If there were a Nobel
Prize for Hypocrisy, Abraham
Foxman would have been a great candidate. The director of the
League, who once
interpreted even International Holocaust Remembrance Day as an
the Gentiles' latent desire to see Jews dead, has published a new
survey on anti-Semitism in Europe [.pdf]. One of the assertions
were asked to agree or disagree with was "Jews are more loyal to
to this country"; an affirmative response was considered indicative of
Indeed, doubting the loyalty of a minority is not nice. And the fact
many Zionists would affirm that assertion, or at least expect a
to be more loyal to Israel than to his country of residence, is a weak
for agreeing with such a characterization of all Jews. But let's put
in perspective: even if about half of Europeans say it's "probably
Jews are more loyal to Israel, not a single European party is pledging
Jews' citizenship unless they prove their loyalty. I haven't heard of
a demand toward any other native minority either, in Europe or
the late Joerg Haider did not go that far.
There is one exception, of course. The foremost campaign slogan of Avigdor
Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu Party has been "No Loyalty – No
which is aimed at Israel's Arab minority. Thirteen percent of Israelis
Lieberman their vote. What does Abe Foxman have to say about that?
Lieberman, describing him as harmless: "He's not saying expel them.
saying punish them." Not at all: he's just demonizing them and
to deprive them of their citizenship. No big deal.
So a private person who doubts the loyalty of Jews in a telephone
is a dirty anti-Semite to Foxman. But a major political party that
defames Arab Israelis and pledges to revoke their citizenship gets a
the director of the Anti-Defamation(!) League, purportedly committed
Anti-Semitism, Bigotry, and Extremism"!
A Biased Survey
The ADL survey as a whole deserves some
analysis. Conducted for the second time in seven European countries,
consisted of a short list of assertions respondents were supposed to
Note that respondents were given only two choices: they had to refer
assertion as either "probably true" or "probably false." All the
were phrased in a way that "probably true" was the choice considered
This suffers from the notorious "confirmatory bias," which "inclines
toward accepting assertions, rather than thinking more extensively and
the flaws in those assertions" (see Jon
Questionnaire Quality" [.pdf]). A serious survey would have
of the assertions in the negative to overcome this natural bias. But
followed its own bias: anti-Semitism should always be found, and the
better. In fact, if some of this bias, as research indicates, is due
desire of individuals of lower social status to defer to individuals
social status, this could explain why the ADL's survey consistently
levels of anti-Semitism were higher among people who did not continue
beyond the age of 17.
One also wonders whether the assertion "Jews still talk too much
happened to them in the Holocaust" (note the suggestive adverb
much to do with anti-Semitism (cf. Yehuda
Elkana's [.pdf] classical "The
Need to Forget" [.pdf]). And what on earth made the ADL waste two
six questions on almost identical assertions ("Jews have too much
the business world" and "Jews have too much power in international
markets"), which almost always yielded the same result (correlation
0.922). Was there a shortage of anti-Semitic assertions?
Just a couple of weeks ago, Foxman – not a man of understatement –
to the headlines by decrying "a
pandemic of anti-Semitism" as a consequence of Operation Cast
crisis was "the worst, the most intense, the most global that it has
most of our memories."
Operation Cast Lead began on Dec. 27, 2008. Now the ADL survey was
Dec. 1, 2008-Jan. 13, 2009; that is, its last third was conducted
devastation of Gaza. If there is an "anti-Semitic pandemic" due to the
events, as Foxman claims, a serious survey should have made a clear
between data collected before and after the outbreak of that
Actually, the ADL should have simply read its own survey to see the
of making such a distinction: one of its findings is that "23 percent
surveyed say that their opinion of Jews is influenced by the actions
by the state of Israel."
At any rate – careful scientific distinctions aside – if all this
a survey conducted partly after the outbreak of the Gaza atrocities
influenced by the alleged "pandemic" and show a significant rise in
Was this the case? Not quite. Actually, as the ADL admits, "A
the 2007 survey indicates that over the past two years levels of
have remained steady in six of the seven countries tested." Who was
Great Britain, of course, home of some of the most effective
"The United Kingdom was the only country in which there was a
in anti-Semitism. Steadiness in six continental countries, a marked
in the UK – and this in a survey conducted partly during an alleged
of anti-Semitism. Go figure.
Don't Confuse Us With Facts
Obviously, the survey was reported
the Israeli media. In fact, much like anti-Communism in the U.S.
1980s, anti-anti-Semitism is (Jewish) Israel's national religion.
is an anti-Semite, potentially if not actually – be it a bad-tempered
in a French restaurant or even
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan. Anti-Semitism is our best excuse: We do not
peace because all Arabs are anti-Semites. We must attack Iran because
are anti-Semites and want to annihilate us, and the rest of the world
and doesn't care if we are annihilated. And of course every criticism
occupation is purely anti-Semitic.
Obviously, reports of steady or declining levels of anti-Semitism is
Israelis want to hear: anti-Semitism should always be on the rise, to
our national cohesion.
Therefore both Ha'aretz (Feb. 11, Hebrew)
and YNet (Feb. 10, Hebrew)
used the partial data of "31% of Europeans Blame the Jews for the
Crisis" as an ominous headline. Both focused on the absolute figures
and kept the inconvenient trend to a marginal penultimate paragraph.
Ha'aretz journalist Natasha Mozgovaya went out of her way to
the ADL's "marked decline" in British anti-Semitism as "a small
even bothering to mention what it was compared to), whereas YNet
adjective and wrote just "a decline." And both followed the ADL
quickly "balanced" the overall positive trend by emphasizing the
of the findings.
Make no mistake: some level of racism, including anti-Semitism, does
in any society; racist Israel is the last place to deny that. But just
real anti-Semitism undermines the Palestinian cause, so do biased
manipulative declarations about anti-Semitism undermine the struggle
racism. And Foxman criticizing one form of racism while supporting