I’ve long thought that the key to overcoming the charge of anti-Semitism for criticizing Israel is, Stop caring what people call you. At some level Walt and Mearsheimer knew they’d be smeared, they decided to go ahead. Me too. The damage is that an important category, anti-Semitism, has been completely destroyed by pro-Israel fanatics. Sharmine Narwani, of Oxford University, gets the point, on Huffpo:
I for one get pretty irritated hearing false cries of anti-Semitism against anyone who criticizes Israel, its human rights crimes, its crazy settler movement, its unique brand of crypto-racism against non-Jews living within the state and its occupied territories….
I hate being treated like an idiot. We can see for ourselves the carnage caused by Israeli troops in Gaza and Lebanon, the daily acts of collective punishment and brutality against Palestinians in the territories. So when supporters of Israel pull out the anti-Semitism card no matter how ridiculous the claim, it does Jews everywhere a disservice by severely diluting the impact of the word, and therefore lessening the gravity of real and harmful prejudice against Jews.
Like the boy who cried wolf, the cries become meaningless when invoked for political gain – or simply when all other arguments fail to convince a weary world that yet another Israeli atrocity was justified to protect Jews.
To the woman accusing pro-Palestinian protestors on TV of anti-Semitism, I too wearily say, frankly my dear, I just don’t give a damn.