Sakset/Fra hofta

Det er hva venstresiden kalles definisjonsmakt: hvilke konntasjoner gir ord som «israelsk lobby»? hva kan det komme av at den glir over i «jødisk lobby?»

Da John Mearsheimer og Stephen W. Walt publiserte sin bok The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy in 2007, presiserte de at de ikke brukte ordet «jødisk lobby», men «israelsk lobby», fordi lobbyen også består av mennesker som ikke er jøder.

Men hvilke assosiasjoner utløser ordet «lobby» og «Israel»? Alan Johnson er en skarp observatør av holdninger som i sum bidrar til den nye antisemittismen:

Last week, the BBC interviewed the American academic and anti-Zionist Norman Finkelstein for its influential series Hard Talk. Sarah Montague introduced the program with the words “American presidents have long been criticised criticized for being too in thrall to the Jewish lobby.” Jewish, not Israeli. At the BBC iPlayer page, the interview is captioned with the exact same words. These words are not in quote marks.

During the interview, Norman Finkelstein claimed the lobby had two parts. First, there were the “paid agents of a foreign power.” Second, a wider group made up of “large numbers of Jews in influential positions.” The power of this lobby was presented as unstoppable: “When the lobby goes into action … Obama backs down.” The idea that the lobby controls US foreign policy was not challenged by the interviewer. She merely asked Finkelstein for his views on the consequences for this control of the much-discussed «distancing» of American Jews from Israel.

Whatever view one takes of the Walt and Mearsheimer thesis—mine is sharply critical—it is worrying that the BBC chose not to distinguish between an “Israel lobby” and a “Jewish lobby.” It is difficult to see how a discourse about “the Jewish lobby” does not, even if inadvertently, encourage bigoted stereotypes about the all-controlling influence of “the Jew.”

The program itself was much better than its introduction. Montague did not give Finkelstein an easy time. But that introduction: dear oh dear.

The BBC and the ‘Jewish Lobby’