The Line between Criticism of Israel and Anti-Semitism

(Washington Free Beacon) Aaron Kliegman - Criticism becomes bigotry when it involves demonizing and delegitimizing Israel. Accusing Israel of genocide - or of running an apartheid state, as Rep. Ilhan Omar did on Wednesday - is a shameful lie that cannot be labeled legitimate criticism. The same goes for describing Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, as a human rights abuser on the level of China and North Korea. Imagine if someone demonized Ireland with the same obsessive hatred that Omar shows Israel. Would they not be bigoted against the Irish? Of course they would. But no one targets Ireland like so many target Israel. To paraphrase the eminent historian Bernard Lewis, anti-Semitism has two special features that make it a distinct form of bigotry: Jews are assigned restrictive, disadvantageous double standards, and a cosmic, satanic evil is attributed to them unlike anything else in this world. This means treating Israel differently than all other countries and accusing it of being a nefarious puppet master controlling world events. In today's world, where hatred and persecution based on race and religion are supposed to be no longer tolerated, anti-Semitism is based primarily on the Jewish people's nation-state. Anti-Zionism, or opposition to Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state, is the chief medium through which anti-Semites push their agenda. Those who may not have a personal animus toward Jews but who support the BDS movement and other efforts to destroy the Zionist project are complicit in anti-Semitism.

2019-03-04 00:00:00

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