The 'So what?' test

The NI is to be congratulated on its stance on the centuries-old scourge known as antisemitism ([NI 372]( However, as is often the case, your report falls short of a full-scale rebuttal of antisemitic prejudice. Since antisemitism is largely based on ignorance, rational arguments are needed to counteract its harmful influence. In many cases, an adequate argument might be the ‘so what?’ test. Even if you accepted that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was the work of a handful of evil Jews: so what? How could a handful of Jews subvert the established European order without an army, without strong political and social support, and above all without the numbers? Even if you accepted that Dreyfus was guilty: so what? The guilt of one Jew surely does not entail the guilt of all Jews! (Incidentally, when it was revealed that the real culprit was a Hungarian, there was no corresponding hysteria throughout France against Hungarians). The deicide charge should also be refutable with rational arguments. The Christian churches have traditionally taught that humankind could be saved only through the supreme sacrifice of a divine Saviour, so should we all not be thankful to those who accomplished what was decreed by God himself? That millions of post-Christ Jews should be held collectively accountable for a crime allegedly committed by a handful of wicked people living in Jerusalem in the early first century should surely be repugnant to any right-thinking individual.

New Internationalist issue 374 magazine cover This article is from the December 2004 issue of New Internationalist.
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