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As Anti-Semitism Grows, Attributing It To Critics Of Israel Trivializes A Real Threat

Allan C. Brownfeld
Spring - Summer 2019

Sadly, anti-Semitism is growing, both in our own country and around the world. The shootings at synagogues in Pittsburgh and near San Diego made headlines, just as violent attacks against the Jewish community doubled last year, according to an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) report issued in April. White nationalist groups appear to be responsible for the vast majority of these incidents, according to the ADL. The neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia featured people chanting “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us.”  
Traditional anti-Semitic myths have been invoked. John Earnest, who police say entered a Southern California synagogue, killed a woman and injured several more people, alleged in a manifesto that he had acted, in part, to avenge the death of Simon of Trent.  
On Easter Sunday , 1475, the body of a 2-year-old Christian boy named Simon Unferdorben was discovered near a Jewish home in the northern Italian city of Trent. Authorities arrested every Jew in the city. The story which grew was that Simon was a victim of ritual murder by the Jews, who had killed him to use his blood in the baking of their Passover matzohs. Eight Jews were beheaded or burned at the stake for their alleged roles in the boy’s death.  
The Myth of Simon’s Martyrdom  
Discussing this case, Talia Lavin notes that, “The late medieval Christian networks of communication broadcast the myth of Simon’s martyrdom...across languages and countries. Simon’s tomb became a magnet for pilgrims from across Christendom...If in the 1400s, anti-Semitic myths were transmitted by means of beatific poetry, legends of martyrs and claims of miraculous healing, today such lies are transmitted far more easily.”  
The California synagogue was apparently victimized by someone well aware of the story of Simon of Trent. In his manifesto, John Earnest wrote: “You are not forgotten, Simon of Trent, the horror that you and countless children have endured at the hands of the Jews will never be forgiven.” The dissemination of the manifesto was instantaneous, reaching thousands of readers around the world.  
Where once Jews were accused of poisoning wells to spread bubonic plague, today’s white nationalists argue that Jews seek the destruction of the “European” or “white” race by encouraging interracial marriage and mass immigration. The shooter at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh similarly denounced Jews for being sympathetic to immigrants and singled out the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), which has helped resettle immigrants from Iraq, Vietnam and Syria, for attack. Neither the manifesto in California nor in Pittsburgh mentioned Israel or U.S. Middle East policy.  
Real Anti-Semitism  
With real anti-Semitism growing, it is unfortunate to see so many, in our political arena and within the Jewish community, trivialize this growing danger by repeatedly using the term “anti-Semite” to characterize critics of the policies of the Israeli government. The effort to silence critics of Israel with the charge of “anti-Semitism” has a long history. Fortunately, it has been used so often and so irresponsibly that it is losing its ability to intimidate. Consider its recent manifestation in the case of Rep. Ilan Omar (D-MN).  
Rep. Omar, a Somali-American and one of two Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018, has stirred controversy with her remarks about Israel and the role of AIPAC in American political life. She insinuated that money from American supporters of Israel influence members of Congress—-“It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” she wrote on Twitter, specifically citing AIPAC.  
This, noted The New York Times (March 5, 2019) “...revived a fraught debate in Washington over whether the pro-Israel lobbying behemoth has too much power sway over American policy in the Middle East. The backlash was fierce with even some Democratic leaders accusing her of trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes. The congresswoman apologized.”  
Meant to Silence Criticism  
Shortly thereafter, Rep. Omar stirred further controversy when she told an audience at a town hall event in Washington, D.C. that accusations of anti-Semitism were meant to silence her criticism of AIPAC. She said she wanted to talk about “the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”  
In Minneapolis, there have been close ties between the Jewish and Somali communities. Barry Cohen, a leader with the Twin Cities chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, declared that, “She’s (Omar) not an anti-Semite. The way I look at it, how and why would she necessarily have an understanding of Jewish history in any depth any more than any member of Congress has an understanding or knowledge of Somali history or culture? This is politics in the ugliest form.  
In Congress, many Republicans supported a resolution by Rep. Lee Zeidin (R-NY) rejecting “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred.” The resolution names Rep. Omar and Rep. Rashunda Tlaib (D-MICH), the other recently elected Muslim member of Congress, and also a critic of Israel and AIPAC. The resolution mentions the congresswomen alongside the Rev. Louis Farrakhan and the 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville. In the end, the House passed a broad measure condemning hatred of all kinds.  
Trump Calls Democrats “Anti-Israel” and“Anti-Jewish”  
By failing to condemn Rep. Omar specifically, President Trump declared that the Democratic Party was now “anti-Israel” and “anti-Jewish.” This charge is ironic coming from Mr. Trump, who himself has been criticized for using the anti-Semitic trope of “dual loyalty.” In April, the president addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas. After criticizing Rep. Omar, he told his American Jewish audience, that “he stood with your prime minister at the White House.” At a Hanukkah celebration at the White House in December, Mr. Trump told those assembled that Vice President Pence had great affection for “your country,” Israel. This sounds very much like the accusations from some Republicans that some Democrats had charged American Jews with “dual loyalty.”  
The fact is that Rep. Omar has had many Jewish defenders, who are particularly upset with the manner in which the charge of “anti-Semitism” is used in an attempt to silence critics of Israel.  
Rabbi Brant Rosen of Congregation Tzedek Chicago, who also serves as Midwest Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee, stated: “There is no doubt in my mind that she (Rep. Omar) is being punished because she dares to call out the U.S.’s unconditional support for Israel—-because, she points out, correctly, that this support is enabled by a powerful Israel lobby. This resolution (critical of Omar) is not being introduced out of a general concern for anti-Semitism. It is about attacking Omar for her criticism of Israel.”  
Israel Lobby Is Too Strong  
Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, a columnist for Haaretz, was interviewed by Amy Goodman on her program “Democracy Now” (March 8, 2019}. He said: “The Israel lobby ...is by far too strong and too aggressive. It’s not good for the Jewish community. It’s not good for Israel. What’s happening now is that some kind of fresh air...some kind of new voices are emerging from Capitol Hill raising legitimate questions about Israel, about America’s policy toward Israel and about the Israel lobby. These are important questions and it is more than needed to raise them. Whenever anyone dares to raise questions...he is immediately or automatically labeled as an anti-Semite. Then he has to shut his mouth, because after this, what can you say?”  
Sen. Bernie Sanders (IND-VT)said that he does not consider Rep. Omar to be anti-Semitic but that she must do “a better job of speaking to the Jewish community.” At the same time, Sanders, like Omar, was sharply critical of Israeli policies. He said, “It is not anti-Semitic to be critical of a right-wing government in Israel.” Prior to Israel’s election, Sanders said that he hoped Prime Minister Netanyahu would lose and deplored the treatment of the Palestinians, which he said was characterized by “racism.”  
IfNotNow, a group of liberal Jewish activists ,said that Rep. Omar’s criticism of Israel’s occupation and of AIPAC is warranted. Those Democrats who wanted to isolate Rep. Omar with a resolution critical of anti-Semitism, the group stated, are out of touch with the party’s younger members: “The older generation of American Jews pushing for this resolution...are not motivated with a real concern with Jewish safety but a desire to stop political opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian people...We have a new era where criticism of unjust Israeli policy is not simply equated with anti-Semitism. That is a victory.”  
AIPAC’s Use Of Money In Politics  
In an article entitled “What Ilhan Omar Said About AIPAC Is Right” (The Nation, Feb. 12, 2019), Andy Harkan writes: “As a Jew, an Israeli citizen...I speak from personal experience when I say that AIPAC is tremendously effective and the lubricant that makes its operation hum is dollar bills...Omar is right to point all of this out...Delegitimizing (critics) is a central aim of the Israel lobby.”  
Harkan reports that in 2006, fresh out of college, he worked in the Democratic congressional campaign of Victoria Wulsin, a liberal running in a conservative Ohio district. Among other things, Wulsin was a critic of Israel’s occupation. “About a month after winning the Democratic primary,” writes Harkan, “we were struggling to gain attention and money. Nobody gave us a chance to win. One political action organization, however, did reach out to us. It wasn’t Emily’s List. It wasn’t a labor union...It was AIPAC. A local volunteer leader of the Cincinnati chapter sat down in Vic’s living room and I recall him saying that he would like to raise $15,000 for our campaign and would also like to see Vic take a public stance on two relatively obscure issues relating to Iranian sanctions and arms sales to Israel...Vic and I both thought of ourselves as pro-peace, not pro-Israel....But we were desperate...So I read the AIPAC position papers that the volunteer left with us. I wrote up a statement saying that Vic supported AIPAC’s stance on its two pet issues. I posted it online and the checks promptly arrived. We didn’t win, but the money helped us come close.”  
The whole encounter, writes Harkan “...was all about the Benjamins. We never would have done it otherwise. AIPAC’s power is about more than money, certainly. It’s about great organizing ..Their lobbyists on the Hill are the best...and their legislative junkets to the Holy Land are masterfully orchestrated. But money is central to the whole system.”  
AIPAC Boasts Of Its Power  
AIPAC boasts of its power in terms not dissimilar to those Rep. Omar used to describe it. In an article with the headline, “No, Ilhan Omar Is Not Anti-Semitic For Calling Out AIPAC!”Peter Feld, writing in The Forward (Feb. 11,2019) recalled attending an AIPAC luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, representing the presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis. He writes: “I heard an AIPAC speaker boast unashamedly about AIPAC’s vast influence in recent cycles. He said AIPAC had punished enemies of Israel, in Congress, like Sen. Charles Percy of Illinois, who had lost his 1984 re-election after criticizing settlements and the invasion of Lebanon. But now it was time to reward Israel’s friends, he told the crowd. Lobbies, he joked, are like mushrooms: they grow best in the dark...no one called him anti-Semitic. And it cannot be anti-Semitic to say that a lobby that spends large sums of money and boasts of its influence is influential through money.”  
The effort to re-define anti-Semitism as criticism of Israel has been going on for nearly four decades. In 1974, Benjamin Epstein, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), co-authored “The New Anti-Semitism,” a book whose argument was repeated in 1982 by his successor at ADL, Nathan Perlmutter, in a book entitled “The Real Anti-Semitism In America.” After World War ll, Epstein argued, guilt over the Holocaust kept anti-Semitism at bay. But as memories of the Holocaust faded, anti-Semitism had returned—-this time in the form of hostility to Israel. The reason: Israel represented Jewish power. “Jews are tolerable, acceptable in their particularity, only as victims,” wrote Epstein and ADL colleague Arnold Forster, “and when their situation changes so that they are no longer victims, or appear not to be, the non-Jewish world finds this so hard to take that the effort is begun to render them victims anew.”  
Nathan Perlmutter embarked on a campaign to redefine anti-Semitism. He declared: “The search for peace in the Middle East is littered with mine fields for Jewish interests...Jewish concerns are confronted by the Semitically neutral postures of those who believe that if only Israel would yield this or that, the Middle East would become tranquil and the West’s highway to its strategic interests and profits in the Persian Gulf would be secure. But at what cost to Israel’s security? Israel’s security, plainly said, means more to Jews today than their standing in the opinion polls.”  
Substituting “Jewish” For “Israeli” Interests  
Perlmutter substituted the term “Jewish interests” for what were, in reality, “Israeli interests.” By changing the terms of the debate, he helped create a situation in which anyone who is critical of Israel becomes, ipso facto, “anti-Semitic.”  
One of the leading practitioners, for many years, of the efforts to silence criticism of Israel by calling it “anti-Semitic” has been Norman Podhoretz, for many years editor of Commentary, which was originally published by the American Jewish Committee. In an article titled “J’Accuse,” (Commentary, September, 1983), Podhoretz charged America’s leading journalists, newspapers and television networks with “anti-Semitism” because of their reporting of the war in Lebanon and their criticism of Israel’s conduct. Among those so accused were Anthony Lewis of The New York Times,Nicholas von Hoffman, Joseph Harsch of the Christian Science Monitor,Rowland Evans, Robert Novak,Mary McGrory, Richard Cohen, Alfred Friendly of The Washington Post, and a host of others. These individuals and their news organizations were not criticized for bad reporting or poor journalistic standards; instead they were the subject of the charge that always seemed to be on Podhoretz’s lips: anti-Semitism.  
In the political arena, those few politicians who have dared to criticize Israel have been subjected to brutal attack. During the 1981-82 congressional campaign period, pro-Israel PACS spent $104,236 in an obscure House race in downstate Illinois to defeat Rep. Paul Findley (R-IL), a 22-year House veteran. His sin was criticism of Israel and the urging of a more even-handed U.S. policy in the Middle East. In his book on the subject, “They Dare To Speak Out,” he writes, “If one particular group can succeed in inhibiting free expression on a particular subject, others will inevitably be tempted to try the same in order to advance their favorite causes..,If a lobby can force government officials into ignominious silence in one vital area of public policy, other parts of the body politic could be similarly disabled...When a lobby stifles free speech nationally on one controversial topic—-the Middle East—-all free speech is threatened.”  
Tactic Is Not New  
The tactic of using the term “anti-Semitism” as a weapon against dissenters from Israeli policies is not new. Dorothy Thompson, the distinguished journalist who was one of the earliest enemies of Nasism, found herself criticizing the policies of Israel shortly after its creation. Despite her valiant crusade against Hitler, she, too, was subject to the charge of “anti-Semitism.” In a letter to the Jewish Newsletter (April 6, 1951) she wrote:  
“Really, I think continued emphasis should be put upon the extreme damage to the Jewish community of branding people like myself as anti-Semitic...the State of Israel has got to learn to live in the same atmosphere of free criticism which every other state in the world must endure...There are many subjects on which writers in this country are, because of these pressures, becoming craven and mealy mouthed. But people don’t like to be craven and mealy mouthed; every time one yields to such pressures, one is filled with self-contempt and this self-contempt works itself out in resentment of those who caused it”  
A quarter century later, columnist Carl Rowan (Washington Star, Feb. 5, 1975) reported that, “When I wrote my recent column about what I perceive to be a subtle erosion of support for Israel in this town, I was under no illusion as to what the reaction would be. I was prepared for a barrage of letters to me and newspapers carrying my column accusing me of being ‘anti-Semitic’ ...The mail rolling in has exceeded my worst expectations...This whining, baseless name-calling is a certain way to turn friends into enemies.”  
List Of The Falsely Accused Is A Long One  
A list of those who have been falsely accused of anti-Semitism because of their criticism of Israel would be a long one. In 2014, Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick declared that Secretary of State John Kerry is “anti-Semitic.” According to Glick, “Kerry is obsessed with Israel’s economic success...The anti-Semitic undertones of Kerry’s constant chatter about Jews and money are obvious.” At the same time, Moti Yogev, a Knesset member in the governing coalition, said that Kerry’s efforts at achieving a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians had an “undertone of anti-Semitism.”  
Writing in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Cameron Kerry, a brother of the Secretary of State and formerly general counsel to U.S. Department of Commerce, declared that charges of “anti-Semitism” against his brother would be ridiculous if they were not so vile.” Cameron Kerry, a convert to Judaism, recalled relatives who died in the Holocaust. The Kerrys’ paternal grandparents were Jewish.  
The reaction to the 2014 Presbyterian study guide, “Zionism Unsettled,” issued by the Israel/ Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was vitriolic. The ADL claimed the study guide “may be the most anti-Semitic document to come out of a mainline church in recent memory.” J Street , which promotes itself as a more moderate pro-Israel lobbying group than AIPAC, was almost as harsh. It said that the church document promotes “polarization” and “intolerance.” Saying it was “deeply offended,” J Street asserted that “one has to question ...the motives in publishing this resource.”  
Criticism of Christian Anti-Semitism  
In fact, the church document, which examines the role of Zionism and Christian Zionism in shaping attitudes and events in Palestine and the region, devotes extensive space to a discussion —-and harsh criticism—-of anti-Semitism within Christianity and its influence in the rise of Nazism. It rejects racism and religious bigotry in all its forms. And it has many strong Jewish supporters. Rabbi Brant Rosen, author of “Wrestling In The Daylight: A Rabbi’s Path To Palestinian Solidarity,” notes that, “As a Jew, I’m especially appreciative that while ‘Zionism Unsettled’ is strongly critical of Zionism, it doesn’t flinch from extensive Christian self-criticism.”  
Discussing the Presbyterian study guide, the respected Israeli political scientist Neve Gordon said, “I welcome the effort to emphasize a conception of Judaism and Christianity that espouses universalistic ethics—-whereby all humans are imago dei—-and to use it to expose injustices carried out in my homeland.”  
]ewish critics of Israeli actions are as likely to be denounced as “anti-Semites” as non-Jews. For example, columnist Caroline Glick, writing in the International Jerusalem Post (Dec. 23-29, 2011) found New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman guilty of employing “traditional anti-Semitic slurs” and “of channeling long-standing anti-Semitic charges.” She described Friedman as “a dyed-in-the wool Israel-hater” for writing that he “sure hopes that Israel’s Prime minister...understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. It was bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby.”  
President Carter and Amnesty International  
Those who have been labeled “anti-Semitic” by Jewish groups because of their criticism of Israeli policies include former President Jimmy Carter, journalists Andrew Sullivan and Bill Moyers, and groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Peter Beinart, a contributing editor of The Forward and author of “The Crisis of Zionism,” calls the idea that such individuals and groups are anti-Semitic “absurd.”  
Writing in Haaretz (July 19, 2017), Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace provided this analysis: “Seventy years into the ongoing dispossession and displacement of Palestinians, fifty years into Israel’s occupation, and ten years into the siege on Gaza, we think it is time for American Jewish communities to have some really uncomfortable conversations...Challenging anti-Semitism requires us to distinguish between anti-Jewish ideas or actions and legitimate criticism of the human rights abuses of the Israeli State and of Jewish institutions which aid in supporting or justifying the domination of another people.”  
Many Israelis, concerned about their country’s treatment of Palestinians, lament its departure from Jewish values. Prof. David Shulman, of the Hebrew University, notes that, “No matter how we look at it, unless our minds have been poisoned by the ideologies of the religious right, the occupation is a crime. It is first of all based on the permanent disenfranchisement of a huge population...In the end, it is the ongoing moral failure of the country as a whole that is most consequential, most dangerous, most unacceptable. This failure weighs...heavily on our humanity. We are, so we claim, the children of the prophets. Once, they say, we were slaves in Egypt. We know all that can be known about slavery, suffering, prejudice, ghettos, hate, expulsion, exile. I find it astonishing that we, of all people, have reinvented apartheid in the West Bank.”  
Growth Of Extremism and Racism In Israel  
While AIPAC and other elements of the Israel lobby spend a great deal of time and energy labeling critics of Israeli policy as “anti-Semites,”  
they have largely ignored the growth of religious extremism within the Israeli society.  
After the 1967 war, Jewish fundamentalism came to dominate many sectors of Israeli society. Former Knesset member and peace activist Uri Avnery wrote in 2004: “The process was led by religious cranks...Their declared aim is to drive all the Arabs out of the country that God promised us. The settlements have grown like locusts. Every settlement has gradually stolen the lands and water of the neighboring Palestinian villages , uprooted their trees, blocked their roads...and built new roads barred to Palestinians. Almost all the settlements have spawned satellite outposts on nearby hills.”  
In their book, “Jewish Fundamentalism In Israel,” Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky discuss the growth of religious extremism. They point to the similarities “between the Jewish messianic political trend and German Nazism which are alarming. The Gentiles are for the messianists what the Jews were for the Nazis.” They report that two days after Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of 29 Muslims at prayer in Hebron, the walls of religious neighborhoods of West Jerusalem were covered by posters extolling Goldstein’s virtues and complaining that he did not manage to kill more Arabs.  
Alliance With Meir Kahane Disciples  
During the early 2019 election in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck a bargain with the racist, anti-Arab Otzma Yehudit or Jewish Power party. The leaders of this party, The New York Times (Feb.25, 2019) reported, “...have a long history of expressing support for violence against Palestinians...expulsion of Arabs from Israel and the occupied territories, and a ban on intermarriage or sex between Jews and Arabs. ..Otzma Yehudit’s leaders proudly call themselves disciples of Meir Kahane, the Brooklyn-born anti-Arab militant who served a term in Israel’s Knesset before his Kach party was outlawed in Israel and declared a terrorist group by the United States. He was assassinated in 1990.”  
The prime minister arranged for the group to merge into a somewhat more mainstream party of religious Zionists, the Jewish Home party. That pact catapulted Otzma Yehudit from the disreputable fringe into Israel’s political mainstream.  
Rabbi Benny Lau of Jerusalem, a pillar of religious Zionism, warned that “the defilement and destruction of the land serves as a guarantee for the loss of the land.” He lamented that the prime minister seemed concerned only with re-election and in a sermon from the pulpit of the Rambam Synagogue he likened Kahanism and its ideas to the Nuremberg Laws. He wrote that, “The entry of the racist doctrine into the Knesset is the destruction of the Temple.”  
Encouraging Racism  
Yohannon Plessner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, said, “There’s a difference between a racist party entering the Knesset—-the fringes of Israeli democracy can unfortunately contain such elements—-and their being encouraged by the prime minister.”  
A leader of the Jewish Home Party, Belazel Smotric, allegedly more moderate than the Kahanists, called himself “a proud homophobe,” supported segregated maternity wards for Arab and Jewish women, and said Jewish developers should not have to sell homes to Arabs and favored a shoot-to-kill policy against Palestinian stone-throwers.  
At the same time, a cycle of violence by extremist Jewish settler groups is growing in the West Bank. In February, in the town of Deir Dibwann, a mosque was vandalized with a Star of David painted on the exterior. Israel’s security agency, Shin Bet, documented 295 of what it calls “Jewish terror” incidents last year. The United Nations has recorded at least thirty incidents this year in which Israeli settlers were accused of causing casualties or damaging property. Israeli monitoring groups say the surge in settler violence reflects a lack of Israeli law enforcement . The Israeli human rights group B’tselem says that terrorist activity goes beyond “a few rotten apples” and says the Israeli government ignores extremist violence because it helps settlers expand their West Bank presence.  
Embracing Racism, Rabbis at Pre-Army Yeshiva Laud Hitler, Enslaving Arabs  
The Times Of Israel (April 30, 2019) featured an article with the headline,”Embracing Racism, Rabbis at Pre-Army Yeshiva,Laud Hitler, Enslaving Arabs.” The paper reports that,”Two rabbis at a pre-military religious academy in a West Bank settlement were recorded making derogatory and racist comments about Arabs, defending Adolf Hitler’s world view and openly promoting Jewish superiority.”  
In a series of undated recordings published by Israel’s Channel 13 News on April 29, 2019, Rabbi Eliezer Kashtiel, the head of the Bnei David Academy In Eli can be heard calling for the enslavement of the “stupid and violent” non-Jews due to their genetic inferiority. He said: “The gentiles will want to be our slaves. Instead of just walking the streets and being stupid and violent and harming each other, once they are slaves their lives can begin to take shape. All around us we are surrounded by people with genetic problems. Ask a simple Arab where he wants to be. He wants to be under the occupation. Why? Because they have genetic problems. They don’t know how to run a country. They don’t know how to do anything. Look at them. Yes, we’re racists...”  
In another clip from the Bnei David Yeshiva, Rabbi Giora Redler can be heard praising Hitler during a lesson on the Holocaust. He says, “Let’s just start with whether Hitler was right or not. He was the most correct person there ever was and was correct in every word he said..he was just on the wrong side.”  
Pluralism is “Genocide”  
Rabbi Redler says that pluralism is the “real” genocide, not Hitler’s “final solution.” The yeshiva is funded by the Israeli government. According to the Times of Israel, “ Officers are funneled through the yeshiva by Israel’s national religious camp.”  
The organized American Jewish community has largely ignored the growth of racism and religious extremism in Israel, just as it has been imputing “anti-Semitism” to critics of Israel, while downplaying the danger of the real anti-Semitism which is growing among white nationalists.  
An example of this hesitation to identify the far-right racist groups as the source of violent anti-Semitic acts can be seen in the case of David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel and a long-time friend of religious nationalist settler groups. He said in May that it was a “mistake” to “rely on statistics” when analyzing the surge in violent anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. Asked about an ADL report that said that almost all identifiable extremist attacks on Jews in the U.S. were carried out by white supremacists, he pointed to what he called “the infrequency of such incidents” and said, “I think it’s a mistake to get caught up in statistics about a series of events that are not yet becoming a daily occurrence.”  
Ignoring Real Anti-Semitism  
David Friedman, AIPAC and other elements in the organized Jewish community my prefer to use the term “anti-Semitism” against critics of Israel rather than against the real anti-Semitism which is growing. They ignore the fact that political critics of Israel were responsible for none of 2018’s incidents and radical Islamists were responsible for four.  
Using the term “anti-Semitism” to silence the critics of Israel, at the same time as downplaying the genuine anti-Semitism which is growing, only serves to trivialize a very real danger. It also ignores the long history of Jewish opposition to Zionism, which makes the casual use of the term “anti-Semitism” to characterize such views doubly irresponsible.*

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