On Jews Being United

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By Gilad Atzmon

In his Times of Israel article “What All Anti-Semites Have In Common,” Andres Spokoiny, president and CEO of the Jewish Funders Network, tells us everything we shouldn’t know about the current state of the Jew/Goy divide.

“Today,” Spokoiny complains, “many Jews are willing to overlook and even excuse anti-Semitism when the bigots hate a certain type of Jews.” In the good old days, anti-Semitism was a uniting force. “Anti-Semitism used to be the big Jewish unifier. Jews were always fractious and quarrelsome, but when it came to anti-Semitism, everybody agreed. Anti-Semites hated us without distinction, so in the face of a common threat, we would recognize the danger and unite.” Spokoiny is nostalgic, he wants to see the Jews reunited into a fist of resistance against anti-Semitism.

In the eyes of Spokoiny, the three types of contemporary anti-Semitism, be it Left, Right or Islamic (“which is not only fascistic but outright genocidal,” according to Spokoiny) are in fact one by nature: “there’s just one type of anti-Semitism that simply dresses its ugly persona in different ideological garments.” So it isn’t just the Jews that should be reunited; the Goyim, or shall we say the rest humanity, aren’t diverse either, their oppositions to Jewish politics, Israel or Zionism are only a matter of “different ideological garments.”

In Spokoiny’s universe, the Jews are hated for being Jews. It is not that some oppose Israel for being racist, expansionist and genocidal. It is not because some may be upset that the Israeli Lobby dominates Western foreign affairs in the open. It is not because American and British boys and girls are sent to fight and die in Zio-con wars, it is not because some have noticed that it was a bunch of prominent Jewish intellectuals who have managed to reshape the Western ethos by means of so-called progressive ideologies. It is not because the media seems to be biased in favour of a criminal state, which happens to be a Jewish one. In Spokoiny, reasoning and self-reflection are pushed aside. In his universe some just hate Jews blindly, irrationally and for no reason.

But Spokoiny may as well be right. There is a common element in the Left-wing, Right-wing, Christian and Islamic opposition to Jewish politics, culture and ideology: opposition to choseness is how Bernard Lazare described it in his 1894 Zionist text Antisemitism: Its History and Causes. There is a shared common ground that unites all those so-called ‘anti-Semites.’ The alleged ‘enemies of the Jews’ are people who want the Jewish past to be subject to scrutiny like all other historical chapters, Israeli barbarism to be curtailed, Wall Street to be restricted, Palestine to be free. They want globalisation to be halted, immoral interventionism to die out. The so-called ‘anti-Semites’ actually follow the Zionist promise, they want Jews to finally assimilate and become ‘people like all other people.’ The so-called ‘enemies of the Jews’ are upholding the most enlightened rational universalist ethical positions. They treat Jews as ordinary people and expect their state and institutions to subscribe to ethical standards.

Spokoiny hates Alain Soral, the French intellectual who was sentenced this week to one year in prison by a French court for “negationisme” (history revisionism).

In the eyes of French Jewish institutes and Spokoiny, Soral is the ultimate enemy. He has managed to present a unifying message that appeals to the Left, the Right and Muslim immigrants. Soral calls for a universal reconciliation, between them all under a French nationalist egalitarian ethos. The French Jewish institutions see Soral’s call as a vile anti-Semitic message as it doesn’t seem to accommodate Jewish exceptionalism. However, some Jews have joined Soral’s movement. But they clearly demoted themselves to French patriots. They left chosenism behind, they see themselves primarily as French.  

“We in the Jewish community need to believe him (Soral).” Spokoiny writes, “We need to stop participating in the divide-and-conquer game of those who hate us.” In other words, Spokoiny wants to see Jews as one monolithic identity. One that sticks together and exercises its power. If Spokoiny or anyone else thinks that such politics may eradicate anti-Semitism, he or she must be either naïve or just stupid   . What Jews need to do is to self-reflect, to ask themselves why anti-Semitism is rising again. Jews must identify their own role in this emerging reality. Rather than constantly blaming their so called ‘haters,’ Jews may want to repeat the early Zionist exercise and ask what is exactly in Jewish culture, identity and politics that makes Jewish history into a chain of disasters. 


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