...The fact that some Jews are ready to join forces with those urging the destruction of the Jewish state is not evidence that its attitude toward Jews is benign. Part of the psychosis of the Jewish existence in the Diaspora has always been a willingness to believe that all other peoples and faiths have rights to particularity that Jews should not have or exercise. But when applied to the battle for the existence of the state of Israel, the desire of some Jews to treat Israel as the one illegitimate ethnoreligious state on a planet that has so many other similarly constituted nations is a testament to dysfunction on the part of this small minority of Jews. It tells us nothing about the toxic nature of the vile cause for which they serve as useful idiots.
31 March '16..
The recent willingness of both the Board of Regents of the University of California and the New York State Legislature to consider action relating to the troubling growth of anti-Semitism marked an important step forward in recognizing the corrosive effect the BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) movement has had on the culture of higher education in this country. As I wrote earlier this week, at the heart of this debate is the connection between anti-Zionist activity and anti-Semitic incidents that are creating a hostile atmosphere for Jewish students at some institutions. In particular, the willingness of the Board of Regents in California to speak out against “anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism” angered many on the left who promoted the cause of BDS on college campuses and did not want to be identified as promoting hate.
The shift in the discussion from the BDS movement’s attempt to single out Israel for opprobrium and destruction to the anti-Semitic nature of their rhetoric and goals is an unexpected setback for the left. That’s because they were operating under the assumption that in an era where all sorts of opinions are repressed because they might conceivably offend some fragile student, Jews are the one minority group that are generally denied “safe space.” By focusing on the Jew-hatred that is inextricably linked to BDS activism, anti-Zionists are being stripped of their pose as defenders of human rights and correctly lumped in with hate groups.
The fight against BDS and anti-Semitism is one that ought to unite all supporters of Israel, whether they are supporters of the current government or its fiercest critics. But for some on the left, the pushback against a BDS movement that they claim, at least in some instances to oppose, makes them uncomfortable. Having made common cause in some cases with BDS activists, they find labeling their fellow leftists as anti-Semites to be a bridge too far for them. Thus, so-called “liberal Zionists,” such as writer Peter Beinart, have now stepped into the breach to denounce the effort to categorize anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism.
Writing in Haaretz, Beinart claims that the argument in favor of this link is bogus.
Beinart first claims that it is wrong to assert, as I have done, that anti-Zionism is a form of discrimination because opposition to the Jewish right to a homeland and self-defense is unique. He says that opposition to statehood for the Kurds or the Basques is not assumed to be a form of hate against those peoples. For the same reasons, he also says that opposing a state just because Jews might need one in order to protect themselves is also not bias because no one would consider critics of Kurdish or Basque secession from other nations is based on hatred.
Next, he claims it is a misnomer to assume that all anti-Zionists want to abuse Jews because BDS groups welcome both individual Jews and anti-Zionist groups like Jewish Voices for Peace as allies.
Third, he says that just because anti-Zionists want to dismantle Israel — as distinct from opposing states that have not yet been created — isn’t discriminatory because of the precedent of destroying the Afrikaner-dominated Republic of South Africa.
Most importantly, he says that Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians are inherently discriminatory, thus making at least some of the arguments of the Jewish state’s foes understandable if not justified. According to Beinart, who believes that Israel should be forced to give up the West Bank and Jerusalem to the Palestinians, it is the actions of the Netanyahu government that are justifying BDS and undermining the rationale for a Jewish and democratic state.
He’s wrong on all counts.
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