Ed Driscoll

New Bottle, Old Whine

Mark Steyn makes an absolutely spot-on observation in his latest essay for Maclean’s, connecting modern anti-Semitism with its pre-World War II predecessor. For centuries, Steyn writes, Jews in Europe were stereotyped as “sinister rootless cosmopolitan types unbound by allegiance to whichever polity they happened to be residing in”:

So, after the Second World War, the ones who were left became a more or less conventional nation state, and now they’re hated for that. But all the hoo-ha about Holocaust denial (and granted, from President Ahmadinejad to Mel Gibson’s dad, there’s a lot of it about) has obscured the fact that the world has re-embraced, with little objection, an older form of anti-Semitism. Israel is, in effect, subject to a geopolitical version of the same conditions endured by Lazarus the Jew in Anthony Hope’s Strelsau. The Zionist Entity is for the moment permitted to remain in business but, like Aaron Lazarus, it’s not entitled to the enforceable property rights of every other nation state. No other country — not Canada, not Slovenia, not Thailand — would be expected to forego the traditional rights of nations subjected to kidnappings of its citizens, random rocket attacks into residential areas, and other infringements of its sovereignty.

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These are dark times for the world: we are on the brink of the nuclearization of ancient pathologies. It’s a very strange feeling to read 19th-century novels and travelogues and recognize the old psychoses currently re-emerging in even more preposterous forms. I’m a bit behind in responding to the gazillion Jews-are-to-blame-for-everything emails, but when I do I usually say I take a relaxed view of hatred but take my advice and don’t get over-invested in it. There’s a very sharp short book by Andrew Roberts called Hitler And Churchill: Secrets of Leadership and, as you go through it, you realize that the key difference between the two is that the prime minister had a very shrewd understanding of what the F