My letter to the editor was published Dec 7 2009 in Ottawa’s The Hill Times.
Re: “Israel and the new McCarthyism,” (The Hill Times, Nov. 23, Murray Dobbin, p. 24).
Murray Dobbin’s doubts of rising anti-Semitism and his refutes of growing anti-Israel criticism disguised as anti-Semitism could hardly be more invalid. Contrary to Dobbin’s views, anti-Semitism increased 11.4 per cent from 2006 to 2007, according to B’nai Brith Canada. This number increased last year to include an additional thousand reported events of anti-Semitism in 2009. There is no strategy to label criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism; however, more often than not, this seems to be the case.
Anti-Semitism is an old phenomenon that is always being reinvented to suit new purposes. For example, while accusations of blood libels are still being made against the Jewish people, instead they are being directed against the state of Israel, so that anti-Zionism is being used as a cover for anti-Semitism. Criticism of Israel certainly does not make one an anti-Semite, yet we must ask ourselves if people unnecessarily target the Jewish state for its actions, while completely refusing to criticize any other state in the Middle East who commit the worst crimes known to mankind (martyrdom, abuse of human rights in Iran and Saudi Arabia, etc.), can those people truly claim they do not have some sort of bias against Israel, the Jewish state, and therefore against Jews?
In this new left-wing intellectual climate, belittling any race or religion per se is off limits. The new tactic is to disparage the allegedly colonial, imperialist, racist nature of their actions. Targeting Jews’ right to live peacefully, under the mantra of social justice, although critics of Israel only care about the need for equality of Arabs in Israel, but not in the rest of the Middle East, is indeed a new manifestation of this old phenomenon. How else can we explain the over 100 resolutions condemning Israel and the lack of any resolution condemning states who actually are committing genocide, like the situation in Iran and Darfur?
I don’t believe criticizing Israel makes one an anti-Semite, but I do have to think twice when I see that these so-called ‘social activists’ unnecessarily focus exclusively on Israel, refusing to condemn any other state for its actions.