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On Vincent Browne: anatomy of a Judeophobe

Demonization of Israel is today's most recurrent expression of anti-Semitism

The Irish TV presenter Vincent Browne exemplifies current European Judeophobia. Even his assertion that he “is not anti-Semitic… I deplore anti-Semitism” is usually sustained by most modern Judeophobes, who tend to suppose that the only possible manifestation of anti-Semitism or Judeophobia is Nazism.

They promptly conclude that, since they don’t wish to murder every single Jew, their words cannot be Judeophobic, even when they slander the Jewish people or the Jewish State, or when they blame Israel for the world’s worst evils.

The truth is that Nazism was an exception to Judeophobia – not its best example. Until the 20th century, Judeophobes tolerated some way out for the Jews: apostasy, exile or assimilation. Although the Jews were usually unable to meet these conditions, theoretically the hatred towards them was conditional and could be modified following a change in their behavior.

Then came the Nazis and pushed the oldest hatred onto its most pathological extreme. The new enemy was even a Jewish baby born in Alaska or Kenya, no matter what his parents did or believed.

Thus, since Vincent Browne is indeed not a Nazi, he purports that neither is he a Judeophobe. But he is, and not because he “criticizes” Israel, but because he fails to understand his obsession: he doesn’t simply criticize Israel – he singles out only Israel for disapproval. The demonization of the only Jewish country is the most recurrent expression of today’s Judeophobia.

Browne contends his “criticism” (“Israel is a cancer”) stems from the fact that the Jewish state was “founded by confiscation of land previously occupied by Arabs.” One might suppose he wouldn’t ever dare apply this argument against the USA or Australia.

For him, Israel is the only state born through an injustice. The alleged confiscation exists only in the mind of the vilifier and, more important, his fixation with investigating only one country’s certificate of immaculate birth is apparent. Browne would be surprised if he checked how other states were declared, such as Jordan, Iraq or Kuwait, or most of the countries in the world. But alas, just the Jew is the object of his “critical” scrutiny.

Moreover, there are objective criteria to differentiate “criticism” from sheer hatred. Besides obsession and Manichaeism, one reasonable criterion is the language used.

Insults do not stand for criticism. To call Israel a cancer, a Nazi-state or an apartheid society, reveal the degree of the speaker’s hatred – not of Israel’s flaws. In a story by Jorge Luis Borges, the protagonist is physically attacked in a debate and responds: “That was a digression. I’m still waiting for your case.”

Browne made his digression about four months ago when he bashed Israel as a cancer on Irish channel TV3. Afterwards, he explained his case: “it polarizes the Islamic community of the world against the rest of the world.”

Like the Jews in 1938, one could similarly argue. They polarized the Aryan community against the rest of the world. And in 1880 they polarized Russia against the world, and in the Middle Ages we polarized the Christian community against everyone. Jews seem to be genetic polarizers.

Furthermore his term “Islamic community” might refer to the Islamo-Fascist regimes which want to wipe Israel off, and which have been using the excuse of how bad the Jewish State is in order to kidnap every single humanitarian cause on earth. Poverty, misogyny, dictatorships and gross violations of human rights are protected by the mantra of “bash Zionism first, and then we’ll discuss the rest.”

In Browne’s case, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland considered that his blur “failed to meet the requirement for fair, objective and impartial treatment of news.” It was “unfair” to call our country a cancer. As a matter of fact it was an insult, to put it mildly, or a call for genocide rather than an “impartial treatment.”

After being called to order, Browne elaborated on his comments: the problem is that the world “tolerates Israeli obduracy.” Not that people like him encourage Palestinian terror, neither the Syrian massacres, nor the Iranian threats, nor flagellations and beheadings. The problem of the world is Israel’s obduracy to survive. What yesterday was “Die Juden sind unser Unglück” (“the Jews are our misfortune”) has today becme “The Jewish state is our Nakba.”

As a typical European, Browne claims that “to criticize the State of Israel is not anti-Semitic,” and overlooks that the demonization of the Jewish state is indeed Judeophobic.

Adding injury to his malignant naiveté, Browne boasted to The Jewish Chronicle, that “he does not wish to see Israel eliminated.” About no other country would elimination be mentioned as a legitimate option.

Pretty much like Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary, which calls the Jews “the most imbecile people on the face of the earth, the enemies of mankind, most obtuse, cruel absurd… an ignorant and barbarous people, who have long united the most sordid avarice with the most detestable superstition and the most invincible hatred for every people by whom they are tolerated and enriched,” and then adds “Still, we ought not to burn them.”

I doubt whether we Jews should be thankful for his mercy, but I’m sure many other people will wonder why they have to be so merciful.

About the Author
Gustavo D Perednik has lectured at universities in fifty countries and penned a dozen books, among them Judeophobia (2001) and To Kill Without a Trace (2009) about Prosecutor Alberto Nisman and Iranian terror in Latin America