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View Diary: The Simon Weisenthal Center Hits Back Against "Luridly Hyped Details" Emerging on Gaza (340 comments)

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  •  are there people (7+ / 0-)

     who actually blame "the Jews"? As opposed to the IDF or Israeli government policy?
     That's scary.
      Yes, anti-Semitism has very deep roots in Europe. It's long been around in the US too of course, and still is, but what startles me in Europe is you can make overtly anti-Semitic statements much more openly here, even in polite society, and get away with it.
      I agree with the diarist: what we have now is a vicious cycle where the horrific results of anti-Semitism in the past create such a victim mind-set among many Israelis that they justify atrocities that then help justify anti-Semitism elsewhere.
      Interesting historical fact: whenever you see people who treat their presumed ethnic enemies with such utter unfeeling brutality you just can't figure out how anyone could be so inhuman, you are likely to discover they see themselves as the victims owing to a history of extreme oppression or genocide in generations past. We forget that even Boers in South Africa were rounded up and put in camps by the British around the turn of the century, and this had a major impact on their sense of themselves as beleaguered victims. Then there's Yugoslavia, where so many Serbs were rounded up and killed in camps during WW II - something very much on the minds of those who were doing the same to Bosnian Mulsims. But like the Boers, they were not, rounding up the descendants of those who'd put their ancestors in camps, but mainly a third, weaker, in fact relatively powerless group (true, some Bosnian Muslims had fought on the Axis side, but the people rounding up Serbs in the '40s were not Muslims but Croats). It even works in Armenia: the first major genocide of the 20th century was the Turkish-Armenian one, then, as soon as Armenia becomes independent, it starts a major ethnic war with... Azerbaijan, ethnically cleansing almost a million Azeris. Finally there's Israel-Palestine, where you have exactly the same pattern: the psychology of victim status, based on very real historical experience, allows one to justify victimizing, not the actual culprits, or even the ethnic group to which they belong, but some weaker ethnically identified group of people that happens to be sitting next to you and you feel is in your way.
      I really do hope there is a way to break cycles like that. I think it's possible. South Africa now is in fact one positive example.

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