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The Anti-American Century

 | 
Ivan Krastev
, 
Alan McPherson

A Plea for Distinctions

Disentangling anti-Americanism from anti-Semitism

Brian Klug

Texte intégral

INTRODUCTION: THE GOLDEN CALF OF DAVOS

  • 1 The World economic Forum annual meeting was held from 23 to 27 January 2003. The image is availabl (...)
  • 2 In some areas the identifying badge for Jews was a different color or even shape.

1Davos, Switzerland, January 2003: the annual meeting of the World economic Forum. Indoors, about two thousand distinguished guests, including political leaders and chief executives of some of the world’s wealthiest corporations, are debating issues of global importance. Outdoors, a group of anti-globalization protestors who are engaging in street theater are captured on camera by the photographer Fabrice Coffrini. The picture features two masked figures, dressed in monkey costumes, representing U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (center foreground) and Israeli Prime minister Ariel Sharon.1 Pinned to “Rumsfeld’s” chest is a yellow six-pointed badge that strikingly resembles the yellow Star of David that Jews were required to wear during the Second World War in Nazi-occupied Europe and in concentration camps, except that it is inscribed sheriff.2 On the left of the picture, standing slightly behind “Rumsfeld” and with right arm upraised, “Sharon” brandishes a club. The front portion of a yoke rests on “Rumsfeld’s” shoulders. (Whoever is supporting the other end is not visible.) Perched on top: a massive dummy golden Calf.

  • 3 The literature is both popular and academic. i refer to both in the course of the chapter.
  • 4 Joffe, Josef. “The Demons of Europe.” Commentary 118, no. 1 (January 2004): 29.
  • 5 Klein Halevi, Yossi. “Hatreds Entwined.” Azure (Winter 2004): 25.
  • 6 Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, “The Globalization of Antisemitism,” Forward, 2 may 2003, available at htt (...)
  • 7 Markovits, Andrei. “European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism): ever Present Though Always Deni (...)
  • 8 Ibid., 17.

2Like the Biblical story (Exodus 32) to which the protesters’ model refers, the Coffrini image has acquired a significance that transcends its immediate context. in some of the recent literature on anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, it signifies how, according to the authors, the two sentiments or prejudices have converged.3 Josef Joffe uses the image to open his essay “The Demons of Europe,” interpreting its message as follows: “The united States is in thrall to the Jews/Israelis; both are the acolytes of mammon; and both represent the avant-garde of a pernicious global capitalism.” he goes on to say, “This is the face of the new anti-Semitism.”4 Yossi Klein Halevi likewise introduces his essay “hatreds entwined” with a description of the Davos golden calf picture. He comments, “in that photograph is a convergence of the recurring themes of European anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.”5 Daniel Goldhagen calls it an “emblematic image of globalized antisemitism” which, in the form of anti-Zionism, “has become interwoven with anti-Americanism.”6 Andrei Markovits, in the course of a long scholarly paper on European anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, refers to the “openly anti-Semitic iconography” of the scene at Davos.7 he argues that “antipathy towards Israel and its accompanying anti-Semitism cannot be separated from a larger enmity towards the united States and what it represents.”8

3The Davos golden calf image, in and of itself, is unquestionably anti-Semitic, and Joffe’s reading of this image strikes me as about right—as far as it goes. And there’s the rub. In this chapter, I shall take issue with the use to which Joffe et al. put such material in their arguments. Even in the present case, we need more evidence before we are in a position to make a judgment as to whether the message that the demonstrators intended to convey was anti-Semitic. And judging by the evidence i have seen, the Coffrini picture could be misleading. It turns out that Rumsfeld and Sharon were just two of several world leaders impersonated by the protestors. most of them—not “Sharon” alone—were wielding clubs; several can be seen in another shot using these clubs to bat a giant inflatable globe around.9 And while the U.S. Defense Secretary takes the lead in carrying the calf, the remaining figures (all of whom seem to be dressed in the same monkey costume) do not appear to be artfully posed.10 in particular, “Sharon” is caught in another picture standing apart from “Rumsfeld” and the golden calf ensemble, a face in the crowd, arms lowered, no longer looking dominant as the powerful taskmaster driving the American lackey.11

  • 12 “Image talk: Davos Switzerland G8 Summit.jpg” [sic], available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ima (...)
  • 13 Cohen, Steve. That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Anti-Semitic: An Anti-Racist Analysis of Left anti-Semi (...)

4Moreover, one of the protestors said subsequently that it had not occurred to anyone involved in the demonstration that the design of the badge worn by “Rumsfeld” recalled the Nazi version of the Jewish star.12 if true, this bespeaks a degree of obliviousness or naivety that is not only astonishing but reprehensible: if you engage in political activism, then you are accountable for the predictable consequences of your political action. As Steve Cohen has written in his analysis of anti-Semitism on the left, “Any group which claims to be against anti-Semitism should be ultra-vigilant in the imagery it evokes.”13 This group’s best defense is that it was ultra-negligent.

5One way or another, the demonstrators are culpable. And whatever they intended, the fact remains that the juxtaposition of elements in the Coffrini picture conveys a message along the lines Joffe describes; which is why I called it anti-Semitic. Nonetheless, the distinctions I have been drawing are important. It is one thing to say that the image, in and of itself, is anti-Semitic; another to ascribe bigotry to the group; a third to attribute the same bigotry to a movement; and so on. In the literature that i shall be discussing in this chapter, the authors do not always respect such niceties.

6But suppose the Guardian or Le Monde were to print a photograph of an Israeli soldier pointing a gun at a Palestinian child. And suppose someone who is sympathetic to the Palestinian cause were to seize upon this picture, interpret it to mean that the soldier was acting with murderous intent, and call it an “emblematic image” of Israel as a state or of Zionism as a movement: these authors would spring to their feet. They would point out, quite reasonably, that while the camera cannot lie, it does not necessarily tell the whole truth: all it can do is capture one angle at a given moment in time. Probably, they would go further. Detecting a bias, they would denounce both the “liberal press” for printing the picture and anyone who used it to defame the Jewish state. yet, they do not suspect a bias on their own part when, starting from isolated incidents or anecdotes, they jump by leaps and bounds to conclusions about whole groups: the anti-globalization movement, the left, the liberal media, Europe, the Arab world, and so on.

  • 14 Boteach, Shmuley. “Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism are the Same Thing.” (12 march 2004), availa (...)
  • 15 Ibid.
  • 16 Johnson, Daniel. “America and the America-Haters.” Commentary 120, no. 6 (June 2006): 30–31.
  • 17 Natan Sharansky, “On hating the Jews,” Wall Street Journal, 17 November 2003, available at http:// (...)
  • 18 “European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism)”: 12.
  • 19 Ibid., 14.

7The discussion in this chapter centers on the view—it is really a cluster of views not sharply distinguished from each other—that anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are so intimately connected they cannot be Prised apart. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has given the idea its simplest possible expression: “Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism are the Same Thing.”14 it turns out that he does not mean that they are identical with each other; he means that they have the same “underlying causes” and that their victims share the same experience. (“Two hundred and eighty million Americans are getting a taste of what it’s like to be Jewish.”15) According to Daniel Johnson, however, the connection between the two “hatreds” is more profound. He refers to “the conflation of attitudes to the united States with attitudes towards Jews,” and concludes: “Put simply: anti-Americanism has become a continuation of anti-Semitism by other means.”16 Natan Sharansky’s essay “On hating the Jews” is subtitled “The inextricable link between anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.”17 in a similar vein, Markovits calls European anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism an “inseparable tandem.” he says they are “inextricably intertwined”18 and talks about their “longstanding interaction.”19

  • 20 Ibid., 12.
  • 21 Although several of the authors in the literature under discussion refer favorably to each other’s (...)

8This language suggests that anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism are distinguishable in principle, even if inseparable in practice. (Two things cannot be said to interact with each other—even to be inextricably intertwined with each other—if ultimately they are one and the same.) On the other hand, when Markovits says that anti-Semitism “has become one of anti-Americanism’s most consistent conceptual companions, perhaps even one of its constitutive features,” he makes it internal to anti-Americanism, integral to what it is (or has become).20 These are just some of the variations on the theme of inseparability.21

  • 22 They are connected, for example, when Osama bin Laden, alluding in 1998 to female soldiers on Amer (...)

9I do not wish to contend that anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are never connected, nor that they have nothing in common.22 But I do deny that they constitute a double-headed monster that is stalking the earth. St. George slew the dragon by the force majeure of his sword. I take a different approach: I aim to dissect this monster with a logical scalpel, taking it apart at the joints. I begin in the next section by contrasting the logic of “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Americanism,” arguing that the two terms are not, au fond, symmetrical. In the literature I am critiquing, the link between them proceeds partly via anti-Zionism and hostility to Israel.

10Accordingly, in the following section i offer an analysis of “new” anti-Semitism. This completes the theoretical portion of the chapter. In light of the argument, i turn to the controversy surrounding an opinion poll conducted for the European commission in October 2003. The results showed that more respondents identified Israel as “a threat to peace in the world” than any other state, with the United States second on the list. I argue that certain reactions to the results of this poll are a clear illustration of a mindset that encompasses hostility to America, Israel and Jews: a predisposition either to misconstrue the nature of this hostility or to overstate it, or both, plus a tendency to conflate the different kinds of hostility as if they were ultimately one phenomenon. A brief conclusion places this chapter’s analysis in a larger context.

  • 23 Even the cautious report published by the European monitoring centre on racism and Xenophobia (EUM (...)
  • 24 The findings of public opinion surveys conducted by the Pew research center’s Global Attitudes Pro (...)

11In speaking of a mindset I do not mean to suggest that the worldview i am criticizing has no basis in reality. No one with a sense of history can doubt that anti-Semitism in Europe runs deep. Furthermore, no one who has been following events over the last few years can think that Jews around the world can afford to be complacent as to their security.23 in addition, surveys of public opinion attest to a groundswell of feeling against the united States, in Europe and elsewhere, especially in the context of American foreign policy in the middle east.24 Moreover, it is true that Israel and America are often bracketed together as objects of hostility, that this hostility is sometimes intemperate, and that bigotry can be a factor. Such, you might say, are the facts. However, facts do not speak for themselves. It is up to us to render an account of the picture they compose. The mindset of which I speak races ahead of the facts, knows in advance what they must be, and slots them into their predetermined position before they are even established.

  • 25 The reference is to Bishop Joseph Butler (1692–1752). I am not aware that any definitive source fo (...)

12Joseph Butler is credited with the elegant truism “everything is what it is, and not another thing.”25 I would add “no connections without distinctions!” This chapter is a plea for distinctions, but it is not just an exercise in logic. Unless we make clear and cogent distinctions between— and, where necessary, within—anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, we cannot make the right connections; and there is a price to pay in the real world for lack of intelligence in the academic world. Guided by these considerations, I try to distinguish one kind of thing—concept or phenomenon—from another in the following pages. my principal aim is to help lay an analytical foundation for the diverse and complex empirical inquiries that the whole question— the relationship between anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism—calls for, rather than to pursue that inquiry myself. in the process, I hope to show that the two-headed monster is a concoction of the mind, a chimera, a figment that is as fake as the golden calf of Davos.

RECOGNIZING THE “GRAMMAR” OF TERMS

  • 26 Wittgenstein, Ludwig. The Blue and Brown Books (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1969), 1.

13“What is the meaning of a word?” This is the disarming sentence that opens the so-called “Blue Book” that Ludwig Wittgenstein dictated to students at Cambridge University in 1933–1934.26 In a way, it is the sentence that ushers in the later period of his philosophical thought, which occupied him until his death in 1951. Wittgenstein’s question goes to the very idea of a word—any word—having a meaning. So, it can be glossed this way: What do we mean by the meaning of a word?

  • 27 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe (Oxford: Basil Blackw (...)
  • 28 Wittgenstein has various terms for the hold that language can have over us due to its formal prope (...)
  • 29 The Blue and Brown Books, 27.

14This might lead us to expect an answer in the abstract, a general theory of linguistic meaning. But this is precisely the approach to philosophy Wittgenstein rebels against in this work and throughout his later period. The opening sentence of the “Blue Book” turns out to be a point of departure for a long and winding path of philosophical investigation into what—idiosyncratically—Wittgenstein calls the “grammar” of words. Roughly speaking, this means paying close attention to a word’s actual use in the ordinary employment of language. He pursues this activity, not for its own sake, but with a view toward “clearing misunderstandings away.”27 But where do the misunderstandings of which he speaks come from? They arise, paradoxically, from language itself, from certain formal properties that in various ways “tempt” us into conceptual confusion.28 “Philosophy, as we use the word,” says Wittgenstein, “is a fight against the fascination which forms of expression exert upon us.”29

  • 30 Ibid., 26.
  • 31 “European anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism: Similarities and Differences,” an interview with And (...)
  • 32 “The Demons of Europe,” 29.

15I mention this because disentangling anti-Americanism from anti-Semitism begins with recognizing a difference in the “grammar” of the two terms, a difference we are tempted to overlook due to the fact that the two expressions share a similar form. We are subject in this case (to quote Wittgenstein again) to “the fascination that the analogy between two similar structures in our language can exert on us.”30 Markovits takes it for granted that anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism belong to the same logical category: “Both are ‘isms’,” he says, “which indicate they are institutionalized and commonly used as a modern ideology.”31 Similarly, Joffe asks, “What is the difference between criticism and anti-Semitism or anti-Americanism? What, indeed, are the elements of any ‘anti-ism’?”32 Thus both Markovits and Joffe assume there is a class of concepts called “isms,” or rather “anti-isms,” all of which are on the same logical footing. This is a natural assumption to make: the structural analogy is strong, and it is tempting to think that words with the same form perform a similar function. But in the case of “anti-Americanism” and “anti-Semitism,” appearances are misleading.

  • 33 I am using the word America in the narrower sense to refer to the united States, rather than to bo (...)
  • 34 The words themselves derive from “Shem,” one of Noah’s three sons, the progenitors of the rest of (...)

16One way of revealing the underlying difference is to remove the affixes “anti” and “ism” from both words. A little reflection will show that the bits in the middle are not logically equivalent. There is such a thing as America: it is an existing political state. The territory, government, institutions, people, culture and history: these are among the many things that the words “America” and “American” denote.33 But what—in the real world—corresponds to the words “Semite” and “Semitic”?34 Nothing. There is a black hole at the heart of the word “anti-Semitism”; or perhaps i should say a yellow star. Let me explain.

  • 35 Donald Rumsfeld is not in fact Jewish. in the rhetorical context of the Coffrini image, his “yello (...)

17Consider “Rumsfeld’s” ambiguous badge. Viewed as the Nazi version of the Star of David, rather than as the insignia of the office of sheriff, it identifies him as Jewish.35 But what is the meaning of the word “Jewish”? More precisely, what meaning attached to the yellow star that identified Jews as Jewish? Imre Kertész, the Hungarian-Jewish writer who survived a Nazi concentration camp, has reflected on this question in his essay “The Freedom of Self-Definition.” he writes, “in 1944, they put a yellow star on me, which in a symbolic sense is still there; to this day I have not been able to remove it.” What he is unable to remove is the meaning of the word “Jew” that the Nazis invested in the yellow star. he recalls Montesquieu’s dictum: “First I am a human being, and then a Frenchman” and comments: “The racist—for anti-Semitism since Auschwitz is no longer just anti-Semitism—wants me to be first a Jew and then not to be a human being any more.”

  • 36 Imre Kertész, “The Language of exile,” Guardian, 19 October 2002, available at http://books.guardi (...)
  • 37 This paragraph is adapted from a portion of my “The collective Jew: Israel and the new Antisemitis (...)

18In a brilliant dialectical riff, Kertész works through the implications for the victim: “After a while,” he says, “it’s not ourselves we’re thinking about but somebody else.” That is to say, the self that we think about is not our own. I am not my own person. “In a racist environment,” he concludes, “a Jew cannot be human, but he cannot be a Jew either. For ‘Jew’ is an unambiguous designation only in the eyes of antiSemites.”36 I understand Kertész to be saying that the yellow star was not just a form of identification, picking him out as a Jew, but a whole identity. Pinning the star to his breast, they were pinning down the word “Jewish,” determining what it means. This meaning or identity—this “unambiguous designation”—belonged to the Nazis, not the Jews.37

  • 38 The point I am making here is about the logic of the stereotype, not its genesis or the sources on (...)

19When i say that a yellow star lies at the heart of the word “anti-Semitism,” what i mean is this: the star stands for—designates—that “Jewish” identity which was in the Nazis’ possession and which they pinned on Jews. And I call this a black hole because this identity is unreal: it corresponds to nothing. By which I do not mean that no Jews can be found who fit the anti-Semitic stereotype. But this stereotype is a construction, not a description; it does not describe what Jews are like but prescribes what they must be like. The “Semite” or “Jew” that is the object of the anti-Semite’s animus is essentially unreal: the product, not just the object, of that animus (or of the ideology informing it).38 Simply, there is no Semitism without anti-Semitism.

20But there is an America—and even Americanism—with or without anti-American protestors cavorting as apes and ridiculing Donald Rumsfeld.

  • 39 Bauer, Yehuda. “Problems of contemporary Antisemitism” (2003), available at http://humanities.ucsc (...)
  • 40 Manifestations of Antisemitism, 227.

21The difference to which i am pointing is reflected in a difference in the orthography of the two terms “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Americanism,” or rather, in the fact that there is a question about the one but not the other. Which is the right spelling: “anti-Semitic,” “anti-Semitic” or “antisemitic”? All three are standard usage. Yehuda Bauer, opting for the third alternative, remarks (very much in the spirit of what i have just been arguing): “Antisemitism, especially in its hyphenated spelling, is inane nonsense, because there is no Semitism that you can be anti to.”39 The point is discussed in a recent landmark report on anti-Semitism in the European Union produced by the European monitoring centre on racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The authors also prefer the solid version of the word, which will, in their view, “allow for the fact that there has been a change from a racist to a culturalist antisemitism and shall in this context help avoiding [sic] the problem of reifying (and thus affirming) the existence of races in general and a ‘Semitic race’ in particular.”40 Perhaps, although this might be over-estimating the power of a hyphen or the efficacy of removing one. Be that as it may, my point is this: no one would think of questioning the spelling “anti-Americanism” on the grounds that it reifies America or that it affirms the existence of states; for there is such a thing as America, and states, as it happens, exist.

22The argument I am making is open to the objection that the difference to which i am drawing attention, though real, is irrelevant. yes, America is part of the external world. But the “America” that is the object of anti-Americanism is every bit as imaginary as the “Jew” who is hated by the anti-Semite. Such is the drift of the literature under discussion.

  • 41 Hollander, Paul. Anti-Americanism: Critiques at Home and Abroad, 1965–1990 (Oxford: Oxford univers (...)
  • 42 Hollander, Paul, ed. Understanding Anti-Americanism: Its Origins and Impact at Home and Abroad (Ch (...)
  • 43 Ibid., 7.

23Or is it? The literature is somewhat confused on this point. Take, for example, the sociologist Paul Hollander, author of the classic Anti-Americanism.41 in his introduction to the recent anthology Understanding Anti-Americanism, he says it is a “premise” of the book “that a proper understanding of anti-Americanism can only be achieved by balancing two apparently incompatible perspectives or propositions.”42 he sets out the two contrasting views as follows: “The first avers that anti-Americanism is a direct and rational response to the evident misdeeds of the United States abroad and its shortcomings and inequities at home. in other words, it is a set of attitudes created and stimulated by U.S. actions and policies and by the character of American social institutions, policies, and the defects and injustices thereof, even by the behavior of individual Americans, especially those abroad in some official capacity.”43

  • 44 Ibid., 9.

24In this first view, the “America” that is the object of anti-Americanism is the real thing. not so in the alternative view: “in the second and conflicting view, anti-Americanism is a largely groundless, irrational predisposition (similar to racism, sexism, or anti-Semitism), an expression of a deeply rooted scapegoating impulse, a disposition more closely related to the problems, frustrations, and deficiencies of those entertaining and articulating it—be they individuals, groups, nations, political parties, or movements— than to the real attributes of American foreign policy, society or culture.”44

  • 45 Ibid.
  • 46 Ibid., 12. This sentence comes immediately after the previous one quoted.

25Hollander goes on to say, however, that it is only those who are described by the second view “who qualify for the designation of ‘anti-American.’”45 Which means that the position described by the first view is not, after all, a form of anti-Americanism. Which means that the first view is wrong. Which obviates the need to balance the two views—which is the premise of the book. This is the logical equivalent of slipping on your own banana skin. The same confusion reappears a few pages later. “The two views of anti-Americanism,” he writes, “cannot be easily reconciled.” This reminds us of what he said earlier: that it is only by balancing these two views that we can properly understand anti-Americanism. And yet: “it bears repeating that anti-Americanism is a deep-seated emotional predisposition that perceives the united States as an unmitigated and uniquely evil entity and the source of all, or most, other evils in the world.”46

26I have used the word “confusion” but perhaps “vacillation” would be a better word. Hollander seems to be pulled in opposite directions by two different considerations. One is the actual use of the word “anti-Americanism” which, in its ordinary employment, fits positions that are covered by both the views he contrasts. The other, I suggest, is the a priori conviction that only the second view can be right; as if it were somehow built into “anti-ism” words that they must function in the same way. in a sense, Hollander’s two-mindedness does him credit: at least part of him resists the temptation—inherent in the pattern of the words—to insist that anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism must be the same sort of thing: an “irrational predisposition.” most other writers in this genre do not rise to the level of vacillation; they re-main sunk in a dogmatic mire.

27The difference to which i have drawn attention—the difference between “the bits in the middle” of the two words “anti-Americanism” and “anti-Semitism”—is not irrelevant because it bears on their different “grammars.” roughly, it comes down to this: whereas anti-Semitism is necessarily an “irrational predisposition,” anti-Americanism is not. This is partly because (as Hollander seems to recognize some of the time) the term “anti-American” is equivocal: it applies to a wide range of quite heterogeneous attitudes. Opposing American foreign policy; resenting America’s global influence; rejecting certain social values and cultural practices associated with the United States: all these—and more— might be called “anti-American” without there being a common denominator (except for the fact that in a very loose sense they are all “negative”). In each case, there could be good reasons for being “anti-American;” or reasons that, though insufficient or even bad, do not necessarily betoken an underlying prejudice. The same, however, cannot be said about being anti-Semitic. Recognizing this significant conceptual difference is, as i said near the beginning of this section, where disentangling the one from the other begins.

ANATOMIZING THE “NEW” ANTI-SEMITISM

28As if the problem were not complicated enough, there is a third strand, which, in much of the literature I am critiquing, is woven into the argument: hostility to Israel and Zionism. We have seen examples of this in the comments by Joffe et al. on the Coffrini image of the “golden calf” demonstration at Davos. The basic argument tends to go along these lines:

  1. hostility to America is inseparable from hostility to israel and Zionism.
  2. hostility to israel and Zionism constitutes a new kind of anti-Semitism.
  3. Therefore, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are inseparable.
  • 47 I discuss some of the vast literature on the new anti-Semitism— which overlaps significantly with (...)

29Is this argument sound? if we grant the first two premises, then the conclusion certainly seems to follow. Both premises, however, are problematic. The first, to say the least, overstates the case, although it does reflect the fact that America and Israel are closely linked in many people’s minds, and that they are often bracketed together as objects of opprobrium or hostility (especially as regards regional conflict in the middle east). For the most part, weighing this premise is an empirical task and, as such, falls outside the stated scope of this chapter. The claim that is made in the second premise, on the other hand, raises conceptual issues that are crucial to the fate of the argument and, consequently, to the task of disentangling anti-Americanism from anti-Semitism. Discussion of these issues will occupy the remainder of this section.47

30The second premise says that there is a kind of anti-Semitism that is new, which implies, of course, the existence of an older variety and a contrast between them. This invites two questions: (i) What makes them different kinds of anti-Semitism? (ii) What makes both of them kinds of anti-Semitism? Let us consider these two questions in turn.

  • 48 Jonathan Sacks, “The hatred that Won’t Die,” Guardian, 28 February 2002, available at http://www.g (...)
  • 49 Schoenfeld, Gabriel. The Return of Anti-Semitism (San Francisco: encounter Books, 2004), 4.

31Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of Britain and the commonwealth, describes anti-Semitism as “undeniably the most successful ideology of modern times.” he explains: “its success is due to the fact that, like a virus, it mutates. At times it has been directed against Jews as individuals. Today it is directed against Jews as a sovereign people.”48 This is the standard account of the difference between the “old” and the “new,” and the metaphor of the mutating virus is ubiquitous. Gabriel Schoenfeld develops it into a full-blown conceit: he speaks of “an unexpected twist in the helix of anti-Semitism’s DnA.”49 But note the title of his book: The Return of Anti-Semitism. Oddly, those who champion the view that there is a new kind of anti-Semitism emphasize that what we are witnessing is the return of something old; it is the object of this hatred which, according to them, is new.

32But first of all it is not true that the focus of anti-Semitism in the past was primarily on Jews as individuals. Typically, anti-Semitism was directed against particular communities, while the aim of the Nazi Final Solution, of course, was to eliminate Jewry in its entirety. Furthermore, in the anti-Semitic construction of the “Jew,” there are, in a way, no individuals: the Jewish People are seen precisely as a collectivity that acts as one. if the Jewish state (“Jews as a sovereign people”) is a relatively new object of anti-Semitic attack, this is only because Israel is a relatively new entity. In essence, it is just another example of a Jewish collective.

  • 50 Sharansky, “On hating the Jews.” This is one of several variants on a theme that appears to go bac (...)

33Secondly, in any case, a new object is not a new kind. Hostility to Israel and Zionism would constitute a new kind of anti-Semitism if and only if it were qualitatively different from the old; if, for example, it entailed a modified image of the “Jew.” (i shall touch on this possibility later.) But, as I have been saying, when the authors in question talk about a “new kind” of anti-Semitism, they mean the return of the same old motifs, with Israel cast in the role of “the world’s Jew.”50 They hear the thud of Nazi jackboots, the splintering of glass on Kristallnacht, and declare that the nightmare is back—but centered on the Jewish state. But in this case, they need a different metaphor: not a virus that mutates, changing its properties, but one that migrates, relocating from one organism to another.

34They can, however, maintain their basic argument—that anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are inseparable—by amending the second premise thus:

352. Hostility to Israel and Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism.

36This revised version of the second premise sidesteps the question of whether, or in what sense, the focus on the Jewish state is “new.” But is the premise true? This brings us to question (ii), which goes to the heart of the matter, and which we can now put concisely as: What is anti-Semitism?

  • 51 Kushner, Tony. The Persistence of Prejudice: Antisemitism in British Society during the Second Wor (...)
  • 52 It might help to consider the same logical difference at the level of an individual rather than a (...)

37A simple working definition of anti-Semitism is this: hostility to Jews as Jews (or for the reason that they are Jews). The definition is imprecise but, as the historian Tony Kushner has said, it is “a useful tool.”51 So, let us utilize it to weigh the second premise. Consider the following two statements: (a) “Hostility to Israel is anti-Semitic for the reason that Israel is a Jewish state”; (b) “hostility to Israel for the reason that Israel is a Jewish state is anti-Semitic.” There is a sharp logical difference, even if it does not leap to the eye, between these two statements. And, by our working definition, (a) is false and (b) is true. Accordingly, we can say that hostility to Israel and Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism only when the Jewishness of the state or the movement is the underlying reason (or one of the underlying reasons) for this hostility.52

38I specify “underlying” in view of an argument in the “new anti-Semitism” literature which goes something like this: if anti-Zionism means opposing Israel as a Jewish state (either its creation or its continued existence or both), and if anti-Semitism means hostility to Jews as Jews, it follows that anti-Zionism, by definition, is a form of anti-Semitism. But this argument contains a fallacy. The description “opposing Israel as a Jewish state” does not necessarily get to the underlying objection on the part of the anti-Zionist. There is a difference between opposing the existence of the state because it is Jewish, simpliciter, and opposing it because, as Jewish, it is not, say, Muslim. In the latter case, the Jewishness of the state is neither here nor there; it would face the same kind of hostility if it were, say, Christian. Indeed, the medieval crusader states, which were Christian, did face the same kind of hostility; and in radical Islamist rhetoric, Israel is often called a “crusader state.” This suggests that it is not on account of its Jewishness per se that the existence of Israel is anathema to such people. By the same token, Arab nationalists might oppose the existence of Israel as a Jewish state because, as Jewish, it is not Arab. Which is neither to justify their hostility nor the grounds on which it is based. The point is purely analytical. Anti-Zionism, insofar as it is a reaction against the non-Muslim or non-Arab nature of the state of Israel, is not a form of anti-Semitism.

39A similar line of reasoning applies where anti-Zionism is grounded in the view that Israel, as a Western settler state, is a form of European colonialism or a tool of American imperialism or both. (This is a common view of Israel not only in the Arab Middle east and the wider Muslim world but also in certain sections of the left in the West.) Again, our question is not whether this view of Israel is true or adequate (which it is not), but whether, by our working definition, it is anti-Semitic; which it is not. So, once again, anti-Zionism, in and of itself, is not a form of anti-Semitism.

40There is a familiar objection that takes the form of saying that anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli sentiment is a form of anti-Semitism in disguise. in the opening chapter of her book The New Anti-Semitism, Phyllis Chesler claims that “hidden behind that smoke screen of anti-Israeli fervor is, as we shall see, a familiar hatred of the Jew, the ‘other,’ the Christ killer, the elder of Zion: the powerful, secret, international conspirator, the pariah and scapegoat of the earth.”53 Or as one correspondent to the Guardian put it: anti-Semitism is “usually hidden under the mask of anti-Zionism.”54 Whether or not this is true, it is not a valid objection to the argument I have been making. On the contrary, it tends to confirm it. A mask whose appearance is identical with what it is masking is no mask. (This would be like a wolf in wolf’s clothing.) So, if anti-Zionism can function as a mask, hiding the “familiar hatred of the Jew,” this implies that, in and of itself, it is not anti-Semitic.

41Nonetheless, the objection is not redundant. It says, in effect, that hostility to Israel and Zionism, though not inherently anti-Semitic, is so in practice because it conceals an anti-Semitic animus. Indeed, sometimes it does; and for that matter, the animus is not always concealed. If, on inspection, it turns out to be the case that this animus, whether concealed or manifest, is a recurring feature of anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli discourse, this might save the argument that anti-Americanism is inseparable from anti-Semitism. (It would shore up the amended version of the second premise in that argument.) But how can we tell? What criteria should we apply?

42Let us recall our working definition of anti-Semitism: hostility to Jews as Jews (or for the reason that they are Jews). This is a useful formula provided we keep in mind the anti-Semitic image of the “Jew” that the Nazis evoked with the yellow star and which Chesler begins to unpack when she describes the “familiar hatred.” For, though the Nazis Racialized and embellished it, the image of the “Jew” was not their invention. The main lineaments, which were part of the general culture of Europe, were transmitted from generation to generation down the centuries. Knowing that this is anti-Semitism, we know what to look for in anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist discourse: language or graphics that portray Israel for the reason that it is a Jewish state (or Zionism for the reason that it is a Jewish movement) as the enemy of the human race, bent on ruling the world for its own diabolical ends, mysteriously controlling the world’s banks and media, and so on.

43If these themes are ambiguous, then we must scrutinize the context. If they are concealed, there are ways of bringing them to light by calling on evidence from other sources. (We might look at other literature produced by the group or person in question; their history; their political connections; and so on.) This is, perhaps, more an art than a science, and there will often be room for argument in a given case. But it is still a disciplined exercise, controlled by criteria derived from the anti-Semitic image of the “Jew,” to which our working definition implicitly alludes. So far, so clear.

  • 55 This is reflected in the Law of return, one of Israel’s Basic Laws, which (roughly) grants every J (...)
  • 56 Several such demonstrations took place in spring 2002. I discuss this in “A Time to Speak Out: ret (...)
  • 57 This is not to say that the two kinds of hostility to Jews exist in isolation from each other. On (...)

44However, today there is a new kind of hostility to Jews as Jews, one that is based on the controversial nature of the state of Israel and its policies, rather than on ancient or medieval European ideas about Jews. Israel, for its part, promotes itself as the state of “the Jewish people,” where in some sense this includes all Jews everywhere, even if they do not take up citizenship.55 reciprocally, many Jews around the world, precisely as Jews, align themselves conspicuously with the Jewish state, sometimes in large public demonstrations of solidarity.56 From these facts there arises, in certain circles hostile to Israel or Zionism on moral or political grounds, hostility against all Jews as Jews. This is an unwarranted generalization; as such, it is a prejudice. But this prejudice is not rooted in the image of the “Jew” associated with the “familiar hatred.” it is a new phenomenon.57

45Furthermore, with Israel seen as an expansionist and repressive occupying power, this hostility is sometimes associated with an image of Jews as brutal thugs who use their physical and military might to crush those who are weaker.

46So, there are signs that a new anti-Jewish stereotype might be developing. But it has its own aetiology; it is not produced by modifying the old anti-Semitic figure of the “Jew.” it is not a mutation of a pre-existing “virus,” but a brand new “bug.”

  • 58 Philosophical Investigations, 57e, par. 79.

47We can, if we like, call this new phenomenon a “new kind” of anti-Semitism. But does this help us understand the place it occupies in the constellation of conflicts in which Jews, as Jews, are involved? Wittgenstein remarks, “Say what you choose, so long as it does not prevent you from seeing the facts.”58 Given that the word “anti-Semitism” is so emotive; given that invariably it connotes “the familiar hatred of the Jew”; given the tendency to see anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist sentiment as the return of this hatred; and given that the old hatred has never gone away: given all these things, extending the reach of the word “anti-Semitism” is unwise. Or, if inevitable (because no Canute can stem the tide of language), it is unfortunate. For it is liable to prevent us from seeing the facts for what they are.

48Whatever name we give it, this new and growing phenomenon—a prejudice against Jews that derives from hostility to Israel and Zionism rather than vice versa—“is what it is and not another thing” (Butler). In particular, it is not a form of anti-Semitism in the usual and established sense of that word. The same can be said for a whole host of motives and reasons that can, and frequently do, underlie the antagonism people feel towards the Jewish state or the ideology of Jewish nationalism. Put it this way: hostility to Israel and Zionism can be a form of anti-Semitism, but it can also express many other things: a commitment to human rights and international law; sympathy for the Palestinian cause; an Islamist agenda; an opinion about the best kind of future for Jews and Palestinians in the area west of the Jordan river; a conviction concerning the conditions for peaceful co-existence for states in the region; a general antipathy to ethno-nationalism; a particular objection to construing Jewish identity in ethno-national terms; and so on and so forth. And none of these reasons or motives (whatever their validity or otherwise) is, in and of itself, a form of anti-Semitism.

49For the most part, these are the kinds of considerations that move people to feel antagonistic towards Israel or Zionism; at least, this appears to be the case. If, however, someone thinks otherwise, if they believe that the hidden hand of anti-Semitism is at work, then the onus is on them to prove it. If they cannot do so, then the second premise in the argument that I outlined at the beginning of this section is shot. The most we can say is that sometimes hostility to Israel and Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, which is a much weaker claim. With the collapse of this premise, the whole argument—one of the staple arguments for the view that anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are inseparable—falls apart.

THE CONTROVERSY OVER THE EUROBAROMETER POLL59

  • 59 This section is adapted from a portion of my essay “is Europe a Lost cause? The European Debate on (...)

50In the introductory section, I spoke of a “mindset” that distorts or even pre-empts empirical investigation of the facts concerning hostility to America, Israel and Jews. An international controversy that erupted in the autumn of 2003 illustrates the point.

  • 60 “The Demons of Europe,” 29.

51To get our bearings, let us return to Joffe’s essay “The Demons of Europe” and pick up the thread of his argument at the point, near the beginning, where he gives his interpretation of the Coffrini image of the “golden calf” demonstration at Davos. Calling it “the face of the new anti-Semitism,” he explains: “Lacking certain murderous elements of the classical type, it is nevertheless rife with some of its most ancient motifs. What is new about it is the projection of these old fantasies onto two new targets: Israel and America. Indeed, the United States is an anti-Semitic fantasy come true: the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in living color. Do not Jews, their first loyalty to Israel, control the congress, the Pentagon, the banks, the universities, and the media? having obtained ‘hyperpower,’ do they not finally rule the world?” Then he delivers the punch line: “That at least seems to be the consensus of the Europeans, who, in a recent EU poll, declared Israel and the united States, in that order, the greatest threats to world peace.”60

  • 61 European Commission. Iraq and Peace in the World: Full report Flash Eurobarometer 151 (November 20 (...)
  • 62 There were two affirmative and two negative ratings: 1 = yes, absolutely, 2 = yes, rather, 3 = no, (...)
  • 63 Ibid., 78.

52The allusion is to a survey of public opinion carried out in October 2003 for the European commission.61 The poll interviewed 7,515 citizens in fifteen European states over a period of nine days. In the context of the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, they were asked a series of questions. Question 10 presented respondents with a list of fifteen countries. For each country, they were asked whether or not, in their opinion, it presents “a threat to peace in the world.”62 in the case of Israel, 59 percent of respondents said yes, a higher percentage than for any other country.63

  • 64 Chris McGreal, “EU Poll sees Israel as Peace Threat,” Guardian, 3 November 2003, available at http (...)
  • 65 “A message from the Simon Wiesenthal center, “available at http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nl/ (...)
  • 66 Edgar Bronfman and Cobi Benatoff, “Europe’s moral Treachery Over Anti-Semitism,” Financial Times, (...)

53The poll was greeted by outrage on the part of the Israeli government and many leading Jewish organizations on both sides of the Atlantic. Sharansky, who was Israel’s minister for Diaspora Affairs at the time, saw it as “additional proof that behind the ‘political’ criticism of Israel stands pure antiSemitism.”64 in the United States, Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal center, described the poll as “a racist flight of fancy that only shows that anti-Semitism is deeply embedded within European society, more now than in any other period since the end of World War II.”65 Cobi Benatoff and Edgar Bronfman, presidents respectively of the European Jewish congress and the World Jewish congress, made an additional point: the mere fact of publishing the poll was, in their view, an expression of anti-Semitism on the part of the European commission itself.66 But Joffe’s reading picks up on something else: the fact that the united States came second to Israel in the poll with a rating of 53 percent.

  • 67 Arguably, this observation is supported by findings in the “15nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey” (...)
  • 68 When countries share the same rating, as in this case, they are listed in alphabetical order. So, (...)

54These reactions overlook three points. First, the question did not ask respondents which countries were to blame for posing a threat to peace. This should especially be kept in mind in assessing the response to Israel, since Palestine, not being a state, was not on the list. So, anyone who thought that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict destabilizes the region, and that this instability is “a threat to peace in the world,” could have answered in the affirmative—wherever their sympathies might lie.67 Second, respondents were not asked to rank the fifteen countries on the list. So, the data does not support the claim that the respondents saw Israel and America as “the greatest threats” to world peace (let alone that this was “the consensus of the Europeans”). in other words, it is a leap to go from “more people saw Israel and America as a threat” to “people saw Israel and America as more of a threat.” The question did not ask respondents to quantify the size of the threat, if any, and the results do not license any inference at all about this. Third, what Joffe fails to mention is that the same percentage that said yes to America (53 percent) said yes to Iran and north Korea.68 Does this imply that there is a European anti-Semitic consensus against Iran and north Korea as well? The mind begins to boggle.

  • 69 “The Demons of Europe,” 29.
  • 70 Ibid., 32.
  • 71 Ibid.
  • 72 Ibid., 33.

55Joffe does go on to say that “the issue is more complicated than the reconditioning of an old myth.”69 But he does not retract or qualify his reading of the Eurobarometer poll. Instead, he offers further evidence to support his view that the “similarities” between anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism “are hard to escape.”70 he refers, for example, to a poster at an anti-Bush demonstration in Berlin in 2002 which read “Stop Bush’s Grab for Global Power!” and describes this as “[e]choing a classic indictment of ‘World Jewry’.”71 in a similar vein, he writes: “Franz Alt, a German author and TV moderator, denouncing Bush as the ‘greatest enemy of mankind,’ seemed to be echoing the old Nazi slogan: ‘Die Juden sind unser Unglück—the Jews are our misfortune.”72 Perhaps my ear is not as finely tuned as Joffe’s, but I think the fact that he hears these examples as “echoes” of anti-Semitism, and therefore thinks they support his position, supports mine. He is, as it were, hearing things, due to his cast of mind.

56The results of the Eurobarometer poll are open to interpretation. One is Joffe’s: that there is a consensus in Europe that is animated by anti-Semitic prejudice. But there are other possibilities. Perhaps the respondents, or most of them, or just some of them, were not bigots; maybe they were normal reasonable human beings who, exercising their capacity for rational judgment, believe, on the basis of evidence, that the foreign policies of America and Israel (which are closely intertwined) are inimical to the prospects for peace and security in the world. (There are such people, even in benighted Europe.) Or perhaps fear, rather than reason, was at play; but fear founded on fact rather than on deep-seated paranoia about yanks and Yids.

57Which hypothesis is true—whether Joffe’s or mine or some other—is an open question. We need to look into it. And I do not see how anyone could, without further ado, jump to Joffe’s conclusion or rabbi Hier’s, or accuse the European commission of bigotry, unless they were seeing anti-Semitism hidden behind the veil of data before they even began to look. Unless, in other words, they were in the grip of a mindset that is prone to seeing hostility to Israel as the “familiar hatred of the Jew.” Joffe talks about the “projection” of anti-Semitic “fantasies” onto Israel and America.

58But this works in both directions. That is to say, there is such a thing as anti-Semitism in reverse: projecting the figure of the anti-Semite onto individuals or groups who are innocent as charged.

CONCLUSION: THE IDOLS OF THE TRIBE

59The view (or set of views) that I have been examining is that anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are inseparable. It is tempting to turn this thesis around and say that, in the literature under discussion, it is the allegation of anti-Americanism and the allegation of anti-Semitism that are inseparable. This would certainly be an exaggeration, but it makes a point: that there is a propensity, in certain quarters, to see Americans and Jews as the joint victims of a global prejudice, and that this is itself a phenomenon which calls for investigation.

  • 73 America Against the World, xiii. more precisely: “This book has as its principal objective to cons (...)

60The point is worth making in view of what is at stake in this discussion. In their book America Against the World, Andrew Kohut and Bruce Stokes discuss the data produced by a series of worldwide public opinion surveys conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project since its inception in 2001. The aim of the book is to make sense of one of the principal findings of the project: “the rise of anti-Americanism around the world in the first decade of the twenty-first century.”73 This rise comes at a time when the world is experiencing, on the political plane, the equivalent of global warming; and one of the most incandescent spots on the planet is the middle east, where both America and Israel, separately and (to an extent) together, are involved in conflicts that are on the boil. At stake is the question of whether the political temperature of the region and the planet will continue to rise, posing a universal danger. The view that I have been examining, insofar as it conflates different kinds of hostility and reduces them all to “prejudice,” is crude and partisan. Such a simple-minded, one-sided account is likely to inflame the situation; it is not only untrue, but unwise.

  • 74 Ibid., 39.

61Kohut and Stokes warn that anti-Americanism is “one of the principal challenges facing the United States in the years ahead.” They go on to make, in effect, a plea for distinctions: “Dealing with it will require that Americans distinguish among the differing sources of this antagonism and address them appropriately.”74 much the same can be said about the antagonism that Jews in general, and Israel in particular, face today. This calls for slow, painstaking, intellectual work on the part of social scientists, historians and others; work that conduces to informed public debate and enlightened public policy.

  • 75 Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding [1706] (London: Penguin Books, 1997), 11.
  • 76 Bacon, Francis. The New Organon [1620], trans. Michael Silverthorne (Cambridge: Cambridge universi (...)

62My limited aim has been to subtract from the sum total of obstacles that stand in the way of this work. my mentor is John Locke who, in the “epistle to the reader” that forms a preface to his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, re-marks: “’tis ambition enough to be employed as an under-laborer in clearing ground a little, and removing some of the rubbish that lies in the way to knowledge.”75 Among these obstacles are certain tendencies of the human mind that Francis Bacon calls “the idols of the tribe.” i am thinking, in particular, of the first two on his list: our propensity to oversimplify and our habit of selecting evidence that confirms a view that we have previously embraced.76 if Bacon is right, then these “idols,” being deeply rooted in our nature, are even more antique than the golden calf to which the Israelites bowed down in the Bible; they are as old as Adam himself. Be that as it may, they are characteristic of the mindset that, in the course of disentangling anti-Americanism from anti-Semitism, i have been critiquing.

  • 77 There are also many loose ends. Among other things, this chapter has not addressed the question of (...)

63I do not say that the analytical distinctions made in this chapter are hard and fast, for i am certain that they need refining.77 But subtlety for subtlety’s sake is not the point. The point is to get into a position where we can think, think clearly; and be neither in thrall to the idols in our mind, nor deceived by the appearances of words, nor dazzled by an image as brilliant and mesmerizing as the one that Coffrini captured at Davos.

Notes

1 The World economic Forum annual meeting was held from 23 to 27 January 2003. The image is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Davos_WEF_Golden_Calf.png, last accessed 6 July 2006. The image first appeared in the Santa Monica Daily Press, 27 January 2003.

2 In some areas the identifying badge for Jews was a different color or even shape.

3 The literature is both popular and academic. i refer to both in the course of the chapter.

4 Joffe, Josef. “The Demons of Europe.” Commentary 118, no. 1 (January 2004): 29.

5 Klein Halevi, Yossi. “Hatreds Entwined.” Azure (Winter 2004): 25.

6 Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, “The Globalization of Antisemitism,” Forward, 2 may 2003, available at http://www.forward.com/issues/2003/03.05.02/oped1.html, last accessed 6 July 2006.

7 Markovits, Andrei. “European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism): ever Present Though Always Denied.” center for European Studies, Harvard university, Working Paper Series 108 (January 2004): 18, available at http://www.ces.fas.harvard.edu/index.html, last accessed 6 July 2006. Markovits also alludes to anti-Semitic iconography at anti-globalist meetings in Porto Alegre and Durban. He means, presumably, the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, which “shadowed” the Davos meeting in January 2003, and the United Nations World conference Against racism held in Durban, South Africa, in August/ September 2001.

8 Ibid., 17.

9 Image available at http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/free/wef/images/davos3266.jpg, last accessed 6 July 2006.

10 For a general account, see “Anti-WEF protests in Switzerland,” January 2003, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-WEF_protests_in_Switzerland%2C_January_2003, last accessed 6 July 2006. More images are available at http://www.remote.ch/search/search.dbc?WHAT=wef, last accessed 6 July 2006.

11 Iimage available at http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/free/wef/images/wef3453.jpg, last accessed 6 July 2006.

12 “Image talk: Davos Switzerland G8 Summit.jpg” [sic], available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_talk:Davos_Switzerland_G8_Summit.jpg, last accessed 6 July 2006.

13 Cohen, Steve. That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Anti-Semitic: An Anti-Racist Analysis of Left anti-Semitism (Leeds: Beyond the Pale Collective, 1984), 86.

14 Boteach, Shmuley. “Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism are the Same Thing.” (12 march 2004), available at http://www.newsbull.com/forum/more.asp?TOPIC_ID=12996, last accessed 6 July 2006. Rabbi Boteach is a nationally syndicated talk show host in the United States. He was the subject of the BBC documentary “Moses of Oxford.”

15 Ibid.

16 Johnson, Daniel. “America and the America-Haters.” Commentary 120, no. 6 (June 2006): 30–31.

17 Natan Sharansky, “On hating the Jews,” Wall Street Journal, 17 November 2003, available at http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110004310, last accessed 6 July 2006.

18 “European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism)”: 12.

19 Ibid., 14.

20 Ibid., 12.

21 Although several of the authors in the literature under discussion refer favorably to each other’s work, they do not constitute a school of thought exactly; there are significant variations in tone, views and arguments, and i shall not do enough to respect their differences. The focus of my discussion is on a common tendency that I detect in their writing.

22 They are connected, for example, when Osama bin Laden, alluding in 1998 to female soldiers on American bases in Saudi Arabia, says, “By God, muslim women refuse to be defended by these American and Jewish prostitutes. Interview with al-Jazeera television, quoted in Judt, Tony. “America and the War.” New York Review of Books 48, no. 18 (November 15, 2001), available at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14760, last accessed 7 July 2006. Anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are also connected by a vein of anti-modern sentiment among the European intelligentsia before the Second World War. Tony Judt writes: “many critics of America, in Germany, France or russia, were all too quick to identify the shifting, unfamiliar contours of an Americanising world with the essential traits of a homeless Jewry. “Goodbye to All That.” Prospect (December 2004): 42. One such critic was Adolf Hitler. On the other hand, the familiar stereotype of the ugly American abroad as a coarse, brutish, swaggering ignoramus has no counterpart in anti-Semitic discourse. If anything, it is reminiscent of a common caricature of the Germans. however, by a process of selective attention—of the kind that i am critiquing in this chapter—it is possible to screen out such complications and exaggerate the claim that Americans and Jews are hated along the same lines and on the same terms by the same enemies.

23 Even the cautious report published by the European monitoring centre on racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) noted as follows: There is practically a consensus among almost all participants in the current debate on the ‘new anti-Semitism’ that there has been a significant increase in verbal and physical attacks directed against Jews or Jewish institutions since the year 2000—eumc, manifestations of Antisemitism in the EU 2002–2003 (Vienna, march 2004), 24, available at http://eumc.eu.int/eumc/as/PDF04/AS-Main-report-PDF04.pdf, last accessed 7 July 2006.

24 The findings of public opinion surveys conducted by the Pew research center’s Global Attitudes Project from 2002 to 2005 are summarized and discussed in Kohut, Andrew and Bruce Stokes. America Against the World: How We are Different and Why We are Disliked (New York: Henry holt, 2006). They write, “Much of the discontent that we have documented can be attributed to criticisms of U.S. policies, especially the war in Iraq,” xiii.

25 The reference is to Bishop Joseph Butler (1692–1752). I am not aware that any definitive source for this exact form of words has been located. It is, however, in the spirit of his thought.

26 Wittgenstein, Ludwig. The Blue and Brown Books (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1969), 1.

27 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1968), 43e, par. 90.

28 Wittgenstein has various terms for the hold that language can have over us due to its formal properties, including “tempt,” “seduced” and “bewitch.”

29 The Blue and Brown Books, 27.

30 Ibid., 26.

31 “European anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism: Similarities and Differences,” an interview with Andrei S. Markovits in Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism 16 (1 January 2004), available at http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-16.htm, last accessed 7 July 2006.

32 “The Demons of Europe,” 29.

33 I am using the word America in the narrower sense to refer to the united States, rather than to both American continents, since this reflects the use of the term anti-Americanism.

34 The words themselves derive from “Shem,” one of Noah’s three sons, the progenitors of the rest of the human race, according to the Biblical story, Shem being the ancestor of Abraham, the father of Isaac and Ishmael, from whom Jews and Arabs respectively trace their origin in their traditions. (For the Biblical sources, see Genesis 5:32, 6:10, 9:18-19, 10: 32, 11:26; chapters 16, 17 and 21 passim.) Against this background, pioneers in the new science of comparative philology in the late eighteenth century adopted the term Semitic to refer to the family of languages that include Hebrew and Arabic. In the following century, race theorists took the term over and used it in their classification schemes. Hence the word anti-Semitic, which was thus originally part of a racist or racialist lexicon.

35 Donald Rumsfeld is not in fact Jewish. in the rhetorical context of the Coffrini image, his “yellow star” suggests that he is, as it were, a proxy Jew.

36 Imre Kertész, “The Language of exile,” Guardian, 19 October 2002, available at http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/generalfiction/story/0,,814806,00.html, last accessed 7 July 2006.

37 This paragraph is adapted from a portion of my “The collective Jew: Israel and the new Antisemitism.” Patterns of Prejudice 37, no. 2 (June 2003): 117–138.

38 The point I am making here is about the logic of the stereotype, not its genesis or the sources on which it draws for its content.

39 Bauer, Yehuda. “Problems of contemporary Antisemitism” (2003), available at http://humanities.ucsc.edu/JewishStudies/docs/YbauerLecture.pdf, last accessed 7 July 2006. Bauer points out that spelling it as one word matches the original German term Antisemitismus. The irony, however, is that Wilhelm Marr, who appears to have coined the word (in 1879), did precisely think that there was such a thing as Semitism—his term for the Racialized Jewish spirit and Jewish consciousness, to which he was opposed. See the extract from his “The Victory of Judaism over Germandom” (1879) in The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History, eds. Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz (Oxford: Oxford university Press, 1995), 331–333.

40 Manifestations of Antisemitism, 227.

41 Hollander, Paul. Anti-Americanism: Critiques at Home and Abroad, 1965–1990 (Oxford: Oxford university Press, 1991.)

42 Hollander, Paul, ed. Understanding Anti-Americanism: Its Origins and Impact at Home and Abroad (Chicago: Ivan r. Dee, 2004), 7.

43 Ibid., 7.

44 Ibid., 9.

45 Ibid.

46 Ibid., 12. This sentence comes immediately after the previous one quoted.

47 I discuss some of the vast literature on the new anti-Semitism— which overlaps significantly with the literature on anti-Americanism—in several articles, including “The collective Jew,” cited above, and “The myth of the new Anti-Semitism” in The Nation 278, no. 4 (2 February 2004): 23–29.

48 Jonathan Sacks, “The hatred that Won’t Die,” Guardian, 28 February 2002, available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,659149,00.html, last accessed 7 July 2006. Sacks’s full religious title is chief rabbi of the united Hebrew congregations of the commonwealth.

49 Schoenfeld, Gabriel. The Return of Anti-Semitism (San Francisco: encounter Books, 2004), 4.

50 Sharansky, “On hating the Jews.” This is one of several variants on a theme that appears to go back to Jacob Talmon who, writing in 1976 in response to the united nations resolution equating Zionism with racism, called Israel “the ‘Jew’ of the nations:” see Klein halevi, Yossi. “The Wall.” The New Republic (8 July 2002), available at http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020708&s=halevi070802, last accessed 7 July 2006. For an extended discussion, see my “marks of a mindset—Seeing a Global War against the Jews” in Tel Aviver Jahrbuch 2005 deutsche Geschichte XXXIII: Antisemitismus, Antizionismus, Israelkritik, ed. Moshe Zuckermann (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2005), 33–49.

51 Kushner, Tony. The Persistence of Prejudice: Antisemitism in British Society during the Second World War (Manchester: Manchester university Press, 1989), 8.

52 It might help to consider the same logical difference at the level of an individual rather than a state. Suppose Moishe is attacked in the street by a gang of thugs. There are two possible scenarios.

(a) Either the gang does not know that he is Jewish or, if they know, they do not care. Maybe they were merely looking for someone to beat up. Or perhaps they wanted to steal his wallet.

(b) The gang sees that that he is a Jew and attacks him for this reason. By our working definition of anti-Semitism—hostility to Jews as Jews—(b) constitutes an anti-Semitic incident, but (a) does not. So, if the attack by the gang is anti-Semitic, it is not because Moishe is Jewish; it is because they attack him for the reason that he is Jewish.

53 Chesler, Phyllis. The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003), 4.

54 Guardian (18 October 2004), available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,1329763,00.html, last accessed 7 July 2006.

55 This is reflected in the Law of return, one of Israel’s Basic Laws, which (roughly) grants every Jew the right to immigrate and become a citizen.

56 Several such demonstrations took place in spring 2002. I discuss this in “A Time to Speak Out: rethinking Jewish identity and Solidarity with Israel.” Jewish Quarterly 49, no. 4 (Winter 2002/3): 35–41.

57 This is not to say that the two kinds of hostility to Jews exist in isolation from each other. On the contrary, they interact and reinforce one another. But we will not be in a position to understand the complex dynamic between them if we cannot first tell them apart. (No connections without distinctions!)

58 Philosophical Investigations, 57e, par. 79.

59 This section is adapted from a portion of my essay “is Europe a Lost cause? The European Debate on Antisemitism and the middle east conflict.” Patterns of Prejudice 39, no. 1 (march 2005): 46–59.

60 “The Demons of Europe,” 29.

61 European Commission. Iraq and Peace in the World: Full report Flash Eurobarometer 151 (November 2003), available at http://www.mafhoum.com/press6/167P52.pdf, last accessed 7 July 2006.

62 There were two affirmative and two negative ratings: 1 = yes, absolutely, 2 = yes, rather, 3 = no, rather not, 4 = no, absolutely not. There was also 5 = don’t know or not applicable (Ibid., Annexe: questionnaire).

63 Ibid., 78.

64 Chris McGreal, “EU Poll sees Israel as Peace Threat,” Guardian, 3 November 2003, available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1076442,00.html, last accessed 7 July 2006.

65 “A message from the Simon Wiesenthal center, “available at http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=fwLYKnN8LzH&b=245506&ct=285302, last accessed 7 July 2006.

66 Edgar Bronfman and Cobi Benatoff, “Europe’s moral Treachery Over Anti-Semitism,” Financial Times, 4 January 2004, available at http://www.defenddemocracy.org/research_topics/research_topics_show.htm?doc_id=202732, last accessed 7 July 2006. The reply by romano Prodi, european commission President at the time, is available at http://www.eurunion.org/news/press/2004/2004001. htm, last accessed 7 July 2006.

67 Arguably, this observation is supported by findings in the “15nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey” (13 June 2006), available at http://pewglobal.org/reports/pdf/252.pdf, last accessed 7 July 2006. In a question about dangers to World Peace, one of the items is the Israeli–Palestinian conflict (not Israel). The figures show that almost exactly the same percentage of Americans and Turks (43 percent and 42 percent respectively) consider this conflict to be a great danger to world peace (3). Yet, in terms of their sympathies with the parties to the conflict, the two populations are almost a mirror image of each other: 48 percent of Americans sympathize with Israel, 13 percent with the Palestinians, while the corresponding figures for Turks are 5 percent and 63 percent (23).

68 When countries share the same rating, as in this case, they are listed in alphabetical order. So, Iran and North Korea actually appear above the United States in the table. Anyone looking at the table could hardly fail to notice this.

69 “The Demons of Europe,” 29.

70 Ibid., 32.

71 Ibid.

72 Ibid., 33.

73 America Against the World, xiii. more precisely: “This book has as its principal objective to consider the difference between U.S. opinion and world opinion so as to understand global anti-Americanism,” xix.

74 Ibid., 39.

75 Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding [1706] (London: Penguin Books, 1997), 11.

76 Bacon, Francis. The New Organon [1620], trans. Michael Silverthorne (Cambridge: Cambridge university Press, 2000), Book I, Aphorisms XLV and XLVI, 42-43.

77 There are also many loose ends. Among other things, this chapter has not addressed the question of what constitutes hostility, bearing in mind that both anger and opposition can arise out of sympathy and friendship. I have not explored the similarities and differences between anti-Semitic and anti-American stereotypes. I have said nothing about the provenance of the mindset that I describe, nor the political commitments that typically accompany it. I might have broached the controversy surrounding the paper “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (march 2006), as well as the longstanding debate over the political influence of Jewish neoconservatives in the United States, but I haven’t. Both of these subjects call for the kind of fine-grained analysis that I hope this chapter facilitates. many other stones are left unturned.

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