Does Human Rights Watch Understand the Nature of Prejudice?
A few days ago, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, tweeted the following statement: “Germans rally against anti-Semitism that flared in Europe in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza war. Merkel joins.” Roth provided a link to a New York Times article about the rally, which took place in Berlin.Jennifer Rubin: Pushing back against the world’s oldest hatred
Roth’s framing of this issue is very odd and obtuse. Anti-Semitism in Europe did not flare “in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza,” or anywhere else. Anti-Semitic violence and invective are not responses to events in the Middle East, just as anti-Semitism does not erupt “in response” to the policies of banks owned by Jews, or in response to editorial positions taken by The New York Times. This is for the simple reason that Jews do not cause anti-Semitism.
It is a universal and immutable rule that the targets of prejudice are not the cause of prejudice. Just as Jews (or Jewish organizations, or the Jewish state) do not cause anti-Semitism to flare, or intensify, or even to exist, neither do black people cause racism, nor gay people homophobia, nor Muslims Islamophobia. Like all prejudices, anti-Semitism is not a rational response to observable events; it is a manifestation of irrational hatred. Its proponents justify their anti-Semitism by pointing to the (putatively offensive or repulsive) behavior of their targets, but this does not mean that major figures in the world of human-rights advocacy should accept these pathetic excuses as legitimate.
Meanwhile, as in Europe, U.S. college and university campuses are awash with anti-Israel rhetoric. However, on American campuses it gets dressed up as scholarship. (Singling out Israel and holding it to a different standard than any other country is classic anti-Semitism, as Natan Sharanksy pointed out. But for now let’s just called it anti-Israel propaganda.) The Chronicle of Higher Ed reports that, in a “joint statement issued on Wednesday, [several pro-Israel] groups argue that Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which provides funds to international-studies and foreign-language centers to educate the public and train security specialists, is being misused ‘to support biased, politicized, and imbalanced programs of Middle East studies.’ ” The groups argue that these “programs fail to satisfy Title VI’s intended purpose, flout Congressional intent, and thwart American national-security and foreign-policy interests.”Americans were too late in realizing Israel is not the problem
The groups point to two studies (the Amcha Initiative and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law) documenting the fixation some of these programs have on Israel, virtually all viciously critical of the Jewish state. The report notes: “The statement alleges that such abuses continue despite amendments to the Higher Education Act, enacted in 2008, that require programs receiving Title VI funds to reflect diverse perspectives. It urges Congress to amend the Higher Education Act to require recipients of Title VI funds to establish grievance procedures to handle complaints that their programs do not reflect a wide range of views. It also urges Congress to require the Education Department to establish a formal process to resolve complaints about the programs.”
This delusional perception is a continuation of the decades-long approach that Israel is the root of all problems in the Middle East, a sort of almost anti-Semitic approach. Our conflict has been so inflated by politicians and academics, that over the years many have fallen into the trap of thinking that we really are the problem.Open Letter to Henk Zanoli: the Dutchman who returned his Holocaust medal
Now that same Kerry is trying to build a "coalition" to fight ISIS, and he didn't even bother to come to Israel, because what good can Israel do? Are we Sunnis or Shiites? Or maybe we are part of the conflict of Arab nationalism against radical Islam?
Indeed, he was very late in understanding that not only are we not an Archimedean point with which the problems of the Middle East can be solved, but that we have a very weak connection to these problems. Only now, the Americans have realized that our conflict is at the margins of the margins of the real problems in the region.
I am truly sorry for the deaths of any and all innocent civilians, particularly the members of your family that were killed in the aforementioned bombing. I truly am. I am also saddened by any grief this may have caused you. That said I am concerned as to whether or not you are aware of the unfortunate connection certain members of this family have to Hamas, an organization with ideologies similar to those of the Nazis. Although the BBC made every effort to avoid telling this part of the story, your great-niece, the woman who married into this Palestinian family, has a brother-in-law who is a member of Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigades. This is a terrorist organization committed to the death of Jews to the same extent that the Nazis were when you behaved in the courageous and righteous fashion that you did so many years ago. My understanding is that her brother-in-law was in the house at the time of the bombing. It has also been reported that visiting the home on the day of the bombing was Mohammed Maqadmeh, also a member of Al Qassam. To put it in a different perspective, Al Qassam is to Hamas what the SS was to the Nazis. Brutal murderers with almost no conscience. Again let me say that you have my most sincere condolences for your loss, but I believe the presence of 2 terrorists on the premises at the time of the bombing is an important factor that can not be ignored.