racial supremacy.

(4) Criticizing academics that legitimize hateful stereotypes of African-Americans and Arab-Americans is a proper response from minority groups who oppose racism; criticizing academics that legitimize hateful stereotypes of Jewish-Americans is an attempt to stifle free speech.

(5) Iran has the right under international law to pursue nuclear power for peaceful purposes; any other country that pursues nuclear power is endangering the environment and increasing the risk of nuclear proliferation.

(6) Jews who cite the lessons of the Holocaust as a rationale for opposing Israel are moralists; Jews who cite the lessons of the Holocaust as a rationale for opposing authoritarian regimes in places like Yugoslavia and Iraq are neocon warmongers.

(7) Israeli policies are said to be tantamount to “genocide”; accusations of genocide in Darfur are a Zionist plot to divide the Muslim community.

(8) The war on terrorism is driven by Islamophobia; the “new anti-semitism” is a myth created to deflect legitimate criticism of Israel.

(9) Efforts to oppose anti-semitism on college campuses undermine academic freedom; academic boycotts against Israel infringe upon academic freedom but serve a greater good.

(10) Burning flags with Muslim symbols is desecration, burning the Israeli flag and the Star of David is political protest.

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