Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Seth Freedman eliminates anti-semitism!

Seth Freedman, one of The Guardian's house Jews whom we last saw trying hard to dissociate himself from those "other" Jews who support Jewish self-determination, has just singlehandedly eliminated almost all anti-semitism in the world today.

According to him:
Last week's allegations in a Swedish newspaper sparked an inferno in diplomatic circles, the flames of which are being fanned higher with every passing day. Despite dealing specifically with the behaviour of Israeli troops in the West Bank, rather than being a broad-stroked attack against Judaism, the indictment against the Israeli army has been held up as a shining example of modern-day "blood libel", as though the forces of antisemitic darkness are amassing once more against the Jewish people in their entirety.

On reading the original story, it is clear that the article's content is journalism of the worst kind: based on the flimsiest of evidence, making tenuous connections on little more than pure conjecture and relying on dubious testimony in the absence of hard fact and proof. However, bad journalism does not automatically an antisemite make, especially when the allegations were directed at the Israeli army, rather than at Judaism and its practices. Had the article claimed that Jewish teaching encouraged the killing of gentile children and the use of their blood for ritual purposes – the classic definition of blood libel, and the origin of the phrase – it would be another matter, but in this case the accusations are clearly made against a subsection of Israeli society, not against Israelis per se, let alone the worldwide Jewish community.
So Freedman's test of anti-semitism is whether the accusation is against all Jews based on a libelous interpretation of Jewish religious teachings.

Which means that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion cannot be considered anti-semitic! After all, it was claimed only that some Jews wrote it, not all of them, and it was not a religious text but a political one. Some Jews, like perhaps Seth Freedman himself, never accepted the Protocols as guiding his life, so by (his) definition, it is simply a forgery, nothing at all to do with anti-semitism.

And when some otherwise good people claim that Jews control the worldwide banking industry to the detriment of "goyim," that isn't anti-semitic - because clearly not all Jews are bankers, only a very small percentage.

Jews controlling the media? Please! Even the biggest anti-semite knows that many Jews aren't in the news business. (Like the ones in Hollywood, for example.)

Jews having big noses and flat feet? Guess what - people who convert to Judaism don't have those genetic characteristics, so people who say it cannot possibly be Jew-haters! and the Torah says nothing about big noses, so it cannot be anti-semitic!

People who mistranslate the Talmud to accuse Jews of raping little girls? Well, most Jews today don't have the foggiest idea of what the Talmud is, so they cannot possibly be considered victims of that acusation, and therefore it cannot be anti-semitic!

Once again, Freedman is trying oh-so-hard to prove that he isn't one of "those" Jews. He is setting the groundwork for his own future. Because when "itbach al-Yahud" is changed (out loud) to "kill the Zionists," he wants to make sure that he isn't one of the targets.

Freedman then goes on to write one of the dumber statements he ever made:
Given the paucity of hard facts provided in the Aftonbladet report and its author's shortcomings when it comes to adhering to journalistic standards, the story is in all likelihood a complete fabrication, and the Israeli authorities ought to be able to easily prove the army's innocence.
Um, Seth - it is impossible to prove a negative. Even if every single dead Palestinian Arab is dug up and opened up in front of a world tribunal, counting their organs, people will believe the accusations anyway. And this is exactly why the accusation is so pernicious - it means that a single journalist can unleash torrents of latent hate by writing a single lie. Characterizing it as simply "bad journalism" is disingenuous.

But it is consistent with Freedman's worldview.

CORRECTION: I was taken in by "folk logic" about the impossibility to prove a negative. The argument should have been that the people who want to believe these sorts of things will not be swayed by any amount of proof, as the nature of conspiracy theories implies that the evidence is being carefully hidden, so in this and similar cases it is extraordinarily difficult if not impossible to prove that Israel is not guilty of whatever arbitrary crime it is being accused of.