Lately I have been struck by the raw anti-semitism evinced on anti-Israel websites (most egregious example, Mondoweiss). http://mondoweiss.net/

There is nothing novel about it. It’s not “the new anti-semitism” that the Anti-Defamation League likes to talk about. But the old kind, masquerading as anti-Zionism but manifesting itself as support or, at least, sympathy for every group or individual hostile to Jews: from Pat Buchanan to Hizbullah.

The only difference between this anti-semitism and the old-fashioned kind is that it has no impact. If you don’t visit Mondoweiss or other websites like it, you won’t know it exists. It threatens no one. It is just ugly. But ugly and irrelevant.

Still we would all be better off without it.

And that is why Jewish organizations should stop feeding it. The efforts by Jewish organizations to shut down free debate on Israel by banning anti-Israel speakers, closing down organization that support the BDS movement, or getting state legislatures to penalize universities that support it, does nothing except fuel anti-semitism.

Yes, I understand that anti-semitism usually exists apart from anything Jews do. (I don’t think the people posting at Mondoweiss would dislike Jews any less if Israel returned to the pre-’67 borders tomorrow or disestablished itself as a state.) But I believe that some hostility to Jews is caused by banning free discussion of issues relating to Israel. The act of stifling, of smothering, free inquiry can and often does ignite resentment and often hate. The BDS movement, and its supporters, has as much right to propagate its views on campus as Hillel or the Young Republicans. What does it signify when the only issue on campus where the censors are out on force is Israel? When did AIPAC, AJC and the ADL get an “Israel exemption” added to the First Amendment?

The Jewish community needs to end its politics of suppression. We should be the last people burning books and ideas.

As for the anti-semites, they will always exist no matter what Israel or Jews do. Right now there don’t appear to be very many of them (in this country, at least). We should do all we can to keep their numbers small and their impact nil.

If I avoid reading Mondoweiss, I’d hardly know they exist at all. But still, why give these people fuel?


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