25 August, 2006

Letter to the Economist, 19-25 August 2006

SIR - In analysing why it is that Americans support Israel you omitted to mention intimidation. Many of us who feel that such unconditional support is not in America's national interest discuss it only among ourselves, fearful of being tarred with the label of "anti-Semite" that is invariably thrown at Israel's critics. Such a tactic is calculated, methodical, invidious - and remarkably effective.
Raleigh, North Carolina


Brn said...

As chance would have it, I'm from North Carolina (only about 120 km east of Mr. Miller), and I have never heard anyone who questions US support for Israel called anti-semitic.

secretdubai said...

I have, many times, on a debate forum I used to visit.

I'm not American, but I've also been accused of it myself, when I criticised Israel's policies.

Anonymous said...

Horrifying! Mr Miller would be well advised, for his own safety, to seek asylum in a neutral country.

Tim Newman said...

The problem is that, for some, criticism of Israel is not really anti-Semitism, but anti-Semitism is really criticism of Israel.

Where there are some who will accuse those who question Israel's policies of anti-semitism (and I should think this is what's happend to you SD), there are a far greater number who dress up their blatant anti-semitism as merely criticism of Israeli policies.

I have found that questioning Israeli policies on a web forum does not in itself bring up charges of anti-semitism. However, when a contributor repeatedly singles out Israel for adopting certain policies which are also common in dozens of other countries of which the contributor sayas nothing, then the contributor eventually will have a case to answer as to why he or she singles out Israel for criticism. A great example of this was on a message board a few years back when somebody opined that the new Israeli law which prohibited the non-Israeli spouse of an Israeli citizen automatically obtaining Israeli citizenship was "something the Nazis would do" and "disgusting". Apparently, this passed for legitimate criticism of Israeli policies, but never was it mentioned that most other countries - including the UK and Australia - adopt identical policies yet somehow escape the Nazi comparisons.

Norm Geras has written several excellent posts about how those who repeatedly single out Israel as a special case for criticism must at some point understand that their underlying motives are going to be called into question. He also specifically addresses the issue of accusing Israel's critics of anti-semitism here.

Anonymous said...

I'm no academic, Tim, just a simple person, but I have to agree that:

"...those who repeatedly single out Israel as a special case for criticism must at some point understand that their underlying motives are going to be called into question..."

My way of putting it would be: if you hate a person because of his ethnicity, or if you hate a whole nation becuase of the ethnicity of (the majority of) its people...then you, my friend, fit the definition of a racist.

This is what makes it so laughable when ones sees (certain people) and (certain) states calling Israel a racist state. What one finds totally amazing is that everyone seems to think the Emperor is wearing clothes. Am I really just a little boy?

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