Anti-Semitism in the Divest-from-Israel campaign?
| Some people have asked if there are anti-Semitic
undertones in the divest-from-Israel campaign. In order to answer that
question, we first have to examine campaign, the motivation, the desired target
and effect. Sure, it is easy to make the charge of anti-Semitism or racism, but
you have to make sure the charge is legitimate before making it.
Looking at the campaign, there is no doubt that it is meant to destroy
Israel itself because it is geared toward destroying Israel's economy as part
of the larger and official Arab boycott of Israel as organized and enforced by
the Arab League's Central Office for the Boycott of Israel located in Syria.
The Arab League views the creation of Israel as "'Al Nagba," or "The Disaster,"
which is hardly an endearing term to describe the creation of the modern state
Israel has a tenuous peace with Egypt that is only preserved
by $2B annual US aid to Egypt, but that is the exception, not the rule.
Overall, Arab countries and the vast majority of Arabs around the world want to
see nothing more than the complete destruction of Israel. This is not a new
revelation. The question is if there is a link between being anti-Israel and
First, we must look at the terms 'anti-Semitic' and
'anti-Semitism. There is an Arab campaign that claims Arabs can not be
anti-Semitic because they are Semitic people too. The problem with that claim
is that the origin of the words is based entirely on hatred of Jews and has
nothing to do with Arabs, thus making the argument disingenuous. The Oxford
Dictionary states that the first known usage of the word "anti-Semite" was
German in origin and during the Nazi era.
The word "anti-Semitism" has
always specifically referred to Jews and only Jews from a linguistic
standpoint. Therefore the word "anti-Semitism" is in direct reference to Jews
and only Jews. Those wishing to change the definition are really trying to
remove Israel as a central part of Judaism.
Linguistically, we see that
anti-Semitism refers only to Jews, but that's not all. The greatest civil
rights leader of our times, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commented on the
Dr. Seymour Martin Lipset, who is currently the Hazel Professor
of Public Policy of George Mason University and a professor at the Hoover
Institution of Stanford University, wrote an article of interest over thirty
years ago. The noted sociologist and political analyst wrote an article "The
Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews and Israel" which was published in the
December, 1969 (page 24) edition of Encounter magazine, and was reprinted in
The article states: "Shortly before he was
assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr., was in Boston on a fund-raising mission,
and I had the good fortune to attend a dinner which was given for him in
Cambridge...One of the young men present happened to make some remark against
the Zionists. Dr. King snapped at him and said, "Don't talk like that! When
people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism!"
On a religious note, Zion, meaning Israel, is a central part of the
Jewish religion and can not be separated out from it. Jews, no matter where
they are in the world, pray in the direction of Jerusalem. The Bible uses the
word Zion as a direct reference to the land of Israel and Jerusalem. Much of
Jewish law can only be practiced in Israel and Israel is a central theme in
Jews prayer. Attempts to remove Israel from Judaism are comparable to removing
the cross from Catholicism.
Nationally syndicated columnist and radio
talk show host Dennis Prager authored the book "Why The Jews? The Reason For
Antisemitism" with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin in which they wrote: "There is only
one possible reason people isolate Israel of all the countries in the world to
deny its right to existence. That is because Israel is the only Jewish state.
Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism
A more historically significant quote
is from the Holocaust era: "In Germany they came first for the Communists, and
I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade
unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they
came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then
they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up." - Pastor
Pastor Niemoller brings up an important point.
Historically, the US looked at terrorism as something that only happened in
Israel, but now it is happening here. Now divestment is aimed at Israel, but it
could also be pointed here some time in the future. Hitler claimed not to hate
Jews but rather just loving Germans. Are we fooled by those who just claim to
be politically correct?
That leaves the more fundamental question: Is
There an underlying Anti-Semitism in the Divest-from-Israel campaign?