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Interview :: Race
"Israel's Policy Promotes Anti-Semitism"
22 Oct 2007
Israel criticism per se is not anti-Semitism. That is wrong and leads us astray. How can open elections be demanded of Palestinians and then the results are not accepted?
“ISRAEL’S POLICY PROMOTES ANTI-SEMITISM”

Interview with Alfred Grosser

[Alfred Grosser cannot resign to Israel’s claim to power. Our ethics commands denouncing that claim to power – despite all vehement criticism. He was eight when his family escaped in 1933 from the Nazis to France. The political scientist is regarded as one of the trailblazers of German-French conciliation. This interview published in: Stern 41/2007 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.stern.de.]


MR. GROSSER, YOU HA VE BEEN ONE OF THE HARSHEST EUROPEAN CRITICS OF ISRAEL’S POLICY FOR MANY YEARS. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?

Very simply, I am a Jew. When France tortured and destroyed villages in Algeria, I opposed that with the same vehemence because I am French. When basic rights are violated and people degraded, denouncing this is a basic element of all ethics. Israel will not live in peace as long as Palestinians are humiliated at the wall and as long as a Palestinian state is impossible because the settlements and streets are only for Israelis. Territorial continuity is imperiled. One cannot govern with force alone in the long run. I was despised as a little boy in Frankfurt because I was a Jew. I know how that feels. Therefore I oppose Jews treating other people with contempt.

STERN: YOU WROTE LEGITIMATION OF JEWISH ORIGIN IS INVOLVED IN CRITICISM OF ISRAEL. WHAT DID YOU MEAN?

Germans are critical about everything except for Israel. Denouncing human rights violations everywhere else is no problem! That isn’t possible with Israel. I find that shocking. A young German with nothing to do with the German past – aside from responsibility that it never is repeated – must plead everywhere when basic rights are violated.

STERN: THAT CAN HAPPEN.

In this point I support Martin Walser’s criticism of the Auschwitz-cudgel. I see this cudgel constantly wielded against Germans if they say anything against Israel. If they do this, the cudgel says immediately: “I will strike you with Auschwitz.” I find that unbearable. I have always fought anti-Semitism. I will always fight anti-Semitism! But Israel criticism per se is not anti-Semitism. That is wrong and leads us astray.

STERN: WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINES?

The caricatures in the Arab media are pure anti-Semitism. Some accusations of anti-Semitism are scandalous. There are many gradations.

STERN: ISN’T ISRAEL THREATENED BY HAMAS, HIZBOLLAH AND IRAN?

The threat grows constantly. That has to do with Israel’s government not realizing Israel can never be safe with power alone. Other people must be seen and treated as equal persons. Israel may not allow the temptation to arise among Palestinians of seeing the teenage suicide assassin as a hero. How can open elections be demanded of Palestinians and then the results are not accepted? That ruins one’s credibility.

STERN: ARE YOU AFRAID YOUR CRITICISM COULD PLAY INTO THE HANDS OF RIGHTWING RADICALS?

After my 1975 peace prize where I harshly criticized disbarment or vocational prohibition, some critics said: “Communists are also against disbarment.” Should the word be rejected because it is exploited? Injustice must be named injustice. Israel’s policy promotes anti-Semitism. Israel’s critics of this policy also say this.

STERN: YOUR JEWISH CRITICS INTERVENED AFTER YOU SPOKE PUBLICALLY ABOUT ISRAEL. WHAT HAPPENED?

Hard to say. There were repercussions, a few telephone calls and letters of complaint. But I would not use the word “lobby” for Germany.

STERN: WHAT IS HAPPENING?

There is a more or less gentle pressure to self-censorship, silence and secrecy. For example, where are the reviews of Konrad Low’s fantastic book “Das Volk ist ein Trost” (“The People is a Comfort”)? There are very few reports – as with Low about how many Jews were hidden by brave German non-Jews from the Nazis and survived. With such themes that deviate from the mainstream, journalists should always think:”Can we publish this?”
See also:
http://www.mbtranslations.com
http://www.antiwar.com
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Try the Sharansky test
22 Oct 2007
Natan Sharansky has a litmus test for distinguishing legitimate critism of Israel with anti-Semitism. He calls it the "3 D's"

DEMONIZATION

The first D is the test of demonization.

Whether it came in the theological form of a collective accusation of deicide or in the literary depiction of Shakespeare's Shylock, Jews were demonized for centuries as the embodiment of evil. Therefore, today we must be wary of whether the Jewish state is being demonized by having its actions blown out of all sensible proportion.

For example, the comparisons of Israelis to Nazis and of the Palestinian refugee camps to Auschwitz -- comparisons heard practically every day within the "enlightened" quarters of Europe -- can only be considered anti-Semitic.

Those who draw such analogies either do not know anything about Nazi Germany or, more plausibly, are deliberately trying to paint modern-day Israel as the embodiment of evil.

DOUBLE STANDARDS

The second D is the test of double standards. For thousands of years a clear sign of anti-Semitism was treating Jews differently than other peoples, from the discriminatory laws many nations enacted against them to the tendency to judge their behavior by a different yardstick.

Similarly, today we must ask whether criticism of Israel is being applied selectively. In other words, do similar policies by other governments engender the same criticism, or is there a double standard at work?

It is anti-Semitism, for instance, when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while tried and true abusers like China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria are ignored.

Likewise, it is anti-Semitism when Israel's Magen David Adom, alone among the world's ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross.

DELIGITIMIZATION

The third D is the test of deligitimization. In the past, anti-Semites tried to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish religion, the Jewish people, or both. Today, they are trying to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish state, presenting it, among other things, as the last vestige of colonialism.
Often the motivation is anti-semitic
22 Oct 2007
Often the motivation for the demonization of Israel is anti-Semitic.
An article was widely distributed over the internet, and the IMC network as well a few days back. Apparently an Israeli company, 7 years ago, may have sold electronics to Burma.
This article was reprinted with screeching headlines over and over, ignoring the fact that
1. China and India are the main supporters of Burma
2. The article spoke of an Israeli company not the "Israeli government"
3. The tone of the article was tentative- the company "may have"- there was no evidence that it actually had.

Why would someone do research on the suppliers of weapons to Burma, and ignore literally hundreds of current articles? Why would they reprint passages of a 7 year old article throughout the web, when in essence it said very little? Why would they change the headlines?
Why would they assume the Israeli government and the Israeli people are responsible for the acts of an Israeli company? (Shall we boycott the Chinese olympics because Chinese companies sold us lead tainted toys?)
I wondered that, and the only answer i could come up with was anti-Semitism. Can you come up with a different answer?
typical Zionist bullsh*t
28 Oct 2007
Modified: 03:47:26 AM
As a Zionist, Scharansky is intrinsically incapable of the objectivity it takes to make an impartial judgment about anything having to do with Israel. It's like expecting a Jesuit to be able to be impartial about the RCC. More to the point, it's like expecting a stormtrooper to be objective about the Third Reich.

To be objective, we must judge Israel by the same standards as we would judge any other aggressive, expansionist, militaristic, ethnic supremicist state that preys on its neighbors, practices apartheid and drives to the east. Compare it to the Third Reich, for example. The only substantive difference between the two is the name of the favored ethnic group. The rest is the same, except for one thing. Israel hasn't used ovens. Yet.

Zionism is to Jews what Nazism is to Germans, an embarrassment to an otherwise admirable people. A racist is a racist is a racist. Down with them all.
Try Jon Haber's balance sheet approach
29 Oct 2007
To be objective, we must judge Israel by the same standards as we would judge any....

Absolutely:

From someone much smarter than myself: (Jon Haber, local commentator)

Jon Haber Says:
April 25th, 2007 at 2:30 pm
The mechanism I use to promote a healthy dialog on any political subject is the accountant’s balance sheet, with credits, debits and standards. Using this metaphor, a political movement (like Zionism, Liberalism, Marxism, Arab Nationalism, Conservativism, etc.) or political entities (Israel, the France, the Soviet Union, Syria, the United States) have their virtues lined up on the “credit” side of the ledger and their failings lined up under “debits.” The trick is that such a balance sheet can never be looked at in a vacuum, but can only be compared to the balance sheet of other political movements, nations, etc.

This technique is not meant to turn every debate into a “but he’s worse” argument. Rather, it assumes that any political project or entity exists in the real world and thus can only be evaluated by comparing it to other real-world equivalents. This is a far fairer way of making political and moral judgments than creating different standards with which to judge one society vs. another, a kind of moral double bookkeeping that often forces people to tie themselves into intellectual pretzels trying to explain why one nation (such as Israel) must be judged by how far it strays from perfection while other nations must be judged solely by their peaceful rhetoric, or not subject to any judgment whatsoever.