The most interesting thing I have read in years about anti-Semitism is in the Wall Street Journal today. (10/12/10, James Kirchick: “Europe the Intolerant.”) A poll in Europe indicates that 50% of Spaniards have a somewhat unfavorable, or a very unfavorable impression of Jews. The percentage in Germany is 25, in France it’s 20, in the UK, it’s 10. There are large number so Jews in France and in the UK.
What makes Spanish anti-Antisemitism interesting is that there are no Jews to speak off in Spain. All Spanish Jews were expelled from the country in 1492. The bulk of those who did not die in the expulsion went to the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire were they were welcomed by the Sultan. Others scattered around Muslim North Africa and Italy. Until WWII, many Turkish and Balkans Jews spoke 15th century Spanish. I knew a Spanish-speaking Turkish Jew at Stanford in the sixties myself. His last name was Cardona.
Between 1939 and the 1970s, the Fascist regime of Francisco Franco promoted a brand of Catholicism that was unfriendly to Jews, as “Christ killers.”For most of the intervening period the Inquisition promised to make life miserable enough for Jews that they did not come back.
So, here you go: The ultimate judgment on the rationality of anti-Antisemitism: The less the chance that you ever met a Jew, the more likely you dislike Jews. At least, that’s true in Europe.
And left-wing anti-Semites, in their growing numbers, are in the company they deserve: with Fascists of all breeds and varieties.
PS No, I am not Jewish, never have been, probably never will be: I fear the moel’s cold blade!
You may have heard echoes of the brewing “currency issue” in the media. It’s complicated and boring but fairly important. Here is all or most of what you need to know for the time being:
If a country’s currency, such as the US dollar, or a set of countries’ currency, such as the Euro, loses some of its value relative to others, the exports from the relevant country or countries will surge. At the same time, imports into that county or countries will decrease. This will happen fairly quickly.
Evey developed country, and the central bank that manages the Euro, have the capability to cause their currencies to lose or gain value. (Don’t worry about how it’s done; take my word for it.) If a country lowers the value of its currency, there will be a fairly rapid rise in employment (more exports, fewer imports). It will make the government of the relevant country look good for a while. President Obama needs to look good, right now, I don’t need to tell you. Even a little bit of lipstick would help at this point.
Two problems with this little trick: First, other countries can and will usually do the same. Such devaluations make the world economy unstable. They make it difficult for economic actors, such as businesses, to engage in the rational calculations on which the efficient functioning of the market depends. Moreover, devaluations cancel each other out quickly and prices re-adjust, erasing initial gains in employment.
Second, if the currency I use, the US dollar, in this case, loses some of its value, I am poorer, of course. I can then buy less of everything.
You may have overheard that the Obama administration, as the Bush administration was before it, is engaged in an epic struggle to convince Communist China to re-evaluate is currency. This means what you think: They want the Chinese currency to cost more in dollars.
Think that one through: According to the administration, the Chinese are guilty of selling stuff to me too cheaply. The bastards!
[Editor's note: this essay first appeared on Dr. Delacroix's blog, Facts Matter, on September 12th 2010]