Monday, November 8, 2010

redefining anti-Semitism

I've written about the uses of anti-Semitism before in Shields Up! and how it must be rejected in anti-Semitism and Who is a Jew. A broadening of the term is underway by those who want to gag free speech.

Right now, the Israeli parliament - the Knesset, is a beehive of activity looking to pass legislation to de-legitimize criticism of Israel and non-Jews. Maybe I should have termed it "Right - NOW" in Israel.

You can find an excellent summary of these efforts at the London Review of Books blog in a piece written by Neve Gordon, titled Thoughtcrimes.

A leader of the rightward march in the Knesset is Avigdor Lieberman who Bradley Burston, a writer for Haaretz has called another Kahane. This refers to Meir Kahane, whose Kach party was banned by the Knesset as racist...but that was the old Knesset, back when it had a sense of shame and of limits beyond which it would not go.

What goes hand in glove with this effort in the Knesset is an attempt to turn every criticism of Israel into "the new anti-Semitism". How quickly people forget that Zionism, an extremist movement and tiny minority within Judaism that started at the end of the 19th century, has grown to such an extent that it now feels entitled to define what is Jewish and who is to be called anti-Semitic.

The most powerful evidence of this is in the gathering of a closed meeting in Canada of legislators to decide about outlawing criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism.

Now it's one thing for zealots to take control of the Knesset. One could say this is the logical course of events for a country that was founded by zealots. But to have such mental illness capture groups within the Canadian Parliament and the U.S. Congress - how can this be?

I'm waiting for you, fellow Americans, to stand up with me and say enough is enough. If a foreign country decides to lose its head, that's its business. Must we follow along like sheep?

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