Paradoxy: Supremacism Combatting Anti-semitism

Never Forget the Nakba, Islamophobia, and Racism meted out to others

Contempt for the Arab population is deeply rooted in Zionist thought.
— Noam Chomsky1

Anti-Arab racism is, however, so widespread as to be unnoticeable; it is perhaps the only remaining form of racism to be regarded as legitimate.
— Noam Chomsky1

In a Times of Israel piece on the need to fight anti-Semitism a perplexing observation and conclusion was made:

Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego of Toulouse, France, made a quick stop at Grand Central Terminal. There, he said, he saw something that in its casualness was rather remarkable — Jewish men wearing kippot without a second thought for their safety.2

The article drew a conclusion from the kippot wearing that it “… underscored the need to fight rising anti-Semitism around the world…”2

This struck me as an utterly backwards conclusion. Why is the conclusion not that Toulouse is a city whose citizens are open to and welcoming of diversity such that a Jew can feel safe to walk around without hiding his group identity?

The thrust of the article’s thesis was:

“The United Nations must step forward and play a pivotal role in combating anti-Semitism as well as intolerance, discrimination and violence based on religion of belief. It is a moral imperative for this institution to call on governments around the world to promote tolerance and mutual respect in their societies,” according to the statement.

The statement urged all nations to “declare their categorical rejection of anti-Semitism,” strengthen laws to combat discrimination, and prosecute those responsible for anti-Semitic crimes.2

I agree wholeheartedly with the categorical rejection of anti-Semitism, but I disagree with the UN focusing on one group’s exposure to prejudice and discrimination and whether such racism should be an international crime to the exclusion of similar consideration for other groups facing prejudice and discrimination. This is partially why I find the UN proceedings farcical and catering to supremacism.3

It is supremacist because a certain grouping of humanity is singled out from the rest of humanity for protection from prejudice and discrimination. This chosen group has been placed above every other group that faces racism.

Supremacism by a group epitomizes a group arrogance: the belief that one’s group is exceptional and deserving of special consideration over all other groups. The racist crimes committed by Jews in Israel are often ascribed to supremacist attitudes.4 The very fact that this group of Jews does not equally decry racism against any and all groupings of humanity adduces its supremacist attitude: i.e., that they above all other groups should be singled out for unique and special consideration and protection. This prideful, self-centered fixation constitutes discrimination against the rest of humanity.

Are there grounds for the UN’s focus on “anti-Semitism”?

Of course.

That the Jews have incurred the wrath of other groups throughout history is well documented; that Nazi Germany condemned Jews to concentration camps where massive numbers perished is also well documented history. This history of victimization, however, is not unique to Jews. For example, Communists, Roma, and homosexuals were also rounded up by Nazis and perished in massive numbers. Throughout history many groups have been singled out and incurred violence and genocide for being different.

Are there special circumstances and dangers confronting Jews today that call for an exclusivist focus on prejudice against Jews? The alleged extent of the anti-Semitism5 is belied by the eminence of so many Jews, greatly exceeding their proportion in the population, in many prominent fields including politics, business, academia, entertainment, and media.

Does anti-Semitism exist in any extreme prevalence? This should not be a exclusive consideration. What matters is whether racism in any form exists. It is unnecessary to even define what constitutes anti-Semitism because defining racism should be sufficient. That the UN would lend its auspices to single out one group’s exposure to racism and the need to contemplate international laws against such racism exclusively is itself racist and undermines the evenhandedness and integrity of the UN. The UN should be fighting racism on the legal front against each and every group that faces racism.6 It should equally be battling Islamophobia; it should equally be battling the caste system in India; it should equally be battling against the racist treatment of Indigenous peoples in Aotearoa, Australia, Canada, the United States, Palestine, and elsewhere; it should equally be battling for the rights of Black people being killed by racist White police in the US; it should equally be battling for the rights to apology from the former slavers and reparations for the enslavement to slaves and descendents disadvantaged by slavery in various countries around the world. It should be carrying out these battles with an unprejudiced approach. If primacy is to be assigned to any group, its should be assigned to a group which suffers unduly harshly from racism.

The UN supported the Durban conferences on racism, and this focused on any and all forms of racism. So why would the UN undertake supremacist proceedings? Why should Jews be exceptionalized for prejudice against their group? The UN’s undertaking is especially perplexing given that the UN committed the racist act of abnegating its own charter — which calls for “nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” — by granting Arab land, against any conventional morality and prior legal standing, to predominantly European Jews. It is perplexing since the Jews who came to historical Palestine apparently forgot the morality underlying the “never forget” mantra. These immigrant Jews formed terrorist brigades and carried out the Nakba against the Indigenous inhabitants, and they have been engaged in an act of slow motion genocide ever since.

Since its dark inception, the Jewish state has treated its citizens unequally and inequitably on the basis of their group affiliation. Israel is widely regarded as an apartheid state, and this is recognized by Israeli Jews themselves.7

The UN had already lent itself to charges of favoritism by letting Zionists off the racist hook.8 The failures of the UN vis-à-vis protection of Palestinians are manifold: the failure to compel Israel to comply with international law, the failure to end the occupation and oppression of Palestine, the failure to force Israel to accept the right of return of Palestinians to historical Palestine, the failure to end the siege of Gaza, and the failure to recognize Palestine as a state.

Yet Israel seeks to have anti-Semitism be recognized as an international crime by the UN — something not recognized for any other forms of racism.9

Given Jewish violence, racism, and violation of international law, why would the UN focus on outlawing anti-Jewishness exclusively? Having done so, the UN has demonstrated prejudice.

The UN must deal with and fight racism, hatred, violence, and discrimination against all groupings and not elevate one grouping for special consideration above all others. Prejudice against Jews is anathema, but so is prejudice against Arabs, Muslims, Blacks, Chinese, Roma, Dalits, the elderly, the young, the poor, and even against Whites. All prejudice against any group of humans based on their group membership is ugly.

The UN slogan for the anti-Semitism conference was “United against Antisemitism.” It should have been “United against All Racism.”

  1. Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and The Palestinians (South End Press Classics, 1983, 1999). [] []
  2. Cathryn J. Prince, “UN conference on anti-Semitism strikes cautiously hopeful note,” Times of Israel, 23 January 2015. [] [] []
  3. For more background, see Kim Petersen, “Suffering as Supremacy; Past Events Do Not Obviate That We Are All Equally Human,” Dissident Voice, 21 May 2012. []
  4. See, e.g., Jim W. Dean, “Israeli Supremacism [sic] rears its ugly head once again,” Press TV, 29 January 2015. []
  5. It is necessary to state, as I have done before, that Ashkenazi Jews – the largest faction of Jews (which illustrates that Jews are not an ethnicity) — are not Semites, hence the term anti-Semite is grossly inaccurate. []
  6. It must be stated that the term racism is used loosely. It is acknowledged that the concept of race among humans is a false categorization; my focus is primarily on groups. []
  7. See Editorial, “Another brick in Israel’s apartheid wall,” Haaretz, 18 June 2013. Also see Kim Petersen, “Apartheid: Stigmatizing Israel?Dissident Voice, 5 February 2010. The charge of apartheid, however, serves as a diversion. See Gary Zatzman, “The Notion of the ‘Jewish State’ as an ‘Apartheid Regime’ is a Liberal-Zionist One,” Dissident Voice, 21 November 2005. []
  8. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/86 undid United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379. []
  9. Israel Launches Initiative to Have Antisemitism Recognized as an International Crime,” algemeiner, 19 April 2015. []
Kim Petersen is an independent writer and former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be emailed at: kimohp at gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen. Read other articles by Kim.