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Apr. 8, 2004. 01:00 AM
Hatred of Jews is irrational

In outer space, scientists have located areas designated as "black holes." These holes are able to suck into their interior different forms of matter, such as light, X-rays, and even stars. Theory has it that nothing ever escapes. Nobody really has an explanation for the phenomenon.

Here on Earth we have our own "black hole" that has the ability to capture individuals, peoples, nations, ideas, political theories and religions. But this black hole does not keep them trapped. It returns them to the world, in whole or part, as full-blown, irrational, active, Jew-haters. Nobody really has an explanation for the phenomenon.

Hannah Arendt told a story of a joke passed around after World War I. "An anti-Semite claimed that Jews had caused the war. The reply came back: Yes, the Jews and the bicyclists. Why the bicyclists, asks one. Why the Jews, asks the other."

What exactly do the entities captured by our earthly black hole have in common? Very little. In fact, outside of hating Jews, they seem to have little or nothing in common and would find themselves on opposing sides of most debates.

In the black hole of Jew hatred can be found some, but not all, anti-war activists, Communists, socialists, conservatives, liberals, anti-Americans, gays and lesbians, environmentalists, anti-globalizationists, Muslims (Shiite and Sunni), Christians, Hindus, non-governmental organizations, the United Nations, and a few self-hating Jews. They all need a handy scapegoat for real and imagined ills and the Jews serve this purpose.

Many of these folks call themselves anti-Zionists and proclaim vehemently that they are not anti-Semitic.

Natan Sharansky, a minister in the Israeli government, outlines a simple test to determine the difference between honest, valuable criticism of Israeli policy and anti-Semitism. He calls it the three "D" test.

The first "D" is demonization. When you compare Israel to Nazi Germany, you are demonizing Israel. To compare democratic Israel to fascist Germany, implying "they did it to you and now you're doing it to others" is absurd and sick. That there is no real basis for comparison is irrelevant.

The second "D" is double-standard where criticism is applied selectively.

Do similar policies by other governments bring on the same vehement criticisms? It is Jew-hate when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuse while Cuba, Syria, Russia, China, Iran, Zimbabwe, to name just a few, are virtually ignored.

The third "D" is the delegitimization of Israel, the claim that the state has no right to exist. Why not a state for the Jews? They are as entitled as any other peoples in the world. To call them colonialists and segregationists is a flagrant misuse of both words.

Because Israel is an ally of the United States, the anti-Americans and the anti-globalists extend their hatred of America to Israel. It is not rational but they do not seem to care.

From the black hole creeps NGOs allied with European Union states. This group condemned Israel, and only Israel, at the World Conference On Racism in Durban, South Africa. It is the ultimate irony that a people who have suffered so profoundly and continuously from racial hatred should be singled out for vilification from among the many racist nations of the world.

Saudi Arabia is immune from criticism although it does not allow churches or synagogues in its territory. In Bosnia and Rwanda, where so many hundreds of thousands were slaughtered because of their ethnic origin, to single out only Israel for racism is a sick joke.

In the world of Soviet communism, Jews were regarded as ideological immigrants. Not to be trusted! Agents of capitalists! I remember that in the West, Jews were branded as Communists. Not to be trusted! Agents of the Soviet Union! If you needed a devil, the Jew was it.

But the need for a scapegoat extends even to the Arabs. In "The Saudi Paradox" by Michael Doran in Foreign Affairs magazine, the Wahhabis, the Sunni Muslims who rule Saudi Arabia, claim that the Shiites are the descendants of a converted Jew, Abdullah bin Saba, and are interested in subverting the Sunni Muslims. Most Muslims believe the Jews are responsible for the horrors of 9/11.

Will wonders never cease?

It is curious that Jews, who have historically been treated like pariahs, portrayed as evil, deformed outcasts, excluded actively or passively from participation in various aspects of public life, have somehow managed to control the media, and even the world.

I am not particularly optimistic that the near future will bring a lessening of Jew-hate. In Mel Gibson's film The Passion Of The Christ, Jews are not shown in a favourable light. How can Jews today be blamed for an event that took place 2,000 ago?

The vast majority of people in North America are not anti-Semitic. But, like most people, they are unwilling to get involved or to speak out, except in extreme circumstances, and we know from history where that can lead.

Murray Rubin is a member of the Star's community editorial board.

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