Ottolenghi on Anti-Semitism in Europe:

A brilliant analysis:

Even as much of the bickering is about terminology, the refusal to acknowledge a return of anti-Jewish prejudice in mainstream European society is about substance as well. Presuming that anti-Jewish prejudice can only manifest itself under the guise of a racially driven hatred that always and invariably leads to Auschwitz prevents European societies from acknowledging anything but the most glaring expressions of anti-Jewish outrage, preferring to downplay or ignore its other, and currently more widespread manifestations. It should be self-evident that between Auschwitz and social harmony there are infinite shades of grey. Yet the problem is precisely in recognizing that the racially-driven anti-Semitism that eventually begat Nazism was neither the first nor the only form of anti-Jewish prejudice in the history of Europe. And that immunization against it does not necessarily guarantee that other forms of prejudice will not recur.

The main difficulty thus is that today's prejudice focuses on Israel's role in modern Jewish identity. Despite its centrality in their communal identity, Jews are targeted for their attachment to and support for Israel and are asked to relinquish them in exchange for legitimacy. This demand, far from being seen as anti-Semitic, is vigorously pursued in certain quarters in the name of a liberal vision that rejects nationalism and religion as foundations of a collective identity. Europe is today guided by a post-national, secular and pacifist vision of international politics - a 'brotherhood of mankind' worldview. Once again, Jews seem out of step with the dominant ethos of society, and for this they are chastised and under pressure to conform.

Israel is perceived as evil, both for its conduct and for its essence as a nation-state. Israel's policies - understood as the product of Israel's Zionist identity - are blamed for the rise of anti-Semitism. According to such view, Israel today deserves utter condemnation. It follows that as 'accomplices' in Israel's behavior, Jewish supporters of Israel are blamed for their own suffering.

To shield themselves, Jews are asked to discard Israel from their own collective identity. This step, and an active denunciation of Israel as the antithesis of liberal and Jewish values (themselves, in this vision, synonymous with one another), will gain them full acceptance in European societies. Scores of Jews, especially among the intellectual and secular elites, indeed comply in public acts of mea culpa, thus lending an alibi to anti-Semites and gentrifying anti-Jewish prejudice in the process.

In some quarters of Europe today, the only uncontroversial way to express a proud Jewish identity is through the experience of suffering and victimization from the past, which the Holocaust has come to embody more than anything else. The Jew as a victim and as a witness of the quintessential, archetypal experience of suffering emerges as Europe's positive Jewish role-model, in sharp contrast to the Jewish pro-Israel or even Zionist voice, which Europe chastises for having betrayed both European values and what Europe sees as the authentic Jew.

I would add that Jews played a very specific role in the history of the European Left: they were victims of all the forces, religious and nationalist, that the Left opposed--consider Dreyfuss--and the plight of the Jews, in turn, was used to further the European Left's agenda of internationalism, secularism, and Socialism (and exploited by anti-Semites who opposed the Left's agenda). Jews overwhelmingly responded to the Left's aid by becoming part of the Left, and Jews disproportionately, though hardly universally, adopted the Left's agenda. The height of the Left's sympathy for the Jews came after the Holocaust, which itself was seen as a vindication of the Left's views, as they saw Naziism as an unholy alliance of all of their enemeies: capitalism, nationalism, and reactionary religion (which, they assert, with some justification, saw Naziism as a bulwark against Godless Communism).

But instead of remaining perpetual victims, the Jews started their own country. As a struggling social democracy that replaced a British imperialist presence, Israel initially received a fair amount of sympathy from the Left. But Israel today is no longer socialist, and its Jewish population is far more nationalist and religious than the average in Europe. Plus, Israel "occupies" land that the Left sees as belonging to Third World people, leading to the charge that Israel is itself a colonial power.

Worse yet, Jews, once the Left's most reliable allies, have been pulled away from that position, in part by the pull of nationalist and religious ideology spurred by Israel. Although unjustified, as Jews have no obligation to be the handmaidens of the left, it's not surprising that the European Left hates Israel, and resents the Jews.

Imagine if after the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., African Americans would have, within a few generations, become far wealthier than whites, and suddenly become more economically conservative, and more supportive of right-wing Republican policies, than the average white! Do you think the American Left would have applauded their success, or do you think they would have resented African Americans for "betraying" their liberal allies, and seen prejudice against blacks increasing in their ranks? If you have any doubt, look at the way significant elements of the Left in the U.S. treat people like Condoleeza Rice, Clarence Thomas, and Thomas Sowell.