from George Will, In Britain Anti-Semitism Endures
“It is very easy to hate,” says Sacks. “It is very difficult to justify hate.” Anti-Semitism’s permutations adapt it to changing needs for justification. In the Middle Ages, he says, Jews were hated for their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries, they were hated for their race. Now they are hated for their nation. “The new anti-Semitism can always say it is not the old anti-Semitism.”
But it is. It remains, Sacks says, “essentially eliminationist.” It disguises its genocidal viciousness, insisting that it seeks the destruction not of a people but only of the state formed as a haven for this people that has had a uniquely hazardous history. The international “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement, supported by many American academics, aims not just to pressure Israel to change policies, as South Africa was pressured to abandon apartheid, but rather to de-legitimize Israel’s existence as a nation.
Sacks says that when bad things happen to a healthy society, it asks: What did we do wrong? A fraying, insecure society asks: Who did this to us? Sacks notes that although Jews were never more than 2 percent of Germany’s population, this did not protect them from becoming the explanation for Germany’s discontents.