“The crime of antisemitism is an ageless one . . . .” — no, it isn’t. I may be above 2,000 years old, approximately, and Wistrich is more exact, but it has been very much a part of political rhetoric tuned to theft. Where Jews have done for others and reaped the rewards of service to others; where Jewish numbers have grown and Jewish wealth accumulated accordingly; where Jews, whether for ambition, divine guidance, or just the accumulated wisdom of the ages, have done well in myriad dimensions, someone has wanted to take it from them. The next day: they have killed Jesus; there are are too many of them; all that is evil may be ascribed to their presence (even when they’re completely absent from political space).
I have learned that with a confirmed anti-Semite, reason left that mind a long time ago and in its place is, indeed, the playing out of a “social grammar” probably internalized in infancy, the word “Jew” having possibly been heard and envenomed often over time sufficing for summoning a bad feeling.
“Poisoned ears” may have an epidemiology and etiology all their own, and I would expect the countermeasures for embedded anti-Semitism, bigotry, and xenophobia to emerge from approaches in psycholinguistics that focus on attitude, belief, and behavior formation.
The source of inspiration for the bounce: Small, Charles Asher. “Violence Erupts When You Tolerate Antisemitism.” The Daily Beast, April 14, 2014.
Although Charles Asher Small warns against bad mouthing the Jew as one might about bad mouthing the Muslim or anyone else, “political correctness” is not what is wanted with either anti-Semites or bigots: what is wanted is clarity with regard to the health of whole language atmospheres and then the encouragement of decency and mutual regard across divisions, and that with the mothers, perhaps, foremost on the lines defending democratic “all-for-all” social systems.
Here too, as with previous of today’s remarks, I may go a little further: America’s free speech concept specifically sets out to protect unpopular speech, the sort of speech we may not wish to hear, and while hoping for great and much needed revolutionary speech (come election time), it well includes hate speech. Given so capacious a freedom, we leave it to social response to shape the intellectual environment of the state: e.g., we leave David Duke to do his thing from American soil, but, for the most part, we leave him a comparatively isolated figure in American politics and his followers equally isolated as political and social fringe.
If we fail to address and alter the language behaviors that embed in the very young the kernels of a bigoted social grammar, then, indeed, our open society states, our all-for-all democracies, will face greater challenges to their internal coherence and cohesion.
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