2019-01-21

It needs to be said (anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism)

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by Neil Godfrey

Matthew Rozsa has an article in Salon.com and repeated in Alternet:

Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism: But disentangling them can be tricky

Rep. Rashida Tlaib has been unfairly accused of anti-Semitism, but there’s a reason why these issues get confused

Some extracts:

Yes, it is fair to be suspicious of anyone who drags up anti-Semitic myths like the idea that Jews have dual loyalties, or that Jews have too much power, or that Jews are somehow to blame for racist violence in other parts of the world. It is obvious bigotry to blame “Jews” as a group for the actions of Israeli officials, or to invoke greed and other anti-Semitic stereotypes when describing Israel, or to disproportionately focus on the atrocities in Israel while being conveniently silent about human rights violations committed by Arab or Muslim nations. Whether or not a Jewish state should have been created in the Middle East, it has now been there for 70 years — denying its right to exist is also, de facto, anti-Semitic.

Those who employ such rhetoric speak in the language of anti-Semitism.

. . . . . 

At the same time, the truth is that Israel does commit human rights violations. The fact that many wrongs have been done to Jews in the past — and I say this as a Jew who personally experienced a hate crime — does not excuse the suffering that the Israeli government and individual Israelis, have inflicted against the Palestinian people. This explanation by Human Rights Watch from 2017, the 50-year anniversary of the Six Day War, summarizes the problem all too well:

Fifty years after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it controls these areas through repression, institutionalized discrimination, and systematic abuses of the Palestinian population’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today.

At least five categories of major violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law characterize the occupation: unlawful killings; forced displacement; abusive detention; the closure of the Gaza Strip and other unjustified restrictions on movement; and the development of settlements, along with the accompanying discriminatory policies that disadvantage Palestinians.

. . . . ..

Many people of good will look at these offenses and are rightly horrified, and it is both cheap and wrong to seek to use the label of “anti-Semite” to shame them into silence. Similarly, if individuals choose not to do business with the State of Israel because they disapprove of its actions, they have a right to do that without being automatically labeled as bigots.

Yes, to wish for a democratic state of Israel with equal rights for all ethnicities and religions is surely a noble dream. I side with those who think it is now too late for a two-state solution and the best option for human rights and dignity for all is for Israel and the West Bank and Gaza to form a single state. (Oh, and those still stuck in refugee camps be allowed to return.) That does in effect mean the “end of Israel as a Jewish state” in the same sense that we speak of the end of South Africa as a white/Boer state. I think what is holding the parties back from going that far is racism, both anti-Jewish and anti-Arab racism. But I do see evidence of non-racists on both sides, the Jewish and the Arab. (But that sounds cruel .. “both sides” .. as if they are both equally to blame: they are not equally to blame, not by a long stretch). Now if only those persons could take the lead….

But I dream.

 

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Neil Godfrey

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9 Comments

  • proudfootz
    2019-01-21 12:33:20 GMT+0000 - 12:33 | Permalink

    It’s very difficult to reverse the trend. The extremists often will expend a lot of effort to eliminate any moderate leaders who threaten the state of crisis in which extremism thrives.

  • Neil Godfrey
    2019-01-21 12:39:23 GMT+0000 - 12:39 | Permalink

    I fell into the “both sides” trap. I have since tried to reword it, though it is clearly a clumsy effort.

  • Kelly D Wellington
    2019-01-21 13:40:13 GMT+0000 - 13:40 | Permalink

    Palestinians are Semites, too.

  • 2019-01-21 16:07:48 GMT+0000 - 16:07 | Permalink

    Agreed.

  • db
    2019-01-21 17:12:37 GMT+0000 - 17:12 | Permalink

    • Per boycott of Israel: “Sanders . . . opposes the bill penalizing supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (better known as BDS), and Tlaib was expressing solidarity with his position.”

    Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who responded to Tlaib by accusing her of anti-Jewish bigotry.

    “This ‘dual loyalty’ canard is a typical anti-Semitic line,” Rubio tweeted. “#BDS isn’t about freedom & equality, it’s about destroying #Israel. And if boycotting #Israel is constitutionally protected, then boycotting companies that boycott #Israel is also constitutionally protected.”

    In her response, Tlaib tweeted, “Sen. Rubio, it’s clear my earlier tweet was critical of U.S. Senators like yourself, who are seeking to strip Americans of their Constitutional right to free speech.” She later added, “The American people need Trump and Republican Senators to focus on ending the shutdown instead of inventing controversy to distract from your inaction.”

    • How to separate anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism—when disentangling them can be tricky.

    [T]he truth is that Israel does commit human rights violations. The fact that many wrongs have been done to Jews in the past — and I say this as a Jew who personally experienced a hate crime — does not excuse the suffering that the Israeli government and individual Israelis, have inflicted against the Palestinian people. This explanation by Human Rights Watch from 2017, the 50-year anniversary of the Six Day War, summarizes the problem all too well:

    Fifty years after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it controls these areas through repression, institutionalized discrimination, and systematic abuses of the Palestinian population’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today.

    At least five categories of major violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law characterize the occupation: unlawful killings; forced displacement; abusive detention; the closure of the Gaza Strip and other unjustified restrictions on movement; and the development of settlements, along with the accompanying discriminatory policies that disadvantage Palestinians.

    Many people of good will look at these offenses and are rightly horrified, and it is both cheap and wrong to seek to use the label of “anti-Semite” to shame them into silence. Similarly, if individuals choose not to do business with the State of Israel because they disapprove of its actions, they have a right to do that without being automatically labeled as bigots.

    • I do not find it even remotely “tricky” to separate anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism. As usual, the real issue is overcoming the vast ignorance of the American public.

  • Lowen Gartner
    2019-01-21 18:07:03 GMT+0000 - 18:07 | Permalink

    “Whether or not a Jewish state should have been created in the Middle East, it has now been there for 70 years — denying its (a Zionist state) right to exist is also, de facto, anti-Semitic.”

    Wrong!

    Right: “… democratic state of Israel with equal rights for all ethnicities and religions…” Not only a noble dream but the only hope for peace in that area of the Levant.

    I am with r.g.price – this does not seem tricky to untangle. There is no reason for a country to exist that selectively benefits some citizens and systematically disadvantages others based on putative ethnic heritage and/or religious beliefs. That country needs to be “woke”.

    • Steven Watson
      2019-02-08 20:51:25 GMT+0000 - 20:51 | Permalink

      LOL. The term “woke” comes ironically from an ideology that would selectively benefit some and systematically disadvantage others based largely on putative ethnic heritage and/or religious belief itself. But I agree with were you are coming from.

  • Steven Watson
    2019-02-08 21:54:46 GMT+0000 - 21:54 | Permalink

    It’ll most probably end abruptly in tankers worth of blood and millions of corpses. The only Jewish state that seems to have avoided this was the Khazar khaganate, and that wasn’t Semitic. It is also only one of two that I can think of that wasn’t beholden on, or to the sufference of, some mighty empire for its existence. Thomas L Thompson is someone we should all be very familiar with on here; his ‘The Bible in History’ shows convincingly that states arising in this neck of the woods existed only fleetingly in the interstices of empire. This remains so.

    Suppose a unitary de jure non-sectarian state arises peacefully; what then? From what I can gather Israel is only surviving by massive water theft from its neighbours. I can’t see aliyah for everyone being realistic; doubling the population in an already parched, and on a trajectory to be even more so, land is a tad ridiculous. Given that a one state solution, however it is going to be achieved, seems the only viable one, everyone with a stake in it needs to be thinking about the implications, and planning in depth how to overcome or ameliorate the significant problems it is going to create RIGHT NOW.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2019-02-09 02:43:22 GMT+0000 - 02:43 | Permalink

      Suppose a unitary de jure non-sectarian state arises peacefully; what then?

      We have seen what happens then. The western imperial powers invest in overthrowing that state either from within or without. The rise of Islamism today can be directly related to the Western backed destruction of popular, secular states that sought to assert their independence from the inroads of western interests.

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