2010-11-17 / Editorial

Antisemitism continues to grow despite efforts to eradicate it

Why does antisemitism endure?

Two recent talks by prominent figures have emphasized several key elements of antisemitism and why it is so difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate.

The first talk was by Harvard University Professor Ruth Wisse in August at the Conference of the Yale Interdisciplinary Initiative for the Study of Anti-Semitism. An article based on her talk appeared in this month’s issue of Commentary Magazine (www.commentarymagazine. com).

Antisemitism is an extraordinarily useful tool for those who adopt it. For example, it is not Israel that causes antisemitism to exist in the Arab world, it is, as Wisse notes, the fact that by pointing an accusatory finger at Jews and Israel, Arab leaders can draw the attention of their own people and the world away from “the systematic oppression and immiseration of their own people…. The pointing finger keeps negative attention focused on the Jews—or Israelis…”

Another reason why antisemitism continues to endure, and, according to some observers grow, is the Internet. New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith (R-4) made this point in his address last week at the Ottawa Conference of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition Combating Anti-Semitism (ICCA). Smith noted the Internet’s power to spread antisemitism from any location. He also pointed out that “the ability to post such hate speech anonymously is fueling the occurrence.”

Why does antisemitism continue to endure? Part of the answer lies in the fact that antisemitism is politically useful to many of its promoters and that it literally can travel around the world to untold numbers of people in an instant. This is not good news to those people of all faiths working toward an end to antisemitism. ..

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