September 03, 2006

Zionists reach for the antisemitism gag

Here's a report by Ned Temko in today's Observer effectively conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism. The article is a bit garbled but even the headline says that Critics of Israel [are] 'fuelling hatred of British Jews'. Does this mean that we shouldn't criticise Israel at all? Does this mean that Israel can do anything and remain above criticism? Surely such gagging of legitimate criticism is more likely to cause antisemitism than cure it. Thankfully not even the whole Jewish establishment is signed up for this disingenuous nonsense. Here's Anthony Lerman, executive director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research quoted at the end of the article:
Anti-semitism today is a serious problem for Jews and for society as a whole. But what of the vexed question of whether anti-Zionism or singling out Israel for extreme criticism is anti-semitic? While very many Jews feel a deep attachment to Israel, it is the opposite of clear thinking to assume that all expressions of anti-Zionism are simply a cloak for, or a form of, anti-semitism. It drains the word of any useful value, confusing a strongly held political view with prejudice against a whole people.
The quote is sandwiched between one by the Chief Rabbi ("Israel you make us proud!") and one from Mitch Simmons of the Union of Jewish Students (which has two seats on the World Zionist Congress).

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