Monday, August 16, 2010

Shields up! (anti-Semitism)

The Holocaust was antisemitism brought to a nadir after centuries of practice throughout Europe and America.

The revulsion and shame after the Holocaust are rightly felt. Simple bigotry is shameful, let alone an organized slaughter.

But to use the Holocaust, or a charge of antisemitism as a shield for Israel's policies is fantastic. When you consider that what is taking place in the occupied territories is ethic-cleansing and that the Palestinians are Semitic, cries of antisemitism provide no defense, only nonsense.

Yesterday, I attended a meeting of A Jewish Voice for Peace. Several attendees mentioned the intimidation factor provided by irresponsible charges of antisemitism being invaluable in keeping a lid on public comment about the behavior of Israel.

Since I am not Jewish, I could be a target. What to do?

There's no choice but to stand up to the attacks if they come. To cringe and remain silent is a victory for injustice. The frequent and inappropriate use of the term are leading to another case of the boy who cried wolf - the attacks will lose force the more absurd they appear, particularly when the charges against Israel are well established both in fact and in the writings of many Jews.

There are plenty of American and Israeli Jews who side with justice and speak out against Israel's policies. Check out my Israeli NGO honor roll at top right. It's important to remember that the government of Israel is not the spokesman for Jews throughout the world, much as it would like us all to believe it is. It's not even the spokesman for all Israeli Jews. See the blog South Jerusalem, for example.

Yet we have the current incredible situation - a minority, the Israeli settlers, in a country of 7 million is essentially dictating the Middle East foreign policy of the world's superpower, a nation of 300 million, thanks to the power of a lobby. This is leverage that puts the banksters to shame!

The best way to counter charges of antisemitism is to point out the agenda of those who are making the charge - the lobby. If Americans, with all of our freedom, cannot speak out against wrong, then who can? Are we simply a herd of cows to be regularly milked? Over 40 years of history says yes.

It's our obligation to use our freedom to end the hypocrisy that makes our country look foolish before the world and arouses so much anger against us. World public opinion expects us to live up to our high opinion of ourselves through deeds that justify it. It's time to wake up to the obvious. Though some may "hate our freedoms", many more are revolted by our arrogant view, lofty words and contradictory behavior.

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