Wednesday, March 24, 2004

George F. Will: Modern anti-Semitism
(Published 2:15 a.m. PST Thursday, February 26, 2004)

WASHINGTON -- It used to be said that anti-Catholicism was the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals. Today, anti-Semitism is the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals.

Not all intellectuals, of course. And the seepage of this ancient poison into the intelligentsia -- always so militantly modern -- is much more pronounced in Europe than here. But as anti-Semitism migrates across the political spectrum from right to left, it infects the intelligentsia, which has leaned left for two centuries...

Wednesday's release of Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ" has catalyzed fears of resurgent anti-Semitism. Some critics say the movie portrays the governor of Judea -- Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect responsible for the crucifixion -- as more benign and less in control than he actually was, and ascribes too much power and malignity to Jerusalem's Jewish elite....

Fears about the movie exacerbating religiously motivated anti-Semitism are missing the larger menace -- the upsurge of political anti-Semitism. Like traditional anti-Semitism, but with secular sources and motives, the political version, which condemns Jews as a social element, is becoming mainstream, and chic among political and cultural elites, mostly in Europe..."

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