The Anti-Semitic Card Is Losing Its Political Power
“Once you start calling everyone you don’t agree with an anti-Semite, we are in trouble.”–Rabbi Levi Shemtov
…by Jonas E. AlexisStephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
Eilen F. Toplansky of the American Thinker recently wrote an article in which she equates Stephen Hawking’s criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. Intellectual luminaries like Hawking, argues Toplansky, “held deeply anti-Semitic beliefs.”
Neoconservative hawk Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary declares that Hawking’s position is “just another instance of Jew-hatred.” “Hawking,” continues Tobin, “deserves to be treated as having made common cause with Jew-haters, not a wise man that deserves a hearing.”
Alan Dershowitz of Harvard said that Hawking “actively endorses and supports the repression practiced by the Iranian mullahs and the Chinese party bosses.” The only evidence the professor of law gave for this preposterous assertion was that Hawking visited Iran and China!
Jewish attorney Ari Lieberman of Front Page magazine declared that
“Hawking’s sheer hypocrisy in utilizing Israeli technology to improve his own quality of life is his insincerity in boycotting the Middle East’s only democracy while ignoring the Arab world’s depravity, xenophobia, homophobia and misogyny. Hawking has provided ample example of Britain’s transition from old-school anti-Semitism to what famed human rights activist Natan Sharansky described as new anti-Semitism, a malevolent form of anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism.”Alan Dershowitz
I have much respect for Hawking and much disagreement with his book The Grand Design, and this will be pointed out at the end of summer. Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, of course, is a fairly balanced work.For instance, Hawking points out that “
“If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed before it even reached its present size.”
This assertion, of course, is pregnant with theological or philosophical meanings, too much to detail here. British Astronomer and cosmologist Sir Martin Rees, who won the Isaac Newton Medal last year, is in agreement with Hawking in his 2001 book Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe.
But Hawking and his co-author have jumped from one fallacious argument after another in The Grand Design, largely because his conclusions are based on a philosophically untenable and shaky premise. Yes, this is an extraordinary claim, but we will come back to this point again at the end of summer. Let me mention just one here. Hawking and his co-author write,
Hawking’s intellectual feet are certainly planted in midair here. If the universe can create itself, philosophically it means that the universe was in existence before it created itself—a completely irrational and worthless position that is worse than magic. As Oxford mathematician and philosopher John Lennox rightly points out,
“If we say that ‘X creates Y,’ we presuppose the existence of X in the first place in order to bring Y into existence. That is a simple matter of understanding what the words ‘X creates Y’ mean. If, therefore, we say ‘X creates X,’ we imply that we are presupposing the existence of X in order to account for the existence of X. This is obviously self-contradictory and thus logically incoherent—even if we put X equal to the universe! To presuppose the existence of the universe to account for its own existence sounds like something out of Alice in Wonderland, not science.”
Once again, we will come back to The Grand Design in the summer.
Leaving that aside, I was interested in reading Toplansky’s article precisely because I wanted to see the full force of her argument. What I found was the same old boring mantra that if you criticize Israel, you are by definition an anti-Semite.
Hawking was not making a blanket statement about all Jews. He was just talking about “the present Israeli government.” Netanyahu in particular has been lying to the West for decades (most particularly when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program), and Hawking is right in line with historical thought on this.
Let us change Hawking’s sentence swiftly here to see if we can draw some conclusions. What if Hawking said, “The present American government is likely to lead to disaster.” If we follow the Zionist logic to its ultimate conclusion, we would have to say that such a statement is anti-American!
Rush Limbaugh for example declared in 2011, “I hope Obama fails.” Would it be reasonable to say that Limbaugh is anti-black for saying this when some of Limbaugh’s favorite authors include people like Thomas Sowell? Why would Arnold Ahlert of Front Page Magazine come up with titles such as “Obama’s MSNBC Whore?”
In a nutshell, according to the Zionist reading of things, both the Democratic and Republican parties have no right to criticize the government. You simply cannot live in the Zionist matrix without falling into obvious contradiction. More recently, it has been reported by the New York Times that
“The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a ‘massive and unprecedented intrusion’ into how news organizations gather the news.
“The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP… In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012.”
AP President Gary Pruit, of course, was upset. “There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters,” he said. After this revelation, Jacob Heilbrunn of the National Interest rightly declared that Eric Holder is “always a poor choice for a cabinet post” and he “should resign.”
Does that mean Pruit and Heilbrunn are by definition anti-government and anti-Holder? No. Virtually every American knows that monitoring personal phone conversations by the government without any judicial warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. (In response, the White House declared that it had no idea that the Department of Justice was monitoring personal phone calls, even though Attorney General Eric Holder said he could not even remember how many times the Department of Justice has done this over the years. To borrow John Boehner’s statement in response to the recent IRS scandals, my question is not about who’s going to resign–my question is about who’s going to jail.)
I quickly contacted Toplansky to see if we could have a meaningful interaction.
Alexis: I have read your article and I am quite puzzled by some of the arguments you have propounded. You implicitly equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism with little argumentation, and I would like to see the evidence for this.
For example, just because someone criticizes the Obama healthcare does not necessarily means that the person hates black. Just because someone may criticize Bush’s doctrine on the war in Iraq does not necessarily mean that the person actually hates Bush as a person.
You wrote: “it is important to note that Stephen Hawking’s ‘whole computer-based communication system runs on a chip designed by Israel’s Intel team.’” What does that have to do with anything? [Does that mean I should not criticize General Motors Company if I drive a Chevy or a Cadillac?]
Recently, Israel attacked Syria for no serious reason [More recently, Israel made it clear that if Syria retaliates, the Israelis would blow Syria up sky high. In other words, you destroyed a country’s military base, and you tell the government that if they retaliate, you will bring the government down. And we are told again and again by neoconservatives such as David Horowitz that Israel is always the victims. This is genius!] The rationale was that chemical weapons were going to be transferred to the Syrian government by Hezbollah.
The fact is that Israel does not want Syria to use chemical weapons, but Israel used chemical weapons in Syria. Israel and the United States pretend to fight terrorism, but Israel and the United States support the Syrian rebels/terrorists. Which one is it? Help me here.
Toplansky: I think you should read the following in order to get an overview of what is going on. They are all available online: Front Page Magazine, Soeren Kern, Caroline Glick, Robert Spencer, StandWithUs, “Is Israel an Apartheid State” by Maurice Ostroff, “The Campaign to Delegitimize Israel with the False Charge of Apartheid”, by Robbie Sabel.
If Hawking finds Israel so despicable, it seems somewhat disingenuous that he uses a device created in Israel. Israel has NOT used chemical warfare against Syria. And the “serious reason” is that Syria (aided and abetted by Iran and other terrorist entities) has now used chemical warfare on its own citizens. This was Israel’s red line and she made it clear that it would not be tolerated.
You might want to check out how close Syria is to Israel. When you are surrounded by enemies, you take pre-emptive action before they attack your country.
Alexis: I have read much of the articles from Front Page Magazine. I even tried to interact with Caroline Glick to no avail.
You are still not addressing the issue of how a criticism of Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians is tantamount to anti-Semitism. Do you mean to say that ex-Israeli diplomat Alon Liel is an anti-Semite for saying the same thing that Hawking is proposing? Who gets to decide who is an anti-Semite?
I am so glad that you implicitly declare that Iran and other entities are terrorist states. Once again, who gets to decide what is and is not terrorism? Do you mean to say that the Syrian rebels are not terrorist groups?
Do you mean to say that the MEK is not a terrorist cell? Both Israel and the United States (under Bush) supported the MEK. And you should know that it was the MEK, aided by Israel, that helped assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists just last year. [The funny thing was that shortly after the assassination, the U.S. removed the MEK from the U.S. Terror List!]
I have written many articles on this issue, and I would like to invite you to interact with any one of them and point out any error.
[Just recently, Time magazine reported this grim picture about the rebels:
“The video starts out like so many of the dozens coming out of the war in Syria every day, with the camera hovering over the body of a dead Syrian soldier. But the next frame makes it clear why this video, smuggled out of the city of Homs and into Lebanon with a rebel fighter, and obtained by TIME in April, is particularly shocking.
“In the video a man who is believed to be a rebel commander named Khalid al-Hamad, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Sakkar, bends over the government soldier, knife in hand. With his right hand he moves what appears to be the dead man’s heart onto a flat piece of wood or metal lying across the body.
“With his left hand he pulls what appears to be a lung across the open cavity in the man’s chest. According to two of Abu Sakkar’s fellow rebels, who said they were present at the scene, Abu Sakkar had cut the organs out of the man’s body.
“The man believed to be Abu Sakkar then works his knife through the flesh of the dead man’s torso before he stands to face the camera, holding an organ in each hand. “I swear we will eat from your hearts and livers, you dogs of Bashar,” he says, referring to supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Off camera, a small crowd can be heard calling out “Allahu akbar” — God is great. Then the man raises one of the bloodied organs to his lips and starts to tear off a chunk with his teeth.
Toplansky: See http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-sharansky-f04.htm
No one is saying Israel cannot be criticized. When, however, a country’s very existence is being challenged, and lies are propagated, this is NOT valid criticism. It is well know that Israel has a contingent of leftists who ardently believe Israel is the “bad guy.” So?
Alexis: So how is it that Hawking is now an anti-Semite for simply saying that “Had I attended [the Israeli conference] I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster”? He clearly said “the Israeli government.” This is not a “contingent of leftists.” Jewish professors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard have been saying this for years.
How about Israeli historians and writers such as Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim, Gideon Levy, Zeev Sternhell? Are they all part of the “contingent of leftists” to say that Israel, from its inception, has exterminated thousands upon thousands of Palestinians? If the answer is yes, then you have a lot of mental gymnastics ahead of you. How are you planning to fight all those Jewish anti-Semites?
Just to let you know, Lawrence Auster was a writer for the American Thinker–and he was a Jew. The moment he mentioned the “neoconservative” in a negative way in one of his articles, he was fired instantly.
That was the end of my correspondence with Toplansky. She never responded back.
If people out there still think that Hawking is an anti-Semite, Hawking co-wrote The Grand Design with physicist Leonard Mlodinow, who is a Jew. I guess Mlodinow missed that memo.
Also, it was Noam Chomsky who largely persuaded Hawking to boycott Israel. If Hawking is an anti-Semite, then Chomsky, the ethnic Jew from MIT, must be in the same anti-Semitic club. Again, Toplansky and others have a lot of Jewish anti-Semites to deal with. Toplansky and others have to confront universities such as Cambridge, London, Leeds, Southampton, Warwick, Newcastle, York, and Open University for their so-called anti-Semitic views.
The late Lawrence Auster was born in a Jewish family and became a Christian. He wrote an article for the American Thinker in which he declares that the neoconservative ideology has not been good for America at large. Bad move. He was quickly reprimanded by the magazine’s editor Thomas Lifson for doing so. Lifson’s trouble was that the word “neoconservative” engendered anti-Semitism. Auster responded:
“Neoconservative has been a term of political discussion for the last 30 years. Is it now banned? The neoconservatives themselves write innumerable articles about neoconservatism. Krauthammer has a big article out in the July/August Commentary called ‘The Neoconservative Convergence,’ talking about how the neoconservative view of foreign policy has now finally gained complete power in the national government. In this article, the word ‘neoconservatives’ appears scores of times. Is he using neoconservative as a code for Jews? Irving Kristol had an article two years ago this month in the Weekly Standard called ‘The Neoconservative Persuasion,’ which I commented on critically at length. Was Kristol using neoconservative as a code for Jews? Was I? What you are saying is that neoconservatives can write articles about neoconservatism, but critics of neoconservatives cannot!! Do you regard that as a sustainable position?”
Lifson never replied back. Auster then sent him a second message saying, “To my surprise, you haven’t replied to my follow-ups on the question of whether it’s legitimate to use the word neoconservative critically. The only reason I can think of is that you really believe that anyone who criticizes neoconservatives is really carrying out an anti-Semitic agenda. In other words, you regard me as anti-Semitic.”
Auster again did not get a response to the second message, and sent a third one asking how the word “neoconservative” is to be lumped with anti-Semitism. Lifson finally responded,
Auster finally discovered that being an ethnic Jew did not actually give him a get-out-of-jail free card to criticize the powers that be. He wrote after the incident,
“I have sometimes had editors deal with me in very irresponsible and treacherous ways, but this was the worst behavior I have ever encountered from an editor, or indeed from any intellectual in a responsible position, in my life. ‘American Thinker’ is not exactly the way I would describe a person who, in his capacity as editor of a publication, accuses a contributor to his publication of using anti-Semitic language, and then, when challenged, falls back on his authority as editor, refuses to reply on the substance, and ends all communication.”
 See for example Al Qaeda in Syria,” NY Times, December 11, 2012; see also Jamie Dettner, “Jihadists Are Creeping Into Syria’s Rebel Factions,” Daily Beast, January 4, 2013; Michael Kelley, “Nearly 1 in 10 Syrian Rebels Are Now Terrorists in the Eyes of the U.S.,” Business Insider, December 10, 2012; Herb Keinon, “Gilad: Syria Poses New, ‘Difficult’ Challenges to Israel,” Jerusalem Post, April 2, 2013; Ruth Sherlock, “Syrian Rebels Defy US and Pledge allegiance to Jihadi Group,” The Telegraph, December 10, 2012; Nic Robertson, Paul Cruickshank, and Tim Lister, “Pro al-Qaeda Group Seen Behind Deadly Benghazi Attack,” CNN, September 13, 2012). That the Syrian rebels made alliance with Al-Qaeda is even acknowledged by Israel’s Defense Ministry Amos Gilad (Herb Keinon, “Gilad: Syria Poses New, ‘Difficult’ Challenges to Israel,” Jerusalem Post, April 2, 2013; Richard Spencer, “Under the Black Flag of al-Qaeda, the Syrian City Ruled by Gangs of Extremists,” The Telegraph, May 12, 2013.
 http://rockcenter.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/02/09/10354553-israel-teams-with-terror-group-to-kill-irans-nuclear-scientists-us-officials-tell-nbc-news; Josh Levs, “Who’s Killing Iranian Nuclear Scientists?,” CNN, January 11, 2012; Thomas Erdbring and Jody Warrick, “Iranian Scientist Involved in Nuclear Program Killed in Tehran Bomb Attack,” Washington Post, January 11, 2012; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2099142/Mossad-training-terrorists-kill-Irans-nuclear-scientists-U-S-officials-claim–Israels-real-target-Obama.html; http://rt.com/news/iranian-scientists-assassinations-israel-923/;
 Lawrence Auster, “The Editor of the American Thinker Accuses Me of Anti-Semitism,” http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/004484.html.
Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book Zionism vs. the West: How Talmudic Ideology is Undermining Western Culture. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.