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Anti-Israel or Anti-Semitism
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"The second great mutation of
anti-Semitism in modern times"

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks“What we are witnessing today is the second great mutation of anti Semitism in modern times, from racial anti Semitism to religious anti-Zionism with the added premise that all Jews are Zionists. It uses all the medieval myths… The mutation is this; that the worst crimes of anti-Semites in the past-racism, ethnic cleansing, attempted genocide, crimes against humanity-are now attributed to the Jews and the state of Israel”
- The Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Sacks

The perpetrators of this “ new “ anti-Semitism
“The perpetrators of this “ new “ anti-Semitism are the Palestinian and Arab political leadership, Islamic fundamentalists, political opportunists,
neo –Nazis, extreme fascists, parts of the media, Arab influenced international institutions and self hating Jews.” - Manfred Gerstenfeld

Jews against Israel
Anti-Semitic attacks on Israel by Israelis and Jews are frequently indistinguishable from those by gentiles. Among the specific aspects in the anti-Israel writings of some Jews are the use of their family's Holocaust experiences, their references to being Jewish or an association of some kind with Israel. - Manfred Gerstenfeld

From Weimar to Durban
The moral aspects of Western attitudes toward the Jews and the Holocaust since World War II have not yet been analyzed systematically. However, the current campaign of hatred against Israel and the Jewish people -- unprecedented since the end of the war -- recalls many elements of the prewar decades. Yet it is too easy to generalize and describe this as one more outburst of the ancient illness of anti-Semitism.
- Manfred Gerstenfeld

For those defending Israel in the Diaspora, a major concern is that criticism of Israeli policies can either lead to, or be motivated by, Anti-Semitism. Anti-Jewish sentiment, and particularly action, must be understood, exposed, and vigorously defended against by all.

Jewish communities around the world have been surprised by a rise in Antisemitic incidents since the start of the second intifada. This has led to an increased need to defend against Anti-Semitism; at the same time, much Anti-Semitism has been tied to anti-Israel sentiment, which in turn has led Jewish people to increasingly defend Israel whilst denouncing the outpouring of violent Anti-Semitic sentiment on Diaspora Jews as racist.

The extent to which Israel has come under attack since the rise of Palestinian violence in September 2000 has been deeply worrying. While dozens of countries are involved in conflicts, suffer from terrorism, and have been forced to use the military to maintain order, Israel consistently leads the news and is at the centre of public debate.

It is possible to explain some of this interest by considering the importance of Middle East stability to oil prices, Israel's location at a civilizational fault line between Islam and the West, and the importance of Israel to the three great monotheistic religions - yet, a suspicion remains that Israel is still uniquely interesting for reasons that focus on her Jewish character. Myths persist, particularly on the left and Fundamental Islam, about Jewish power, and the Jewish role in capitalism (which has been significant, but not unique), and these lead to resentment.

Expressions of Anti-Semitism
Not everybody who attacks Israel is Antisemitic. It is legitimate for those who oppose Israeli policies to express this opposition in public, just as it is legitimate for Israel activists to defend Israel. It is important to defend the right of those who disagree with Israeli policies to express their opinions, and to be clear that this is a legitimate part of public debate.

Unfortunately, many who attack Israel are motivated by, or express, Anti-Semitism. No form of racism, Anti-Semitism included, has a part in public life. Expressions that, on the surface, appear to be attacking Israel often actually attack Jews. With Anti-Semitism so ingrained into Western society, it is possible to inadvertently express Antisemitic views.

Mixing Terms
Israel is a state with some Jewish character, and Jews around the world have the right to live there. However, not every Israeli is Jewish, not every supporter of Israel is Jewish, and not every Jew supports Israel. Conflating the terms 'Israeli' and 'Jew' is often done to express an Antisemitic position, as in "the Jews are brutal occupiers", or "we must fight the Jewish oppressors". For this reason, it is important that Israel activists keep the terms separate, and don't forget that many Israelis are not Jewish.

Attacking Jews for Israel's Actions
There is a level at which it is obvious that attacks on Jews as a result of opposition to Israel are unacceptable - violent or abusive attacks as part of political exchanges are always wrong. After all, Jews in the Diaspora aren't responsible for Israeli government policy, and punishing them for the actions of a country that (a) they aren't a citizen of (b) they might not support (c) is ethnically mixed, is deeply problematic.

Holding Double Standards for Israel
Like other countries, Israel does some things that are well received in the international community, and others that aren't. It is legitimate to criticise Israel, but when this is done using significantly different standards from those applied to other countries in similar situations, this can be a cause for concern. It is hard to demonstrate that the application of unusually critical standards to evaluate Israeli policy is motivated by Anti-Semitism - very often it will stem from support for the 'underdog', or from Arabist sentiment - but when it does seem to be racially motivated, this needs to be pointed out and opposed.

Possible Anti-Semitism
Where an act might have been motivated by Anti-Semitism, but this is unclear, it is often worth expressing some form of disapproval, but refraining from levelling public charges of Anti-Semitism. Depending upon the local situation, it is often worth expressing personal upset, saying that one was "hurt, as a Jew" by the controversial act. Wrongly accusing people of Anti-Semitism can cheapen the charge, as well as being quite unfair. Expressing public disapproval helps to let people know that Jews care about what is said in pubic, and serves to maintain a red line of clear Anti-Semitism that respectable public figures know not to cross.

Anti-Zionism is discrimination

"There is no difference whatever between Anti-Semitism and the denial of Israel's statehood.

Classical Anti-Semitism denies the equal right of Jews as citizens within society.

Anti-Zionism denies the equal rights of the Jewish people its lawful sovereignty within the community of nations.

The common principle in the two cases is discrimination."
Abba Eban, New York Times, November 3, 1975

Anti-Zionism / Racism / Anti-Semitism




David LabdauWhen criticism of Israel blurs into anti-Semitism - David Landau, editor of Haaretz English Edition answered readers' questions live online.
Oriana FallaciI Stand with the Jews - [leftist] Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, former Resistance fighter and war correspondent best-known for her uncompromising interviews with world leaders.
Dr. Martin Luther KingDr Martin Luther King - Anti-Semitism, ...has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind...So know also this:anti-Zionist is inherently Anti-Semitic, and ever will be so.


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