A thought experiment

Eve Garrard on Normblog. From it:

“How did we get to this stage, where parts of the liberal-left in Britain are quite unashamedly prepared to deploy some of the most traditional tropes of anti-Semitism? The standard explanation given is that the ‘root cause’ of all this hostility lies in the behaviour and sometimes the existence of Israel. The causal arrow, it is claimed, runs from Israel’s existence and crimes to current hostility to Jews both in Israel and in the rest of the world. But this explanation is not a convincing one, since the much greater crimes of other states have produced nothing like the febrile animosity and persistent demands for punishment and ostracism (at the very least) that Israel has attracted, far less the demands for the destruction of the offending state itself. So we need a better explanation, and it’s tempting to think of one in which the causal arrow is reversed, in which it’s hostility to Jews which is in the driving seat, a hostility which explains the distorted perception of Israel as uniquely malevolent and hence to be uniquely excoriated.

This reversal of the causal arrow doesn’t produce a fully satisfactory explanation either, since most people on the left aren’t consumed by hatred of Jews, aren’t driven by an anti-Semitic project to demonize them and to deny them the rights which others are routinely accorded. A world in which there is such a conscious project on the left, here in Britain, isn’t the world we actually live in. But reversing the direction of the causal arrow does produce an instructive thought experiment: if we consider what such a world, if it did exist, would be like, the differences between it and the real world will help us to understand our own circumstances better. Suppose that there were indeed a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the UK, particularly on the left. What would we expect to find? What would treatment of the Jews be like, as this new version of Jew-hatred got under way?”

Read all of this splendid post.


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