British paper publishes op-ed calling settlements ‘the trouble with Jews’

In defending Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, influential philosopher Slavoj Zizek says accusations of anti-Semitism are politicized, then seems to blame Jews for Israeli policies

Slavoj Zizek speaks at the London School of Economics, April 20, 2016. (Ray Tang/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images/via JTA)
Slavoj Zizek speaks at the London School of Economics, April 20, 2016. (Ray Tang/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images/via JTA)

JTA — A British newspaper published an op-ed by the influential philosopher Slavoj Zizek that appears to defend Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn against allegations of anti-Semitism.

But Zizek himself made a statement in his article in The Independent published Tuesday that is being attacked as anti-Semitic.

In an op-ed titled “There is no conflict between the struggle against anti-Semitism and the struggle against Israeli occupation,” Zizek wrote that “the trouble with Jews today is that they are now trying to get roots in a place which was for thousands of years inhabited by other people.” He is referring to the West Bank and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Zizek, whom the German Der Spiegel newspaper in 2015 described as “one of Europe’s boldest intellectuals and also a self-avowed leftist,” condemned British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’s warning last month about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party ahead of the December 12 election as “ethically disgusting.”

Screen capture from video of UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn during an interview with the ITV channel, December 3, 2019. (YouTube)

In The Independent, Zizek added in the context of Mirvis’s criticism about Corbyn, “the charge of anti-Semitism is more and more addressed at anyone who deviates from the acceptable left-liberal establishment towards a more radical left.”

Zizek also wrote: “I, of course, indisputably reject anti-Semitism in all its forms.”

But Honest Reporting, a Jerusalem-based organization whose mission statement is to fight bias against Israel in the media, accused Zizek of venting anti-Semitic sentiments in the op-ed.

He “may be able to dress up his bigotry in complicated philosophical language but it is ultimately clear that, despite his own claims to the contrary, his piece contains clear examples of anti-Semitism,” Honest Reporting said in a statement.

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