Something understandable is not something understood. Something understandable is something excused.
For my part I just want to emphasize the double movement contained in what Loach is reported to have said:
British film director Ken Loach says that a rise in anti-Semitism in Europe since the Gaza crisis is "not surprising and understandable".
He was responding to a report earlier this week by the Vienna-based agency for fundamental rights (FRA) which said cases of anti-Semitism had risen across Europe since last December.
The agency, which collected information from 19 EU members, said rises in anti-Semitism, ranging from vandalism to physical attacks, were a serious concern.
"There does seem to be a relationship between the rise of anti-Semitism in the EU and the situation in the Middle East," said Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, one of the paper's authors.
But, speaking in Brussels on Wednesday, Loach said, "If there has been a rise I am not surprised. In fact, it is perfectly understandable because Israel feeds feelings of anti-Semitism."
Loach, famous for films like Kes, Cathy Come Home and Riff Raff, stressed that "no-one can condone violence".
But the director, who has spoken out against Israel in the past, branded the report as a "red herring" designed to "distract attention" from Israel's recent military actions.
It's a double minimizing movement: the 'red herring' implies that there's nothing too serious going on here, nothing that should detain or worry us; 'understandable' says that in so far as nothing serious isn't equivalent to plain nothing, well, it's what you'd more or less expect, hardly surprising - as if Jews need to earn the right not to be hated and they haven't, or haven't recently, because of the actions of Israel. Naturally, Loach doesn't condone violence against us - which is mighty good of him - but hostility, prejudice, hatred, this doesn't surprise him, this he can understand.
Nothing so surely confirms the growth of anti-Semitism today than sentiments like these - not from neo-Nazi thugs, or Islamist hate-mongers, but from members of polite liberal society and the international left. Whether denying or minimizing the evidence of increased attacks on Jews and the spread, everywhere, of anti-Semitic tropes in public discourse, such voices themselves testify to a willingness to cushion those guilty of blatant anti-Semitism with an understanding tolerance and a willingness to look the other way. Instead of 'never again', their watchword is 'What on earth are you talking about?'
Jews of my generation grew up not only with a sense of the disaster that had so recently overtaken the Jewish people, but also in a climate of opinion in which anti-Semitism had been more or less marginalized, driven into the sewers of the political far-right and into coded and 'genteel' forms elsewhere. It was possible to believe that its National-Socialist manifestation had discredited anti-Semitism beyond recovery. No more. That turns out to have been an illusion. Anti-Semitism is back - not that it ever went away completely, but I mean back out of the sewers and from the shamefacedness and the self-restraining codes - in all its ugly colours. It still bears the stink of what it essentially is. (Via Z Word.)