Several of us among the incurably curious asked ourselves a simple question: what is anti-Semitism? That it must be written with a capital “S” says a lot.
Then we realized it also morphs. To that feature I can attest. In November 2002, I met a “John Doe” in London who proposed a research challenge. While meeting that challenge, I encountered various versions of anti-Semitism.
A colleague advised against this challenge. First he fretted at the criminal nature of what the research has since confirmed. Then he inquired about my safety. That said a lot.
The colleague was M.I.T. Professor Noam Chomsky. For his criticism of Israeli policy, he was attacked as a self-hating Jew. Were he not Jewish, doubtless he would have been an anti-Semite. For critics of Israel, those are the only two options. He cautioned me:
You’ll get the same thing: anti-Semitic, Holocaust denier, want to kill all the Jews, etc. It doesn’t matter what the facts are. Bear in mind that you are dealing with intellectuals, that is, what we call ‘commissars’ and ‘apparatchiks’ in enemy states.
Is anti-Semitism a geopolitical strategy? If so, for what purpose? Character assassination?
Ten months ago, I met with Professor William Robinson on the University of California Santa Barbara campus. We met soon after he was attacked by the Anti-Defamation League and its network.
Robinson had read Guilt By Association, the first release based on this research. His question mirrored Prof. Chomsky’s concern: “Are they going to kill me?” he asked. Who are They? Those who attack anyone critical of Israeli policy.
Anti-Semitism—A License to Kill?
For his class on globalization, Robinson provided an email link to a photo essay critical of Israeli policy. The essay had been circulating online for weeks. When two students complained to the ADL, its attack troops insisted on Robinson’s removal while its national network urged alumni to threaten the withholding of gifts and bequests to the university.
Word quickly spread among academics nationwide. That time-critical ADL strategy silenced on-campus criticism of the Israeli assault on Gaza. Is it anti-Semitic to suggest that’s how anti-Semitism works?
When the Anti-Defamation League intimidates on a national scale, does anti-Semitism morph into something even more sinister? The Gaza assault killed 1,400, including 400 Palestinian children. That slaughter was scheduled during America’s political and media “down time”—between Christmas 2008 and the January 2009 inaugural of Barack Obama.
Is it anti-Semitic to suggest a strategic motive behind the timing of Israel’s latest savagery?
Then there’s the motive for 911. Is it anti-Semitic to raise that taboo subject? Ask those members of the 911 Commission who objected—successfully—when the chair and vice-chair proposed hearings on the motivation for that high-profile provocation.
Instead, Americans were left to cope with the results of an overwrought reaction to an unexplained mass murder too quickly blamed on “Islamo” fascism. Only now can we see the full costs in blood and treasure of a war waged on fixed intelligence and false pretenses.
The fiscal tab alone is projected to total $3 Trillion. That includes the future costs of military pensions, disabilities, record-level post-traumatic stress, suicides and so forth.
All that money is borrowed, a first for an American war. The interest cost could reach $700 billion. Is it anti-Semitic to mention here that debt is always the prize?
At the end of WWII, the victorious U.S. was home to 50% of the world’s productive power. Our bonds were gilt-edged and remained so for two generations. Now we are widely hated, our credibility is shot, our credit rating is slipping and our economy teeters on a meltdown.
Is it anti-Semitic to ask, “What happened?”
Is it anti-Semitic to report that the so-called “mastermind” behind 911 cited as his motive the U.S.-Israeli relationship?
Would it be anti-Semitic to ask for an accounting of the “but for” costs of this relationship?
But for this “special relationship” what would be the current condition of the U.S.—financially, militarily, diplomatically, geopolitically? Would the computation of those costs be an exercise in anti-Semitism? How about future costs?
Is it Anti-Semitic to call for a New 911 Commission?
America was misled to wage war in Iraq. Who had a relationship with us privileged enough to succeed with such duplicity in plain sight?
Who had the means, motive, opportunity and—importantly—the stable nation state intelligence to deceive us from inside our own government? Is that question anti-Semitic?
We were betrayed. Does that betrayal trace to those who befriended us?
We were defrauded. Does that treason trace to those we were induced to trust?
As counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (1980-87), I crafted federal tax law governing funds under management. Those funds surged from $800 billion in 1980 to more than $17,000 billion by the spring of 2007.
Those tax policies created a vast pool of “money-on-autopilot.” Today’s consensus belief can be simply put: money should be allowed to pursue more of itself—freely.
The unspoken assumption is that money is smarter than people. That’s the generally accepted truth behind the finance-fixated obsession we now know as “economics.”
Legions of consensus-touting consultants insist that this One True Faith guide lawmaking worldwide. By law, financial freedom became a proxy for personal freedom. Tribunals under the World Trade Organization may yet enforce that worldview globally.
How did such a narrow perspective become a widely agreed-to mindset? How were we induced to set America’s course by those values peculiar to money?
Rather than the civil rights refrain, “Let my people go,” the consensus refrain is “Let my money go.” Were we induced by a subculture within a subculture…within a subculture to freely embrace the very money myopic mindset that now endangers our freedom?
This mindset first surfaced as the “Chicago model” before morphing over decades into the “Washington” consensus.
How were we as a nation induced to brand democracy with a point of view that, by law, displaces those values not denominated in money? Is that an anti-Semitic question?
Shutting Down Debate
Early on in this challenge, I included the noun “Jew” in a Google search. I received in return an automated response from the Anti-Defamation League implying I was an anti-Semite.
More importantly, how did a Google response appear in my email inbox—automatically—from the Anti-Defamation League?
The ADL network conducts trainings for law enforcement under recently enacted federal hate crimes legislation. By my use of a common noun in an online search, am I now identified in a database as wanting to kill all the Jews?
Mark Yudoff, president of the University of California, could have intervened in the on-campus events that caused Professor Robinson to fear for his life. He declined. Richard Blum, chair of the state’s Board of Regents, could have intervened. He too declined.
Judith Yudoff is the immediate past international president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism representing 760 synagogues. Blum’s wife, U. S. Senator Diane Feinstein, chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Is it anti-Semitic to report these facts?
My apologies. Clearly I don’t yet grasp what anti-Semitism is. Thus I throw the challenge to you the reader: what is it? Together perhaps we can sort this out.