|Aalst Carnival participants mocking the Kotel and Chasidic Jews (BBC)|
The Aalst Carnival parade included stereotypical depictions of Jews for the second year in a row and the Belgian government...
… one group on Sunday walked around the parade dressed up like insects with fur hats worn by some ultra-Orthodox Jewish men...
Aalst mayor Christoph D’Haese, who has been criticized for taking insufficient action after last year’s offensive float, called Wilmes “otherwordly,” and added that “I did not see an anti-Semitic or racist parade. To the contrary, I saw a high mass of free speech and creativity.” He took time to pose with a Carnival reveler wearing a stereotypical hooked nose.
Mayor D’Haese is typical of the mindset that uses the concept of free speech to allow all manner of hatred to be expressed. He may not think he is an antisemite. But he is.
If that’s the case - isn’t this the same argument made by liberal Democrats in congress that protect antisemitic speech by its own members?
One might answer that those members are not antisemitic. Just anti Israel. But I find that to be a distinction without much of a difference in most cases. This is not to say that one can’t be critical of Israel… and that if he is he is automatically an antisemite. If that were true, half of the Jewish people in Israel would be antisemites. But in many – perhaps even most cases, Zionist hatred is a euphemism for Jew hatred.
What about Bernie Sanders. Is he an antisemite? No. He is just a liberal whose views are almost always more sympathetic to the underdog without looking beyond the obvious. Which in this case is that the Palestinian people suffer greatly under Israeli occupation. The liberal mindset automatically blames the obvious without understanding the context which is based on underlying problems that are the fault of their leadership - plus decades of anti Israel (not distinguishable from anti Jewish) indoctrination. which requires security measures by Israel that makes life for many Palestinians miserable!
What about Sanders’ supporters? They are obviously liberal too. Are they antisemitic? How could they be if they support a Jew for President?! In fact about half the country is liberal although perhaps not as liberal as Bernie. Are they antisemitic, too?
I think it might first actually depend on how you define antisemtism. Supporting a Jew for President does not mean you cannot be an antisemite. One has to look at what they are really supporting. And it isn’t his Judaism.
Bernie Sanders does not represent Jewish values (save one: Tikun Olam – social justice which is how the Jewish left has defined Judaism for the most part). Social Justice is the sine qua non of Humanism. Which has become the ‘religion’ of the left. The Humanist believes in man’s natural goodness and seeks only rational ways of solving human problems. That man is the best or perhaps eve the only solution to the problems of mankind is the antithesis of Judaism which seeks God’s guidance in solving those problems.
Using that as the barometer one might argue that Humanists are all antisemitic in the sense that they will deny the Jewish people the right to allow God to define right and wrong instead of rational man.
I do not take it that far. Neither Bernie Sanders nor his supporters are antisemtic. But there is not a doubt in my mind that the many of the values of Humanism which is embraced by left is anathema to Judaism. Humanism is not a Euphemism for Judaism which is clearly defined beyond the parameters of Tikun Olam.
There are two ways to be an antisemite. One is to hate anyone born Jewish regardless of how religious or secular they are. The other is to hate the values that the Jew represents.
So what about Aalst Carnival parade in Belgium? Why did they focus only on Chasidic Jews for their ridicule?
Hard to know the answer to that. One might say that these people are proof that Esav Sonei L'Ya'akov is still alive and well. But one can also - I suppose - say there are many mundane factors that have impacted the way these people think. Just to list a few that come to mind:
The long history of European persecution of the Jewish people throughout the ages, blaming us for the crucifixion of their god and resenting us for not accepting him.
Added to that is the above-mentioned liberal European mindset that blames Zionism (i.e. the Jews) for the suffering of the Palestinian people.
On the other side of the hate spectrum are the racial theories. For reasons I do not fully understand those theories place us genetically at the very bottom of humanity. They see us as an evil cabal out to dominate the world via our dishonest banking practices. And eventually subjugate all good Christians to do our bidding.
I suspect that Shakespeare’s depiction in his play The Merchant of Venice of the Jew, Shylock might have had something to do with that image. Which may have been a prejudice he had based on the above mentioned centuries old Christian view of us. A view that continued to plague us throughout the history of Christendom. Even after it became variegated into denominations post Martin Luther.
And then there is just plain old fear of difference. The more different one looks, the more prejudice there might be among the ignorant.
All of which gets exacerbated when news appears about Jewish malfeasance by the most religious looking Jews among us.
I don’t really know if any of this is true. I may be off on some of it. Or even all of it. But those are some of the random thoughts that came to mind in the wake of what’s happening in Belgium.