This page is a duplicate of the first posted article at this blog (dated April 3rd 2011).
This is a blog opening the lid on the unsavory politics and prejudice within the speculative fiction genre community.
I have been quibbling for some time, on whether to expose on a blog the deranged and pervasive political bigotry, in particular the base anti-Semitism and related odious political obtuseness that is rampant in the imaginative fiction genre community (as to be expected since it is rampant and pervasive in society as a whole). I mean among notable figures in the genre community – writers, editors etc. I wouldn’t bother with the fans. Since nobody else is going to do it, and since I have been noticing significant and appalling levels of prejudice – especially anti-Semitism – and odious political/ideological posturing among the science fiction community for years (why expect it to be any different among a geek community frankly dedicated in the main to escapism?); I have decided to start this blog on this arcane, albeit controversial arena – the ugly prejudices and political obtuseness of genre figures. However I may also cover the politics and sociology of SF in a more lighthearted and frivolous tone as well, when and if I get the time to do so.
This blog is written from the perspective of apolitical centrism. The assorted insanities, simplistic nonsense and delusions of Left vs Right are given short shrift here. I have no axe to grind for unbridled crony capitalism (although I do believe in free enterprise), communism, socialism, libertarianism and associated faiths (and yes I consider these economic and political philosophies to be held by their adherents as dogmatic faiths with the same fanaticism and disregard for truths and destructive consequences).
This blog opens up a can of worms. You have been warned.
Some of you out there may remember me as ‘Lawrence A’, I used to post up at the Asimov’s Discussion Forum under that moniker.
Let me stress the point that the intersection of the imaginative fiction genre community with the ugly bigotry that is the oldest hatred – anti-Semitism – will be a major focus of this blog.
The reasons are several:
1 I am Jewish, and not a JINO, that’s Jew In Name Only – like many Diaspora English-language Jewry desperate to ingratiate themselves and assimilate into an anti-Semitic society. A tragedy as terrible as it is pathetic. How’s that wincing ingratiation working out for you JINOs? Making your life any easier?
2 There is such pervasive and deep-seated anti-Semitism in the speculative fiction genre community (both old-fashioned Jew hatred and its more sophisticated evolved form of ‘new’ anti-Semitism, that is dishonest and excessive anti-Israelism and all its associated cover terminology and disingenuous disguises), as is the case in the wider literary and academic world amidst all the groupthink prevalent there.
3 If I don’t do it (expose all this publicly via a blog, no matter how ‘hidden’ or buried it may be amidst the noise and overload of the internet and the blogosphere), it won’t be done.
Several things need explanation and clarification here,
What do I mean by anti-Semitism?
I mean by anti-Semitism… anti-Semitism in all its forms and variants, and all its rather pathetic flimsy disguises including of course but hardly limited to deligitimisation and demonisation of the sovereign Jewish state i.e. Israel and demonisation and baseless slurs of its citizens, govt and armed forces. I DO NOT MEAN legitimate and valid, factual criticisms of Israel and the Israeli government, Israeli domestic and Israeli foreign policies and the like. I mean demonisation. I mean dishonest criticisms of Israel which in principle are anti-Semitic, along with its deligitimization. I mean the double standards applied to Israel and it would appear nearly every other country on earth, in particular the Arab Muslim and Muslim states antagonistic to Israel and her very existence. These double standards stick out like a sore thumb and no attempt to explain them away changes the fact that in principle these double standards, inclusive of the whitewashing of Islamist terror and blood-lust against Israel, are anti-Semitic.
There is also outrageous lying, slanders and obscene fabrications against Israel that go beyond double standards, a demonisation pervasive among certain genre figures as it is among progressives and redneck conservatives alike, that is in principle anti-Semitic. Yet even if ignorance at best, those so guilty cannot get off the hook so easily. In principle this blind ignorance is what bigotry is all about. There are no excuses in this day and age for going along with the herd mentality, the alternative information – even if unpopular and unfashionable – is out there if you seek it out (these genre figures are not living in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia nor Iran where there are no real alternatives to the party line). Cowardice, stupidity, the desire to fit in, the desperation to scapegoat – the ingredients of the willful ignorance of our times are the very self-same materials out of which the new anti-Semitism is spun. They are not separate from one another, the ignorance and bigotry that is. They are two sides of the same coin.
Since the new anti-Semitism (as dishonest anti-Israelism) is predicated on old-fashioned Jew hatred, hating the Jews as Jews, occasionally the mask slips (and it is increasingly slipping) and plain undisguised unvarnished Jew hatred is revealed, both among genre figures and among the wider progressive liberal and paleocon communities. This is increasingly so as the war against the Jew nation picks up speed. In fact naked Jew hatred, having nothing to do with the masks of new anti-Semitism is obscenely on display in the genre community. This includes the worst kind of Jew hatred, Holocaust Denial/Revisionism as a legitimate and reasonable viewpoint.
This blog is not about discussing the roots and dynamics of anti-Semitism in the West, inclusive of the considerable and pathetic Jewish self-loathing. There are excellent resources on the web. There are also as to be expected a fair few books on the subject. If ye seek ye shall find. If you would rather read Noam Chomsky and take his word on it, well hey it’s your life.
So it follows that by making charges of anti-Semitism among genre figures or anybody else for that matter – which I would NEVER make lightly – I do not mean legitimate and valid criticisms of the state of Israel. Reasonable people can agree to reasonable disagreements on Israeli policies re Palestinians, settlements etc. without throwing out charges of bigotry and fascism. However there is in our day and age in Western society, a level of anti-Semitism that is as widespread as it is deep-seated and shrill, a pervasive return of anti-Semitism in the West that has reached levels unseen since the late 1930s, with all its chilling connotations. Nobody is saying criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, a routine straw man argument (and a disingenuous one at that) that is actually used by the ignorant and/or anti-Semites to distract and evade attention from the fact that anti-Semitic criticism of Israel is just that, anti-Semitic.
By anti-Semitic criticism of Israel, I mean – to repeat myself – the demonisation and vilification of Israel, lying about Israel, or distorting and taking out of context the facts about the Middle-East conflicts and the double standards employed re criticisms of Israel and the very real Muslim extremist enemies of Israel whose crimes and terrorism are either whitewashed and downplayed and/or justified and rationalised. Also the deligitimisation of Israel, not accepting the tiny state of Israel’s right to exist, while having no problem accepting the sovereign rights of the other nations of the world, is anti-Semitism and obviously so (well not to the obtuse and anti-Semitic naturally). This is what Natan Sharansky called the 3 D’s – deligitimisation of Israel, demonisation of Israel and double standards re Israel and the other nations of the world. All and each of these three factors are indicative of anti-Semitism and unambiguously so.
Even though this blog does not discuss the dynamics of modern-day anti-Semitism, a few clarifications and explanations are in order. Anti-Semitism today is especially pervasive among the political Left, inclusive of the mainstream Left (it is also there among conservatives, especially libertarians/paleocon types of the Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul mold). However there is an exasperating dishonesty to this anti-Semitism, that is it is not usually admitted for what it is by those so guilty of it. In our day and age, unlike in the past prior to the Holocaust, unless anti-Semites are of the far right, that is openly white supremacists of the KKK and neo-Nazi ilk or Muslim jihadists; they generally pretend to themselves as much as the outside world that they are not anti-Semitic, no matter how vicious or deranged their anti-Semitism actually is. So there are people who deny the Holocaust, who take the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion seriously as proof of Jewish plans for world domination and the like; and yet these people will deny that they are anti-Semitic and indeed express outrage that they could ever be accused of anti-Semitism.
The reasons for this are several and I am not going to cover them in detail here, it has been done by others writing on modern-day anti-Semitism. Just quickly though – people do not like to admit themselves bigots in this day and age (unlike in times past where they were usually more honest about their bigotry), liberals especially but conservatives too, even to themselves; since bigotry is something we are rightly taught is wrong and even iniquitous. So how to hold dear to one’s prejudice/s and at the same time pretend one is not prejudiced? Simple – just deny that you are one, even if your views on the Jews and whoever else (blacks, Hispanics, gays) are the same as those honestly bigoted, and project your bigotry/obtuseness on anybody who dares to call you out on it.
Also given the fact that the most notorious aspect of the Nazis and the fascists of World War 2 was their anti-Semitism and given where it led – the Holocaust – the anti-Semites of today, especially if they profess to be anti-fascist, could not admit to themselves, never mind any other, that they share in the identical prejudice of the most notorious fascists in our recent history. Another thing, self-deception is not only all too human, it is if anything our defining characteristic. It is what sets us apart from the animals – it defines the folly that is history and the sad state of the world. Given that, it is hardly surprising that those caught in the big lie that is bigotry deceive themselves about their own nature, and hide their bigotry in an Orwellian manner behind jargon like ‘anti-racism’, ‘peace’ and ‘human rights’.
As a FORMER science fiction fan and reader and as a Jew who actually has a problem with anti-Semitism unlike many, who when they do wax political would prefer to bury their heads in the sand and focus criticism instead on the Republicans and Fox News (and yes Fox is inane, obtuse and ridiculous); well I have combined the two topics on this blog… There is also a pathetic tendency among liberal Diaspora Jewry as a whole to desperately ingratiate themselves with the Jew haters in their midst, when not ignoring them and turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism in the liberal Gentile world. As for the Muslim radical Jihad that threatens another Holocaust of Jews (and with Iran close to the nuclear bomb…), it’s a shrug. The elephant in the room – a hysterical, fashionable Jew nation baiting that is rampant in the West, especially among liberals in the Gentile community – is likewise often willfully ignored by Jewry. As a consequence I have decided to open up this can of worms. And what a can of worms.
Naturally to the loony Left because I am not a self-hating Jew and an apologist for the Jihad against the Jews and everybody else, I am a right-wing George Bush loving cowboy and tool of capitalist oppressors. To many conservatives, if I think the newly sainted (by many conservatives) Ron Reagan was largely a know-nothing incompetent as was George Bush Jr, dare to think it is only humane that health care is universal (no I am no fan of ObamaCare for reasons that are complex and numerous and touch on things that are not pertinent here), and regard America’s wars (since Korea at least) as largely evidence of American arrogance, naivité, insecurity and destructiveness (Vietnam in particular), then I am a commie Stalinist. You can never win, then again a Jew can never win. He is either a capitalist oppressor or the communist traitor and sympathizer, he is either so successfully assimilated that he is able to camouflage his identity so well as he betrays the Gentile for his own nefarious ends or he is insular and removed from the Gentile and above it all, since he thinks himself from the Chosen Race. Or both.
Let me make it clear – I certainly distinguish between base, rabid and extreme anti-Semitism in the genre community and the more mild, ambiguous anti-Semitism and the accompanying rampant pseudo-intellectual know-nothingness when it comes to the Jewish nation and her very real enemies, no matter how wincing and pervasive the latter may be.
And yes anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Recognizing that is apparently beyond much of so-called Jewry. As if it’s a meaningless coincidence that the Nazis and their neo-Nazi successors and Muslim jihadists were and are all anti-Zionists. Every last one of them. Oh my God, how dare I point out the obvious! Don’t I know it.
Now with that out of the way, consult the posted articles to see how ideological idiocy, hypocrisy, bigotry, Political Correctness to the nth degree and related applies to the speculative fiction genre community.
Later edit 2018: I add this belatedly, but rereading this intro years later (yeah I was kinda bored, okay), I am struck by how if anything it is way too soft on the Jew haters who pretend they are not Jew haters. I write above of the difference between legitimate criticism of Israel and disingenuous anti-Semitism passed off as legitimate criticism of Israel. Yet what legitimate criticism of Israel? 99% of it – in the Western world and the Muslim world – is anti-Semitic. That’s because these same critics of Israel, even if they use seemingly calm and sober language and show some sympathy to Israel’s security needs, don’t have any or much criticisms to make about Sharia Law rampant on several continents, Sharia Law is inherently fascist and oppressive. These self-same critics of Israel, who seem reasonable and not frothing Corbynista types, have no interest in and criticisms of rampant graft, murder, tyranny, despotism from Mexico through to Pakistan and Africa’s forgotten wars. I mention this elsewhere on this blog, but it should have been mentioned in my intro. This is a give-away that criticism of Israel is near always anti-Semitic. It’s not the legitimate criticism of authentic Zionists. Such authentic Zionist Jews for example criticize Israel for kowtowing and fawning too much before our hostile opponents, the EU and the US State Dept for example, the hostile Obama White House etc. out of some misguided sense of realpolitik. We criticize Israel for not doing enough for helping the homeless in Israel’s cities, for not teaching our children the actual history of anti-Semitism in both the Christian and Muslim worlds, and the reality of Israel’s implacable enemies in the Middle-East. There is legitimate criticism of Israel’s fiscal policies, as with every other country. These are NOT the criticisms you hear from those blabbing that ‘criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic’. They don’t seem to criticize the Palestinian Authority much at all, the PA is hardcore jihadist. The PA routinely has the support of self-same critics of Israel. I could go on and on. My point is, those disingenuous cries of ‘criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic’ are just that, disingenuous; when coming from self-admitted opponents of Israel. You blabber on about criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, whilst mass slaughter in Sudan and Syria and Africa’s jihad zones and other conflicts, mean as much to you as medieval cooking recipes (unless medieval cooking recipes mean much to you), you are quite simply a Jew hater. In fact you are no better than the Nazis. You just lack the honesty of the latter.
PS My final essay published at this blog of course does get to grips with the cultural dynamics underlying ‘new’ anti-Semitism. As taboo as they remain.