Dog bites man—that’s what I thought when I saw this headline in today’s Ventura County Star: “Anti-Defamation League official decries anti-Semitism.”
I e-mailed the story to a former colleague and he made these comparisons:
“NAACP leader says lynching is bad.”
“Dodgers don’t like Giants very much.”
“Hell hot, heaven not.”
It is possible, though, to be a non-loathing Jew who thinks anti-Semitism has to an extent helped the Jewish community. UCLA law prof Eugene Volokh made that case last month in the Wall Street Journal.
Modest amounts of anti-Semitic speech and unfair criticism of Israel, it seems to me, can strengthen American Jews’ self-identity as Jews, and thus indirectly both support the preservation of the American Jewish community as a community, and strengthen support for Israel. Feeling embattled as a group tends to strengthen group solidarity. Hearing unfair criticisms for Israel tends to strengthen the sense that Israel is unfairly embattled and deserves more support. Feeling some fear of anti-Semitism reminds American Jews of the value of preserving American Jewish institutions. And it reminds American Jews of the value of protecting Israel, in case one day American Jews may need refuge somewhere just as European Jews once did. (“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.”)
First, I want to repeat an important phrase: MODEST AMOUNTS. Second, I want to ask that comments to this blog post not be anti-Semitic, unless, of course, you are Sacha Baron Cohen or the guys at Heeb.