Ruth Wisse

Ruth Wisse writes The Suicidal Passion – Who is damaged more by anti-Semitism- Jews, or those who organize politics against them,  in The Weekly Standard 11/21/11


Anti-Semitism, or the organization of politics against the Jews, is at once the most protean and the most misunderstood force in modern politics. Because it works through misdirection, most people associate it with Jews who are its target, rather than with anti-Semites who are its perpetrators. But whether aimed at the Jews in their dispersion or in their homeland, anti-Semitism and its offshoot anti-Zionism are about the Jews only in the way that fox hunting is about foxes. Those who organize their hunt around the fox consider it the best animal to hunt. Important as it may be to identify those features in the swift little animal that make it the chosen target of those giving chase, any analysis of fox hunting must concentrate on the hunters—their motivations, strategies, implements, goals, and perceived gains. Fox hunting stops when there is a change in hunters, not in foxes. So, too, with anti-Semitism. Only changes in the implicated countries can arrest the political process their leadership promotes.

Arab leaders do not yet acknowledge that they sealed the doom of their societies in 1948 when they organized their politics against the Jewish state rather than toward the improvement of their countries. Like a great many autocrats, dictators, tyrants, and antiliberal rulers before them, the founders of the Arab League in 1945 found it convenient to mobilize against the Jews and against the competitive way of life they represent. Whereas Europeans were jolted by revelations of what came to be known as the Holocaust into awareness of the ruin anti-Semitism had wrought, Arab leaders saw in the Jews the same political opportunities that had enticed Germany. Anti-Semitism was the European ideology most eagerly imported and adapted to the Middle East.

HKO Comment:

This is a very rich article worth a couple of readings. In these passages, Wisse exmines the effect of antii-Semitism on the perpetrators rather than the intended victims.  Perhaps the destruction of the perpetrators is less the result of divine justice than their abject failure to accept responsibility to build their own society.

The history of anti-Semitism is caught in a twisted Catch 22.  The perpetrators hold to power in the face of their own miserable failures by blaming the Jews, but if they extinguish the Jews they also remove their chief uniting cause.   This is why they often chose to marginalize the Jews rather than eliminate them.

The exception was of course Nazi Germany that truly sought to annihilate the Jewish people and devoted so much in the way of energy and resources toward this goal that they drowned in their own hatred.

The Middle East is following in their footsteps with the distinct difference that the Arab world is far less developed, less educated and less industrial than Germany was during the Third Reich.  The greater difference is that the Jews, having their own nation, are able to defend themselves.