Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: The following is an interesting article by Aaron Dover, a British Jewish peace activist. It offers a critical point of view on Holocaust politics and the primacy of Jewish suffering.
My personal reflections on the Campaign Against Antisemitism survey, by Aaron Dover
In order to say what some might consider the un sayable I first need to deconstruct some mythical terms so let me just wade into some taboo territory as though I don’t even see the no-entry signs.
What is anti-Semitism?
“Antisemitism” is a word and a political construct. It has been loaded with meaning and importance like no other word in the English language. This is no exaggeration, it is not meant as hyperbole, if you want evidence of this you need look no further than the UK National Curriculum. I had a look at the core curriculum for secondary school History, and have quoted a section of it below.
- challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day
In addition to studying the Holocaust, this could include:
the First World War and the Peace Settlement
the inter-war years: the Great Depression and the rise of dictators
the Second World War and the wartime leadership of Winston Churchill
the creation of the welfare state
Indian independence and end of Empire
social, cultural and technological change in post-war British society
Britain’s place in the world since 1945
Now take a look closely at it. It does not say that the Holocaust is a mandatory subject, but it is implied, which is interesting in itself; the optional subjects follow and are clearly marked as such. The Holocaust is the only mandatory subject in this area. Not just any holocaust; there are so many to choose from by now; with new ones happening frequently; this is the Holocaust and is a proper noun with a capital.
The most important things being said here are those that are unsaid. What is unsaid? The Holocaust is the important holocaust i.e. the Jewish one. The Holocaust is exceptional. Not just important; nobody is here to argue with that; but exceptional. The other ideas suggested are important, and many, many ideas that would never appear on that list at all are also very important. The Holocaust is unique, and all students must know about it, and laws in place that criminalise Holocaust denial ensure not just that the topic is covered, but that it will be covered with the broadly accepted narrative. Every child educated in UK schools will be told about the Holocaust and they will be told the same things you were told.
Other holocausts might match it in terms of any particular respect; the brutality of the methods; the nature of the target population; the body count; the ideals of the perpetrators; their propaganda; their moral failings; and so on. But irrespective of any of those things, the proper noun Holocaust retains an exceptional an unique position in the prevailing historical narrative of all Western society.
As a result, a fully-educated Brit will certainly know that Hitler ran the Nazi party in Germany, unless he skipped class a great deal and his parents and friends never mentioned it, but may well be unaware that the British royal family are of German origin.
One of the implications of this is that every child in the UK will learn about Jew-hatred, termed anti-Semitism. No child will be left behind on this subject. They may not hear about other racial prejudices, other holocausts, they may not know how they got what remains of a welfare state around them, but they will know about anti-Semitism and Holocaust. This then becomes the common currency in discussions as the high water mark of evil throughout history, and this is the explanation for the existence of Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies).
The reason people reach for Nazi analogies so frequently is a result of it being this global common currency of an ultimate evil narrative. People wouldn’t write articles in the global press saying “so-and-so is behaving like Ceaucescu” the way they say so-and-so is behaving like Hitler. They know they would lose the majority of their readers on that remark, because no matter how nasty Ceaucescu is, he is just not as famous. Obviously there are countless other examples. This is quite simply because everyone knows about Hitler, and – crucially – everybody knows that everybody knows about Hitler. It’s a given. The Nazis are the one-stop-shop for evilness yardsticks.
The Nazi Holocaust of the Jews (and other victims of that same holocaust) therefore enjoys the same educational status as, say, basic maths. In the same way you expect people to be able to do a bit of arithmetic, you can be confident that they have covered these educational subjects. They will know that 6×7=42 and also that the Jews have always suffered persecution throughout their history and were brutally slaughtered at the hands of a maniacal German tyrant who we stopped. They will not necessarily have heard of Zionism, nor have any awareness of the Nakba in Palestine that followed the war. Nor, for that matter, will they necessarily have any knowledge of any holocaust in Armenia for example.
So it follows that you can go and do a survey of people’s views about attitude towards Jews, and that isn’t weird to anyone, because of the Holocaust. They will know the various tropes and stereotypes assoicated with antisemitism, if they were listening in class, the hook noses, the greed, the blood libels and so on. Therefore if you ask someone in a survey or focus group do you think people perceive Jews to be more interested in money than other people? What will happen is that they will recognise that this view is a view that was held by antisemites, such as the Nazis. You will also know that these tropes have persisted over the ages, because you were taught that. These are ideas about Jews that wax and wane across time and society but never vanish; that is what we are taught. So to enquire as to whether these tropes that you may have first heard about during Holocaust lessons are present today and to be asked if you agree with them is a fair question, if we accept the previous fact.
Hitler was a maniac. But he was not a maniac for his antisemitic views, because these were things he found already lying around him in German society to repurpose to his ends. The antisemitism was there, it is there now, it is here, it is all around us, always, like a field. The field is stronger and weaker in places, but nowhere in space and time is it absent.
A survey therefore is simply a way to measure the field strength at a specific location and time. The questions will reflect the set of tropes that we understand to comprise antisemitism. We don’t ask, in a survey; what do you think about Jews? Open questions are not suited to surveys. So instead we must create a survey based on a set of preconceptions of how to measure the antisemitism field. We ask people about their own feelings in respect of the attitudes we suspect they may hold. This method is fundamentally flawed if we seek an objective answer, because the questions are leading.
If I ask; do you think Jews are more interested in money than most people? I might also ask; do you think Jews are more interested in motorsports than most people? But I do not ask the latter. Of course, you can only ask a limited number of questions so you have to stay focused; and that means discarding anything which could be used as a control for any other questions you are asking. What if we asked that second question and 99% of people responded positively? Thinking “bloody Jews, all into bloody motorsports” would not be the kind of antisemitism we are probing for. It does not fit our preconceived opinion-fingerprint of an antisemite. That’s not to say a dedicated Hasbarist wouldn’t try to make capital of such a statement, but it isn’t one of the statements that sets off a buzzer.
What are these tropes? The stereotyped view of a Jew by an antisemite, we learn, is made up from a number of parts. The hook nose. The evil, the clasped hands, the leering girn, the rubbing of hands in glee at either massive financial gain or the death of Christian babies. That’s your antisemitic stereotype. There’s plenty more to it than that, it extends from this to encompass more. The blood libels, the Jew hungry for the blood of Christians; that’s a blood libel.
What do each of these tropes provide to the ever-eager antisemite hunters? A wealth of opportunity for allegations.
What is antisemitism? Antisemitism poses a very real and very present danger in the UK and Europe, and around the world. On that I will agree with CAAS and their ilk. That is by now one of the most politically powerful ilks in human history. That ilk has made it on the one hand compulsory to learn the Holocaust; but on the other hand has made it criminal to deny or belittle the Holocaust. It has achieved this dual success in many of the developed nations.
Antisemitism is a danger not to the purported victims of said antisemitism, but to the actual victims; those accused of it. Everyone lives in the antisemitism minefield. It is not neccesary for me to spell out the consequences for anyone who falls foul of the various bodies of antisemite-hunters that span the globe. Socially, professionally, step on an antsemitism mine, and you’re toast. You could be anyone; you can be the President of the United States, you are in the same minefield. You can even be a Jew, in which case the antisemite-hunter reaches into the bag for a self-hater label instead, it’s not a great substitute but it’s all they’ve got to work with. I’m not going to go into the self-hating Jew mythology here, there are more worthwhile subjects to address.
How do we fight antisemitism? In terms of containing antisemitic sentiment, we gag people and ban things from being said, and we keep everyone in fear of stepping on an antisemitism mine by making examples of public figures on a frequent basis. If people keep seeing careers destroyed by a misplaced remark on Gaza or similar, others will not become too emboldened, even if they harbour such antisemitic thoughts, to vocalise them.
To fight antisemitism, do we also stop the large scale killing of Jews by a monstrous machine of fascist brutality? No. Why? Because we did that decades ago.
How do we fight Islamophobia? In terms of containing Islamophobic sentiment, not very well at all, that’s how. We could try to restrain the media from trying to link individual incidents to all Muslims, through their overt and covert propaganda. But we don’t.
To fight islamophobia, do we stop the large scale killing of Muslims by a monstrous machine of fascist brutality? No. Why? Because we are the machine. The Western killing machine has run on a fuel of islamophobic sentiment for over a century.
But the media are focused more on the rise of antisemitism, or a perception of a rise. A survey of this kind signals simply by the fact that it is done, let alone the results, that antisemitism is something we should fear. The minefield is something we should fear.
But the fear of antisemitism is unrelated to incidents of antisemitism. The fear-to-incident ratio has never been higher; the perception of antisemitism and fear of that antisemitism has been boosted as hard as possible by the scaremongers of CAAS. They don’t even care if their survey methodology is a joke. If they send out their survey so literally anyone can fill it in and question 1 is “are you Jewish” and question 2 is “are you British” and you fill it in from any web browser… and take the answers in good faith… allowing literally anyone to contribute to the results… well then you cannot be taking the methodology very seriously. But CAAS doesn’t need to, because they know with their network they can churn out the intended results infographic and get the whole world media singing their song. It’s a song of victimhood that’s had so many re-heatings and re-releases that even Bob Geldof would blush.
It’s a song about the poor Jews feeling scared. Not being actually murdered or gassed or blown to pieces but worrying that they might at some point. Whereas the Muslims victimhood song doesn’t even chart, when they are being massacred day in day out by our stormtroopers and hired guns.
The world is tired of the Jewish victimhood song, and tired of this victimhood being used as a weapon, as a means to bully people into observing Zionist taboos.
Antisemitism is a terrorist weapon. It is used to terrify the world into observing Zionist taboos through fear of losing social standing, being labeled a racist, being fired, exiled, diminished, hounded. This terror is being escalated by CAAS and all the other antisemite-hunters.
I’m Jewish; It takes Jewish privilege to be able to say this. It should not. But to actually question the dogma around antisemitism itself, is one of the ultimate taboos. It’s at the very foundations of the Zionist enterprise.
I don’t think there is any special exceptional Jew-hatred, a special antisemitism field existing all around us throughout time. People are really very pissed off with Israel though.
That’s why the public perception of antisemitism has to be cranked up now, because the gagging needs to be cranked up, because people are waking up smelling the bullshit and calling out Israel for its actions. Now that is the kind of antisemitism emergency that calls for a total propaganda war. Expect more assaults on free speech, the mines in the minefield are going to be increasingly sensitive. Expect increased casualties of public figures. Expect people to become more reticent about saying stuff; expect media and social media to clamp down on any anti-Israel sentiment.
Because otherwise, you know at this rate, we European Jews will all going to the gas soon. Yawn.