Disentangling criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism

Pragmatic Middle East writes: If you’ve only read Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post and Eli Lake in the Weekly Standard over the past couple of weeks, you’d have to conclude that there was one thing that New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, Time magazine columnist Joe Klein, US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, Secretary of Defense Panetta, Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama had in common: they’re all anti-Semites!

Never mind the fact that some of the members of this esteemed club are Jewish. But all of them made the mistake of criticizing the policies of the state of Israel or highlighting the very real power that the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has on American foreign policy.

It’s high time to disentangle anti-Semitism from criticism of Israeli government policy or AIPAC.

Gutman made the mistake of saying that some manifestations of anti-Semitism are “born of and reflecting the tension between Israel, the Palestinian Territories and neighboring Arab states in the Middle East over the continuing Israeli-Palestinian problem.” His statement was largely vilified and misrepresented in Israeli media and on the US GOP primary trail.

Popular Israeli columnist Glick, in an article in the Jerusalem Post, says that Gutman “effectively denied the existence of anti-Semitism in Europe” and that he, Obama, Clinton and Panetta all engage in “classical anti-Semitic behavior.” Never mind that the Obama Administration backed Israel at the United Nation and has given billions of dollars in unconditional annual aid to the Israeli military. Glick concludes by saying that the United States under Obama is an ally of Israel no more, yet the Israeli Defense Forces don’t seem to be in a hurry to return the money.

Friedman was harangued for the following quote in his December 13th column, “Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir”:

“I sure hope that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

Never mind that Friedman is Jewish, an unabashed supporter of the Jewish state and a donor to pro-Israel causes. As MJ Rosenberg said in subsequent article, “If Tom Friedman is an anti-Semite, there is no such thing; the charge has simply lost its meaning.”

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2 thoughts on “Disentangling criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism

  1. delia ruhe

    I should turn the following into a macro — an electronic rubber stamp — since I post it at least once a day:

    If you haven’t been called an antisemite by now, then you’re not doing enough in support of justice and the rule of international law in the Middle East.

  2. Norman

    They drink their own brand of kool-aid, don’t they? Who’s going to blink first? The obvious is in front of every ones nose, for if Syria loses its present leadership, that gives Israel a clear shot to & back from Iran. Iraq doesn’t have an air force that can put up any resistance. This straight of Hormuz game, is a diversion tactic. But it will take more than just precision block busters to neuter Iran. Israel will only get one shot. The Israelis are playing a dangerous game with the world economy, as well as the support of the west. Who in their right mind will support Israel when everything falls apart? The present unthinkable is rapidly approaching, that being the overthrow or regime change, within Israel proper, before the world is plunged in to chaos.

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