Tuesday, July 16, 2019

How anti-Zionists legitimize anti-Semitism - by Jonathan S.Tobin

The fight against anti-Semitism on college campuses must start by properly labeling Israel’s foes as purveyors of hate speech.

Jonathan S.Tobin..
15 July '19..

(The following are adapted remarks by JNS editor in chief Jonathan S. Tobin, which were delivered at the U.S. Department of Justice Summit on Combating Anti-Semitism on July 15, 2019.)

It’s an honor to be here at the central address of American law enforcement to discuss how we can best combat anti-Semitism, and it is very encouraging that the Department of Justice has chosen to highlight this issue in this manner.

This panel is tasked with probing the question of anti-Semitism on college campuses. It is, of course, a matter of no small irony that college campuses are among the places in this country where anti-Semitic sentiment has become commonplace, and where Jews feel the most threatened by a culture of intolerance. That institutions that are supposed to be strongholds of independent inquiry and progressive values have become the beachheads on this continent for the spread of what the State Department calls a rising a tide of anti-Semitism that has been sweeping across the globe is shocking. But for anyone who has paid attention to the academic world in the last generation, it is hardly a surprise.

The reasons for this boils down to one key fact: the growing popularity of anti-Zionism and the way that ideology has been used to legitimize anti-Semitism, and to create a hostile atmosphere in academic circles and on some campuses where Jews feel not only marginalized, but often also intimidated and threatened. Support for the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel (BDS) has not only gained a foothold in academia but in many university departments; opposition to its discriminatory goal and tactics marks both dissident academics and students as pariahs to be shunned, shouted down or worse, a situation that is particularly threatening to Jews.

The reason is clear. Jews were attacked for many reasons over the centuries—all of them having everything to do with the obsessions of the anti-Semites, and little or noting to do with what they actually did or said. But today, the State of Israel and its people and supporters are the stand-in for hateful Jewish stereotypes of the past.

(Continue to Full Column)

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