Once again into the breach: Denouncing Israel is not anti-Semitic

June 2, 2010

Whenever there is an outrage like the Israel military killing unarmed protestors in cold blood there is international condemnation. Some of it is weak as piss (Obama’s “concern” etc echoed by Western leaders who fall in behind the US strategy of propping up the failed Zionist state), but consistently the socialist left and the anti-war movement denounces Israeli military and political policy.

When the left does attack Israel and Zionism the immediate response from pro-Israel forces is to condemn leftists as anti-Semites. I have talked about this before and I have experienced it first-hand again this time.

Why defending Palestinians is not anti-Semitic

Tumeke boycott a red herring

An old friend (now an ex-friend) defamed me several times in a post on my Facebook page. Firstly as an anti-Semite and then as an alcoholic to boot. He has no evidence for this latter claim, but no doubt takes exception to the “Martini” part of this blog’s title. He has not seen me drunk for at least 20 years and the last time I was in his company I had two glasses of red wine.

I can laugh that off; it really is like spilt wine water off a barman’s slop cloth duck’s back. But the charge of anti-Semitism is more serious.

I won’t go over all the arguments again; you can catch up with the previous posts or Google your own version of events, but I will link to two pieces which I think explain my position quite well.

The first is a piece by Alexander Cockburn written in CounterPunch:

Of course the rhetorical trick is to conflate “Israel” or “the State of Israel” with “Jews” and argue that they are synonymous. Ergo, to criticize Israel is to be anti-Semitic. Leave aside the fact that many of Israel’s most articulate critics are Jews, honorably committed to the cause of justice for all in the Middle East. Many Jews just don’t like hearing bad things said about Israel, same way they don’t like reading articles about the Jewish lobby here. Mention the lobby and someone like Fox will rush into print denouncing those who “toy with the old anti-Semitic canard that the Jews control the press.”

These days you can’t even say that New York Times is owned by a Jewish family without risking charges that you stand in Goebbels’ shoes.

The second is from antiwar.com and is by Justin Raimondo:

If anti-Semitism is not a problem, then that is a problem for the Zionist project, and so the idea is to provoke it, create it where it never before existed. One way to do that is to redefine “anti-Semitism” in such broad terms that it could include practically anybody but Norman Podhoretz.