According to Irwin Cottler's screed in today's National Post, if you're critical of Israel, you're an anti-semite.
Cottler contends that criticism of Zionism's excesses is anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israeli apartheid-style measures is anti-Semitic. He claims that if you criticize these things then, by definition, you're committed to the destruction of the state of Israel.
Ideological antisemitism is a much more sophisticated and arguably a more pernicious expression of the new antisemitism. It finds expression not in any genocidal incitement against Jews and Israel, or overt racist denial of the Jewish people and Israel's right to be; rather, ideological antisemitism disguises itself as part of the struggle against racism.
The first manifestation of this ideological antisemitism was its institutional and juridical anchorage in the 'Zionism is Racism' resolution at the UN. Notwithstanding the fact that the there was a formal repeal of this resolution, 'Zionism as Racism' remains alive and well in the global arena, particularly in the campus cultures of North America and Europe, as confirmed by the recent British All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism.
The second manifestation is the indictment of Israel as an apartheid state. This involves more than the simple indictment of Israel as an apartheid state. It also involves the call for the dismantling of Israel as an apartheid state as evidenced by the events at the 2001 UN World Conference against Racism in Durban.
The third manifestation of ideological antisemitism involves the characterization of Israel not only as an apartheid state - and one that must be dismantled as part of the struggle against racism - but as a Nazi one.
And so it is then that Israel is delegitimized - if not demonized - by the ascription to it of the two most scurrilous indictments of twentieth-century racism - Nazism and apartheid - the embodiment of all evil. These very labels of Zionism and Israel as 'racist, apartheid, and Nazi' supply the criminal indictment. No further debate is required. The conviction that this 'triple racism' warrants the dismantling of Israel as a moral obligation has been secured. For who would deny that a 'racist, apartheid, Nazi' state should not have any right to exist today? What is more, this characterization allows for terrorist 'resistance' to be deemed justifiable - after all, such a situation is portrayed as nothing other than occupation et résistance, where 'resistance' against a racist, apartheid, Nazi occupying state is legitimate, if not mandatory.
Not a word in Cottler's rant suggesting that Israel is, to the slightest degree, the author of even some of its misfortune. Not a hint that the illegal occupation of the West Bank is cause for Israel to be criticized.
No, to Cotler, Israel is totally blameless and beyond reproach and anyone who thinks otherwise is an anti-Semite. This is a rank smear job designed to intimidate critics of Israel. Fuck you Irwin.
I stole this comment left by Ezra Winton at ArtThreat.net. He makes a lot of sense about a rapidly growing movement to silence critics:
"At a talk last night at Concordia University, Robert Fisk said that if good, compassionate, honest and just people are continually labelled anti-semitic it's going to give the term a good name. Arguments like skeptik's are barely worth replying to, because they shift the argument away from the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel to one of anyone-who-criticizes-Israel-hates-Jews. It's disgustingly misguided, mischievous and malicious.
There is no Global Zionist Conspiracy.
I can name all the organizations, the pro-Israel-no-matter-what-they-do organizations and associations, who are leading this anti-academic freedom and fear-mongering campaign across the world's campuses. It's not a conspiracy when B'nai Brith takes out a full page advert in Canada's National Post. I'd say that's pretty front and center. Pretty damn conspicuous. The international community has labelled Israel's occupation of Palestinian land as illegal. Israel has every right to exist and should exist. But it does not have the right to violate international law and human rights in the process. When activists, writers, scholars and politicians make this point they are doing the job of pointing out injustices. To label them anti-semitic or racist is an inane and belligerent tactic of diversion. It's now wasted about ten minutes of my time, so I guess it's working.
If I critique Stephen Harper, his government, his military, and people that voted for him, am I anti-Canadian. If I critique the people who have written policy allowing for whites to occupy First Nations land in Canada, am I being anti-white? Surely not. The double-standard is prolific among unconditional supporters of Israel, and it's time to call it what it is: fear-mongering and diversionary tactics.
Enough already, on to the real task of ending the illegal occupation of Palestine and the suffering of oppressed people everywhere.