Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Irwin Cotler, "The global reawakening of anti-Semitism," National Post, February 21, 2009.

[This has already touched off an interesting controversy among the comments to the article. I don't think it will be going away any time soon. Cotler does not give any indication of the terms under which he believes deep criticism of Israel may be entertained as it routinely is entertained of other nations, including, but not limited to, the US, UK, Russia, Georgia, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Cuba, France, Germany, China, etc. Not all people of Jewish descent embrace Israel as "the collective Jew" standing on the international stage in place of them all. In a recent interview with Gila Svirsky, Co-Chair of BT'selem, I asked what her message was for North Americans. "Don't abandon us," she said. "Don't abandon us to our lousy politicians." -jlt]

Following is the keynote address by the Honourable Irwin Cotler at the founding conference of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA)

What we are witnessing today - and which has been developing incrementally, sometimes imperceptibly, and even indulgently, for some thirty-five years now - is a new sophisticated, globalizing, virulent and even lethal antisemitism, reminiscent of the atmospherics of the 30s, and without parallel or precedent since the end of the Second World War.

The new anti-Jewishness overlaps with classical antisemitism but is distinguishable from it. It found early juridical, and even institutional, expression in the United Nations' 'Zionism is Racism' resolution - which the late US Senator Daniel Moynihan said "gave the abomination of antisemitism the appearance of international legal sanction" - but has gone dramatically beyond it. This new antisemitism almost needs a new vocabulary to define it; however, it can best be identified using a rights-based juridical perspective.

  The new antisemitism involves the discrimination against the right of the Jewish people to live as an equal member of the family of nations - the denial of, and assault upon, the Jewish people's right even to live - with Israel as the 'collective Jew among the nations'.

Read the rest, and the comments, here =>Recommend this Post

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The Mound of Sound said...

Jim it's a smear job aimed at silencing by intimidation any legitimate criticism of Israel and its policies toward the Palestinians. Cotler's approach is to label even fair critics anti-Semitic. It's the same thing Dershowitz has been peddling lately and it's tiresome, pathetic even.

Anonymous said...

And it doesn't work any more!

I find this Gideon Levy's quote very sharp: If Israelis were so sure of the rightness of their cause, why the violent intolerance they display toward everyone who tries to make a different case? I would replace "Israelis" with "Zionist fundamentalists" though because heaven knows not all Israelis support their government's policies - see here and here for recent commentaries on this issue.

The Mound of Sound said...

Great links, Gene. thanks!

Anonymous said...

You're welcome, MoS!