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Monday, February 11, 2008

Anti-Semitism - Left or Right?

Anti-Semitism seems to be a product of the wingnuts - Left wing nuts and Right wing nuts. But European anti-Semitism seems to originate primarily with Europe's tiny Muslim community.

Antisemitism from the Left? Or from the Right?

Two stories from Italy over the last few days eerily demonstrate how the evangelical anti-Zionism of the far left can overlap with the unabashed antisemitism of the far right.

First, there was the blog taken down last Friday, on the orders of Italy's interior minister, which listed the names of more than one hundred Jewish and non-Jewish academics accused of lobbying for "the Zionists." The same blog included links to Holocaust denial sites, glorifications of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and other unwholesome material.

Second, there were widespread calls for a boycott of the Turin International Book Fair this coming May, because of plans to honor the 60th anniversary of Israel's creation. Among those calling for a boycott are the Islamist intellectual Tariq Ramadan, Mohamed Salmawy, the President of the Egyptian Writer's Union, and Tariq Ali, the Marxist writer.

Technically speaking, these two developments are unrelated. As yet, there is no evidence linking the individuals behind the blacklist blog with the individuals seeking to blacklist Israel. But both developments feed off each other. Both represent the extent to which three distinct ideological universes - Islamist, far left and extreme right - now overlap.

The names listed in the blacklist blog, which appears to be a project of the far right, were actually lifted from a petition which protested a cause embraced by the far left: the academic boycott of Israel by some British academics. Many of the petitioners are affiliated with Rome's La Sapienza University (see a snapshot of the blacklist here), a fine institution which has energetically promoted academic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.

This poses a direct question to those who advocate boycotts against Israel. Are they not obliged to confront some moral responsibility for the fact that their calls may be - as the blacklist demonstrates - interpreted in an unambiguously antisemitic manner? Or should they just shrug it off as an unfortunate coincidence - as US academic Tony Judt did last October, when, in a speech endorsing the Israel Lobby theory of US foreign policy, he opined that if he or others sounded like antisemitic conspiracy theorists, "…it's unfortunate, but that's just how it is?"

More here - Antisemitism from the Left? Or from the Right?

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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