This is but part of Chris Hedges clear-eyed evisceration of the bogus anti-Semitic charges so casually tossed out by Israel’s defenders.It appeared on Truthdig.
The Israel lobby’s buying off of nearly every senior politician in the United States, facilitated by our system of legalized bribery, is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. The lobby’s campaign of vicious character assassination, smearing and blacklisting against those who defend Palestinian rights—including the Jewish historian Norman Finkelstein and university students, many of them Jewish, in organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine—is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact.
Twenty-four state governments’ passage of Israel lobby-backed legislation requiring their workers and contractors, under threat of dismissal, to sign a pro-Israel oath and promise not to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. The shameless decision in 2014 by all 100 U.S. senators, including Bernie Sanders, to pass a Soviet-style plebiscite proposed by the Israel lobby to affirm Israel’s “right to defend itself” during the 51 days it bombed and shelled homes, water treatment plants, power stations, hospitals and U.N. schools in Gaza, killing 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact.
The U.S. refusal, including in the United Nations and other international bodies, to criticize Israel’s apartheid state and routine violation of international law is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact.
The well-funded campaigns by the Israel lobby, which works closely with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, to discredit any American politician or academic who even slightly deviates from Israeli policy is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. (One infamous example of a U.S. politician kowtowing was the unconstitutional invitation by then-House Speaker John Boehner to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress in 2015 to denounce President Barack Obama’s Iranian nuclear agreement.) The massive interference in our internal affairs by Israel and the Israel lobby, far exceeding that of any other country, including Russia or China, is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact.
Israel’s lackeys in the political class, along with bankrupt courtiers in the U.S. press, including former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) employee Wolf Blitzer, are making a serious mistake, however, in refusing to acknowledge Israel’s outsized, transparent and often illegal meddling in the American political system and Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestinians. It is too obvious and too egregious to hide. The longer the ruling elites ignore this reality and censor and attack those such as Rep. Ilhan Omar who have the temerity to name this interference and the human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel, the more it gives credence to the racists, bigots, conspiracy theorists and white hate groups, many rooted in the Christian right, who are the real anti-Semites. Israel and its lobby, rather than protecting Israel and Jews, are steadily nullifying their moral and ultimately political force.
Criticism of Israel and the ideology of Zionism is not anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israel’s influence and control over U.S. foreign policy, and of Israeli efforts to silence those who champion Palestinian rights, is not anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians or its dangerous campaign to orchestrate a war with Iran is not anti-Semitic. The more Israel and the Israel lobby abuse the charge of anti-Semitism, a charge the Israel lobby has leveled against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, among many others, the more they lose their effectiveness against the dangerous anti-Semites whose ranks are growing within the far right and across the Muslim world.
Israel and its lobby do not care if its political allies, including those in the Christian right and the Trump White House, possess warped and racist attitudes about Jews. The Christian right and many of those in the White House, while embracing Zionism, are also anti-Semitic. President Donald Trump has called neo-Nazis “very fine people” and once tweeted an illustration of Hillary Clinton against a background of hundred-dollar bills and with the Star of David superimposed near her face. The sole criterion of Israel and the Israel lobby in determining who to support and who to demonize is identifying who backs the far-right agenda of the apartheid state of Israel and who does not.
Genuine anti-Semitism is irrelevant. For Israel, the world is divided along the fault line of Palestinian rights. Stand up for the Palestinians and you are an anti-Semite. Cheer their marginalization, oppression and murder and you are a friend of the Jews. Have Jewish leaders forgotten their own history? Anti-Semitism is wrong and dangerous not only because it is bad for the Jews, but because the dark forces of ethnic and religious hatred, used by Israel and the lobby against critics, are bad for everyone, including the Jews and the Palestinians. You open this Pandora’s box of evils at your peril.