I’ll be the first to acknowledge a bias in my recent comments on Israel’s military operations in the Gaza strip, undoubtedly fuelled by disgust over the cruelties taking place. But we’d be ill advised to draw civilian Israelis or Jews into this. Let’s put the blame where it belongs: On Israeli authorities.
As a matter of fact, I’m equally disgusted by Norwegian protesters going after a supporter of Israel, shouting “Take him!” and “Bloody Jew!”, as was the case with the 73 year-old Mr. Sverre Martin Haug, who, incidentally, probably isn’t a Jew at all (screendump from Dagbladet.no – in Norwegian):
It’s almost as if you hear the word Jude resounding in the street, invoking a chilling sensation I can do without very nicely, thank you.
We should be very careful not to mistake the average Jew or Israeli for representatives of their warmongering government, hard as it may seem – especially if the bloodthirsty bastards are reelected later this year. Granted, the people responsible for the above mentioned attack were morons. Then again, as were the Nazis. If anything, the incident shows how vulnerable we are, allowing for that kind of attitudes to emerge. Also, it clearly demonstrates that anti-Semitism lurks under the surface.
The Israelis are quick to drag anti-Semitism into the picture, but let’s not forget that the term “Semite” pertains to all people of Middle East origin:
The term Semite means a member of any of various ancient and modern people originating in southwestern Asia, including Akkadians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Arabs, and Ethiopian Semites. It was proposed at first to refer to the languages related to Hebrew by Ludwig Schlözer, in Eichhorn’s “Repertorium”, vol. VIII (Leipzig, 1781), p. 161. Through Eichhorn the name then came into general usage (cf. his “Einleitung in das Alte Testament” (Leipzig, 1787), I, p. 45. In his “Gesch. der neuen Sprachenkunde”, pt. I (Göttingen, 1807) it had already become a fixed technical term.
I don’t know how the expression “anti-Semitic” came to apply to Jews only (well, I do now, obviously), but:
The term “anti-Semitic” (or “anti-Semite”) usually refers to Jews only. It was coined in 1879 by German journalist Wilhelm Marr in a pamphlet called, “The Victory of Jewry over Germandom”. Using ideas of race and nationalism, Marr argued that Jews had become the first major power in the West. He accused them of being liberals, a people without roots who had Judaized Germans beyond salvation. In 1879 Marr founded the “League for Anti-Semitism”.
Semantics aside, I would like to use the opportunity to urge bloggers and commentators, yours truly included, to exercise a minimum level of temperance, in spite of current atrocities resembling those of some 65 years ago – however similar.
There were Nazis and there were Germans. I think, or at least I hope, it’s safe to say that there are Israelis and there are Israelis. I only wish they had distinct designations.
And please ponder this: