Last week was a bad one for the Jews, says David Baddiel at The Daily Telegraph. First, John Galliano was caught on camera spitting out anti-Semitic insults in a Paris cafe. Then, Charlie Sheen called his former boss Chuck Lorre "Chaim Levine" in an apparent dig at his Jewish roots. Rounding out the week, Julian Assange claimed to have identified a Jewish conspiracy to discredit WikiLeaks in the British press. Not even Pope Benedict's timely exoneration of the Jews can counteract the feeling that anti-Semitism is now "really, properly zeitgeisty" in a way it hasn't been for decades. But why do people "still harbor negative ideas about this fairly tiny racial group," asks Baddiel. Here, an excerpt:
How is anti-Semitism different from other types of racial hatred? The answer, I think, can be found in the language. To return to the high priest of drunken Jew-hatred, Mel [Gibson, who] said, in his rant of 2008: "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." This is key: Jews are the only race whose negative image as projected by racists is high-status.
It's the same with Julian Assange's (alleged) notion that a cabal of powerful Jewish journalists are behind the smearing of WikiLeaks; it's even somewhere in Charlie Sheen's renaming of the producer of his former sitcom Chuck Lorre as "Chaim Levine," carrying with it as it does two suggestions: One, that Jews are the controlling forces behind the U.S. media, and two, that they have disguised this fact about themselves and need to be outed.
Although they can also be called dirty, or cheating, or all the other unlovely adjectives that racists also apply to black people or Asians, it is only Jews who get this extra, subtle spin, that they are secretly in charge, secretly pulling the strings.