You’d think it’s a parody but it isn’t. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which says it’s devoted to fighting anti-Semitism worldwide because of the Holocaust, has made a year-end list of the “Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs” for 2013 and (no surprise) the victors are a combination of actual anti-Semites and critics of Israeli policy. The American Studies Association, Richard Falk, Alice Walker and Max Blumenthal are some of the notable accused anti-Semites. Not to mention the Pine Bush, NY, school district!
The list reads:
1. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
2. Prime Minister of Turkey Recip Tayyip Erdogan
3. Richard Falk
4. Boycott Divestment Sanctions Movement/American Studies Association/Roger Waters/The United Church of Canada
5. Jobbik: Hungarian rightist party
6. Hitler as a hero: Lebanese pop star Najwa Karam/ Dutch social worker, Mehmet Sahin/ Yusuf al Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood/Saudi poet Muhammad al Farraj
7. French cartoonist Zeon
8. Pine Bush, NY school district
9. The Power of the poison pen: Alice Walker/Max Blumenthal
10. European sports venues/NBA player Tony Parker
The Wiesenthal top ten is a crude fiat to isolate and defame activists and intellectuals, listing more BDS supporters than actual anti-Semites. Where number seven, Zeon, a French cartoonist who has produced classically anti-Semitic renderings of Jewish people, two slots below is author Alice Walker who hardly is an usher of racism.
Blumenthal has caught rightwing fire recently over his chapter titles in Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, in which the author quotes Israelis who make comparisons between the experience of the Holocaust and what they see happening inside of their country.
And what is the Simon Wiesenthal Center?
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is a global Jewish human rights organization that confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism, promotes human rights and dignity, stands with Israel, defends the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaches the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations.
P.S. Peter Beinart has even criticized the list. Beinart was asked if he believes that Blumenthal is anti-semitic (because Ron Radosh says that Anne-Marie Slaughter, the head of the New America Foundation, asked Beinart if it was OK to host Blumenthal at her thinktank on December 4 and Beinart gave her the thumbsup). Beinart to Ron Radosh:
Speaking for myself, as a Zionist who believes in the legitimacy of a democratic Jewish state, I disagree strongly with Max Blumenthal. I also disagree strongly with Naftali Bennett, who supports permanent Israeli control over millions of West Bank Palestinians who live under military law and lack the right to vote for the government that controls their lives. And yet I think it was legitimate for Blumenthal to speak at New America, just as it was legitimate for [Naftali] Bennett to speak recently at the Brookings Institution…. If it were true that Max Blumenthal (who is Jewish himself) were an anti-Semite, as opposed to anti-Zionist, then I would make an exception to this general rule, as I don’t support offering a platform to bigots. But I have seen no evidence of that. Being anti-Zionist does not make you an anti-Semite: Ask the Satmar Rebbe. And groups like the Simon Wiesenthal Center that promiscuously throw about the term “anti-Semite” in order to discredit people whose Israel views they dislike do a disservice to the fight against genuine anti-Semitism.