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Criticism of Israel and the Inescapability of Antisemitism

Power is everywhere, therefore antisemitism is everywhere.

by
Benjamin Kerstein

Bio

April 21, 2012 - 12:38 am
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Under such circumstances as we just discussed, it is clear that:

  • The existence, rights, and dignity of Israel and the Jews are considered to be intertwined to the point that no differentiation between them is possible.
  • The existence, rights, and dignity of Israel and the Jews are considered uniquely contingent upon their conduct and whether or not that conduct meets with the approval of the non-Jewish world.
  • Because of the beliefs outlined in the previous section, Israeli and Jewish conduct will never meet with the aforementioned approval.

Israel and the Jews are, in essence, held indistinguishable by a court whose proceedings are perpetual and whose verdict is known beforehand.

Under such circumstances, there is no criticism, no evidence for the prosecution, which does not aid in the process of an unjust trial before a monstrous court: Which is not, put simply, antisemitic.

Yes, all criticism of Israel is antisemitic. Yes, it is so because of specific historical circumstances. Yes, it is inescapable. Yes, it holds true however well-intentioned such criticism may be. Yes, it holds as true for Jewish as for non-Jewish critics of Israel.

Because it is inescapable, however, there is an ironic solution to it, or at least a possible solution, should critics of Israel be willing to entertain it. It is, as I have already said, a modest imperative: Work toward less antisemitism. This imperative does not demand silence, but it does require a measure of self-reflection that is (and I in no way exempt myself) a task of the most supreme difficulty for us all.

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Benjamin Kerstein is a writer and editor who lives in Tel Aviv.
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