Wednesday, July 16, 2003

It's the ease with which they say these things that's scary....: European Anti-Semitism

Note this nice catch by Andrew Sullivan of some casual editorializing by Richard Ingrams in The Guardian:
"I have developed a habit when confronted by letters to the editor in support of the Israeli government to look at the signature to see if the writer has a Jewish name. If so, I tend not to read it."

He justifies this by a comparison to supporters of gay bishops (emphasis added is mine):
"Too few people in this modern world are prepared to declare an interest when it comes to this kind of thing. It would be enormously helpful, for example, if those clerics and journalists who have been defending Canon Jeffrey John, the so-called gay bishop, were to tell us whether they themselves are gay. Some do, but more don't. The issue arises partly because, in both cases, these people are often accusing the other side of being prejudiced and biased - we are either homophobes or anti-Semites."

He goes on to provide an example of Barbara Amiel, who wrote a letter arguing that the BBC has an anti-Israeli bias (a shocking allegation, isn't it?). He points out that Amiel is "not only Jewish" but that her husband's company has an ownership interest in the Jerusalem Post. So, her comments don't really count. As Ingrams goes on to conclude: "In other words, when it comes to accusing people of bias on the Middle East, she is not ideally qualified for the role."

Wow. Where does one begin. Perhaps first with a look a parallelism. Will Ingrams put the same onus on Arab or Palestinian writers? Or does he deem them unbiased as a group? Or how about Muslim's generally? Does their religion preclude rational thought and is that information relevant to the reader in terms of understanding the argument? Or is it just Jews who are incapable of being un-biased? What if Noam Chomsky wrote Ingrams? Does his jewishness matter, or do his opinions sufficiently diverge from the "Jewish opinion" that he might be exempted.

Let's cut to the chase. Yes Mr. Ingrams, you are an anti-semite. Disliking or even hating Israel doesn't make you an anti-semite, but devaluing the opinions and doubting the integrity of every Jew because they are Jewish does indeed make you one. To you, the opinions of a Jewish person, at least with respect to Israel (that's all you've admitted so far), are not to be judged on the basis of their individual merit, but on the basis of the fact that they are Jewish -- and as such, immediately discounted. To you, Jews are incapable of independent opinions ... "they're all the same". And what scary is the casual way you discuss this. It's just so obvious to you. And you feel so comfortable talking about it. And if you ever read what I just wrote, I doubt that you would have any idea what I am getting at.

Oh, and by the way Ingrams, it strikes me that you are probably a homophobe as well.


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