Shuggy takes on Ben White, the Anglican commentator who does not consider himself to be an antisemite, yet understands why some are, due partly to the behaviour of the state of Israel.
Instead I’d say this: the answer to Ben White’s question is of course it’s possible to ‘understand’ anti-Semitism – intellectually rather than empathetically – but it helps if you aren’t a complete ignoramus. Here I’m thinking those of us who are rather concerned about this issue should rely less on the techniques of literary criticism and semantics. Because there is evidence, both historical and contemporary, that can be brought to bear here.
How do we know that contemporary anti-Semitism cannot be reduced to the behaviour of the state of Israel? One reason is simply because it predated it – the themes, the narrative, the material – by some time. Even White feels obliged to acknowledge this…