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On the new anti-Semitism & anti-Zionism

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From honestreporting.com, Aug. 21, 2014

Writing in The Times of London, Daniel Finkelstein says that while anti-Semitism was rarely an issue for him in the UK, it is now:

All this has been going on for quite a while. Yet there is no question about it, Gaza has made things worse.

Anti-Zionism, opposition to the creation of a homeland for Jews in Israel, is not the same as antisemitism, of course, and it is important to make that clear. It is absolutely and definitively not antisemitic to criticise Israel.

Yet at the same time much anti-Zionism is entangled with antisemitism and it is important to make that clear, too. There is much that is antisemitic in intent and much that is antisemitic in effect.

It is antisemitic to suggest that the world is being dominated by the great pariah state of Israel, defending its own interests through money and power. It is antisemitic to suggest that the “Zionists” control the media. It is antisemitic to elevate the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians high above all the wrongs being done, not least to Palestinians, by neighbouring states.

Anyone who doesn’t appreciate that at least part of this is fuelled by doctrine that preaches hatred against Jews is as ignorant as someone who suggests that all of it is.

And when someone throws a rock at a Jew, who is going to pick it up and ask: “Hold on, can we just be clear? Was this an anti-Zionist rock or an antisemitic rock?”

• In the New York Times, Deborah Lipstadt also weighs in on European anti-Semitism:

The rationales — “it’s just rhetoric,” “it’s just Muslims” — bother me almost as much as the outrages. Instead of explaining away these actions, cultural, religious and academic leaders in all the countries where these events have occurred should be shaken to the core, not just about the safety of their Jewish neighbors, but about the future of the seemingly liberal, enlightened societies they belong to. Yet when a Hamas spokesman recently stood by his statement that Jews used the blood of non-Jewish children for their matzos — one of the oldest anti-Semitic canards around — European elites were largely silent.

• As does Kenan Malik in the same paper:

At the same time, the emergence of “anti-politics,” the growing contempt for mainstream politics and politicians noticeable throughout Europe, has laid the groundwork for a melding of radicalism and bigotry. Many perceive a world out of control and driven by malign forces; conspiracy theories, once confined to the fringes of politics, have become mainstream.

Anti-Semitism has become a catchall sentiment for many different groups of angry people. The distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has eroded, as many see Israeli action in terms of grand conspiracies. Thus someone can imagine that Israel would build gas chambers on the West Bank if it could get away with it.

• Ari Shavit carries on in the same vein in Haaretz:

But none of Israel’s sins can justify the return of Israel-hatred. Winston Churchill bombarded Dresden, Franklin Roosevelt bombarded Tokyo and Harry Truman destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No decent man in the world thinks that because of these disproportionate acts these great leaders became war criminals. Bill Clinton attacked in Serbia, Tony Blair attacked in Iraq and Barack Obama attacked in Afghanistan. No honest person in the world believes that because of those strikes Britain and the United States are illegitimate.

Only when Israel makes massive use of its power and only when Israel displays ugly fringe phenomena is the response a denial of its very right to exist. Only when Jews act like any other nation would act in similar circumstances is the result a rage at their very existence.

• Arsen Ostrovsky contends that there is a double standard between how the West treats Hamas and ISIS:

Every Western leader, including Ban-Ki Moon and President Obama repeatedly call on Israel to exercise more “restraint,” to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties. Taking aside for a moment that the Israel Defense Forces go to “unprecedented lengths” to avoid civilian casualties (many of which Hamas intentionally put in harm’s way), you will seldom hear a world leader calling on President Obama or the West to exercise ‘restraint’ against ISIS.

In short, the world seems to have one standard for the West dealing with terror, and a different one when it comes to Israel fighting terror. Is Jewish or Israeli blood really somehow cheaper?

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