Bizarrely, in an age when a US Attorney feels obliged to say, with a straight face no less, that ‘nothing’ about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Islamist attack on the Boston Marathon ‘was Islam-related’, we’re not apt to bat an eye, let alone raise a critical voice, at anti-Semitism. We have grown used to the derogatory treatment of Jews as commonplace, so much par for the course that it deserves only to be shrugged off, summarily ignored.
Consider, for example, University of Sydney lecturer Jake Lynch, who was spared the social and professional opprobrium visited upon Barry Spurr and Tim Hunt for their ‘off’ senses of humour. Never mind that a contemptuous Lynch was caught on video waving paper money in the face of a Jewish woman. No one called for his job or even for an apology. The object of his ire was, after all, just a Jew, and everyone in Lynch’s ideological camp knows for a certainty that Jews care only about cold, hard cash.
The resurgence of left-wing anti-Semitism is well documented, and well in line with the logic (or what passes for it) of modern progressivism. In the incredible world of identity politics, every Jew is equally responsible for the perceived mistreatment of Palestinians — unless they’re explicit and enthusiastic critics of Israel. While coddling Islamic extremists is one of the Left’s favourite pastime, Israel is always and everywhere unambiguously in the wrong. Indeed, the UN Human Rights Council is set to hold an all-day session today to discuss Israel. Think about that for a moment: the global Left can think of no greater human-rights violator anywhere in the world than Israel.
Need we say more? Actually, on this particular occasion, we do.
We’re so used to the Ahmadinejads and Jake Lynches of the world spouting Jew-vilification that we can sometimes forget they have yet to achieve a monopoly on the market. Yesterday, for example, Brisbane financial planner James Howarth treated Australia to a bit of good ol’ fashioned anti-Semitism via a series of stunningly stupid and grossly offensive tweets directed at Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Evoking the bad old days, when bigots did not need Israel as an excuse to indulge in Jew hatred and could fling willy-nilly accusations of controlling, and subsequently ruining, the global economy, Howarth upheld the proudest traditions of paranoid incoherence. Jews ruining the global economy? We owe that achievement to the progressive authoritarians. Maybe that’s why they’ve come down so hard on the Jews: they were getting credit for all the Left’s hard work.
Howarth doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo about the pretense of dressing up anti-Semitism as anti-Zionism. He variously called the Assistant Treasurer a ‘tinkering’ ‘central planning Jew’, an enemy of the free markets, and, in a particular stroke of genius, ‘Jew Frydenberg’.
Of course, conservatives don’t get a free pass on this one just because we happen for the most part to be vocal critics of those who demonise and otherwise attack Jews. Anti-Semitism still crops up in our circles from time to time and, sadly, will undoubtedly continue to do so.
The difference is that this has nothing to do with the sort of coddling that makes the Left so giddy. We’re well aware that Australian Jews, like their Israeli counterparts, are more than capable of holding their own without us taking them by the hand. In fact, I can guarantee there won’t be protests outside Howarth’s place of work, no will we hear demands that his co-workers defenestrate him in order to sate the terrible idol of Political Correctness. In all likelihood this will blow out of the media in a couple of days—though some, perhaps all, of Mr Howarth’s clients will feel inspired to look elsewhere for their financial-planning needs.
Remember how Brendan Eich, erstwhile CEO of Mozilla, lost his job for quietly donating to pro-traditional marriage campaigns? Bearing that in mind, surely no one will dare stand by this fool, who took to Twitter to absolutely insist that the world marvel at his loathsome stupidity. Right? On second thought, I doubt it. The twitterati responsible for Mr Eich’s forced resignation are, by and large, the same sort that would boycott their local Jewish-owned chocolate shop for co-religionists’ “abominable” treatment of Hamas, the poor dears.
But we’ll see.
In the meantime, let this be a lesson to those of us who believe that religious or racial vilification in any form is unacceptable in civilized society. I’m among those conservatives who thinks Palestine deserves a globally-recognised state (cue shock, horror), if only because, as I see it, denying legitimate channels to voice complaints can only lead to pursuing illegitimate ones. But it’s no use saying, as I’m afraid it will be said, ‘This shouldn’t distract us from the perils of Zionist imperialism’ or any of that nonsense. Howarth’s tweets represent anti-Semitism plain and simple. Or, rather, plain and simple bigotry that continues to bubble from a wellspring which should have been capped long ago. Apparently the masonry was shoddy.
Though we’re apt never to purge the proclivity to scapegoat from human nature, and because the myth of Jewish power somehow remains at large in our society, it isn’t likely we can assure Jewish Australians that the proper repairs will be done anytime soon.
But no matter, as Beckett said. ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’