When to be pro-Israeli is to overcompensate for anti-Semitism

My old psychology dictionary of terms informs me that overcompensation can be ‘a Freudian defence mechanism, whereby an individual attempts to offset weakness in an area of their lives by focusing on another aspect of it.’ I had thought to look this up after thinking about the recent spell of disavowed anti-Semite, Israel supporters.

First I thought back to those English Defence League marches, where 2 things are promised every time; that an Israeli flag will appear to show solidarity with Israelis over Muslims (like it was a simple choice between the two), and a couple of beered up scummies will produce the fascist salute (for examples see here and here).

Second I remembered Michal Kaminski, the Polish MEP who leads the Conservatives new EU grouping, and his of pro-Israeli rhetoric to confront his anti-Semitic past (for examples see here and here).

And lastly I remembered Nick Griffin as he stumbled over his words on Question Time tell the audience that his party was the only one to give full support to Israel and their right to exist during its clashes with Gaza, or more precisely:

“[National Socialists in UK] loathe me because I have brought the British National Party from being, frankly, an anti-Semitic and racist organisation into being the only political party which, in the clashes between Israel and Gaza, stood full square behind Israel’s right to deal with Hamas terrorists.”

Interestingly with the last example, Griffin was one of those anti-Semitic members of the British National Party. He was the author of a pamphlet entitled Who are the Mindbenders (have a guess, go on) in which Jewish names are listed to testify that Jews control the media. Grffin’s argument is to suggest that Jews are responsible for indoctrinating people to think that criticising Jewish people is automatically anti-Semitic, appreciation for multiculturalism is fine, homosexuality is not “creepy” and Britishness is racist.

This of course is not “saleable” (to use Griffin’s own words) so Griffin appeals to using language like left-liberal controlled, meaning, of course, much the same (the words he uses ratifies more with people who also think the BBC runs on a bias, but use of the word Jews may run contrary to many “patriots” negative view of the Nazis).

Interesting it is that these people, especially the latter two, choose pro-Israeli, or Zionist, sentiment to undercut their otherwise anti-Semitic image. Not unique however.

Adolf Eichmann, the man known as ‘the architect of the Holocaust’, a Nazi who managed to juggle two seemingly inharmonious positions as anti-Semite and Zionist, whose aim was to channel as many European Jews as possible to Palestine. Eichmann was encouraged by one Baron Van Mildenstein – a man who wanted to forge a collaboration between Nazis and Zionists – to study Jewish society and history so as better to understand the Jewish enemy. Eichmann did so, earning him a special place in the Reich. Before long Eichmann changed his mind on promoting a strong Jewish state, but nonetheless his Zionism was situated on the idea that the Jews belonged elsewhere, and that a small section of the Middle East, mandated by the British, would be where that place was sited.

The Final Solution was an act that aimed to destroy the Jewish race from the root, an act most favoured by Nazis then and now, but Eichmann’s Zionism – before his part in the Holocaust – was to separate Jews from other Europeans, something Eichmann himself felt was borne, not out of anti-Semitism, but, on the basis that races can not mix, particularly the Jewish race. He also denied turning from a Saul to a Paul on the matter, wanting to secure Jewish racial particularism, or, simply, one place for Jews and a European place for aryans.

The charge that an individuals pro-Israeli words should write off an anti-Semitic history is a most naive way of disavowal, but nonetheless, rather typical behaviour of someone who is either in, or wants to be in, the political mainstream.

As Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman senior political editor, recently replied to Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, are we ‘really so naive [to think that] supporters of Israel can’t be anti-Semitic at the same time?’ The pro-Israeli overcompensation by the above should provide real answers to this question.

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