Palestine Update 96
When criticism of Israeli misdoings are erroneously deemed anti-Semitism
How long will Israel and its European supporters conceal the crimes of occupation using the deception of anti-Semitism.
Any criticism of the actions and policies of the Israeli regime is conveniently denounced as anti-Semitism and hate speech. At the very same time, offensive insults against the Muslims, their holy book, prophet and other sanctities are vindicated and defended as a matter of freedom of speech. The hypocritical approach taken by the U.S. government and its allies in Europe, along with the mainstream media in these countries toward the concept of freedom of speech is indescribably bewildering.
The Second Intifada in 2000 inaugurated a period when the Western world took on took on itself a role to protect the Israeli regime from and label; critics of Israel as anti-Semite.
Subsequently, Israel has begun to throw tantrums against the successes of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. It will stop at nothing to conceal the truth about companies engaged in Israeli settlements. The settlements themselves are on stolen territory and, hence, an act of war in themselves. Companies who have invested and operated in the settlements are consequently liable to prosecution under international law because they are complicit in the invasion. Israel’s fear is that when any company is exposed for subscribing to scrutiny for violating international law, it risks being tried in international courts. It knows the BDS campaign would receive a munificent boost and, that even a single trial, would slow down external investment. Because it feels this threat, it also threatens the movement and its supporters. Therefore, Israel accuses the non-violent BDS campaign as being “anti-Semitic.” This is tantamount to saying that the Jewish State, controlled, as it is, by right wing Zionists, can engage in criminality beyond limits to the Palestinians and still claim, and actually receive, impunity. Anti-Semitism is the pretext adopted.
Dr. Ludwig Watzal writing in ‘The Global Research’ magazine in the aftermath of Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem describes how it has become fashionable in Germany to discredit criticism of Israel’s criminal. He adds “the exercise of freedom of speech is in great danger”. He notes with loathing how “among German politicians and the fawning media, the anti-Semitism-club is always at hand to make critics silence or stigmatize any Israel critics as “anti-Semites.” He adjoins this statement saying: “It still works, although we are living in the 21st century and not in the Middle Ages. With reference to Karl Marx one can say; a ghost is going around in Germany, the specter of anti-Semitism! (https://www.globalresearch.ca/german-politicians-condemn-anti-israel-protest-as-anti-semitism/5622592)
Anti-Semitism cannot be used as an excuse to demoralize and discourage the critics of Israel anymore. The conscientious and awakened people in Europe, Africa, Asia and America know that the Israeli colonialist-racist state is a state sponsor of terrorism and a rogue state which needs to be punished in order to learn a lesson from the felonies it has been perpetrating for 70 years.
Soon it will no more be fashionable to cry anti-Semitism. It would bring the same response as the little boy who shouted ‘wolf’ when there was none. Israel will find itself isolated, and despised for its wanton and cruel aggressions. What then?
If Israel’s occupation doesn’t end, anti-Semitism worldwide will rise to sinister heights (Extracts of an article by Tony Klug in Haaretz)
Klug has written extensively about Israeli-Palestinian issues for 45 years. He is a special advisor on the Middle East to the Oxford Research Group and serves as a consultant to the Palestine Strategy Group and the Israel Strategic Forum. For many years he was a senior official at Amnesty International, where he headed the International Development program.
One of the original aims of Zionism was to normalize relations between Jews and other peoples. So how tragically ironic would it be if the policies of the state it engendered are normalizing anti-Semitism instead?
That there has been an alarming rise in anti-Jewish sentiment over the past few decades, particularly in the Arab and Muslim worlds, is not in dispute. What is contested is the cause.
While Israel continues to rule over the West Bank, there are bound to be ever more frequent acts of resistance by a population that is feeling encroached upon by a spreading pattern of Jewish colonization and who yearn for independence.
As long as Israel continues to govern that territory, she will have little choice but to retaliate in an increasingly oppressive fashion just to keep order. The moral appeal of Israel’s case will consequently suffer and this will further erode her level of international support, although probably not among organized opinion within the Jewish diaspora. This sharpening polarization is bound to contribute to an upsurge in overt anti-Semitism.
Rising anti-Jewish sentiment in the Arab and Muslim worlds is only one side of the equation. The other side is the corresponding phenomenon of mounting anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment in the Jewish world. In turn, the conflict’s toxins have spilled over into other areas of the globe and, in some cases, have fanned latent prejudices against Jews, Muslims and Arabs, reawakening old stereotypes of Jewish cunning and power on the one hand, and threatening Muslim hordes on the other.
it is hardly rocket science to foresee that if Israel does not end its occupation of the Palestinians soon, and if organized Jewish opinion in other countries appears openly to back it, there will almost certainly be a further spike in anti-Jewish sentiment, potentially unleashing more sinister impulses.
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It’s a right and duty to uncover what anti-Semitism
Nearly 15 years ago to this day, Students for Peaceful Coexistence and the Global Voices Program at the University of Chicago hosted a panel on the differences between criticism of Israel and Anti-Semitism. The remarks of one of the four panelists are extracted, condensed and presented below. They are valid as they were when they first articulated.
When I use the word “anti-Semitism”, what I mean is anti-Jewish racism, hatred of Jews because of their ethnic background, their religion, their culture, their perceived shared characteristics, whatever it is – an equivalent to hatred of people of African descent or any other kind of racism.
All these forms of hatred have their consequences … Certainly hatred of people of African descent has led to disasters – colonialism in Africa, slavery and continued discrimination in our society. And of course anti-Jewish hatred — anti-Semitism — has had its own path resulting in very disastrous and serious consequences in Europe, and some discrimination and negative consequences for Jews here in the United States.
Now the charge that criticism of Israel, is anti-Semitism per se has a long history. It has always been used against Palestinians and other supporters of Palestinian rights, particularly Palestinians, for a specific purpose. And the purpose is to provide an alternative explanation for the conflict we see between Israelis and Palestinians. The self-evident explanation for the conflict is the radical inequality in power between Israelis on the one hand, and Palestinians on the other, which is a direct consequence of the dispossession of the Palestinians by the Zionist movement and the decades since of continuing, unrelenting and worsening military occupation, brutality and human rights abuses. This cannot but produce conflict. It cannot but produce antipathy among Palestinians for their oppressors.
But you need an alternative explanation, so you say Palestinian mothers feed their children anti-Semitism and hatred with their milk, Palestinian textbooks feed children hatred and then they go out and throw themselves in front of tanks. This is the best alternative that a lot of supporters of Israel have come up with. Not a particularly compelling explanation.
Now, the role in recent months – we have seen the charge of anti-Semitism being used, I think, in the United States and particularly on campuses to try to silence all discussion of Israel, precisely for such as that Israel has been losing in the public debate. Palestinians haven’t been gaining, but relatively it’s a gain, and so if you can’t win the debate, the best thing to do is to try to stop it. And the best way to try to stop it is to try to make people too scared to indulge in it. And the way to do that is to tar any discussion of the topic with the specter of anti-Semitism, which of course, since Jewish history has become in a way sacrosanct in the United States, particularly with the focus on the Nazi holocaust, which is now taught in most public schools by law in many states in the United States.
Israel is a country which receives billions of dollars from our (USA) taxes, and which is committing unspeakable crimes in the name of democracy, and freedom and being part of the “West”… and that is not anti-Semitism. Criticizing Israel, criticizing its policies, talking about what sort of future Palestinians and Israelis can have together, whether it’s one state or two states or three states or ten states is not anti-Semitism, it’s a right and a duty.
For a Palestinian to sit and tell their history, to tell their personal life story without also giving Israel’s side of the story, is an act of anti-Semitism according to the Anti defamation League (ADL). In other words, not to always provide an Israeli-sponsored version of the truth is anti-Semitism. Now this is interesting, this thing. It’s interesting for three reasons.
The ADL seems to be saying is if you don’t share our agenda, and our political goals and you don’t campaign against the same dictators we don’t like, then you’re by definition anti-Semitic. You’re anti-Semitic because you have your views and you don’t have ours.
Also, the excuse that Israel is being singled out for unfair criticism is one that we have seen often throughout history, particularly in the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa. It’s exactly the same argument which was always used by supporters of Apartheid, to silence criticism of Apartheid. Why pick on South Africa? Look at blacks in the rest of Africa, aren’t they worse off than in South Africa?
The success of Israel is in convincing the world that Zionism and Israel and Judaism are equal. Political Zionism is a modern, and originally completely secular and areligious philosophy which adopted the ancient symbols of Judaism, the Star of David and the Menorah. The Star of David, which is a traditional symbol which appears on almost every synagogue around the world, and the Menorah, is the official seal of the State of Israel. It is a result of Israel’s policy that some people have been confused and believe Israel’s rhetoric that it is acting in the name of all Jews and they take out their understandable rage at Israel’s horrible crimes, at Jews, which of course is wrong. But I think it is in part a direct result of their policy and we have to understand that if you cloak your warplanes, your F-16’s and tanks in the symbols of Judaism, and if your generals wear the Star of David on their shoulders when they justify war crimes, don’t be surprised if some people react against that.
German politicians label Anti-Israel Protest as “Anti-Semitism”
President Trump’s unilateral decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earned him worldwide criticism and condemnation, except for Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu‘s so-called charm offensive in Brussels, where he wanted to convince the EU to follow Trump’s example, was shunned by Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, saying that “this move will not come.” She stressed the support of the EU for a two-state solution with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.
By the way, Netanyahu was not invited by the EU but asked himself to read the EU the riot act. Instead of kicking him out, the EU representatives endured him and became prominent and firm after he left the stage. Community, which tries to act as a global player, would have shown such a political rascal the door. Instead, they got insulted by Netanyahu and took it with a smile.
On Anti-Semitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice
When the State of Israel claims to represent all Jewish people, defenders of Israeli policy redefine anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel. Anti-Semitism is harmful and real in our society. What must also be addressed is how the deployment of false charges of anti-Semitism or redefining anti-Semitism can suppress the global progressive fight for justice. There is no one definitive voice on anti-Semitism and its impact.
Jewish Voice for Peace has curated a collection of essays that provides a diversity of perspectives and standpoints. Each contribution explores critical questions concerning uses and abuses of anti-Semitism in the twenty-first-century, focusing on the intersection between anti-Semitism, accusations of anti-Semitism, and Palestinian human rights activism.
This anthology provides a much-needed tool for Palestinian solidarity activists, teachers, as well as Jewish communities. Featuring contributions from Omar Barghouti, Judith Butler, and Rebecca Vilkomerson, as well as activists, academics, students, and cultural workers, On Political Solidarity and Justice includes the voices of Palestinian students and activists, and Jews that are often marginalized in mainstream discussions of anti-Semitism, including Jews of Color and Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews.