Global Anti-Semitism and the Erosion of Shame | Abraham H. Foxman

Abe Foxman, of the Anti-Defamation League, on antisemitism, taking a broad interpretation. His point on the erosion of shame is valid, but is not limited to antisemitism as it widespread in the political, corporate, entertainment and other worlds. On Israel, he, like many commentators, do not distinguish between criticism of Israel per se and Israeli policies and practices in the occupied territories :

Anti-Semitism has characteristics like other forms of bigotry in terms of stereotyping, alienation from the other, and discrimination.

But what makes it different, and which goes a long way to explain anomalous things about anti-Semitism — how long it has lasted, how it pops up in different places, the concept of anti-Semitism without Jews, the contradictory accusations against Jews, etc. — is the core of the anti-Semitic idea: that Jews are not what they seem to be. The real Jew, according to the anti-Semite, is a hidden conspiratorialist, all-powerful and evil….

But other factors play a role and are increasingly worrisome. There is the erosion of shame about anti-Semitism as the Holocaust becomes more remote in time and as survivors pass away. The too-easy analogizing of every bad thing that happens today to the Holocaust, which the Anti-Defamation League condemns whenever it surfaces, is just one manifestation of the loss of impact on attitudes that the Holocaust formerly had.

Pictures of Auschwitz after the war did not lead to the disappearance of anti-Semitism. They did, however, constrain manifestations of Jew hatred. That loss of embarrassment over time reduces those constraints.

Additionally, the ongoing critique of the state of Israel is a powerful corrosive factor. Not every criticism of Israel is illegitimate, and surely not anti-Semitic. But when condemnations of the Jewish state are so clearly biased, when Israel is singled out for punitive treatment, even when some of those engaging in these activities may not be motivated by anti-Semitism, it opens up the Pandora’s Box of Jew hatred and makes it much more acceptable. We see this in the boycott and delegitimization movements against Israel, which lead to anti-Jewish activities, like isolating Jewish students on campus.

Global Anti-Semitism and the Erosion of Shame | Abraham H. Foxman.

The Anti-Defamation League’s House of Cards |

The Anti-Defamation League’s House of Cards |