Jeffrey Goldberg blasts Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth
Jeffrey Goldberg has blasted 'human rights watch' director Ken Roth for blaming Jews for anti-Semitism
A few days ago, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, tweeted
the following statement: “Germans rally against anti-Semitism that
flared in Europe in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza war. Merkel
joins.” Roth provided a link to a New York Times article about the rally, which took place in Berlin.
Roth’s framing of this issue is very odd and obtuse. Anti-Semitism in
Europe did not flare “in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza,” or
anywhere else. Anti-Semitic violence and invective are not responses to
events in the Middle East, just as anti-Semitism does not erupt “in
response” to the policies of banks owned by Jews, or in response to
editorial positions taken by The New York Times. This is for the simple reason that Jews do not cause anti-Semitism.
It is a universal and immutable rule that the targets of prejudice
are not the cause of prejudice.
Just as Jews (or Jewish organizations,
or the Jewish state) do not cause anti-Semitism to flare, or intensify,
or even to exist, neither do black people cause racism, nor gay people
homophobia, nor Muslims Islamophobia. Like all prejudices, anti-Semitism
is not a rational response to observable events; it is a manifestation
of irrational hatred. Its proponents justify their anti-Semitism by
pointing to the (putatively offensive or repulsive) behavior of their
targets, but this does not mean that major figures in the world of
human-rights advocacy should accept these pathetic excuses as
A question: If a mosque in Europe or in the U.S. were to be attacked
(God forbid) by Islamophobic arsonists, would Ken Roth describe such an
attack as a manifestation of “anti-Muslim hatred that flared in response
to the conduct of Muslim groups in the Middle East?”
I don’t know what motivated Ken Roth to blame the Jewish state for the
violent acts of anti-Semites. I do hope that he reconsiders his position
on the root cause of anti-Jewish prejudice.
Read the whole thing
. Goldberg is spot-on.
Labels: Angela Merkel, anti-Semitism, Germany, Human Rights Watch, Jeffrey Goldberg, Kenneth Roth