Category Archives: Israel

Why they can’t abide the Jewish state

Hell hath no fury like a universalist contradicted

The belief in a supranational order which is now very common among European élites accounts in part, writes Dalrymple, for the fury they direct against the Zionists.

A conceptual anti-EU

Israel, Dalrymple notes,

is a European state, but instead of subscribing to European supranational pieties, it pursues its national interest with determination and without apology. It is particularist rather than universalist.

Believers in universalism

brook no derogation from their principles.

The Western European superiority complex

Dalrymple points out that as a European state, Israel

is held up to a different standard from Arab states, Iran or Turkey, because European states have supposedly now reached a higher ethical stage, that of national altruism rather than national egotism, a stage which those of lesser breeds without the (moral) law, still mired in egotism, have not attained.

It turns out that

it is rather more difficult to disembarrass yourself of feelings of superiority than at first might have been supposed.

Vehemence is the tribute egotism pays to guilt

Jeremy Corbyn compares the Israeli government to the Nazi, appears to mean it, and is applauded by many for doing so

The easy resort to the most extreme possible descriptions of people and actions that one detests seems, writes Dalrymple,

to be a characteristic of our times.

This combination of moral imprecision and verbal inflation has occurred in the West

with the large expansion of tertiary education.

The word fascist has come to be used

lightly, almost joyously, to describe anybody or any policy which conflicts with the moral orthodoxy of the moment.

Its employment

obviates the need to examine and refute arguments, just as no one needs (or is able) to refute a paranoid delusion.

The label

by itself is enough to stifle discussion, a word without definite meaning but with a connotation like the grin of the Cheshire Cat that remains when all else of that creature has melted away.

Vehemence, Dalrymple notes, is

the tribute that egotism pays to guilt. I ought to feel the wrongs of the world deeply because that is how good people feel them: therefore if I express myself strongly enough I will at least appear to be good. The stronger the words the deeper the feeling I appear to feel.

For instance,

a possible future prime minister of Great Britain, Jeremy Corbyn, compares the Israeli government to the Nazi, appears to mean it, and is applauded by many for doing so.

Old-fashioned Jew-hating talk and action on the Left

Dalrymple writes:

When Professor Mona Baker of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology dismissed two Israeli academics from the editorial board of two academic journals, the Translator and Translation Studies Abstracts, on the grounds that they were Israeli, not a peep of protest was heard from British academics.

He points out that

if she had dismissed the academics on the grounds that they were Syrian, Rwandan Hutu, or Muslim, a great fuss would have ensued.

Dalrymple notes that the Middle East conflict

has given respectability to old prejudices, especially in British academic circles.

He reports that 200 British academics, some eminent,

have selected Israel, of all the countries in the world, as the object of a total boycott, as if it were a uniquely evil state. While one can disagree strongly with the Israeli government’s policies without being anti-Semitic, the selection of Israel alone for a boycott in a world in which atrocity and suppression of freedom are routine must arouse suspicions of pre-existing animus—that is to say, of old-fashioned anti-Semitism.

There’s nothing like a good academic boycott

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 08.59.16It makes British academics, writes Dalrymple,

feel they are at the centre of things, important cogs in the motor of history.

And virtuous into the bargain,

for virtue these days is more a matter of making the right gestures and expressing the right opinions than of conforming one’s behavior to inconvenient ethical standards. It allows one to be a libertine on a Neronian scale and yet detect the odour of sanctity emanating powerfully from oneself.

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Gas chambers in Gaza

José Saramago: grotesque obtuseness

José Saramago: grotesque obtuseness and moral cretinism

The Portuguese Hobsbawm

Dalrymple reports that when José Saramago drew a parallel between the plight of the Palestinians and Auschwitz, a journalist asked whether there were gas chambers in Gaza. Saramago replied:

I hope this is not the case. There are so many things being done that have nothing to do with Nazism, but what is happening is more or less the same.

Dalrymple’s comment:

Quite apart from its startling lack of intellectual clarity, Saramago’s reply implies that there might be gas chambers in Gaza, and also that their absence would be a minor detail: Auschwitz and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians are essentially comparable. The comparison is odious, shameful, wicked, and stupid in equal measure.