262. Criticism of Israel not anti-Semitism

The Journal News printed five letters accusing Victor Lama of anti-Semitism for basically quoting in his Nov. 13 letter what Jewish intellectuals in America and Israel have written about the influence of the Israeli lobby. Israel's apologists cannot tolerate the slightest negative comment on Israel by non-Jews. To intimidate and ultimately silence them, they accused them of anti-Semitism without rhyme or reason.

Let us consider the following examples. When the European Union demanded that products from the settlements be marked as such, or all Israeli produce entering the EU will be hit by customs, Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman blamed anti-Semites for the tariffs issue. When the Geneva initiative became public, the secretary-general of the Yesha Council wrote that the authors of Geneva accords played in the hands of anti-Semites. When in an EU poll last month, Europeans identified Israel as the major threat to peace, they were accused of being anti-Semites. George Soros, the Jewish billionaire, said: "European anti-Semitism is the result of the policies of Israel and the United States." Is he an anti-Semite?

Most of what the apologists refer to as anti-Semitism is in fact anti-Sharonism. As Michal Aharoni wrote in Maariv (Nov. 12), "On the day we learn to make a clear distinction between Israel and Judaism in general, we'll find that despite everything, the world is not so much against us."

Israel and its supporters should heed what Dror Nissan wrote in Yeditot Ahronot (Nov. 24): "our situation is complex enough without anti-Semitism . . . there is no need to involve it in every complication."

December 1, 2003