April 29, 2004

Anti-semitic conference

The OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) sponsored an international meeting in Berlin on anti-semitism.
The usual hand-wringing about an upsurge in anti-Jewish sentiment and condemnations of German skinheads for disfiguring monuments was joined by calls to stop attacks by Moslem youths. And of course anyone criticising Israeli Government policy is routinely lumped into the category of traitors of democracy who give succour to terrorists. So there.
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch at the conference told BBC Four's The World this morning he would vote for a Republican president for the first time in his life, because Mr Bush was the only anti-terrorist candidate.
It's amazing to see unconditional support for Israel trump any concern for your own homeland's safety in your voting behaviour. Has the term 'treason' now been redefined to exclude love for another country more than your own? Or does it only apply in Israel's case? Do we have to consider ourselves all Israelis now, or be branded anti-semitic?
I'm a little bit tired of hearing we have to support Israel through thick and thin because it is a "democracy in a sea of terror".
Since Israel defines itself constitutionally as a "Jewish state", it doesn't look like there is much space for democratic pluralism/secularism/rationalism, I would have thought. (But nice to see that this discussion is not closed within the Jewish community itself)
No need to flame me about anti-semitism. Thousands of gay men who died in the Nazi concentration camps have never stopped any religious or nationalist fundamentalist from vilifying homosexuals ever since, and you don't hear gay activists using their suffering under the Nazis as an excuse to try to shut down discussion on gay policies or to solicit uncritical support.
The OSCE should organise a conference about homophobia but I'm not holding my breath.

No comments: