Anti-Zionism not so easily conflated with anti-Semitism

Posted on Feb 14, 2019

Commentary: With the identification of the Netanyahu government with Donald Trump, the new Democratic control of the House of Representatives, the openness of young U.S. Jews to the oppression of the Palestinians, the diminishing control of Congress and U.S. media by AIPAC and the older Jewish organizations, a new freedom to criticize Israeli policies without being restricted by the conflation process used so effectively to block criticisms, many U.S. Jews and friends of Israel are becoming freer to criticize the repression and oppression by the Israeli government of Palestinians without their criticism being conflated with rejection of all Israeli Jews, nor conflated with an attack on State of Israel, nor as an attack on all the Jews of the world. Nor is anti-Zionism so easily conflated with anti-Semitism. The obfuscation tactics of denial have become less effective and the obvious injustices by the Israeli government of half the population under its control from the ‘sea to the river” are becoming starkly visible.

The seven featured articles and the related links in this issue of the Middle East focus on growing U.S. condemnation of Israel’s actions, such as: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations; U.S. Congress authorization of  billions in weapons to Israel and inclusion of an unconstitutional law aiming to silence the BDS non-violent movement for Palestinian rights; the announcement that a number of freshman left-wing U.S. Congressional Democrats  would not be embarking on one of Washington’s most sacred rites of passage: an AIPAC-organized trip to Israel; institutionalized discrimination by Israel of Palestinians as a more creative framework for addressing this injustice; ways to counteract the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, and recent attacks on Black-Palestine solidarity; the stark reality that since demonstrations at the Gaza fence began last March, nearly 300 Palestinians have been killed, including two women, and some 6,000 people wounded by the IDF, according to UN data and links to CMEP January Bulletins.

  • Michelle Alexander writes in The New York Times to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions: its unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations. We must cry out at the treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements, and the severely limited access to decent housing, schools, food, hospitals and water that many of them face.

  • Amjad Iraqi notes in 972 Mag that the uproar by Jewish establishment figures over Alexander’s New York Times essay in support of Palestinian rights echoes the reactions of white Americans to the Civil Rights Movement decades ago.

  • Yousef Munayyer writes in The Washington Post that as the U.S. Congress returned for a new session during a political crisis and government shutdown, the Senate chose an odd priority for its legislative agenda. Senate Bill 1, or S1, authorizes billions in weapons to Israel and includes an unconstitutional law aiming to silence the movement for Palestinian rights.

  • Noah Kulwin in Jewish Currents notes that shortly after their election this past November, a number of freshman Congressional Democrats announced that they would not be embarking on one of Washington’s most sacred rites of passage: an AIPAC-organized trip to Israel.

  • Yariv Mohar writes in +972 Magazine that the existing frameworks we have for addressing Israel’s rule over the Palestinians are flawed and becoming less relevant. Comparing it to other regimes that share one of its prominent characteristics, institutionalized discrimination, can
    create space for new ideas.

  • Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man in +972 Magazine says that we often play the role of being able to say things that the rest of the movement cannot,” Jewish Voice for Peace director Rebecca Vilkomerson says in a wide-ranging interview about the group’s decision to come out as opposed to Zionism, how to fight the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, and recent attacks on Black-Palestine solidarity.

  • Yaniv Kubovich notes in Haaretz that since demonstrations began last March, nearly 300 Palestinians were killed, including two women, and some 6,000 people wounded, UN data show.
  • Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Bulletins

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