Criticism of Israeli Policy is not Anti-Semitic

Hits: 140

I was provoked to write this discussion of what is and what isn’t anti-Semitism by an article in Ha’aretz on the “controversy” created by the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to George P. Smith. According to the reporting, Smith is not only a brilliant scientist whose work has helped lead to the creation of new drugs that can treat cancer and a range of autoimmune diseases, he is also an outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and a critic of Israeli policies.

The Ha’aretz piece notes that Smith has long been “a target of pro-Israel groups” and is listed on “the controversial Canary Mission website”—used by supporters of Israel to harass and silence critics.

As I read through the article looking for evidence of Smith’s sins, I found quotes saying that he “wished ‘not for Israel’s Jewish population to be expelled’ but ‘an end to the discriminatory regime in Palestine.’” At another point, Ha’aretz quotes from an op-ed written by Smith condemning Israeli policies in Gaza which he concludes by expressing his support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) calling it “Palestinian civil society’s call for the global community of conscience to ostracize Israeli businesses and institutions until Israel repudiates [their violence against Palestinians] and the Palestinian people, including the exiles, achieve full equality with the Jews in their shared homeland.”

I read all of this in the context of this worrisome campaign that is unfolding here in the United States to silence critics of Israel or the exclusivist vision of Political Zionism. It is a well-funded multi-pronged effort, one component of which is the shadowy Canary Mission website that publishes the names, photos, and backgrounds of pro-Palestinian students and professors—terming them anti-Semites or supporters of terrorism. It does so with the expressed purpose of harming their careers. The Canary Mission list is also used to taint and smear these activists to intimidate politicians from engaging with them. And the lists have been used by the Israeli government to deny entry to, in particular, Palestinian Americans or progressive Americans Jews seeking to see family, study, teach, or simply visit that country.

Although the Canary Mission has done its best to keep its operations, leadership, and funding secret, recent articles published in the Jewish press have revealed that the project has been financially supported by some mainstream American Jewish philanthropic entities.

In addition to the Canary Mission there is the campaign that seeks to criminalize support for BDS or to penalize supporters of the movement to hold Israel accountable for its systematic violations of Palestinian rights. This effort is massively funded by the likes of Sheldon Adelson and we now learn, also from a recent expose in a prominent American Jewish newspaper, by millions of dollars funneled to the campaign from the Government of Israel.

Then there is legislation currently pending in Congress designed to make boycotting Israel a crime, complementing the 25 states that have already passed laws denying salaries, contracts, or benefits to individuals who support BDS.

Finally, in a replay of the effort that pressed the UK’s Labour Party to define criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic, Trump’s appointment to lead the Civil Rights Office at the U.S. Department of Education has made clear his intent to investigate anti-Israel activism on college campuses as forms of anti-Semitism. And there is legislation pending in Congress—the Antisemitism Awareness Act. Both this bill and the action by Kenneth Marcus at the Education Department seek to extend the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel.

In reflecting on these developments, there are several observations that should be made: anti-Semitism is real, ugly, and dangerous; criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism; and the effort to conflate the two not only silences needed debate, it distracts from the effort to root out real anti-Semitism, a scourge that has created great pain and enormous suffering in human history.

Anti-Semitism is hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group. It is also the attribution of evil intent or negative qualities to individuals or a group just because they are Jews. On the other hand, criticism of Israeli policy is not anti-Semitic. When Smith has criticized Israel’s massacres at the Gaza border or its systematic denial of equal rights and justice to Palestinians, he is not attributing this behavior to their religion or even suggesting that this behavior is due to their being Jews. For example, he is not saying “Israel is oppressing Palestinians because that’s the way Jews behave.” Nor is he saying that all Jews, as a group, are responsible for these actions—this would be anti-Semitic.  He said no such thing. The only reason to target Smith and those, like him, who critique the policies of the state (that by the way are not supported by all Israelis or Jews, worldwide) is to silence their voices.

This idea that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic (what is now called “the new anti-Semitism”) is decades old. It has received a push, in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. This is, at best, a far-fetched effort to shield Israel. While it’s proponents claim that it targets only those who single out Israel for criticism, what they really seek to do is single out Israel as the one country that can’t be criticized.

It is also important to note that there is evidence that in, too many instances, the struggle to combat real anti-Semitism takes a back seat to the effort to shield Israel. For example, while some pro-Israel groups targeted Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party charging him with tolerating anti-Semitism, they ignored the virulent anti-Semites operating on the right-wing of UK politics. This led many Labourites to conclude that the real target was Corbyn’s unrelenting support for Palestinian rights. Much the same could be implied from Benjamin Netanyahu’s embrace of far-right anti-Semitic European leaders, because they were strong supporters of his government.

The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism.  And in the process of doing so enormous damage is done to: legitimate, well-deserved and necessary criticism of Israeli policies; the reputations of individuals like Smith and student activists who speak out because they are outraged by the injustices visited upon Palestinians; and the struggle against the scourge of real anti-Semitism.


Originally published on 2018-10-06

Author: James J. Zogby is the president of the Arab American Institute.

Source: Lobe Log

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
Huge Defeat for Imperialists: The U.S. Broke Its Teeth in Venezuela
The miserably failed “humanitarian aid” delivery into Venezuela on February 23 is another nail in the coffin of the U.S. government’s coup attempt against President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian revolutionary process in Venezuela.Before this day, the U.S. government and their allies, including Canada, thought that their puppet, self-declared “interim President” Juan Guaidó, still had a chance. The U.S. government made a callous bet that the installation of Guaidó, together with a cruel and illegal sanctions campaign against Venezuela would be enough to force the people of Venezuela to overthrow the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro. However, they ...
READ MORE
United States War Crimes
Human Rights Day, December 10, 2016, we bring to the attention of our readers an important article published in 2002 on the record of US war crimes. The issue of War Crimes emerged after World War I at the Versailles Conference, but it was not until the end of World War II that a more comprehensive definition of what constitutes war crimes was developed. First among new international conventions addressing war crimes was the 1950 Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal. Its fundamental premise was that the conduct of war in violation of international treaties was a crime against peace. Ill treatment ...
READ MORE
Balfour at 100: A legacy of Racism and Propaganda
The coming months mark the centennial of Palestine’s forcible incorporation into the British Empire. In November 1917, British foreign secretary Lord Arthur Balfour declared his government’s support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”; in December, Jerusalem fell to British troops. One hundred years later, the effects of these events continue to reverberate. This should be a time of sombre reflection about international responsibility for the unfolding tragedy in Palestine.This responsibility should weigh heavily on the West. Walid Khalidi put it well: “The Zionists were the initiators. But they were also, as they still ...
READ MORE
Zionism is Racism
Hardly any knowledgeable person doubts that Zionist ideology is the purest form of racism. Zionism is Jewish disguised racism as a raison d’etat. Israel comes right after the U. S., as far as racism is concerned. That is why the U. S. donates to this racist regime $ 3.8 bn per year in order to keep this occupation regime going. Should anybody doubt the racism of the Israeli leadership, read the following article.[1] Racism among the Israeli leadership is legendary. It started out with the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, saying: “Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it ...
READ MORE
US has Killed More than 20 Million People in 37 “Victim Nations” since World War II
After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by ...
READ MORE
Documentary Film: “Kosovo: Can You Imagine?” (2009, Canada)
“Kosovo: Can You Imagine?” is a documentary film by Canadian film maker Boris Malagurski, about the Serbs that live in Kosovo and the lack of human rights that they have today, in the 21st century. Most of the Kosovo Serbs have been ethnically cleansed by the Albanians who make up the majority of Kosovo. Kosovo has been under UN administration since 1999 when NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days to halt a crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatism in its province of Kosovo. In the years following the war, thousands of Serbs were expelled from their homes, kidnapped and killed. Their houses, cultural and ...
READ MORE
The Ku Klux Klan: America’s Long History of Accepting White Terrorist Organizations
Thursday marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of America’s deadliest terrorist organization: the Klu Klux Klan. Since September 11, extremists associated with various far-right wing ideologies, including the KKK and Jewish extremists, have killed far more people in the United States than extremists motivated by radical Islam. One centuries’ old example of US government double standards when it comes to terrorism, is the infamous Klu Klux Klan. The Klan has terrorized and killed far more Americans than Islamic terrorists ever have; and despite being America’s oldest terrorist organization, the US government does not officially consider the KKK a terrorist organization, classifying ...
READ MORE
US Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital: A Travesty of History
To understand Trump’s policy reversal in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel requires understanding the character of Zionism and Jerusalem as part of a “messianic” “Greater Israel”, as well as the historical relationship between this ancient pre-Israelite city and the many peoples of the region. Donald Trump was elected on the wave of a populist backlash. Like his predecessor, Barack Obama, he promised to roll back the USA’s global intervention, which does, after all, have more in common with Wilsonian Democratic internationalism than traditional Republican—Robert Taft—“America First” non-intervention. Indeed, Trump’s slogan of “America First” got the oligarchic and liberal cabals ...
READ MORE
The Kurds Under Erdogan’s Tyrannical Governance
Tens of thousands have been killed over 40 years of bloodletting between Turkish forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and tragically there seems to be no end in sight. In May 2016, President Erdogan stated that military operations against the PKK will continue until “the very last rebel is killed.” What is alarming about Erdogan’s statement is that he still believes he can solve the conflict through brutal force. Erdogan does not understand that he cannot wish the Kurdish problem away—a problem that will continue to haunt him and the country for countless more decades unless a solution is ...
READ MORE
Ms. Clinton, Stop Russian ‘Bear Hunting’!
It is now September 2016, just two months before the Presidential elections, and both political camps have already managed to disgust a great number of the US voters, by offering almost no comprehensive political or economic program, by offering… close to nothing! While Donald Trump is lashing out at the ‘enemy within’, during his dark moments that are increasingly resembling an advanced stage of delirium tremens (complete with a mad chase after white mice and promises to cleanse society from some imaginary and filthy rapists and social benefits guzzlers, that are constantly pouring from the south), Ms. Clinton is saddling her ...
READ MORE
“The Civilized World” Strikes Again: Donald Trump, a Complete Puppet of the Military Industrial Complex
It is apparent given the timelines and the lack of time given to verifying the validity of accusations concerning the gas attack in Homs, Syria, that plans had already been coordinated for such an attack. Watching the mainstream media the viewer receives the impression from the wording of the announcers reports and questions for the “experts” that the matter was already decided in favour of the U.S. military strike on the airbase. I see pictures of Colin Powell at the UN holding up glossy photos of supposed chemical weapons manufacturing plants. It demonstrates to a high degree how easily manipulated Trump ...
READ MORE
Korea: An Alternative History
For decades, consumers of the US media have been fed a series of repeated lies concerning the status of northern Korea. Tales of mass starvation and brutal torture are told over and over, occasionally updated but essentially the same as those told when Washington first realized it could not defeat the national forces headquartered in Pyongyang. Naturally, these stories become more frequent and considerably more dramatic during those times the US military heightens tensions in the region. While some of these “reports” are probably based in fact, the more revealing aspect of their being told is the lack of context involved in their ...
READ MORE
Barbarism in Words and Deeds. Barbarism of U.S. Imperial Wars is Unmatched
“What Russia is sponsoring and doing [in Syria] is not counter-terrorism it is barbarism” Samantha Power, US Representative to the United Nations  The US representative to the United Nations, Ambassador ‘Ranting Sam’ Samantha Power, accused the Russian and Syrian governments of ‘barbarism’, claiming Moscow or Damascus had attacked an unarmed United Nations humanitarian convoy delivering aid to civilians in Aleppo.  No evidence was presented.  Rants and threats do not require facts or proof; they only require vehement emotional ejaculations and compliant mass propaganda organs. ‘Barbarians’, to be clear, evoke images of leaders and groups, which abjure all civilized norms and laws.  They ...
READ MORE
How We Know the So-Called “Civil War” was not over Slavery
When I read Professor Thomas DiLorenzo’s article the question that leapt to mind was, “How come the South is said to have fought for slavery when the North wasn’t fighting against slavery?” Two days before Lincoln’s inauguration as the 16th President, Congress, consisting only of the Northern states, passed overwhelmingly on March 2, 1861, the Corwin Amendment that gave constitutional protection to slavery. Lincoln endorsed the amendment in his inaugural address, saying “I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.” Quite clearly, the North was not prepared to go to war in order to end slavery when on the very ...
READ MORE
Greece in the Mediterranean Security System
With respect to Greece’s role in the Mediterranean security system, the multilateralist formula applied to the region including the Balkans as well as is the orienting principle for the Greek foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. Since 1994, the opportunities for NATO’s and EU’s initiatives were more than apparent for Athens when Greece (wrongly) understood the Euro-Atlantic community as a fundamental security player for the extending the values of security and co-operation into this structurally unbalanced region. During the Cold War, the Greek policy-makers also found (wrongly) since 1952 that the US-led NATO offered allegedly excellent opportunities ...
READ MORE
Albanian Highlanders and Kosovo
South-East Serbia's province of Kosovo-Metochia (KosMet) is an autochthonous Slavic, in particular Serb, land. Now, the focal question became how this province became “disputed land”, and, in particular, what it has to do with ethnic-Albanians? In the following text, this issue is going to be considered in more details, from the geographical, (pre)historic, anthropologic, religious, and political points of view. We start with the geography, in particular, the physical geography of West Balkans.Kosovo Liberation Army, August 1998, Klechka village, KosMetThe region of Dinaric Alps It is known that physical and mental structures of a particular population are determined by many ...
READ MORE
The Painful Truth: War is a Racket on Behalf of Wall Street and the Bankers
“We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth…For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.” —Patrick Henry, Virginia Convention, 23 March, 1775 “The completeness of the victory is established by this fact: that of the six hundred Moros (Muslims living in the southern Philippines at the beginning of the 20th century) not one was left alive. The brilliancy of the victory is established by this other fact, to wit: that of our six hundred heroes only fifteen lost their ...
READ MORE
Winston Churchill on the Palestinians
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. Save
READ MORE
Will Washington Kill Us All?
Did you know that Washington keeps 450 nuclear ICBMs on “hair-trigger alert”? Washington thinks that this makes us “safe.” The reasoning, if it can be called reason, is that by being able to launch in a few minutes, no one will try to attack the US with nuclear weapons. US missiles are able to get on their way before the enemy’s missiles can reach the US to destroy ours. If this makes you feel safe, you need to read Eric Schlosser’s book, Command and Control. The trouble with hair-triggers is that they make mistaken, accidental, and unauthorized launch more likely. Schlosser provides ...
READ MORE
While God Blesses America, Prometheus Protects Syria, Russia and North Korea
“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.” — Seneca “When the CIA goes to church, it doesn’t go to pray.” — South American aphorism Let’s be clear. Syria is invading nobody. North Korea is attacking damn all. And Russia is threatening zilch. But on the eve of the apocalypse these nations are the ones being stoned. The sanctimonious are having a field day crucifying the leaders of these countries and stomping all over the humanity of their peoples. In a godless universe the tormentors of Syria, Russia and North Korea are behaving as if ...
READ MORE
Huge Defeat for Imperialists: The U.S. Broke Its Teeth in Venezuela
United States War Crimes
Balfour at 100: A legacy of Racism and Propaganda
Zionism is Racism
US has Killed More than 20 Million People in 37 “Victim Nations” since World War II
Documentary Film: “Kosovo: Can You Imagine?” (2009, Canada)
The Ku Klux Klan: America’s Long History of Accepting White Terrorist Organizations
US Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital: A Travesty of History
The Kurds Under Erdogan’s Tyrannical Governance
Ms. Clinton, Stop Russian ‘Bear Hunting’!
“The Civilized World” Strikes Again: Donald Trump, a Complete Puppet of the Military Industrial Complex
Korea: An Alternative History
Barbarism in Words and Deeds. Barbarism of U.S. Imperial Wars is Unmatched
How We Know the So-Called “Civil War” was not over Slavery
Greece in the Mediterranean Security System
Albanian Highlanders and Kosovo
The Painful Truth: War is a Racket on Behalf of Wall Street and the Bankers
Winston Churchill on the Palestinians
Will Washington Kill Us All?
While God Blesses America, Prometheus Protects Syria, Russia and North Korea
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu