“Those people”

We were having a sensible talk about the Israel and Palestine issue. Like most sensible people, it really came down to: what a damn shame the English thought it was a good idea to put the Jews there. But then, the phrase came, revealing the scornful sentiments lurking behind this successful academic’s politics:

Those people. Everywhere they go they make trouble. First Europe, now the Middle East. What’s wrong with them?”

The successful academic I was speaking to was an Italian. When I told her I myself was part Jewish and I thought attributing blame of situational events to the inner psychology of the ethnic-religious group was wrong, as Orientalist as the Orientalists she lambasted in her own academic writing on the Crusades. Orientalists who made judgements on the existence of some “inherent nature” of the Arabs or of Muslims, such judgements being then judged themselves a posteriori by scholars quoting Said. The same scholars who pass judgement on Jews without a blink. She smiled, the conversation ended. She never spoke to me again.

. . .

At a lunch with a bunch of English academics studying Palestine, someone brings up the case of Jewish spies.

They always send someone to Palestinian events in Durham. A Jew who will say that you can’t talk about Gaza because of the Holocaust. The Jewish organizations follow our events just to infiltrate them, and stop any meaningful discussion.”

It didn’t matter when I said that all BDS movements which I attended in New York were run by Jews. Or when I said “Well just tell them ya can’t talk about the Holocaust because the genocide of the Native Americans killed a lot more people and that’ll shut ’em up.” They didn’t like that I was joking on such a serious subject as the Jewish infiltration at their precious little Palestinian film screenings for their precious non-Jewish English people. They didn’t want to be in the position of shutting Jews up. They adored the victim’s position of being shut up by Jews. Those people.

. . .

I tell them that according to FBI hate crime data for 2015, Jews are the most targeted ethnic-religious group in the U.S, being victims of 52% of religiously-motivated hate crimes. Muslims were 21%. A prominent feminist scholar from the University of Warwick tells me I must be wrong. When I insist I just read an article, she tells me the data must be skewed.

Maybe she doesn’t see the swastikas all over the place.

A Guardian article focusing on Muslims in Easton, Pennsylvania cited certain altercations they confronted: “Taunting in the street of veiled Muslim women. Swastika graffiti. Ugly confrontations of a kind that didn’t previously seem to have happened.” The article cited swastika graffiti but made no mention of Jews being taunted or having meaningful reason to be scared in Trump America.

I don’t think British journalists have much interest in talking to Jews.

Reporting on anti-Jewish hate crime serves no political purpose. It does not serve the liberal lust for showing off how biased the conservative crowd is for its focus on ‘Islamic terrorism’. See, they seem to (and literally) say, there’s white terrorism against Muslims too. And indeed there is. The thing with hate crimes against Jews is that there is no ideological gain in emphasizing its existence (except for fascist Zionists). It is just ‘there’, a component of our culture, as natural to city life as swastika graffiti. Yeah someone drew a swastika in a Jewish neighborhood. Why would that ever warrant academic fury or media attention? Someone drew a picture of Muhammed: Islamophobia is rife, statements must be made. Every murder of a Muslim person in the U.S is material for articulating this position: the Chapel Hill murders are endlessly cited (by liberals) as proof of the dangers of Islamophobia (read conservatism), when in fact the murderer was a madman with a gun, ready to burst at any moment.

Liberals have nothing to gain by denouncing anti-Jewish sentiment; they will only divide themselves.

Conservatives have nothing to gain by denouncing anti-Jewish sentiment; they rely on the vote of the white-supremacist.

They all officially defend the state of Israel because Jews need a state because they can’t feel safe in Europe. I wonder why that is. 

Those who say there should be no state of Israel say the Jews need a state somewhere else, because they can’t all just come to Europe. I wonder why that is.

It’s not for nothing that when I tell liberal Polish people that my great grandparents came from Poland, they stop me and say “but they weren’t Polish if they spoke Yiddish”, posing as a friendly joke. Yet when it comes to newly arrived immigrants: “we must defend them from the conservatives”. 

So the sentiment lurks there, in academia, on the streets, in the non-reporting, in the non-reporting of the non-reporting, and I’ll just sit there while people say “those people“, as though referring to a group of Hassidic spies planning on how to disrupt world peace. I know if I say anything, that’ll mean I’m one of them. 


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