Now, while I understand that one of the heated issues of the day is whether criticism of Israel need be considered a sign of antisemitism (the present study not surprisingly discovers that modest, thoughtful criticism of the Israeli state need not be, but intense criticism invariably is) I have for some time taken it as a given that most critics of Israel are inherently antisemitic.
Yet, as I say, I sometimes want to question my assumptions and mimic the methods of the good professors. More to the point, I wonder whether people will think this kind of study will help change people's minds as they debate the question of whether anti-Zionism is antisemitism.
So my question for readers is this: do you feel there is a need for social scientific study to prove the following (from a summary of the present study):
What is the likelihood that the op-ed writer, or cartoonist, or university professor who rants about the evils of Zionism is really an old-fashioned Jew-hater? Much better than most of us thought, according to a study in the August 2006 issue of The Journal of Conflict Resolution.But will this study help change peoples' minds in the argument of whether anti-Israeli opinion is usually antisemitism?
Goebbels was right. Repeat a lie often enough, and people will believe it. This seems to be true even in regard to Jews believing lies about themselves. For decades, so many of us heard pious protestations that strongly held views about Israel had nothing to do with attitudes towards us, that we started to believe it might be true. We didn’t want to believe that classic anti-Semitism was alive and well. It is Israel and the accursed Zionists they were after, not the Jewish people. The Soviets thundered this from the podium at the UN; leftist intelligentsia fed it to their students in the classroom and their readers in the Guardian and listeners to the BBC. Neturei Karta was stupid and/or treacherous enough to fully embrace it.
It isn’t true. Those who hate Israel, hate Jews, according to Yale researchers Edward Kaplan and Charles Small.Even after controlling for numerous potentially confounding factors, we find that anti-Israel sentiment consistently predicts the probability that an individual is anti-Semitic, with the likelihood of measured anti-Semitism increasing with the extent of anti-Israel sentiment observed.Kaplan and Small compared respondents in ten European countries (500 in each) on two series of statements, one that measured distaste for Israel and her policies, the other about the nature and behavior of Jews. They controlled for other factors, such as hostility to all members of “outside” groups. They did find less anti-Semitism in women, and people with better education (with the apparent exception of college profs and French and British politicians). They also showed that hostility to Jews correlated well with negative feelings about immigrants.
Can one be a critic of Israel and indeed not harbor anti-Jewish feelings? Categorically yes – if the criticism of Israel is not particularly pronounced.
(Hat Tip: Hodja at Infidel Bloggers Alliance.