JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MY DEFINITIVE POINTS AGAINST THE ONGOING SHABBY EFFORT TO CONFLATE CRITICISM OF ISRAEL’S BEHAVIOR WITH THE PREJUDICE OF ANTI-SEMITISM – THOSE TWO THINGS ARE NO MORE THE SAME THAN ARE CHALK AND CHEESE – AND THE SERIOUS DANGERS OF INSISTING THAT THEY ARE

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY YVONNE RIDLEY IN MIDDLE EAST MONITOR

 

“Palestine: Read all about it… but not in the mainstream media

 

Conflating “anti-Semitism” with legitimate criticism of a heavily-armed state has always been absurd, absurd in ways quite apart from the clear effort to make a victim of an aggressor.

If Israel wants to be a state regarded by the world as being a state just like any other, and I think it does very much want that, then it must be subject to criticism, as all other states are.

Otherwise, Israel is granted a special place outside the laws and norms for nations. And, de facto, that is just the situation we have today.

Not yet through the effects of any laws, although we do see disturbing efforts being made along legislative lines, but through constant intimidation and name-calling of those who say what they are entitled to say – indeed, what they are obliged to say if they are supporters of Western traditions of human and democratic rights.

The granting of that kind of exceptional status to any national state is itself genuine prejudice, a form of reverse-prejudice.

My other favorite point on the absurdity of what we read all the time in false claims of anti-Semitism involves the former Soviet Union.

The “anti-Semitism” claim about criticism of Israel’s actual behavior – not its identity, not its religion, not its ethnicity, but its actual behavior – is precisely parallel with someone’s having claimed that criticism of the Soviet Union – and we all know there was a great deal, both at home and abroad, to criticize in the practices of the Soviet Union – was the same thing as hating Russians, what today we would call “Russophobia.”

Anyone can understand the absurdity of that.

It is time to call out all of the apologists and lobbyists for Israel on this matter. Israel is not entitled to a “Get out of Jail Free Card” when it commits crimes and starts wars and abuses great numbers of people. Nor indeed, were Israel’s intentions always honorable, would it even expect to receive one.

Yet there are ongoing efforts in many countries and in many states of the United States to get laws, wholly inappropriate laws, passed to do exactly that, just as there are efforts to suppress people’s right to support peaceful boycott to pressure Israel to change its ways.

The lobbying activity for such laws is totally inappropriate. It is the truest kind of interference in the internal affairs of other countries. It works to suppress people’s most basic rights in a free society. And it works to defend the indefensible when Israel commits obvious atrocities such as shooting into unarmed crowds of demonstrators or when it commits piracy on the high seas or when it bombs people with whom it is not even at war.

We all understand the dangers of treating any person in our society with such privileged status that he or she can do just as they please, disregarding all laws and norms. But how much more dangerous is the same practice in the case of a nation state, a very heavily-armed and often belligerent nation state?

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