Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Antiglobalism's Jewish Problem

"Antiglobalism's Jewish Problem" by Mark Strauss Foreign Policy, was published on 12 November 2003 on YaleGlobal Online. This review and exerpts are even more relevant today...


Anti-Semitism is again on the rise, says Mark Strauss, a senior editor for Foreign Policy. Globalization is being pinned on the Jews, the traditional 'villain' of capitalism, and thus the Jewish people are being blamed for all perceived negative effects of increased market integration, Strauss writes. In the Middle East especially, where economies are stagnant everywhere but Israel, 'Islamists and secular nationalists alike portray globalization as the latest in a series of US-Zionist plots to subjugate the Arab world,' says Strauss. Israelis now have to defend their right to sovereignty against not only Arab activists but also anti-globalization figureheads like the French farmer Jose Bove. Within the rhetorical war against globalization, neo-Nazis have links on their websites to the writings of Noam Chomsky and other leftist intellectuals. Even more disturbingly, some leftist anti-globalization activists have been willing to advertise books that promote both anti-globalization and anti-Semitic principles. This willingness to allow anti-Semitism within the anti-globalization movement has scared some intellectuals, but, Strauss argues, too few pay it enough attention.

Anti-Semitism is again on the rise. Why now? Blame the backlash against globalization. As public anxiety grows over lost jobs, shaky economies, and political and social upheaval, the Brownshirt and Birkenstock crowds are seeking solace in conspiracy theories. And in their search for the hidden hand that guides the new world order, modern anxieties are merging with old hatreds and the myths on which they rest.

...The time frame for this resurgence of judeophobia corresponds with the intensification of international links that took place in the 1990s. "People are losing their compass,...A worldwide stock market, a new form of money, no borders. Concepts like country, nationality, everything is in doubt. They are looking for the ones who are guilty for this new situation and they find the Jews."

The backlash against globalization unites all elements of the political spectrum through a common cause, and in doing so it sometimes fosters a common enemy ...The new anti-Semitism is unique because it seamlessly stitches together the various forms of old anti-Semitism: The far right's conception of the Jew (a fifth column, loyal only to itself, undermining economic sovereignty and national culture), the far left's conception of the Jew (capitalists and usurers, controlling the international economic system), and the "blood libel" Jew (murderers and modern-day colonial oppressors).

...Jews have always aroused suspicion and contempt as a people apart...But modern anti-Semitism made its debut with the emergence of global capitalism in the 19th century. When Jews left their urban ghettos and a small but visible number emerged as successful bankers, financiers, and entrepreneurs, they engendered resentment among those who envied their unfathomable success, especially given Jews' secondary status in society.

....With familiar anxieties come familiar scapegoats. ...Modern-day resentment against the perceived power of international financial institutions has merged with old mythologies. The 19th century had its Rothschilds; the current era has had Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin at the U.S. Treasury Department, Alan Greenspan at the U.S. Federal Reserve, James Wolfensohn at the World Bank, and Stanley Fischer at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad once lashed out against "Jews who determine our currency levels, and bring about the collapse of our economy."

The spokesman for the Jamaat-i-Islami political party in Pakistan complained: "Most anything bad that happens, prices going up, whatever, this can usually be attributed to the IMF and the World Bank, which are synonymous with the United States. And who controls the United States? The Jews do."

Economic chaos in Zimbabwe, where a once thriving Jewish community of 8,000 has dwindled to just 650, prompted President Robert Mugabe to deliver a speech declaring that the "Jews in South Africa, working in cahoots with their colleagues here, want our textile and clothing factories to close down."

...Opposing the policies of the Israeli government does not make the new left anti-Semitic. But a movement campaigning for global social justice makes a mockery of itself by singling out just the Jewish state for condemnation.

...The consequences of embracing a double standard toward Israel are all too apparent at antiglobalization rallies. ...Worldwide, protesters carry signs that compare Sharon to Hitler, while waving Israeli flags where the Star of David has been replaced with the swastika. Such displays portray Israel as the sole perpetrator of violence, ignoring the hundreds of Israelis who have died in suicide bombings and the role of the Palestinian Authority in fomenting the conflict. And equating Israel with the Third Reich is the basest form of Holocaust revisionism, sending the message that the only "solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nothing less than the complete destruction of the Jewish state.

...Some Jewish groups sympathetic to many of the antiglobalization movement's goals have mistakenly chosen to remain on the outside. Jewish voices need to be raised when the shouting of the militants threatens to drown out other issues. ...In that spirit, Rabbi Joseph Klein told his congregation at a synagogue in Michigan ..."We will have to develop a strategy that allows us to participate in the effort to bring social equity and economic justice to all people, while at the same time distancing ourselves from these newest purveyors of (anti-Semitism)...."

He concluded his sermon by quoting from Pirkei Avot, the Jewish book of ethics: "It is not for you to complete the work, but neither are you free to withdraw from it."

Follow this link to the full article.

Also see this transcription of a Symposium: Leftist Anti-Semitism, By Jamie Glazov FrontPageMagazine.com September 19, 2003

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