Criticism of Israeli Policy is not Anti-Semitic

Hits: 558

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.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
Killing a Republic – Kissinger and Cyprus
In July 1974 the US-controlled Athens military junta organized a coup d’état in Cyprus and an assassination attempt against the President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios. Everything was executed in exactly the same way as it had been a year before in Santiago Chile. (Cyprus is an island of great strategic importance, now a member of EU and Eurozone. 82% of his population are Greek by nationality and 18% Turkish Cypriots. The country obtained its independence from Britain in 1960, after one of the most successful national-liberation struggles after the 2nd World War). Unlike Salvador Allende, Makarios escaped death and with him ...
READ MORE
Obama and the Bombing of Hiroshima
Later this month, Barack Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima by the American military on August 6, 1945, and the destruction three days later of the Japanese city of Nagasaki, rank among the greatest war crimes of the 20th century.One would think that after 71 years, the United States would finally be prepared to acknowledge that the incineration of two defenseless Japanese cities, causing some 200,000 deaths, was a militarily unnecessary act.Nothing of the sort will happen. Obama “will not revisit the decision ...
READ MORE
The Nazi Glorification of Ataturk
Historical research into the Nazi era rarely throws up many surprises any more. German historian Stefan Ihrig, however, is an exception to this rule. By studying long-published sources, he has uncovered the fascination that Ataturk's modern Turkey held for the German far right, which has been seriously underestimated until now and which set an example for Hitler and the National Socialists.From a right-wing viewpoint, what Ataturk had achieved was an unattainable goal for Weimar-era Germany. Using force of arms, he had managed to reverse the Treaty of Sevres, which had been forced on his country by the Entente in 1920, ...
READ MORE
Mother Teresa India Charity ‘Sold Babies’
A woman working at Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand has been arrested for allegedly selling a 14-day-old baby.Two other women employees from the centre have been detained and are being questioned about other possible cases.Police took action after the state’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC) registered a complaint.The charity has not responded to BBC requests for comment.“We have found out that some other babies have also been illegally sold from the centre,” a police official told BBC Hindi’s Niraj Sinha. “We have obtained the names of the mothers of these babies and are further ...
READ MORE
Those Who have Erected the Monument to Bill Clinton Now Flee From the Valley of Tears
Former slogan that has been so thunderously shouted within  pre-election debates, and that was the last glimmer of declarative patriotism, dear both to politicians and football fans, by the development of the situation these days gets quite a different meaning. Kosovo is Serbia sometimes means that the Serbs, if not otherwise, at least in their souls will not give up the holy Serbian land. However, it might sound completely different today.  Columns of Albanians from Kosovo carrying everything they own, leave Kosovo, pushing to catch last buses for a better life, moving towards Subotica, in order to try to reach some ...
READ MORE
The 2016 Aleppo Massacre: Are Putin and Assad the Only “War Criminals”?
On Friday, October 5th, the U.S. Secretary of State – John Kerry calls for war crimes investigation of Russia’s and Assad governments for the destruction of the Syrian city of Aleppo. The western corporate mass media was a very quick, like, for instance, The New York Times, immediately and clearly to accuse the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of alleged war crimes in Syria – the same cliché used by the same propaganda machinery against the Serbs (Srebrenica case from 1995 or Kosovo War from 1999) during the bloody destruction of ex-Yugoslavia (by the U.S. ...
READ MORE
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes
The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013 A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea Introduction Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea. It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty. I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013. I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity ...
READ MORE
Behind the Balfour Declaration
Acknowledgements To Benjamin H. Freedman, who committed himself to finding and telling the facts about Zionism and Communism. and encouraged others to do the same. The son of one of the founders of the American Jewish Committee, which for many years was anti-Zionist, Ben Freedman founded the League for Peace with Justice in Palestine in 1946. He gave me copies of materials on the Balfour Declaration which I might never have found on my own and encouraged my own research. (He died in April 1984.) The Institute for Historical Review is providing means for the better understanding of the events of our ...
READ MORE
Israel: The Ghetto of the Middle East: History of the Political Zionist Movement
Diaspora families living worldwide, the vast majority in New York with smaller communities in Paris, London and other major conurbations, are taught from an early age to believe that the modern State of Israel is their homeland. Not merely a biblical place of ‘milk and honey’, military might, innate intelligence and integrity but a place of final security; a sanctuary to which they can flee to escape the apparently insidious rise of anti-Semitism in the various land(s) of their birth. An ultimate insurance policy in case of need. That is how it is ‘sold’ to the average Jewish family in ...
READ MORE
Confronting the West With its Responsibilities is Essential!
The West has a black history in the middle east that must be recognised. In 1916, Arabs joined the allied forces but deceived.The victorious  western powers divided the region as they wished without any consideration to the peoples’ will. Then  completed  this crime by planting the state of Israel, which since day one spread state terrorism throughout the region.The West supported Israel and defied the international law set by the West. Our part of the world continued to live in a climate of war, militarisation and tension because of this. In this respect, the West practised and still the most ...
READ MORE
“Beating the Drums of War”: How Obama and Clinton are Endangering All of Us
I am a lifelong FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) Democrat and therefore am anything other than prejudiced against the Democratic Party. But, that Party died when Bill Clinton became President and undid FDR’s regulations on the megabanks and FDR’s AFDC income program for children in poor families, and when Clinton replaced that with restoration of Wall Street’s control over America (like before FDR, only a more convoluted form of it).However, the way in which both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton endanger all people’s lives and property and health and welfare, has to do with something else, something that’s even more evil ...
READ MORE
The Bosnian Muslim Government Reformed the WWII Nazi SS Division Handzar in 1992-1995
Marko Attila Hoare rejects and suppresses this factual image of Bosnian history in favor of a fantasy or delusional image from a television comedy. The real Heinrich Himmler (Heimlich Bimmler) reviewing the real or “historical” Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division Handzar, 1943. Did the Bosnian Muslim Army and Government reform or recreate the infamous Nazi SS Division Handzar or not? Based on Martko Attila Hoare’s response to my article, Hoare now concedes that, indeed, there was a formation in the Bosnian Muslim Army termed the “Handzar Division”. Let me reiterate that. Hoare admitted that the Bosnian Muslim Government did indeed reform the ...
READ MORE
When the American Civil War Ends: In 1865 or 1965?
The American Civil War The American Civil War (1861−1865) was a military conflict between the northern and the southern states of the USA which initially started as a political-economic revolt and desire for the independence by the southern states which created their own Confederacy not recognized by Washington. However, very soon the conflict was transformed into the war for the abolition of the slavery within the whole territory of the USA. In the first half of the 19th century, there was an increasing number of personalities mostly from the industrial northern states who called for the abolition of the slavery but ...
READ MORE
US Meddling in Foreign Elections: A CIA Tradition since 1948
In a shocking display of relative independence from the post-Operation Mockingbird control of the media by the Central Intelligence Agency, a recent article in The New York Times broke with current conventional pack journalism and covered the long history of CIA meddling in foreign elections. A February 17, 2018, article, titled, "Russia Isn’t the Only One Meddling in Elections. We Do It, Too," authored by Scott Shane – who covered the perestroika and glasnost for The Baltimore Sun in Moscow from 1988 to 1991 during the final few years of the Soviet Union – reported the US has interfered in foreign elections for decades. However, ...
READ MORE
Historical Origins of the State: Barbarians at the Gate
War has indeed become perpetual and peace no longer even a fleeting wish nor a distant memory. We have become habituated to the rumblings of war and the steady drum beat of propaganda about war’s necessity and the noble motives that inspire it. We will close hospitals. We will close schools. We will close libraries and museums. We will sell off our parklands and water supply. People will sleep on the streets and go hungry. The war machine will go on. What are we to do? The following text is Part III of  a broader analysis entitled War and the State: Business ...
READ MORE
New British Documents about Srebrenica
In early January 2020, Serbian media reported the sensational news that recently declassified British Ministry of Defense files contained important new evidence suggesting that the official account of what happened in Srebrenica was unfounded.As from time to time has been the case, Western sources have again disclosed some information about Srebrenica in July 1995, which until recently was kept confidential and therefore not available to the public. The source of this particular batch of documents is the UK Department of Defense. The documents that have finally been declassified contains very interesting assessments and reports that take on even greater significance ...
READ MORE
Pearl Harbor Day and the Fantasy of US Victimhood
The United States is indisputably the world’s most frequent and extensive wager of aggressive war, largest occupier of foreign lands, and biggest weapons dealer to the world. But when the United States peeps out from under the blankets where it lies shivering with fear, it sees itself as an innocent victim. It has no holiday to keep any victorious battle in everyone’s mind. It has a holiday to remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — and now also one, perhaps holier still, to recall, not the “shock and awe” destruction of Baghdad, but the crimes of September 11, 2001, ...
READ MORE
Russophobia and the Dark Art of Anti-Russian Magazine Covers
Chances are, if a story about Russia appears on the cover of a major Western magazine, it’s not good news. Most likely, there’s been an international scandal, a breakout of geopolitical tensions, the resumption of Cold War hostilities, or some nefarious Russian plot to bring the entire free world to its knees. Russophobia — or the unnatural fear of Russia — generally leads magazine editors to choose the most over-the-top images to convey Russia as a backwards, clumsy, non-Western and aggressively malevolent power. Unfortunately, that’s led to a few rules of thumb for anyone trying to create a magazine cover featuring ...
READ MORE
Mark Twain on the Americans
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe 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.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]Save
READ MORE
US Complicity in Gaza Massacre
The horrendous bloodshed this week in Gaza is directly related to US President Trump’s controversial decision to relocate the American embassy to the contested city of Jerusalem. The US bears responsibility in large part for the atrocity in which more than 60 unarmed Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli military. This was a cold-blooded massacre. Thousands of others were maimed from live fire. An eight-month-old baby girl, Layla Ghandour, was among the victims after she died from asphyxiation from tear gas fired at the protesters. Washington’s shameless defense of Israel’s brutal use of lethal force as “restrained” and its subsequent blocking of an ...
READ MORE
Killing a Republic – Kissinger and Cyprus
Obama and the Bombing of Hiroshima
The Nazi Glorification of Ataturk
Mother Teresa India Charity ‘Sold Babies’
Those Who have Erected the Monument to Bill Clinton Now Flee From the Valley of Tears
The 2016 Aleppo Massacre: Are Putin and Assad the Only “War Criminals”?
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes
Behind the Balfour Declaration
Israel: The Ghetto of the Middle East: History of the Political Zionist Movement
Confronting the West With its Responsibilities is Essential!
“Beating the Drums of War”: How Obama and Clinton are Endangering All of Us
The Bosnian Muslim Government Reformed the WWII Nazi SS Division Handzar in 1992-1995
When the American Civil War Ends: In 1865 or 1965?
US Meddling in Foreign Elections: A CIA Tradition since 1948
Historical Origins of the State: Barbarians at the Gate
New British Documents about Srebrenica
Pearl Harbor Day and the Fantasy of US Victimhood
Russophobia and the Dark Art of Anti-Russian Magazine Covers
Mark Twain on the Americans
US Complicity in Gaza Massacre

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