All that Juice

 BY GILAD ATZMON

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By Gilad Atzmon

 If you are upset by the undeniable fact that our greatest scientific minds are failing in their battle against Covid-19, you should be relieved to learn that the West’s greatest minds are momentarily occupied with a way more important battle: the war against antisemitism.

 The Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reported a few days ago that the Alfred Landecker Foundation (Berlin) launched a new international ‘Decoding Antisemitism’ project to stop hate online using ‘Artificial Intelligence. ’Apparently, the multi-national team comprised of ‘discourse analysts, computational linguists and historians,’ will develop a highly complex, AI-driven approach to identifying online antisemitism. 

 The Jewish news outlet reports that studies have shown that the majority of anti-Semitic defamation is expressed in implicit ways – for example through the use of creative codes such as ‘juice’ instead of ‘Jews. ’The highly sophisticated algorithm is, presumably, designed to scan the net continuously and attribute security alerts to every possible reference to ‘juice.’ However, if you see law enforcement agents surrounding your local grocery shop you should assume that its owner may have issued a complaint to the manufacturer about the integrity of his last orange juice delivery.

 The genius AI application will also spot certain conspiracy narratives or the reproduction of stereotypes, especially through unusual images. I guess that we are referring here to images of an un-named orange who kept his underwear on.  It may as well be that the AI application will be sophisticated enough to trace the exact favourite fruit extract that drives the Open Society Institute.  

 Issues to do with COVID-19 are particularly important as far as the new AI application is concerned due to “the rise in conspiracy myths accusing Jews of creating and spreading COVID-19.” This is no doubt a demanding task for the state of art application, as most Jewish outlets actually openly admit a unique and concerning level of intimacy between Jews/Israel and the virus. Back on 1st April, Zionist outlets were the first to admit that Jews were as much as 8 times over-represented amongst Covid 19 death in Britain, at least in the first days of the epidemic.  As early as the 3rd of March, an Israeli company named Migal was quick to announce that it has the vaccine for Covid-19. The new AI system will have to learn to turn a blind eye to the fact that Jewish outlets openly admit  that Orthodox Jews in New York and in Israel consciously and strategically let the virus spread in their communities as they truly believed (and for a good reason) in herd immunity.

 Dr. Andreas Eberhardt, CEO of the Alfred Landecker Foundation told the Jewish outlet that “Antisemitism and hatred directed against minorities are putting the future of our open society in jeopardy. And the problem is only getting worse in the digital sphere. It’s essential that we use innovative approaches – such as using AI – to tackle these issues head on.” I guess that Dr. Eberhardt is correct and the next obvious question is why are the German academic and his institute  fighting antisemitism in particular rather than fighting hatred in general and universally?

 On my part, I could save the Alfred Landecker Foundation a lot of energy and resources. Instead of adopting a Stasi doctrine, scanning the net, spying on our profiles for poetic expressions and ‘juicy images,’ just ask a few basic elementary questions: why is antisemitism back on the rise? What is it that Israel and its Lobby are doing that is so upsetting to a growing number of people? What is it that we cannot talk about and why?

 I actually believe that one old Zionist text from the late 19th century answers all those questions. Bernard Lazare’s Antisemitism: Its History and Causes attempted to figure out why Jewish history is an endless chain of tragedies and expulsions.

 Lazare believed that if Jews want to dominate their fate they must emancipate themselves from their choseness, that unique racially oriented sense of privilege and exceptionalism.  Zionism in its early version, was for Lazare the way forward. Zionism at the time was distinguished by its total rejection and negation of the Diaspora Jewish culture and identity (Shlilat Ha-galut). When Zionism was a spiritual metamorphic aspiration, the Jews were loved and admired, their Jewish state was even ‘forgiven’ for its colossal crimes against the indigenous people of Palestine (The Nakaba). But when Israel drifted away from its idealistic roots, when it gradually became the ‘Jewish State’, the tolerance towards Israel’s actions and its lobby also started to fade away.

 The Alfred Landecker Foundation may do better using their historians, linguists and computer scientists identifying this shift in the Jewish universe rather than treating the rest of us as suspected bigots. 

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