Israel is facing a tide of hatred all around the world. From the United States to Europe, to the Middle East, many try to delegitimize the state of Israel. People can surely be just critical of Israeli policies. However, many people are anti-Israel due to their hate for the Jewish people. With or without intent, anti-Israel movements cause anti-Semitism.
According to the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, demonizing, delegitimizing, and applying double standards to Israel is anti-Semitic. When one criticizes Israel and invokes an anti-Jewish sentiment, it is anti-Semitism. When you compare Israel and the IDF to Hitler and Nazi Germany, it’s anti-Semitic. When one calls for the demise of Israel, this is also a call for the end of the Jewish people. That’s anti-Semitic.
All over the world, there are mass movements to delegitimize Israel. Across US College Campuses, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) delegitimizes Israel through the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Meanwhile in Europe, there are anti-Israel movements spreading across campuses and anti-Semitism flourishing throughout the continent.
The BDS movement uses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a cover for the boycott. The movement does not criticize the terrorist organization, Hamas, in Gaza, or the very corrupt Palestinian Authority, in the West Bank. The BDS movement supports both leaderships, even though both severely mistreat the Palestinian people. For example, in Gaza, Hamas uses civilians as human shields during times of war, and in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) suppresses LGBT rights. There are countless instances of abuses by Hamas and the P.A.
ISIS, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and many other human rights violators do not face this much criticism or have a boycott against them. The only state that is targeted is Israel, the only Jewish state in the world and the only democratic nation in the Middle East. This is because of anti-Semitism.
Multiple instances have occurred recently in the United Kingdom that are prime examples of how anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic. There have been two well-known incidents recently where anti-Israel sentiment equated with anti-Semitism.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour party, recently came under fire. He and his party are known for their strong anti-Israel sentiments and have been accused of anti-Semitism many times. At least 50 members were suspended in late April for anti-Semitic behavior. Members of the organization have called for deportation of Israeli-Jews in Britain, they’ve called Hitler a Zionist, relocation of Israel to America, and so on. All these remarks made by members of the Labour party are blatantly anti-Semitic. They are targeting the Jewish people for deportation and no one else. They are equating Adolf Hitler with Israelis, which is anti-Semitic. They want the one Jewish state in the world thrown off the map. They want the six million Jews in Israel to be removed from their homes and forced to relocate. Jeremy Corbyn does not see these heinous incidents for what they are – a huge anti-Semitism problem within the party.
Another case is Malia Bouattia, who was elected president of the National Union of Students this past April. Bouattia is known for her anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views. She has called the University of Birmingham a ‘Zionist Outpost’ where the school’s leadership is controlled by a bunch of Zionists. University of Birmingham has the largest Jewish population in the country. She invokes anti-Semitic tropes within her rhetoric and it is very threatening to Jewish students. Both Labour Party and Bouattia’s anti-Israel rhetoric cross the line to anti-Semitism.
I’ve seen anti-Semitism on my college campus. I saw posters in October of 2015 equated Gaza during Operation Protective Edge to the Holocaust. Whether or not the person’s intentions were anti-Semitic, their words were.
Israel is a nation of 68 years that has contributed so much to this world. From all the technology and start-ups it has created, to the humanitarian aid it gives to nations in need, Israel has a lasting impact on individuals and nations. It is the only democratic nation in the Middle East where women, the LGBTQ community, and minorities are given equal rights. Yet, Israel is being lambasted and targeted.
Those who are anti-Israel want the destruction of the Jewish state through terrorist acts committed against innocent civilians or by making the Jewish people, all over the world, feel uncomfortable and unsafe through their anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Contributed by CAMERA Fellow at SUNY Buffalo Andrew Meyer.