How antisemitism entered the zeitgeist

Writes David Baddiel. On the Daily Telegraph blog. It’s a bad state of affairs when the Daily Telegraph becomes a purveyor of fine thinking about a form of hatred the left forgot.

“The truth is complex. One way into it is to ask: how is anti-Semitism different from other types of racial hatred? The answer, I think, can be found in the language. To return to the high priest of drunken Jew-hatred, Mel G (I know this makes him sound like a Spice Girl: it’s intentional). Mel said, in his rant of 2008: “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” This is key: Jews are the only race whose negative image as projected by racists is high-status. It’s the same with Julian Assange’s (alleged) notion that a cabal of powerful Jewish journalists are behind the smearing of WikiLeaks; it’s even somewhere in Charlie Sheen’s renaming of the producer of his former sitcom Chuck Lorre as “Chaim Levine”, carrying with it as it does two suggestions: one, that Jews are the controlling forces behind the US media, and two, that they have disguised this fact about themselves and need to be outed.

Although they can also be called dirty, or cheating, or all the other unlovely adjectives that racists also apply to black people or Asians, it is only Jews who get this extra, subtle spin, that they are secretly in charge, secretly pulling the strings (of course it is only Jews who are not immediately recognisable as different, either – which is how we manage, I presume, to crawl under the wire and get weaving with all this secret stuff).”

And then there’s The Y Word.

Read it all.


One thought on “How antisemitism entered the zeitgeist

  1. John-Paul Pagano

    I think the author Baddiel doesn’t have it quite right. Anti-Jewish racism isn’t different from other types of racial hatred inasmuch as it invests Jews with “high-status”. Rather the hateful conferral of high status is a key characteristic of ideological racism — the kind of eliminationist racism, in mode and scope, of the Nazis. This is in contrast to the ‘low-status’ mode and scope of the exploitationist racism of Jim Crow America and apartheid South Africa.

    Why the targets of eliminationist racism are regarded with diabolical esteem is easy to understand. The goal of exploitationist racism is to enshrine a system of plunder whose byproduct is death. The goal of eliminationist racism is to enshrine a system of death whose byproduct is plunder. The simultaneous investment of Jews with fathomless power and turpitude makes the final solution clear. Murder is justified through Manichaeanism.


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