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Is it antisemitic to be critical of Israel’s politics?

No. Just as it is not anti-whatever to be critical of the politics of… France, Azerbaijan, Chile, Canada, Jordan or Thailand. The problem is – that’s not a thing. There is no movement against Canada’s politics. People who criticize Chile’s government don’t hasten to add "but I am not Latino-phobic". And nobody feels the need to share his/her opinion about Azerbaijan without ever having been there or knowing a person there. Thailand is not in the news every day. France’s president is not compared to Hitler. And nobody doubts Jordan’s right to exist. But all of this is common when the county in question is Israel. Which makes you think…

But no. Not every criticism of Israel is antisemitic.

So let’s look at some statements: "Israel is waging a war of extermination against the Palestinians" – "What Israel does to the Palestinians is just like what the Nazis did to the Jews" – "Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the country they live in" – "Israel’s politics is negatively influencing my view of Jews" [link to source]

That is not "criticism of Israel". That is antisemitic.

Quick Test, replace "Israel" with another country or ethnic group: "Saudi Arabia is waging a war of extermination against Yemen" – "What Sudan does to the Nuer is just like what the Nazis did to the Jews" – "Catholics are more loyal to the Vatican than to the country they live in" – "India’s politics is negatively influencing my view of Hindus". Doesn’t fly!

In my opinion, criticizing Israel is antisemitic if …

  • … antisemitic stereotypes are used, e.g., rich Jews control the world.
  • … comparisons with the holocaust, apartheid, colonialization, etc. are used routinely.
  • … Israel’s right to exist questioned.
  • … there is no distinctions made between Israelis and Jews.
  • … the person in question has no special knowledge about the region.

What do you think?

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