Separating anti-Semitism from anti-Zionism

The Israeli Zionist ministry of propaganda has successfully blurred the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. With clever adeptness and manipulation they have succeeded in spreading a form of domestic terror to Europe and the United States. This form of terrorism as defined by the Thesaurus is “the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to civilians in order to attain goals that are religious or political or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation, coercion or instilling fear.” Use of the Holocaust as propaganda invites fear and hysteria.

Netanyahu drew thunderous applause that followed the words loudly proclaimed as if he owned them: “Never Again.” I felt sick as he spoke of the deadly rise of anti-Semitism, a hatred of Jews bound together with the destruction of Israel. “Never Again,” a powerful and highly charged statement, was used here to create a lie in the suppression of the crimes of Israeli Zionism, covered up and justified as a means to “defend itself.” What? To defend itself from a repeat of Hitler’s program to rid Europe of all Jews? Is that the vision of a Jewish State only, a place of safety for all Jews to be protected from a hostile world, with walls, and born from the blood of apartheid and ethnic cleansing? Is this not insanity to pursue an agenda with complete disregard to human values except for Jews?

Now as Europe and the United States struggle to wake up, to question the blind support of Zionist Israel, those who speak out and say “No,” continue to be vilified. Israel’s shouts of anti-Semite are attempts to drown dissent. Can one really believe there still exists the possibility of another incarnation of the Nazi Holocaust? Is this not designed for empathy and support from those who still fantasize the lost dream of Israel as a beacon of light? It is not difficult to observe the strong emotional responses, particularly in Jews and Germans, upon hearing reference to the ashes of the Holocaust as a justification for Israel to “defend itself. ” “Never again” would refer to a justification to commit atrocities against Palestinians for the past 70 years. It must stop.

As the memory of the Holocaust is ignited, cries of “anti-semite” grow and create fear. Useful for the purpose of taking the focus off internal brutal assaults, land stealing, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, it is a distortion in my view and obscures the genesis of a new rise of anti-Semitism in the last decade. True anti-Semites hate Jews. Rising up against Israel is about standing against an ideological, nationalistic and racist government.

I feel particularly as Jews we have a responsibility to remain vigilant and to speak out against victimization. The pursuit of a just society is a fundamental concept of Judaism, which teaches involvement and concern with the plight of our fellow human beings. Every life is sacred and we are obligated to do what we can to help others. The Torah states, “neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor.“ (Lev. 19:16) There is nothing anti-Semitic about speaking out against the suffering perpetrated on the lives of Palestinians.

The distinction between Zionism and Judaism remains in constant need of clarification and discussion. Fanatics closed to discussion believe in their moral superiority and create political terror so as to silence and deny. The charge of “delegitimizing Israel “ requires one to question what the Israeli government is hiding and whether Israel has not delegitimized itself through decades of illegal human rights abuses. I believe these abuses have contributed profoundly to the rise of true anti-Semitism in the world today.