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Lavrov on “Anti-Semitism of The Jews” is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

The diminishing devaluation of certain words has always proven the cynicism of politicians and the irresponsibility of the media, but the reckless and intentionally inappropriate use of other words is creating irreparable damage to the cause they’re meant to serve. One of the words that falls into both of these categories –– and perhaps the most dishonestly and disingenuously used –– is the term “anti-Semitism.”

Seemingly in real-time and before our eyes, the deprivation of the actual meaning of the word “anti-Semitism” has reached its apogee. The statements shared on Italian television a few days ago by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who accused Jews of “the greatest anti-Semitism,” demonstrates utter absurdity –– not only the misuse of the word, but the deranged concept of the very idea of “the anti-Semitism of the Jews.”

Or a couple weeks ago when French President Macron called Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki an anti-Semite –– solely based on trivial anger for being criticized for his ineffective calls to Putin –– I figured I’d just witnessed the peak of absurdity, that it’d be impossible to come up with more ridiculous nonsense in the international forum.

Yet just minutes later I was proven wrong when Lavrov “saw” Macron’s statement and “raised” him almost immediately. Pretty drastically for that matter.

Lavrov’s accusation of Jewish anti-Semitism –– to be clear, the anti-Semitism of Jews by Jews against Jews –– and his repetition of nonsense about Hitler’s Jewish origins should’ve ended this scandalous slander.

Realistically it should have ended not only his specific slander, but the entire slander mechanism. But unfortunately that presupposes the world is still (or ever was) governed by logic.

Unfortunately we can no longer merit such delusions: the world is not rational –– perhaps it never was –– and the word “anti-Semitism” will continue to be utilized for “witch hunts” until it’s completely and permanently discredited.

In the early twentieth century, anti-Semitism was an irrational political position. After the Holocaust, it rightly and justly became a synonym for mass murder. The most stringent associations with anti-Semitism were the German gas chambers and crematoria. And it wasn’t just accurate, it was a downright emotional word. After all, anti-Semitism is the ideological foundation of genocide on an unprecedented scale; it alone caused the death of innocent millions.

Over time, however, a somewhat simple –– though entirely simplistic –– mechanism began to develop: if the accusation of anti-Semitism could be directed against any political opponent, then the very accusation itself automatically embodied the odium of those genocidal associations. So it quickly became arguably the most effective method of destroying not only an opponent’s particular argument, but their entire reputation.

Accusations of anti-Semitism began to be used as a simpleton’s “billy club” (most often against political opponents) with no connection to reality or common sense (i.e. without an arguable basis). Any pretext, however flimsy, was more than enough. So it’s no surprise these accusations continue to grow exponentially. They arise from blatant selfishness and seemingly intentional disregard for the true definition and context of the word. Or to put it another way, the actual and factual cases of hatred against Jews are perpetually drowned in a sea of imaginary slanderous accusations.

And accusers could care less about the credibility of their accusations, because the trivial nature of their condemnations actually works in their favor; it signals “a higher degree of their sensitivity.” But in so doing –– and in so implicitly thinking –– they’re not only trivializing the word, but the concept of anti-Semitism itself. And what’s been happening as a result? Fewer and fewer people are taking the accusations of anti-Semitism seriously. Unjustified accusations corrupt the word, and intentionally discredited accusations cheapen the term absolutely. The word has been worn out, its use utterly pointless. And today, the word has become colloquial “easy speak,” only cementing its discredited disinformation.

The word that represents the crux for millions of victims of the Holocaust –– a tragedy we must never forget –– has lost its value, it’s actual meaning. And it’s far from over. It’s still a pending issue; this “slouching” process continues.

Now of course what’s been described in no way means that we shouldn’t react to real manifestations of unjustified prejudice or hostility towards Jews, from which the Western world will never be free, including Poland. (Although it can and should be argued that Poland suffers from far less than Western Europe.) The problem here isn’t justified opposition to actual anti-Semitism –– whether right-wing or left-wing, Islamic or secular –– but the intentional, malevolent use of false anti-Semitism accusations for your own political or personal gain.

The examples from just the last few years prove that the problem has infested a broad political spectrum and all spheres of life. Here are some random ones from our own Polish backyard. A “list” of anti-Semitism accusations: the left-wing columnist and philosopher Jan Hartman accusing the chairman of the ruling party and right-wing politician Jarosław Kaczyński, the centrist politician and historian Paweł Śpiewak accusing the leftist columnist Tomasz Lis, and the Polish mainstream media accusing a provincial politician of anti-Semitism after he described rival candidates thusly, “After the elections they will have as much to say as Jews in the ghetto.”

While his quote proved his historical awareness of the tragic situation of Jews under the rule of the Third Reich, it unfortunately allowed his political opponents to level the very same anti-Semitism accusation against him just by comparing political rivals to victims of Nazi genocide. Those are just a few random political samples… To help introduce a current nefarious instance.

Recently, the Israeli Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University accused Polish conservative journalists of anti-Semitism, specifically Magdalena Ogórek, Marcin Wolski, and Rafał Ziemkiewicz. Please note that billionaire Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor, who exclusively finances the activities of this organization, is currently subject to sanctions due to his links with Putin. And that’s especially important because the recent Russian campaign against Poland represents a far more serious level of political action –– intentional and propagandistic formulations by the Russian media accusing Poland and Poles of anti-Semitism –– the aim of which was is to cause conflict between Poland and Israel, and therefore Poland and the United States.

This disinformation action was clearly strategic. And it worked. Its culmination was Yad Vashem’s refusal to let the Polish President Andrzej Duda deliver a speech during the commemorative 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz camp, which took place in Jerusalem in 2020. Yet Putin himself spoke there. And the celebrations were co-organized by the European Jewish Congress, headed by the aforementioned Russian oligarch himself, Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor.

Needless to say, every single allegation of anti-Semitism mentioned was false and unfounded.

Furthermore, the history of abusive or misappropriated accusations of anti-Semitism is downright absurd at times, almost comical. A permanent place of recognition belongs to Andrzej Wajda’s film Promised Land (1974), regarded by some Jewish circles as a “theatrical” manifestation of anti-Semitism, or even the recent recognition by Krakowian authorities of time-tested “Jew with a coin” figurines as anti-Semitic bric-a-brac.

A truly paradoxical example is the Polish politician and lawyer, Roman Giertych, who was wrongly accused by political opponents of anti-Semitism in 2007. But just a few years later in 2013 he himself unjustifiably accused adversaries –– some of whom were former coalition partners of his party –– of anti-Semitism!

Even Israel itself remembers the shocking allegations of anti-Semitism against the son of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister at the time. Netanyahu’s opponent Ehud Barak rhetorically asked on Twitter, “Is this what the boy hears at home?” That tweet was an apparent “suggestion” that there exists an anti-Semitic atmosphere in the Israeli leader’s family. In turn, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself accused Yair Lapid, his rival and current Israeli foreign minister, of anti-Semitic stances.

Again, the phenomenon is universal, exponential, almost instinctive. Let’s not forget that both former Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, who’s considered the most pro-Israeli president in American history, were accused of anti-Semitism in the United States. And various allegations of anti-Semitism have been leveled against prominent White House “residents” throughout the twentieth century, coincidentally against those who demonstrated outstanding support of Jews and the state of Israel.

Despite their memoirs illustrating private conversations and administrative conflicts that were recently accused of anti-Semitism, Harry Truman was the first to recognize the existence of the state of Israel –– eleven minutes after its creation –– and Richard Nixon was described by Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Dayan himself as having saved Israel during the Yom Kippur War.

So who’s actually losing as a result of this madness?

The answer is obvious. The victim is our memory of the Holocaust. The truth about the Holocaust has faded, at times intentionally and seismically. It’s terrifying that more and more young people, for whom World War II has become as distant and insignificant as the Napoleonic Wars, no longer associate anti-Semitism with genocide. For them anti-Semitism has become synonymous with the absurd, pathetic innuendo characteristic of superficial political quarrels.

Conceptual memory has evolved into conceited memes. “Anti-Semitism” as a topic, an accustaion, or even an argument has lost its candor and credibility, victimizing no one but the millions who can no longer speak on their own behalf.

Nothing worse could have happened to the victims of the Holocaust… Their memory erased by sterilization of the ideology that murdered them.

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