May 10, 2006

The antisemitism gag

That's not the gag about the Englishman, the Irishman and the nazi, it's the way the charge of antisemitism is used to silence criticism of Israel. Here's a Counterpunch article by Norman Solomon titled Gag and Smear, The Misuses of "Anti-Semitism."
The failure to make a distinction between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel routinely stifles public debate. When convenient, pro-Israel groups in the United States will concede that it's possible to oppose Israeli policies without being anti-Semitic. Yet many of Israel's boosters reflexively pull out the heavy artillery of charging anti-Semitism when their position is challenged.

Numerous American Jewish groups dedicated to supporting Israel are eager to equate Israel with Judaism. Sometimes they have the arrogance to depict the country and the religion as inseparable. For example, in April 2000, a full-page United Jewish Appeal ad in The New York Times proclaimed: "The seeds of Jewish life and Jewish communities everywhere begin in Israel."
Of course there are many articles and even books about the antisemitism smear but this article comes from a chap who was a zionist activist in his youth. And this whilst more and more people are refusing to take the smear seriously anymore, there is very little exposure of it in the mainstream media.

As an aside here, this article is one of many arising out of the Mearsheimer and Walt article in the London Review of Books. No matter how it is ignored in the popular press and smeared in the "serious" press, that article seems to have released the genie from the bottle.

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