Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Of course, we all know that she probably would have been fired, despite having served on the Post's editorial board from 2002 to 2006. But, she didn't have any problem getting this past the editorial page editors and into the paper:
The referendum on the construction of synagogues with the star of David is no different. No one quite says what the real issue is, but everybody knows: As grotesquely unfair as a referendum to ban the star of David may have been to hundreds of thousands of ordinary, well-integrated Jews, I have no doubt that the Swiss voted in favor primarily because they don't have much Zionist extremism -- and they don't want any.
Sometimes, antisemites reveal themselves not by their true opinion of Jews, which they conceal, but, rather, by their opinion of Arabs and other non-Jewish semitic peoples. Contrary to the efforts of orientalists like Bernard Lewis to persuade us otherwise, anti-semitism can, and has been, directed against non-Jewish people. Indeed, we can fairly say that it is thriving these days, as Applebaum's views are frequently expressed, in more virulent form, by American religious fundamentalists and Zionists when they describe the purported attributes of Islam, or, more specifically, the Palestinians.
The referendum on the construction of minarets is no different. No one quite says what the real issue is, but everybody knows: As grotesquely unfair as a referendum to ban minarets may have been to hundreds of thousands of ordinary, well-integrated Muslims, I have no doubt that the Swiss voted in favor primarily because they don't have much Islamic extremism -- and they don't want any.
Along these lines, it is important to note that representatives of the right in Europe cynically embraced philo-semitism after World War II, as a way of both cynically distancing themselves from fascism, especially Nazism, and resisting the left. Hence, a German rightist historian, known for his revisionist biography of Hitler, attacked Fassbinder for being an anti-semite because of his controversial 1975 play, Garbage, the City and Death, a play in which a Jewish character assumed the norms of his oppressors, and, thus, was unable to provide an alternative to the anguished protagonist. The embrace of Israel by the racist British National Party in Britain is the most extreme manifestation of this phenomenon.
A similar sort of philo-semitism is currently on display now. Religious fundamentalists strongly identify with Israel even as they hope that a conflict between Israel and its neighbors will bring about the second coming of Christ. Meanwhile, US military intervention in the Middle East and Central Asia is partially justified by the need to defend Israel, despite the fact that Israel clearly has the military means to protect itself. The conflation of Judaism and Israel is a common thread that seems to run through most current opportunistic expressions of philo-semitism, as it would otherwise be impossible for the people engaged in the practice to achieve their ends.
Hat tip to the Angry Arab News Service.