Words of the Week: Jonathan Marks

“The anti-Semitic tropes in these statements are not subtle. But even if they were, I wonder why the academic left, which is usually so attuned to the subtlety of racism and sexism, puts up such a high bar for anti-Semitism. Suddenly ‘But I said Zionist, not Jew’; or ‘I’m a Jew, so I can’t possibly be in league with haters of Jews’; or ‘Yes, I’m focusing on the Jewish state and no other state, but so what?’; or ‘Sure, I’m echoing standard anti-Semitic tropes, but they’re really applicable here’ are incontrovertible arguments, and it becomes bad form to suggest that anti-Semitism is at work unless someone is screaming anti-Semitic slogans.”

Source: Jonathan Marks, “‘Zionist Attack Dogs’? The MLA’s Debate on Israel Might Go Viral,” on The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s “The Conversation” blog. (Please do read the whole thing. Then, you’ll see why I’m not at all unhappy that I’m no longer an MLA member.)