CapitalismEssaysThe Left

Seven Steps toward Enlightenment: The Case of the French Killings

When a crystal breaks, it breaks along lines of pre-existing weakness. Thus traumatic assaults, like the one in Paris, can serve as X-rays into the body politic that endures them. Certainly, the US invasion of Iraq, a response to 9/11, serves as a paradigm case of how a terroristic attack can provoke the blind aggressivity otherwise obscured and disguised in the self-professed guarantor of world peace. By examining the range of responses to the massacre at Hebdo, we can learn something more about ourselves, and perhaps correct our mistaken stance. In my view there are seven levels of response to these attacks, each a mixture of ideology and truth, progressing closer and closer to something comprehensive and just, albeit also elegiac and incomplete. …


Israel’s Right-Wingers Have Problems with Facts

Israel’s right-wingers never stop providing spectacular examples of the all-too-human tendency to avoid facts that contradict their worldview. Two weeks ago I showed how the Anti-Defamation League’s anti-Semitism survey demonstrates the falsity of Netanyahu & Co.’s favorite theory that anti-Semitism is the source of Israeli criticism. The ADL’s study shows the opposite: European criticism of Israel’s occupation is negatively correlated with anti-Semitic attitudes, i.e. that countries like Sweden and Britain, which are almost devoid of such attitudes, criticize Israel most strongly, whereas countries that Netanyahu & Co. consider as friends harbor high levels of anti-Semitism.

The ADL’s survey produced one result that, while not unexpected, certainly requires further thought and analysis: Arab countries have by far the highest rate, 74% of the population, of anti-Semitic attitudes. …