web analytics
May 25, 2015 / 7 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Responding To Anti-Semitism And Anti-Zionism: An Interview with Pundit Ben Cohen


Ben Cohen

Ben Cohen

“Gas the Jews,” chanted a group of protesters last month in Germany. “Death to the Jews,” cried another in Paris.

Israel’s recent military incursion into Gaza has unleashed a wave of anti-Semitism across Europe. In the past month, eight synagogues in France alone were attacked, several stones were hurled through a window of the home of Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, and several stores in Italy were defaced with such slogans as “Jews, your end is near.”

Dieter Graumann, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, put the matter bluntly in comments to The Guardian last week: “These are the worst times since the Nazi era.”

For perspective on some of the anti-Semitism raging through Europe, as well as other Israel-related matters, The Jewish Press recently spoke with popular JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen. Cohen’s first book, Some of My Best Friends: A Journey Through Twenty-First Century Antisemitism, was published in May.

The Jewish Press: How do you explain the anti-Semitic incidents we’ve seen in modern, enlightened Europe these past few weeks?

Cohen: Let me answer by commenting on what I think is an assumption behind the question – which is that people who demonstrate on behalf of the Palestinians or Gaza are somehow motivated by a concern for human rights. I think the first thing to understand is that the Palestine solidarity movement is not at all motivated by a concern for human rights because if it was, they would be demonstrating about the genocide of the Yazidis and Christians in Iraq.

So what’s behind the anti-Israel animus?

The demographics of this movement are actually quite broad. You have the kind of enlightened western liberal crowd marching, but you also have a number of second-, third-, and fourth-generation Muslim immigrants in Europe. These Muslims engage in what I call a kind of delinquent anti-Semitism. They’re very thuggish.

If you remember, in 2006, a Jewish kid in Paris, Ilan Halimi, was abducted, beaten, and held hostage for three weeks. The mainly Muslim gang that kidnapped him thought, “Well, all Jews are rich so his family can afford to pay a ransom,” and they brutalized him and then dumped his body by a railroad track where he died shortly afterward. These are the kinds of people attending these Gaza solidarity rallies.

In a recent article you suggested that Jews should perhaps organize themselves in defense against anti-Semites in Europe. Have things gotten that bad?

Look, I’m not calling for vigilantism. Everything should be done, if possible, in cooperation with the authorities, but I think in cases where the authorities cannot cope or are late to respond, Jews have every right to defend themselves, and should defend themselves and not worry about the damage they cause to the other side.

What I’m saying is that 70 years after the Holocaust, if somebody in Europe wants to burn down a synagogue, Jews should not sit back and allow that to happen. And if it means using violence, then violence needs to be used. Obviously, though, the first response should be to call the local authorities and get them to enforce the law.

How do you explain the “genteel” anti-Semitism you sometimes find among circles on the Left?

I draw a distinction between what I call “bistro anti-Semitism,” which is the anti-Semitism you’re describing and “bierkeller anti-Semitism.” The bierkellers were basically pubs in Germany which were famous in the 1920s because the Nazis used to go there, drink a lot of beer, make anti-Semitic speeches, and work themselves up into an anti-Jewish frenzy. Everything was distinguished by the lack of ambiguity. In other words, people were talking about “dirty Jews” and the need to get rid of them.

About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and author of “Movers and Shakers: Sixty Prominent Personalities Speak Their Mind on Tape” (Brenn Books).


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Responding To Anti-Semitism And Anti-Zionism: An Interview with Pundit Ben Cohen”

  1. We should never trust them

  2. Unfortunately Caesar failed to completely pacify the ****ing Gauls

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Former Israel Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold.
Bibi Seals Nationalist Policy with Dore Gold Heading Foreign Ministry
Latest Indepth Stories
Former US Senator, Joe Lieberman

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

israeli-american flags

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

Israeli-flag

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

Harris-052215

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.

“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”

More Articles from Elliot Resnick
Dr. Phyllis Chesler

Jews are an anxious group – understandably, given the millennia of persecution – and want to have no trouble.

Dr. Michael Berenbaum

Why do Jews, then, sometimes feel more intensely about Polish anti-Semitism than they do about German anti-Semitism?

Mitchell Bard is nothing if not prolific. He has written and edited 23 books, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Middle East” and “The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.” Bard, who has a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA, is also the executive director of both the […]

You have to understand that Ukraine was really a very, very Jewish place for many years.

What I think is going on here is the Midrash is making a comment about Rut’s love for Naomi being some sort of reflection of how we have to love God.

HarperCollins’s omission was especially egregious because it is a major general and educational publisher.

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/responding-to-anti-semitism-and-anti-zionism-an-interview-with-pundit-ben-cohen/2014/08/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: