The Ten Worst U.S. Purveyors of Antisemitism, #4: Ali Abunimah
If you oppose Israel’s existence, and especially if you work for its destruction, you’re an antisemite—even if you don’t say things like “Jews are always out for your money,” “Jews control all the world’s governments and banks,” “Jews drink blood at Passover,” etc.
Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, and about half the world’s Jews live in it. If you devote yourself to its dissolution, you’re anti-Jewish—antisemitic—just as someone devoted to America’s dissolution would, of course, be anti-American.
Ali Abunimah, an American of Palestinian descent who runs the Electronic Intifada website, has been called “the leading American proponent of a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” “One-state solution” is code for Israel’s demise, to be replaced by a country of mixed Arab and Jewish population that would, however, extend the “right of return” to millions of descendants of (purported) Palestinian Arabs.
In other words, there would no longer be any Jewish state anywhere in the world, but there would be yet another Arab state in the Middle East, one where Jews would be a minority. For an idea of how that would work out, one can consider the current situation of Christians in the Arab Middle East.
Indeed, Ali Abunimah himself has acknowledged that, under a “one-state solution”:
You can never have an absolute guarantee about what the future will be like....You cannot guarantee that if there was a one-state solution it wouldn’t, it would be…the best scenario is if it’s more in the direction of South Africa and Northern Ireland than Zimbabwe. But we couldn’t rule out, you know, some disastrous situation, like Zimbabwe.
Not only couldn’t we rule it out, we could be sure of it, and almost all Israeli Jews know it. But for Abunimah and so many like him, the current tally of at least two Palestinian states, twenty-three Arab states, and forty-nine Muslim states isn’t enough; the one Jewish state has got to go.
In addition to his well-trafficked Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah spreads his “Eliminate Israel” message through columns in papers like the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, The Guardian, and others, through talk-show appearances on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and elsewhere, and by speaking and participating at university Israel-bashing events. He persistently promotes the anti-Israeli boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement; he knows Israel can’t be killed all at once, but tries to hammer away at its foundations.
To say Abunimah doesn’t have anything good to say about Israel is a great understatement. Two years ago he called for a third intifada; the First Intifada killed 27 Israelis and injured 3100 in violent assaults, while the Second Intifada killed 1100 and wounded 8100. Also around that time Abunimah tweeted that Israel’s Likud Party was planning to storm and “cleanse” the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque, a blatant and ridiculous falsehood.
Abunimah also speaks of “Israel’s attacks, killings, land theft, settler pogroms and kidnapping,” and its “near daily killing of children, destruction of communities and racist apartheid against millions of people….” To Israelis, living between Gaza on one side and the West Bank on the other, it’s an all too familiar, primeval hatred that precludes compromise and peace.
But those are Abunimah’s good days. He has also called Gaza “a ghetto for surplus non-Jews,” likened the Israeli press to Der Stürmer, proclaimed that “supporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit,” and described Israeli actions in Gaza as “a slow and calculated genocide—a genocide through more calibrated, long-term means.... In many ways, this is a more sinister genocide, because it tends to be overlooked.”
An antisemite? Not me. But the Jewish state is, at all times, pure evil, worse than even the Jews’ own worst persecutors.
From Abunimah and his circles, it’s a message so de rigueur that it would just be dreary if it wasn’t also murderously dangerous.
In 2005 the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, an EU body, adopted its “Working Definition of Anti-Semitism,” which has proved a useful tool for exposing antisemites. In December the Monitoring Centre’s successor organization, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, dropped the “Working Definition” from its website. But it is still available, and no less insightful and useful.
Among manifestations of antisemitism, the “Working Definition” includes:
Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
It also includes:
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
By those criteria, of course, Ali Abunimah well qualifies as an antisemite.
As someone who used to follow Abunimah’s Twitter feed, M. J. Rosenberg has no doubt at all about Abunimah’s antisemitism. Rosenberg is currently a Huffington Post columnist and a longtime left-wing Israel-basher, though not a “Demolish Israel” man. In a blog post a few months ago, Rosenberg announced that:
I Need To Stop Reading Ali Abunimah’s Twitter Feed
I stopped reading racist, homophobic, and anti-Muslim twitter feeds a long time ago and my life is so much better for it.
But, for some reason, I still read @aliabunimah although, to me, it is clear that he cannot stand Jews.
He gets worse and worse. Right now, his feed is one hateful tweet after another. Yeah, yeah, I know he is careful to scream about Israelis or Zionists and not Jews, but he doesn’t fool me. Or any Jew who doesn’t want to be fooled.
But there is one good thing about Ali Abunimah. There is a tendency among Jews on the left, including myself, to argue so vehemently that being anti-Israel does not make one an anti-Semite that we don’t notice when being anti-Israel coexists with anti-Semitism, that one just feeds the other. We should.
Bottom line: I believe that Ali Abunimah would be ecstatic if Israel was destroyed, blown off the face of the earth, along with every one of its people because, after all, the Jews in Palestine are, by definition, Zionists, even the kids. Settlers, colonialists, baby killers, torturers, invaders and all the other labels he uses that exempt no Jew in any part of Israel or Palestine.
So, thanks, Ali. As long as there are people around like you, I will never lull myself into believing that anti-Semitism is a thing of the past. It isn’t.
Of course, only a reality-challenged leftist like Rosenberg could entertain the thought for a second that it is a thing of the past. By forcing a faint light to flicker in Rosenberg’s consciousness, the shrill, destructive Ali Abunimah has at least done a tiny bit of good.