Feb. 14, 2019
- Last month in Detroit, pro-Palestinian demonstrators seized the stage of the National LGBTQ Task Force conference and demanded a boycott of Israel. Conference organizers did nothing to stop the disruption or disavow the demonstrators, who were met with sustained applause by the audience.
- What’s unsettling is that anti-Zionism – rejection not just of this or that Israeli policy but also of the idea of a Jewish state itself – is becoming a respectable position among people who would never support the elimination of any other country in any other circumstance. And it is churning up a new wave of anti-Jewish bigotry in its wake.
- Israel’s enemies were committed to its destruction long before it occupied a single inch of Gaza or the West Bank. In proportion to its size, Israel has voluntarily relinquished more territory taken in war than any state in the world. Israeli prime ministers offered a Palestinian state in 2000 and 2008; they were refused both times. Nearly 1,300 Israeli civilians have been killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks in this century: That’s the proportional equivalent of about 16 Sept. 11s in the U.S.
- Israel is now the home of nearly nine million citizens, with an identity that is as distinctively and proudly Israeli as the Dutch are Dutch or the Danes Danish. Anti-Zionism proposes nothing less than the elimination of that identity and the political dispossession of those who cherish it, with no real thought of what would likely happen to the dispossessed.
- To say that Jews are “colonizers” in Israel is anti-Semitic because it advances the lie that there is no ancestral or historic Jewish tie to the land. To claim that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, when manifestly it is not, is anti-Semitic because it’s an attempt to Nazify the Jewish state. To insist that the only state in the world that has forfeited the moral right to exist just happens to be the Jewish state is anti-Semitic, too.
- But the most toxic assumption is that Jews, whether in Israel or the U.S., can never really be thought of as victims or even as a minority because they are white, wealthy, powerful and “privileged.” Jews in Germany were economically and even politically powerful in the 1920s. And then they were in Buchenwald. Israel appears powerful vis-a-vis the Palestinians, but considerably less so in the context of a broader Middle East saturated with genocidal anti-Semitism.