Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Negative Judeocentrism

Via Jogo, an excellent long essay on Walt and Mearsheimer by Jeffrey Goldberg in TNR, situating them within the concept of "negative Judeocentricity" - the idea that Jews and their power are central to the way the world works.

In the inflamed universe of negative Judeocentrism, there is a sliding scale of obsession. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, seems at times to view the world entirely through the prism of a Jewish conspiracy, and he regularly breaks new ground in the field of state-supported Holocaust denial. In Cairo, the activities of Jews, Israeli and other- wise, are a continual source of worry. Many of the monarchs in the Gulf countries, by contrast, will sometimes exploit anti-Jewish feeling for political reasons, but they do not seem to be personally obsessed by Jews. They are too worldly for that. In Europe, too, one finds great variations in the expression of Judeocentrism. There are still traces of Holocaust-induced philo-Semitism in places like Germany; but there are also figures such as Clare Short, the former British cabinet minister, who recently blamed Israel for global warming.
I missed the Clare Short story. Last month, Short made the claim that no progress was possible on climate change treaties because Israel "undermines the international community's reaction to global warming". [Source, via Attila and VDH] As her comments (made at the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, hosted by the European Parliament) were rather under-reported, I am not sure what the context of that claim was, but according to Emanuele Ottolenghi, her reasoning was that, "since Israel distracts the world with its unruly behavior, the world does not spend enough time, attention, and resources on the real issue: man-made climate change."

In a perverse way, Short's point is kind of right. Because of the phenomenon of negative Judeocentrism, because of the obsession of the liberal world and "anti-imperialist" left with the Middle East, the bigger, more fundamental questions are dodged: the survival of the human race, global justice in a neo-liberal world, the countless states across the planet that deny their citizenry basic human rights. (Hence the UCU's endless conference hours on boycotting Israeli biochemists, and utter lack of conference hours on fighting for access to education in the planetary South. Hence millions marching over the Iraq war and almost no-one on the Western street in solidarity the Burmese revolution. And so on.)

1 comment:

Ronny said...

I have a blog containing good information on global warming. Ozone has doubled since the mid-19th century due to chemical emissions from vehicles, industrial processes and the burning of forests, the British climate researchers wrote. Carbon dioxide has also risen over that period. History of global warming is very deep since 1850.