Saturday, June 03, 2006

The silencer

One of the classic smears of the Right these days is that any criticism of Israel or Zionism is inherently anti-Semitic. The intent of course is to preemptively shut down any criticism of the actions of an ostensibly secular democratic state by equating any criticism of this state's actions or operating ideology with a bigoted attack on all Jews, JUST LIKE THE NAZI'S DID. So you just better shut up you leftist thug.

Far right American radio shouter Dennis Prager trots out the ugly old canard here. He helpfully explains how being opposed to a political ideology created in the nineteenth century is equivalent to being bigoted against a whole people.

Of course Zionism is actually just an ideological movement strongly supported by many Jews and Gentiles, and strongly opposed by many other Jews and Gentiles. Criticizing, even condemning Zionism is no more anti-Semitic than criticizing Maoism is anti-Chinese.

Prager tries to dismiss the not inconsiderable opposition within the Jewish world to some or all the tenants of Zionism to a tiny sect of ultra-Orthodox Jews and Jews who have 'abandoned Judaism'. So according to Prager any Jew who disagrees with this specific ideological movement within Judaism is either a religious fanatic, or conversely, has forfeited their Judaism altogether. Nice.

Naturally Prager plays the other standard little rhetorical games of the apologist here, falsely conflating being opposed to Zionism to automatically also wanting Israel destroyed altogether and denying that Palestinians even exist. He calls them 'indigenous Arabs, known later as Palestinians.' And this guy has the balls to call other people racists?

Equating being opposed to Palestinian suffering to being for Jewish suffering is a lie that has to be opposed as vigorously as real anti-Semitism should be rightly opposed.


Alison said...

Nicely done.
I note that Prager fails to make any mention of the Zionist Jews who support a Palestinian state.

Also, using his own example, I'd like to see him try to get away with stating that people born in Italy to Italian parents who don't like their government and are not Catholic are not really Italian.

calgal said...

Every time I hear some self-important loon with an agenda start screaming that opposing Israel is the equivalent of being an anti-Semitic Nazi, I want to curl up in a ball like an armadillo and roll into a corner....

However. Since I am sick unto death of explaining the vast difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, I'd refer you and any interested parties to this excellent website:

Better to hear it from actual Jews and Talmudic scholars.

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