Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cotler's Smear Job

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 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.


yusufyusuf said...


Global warming
Global warming is the increase in the average measured temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century, and its projected continuation.

Global Change ©

Anonymous said...

The Occupation of the West Bank is not "illegal".

Israel seized the West Bank from Jordan (and Gaza from Egypt).

Israel has always been prepared to return the land to those countries - both have declined.

What would be illegal is if Israel annexed the land and established civilian control over it.

Resolution 242 sets up under what conditions Israel should withdraw from the territories (not all of them).

It involves a halt to hostilities and direct negotiatins.

Facts are important.

Yours were wrong.

The Mound of Sound said...

There are more than 400,000 illegal settlers in the West Bank, a number that's increasing by 5% every year. Israel would not allow that expansion if it had any expectation of having to resettle those communities within its own borders. Get your facts straight.

Jim Parrett said...

Sssh. No argument allowed against Israel aggression. Except if you're an Israeli in Israel. Just don't say anything here in North America.

C-Nuck said...

Israel's occupation of the WEst Bank is not illegal as Anon writes.

Israel occupies the land because there is no peace agreement.

After the war in 1967 the Arab League met (in Khartoum) and issued its three famous "No's"

No peace with Israel
No recognition of Israel
No negotiation with Israel

The lack of any desire to negotiate with Israel is what led directly to Israel's decision to establish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.

Had there been a desire to recognize Israel's right to exist in 1967 we would not be where we are now.

The Mound of Sound said...

Israel doesn't have any right to settle the West Bank, none at all. It has no right to permit settlements of more than 400,000 Israelis on the occupied lands. It has no right to allow the illegal settler population to grow by 5% per year. It has no right to allocate limited water resources to illegal settlers rather than Palestinian residents. It goes on and on and on. You know it.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that when it comes to the State of Israel, to some it can do no wrong.

I think that someone show looking into the absurd disconnect with reality that some have. There is an irony that some who seem able to argue their points cognitively loose all neutral point of view when it comes to Israel. Is this some kind of malady that certain Jews suffer from? And before the pro-Israeli start chanting their usual cries, I find it odd that people that I consider to be just and level headed (such as Morton and Cotler) loose any objectivity when it comes to the crimes of Israel.

@ c-nuck, your views are so fucking ludicrous that there is no point of even discussing with you - go choke on the Israeli bunghole of official propaganda and eat my fuck...

@ anon - that's the Israeli interpretation....

Anonymous said...

"I think that someone show looking into the absurd disconnect with reality that some have."
>> I think that someone should start looking....

Anonymous said...


Did you get snubbed in a bar by a cute Jewish girl or something? (or maybe her big brother beat you up).

No matter what is written about Israel you are against the State. You are filled with hatred and abusive language.

I'm glad you are not a Liberal.

And yes you probably are an anti-semite. You have found Israel and Zionism as a way to express yourself. Cotler appears right in his arguments if he has you in mind.

Anonymous said...

boohoo anon...
I'll go talk to my rabbi about it...

Anonymous said...

Cotler expresses a circular logic where Israel can do no wrong...
Guess that makes me a jew hater - now let's go kill some terrorists and leave cluster bombs all over the place....

C-Nuck said...

Actually, Cotler is often critical of various Israeli actions. He said in London last week in his speech at the conference on anti-semitism.

I doubt if WTF has ever said a positive word about Israel.

Good idea to speak to a Rabbi WTF, you need an education.

Anonymous said...

Israel, yes. Israeli actions of late, no.
But I guess you'd prefer that I suck up to the IDF?

Anonymous said...

Liberals have Cotler

Dippers can have WTF

Anonymous said...

anon, now that the Liberals and the Connies are one and the same..... I guess so...

Anonymous said...

so we're the same.

now WTF go play with the dippers and leave us to plot all alone.