Anshel Pfeffer’s Antisemitism Competition

Anshel Pfeffer of Haaretz asked his readers to answer, in 100 words, the following question:

“Why are some people prejudiced against Jews?”

Somebody sharing the name of the Evening Standard property correspondent Mira Bar Hillel gave the following:

The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles ) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.

However Pfeffer selected as a winner, the entry by Mark Gardner of The CST:

If prejudice is hating someone more than is necessary, then you must consider the anti-Semites’ charge sheet. So, let us be brief: Allied with the Devil to kill the son of God; lost God’s covenant; fought God’s last prophet; visible rejecters of God; kill children and drink their blood; conspiratorial; money hoarding; greedy; corrupting; mean-spirited; physically grotesque; contemptible; ferocious; ingratiating yet always alien and never authentic; devious, evil, corrupting geniuses; unchanging and unassimilable; racially distinct, self-superior hypocrites; financiers of war; harbingers of revolution; pornographers; hucksters and fraudsters; whiners and liars; imperialists and colonizers; thieves, racists, war-mongering destroyers. More briefly: scapegoat.

Well done Mark.


Dave Rich in the comments below says of Mira Bar Hillel’s piece:

Funny, I criticise Israeli policies to my friends and relatives all the time and I’ve never been accused of treason or antisemitism. Maybe she should find some different Jews to hang out with.

My thoughts, also below:

Jews in particular often have a pretty hard time with Jewish identity.

For a start, Judaism places a lot of impositions on you. So if you grew up in a religious Jewish household, your conflict with Jewish identity is likely to be tied up in your own conflict with your parents.

Feeding into that conflict are two factors. First of all, being denied things or required to do things: not being allowed to watch TV on Saturdays, being required to go to synagogue. Secondly, and more significantly, that you know that you will be targeted and abused for being Jewish.

It is not unusual in these circumstances to feel pretty resentful about having an identity thrust upon you, which brings you nothing but unhappiness. In the context of a family, that resentment is magnified.

It isn’t at all unusual for those who are the targets of racism or bigotry to internalise and reproduce that perspective. Gays who retreat into stereotypes, black women who don’t believe they’re beautiful, all know this. It creeps in by osmosis, as the default explanation.

Or it might be used as a tool to explain why you, despite your Jewishness, are different. Sure, you might think, most Jews are “whiners and liars; imperialists and colonizers; thieves, racists, war-mongering destroyers” and so on. But not me! I’m the exception that proves the rule, and that’s why I shouldn’t be persecuted.

So, here’s a short story about Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager:

In 1964, after having been introduced to cannabis by Bob Dylan in New York, Epstein was observed by McCartney standing in front of a mirror, pointing at himself and repeatedly saying “Jew!”, while laughing loudly, which McCartney found hilarious and “very liberating”.

It don’t think it was liberating. It was a fucking tragedy.