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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 11/30/19

The Antisemitic Card

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
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It is a ludicrous situation when anyone criticizing Israeli state violations against Palestinians or neighboring countries is then instantly discredited as being "antisemitic."

We see this in Britain and the United States all the time. Congresswomen like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have been denounced for being "anti-Jewish," including by President Trump, simply because they protested Israeli policy of occupying Palestinian lands or for having a malign influence on US foreign policy.

In Britain, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his party have once again this week been vilified as "antisemitic" in prominent news media.

The reality is that Corbyn is neither racist or anti-Jewish. The specious allegation stems from him and sections of Labour being vehemently critical of Israel and its conduct towards Palestinians.

If elected in the general election next month, Labour says it will cut military trade with Israel and move to officially recognize a Palestinian state.

This conflation of valid criticism of the Israeli state with being "anti-Jew" is a cynical distortion which is wielded to give Israel impunity from international law. It plays on moral blackmail of critics by equating the historical persecution of Jews and in particular the Nazi holocaust with the sanctity of the modern Israeli state.

That distortion is exposed by many Jews themselves who have spoken out in the US and in Britain to defend the right of people to criticize Israeli policies. They understand the vital distinction between the Israeli state and the much wider existence of Jewishness. They understand that to be opposed to Israeli state practices is in no way to mean animus towards Jews in general.

Only in the past week, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared his government intends to expand annexation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank. The land occupied by Israeli forces since the 1967 Six Day War is illegally occupied, according to multiple UN resolutions under international law. Now Netanyahu wants to increase the violations. And with the support of the Trump administration which also announced it was no longer viewing Israeli settlements on Palestinian land as illegitimate.

Over the past month, the Israeli military has stepped up airstrikes on the Gaza Strip where nearly two million Palestinians subsist in abject poverty largely because of an Israeli blockade. One family of nine, including children, was killed by an airstrike on their home on November 14. As always the death toll among Palestinian civilians is grotesquely disproportionate to Israeli victims of rockets fired from Gaza.

Israeli forces have also been carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria, including the capital Damascus, over the past year. Russia, among others, has condemned those attacks as "unlawful aggression." Arguably, war crimes.

When Jeremy Corbyn and Britain's Labour Party and a handful of American politicians speak out to denounce Israeli violations they are doing so to uphold international law and voice support for victims of state violence. That is a principled and honorable position.

Shamefully, the US and British governments and much of the corporate news media never do speak out. They shield Israeli leaders from international accountability by vetoing UN resolutions or by turning a blind eye. Pro-Israeli lobbies funnel massive donations to politicians in Washington on both sides of the aisle, and to the British Conservative Party. Their silence is bought. Not only silence but outright distortion, such as when people criticize Israeli malfeasance and there is much of that then they are absurdly character-assassinated as "antisemites."

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Author and journalist. Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal (more...)
 

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4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments  Post Comment


nelswight

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Good one, Fin . It may have been good to write this and be called Corbyn's friend..but more likely that you'll never be invited to tea with the MSM publisher's afternoon tea party.

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 1, 2019 at 12:47:13 AM

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Chuck Nafziger

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There is always blowback from distortions like this. By equating criticism of Israel's policies of apartheid, nukes, and unjustified attacks on their neighbors with"antisemitism," the link between "Jews" and heinous Zionist policies becomes more firmly entrenched. This decades old propaganda ploy is becoming very worn; many people are discarding its injustice, but still remembering the twisted link.

The violent dominance of the US and Israel is waning and many people will demand justice from past thefts, murders and oppression. Jews all over the world have been tied to the injustices by this propaganda link and will inevitably get more of the injustice tossed back at them than they would have if they could have remained distant from the crimes.

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 1, 2019 at 5:55:43 PM

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Richard Pietrasz

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I would characterize the level of violence as less than it was ten years ago, but this might be more a matter of taking time for refreshment before it rises again. The other major imperial powers, Russia and China, are growing stronger in other parts of the world.

Too many people in USA, UK, and Israel, plus Jews elsewhere, have directly participated in or supported those who have waged this violence. This includes those who voted for the pro-war parties and "supported the troops" who wage the wars. For them to start opposing the wars, they would have to admit (at least to themselves) that they were wrong. It is very hard to do that when the full wrong includes serial premeditated mass murder.

Submitted on Monday, Dec 2, 2019 at 5:07:23 AM

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Joe Giambrone

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I expected this to go somewhere relevant. It doesn't.

"The reality is that Corbyn is neither racist or anti-Jewish."


The point of links is to bear on the claim made. The article is about the British NHS and nothing to do with Israel at all.

It shouldn't be that difficult to shoot down baseless smears. Corbyn has never said anything antisemitic in his life--or else the Tories would have plastered it all over England.


Submitted on Sunday, Dec 1, 2019 at 9:41:32 PM

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Richard Pietrasz

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The use of the word antiSemitic to describe only acts against people and institutions identified as Jewish, but not against people and institutions identified as non-Jewish, puts it into the same class as phrases which includes "white supremacy", "God's chosen people", "American exceptionalism", and "master race".

Unfortunately, it is so endemic in the English speaking world that even people opposed to the imperial policies of USA, UK, Israel, and others against Muslim peoples tend to automatically use it without questioning its use. That cedes far too much in the battles of ideas. George Lakoff, a long-time professor of linguistics at UC Berkeley, has pointed out the effectiveness of what he calls "framing" in distorting a presentation of an issue. It is a mistake to use opponents' propagandistic terms.

Submitted on Monday, Dec 2, 2019 at 5:31:01 AM

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